Sunday, January 29, 2017

Why I March

Charlotte & Norah,

On Friday January 20 we swore in a new President. One who I didn't vote for (I wish I could have voted for your father but he isn't old enough yet according to the Constitution). A President who is controversial to say the least. He made many campaign promises that have a majority of this country deeply concerned; especially minorities, LGBTQ, and women. Because of these concerns, on Saturday January 21 I marched. I protested (non violently too!). I made my voice and opinion heard in the Women's March on Washington. The reason I did it.....YOU. For both of you. 

Right now you are young, oh so very young. And yes, a lot sure can change between now and when you graduate high school. But as your Mother I feel it is my job to try and make sure the world is a safe and better place for you. So I marched for your future. There were a variety of reasons women and men came together on Saturday, I support them all, but I want to talk about a few of my reasons.

1. Reproductive rights. I believe every woman has a right to choose. I believe there should be safe and inexpensive access to health care. I believe Planned Parenthood should be funded. Planned Parenthood provides reproductive health care for a lot of women and families in need. When I was in college I went to PP. I was able to get pap smears, STD testing and birth control at little to no cost. (Yes your mama got frisky in college! haha!) And thank god for that. I want you girls to have that option as well. Of course I want you to feel that you can come to me with anything. I will listen and answer any questions. I will take you to the doctor myself when the time is right. But if for some reason you are too shy or scared to talk to me, at least I know you will be protected from STDs and can prevent an unwanted pregnancy if you have access to PP. 

2. Equal Pay/Paid Leave. Studies show that women get paid less than men. I have seen it happen to my friends and I'm sure it has happened to me. The fact that this happens irks me. I want you girls to make the same as any man. You deserve it. You earned it. You are just as smart and capable as anyone else. I hope by the time you enter the workforce this won't be an issue. And the reality is this may not be something that can easily be enforced with governmental rules. I think companies need to step up and make sure they are paying their employees a fair wage, regardless of gender. I also hope that you will be able to take paid time off when you have a child. I hope your spouse has those same rights. While some companies do offer paid leave, the US does not have a policy guaranteeing it. That is beyond sad. 

3. LGBTQ rights. Your Dad and I love you both more than anything in this world. Gay, straight, trans, it doesn't matter. And I want you to have the same rights as any other person in this country. We have come a long way in the past few years. Same-sex marriage is now legal, but with the switch of a Supreme Court Justice that can all be overturned. I was able to marry the person I love and I want you girls to have that as well. Love is love. 

4. The Environment. Climate change is real, despite people denying it. This world is extremely populated and we are wreaking havoc on it. We need to take care of it for future generations. We need to have more fuel efficient cars. We need clean air and clean water. Your Dad and I love being outdoors with you girls. When we bought the camper we couldn't wait to explore the country and create memories with you. We are so blessed to live in a beautiful place and I want it to stay that way for your children and grandchildren. 

Changes do not happen over night. It takes time and persistence. Have we come a long way? Yes. Do we still have work to do? Hell yes. The only way to make change is to speak up. Someone once said to me that protesting never got anyone anywhere. That it was a waste of time. I could not disagree more. Do we remember when women were not allowed to vote? How about segregation? Same-sex marriage? Those changes did not happen over night and they did not happen because people sat back and did nothing. They spoke up, and spoke up loudly. 

My hope for you girls is that you won't have to protest or march for any of your rights. I hope it won't be necessary. But if you want to, if you feel like you have to, know that I will support you 100%. Stand up for what you believe in. Stand up for you. Stand up for what is right. You are strong. You are smart. You are a powerful woman. I love you so much! 


And now for a few photos from the March.....
just a few of us waiting to get off the metro.

on our way up!

After some maneuvering we found a spot about 3 blocks from the stage. We had a view of a video screen and really enjoyed listening to all the speeches. America Ferrera, Michael Moore, Gloria Steinem, Ashley Judd, Scarlett Johansson to name a few. 

the sea of supporters

my flag and homemade necklace. 
You can get your very own Vaginament here

My favorite sign:
"our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter!!" yes!!

After finally finding a restroom, we had to stop for a photo op with the Washington Monument in the background. This was the only spot where we had a little elbow room....and yet there were still people everywhere! We headed home shortly after this and managed to avoid hour long lines on the metro. Phew! And small world - totally ran into my neighbors on the metro. 

It was a really awesome day where I felt like a part of something important. A part of history. Now we need to make sure this is not a one day event. Keep up the momentum and make sure our voices are heard! Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

have yourself a merry little Christmas

Christmas, my FAVORITE holiday. My favorite time of year. The lights, the decorations, the fire in the fireplace, snow?!, and of course Santa! It is also the most stressful. I love selecting and wrapping all the gifts, but the process of figuring out what to buy each and every person is overwhelming. And it seems like the stress sets in earlier and earlier every year. As soon as halloween is over it's time to start thinking about Christmas. The lists must be ready to go by Thanksgiving or sooner so people can shop black Friday to cyber Monday. At least for me. I prefer to do all my shopping online that weekend and leave few things - like stockings - for the end. But once it is all done and taken care of, I can relax and enjoy all the festivities. 

Speaking of festivities, while we did stay home this year we still managed to have a fun and full holiday season. We missed family but hopefully we can get a visitor next year! Of course we stopped by to meet the big guy this year. No tears from Norah - yay! Charlotte had a deep conversation with Santa, asking him for "diamond earrings" for Christmas. Where she got that idea I have no idea! This girl is always full of surprises. 

Norah checking to see if that beard is real or not!

We hosted our annual neighborhood holiday party in mid December. We love our Buck's Run family! My girls got to wear their Christmas dresses for the event and looked absolutely adorable! It was a gold year. 

my two beauties!

a girls selfie

the goodies
watching Santa on the firetruck!

Our elf Jinx came back to visit us this year and got into plenty of mischief. Charlotte really enjoyed searching for him every day and the threat of him "watching" worked a bit. Here is a bit of the fun we had with Jinx....

Of course our girl performed in the most adorable Christmas performance. Multiple songs, lots of dancing and some yummy food. Daddy left work a little early to cheer for C. 

We got a special gift on Christmas Eve - Meredith, Parker and John James came for a quick visit and playtime! The kiddos had a great time playing....and snacking. 

And before we knew it, it was time for bed. We set out the goodies for Santa and the reindeer, took a few photos, and headed to bed. 

And finally Christmas morning!!! Charlotte woke up earlier than normal and was super excited about seeing what Santa brought her. Both kids had a ton of fun opening gifts. Charlotte helped Norah with each one, what a great big sister. And as soon as one gift was revealed she was asking for the next one. We tried to take a break to eat breakfast but that took a lot of convincing. I can see it may not be a leisurely experience for many years. That's ok with me. I cannot get enough of their joy and happiness on Christmas morning!
our annual family photo 

more excited about the box than what was in it

showing off her "diamond" earrings - stick on. Good job Santa!!

Obsessed with her new shoes!!

harley's favorite gift - a box!!

playing with her new Barbie vet set!

all set and ready to go with her bag!

Daddy opening a gift and nobody else in sight

enjoying a few of their new toys!
Barbie and Snow White going for a dip in the pool. Looks like they forgot their suits!
Not so thrilled about her potential dip in the pool. THIS IS NOT WHAT I ASKED FOR!!!

The aftermath. The best part is the clean-up right? haha

Later that day, after I finally started to feel a little better (I got the icky stomach bug that was going around), we decided to go to the movies to see Sing. What a great movie!! It was the perfect end to our day. 

A week later we had a second Christmas with Matt's side of the family. We all got together at Jack's house, had dinner and opened presents. The kids had a great time playing and being forced to take multiple photos in various outfits. It's ok kiddos - you will appreciate these someday! 
my favorite - fancy clothes! 

soccer time

the spread. Look at those hungry munchkins waiting patiently 




can't forget about H. Norah just loves to give him hugs!

fingerprint ornament - one light from each kiddo! Great job Jen and Nikki! (I supervised)
 Love this group photo (missing Karen and Jan) - kiddos in their Christmas jammies. 

The next morning - after plenty of cartoons and a hearty breakfast - it was time to decorate some cookies! And by decorate I mean the Mom's did the "work" while the kiddos just ate the frosting and sprinkles. Talk about sugar rush! 

sprinkles all over the floor = time to clean up! They were more than happy to help 

And finally - NYE. We all went out, hit up the bars and had a hangover like no other!!! Kidding. Those were the days. I don't think we even made it to midnight this year. BUT, we did do something fun....we took the kids to Anne Marie Gardens to see the Garden in Lights. A cell phone camera just doesn't take good photos, but I had to share a few. Enjoy the blurry images! haha

SOMD bucket list item ✔. 

Every holiday season I can't help but feel how truly blessed we are. Enjoying the holidays through the eyes of a child is the greatest gift of all. Sending all of you love as we say goodbye to 2016. We hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Cheers to 2017!