Friday, November 28, 2008

Christmas is Coming and Miracles Still Happen!

I am so excited about Christmas this year. I would tell you all about the fantastic Thanksgiving... but without photos per our camera mishap, it just isn't the same. Let's just say that we gobbled till we wobbled and we enjoyed great company and good eats till the wee hours of the morning.

It was great to be able to stay in town to cut down on travel time for my maiden voyage on Black Friday. Let me just preface by saying that I don't think that 4am should exist. Before kids, I knew it as curfew and it sucked then. After kids I know it as feeding time or messy sick kid time and that sucks even more. But today, I knew it as fight the crowds and get all the shopping done time. That sucked too, but I was able to get all my goodies and I even managed to do so with some holiday cheer.

My friend and I slipped into her little sedan and zipped off to Toys R Us in the wee hours of the morning. Of course at 4am, we were completely unaware of the obvious flaw in our plan. I was out to get all the really BIG presents grandma wanted to get the girls without having to pay shipping, and my friend was out with a HUGE list to shop for her 3 kids. We made it all the way back to the car with our carts overflowing with boxes before we realized the error of our ways.

But, never underestimate mommy power. We somehow managed to get 6 huge boxes of diapers, an exersaucer, a toy kitchen, 2 go-go baby sit-to-stand giraffes, 2 packs of bateries, 2 baby dolls, 3 canisters of various animals, a dress-up treasure chest, 4 activity and bedtime books, an art box set, a large bag of doggie toys, 2 gallons of milk and a bicycle into the vehicle. There may have been more, but that is all I can remember from the groggy hours and extensive shopping lists.

I'm sure that without an act of mercy, it wouldn't have happened. Sadly, many of the boxes did become casualties of the fight and I'm sure we weren't traveling legally as we couldn't see out of any back or side windows but the drivers and front windshield. But I believe it was a true miracle that we arrived home in safety.

Of course when we went to pull out a man in the giant ford truck parked next to us comes out with his little dvd and video game and just shakes his head at the two clown-like girls crammed into a Saturn with WAY TOO MUCH CHRISTMAS to be practical or frugal in any way. He just shook his head and laughed... a good merry laugh, and I'm sure he wasn't the only one. Though, I wasn't able to see too well to know for sure. :)

I do hope yall had a happy turkey day and that your thoughts are in the spirit of Christmas as you go through your planning and holiday preparations.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thought Provoking & Contravercial Part 1

I'm not too big on getting behind a cause because I'm not so sure my beliefs are right. What I am sure of, is that the freedom to decide what is right for one's self has been bought with a great price and makes America an amazing country with limitless opportunity. I appreciate the diversity in ideas and opinions, and have even grown to love good discussion with people of differing opinions... so long as we can all be respectful.

I do however understand that there are some things worth fighting for. And despite various extremes in the beliefs of what is "right" or "wrong," I have to stand on the basic rule of humanity: Treat others how you want to be treated. When any issue comes up, I ask myself one question, "would this position victimize anyone?"

Now I have to define victim here because I don't want there to be any confusion. A victim is someone who has been harmed by someone or something else through no choice or consequence of their own doing. For the sake of this post, I am focusing on victims of other people's action or inaction rather than victims of circumstance, accident, disease or natural disaster.

Some issues create no victims no matter which position you choose, like the issue of religion; no matter which one you have or whether you even have one really doesn't victimize anyone. Some issues, however, create many victims no matter which position you choose.

Take defining gay marriage for example. I can honestly see both sides of the argument, and have decided it is more about personal beliefs than civil rights and both positions create victims. It's a beast anyway you look at it and victimizes no matter how you define marriage. Both sides would impose one personal belief on everyone... and THAT, I am pretty confident, creates victims. For that reason, I am against both sides. My current position is that marriage should remain a religious institution and has no place in government, schools or the workplace. Neither does sexual orientation for that matter.

For the record I have NO problem with homosexuality or homosexual behavior so long as it is not victimizing anyone. I don't even have a problem with gay marriage. I just don't like haveing marriage defined in the constitution. I can't see how commitments or actions between two consenting adults is anyones business but their own or how it could be a threat to anyone outside that commitment. I make no apologies about my belief on this matter. However, if you do see a victim and disagree, I welcome your insight and perspective. But you gotta talk my language or I get confused. Please do so in relation to my one question. What I really wanna know is how does your position protect or prevent victims?

I have a feeling that we haven't seen the end to this debate.

Now, I'm not as much of an all or nothing kind of gal as I used to be and have discovered that some issues really do have varying degrees of possibilities when it comes to taking a stand. But once a position is proposed as an amendment or an act of congress, it is an all or nothing kind of thing. You either accept all laws that come with it or you reject them all. And that choice may create a clear victim or victims. But I'm tired now and must provide an example of this in part 2.

Edited for clarification:

To be continued...

Monday, November 17, 2008

Thought Provoking & Contraversial Part 2

Please Read Part 1 before continuing on...

On the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), it is obviously more about civil rights than it is about personal beliefs, but this monster has a lot of heads too, and they bite everyone. I see abortion in general as a conflict between the rights of a mother and the rights of her child. The questions are: Who is the victim? when are they victimized? and What needs to be done to protect them? For the record, I believe that abortion is NOT a harmless form of birth control because no matter how it is done, it always produces a victim. But it's not about what I believe.

I do feel a great deal of compassion for women in the desperate circumstance of unwanted pregnancy, and think their rights should be protected. In fact, more should be done to educate all women on healthy options for birth control, to ensure that all pregnant women have access to medical care and nutrition for a healthy, full-term pregnancy, and to facilitate adoptions for those who so choose. But that is not what FOCA is about.

People make bad choices all the time and suffer the consequences, but they are not victims. In America, when someone’s bad choices harm someone else, there are legal consequences designed to restrict their rights enough to protect the innocent and discourage that kind of behavior in the future. I'm not saying that everyone who has had or performed an abortion should lose all their rights or go to jail, that would create more victims still. But I have every conviction that a fertile woman choosing to have sex chooses a potential pregnancy and is not a true victim simply for suffering the natural consequences of her decision.

With abortion, we have forever altered that natural consequence in favor of the stronger more able person (s), and victims are harmed every time. With FOCA, it would be easier than ever to look the other way as human suffering takes place and lives are smothered out or harmed forever. FOCA would erase laws that protect women against misinformation regarding the risks and gravity of the decision to abort. FOCA would erase laws that protect minors from manipulation or bullying by people who are not out for their best interest. FOCA would erase laws that protect parents of minors from not only being restricted from the decision-making process regarding a medical procedure, but also from having to pay for a procedure that may not be in the best interest of their daughter. FOCA would also erase laws that protect women from all the dangers and risks of receiving abortion procedures from unlicensed physicians.

Granted, even with laws as they stand, it is difficult to prove deception, manipulation, bullying or malpractice to identify the woman as the clear victim, but FOCA would erase any and all current laws in place to protect victims of these situations and even prevent states from enacting similar or better laws in the future.

As if that wasn't enough reason to oppose it, FOCA also compels taxpayer funding for abortions and forces faith-based hospitals and other private health care facilities to offer and perform abortions under the veil of a woman’s right to choose abortion. That opens up a whole different can of victims by imposing on religious beliefs and private enterprise. And I haven't even gotten to the most obvious victim of this act.

The obvious victim with abortion is always the baby, the only questions here are: When is a baby considered to be "someone?" and How much harm is done before the victim dies? FOCA would erase any and all laws protecting the baby from painful abortions at any stage of pregnancy, so long as a physician determines or ensures that the baby isn't viable, or that the mother's health is at risk in any way. This would include full-term babies, and even babies that survive horrific suffering for hours, days or even a lifetime after botched abortions. FOCA would inevitably erase any and all rights of any unwanted baby so long as its mother “chooses” to have a doctor terminate it before it is naturally delivered.

That's opens too many doors to victimize people in my book, and some legal regulations should be instituted to minimize suffering and protect the innocent. I am not sure which regulations need to be made, but I am convinced that removing ALL regulations on abortion would lead to immeasurable suffering, allow for pregnant minors, parents of pregnant minors, pregnant women and all unwanted babies to be more easily victimized by profiteers and bullies, and potentially lead to murder in cases where late term abortion attempts fail and a live "someone" is born and denied the necessary care to sustain life. I CANNOT support an act that would permit so much human suffering and death in the name of choice.

If this is a stand you feel you can make, please go to the Fight FOCA website and get involved. If you aren't sure where to stand on this issue, I encourage you to do the research and decide for yourself. If you stand on the side supporting this act, I welcome your insight and am open to new information that may help me further understand and clarify the point at which true victims are created and encourage discussion as to what could be done to protect them.

Some helpful sources:

Freedom of Choice Act: Entire Downloadable Document

NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Right to Life
Planned Parenthood
or just Google FOCA and get a virtual library of literature and opinions from everyone who has something to say about it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

So It's Been a While

Heya friendly bloggers,

Sorry it has been so long since I've posted anything. We've had a death in the electronic family and I have been too bumbed to post the happenings without photos. Yeah, I know! The digital camera crapped out on us and right in the middle of our big family vacation down to see EVERYONE in the lower 48. I'm heartbroken to say the least, but Christmas will be long enough to mourn before we get a spankin new one with all the bells and whistles. :)

So the vacation was awesome. We had a great time and send many thanks to all the family and friends that made heroic efforts to accommodate us and our crazy crew. It looks like we may be headed back to Portland just before Christmas, but we gotta make sure Daddy Warbucks has enough airmiles to make it all happen. I'm not looking forward to traveling alone with the girls again, but sacrifices must be made so I can escape some of the hard winter... yeah, I know, Portland isn't quite the escape most people think of, but my mom doesn't live in Puerto Vaillarta. Dangit!

Anyway, the girls traveled really well and grams and gramps were really good to us. Kaia really enjoyed the Portland Zoo, Circus Circus Adventure Dome and playing with all her grandparents and cousins. Mekayla didn't care much and slept through most of it.

One fantastic thing that came from this trip is that we had plenty of hands to help with the transition from breast feeding to bottle feeding. Mekayla's poor little belly was just having a tough time with my milk, I cut everything out of my diet and still no help for the littles. So we are now on a soy-based formula with added rice and a shot of Mylacon and we have a whole new baby. She still spits, but not nearly as much as she used to and she seems a lot less anxious and rarely clenches her fists in pain anymore. It's amazing what diet can do for personality. :)

Halloween was so much fun, but again, no pictures. Which is really tragic because the whole family dressed up. Ben was Shrek, I was Fiona and the girls were little monsters. WAY CUTE. I'll see what I can get from our friends who took pix and post something for the record. That totally bums me out! I'm just glad the "treats" part of Halloween is finally over.

I have been tightening up on the "treats" I used to let slide and have officially signed up for the gym. I figured that when Ben is gone, I was dumping about $10 / visit on Carl's Jr. just so that I could get a break from Kaia and she could play with other kids. The Alaska club has a play center and it only costs $6 for both girls to be there for 2 whole hours to myself. You can't put a price on sanity! Plus, I'm getting my exercise and LOVING IT!!! Every last danged minute of it is FANTASTIC! and you can bet I wait till the very last minute to pick up the kids. Not because I don't love and miss them, but because I wanna make sure every penny counts.

Now, about counting, I've got a bone to pick about electoral votes. I really feel like my vote doesn't count. They called the presidential election hours before the polls even closed here. Heck, they didn't even make it to Colorado before McCain gave hes consession speech. Now I know that Obama won the popular vote too, but I wish they would have waited to declare it at least till I felt like my vote was in the mix. Anyway, congrats to all who are pleased with the outcome, my condolances to the rest of us. Now that it's over, we can unite in praying for our new president elect and that he will make decisions that will be good for our great nation. Here's hopin!

Well, since we've been back, I've started up the Mom's club book group and we had our first get together. It was nice, and I think that since more and more moms know who I am now and have been to my house, I will get more and more participation. That's right... dag-on-it, people like me.

This was especially good for my huge going out of business sale for Pure Romance. Can you believe I had nearly $5000 in bedroom accessories just sitting in my garage. Yeah, it would take a 100 lifetimes to take full advantage of that and we just don't keep that busy at our house. :) So, I had a little bash and unloaded at least 1/2 of it at screamin deals... like my cost or less. If anyone is interested, just shoot me an e-mail for a complete list of what is left and I will get it right to ya.

Well, Ben is headed back up to the slope and that sucks. It's always tough on the kids when he has to go. It's tough on me too, but I just slip into survival mode and keep my head down till he gets back. I'm hoping that between the gym and my mom's club, we will be mostly destracted and get through it without too much anxiety or drama.

Take care all and until next time... Ciao baby!