Thursday, March 5, 2015

Love Has No Labels

I had a different post scheduled for today, but then I came across the website and their "Diversity and Inclusion" video. I knew I needed to share it right away.

"Most Americans agree that people should be treated respectfully and fairly.  Yet many people in the United States still report feeling discriminated against.  The reason might be that we're actually discriminating unintentionally - we do 98% of our thinking in our subconscious mind.  And that's where we collect and store implicit biases."  -- Love Has No Labels website

I think that I'm a pretty open person and I try never to discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender, age or race.  But implicit bias means that we aren't even aware of our prejudices.  Often times we make quick judgments about someone without even realizing it's happened.

The Love Has No Labels website addresses implicit bias with a quiz, stories, and tips to fight bias and prejudice.

"To end bias, we need to become aware of it.  And then we need to do everything within our power to stop it.  In ourselves, others, and institutions. The world will be a better place for it."

And then there's the video.  It's a powerful, beautiful three minutes, and I hope you'll take the time to watch.  If we all could truly start to see each other this way, we would make the world a better place.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mixed Media Moto Jacket

Moto Jackets continue to make an appearance on fashion runways, and they're a great transitional piece for late winter/early spring days that still require an outer layer.

I bought this mixed media moto jacket several years ago.  The faux leather body and cotton sleeves are classic and comfortable, and the detachable hood adds a fun element.  I paired it with flats, a statement necklace, and a bright feminine top to soften the look.

This pale pink version would be beautiful for spring.

I like the twill body and jersey sleeves on this jacket.

How do you feel about the moto jacket trend?  Love it or not in a million years?

Be sure to come back on Friday when the Style Me Bloggers will be sharing a DIY project.  Hmmm...I am not at all crafty, but wait until you see what I made!

Linking up with Get Your Pretty On, The Pleated Poppy, Not Dead Yet Style, Why I Do DeclaireFashion Friday

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Listen To Your Body - C's Birth Story

It's been a LONG time since I was pregnant, so I don't have a lot of advice to offer in this area. I'd never planned to share the story of C's birth on my blog, but a friend encouraged me to pass on the scary lesson I learned twenty years ago.  It ends well, so maybe it will help someone else.

In 1995, my older son was born five weeks early after an induced labor. One day later and he probably wouldn't have lived.  Here's the story.

Prior to my pregnancy with C I had a miscarriage, so when I found out I was expecting again we were excited but apprehensive.  During the first trimester I was really sick.  I lost ten pounds and eventually had to go on medication to combat the nausea.

By four months I was feeling better, and the middle part of my pregnancy flew by with no complications.  With six weeks to go, at a routine exam, my doctor noticed that my belly hadn't grown from my previous visit.  She sent me for an ultrasound, and it was determined that my amniotic fluid was low.  The baby seemed to be tolerating the situation just fine, so I was sent home on bedrest.

An earlier ultrasound when there was still plenty of fluid
A week went by and I was already getting bored with the whole laying around thing.  I wish I had known to appreciate that wonderful gift of rest and relaxation before the arrival of a newborn.  On Tuesday afternoon I was reading on the couch, and realized that I hadn't felt C moving much that day.  I was supposed to be doing "kick counts", but I have to admit I hadn't been following doctor's orders.  I got out my watch and a piece of paper to start recording the baby's activity.  If it took more than two hours to feel ten movements, it could signal a problem.

Very quickly I became concerned.  I would feel a small kick here and there, but nothing consistent.  I tried a glass of orange juice to wake him up, but that didn't help.  At this point I was starting to get worried.  I called my doctor's office and the nurse didn't seem very concerned, but told me I could go to the hospital if I wanted.  Which I did.

I was hooked up for a non-stress test, and the results weren't encouraging. C was definitely sluggish.  His heart rate was in the lower range of normal, and his movements didn't cause the rate to go up very much.  The nurse called for a wheelchair to send me downstairs for an ultrasound.

The technician conducted a biophysical profile, and the news got more distressing.  Five components of fetal health were tested, with each one receiving a score of 0 (abnormal) or 2 (normal).  A score of 8 or 10 is good, 6 is borderline, and below 6 is worrisome.  C got a 4.

When the test was done the technician left the room to consult with the doctor, and my husband and I waited and worried.  Was I going to lose this baby too, after eight months?  A radiologist returned a few minutes later and confirmed that the ultrasound had shown NO amniotic fluid left, and the baby wasn't doing well.

I was whisked back upstairs to the maternity floor where they immediately gave me medicine to start labor.  My doctor felt that we could try a vaginal delivery as long as I had constant monitoring, but she told me to be prepared for an emergency C-section if things went downhill.  My poor husband was in shock. He kept saying, "But we don't even have any diapers yet!"

Labor progressed and C hung in there just fine, and the next morning at 11:15 he arrived to a room filled with doctors and NICU nurses.  I was allowed to hold him for a few minutes before he was whisked off to the special care nursery, where he stayed for a week.  Even though he was five weeks early, he weighed six pounds, his lungs were developed and healthy, and he suffered no long term effects from his pre-natal adventure.

I don't want to hear one word about these glasses - see Firmoo review instead!
Later that afternoon the nurse who had conducted my non-stress test stopped by my room.  She thanked me for paying attention to my baby's movements the day before, and told me that if I had waited another 24 hours to come in, C would most likely have died in utero.  Sobering.  It may be the only time in my life that my anxious personality did me some good.  

Testing showed that my placenta had calcified and stopped working like it should.  During my next pregnancy I saw a specialist in Seattle and we finally figured out what was going on with the fluid.  Let's just say my body is NOT good at being pregnant.  But that's another story.

The lesson?  Listen to your body and your instincts, pregnant or not.  If you think something is wrong, have it checked out.  If everything is okay, great. Just don't be the person who waits 24 hours, afraid of inconveniencing others or overreacting.  I'm so glad I didn't.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A Letter To C On His Birthday

Dear C-

Today is your 20th birthday.  You're no longer a teenager - so hard to believe how quickly the time has flown.

We met you on a sunny early spring morning, five weeks before you were due to arrive.  After giving us quite a scare, you emerged into the world with red hair and a temper to match.  All my life I had wanted to be a mother, and you gave me that gift.

From the very beginning you were so full of life, curious and loving.  You never wanted to sleep because you were afraid you might miss something important. You talked early and often, bounced more than you sat, and amazed me with your questions and eagerness to know what was going on in this world.

You carried that curiosity into boyhood, and I knew I had a very special person on my hands. Empathetic, kind, smart and so very sensitive.  Your temper was still there, but you had this way of looking at me that melted me every time.  

And now here you are, almost a grown man.  All of your wonderful qualities have remained, but you've matured and mellowed into the most amazing person.  You are loyal, determined and know exactly where you are going in life. Your sense of humor, ability to choose what is right and honorable, and love for your family make my heart smile.  You remind me so much of your father, and as far as I'm concerned, there is no higher compliment I can give.

I know that my days of being your "everyday" mother are growing short, and while that makes me sad, I'm also so proud of you that sometimes l feel like my heart will burst.

As you turn 20, my advice to you is this:  Enjoy every moment.  Always listen twice as much as you speak.  Be humble but be confident.  Get up one more time than you fall down.  Keep your sense of humor and never stop laughing. Love with all you have, even if it hurts sometimes.  Whatever you are asked to do, do just a little bit more.  Respect has to be earned. Stay positive and always seek happiness.  Be brave.

All those years ago you gave me the ultimate gift when you became my son, and I want to thank you.  No matter how old you get, you'll always be my sweet little red haired boy, bouncing off the walls and talking a mile a minute.  And I wouldn't change a thing.....Love, Mom

Happy Birthday!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fantastic Firmoo Glasses

I've worn glasses since second grade, when my teacher finally mentioned to my mom that she had to move me to the front of the room so I could see the chalkboard.  I remember feeling like that first pair was a magical gift - I could finally see!

As I've aged, my eyesight has gotten progressively worse, so in addition to my contacts, I always keep a few pairs of glasses nearby.  In the past they've been ordered from Costco, mostly because it was easy.

From now on I'm purchasing all of my glasses from Firmoo. is a global online optical store, with a large selection of reasonably priced frames.  The pair I chose was only $36, which included free single vision prescription lenses.  Bifocals are available for an additional $22.95 more, and progressive lenses are an extra $36.95.  Much more reasonable than Costco or any other retailer I've tried.  Firmoo also carries reading, computer, and prescription sunglasses.

Ordering was a breeze.  With their Virtual Try On System I was able to upload a picture of myself and try different glasses to see which looked best.  I filled in my prescription, chose a size (also easily explained on the ordering page), and that was it.

I was thrilled with the glasses when they arrived, complete with a case and pouch, cleaning cloth and small screwdriver.  They are well made and sturdy, and the prescription is perfect.

And can we talk about how pretty they are?  Hot pink with a tortoiseshell frame  - totally up my alley.  They fit my face just right and are very comfortable.

The only downside was the shipping time.  It took almost a month for the glasses to arrive.  However, I spoke with their customer service representative, and she let me know that they were having trouble with their standard shipping company.  To compensate, Firmoo is currently offering express shipping for only $6.95, so that problem should be solved.

Overall, my experience with couldn't have been better.  I plan to order a pair of computer glasses from them since I spend most of my day staring at a monitor.  I give Firmoo a highly recommend!

**Disclosure:  I received a free pair of glasses from Firmoo for this review.  However, all opinions are my own**

Friday, February 27, 2015

Sharing Some Gratitude Part Nine

I cannot believe it's the end of February, and time for a look at the things I'm grateful for.  Time really does fly by.

--I'm grateful for the month of "love".  My husband and I have been making a real effort to go on date nights, AND not talk about work the whole time we're out.  He's not much of a Valentine's guy, but today he brought me these roses. I have no idea why but I am not complaining.

--I'm grateful for the weather.  Not trying to make the East Coasters feel bad, but we have honestly had the nicest winter I can remember.  February in Seattle is usually pretty miserable - cold, windy, gray and rainy.  We may pay for it this spring, but I'm loving the warm-ish, sunny days.

--I'm grateful for my new Crock Pot.  The last one was round and very old. I got this one for Christmas, and it has many settings and lots more space. There's a whole board devoted to it on my Pinterest page, and I'm always looking for new recipes.  I made Creamy Tomato Chicken Pasta last week and it was a huge hit.

--I'm grateful for Instagram.  It has quickly become my favorite form of social media, and I love seeing everyone's pictures and inspirational quotes every day. If you haven't yet, follow me here.

--I'm grateful for these yayhoo's.  My son has the nicest group of friends. Every one of them is kind and respectful and they have T's back - always. Luckily they don't normally dress like this or I might have to rethink things. This was their "uniform" for the Macho Volleyball Tournament, a long standing Marysville tradition.

I hope you find what you are grateful for this month.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Linking up with Motivation Monday

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Return To Childhood...But I Know Why

Recently I've noticed an odd phenomenon with both of my boys.  They seem to have regressed back to their tween years.  Their attitudes and behavior haven't changed, thankfully.  No pre-teen angst or sulking.  But there's definitely something weird going on....

Exhibit A.  My almost twenty year old son announced this weekend that he wanted a fish aquarium for his room.  Um....okay.  We haven't had a fish in the house for at least ten years.  For us, fish were a "starter" pet before the boys moved on to fire belly toads and hamsters.  I have to say, Fred and the Three Oscars (yes, he named them himself) are kind of calming to watch as they swim around their new home.

It was very hard to get them all to hold still for a picture.

Exhibit B.  Guitar Hero on the Wii, as opposed to the XBox Zombie/Halo games that they've been playing for the last few years.  In recent weeks, T has recruited all of his friends for epic Guitar Hero battles.  I think the guitars had an inch thick layer of dust on them when they were pulled from the game cabinet, but no matter!  Friday nights now sound like jam sessions instead of a war zone.

Exhibit C.  Goldfish crackers.  These were pretty much a food group in our house when the boys were growing up, but I hadn't purchased them in years. On a whim, I grabbed some on my last trip to the store.  It was like I brought home the golden ticket!  Such excitement over crackers.  Guess I don't need to figure out what to get them for birthdays anymore.

Exhibit D, which is the greatest of them all.  C and T are really interested in hanging out with mom and dad.  On Sunday mornings they mosey into the kitchen and ask what the plan is for the day.  What, you mean with us?

I have a thought about all this regression, although I'm sure the boys would deny my theory.  There are precious few months (eighteen, to be exact - yes, I'm counting) left until they both move out and onto the next stage of their lives.  I don't even want to think about it, but they have.  

And although they're excited and ready to get on with it, a part of them is scared and nervous about the journey ahead.  So fish as pets, Guitar Hero, goldfish crackers and hanging out with mom and dad sound pretty good right now.

I'm not complaining.
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