Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Be the Change

The last few days, I have been so frustrated with the things I was seeing on my Facebook news feed. Like, to the point that I unfriended a few people because of the ridiculous things they were posting on a daily basis. There are a few things driving me crazy right now:

*The riots in Ferguson, MO



Almost every news story or article or post from a few people have been solely about those three things. Please don't mistake this as me not CARING about those three things. They all make me sad and turn me to God in prayer. The thing that frustrates me is the controversy that has come from all of these stories. I'll write future posts on suicide and ISIS, but today I want to focus on:

Ferguson, MO--A young man lost his life. It's sad, heart breaking, horrible. However, I don't think anybody but God, Michael Brown and Darren Wilson know exactly what happened. Every witness has a different story and there's been promises of "proof" from both sides with very little fulfillment. I don't think Michael Brown is 100% innocent. I don't think Darren Wilson is 100% innocent. The media coverage has been poor and seems to swing wildly to one side or the other.

But the aftermath is almost sadder than the shooting. A whole town--self-destructing.  Peaceful protesting is one thing--what some of the people in that town are doing, is another. They have every right in the world to do a peaceful protest. But what exactly about the situation makes them feel they have the right to loot? The right to throw Malatov cocktails at the police? The right to threaten the whole community? They are taking advantage of a nation-wide situation and it has become no longer about Michael Brown. They are doing NO justice to him--even his family is embarrassed and calling for a peaceful demonstration.

What frustrates me the most is the controversy that it's started among people outside of the situation. Along with every article I've read, there are comments about how horrible white people are, how horrible black people are, how horrible police are, how horrible politicians are, etc.

Ladies and gentlemen--step back and breathe in some reality. No matter what color, race, size, career, background you are--there are going to be some rotten apples. Of course there are some racist white people--but not all of them are. Of course there are some black people that commit crimes--but not all of them do. Of course there are some policemen that break the rules and their oath to protect--but not all of them do. Of course some politicians make some horrible calls--but not every single one of them. The stereotypes that are being bashed because of this situation are making me crazy. There are bad teachers, bad preachers, bad mailmen, bad doctors, bad vets, bad soldiers, bad EVERYTHING. In EVERY group of people, there are going to be SOME who don't have morals or ethics or value life.

My last straw was an article I read titled "12 things white people can do now because of Ferguson."  The title alone turned me off, but I read it anyways. There was a statement in the article that says, "I am challenging white people to consider carefully whether failing to speak out or act because of those fears is justified when white silence and inaction mean the oppression and death of black people"

Hold the boat. By not acting out or participating in a protest or yelling on my facebook page that Michael Brown's death was unjustified, I'm adding to the oppression and death of black people? That's not a fair or accurate accusation. I take my issues with injustice up to God and let him deal with them. My lack of PUBLIC action or speaking out about something does not lead to the death and oppression of ANYBODY. I speak out in situations of prejudice of ANY kind--race, gender, social status--when the time calls for it. I break the trend by teaching my kids it doesn't matter what you look like, it matters who you are. For the author of that article to say that is just as judgmental as the issue she's writing about. 

I read another article that was addressed, "To the White Mom"--again, the title turned me off, but I keep reading these things for some reason. It's written by a black woman and in it, it says that "My son needs me, as much as yours needs you. Sadly, my son needs me more." As annoyed as the other article made me, this one just ticked me off. As a MOM, we all fear for our children (white, black, brown)--I worry every day about my son. Just because she BELIEVES my white son won't get shot by a police officer because he's not black doesn't mean he won't get shot by a crazed WHITE lunatic that barges into a school and kills a bunch of kindergartners. It doesn't mean he won't die in a car accident where somebody high on drugs is out to kill. It doesn't mean I'm not scared to death somebody will kidnap him from our house at night. It doesn't mean that I don't think EVERY DAY about his safety and worry about his future. For her to say her child needs her more than mine needs me....not okay. She goes on to say...."And please, in your Facebook feed share something that shows this matters to you. Don’t say you don’t want to be political. Don’t tell me you don’t want to offend people. Because all that means is you don’t want to get into it with your clueless white friends." Saying that I can't possibly understand something simply because I'm not living it is insulting my intelligence. Me and my "white" friends are not clueless. How is she being any less racist than she's asking white people NOT to be? By generalizing "me and my white mom friends" as clueless and uncaring, she's playing the same card she's been dealt. 

Am I sorry that racism still exists? Absolutely. But do I think black people are the only ones being prejudiced against? Not for a minute. 

Injustice is coming from all sides--from all races. Instead of letting Michael Brown's death bring people together, it's turned into hateful bashing of cops, disgusting slurs against black people, unfair generalizations of white people.

And why? WHY?!? The war was already fought for all to be treated equally. Why are we making it happen again? Why can't we become the change that the world so desperately needs? 

Regardless of what color you are, I ask you to start the change with your corner of the world. The people around YOU.  Don't just say everybody should be treated equally--TREAT THEM EQUALLY. If we all just took care of ourselves and made sure WE weren't being the problem.......then wouldn't the problem be fixed pretty quickly?

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The stats...

Tessa, at 2 years old, you are:

*right around 26 lbs and 36 inches.

*wearing size 24 month and 2t clothes.

*in a size SEVEN shoe, quickly moving to a size 8. What?!? You completely skipped size 6!

*saying all your colors pretty well. You get them wrong occasionally, but do pretty good overall! You say purple is your favorite, but until recently, I don't think you even knew for sure what color purple was.

*obsessed with popsicles! You want them all. The. TIME. You say, "A pah-seeckle, mommy? Me have one?" When I say no, you say, "Please!!! Pitty, pitty please!" You think adding the "pitty, pitty" will make me say yes :)

*singing a lot! It's so funny! You can't really match the words, but you try hard!

*getting a little pickier about what you eat. You have definitely entered the toddler eating stage--you don't eat much and when you do, it's things like mac and cheese or crackers.

*learning what time out is. It seems like since you hit the two year old mark, you've spent a majority of your two year old life in timeout. Sigh. It HAS to get better, right?

*talking up a storm! You say tons and TONS of sentences and words and can pretty much repeat anything we say (which has backfired a few times).

*sporting some CRAZY bedhead! Your hair is getting so long and curly and is often out of control! And it's so blond now!

*interested in going potty on the big girl potty. You get bothered when you're wet and ask me to change your diaper, so I think we'll start that adventure pretty quickly!

*obsessed with the kitty. Like, to the point it scares me that you're going to accidentally squish him to death one day.

You're getting so big, Tess! 

Monday, August 11, 2014

PiYo giveaway from Choosing Joy

I've been following a blogger named Jenna Buettemeyer. She recently lost her sweet mother in law to cancer and I've been reading her blog ever since. Lately, she's been documenting her weight loss journey and has inspired me to work harder on my own! She's a coach for Beach Body and is doing an awesome PiYo giveaway! Head over to her blog--Choosing Joy--to enter! And don't forget to do some back reading and check out all the pictures of her sweet boys!

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Day Black Betty Betrayed Me

It was a dark day. A dark day, indeed. Black Betty betrayed me.....turned her back on me in my time of need.

A few Saturdays ago (when it was hotter than hades outside--like 100+ degrees), my niece had a birthday party at noon at a park. It was super fun, but SUPER hot. Nick had just sold his car the day before (he had a junker that he drove back on forth so he didn't have to put miles and hundreds of dollars in gas in his truck) and we decided to go look at a slightly newer/nicer car to replace his junker right after my niece's party. My mom volunteered to take the kids to our house so she could put them down for a nap (and I didn't realize until later what a Godsend that was!). We left the party, hot and sweaty, and went to the south side of Wichita.

The guy we were buying from lived in a nice, clean neighborhood. Nick drove the car for about 20 minutes and really liked it. It drove great, the air conditioner was cold and it got decent gas mileage. He decided to buy it, so we drove to get the title (which was straight into the middle of ghetto Wichita) and then went our separate ways to head home.

Now....Black Betty is only ONE YEAR OLD. But that day.......that hot, sweaty, horrible day.....she died on me. We had a code blue. On Broadway. In the middle of a stoplight. "BETTY!!!," I yelled! "HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME?!?" I cussed a little and spanked her on her dashboard. Then I prayed that God would bring her back to life--at least long enough to get me out of the intersection. I turned the key and she started back up. I screamed for joy and then drove another block.......and she died again. I full on beat the crap out of her this time. I was slamming her on the steering wheel, spitting on her dashboard, cursing the day she was manufactured conceived. How could a one year old car (that I paid a LOT of money for in order to avoid getting a car that left me STRANDED on the side of the road) do this to me?

I got her to start one more time and sputtered my way into a parking lot, where she died one last time. I called Nick and begged him to come rescue me. He was almost to the turnpike already, so I had to wait about 20 minutes for him to come. Now, Black Betty is.......black. And a black car in a barren parking lot with no shade is FREAKIN hot. I sat in my car-turned-sauna and sweated off 20 pounds until my hero showed up to rescue me in his sort-of-new car. He called Ford for me and they said they would send a tow truck that would be there quickly. They gave us the option of leaving the key under the mat for them or waiting for them to show up. Given the neighborhood we were in, we decided to wait. And wait........and wait. For 45 minutes. And they still weren't there. So we finally put a key under the mat (after I had a meltdown or two) and got in Nick's car to leave. "F-you, Black Betty." I said in my mind as I crawled into Nick's silverish, cool new car. I shut the door and Nick started the car.

Or tried to. It didn't start. The new one. That he had JUST bought. Ohhhhhh, man. I cried a LOT. To the point where I think Nick was ready to shove me in the Black Betty sauna and let the towing guys deal with me. He finally got it to start and we got on the highway so we could get on the turnpike. We made it all the way to within about 1 foot of the turnpike exit and it died again. So there we were--betrayed by Black Betty, betrayed by the Silver Bullet and sitting with our tail end sticking out into the Kellogg traffic at 5pm on a Saturday evening. Awesome.

Within 30 seconds of our car dying, a random stranger pulls up in a huge white pick up, yells at us in a mix of Spanish and English and we get the hint that he wants to push our car with his truck until it's out of the intersection. Nick put the car in neutral, the guy gives us a gentle nudge and we slide forward enough to get the car completely out of the way. Whew! At least THAT went right for us. Nick put the car in park and turned it off, thinking our little Mexican angel was done. But nooooooo, that guy wanted to keep pushing us. I yelled at Nick that he was still pushing us and Nick hurridly put the car back in neutral so our gears wouldn't get screwed up. But since he had turned the car off (since there was NO point in us being pushed any further than we were), the steering wheel was locked in position. So the guy was pushing us and we had no way to steer the car. This proceeded in us rolling up on a curve on the right side of the road, the car rolling down the curb and veering to the left and us rolling across 4 lanes of rush hour traffic. It happened so fast that I didn't have time to do anything but scream out for God's help and wave my hands at oncoming traffic to stop. I'm sure they thought we were crazy because it looked like we were just flipping a big u-turn. By the grace of God, we didn't get hit and bounced off the curb on the other side of the highway. The guy that pushed us drove up in the lane behind us and blocked traffic with his truck. He helped us push the car until it was facing the right direction and then somehow, the car started and ran long enough for us to get it off the highway and into another deserted parking lot (anyone seeing a theme in this story?).

I called my mom (and I MIGHT have been sobbing hysterically because we now had TWO broken down cars, had just spent a small chunk of money on one of them and had almost had a legit near death experience). She came and got me (while my cousin watched the kids) to take me to Ford so I could get a loaner car while my POS Black Betty was being worked on. Nick's friend came and helped him tow home POS Silver Bullet.When I got to Ford to pick up my loaner, some douche bag in a bright pink shirt sauntered his way over to me and my mom.

"Hi, ladies! How are you today?" he said.

Fool. Um, could his eyes SEE me?!? I'm sure I was the exact picture of a pissed off customer who had spent FOUR HOURS in the blinding heat waiting for her TWO CRAPPY CARS to get her where she needed to be. I smelled like death, my shirt was damp and my hair was a huge friz-ball. My eyes were bloodshot and I had makeup smeared across my face from all the crying. And he wanted to ask me how I was?! Ha!

I stared at him with my resting-bitch face and then turned around and walked away. He pursued me (who IS this idiot?!) and said, "What's the matter, ma'am?"

"What's the matter? The MATTER is that my brand new 2013 Ford Focus that I spent a LOT of money on just broke down and left me stranded in the middle of Wichita and now I have to come to YOUR facility to get it fixed and Ford is the LAST place I want to be right now seeing as how YOUR company is the one that made my car........that left me STRANDED! THAT'S what's the matter, sir!"

He said,"I'm sorry to hear that! But why are you mad at me?"

I just rolled my eyes and walked away again. Then my mom said the most epic thing ever--

"She's probably mad at you because you're wearing that PINK shirt."


Four days later, Ford called me to let me know that they couldn't find anything wrong with Black Betty--she must have just gotten overheated. Yeah. Because that makes for a really reliable car. I'm giving Black Betty one more chance to prove herself to me and then we're breaking up if she does it again.

You hear that, Black Betty?! Don't fail me, little lady.

Monday, August 4, 2014

My 2 year old daughter

Tessa Grace--

You are two!! How is that possible?! I still remember the day I found out we were having a girl. It seems like just yesterday. And now, here you are, my sweet little blond haired, gray eyed girl that walks and talks and has turned into such a little adult!

You are absolutely cracking us up every day with the things you do and say. Your sense of humor is so quirky! You'll say, "Mommy! Mommy--look at me!" And when I look, you're doing something totally random, like standing on one foot. YOU think it's hilarious! And so do I, but just because you get so tickled pink with the things you do! You "tickle" us by scratching us to death and saying, "Teeckle, teeckle, TEECKLE!!"

You are so determined and focused to do things for yourself. Some days it's funny and some days, it drives me absolutely batty. Your favorite thing to say is, "Me do it!" If you wanted to do something yourself, but we're already done it for you, you go back and do it again. Like if you want to put away a book, but we already have, you get the book out again and put it back up yourself. SO stubborn!

You are SO sassy. You've really gotten into purses and lipstick and perfume and sunglasses lately. It's SO fun to watch! Every time I turn around, you're taking your chapstic out of your purse and putting it all over your face. We've had to hide it from you because it seems to go everywhere EXCEPT your lips. You put change in your purse and try to pay for everything when we go shopping! It's pretty stinkin cute!

You seem to be a bit of a leader and I don't think you know it yet. Granted, you don't always take the best route to get people to follow your lead (let's just say you've pulled some hair, pushed a few kids around and gotten more than one time out in the process!). But especially with your brother......he very much follows your lead and looks to you to see how you react in situations. I'm hoping you learn this is a gift and use the appropriate means in the future!

You have a tough girl exterior--when you fall and get hurt, you don't want anybody to touch your or comfort you for a few minutes. When you're in trouble, you cross your arms and when you're asked to apologize, you say, "Uh-uh!" and choose to stay in time out for a few extra minutes until you soften up a bit. But on the inside...........you're a totally mushy momma's girl. As soon as you're done crying over your boo-boos, you run to me and ask me to kiss it. After you give up on being stubborn in time out, you come give the biggest hugs and kisses and say, "Sowwy, Mommy." You cry when your feelings are hurt and are very passionate about EVERY feeling you have--good or bad!

You are VERY shy. Whenever we're in a new situation or around a lot of people, you get super quiet and SUPER unfriendly. You won't talk to anyone (even the people you know) and either stay off the the side by yourself or hang on for dear life to a familiar face! I hope you grow out of it, because I remember being painfully shy and I feel like it held me back from so many things! And you have such a fun personality that I want people to get to know the little girl I get to know! It's funny because people spend a lot of time trying to get you to talk and you absolutely refuse. But the second they leave, you start jabbering away about that person and saying their name and talking about them! You are SO ornery!

 My sweet girl---You are everything I didn't know our family needed. I love everything about you--your sweet and your spice, your naughty and nice, your happy and sad, your good and your bad. All of it. You challenge me in a way your brother never did with your attitude and sensitivity. I feel like I learn something new about you every day! You constantly keep us on our toes and fill our hearts with love (and anxiety!). I've enjoyed watching you grow up so much, but am really sad that you're moving out of the cuddly, sweet, calm phase and into the active, independent TWO YEAR old phase! It's hard, but awesome at the same time!

We love you, Gracie girl! Happy 2nd birthday!