Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Free Range Helicopter

This post is about two very different parenting styles. Both have been in the news. Having a parenting style in the first place is new from my generation. Personally, I have no idea what our style would be defined as. Probably somewhere in the middle of Free Range and Helicopter.

Free Range parenting is giving your kids a lot of freedom. One couple has been in the news recently for letting their 10 and 6 year old walk alone to a park about a mile away. They were arrested. The concept is simple. With freedom, your kids learn to be independent.

I agree with that concept in general. But the amount of freedom needs to be age appropriate. I don't know what I would have done in this situation because I don't know the area. Would there be a way to contact them? Was there a set time for them to be home by? I think this level of freedom should be reserved for older kids. I would need more information before forming an opinion on if the parents should have been arrested.

Helicopter parenting is extremely involved parenting. Some moms of multiple kids probably refer to this as the "first baby" method. Babies and small kids need to be watched. A first time mom will watch everything their baby or toddler does. With additional kids, that's not possible. They are watched, but they aren't always being monitored.

Personally, I have always been a mix. I watch Zach but have always given him freedom at appropriate times. That freedom grows slightly as he gets older. There needs to be a balance between too much freedom and too little. But what balance will work depends on the kid, their age, the circumstances, and the parents. It's important to know what's going on in your child's life while teaching them to be independent.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

A Memorial Day Story

He's standing quietly. He looks down and sees grass that is well cared for, and his brother's grave. A blood brother. They don't share genes. But they share blood. Blood flowing from both on a battlefield. The sounds of gun shots and explosions surrounding them.

He was supposed to be listening for the enemy quietly. But his focus was on the blood brothers around him. He spots a safe place to hide. So he picks up this particular brother and carries him to safety. See this particular brother has lost both of his legs in an explosion. Next, he goes back for his three other blood brothers. They have all been shot and need help moving to safety. He's injured himself, but he fights back his pain and exhaustion. His brothers are the priority. He's their leader. He needs to make sure all of his brothers make it home.

All five remain safe until morning. His brother lost too much blood and dies is his arms during the night. Soon, they are found by others in their Unit and are brought to base to receive medical attention. The memory fades.

He looks down at the Purple Heart in his hands. He was awarded it for that brave night. Somehow, it doesn't feel like the honor it's supposed to be. He feels like the man below him should have it instead. So he doesn't talk about his Purple Heart.

The three remaining blood brothers come towards him. They have agreed to meet here every year on the Anniversary of their brother's death. Because for them, THAT is the real Memorial Day. They talk about their time together. They talk about the brother that has only joined them in spirit. They talk about their lives now. Then they all kiss their hands and touch his grave at the same time. It's a bond that can't be broken nor explained.

What they have experienced is something that can't be explained. They are thanked for their service. They get discounts in some places. But no one will be able to fully understand what they experienced. Unless they too have fought together in battle.

For my Military readers I ask this, did I get it right? I know the details of the battle will vary. I know Purple Hearts are rare. But, I hope I captured the experience well. I know many lives are lost in battle. Most of those deaths are witnessed by blood brothers and sisters. Is this how you feel as you remember those lost?

I say it all of the time. Serving in the Military makes you a real life Superhero. Some protect us from a computer. Others, on the battlefield. I appreciate the sacrifices all of you and your families make and made for your country.

Memorial Day isn't about the people walking in the parade in a uniform. It's about the people who lost their lives for their country. I would imagine for Veterans and those serving there isn't a holiday for when they remember their lost blood brothers. For them, Memorial Day is any day they remember those that lost their lives.

I'm sorry for your losses. Those of us that didn't serve only see names. We don't know anything about those we remember today. You see faces. You have memories of conversations. We see the name, you see the person that name belonged to. THANK YOU isn't strong enough.

Monday, May 18, 2015

No Salt Added Coupon Exchange

Lately, I have had two things I have been considering doing. The first is to put my recipes together to make a book called "No Salt Added". The second is to create a coupon exchange. I don't fully know yet how I would do these things. I'll let you know if I do.

I love to cook. My family loves it when I cook. I might not be professionally trained, but I'm still good at it. With my diet and blood pressure issues I have fine tuned a bunch of recipes that are still good, but don't include adding salt and pepper to them. Why not pepper? Because with my OCD I associate that the two MUST go together. When I look for recipes, almost all of them include salt and pepper.

My friend, Anie, wrote a book. I mentioned it in a previous blog post from about two years ago. She self published and gave me the website. Now, I struggle with the question.........."would I sell enough copies to make writing it worth it?" It's one of those questions I can't know until I take the chance to do it.

With high blood pressure being more common, I would imagine there would be some people that looked through it. A big seller might be that it was written by a Mom, not a chef. It's recipes designed to be quick and easy for busy families. Even if you don't cook much yourself, you should be able to make some of my recipes. I have seen a lot of recipes claiming to be some form of "weeknight easy". I find that isn't true. My recipes actually ARE weeknight easy. It's too good an idea to fully ignore.

Another idea is for a coupon exchange. I'm not talking about "Groupons". You know how when you have a store card sometimes you get coupons at the register? You might notice that most of them are for things you never or rarely use. In some cases, you use the item but not the quantity the coupon is for. It's time to exchange them.

You'd sign up for it, but it's free. All you would do is turn in coupons you won't use. You can choose  coupons turned in by other people for things you actually would use. Here's an example, I get a diaper coupon. I most certainly don't need that! So I turn it in. But, someone else has turned in a coupon for something I buy all of the time. So I can take that coupon because I have turned in my diapers coupon. There will most certainly be someone in need of that diaper coupon!

I would still need to work out the details. But, it sounds like something that would be nice to have! It's free to have a blog here on BlogSpot. I can set up a page through here. I just don't know how the actual exchanging would work! If I figure that out, I'll let you all know!

I don't know if they are good ideas or not. But they have been on my mind for a while. After six months of thinking about it, I thought it was time to share these ideas.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

From "Mommy" To "Mom"

After three miscarriages and two years of trying I made a decision when I got pregnant with Zach:

I'm "Mommy" until he turns six then I'm "Mom"

His sixth birthday is June 5th.

It might sound odd but I did feel a transition. He's a big kid. When he walks home with his friend, he looks like I did when I was nine! He has homework. And I have the SCA. The SCA is this town's version of the PTA.

Basically, I became "Mom" when he started Kindergarten. I didn't notice until December for the school's Holiday Shop. A year ago at this time I knew I wanted to help with Picture Day in September and the Holiday Shop. On Picture Day I only stayed for an hour and met a couple of other parents.

But there were a lot of parents helping out at the Holiday Shop. I also helped from the start of the day until Kindergarten got out at 12:30. I realized how many parents I knew and not all of them were from Kindergarten pick up or High School. I fit in with the other "Mom's". As in, the Mom's with older kids. The Mom's with older kids even recognize me!

Since then I started volunteering at the Library every week and the Book Fair. I had planned to stay at the Book Fair for an hour but rescheduled an Orthopedist appointment to finish off the morning for them. They were low on Volunteers. Just today I signed up to help with Field Day and the Pizza Lunch after.

The funny thing is that this is LITERALLY what I dreamed about. It's LITERALLY everything I wanted. I was looking forward to Zach being in Elementary school since we got married! I started off being scared to volunteer for much but I'm enjoying being the Mom I always wanted to be.

I was the Mommy I always wanted to be. Zach is thriving today in large part because I was a good Mommy. Now I'm an even better Mom. I'm becoming the Mom that volunteers for a lot. In the next couple of years I might be asked to volunteer if the chair for an event is low on volunteers. Because they are starting to know me, know I have one kid, and know I'm a Stay-At-Home-Mom. They also know I am willing to volunteer for a lot and will put in extra time if it's needed. Next year I added helping with the Thursday SCA lunches about once a month and selling School Spirit wear.

I always talk about how God has a plan. Everything actually does happen for a reason. My retail background came in handy when I was the only one who knew how to change the receipt paper for the Book Sale. It also helped when helping kids shop at the Holiday Shop. I use my Tutoring background in helping Zach with his homework. He's thriving in school. But that isn't the most important part of my background.

In 2005 I got fingerprinted. It was professionally done on a computer for when I was a Substitute. Required by the state. When you volunteer at the school for more then three days you need to have that fingerprinting done. They don't usually make a big deal over if a parent doesn't have it done. But I just had to archive those prints for a criminal background check now I can be in the school as much as I'm needed. Obviously, I passed the background check. If they ever need to show them, they can. All because I did that in 2005.

Parenting evolves over time. Every once in a while you realize you used to do things differently and can't remember how, when, or why things changed. The rules need to change as the child changes. I have always said "reward responsibility with freedom". Zach is very helpful and responsible. So we give him an age appropriate amount of freedom.

"Safe, legal, and age appropriate" still works. His tastes have changed in some cases. But all of his interests are safe legal, and age appropriate. Maybe the reason he is so responsible is because he has enough room to be himself. He can explore who he is now. He doesn't have to wait until Middle School when there aren't so many parent rules to follow.

Zach loves that I volunteer at his school so much. It's a treat for both of us. One classmate even drew me a picture because she thinks it's so great I help with the library class. Library can be fun when you have OCD. I don't even need a "Visitor's" name tag anymore. They all know why I'm there and who I'm attached to. It feels good to be Mom. I'm LITERALLY living my dream!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fixing MLB's Problems (edit: Found The Article 4/30/15)

It's officially that time in baseball season where sports writers write articles with a bunch of ideas on how to fix Major League Baseball's two biggest issues. None of those ideas will be taken seriously by the MLB but some of them should. So Josh and I started talking about what they can try to solve their two big problems:

1. Make the games faster
2. Keeps fans interest

The best way to keep fans interested is to improve scoring. I have noticed that the games that go faster have more scoring. Partially because there aren't extra innings. Focusing on batters stepping out of the box and pitchers taking a while to actually throw the ball help. But that only gives you 5 - 10 minutes back. That doesn't help in a game lasting over three hours and fifteen minutes. Rules to encourage higher scorings make a big difference in fan interest for the NHL, the NFL, and the NBA. It's become a pitcher's game but that gets frustrating for fans.

1. Add a 10th batter.

It's the best of both worlds. The pitcher bats in both leagues and both leagues have Designated Hitters. It reduces injuries in AL pitchers if they are trained for being batters as well. It also evens up the chances for the World Series.

2. Hit by pitch is 2nd base not first.

That runner in scoring position threat might make pitchers aim better. It also leads to more RBI opportunities.

3. Extra run point Home Runs.

If a batter hits a home run, their team gets credit for each player scored run plus a bonus run. 2 runs for 1 player, 3 for 2 players, ect....... and 5 for grand slams.

4. No second baseman

The short stop usually get the on base outs anyway. The first baseman can get more balls. This leads to more players on second base. Scoring position. There are still opportunities to get them out. But it increases RBI opportunities.

5. Extra Inning Home Run Derby

I got this idea from the below article. After the 10th inning go to HR derby mode until you get a winner. The pitcher can still be from the opposing team but he has to be fresh from the bullpen. As in, brand new to the game!

6. Non-adjustable strike zone

Different umpires have different strike zones. I say the strike zone should be defined as in front of the catchers chest pads. At least it would be the same size for all players!

I think most of these ideas would be easy to implement! It's important to limit stall time for pitchers and batters alike. However, these are ideas that would make a difference in speeding up the game. At minimum it makes it more interesting to watch and the time goes faster!

That's the article I read that got us talking. A couple of my base ideas come from this article. But my ideas expand on the author's ideas. For example, he doesn't specify pitcher rules for a home run derby. I have read a lot of "fixing baseball" articles and like most of his ideas. The only one I don't like is the three pitcher maximum rule. What if the third pitcher gets injured? Mixing and matching pitchers with batters doesn't happen that much. It's most likely to happen in September with a playoff push.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

What I Can't Say

Because of how the internet works, we are warned to be careful. Everything you type, say in a video, do in a video, and every picture you post can be seen by everyone. Forever.  That goofy drunk selfie might seem like a good idea to show your friends, but even on private profiles it might prevent you from getting your dream job..............................fifteen years later. It can be retrieved even after being deleted by someone with the right computer skills.

Because of that, you have to keep some things about yourself secret. You can't actually share how you really feel. You can't talk about everything going on in your life. Because everyone can see it. That might make some see you differently, forever.

Because of how the internet works there are things I can't blog about. That's the main reason I haven't posted that often recently. I can't talk about the big things going on in our lives right now. So finding acceptable blog posts have been difficult.

There are too many things I can't say. Too many things that can't be accessible to everyone. Things I would feel better about if I can work it out through writing. But that could never end up in such a sensitive place. I still type them up. Into word documents that remain on my computer. But those words can never be posted here.

I am not good with secrets. I can't lie. The truth is too important to me. In fact, the other day I didn't want to go outside. Because when someone asks "how are you?" I have to answer with the socially acceptable "fine" but I'm not fine. It's been frustrating to lie to so many people.

So I called a close friend. Her son is Zach's best friend. She lives really close so we took a walk together. FINALLY! Someone who knows all of my secrets! It felt so good to be able to talk about them! We ended up sticking around for lunch. Our families are close. They are going through something similar so we were able to help them too! We all felt better after that unplanned four hour play date! Only my very closest of friends know all of my secrets. Literally, a handful. If you know one specific secret, you know all of my secrets. You will know if you know that specific secret without me telling you which one.

Being a literal person who hates secrets and lies makes life extra hard sometimes. I know a lot of people would be supportive if I told them, but the secrets are too big to share. Don't worry, it's nothing illegal. In fact, one secret I'm proud of. I would tell more people about it.

But it's not only my secret. So I must keep it even from people I want to share it with. My family sometimes asks me to take something down either from here or on facebook. I take into consideration who said it, what they said, and if their reason is a good one. Most of the time I take it down. But not always. There are a couple of people I have decided I will never take anything down for. Bossy,
manipulative people who I owe no explanation to. But mostly, I respect reasonable requests from reasonable people who I know support me.

I'm not alone. We all have secrets. Things we can't post about. That's why we sometimes see vague comments on facebook. "I hate people" comes from someone clearly going through something specific. But, they won't be honest about what happened. Unless, you are a close friend! Everyone who sees it knows there is more to what's going on. But we also know if they wanted to tell us, they would.

It's too easy to forget that you have to be careful about what you say and do online. It's such an important part of everyday life. But bad things can happen if you aren't careful. Even if it takes a long time to happen. We all have things we can't say online. Sometimes, no matter how bad you want to, the smart decision is to not say or do it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Toilet Paper Challenge

Do you ever feel like you're the only one in your home that changes the toilet paper? This happens when everyone living in a home has a different definition of when it's low enough to be changed. So I decided to create a chart. I just wanted to track who changed the toilet paper and when. I just planned to get an idea of how often it gets changed and who changes it more. Two days later, I doubt it's going to show what was going on before. Thanks to an almost-six-year old.

I made the chart after Zach and Josh were in bed. We have one bathroom so even the double rolls only last a little more then a day. The first thing they both wanted to do Sunday night was move the "just in case" roll close to the toilet. Since the "in use" roll was still pretty full, I shot them both down. When it was time to move a new "just in case" roll over, Zach beat Josh to it. When he beat Josh to it this morning, Josh declared "this game is rigged!" So I added a star. A star is worth 1/2 a point and acknowledges when someone PLANNED to change it but was beaten to it.

It wasn't meant to be a game. But what we're all getting out of it is a better sense for when the "in use" roll is low enough to bring out a "just in case" roll. I haven't had to change it since that first time! I used to change is basically every day! So far, Zach hasn't asked what the prize will be for the winner or when the "game" will be over.

The "game" is over when we're ready for it to be over. When it's not fun anymore and we all have a similar definition for when to move the "just in case" roll over. As for the prize, I'll make the winner's favorite dinner. That might not count though. I do that anyway. I have to think of something! I'll crochet something for the winner!

It's an interesting experiment. It's also a basic truth. In most homes with multiple people, at least one person feels like they are the only one changing the toilet paper. Maybe companies should print a line on the bottom 1/2 inch to eliminate this debate. When you hit the line, be prepared!

Monday, April 06, 2015

Police Protection Out Of State

I feel strongly about gun laws. While my views have loosened a little, there are two things I have always believed:

1. Background checks should be required


2. Law Enforcement permits should be national, not by state.

I'll use New Jersey as an example. You have to have a permit to have a gun. I know some gun owners but have never seen anyone not in a law enforcement uniform carrying a gun. Below are the links to the NJ State Police website on firearms and NRA's information on NJ right to carry laws.

NRA Carrying laws

State Police Website

The top link in the State Police section is long but I like one big thing I read. Part of getting a permit is showing you know how to safely use a gun. I do think that helps reduce accidents.

There is a reason I think permits for Law Enforcement should be national and not by state. They are trained to save lives. Calling 911 is important, but it takes time for help to arrive. Sometimes all you have is a minute. If a customer in a business being robbed is in law enforcement in a different state, they have the training to help while the 911 team arrives. Their gun and training could very well save lives. What happens when they do use their gun and training to save lives, but they don't have a permit in that state? They shouldn't get in trouble for protecting innocent people and helping capture a bad guy.

The above scenario is probably rare. But you never know the time when a Pennsylvania Police Officer could save someone's life even if they don't have a New Jersey permit. Why wouldn't a New Jersey police officer racing to get to a bank robbery NOT appreciate the police officer from Pennsylvania inside the bank using their training to try to control the situation?

When criminals are running through different states, don't they have to work together to catch the bad people? They already have to trust each other for that reason. Why shouldn't they trust each other when necessary in the situations I mentioned? In the end, they all have the same goal. That means they are on the same team. Doesn't it makes sense for them all to have the tools they need to save lives no matter where they are?

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Religious Freedom Means

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

That is the first amendment. When it comes to religion, it says two things:

1. Congress cannot declare a specific religion to be the national religion
2. You have the freedom to PRACTICE any religion you want.


THAT'S the key word in our American 'Holy Wars'.

Practice means you can take off from work when your religion says (example: Sundays)

Practice means you can display or do what's needed to perform a religious ritual or tradition (lighting a menorah)

Practice means you can dress as your religion dictates (Kufi's, Muslim skull caps)

Nothing in the amendment allows religion to be used as discrimination! Quite the opposite! It is written to allow people to practice their religion without it effecting basics like their job status.

Practice DOESN'T mean you can refuse to do business with a same sex couple

Practice DOESN'T mean you can fire a non-married woman for getting pregnant

Practice DOESN'T mean you can fire a woman for receiving fertility treatment

Practice DOESN'T give you the right to fire or pass on an employee because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender

Their religious beliefs might be different from yours. They have the right to use birth control or love who they really love. If you are going to try to prevent them from having these things because of your own prejudices, they have the right to use their religious freedom to make you do them anyway!

Using religion as an excuse to force these prejudices on others, is the equivalent to "Honor Killings". It's hypocritical to be against "Honor Killings" and support using religion to avoid covering employee birth control, refusing to hire or do business with gay people, and any other form of outright discrimination!


: to live according to the customs and teachings of (a religion)

You are entitled to believe what from your religion makes sense to you. But this law means you can't force that on someone else. Just like you wouldn't want their beliefs being forced on you! They have a right to their own beliefs. If you choose to believe the part of your religion that is anti-GLBT, anti-birth control, and anti-fertility treatment, you are choosing to be a prejudice person. That's your decision. It crosses the line when you impose your views on those who disagree and try to prevent them from their own rights to freedom. You don't have to like that same sex couples can legally marry or that some women use fertility treatment or birth control, but it's not your place to make it so they CAN'T!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Sensing Labor

It's basic knowledge. Senses help with memory. Familiar sights, sounds, and smells help you remember a place you have been. A familiar taste helps with recalling all or part of a recipe. The sense of touch can trigger the most comforting of memories. It's why I am such a big hugger.

I still remember what labor felt like and Zach is almost six. I'm not talking about the pain of labor. I physically felt him coming out. He pushed himself out. I remember the feeling against my uterus as he did that with his feet! I remember the feeling of his head popping out and the slide of every inch after. It's not easy to describe what it felt like. But if I close my eyes I can still vividly feel his birth. Not the pain. HIM! The once in a lifetime experience of give birth to this specific child!

I had been loosing patience in the last two months of my pregnancy. The ultrasounds are a nice way to sort of see your baby. But they don't show eye color and hair color. They don't show dimples. All I wanted in those last two months were to see what he looked like. I had so much heartburn I kept saying "this kid better have hair!" Sure enough, he had a very full head of hair. People always complement him on the blue eyes that look like mine and that precious dimple he got from Josh. I look at him now and remember the torture of not knowing what he looked like.

The hospital played the music to 'Rock A By Baby' whenever a baby was delivered. But I didn't hear it when Zach was born. I was told later that they did play it though. Instead, I heard my Dad trying to enter the delivery room while the doctor was still removing the umbilical cord. I had to stop pushing to tell him to stay put! Hearing my Dad's voice from the hall made me happy though. He was very excited to become a Grandfather! That sound reminded me how lucky Zach is to have four fabulous grandparents who love him very much! He's lucky they are all a part of his life.

I don't remember how my post-delivery dinner tasted. I was too busy talking to family as loved ones held Zach for the first time. My sense of taste had the day off. My other senses have never been that powerful. But I'll never forget the taste of Breaded Chicken. I posted the recipe a couple of years ago. Throughout my whole pregnancy it was my biggest craving. Once I even defrosted chicken in the microwave to make it for lunch because the craving was that strong! It has always been his favorite. He can help bread the chicken now too!

He smelt like love. You don't know what that means until you become a loving parent. It's the first time love actually has a smell. It's what inspired my impulse to say "kisses from Mommy, because Mommy will always love you!" I wanted him to be able to show his love before he could say the words. When he was three months old, he started giving me kisses. I will never forget what those felt like. I still say that at bedtime every night. He says it with me with a big dimply smile!

I'm glad I paid attention to these things at the time. I'm glad I let my senses take in the entire experience. I'm glad that all I have to do is close my eyes to relive what it felt like as Zach came out.
That's the irony really. I didn't feel the start of labor. The ultrasound technician told me those squiggly lines going up and down were contractions.

It's the main reason I wanted to be a mother. I remember telling him that thing he's looking at is called a tree. Now he can read the word "tree" and wants to know what kind it is. We use senses to learn and remember. For some of us, one sense is strongest for learning and remembering. For me, that's my sense of touch. How things feel connect to my emotions. I am more likely to remember things based of the emotions that experience made me feel. It's what life is like with OCD, General Anxiety Disorder, and PMDD.

Now I will go kiss my angel on the cheek. And feel a sense of love so strong my chest actually hurts!

I have discovered something about myself recently: I'm a very literal person!

20 weeks 2 days pregnant