Why I Vaccinate My Kids And You Should, Too

I posted this about a year ago. In the last month there has been a large outbreak of measles due to exposure at Disneyland. So, the time seemed appropriate to share this again.

Don’t be an asshole. Don’t be selfish and shortsighted. Give a damn about the people outside your front door. VACCINATE.

There’s been several stories in the news the last couple of days about the public being exposed to preventable diseases like the measles in grocery stores or on public transit. The pockets of “isolated” outbreaks of disease we routinely vaccinate for are becoming less and less isolated and more and more frequent.

This enrages me.

Look, I know that parents need a lot less judging in this world but this is one subject where there isn’t a gray area. There is right and there is wrong. The science proves it. The research shows it. Childhood mortality rates prove it. It’s not an opinion. It’s a FACT. And the fact is that vaccinating children saves lives and not vaccinating them doesn’t.

Have you ever looked up what polio is like? Or measles? Or diphtheria? Or pertussis? They’re horrible illnesses that killed hundreds of thousands before the advent of…

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The Joys of Christmas

Christmas came and went, we celebrated and enjoyed it, and…I never blogged it. So here’s to catching up on holidays past!

First came the tree decorating. I finally bit the bullet and switched to LED tree lights this year. It made for quite the disco ball effect in the dark.

Jamie is getting much better at hanging ornaments.

Jamie is getting much better at hanging ornaments.

 

Finished tree!

Finished tree!

 

Yes, I did put a Weeping Angel on top of my tree.

Yes, I did put a Weeping Angel on top of my tree.

 

Christmas isn't Christmas without AT-AT.

Christmas isn’t Christmas without AT-AT.

I don’t have a ton of pictures from Christmas morning because, well, I really enjoy WATCHING my kids open their presents. Trying to catch their joy on camera makes me less able to enjoy the moment. So, I put the camera down and just soak it in.

However. When shenanigans begin, I *do* pick up the camera.

Ellie got decorated.

Ellie got decorated.

 

BOW HEAD

BOW HEAD

And yes, that is a Star Fleet uniform set of PJ’s I got for Scot.

Scot got me a Golden Snitch necklace and I really love it.

IMG_3550

Last, when planning for Christmas dinner, Scot said “Don’t worry about dessert, I’ve got it covered.”

And this is what he meant.

YULE LOG

YULE LOG

Rich cake with Gran Marnier buttercream frosting inside that thing. It was delicious.

Christmas gets more fun each year that the boys get older. They’re really in prime Christmas-loving territory at these ages and it’s so great to watch them. We keep things fairly low key and I make an easy (but delicious!) dinner so there’s lots of time for relaxing. I really enjoyed our Christmas this year.

Liam, Fall 2014

Because I have been so severely slacking in my blogging duties, I now have to go allllll the way back to October 2014 and start recapping stuff that’s happened. In this post, it’s all about The Spud.

In late October, he tested for his second degree black belt in Tae Kwon-Do (E-Dan). In what came as a surprise to absolutely no one, he passed with flying colors. So now his belt has two stripes on it with red writing instead of yellow. He also got a new do bak which has black stripes on the pants as well as black edging on the shirt.

Bowing to Grandmaster Kong

Bowing to Grandmaster Kong

Having his new belt tied on

Having his new belt tied on

New E-Dan!

New E-Dan!

Look out, the Spud is gonna get ya.

Look out, the Spud is gonna get ya.

As always, we could not possibly be prouder of him.

In December we attended his first band and chorus concert. This year he has chosen to sing in chorus as well as play trumpet in the band. He really likes trumpet and I have to say that the kid is picking it up really quickly. He’s reading music and playing tunes and it all sounds like real music.

As for chorus – well. I think it is perhaps not his favorite musical thing in the world. His teacher is not what I would call ‘great’ and it’s evident that the class is very little fun with her in charge. Still, Liam stood there in the front row, opened his mouth, and sang his heart out. Even when they sang “Let It Go.”

Band, on the other hand, was a whole different story with a whole different vibe to the room. The teacher clearly enjoys teaching music and it’s obvious the kids like him and have a lot of fun with him. So, the band portion was much more relaxed and fun, I thought.

bandconcert

Victory cheer after rocking his part.

Victory cheer after rocking his part.

As for his grades, he did very well in the first quarter bringing home mostly A’s and two B’s. Fourth grade has been a real challenge and he’s working hard. We’re very proud of him.

Still to come in forthcoming posts: Christmas! Quick Takes!

On Ten Years At Home

I realized tonight that it’s been 10 years since I stopped working outside the home so I could stay home with the kids. That is a L-O-N-G time. There are times when I feel every day of every year of that time.

When we first had Liam, Scot and I agreed that I could stay home while Liam was an infant. We could make it work financially, I’d gotten laid off while pregnant anyway, and neither one of us really wanted to put a 3 month old in full time daycare if we could avoid it. (NB: This is NOT meant as a judgement on those that do; it’s simply what we wanted for our little family.) So, we decided I’d stay home for a year and then job search.

I stuck to my end of the bargain, putting Liam in daycare full time when he turned one. I started an intensive job search. And then Liam got sick and he stayed sick. Of that first month of daycare, he was only actually there for 8 days. The rest of the time he was terribly ill.

And my plan to work went right out the window. What good would having a job do if I couldn’t actually go do it because my kid was always sick?

Fast forward a few years – I’m still home, we’ve bought a new house, and we’re discussing when Baby #2 might make an appearance. Given the new mortgage I thought, “Hey! I should be a contributing member of the family!” and so I job searched again. My hope was to find a position, work hard at it, stay there through another pregnancy and then take a 1 year leave of absence when Baby #2 arrived.

That was a pipe dream. In the end, Scot and I had another long talk, took a hard look at our finances, and decided that having me at home worked better than having me earning a paycheck. So when Liam was around 2.5 or 3, I finally started shifting my outlook from “temporary stay at home mother” to “indefinite stay at home mother.”

Man, that was a mental shift.

And now here it is all these years later and I’ve been doing this job for 10 years. I always said that I wanted to be home when my kids were little because those years when they needed me so intensely were so few. In truth, I really give a lot of credit to women who work full time and have a baby. Babies are waaaaaay work intensive and the sleep deprivation alone would have rendered me useless at any job outside the home. (Shit, it rendered me useless INSIDE the home.) Those women who can? Superwomen.

Being home has been great for seeing all the ‘firsts.’ But it can be isolating and incredibly thankless. I struggled with the isolation for a long time and it was only when I found Twitter and discovered what a wonderful local community resides there that I began to feel less alone. Social media is a lifeline for me; a connector to the world outside my narrow little focus.

I still struggle with the thankless part of being at home. There have been so many times that I’ve felt like I’m doing everything all by myself. I’m not, and I know that. Scot is my partner. But he also has a lot of health issues and that often leaves me doing more than I’d like. And then I constantly feel like I’m failing my kids because I’m not making them help me more because I’m tired and if I do it myself it’s DONE. But if I make them do it, it’s a battle and I lack the energy.

I never, ever thought that I would stay home as long as I have. I never wanted to make Scot responsible for supporting us for so long. The truth is that it has worked for us and worked well (mostly!). I hope that my being here has been what my children needed and wanted. I hope the time I’ve spent with them as wee ones stays with them throughout their lives. I hope they’ll learn to see a different side of me as I transition back into a working parent. I hope they’ll forgive the inevitable bumps we’ll hit as that happens.

So, 10 years? Yes, it’s a long time. I think I choose the perfect 10 years to do it in, though.