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An Open Letter to Fort Worth, Texas Magazine

April 8, 2013

To Whom it May Concern,
I am still appalled by the Op/Ed article published in your magazine’s latest edition (Read it here: http://fwtx.com/blogs/fwvoice/distracting-behavior). I know that you have received numerous e-mails and Facebook messages regarding it (including one from me) and I received your form letter in response. I didn’t appreciate the way you halfheartedly apologized with “The opinions of our columnists do not always reflect the views of our magazine at large.” To be honest, that’s ridiculous. It concerns me that your magazine will publish articles that may not reflect the views of the publication. I know that is not exactly what you said, but the inference is there.
I was contacted by Dallas/Fort Worth’s Channel 8 to be interviewed about the article (it didn’t happen because of other breaking news) and while nervous, I was excited to share my opinions. Let me share with you what would have been broadcast over the news.
The article upset me on many levels. First, I am a nursing mother and a Christian. I have nursed both of my babies in church (both in nursing mother’s rooms/cry rooms and in the service). Comparing me nursing a child in church to busting out a tuna fish sandwich during the opening prayer is obnoxious. I feel like the list of comparisons are a stretch when you look to tie them back to breastfeeding in church. Honestly, though, this isn’t my only problem with the article.
Mothering is hard. Parenting is hard. The “Mommy Wars” are something we should be fighting against. We should be supporting each other and loving on each other. Breastfeeding mothers need support.  Bottlefeeding mothers need support.  We should be helping each other grow as parents though love (I’m pretty sure Jesus would approve of this). We should build community through our actions, especially in church. We should not be tearing each other down by criticizing a mother for feeding her baby (and thus preventing “Disruptive Children”, a distracting behavior listed in the article).
I know that kindness and love don’t sell like chaos and mayhem and hot topics do, but I think our world could use a little more of both. Maybe you have accomplished your goal by printing and electronically publishing Distracting Behavior; I am writing about it. If that’s the case, well done. Maybe next time we can work together to build up our parenting community.
Sincerely,
That Mama

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Being a Grown-Up

March 17, 2013

I don’t always love being a grown-up. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. Occasionally I miss the carefree days that existed sometime ago.
This year I am finally back on track of taking care of my body. My maternal family has a nasty history of both breast and ovarian cancers. Because of this history many of us have been tested for the breast cancer gene and many (including myself) have it. What does this mean? It means that at 32 years old I see a breast specialist and talk about things like prophylactic surgery to remove both of my breasts before I turn 40. It means that since my yearly well-woman visit I have had a transvaginal ultrasound, a blood draw and a breast exam. This coming week I’ll meet with a genetic counselor and at some point I’ll have either a mammogram, breast MRI or an ultrasound of my breasts.
Taking care of my body and my health is worth it, no question. Sometimes I just don’t want to be a grown-up.

Update #8

March 7, 2013

My 33 by 33 list needs to be updated!

1. Dye a blue streak in my hair.

Done! I participated in a secret gift exchange with a group of local mamas and my “Secret Crunchy” gifted me a blue streak! I got to spend 2 hours of pampering getting my hair colored and cut. I love the blue. (Thanks W.C.!)

Here’s a picture:
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2. Lose 1 pants size.

Done.

3. Fit into my wedding dress.

I need to pull it out and see.

4. Become proficient at back wrapping Deuce.

I haven’t practiced in forever. My wrap is currently on loan to a friend.

5. Renew my teaching certificate.

30% done with my continuing education credits! I need to get enrolled in my next class this week.

6. Go to a Ranger’s game in Arlington.

Hopefully this spring/summer we’ll make it to a game.

7. Get the office organized and keep it that way.

It’s gotten worse since my last update.

8. Decorate our bedroom.

I bought shutters from a store going out of business to paint and hang as decoration. Maybe next week I’ll have a chance to start painting!

9. Finish the wall hanging for That Daddy.

Nope.

10. Learn the correct lyrics to Love Me Tender.

Done! I occasionally sing it to the boys.

11. Learn more about homeopathy.

In progress.

12. Donate at least 100 ounces of breastmilk to the Mother’s Milk Bank of North Texas.

Done!

13. Clean my side of the closet.

Closer, but not done. I need to evaluate my warm weather clothes since we’ll be heading that way soon.

14. Donate at least 33 items to Goodwill.

Done! I need to get another box going. I have a box going, but the stuff may end up in a fundraiser garage sale for La Leche League.

15. Get a new tattoo.

Nope

16. Plant our garden earlier next Spring.

I’m going to start my seeds this week.

17. Read at least 2 classic books.

I’m half way through How to Win Friends and Influence People. Fabulous read; you really should check it out.

18. Learn to can and can something successfully.

Nope.

19. Volunteer at H Money’s school at least once.

Nope.

20. Barter for a service or a product of some sort.

Yes! I traded a video I had for a gift for Deuce for either Christmas or his birthday.

21. Sell some of my sewing/craftings.

Nope.

22. Make Deuce a quilt.

Nope.

23. Write monthly love notes to my boys.

In progress. I did miss February. I need to get my act together.

24. Journal for myself.

Blogging happens some times.

25. Send cards or call on all family birthdays.

I have a late October card I need to send, but so far so good.

26. Make all cards by hand or use cards we already own (save Christmas cards).

Doing it.

27. Make homemade coconut ice cream that tastes good.

Done! In fact, we make the coconut ice cream regularly now. We’ve made vanilla and chocolate so far.

28. Read to my boys every day.

It doesn’t happen every day. I’m going to alter this to read or sing since singing is just as important.

29. Find new home for my too-small shoes.

I’ve found someone, but the shoes are still in my house.

30. Participate in both Just Between Friends sales so I can get in early.

Done! I scored great clothes and shoes for the boys at the Spring Sale!

31. Ditch DirecTV.

Done!

32. Make 1 completed quilt for Project Linus.

Nope.

33. Journal about my 33 by 33 along the way.

In progress!

Today is the day!

March 6, 2013

Today is the day selected by “Spread the Word to End the Word” to encourage people to take the pledge to remove “retarded” from their vocabulary. I love the organization (closely tied with the Special Olympics, FYI) and what they are doing publicly. If you haven’t caught on, their cause is very near and dear to me. My oldest has significant special needs. I have been trying to succinctly put together why the word bothers me so much and today I’m going to (attempt to) share that with you.
I believe there are two sides to removing “retarded” from our daily language. The first side, using it to describe someone with special needs, is best met with education. It is often used out of fear and misinformation. My child can’t speak for himself and explain that it is offensive to use it that was because it is similar to a racial slur. The PSA by Jane Lynch and Lauren Potter sums it up perfectly (Pardon the potentially offensive use of words).

The other side is when the word retarded is used to describe a neurotypical person acting silly or stupid. Why is it offensive? Neurotypical people are able to control their actions; many with special needs are unable to control themselves.
Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Everyone, no matter your race, creed, sexual orientation, brain make-up or chromosomal organization. In this case, we must speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
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Where did 2012 go?

December 31, 2012

Where did it go?

Middle of the night feedings
Diapers
Laundry
Meal cooking
Appointments
Cleaning (only when absolutely necessary)
Driving
Consuming
Sleeping
Laughing
Watching kids grow
Birthdays
A funeral
Celebrating
Traveling
Seeing family
Snuggling
Dancing silly
Putting things back in the lower cabinets
Enjoying friends
Talking
Loving
Growing and shrinking
Creating
Giving
Learning

The list isn’t complete, but it gives you an idea. I’m excited about 2013, and not just because it’s 13. Happy New Year!

Thankfulness Day #4

November 21, 2012

Today I am thankful for the ability to keep learning. I know it’s not specific, but I love to learn. If it were a reasonable choice I would be a perpetual college student until I had a degree in all sorts of obscure subjects. This year I have chosen to learn more about homeopathy and communicating with others. Those are just two specific examples (not nearly an exhaustive list). That Daddy is currently working on his MBA, but he also has a desire to continue learning. It’s just another example of how we’re made for each other because we love talking about what we’ve learned and questioning what the other has learned.

Thankfulness Day #3

November 20, 2012

Today I am thankful for La Leche League. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, La Leche League saved me when we first moved here. It was the first social thing I did after we moved from Georgia and it gave me something to look forward to each month. My first friends in Texas were women I met at La Leche League. I love spending time with women who choose to parent similarly.
I haven’t officially shared it yet, but I officially became a La Leche League Leader about 1.5 years ago (please note that this blog doesn’t represent La Leche League in any manner). I love helping other women breastfeed their babies. I love the support that each of us gets at our meetings. It is one of the things I love to do and am able to do for me and bring the boys along. I have had the honor of helping out family members after they had babies and helping my friends as well. It is such a blessing to me.