Support (No Bra Required)

It is still anniversary week, and I thought I would post some more about my amazing, sexy husband.  I hope it winds up making sense, as I am functioning on about ten total hours of sleep since Saturday night.  Anyway, it seems especially relevant right now, this week, with everything that has been going on.

One of the aspects of our relationship that I don’t know that we had (or even knew we wanted) when we first got married was to be supportive of each other.  And I mean supportive financially, spiritually, emotionally, and aspirationally.  But I think we would both say that we have worked really hard on being loving and supportive of each other at various times in the last nine years. Continue reading

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Reasons to Love Maryland

We’ve lived in Maryland for more than three years now.  I never would have guessed that I’d have ever lived in Maryland (or Illinois, but that’s another story), but over the years I have grown to love it.  Here are some of the reasons:

1.  The annual Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival:  a party where people bring their yarn and sheep?  I’m totally in.

2.  Blue is my favorite color.

3.  The different towns that I’ve visited within the state all have a distinctive flavor.  Just in our county, you can tell when you move between Bethesda and Chevy Chase and Kensington and Rockville.  I like that a lot more than suburban sprawl (which seems like a strip mall wasteland to me).

4.  We get to experience all seasons here, without any of them being so extreme that it dominates the others.  We have a nice hot summer, a distinctive fall, a cold and snowy winter, and a flowery spring.

5.  The city called “Havre de Grace” is pronounced like it is spelled “Haverty Grace”, instead of something French sounding, like one might assume.

6.  It is relatively close to most of the places we might travel.  New York City is an easy drive (even with two little ones in the back!), we just drove to Connecticut this weekend, I’ve driven to North Carolina from here.  There are a bunch of airports near here, which makes flying further out easier and less expensive.

7.  Beautiful children are born here.  Case in point:

Hazel

Hazel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8.  Rock Creek Park is beautiful and has been the source for some of my favorite photos.

9.  I get to experience DC whenever I want without losing my right to vote, or having to live in DC.

10.  We have amazing friends here, without whom we would be lost.

11.  And, finally, there is a bit of a feud between Maryland and Virginia.  People in Virginia think that Maryland is dirty and gross, people in Maryland think that Virginia (northern VA, at least) lacks character.  I love a good feud, and fuel it whenever I can.

12.  Maryland has the highest median income in the US, and who doesn’t love rich people?

The Point of Parenting

Ages ago I read Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn.  While I don’t adhere to or believe in everything that he wrote, and it is definitely on the ‘a little too extreme’ side, I think that it was worth reading.  And that it has fundamentally changed the way that I look at parenting.  The basic premise that I came away with is that we should raise our kids to know and feel that they are unconditionally loved by us.  Also, that we should parent thoughtfully, and not just using knee-jerk reactions.

So, what is parenting thoughtfully?  For me, I think that it involves actually thinking through what I do with the kids, and what the undertones of what I tell them, restrict them from, and permit them to do says about my values, the values I want for them, and how I feel about them.  When I tell my kid ‘no’, but don’t have a good reason, and expect him to listen, am I instilling in him that he has to listen unquestioningly to authority?  Do I really want that to be how he grows up?

Because of this, I really have changed my parenting.  I’m not perfect, by any means.  I still get frustrated and yell at my kids.  I still put them in time-out–although I do it more mindfully, and using a totally different process than before.   I still deal with typical kid behaviors.  But Kullervo and I spend a lot of time talking about how we want to act and respond in certain situations.  When Oliver backtalks, how do we want to respond?  What about his semi-refusal to use the potty?  How do we feel about him sleeping on the floor instead of his bed (he prefers it most days)?

I think that talking about stuff, even the inane, helps us react better when it comes up again.  And discussing together how we reacted in the moment helps us figure out what we could have done better or wish we had said instead, or what magically worked.  And we’re figuring out that things that worked or that we took for granted with Oliver are totally different with Hazel.  And so we also discuss the ways that we wind up parenting our kids differently from each other.

I want my kids to grow up secure that, no matter what, their parents love them.  My love really isn’t conditional on them being or acting or doing something specific.  When they do things that I don’t like, I want to be supportive.  I want them to know that I don’t like what they do, but I love them, because they’re my kid, and they don’t have to do anything to earn that.  It just is.  Even when I’m pissed off.  Even when they hate me. I think that maybe parenting pays it forward, because I don’t feel like love of a parent is necessarily unconditional–but love of a child should be.

I also want them to grow up with values, values that Kullervo and I think are important.  We’ve been tossing around ideas about the values we want to instill in our kids, and I might start a series of blog posts to get any other feedback in ways to help teach our kids these values, or whether anyone else thinks they’re important, or stupid, or whatever.  The process we’ve been going through is, I think, necessary for us as we grow into different avenues, religiously, but still share a life and a family and a relationship.

So, expect more to come in the future.

Such Great Heights

To My Very Dearest,

Eight years ago we were married.  We hadn’t known each other for nearly long enough, and we jumped the gun at nearly every turn with regards to everything to do with our wedding.  Anyone who knows us well, with our impetuous ways, toweringly high dreams and ideas, and fearless optimism as a couple, will know that the way we got married suits us.  I still think that one of the best quotes for us is this one from The Postal Service:

They will see us waving from such great
Heights, ‘come down now,’ they’ll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
‘come down now,’ but we’ll stay…

When I met you, it was one of my first days in Knoxville, right before classes started at the University of Tennessee.  I was newly Mormon, and you were a Return Missionary.  The very first time I saw you, I was smitten.  Here was a guy who was smokin’ hot, funny, intelligent, and just a really nice guy.  You became my home teacher; I lost all ability to speak coherently when you were around.

Still, even with obstacles like my early speech impairment, my kind-of dating your brother, some Shakespearian-type comedies of error, and the fact that I didn’t like Chinese food, we still fell in love.  (And give me credit for not going into detail about your poorly thought out “theory”!) Continue reading

50 Things I Love

Because imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery, I hope Katie won’t mind that I’m totally copying her.  Some things, like my husband and children are obvious so I’m not putting them.

Some things that I love right now:

  1. Puns
  2. Singing Kool and the Gang‘s <i>Celebration</i> when Oliver uses the potty.
  3. Naptime
  4. Working
  5. Coming home
  6. Riding in an airplane all by myself
  7. Knitting
  8. Matt Damon
  9. Big cities
  10. Driving down the road with music blaring, singing at the top of my lungs, dancing like a maniac, and looking over and seeing the person in the lane next to me is watching me and that I have totally just made his morning.
  11. m&ms with my coffee
  12. Babies’ skin.  I love how soft and smooth it is, like it has never had a worry or been disappointed
  13. Karaoke Revolution
  14. Cooking
  15. Office supplies.  I know it’s weird, but having a drawer full of blank, lined paper makes me happy.  Also, clicky pencils.
  16. Diet Coke
  17. Blue
  18. Painted walls
  19. Taking pictures
  20. Pirate jokes
  21. The West Wing
  22. Britney Spears
  23. Manos, the Hands of Fate
  24. Rings.  I wish I had one for every finger.  I have fat fingers though, so it’s hard to find.
  25. Vanilla ice cream with magic shell chocolate on top.  Mmmmm.
  26. That I got my belly button pierced again
  27. Tank tops
  28. Boots!
  29. A new computer
  30. Shopping with Kullervo, without the kids
  31. Making people laugh (probably everyone likes this)
  32. Gmail chat
  33. Papa John’s pizza with pineapple (and the garlic sauce)
  34. Oliver’s paintings
  35. Surprising creative things that I come up with and then implement, and that turn out as good or better than I had hoped, like this
  36. Doing gender atypical things (for example, changing my own oil in my car, which I did for years)
  37. Chocolate milk
  38. Cupcakes (hee!)
  39. New York City
  40. Redecorating when Kullervo isn’t home
  41. Vacuuming
  42. Having plans to do something with Kullervo at night after the kids go to bed, but getting so wrapped up in conversation that we forget to do it until it’s too late
  43. Brownie batter
  44. The idea of outside
  45. Sheep
  46. The blog post that will. not. die
  47. Being an Assassin Wife of Fury
  48. Down comforters and pillows
  49. The way that Kullervo looks in a pair of jeans (hot!!)
  50. Socks