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Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Year's Eve - Update

For those of you that care...

Good news! After getting the complete runaround from my doctor's office, I finally found out that the lab work that I had done on Tuesday revealed that I have a intestine infection. Okay, so that's not good news, but the fact that we now know what is going on with me is very, very good news. I started taking Vancocin and should start feeling better in a couple of days.

More good news: your dad did not break his ankle, thank goodness, but did severely sprain it and has to be off of it for at least two days. We rented crutches for him.

We are whoopin' it up in our house tonight. :) Happy New Year, everyone!

The best is yet to be.

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New Year's Eve

It is New Year's Eve and it has been over a week since I have posted anything. I have attempted to write a couple of times, but have felt so uninspired and maybe even a little depressed. This always seems to happen to me after the holiday. Christmas comes and goes and I end up feeling like I missed it. I think there is so much hype and preparation, not to mention, pressure and in my case, it's spending another holiday season without my parents, coupled with being sick on and off for almost two months and, when you aren't feeling 100% , it's really hard to truly enjoy anything to it's fullest. I had a bunch of lab work done on Tuesday, so hopefully I'll get the results today and be on the mend soon.

You were as cute as ever Christmas morning and loved rolling back and forth under the Christmas tree looking up at all the lights and ornaments. You especially loved all the wrapping paper and we got some very cute photos of you in the middle of it. You kept the smile on my face all week and I am grateful.

I enjoyed being with my sister and in-laws and spending time with friends over the week of Christmas, but I'm ready to slow down and resume our simple little lives. We have been busy the last few days; celebrating your dad's 38th birthday on Tuesday night by having several friends over and going out last night with to watch my alma mater, University of Arizona get their asses kicked in the Holiday Bowl. We have absolutely no plans tonight to ring in the new year and I am just fine with that. Your dad fell going down the stairs this morning and is at the doctor's office now having his ankle x-rayed, so a quiet night in will be perfect. I hope we can stay up until midnight!

I'm looking forward to a new year and a new decade and finding inspiration again soon. With you and your dad by my side, I shouldn't have to much difficulty with that.

However you choose to celebrate tonight, have fun and please be safe.

The best is yet to be.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

You were overwhelmed last night for sure, falling asleep before all the guests for your daddy's birthday party arrived and then waking up to an explosion of almost 20 people in your grandparent's living room. The children outnumbered the adults, so you were in heaven. You love watching people your size!

You spent another mellow day indoors today with your dad and grandma while your aunt and I spent the afternoon going to lunch and discussing her upcoming move to LA(!), did some last minute Christmas shopping and bought the ingredients for tomorrow's appetizers.

I know you are still not feeling well with your runny nose and hoarse voice. Poor baby! Could there anything worse that a sick infant
?

'Twas the Night Before Christmas
or A Visit From St. Nicholas, as it was originally called is based on the poem written in 1822 by Clement Clarke Moore for his six children and it is one of my favorite Christmas books and for those of you who haven't read it yet this holiday season, here you go:

'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;
And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

The best is yet to be and a Happy Christmas to all, indeed.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Not So Perfect Christmas

We have been in the Bay Area since Sunday and the weather outside is definitely frightful. You are battling your very first cold, which has presented some new challenges and frustrations but, nevertheless, it's nice to be with family for the holiday. Your Aunt Leah arrived yesterday and your daddy this morning. Despite feeling crummy, your face lit up like a Christmas tree (pun intended) when you saw both of them.

Tonight we will celebrate your daddy's 38th birthday a few days early by feasting on a spread from his favorite Mexican restaurant, Mecca with close friends that live in the area. I expect you to be overwhelmed and irritable all the while trying to also be your little charming self.

I haven't heard too many Christmas carols this holiday season, but I love them and they make me think about what the perfect Christmas would be, if there was such a thing.

I love Paul McCartney's "Wonderful Christmastime", the traditional "A Christmas Song", "Sleigh Ride" and "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", but my favorite one's is "My Grown Up Christmas List". I love the Natalie Cole version, but many others have recorded it.

I know there's no such thing as a perfect Christmas, but if there were, this list sums up my grown up wish list and my idea of a perfect Christmas.

My Grown Up Christmas List

Do you remember me
I sat upon your knee
I wrote to you
With childhood fantasies

Well, I'm all grown up now
And still need help somehow
I'm not a child
But my heart still can dream

So here's my lifelong wish
My grown up Christmas list
Not for myself
But for a world in need

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal the heart
And everyone would have a friend

And right would always win
And love would never end
oh,
This is my grown up Christmas list

As children we believed
The grandest sight to see
Was something shiny
Wrapped beneath the tree

But heaven only knows
That packages and bows
Can never heal
A hurting human soul

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend

And right would always win
And love would never end
Oh, This is my grown up Christmas list

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth
Maybe only in our blind belief can we ever find the truth

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start
And time would heal all hearts
And everyone would have a friend
And right would always win
And love would never end, oh

This is my grown up Christmas list
This is my only life long wish
This is my grown up Christmas list

The best is yet to be and I hope you feel better by Christmas morning.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

So Much To Say

"I find sometimes it's easy to be myself sometimes I find it's better to be somebody else." - So Much To Say, Dave Matthews

This is my 100th post! I never thought I'd get here...100 posts!? Wow! I guess I had more to say than I thought.

I love blogging and I am so thankful for the outlet and I appreciate whoever is reading this, especially my sister! I love that she has commented on just about every single post I have made. Thanks, Leah!

If you do read this and haven't become a "follower" yet, please do and as always, I love feedback, so comment and comment often on anything that strikes a cord with you, makes you laugh, or rubs you the wrong way. I'm also open to advice. I know that there are a lot of first time and seasoned mommies out that I could learn from.

My husband likes to point out that my blog has/is undergoing an evolution and that not
all of my posts are "Letters For Lucas" and some are just rants or fun stuff (ie. quotes, book, movie, product reviews, etc.). I acknowledge the shift and he acknowledges that this is my space. :)

The best is yet to be and I still have so much to say.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

2009: A Year To Remember

With less than two weeks in 2009, I am reflecting on the past 12 months and I know without a doubt that this year will always be a very special year for me because it was the year you were born, but there were other personal highlights for me too:

January - I got an SUV, my first step on the road to mommyville.
February - A glorious and life changing week at Canyon Ranch.
March - A dreaded, but necessary trip to my father's hometown of Shamrock, TX, which reconnected me to family.
March - The difficult and heartbreaking task of emptying my parents house and having an estate sale.
April - A very fun long Easter weekend spent dog sitting Winston, who I completely fell in love with and still miss.
March - May - A slew of first time parenting classes, seminars and lectures that in no way prepared me for the "real" thing.
April - Two lovingly hosted baby showers.
June - Your birth.
June - December - Getting to know my mother-in-law better.
July - Seeing Coldplay in concert (this was also the night of your first babysitter).
July - Trapeze school for my friend, Wendi's 40th birthday.
September - Seeing Dave Matthews Band in concert (no yearly list of highlights would be complete without this). :)
February and September - Having two good friends give birth to their own little bundles of joy.
October - A short but very sweet visit from my aunt and uncle.
October - Seeing "The Lion King" on stage.
November - Our first family trip to Florence, Italy.
December - A 24 hour overnight date at the Hard Rock Hotel with your dad.

On a global scale, from a boy not in a balloon, to the inauguration of the nation's 44th president, 2009 saw big and not so big stories dominate airwaves and front pages.

Here are just a few that I will remember (with help from The Huffington Post):

Miracle on the Hudson - January 15
Pilot makes emergency "splashdown" landing in Hudson River after aircraft suffers a "double bird strike." All passengers and crew members survive. Pilot C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger becomes a hero.

Obama Sworn In - January 20
Barack Obama becomes the nation's 44th president.

Madoff's Multi-Billion Dollar Ponzi Scheme - March
Disgraced financier Bernard Madoff is sentenced to 150 years in prison for defrauding private investors and charities of billions over the course of his career. Many lose their life savings.

Michael Jackson's Death - June 25
The death of the self-proclaimed King of Pop stands out in a summer of notable deaths. Jackson's passing at age 50 was is as dramatic and theatrical as the performer's life and includes accusations of murder at the hands of a private physician. Los Angeles prosecutors say any charges relating to Jackson's death will come in 2010.

Sotomayor Becomes Supreme Court Justice - August 6
Justice Sonia Sotomayor becomes the nation's first Hispanic person to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. The former appeals court judge is Obama's first nomination to the court and is confirmed despite efforts to block her nomination over comments she made about race in the courtroom. Sotomayor is the third woman to serve on the bench of the country's highest court.

Sen. Ted Kennedy Dies - August 25
Longtime Senator from Massachusetts dies after battling brain cancer.

Jaycee Dugard Kidnapping - August 26
Jaycee Dugard is discovered alive after being kidnapped 18 years ago.

Balloon Boy - October 15
Falcon Heene makes headlines when his parents report that a helium-filled balloon floated away with the boy inside. The boy is later found safe in his family's attic, but the ensuing media frenzy exposes cracks in the family's story and Heene's parents, reality TV wannabes, are charged with making false statements.

Fort Hood Shooting - November 5
13 die in an attack at Fort Hood in Texas, when Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan allegedly opens fire.

Health Care Reform
- November 7
A plan to reform America's health care system moves forward in congress.

Gay Marriage Gains And Losses
Same-sex marriage gains approval in Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Washington D.C. It is rejected by voters in Maine and by the New York legislature.

U.S. Economy
High unemployment, slow economic growth, and high foreclosure rates persist despite stimulus package and bank bailouts.

Detroit Bailout
US automakers GM and Chrysler are bailed out by federal government.

Swine Flu, Vaccination Shortages
Swine Flu outbreak in Mexico becomes global pandemic. H1N1 vaccination production, delivery in US falls short of expectations.

Afghan War & Afghan Elections
Hamid Karzai is sworn in for second term as president after election opponent withdraws from runoff. President Obama deliberates over troop levels in Afghanistan and decides to escalate war with surge of 30,000 more American troops.

Iraq Draw-Down
Conditions improve but bombings persist as US forces prepare to end combat operations by August of 2010 and withdraw completely by 2012.

The best is yet to be and here's looking forward to all that lies ahead in 2010.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Brothers

Today's post has nothing to do with raising Lucas, but it has everything to do with family. My sister and I saw the movie Brothers the other night and it was amazing.

A remake of the 2004 Swedish film, Bröder, the trio of Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman was a draw for me and from an acting standpoint, they did not disappoint. The script gives Macguire the most to work with as the family man/Marine, Capt. Sam Cahill, whose latest trip to Afghanistan sees him imprisoned by the Taliban and ultimately returned to America with some serious psychological issues. While he is MIA, his wife, Grace, (Portman) and ex-con brother, Tommy, (Gyllenhaal) are told he is dead, and the two grow closer, eventually verging on emotional and physical attachment.

Watching these three individuals go through their personal journeys is heartbreaking and beautiful, especially that of Cahill. I wasn't expecting to be so emotionally attached or moved by this film. It was very thought provoking for me and made me realize that war affects more than just the solider, it takes its toll on the entire family and all of those left behind. In many ways, I think it's harder for those left waiting at home for the safe return of their loved one.

I highly recommend this movie hope Tobey Maguire wins the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for his stunning performance.

I am thankful that I don't know anyone involved in the war in any way, but I know that I am in the minority. I am ashamed to admit that I'm not even sure why we are fighting. I know that it is mainly in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on the US, but I believe that the conflict is much deeper and older than that.

It blows my mind that we are in year nine of the war in Afghanistan and currently have 70,000 U.S. military personnel stationed there. Now, that's something to think about! Or what about the sobering fact that as of today, December 19, 2009 we have lost 5,288 soldiers. 4,356 in Operation Iraqi Freedom and 932 in Operation Enduring Freedom. That's 5,288 souls too many.

The best is yet to be. May peace on earth be near.

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Bittersweet

Clearly my parents have been on my mind a lot lately; probably because it's the holiday season, or maybe my sister's recent visit. It has been way too long since I have seen their faces or heard their voices and when I read this story today, it warmed my heart in a bittersweet sort of way and naturally made me think about them.

I find a lot of comfort in the fact that my parents died together. They were wonderful people as individuals, but together they were amazing and a true team. They balanced each other out so nicely. Where he was weak, she was strong and vice versa. I can't even fathom having one here without the other, as strange as that may sound. Of course, I didn't have a choice in the matter.

Unfortunately, they didn't live as long as James and Lolie, but they did have a very full life and had been married for 38 years at the time of their deaths. That's a lifetime to me! My parents most likely didn't know what was happening to them when they died and I find solace in that too.

Wherever they are, I am glad that they found each other and left this world together.

The best is yet to be.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Spirit Of Christmas

My mother loved Christmastime and our house was always decked out for the holidays. She is the reason Hallmark exists! We always had a beautiful tree covered with colorful international treasures from our life overseas and all the traveling we had done together. She loved snow globes and nativity scenes and every year one whole couch would be completely covered with her motley crew of Christmas guys (stuffed animals dressed in red and green). She had Christmas dishes strewn about the house filled with holiday candy and would have enough baked goods on hand to guarantee at least a three to five pound weight gain after each visit. She was a big fan of the Christmas letter (writing and receiving them) and she loved shopping for our holiday cards and stationary the day after Christmas for the following year. I remember many 5:00 AMs on December 26 rifling through bins of picked over greeting cards to find enough boxes for everyone on her and my father's Christmas list. I swear they sent 300 cards!

I miss my mother every day but especially during the holiday season. She made Christmas special with her childlike enthusiasm and overall joy.

My dad, on the other hand was the exact opposite. Sure, he loved the Christmas cookies, but growing up, his family would put up their Christmas tree the day before Christmas and take it down the day after, or so he said. He would often tell my mom to buy what she wanted and he would wrap it and put it under the tree. Over the years, he started to get into it more and I think even began to enjoy picking out gifts for all of us and eventually came to understand the element of surprise, however, his wrapping always left a lot to be desired! See picture above; that is VHS tape wrapped around a present. My dad also had a vast collection of holiday music and liked to play it constantly the week of Christmas.

One of my favorite family holiday traditions on Christmas day was after all the presents were opened and prominently displayed in front of the tree (another tradition), we would go to a movie. Many big blockbusters open on Christmas day and we had fun trying to agree on which one to see. After the movie we would come home and make leftover turkey sandwiches and each have a slice of pie. Chocolate pudding for me, pumpkin for my dad, and pecan for my mom and sister.

This will be my third Christmas without my parents and it is very different now; and for me it has lost some of the magic. My in-laws have done their best to include me and my sister in their holiday, but I am looking forward to creating new traditions with Lucas and hopefully seeing some of that lost Christmas spirit shine through him.

The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Speechless

I knew it would happen at some point, but I wish I had been more ready for it, more prepared. Someone told me off while leaving a restaurant today because Lucas' fussing apparently "ruined her lunch".

My sister, my friend, her three month old son, Lucas and I and were at lunch today and although we met on the early side (just before noon) and had a great table towards the front of the restaurant and in a corner with no one siting near us, both of the babies took their turns being loud and a bit out of sorts. As we like to say, if it's not one of them, it's the other. Mine, admittedly more so than the three month old, because as I have mentioned, he has discovered he has a voice and that by using it he can get more attention.

My sister and I played "pass the baby" and played, fed, engaged and entertained Lucas as much as we possibly could and for the most part, I didn't think he was being too terrible or any louder than usual. As a new mommy, I am still VERY sensitive to every noise he makes in public and try to minimize his volume as best I can. I can't even barely stand it when he screams out or fusses, why would anyone else?

We each had an entree and a cocktail and were in the establishment for maybe an hour and a half. We caught up and exchanged holiday gifts and had a very nice time until we got up to leave when a woman from across the room yelled out; "Thanks ladies, you ruined our lunch". I can only assume she was referring to our babies and their noises and I was completely shocked and wasn't sure if I had heard her correctly. My sister said, "Excuse me?" and she repeated the statement, to which I then said very snidely, "It was my pleasure.", which I now realize was a lame come back, but I was so speechless. Who says something like that?! Oh, I know, someone who is either too selfish to have children of her own or who believes in the philosophy that children are to be seen and not heard, which is completely ridiculous. Whatever the case may be, it was out of line and rude and I am still in shock! I am also angry. Angry that I let it upset me so much, angry that I am going to be even more sensitive the next time I go out to eat and angry that people like that woman exist in this world. Where is her empathy, sympathy and compassion?

The best is yet to be and next time, I'll have a better reaction and response.

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Guest Post

We love it when your aunt Leah visits, especially during the holiday. Today, we took you Christmas shopping and to lunch. You were not exactly in the holiday spirit, so we ended up shopping in shifts, but we got a lot done and had fun doing it (thanks to a much needed cocktail break!).

Here is your aunt Leah's holiday post:

December 14, 2009

Seasons Greetings, Lucas! Welcome to your first holiday season! I know for a fact that Santa will be very good to you this Christmas! As your aunt, I feel like it’s my responsibility to spoil you rotten all the time but now that the holidays are upon us, I feel that way even more. I just love seeing your face light up when you see something new and exciting. But to be honest, the older you get the more joy you’ll get from opening up presents.

You simply cannot enjoy a holiday like Christmas without children around. They go hand-in-hand. The older I get, the sillier buying lots of gifts for everyone in the family seem. What we should be giving to each other is love and more of our time. I promise to always be generous with my love and with my time for you. Don’t get me wrong; I totally understand that it’s hard for children not to be greedy when relatives keep asking them to name all the toys they want. Parents and adults need to teach kids the true Christmas spirit without completely removing the gift-giving factor. It can be done.

I have no doubt that your mom and dad will show you how to appreciate the true meaning of Christmas, as you grow older.

I recently found this quote and I think it sums up my feelings about this holiday:

“The hidden meaning is that Christmas is the festival of the human heart. It is a time of year when all the universe conspires to raise the vibratory level of consciousness on earth to one of peace and love toward ourselves and one another. This season resonates to the sweet, childlike innocence that resides in all of us. A time when the heavenly forces inspire us to shift our focus away from fear and toward one of joy, and healing.” – Sonia Choquette

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Lucas and I promise the best is yet to be in 2010!


Thanks, Leah. We are looking forward to spending the holiday with you too and are so happy that you are going to be such a big part of Lucas' first Christmas.

The best is yet to be indeed.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Chickmas

As I have already shared, (Creature Of Habit) I don't cook, but occasionally I do enjoy baking. 'Tis the season and because my PMS is in full swing, last night, after we put you to bed, my sister and I watched It's a Wonderful Life and made cookies. Peanut Butter Blossoms with Hershey's Kisses and Oatmeal Chocolate Chip to be exact and they didn't turn out half bad. In other words, they were perfect and hit the spot! Well, I can't be trusted with eight dozen cookies in my house, so I'm sharing them.

Tonight is what my girlfriends and I affectionately call Chickmas, where we get together, act silly, enjoy too much wine (or is it enjoy too much wine and then act silly?) and have a sort of white elephant-type gift exchange. Except in this gift exchange, the gifts are pretty nice (or naughty) and so ensues the stealing of the gifts. My dear friend, Nancy hosts this much anticipated soiree and it's always a very fun night.

Here's hoping my cookies will be a big hit at the party and that I end up with a great steal-worthy gift. :)

The best is yet to be. Happy Chickmas, everyone!

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Bah Humbug

I needed to run 19 errands today (okay, give or take 10) and we got to three (the gas station doesn't count). Someone, I'll just call him Mr. Fussypants for the purposes of this post, wasn't having it. He screamed at the top of his lungs at each and every place we went today thoroughly embarrassing me and making me sweaty. He downed two bottles in nothing flat because they were the only things that seemed to keep him happy on our big whopping 90 minute outing.

I've had it, he's had it and I still have a million things to do.

With just two weeks until Christmas, I'm at the point where we all get (I hope I'm not the only one?!) where I hate the holiday season. I hate the rushing around, I hate the traffic, I hate the pressure (mostly self-induced), I hate being sick for the fourth week in a row (!), I hate the rain and cold and stupid drivers and long lines and decorations and over the top cheeriness and greeting cards (even though ours are done and very cute: Happy Holidays!) and I am just wishing it were July!

I am taking a deep breath and counting to 10 and you, my darling baby are taking a much needed nap.

I am looking forward to your aunt Leah being here tomorrow night. Not only is she a wonderful source for comic relief, but maybe after a few laughs, I can have her watch you for a couple of hours and escape to get some of my holiday crap done. :)

The best is yet to be?

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Happy Holidays 2009

Whew! I am proud to announce that our holiday card is in the mail.

It was quite the feat taking the photo, choosing a design and writing text that your dad and I could both agree upon, getting the darn thing ordered, and addressing and stamping the envelopes, but it's done.

Here is a sneak peak:



The best is yet to be!

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Operation Get Fit

Why did I do it?! I stepped on the scale, damn it!! I know it's only a number, but I still have SIX POUNDS left to lose to be at my pre-pregnancy weight.

I guess I sort of thought (hoped) that with all the walking we did in Italy and the several days I have spent eating like a bird, because I have been too stuffed up to even taste food that I would have lost those last few extra pesky pounds. I was wrong. Boo hoo!

This is definitely the hardest time of the year to be watching what I eat; with the holiday parties, my mother-in-law's amazing cooking, libations o'plenty and all the other sinful goodies. But, I have a plan. I have asked Santa for a trainer! ;) I have never had a trainer before and I am very excited and a little scared. And now that you are over six months old, I can actually take you with me to the gym and put you in the Kid's Club for a couple of hours (with trained/certified/professional child care takers). Operation Get Fit starts next week!!

I fit in to one pair of my pre-pregnancy jeans, but there are many more where that came from, along with corduroys, slacks, skirts, dresses and bikinis I am bound and determined to wear them all again.

The best is yet to be.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Parenthood Is A Mine-Field Of Unpredictability

I don't want to make a habit of reposting other people's articles or blog postings, but this is just too good not to share and given all of the airline travel that we have been doing lately and will continue to do, I can definitely relate to this (the uncontrollable screaming kid part):

From Motherlode: Adventures in Parenting, a parenting blog on nytimes.com:

November 4, 2009, 4:04 pm
How (Not) to Calm a Child on a Plane
By Lisa Belkin

Johanna Stein, a TV writer, who describes herself as a “first time parent and long-time neurotic,” read my post about the mother and child who were escorted off a Southwest flight last week, and sent me an essay she wrote about being that parent — the kind whose child won’t stop screaming.

Many of us have been where she sat. But, she warns, most of us would never want to do what she did.

How to Survive a Midair Disaster
By Johanna Stein

I am at the O’Hare airport with my daughter and the guy she calls “dada.” We are about to board a Florida-bound plane to visit my mother-in-law.

But the child is losing it.

After two years of being the perfect travel companion she has suddenly developed a fear of flying. For a toddler, she’s pretty smart (I’m not bragging when I say that… it actually creeps me out) and I wonder if maybe she’s worked out the physics of what we are about to do. Perhaps she has come to realize, as I have, that manned flight is a practical impossibility and is certain to end in our fiery deaths.

Or maybe she’s just toying with me.

Whatever is going on in that reptilian brain of hers, she is yelling at the top of her lungs, “NO AY-PWAY! NO AY-PWAYYYYY!”

I pour the screaming mass down the gangway. We board the airplane and take refuge in our seats. Luckily we’ve scored the bulkhead. Actually, luck had nothing to do with it. I had flirted mercilessly with the ticketing agent, a very fit man with impeccable hair, who my husband later informed me was clearly gay. Whatever. Whether I’d seduced him, or whether he’d simply taken pity on a woman with zero gaydar, the result was the same: I’d scored. But in this moment I take no comfort in our rock-star seating, because there is a demon in my lap who is trying to separate my scalp from my head.

People file past us, with varying looks of pity and horror but mostly relief that they are not sitting next to the kid screaming like a mongoose that’s been stabbed with a rusty steak knife. And even though the titanium-haired stewardess has announced that the flight is full, the seat next to me remains suspiciously empty. Perhaps my neighbor-to-be saw the Tasmanian Devil in my arms and chose to de-plane and take a 96-hour Greyhound bus ride home instead.

The husband glares at me. I glare back, peeling my lips over my teeth, skeletor-style. Every parent recognizes this wordless exchange which, roughly translated, means “I WILL DIVORCE YOU IN THE NEXT FOUR SECONDS UNLESS YOU FIX THIS.”

His response is to rub the child’s back, softly saying “it’s gonna be okay” over and over. I don’t know who is more annoyed by it, the kid or me. So I take control of the situation, ransacking the diaper bag, presenting my findings to the child in hopes that something will distract her: snack-pack… stuffed animal… crayons… super-plus tampon hanging out of a torn wrapper… Nothing. The child just gets redder and louder.

I reach into the seat pocket on the wall of our bulkhead seats and pull out the SkyMall magazine. Nothing thrills me more than the SkyMall. Where else can you buy a one-person submarine for only $9,000? Evidently my daughter does not share my love for the Mall of the Sky. She rips the magazine out of my hand and flings it and the tampon onto the lap of a businessman sitting two rows back.

The captain’s voice comes over the loudspeaker, “Ladies and gentlemen”, he says, “we realize this is a full flight, but we cannot take off until everyone” which can only mean me, “takes their seats.”

By this time the stewardess is sending me a look that is 40 percent concern, 60 percent irritation. I offer her a “hey, whattaya-gonna-do, right?” smile-shrug combo, then wonder if USA Today will pick up the story when we are ejected from the flight

As a last ditch effort, I grab an air sickness bag from out of the wall pocket. Using one of the rejected crayons I scrawl a face on the bottom of the bag. I reach inside, turn it into a hand-puppet and say the funniest thing I can think of: “Ooga booga.” The child stops crying. Then smiles. Then giggles.

“You like the puppet?” I ask. “MO PUPPA!” she says.

The orange-level threat has been averted. Frau Stewardess smiles, blessing me with a nod. I couldn’t be prouder if I’d just disarmed a hijacker with a Uniball pen and a lavender-scented sleep mask.

I think “maybe I should write a parenting book — or a column.” Yes, a monthly column, maybe in Family Circle magazine, or the New York Times, where I will offer helpful parenting advice under headings like, “Keeping Your Cool Amidst Chaos” and “Saving the World, One Diaper at a Time.”

The child — now human again — interrupts my fantasy publishing life. “Mo Puppa, momma!”

I kiss her head, thank the gods above for imbuing me with such natural parenting ability, then think to myself, “sure, one puppet is fine, but two puppets — now that’s a show!” I reach into the wall-pocket in front of my husband and take out his air sickness bag. I draw another face, this time taking a little more time and care with my creation. I give it curly hair, long eyelashes and glasses so that it looks a little bit like me. Nice touch.

I stick my hand inside. And then my world contracts.

Seems this air sickness bag has been used before, but not for a puppet show. No, it’s been used for the purpose that god intended.

There is puke in them thar folds.

A weak cry crawls out of my throat. My husband looks at me, understanding immediately what has taken place. He is horrified, though I think I see the tiniest hint of a smile creeping across his face. After deciding that I will divorce him the minute we land, I turn to the matter on hand. On my hand. IT’S ON MY HAND!!

You think that having a child has prepared you for dealing with the bodily functions of humanity. Until you’re wearing a glove made of the puke of a stranger.

I spring out of my seat, afflicted digits still in the bag.

Of course there is no lavatory in the front of the plane, where we are, in the bulkhead seats. I curse my flirtation skills, then make my way to the bathroom in the back of the plane.

The aisle is filled with humans lumbering to their seats. My instinct is to crawl between their legs, leapfrog over them… do whatever I have to do to get to the bathroom in the rear.

Finally I claw open the lavatory door and lock myself in.

I take a deep breath, then pull out the hand.

It is covered in a substance that is not quite warm, but it is wet. Viscous. Bubbly. Clearer than I imagined, but interspersed with flecks of something. Honey-roasted peanuts, maybe?

As I wash my hand in water hotter than I can bear, I think maybe I should save the bag for its DNA, just in case I acquire some rare, undefined flesh-eating disease and need to identify. But no, I think, I’d rather go to my death than have to look into the face of the person whose guts I have touched.

Now clean, I take a moment for a full body-shudder, and another to marvel at the perfect storm that has just occurred:

Roughly two million people fly the friendly American skies every single day. How many of those travelers feel nauseated enough to reach for, and then use, an air-sickness bag? (I travel often and can count on one clean hand the number of times I’ve seen it happen.) And of those phantom pukers, how many would choose to tuck the vomit-filled vessel back into the wall-pocket? And then, what’s the likelihood that a cleaning crew would overlook the sack o’ sick? And finally, what are the odds that all of this would become the perfect set-up for one arrogant idiot who tries to make a hand-puppet out of a barf bag?!

As I exit the bathroom, I stare into the faces of the last hurried stragglers boarding the plane. They all look agitated, each one facing the prospect of a middle seat. “You think that’s bad?” I want to say. If that’s the worst thing that’s going to happen to you today, then you, my friend, have hit the jackpot. Because you’re looking at a woman who has seen into the abyss.

I hurry all the way back to my (damned bulkhead) seat. The child is now asleep, clutching the original vomit-free bag to her chest like a teddy bear. Normally an episode like this would send me into a deep and lasting rage, long enough to write at least half of an angry letter, but as I watch the sleeping baby, my fury deflates.

I will not judge the poor sick bastard who, in a moment of lapsed judgment, has made my list of life’s most disgusting experiences. Who am I to cast the first stone? If somebody filmed all of my questionable life moments, then edited them together, the resulting movie would be about three hours shorter than my actual life span. So no, I will not condemn the Barfing Bandit.

All I can do is chalk this one up to experience. Parenthood is a mine-field of unpredictability. Sometimes the mines are made of tears, sometimes they’re made of undigested food.

Anyway, it’s possible that the occurrence of this mathematical improbability has created a statistical vortex by which we are virtually guaranteed that this plane will land safely. So thank you former passenger of seat 1B, wherever you are, for saving our lives with a single, well-placed heave.

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“Girl” Has Never Been My Strong Suit

I have never been a girly girl. Sure, I wear (minimal) make-up and perfume (when I remember), like flowers and get my nails done every two weeks, but pink is not my favorite color, I don't enjoy shopping all that much, my husband has way more shoes than I do and even though I own a couple pairs of stilettos, I can't walk in them to save my life. I am most comfortable in jeans and sneakers and sometimes enjoy a cold beer over wine. To be honest, most of the time I still feel like I am struggling with my femininity like an awkward prepubescent teen, but I try.

Because I don't think I do "girl" very well, when I found out that I was pregnant with a boy, I was overjoyed! I think men are very cool. I love how no nonsense they are about life. Girls are way too complicated, to put it mildly.

Friends and total strangers alike are always telling me how great raising boys is; "Boys are wonderful," "Boys are so much better/easier/funner than girls," "Boys love their mothers differently than girls." A lot of this remains to be seen since you are only six months old, but I am very excited to be the mom of a boy and raising a little gentleman.

I'm looking forward to rough and tumble play, pockets full of marbles, bugs, rocks and dirt, cheering you on from the stands at baseball/football/soccer/basketball games, teaching you how to slow dance (I've been told I like to lead, so I should be pretty good at that), tie a tie and pull out a chair. I also can't wait to have a beer with you, of course, I'll probably have to share that outing with your dad.

For now, I am enjoying right where we are. Although, I must admit, now that my life is full of everything blue, brown or striped, has wheels and makes a lot of noise, a little pink might be nice.

The best is yet to be...bring on the farting, belching, boogers, and scratching.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sick Of Being Sick

Being sick sucks. Being sick and caring for an infant really sucks. Luckily, you have been very good, extremely patient and more important, haven't gotten sick yourself.

My poor baby has put up with me coughing, blowing my nose, yelling from the bathroom that "I'll be right back", sucking on lozenges and laying around in my pajamas for over a month. I am now on my third round of this flu/sinus infection BS and I'm over it!

As soon as I start to feel better, I have a relapse. Maybe I need to visit the doctor again? Maybe I need yet another day in my jammies? Whatever I need, I'm sick of being sick. I have spent the last three Christmases feeling crummy and I refuse to make it a fourth. Enough is enough. So there!

The best if yet to be.

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Sunday, December 6, 2009

Half A Year

Once you outgrew your newborn diapers, I placed one of them on the memo board in your room as a gentle reminder that you once fit into it. Every time I look at that diaper, I am reminded of how quickly you are growing and changing. You are in size 3 diapers now! It's crazy, where did the last six months go?

Today, we have made it through half a year and like you, I have SO much to learn! I think we are doing are okay though. Here are some of your milestones since turning five months old:
  • You can bounce yourself in your bouncy seat and sometimes it is the only thing that can calm you.
  • You LOVE the Johnny Jumper; I just wish we had a door frame in our home for one, but I guess that's what Grandma & Grandpa's house is for. :)
  • You get upset when something is taken away from you.
  • You are starting to love the "if I drop it, mom will pick it up" game.
  • You can roll over and back.
  • You can move an object from one hand to the other.
  • You can "hold" a conversation, in fact your communication skills in general have vastly improved and you can now squeal, scream (not my favorite), make bubbling sounds, and operatic octave changes. I can't wait to hear "mama" and "dada".
  • You are learning to love cereal and I'm learning to love feeding you with a spoon.
  • You are an international man of mystery having received your first passport stamp and celebrated your first Thanksgiving in Italy!
  • You can now use the Maclaren stroller (despite the recent recall) because you can sit up...with support.
  • You can not be trusted in any of the numerous apparatuses that we have for you without being securely strapped in because you have become a wiggle worm.
  • You have outgrown your first car seat but sadly are still rear-facing in your new one, a very fancy, plush Recaro.
  • You are almost exclusively in 6-9 month clothes now.
  • Your eyes are still blue.
The best is yet to be.

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

24 Hour Date Night

We have a free night stay at the Hard Rock hotel in downtown San Diego, so do you know what that means?! 24 hour date night!! Tonight will mark the first night that your dad and I have both been away from you all night long together and has horrible as it may sound, I don't have a worry in sight. You are going to be in the capable, loving and caring hands of your grandparents. Let's hear it for 'em!

Even though I sleep next to the man every night and I just got to go to Italy with him for a week, I miss your dad. We need to reconnect and have some fun and no offense, but have our time together have nothing to do with you, although I am certain that your name will come up a time or 30 over the next 24 hours.

Nobody told me that my relationship with my husband would change once we had a baby. It stands to reason, I mean, after all our marriage now has a third component to it! I just wasn't expecting it nor was I all together prepared for it. I feel like we are at the point in our new parenthood where we are coming up for air (i.e. you are on somewhat of a schedule, we are getting more sleep and my hormones are starting to return to their previous state), so now is a good time to have this mini get-away.

I love how your dad and I work together as a team to care for you, but we need this! We need this one night away together. So, here's hoping you have a fabulous time with Grandma and Grandpa (I know you will) and here's hoping we have a fabulous night without you. ;) Again, no offense.

The best is yet to be and don't worry, we will return.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mad Dash

I haven't worked since September 2008 by choice and baby, so I have spent a lot of week days out in the public at grocery stores, shopping centers, post offices, restaurants, and the like and it never fails to amaze me how busy these retail and service spots are; no matter what day or time of the day I venture out.

Yesterday, I took you to a nearby shopping mall to have your picture taken with Santa and because I have been sick and we have been cooped up all week, I thought that it would be a nice outing for us. I also thought since it was 11:00 on a Wednesday that the mall would be relatively sparse of crowds. Boy, was I wrong! Although there was only one other mommy and tot in line to meet jolly old St. Nick, the parking lot was a disaster and every store we went into was packed. I know it's the holiday season and everyone seems to already be in that mad dash to check items off their gift lists, not to mention, there are a lot of incredible sales going on, but it is like this All. The. Time! Here I thought we were in a recession.

By the way, you were very mellow meeting Santa. I love how you have you arm draped across him like you are making yourself at home. :) Everyone says that in next year's photo, you won't be so docile.

I also got a Baby's First Christmas ornament for our tree and crossed a couple of names off our gift list.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

'Tis The Season

After the heaviness of yesterday's post, I wanted to completely turn the tables and share something light and fun; and yet still holiday related...

I am starting to feel better (finally saw the doctor and am on antibiotics for a sinus infection) and I am beginning to feel the signs of Christmas in the air, like hearing Wham's "Last Christmas" on the radio. I think George Michael is still H-O-T and I love that cheesy 80's song. Hearing it to me, means it's the holidays. So, with that, here are some quotes about the most wonderful time of the year that I love:

"There's nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child." - Erma Bombeck

"I wish we could put up some of the Christmas spirit in jars and open a jar of it every month." - Harlan Miller

"From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas, brings us closer to each other." - Emily Matthews

"There is no ideal Christmas; only the one Christmas you decide to make as a reflection of your values, desires, affections, traditions." - Anonymous

"What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future. It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace." - Agnes M. Pharo

"Christmas is for children. But it is for grownups too. Even if it is a headache, a chore, and nightmare, it is a period of necessary defrosting of chill and hide-bound hearts." - Lenora Mattingly Weber

"Never worry about the size of your Christmas tree. In the eyes of children, they are all 30 feet tall." - Larry Wilde

"Whatever else be lost among the years, let us keep Christmas still a shining thing: whatever doubts assail us, or what fears, let us hold close one day, remembering its poignant meaning for the hearts of men. Let us get back our childlike faith again."- Grace Noll Crowell

"Somehow, not only for Christmas, but all the long year through, the joy that you give to others, is the joy that comes back to you. And the more you spend in blessing, the poor and lonely and sad, the more of your heart's possessing, returns to you glad. - John Greenleaf Whittier

My personal favorite:

"I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year." - Charles Dickens

The best is yet to be.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

What Do You Believe?

Controversial Topic Alert!

"We are all inventors, each sailing out on a voyage of discovery, guided each by a private chart, of which there is no duplicate. The world is all gates, all opportunities." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I always think about religion a little more around the holiday season than any other time of the year because I want to believe in God and we celebrate Christmas because we are celebrating the birth of Jesus...disguised with tree trimming, photos on Santa's lap, gift giving and overall over indulgence. I have to admit I sort of subscribe to the latter. Once again, I am probably going to be biting off a lot more than I can chew with this post, but here I go!

When I say I want to believe in God, I really do. It's a lovely concept but I can't wrap my head around the thought of some holy and just God existing when there is so much scientific evidence to prove that he doesn't. Aside from that, if he did exist, why would he allow such heartache, cruelty and devastation to this world and to good and kind people?

It seems to me that most people turn to religion when they need something; guidance or help through tough times, grief, loss, or illness. I think I have been through enough grief and loss for one lifetime and I didn't find any comfort in God when I lost my parents or was going through a divorce and I honesty don't think he has anything to do with my current journey to find peace or spirituality. On the other hand, I'm not angry at him or anyone else for that matter over any of it either. I didn't once believe and then turn away, I guess is what I'm trying to say. I believe one can be spiritual without being religious.

I did not grow up with religion in my home. I was baptized and find a little comfort in knowing that, but remember as a family we stopped going to church on Sundays when I was three or four years old. I have attended services of many faiths and celebrated Muslim, Hindu and Jewish holidays with friends and Christian holidays in my own home.

I know my father was an atheist and we stopped going to church because he thought the people attending the services were hypocrites; they would curse, drink, lie and cheat and then "go get right with God" on Sundays so that they could sleep a little better at night. I think my mother wanted to believe but was probably agnostic.
What I am and have been most of my life is agnostic as well, but it wasn't until I started thinking about this post that I actually looked up the definition. According to Wikipedia:

Agnosticism is the philosophical view that the truth value of certain claims—particularly metaphysical claims regarding theology, afterlife, or the existence of deities, spiritual beings, or even ultimate reality—are unknown, or, in some forms of agnosticism, unknowable. It is not a religious declaration in itself, and an agnostic may also be a theist or an atheist.

The concept of religion is prevalent when it comes to raising a child and both parents need to be on the same page. In our home, I hope that we will try to talk about as many different religions and religious holidays as possible to give some perspective different traditions, helping put the Easters and Christmases in context by discussing them in the same breath as Ramadan or Yom Kippur or Vesak. That's means a lot of work; comparative religion has never been an area of expertise for me, but I'm open and willing to learn. Perhaps we can invite priests and rabbis into our home to help educate you so that you can make your own decision on which path to follow.

It's December 1 and Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa will be here before we know it so I encourage everyone to think about what the holiday means to them.

To me, the holidays are about being spending time with those you love, bringing out your inner child, singing carols, sipping hot cocoa, stuffing stockings, delighting in the pure and innocent joy on the faces of children on Christmas morning and the magic of Santa Claus. I also think it's a perfect time to reflect on the blessings of the past year and the hopefulness of the new year approaching.

The best is yet to be, no matter what your beliefs.

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