Who Speaks for Veronica?

September 21, 2012

Awhile back my husband and I were watching this new TV show “Locked Up Abroad”. They were telling the story of this woman who moved to Egypt, got married and decided to adopt a little boy. Unfortunately, the adoption didn’t meet full legal standards in Egypt. And one day while they were decorating the Christmas tree, her worst nightmare happened – the police knocked down her door and took her son. This woman refused to let go of her son. She held on for dear life. Watching this happen to her, I felt my heart get ripped out of my chest. Even though it wasn’t my son that was taken, I cried for her, I grieved for her. And even though there was missing paperwork in her original process, I cheered her on to not let her son go – fight to keep him! I rallied behind her. It gave me a tiny glimpse into a nightmare I never want to come reality – losing my son. Even writing this now, my heart hurts and my eyes well up with tears. No mother should ever feel the pain of losing their child, either through death or from a third-party taking them.

Sadly, there is a mother and father in South Carolina that knows this pain all too well. They have lived that nightmare of having their daughter, Veronica Rose, taken from their arms. Actually, they are still waiting to wake up from it. And even though they held on for dear life, they had the SC Supreme Court tell them they had to let go. Now, before we go any further with this tragic story, I want to point out the key difference in this case and the one above from TV – the parents in this case truly believed they were legally adopting their daughter. Yet, in spite of this, she was still stripped from their arms, all because the biological father was a Native American. And need I remind everyone that for an adoption to be legal, both the mother and the father have to relinquish their rights to the baby. From what I have read of the case, I believe the father did terminate his rights. (I need to interject that I am NOT an attorney, I am NOT  legally involved in this case. The father’s side has a very different view of how all of this occurred. This is just my personal opinion.) He told the mother he did not want to support her or the child, he said he wanted the papers to sign away his rights and he verbally gave the mother full custody of their child. While those papers were never signed, the father was not apart of the baby’s life during pregnancy, at her birth or afterwards.

But even though he had relinquished his rights (I believe), had made the decision before her birth that he didn’t want to raise her, didn’t want to be the one to put her to bed at night, didn’t want to be the one to wipe away her tears, didn’t want to be the one to teach her the ways of the world – he made the decision that he DID NOT want to be her father and then on New Years Eve 2011 he just up and changes his mind. And to make matters worse, he misuses the Indian Child Welfare Act to have her taken from the only parents she has ever known. He feels because he is Native American that his heritage trumps federal law. Veronica Rose (who is not full blooded Native American) and her parents, the Capobianco’s, woke up in their worst nightmare.

I’m not going to try to explain any of the legal mumbo-jumbo bullsh*t that the courts cited around the Indian Child Welfare Act. I am not an attorney, I do not work in the legal forum and I have no credentials to explain it. I am simply a mother who is outraged. From everything I read, I believe it was misused. I believe that when this act was first placed into law, the creators of it did not intend for it to break up families or for it to overturn a lawful adoption. I believe Veronica’s case has become a tragedy in our courts. I believe the justice system let her down, and her parents. I believe they (the courts, the justice system and especially her biological father, whom was nothing more than a sperm donor) are not listening to Veronica’s voice.

So who speaks for Veronica? Thousands of people across the country do, a strong legal team fighting for her rights do, her REAL parents do everyday; and you can too. Take a stand with me. For the love of everything holy, if you have a child, try for one second to put yourself in the shoes of the Capobianco family and imagine the pain, pain you cannot begin to put into words, you would feel if your child were ripped out of your arms and out of your life. The emptiness you would feel every night as you laid down to sleep since a big part of you isn’t there anymore. The hollowness in your soul from knowing your child is crying and you can’t get to her to comfort her. If even 1% of this you can empathize with, then please join in and be a voice for Veronica.

As it stands right now, the South Carolina Supreme Court upheld the ruling to allow Veronica to stay with her biological father, thousands of miles away from her real parents – again, the only parents she has ever known, the only parents that raised her from birth. And away from her birth mother, who was able to be a part of her life with her adoptive parents. This ruling also sent a clear message that the birth mother has NO rights in a case where the father is Native American, and if the child has one ounce of Native America blood then they have no rights as well.

This fight is not over, and you can join in.

Follow the updates and progress – http://www.saveveronica.org/

Sign the petition to Save Veronica – http://www.change.org/petitions/save-veronica

Make an online donation – https://npo.networkforgood.org/Donate/Donate.aspx?npoSubscriptionId=1004119

Buy products from Veronica’s store, the money goes to help with her legal fees – http://saveveronica.myshopify.com/

Write your legislators and those that want to back the bill. – http://www.saveveronica.org/what-can-you-do/stop-mn-bill-h-f-no-1967/

If you are on facebook, follow the updates – https://www.facebook.com/SaveVeronicaRose

Pray, Pray, Pray. Pray for safety for Veronica. Pray for healing for her family. Pray that God will weigh on the hearts of the justice system to over turn this heinous decision they have made, pray they will make right what they have wronged. Pray that Veronica isn’t hurt anymore than she already has been. Pray that her legal team stays strong and fierce in their fight. Pray that God gives them all the tools they need to get her back.

Many will read this and say there is no hope, the SC Supreme Court already made their decision. Well, the US Supreme Court can over turn this. And above all of that, God can move mountains that we on Earth are not able to.

Like I said before, I am not an attorney or a legal analyst. I am just a mother who will fight to the death if anyone touches my son, a mother who cannot begin to imagine what the Capobianco family and her birth mother have gone through, a mother who wants this wrong to be made right. And a mother who believes that I have a BIG GOD.

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Unless You’re Selling Thin Mints….

July 30, 2012

For some odd reason my neighborhood has been targeted lately for a crazy influx of solicitors. You name it and that product has been pitched to us. We have probably the second largest (if not the biggest) fig tree in Georgia in our front yard. So, like any good salesperson, they will use that as the opener… “I’m admiring your fig tree”, “That is the biggest fig tree I have ever seen”, “What a beautiful fig tree”….. And since the figs are starting to come in let me go ahead and put this disclaimer out there – don’t touch my fig tree unless you have mine or my husband’s permission. The figs are for our family and friends first. You would be surprised how many random people stop to ask if they can pick figs.

Sorry, I digress….. Back to these solicitors. It doesn’t matter if I tell them we are not interested or to please not come back; I will get another knock a week or two later. Do these companies not track the homes they know won’t buy anything as to not waste their time with them? I guess we never noticed it before with both of us being out of the house at work, and now I’m home with Jack. What part of “NO” do these people not understand? I get that everyone needs to make a living, and I will give you a chance, but enough is enough. And I have to throw out there how annoying it is to answer the door with a five month old to someone you don’t know. What is really funny to watch with these guys is when they hear my two dogs growling and the look on their face when I open the door to two large (and not very happy because they don’t know you) labs telling them they will bite their head off if any attempts are made to come into this house and get anywhere near me or Jack. I really love how protective my dogs are.

My husband and I have talked through calling the various companies to complain, putting up a sign, building a fence around the yard, any ideas to keep these unwanted solicitors out…. Basically, unless you are selling thin mints or popcorn (isn’t that what boy scouts sell?) then don’t come knocking on my door.

These solicitors got me thinking about how evasive everyday people are in our lives with their opinions, soliciting their opinions. This gets particularly bad when you have a baby. Everyone in the world seems to know the right way to raise your baby. The first couple of weeks after we got home from the hospital, I just wanted to try to figure things out for myself. I think any new mom can relate to that desire. I would get phone calls, text messages, emails – everything on what I needed to do, how I needed to do it and when it needed to get done. At times I would wonder how these people even knew I was dealing with said particular issue. With a newborn, the last thing you have time to do is facebook or call someone to tell them you don’t know what’s going on with your child. As Jack gets a little older (I know five months seems like he has been on this earth an eternity!), the advice then turns to how you should be losing weight, how you should be spending your time and money, cleaning your house, activities you should be doing, even on relationships in your life. Now before I go any further let me interject a very important piece of advice (which is going against the point of this blog) but may actually save your life one day – NEVER, and I truly mean NEVER talk to a woman who has just had a baby about her weight. And that “just had” extends to at least a year, if not longer….

Ok, now back to our regularly scheduled program – unwanted solicitation… Does having a baby put this invisible to you sign on your head that says “I no longer know how to live everyday life????” At times I have to wonder if people think I am capable of living everyday life and making competent decisions. Please understand this does not include where I ask for advice or am talking one-on-one with someone about a situation and they voice their opinion. I’m talking about where out of the blue people start telling you their opinion on your life without any prompting. What really gets me is when I am being told I need to do something.

I feel overall I’m a pretty decent person. By no means am I this two-headed, immature monster that would warrant needing directives. I have a good heart (well, not medically speaking), I’ve made good decision for the majority of my life (hey, who doesn’t make a mistake or two down the road) and I try to surround myself with solid people. When left to my own accord, I do the right thing for myself and my family. So, bottom line is, in more areas than one, unless you’re selling thin mints, no solicitation!!

Things I Don’t Understand – Take 2

July 21, 2012

My last blog on “Things I Don’t Understand” received a lot of positive feedback, so I thought I would go at it again. Just as a reminder, this idea came from watching Golden Girls where Rose keeps saying things she doesn’t understand… “And you know what else I don’t understand…” It’s a funny episode for me, and often times I find myself questioning why certain things happen or are the way they are.

Without further a due, here is the latest instalment on things I just don’t understand:

– Why my son’s sleep schedule keeps changing. Just when I get my sleep schedule adjusted to his, he changes his. I think this is really a little game for him to see how quickly he can train me….

– Why I think the “I’m Sexy and I Know It” M&M commercial is the funniest thing on tv right now.

– So on that subject, I don’t understand why so many commercials suck right now. Are there not any advertising majors out there??? There really aren’t many funny commercials. Or ones that make any sense for that matter.

– Continuing on with dumb commercials – why Morningstar’s tag line is the burger flavor you want? Um… you are a veggie burger. Mostly targeted to vegetarians (while I know that meat eaters still eat these too), how would they know what burger flavor is. Furthermore, why would they want burger flavor if the point of the burger is to be veggie, and they don’t eat meat?

– Why does the A/C in your car wait to go out in the heat of summer?

– Why more guys don’t buy their women flowers. My husband does it all the time, even if he just went to the store to get us milk. And I think it’s the sweetest thing. I love having a vase with flowers he picked out for me.

– Why our dog Mookie has a tag fetish on his toys. If we don’t cut any tags that may be on the toy he will destroy them trying to rip the tags off. Tag fetish!! I’ve never seen this with a dog…..

– Why oh Why will my husband NOT shut the cabinet doors in the kitchen??? He knows this drives me up the wall!!! Maybe that’s why he does it…..

– Why do the best writing ideas come to me at 3am when I’m just laying in bed? I don’t want to turn the light on to write these ideas down. And I can never remember them in the morning when I wake up, like I always think I will.

– I still don’t understand how my household goes through SOOOOOO much laundry. Let’s face it ladies, with a newborn there are days I don’t even get out of my pj’s. So how has my laundry tripled (and I’m not including my son’s laundry)?

– Speaking of things that have tripled, how in the world has our dishes tripled? I run the dishwasher every night….. my son is eating veggies now, but that’s not enough to warrant the amount of dishes that pile up in the sink.

– Why everyone doesn’t get on pinterest. It’s my newest addiction and I love it. So many great ideas! And yes, most everyone’s Christmas presents will be some DIY project idea I got from there. You are now forewarned!! haha

– Why I can never sleep when my husband goes out of town for work….

– Why in the world I like to watch stupid, pointless, reality TV shows when I can get a break.

– So on that subject… why do they call it The Real Housewives of… The majority of them are not even wives, so how can they be a housewife?  This one may have been on my last “Things I Don’t Understand”, even so – I still don’t understand it.

– How can one dog shed sooooooooooo much hair? I could vacuum twice a day, every day and still not get all of it.

– Why people get a dog if all you are going to do is put the poor thing in the back yard. Dogs want love and affection too. I have a few neighbors that have done this and it really makes my blood boil.

– Why we have so many magazine subscriptions. The only one I read is People. The others are sitting in a stack just waiting for me to have some free time to read them.

– Why don’t they size baby clothes better? My child is 5 months and wearing 12 month clothes. Doesn’t make any sense to me…..

– Why don’t all diapers have the wetness indicator????? It’s the best thing since sliced bread, no guessing on if you need to change the diaper. Why wouldn’t they put this on all diapers?

– This one I don’t understand, but I completely love – how the simplest things will totally crack my son up. Sometimes I can have him rolling in laughter just by saying ‘Momma’.

So, for now, these are just a few things I don’t understand that have been on my mind…

Does Size Really Matter????

July 20, 2012

Right now I feel like I need to be in some swanky New York apartment, sitting at a cute desk typing on my Mac with my Carrie Bradshaw-like voice talking in the background….. When having a baby, does size really matter? 

This seemed to all really start when I was pregnant. Women would talk about how much weight they gained during their pregnancy. No offense ladies, but I really didn’t care. And for those who only gained 10 pounds, I wanted to shove a Big Mac down your throat!!! Each woman is different in her pregnancy, has a different set of health issues or “things” going on with her baby and body that determine how much one gains. And yes I do realize that we can control what food we put in our mouths. But unless you have been pregnant, give me a break and don’t judge! And then as you got closer to your due date and the doctors would give you an estimated weight of your baby, I would be told all about every Guiness Book of World Record baby every born. Why do you want to scare a hormonal pregnant woman with heart issues??? And what on earth makes you think I want to hear about the 15 pound baby born??

Where this epiphany really slapped me in the face was after my son was born; once we had a definitive weight for him. My son was 9 pounds, 8 ounces. Not the hugest baby every born by any stretch, but not a tiny little thing either. This is when all the stories would hit – “Well, my baby was 10 pounds” or “Mine was 9 pounds 7 ounces! So mine was bigger!” or “I had three 9 pound babies, you only had one”. I think my favorite being “You had a c-section, I delivered my 9 pound baby naturally”. So for the rest of the world who hasn’t had a baby, let me clue you in on a few important points:

1 – Labor is NOT a competition. It doesn’t matter how many hours/days you were in labor versus the other person, how much your baby weighed or the manner in which you delivered (c-section/natural, epideral or not…). If you want to compete then I’ll kick your butt on the baseketball court. The most miraculous event in my life is not a competition (although it feels like an Olympic event just having a baby…) So get your priorities straight.

2 – Labor is painful no matter which way you cut it. Labor hurts whether you deliver naturally or have a c-section. Whether you have drugs to help or not. And it really is not fair for people to say their’s was more painful than yours because of how they delivered, whether or not they had drugs to help or because of how much their baby weighed. I’m going to state what I feel is the obvious right now – why in the h*ll would you want to be #1 in this category? Really? Now, having said that – for those who may be currently pregnant, please don’t let this scare you. There are drugs that can make things a lot less painful. And I never believed it until I had my son, but right now I don’t remember what the pain felt like. I just remember being in pain. I promise you every second of it is worth it when you get to hold your baby for the first time.

3 – Don’t listen to people right after you deliver. This is when it seems to be the worst. You are tired, exhausted, sore, not getting any sleep, may not be able to eat very much. This is when you are at your weakest and the vultures want to attack. Just don’t give them the chance.

The one bond that women share is motherhood. Even if you never have a child yourself, we all share that bond. I bet at some point you had a pet, right? Or maybe one day you would like to have a child. Or you’ve given a child the greatest gift they could recieve and adopted them. It’s all motherhood in some shape or form. One would think this would be the time women would band together as a cement strong support for each other. Instead it becomes a petty competition of who did it better, whose is bigger – it’s all about the battle scars.

My son is not a battle scar. He is a precious life that is a miracle with every breath he takes. And he would still be this beautiful miracle whether he was 4 pounds, 9 pounds or 15 pounds at his birth. Cherish your own unique labor experience, be grateful for what you have or for what you did not have to experience instead of constantly comparing yours to everyone elses. Because the bottom line is, you truly don’t know what all someone went through just to have that baby. The actual delivery of a baby is such a beautiful thing, I wouldn’t want mine to be exactly like someone else’s.

So in my best Sex in the City impersonation – Does size really matter, or can we not just celebrate the new life that has come to this world?

Bless This Broken Road

July 16, 2012

You’ve probably heard the song at every wedding reception in the last couple of years. It is inevitably a status update for many around Valentine’s Day. And I personally think the song has been way overplayed. But that line, “God bless the broken road that led me straight to you” is the best way to describe where I am in my life. For those of you that follow me on facebook know that my absence from my blog has been due to the new wonderful addition to my life – my son. He keeps me busy, on my toes, running around like a chicken with my head cut off, sleepless and extremely tired. And I LOVE every minute of it!!! 

So, what’s the broken road, huh? Most women at some point in their lives settle down, get married and start a family. Well, the settling down and getting married part was always something I had hoped would find its way into my life, but the ‘starting a family’ piece of the puzzle was a door that was closed on me years ago. There were medical tests run to show I could not get pregnant (due to three years on chemo). You can only imagine the flood of emotions that rushed through my veins when the doctor confirmed that we were in fact, pregnant.

There are no words to describe what it’s like to be a mother, and I mean that in a very positive way. My son renders me speechless at times. I look at him, and I look at my job as a mother and I can see how every experience in my life led me to this point, to this moment I thought I would never have. And I would gladly go through all of it again, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the highs and the lows, and even all of the pain. Every bit of it has shaped how I am as a mother and how we want to raise our son.

“I think about the years I’ve spent, just passing through….
But you just smile and take my hand,
you’ve been, there you understand….”

Okay, so my son hasn’t exactly ‘been there’ yet, though this child understands so much at such a young age. He knows the battle I went through just to have him. He remembers the fight we fought to keep both him and I alive. And at times I feel down, he takes my hand and reminds me of the fighter that is buried somewhere inside me.

There is no one to praise except for God for this miracle that is my son. So God, thank you. Thank you for the broken road that led me to my son. Thank you for Jack.

And now, this blog will start to take a little different twist. We will still focus on my heart and the battles around that. But now I have a new heart to celebrate. My heart that is walking outside of my chest, the best part of me – Jack. So stay tuned…. as I write and can get a minute here or there I will slowly update the functioning of this blog.

Things Almost Within My Reach…..

February 7, 2012

Pregnancy is one of the greatest gifts a woman can experience. And with the good comes the bad…. There are many things/items/experiences you have to temporarily give up for the health and safety of your baby. Then as the pregnancy progresses, there are certain things you can no longer do because of health complications or the overwhelming growth of your belly. Many are frustrating….. Many you just have to sit back and laugh at. That is the point of this post, to sit back and laugh. Because at this point in my pregnancy, that is about all I can do!!!!

So here is my ode to things that are almost within my reach:

– Caffeine! Oh how I have missed my morning coffee! I’m sure many are thinking, “why not just drink decaf?” IT’S NOT THE SAME!!! And with my coffee, I have missed my occasional coke and definitely have gone through withdrawals of sweet tea. My husband has jokingly said after the baby is born he is going to hook me up to an IV of sweet tea.

– Sushi – this one wasn’t really that hard to give up, I’ve just missed it. I am very much looking forward to a sushi date with the hubby after the baby comes.

– Rare Steak – this one has been extremely difficult. I feel like I need to give a dissertation about how I normally order my steak, but since I am preggos how I have to order it now……

– A really good Club Sandwich – I guess you don’t realize how much you like something until it is taken away. That yummy ham and turkey…… But alas, deli meats are not allowed.

– Being able to sleep on my stomach. I never thought I would miss that….. But I can’t sleep on my back and the bigger your belly gets, the more pressure gets put on your hips. To the point – it’s just not comfortable.

– Which leads me to my next one – being comfortable period. I know in the grand scheme of things this is all just a small price to pay for the having my son.

– Being able to wear shoes. My feet are now two different sizes and so swollen, all I can wear are flip-flops. I honestly don’t see how some pregnant women are able to wear high heels.

– The ability to get up on my own. As I stated earlier, my belly is overwhelmingly big. Hence making it very difficult to get up from the sitting position by myself, or if I’m laying down to the sitting position. And with this one – being able to roll over on my own. I feel like I need a crane just to get me to move……

– Showers and shaving my legs…. Yes, after a certain point, you can’t bend over anymore making it very difficult to shave your legs on your own. And how I would love to be able to take an hour-long hot shower….. By Myself!!!! But I can’t stand up on my own for very long…

– Bubble baths! They are soo soothing and relaxing. And the hotter the better. Not only can I really not fit into a bath tub right now, I definitely can’t get out of one!

– Sleep!!! Now, I’m sure many moms are laughing at this one – what makes you think after the baby is born you will get any sleep?? It has to be better than what I am getting now. I am lucky to get a good hour and a half stretch of sleep. Maybe this is nature’s way of preparing me for the baby….

– Spicy Foods! You have NO idea how much I have missed this. But my acid reflux has just about been the death of me, so no spicy foods during this pregnancy. I’ve craved a lot of pasta, and it feels so naked eating pasta without red pepper flakes…

– Being able to do Housework. Yes, yes, yes – I am crazy! But when you cannot do anything at all because you are bedridden, the smallest bit of work seems like a luxury. I am actually looking forward to vacuuming!!

– Cooking!! For anyone that knows me, knows how painful this one has been. At the beginning I could cook, but as the pregnancy progressed and I became more and more bedridden, I can’t stand on my feet for longer than a few minutes. Having said that, my husband has been an excellent sous chef. Even though we have different definitions of what is considered “easy” or “simple”.

– Being Able To Take Care of Myself – I am forever grateful to my husband and my mother for doing such a wonderful job of taking care of me. Monik has literally worked around the clock to make sure I can just relax (as much as a pregnant woman can relax…). But there comes a time when you just want to be able to do things for yourself. And my time is near!!!!

– Exercise – do you know how hard it is to be pretty much 9 months pregnant on New Years? First every other commercial is some type of weight loss ad. Second, everyone talks about their personal fitness goals and then posts their progress (while you have to sit on the couch, feeling fat, continuing to gain weight, and can’t do anything about it because you are on bed rest). It will feel so good to be able to exercise, to work off some of this stress (and extra weight!!!!)

– Glass of Wine. Crazy enough, what I have craved more than a glass of wine is a glass of champagne. I honestly don’t know why….. Alcohol was probably the easiest thing to give up while pregnant. Maybe because I have never been that big of a drinker. Having said that, I do enjoy a good glass of wine with dinner from time to time. Or one of my mom’s mango margaritas!!!

– Being “Normal”. I think my husband will appreciate this one more than anyone. I have always been a pretty tough chic, so it was a hard adjustment to cry at a kleenex commercial. I even cried watching the movie Reel Steel! My hormones went off the chart! And you can’t really control them. So for all you people out there around a pregnant woman – give us a little bit of an emotional break please. We don’t want to be hormone crazy just as much (if not more) that you want to deal with it. I promise!!

– Having Clothes that FIT!! Can I get an Amen please??!!!! I am surprised that some designer has not figured this out with maternity clothes. The average woman does not have a ton of extra money to buy new clothes every other month. And they way they design maternity clothes, they do NOT grow with your overwhelming belly. To make things worse, these last few weeks when you feel the worst, nothing fits! This is one time I will say I do not feel like, have the energy for or even longing to go shopping for new clothes. I know it will be awhile before I can fit back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, but I can’t wait to have something that will fit!

– Being Able to See My Feet!!! Enough said on this one.

– Not Having to Get Up Every Hour to Pee. Well no wonder you can’t get any sleep, you have to use the bathroom every hour because someone special is using your bladder as a punching bag.

– Saying Goodbye to Back pain! I’m sure with taking care of a newborn, my body will find all kinds of new aches and pains. I’m banking on getting rid of some of this back pain. All of my weight gain has gone to my belly which has put an intense amount of pain and strain on my back.

– No Longer Being a Weeble Wobble! Your center of gravity is completely off; and it doesn’t help that you have what feels like 80 pounds in your stomach pulling you forward.

– I saved the BEST for last! The most important thing that is almost within my reach is holding my baby boy for the first time. Everything I have gone through to get to this point is far worth it. And it will be any day now!!!!

Things I Don’t Understand

January 6, 2012

My all time favorite TV show is The Golden Girls, I catch a lot of grief about this from my husband. Rose is the character that is a little ditzy, a little naive, overly optimistic and the forever friend. In one of the episodes Rose gets going on a rant of things she doesn’t understand. It’s actually pretty funny. Most of the items are nothing too serious, and at the end of one statement she would say, “And you know what else I don’t understand…” Being on bed rest, you have a lot of time to think. This got me thinking about random things in my life I don’t understand. So, I thought I would share… I tried to keep it mostly light-hearted like Rose. I think sometimes when you start taking life too seriously, you start taking the fun out of it. But this may have to be a subject I update every now and then…..

Here are just a few random things I don’t understand:

– Why maternity clothes are so dang expensive for something you will only wear a couple of months (at best, because your belly grows and not necessarily the clothes to fit…).

– Why some people change their relationship status on facebook every week. Are you really that confused on if you’re in a relationship? If you are, then I would venture to say you are not really in a relationship…..

– Why I always lose my favorite pen. I’m starting to think maybe my husband is stealing them….

– Why people bash and rip apart things they don’t believe in, i.e. religion. If you don’t believe in said subject being bashed, that is your right, but no one gave you the right to be ugly and hateful.

– Why Tums used to disgust me before, but as a pregnant woman they taste like candy.

– Why people protest to hate Christianity and not believe in Jesus, yet on Christmas Day they will ask Jesus to give them a job. So… which is it? Either you believe or you don’t.

– How we seem to get dog hair on things and places our dogs have not been in the house. Their hair seems to have magical wings to go everywhere.

– Why weddings, funerals and births seem to bring out the worst in people, when it should bring out the best.

– Why my neighbor a few doors down has a dog. The poor thing is left outside all the time, and it’s been getting below freezing a few nights here. No animal deserves to be left outside all the time with no love, or compassion, or interaction.

– Why some people can’t say the two tiny words of “thank you”. Is it really that hard to acknowledge when someone has done something nice or given you a gift?

– Why some games seem more fun with your own personal sound effects.

– Why men don’t understand that pregnant women are emotional, and sometimes that means crying.

– Why dogs understand the concept of loyalty and unconditional love better than people do. There really are a lot of lessons we could learn from our dogs.

– Why my husband will never close a cabinet door after he opens it.

– Why people will post a very controversial opinion on facebook and then get angry when one of their 6,000 friends doesn’t agree. If you want to believe the whole world thinks just as you do, then keep your opinion to yourself.

– Why Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Anniston’s hair always looks perfect, and why I can’t get mine to do anything.

– Why people will post “Don’t send me a group text message” on facebook. Do you really think you are that important? Very few people have the stature that they can say that and get away with it. But clearly if you are posting that, you aren’t busy in your life or have to multi-task. And in case you didn’t realize, it took you longer to post that stupid status update than it would have to delete the group text message.

– Why I can never seem to drink enough water. I am always thirsty!

And you know what else I don’t understand….
– Why it seems to take twice as long to take down Christmas decorations than it did to put them up.

You Are What You Eat

November 6, 2011

I have always been a pretty healthy eater, but never have I put my food under microscopic view as I did after my heart went into failure. At that point, food was not my friend, but my enemy. If I ate the wrong food (hence food with too much sodium), it had a direct negative consequence on my heart’s function. Lucky for me, I was raised in a home where my mom cooked dinner pretty much every night. And not just any dinners, healthy dinners. Just as my parents had laid a spiritual foundation in my life, they also laid a healthy lifestyle foundation for me. Everything from eating the right foods (and yes, that means vegetables!!) to good hygiene to taking care of my body to exercising.

Now that I am expecting, it’s very important to me that my child not only be a healthy eater but have a versatile pallet as well. Now, having said that, I am not naive enough to believe he will eat everything I put in front of him, or like everything I cook. But I have to believe there is more than just feeding my child chicken nuggets and fast food.

I have been told by various people (whom are parents) that my child will eat only what he or she wants to and at the end of the day it will be either pizza or chicken nuggets or some type of fast food. I didn’t grow up eating those things multiple times a week. My husband didn’t grow up eating any of those things. So why is it so different with today’s youth? Is it because we have more fast food restaurants available than health care facilities? Is it because we have become a nation of convenience?

Obesity and poor eating habits are one of the big risk factors for heart disease. It’s really easy to sit in our cushy chair in front of the tv and say “that won’t happen to me or my child”. If you truly believe it couldn’t happen to you or your bundle of joy, then here are a couple of facts you need to pay attention to. Heart disease affects over 58 million Americans and results in more than 40% of all deaths in the U.S., more lives than the next seven leading causes of all deaths combined. Every 33 seconds another American DIES from heart disease. One out of two women will die of heart disease, and one out of four men.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Nutrition says that eight out of ten leading causes of death in the U.S. have a nutrition or alcohol component. Failure to pay attention to nutrition significantly increases one’s risk for heart disease, obesity and diabetes just to name a few. According to the CDC, 17% of children and adolescents are obese. And statistics show that obese children and teenagers have a 70% chance of being obese adults. All you need to do is watch one episode of The Biggest Loser to see how some of these health implications play out.

The link between nutrition and heart disease is so profound. Proper nutrition is the key lifestyle measure in combatting significant problems and lowering one’s risk for heart disease. I could go on and on about the list of factors that contribute to childhood obesity and poor eating habits, but I feel it starts at home. It starts with the parents. It starts with the foundation we lay for our children. And from a nutritional standpoint, it starts with what you put on the dinner table. In the time it takes you to preheat your oven and cook those chicken nuggets, I could have a quick marinade or rub on a chicken and be pulling that healthier option off the grill. Children won’t eat unhealthy snacks if you don’t have them in your house. And since when did it become the child’s decision and not the parents on if they can drink sugar-filled sodas?

Now, I’m not saying that cooking healthy is easy, and it’s definitely not convenient at times. And I’m not saying it’s wrong to have pizza night every once and awhile, or even to let your kids experience a happy meal. And I’m not saying I’m going to be perfect at this. What I am saying is this should not be the norm in your house. I personally don’t feel that chicken nuggets should be the only thing a child will eat. I find it hard to believe that there is not one single vegetable your child will eat. And with my friends who are parents and love to cook, I see such a difference in what their kids will eat. I attribute a lot of that to them getting their children involved in the kitchen and grocery shopping, and introducing their kids to a wide variety of foods. Would your 5-year old eat duck? My cousin’s child will, or at least she will try it.

We have the ability to mold the type of adult our children will grow up to be. It is not only our duty, it is our responsibility. I have to battle heart disease. Not because of bad eating habits, because of factors out of my control. I don’t want my child to face the medical hardships I’ve had to. My child will not be a chicken nugget!!

Crazy Cravings

October 28, 2011

Loving food as much as I do, I’ve always been intrigued with what pregnant women crave during those nine months they are baking that bun in the oven. As of yesterday I am at week 23, so I thought it would be fun to go back through some of the crazy cravings I’ve had up to this point.

Before I even knew I was pregnant, I was craving one of my husband’s favorite meals as a child – grape koolaid and a chutney sandwich! We still laugh at that today, our little man was paying tribute to his Dad from day one! Having heart disease, I follow a low sodium diet. And with this pregnancy, it has been more important than ever that I stick to an even stricter sodium diet. Interesting enough, by following this diet, I really have kept a lot of my swelling off. So note to other pregnant women, if you are having issues with swelling – cut your sodium!!!!!

Not long after finding out I was pregnant, the morning sickness hit. About all I could eat was watermelon and saltine crackers, and the occasional bowl of chicken noodle soup. From there we moved on to Grape Ice. Now, if you have never had grape ice before, you are missing one of life’s greatest treats. As a kid, my cousin and I would go shopping with our moms the day after Thanksgiving. We were too young to really shop, so they would give us a couple of dollars that eagerly got spent at the Baskin Robbins. And our poison, was a grape ice and sprite float. This became a tradition. If my craving is any indication then this will also become a tradition with my son. Unfortunately Baskin Robbins no longer makes this ice cream. However, Brewsters does!!! I don’t think I can count the gallons I have gone though. This isn’t an ice cream they keep in stock all the time, but for a crazy craving pregnant woman, the Brewsters by my house is making an exception!

Water is the primary liquid that I drink, as it should be anyones’. Having said that, it still hasn’t stopped me from having a few liquid cravings – sweet tea, raspberry ginger ale and root beer. Like the grape ice, if you have not tried the raspberry ginger ale then you truly are missing out on something special in this life. For those of us not into the drug scene, raspberry ginger ale is my liquid crack. It’s that good and that addictive. And it’s caffeine free!!

Once my appetite came back we (I say we because my husband has made it his mission to make sure any foods I crave I have access to) have gone through a multitude of cravings. If I had to name the biggest one, it would be pasta. Pasta anything, pasta anyhow, pasta anywhere! I can not get enough pasta! Or chicken for that matter…. I think I may turn into a chicken if I keep eating it. Chicken sandwich, grilled chicken salad, chicken breasts, fried chicken – if it has chicken then watchout!

There have been a few phase-cravings: Peanut butter and candy. And then there are the cravings for foods I can’t have right now. I would give anything for an STP from Groucho’s Deli with extra special sauce. Or a good ‘ole club sandwich. A rare steak would be absolutely fantastic right about now. I do have one confession to make….. technically I’m not supposed to eat hotdogs, but I have been craving chili dogs from the Varsity. So…. I had to indulge once, with an orange frosty to wash it down.

By normal pregnant women’s standards, I am a little past the half way point. My heart won’t allow me to carry this pregnancy to term. It will be interesting to see not only how long I am able to carry this pregnancy, but also how my cravings will change for the second half! So stay tuned!!

What You Can Learn From Your Dog

October 26, 2011

With getting married this year I have acquired two new playmates – Mookie and Smitty. They are both rather large size labs. Now most people would think they just belong in the backyard where they can run and play and work off all that crazy lab energy they have. But since becoming pregnant, these guys have become my two newest best friends. In fact, I’m pretty sure these guys sensed something was up far before I ever did. The book/movie Marley & Me was about the crazy life of their lab and all the hysterical messes he got into. But at the end of the book was this beautiful story about the incredible relationship with man’s best friend. While I don’t have any wacky stories of hilarious mishaps my dogs have gotten into, I do have two four-legged friends that have given me story after story of love, hope and support.

Since I’m on pretty much bed rest, my two new best friends spend all day with me. Now don’t get me wrong, they get their time to run and play outside. But for the most part, I have one flanked on either side of me at all times. They can tell when I’m upset (even if it’s just pregnancy hormones getting emotional at a Kleenex commercial) and are immediately in my face giving me kisses, or have their heads laying sweetly in my lap to remind me they still love me. When I have a seizure they are alert by my side in case there is anything I need (now if I can just train them to pour me a glass of water and grab my medicine…). When Baby G decides it is nap time for us, then it’s nap time for the dogs. They more than love to snooze with mamma. They don’t go to bed at night until I’m ready, so on those insomniac filled nights I have two best friends to watch Golden Girls with!! And as crazy as this one sounds, these guys will sit there with the most attentive ears and listen to me talk, cry, complain, vent, laugh – anything I need to get off my chest. Regardless of if I want it or not, they will give me their opinion on such matters. Even when I cook, I have two little sous chefs just waiting for me to drop something on the floor.

These guys never leave my side. With everyday, normal life you have good days and bad days. But with pregnancy, those days get magnified beyond imagination. It doesn’t matter if I am at my ugliest, my two guys are always happy to see me and be around me. And when I don’t love myself, they constantly remind me of how much they love me. I could be completely in the wrong, and they will take my side teaching me more about loyalty than just about anything else in this life has. These guys could be completely wiped out and ready to call it a night, but if I’m having a seizure or just can’t sleep, they will stay awake by my side until I finally fall asleep. When I move, they move.

Love, loyalty, support, hope, friendship. These guys depend on me for food, water and shelter. There is so much more I seem to depend on them for. Just as good as these guys have been to me, I know they will be this tenfold to my son. Who would have thought that in the time I need a friend most in my life, it’s my two dogs who have really stepped up to the plate.