I recently gave birth for the second time.  We had a little boy we named Myles and although he can be ornery in the middle of the night when he’s hungry, he is a sweet baby.  He does what all babies do: eat, sleep, poop and repeat.  It’s the first part that has inspired this blog post after a long stretch of silence.  Let me start at the beginning so you will get the full picture here:

Our son Jackson was born three years ago and I had a lot of ideas about how I wanted to take care of and raise our baby.  The most important of those was how I was going to feed Mr. Jackson…by boob alone (just think of all the money we’d be saving).  Breastfeeding is a very natural thing so I figured I’d just pop my nipple in his mouth and rivers of milk would flow and nourish my sweet baby.  Well, that’s not exactly what happened.  To begin with, he didn’t have much interest in latching on to my breast.  The hospital had a handy-dandy lactation coach on call that came by to help me figure out how to get my brand new bundle of joy to latch.  (Side note: I used to be quite shy about showing my body but all that went out the window once I went into labor)  So here comes this nice lady with her pamphlets and her advice asking me to show her what the situation was.  I flinched a little but quickly decided my modesty (privacy really) had to go because baby needed to eat (oh to be young again when the only one who had seen my naked body was my husband.  But I digress.).  I proceeded to show her how he rooted around but pulled away when I put him on my nipple and then proceeded to fuss at me.  I didn’t understand!  This was supposed to be the most natural thing in the world and here I was failing at it.  Hormones were raging and I was feeling like a failure.  I honestly thought she was laughing at me on the inside. (Who is this woman and why can’t she get the easiest of easy things right?!)  So then, to my horror, she grabs my boob and Jacksons little (still cone-shaped) head and proceeds to do the same thing I was just trying to do with no success.  This disappoints me because it’s not working and he’s not eating but secretly I’m smirking see you can’t get it either.  She tells me to keep trying and eventually I get him to latch briefly enough to give me hope.  A friend of mine had told me that if I had trouble (she knew something I didn’t) to not feel bad about supplementing with formula because the most important thing was that the baby got to eat.  So I told the nurses to go ahead and feed him in the nursery while I took a catnap.  I was, obviously, exhausted from 23 hours of labor and 9 months of growing and carrying around this tiny human.  Once I got home I took out my breast pump to try and get the milk flowing (thinking that was the issue).  I barely got anything pumped out.  I kept trying to get him to latch and kept pumping hoping it would inspire my milk to start flowing.  But no such luck.  Luckily we had the formula to fall back on.  I can’t imagine what I would do if I lived in a time when there was no formula and all I had to rely on was my breast (which wasn’t working like I’ve always been told it would).  That scared me.  I wouldn’t want my baby to starve.  After much trying and frustration and it not working, Bill and I made the decision that formula was what our baby would be eating.  I mean, what else was I going to give him if I wasn’t producing any alternatives.  I have to admit, I felt like a failure.  That is, until I started talking to my other mom friends and found out it’s not as easy as it’s made out to be.  It wasn’t just me who had trouble.  Jackson thrived and grew right on schedule which eased my guilt-stricken mind.  Now he’s three years old, smart, strong, healthy and very active.  No damage done.  Go figure!

With this baby, which we now know is Myles, I was determined to try to breastfeed again.  I thought hey maybe second time’s the charm.  Myles did the same rooting around and pulling away and fussing at first.  Although I was at a different hospital this time, they also had a lactation consultant.  This one smelled of cigarettes and perfume (one of my pet peeves).  She was nice enough and did the same thing of having me show her what was going on and yes, she even grabbed my boob and the baby’s head and tried her hand and getting him to latch with no luck.  She told me to keep trying and she’d check in with me the next day.  The first 24 hours it’s ok if the baby doesn’t eat because they have enough of what they need leftover from being in the womb.  Still, I wanted to get this figured out soon and feed my baby.  Then a new nurse came on shift who was…let’s say eccentric.  She asked how things were going and I told her I was having trouble breastfeeding and she proceeded to tell me of her experience with milking horses.  Yes, she said horses.  That was not a typo.  I gave Bill a look out of the corner of my eye and he too was surprised.  She said those poor baby foals couldn’t get milk from the momma horse for some reason so she got all up in there and figured out how to milk the horse and put it in a bottle to feed the foal.  I’m of course horrified thinking she’s going to try to milk me like a horse.  Again, hormones raging AND I’ve got a nut job taking care of me.  I’m having horrible visions of her pulling on my boobs like teets on a cow. OMG!  She finally leaves and I look at Bill eyes wide with fear about what she will do when she returns.  It was not pretty!  But, feeling the pressure to feed my baby I let her give it a try.  I show her how he won’t latch and she grabs my boob and proceeds to pull and yank while holding Myles’ head and pushing it into my boob.  I looked at Bill feeling mortified that she’s man-handling me and Myles this way.  She finally stops and leaves (she’s got another idea) and I hold Myles close and tell him I’m sorry the crazy lady upset him.  I try again on my own a little later and low and behold he decides to latch.  He stayed on there for a good 15 minutes before I go to switch to the other one.  I had just gotten him latched on again when she returns with a dropper and some sort of sugar water.  I told her I had gotten him to latch but she insisted on showing me how this could help.  She had me take him off and she dropped some of the glucose on my nipple and put him to it.  Of course he latched.  He had figured it out already and who doesn’t like sugar.  I was annoyed but I just nodded and let her feel like she helped until she finally left.  I don’t like to be mean.  What I wanted to say was something along the lines of “stay away from my boobs you crazy horse lady!”  But I didn’t.  I was polite and breathed a sigh of relief when she left.  Her shift ended thank goodness and the lactation consultant came back in later on.  I started to have trouble getting him to latch again and she said she had a trick with formula.  She comes back with a little bottle of formula and proceeds to drop a little on my nipple and sure enough he goes for it.  He doesn’t stay latched for long though.  He tasted formula and wanted more.  After that he won’t latch on unless there’s formula involved.  After I got home I kept trying to latch and again got my breast pump out to see if I could keep the milk flowing.  I actually pumped an ounce at first so I knew the milk was there.  He drank that and then we gave him formula so he would have enough.  At that point they’re supposed to be eating 2-3 ounces every 2-3 hours.  I kept working with him to latch and sometimes it would work and sometimes it wouldn’t.  I kept pumping and got up to 2 ounces.  But then I had to go to the hospital.  I was having some problems which turned out to be endometritis (inflamation of the lining of the uterus) and also a urinary track infection.  They had to put me on antibiotics.  I asked the doctor if I could breastfeed while on the meds and he said to be on the safe side I should basically pump and dump.  Not wanting my milk to dry up I continued to pump and we fed Myles formula.  We had to switch him to the sensitive version because he was a little gassy/fussy.  I started to notice a decrease in the amount that I was able to pump.  After a couple of days I only had a few drops.  I googled the antibiotic I was on and sure enough other women had experienced their milk drying up while taking it.  I hoped that it would return after my 10 days on the antibiotic were up so I continued to pump.  In the middle of all this my pump broke and I had to get a new one.  Once I was off the antibiotics I tried to breastfeed again and Myles just wasn’t having it.  We had the wide nipple bottles to help decrease “nipple confusion” but I guess that didn’t matter.  He wasn’t having it.  After a couple of days I found out my milk was not coming back.  So, here we were again with only one option…formula.  Bill reminded me of how well Jackson turned out and he was on formula.  Myles is now a month old and he’s doing great.  He’s thriving and growing just like he should.

I noticed an increase in articles and posts on Facebook about breastfeeding versus bottle feeding.  Evidently lawmakers in New York want to lock up the formula at hospitals in order to “encourage breastfeeding”.  The free samples of Similac they give to new mothers are to be banned.  They’re even going to be tracking the amount of formula used.  Who the hell came up with this idea and thought it was a good one?  Not only are lawmakers and special interest groups trying to tell us what to do with our uterus but now they’re telling us what to do with our boobs.  Why do people think they have the right to tell women what to do with their bodies?  And it’s not just men telling us how we should feed our babies.  Some women are also telling us that the breast is best and formula is basically the work of the devil.  How can something that provides nutrition (certified by the FDA) and sustenance for our babies be seen as wrong?  Not that we should have to justify the use of formula, but there are various reasons why mothers and fathers turn to formula.  I’ve given you my example.  Other examples are health issues, medication issues, and some women have no interest in breast feeding.  And you know what, that’s their right.  As long as the baby is getting fed and is healthy then all is right with the world.  I read in one article that there’s no scientific evidence that breastmilk is any better for baby than formula.  I have two healthy boys to prove that formula fed babies turn out just fine.  So, to all the haters out there I say keep your opinions about my body and my baby to yourself.  Women (and men) should be supporting each other, not giving each other guilt trips and pointing fingers.  Good parents know what’s best for their babies and their families.  

On the flip side there is also a debate about breastfeeding in public.  I find it hilarious that people are outraged at mothers feeding their babies out in the open (although usually covered by a blanket) but they’re all about some boobs in a sexy halter top walking around in public.  This goes to show you it’s not about what’s best for baby, it’s about people feeling they have the right to tell others what choices to make with their own bodies.  It’s about the right to privacy because if we can’t make private decisions about whether or not to have kids, when to have kids, and how to feed our children, then we are not the free country we claim to be.  Instead of invading women’s privacy, let’s focus on fixing our economy and educating our future generations.

Today I was told by my bestie Lisa that she experienced harrassment on campus this week.  I immediately put on my “oh no you didn’t” face and cocked my head to the side.  The story she proceeded to tell me horrified me and I suddenly pictured myself with a purple cape on coming to her rescue and kicking the perpatrators in the balls.  Pissed does not begin to describe the feeling that was bubbling up inside me.  This is my best friend who has suffered an injustice, but even if it were someone I didn’t know, I would be just as pissed.  Let me set the stage for you so you can understand my horror at this occurance.

Victim: Lisa – beautiful woman in her mid 30’s walking to the gym on the college campus where she works; currently changing her diet to try to get to a weight she feels is healthy for her body type; on her way to meet with her trainer who is helping her figure out why she injures herself (obviously not on purpose) after a few months of working out.  She has a healthy grasp on body image and the media pressures on women to be thin, etc… and is by no means attempting to look like the airbrushed models in the magazines.  The average woman is a size 14 and she is well below that.  No one in their right mind would refer to her as fat.

Bastards 1 & 2: Two college guys sitting on a bench on the path to the gym.

Lisa: Hi! (being friendly as she always is)

Bastard #1: (elbows his friend and nods towards Lisa) “Yeah, I like it thick like her.”

Lisa: (looks back at them) “What?!”

Bastard #2: “Actually, no I don’t. Moo.”

Lisa: (in shock and very hurt turns back around and keeps walking to the gym)

Anybody else say OMG WTF?!  Anybody else picture themselves as a superheroin swooping in to save the day and kick some balls?  Let me reiterate that Lisa is no where near the word “fat”.  This is a result of our culture valuing airbrushed models that we’re told are beautiful by those who want to sell us products and get our money.  This is also a result of our society giving guys a free pass to act like complete jerks.  This is also a result of women’s self-esteem being so low because of all the harmful messages our culture/media send them that they starve themselves to an unhealthy weight just to “fit in” and look similar to those airbrushed models who don’t event look like that in real life because they are photoshopped!  Then guys grow up thinking that’s what women are supposed to look like and when they don’t they take it upon themselves to put us in our place to make themselves feel powerful and superior.  FUCK THAT!

Women are too valuable to let ourselves get caught up in this vicious cycle.  They’re distracting us with media images and harassment from participating in our culture as subjects making great changes and bringing us to a place of equality and justice for all.  This is a form of oppression because while we’re busy buying all these products to make us look (or try to look) like they say we need to we’re giving them our money and our power.  The “beauty” industry is a $40 billion industry.  They don’t care how they’re catchy tag lines affect our self-esteem, only that it makes us buy their products.  Imagine all the things you could do with the money you spend on lipstick to plump up those lips, lip liner to define those plump lips, mascara to give you fuller lashes (or thinner depending on the trend) eye liner to make your eyes pop, eye shadow to give you that dramatic look, eye brow pencils to fill in those gappy or thin eye brows, foundation and powder to keep the shine off your face (your natural glow?), bronzer to make you look like you spent a relaxing week at the beach, blush or “cheek stain” to give you a rosy glow (something you may have already had before applying all these layers) and hair color to cover any greys and look like the latest celebrity crush.  I’m sure I forgot something.  You see, I don’t wear makeup.  Not a stitch.  I’m rebelling.  I only wore it for High School Proms and Homecomings, the last few months of high school (might as well use it up after Prom), and the last time was for my wedding in 2005.  I’m not telling you this to cast judgement.  I’m telling you my experience and to show you it can be done (find a partner, get and education, get a job, etc…).  Life does not require makeup.  Otherwise both men and women would be wearing it.

I haven’t even begun to mention the weight loss industry.  Weight-reduction programs, diet foods, drinks, pills, etc…  The weigh loss industry racks in 33 billion of your precious dollars every year. (http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/factsheet.html)  “In 2001, 8.5 million people had cosmetic procedures.  Of those 88% were women.” (http://loveyourbody.nowfoundation.org/factsheet1.html).  In 2008, Men’s Health magazine reported that Richmond, VA was the #7 “nip-and-tuck capital” of the U.S.  That’s right down the road people!  Norfolk, VA was listed as #75!  We made the top 100 woohoo! (NOT)  If you buy magazines, flip through them and count how many weight loss ads there are as well as how many make-up or other “beauty” ads you find.

Still think those media messages I keep referring to are a bunch of hullabaloo?  Bull!  Open your eyes people!  They’re stealing your money and kicking you in the face while they do it.  You wouldn’t let someone do that in person so why the hell are you letting them do it from the comfort of their fancy office?  Right?  If you were mugged and assaulted you’d press charges and send the cops after them.  Why is this any different?  You have a voice, use it!  Write letters to advertisers and tell them why you won’t be purchasing their products anymore.  About-Face.org has some great examples of people who have done just that.  And, they list the mailing addresses that you need to do so.

Those bastards who harassed my bestie are a product of our culture.  Let’s talk about masculinity for a second.  Our culture and our media tell me to be strong, save the day, kill the bad guy and women (only the ones who look like the “ideal”) will flock to you and throw themselves at you letting you fling them back in the pack when you’re done with them.  They’re told women are object there for men’s pleasure.  No wonder they don’t value us.  No wonder they harass us on the street.  They’re told that’s how men behave and let them get away with it.  They’re told don’t cry or be sensitive and be a man (which I would argue that such behavior is anything but manly – I call these deviants “guys” because calling them a real man would require them to behave as such.  My husband is the perfect example of a real man.  But I digress).  Have you seen the ads aimed at college guys?  “Liquor ’em up, boys, and they’ll be your playthings for the night!”  Anybody ever heard of consent?  A person cannot legally consent to sexual activity if they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether voluntarily or not.  And yes, that’s the law in Virginia too.  So basically these ads are promoting rape.  Hey dads, do you really want your daughter to experience this?  No?  Then do something about masculinity in our culture!  Speak up for god’s sake!  This is not just a woman’s issue.  This is a human issue.

And what the fuck do guys do to impress us once we’ve gone through all this self-torture to look beautiful for them?  They harass us on the street and tell us everything we’ve done is not enough.  And they’re right.  Nothing we do will ever be good enough in this culture.  Because those beauty standards are impossible, even for models.  We pick each other apart because of our own insecurities because of the “rules” of our culture.  But those rules are fluid and changeable if we speak up and do something about it.  Just having the discussion out there has created all sorts of waves in the industry.  Dove has a “Campaign For Real Beauty”.  Glamour magazine has committed to not use photoshop so much on their images (I’m hoping they’ll keep that up.  More on that later once I have a chance to analyze.)

So back to the harassment of my beautiful bestie Lisa.  I can guarantee most of us have experiences something like this.  So what do we do?  We arm ourselves against it until our culture changes so we feel safe walking around in the world.  Because women are tired of being harassed a group got together and created the Hollaback website and app.  http://www.ihollaback.org/  Go check it out and download it on your phone if you have one of those.  Basically they collect women’s stories and pictures in a “safe and sharable way” which “brings attention to this long-ignored issue” and the goal is to shift public opinion and behavior.  You can literally see on a map where women experience harassment.  If enough harassment occurs in one area, this is something you could bring to your law makers.  So many possibilities!  So when this stuff happens to you or a friend, don’t just let it go!  Tell someone!  It may inspire them to write a blog post and share with their friends who share with their friends, etc…  (Like I’m doing)  Or it may add to the larger picture in an area where women experience a high volume of harassment and get policy and law makers to get off their patooties and do something about it.  Again another example of how using your voice can change our world.  You are more powerful than the beauty industry would like you to believe.  Wake up and smell the revolution! 

Another thing you can do it tell your girlfriends that not only are they beautiful the way they are, but how strong, capable, intelligent, special they are.  Compliment them!  Don’t pick them, yourself, or other women apart.  Let’s change the image of women from objects to subjects and participate in our culture instead of letting it dictate to us what we should and shouldn’t look like, how we should or shouldn’t behave, and what we can or cannot do in with our one life.

As for the guys who harassed my bestie, I only have one word: Karma.  Or, as my momma calls it “come-up-its”…they’ll get theirs.  I have faith in the universe and humanity that this injustice will be righted.

I’m thinking I should get myself that purple cape…🙂

(Photo: My bestie Lisa.  See, isn’t she beautiful!)


(Disclaimer: views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of my own and do not represent that of anyone I might work for)

If you’ve been paying attention lately you are aware that there is a war on women.  If you are not aware, it’s time to wake up.  Republicans across the country are trying to (and have been) pass laws that tell women what they can and cannot do with their bodies.  Mostly this centers around reproductive rights.  From transvaginal ultrasound requirements before abortion in Virginia (which was changed but a law was still passed requiring an ultrasound) to telling doctors in Arizona that they can lie to their patients about the health of a fetus if they think you might get an abortion based on that information.  This is really scary stuff!  It’s like all that work that our mothers did in the 2nd wave of feminism is now turned upside down and we have to fight the same fight.  They’re even threatening access to birth control!  You know what bad men (not all men, just the bad ones and the women they’ve brainwashed) do to women in our society?  They sexualize us at a young age (have you seen the girls clothes in Wal-Mart lately or watched Toddlers and Tiaras?), pressure us into having sex before we’re ready (and the incidence of rape in our culture is outrageous), and tell schools they can only educate us about abstinence (which does not work when there is constant pressure to have sex and be sexy, but not too sexy, in order to have men’s approval or “fit in”).  Now they’re telling us we don’t have a right to access to affordable birth control, and if we get pregnant we should choose adoption (like that’s an easy choice) and if we choose abortion we’re going to hell.  If I’m going to “hell” for making my own decisions then I’ll be in good company.  As I write this a very appropriate Everlast song is playing on the radio.  See lyrics below:

“Mary got pregnant from a kid named Tom who said he was in love
He said don’t worry about a thing baby doll I’m the man you’ve been dreamin’ of
But three months later he said he won’t date her or return her call
And she sweared god damn if I find that man I’m cuttin’ off his balls
And then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walkin’ through the doors
They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore
God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes
‘Cause then you really might know what it’s like to have to choose
Then you really might know what it’s like”

I’ve been talking about this with friends but I felt it was time to make more of a public personal statement about this whole war on women.  I’m not sure that many will read this, but I need to use my voice so here it goes.

When I turned 18 I asked my mother to help me get birth control.  I had never had sex before but I was in a committed and loving relationship with the man I knew I would marry (and I did).  I was also going off to college and I was aware of the horror stories about women getting raped in college (and in the real world too).  I now know that 1 in 4 college women will be raped in their lifetime.  Birth control won’t protect you from STD’s/STI’s, but I could at least prevent a pregnancy if something horrible happened to me.  I’m a girl scout, I like to be prepared.  So on the pill I went thanks to my supportive mother.  I was very responsible (as I was with everything else) and took my pills on time, something that was at times a challenge given that all kinds of stuff happens in college to distract you.  I managed not to get pregnant until I was ready.

I finished my B.S. and M.A., got married, and got a job.  After working and being married a three years my husband and I decided we were ready to have kids.  We made an appointment with my OB/GYN just to get some information on the whole process and things we could do to prepare.  We obviously knew sex was the way to get pregnant, but I wanted information on prenatal vitamins, how long we should try before we worried if it didn’t work, etc…  Turns out that within a month of that meeting I got pregnant!  We were sooo excited!  We posted a picture of FB of us holding a little Led Zeppelin onesie.  We used that same onesie to tell our families the good news.  I made my appointment with my OB/GYN to get an ultrasound at 6 weeks to confirm pregnancy and to make sure everything looked good. 

That’s when things started going down hill.  I started to have spotting before my first appointment.  I called my OB/GYN and they brought me in to see my midwife Sharon.  She told me spotting was normal but that they would check me out to make sure everything was ok.  The urine test came back positive but it was light so they were thinking it was just because I was very early.  I hadn’t had any pains in my side so they were thinking it wasn’t an ectopic pregnancy.  However, they couldn’t pic up a sac in my utuerus with the ultrasound.  They sent me to get a blood tests (which I am NOT a fan of…I pass out easily) a couple days apart to see what my HCG levels were and if they doubled/tripled which would mean my pregnancy was progressing as it should.  Well the numbers only went up a little bit so I had to get a few of these blood tests.  They called me in for another ultrasound after about 4 blood draws to see if they could pic up the sac.  They said they were worried I might have an ectopic pregnancy (stuck in my fallopian tube).

Sure enough, the fertilized egg/fetus got stuck in my right fallopian tube.  If it were to stay there it would get bigger and basically explode in my tube.  That meant serious health risks and the possibility of not being able to use that whole side of eggs for future pregnancies.  Thank goodness I was so on top of things because with me being so early on I was able to get a shot which would eventually expel the pregnancy and I would not need surgery.  If I were further along I would need surgery and other really scary things could happen like death.  While I was at the dr’s office I think I was in shock/numb and just going through the motions.  I knew what I had to do and I trusted my doctors.  They took very good care of me.  I was able to hold in my emotions until I was at home.  I was so disappointed!  Bill and I had planned this pregnancy and did everything by the book.  Things like this just happen.  Ectopic pregnancy is pretty common (as is miscarriage) but most women don’t know about it.  That’s why it’s so dangerous.  Thank goodness I have good insurance that paid for me to get done what needed to be done to save my life and that of my future children.  If Republicans had their way, I would not have had access to that shot and would probably be sterile or maybe dead as a result.  I read a story about a woman this morning who was 22 weeks and her water broke and because of the laws Republicans had passed her doctor could not deliver or abort even though she had an infection.  She had to wait 10 days to deliver on her own and then watch her baby (which she had planned and wanted) gasp for air and die.  This resulted in her not being able to have children in the future because of an infection.  I can’t even imagine the pain that must have caused her.

I had a few days of really painful cramps as my body and the medicine did their job of expelling the sac.  My mom came and stayed with me and took care of me while Bill was at work.  Otherwise Bill was taking good care of me.  He really was wonderful through the whole process.  Work was wonderful too.  They gave me the time off that I needed to heal.  I blogged about the whole experience and found that several of my friends had a loss as well.  They talked to me about it and really appreciated that I was putting my story out there so other women could see it wasn’t taboo to talk about.  Knowing you’ve got folks in the boat with you is a comforting feeling.  I am very aware that there are many women that aren’t as lucky as I was.  There are women who don’t have health insurance or supportive spouses or bosses.  We need to change our culture so that all women are able to have access to good health care and time off from work to heal.  We also need to hold men responsible for their part in the reproductive process.

A month or so later Bill and I announced that I was pregnant again.  I didn’t wait until I was out of the first trimester like many folks tell you to.  If something was going to happen again, I was going to talk about it because it was healing for me and also for other women.  That time I made it through the whole pregnancy and now have an amazing three year old son Jackson.  He’s so loving and smart and curious and a huge joy in my life.  After Jackson was born I got an IUD for birth control at my 6 week checkup (thank you insurance).  I didn’t have to think about taking a pill everyday and I couldn’t feel the IUD in my uterus.  It’s a great option!  A couple years later when we were ready for our second child I made an appointment with my OB/GYN to get my IUD removed so we could try for baby #2.  A few weeks later I was pregnant! 

I’m now 7 months pregnant with our second child and looking forward to the joy this one will bring to our little family.  This is what planned parenthood looks like.  Bill and I decided as a team when we would have kids given both of our academic and professional goals.  We were responsible and luckily had access to birth control which is only 99% effective but we managed not to have any slip-ups.  I was able to survive an ectopic pregnancy because I have health care providers that care about my well being and don’t have an anti-woman/anti-choice agenda.  Now Republicans are trying to strip away these basic rights and it is detrimental to the health of women, children and our society as a whole.

If you have not been previously paying attention then I encourage you to do so.  If you have a story that you’d like to share about how having the basic right to choose your reproductive health care has helped you, then I encourage you to do so.  Use your voice!  If we don’t, they will certainly take it away from us.  Republicans are nostalgic for the days when women were barefoot and pregnant housewives who had no academic or professional goals.  There are still women today who are stay at home mothers and housewives but that is their choice and I commend them for it because it is hard work.  Women have come to far and fought to hard to go back to a time when we had no choices.  We make an amazing contribution to society and they haven’t seen all that we’re capable of.  I believe women are the answer to a peaceful world and we can’t reach our full potential (or the full potential of our society) until we quash their war on us and secure our basic rights.  We can do this with our voice so speak up and get organized!  There are plenty of groups out there supporting women’s rights that you can support and get involved in.  Believe in yourself and your inner strength.  Don’t let them take us backwards.  We are worth more than that.  Let me hear your voices!

Day 9: It was rainy so I broke out my rain boots which took me forever to find.  I don’t mean they were hiding somewhere in my house.  I mean it took me about a year to find boots that would fit my calfs.  Luckily, these come up just under my calfs.  they’re quite comfy and make me look like a biker.  I love not getting my pants legs wet while walking on campus.  Wet pants legs are my second pet peeve right below wet socks.  Terrible feeling! LOL  I really wanted purple ones, but I wanted dry pant legs more than I wanted the boots to be purple so I got the first ones that fit.


Day 10: Traffic from hell!  On Tuesday a couple cars decided to either break down or run into each other in the tunnel that I have to go through to get home.  This resulted in me sitting in traffic for an hour.  It was not fun, until I turned the radio up and started dancing to “Walking On Sunshine”.  The sun was not shining, but you can’t help but feel happy when that song comes on.  I’m just saying, you’ll do anything to pass the time in that kind of traffic.  Well, maybe not anything, but I’ll car dance for sure.


Day 11: Wednesdays are my Stitch A Bit days.  I started a knitting group on campus in 2006.  Since then I have taught 67 students to knit.  (This is Vee, #67).  It has been a lot of fun for me and I have met a lot of great students.  This is also where I met my bestie Lisa.  In 2006 she came to SAB and we hit it off so well we decided to go to lunch together.  When I spilled food on my shirt and we both pulled out our stain removers from our purse, we both knew we were kindred spirits and we’ve been best friends ever since.  She’s even been there for the birth of my son and will be there for the birth of this baby to be.  She keeps me sane and laughing.  Thank goddess for her!  I actually taught #’s 65-67 this night and they all three picked knitting up very quickly.  I was super impressed!


Day 12:  I had to walk across campus to a meeting.  It was a gorgeous day and I loved seeing all the students walking this way and that across the Mall.  I just had to capture a picture of it.  I didn’t want to be so obvious about what I was doing so part of the picture is a big crack in the pavement.  But you can see some of the comings and goings.


Today’s photo was actually taken last night but I love it so much I had to share. I was raised by not just my amazing Momma, but also two very important ladies who I call my second and 3rd Mommas. My Aunt Linda is my godmother and my dad’s sister. Oh boy did I love spending time with her, and still do. She can do and make anything and I’m not exaggerating. She’s so crafty! My dad’s the same way but Linda gives everything she does a little extra flair. And she does everything dressed impeccably well, matching accessories included. She was the first woman on the Town Council on our town and has been on it the longest. she is the reason I have a thing for office supplies too. She was an Admin Assistant at the local saw mill for a long time and of course was/is very organized. So that’s why I asked for Office Max gift cards for holidays and why I have more pens than god. I’ll show you a picture of my current pen collection so you can see (but that’s not technically my picture for today). Anyway there are many other reasons why I love my Aunt Linda and other ways she contributed to the woman I am today, but it would take me forever to write all those, especially since this post comes to you from my iPhone.
“Aunt” Gayle is not my aunt by blood but by love. She’s my dad’s best friend from childhood and is also my Mom’s best friend. She’s my sister’s godmother. We always go to her house for Christmas Eve and share lots of laughs. I love her whole family! I used to babysit her kids a little but they’re so close to my age I only did that a little, mostly it was my sister. We used to watch the Super Bowl at Gayle’s house and she’d make chili. We’ve outgrown that tradition though but I do miss it. What I got/get most from Gayle I’d have to say is laughter. Whenever our families get together we have the most fun. She’s just fun to talk to and be around.
Bill’s Mom Nancy didn’t raise me obviously but she mothers me now. She would do anything in the world or those she loves. However I’m convinced she’s trying to make me 300 lbs. LOL she shows her love by bringing us food and sweets. A soon as she knows you like something you can be sure you’re gonna get it. I can’t thank her enough for the wonderful man she raised! Bill is an amazing husband.
And I left my Mom til the end because she is the most amazing woman I know. She is loving, encouraging, inspiring, supportive, and always there when I need her. She and I are similar in many ways and I cherish her. She showed me that I can do and be anyone my heart desires and survive all the hurdles life throws at me. She is…there really isn’t a better word than Momma. It’s all encompassing. I am truly blessed to have her. Plus she’s a lot of fun to hang out with now that I’m all grown up.
So, here are my Mommas: (Left to Right) Gayle, Momma, Linda, Nancy


Today’s picture is of my husband Bill playing cornhole with his new boards that I had made for him for Christmas.  He was quite surprised and quite happy.  They have a Baltimore Ravens them.  My friend Sara, who I grew up with, her fiance made them.  He did a great job.  I hated hitting them with the corn bags they are so pretty.  If you want some made, I know a guy.  Bill had seen folks at the ODU football games playing at tailgate and drooled over them.  I think he thought he’d never get them, but I found a way to make it happen.  I’m crafty like that.  He deserves all the best because he is the most wonderful husband and father.  I’m very lucky to have him.  One thing I learned today is that I need to practice if I’m going to win any games.  I guess my throwing arm from my softball days is out of shape.


I figured it was time for a baby update.  I’m 15 weeks along now and feeling great!  The first trimester was a bear so I’m happy to be done with it.  However, now that I have finally gained weight I am starting to feel fuller and noticed my pants are a little more snug that I’m comfy with.  So, thanks to Meme, I’m taking my Christmas gift card to Kohl’s and attempting to buy some maternity pants that don’t look ridiculous.  Before I go I will try on my pants from when I was pregnant with Jackson but I’m not hopeful they’ll fit comfortably.  Plus, I have a gift card!  Maybe I’ll buy myself a new purse too.  When I downsized to a smaller purse I got one that was just a little too shallow so it doesn’t close all the time.  I can hear my mother now “Friday is clean out your purse day!”.  Yes, I could do that, or I could use my gift card and get one that will close even when I don’t have time to clean it out.

So, back to bebe.  I remember when I first felt the flutters of Jackson moving the first time.  I was on the massage table and was extremely relaxed.  This time I was, crap, where was I….well, the second time I was at a breakfast meeting listening to our fearless leader inspire us to be bold.  I think the first time I was just sitting on the couch at home.  I’ve already got baby brain.  Ugh, and I just got my memory all the way back too. LOL  It literally feels like a butterfly in your belly.  At first you’re like, wait, what was that.  Eventually it sinks in that your baby is moving around in there.  I am excited to really feel this one move later on in pregnancy.  It was so much fun to put my hand on my belly and feel his arm or butt stick out.  So strange and yet so amazing.

I have my next midwife appointment next Friday and I’m not sure what they’ll do.  I’ll be 16 weeks so does that mean bloodwork?  I’ll probably call and see because if that’s the case, then I’ll need Bill to drive me.  I suck at bloodwork.  I quickly pass out unless there is a master flabotomist doing the job.  I’ll probably get to hear the heartbeat again and hopefully an ultrasound.  Bill and I have decided to wait and find out what we’re having when the baby arrives.  That’s what we did with Jackson and it was a wonderful surprise.  Although, I have to admit, a little more of me wants to know.  I could never keep that secret though.  The family was flipping out thinking we might find out what he/she is and it was getting on my nerves so I said “nope, not gonna find out”.  Too much pressure.  And what the heck does it matter?  You know I’m not the pink/blue type mommy and it annoys me when people assign gender roles right away and talk to them differently or think about them differently.  I mean, obviously boys and girls are different, but the way our society has gender roles set up, girls get the short end of the stick and are talked down to.  So, I’d rather delay that just in case I’m having a girl.

On another note, Jackson seems to be quite excited about his baby sister or brother.  We got him a baby doll for Christmas to teach him to be nurturing and get used to a baby and so far he’s been so good with it.  He even snuggled with it and said “Oh, I got you baby.  Here, take a good nap and you’ll feel better” then proceeded to tuck it into his bed.  So sweet!

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