Friday, December 31, 2010

A Mother's New Year's Resolutions

"For last year's words belong
to last year's language,
And next year's words
await another voice.
And to make an end is
to make a new beginning." ~T.S. Eliot

Everyone one is a buzz around me with New Year's resolutions and anticipations for the year to come. I have friends that are expecting babies, friends that are going to try to go a whole year without eating meat, friends who want to quit chewing their finger nails, and friends who want to try to be better people in the New Year. Yes, everyone, even if we don't admit it openly, has some kind of New Year's resolution, no matter how minor it may seem. To me, New Year's resolutions don't have to be about making huge changes to ones attitude or behavior. I think they can be about making some kind of life changing experience happen like going on that vacation you've been dreaming about taking, moving into a bigger house, starting a family, completing your family, finishing college, etc. I think setting one's sights on something like that is just as credible a New Year's resolution as any.

Now that I am a mother, my New Year's resolutions are different than they were when I was single or newly married. A lot of my New Year's resolutions center around my family and my daughter this year. Some of them may seem silly, but if you are a mom, you will totally get where I'm coming from with some of them. I have high hopes of making 2011 a great year for me and my family.

Resolution 1: To break Emma from her bottle.
This one is extremely daunting for me. I have been putting it off and putting it off, mostly because I just know it's going to be so difficult. Emma has never taken a pacifier, and the bottle has acted like a pacifier to her for the last 20 months. She takes it at night when she goes to bed, and during nap time. I've done pretty good about not letting her have it in the morning, but I do falter occasionally about letting her have it in the car, mostly because a lot of our nap times take place on the go. But, I have high hopes of potty training her when she turns two, so I know that we have to get rid of the bottle before we can potty train successfully. Taking the bottle away is kind of a bittersweet moment for me. I'll be glad to not have to wash them anymore, but she is still a baby to me in so many ways and taking the bottle away is just taking us one step closer to introducing her to full blown toddlerhood. I know this is something we need to do, not just for us, but for her. I have high hopes that eliminating the bottle will take us closer to sleeping through the night, and putting herself to sleep on her own. But, we will see. I think just hoping for survival and sticking to our guns is enough for now.

Resolution 2: Potty training.

A friend of ours recently potty trained her 18 month old, and ever since, Randy has been chomping at the bit. Of course, I'm a little bit more realistic than he is, and I know that potty training isn't just about the child being ready, its about the parents being ready too. I've never had any intentions of keeping her in diapers until she is 4, but I do know that every child is different and that Emma and I are just going to have to find our own way of doing things. But, I do have plans of starting potty training in the spring. I have talked with friends who have potty trained girls and received a lot of good advice, and I feel prepared. I just know that once we start, we are going to have to stick to it in order to have a successful potty training experience. Just like the bottle, potty training is bittersweet for me also. I mean, not having to buy anymore diapers for a while is going to be nice, but a potty trained baby means they aren't really a baby anymore, and that's kind of sad for me.

Resolution 3: Take a vacation with Randy.

I don't know how we are going to make it happen financially, but I am committed to going on a vacation with Randy sometime before the new year is over. I'm not talking about going to Branson, MO or whatever. I want to go to the beach! And a trip to Mexico or Puerto Rico is in our future! I can feel it and I want to make it happen, especially before another baby comes along. I just think that once we have two kids, the opportunities to get away are going to be fewer and fewer. I am praying that God will give me the ability to save the money to go on a nice vacation with him before the end of the 2011.

Resolution 4: Focus more on my writing.

I am so thankful that Emma is now old enough to watch cartoons, because early morning cartoons have allowed me to once again focus on my writing and my blog, instead of keeping Emma entertained. I have been able to contribute more to my blog recently, and I have high hopes of keeping it up. I am also excited about starting a new freelancing project for a company I did quite a bit of writing for in 2009 and early 2010. I have high hopes of expanding my freelancing career in 2011, and possibly going back to school to finish my degree. I think I've finally settled on English as my major and Writing as my minor, in an effort to improve my standings with publishing companies. I WILL write a novel before I die! That is one of my life long resolutions.

Resolution 5: Continue to grow our family.

Randy has been pressuring me, and I believe that sometime within the next year (or even months), Randy and I will make plans to continue to grow our family by adding another baby. I want Emma to have at least one sibling, and we don't want them to be too far apart, so hopefully we will be able to make that happen in 2011. I have a lot of reservation about another baby, but that is for another blog entry.

I still can't believe that 2010 is over! 2010 was a great year! I have loved watching Emma learn and grow over the last year, and spending time with my friends (old and new) and family in 2010. I look forward to doing the same things and many new things in 2011.

"May love and laughter light your days,
And warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
Wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world,
With joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons,
Bring the best to you and yours." ~Irish proverb

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Little Soapbox

I don't claim or pretend to be an overtly political person. I know deep down that my opinion doesn't matter to anyone in government, because if mine or other people's thoughts or opinions mattered, I don't think things would be where they are now. Quite frankly, I think the government is no longer "by the people, for the people". I think the government is run by dirty money, big corporations, and politicians who care more about their next pay raise than doing anything worth while. I am a firm believer that any more, in any election, you are really just voting for the lesser of two evils, and even that person will some how manage to be corrupted by the system. I have very little faith in our government anymore, and I think God is rapidly loosing faith too. But, despite these feelings, I occasionally like to get up on my little soapbox about things that matter to me.
One of the biggest problems I see is government health care. I think forcing people to buy health insurance is just plain stupid. Why? Because insurance companies jack up prices and deductibles to make most insurance not even worth your time or money! And even once you hit your deductible, they still only pay 80%. I mean, what the crap? Here I am paying you $200-$300 a month for your insurance, and trying to meet your $2000 deductible (per year), and paying a co-pay EVERY time I go to the doctor or get medicine, and then when I finally do meet your ridiculous deductible in like November, you can only manage to pay 80% of my last, end of the year appointment? Does that sound like a crock to anyone else? Some people say, the government should force people to buy health insurance to eliminate all those people who don't have health insurance and who don't pay their bills. Well, as someone who worked in our local health care system for four years, I would be the first one to tell you that even people with health insurance rack up huge bills, because even if they've met their deductible, they can't pay the remaining 20% of their balance that they now owe the hospital after their $30,000 surgery. I mean, I don't have $6,000 just lying around, do you? So, you see, I just don't think forcing people to buy health insurance is the answer to our country's health crisis. I think reforming insurance companies is the answer! I think big government should stop standing by and letting health insurance companies get away with their outrageous prices and huge deductibles. I think health insurance companies should be forced to offer more affordable health insurance plans for children, and that things like check-ups and immunizations should ALWAYS be covered by insurance for children. I think the government should quit paying up to 75% of the premiums for representatives and senators, and take a walk in my shoes for a while, maybe throw some of that 75% my way to help me pay for insurance for my child. I just think there are a lot of other options for health care that benefit everybody not just one person or the next, and I think if the government would take the time to listen, then maybe they would understand that forcing people to buy health insurance and small businesses to offer health insurance is a crock and isn't going to help anybody, BUT the health insurance companies.

The other issue I have is government funded health care like Medicaid. When I was pregnant with my daughter, I did not qualify for health insurance through my job and our family business that Randy works for doesn't offer health insurance. We had priced health insurance before my pregnancy, and maternity insurance is literally outrageous, if its not through a company you work for, because it is so risky. So, I began looking into Medicaid. I had to go apply for it three different times and every time I went I heard the same thing, "Well, if you'd just quit working, and if your husband would go on unemployment, we would be happy to accept you." Excuse me? So, basically your telling me that if I wake up and become a dead beat like so many people on Medicaid, then you'd be happy to pay for it? Ha! I just think that is so ridiculous! My tax dollars that were taken out of mine and my husband's pay check EVERY week fund Medicaid and now when I need it, your telling us to quit working, so you stop receiving our tax dollars, so that you can pay for our health care! Does that sound jacked up to anyone else? Because it certainly does to me! My husband and I good people. He gets up every day, goes to work, and works hard at what he does. We pay our bills, we don't owe back taxes on anything, and we live on a budget, like every other hard working person in this country, and the minute I need a little help from you, with the tax dollars I've been so faithfully giving to you, you are going to deny it to me, because I work too hard? Hello?!

As you can see, I have very strong opinions about government and health care. This is really one of my few political soapboxes, because for the most part, I just keep my opinions to myself. My husband is very politically opinionated, and I just let him do the ranting and raving for both of us. But, sometimes, somethings just eat at me, and what's the point of having a blog if you can't share those things? I know that most likely, no one of any importance will ever read this or care about it, and that's okay. At least for now, I still have my freedom of speech and my blog has been a wonderful outlet for me. I know a lot of you may feel the same way I do, and some of you may not. My mom is a nurse, and she tends to see the "positive" things about government run health care, and that's okay, she's entitled to her opinion, just like everyone else...including me upon my soap box.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Never Grow Up

This is a video I made for my daughter to Taylor Swift's song, "Never Grow Up". It's a beautiful song, that really expresses how I feel as a mother. I hope you enjoy the video and that the song touches you as much as it touched me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

All I Want For Christmas

I trust that everyone had a great Christmas, I know I did. My week was filled with plenty of family, food, and gifts. It was definitely a Christmas to remember, and I felt so blessed to share every minute of it with my daughter and my husband. Christmas is always a form of chaos for us, but we embrace it and we love every minute of it (or at least I do!)
In the midst of the chaos, I found myself thinking about how truly blessed I am to have a family like mine. On Christmas Eve, my sister made the comment, "I would just like to say, how blessed we all are to have a family like ours, because so many people don't get to have family like this." It was a beautifully true statement, one that so many people, I think, take for granted around the holidays, especially people with big families. I mean, my cousin and his wife celebrated 8 different Christmases this year, and I'm pretty sure most of those, if not all of them, were family gatherings from one side or the other! How many people actually get to say they get to spend the holidays with their entire extended family every year? Not as many as you might think. Family is becoming more of a commodity, and those of us lucky enough to have it, often times take it for granted.
On Christmas Eve, my uncle did a Bible study before dinner with our family about God's gift to mankind: Jesus, the real reason for the season. He talked about how we all go out and purchase gifts as a way of showing our love to one another on Christmas, but that God didn't go out and "buy" anything when He gave us the greatest gift of all. He gave the most fitting gift: He gave of Himself; His only Son. My uncle then drew a parallel about how, just like God, when can show our love for one another without spending a dime, because 10 years from now, we won't remember the gifts we received, but the times we spent together as a family. He encouraged us to look deeper and think of ways we can show love through the giving of our time and ourselves. I think this is so true. I think this is one of those things that we all know, but we don't actually consider applying to our lives. Not just during Christmas, but the whole year through. I definitely want to embrace this more now than ever, because of Emma. I mean, in 10 years, Emma won't remember or even still play with the gifts I got her this Christmas, but she will remember every Christmas that I got up and made a big breakfast, baking Christmas cookies with me, helping me decorate the Christmas tree, going to Grandma's and playing with her cousins, etc. She will remember the time spent, not the money, and my family and Randy's family will help her make those memories and embrace the meaning of the season.
Yes, family is so important, probably the most important thing to me at the holidays, especially now that I'm older. Gifts aren't nearly as important as laughing with my sisters, Christmas break sleepovers with Faith, baking Christmas cookies with Emma, spending time with my husband during his holiday days off, etc. The more I think on these things, the more I realize just how blessed I truly am. I don't know what I did to deserve such an amazing and crazy family, but I am so glad that God put me into the family He did. My family is the second best gift God has ever given me, and time with them will always be what I want for Christmas.

Grace Potter and the Nocturnals "Things I Never Needed"

I recently discovered this band, and I love their cool 70's rock feel. I'm also in love with their lyrics! It's like she always know just what to say! I am officially a fan for life.

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I do not receive monetary compensation from any of the products, companies, or organizations I promote through my blog, unless otherwise specified during a giveaway or promotion. I am just your average mom trying to share products that I enjoy with other moms, as well as organizations and charities I believe in.