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Showing posts with label family. Show all posts
Showing posts with label family. Show all posts

13 February 2016

Beyond Balance Storify

In case you weren't able to attend Women Employed's "Beyond Balance" conversation, I Storified it. Enjoy!

03 January 2012

Giving up Annie

Sunday I thought this post was going to be entitled, "Giving up on Annie." Instead we gave her up.

Monday we packed up the car and drove two hours to meet up with the couple who helped connect us with our dachshund, Annie. Tony handed Annie back to this loving couple. We were surrendering her to their care.

New Year's Day brought us nothing but heartache. We woke up late and as usual, Tony took the girls, Annie & Piper, outside to do their doggie business. But this time Annie could not scamper up the stairs. Tony carried her inside, put her down on the floor and it was evident that something was wrong.

We eventually realized that something was very wrong and took her to the animal ER room. Which, by the way, is one of the most depressing places I have ever been in. I felt like half of us were crying.

The vet took a few minutes to look over Annie and determined that yes, it looks like she had a ruptured disc.

Now, we knew going into all of this, when we adopted Annie, that doxies were prone to back problems, but we had fooled ourselves into thinking that if we exercised Annie enough, kept her weight down and carried her down the stairs, that she'd be ok until she was a little old lady doxie. But we were so wrong. Everyone always commented on how well Annie was physically. Perfect weight, sleek, the picture perfect doxie. It makes no sense what happened.

After hearing all the details of the surgery option, the cart option and the putting her to sleep option, we took her home with enough medication to keep her comfortable until we could figure out what to do.

A very long story short and without the gory details, we ended up contacting Lois, who is our contact with the doxie rescue we got Annie and Piper from. I also knew it was in our contract to notify her if we couldn't take care of either of them anymore. And well, we had come to the conclusion that we couldn't take care of Annie anymore.

This picture is of our girls together, one last time. Annie still has a lot of spunk left in her and returning her to the doxie rescue was the best decision for all of us. Lois cares for many doxies who are in need of extra care, special care and round the clock care. If anyone can help Annie heal, it would be Lois.

We are all heartbroken in la Casa de Roni. Piper too.

I was feeling (and honestly still am) totally guilty about us realizing that we just could not take care of Annie anymore when one of my besties, Amy, texted me and said, "Our dogs are a part of our family, but we have to make the best decision for our human family." And sadly that's what it came down to.

I know some people will think I am awful for letting Annie go, but I know we gave her the best chance for recovery. Sometimes loving is about letting go and we had to let her go.

If you want to do anything, send the DRNA some money because they do this sort of work all the time. Otherwise just send the kid some hugs and Annie strength to get through what could be months of recovery.

17 April 2009

Live blog: Work-Family Balance for Women & Men

I am live-blogging from the Council On Contemporary Families Annual Conference.

02 March 2009

Book Review: One Big Happy Family edited by Rebecca Walker

What is family?

That's a question that I think about quite often. My family - father & sisters - live in another state. But when I was emailing last night about having a potluck dinner in a few weeks, I said "having dinner with family is down time!" And I mean it. More often than not, we are choosing and crafting our own families. We aren't restricting ourselves to those we share DNA with, but opening up to those we depend on daily to get thru this journey called life.

The 18 stories in One Big Happy Family prove that the definition of family is fluid.

Dawn Friedman (one of my most favorite bloggers) tells the tale of the open adoption of her daughter, Madison. Honestly it's a tale I read in real time on her blog, but one that still has me going thru half a box of tissue. Dawn's hopes and fears for the adoption are so palpable. While open adoption, especially as open as Madison's is, isn't for everyone, I do think that Dawn gives some greata advise for anyone considering adoption:

Adoption social workers say that every woman needs to say hello to her baby before she can know if she can say good-bye.

While our agency allowed "matches" as early as the seventh month, they stressed to us that a match was nothing more than a woman expressing her right to consider an adoption plan. It was not the promise of a baby, it was not a guarantee that we would be parents again.

Suzanne Kamata's story of creating family in another country with traditional family rules is one for everyone with an in-law story. It's witty, heart-wrenching and somehow you end up with a smile at the end. You'll also never look at your Wii the same again.

What would you do for your BFF? Would you marry him? That's what Liza Monroy does to keep her gay male BFF from having to return home to an ultraconservative country. This married chick relished that it's not just her "traditional" marriage that endures the debate over whose turn it is to do the dishes. Ah, love and marriage.

Paula Penn-Nabrit pens an essay that voices so many concerns that are rarely expressed. What do we do, as a society, with the families of color who are, well, doing well for themselves? What do we do with children of color who aren't dragging the school test scores down? With all our talk of being post-racial, embracing diversity, the fact is that many people are still drawn to teaching & service to "help the less fortunate."

Then there is Marc and Amy Vachon's contribution. Overall I loved it. Two people working to make egalitarian parenting work for them. What I didn't like is their premise that shared/egalitarian/5050 parenting is something that feminism failed to deliver.

I don't like that premise because it makes one view feminism as a religion and that Gloria Steinem will swoop down on her wings. Rather I view feminism as the resource that gave us, men and women, the language to negotiate who will wash the dishes and raise our sons in a way that does not allow them to forget to bath the children. I can honestly say that I've never had to leave a list for my husband before a trip. He just knows what to do - he's our daughter's father. He's not the babysitter. He might not always have faith in his abilities, but he's come to see how awesome he is, even if I don't tell him enough. But that's our family.

And that's the joy of One Big Happy Family. You get a peek into other families, you see how much we have in common and how we all get through it.

In some ways it is ironic that Rebecca Walker, who has had a very public falling out with her mother is the same person who pulled together what could be a defining and accessible volume on what contemporary families really look like. On the other hand, she also defines why some of us need to craft families of our own.

I received an email asking me to:
Buy this book to let legislators know America is challenging their assumptions about the definition of family. Buy it now and get it on the New York Times bestseller list, a message they will understand. Send them a copy with a personal note expressing your feeling that all American families have the right to be happy. Don’t let our leaders do to our families what they’ve done to the economy. If we let them define our families like they define health care, American families won’t stand a chance.

I think that's a pretty darn good idea. And you can buy One Big Happy Family : 18 Writers Talk About Polyamory, Open Adoption, Mixed Marriage, Househusbandry, Single Motherhood, and Other Realities of Truly Modern Love Edited by Rebecca Walker from an independent bookstore or Powells. They deliver!

05 September 2008

Our first week of kindergarten

A welcome note to any of my daughter's classmates parents who have found this blog. First, rest assure that I won't be blogging gossip here or anything I think is inappropriate for a blog so darn public. If you're the teacher, I will always bring my concerns to you before I ever write about it here. That said, back to our regularly scheduled blog...

Ah, Friday of the first week of kindergarten. I think we are all exhausted from this week. My daughter especially so. So how is she doing? She took to kindergarten like a fish to water...at least from my perspective.

Tuesday was insane. Almost every kindergartener had at least two adults with them in the lunchroom. I think we caught a few kids who also brought grandparents...very cute. Our daughter sat at the table looking a bit stunned, yet eager. We all walked over to her classroom once the teacher showed up at 9. The room was a nice size, cubbies for their coats, and the big tables were all set with their first coloring project. Once we got all her items put away and the girl was settled in a seat, she gave us that look. "OK, you can go now." We hugged her and went in for the good-bye kiss. DENIED. Overnight, our loving & kissy girl grew into a 16yo teen. Pick up was equally insane as class after class of different grades flooded into the lunchroom and kids had to sort themselves out between pick-up and bus. One teacher did have a bullhorn, but we could barely hear it over the chatter of tweens. Our babysitter came to get acquainted, thank goodness we planned it like that cause it really was a madhouse for a few minutes. But the kid found us and looked happy. She took a nap on the way home.

The rest of the week we left her in the lunchroom a few minutes before the teachers show up with a few of her classmates and the teacher's assistant. Each morning she acted as if we were the most embarrassing people in the entire world...And I wasn't even singing! That is an issue we will be working on, let me tell you!

The funniest thing is that on Wednesday she saw the kids who were going to eat breakfast line up and go in line. She got a breakfast ticket and ate breakfast...her second of the day. All without paying for it. She just followed the group. Her daddy did talk to someone the next day to pay for breakfast.

She also reported to us one day that one boy told her that he didn't like girls. Today I saw him calling for her at pick-up and patting the spot next to him on the bench. There's more to that story, but it's best told in person over a cuppa something. :)

Her teacher looks like she's going to be great. The kid loves her already.

I'm pretty hopeful for this year and this school. It was quite a leap of faith to apply to this school. I haven't written about kindergarten in months because I was waiting for us to figure out where she would go and then I didn't want to jinx what did happen. We didn't get into the lone private we applied to, but we did get into one magnet school and one gifted school. We're at a gifted. We are clearly aware of how lucky we are. Seriously. We decided to apply to this school solely based on the principal who appears to not take any BS. She stated some very high standards at orientation and while the coursework is intense for kindergarten, I think everything will work out.

22 August 2008

Book Review: Eco-Friendly Families & Author Conversation

It's back-to-school time and I personally believe this is the real new year. This is the time for resolutions - yes, I'm that much of an academic nrrd. My life revolves around academic years. So what better resolution than to be more green?

Eco-Friendly Families, a new book by Helen Coronato, gives you the outline for your whole family to lead a more green life. Now let me tell you, we are not the picture of a green family. Forgive me Goddess, for we have sinned! We live in Chicago which has a horrible recycling program and we're too lazy to haul our recyclables to a community center. We have a 5yo girl who could draw and write 24/7 if we let her, so we go thru more than our fair share of paper. I also indulge in frozen dinners for lunch at work.
Did I feel overwhelmed by this book? Yes. Did Coronato address that? YES! Basically she reminds you to go slow. Pick things that you can do or can get your family to do.

My favorite part of the book is near the beginning in chapter 3. She gives us month to month goals and only 4 of them called "The Eco-Friendly Four." The first tip for August is this:
Once school starts, so do computer projects. this year, put a dual-can practice into place wherever you have a printer. Mark one can "garbage" and one can "paper only." If your waste baskets don't have lids, reuse a piece of cardboard from an old box and attach a homemade lid that has to be lifted. this way, no one is absentmindedly dropping paper into the garbage can or vice versa. Before computer paper ever his the recycling container, make sure you have used both sides. Set up a paper tray for collecting sheets that can be used again. When it's time to purchase a new ream, look for recycled paper products.

The book has a lot of achievable goals. Don't work the book front to back as if you have to do this before that. Jump to areas you think you can really accomplish. For us it might be about cleaning solutions and paper use. We do have a new paper collection box just a few blocks from us. I also want to start remembering to bringing old shopping bags to the mall. I keep most of the bags I get from Ann Taylor Loft...they are great reusable bags. My problem is remembering to reuse them at their store!


I was able to talk with author, Helen Coronato, over the phone this week about her book for a few minutes.

Why did you write this book? I wrote the book that I was looking for and I couldn't find. I am a mom with two young children (ages 3 and 1). I wanted a book that was user friendly, optimistic, and hands-on. I wrote it to be an activity book for the entire family NOT as something that would be one more thing for mom to do. I didn't grow up with being green in mind. I had to change some old habits and I wanted to raise my kids knowing how to be green, so that it was second nature for them. Hopefully if we do that with our kids, they will take being green to the next level.

How do we go from feeling hopeless about the situation to hopeful without being overwhelmed by all that we need to do? In chapter three I break it down with a year-round calendar. Each month I give you four ideas - If you do just one new idea a month, you'll be doing a lot for the environment and our world. There's a lot to do, but most of us need to start with small steps. Little ideas do make a difference. And be realistic. You aren't going to go 100% green overnight. I wrote the book and my family doesn't do everything in it! I don't expect others to do it all. We also have to stop comparing ourselves to others...We have to be as green as we can be.

What was the hardest habit for your family to get into? The easiest? There are two things that are a struggle for us. The first is my husband has a hard time recycling paper. I have to police the paper use in our house. The second is that I am overly optimistic about how much healthy cooking I will do each week. I over buy produce. Thankfully my husband is great at making veggie soup on Sundays and using up the produce. The boys get into it and it's a fun thing for them to do together. My husband & I help each other with our challenges.

The easiest? Bringing our bags to the store. We put our oldest son in charge of the bags. We also store them in the car in front of his car seat, so each time we stop somewhere he asks us, "Mommy, do we need a bag?" When we walk from the car to the store, he holds one handle, I hold the other and so we know when we forget the bags. Do you bring bags to all stores or just the grocery store? Oh, everywhere!

Thanks Helen! Thank you, Veronica.

Purchase this book at an indie bookstore, , or Amazon!

Disclaimer: The only payment I received for this review was the review copy of the book. 

08 August 2008

Happy Birthday Dad!

Today is my dad's birthday. I won't tell ya how old he is, but I can say he's not 60 yet. Yup, I have a young dad. While we don't always see eye to eye, he has been obviously pivotal in shaping who I am today. In many ways, if he hadn't stuck around to be my dad, I'd be a totally different person. He's the one who instilled my love of sports which was my gateway drug to feminism. "What do you mean I can't play ball? I throw better than you!"

We don't really know how to talk to each other, my mom was our interpreter, we do know we love each other and we know how to talk Cubs. GO CUBS!

25 July 2008

What makes a family? Or a marriage?

Here are a few good posts that discuss both questions:
  • Womenstake takes on how the Census ignores same-sex marriages
  • Nancy Polikoff cusses how Ohio leaves out same-sex couples from the otherwise progressive move towards paid sick leave.


This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.
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