Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Welcome to the 21st century, Katie

I'm sitting on the living room floor. Typing this blog. From my very own, very first LAPTOP!

I'm excited--for several reasons. Thanks to oh-so-generous parents and a friend who majorly hooked me up through Dell, I have a brand new mac-daddy, top-of-the-line, to-be-jealous-of piece of equipment. Some of those hours of freelance work I do several nights a week can now be done from the comfort of my bed, rather than at my computer desk (which, even with a hand-me-down super chair at the desk--thanks again Mother--is uncomfortable after being in the same position all day at work). There's the excitement of being able to wirelessly stream DVDs and watch shows online on my living room TV. And I'm totally eager to get back to blogging.

I've had so many great post ideas in the last months. Some of them made it in handwritten notes to be typed later. A few actually got typed but not published because I've been holding back until I could get a "what's been going on in my life" post written first. (And that's a daunting task!) Most of the great ideas have just floated around in my head, coming up for air over and over again, but never making it out of the water.

I've got a lot to share to get you caught up--life adventures, cooking and more! So I'm taking baby steps towards the daunting task. This is my intro to the "I'm back and loving life" post that will be coming soon. And coming, of course, from my BRAND. NEW. LAPTOP. Yay!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

25 things

Okay, I'm not as good at this blogging thing as I thought I'd be. I'm good at pretty much everything I do, so I didn't expect blogging to be any different, but I just can't seem to find the time! In an attempt to play catch-up and get a lot out there quickly, I decided I would just give you a list, a list of things I've wanted you to know at some point over the last two months...
  1. We celebrated my birthday on February 12. It was perfect ... great friends, good food and just a laid back time. Wouldn't go back and change a thing even if I had the chance!

  2. Grandpa Skalski (my dad) came down from Michigan to visit. Not only did he get some one-on-one time with the Boy, but he also put his handyman skills to good use and did some "around the house" projects. Definitely appreciate him making the trip!

    The Boy with Grandpa

  3. Tennessee has had some crazy snow this year. Not like up-north-crazy-snow, but for Tennessee, it was a year for the books.

    During one of the crazy snows, it took me two and a half hours to go the four blocks to pick the Boy up from school and get back to my office due to gridlocked traffic. Here's looking one direction down West End Avenue in front of my office building.

    This is looking the other direction. Needless to say, the Boy and I walked to get some dinner in the snow (Qdoba, of course!) then went back to my office to pass the time while we waited for traffic to clear.

    Traffic didn't clear until after 9 p.m., so the Boy slept on my office floor for a bit. He doesn't do well staying up past his normal bedtime!

  4. The Boy is growing up too fast. No explanation needed there.

  5. The Boy and I have started a Saturday morning blueberry pancake tradition. It's lots of fun, and recently, the Boy has started standing on a chair at the counter, supervising while I cook. You're invited to join us any Saturday you'd like ... breakfast is at 6:30 a.m. sharp!

  6. Until a little over a month ago, I was able to feed the Boy his nightly Yo Baby yogurt. He fed himself everything else, but he allowed me to shovel in the yogurt. Well, that came to an abrupt stop. He does it himself now, sometimes more successfully than others.

    A less successful attempt...

    ...and a more (sort of) successful attempt.

  7. Being the planner that I am, I make sure to fill our weekends with lots of fun activities, and one of the Boy's favorite things is outside time. Rain or shine, cold or warm, we tend to fit something outside in every weekend.

    The Boy's first time feeding duckies

    Got to follow duckie feeding with some playground time

    Love his sliding style!

  8. I need a new computer. It's so frustrating sitting at the computer desk, waiting on things to work. Not happening anytime soon though...

  9. My step-dad was laid off at work, but he and Mother are doing okay for now. There's never been a more realistic chance of them moving to Nashville than there currently is. FINGERS CROSSED!

  10. I love the Boy's teachers as much as I love his school. I love that I get tagged in Facebook pictures showing what he's up to throughout the day. Nothing else can give a mid-workday smile like that can! Not only are they extremely loving and compassionate towards the Boy, but they care about their parents, too, which in my opinion is going above and beyond! Here are some of the recent ones:

  11. It's March Madness. With the way things have played out this year, surely your bracket is as busted as mine is. Yep, I had Ohio State going all the day. DARN KENTUCKY!

  12. The Hubs and I have separated.

  13. The Boy and I have gotten back into the swing of going to church. Around Christmas, taking him to church was a nightmare, and I wasn't sure that I'd give it another go anytime soon. Well, I did, and I was relieved to find that he's now to the age that I can keep him entertained (and mostly quiet) with snacks, toy cars and books. WHEW! (And it definitely gets adoring smiles from everyone around us when he sings/dances/claps along with the music!)

  14. I love my sweet boy. So, so, so much!

  15. The Boy has developed a severe case of separation anxiety out of nowhere. :(  Well, not completely out of nowhere. It came on around the same time as the changes associated with #12 did.

  16. I've been excited about spring and the fact that I could get more use out of the Boy's bike trailer. He loves it, and I was ready to put some miles in on my bike! A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law joined us for a bike ride on our local green way. I had no idea how difficult pulling the bike trailer would make even small hills, but we were pushing through it. That is, until two miles out, my PEDAL BROKE OFF MY BIKE! Let's just say that was a LONG walk (pushing my bike with the trailer with a sleeping guy inside attached) back to the car...

  17. I like this. Would be great if it wasn't so expensive, but it's a step in the right direction. We all know how passionate I am about the whole breastfeeding topic, and I'm especially on board with most of the article's top commenters. I seriously can't get my head around folks thinking that there's anything wrong with it...

  18. I got to go be a part of the Boy's Saint Patrick's Day party at school, which I loved.

    Aren't the pretzel clovers I took for his party cute?

  19. I recently came out of bartending retirement and worked a Saturday night at Decades. It was fine, and I surprised myself and remembered what to do back there! I'm so appreciative of all of the great friends that stopped in to show their support my first night back. (And yes, it did take me ALL Sunday to recover...)

  20. The Boy now tries to mimic everything you say, from single words to long sentences. Today he pointed to the TV and shouted "doggie." Sure enough, there was a dog on the commercial. Man, he's growing up too fast!

  21. Speaking of the Boy shouting at the TV, can I just tell you how freakin' cute it is that he yells letters at the television during Wheel of Fortune! (His favorite letter is "D" but he does change it up sometimes.) He clearly gets that from his daddy...

    Going to try to get a video next time, because a photo just doesn't do it justice. :)

  22. I went bowling for the first time in years last week, and it was fun, even though I'm still really bad! My butt was sore the next day, which made me feel like I got in a mini-workout. I know it's silly, but I seriously can't wait to go again soon!

  23. I wish I could figure out what's going on with my lawn mower. Got it out for the first cut of the season, and things started off great, but it stopped running when I was only halfway done. Nothing I've tried since then has gotten it started again. BOO!

  24. I am thankful. I'm thankful for everything in my life. I'm thankful for my friends that are there for me no matter what, for my family that is always willing to listen but only talk when I need them to, for my job and co-workers, for my super sweet boy and all of the joy he brings and for life in general. I know there's no guarantee in life, and I'm thankful for every breath that I get to take.

  25. Did I mention that the Boy is growing up TOO FAST?
My goal now is to do better at the whole blogging thing, but I can't make any promises. Lots of changes happening at my house, but in true planner style, things are already pretty booked up in my world through the end of May... :)

Oh, and I want to hear from you, so leave me comments! Let me know what 25 (or two) things you have to share from over the past few months.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Better late than never?

If your answer is no, then you must not be a busy working woman, with an almost 14 month old, along with a husband, a house and one (or ten?) too many things to do each day. If your answer is yes, then keep on reading for a January wrap-up.

Our January was filled with lots of things--more snow than Tennessee has seen in a LONG time, our five year wedding anniversary, the announcement that Jeff Fisher would not be head coach of the Titans next year (bummer) and planning of my 28th birthday celebration. One thing that our January certainly was not filled with was (unfortunately) healthiness!

It all started early in the month when I decided to work from home and not try to tackle the roads on one of our many snow days. By around lunch time things were starting to melt outside, and the Hubs, the Boy and I decided to venture out to lunch. Within an hour or so of returning home from lunch, I was in the midst of something horrible going on with my stomach. After a couple of hours of dealing with shooting stomach pain, violent chills, lightheadedness and some other symptoms of which I'll spare you, the Hubs decided it was time to go to the hospital. The Boy's favorite babysitters came right over (can't thank them enough), and off we went to the Vanderbilt ER. Several hours, two bags of IV fluid, nausea medicine and some Morphine later, we were on our way home with a diagnosis that although there had been a stomach virus going around, the doctor was pretty confident I had food poisoning due to the rapid onset and timing of my symptoms.

This is what I stared at for five hours in the emergency room. The Hubs, on the other hand, enjoyed watching the college football national championship game which was happening that night. It came on ESPN, so if we'd been at our cable-lacking home, he'd have missed it. (Gasp!)
See, I was just taking one for the team...

A couple of days later, just as I had mostly regained my strength and things were getting back to normal, the Hubs was awoken from his sleep at about 1:30 a.m. with many of those same horrible symptoms I had just experienced, and we realized I hadn't had food poisoning after all. During the Hubs' downtime, I hit another speed bump. While eating a sandwich, I bit my lip. Hard. I know it sounds silly, but it really ended up causing some problems. My whole mouth became REALLY sore for days, and I could barely talk! For someone who hadn't eaten in days due to stomach problems prior to the sandwich/lip bite incident, I was really hungry and really miserable.

Of course stomachs eventually settled, my mouth healed, and I was sure we were back on our way to health superstars. That is, until I got a call from the Boy's school director last Friday morning. He had tripped walking over to get seated for his morning snack and hit his face on the corner of the snack table on the way down. The table definitely won the fight ... he ended up with a small cut on his eye lid and a bloody/swollen/bruised nose. This warranted a trip to the Boy's pediatrician where we learned kids his age don't really have any bones in their nose yet (still mostly cartilage) so they rarely break noses, that we should keep him doped up on infant Motrin for a couple days to help with the nose pain, and the swelling and bruising should be gone within a couple of weeks. We also learned that the Boy had what might be the start of an ear infection, so he was prescribed his first ever antibiotic. The pink stuff ... yum, yum!

The Boy's busted up nose
(Ignore the food all over his mouth. The nose pain definitely did NOT put a damper on his appetite.)

As you can imagine, all of this craziness has put me WAY behind at work so I've been going in early, skipping lunches and scrambling to stay afloat get somewhat caught up.

We were able to fit some fun into the few "well" periods of the month. The Boy and I did the Zoo Run Run 5K at the Nashville Zoo. It was chilly but not bad at all once we got going. And as I've said before, the Boy loves being outside!

We're ready to go!

The token souvenir "in front of the sign" photo

We stayed at a cabin in Alabama for a couple of days to do our holiday celebration with the Hubs' mom and step-dad. Someone was smiling down on us ... the sun was out the entire weekend!

Doing a little outdoor exploring with Grandma

And that brings us to February. February is a fun month. One of my sisters turned 18 YEARS OLD today, and my other sister turns 16 later this month. Next Saturday both my dad and I celebrate our birthdays. Throw Valentine's Day in there, Mother coming to visit, my dad coming down for a couple of days from Michigan, and it's just a non-stop party! Fingers crossed that it's a HEALTHY party...

Thursday, January 27, 2011


I am. Just wanted you to know. January has been a month crammed full of sickness (boo!) while still being on the constant go. A post is coming soon to get you up to speed. Really. I promise.  :)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New year randomness...

New Year's celebrations (and the "rightness" of relationships)
We had so much excitement New Year's Eve that we were asleep by 10:30 p.m. Actually, I was asleep on the couch before that, but I'm counting the official time as when I made the move to the bedroom. My internal clock didn't let me down though ... I woke at 11:55 p.m., watched the (replay of the) ball drop, replied to all of the Happy New Year texts I received and went back to sleep.

We saved our real celebrating for New Year's Day, when we had the wedding of some good friends to attend. The Hubs was a groomsman, and even though I made fun of his cummerbund, suspenders and bow tie, I was secretly impressed by how spiffy he looked!

Looking good, huh?

This wedding made me reflect on some thoughts and ideas that tend to be tough for me. I like things that go according to plan, and when it comes to relationships, I like them to go the "right" way. I don't think that anyone would argue that the start of the relationship for these sweet newlyweds was anything in the "right" department. And for awhile, I sort of resisted accepting the two of them as a legitimate couple. But now, reflecting on it, I realize that just because a relationship doesn't go "right" from the beginning doesn't mean that it isn't meant to be. I am confident that these two friends are perfect for each other, they make each other better people and they will be married for the rest of their lives. And I am proud that they are a part of my life.

Their now "official" perfect little family

Do any of us really have "right" relationships? I know I sure don't! I have friends who are miserably unhappy but stick with their significant others because it's the easy thing to do. I have friends that sneak around behind their partners' backs (which I do NOT agree with) and know that they're doing wrong but can't figure out how to move forward. I have (lots of) friends that didn't do things in the "right" order and had babies before marriage. Even my few married friends that did everything in the "right" order and appear to have "right" relationships have their own secret problems. But I love, love, love all of my friends, so I am working to redefine "right" and accept it as whatever is "right" for that person.

Our weekend of New Year's celebrations concluded with going for a walk in the sun with the Boy. He loves it outside, and even though it was chilly, the sun was invigorating!

Thanks to our favorite babysitters not only for babysitting while we attended the wedding but also for this cool trike they got the Boy for his birthday!

Back to the grind our routine
Tuesday meant back to work for us and back to school for the Boy. (After spending so much time with him over the holidays, I really missed him during the work day!) The Boy only returned to his normal routine for one day though, because as of yesterday, he officially moved up to his new toddler class at school. He loves it! (although I'm sure he'll miss all of the snuggle time with his favorite infant teacher, Miss Meagan) He's been visiting his new classroom for parts of the day for the last couple of weeks, and he is so intrigued by the bigger kids and classroom learning centers. He loves going outside twice every day and is really thriving with the more structured schedule. No more cribs and high chairs at school ... they eat family-style with little tables and chairs and sleep on cots.

He might not be a baby anymore, but he's still Mommy's sweet little boy. His favorite car ride activity is holding my hand. It seriously makes my heart melt. No matter how bad my elbow hurts or how cramped up my arm is from navigating it to the back seat while driving, I just can't stand to hear him cry when I know all he wants is to have his sweet little hand in mine.

I bet you couldn't resist either!

As of this morning, my routine includes something that it hasn't for awhile. Yep, I'm back to the Y. I'm not happy about the timing. When I was a workout regular, I always hated the first of the year when all of the resolutioners got in my way and couldn't wait for February or March when they'd gradually slip away. It's going to look like it to all of the YMCA regulars, but I'm not getting back to the workouts because of any New Year's resolution. Schedules don't permit me to go workout after work, and I haven't been able to go before work due to nursing the Boy, pumping before work, etc. Now that I'm done with that, I can't wait to get back! Pre-baby size, here I come!

Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nah, heeeeyyyyyy, goodbye
Vince Young, that is for you. I was pleased to hear yesterday evening that Bud Adams, the owner of the Tennessee Titans, had made the decision that VY won't be on the roster next year. This is what I had been hoping (and I wasn't sure that Bud had it in him to make the cut). According to the interviews on all of the local news stations yesterday, apparently this is what most Nashvillians were hoping, too. Now he just needs to make it official that Coach Fisher WILL be here next year!

And to conclude my randomness, check out what's published about you online!
Check out http://www.spokeo.com/. Their tag line is "not your grandma's phonebook," and they aren't kidding! You just type your name in the search box, and all kinds of information pops up (frequently including your age, marital status, spouse's name, home address, photo of your home, your home's value, phone number, even your hobbies). This is all information gathered from public records, but for me, this is just too much to be so easily accessed. The good news is you can remove your profile. Click the privacy link at the bottom right corner of the screen for removal instructions. Be sure to search any nicknames and maiden names and check all previous addresses. I had several listings. I wish I would have taken a screenshot to share of all of the information they had on me before I had my profiles removed!

Happy 2011 to all of you!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My OWN bed

It's calling my name. Yes, it's not even 8 p.m., but I could seriously lay down and fall asleep right now. My excuse could be that I've been on Eastern time for the last four days. Or my excuse could be a mixture of the Boy already being in bed and going down just as easily as he always does (Can't even put in to words how excited he was about his own crib tonight!), it being cold outside and the three glasses of wine I had because it's the last night of vacation (that is, until next weekend). But I don't care if I have an excuse ... I'm tired, and I get to sleep in my own bed tonight! If there had been clean sheets, I would be skipping the blog post for tonight, for sure!

Before Christmas, I envisioned this post-celebration blog post being mostly pictures with captions, outlining all of the fun we had. But I'm not the best camera gal. I see others get out their cameras, and my mind immediately thinks, "No need to get up. They're getting all of the photos you want, and they'll share." Plus, it's just annoying at times to have to hold up the same present or hold the same pose with relatives for six different cameras! The problem is, some folks aren't good about sharing photos. I can sometimes get my sisters to share photos, but that's only because I copy and save them off of their Facebook albums. My step mom is a camera queen and has ALL of the photos I want, but she only does hard copy prints through the mail. (Although she says this time my dad will plug the camera in to the computer with the USB cord and email me photos ... fingers SERIOUSLY crossed!) She even got a good photo of the Hubs, the Boy and me!

I definitely need to quit being lazy when it comes to photo ops, and needless to say, this blog won't be the photo essay recapping our entire holiday trip that I had originally envisioned. Besides a few cell phone photos here and there, I only broke out the camera once ... for the Boy's first experience in the snow. But I'll post what I've got! Please cross your fingers along with me that at some point (soon) folks that usually don't share photos electronically will share and that I can add more photos.

The Boy annoyed that I'm taking his photo while he's sleeping on the overnight road trip up to Michigan

The Hubs got a cute cell phone picture of the Boy while they were hanging in the back of Sunday morning church because the Boy couldn't remain quiet any longer

Ummmm, I got a new bill-paying calculator for only $1.60 at B & G Discount!

He loved the sledding and snow experience from the very beginning! (I loved that he looked like a little marshmallow man...)

Sledding with Aunt Lizzy

Got to get a photo with Dad!

Sledding with Aunt Hilary

Loving it!

The Boy was the best passenger on the drive home that we could ask for!

Good passengers are rewarded with Qdoba. It was actually the Boy's first time eating a full meal off of the menu. Made Mom proud ... he loved it!

To wrap up (and to get in some random thoughts), I love my sisters. I wish we lived closer and that I could be more a part of their lives! I chipped my tooth (in the tiniest way) tonight on a plate. (Don't ask!) I need advice ... do I need to do anything about it? And we're glad to be home with our sweet girl kitty kitty, Princess. Speaking of which, she's already waiting for me in bed (MY OWN BED!!!), so GOOD NIGHT.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas, the Boy's first birthday, family, friends, fun, OH MY!

As my friend Cindy says, this post is going to be in true "Mommy blog" style. There's bound to be one every now and then, right? At least some of my Mommy-style rambling will be broken up with pictures... (Thanks for sharing your photos, Mother!)

Last weekend was busy, busy, busy and yet fun, fun, fun. It started with my mom (Mother, as I call her) and step-dad coming to town on Thursday. To us, the dates on the calendar don't matter; it's more about the act of getting together and celebrating, so Thursday evening was Christmas for us. Mother always spoils us, and this Christmas was no different. I got lots of cool things, but I'm really excited about getting two new pairs of jeans. I have about 25 more pounds to lose to get back to pre-baby weight, and the new jeans fit perfectly and hug in all the right places. WOO HOO! I also got an external hard drive, which is even more exciting! We have so many irreplaceable memories of the Boy saved on the computer, and I have hard-core anxiety that our computer is going to crash and we're going to lose everything. But now, problem solved!

The Boy reading books, waiting to get the Christmas show on the road

Too sleepy to care too much about Christmas presents

Friday was the big day--the Boy's first birthday!!! We spent the day running errands and doing party prep, and one of my best-ever friend's, Marlo, flew in to help us celebrate. Unbelievably, I forgot to take a picture of my completed party spread before we dug in. Bummer!

The Boy is an eater, and he loved his taco fixins'!

After the tacos, came the presents...

He didn't want to get off of his super cool new trike! And how snazzy is his jacket?!?

The big "kids" were REALLY excited about putting together the train!

One of his favorite gifts was his alphabet train. Even a week later, he hasn't been able to get enough of it!

Then came cake time...

The cake was pretty darn close to the picture!

I have to tell you. The Boy is an eater. I know I've already said that, but I feel the need to reiterate it. He eats anything and everything. I've bombarded him with every fruit and veggie I can find, and he eats it all, along with any other type of morsel we put in front of him! But there's one thing he doesn't enjoy, and apparently that's birthday cake.

He seemed quite interested...

And he dug right in when we gave him the chance.

But he did NOT like it! I know you can't tell from the pictures, but he would NOT eat it. We tried to give him a bite on the fork, and he spit it right out and made awful gagging noises. I must admit ... I was a little proud. He definitely didn't get that from his mama though!

The Boy got sleepy, went down with ease (as always), and the rest of us continued to celebrate his first birthday into the night with various adult beverages and of course a rousing game of Catch Phrase. Yes, the boys won this time, but that never happens! (And it won't be happening again anytime soon!)

Saturday was filled with laid back visiting time with Marlo, Mother and my step-dad. That evening, after a nice dinner out, Grandma and Grandpa came home with the Boy, and Marlo and I pretended we were young again and visited lots of old friends downtown. Tons of fun, and we even drove through McDonald's on the cab ride home! We took a bunch of pictures to be sure we'd have good ones to share, but Marlo took them home on her camera, and she hasn't shared with ME yet...

Sunday was the day things were scheduled to "return to normal," but then the snow started to fall. We got about two inches, which for Tennessee, is pretty significant. Mother and my step-dad made it home, but it turns out their flight was the last to leave Nashville. After sitting at the airport for several hours, Marlo found out her flight was canceled, and she wouldn't be getting home until Tuesday morning. Well, we HAD said we wouldn't wait two years to see each other like we had last time...

After a couple of bonus days with Marlo on our couch, things did return to normal. I've been procrastinating on getting this post up, because I knew there was so much I wanted to include that it wasn't going to be a quickie. (Thanks to the Boy for going down early and the one motivating orange vodka and Sprite I consumed, I finally sat down to do it!) I am so thankful for all of our loving family and friends. I am blown away that so many folks went out of their way and spent so much money to help make the Boy's first birthday a perfect, memorable celebration. I feel so blessed to have so many special people in my life not only during the holidays and times of special celebrations, but ALL THE TIME.

And I really can't say it enough, but I can keep trying. THANK YOU.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Belmont. "Progressive university." REALLY?

Early this month, after women's soccer coach Lisa Howe disclosed that she and her partner were expecting a baby, Belmont University forced her out. This is a coach that has a winning record over the course of her six seasons at the school, and last year she led the team to an Atlantic Sun conference title. According to USA Today, as a place that thrives on its connections with Nashville's music industry and has even hosted one of the 2008 presidential debates, "Belmont is seen as a progressive university that had been affiliated with Southern Baptists until it broke away in 2007, wanting to bring greater Christian diversity to its board of trustees." Progressive? Well, they just took a BIG step backwards! After hearing this news, I was livid. Admittedly I am a person with extremely liberal beliefs and an advocate for equal rights for all, but even if you're not, in today's culture, this should not be happening! Are we on our way back to racial segregation and pre-women's suffrage?

As Sports Illustrated puts it:
A good coach has lost her job because she's about to become a mother.
A good university has lost its reputation for the same reason.

Lisa Howe took the high road in all of this and, through a news release distributed by her attorney, gave thanks to all who have supported her and notes that this is an educational experience for all involved. She closed with "respectfully ask[ing] members of the media to turn their attention away from me and toward the broader issues at stake that affect so many people in the Belmont community--such as what it means to be a diverse Christian community and how we can support and respect each other despite our differences." So well said!

Mike Curb, a music industry executive, emeritus member of the board of trustees and most importantly, major Belmont donor, made bold statements on Howe's behalf, saying "Belmont has to decide whether they want to be a national recognized university--particularly with their school of music business--or they want to be a church." According to Curb, Belmont President Bob Fisher asked that he hold off on making any further statements to give him an opportunity to resolve these issues so that this type of injustice can never happen again. Curb promised that "if the matter is not resolved, I will continue speaking out about this the rest of my life." (Way to go, Mike!) Even though I am in disbelief over this, I was sort of in holding mode, waiting to see if Fisher would actually do anything to resolve the issues.

I'm finding it hard to remain in that "holding mode" after reading an article today in the Nashville Scene, in which Belmont students, faculty members and former job candidates suggest that Howe's treatment was not an isolated incident. Despite Belmont recently revising its student honor code to remove "homosexual activity" from the list of punishable offenses, a student-formed group Bridge Builders, which seeks to promote understanding between gay and straight students, has been repeatedly denied official student organization recognition by the university. Last year after finishing her doctoral work at Vanderbilt, published Shakespeare scholar Rebecca Chapman, who was very open in the interview process about having a same-sex partner and inquired about health benefits for their family, was offered a tenure-track position at Belmont that, after seeing the offer in writing, she happily accepted. A month later, she was notified that her contract was being changed from tenure-track to a one-year contract ending in termination at the school year's end. Even though she had passed on her other job opportunities and knew that she and her partner would barely be able to make rent, let alone keep the house they were in the process of buying, Chapman chose to resign instead of  "finish[ing] out a bogus contract under the scrutiny of an obviously unsupportive administration." She has previously not spoken out about her ordeal but due to a recurring pattern, silence is no longer an option.

So now that I've bombarded you with links and background on the story, I want to hear from you. How do you feel about all of this? Do you believe in equal rights for all? Should we be doing something to ensure injustices like this don't continue to happen? In response to a letter sent by the Tennessee Equality Project (a statewide organization dedicated to advancing and protecting the civil rights of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community), the Metro Nashville City Council will get involved in the controversy by evaluating their relationship with Belmont University, including park leases Metro has with Belmont. Should we do something to show support for the city council as they do this evaluation?

With all of the recent media attention on hate, bullying and discrimination, is silence really an option? For me, the answer is a definite no.

A quick message as I continue to procrastinate on the "awesome first birthday weekend" post

Yes, we had an absolutely fabulous weekend! We celebrated Christmas with my mom and step-dad. I had one of my best-ever friends come to town to visit. And the Boy turned one. My sweet, loving little baby is now a big boy. I have pictures and stories to share, but I am continuing to procrastinate on that post. It will come ... eventually.

In the mean time, I wanted to share some quick news on a current Qdoba contest. I am a BIG Qdoba fan. I am such a VIP that I've won lots of free food, lower level Nickelback concert tickets, free passes to a local corn maze and was even invited to one of their new stores VIP pre-grand opening celebrations. They have just announced a new contest, and it's not to be missed.

Here are the details:

From Dec. 16 to Dec. 21, swipe your registered Qdoba card at any Nashville area location for a chance to win a Music City Bowl ultimate fan package! Package includes two lower or club level tickets (your choice!) to the Tennessee vs. North Carolina game, a parking pass, two passes to the MusicFest/Battle of the Bands VIP party and two passes to the General Jackson pre-game tailgate party. There will be one winner at each of the four Nashville area locations, and three of the fan packages will contain two invitations to the coaches luncheon.

So get out there and eat some Qdoba! (Too bad the contest doesn't start until tomorrow, and I've already got plans to go today for my eat-out-once-a-week lunch.)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's been fun, but it's time for you to go

Yes, I'm talking about my breast pump. I carried one bag in to work with me today--just my purse--and only a woman who has spent a chunk of every day for the past year expressing breast milk can understand what a big deal that is. The Hubs, my friends, my coworkers ... they've all (lovingly, of course) referred to me as the bag lady for the past months. I've been in constant tow of my breast pump bag (filled with several empty milk bottles, all of the pump parts, pump cleaning wipes and of course my trusty PumpEase band) and a cooler bag (filled with my lunch and ice packs in the morning and breast milk and ice packs in the afternoon) ever since I've returned to work when the Boy was 10 weeks old.

I have pretty strong opinions about breastfeeding. So strong that I frequently piss folks off when expressing them, but since this is MY blog, I feel no need to hold back. La Leche League, feel free to look me up. All the time you hear that breastfeeding is a choice, blah, blah, blah. Well, I feel that having a baby is a choice. I didn't get pregnant until I was ready for a child. My mom taught me all about the birds and the bees, and I took precautions to keep myself not in a child way until the Hubs and I made the decision we wanted to change that. It's really not that hard people! So in my opinion, the choice to be made is whether or not to have a child ... once you make that choice, breastfeeding is a responsibility. I know ... there are lots of you out there gasping, choking on your coffee and doughnut because you're so angry about what I just said. But again, this is MY blog.

Back in the summer, there was a big media controversy because famous supermodel (and new mom) Gisele Bundchen made some comments to Harper's Bazaar UK about her thinking that breastfeeding should be a worldwide law for the first six months of a baby's life. Oh the uproar! I went to Gisele's blog and left a comment of support noting my belief that having a baby is the choice, and that breastfeeding that baby is a mother's responsibility. Needless to say, my comment was apparently a little too unpolitically correct and it was deleted by the blog moderators. I guess they don't have the same beliefs of not holding back in one's personal blog...

Breastfeeding is hard work. It takes time and an intense commitment. But the benefits are many for baby and mom. I understand there are a few situations out there where it is not the right choice (ex. mother has AIDS), but other than those very few instances, I truly believe that it is a mother's duty to commit herself to working at it until she is successful. I believe most moms give up too quickly. I am proud to say that I put in the hard work and gave the Boy the best start possible. I will definitely miss that sweet bonding time we have when he strokes my face, hair and neck while he nurses, but it will be nice to not have to worry about pumping (and dumping) when the Hubs and I have scored a babysitter and get home late at night after a few (sometimes a few too many) drinks. Two days until the Boy's first birthday, and then cow's milk, here we come!

But what am I going to do with this newly found freezer space now that it's not filled with a back stock of "liquid gold?"