Friday, January 27, 2012

Veguary 2012 - I Will Match Your Pledges

In 2011, Lil Family Blog celebrated Veguary (visit www.veguary.org ) with a month of blog posts and guest blogs on vegetarianism.  With February 2012 approaching, i'm announcing another month of celebrating vegetarianism, in all it's varying forms.

Please read last year's posts:

Veguary 2011 - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/02/veguary.html

Blog: Does Vegetarian Mom = Vegetarian Kid?  - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/02/veggie-kids.html

My Egg Dilemma Part 1 - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/02/my-egg-dilemma.html

My Egg Dilemma Part 2 - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-egg-dilemma-part-2.html

Veguary Guest Blogger *Christine* - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/03/veguary-guest-blogger-christine.html

Veguary Guest Blogger *Jody* - http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/02/veguary-guest-blogger-jody-veggie.html

What is Veguary?   It is a mission started by students in 2009, to get people to eat no or less meat in the month of February.  It's a month of vegetarian awareness and education.  And for me, it's a reminder to celebrate my choices, further educate myself, and reach out to others.
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veguary

This year, again, i ask for your Veguary pledges.  Visit http://www.veguary.org/ and leave your pledge.  You can pledge to be a vegetarian, pescatarian, or a flexitarian (meaning you'll reduce your meat intake).   To encourage you to pledge, i am going to Match Pledges.  Since i'm already a mostly-vegetarian, i have pledged to be a 100% vegetarian in February (eliminating things like gelatin and chicken broth that may have missed my radar normally).  But for everyone of my Lil Family Blog readers that pledges Veguary, i will also pledge to one day of veganism in the month of February (meaning i'll consume no animal products, including dairy and eggs).

Matching Your Pledges!

Here are the rules:  go to Veguary.org and leave your pledge there.  Then leave a comment here and tell me you've done it!  If you'd like to include your exact pledge and why, i'd love to read about your choice.  Then i'll match your pledge with one day of veganism.  I'll match up to 29 pledges, for one complete month of veganism.  Any vegetarian or pescatarian pledges count.  A flexitarian pledge must include a plan: such as "Meatless Mondays" or a pledge to give up meat for lunch or dinner every day for Veguary, etc.

I look forward to seeing & matching your pledges.

Also - anyone who would like to guest blog in Lil Family Blog for Veguary 2012, please contact me! I'd love to post your stories about vegetarianism... or why you refuse vegetarianism!  

Please check back in February for my blog posts about Veguary.

Leave pledges here.  Please and thank you!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Wish You Had Brown Eyes

Today i was driving Lilian to school... and she was looking out the window naming what colors things were... and out of nowhere came "you have blue eyes, Mommy." (My eyes are actually gray with a hint of green sometimes i think, not actually blue, but close enough). "And my eyes are brown." And I told her "Yes, that's right." We've had that discussion many times. Usually it's followed with naming that we have red lips, peach skin, brown hair, and whatever color shirts and pants we have, etc. Funny enough, this conversation often happens while she's sitting on the toilet and i sit on the edge of the bathtub. But today it took a different twist. She said "I wish you had brown eyes too, Mommy, so you could match me." *woosh* The air went out of my lungs and i said nothing. I think this is the first time she noticed or acknowlegded that we look different.

To know why this is significant requires a lot of backstory and the preface of... this is all about *me*. My somewhat irrational feelings and hangups, and my background.

So when we were first TTC (trying to conceive) back in 2007, we first considered using sperm banks. We decided not to for a variety of reasons that arent really related to this, so i won't go into them. But when we were going through the online catalog, we were basing our decision on education/profession (trying to pick a smart one), race/ethnicity, blood type didnt matter since i have + blood, handwriting (silly, but well, we're trying to pick genetics based on a list of facts and we didn't have much to go on), and height/looks. At the time, i was going with my lifelong plan of never searching out my bio-family (which did happen later) and i never had a bio relative. Part of the excitement of having a child, was to have my first ever bio relative and the first person to ever look like me! It may not sound like a big thing to those who have parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents who resemble them. But for someone who's never been able to say "i have his eyes and her hair" it was a big thing. So my awesome wife agreed that we could pick a donor that resembled me (European or even more specifically Eastern European, fair skin, blue or light eyes, possibly blonde or light brown hair, though we were more flexible with the hair color, etc.) Without photos you can never be sure, but we thought that would give us a better chance of the baby looking like me. This was a big thing for M to agree to since she wasnt going to be the bio-mom either. (Many same sex couples pick the donor to look like the partner as though they were mixing their own DNA). And M looks nothing like me... she's Italian and has dark almost black brown hair, brown eyes (kinda hazel on close inspection), and her family tans easily. But knowing how important it was to me, she gave it to me.

Then we decided that anonymous sperm was not for us... weighed the options of several men in our life... and asked one of our mutual best friends (Lily's dad) who is Puerto Rican... with almost black hair and the darkest brown eyes. Me being fair/freckled and pale eyed, i knew for sure that our interracial baby would not look like me in most ways, but ultimately other things were way more important (the character/brains/health of her father, as well as our relationship with him.)

And Lilian was conceived... and came out with dark dark hair (which has since lightened to a golden light brown) and eyes that were rich chocolate brown by her first birthday. She has the same skin tone as me (fair with golden undertones) but does not have freckles (yet). Her face as a newborn was pretty much a clone of her dad's, but as she grows up, she is starting to take on some of my features. She has my exact eyebrows and hands. If you look hard enough, i'm "in there" somewhere, but ultimately she looks like a more Caucasian version of her dad. She also looks like Missy! Big brown eyes and the same coloring, etc. In public, people often guess Missy to be the biological parent... which is neat.

Of course I think she's perfect. I wouldn't change a thing about her. I wouldnt trade her eye color for mine now even if i could. Not only is she absolutely beautiful, but she's "Lily" and she was made the way she was meant to be. But to say that there was no disappointment when she came out looking like a mini-me of our donor would be a lie. I think post-partum depression didnt aid to the process, but after the initial weeks/months of friends, family, visitors etc. remarking on how she was her dad's clone (while i was recovering from surgery and had a somewhat destroyed figure and poor health from the pregnancy) was a bitter pill to swallow. I wanted to shout that her DNA was 50% mine even if you couldnt see it! I felt 100% bonded to her, but the way people spoke, you'd have thought i carried an actual cloned baby. I was convinced some people even went on and on about it just TO bother me.

Time went by, (my hormones regulated) and it bothered me a lot less... close to not much at all. People still remark on how much she looks like her dad, and people still assume Missy's the bio parent. And i'm OK with that. She is, after all, all 3 of ours. She may not look like me, but i did grow her inside of me. And in so many other ways, she IS a mini-me. She has lots of personality traits of both Missy and her dad, but a lot are just me too. We have the same favorite foods and both phisically and mentally, i see more and more of me as she gets older.

And in 2009, things changed again. My bio family emerged. I have a bio mom whom i look quite a lot like, and a bio sister the same age, who i also look like ( see here: http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2010/07/me-too.html ) I've only met my sister, but ive seen photos of my bio parents, aunts/uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc. There's practically an entire city in central NJ that I am related to and look like! ( see here: http://lilfamily13.blogspot.com/2011/07/on-adoption.html ) And it was extremely exciting and new for me to look through albums (scanned and emailed) and pick out my own features in these strangers' family photos. And although these people are not a part of my life, they are out there. I know their names and where they live, i have lots of photos, and although they are strangers, they are also "real" to me. This, too, may have changed my feelings about the whole thing. Who knows?

Now it's 4 years later and Lilian is a beautiful, healthy, intelligent child. She literally came out perfect. And if/when we have a second child, we intend for him/her to be Lily's full sibling if things go as planned. And i'm sure that child will look very little/not at all like me too. And i'm OK with that. I choose that. But thats not to say that every once in a while, something doesn't remind me or bring up the old hurt feelings of not looking like my family. Because that's how i grew up... not looking like them... an outsider of sorts. And ironically, i made the same choice for my adulthood too. I still dont look like my family, even the one i made/am making. I love them and wouldnt change a thing. But today's comment from Lily brought back the old sting. (I can remember sitting with my mom at birthday party, i was around 12 years old, and a aquaintence of hers saying out of nowhere "you two look nothing alike, i'd have guessed she was adopted." Random, embarrassing, and it stuck with me for 20 years). I realize that it's conflicting feelings to both be perfectly content with who she is and what she looks like, and to feel a little sad that we dont look more alike... but well, who can explain emotions?

So i said to her, "But what color lips do you have?" And she said red. And i asked her what color lips I had... and she said also red. I said, "see, we do look alike." And she agreed "Yeah, we do look alike, Mommy."



Me and  Lily, April 2010


Missy and Lily, May 2009


Lilian with her dad "B", October 2011


All of us in a silly (yet awesome) theme park portrait. August 2010. (The redhead in the red dress is no relation, but a close friend of ours.)


(I'd like to again point out that this is a very me-centric post. I know that both Missy and Lily's dad value that she looks like them, and i don't discount that. I am glad that they both have that. But sometimes for *me*, buried feelings are dredged up, and this morning was one of those times.)


(Written & posted on my mobile phone... please excuse any typo errors).



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Thursday, January 19, 2012

17, 18, 19 / 365

Days 17, 18, and 19 from Project 365



Day 17 - Lily drinking her orange sherbet milkshake that Missy made for her.


Day 18 - Dinner for Lily and I.  Veggie stir fry and flower pasta. Hulk says Mmmmm...

Day 19 - The notebook in which I've written down every book I've read since 2002.

My book list...

(P.S. - While you're here, click on an ad on the right/below this!  The advertisers like it and so do I!)

Monday, January 16, 2012

15 & 16 / 365

Days 15 & 16 of Project 365.  (On a long weekend since today was MLKJr Day and I had off from work.)

Day 15 - Ruby snuggling with her chicken toy. 
She loves her "babies."  She doesn't love photos.

Missy showing off the 54 English muffins her dad dropped off today -
Enough to feed the Duggars and then some.

8, 9, 10 / 365

OK... i'm not doing a great job of keeping up with Project 365... so I'll have to do a little catching up this week!
Here are photos 8, 9, and 10.


Day 8 - Lilian in our favorite local restaurant - Townline BBQ.

Ruby tucks herself into bed this way.  BTW - aren't my fleece penguin sheets the cutest?

Photos 9 & 10

Only to be made cuter with BOTH my girls tucked into my bed....

Saturday, January 7, 2012

5 and 6 / 365

More Project 365 photos....  (days 5 and 6)


What is happier than a baby eating the messiest food on earth???




Our freezer... hoping for a little Ellio's Pizza Magic this weekend.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Normally Unpolitical Woman Talks Politics

I am not one to talk about politics.  Really ever.  I have mine, we all do.  And whereas my opinions are pretty strong, but political views are pretty weak.  Normally, I just don't care. 
But recently, seeing what is going on in the political world has me actually frightened.  It has me questioning my pride to be an American, hell, it even has me questioning my pride to be human.
I grew up in a house of Republicans.  My mom and dad... and now my brother (in his 20's) have always voted Republican.  (Though it made me snicker to hear my brother's wife voted for Obama.  I'm pretty sure my brother declined to admit to who he voted for.)  My family is Jewish, upper middle class, white collar, East Coasters.  And whereas they may have some liberal views on social aspects (they are down with they gays and pro-choice as far as I know), they vote to keep their military strong and to keep their money where it belongs - in their own bank accounts.  I guess I'm the black sheep... uh.. donkey... of the family. 
When it comes to voting - opposing sides about taxes and finances, the military, healthcare, schools, laws, etc make sense.  These things are national issues and i'd expect there to be two sides.  These things affect everyone, and therefore i'd expect there to be debates about it.  I even expect for people to get nasty about it.  These issues are important - people are very opinionated - and no one likes people messing with their money or rights.  So debate on, fight it out, and if I'm on the losing side, then I can accept that too.
Here's where the 2012 election politics throw me.  The central FOCUS on hateful issues.  Gay marriage, Don't Ask Don't Tell and gays in the military, religion, racial issues, etc.  I expect people to have opinions on these things too... we all know, opinions are like assholes: everyone's got one.  But what has me in shock, is how political candidates are spewing hate and prejudice and are not only getting away with it, but are expecting people to vote for them.  Since when is what people do in their Bedrooms or to which god we do or do not pray to a national issue???
True, 2011 was a pretty amazing year for gay rights and I'm sure that has a lot of people pissed off.  But I just can't really understand why.  More rights were GIVEN out, but none were taken away from anyone.  Straight people are still allowed to marry opposite sex spouses... and they can still get divorced 72 days later if they choose.  And everyone still has the right to choose not to serve in the military alongside gays if they wish; there is no draft forcing anyone to serve.
I'm just frightened by amount of hate that is bubbling.  Scared of campaigns to REVOKE rights already given to us.  As far as I know, women's suffrage rights and black civil rights were not revoked once issued.  (I could be wrong on this, but my NJ Public school education plus my fancy Google skills make me believe that is so).
But these crazies actually have me terrified for the future of our country and our Earth.
Rick Santorum:
http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/06/06/237112/rick-santorums-top-12-most-offensive-statements/
http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/04/397355/rick-santorums-top-10-most-outrageous-campaign-statements/
Michele Bachmann: 
http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2012/01/03/396653/bachmann-refuses-to-explain-past-anti-gay-comments/
Rick Perry:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0PAJNntoRgA&sns=em
All of the Loonies: 
http://www.autostraddle.com/republican-candidates-still-love-to-hate-the-gays-have-nothing-else-to-talk-about-125151/
Whereas I don't like The Newt, when asked about gay rights, he mostly avoids the topic and/or tells gays to vote for Obama (alluding to the fact that he's not down with the rainbows - this actually happened, he actually told someone to vote Obama).  Then he spews some other right wing nonsense... which I totally can respect!
But Michele Bachmann and her nutty husband have made comments like 'the first thing I plan to do in office or as first spouse is to put into effect my anti-gay policies.'   First thing?  Really?  Let's not focus on the homeless or hungry, education, improvements... let's punish those gays instead.  ( http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/16/marcus-bachmann-outlines-first-spouse-agenda/?smid=tw-nytimespolitics&seid=auto )
What I want to know... is why are these people so obsessed with gay people???
Rick Santorum, another prize, not only wants to illegalize gay marriage, but wants to annul every marriage already performed.  Talking about being pro-family ... and this POS wants to involuntarily divorce people?  (Annul is just a polite way of saying divorce to me.  If you dissolve a marriage, who cares what word you use for it.)  I've been legally married for 4.5 years now (it'll be 5 years in August) and someone literally thinks those years should be erased.  Made as though they never happened.  Make my child a bastard and legally take her parent away.  He also talks shit about Blacks... and racists have no place in government.
Rick Perry's ad campaign was a gift to the internet... his dislikes rival only Rebecca Black's Friday and Justin Bieber... and the spoofs keep me laughing for days.  But this jackass must have been absent on the 12 years of school when they taught history.  "Religion made our country strong..." if by religion, you mean FREEDOM of religion.  As far as I'm concerned... and the constitution is concerned... religion and politics don't mix.  Our constitution allows freedom of religion, but doesn't REQUIRE it.  And the seperation of church and state has been upheld again and again by supreme courts.  ( http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state_in_the_United_States ).  Wasn't our country build on the ideals of NOT forcing religion and being allowed to choose?  I think Freedom makes us strong.  And education.  And love and empathy.  Personally, I think religion makes trouble... but I respect your right to choose it.  But please keep your religious views out of my rights and laws.  And aren't religions discretionary anyway?  Your religion says murder is a sin.  I consider hunting to be murder - can we make that illegal next?
But to say that our laws should be in accordance with your religion is Unconstitutional.  So aren't these people telling me, I am going to make laws that break the law?  Aren't they telling me "I want to break the law to enforce my new laws"?  Aren't they preaching hate and inequality? 
I've never paid a ton of attention to political campaigns.  I've voted only twice in my life for president (2000 and 2008).  But this year, the hateful and hurtful messages I catch glimpses of (accidentally mostly on TV, blogs, and Facebook) have me actually concerned.  How must we look to other nations? (As though their opinions could get any lower).    How must we look to children, who may not remember campaigns that weren't so blatantly racist, homophobic, and religiously-supremecist. 
Why am I not hearing about things that these candidates want to do to improve my life?  Improve our country? Improve our national standings and relationships? Improve the pathetic value of the American dollar?  Instead, I'm being bombarded with prejudices and hatred.  We have so many problems, and who marries who is really your biggest concern?
For what it's worth... my family is non-religious.  Literally, we are raising our daughter with no religion.  Santa visited us but my daughter has never heard of Jesus, god, or the Bible.  One day I'll teach her about these things and what they mean to people (as well as spirituality, karma, and religions around the world) and let her make her own choices and beliefs.  But for now, we are a family with no religion.  However, besides our genitalia (we only have vaginas in our house) we follow a perfect Christian-Judea value system.  We don't kill, steal, or lie.  We practice kindness and try to be non-judgmental.  We follow state and national laws.  We work and pay taxes.  We respect our elders and honor our parents.  We do no harm to others.  We live and let live.  We give charity and do good deeds. We don't practice hate or violence.  We married before conceiving our child.  We have friends that are of all sexual orientations and races and religions.  We raise our child in a home with values stressed on love, freedom of choice, and being good people.  To know us, you'd see that we're no different than the average American (Christian even) family (except for that 2 vagina, 0 penis ratio).  I just can't understand why people are so obsessed with us.  With destroying/dismantling our family.  With hating us.  It seriously baffles me.  And you're the "good" Christian and I'm the sinner.  Strange.
I wish someone would kick the soapbox out from under these haters so we could go back to watching arguments about government healthcare, our "war" on terrorism, the failing economy, and our evergrowing epidemics of homelessness, obesity/malnutrition, unemployment, etc.   - what should be the Seriously Scary Stuff.
Quit obsessing and get back to focussing on actual national issues.  You're scaring me.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2 and 3 / 365


Oliver & Lily... nighttime cuddles!


"i am very intense."   -- Oliver


I forgot to take a photo yesterday for Project 365... so here are two for today!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

1/365

For many years, I've often thought about doing a Project 365 thing... a photo a day for a year.  Well, I thought about it today... and it actually being the first day of the year, seemed like a good idea!

So 1/365 also has to do with one of my New Year's resolution to get healthy.  Not just to lose weight, but to get healthy in many other ways... to make healthier choices.

So here is my vitamin regimen I started a few weeks ago on my bathroom window sill...  Day 1, 2012.

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