Monday, May 19, 2014

Zayne finally did it! He donated his beautiful hair!

I took Zayne to my hairdresser today to have his hair cut so he can donate it to Wigs For Kids. We started growing it when he was 3, when he was 4 he said he wanted to grow it long enough to donate. So we did! We waited long enough so that when he donated he would still have enough hair left for it to be on the longer side. He was so excited to go and have it cut for donation today. He kept talking about wanting to give his hair to WFK for them to make a wig for a little girl or boy who has lost their hair. He also said he wants to grow it again, so he can donate again.

He is just really such an awesome kid. He said he misses his hair, but he is so happy he donated it. I'm proud of him.

I bonus for him.... He thought my hairdresser was cute... haha.

OF COURSE I took photos!


Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Warning To Parents

I wanted to put this out there because I let my guard down and was not as aware of my surroundings as I usually am and what happened was an eye opener.

Tonight on our way home from an outing with the kids, we stopped at Whole Foods in Glastonbury, CT for some things we needed. While shopping we noticed a man, probably in his 50's, with a nice camera (you know I like cameras!) kind of slung across him like a messenger bag, with the camera resting on his hip. I didn't think too much of it, I often carry a camera. It was getting close to closing time at the store, so I stopped at the end of an isle with my kids while my husband went and picked up a couple of other things we needed in various isles. I noticed the man, standing at an end cap looking at his phone. I glanced down to the camera and noticed the lens cap was off. I thought it was odd, but was quickly distracted by finally finding yogurt Cameron can have (Dude! Almond Dream makes some! SO Delicious brand does too, but they have rice starch in it, which he can't have.). 

Unbeknownst to me, my husband had already been picking up on something amiss with this individual. He spotted that the lens was focusing. When he noticed him on the end cap across from me, he went down an isle and was watching what he was doing. He was using his phone to control his camera (For those of you who are less tech savvy, this is a pretty common feature now) and take photo after photo of the kids and I, while previewing them on the phone. My husband called my cell phone from down the isle and told me the man was photographing us. I quickly walked the kids and I over to my husband to make sure he as CERTAIN. When he said he was in fact certain and that he saw the photo previews on the mans smart phone, I went all mama bear and made a b-line for the man, who had moved down the isle he was near, still looking at his smart phone.

I quickly (and perhaps a bit angrily) confronted him, asking why he was taking photos of my children and myself. He sort of stumbled on his words for a few seconds and I could tell he was about to deny it. I cut him off, told him that photography is my hobby, so I KNEW he was photographing us and that I could see the lens focusing. He nervously started explaining how he was just getting into photography, taking a class etc. and that he likes to take candid shots, but people get weird about being photographed, so he was trying this so he wouldn't upset people.... Then he made a few more excuses and told me a story about taking photos of something in NY and a woman was upset she was in the shot, called the cops on him and he was made to leave. It was clear I was not happy and he said he could delete them if I would like. I told him I absolutely did want them deleted. So in front of me, I made him delete all of the photos of my children and I. He had a good 20 or so of them. I suggested that if he wants photos of people out in public, he should ask them. I let it go after that and we went on our way. The man pretty quickly checked out and left.

After arriving home, I felt increasingly uneasy and at the suggestion of several friends, made a call to the Glastonbury PD. They basically didn't care and said since it wasn't happening right then, there was nothing they could/would do. (I thought maybe they'd do a report or something. Maybe ask questions? I don't know... Silly me.) The detective sounded annoyed.

This man was secretly photographing my children and I. He was standing there, facing a different direction, while looking at his smart phone... appearing as most of us do. He was going to great lengths to take these photographs undetected. He made it appear as if he just had his face in his smart phone enthralled in something, when in reality he was snapping high quality photos of my children without my knowledge. I'm a bit upset with myself for not being more aware and in tune with my surroundings. This experience tonight was honestly a bit scary. Here you have it, one more thing for us parents to worry about. As if cell phone cameras weren't enough of a concern.

If YOU happened to be at the Whole Foods in Glastonbury, CT this evening (May 17th 2014) between 8 and 9pm, some guy just might have a photo of you.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Beautiful Innocence

Today my 4 year old daughter was playing with her princess dolls. The princesses were flying around with a jet pack, they were chatting about the sites, discussing their different dresses and they were getting married. Bell and Cinderella were getting married. Lots of little girls make their dolls get married.

In that moment I realized how beautiful such a little thing is. In her innocent world there is no gay or straight, there is no fight for marriage equality, there is no difference between loving the same or a different gender, there is no difference in skin color. In her innocent world love is love. People are people. It really is beautiful. I don't want society to take that away from her. My husband and I are raising our children in such a way that they know there is nothing wrong with same sex marriage, there is nothing wrong with being gay, we are all people and we all deserve the same love, respect and rights. I wish we didn't even have to teach them that though. I wish the innocence, the complete lack of bigotry they were born with and the view that we are all the same, wasn't tainted by the prejudices of society.

Wouldn't the world be so much better if her innocent world was what our reality is? I think so. We should all learn from the innocence our children are born with.

Monday, March 3, 2014

And just like that... You can't look at dolls quite the same way.

I walk upstairs to check on my younger 2 who are playing nicely together (shocking) with the dollhouse. I listen outside of my daughter's room for a few minutes. She makes her dolls talk with this voice higher than her own.
Then... I hear her doll say this.
"No, I don't have a gina (vagina). I am a doll and they just gave me nothing. I can't even go pee pee."
I went into my bathroom and laughed so hard I had tears. We all know that toys are generally without identifying sex organs, but there is just something so amusing in the innocence of a 4 year old having obviously taken notice of this.
My kids sure do keep me entertained.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Moments Like This

Moments like this are the ones I treasure. They are so far and few with how demanding my husband's schedule is. I hope that my children remember these moments always. I know I will.

"A truly rich man is one whose children run into his arms when his hands are empty." - Unknown

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Being a Parent is Terrifying

Being a parent is terrifying. It is also amazing, rewarding and the best thing ever. But really, it is terrifying. It is scary and stressful and... hard.

This morning I had read that the 10 year old little girl Hailey Owens, who there was an Amber Alert issued for yesterday evening, was found dead. She was kidnapped just blocks from her home, walking home from a friends house. We all know these things happen, but this story was a harsh reminder that it is real and it can happen to anyone, anywhere. Even our children. Even mine.

A couple of weeks ago my older 3 boys (11.5, 9 and 8) were across the street at the park. I looked out and saw my 8 year old chatting it up with an older man. I hurried out there to make sure there was nothing shady going on. The man was harmless, he was there with his grandson. But what if he wasn't harmless? I had a sick feeling realizing that my 8 year old is still so innocent. He didn't think twice about telling this man his name, his birthday, about his siblings etc. The older 2 boys were there close by (I tell them that they must stay together), but didn't try to interfere with the conversation. That was a slap right in the face of reality for me. I have talked to my children before about being careful with strangers. But I obviously had not talked to them enough.

After reading this story about this little girl, I called the older boys into my room to have a talk with them. I told them about her. I talked to them about how to be safe. What to do in different situations. We just talked about all of it. I told them that I don't want them to live with fear, but that I just want them to be aware and use some caution. For me, it has always been important not to shelter my children from reality, even the harsh things. I do not shove it in their face, but I try to give them just enough exposure so they are not sheltered.

We all need to do this. You... you need to do this. Have another talk with your kids. They need to be reminded. I know my 8 year old sure did.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

My Appeal To Everyone: Please be less judgmental of anything different than what you believe

I always fear blogging about Atheism or the fact that I am Atheist. I fear losing wonderful followers because they might be deeply religious and uncomfortable with me being the way that I am. This post came to be, because of a blog post by a fairly popular blogger. I do not plan for this to be a rebuttal or to even directly address his post itself. I just want to address some overwhelming assumptions and stereotyping of what he, and judging by the responses to his post, many others believe about Atheists.

I will clarify right now, that I am not claiming to speak for all Atheists. I am speaking for myself, my husband and all of my personal experiences with many Atheists in my life.

Atheists are not "Anti-Christianity".
As an Atheist, my personal belief is that the bible is not a factual encounter of history. I do not believe there is a God or Jesus. However, I do not think there is anything wrong with anyone who does believe in those things. I don't argue it. I won't argue it. I feel that people should believe in whatever makes them happy/fulfills needs that they need filled.

Atheists are not all on a crusade to take down organized religion.
We just aren't. Sorry. There are definitely Atheists who take a stand against anything religion, but they are a very small group. Just as not all Baptists are like the Westboro Baptist Church and not all Mormons are like Warren Jeffs and the FLDS community. There are "extremists" in every organized religion. I don't consider Atheism a religion, but it can be loosely lumped into that category for the sake of argument. 

Atheists do not lack morals.
Christianity does not equal sound morals and Atheism does not equal lack of sound morals. Atheists are just as capable of morality, good will, compassion, empathy etc. without the guidance of a diety, a bible, scripture, so on and so forth. We prove this every day by living our moral lives, displaying kindness and caring for others.

Atheists do not worship Satan.
We don't believe in him either.

I could go on all night, but what it really boils down to is, the only difference between us and the devout Christian across the street, is the fact that they believe the bible and believe in God. We just don't believe it is true. That's it. We have different beliefs. It is really not all that controversial when you look at what it is, instead of looking at all that it isn't.

Instead of being a "closet Atheist", I have decided to be open about it, so that I can show that it's really not a big deal. I know it sounds kind of silly, but the judgment, assumptions and people being blatantly intolerant is hard to swallow sometimes. Especially when it comes to my children.

When people say that Atheism or the lack of religion is what is wrong with this country every time there is a school shooting or a similar horrific event, it stings a bit to realize that my family is looked at as "the problem" with this country. We are good people. We are raising our children to be good people. It IS possible without religion. I promise.

I don't want to have to explain each year why we think we have the right to celebrate Christmas when we don't celebrate it for religion. (But the answer is, it is a largely commercialized holiday that both my husband and I grew up with and we celebrate it for family togetherness.) It is annoying to try to explain why I have 6 children even though I'm not part of a religious group that is known to have many children (Yes, people ask this.) It hurts when people say that our children can't possibly be raised with sound morals and to be good people without a religious foundation. It is frustrating when people say that a marriage will never last, can't be strong and is not worth anything without Christ in it.

I'm an odd ball in pretty much all areas. I'm a homeschooler and a large majority of homeschoolers in the US are some form of Christian (It is even challenging to find secular curriculum for homeschoolers.) We have what is considered a large family and people often ask us if we are Mormon or Catholic. My political views vary from "Republican" all the way to "Liberal", depending on the area in question (I support equal rights for gays. OH EM GEE! I must be a liberal!). There is no Atheist Cookie Cutter.

Please just give us a chance. Please don't let our religious beliefs affect how you view us. Please don't lump us all into the Westboro-like weirdos of Atheism. We are people. Human Beings. Not the sole destroyers-of-the-nation.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Valentine's Day Pictures

I never take pictures of the kids for Valentine's Day, so I decided to do it this year! It was a quick spur of the moment "shoot".

Ahh they are too cute.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Obligatory Annual Photos

Declan's Christmas PJ's FINALLY arrived yesterday (Side Note: Disney Store failed me this year and was out of stock of the PJ's I always buy immediately. Land's End saved the day for 5 of the kids... They didn't have Declan's size, so Personalized Creations saved the day for him [His name is on his butt. So cute!]... They still matched good enough.) and I took their obligatory annual "in front of the Christmas tree in their pajamas" pictures. I started this tradition years ago.

Here they are, in all heir glory.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!

Seriously.. Don't I have the cutest kids!? (Being the weirdo that I am, yes they are in order from youngest to oldest.)
I wonder if they'll always be good sports about this Pajamas in front of the tree thing.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Saving Charleston Birth Place

I am writing about this because Charleston Birth Place is dear to my heart. It is not only the place I gave birth to my youngest, but it is a place where Midwives who I care about pour their heart and soul into.

Charleston Birth Place is a free-standing Birth Center. One of 6 in the whole state of South Carolina. It is owned and operated by Lesley Rathbun RN, MSN, FMP, CNM as well as 4 other Certified Nurse Midwives.  They fulfill all national standards for Birth centers and up until DHEC decided to reinterpret a 20+ year old policy, they also met all of South Carolina's standards. The SC DHEC recent reinterpretation requires a physician to respond onsite at the birth center if a patient experiences complications. The American College of Nurse-Midwives Director, Jesse Bushman writes, “an overly stringent interpretation that this regulation requires a physician to be physically present at a birth center in emergencies would hinder rather than promote appropriate transfer of care by mandating unnecessary delays.” This reinterpretation is putting all 6 Birth Centers at risk of losing their licences. This is just unacceptable. Women deserve the right to choose where they birth their children. Losing those birth centers will force mothers into hospitals where routine c-sections are the norm and constant monitoring is required. Laboring while hooked up to all kinds of machines and unable to move very much is not how we were made to labor and give birth! (If it is what you choose, that is perfectly fine, but you should be able to CHOOSE.) Hospitals are necessary and some mothers do need to give birth there for medical reasons. Some women do need c-sections. However, for a normal, healthy pregnancy and delivery, all of the extra medical intervention is absolutely unnecessary.

Here are some statistics about Charleston Birth Place:

CBP is nationally accredited by the Commission of Accreditation for Birth Centers (CABC) and is an AABC member.

They have assisted in the birth of over 1,100 babies.

From their opening in 2007 until June 2013, only 13% of mothers in labor had to be transferred to the hospital where CBP's overseeing OB-GYNs care for them (Trident Medical Center). (Just an FYI, the dedicated midwives stay with the mother all the way through it)

The newborn transfer rate to Trident Medical Center is 1.5%, with only 0.3% cases being an acute emergency. Of those 1,100 births, there have been no maternal or neonatal mortalities.

CBP’s c-section rate is currently 7%. Compared to Medicaid patients’ c-section rates of 35% and privately insured patients’ rates of 39%.

They save people and the state of SC money. Birth Center births on average cost $2,277. Compare that to hospital births with no complications at a cost of $8,920 or c-sections with no complications at $14,900. Birth centers are by far a cost effective option.

Successful exclusive breastfeeding rate is 80%.

I am currently living in a state that has ONE birth center that is 2 hours away from me. They also do not take our insurance. So if I were to finally get pregnant again here in CT, I would not have the option of a Birth Center. There needs to be MORE Birth Centers! We all deserve the right to choose where we give birth!
I waited months for DHEC to give me approval to birth at CPB because I was pregnant for #6 and apparently that is too many babies by their standard.

Government agencies take note: Stay out of our vaginas and our uteri! Women have been birthing babies since the beginning of time! It's natural. We have this.

Charleston Birth Place was by far the best Prenatal and Birth experience I had out of the 6. I felt comfortable going there. I felt that the midwives truly cared for me. I felt they truly had my best interest at heart. Every. Single. Thing. from beginning to end was excellent. I love them all and each of them have a place in my heart. I never had that with a single one of my other birth experiences. CBP is just wonderful in every way and I can't stand to watch them being threatened by DHEC.

Please go to to see what you can do to help. Every one of our voices can make a difference! This is about more than just a birth center, this is about women's rights, human rights and the attack on small business.

Here is the website for Charleston Birth Place

Declan with Tony and I, fresh out of the womb ;). He was born in the birth tub and then we moved over to the bed. (This is the first time I've ever shared this photo)

4.5 hours after giving birth, we were HOME with all of our children. Exactly what I wanted.

I wish I had the chance to have given birth to my first 5 children with them. Please help support Charleston Birth Place through this!