Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 in Review

Well, it is the evening before Christmas Eve and I'm sitting here in the quiet reflecting on the past year. 2008 has been filled with good stuff. A richness of good family time and babies at my ankles and knees and lots of time here at the house.

During Christmas of 2007 we bought our home so we are now at the anniversary of one year of living here. I still cannot get over the awesomeness of living in a larger space. I don't take it for granted at all. I am just as grateful today as I was a year ago. I'm happy with the size of the rooms, the kitchen, the bathrooms, the condition it's in, the garage, the location, everything. I can see myself comfortably living here for a long long time. If someone forced me to complain about something it would be that we don't have a larger yard. But the yard is certainly larger than what you'd get in most townhomes and there is the trade-off of having a swimming pool and gardeners who mow the front lawn every Friday. Strangely, the kids don't really like playing in the back area very much. They'd both rather hang out in the front yard or in the garage, perhaps because there is more opportunity to run into friends out there. I also think both of the kids can be a little freaked out by some of the plant-life and bugs that lurk in the back area.

In February, Frannie turned three years old and now she's on her tip toes approaching four. This is the year that she stopped being a baby and officially became a "big girl". She makes sure I, and everyone else, knows this every chance she gets. "Because I'm big and Adam's not. Right?" "I can do this because I'm the first girl. We're big, right?" Not only does almost every conversation involve her stating her status as a big girl, the first girl, or being SO BIG! but she also says "Right?" after most sentences. It's very cute and silly. Frannie knows she's a big girl and definitely bigger than baby Adam, but she also knows that she's petite, and she sometimes asks questions about that too. In her mind being short is equal to being younger, so she gets confused when she gets hand-me-downs from Cousin Catie or Hannah who are her same age. So I've started to hide the identity of where her new clothes come from, unless it is from an obviously older girl. Anyways, Frannie may be on the small side, but she's big on words and personality. I'm not sure that she ever really stops talking. She has no trouble making friends with kids of all ages. She's a real girlie-girl and wears a dress every single day unless it's raining or really cold and I make her wear pants. Given the choice, she will always pick a dress and her sparkly shoes. It makes no difference that her sparkly shoes have huge scuffs on them where the sparkles have worn off. Brand new tennis shoes just never get worn.

In June, Adam turned one year old, and now he is a whopping 18 months. In baby time, 6 months is like a year of development. So he's a totally different kid now than he was in June. I think the descriptors I use most often for Adam are "stinker" and "such a puppy". He is VERY sweet and darling. AND he is my little stinkery stinker. He is a cuddler who loves to bury his head and face and wiggle his bum. He loves to be held and have back massages and back scratches, and he has a low pitched sort of laugh that sounds like the Cookie Monster. Growling is fun. However, biting is also fun as is hair pulling. This makes for an unhappy sister who has had bite marks on her leg and many strands of hair yanked from her head. If I were writing this post a month ago, I would have a very frustrated exasperated tone. There was a lot of fighting and screaming going on in this house with all of the pulling, biting, and toy stealing. Frannie wasn't totally innocent though. She steals her share of toys too. However, I am happy to report that something has clicked in the minds and hearts of the kiddos and thankfully they finally figured out how to play together. That is such a nicer noise to a mama's ears. Laughter. Cooperation. Quiet sharing of play-doh. Adam still has the occasional assault, but it is much less frequent. I love to hear the kids playing together and becoming friends. It is the best.

Now, some particulars about Adam. While sister loves shoes, Adam removes both socks and shoes any chance he gets. I have lost many a sock in a grocery store. Half the time there is no point in putting shoes and socks on him at all. The moment he gets into the car he takes them off. If he's sitting in the stroller he kicks them off. In a grocery cart. Gone. Even in this cold and rainy weather I have taken him places without shoes and socks because I spend the entire time chasing down discarded items. His favorite toy is still a ball, but these days the kids have been playing with play doh a lot and drawing on big pieces of paper that I tape to the kitchen floor. He has also recently started playing with matchbox cars and the big Lego-type building blocks. Adam is a good speaker for his age, and he actually has more words at this time than Frannie did. However, he can be rather shy and takes awhile to warm up to people. He's very much a mama's boy in that way because if he doesn't feel totally comfortable he wants to be held by me the whole time. He will be quick to cry if he isn't happy. He isn't the type of baby to reward strangers with a smile. You only get his smiles and laughter if you hang around awhile.

Jason continues to work hard for Canidae Corporation. He enjoys his job and they treat him well. People always ask me what Jason does for a living and it is very hard to describe. He doesn't really have a job-title and we've tried hard to give him one. It just never works. Basically he does a lot of stuff. He tells me about work every single day so it isn't as though I'm just not getting any information about his work. He writes a lot of checks, talks to a lot of distributors, punches a lot of numbers, works alongside his co-workers to get things done and will do whatever is asked of him. Job-security is good right now and I'm extremely grateful for that. On Saturday, is Jason's day to unwind from the week and he spends most Saturday mornings going on bike rides either by himself or with a group of other cyclists. Sometimes it's a road ride, other times a mountain ride. But he looks forward to his rides with anticipation. His time spent on-line is looking at bikes, writing on bike forums and researching new places to go. He has also upped his fitness routines by running on the treadmill that's in our garage every evening after the kids go to bed. On Sunday, Jason takes care of the kids while I go to work.

Most of my life revolves around the kids. I'm learning everyday how to be a better "homemaker". It's a really old-fashioned word and job-title, so I'm not sure how else to say it. But it's a job and one that I try to get better at. I am glad that I get to be here for all of the little moments with the children. I realize how important it is that I'm here day in and out guiding them all of the time. There are moments in everyday that are magical and that touch my heart, and there are moments that really tick me off. Both go side by side. Everyday has elements of both. Of course I aim to keep it on the "magical" side as much as possible. But there are those days when it seems the other side wins too. My one day of the week where I drive off without the children is on Sundays when I teach my Bradley class. Lately business has been very good and I've had full classes for the past three sessions. I am passionate about helping women to have informed births and learning how to manage their pain. There has been such success too. Over 80% of my moms have had drug-free births. Given the current birth culture, I consider this a tremendous testimony to the power of women and the power of good information.

It turns out that my teaching has come to good use. I make a little bit of money for my class and now I have something to spend it on. We found out in August that we're expecting another little one. I'm looking forward to this new baby's arrival very much. I'm about 4 months along now and feeling good. The money I make teaching Bradley will pay for my midwifery fee. Full circle! I'm due in late May.

I'm very grateful to God for the blessings we've received. I'm always thankful. Always.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thanksgiving Feast

See, I'm catching up on blogging. And you know what? Yes there are dishes piled high in my sink. You see, I can't win. Anyways, I'm blogging anyways because time is marching on and pics must be posted. (And I'm more than happy to look for an excuse to not do my dishes.)

We had Thanksgiving at Grandma and Grandpa Castillo's house aka Grandma Carol and Grandpa Tom. As usual they put on a fantastic spread, with some help from the rest of us. Here was the menu (just for drooling purposes): Turkey, Honeybaked ham, BBQed roast, crab legs, sausage stuffing, mashed taters, yams w/ pineapple, corn bread, green bean casserole, pumpkin roll cake, and other desserts. I'm sure I'm missing something. There was a lot of wonderful food, and family of course!

The Kings' Visit

My Aunt Carrie (who looks like my sister), her husband Jason, and their two boys Miles and Parker visited us from Oregon in October. I never posted pics shame shame on me! Anyways, we had a wonderful time. Frannie and Miles were very cute as they became fast friends and constant hand holders. Buddies all the way. Parker took us all by surprise because of his striking resemblance to Uncle Jackie. How did that happen? Genetics are so weird. For those who don't know, that's my dad there holding Parker. When you see my dad you can understand where Frannie and Adam got their looks. Jason + My dad = the kids. Again, genetics are weird.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Absentee Blogger

I know I've been an absentee blogger, and trust me, I have plenty to blog about! But my reason for not throwing up fascinating and thought-provoking posts (heh heh) is because of a simple fact:
Being a mother and homekeeper is like...a job.

When I'm on the computer too much, I'm not doing my job. For the last several weeks I have been feeling very behind on everything. It seemed like I was always two steps behind on housework and dinner prep. I wasn't planning for meals very well so often I would find myself sans the appropriate ingredients. The house was sort of picked up...but not really. Nothing was getting scrubbed. Laundry was always behind. But what topped it all off were the children. Lots of fighting and whining. It was taking forever to get from point A to point B with Frannie on everything. "Frannie let's do your hair." "Time to get dressed." "We've got to pick up your bedroom." "Put your shoes on." Everything was met with dragging feet and resistance and lots of laughing and silliness to try and get out of doing what needs to be done. I found myself getting very frustrated with her and with the kids in general.

But on this one it all came back to mom.

I have to be the leader in this household. I can't just react to the day, I have to to orchestrate it. Plan it. Move from one thing to the next so that my kids follow me instead of me dragging myself after them all of the time.

So, after breakfast it's directly to straightening up the house. Then kids get their clothes on and hair brushed. Then any upstairs chores. They play and follow me around and stuff. And help clean. With the routine it is a much faster process to get them dressed and ready.

Usually around 11 am we go somewhere, but not always.

As long as the morning gets off to a good start, things seem to fall into place for the rest of the day.

All of this leaves for much less time on the computer. By the end of the day when the kids are asleep and I actually have time to get on, it's usually just a check of the emails, responding to Bradley requests, and reading everyone else's blog. Not a lot of time to upload pics and write my own.

So I guess the fact that I've been an absentee blogger is a good thing. Because it means that my house is a lot cleaner, my kids are behaving a lot better, and we're eating something good for dinner.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Things that will make me seem old to my kids...

In no particular order...
1. I remember when CD players (for music) were the totally new thing. DVD players took awhile after that. I NEVER thought my tapes would become obsolete!

2. I spent my entire childhood and much of my adolescence without access to the internet. Everything was looked up in books. (How did I survive?) AOL was the Big Thing and everyone loved hearing their computer say "You've got mail" as they logged on.

3. Of course, during most of my life (oh up until maybe 6 months ago) the idea of a black president was "Oh it's never gonna happen."

4. Just in looking at old pictures of myself...my wardrobe will make me seem really old. As a baby I'm always wearing 70's fashion. My brother is always wearing little "nutter" shorts with his socks pulled up his calves. Don't forget the two thick stripes on the socks. Then of course came junior high when I started getting my hair permed and wearing two socks at once. If I wore a pink shirt and white shorts then I wore a pink sock and a white sock on each foot and scrunched them down so you could see both colors. And I alternated the combo on the other foot.

5. I'm sure my children will get tired of hearing me say "You know when I went to Gladstone Elementary, this (gesturing across the street) was nothing but strawberry fields!" Of course now where the strawberry fields used to be is the Glendora Home Depot, Sam's Club, Kohl's etc...

There are a few things that make my parents seem old to me...
1. The biggest one that always sticks out in my mind is my dad telling me that when he was a kid Cola was in cans the way tomato sauce is in a can and you needed one of those triangle bottle openers to pop a little hole in the top. That kills me.

2. The fact that when my mother went to school it was mandatory that girls wear dresses unless it was raining. That must have been torture for mom.

3. When my dad was in school, if you were really bad you were sent to the gym teacher and he'd swat your butt once with a paddle. This doesn't make my parents seem old, but it does make me marvel at how things in the school system have changed.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

President Barack Obama is Elected!

Wow. What an amazing election year it has been. This is something I know I'll remember all my life. When I first saw Barack Obama step out onto that stage, after being announced as the next president, with his wife and two children, I was so moved I couldn't help but cry. This is such a big deal in American history that I can hardly believe it's happened. I think a lot of others feel the same. It must feel amazing as a black person to know the head-honcho in the White House is someone who looks like you and has a family who looks like yours. It's stunning because it truly is an image that we've never seen before, and one that many thought we never would see. I really like that they are a traditional family: Mom, Dad, kids, a dog. I think it is good for our country to see that!

I was also moved as I saw footage of reaction from around the world. The French, English, Indonesians, Africans, and Muslims all are hopeful of the future relationships they can build with the United States. To see them cheering just as much as American citizens made me realize how incredibly priviledged I am to be able to vote for a position that means so much to the rest of the world. That is quite a responsibility.

I wasn't sure who I was going to vote for right up to the very end. I am happy for Barack Obama, but his policies and views are too liberal for me. However, I was never happy with the Republican choice of Sarah Palin as the Vice President. Ever since the day she was announced I've found myself waivering back and forth between parties. I feel that she was chosen simply because she is a woman and she is able to "box check" all of the right boxes for those who perhaps followed Mike Huckabee as religious conservatives.

In the very last moment I voted for Obama. I have concern that if John McCain were to die (being 73 with a history of recurring cancer) that Sarah Palin is not ready to be President. I have much more confidence in the Obama/Biden partnership in that respect. But I did really like John McCain.

Of course I am delighted with the outcome from Proposition 8. That was a stunner as well. I truly was not expecting that outcome living here in such a liberal state. It is believed that the larger number of African American citizens turning out to vote for Obama is what likely boosted YES votes for Prop 8. Reports are showing that in general whites opposed the measure, blacks supported it, and hispanics were basically down the middle. A lot of responses from people who voted for Obama but also voted YES on 8 sounded a lot like "Well if it's not right in the Bible, then it's not right in life."

I also voted Yes on Prop 4 and that didn't pass.

Those were my only three votes. What with Jason throwing away my General Election guide, JJ's cast, Frannie's flu, then Jason's flu, I didn't have time to sit down and educate myself properly on the other measures. I don't believe in blind voting so if I don't know what I'm voting for I skip it. Jason couldn't vote. He was home all day in bed sick with the flu. (Cross your fingers, I'm still fine.)

My Yes on 8 sign is now off my lawn and I'm deciding what to do with it. Part of me is considering folding it up and keeping it as an election momento. For now, I think that's what I'll do!

God Bless America and God Bless Barack Obama as he leads our country.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No one breathe the air in my home...

Now Jason and my mom are both honking...What the heck?

I feel fine! But I must admit I'm nervous about whatever is lurking in my house.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

I say Happy Halloween to you all because this was one of my favorite holidays as a child and I really enjoy preparing for this holiday now with my little ones. I set out all of my decorations on Oct 1st. We checked out Halloween themed books from the library, and I made my Frannie a little witch costume. Well...I made the skirt. The rest of it is a black leotard and accessories purchased at the Dollar Tree, but it was fun to do a DIY costume rather than just buying one. She seemed excited about being a witch and I even taught her a witchy laugh along with the standard "trick or treat". Here's my girl!

They say a picture is worth a 1,000 words, but I don't believe it. These pictures tell almost nothing about what my poor Frannie's day was like. The child got a high fever and was barfing all. day. Her fever got as high as 103.4 and she was sicker than I've ever seen her. I cannot remember Frannie ever having to vomit. I'm pretty sure this is the first time. And it was a lot. And she is such a small child anyways, I felt so bad for her. She puked on the couch, the carpet, and in trashcans and toilets.

Don't ask me where she got it. I have no idea. It was only two days ago that we were in the ER and I always thought diseases took at least 3 days to really affect you. This thing just came out of nowhere. The day before she was perfectly fine.

We were invited to a Halloween party, and it was definitely ix-nay on that. We were going to have friends over for trick or treating, and it was ix-nay on that as well. I actually wasn't going to take her out trick or treating at all, but by 6:30 pm she was sitting on the couch and feeling better, and I asked if she wanted to go trick or treating "Just a little bit." She turned to me and said with bright eyes "It's time?" So after that whole month of talking about it here we were at the time to go. So we put on her costume, got the pictures, and I took her down the street.

This is our first year living here, and I must say the neighbors don't live up to my Halloween fantasies. In my old neighborhood, everyone participated. It seemed like almost every house had a glowing Jack-o-lantern and there were groups of children and parents up and down the streets. Here, it was essentially deserted. We did get some trick or treat candy from a few participating homes, but I didn't see one Jack-o-lantern and I didn't see one other child or parent on the street other than me and Labibah (we went together). Our neighborhood certainly doesn't lack for kids (there are 17 children on my street alone, not including teenagers) so I'm not sure where the lack-luster holiday participation is coming from. (Perhaps the high amount of Muslim neighbors sort of cuts down on things. Afterall, it isn't their custom.)

I never thought I would be interested in taking the kids to a church Halloween festival, but our current neighborhood certainly isn't going to foster any fun memories for the kids, so I may need to reevaluate my future Halloween plans.

So it has been an interesting week in my household!! I am SOOOOOO THANKFUL for my dad and mom who tag-teamed grandparenting today and came by the house to help me. I'm not sure how I would've handled things without their help especially what with JJ needing just as much care as Frannie, just in a different way. Dad came by in the morning and brought supplies and helped, and then Mom took over at about 2pm. So I had an extra pair of hands all day long. I'm the luckiest girl! Frannie and Adam are two lucky kids!

Here's a pic of my baby just because he's cute.

He is healing up nicely I can tell. Follow-up appointment is on Monday.

So Happy Halloween to my throngs (or handful) of readers ;) I'm sure next year will be a bit more festive for us!

Now it's time to decorate for Thanksgiving...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Adam's Little Cast

Look at my poor widdle fella. He had to have a soft cast put on today.

Basically it was just one of those things. I came down the stairs this morning half-awake and my heel slipped on the top step. So BOOM down I go on my heiny and thud my way down the stairs. I know...graceful as ever. Anyways, it was a pretty clean fall for me except for being stunned beyond belief. What wasn't so good though was that I was holding Adam on my hip at the time and his ankle got twisted underneath me as I fell.

He cried and cried right away and I suspected that his foot might have been hurt. After he calmed down and we were up for awhile, I gave him some Tylenol and he took a nap.

With things like this it is always tricky figuring out how serious something is. Can I handle this myself with a Do It At Home remedy? Do I just call the doctor? Or is there no point going to the regular doc because he probably needs x-rays?

Anyways, when he woke up it was apparent right away that he could bear no weight on his foot. If he were older I would probably just tell him to lay on the couch and ice it and bandage it up and see how serious it was. But being that he is such a widdle guy, who knows? I don't want him to injure himself further. The poor thing can't walk and all he wants to do is walk.

So I took him to the ER and we were there all day. I guess in hindsight I should have taken him to an Urgent Care office, but I didn't think they had x-ray machines on-site. The EMT guy told me that they do, so next time I know where to go.

Basically little Adam just has a sprained ankle. The soft cast prevents him from walking and stabalizes the foot. He'll have it on for 5 days and then I take him in to have it checked out. In all likelihood he'll be fine and good as new! His x-rays looked great.

Here are some great things about the day:
1. Even though we were there all day Pomona Valley Hosp. has good nurses and docs and they always seem to do a good job whenever we're there. So yay for them.
2. We were put into a room that had two other children in it, so Thank You Jesus, Frannie had playmates all day. (The boy was there for an asthma attack, no contagious diseases.)
3. Frannie was a dream girl. Really. Both the kids did so well being in the hospital all day, I just wanted to slobber them up. It is very hard being a small child confined to a small room where all you do is wait all day.
4. I feel like I did the right thing. Even though it was a long day, and will likely be a long week, I'm glad to know that he won't be hurting his foot further, and that it isn't a super-serious injury to begin with.

I love my little boy!

Grosgrain- New store opening and big giveaway

Natalie blogged about this new online store, and the girl's clothing is SO CUTE. Here is a link. She's got a big giveaway going on.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Prop 8 in plain English

You know, it's funny. I've totally made my peace with whomever wins the Presidential election. I know whom I will likely vote for, but either which way, I can see a positive outcome no matter who takes office.

What has me really riled up is Prop 8. So I'm writing about it again.

The No on 8 campaign has 7 times the amount of contributions that the Yes camp does and I've seen the fruits of that with increasing television and radio spots. The CTA has recently donated another million as have several Hollywood folks. I must admit that the ads are powerful. It makes you think "Well gee whiz. I'm a nice person. I want to be nice to people. I don't want to be a meanie and treat people unfairly."

So what is really at stake with Prop 8?

Will it affect our kids education?

Is it fair to treat people differently under the law?

What are the lasting implications for a society that changes the definition of something so fundamental as marriage?

What about children? Does family structure matter to them? Do we have any obligation to protect a child's right to a mother and father? Or are we males and females just interchangeable cogs? Is love enough? Or have we seen the fruits of a family structure that lacks a gender in the home?

I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch these two well-made videos. If you feel they have something valuable to say, then I hope you will pass the information on to your family and friends.

Prop 8 in Plain English

Marriage Matters to Kids

Ok now it's my turn to comment on some of this:

1. For those who think that what happened in Massachusetts won't happen to us, think again. Just this September, Arnold Schwartzeneggar vetoed a bill that passed both the House and Senate that was to declare May 22nd Harvey Milk Day. Harvey Milk was a gay activist who died in San Francisco. "The text of AB 2567 states that 'On Harvey Milk Day, exercises remembering the life of Harvey Milk and recognizing his accomplishments as well as the contributions he made to this state' should be conducted; specifically, 'all public schools and educational institutions are encouraged to observe ... and conduct suitable commemorative exercises." So the notion that Prop 8 has nothing to do with our school system is a lie because there have already been attempts to introduce celebrational materials into the curriculum. With same-sex marriage being legally interchangeable to opposite sex marriage, there will be fewer legal grounds for resisting such material in the future.

2. If traditional marriage is not restored then I see absolutely no grounds whatsoever for restricting anyone else's notion of what marriage is. That means FLDS polygamists, someone who wants to marry both a man and a woman, cultures who believe girls are ready for marriage at puberty. Honestly if we have no right to define marriage by gender then how dare we as a society claim to define it by number or any other cultural practice?

3. What about children? Is love enough? I think love is a great start. But I maintain that we owe our children even more. We owe them a loving mom and dad whenever possible. When that isn't possible then we owe them a loving single parent, or a loving homosexual couple willing to adopt. But gender does matter in the hearts and minds and children. And gender matters in the biological upbringing of both males and females. I worked at a juvenile detention center for three years and 80% of the inmates came from homes where there was no father. Lots of moms and grandmas. But no dads. It has been clearly shown that girls who grow up in homes lacking a father experiment with sex and boys sooner. Women cannot be the men that our children need. We need men for that and only a man can do the job. The same goes for the impact of a mother in a child's life.

We want to raise the next generation to be as strong as possible. We need to restore traditional marriage and strengthen it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Beautiful People

This is sort of a random post, but can I just say how much I LOVE all of the couples who take Bradley? I want to just create an island where we can all live together in happy harmony. Anyways, it is a Sunday and I've had a class this evening and I just have the best group (as always). I feel like the babies who are born are being born to the best parents who just love them so much. These are moms and dads who are totally committed to each other and committed to their baby. It is the most uplifting thing to be around all of these beautiful people.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Voting Yes on Prop 8

There has been quite a lot of discussion on my Moms Club Yahoo board about Prop 8. I'm pretty much the only person who has stated a strong opinion as a yes voter. Perhaps the fear is that a person will appear "anti gay" when in reality they are "pro-marriage and family." As some of you know, I go to probably the most liberal church out there, the San Dimas United Church of Christ. THe UCC church is very accepting of all people including homosexuals. I too am accepting, however, I do not believe the institution of marriage should be tampered with whatsoever.

This article clearly explains why I believe voting Yes on Prop 8 is so vital:

Protecting marriage to protect children
Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving. But in all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood.
By David Blankenhorn
September 19, 2008
» Discuss Article (74 Comments)

I'm a liberal Democrat. And I do not favor same-sex marriage. Do those positions sound contradictory? To me, they fit together.

Many seem to believe that marriage is simply a private love relationship between two people. They accept this view, in part, because Americans have increasingly emphasized and come to value the intimate, emotional side of marriage, and in part because almost all opinion leaders today, from journalists to judges, strongly embrace this position. That's certainly the idea that underpinned the California Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage.

But I spent a year studying the history and anthropology of marriage, and I've come to a different conclusion.

Marriage as a human institution is constantly evolving, and many of its features vary across groups and cultures. But there is one constant. In all societies, marriage shapes the rights and obligations of parenthood. Among us humans, the scholars report, marriage is not primarily a license to have sex. Nor is it primarily a license to receive benefits or social recognition. It is primarily a license to have children.

In this sense, marriage is a gift that society bestows on its next generation. Marriage (and only marriage) unites the three core dimensions of parenthood -- biological, social and legal -- into one pro-child form: the married couple. Marriage says to a child: The man and the woman whose sexual union made you will also be there to love and raise you. Marriage says to society as a whole: For every child born, there is a recognized mother and a father, accountable to the child and to each other. (emphasis mine)

These days, because of the gay marriage debate, one can be sent to bed without supper for saying such things. But until very recently, almost no one denied this core fact about marriage. Summing up the cross-cultural evidence, the anthropologist Helen Fisher in 1992 put it simply: "People wed primarily to reproduce." The philosopher and Nobel laureate Bertrand Russell, certainly no friend of conventional sexual morality, was only repeating the obvious a few decades earlier when he concluded that "it is through children alone that sexual relations become important to society, and worthy to be taken cognizance of by a legal institution."

Marriage is society's most pro-child institution. In 2002 -- just moments before it became highly unfashionable to say so -- a team of researchers from Child Trends, a nonpartisan research center, reported that "family structure clearly matters for children, and the family structure that helps children the most is a family headed by two biological parents in a low-conflict marriage."

All our scholarly instruments seem to agree: For healthy development, what a child needs more than anything else is the mother and father who together made the child, who love the child and love each other.

For these reasons, children have the right, insofar as society can make it possible, to know and to be cared for by the two parents who brought them into this world. The foundational human rights document in the world today regarding children, the 1989 U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child, specifically guarantees children this right. The last time I checked, liberals like me were supposed to be in favor of internationally recognized human rights, particularly concerning children, who are typically society's most voiceless and vulnerable group. Or have I now said something I shouldn't?

Every child being raised by gay or lesbian couples will be denied his birthright to both parents who made him. Every single one. Moreover, losing that right will not be a consequence of something that at least most of us view as tragic, such as a marriage that didn't last, or an unexpected pregnancy where the father-to-be has no intention of sticking around. On the contrary, in the case of same-sex marriage and the children of those unions, it will be explained to everyone, including the children, that something wonderful has happened!

For me, what we are encouraged or permitted to say, or not say, to one another about what our society owes its children is crucially important in the debate over initiatives like California's Proposition 8, which would reinstate marriage's customary man-woman form. Do you think that every child deserves his mother and father, with adoption available for those children whose natural parents cannot care for them? Do you suspect that fathers and mothers are different from one another? Do you imagine that biological ties matter to children? How many parents per child is best? Do you think that "two" is a better answer than one, three, four or whatever? If you do, be careful. In making the case for same-sex marriage, more than a few grown-ups will be quite willing to question your integrity and goodwill. Children, of course, are rarely consulted.

The liberal philosopher Isaiah Berlin famously argued that, in many cases, the real conflict we face is not good versus bad but good versus good. Reducing homophobia is good. Protecting the birthright of the child is good. How should we reason together as a society when these two good things conflict?

Here is my reasoning. I reject homophobia and believe in the equal dignity of gay and lesbian love. Because I also believe with all my heart in the right of the child to the mother and father who made her, I believe that we as a society should seek to maintain and to strengthen the only human institution -- marriage -- that is specifically intended to safeguard that right and make it real for our children.

Legalized same-sex marriage almost certainly benefits those same-sex couples who choose to marry, as well as the children being raised in those homes. But changing the meaning of marriage to accommodate homosexual orientation further and perhaps definitively undermines for all of us the very thing -- the gift, the birthright -- that is marriage's most distinctive contribution to human society. That's a change that, in the final analysis, I cannot support.

David Blankenhorn is president of the New York-based Institute for American Values and the author of "The Future of Marriage."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Work in Progress

Well, it's actually almost done. My afghan for Frannie. I need to finish two more multicolored stripes.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Just a fun collection of pics from the neighborhood.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where Were You?

I'm stealing this from Kristy's blog. Hi Kristy!

20 Years Ago…

1. I was 9 years old, so I suppose I was in the 4th grade. I was a "know it all" kid who always knew the answers and would "me! me! me!" to get called on every second and when I didn't get called on I would collapse on the desk. When someone got the answer wrong, I would think "How could they be so stupid?". I'm sure it was irritating.

Hmmm...how much have I changed in 20 years? ha ha!

10 Years Ago…

I was 19 and a student at Cal Poly Pomona. I had been dating Jason for 3 years at that point. I found college to be fairly lonely all up until my final year when I FINALLY made some college friends. Cal Poly is such a commuter school that it seems you never see the same face twice.

5 years ago…

I was 24 and had been married for 1 year. I was student teaching at I-Poly with Miss Lorelei Ortega who is now one of my very best friends :)

3 years ago…

I had Frannie! She's my darling girl and my waterbirth baby. Becoming a mom is the best thing ever. This year was also the year that I stopped working and became a full time at-home mom. That was a big life transition. Being a "Suzy Homemaker" has some strange benefits. You have more time to follow up on stuff. So you have more time to follow up and nurture friendships, more time to complain and write letters if something bad is going on, more time to learn to cook and stuff like that. This is of course in addition to the obvious benefits of "clean house, kid lovin', marriage nurturing" that you'd expect. The bad thing about it is that you make zero money and no one ever gives you a raise.

1 year ago…

I had Adam! He is my darling boy and my fast baby. Being his mom has taught me how DIFFERENT two babies can be and appreciating their individual wonderfulness. As different as they are, they are a team and grow closer all of the time.

This year so far…
I continue to teach Bradley classes. I keep on with motherin' and homekeepin'. I'm the secretary of the San Dimas MOMS club. What else? We bought a house.


I visited my friend Lauren and I went to the gym. Other than that it was a slow day.


I went to the LA County Fair with my dad and Lauren and her kiddos. It was a very nice time. We spent most of our time in the animal section. Some lady thought dad was my husband which weirded me out. So now I feel like I have to purposefully say "Frannie go give GRANDPA a kiss." Or "Hey, DAD, we're going to stop at the bathroom." Ew.


Jason's going bike riding as usual, and I'm...I'm...I have no idea. Oh yeah, we're going out for pizza with Lorelei and Meme and the kids.

Next Year…

Hopefully I'll have another baby. No this isn't some sort of "announcement". I'm just saying that it would be nice to have another baby, if that's what's going to happen!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Workin' Out 2

Tomorrow is day 5 of my early morning workouts...
Admission: it is getting hard.
It's hard to get to bed on time because I get sidetracked on the computer.
It's hard to drive 20 mins to Mt. Sac at 5:30 in the morning.

Other than that, I enjoy it a lot. Once I get there I'm good. But realistically I don't know if I can stick with this.

Edit: Ok, it is now Friday morning and I didn't go this morning. I just didn't wanna. Which I probably knew was going to happen when I wrote this post last night. Anyways, I have called EVERY GYM in a 5 mile radius and none of them offer early morning classes. Can you believe that? It seems like Mt. Sac is my only option if I want group exercise in the morning!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Workin' Out

So for some time, I've been trying to figure out how I am going to work physical fitness back into my life. As the saying goes "Use it or Lose it" and I don't want 10years to go by with me doing nothing purposeful about my health and all of a sudden I'm 40 with a real fitness problem on my hands. So here are the various options I've thought of:
1. We have a treadmill right there in our garage. I know, I know, this is brainless. I should just use the darn thing. But the problem is that running on a treadmill is really...really...boring. And the time just ticks by so slowly. True enough that once I'm finished I feel great, and running does get me in shape FAST. Realistically I could do 30 mins on the treadmill while the kids are sleeping in the afternoon. But for whatever reason I just don't do it. But perhaps it is something I could discipline myself to do.

2. Doreen keeps inviting me to go with her to the gym. She has a one month guest membership to LA Fitness and they have a Kids Club that I could use while I work out. I DO prefer group classes to solo exercise. The time goes by faster and I like having a class to report to. But so far I haven't taken her up on this offer for 3 reasons. #1 I just know Adam will not stay in the Kids Club. I know he will cry after 5 minutes and I will get paged out of my class. I just know this. So to me it seems pointless to even try this option. #2 An actual gym membership with the Kids Club is quite expensive. I think it is $29 per month plus $10 per kid for the Kids Club. Ouch. On the other hand, I have decided that I am willing to spend some money on exercise as long as it is something I genuinely use and stick with. #3 The timing of the classes cut right into Adam's nap time and the times I am usually out and about doing errands and such. It just doesn't seem to fit with the flow of my day.

3. Walk with the kids!! People always say this option. "Just go for a walk!" And my response? Ummm....no. I don't like going for exercise walks with the kids. Why? Because I have to stop every 50 feet to dole out Cheerios, hand someone a drink, adjust the sun-shade, pick up a fallen shoe, etc... I don't mind going for leisurely walks with the kids, but if I have an exercise goal in mind it just never works. I like to attain a certain pace and focus on my breathing and get into "exercise mode" and this just doesn't happen with stroller walks.

So this brings me to Option 4 which I have just launched. My friend Lorelei has been getting her heiny up at 5:30 in the morning to attend a step class at Mt. Sac. She gets home by 7 am and drives off to work (as a senior high school teacher) at 7:30. Amazing, isn't she? Anyways, the Mt. Sac membership is $50 for 3 months, or $135 for the year (for non-students/staff) and the full year membership includes a full biophysical health profile. So I am going to try getting my booty out of bed and going to the step class w/ her in the morning. It starts at 5:50 am and then when I get home, Jason will leave for work. We'll see if I can do it. I'll update either way! I signed up for the 3 month membership. The only issue I've discovered so far is that it takes 20 mins to get to Mt. Sac. I really thought it was closer! But with all of the surface streets it takes to get there, it is a full 20 there and back. That is a bit more driving then I was counting on having to do just to go exercise! But Lorelei says she now thinks of the quiet time in the car as "me time" so it doesn't seem bad to her. So I'm going to try and adopt that attitude, even though for now all I can think about is the cost of gas just for exercising.

If I take to this morning thing, I may even look into the local health clubs and see if they offer an early morning class. That way I won't have to pay for any kids clubs. I'll get my group exercise. And interruption free exercise. We'll see. I am hopeful :)

Danielle had her homebirth twins!

A friend of mine and fellow Bradley instructor just had her twins. Her midwife made this awesome slideshow and she is just so beautiful it takes your breath away. You can see how the second baby is born with her amniotic sac intact. That is very special!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Anniversary

We went to one of our favorite locales, Santa Barbara, for our anniversary. There was only one, or rather two, problems with this choice and their names are Francesca and Adam. I have decided that Santa Barbara is one of my favorite locales as long as our two small lovely, crying, wonderful, complaining, sweet, boogery, delightful children are not there.

This pic sort of says it all: (Can you see the boogies?)

Actually, I did start having fun when we were relaxing by the beach. I think that for our next anniversary though, I may commission Grandma to guard the lovelies while Jason and I delight at nice restaurants and ride our bikes through town.

I am very glad to be married to my wonderful husband for these 6 years.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Christopher's Grad Party

He graduated in June, but the family party was today. Here are some cool pics that Doreen took. It's too bad that I don't have some pics of the rest of the family. Uncle John is the star of most of the pics, but the reason for the party is there on the bottom right w/ Ryan and Uncle John. That's Chris! Doreen is now a professional photographer so if you would like her to take pics of your family then just shoot me an email. Her sitting fee is very low.