Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas 2010

December 24: Dinner, lots of laughs, and a surprise
Christmas Eve dinner at my mom's house is by far the best part of our holiday happenings. We get a little dressed up for dinner and the food is always so good. This year we had prime rib, mashed potatoes, rolls and asparagus. Of course there was good wine and dessert, too!
Before we left for Mom's, I was working on my hair and makeup when Johnathan told me he had something he wanted me to wear to dinner. He pulled out two boxes, which contained a beautiful ruby pendant (my birthstone) and matching earrings. To say that I was surprised would be an understatement. There were tears for sure :) I'm such a lucky girl!

December 25: Snow, Snow, Snow!
We didn't wake up to a winter wonderland, but there was definitely one by the time we got home last night and put all the gifts away. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays all year, because I get to spend time with my family, especially since my brother moved to Winston and I don't see him as much as I would like. The snow started about 1pm while we were at Johnathan's grandmother's house, and as of 10:32 this morning (as I'm writing) it hasn't stopped. It is SO beautiful outside!

Christmas this year is a little extra special, because this time last year Johnathan's iron levels were terribly low and we were anticipating his colonoscopy. And while we didn't know at Christmas that Johnathan had cancer, it was only 3 days later that he was diagnosed. When we got the news about the tumor, I had no idea where we would be in the next weeks, and I wasn't even thinking about the next Christmas. One thing about having no information about a person's prognosis is that you can't prepare, which is difficult for someone like me who lives by her planner. I am happy to report that Johnathan's progress has been above and beyond any expectations we had, and that's the best gift anyone could receive.

Johnathan and I and our little Macy dog hope you had a beautiful holiday with your loved ones!

Thursday, December 9, 2010


It's amazing to me how one word can sum up so many feelings for me sometimes. Case in point: outrage. It's not necessarily anger, but it's the condition of being so blown away by someone's actions that it is almost (or is) unbelievable.

I read this article today and that was the first word that came to mind. These people, these "Christian" people, are going to picket the funeral of a woman who lost a 6 year battle with breast cancer. As someone whose spouse is a cancer survivor, I have lived the incredible nightmare that is hearing that diagnosis for the first time. I cannot imagine being Elizabeth Edwards, whose cancer was treated and returned, but this time it was incurable.


And yet, this organization wants to protest at her funeral, and not because she actually committed any real crime. According to the group, Elizabeth Edwards "meddled in the womb," which isn't a violation of any commandment that I can recall, and I minored in religious studies with a focus on early Christianity. Here's what I think I understand:

John and Elizabeth Edwards lost a son, Wade, in a car accident when he was 16. They decided then that they wanted more children, but Elizabeth's age caused problems with conception, so they turned to medical fertility treatments to help. Apparently, this is a cause for concern (and protest) with Westboro Baptist. How is getting medical help to have children a protest-worthy offense? There are so many children whose parents want nothing more than to bring them into this world, and offer them safe, stable homes.

Elizabeth Edwards showed dignity and grace under conditions that would cause almost anyone to crumble. Her husband was unfaithful, fathering a child with another woman while he campaigned for the White House and she battled cancer. They separated earlier this year but John was by her side as her life slipped away. Elizabeth did not have to allow that moment of reconciliation or tolerance. She is truly an example of class. The fact that a so-called church has the audacity to suggest otherwise in the wake of her death is ridiculous.

This is sickening, disgusting and hurtful.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010: Let's talk about...

*Warning, Controversial Topic Ahead!*
A lot of my friends have recently become parents, and my husband has a large family and so as long as I have been married to him we've had nieces and nephews (and they are all precious, and I'm not exaggerating). Every now and then we have a conversation about how one day we (may) be parents, and what kind of home we want our children to have. Most notably, we discuss discipline more than anything. We come from two different parenting styles, and both of us turned out fine, so it's not a "I'm right, you're wrong" kind of thing.

But I need to get something off my chest that has been bugging me since Thanksgiving. I'll explain:
On Thanksgiving we always go to my husband's grandmother's house and have lunch. It's usually a big family gathering and there's lots of food and usually some conversation, gift game name drawing and the typical family-ish things. This year, there was an added something:
a spanking.

I need to backtrack a little. There are a lot of people who come and go from this particular home during the holidays, and Johnathan has such a large family outside of his siblings and grandparents that it's hard to keep up with them all, so I don't mean to sound too judgmental of them. In fact, I hardly know them but that isn't the point.
Evidently, there was some roughhousing or horseplay or something going on in the basement where most of the children go before/after the meal to play. The kids are all of varying ages, from 5 to 12, I think. Anyway, so what happens next is the part where I ended up pretty upset. One child, who I believe to be in the 11-12 range, gets in trouble with his mother for "picking" in the basement. Instead of the verbal warning, or the private conversation, mom decides to take it out on the child right then and there. She looks to her husband and announces, "give me your belt". The first thing that came to mind was she is not really going to do this right here at Thanksgiving, in the presence of people she doesn't really even know!

Now, I personally (judge me, go ahead) don't have an issue with parents disciplining children. In fact, I advocate most of the time that it's their job. I'm a teacher, so we do it all day long anyway without laying a hand on them. However, I do have an issue with beating a child. I know it's a fine line, but seriously? She took her child into the next room and hit him with the belt over and over. I heard at least 3 pops of the belt myself. It was all I could do not to vomit or cry. I couldn't figure out what the child had done to merit such a punishment. He hadn't broken any laws (or the body parts of other children), he hadn't talked back or used foul language or committed any other infraction other than being a kid with his cousins. After the fact, the mother made the comment that her son "wouldn't stand up for himself" as cause to hit him. Right, because you're really teaching him something with that philosophy.

I had a real problem with it. Call me a bleeding heart liberal because I already advocate for so many other "liberal" causes, but come on. These are kids we're talking about here. I want to reiterate that I personally believe there is a big difference between discipline and hitting your child with a belt. I also know that from where I sit (mother of no one) that I may not fully understand the dynamics of parenting. I know that my mother didn't hit me with a belt, and I turned out fine. That's the extent of my knowledge on the subject. I've heard the phrase "spare the rod and spoil the child" but are we going to reintroduce caning as an acceptable form of punishment? I doubt it.

I just wonder if hitting teaches kids to hit, or if that particular behavior is learned elsewhere? If you work with younger kids, help me out! I'm also wondering about this whole use of a belt business. I can't imagine doing that to my own children, but then again I don't have any and they haven't committed any wrongdoing. Maybe I was out of my frame for no reason about it, but it left me feeling as if I had witnessed a violent act that was completely unnecessary. I usually say "to each their own" when it comes to a lot of different issues, and I believe that parenting is a very private matter, too. But, you can't really expect me to keep my mouth (or blog) shut on the subject if you hit your child and use no form of discretion aside from going to the next room.

What do you think? To spank, or not to spank? Is there a difference between spanking and using a belt? Am I out of my mind for even having an issue with the incident? Let's talk in the comments.