Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Climate Experience

To me, I don't know how people can deny climate change. I had this thought yet again a couple of days ago. It felt more like October then August. Then a yellow leaf fell off a tree and landed in front of me. I have been paying attention. I have seen the effects of climate change in person.

It's ironic when a climate change denier observes "what a warm winter we are having" or "what a cold summer we are having". They are admitting to seeing changes in the climate while denying there are changes to the climate. The literal part of me can't wrap my head around that they are serious about denying climate change.

I'm in tune to climate change because of my anxiety and OCD. I have a spreadsheet on what to wear based on the temperature outside. Comfort helps control the anxiety. My sense of touch is strong. I get cold easily. I have been following this chart very closely for years and stalk the intellicast weather on the internet almost always before I leave. Hourly page only! I notice when it is saying something different then just a few hours before. I bring extra layers when necessary too. If you see me with a backpack, there is a good change there is a sweater and/or jacket in there! I have separate jackets for rain as well.

I have tracked the changes as I monitor things so closely. I am acutely aware of how it's harder to find the perfect walking days in the spring and fall then it was just two years ago. I am aware that I need lighter jackets in the winter more often then I used to. I am aware that I need my rain jackets more often then I used to.

I see it in the garden. That need for a rain jacket more means I don't need to water as often. There are plants that need the heat to thrive. It has been a cool summer. Don't expect the basil to be big and inviting for as long as normal! Vincas and marigolds? I have seen them be big and beautiful when we average the high 80s and low 90s! This year? Not so much. Extreme years and mild years. We get both.

The leaves on some trees are changing color sooner. Plants take their cues from the climate. It might be fun seeing those bulb sprouts in the middle of January. But, we shouldn't be seeing them. They took their cues from that warm stretch and thought it was spring! But, that end of January cold snap could damage those sprouts.

Good thing all that extra snow creates insulation to protect them! Unfortunately, that much snow creates problems. Remember the winter two years ago when we got alot of snow every Tuesday? I mentioned it in my blog post "Burried Boston, Dry California" in February of 2015. By the way, I'm pretty sure the drought I mentioned in this post is still going on!

http://homewithmommy-fran.blogspot.com/2015/02/burried-boston-dry-california.html

 Average temperatures have been changing. Not just in my area too. Below is a link to a New York Times article. They had obtained a copy of the current climate report. This is on 9 takeaways from it. I'll sum it up since some people may not subscribe and may have used all their free articles for the month.




1. It's getting hotter. The average temperatures are hotter then they used to be.

How average annual temperatures have changed
Since the first half of the 20th century



Average annual
temperature
Average annual
minimum
Average annual
maximum
Great Plains North
1.7
1.7
1.7
Alaska
1.7
1.9
1.4
Southwest
1.6
1.6
1.6
Northwest
1.5
1.6
1.5
Northeast
1.4
1.7
1.2
Hawaii
1.3
1.5
1.0
Midwest
1.3
1.8
0.8
United States
+1.2°F
+1.4°F
+1.1°F
Great Plains South
0.8
0.6
1.0
Southeast
0.5
0.8
0

2. Hurricanes in the east will bring more rainfall and possibly be more destructive then ever.

3. The warming in California will cause less winter and spring snowpack. Meaning, more droughts to come.

4. More rain when it does rain!

How maximum daily precipitation has changed, 1901-2016
+0-9%
+10-19%
+20-29%


5. Sea level rising will lead to more flooding.

6. The sea level rising will effect areas where the land is naturally subsiding like the gulf of Mexico and the northeast.

7. El Nino might effect a year or two. But, it can't be pointed to as the cause of long-term changes like a decade or more.

8. Human behavior has caused these changes

9. Expect climate surprises in the future.


NYT Climate Report:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/08/08/climate/nine-takeaways-climate-report.html?rref=collection%2Fsectioncollection%2Fclimate&action=click&contentCollection=climate&region=rank&module=package&version=highlights&contentPlacement=2&pgtype=sectionfront


NYT Trump supporters and the climate report



https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/08/us/politics/climate-trump-scientists-supporters.html


Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Necklaces That Bind

When Josh and I were engaged we got his grandma a pearl necklace for a gift. She died about 6 weeks before our wedding. Josh's mom gave it to me. It's the necklace I wore on my wedding day. I'll never forget. At the end of the reception, crying she said "thank you for this" and pointed to the necklace.

For me it was a no brainer. My Mom didn't have anything as sentimental as that for me to borrow. At the time, Josh and I had been together for 6 years. It was just as sentimental to me as it was to her. I loved his grandma, who they lived with.

But, that's not the only important necklace that binds me and my wonderful mother-in-law. Each year for their anniversary Josh's parents go to Jamaica. They do this oyster catching thing and sometimes find real pearls. Two years ago, she gave me one in a cage. A necklace. It's beautiful and I cherish it.



The other day I had a special necklace to give her. My parents are with us on vacation each year. I wanted to thank them. I got my dad BBQ sauce. A recipe they sell at Josh and my favorite restaurant. I made my mom a necklace. In walking distance is a store where you can make jewelry. I've always enjoyed that.

But, my mom didn't like the necklace. So I took it back and thought for about 6 months who I wanted to have it. Who would like it and treat it as something special. I knew my mother-in-law would appreciate it!

Not only did she really like it, she mentioned how much she loved the sand dollar centerpiece. She loves sand dollars. When I left the house that day I realized, maybe I was thinking of her when choosing how to make it. It suits her. I didn't realize it at the time. But, that's what I was doing.

I used to be better at choosing necklaces for my mom. Like the one I gave her on my wedding day. When I was 2 years old I selected a beautiful sapphire ring for her. It was a mother's day gift. My dad tells the story. He placed tiny me on the counter and I looked down and chose it. She cherishes that ring greatly! She had gotten a necklace to match it after that.

But, for her gift on my wedding day, I got her a matching necklace. She prefers that necklace now. Because the necklace and ring both have sentimental value for her.

Sometimes necklaces have sentimental value. They can have meaning. They aren't just an accessory to make an outfit look good. For me, these necklaces are one of many ways we are connected. We are family.

Most of the time, special things like the necklaces from my mother-in-law, are saved for birth children and not in-laws. But, I'll never forget the day she gave me grandma's necklace. Sitting on Josh's bed, crying, she handed me the box. She didn't ask me to wear it on our wedding day. But, I knew she wanted me to. I wanted to as well.

My mom has a different smile when she wears the jewelry I picked out for her. They mean more to her. Bind us. Someday, I will get them back. But, I hope it's decades from now!!!

Do I have any necklaces the bind from Zach? Yes! One is a necklace technically from Josh. He got it for me for mother's day when I was 32 weeks pregnant with Zach. I wore it while giving birth. Yes, the actual labor. It's my Zachary necklace! The next year, baby Zach chose a beautiful gold heart necklace for me. He still likes to choose necklaces for me. But, those are the two that mean the most.

Friday, July 21, 2017

They Want Reagan Back

I have noticed a trend lately. Republican voters and lawmakers seem like they are trying to revive the 80s. There has been a lot of comparisons to what Republicans in congress are trying to do and what Reagan did. Trump might talk about Richard Nixon like a fan boy. But, this Congress and their voters have decided they want Reagan back!

Take the tax overhaul they are aiming for. Congressional republicans are strongly trying to base it on what Reagan did back then. For decades they have taken the "Reaganomics" approach to economics. "Lower taxes on the rich, and it will trickle down!" Ummmmm, it's been how many years? It's safe to say the rich aren't sharing. You need a new economic plan.

Republican voters take the mentality towards social safety nets that Reagan did. Think about the very fictional "welfare queen". "Make them get a job!" Ummmmm, most have a job just a poorly paying one or two. Raising the minimum wage means less people needing social safety nets.

This rosie vision of the Reagan years are modified memories. They remember what they see as the good things. But, aren't remembering the bad things he did. They also are under the impression that Reagan's policies were the cause of those good things. They forget that Reaganomics led to the recession of the early 90s as well as most of the issues we still suffer from today.

http://study.com/academy/lesson/the-recession-of-the-early-1990s.html

http://vm136.lib.berkeley.edu/BANC/ROHO/projects/debt/1990srecession.html


A Reagan Refresher (from The Nation link below):

During his two terms in the White House (1981–89), Reagan presided over a widening gap between the rich and everyone else, declining wages and living standards for working families, an assault on labor unions as a vehicle to lift Americans into the middle class, a dramatic increase in poverty and homelessness, and the consolidation and deregulation of the financial industry that led to the current mortgage meltdown, foreclosure epidemic and lingering recession.


These trends were not caused by inevitable social and economic forces. They resulted from Reagan’s policy and political choices based on an underlying “you’re on your own” ideology.


Reagan is often lauded as “the great communicator,” but what he often communicated were lies and distortions. For example, during his stump speeches, while dutifully promising to roll back welfare, Reagan often told the story of a so-called “welfare queen” in Chicago who drove a Cadillac and had ripped off $150,000 from the government using eighty aliases, thirty addresses, a dozen Social Security cards and four fictional dead husbands. Journalists searched for this “welfare cheat” in the hopes of interviewing her and discovered that she didn’t exist. But this phony imagery of “welfare cheats” persisted and helped lay the groundwork for cuts to programs that help the poor, including children.


Reagan’s most famous statement—“Government is not a solution to our problem. Government is the problem”—has become the unofficial slogan for the recent resurgence of right-wing extremism. The rants of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, the lunacy of Tea Party, the policy ideas promulgated by propaganda outfits like the Cato Institute and the Heritage Foundation masquerading as think tanks and the takeover of the Republican Party by its most conservative wing were all incubated during the Reagan years. Indeed, they all claim to be carrying out the Reagan Revolution.


What did that revolution bring us? Many Americans credit Reagan with reducing the size of government. In reality, he increased government spending, cut taxes and turned the United States from a creditor to a debtor nation. During his presidency, Reagan escalated the military budget while slashing funds for domestic programs that assisted working-class Americans and protected consumers and the environment. Not surprisingly, both George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush followed in Reagan’s footsteps.


But, unfortunately, so did Bill Clinton. During his first campaign for the presidency, Clinton correctly observed that “the Reagan-Bush years have exalted private gain over public obligation, special interests over the common good, wealth and fame over work and family. The 1980s ushered in a Gilded Age of greed and selfishness, of irresponsibility and excess, and of neglect.” But a few years later, as president, Clinton proclaimed, echoing Reagan, that “the era of big government is over,” which he carried out by slashing welfare benefits for poor children.


Indeed, Reagan’s most important domestic legacy is our government’s weakened ability to do its job protecting families, consumers, workers and the environment.


How did Reagan revise America’s thinking about the role of government? Before Reagan took office, the American public was already growing more skeptical about government and politicians, exacerbated by the lies told by Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon about the Vietnam war, Nixon’s Watergate scandal and President Jimmy Carter’s inability to deal with the twin problems of rising prices and unemployment, often called “stagflation.” But Reagan—with his avuncular style, optimism and just-plain-folks demeanor—turned government-bashing into an art form.


And he had a lot of help. Accompanying the Reagan era was the rise of a well-oiled corporate-funded conservative propaganda machine—including think tanks and lobby groups, endowed professorships at universities, legal advocacy organizations, magazines, and college student internships to train the next generation—designed to demonize activist government and glorify unregulated markets. Years before Rush Limbaugh began his radio ministry to his conservative congregation of ditto-heads, Reagan and this right-wing echo chamber were on the job.


Reagan’s fans give him credit for restoring the nation’s prosperity. But whatever economic growth occurred during the Reagan years mostly benefitted those already well off. The income gap between the rich and everyone else in America widened. Wages for the average worker declined and the nation’s homeownership rate fell. During Reagan’s two terms in the White House, the minimum wage was frozen at $3.35 an hour, while prices rose, thus eroding the standard of living of millions of low-wage workers. The number of people living beneath the federal poverty line rose from 26.1 million in 1979 to 32.7 million in 1988. Meanwhile, the rich got much richer. By the end of the decade, the richest 1 percent of Americans had 39 percent of the nation’s wealth.


After signing the Garn–St. Germain Depository Institutions Act in 1982, Reagan presided over the dramatic deregulation of the nation’s savings-and-loan industry. The law allowed S&Ls to end their reliance on home mortgages and permitted banks to provide adjustable-rate mortgage loans. The S&Ls began a decade-long orgy of real estate speculation, mismanagement and fraud. The industry indulged in a wild ride of merger mania, with banks and S&Ls gobbling each other up and making loans to finance shopping malls, golf courses, office buildings and condo projects that had no financial logic other than a quick-buck profit.


When the dust settled in the late 1980s, hundreds of S&Ls and banks had gone under, billions of dollars of commercial loans were useless and the federal government was left to bail out the depositors whose money the speculators had looted to the tune of over $130 billion.


Under Reagan, government’s role shifted from policing Wall Street and protecting consumers to a see-no-evil enabler, encouraging banks to engage in irresponsible practices. This was just the first chapter in the slide towards today’s financial crisis. Things got even worse—much worse—in the decades after Reagan left office. Both Bushes, as well as Clinton, took up where Reagan left off in granting banks and insurance companies permission to wreak havoc on consumers and the economy. This lead to the epidemic of subprime loans and foreclosures of the past three years and the costly federal bail-out of “too big to fail” Wall Street banks.


Reagan’s indifference to urban problems was legendary. Early in his presidency, at a White House reception, Reagan greeted the only black member of his Cabinet, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Samuel Pierce, saying: “How are you, Mr. Mayor? I’m glad to meet you. How are things in your city?”  R


eagan not only failed to recognize his own HUD Secretary, he failed to deal with the growing corruption scandal at the agency that resulted in the indictment and conviction of top Reagan administration officials for illegally targeting housing subsidies to politically connected developers. Pierce and others rigged the allocation of subsidies for housing projects to favor Reagan’s campaign contributors and GOP lobbyists, such as former Interior Secretary James Watt. Fortunately for Reagan, the “HUD Scandal” wasn’t uncovered until he’d left office.


Reagan didn’t invent the pay-to-play game or the revolving door of top government officials becoming well-paid lobbyists and government contractors. But his hands-off attitude toward government oversight contributed to the deepening culture of corruption in our nation’s capital.


The 1980s saw pervasive racial discrimination by banks, real estate agents and landlords, unmonitored by the Reagan administration. Community groups uncovered blatant redlining by banks. But Reagan’s HUD and Department of Justice failed to prosecute or sanction banks that violated the Community Reinvestment Act, which prohibits racial discrimination in lending. During that time, of the 40,000 applications from banks requesting permission to expand their operations, Reagan’s bank regulators denied only eight of them on grounds of violating CRA regulations.


The declining fiscal fortunes of America’s cities began during the Reagan years. By the end of his second term, federal assistance to local governments had been slashed by 60 percent. Reagan eliminated general revenue sharing to cities, cut funding for public service jobs and job training, almost dismantled federally funded legal services for the poor, cut the antipoverty Community Development Block Grant program and reduced funds for public transit.


These cutbacks had a disastrous effect on cities with high levels of poverty and limited property tax bases, many of which depended on federal aid to provide basic services. In 1980 federal dollars accounted for 22 percent of big city budgets. By the end of Reagan’s second term, federal aid was only 6 percent. The consequences were devastating to urban schools and libraries, municipal hospitals and clinics, and sanitation, police and fire departments—many of which had to shut their doors. Many cities still haven’t recovered from the downward spiral started during the Gipper’s presidency.


The most dramatic cut in domestic spending during the Reagan years was for low-income housing subsidies. In his first year in office, Reagan cut the budget for public housing and Section 8 rent subsidies in half. Congress thwarted his plan to wide out federal housing assistance to the poor altogether, but he got much of what he sought. In the 1980s the proportion of the eligible poor who received federal housing subsidies declined substantially.


Another of Reagan’s enduring legacies is the steep increase in the number of homeless people, which by the late 1980s had swollen to 600,000 on any given night—and 1.2 million over the course of a year. Many were Vietnam veterans, children and laid-off workers.


In early 1984 on “Good Morning America,” Reagan defended himself against charges of callousness toward the poor in a classic blaming-the-victim statement. He said that “people who are sleeping on the grates…the homeless…are homeless, you might say, by choice.”

By Peter Dreier

https://www.thenation.com/article/reagans-real-legacy/



Reagan gets "golden boy" Republican status because the ill effects of his policies weren't felt until after he left office. George Bush Sr. paid the price for that! We still feel the effects of things like the rising gap between the rich and the poor today.

http://www.newsmax.com/TheWire/trump-reagan-common-things/2015/08/03/id/665217/

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Is.......

Summer is hot!
Summer is relaxing in the sun!
Summer is enjoying being in the water!
Summer is when most flowers are at the peak of blooming season!
Summer is grass clippings!
Summer is grilled food eaten outside!
Summer is longer days!
Summer is a sprinkler!
Summer is your feet in the sand!
Summer is tan skin!
Summer is bare feet!
Summer is flip flops!
Summer is a chance of thunder in the evening!
Summer is relaxing outside after dinner when it doesn't rain!
Summer is air conditioning!
Summer is fishing!
Summer is that feeling of that first step into the water!

Yesterday we were at the town pool when Zach got out of camp. There I was bouncing around 5ft waiting for him to come down the waterslide. I found myself thinking "this is what summer feels like!"

A lot of moms at the pool are bakers. They love tanning. Me, I've always been a water person. I was the kid that only left the water when the lifeguards blew the whistles for adult swim! I only liked a vacation if a pool was involved! There is something about being in water.

It's still the best part of summer. I don't take Zach to the pool unless it's hot enough and the water is warm enough for me to get in too! We start in 5ft. We take a lunch break. We end in 3ft. I can't stand the heat and sunlight for that long anymore before I start feeling sick. So we are there from when it opens at 12 to sometime between 1 and 1:30.

But, I spend most of that time in the water! It's finally warming up enough to be comfortable. I love the feeling of the water surrounding me. Like a hug. Pools in dreams usually represent emotions. They are frequently in my dreams. In my dreams they are sources of comfort. It's not surprising then that they are sources of comfort for me when I'm awake.

Zach loves to swim. He's the kind of kid I was. After lunch he will play beanbag toss on his own for a little bit. But, he likes that last dip too! He loves the waterslide and diving board! He loves to do what most kids love to do. And he loves me right there watching him do it!

It's a contrast to when he was a baby. We joined when he was 1 and 2. He loved the baby pool but never liked it when I took him to 3 ft. I needed to cool off too! He cried the entire time I held him there. So when he was 3 and 4, we weren't pool members. When he was 5 he was in kindergarten and had more friends there. Finally! We were both able to enjoy the big pool!

Summer is hot!
Summer is relaxing in the sun!
Summer is enjoying being in the water!
Summer is when most flowers are at the peak of blooming season!
Summer is grass clippings!
Summer is grilled food eaten outside!
Summer is longer days!
Summer is a sprinkler!
Summer is your feet in the sand!
Summer is tan skin!
Summer is bare feet!
Summer is flip flops!
Summer is a chance of thunder in the evening!
Summer is relaxing outside after dinner when it doesn't rain!
Summer is air conditioning!
Summer is fishing!
Summer is that feeling of that first step into the water!

Summer is something different to everyone!
Summer is the same for everyone!
Summer is what you make of it!

Tuesday, July 04, 2017

Connecting With A Daylily

Growing up there was a perennial at my parent's house I loved. It was tall and orange with a little yellow in it. Favorite colors. It grows wild in our area. It spreads easily too. Only recently I confirmed it's specific name.

It's a "Tawny" Daylily. Last year I decided to propagate two. Propagate is when you dig up part of a perennial and plant it somewhere else. Turning one plant into two. Perennials have to be about three years old before you can do it. But, I took mine from plants that had been there when my parents got the house!!! Hidden in the corner near the sun room. A place that doesn't get noticed much anyway. So the missing parts of the flower aren't noticed.

I put some potting soil into two pots and went to their house. Once propagated, I planted them in the pots and watered. One home, I dug them up from the pots and planted in the spaces I wanted them.

But, I ended up moving one. Around the corner of the building a small dead shrub had recently been pulled out by the landscapers. This daylily wasn't taking as well as the other one. So, I moved it. Later, I propagated another one for where I originally planted this. Now I have three!

It's the first to bloom. Pictured below. It opened for the first time on Saturday, June 1st. Ever since I moved out I wanted my own "Tawny" Daylily at my place. I finally have it!!! The other two sprouted this year as well. They are both growing. But, they don't even have stems yet, just leaves. It will be fun watching them grow.  

It was hard to confirm. It was either a "Tawny" Daylily or a "Bright Sunset" Daylily. I consulted a grower. They said the "Bright Sunset" Daylilies are rare. Because they are hybrids. It has to be a "Tawny" Daylily because they grow wild. There are subtle appearance differences too.

I did it!!! With care I was able to take part of a beloved flower and have it in my garden! I have always loved it. It's always been my favorite perennial. Now I have it here!!!

My "Tawny" Daylily!!!  first day bloomed. Ivy from nearby is growing around it since that's where I water.

Zach Photo bombing the daylily

What should I name her? The flower hiding in the back to the left hand side is a black-eyed Susan. It too was moved. Sore subject though.

To the left hand side here you will see the forsythia we planted this year too. What was once an empty space is filling with beauty.

So, that rock. It's really big and super heavy. Josh has moved it for me like five times. I hope I'm done but that space gets wonderful sunlight!

It was in bloom when we moved into my parent's house in July of 1984. My mom was very pregnant with my brother. I was three. It probably was in bloom the first time my parents took me to see the house. My anxiety has been with me all my life. It gets worse as I get older. I generally have trouble with a lot of big changes at once.

I connected with those daylilies. Maybe that's what made the house feel like home. I remember seeing the house before we moved in. I remember declaring who get's which bedroom. Mine had light blue walls. I have always loved blue so it worked for me!

Looking at the daylilies I realize they may have been my height at the time. Yellow has always been my first favorite color and orange my second. The landscape of the front and back yard at my parent's house has changed a lot over time. The tiny three inch tall maple sapling that used to be first base is now quite tall, for example. But, those daylilies haven't changed.

Because they grow wild, they are familiar. I had to have seen them all over before moving into that house. To me, they remind me of home. That's why I wanted some here. A garden of mine just doesn't look right without them!

It sounds odd, right? Connecting with a daylily. Who connects with a specific plant? I think most gardeners have at least one plant they connect with. A plant that's special to them. It's not such a silly idea. I connected with a daylily long ago. Now, even after my parents move, I'll have at least one with me.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Along For The Ride

Zach had a great baseball season this year. He can catch a ball sometimes now and his batting has improved now that he's stronger. Almost every day he asks me to play baseball with him. We have a T and Josh and I both have gloves. So even when I don't have the energy, I make time for him to practice!!!

It's a tricky time for him with baseball. The spring travel tryouts are in November. They don't go by grade. They go by age. Meaning he'll be trying out for the 8 and under team as a 3rd grader with two years of baseball. Most kids are in the 2nd grade in that group and did K-ball. Meaning, they also had two years of baseball. There is no guarantee he'll make it. But, it will be easier this year then next year. Especially, if he plays fall baseball like he wants.

Once you make travel it's easier to continue to make travel. That's key. All the high school players have been on the travel team. By 7th grade, if you aren't on travel, it's not worth continuing.

This is how the league works:

K ball (kindergarten)
Rookie (1st and 2nd grade)
Minors (3rd and 4th grade)
Majors (5th and 6th grade)
Pony (7th and 8th grade)

Travel, from what I hear, is:

8U
10U
12U
14U

I could be wrong on the last one though. You have to play on a recreation team to play travel baseball. But, you can play on a recreation team without playing travel through 8th grade. However, if you aren't on the travel team by then, you are unlikely to make the high school team.

The leagues get smaller as the kids get older and less play. In 3rd, 5th, and 7th grade you have to do tryouts. You will be on a team. But, they want to make the teams evenly matched. So they want to see everyone's abilities.

 Zach's interest has only grown. He says he wants to be a professional baseball player now. While I doubt that will happen, when he asks for some practice time, I grab my glove!!!

I'm along for the ride. My child has a growing interest. A healthy interest. It's up to me to keep it growing. It will only grow if he has someone to practice with. So in addition to driving him to team practices and games. No matter where the games are. I need to be there at home for him. Playing catch and cheering him on with the T. Soon we will be getting him a net to practice pitching too.

I am not forcing this  on him. In fact, we even went to the recreation center to ask what other options there are in the fall. He likes tennis. I assumed he'd want to do tennis. But, he hard and fast settled on fall baseball.

Fall ball is just a small travel team. But, it's less popular then the spring teams so it's easier to make. If he makes it, that means he is more likely make the travel team for the spring when he tries out in November. Because he will have had recent practice and coaching.

No matter what your kids are interested in you are along for the ride. As their interest grows, you have to work harder to accommodate that. Once they commit and invest more in something sometime in middle school. You have to commit too. When they are all in, you are all in!!!

Because when the parents are all in too, the child is less likely to loose interest. Loosing interest means they are more likely to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to fill the void. The reason they say kids are less likely to do those things if they eat dinner as a family is because of the bond it creates. Bonds are created through showing an interest in what your kids are passionate about too.

So while Zach is all in, I'm all in................along for the ride. Only, he's the driver!

Almost 2 his first bat




Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Soon

Zach's last day of school is on Friday. He's officially down to 12:30 dismissals. This week was full of a class trip to the police station, game day today, and little by little bringing home the contents of his desk.

Soon he will no longer be a second grader.

Soon he will get his report card.

Soon he will know who his 3rd grade teacher will be.

Soon it will be the actual first day of summer.

Soon we can go to the pool during the week.

Soon the water will be warm enough to swim in!!!

Soon Zach's summer program will start.

Soon it will end. It's really short!

Soon we will go on vacation to our favorite vacation place.

Soon we will see the Despicable Me 3 movie :).

Soon he'll be driving me crazy from too much time together!!!

Soon I will be crying as my 3rd grader is about to start school again. Just a little bigger!!! Too big for my taste! The summer might start soon. But, it's not long. Time goes fast. It's fun and tiring.

Usually, I get frustrated with Zach over the summer. We spend so much time together. Sometimes, I need the quiet. Sometimes, we both need space.

My goal is to not get frustrated this year. Instead, I want to cherish it! Cherish all that extra time with my angel! Cherish the person he is and every hug he has for me. Cherish every laugh and every smile. Cherish every lap he'd rather do with me in the pool instead of being on his own. Cherish watching him swim.

Because these are memories I want to carry with me. He's having a great childhood. I want to enjoy it too!!! I want to wrap myself in these memories. Hold on to them forever. Tell my grandchild about them someday.

Because when that leaf falls in September and the pool closes for the season, he will be just a little bit bigger. Just a little more independent. Just a little less interested in hugging him Mommy. Just a little bit older.

One step closer to drifting away from me. Someday, I will miss the summers he spent by my side. Because that's when he'll spend the summers working and with his friends. There will be a day I hardly see him! These are the memories I'll cherish the most.

With the first leaf falling, what is soon at the moment will be over. And a new "soon" list will begin.

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Progressive Left or Liberal Left

One odd thing happened with the 2016 Presidential Primaries. A unified party split. Progressive democrats were pro Bernie and the liberals went with Hillary.

You might remember this fact from a different blog post. The New York Times compared how they voted when in the Senate together. They agreed 92% of the time. What they said on the campaign trail sounded similar. Different approaches to reaching the same goal. The gap never seemed that wide. I just assumed Bernie supporters would get behind Hillary because she wanted the same things they said they wanted, mostly.

And that's what they should have done.

But, they didn't.

So now Trump is President.

And the things they wanted to get stronger will get weaker or disappear.

Because to progressive democrats, it was Bernie or bust so they went with bust.

Now we as a party have to unite the progressive democrats and the liberal democrats. Progressive democrats being the democratic version of the tea party. The tea party has ripped apart the republican party and ended the possibility of bipartisan compromise.

That's the last thing we need. If Bernie and Hillary can agree 92% of the time, why can't progressive and liberal democrats agree 92% of the time? We might have different solutions to the problems. But, we agree on basics.

Health insurance for everyone

Black lives matter

Pro Women's rights

GLBTQ equality

Raise the Minimum wage to a living wage!!!

And many more things that were on a lot of signs over the past few years. Because there is one thing at it's core we all agree on.

We are anti the antis

Everyone deserves to be treated equally with dignity, respect, care, and empathy. We are all people.

Going forward we need to cultivate candidates that are somewhere in the middle. That means changing how the party does things to begin with. Listen to voters on both sides. WHY were a lot of the progressive democrats unable to support Hillary?

It starts with policies. Focus on the economy like raising the minimum wage and protecting government assistance. But, when saying HOW you would fix it, mix ideas from both sides. Aim for single payer but keep in mind one thing.

At it's core, most liberal democrats actually have a decent amount of money. They don't mind some taxes for the rich. Those taxes would effect them. But, how will they benefit?

Talk more about investing tax money into improving education and making college affordable. These liberal democrats might have a lot of money, but that also means they value a college education. Current college costs have well off democrats concerned how they can save for their retirement while paying for their kid's college education. Free public college and preschool is something they might get behind.

At it's core, most progressive democrats have a lot of college debt and are angry about the income gap. They want the rich to be forced to share.

We would all agree to free public college and preschool. We all agree to raising the minimum wage.

So, what happened?

We made the deadly mistake of focusing on social issues.

That's nice, but don't threaten my livelihood.

And that's how democrats can unite as we get closer to the 2018 elections and 2020 Presidential race. No matter what the issue, social issues included, how are you protecting the livelihood of the voters? Don't attack the rich for being rich. How will the sacrifices you ask them to make benefit them personally.

Answer the question: What's in it for me?

Monday, June 05, 2017

8 Birthday Candles

So, my Zachary is 8 years old today.


0 Candles

The best moment of my life was the moment they put Zach in my arms! After 2 years and 3 miscarriages I had given up on that moment ever happening for me. Yet, there it was. I made it a point early to expose him to something new each day. I remember laying on a blanket outside telling him "that is called a tree" and describing it. Doing that for everything. I also remember looking down at that angelic face for diaper changes. My life has never been the same. It's only gotten better.

Day Born

8 Months Old


1 Candle

Could it have been a year already? So big yet still so little. This is the year he was potty trained. I encouraged all of his explorations. That's how he learned about the world. That curiosity has served him well!!! At this age, he loved going through my cloths. Nothing is more fun then emptying Mommy's shirt drawer. He also had his first haircut. That's the profile picture for this blog. His first haircut. Note that he's exploring the comb.

First Birthday

Day After Christmas 2010


2 Candles

This is the year he started Preschool. I still remember his first day of school ever!!!!! WOW that was a hard day emotionally!!!! This is also the year of his first vacation ever!!!!!! I remember in October of this year there was a big snow storm. Lots of power lines had fallen. We went to his gym class at the Y just for normalcy. While waiting, he started lining up chairs. When I asked he said "down power lines". Grandpa S would have gotten an extra laugh. He was a manhole guy for Verizon most of his career.

2nd Birthday


July 2011


3 Candles

He lost his first tooth this year. He started teething at 2 months so it was actually when expected. He was so good at making friends the school director started calling him their "social director". He would introduce himself to new kids and then introduce them to the other kids. Some of his habits of today were established back then.

 

3rd Birthday

Show at School December 2012



4 Candles

Last year in Preschool. You can find his preschool Graduation post on here. It's a popular one named "FBI Special Agent.....Zach". But, the post that really captures that day was "The Night Time Stood Still" from October 2016. He did a summer camp here in town. This is where he met some of his future friends (baseball teammates and school). He knew this was his parent's town. He knew he lives here. This is when he began to understand.

February 2017 (He wanted to make his own lunch)


March 2014

 

5 Candles

This is the year he started Kindergarten. This is the year this town became his town! He was scared but has thrived!!! He is still friends with the friends he made this year. We also started going to the town pool again this year. We had gone when he was 1. But, he never let me cool off in the adult pool. So we stopped for a couple of years. This is the year he learned to swim.

January 2015
April 2015


6 Candles

First grade. First year of all day school. Thanks to tutoring he made great strides in learning to read. Gifted in math, those engineering genes started to show. It's the year he started baseball. I'm glad I encouraged without pushing it. Now, he is getting into it more then ever!!!!! Every once in a while I do a blog post on "Watching Zach" and the path to a moment mentioned in that post. It turns out, that moment might be next season. Next year they pitch AND might play on that same field!!! That journey started here.

March 2016 (fav meal Breaded Chicken)

April 2016


7 Candles

He really likes 2nd grade. He spent the year coming home with his best friend. He made significant improvements in baseball too!!! His interests started to become that of an older kid. But, that's what's supposed to happen. The points system for reward/punishment has worked. He does so much he never used to be able to do!!! I get more and more proud of him each day!!!

August 2016
 


8 Candles

Today he is 8. The story of this year hasn't been written yet. He's working on riding his bike with two wheels. Will he accomplish that this year? All I know, He still has me tightly wrapped around ALL of his fingers!!! My heart melts when he smiles at me. This day, 8 years ago, from 5:09 PM on I just KNEW my life would be full of blessings!!!

 
 


I knew the baseball thing was coming from that day 8 years ago. It was an 8 hour labor. They saw contractions in my 38 week ultrasound. When I arrived at the hospital I joked "I bet he's here in time for the Yankee game" Scheduled for 7:05pm. It was against the Rays and rained out. But, we won the make-up game. It's also the last year the Yankees won the world series. He was watching with us :).

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Imperfect Parents

I am not the perfect parent. No one is. Although, some people think they are and others appear to be. Personally, I have found there to be two main types of parents.

1. Those who judge other parents
2. Those who support other parents

Sending ******HUGS****** to all the supportive parents out there!

Parenting is really a series of decisions made from love. Sometimes, it's easy to know what a good decision is. Other times, it's hard. I think most of the time it falls in the middle. Almost all of us are doing the best we can.

Zach will be 8 next week. We took a big step. We let him walk all the way home by himself. He used to meet me along the way home. But, he's been showing signs of responsibility. I believe in rewarding responsibility with freedom. So we gave it a try.

That was actually an easy decision. Because of the route. He also has been extra responsible in recent months. We had the "stranger danger" talk and put our trust in God. I also put a prayer request on that facebook group I blogged about.

It's not so easy when there was a bear sighting in town over the weekend. On Tuesday, his first day with the full walk, I called the police department. When and where was the bear last seen? Two days earlier heading away from our part of town towards my parent's part of town. Should we let him walk?

After hours of back and forth we decided to do it. Because there had been a whole day since the bear was seen. We never got a "don't walk" message from the town. It seemed safe. He arrived home 12 minutes after school let out...........SAFE!!! We had made the right decision!!! But, we didn't know until he was home.

No parent is perfect. Sometimes, we yell at our kids when we are stressed out and they have bad timing. Sometimes, we give them a bag of goldfish crackers instead of cutting up apple slices and cheese. Sometimes, we let them stay up late to watch the end of a game.

But, we apologize when we yell and work on not doing it so much. We give them veggies with dinner. And, we try not to let them stay up late too often. Because we still want the best for our kids.

It's unclear to me how one can actual be a perfect parent anyway. By perfect parent I mean following to the letter every recommendation about parenting. I failed that test with PBS at 6 months!!! Sometimes, Elmo is the only way to get chores done.

9 months

10 months

11 months



To me, being a perfect parent is like Barbie's body. It's literally not possible to look exactly like Barbie to the exact proportions and all. Some come close. But, are imperfect replicas. Even Pediatricians are imperfect parents. Their kids are vaccinated, but a newborn with an older sibling will be leaving the house for more then a doctor's appointment before six weeks!

Every year at this time I look at Zach and ask myself............am I a good parent? He's smart, empathetic, supportive, responsible, healthy and happy. I might not be a perfect parent. But, maybe Elmo at 6 months wasn't such a bad decision.

I love him so much!!!



Baseball field at the Elementary School I went too. Zach had an awesome game on it two weeks ago!!!