Cynical Optimism

expecting the worst and being optimistic about it

Chemical Birth Control - Thoughts
switchfoot
switchfan

Disclaimer #1 - This post is meant to be something of a clearinghouse for the jumble of thoughts that have been tangling up my brain's productivity for over a month now. In my dreams, I have tons of things linked here to back up and illustrate everything I mention. In reality, I have an (almost) 3 y/o and an (almost) 1 y/o, and it's already 10:45 pm. So, here are my thoughts, take them or leave them.

Disclaimer #2 - If you disagree with me about something, or if I name something as wrong/evil in this post that you have done, please do not assume that I therefore hate you/look down on you/don't like you/am calling you names/couldn't embrace you as a brother or sister in Christ. This is the internet, and it's easy to say things quickly, and assume motives elsewhere. I am intending to name truth here, and I stand in the light of this truth exposed just as much as the next person. I am far from perfect, and claim nothing but that Christ saves me anyway, and is enabling me to become more like Him. 

Disclaimer #3 - All truth is God's truth. If you think I'm dead wrong about _________, I would love for you to prove me wrong (in a reasoned, footnoted, respectful way). If you're right and I'm not, I'm completely open to having my mind changed (at least, I want to be.... at this point in my life, I'm hoping that "wanting" makes up for any areas in which emotional attachments would make it hard to recognize truth).

The "anti-birth control" blog post that started it all.

As a Christian, who is deeply convinced that 1) children are a BLESSING from the Lord (no if's, and's or but's), 2) Life begins at conception, 3) Life is sacred and therefore we are called to a) not end it*, and b) preserve it and bless it to the best of our ability, 4) God is Sovereign and works His good will with our lives in whatever way He deems best (we are the clay, He is the potter, yet we still have "free" will - get over it)  

THEREFORE

4) Abortion in all its forms (plan B/morning after, early term, late term, partial birth, etc...) and for any reason is EVIL. It is murder. It is deciding that you know better than God, and that He made a mistake in letting this happen, or cannot possibly bring enough good out of this to make up for ruining a woman's perfectly good life with inflicting this baby(ies?) on her. Yes, I'm talking about all the exceptions too, like a) in cases of rape, b) where the woman's life is in danger, c) where the baby is somehow "not perfect" or d) supposedly "won't live outside of the womb."**

5) I addition to being pro-life, I am also pro-child (thank you Randy Bohlender), pro adoption, pro giving every life every chance I can, because God did not put me in charge of deciding who lives and who dies. Thank goodness.

THEREFORE

The Issue of birth control is very sticky. And there are a wide range of opinions on chemical birth control, even among real Christians. Behind any woman's decision to take chemical birth control, there are many issues. Let's assume, for the sake of this discussion, that any people in these scenarios are Christian, actively trusting God, trying to follow Him to the best of their abilities, praying for Him to show them sin in their lives and the direction He wants them to go, etc...., etc...  In short, we're talking about a specific issue at this point, not other issues where birth control shows up as come kind of collateral damage (control). For example:

--> I don't believe that "family planning" in ANY SENSE WHATSOEVER is a sin, like I think some Catholics might (feel free to correct me, friend Catholics). I think God creates us with brains that are meant to be educated and matured and then gives us responsibilities and decisions and priorities to keep straight. I don't think there's necessarily anything wrong with wanting to wait 2 years to have the next child instead of getting pregnant again 2 months after giving birth. I am, at the very least, ambivalent about birth control methods that involve stopping pregnancy before it happens, like condoms, gel, not having sex when ovulating, etc....

--> It is the case in recent, recorded medical history, that chemical birth control methods of all kinds have caused the deaths and permanent injuries of both mothers and their babies. If this were not the case, there would not be warnings about these things published by the drug companies who make them. I am not making a claim in this particular paragraph about how much/often this has happened, but it HAS HAPPENED.  It DOES happen.

--> There are claims that chemical birth control can and does do nasty things to the female body, above and beyond stated potential side effects and warnings. Obviously, this kind of thing happens on the periphery, probably not the majority of women who take CBC, but who knows who will be on the periphery before they start taking it? I have not personally researched this, but I have heard many things  If you think the "eat organic" argument has any merits at all, this is along the same lines. If you don't, that's ok, my point still stands ;)

THEREFORE

I am extremely leery of the idea of CBC. Mainly for the #1 reason that - it is possible that, if I put this chemical in my body, it could cause a child of mine to die, whether I knew it or not. It has been pointed out to me by multiple medically trained professionals that (for example) the low level basic birth control pill that you take every day or week or whatever is meant to trick your body into NEVER OVULATING, and that, if your body ignores the tricky hormones being fed to it and DOES ovulate, it also takes care of making your uterus ready to receive the potentially fertilized egg. Therefore if the pill fails, it fails all around, not just at the "release the egg" stage (which allows conception to happen) while not failing at the "get the uterus ready to receive it" stage (which, if the uterus wasn't ready, would result in the death of the fertilized egg). Even assuming this is true 100% of the time, this does not mean that chemical birth control would never cause the baby harm after it implanted. For example, in Mirena's prescribing information (see the top of the page), there are multiple warnings about an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (where the baby implants somewhere in the fallopian tube and not in the uterus, causing probable complications and potential death of both mother and baby).

If I'm supposed to avoid smoking, drugs and alcohol during pregnancy (which MANY women take all the way to "do NOT do ANY of them AT ALL just to be safe", and which I think is a perfectly great idea), why wouldn't I add birth control to that list? In my mind, the potential risk of harm to an unborn child of mine, small though it may be, means that chemical birth control is out. It's not worth it to me.

If this is just a matter of conscience, then I can make no sweeping pronouncements or condemn anyone. I don't really want to do that anyway, except for the sweeping pronouncement of - if you are a woman who takes chemical birth control without prayerfully researching and considering the issue, I think you are making a grave mistake. Anyway, if this isn't a matter of conscience, I would refer you to the Catholic Church and what many Catholics on the internet have to say on the matter.  I haven't researched that myself, but I'm sure it's out there.

My #2 reason is a vague and general leeriness of messing with my body's perfectly healthy hormone balance. Trust me, I enjoy not having a period every month just as much as the next woman (huge perk of breastfeeding, just fyi), but stopping something annoying just because you CAN makes me nervous. And there are many women out there who would LOVE to tell you all about how chemical birth control messed up their bodies. I've seen their comments on websites and posts all over the place. I don't really want to be one of them. Not to mention the fact that, at the very least, this study seems to indicate that birth control can cause infertility. I suspect there are more studies, but again, haven't done the research. Feel free to prove me right/wrong.

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Two hours later, I think I'm done. If anyone is still reading at this point, thank you. I'm now going to bed.

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*Except in cases where God makes exceptions, obviously, like governments enforcing a death penalty.

**Like Sherlock Holmes says, when you have eliminated the impossible [or, in this case, the possibility of ending a child's life on purpose], whatever remains, however improbable, [i.e., hard, unappetizing, inconvenient, or life changing] must be the truth? a. How many mothers who bore children, impregnanted through rape, regret that their child lives? And how many children, conceived in rape, regret that they exist? b. I have a friend who is alive today because while she was inside of her mother, the mother refused cancer treatment that would have harmed her baby. The mother died of the cancer, but my friend is partway through a wonderful life and will see their mother again in heaven. c) Find me a parent who regrets not taking the life of their special needs child in the womb. Go here to see many testimonies of parents who name their child a blessing many times over. d) There are countless miracle stories of babies who the doctors thought would die who ended up being fine! And, if worst comes to worst and the doctors are right, wouldn't you rather give birth to your child at the right time, and have time to meet them and say hello and goodbye, rather than just killing them?


housewarming gift notes
switchfoot
switchfan

If you have been invited to our "little" party, and you are determined to bring something gifty, please see below.

Just so you know, we really JUST want you to come. If you really feel like bringing yourself AND a gift, we will be pleasantly surprised ;)

-Fiestaware: anything on this pinterest page. Most of these can probably be found on Amazon.

-a Toaster. We're not picky, and it doesn't have to be fancy. SOMEONE, who will remain unnamed, left our old one on all night, and, well, you can ask them about the rest of the story. (hint, it wasn't Sarah)

-a Laminator. (this one is a great price right now)

-a Breadmaker (used is fine - again, we aren't picky)

-a Kitchenaid (if you happen to have one sitting around that you don't use..... (I know, yeah right!))

-ROCKS for Sarah's future garden path. Anything with a flat side that is larger than about 5 inches diameter will be greeted with joy. Sandstoney colored preferred, but not necessary. Large (can be lifted by 1-3 people) but not Giant ones are perfect.

-Anything craft-ish, yard-ish, or building materials-ish that can be added to our stash. ribbons, construction paper, popsicle sticks, yarn, leftover (spray) paint, painting materials, rakes, weedwackers, wood, nails, screws, glue, stain, etc... etc... If you show up with a large bag of your "junk", we will happily accept it. Anything we aren't interested in will be passed on or donated.


How the Obama Campaign plans to get YOU to donate.
switchfoot
switchfan
Right, so one time I decided to give the Obama campaign my email address in order to enter a chance to win at coffee with the President. Because, I thought, "What fun if I won!"  And because the website told me I didn't have to actually donate in order to register a chance. Well, I suspect the website lied, because it never actually TOLD me I was entered, it just asked me for "$3 or whatever you can".... but now I get pleading fundraising emails weekly, if not daily. this one is the latest. I've included it for your perusal, along with my thoughts (because, that's what the internet is for, right? My thoughts that no one cares about :D)

Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.     

{Thank GOODNESS! only 92 more days of this RIDICULOUSNESS}

Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.
{Oh look how much money people are spending on Romney.... I don't know if that makes me excited or disgusted...}

Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap. Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.

{Here's where I start to get annoyed: #1 - NO MENTION of the fact that the democrats are ALSO using superPACS to raise money for Obama, and that they're failing miserably. Also billionaires, except the billionaires on the left just aren't really donating this time (according to an article I read somewhere a few months ago). #2 - I'm assuming that mentioning billionaires and faceless superPACS is supposed to make me, the little guy, feel like I'm.... I'm not really sure what I'm supposed to feel like, except upset at billionaires and superPACS.  Being manipulated into class warfare pisses me off.}

Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.
Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap. Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap. Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.

{I would like to pause here and just mention that I have seen ZERO campaign signs for Obama or Romney ANYWHERE in the mid-south where I am. So, apparently here, at least, Obama really does need my help. Not that I'm going to give it to him....}
Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap. Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.

{So, again, why do I need to FIGHT Sheldon Adelson? Why mention him by name? What did he do to deserve to be SINGLED OUT in a campaign email as THE BAD GUY?? I'm gonna go with 'probably nothing worthy of this' (unless donating money to the "wrong" side counts), and then go google him after I post this}

Outraised in July: How we can still win if we close the gap.

{Oh look, Obama really does care about the working class.  Look, he's giving that nice janitor/maintenance guy knucks. Awwwwwww *warm fuzzies*. Well, forget all that stuff I said, and the fact that his stimulus has kept the jobless rate above 8% since he's been in office and the fact that Obamacare is going to make healthcare EVEN WORSE THAN IT ALREADY IS for people without much money and I guess since he gives knucks to working class people I'll just have to vote for him. Darn - good play Obama....} </sarcasm>
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Happy Mothers Day
switchfoot
switchfan
Dear Mom,

This Mother's Day, I just want to make sure you know how much I appreciate you.  You have always been, and still are, a huge part of my life, and I'm VERY thankful that I don't just get to enjoy you as a mother, but also as a grandmother.

~Thank you for all the times you woke up in the middle of the night for me.  Especially the ones after I didn't need to eat anymore.

~Thank you for the thousands of hours you spent reading out loud to me. You are the reason I love The Lord of the Rings, and Narnia. Some may not thank you for that, since they would say I take it a teensy bit (ok, a LOT) too seriously, but that's neither here nor there O:).  I am especially thankful for your example, because now I can read to my son(s) and know what will come of it.

~Thank you for all the meals you cooked for me that I never thanked you for. Maybe not so much the lima beans, but everything else - yes ;)

~Thank you for homeschooling me, and sticking with it. Thank you for making it fun, even in the face of my groaning and complaining and general uncooperative spirit that I'm sure I exhibited quite a bit. I felt embarrassed by you a lot when I was a kid, but it was only because I way taking myself waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too seriously.  (Guys, my mom wrote songs to help us remember stuff. Like, all the countries in Africa.  And we went on a Marco Polo expedition. And she made us eat hardtack.  And we spent the whole day stuck on the porch to simulate being on an explorers ship in the 1600's. She's amazing).

~Thank you for letting me be who I wanted to, and not trying to live your desires vicariously through me.

~Thank you for disciplining me.

~Thank you for looking 45 when you're actually almost.... a bit older than you look. I'm excited about those genes :D

~Thank you for making homemade bread and cooking lots of vegetables.

~And last, but certainly not least, thank you for taking over a week out of your life, to come to my crowded, cluttered house, and sacrifice the whole time you were here.  Thank you for washing dishes, packing tons of boxes, keeping a very busy toddler occupied, holding a very large baby, staying up late, getting up early, cleaning my kitchen(s) and bathroom(s), and doing it all my way. I literally COULD NOT have done it without you.

I hope I can be as good a mom to my kids as you were/are to me.

Happy Mother's Day :-*
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Toddler busy bag swap
switchfoot
switchfan
Dear people with small children,

I have been thinking, and I would really like to take part in a busy bag swap for 2-ish year olds. Since the only one I've found online fills up in hours (and is only hosted once or twice a year), I've decided to see if I can have my own right here in the Noog.  Are you interested?

What: A group of moms agree to make up bags of activities/crafts suitable for a certain age range.  Each mom makes enough of one activity to fill 15-25 bags (depending on how many people are participating), while shooting for spending around $1 per bag (or less) on supplies. Though, if you get excited and want to spend more, that's ok too. The activities should be self-contained, transportable, convenient, inexpensive, easy to make and reusable. Then, we all meet and exchange bags, so that each mom goes home with 15-25 activities. The bags can be pulled out and given to their busy child who needs something interesting to do at a moment's notice, or something to distract them while the mom does something else (homeschool olders, cook, whatever), or a special one-on-one time with child and mommy. Note: I am interested in bags for ages 2-3.  If there are a lot of people interested in both younger and older age bags, we can do two different swaps for the two age groups. 

Here are some links to ideas for bags so you can see what kinds I am thinking about. 



The swap I am modeling this after - these look like the best activities to me






1-2 year old ideas






advanced 2's to Kindergarten ideas






Busy bags in action


When: As soon as I have enough people commit to this, I will set a time 2-3 weeks out and email everyone instructions.  At the appointed time, we will meet and do the swap as a tea party (because tea and parties make everything good even better).  ALTERNATIVELY (if this works better for everyone), people can bring their completed box of bags to my house, and I will do all the swapping once I get everyone's box.  Then, people can come pick up their new box of miscellaneous bagged goodies at their convenience. 

How: If you are interested in participating, please email me your name and the age(s) of your child(ren). If you email me, I'm going to count this as a commitment unless I hear otherwise. Obviously, if something comes up at the last minute and you can't participate, that's extenuating circumstances, but please don't sign up unless you are serious :) Remember that you will be spending at least $15-$30 on this, depending on how many people sign up and which activity/craft you pick. My address is switchfan at gmail dot com.

If you like, you can go ahead and pick the activity you wish to be responsible for making, and include that in your email. Feel free to pick something not linked to here, but please explain it/link to it in your email so I can make sure we aren't repeating things.  Otherwise, I will let you know when we have our group, and you can choose your activity then. If the one you choose has already been picked by someone else, I will let you know. 

Help: Please help me out and give this link to anyone you think would be interested with young children in the local area. Tell them to send it on even if they aren't interested. I will close the swap when we have enough people.  If there are a TON of you interested, I will try to set up groups so everyone can participate. 

Toddler's Rules of Possession
switchfoot
switchfan
Now that I have a 2 y/o in my life (with a younger brother who is so far unable to grab things away from him), this is VERY funny. Thank you Family Action Council of TN for emailing this to me....

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New year, new attempts
switchfoot
switchfan
Wow.

I knew it had been a long time since I posted something, but I hadn't realized that it's been almost 5 months.  For the record, I wrote a LOT of posts in my head, but.... well.... life was more important than posting them (as it should be), so it didn't happen. 

But, I did want to drop in and say that, despite not really caring about New Years, or the whole "resolutions" thing, Jonesey has inspired me to try some anyway. So, here they are, mostly so y'all can feel free to ask me how it's going, and maybe that guilt will help me keep them for a bit longer.

1 ~ Read through the Bible in a year chronologically: I have read through the entire Bible ONCE so far in my life, but that took 2.5 years, so we'll see how this goes.  It would be really good for me if I could keep this up..... I gotta be honest, I skipped the first 3 chapters of Genesis, but the I've probably read those more than any other passage in the Bible. Other than that, I'm on track so far. 

2 ~ Regularly start my day early enough to have down time/quiet time BEFORE the kid(s) are up, rather than waiting until after they go to bed (and staying up until midnight or 1 am): Got up this morning by 6:30, the earliest I have been awake (without going back to sleep) since Thanksgiving.

3 ~ Be more organized and keep the house cleaner: I found a "52 weeks to an organized home" challenge, which I think will really help IF I buckle down and stick to it.  Isn't that always the way?  Maybe I'll even blog about how it's going every week.... we'll see. 

In other news, I made doughnuts in my new doughnut pan last night (given to me by my hubby, who knows how much I love them), and they're pretty good. I also used my new measuring cups when mixing them up :D.  I love Christmas presents. And, I think it's time I left to start getting all the stuff I need to do out of the way so I can start organizing. 

Applied Economics: Thinking Beyond Stage One
switchfoot
switchfan
I got this book from the library about 2 weeks ago, because I have finally decided that I need to stop knowing almost nothing about economics.  And, there was a great little article in World Mag a few issues ago about books to read to understand the housing bust and banking bailout, and what led up to it.  So, with that impetus, I went looking for those books. 

Thumbs down to my library system...Collapse )

Jam! and The Cuteness
switchfoot
switchfan
Whenever summer rolls around, with it's abundance of fruit, I always have grand, ethereal schemes to pick tons of said fruit, and turn it into enough jam to last me all year (and give as gifts).  Of course, most of the time, said grand schemes turn into eaten fruit, rotted fruit (which I DID pick, but then never did anything with, except eventually throw it in the trash), or absolutely nothing at all.

But, this morning, I actually did it! All by myself, and with a very cranky 18M old who had decided I wasn't pay enough attention to him (when he wasn't being distracted by Blues Clues).



What makes it so much cooler (to me), is that the blackberries had been sitting in the fridge for 10 days at this point, and had matured.... past the point of ripeness.  In fact, they smelled like they were trying to decide between heading towards wine, or skipping that altogether and going straight to vinegar.  Naturally, I was very disappointed in myself, since I had BOUGHT new lids+rims and pectin JUST for this batch that I'd spent 2 hours picking. Boo.  

So I fled to my trusty internets, which rarely lets me down, and found this forum post by a lady who had the same problem: can fermented fruit still be turned into yummy jam? Turns out, it can!  All I did was boil the fruit (before adding the pectin) until it smelled like fruit again, instead of wannabe wine.  Took 5-10 minutes. THEN I continued on with the "add pectin, add sugar, bring to a rolling boil for 1 full minute, etc..." steps. I also had to close one eye, and squint past the very STERN and DIRE warnings in the instructions on EXACT measuring (or not only will your jam be a completely worthless pile of wasted time and effort, but your life will be ruined, and bats may even move into your attic.... or something like that). Anyway, they made me very nervous.  But, I started out THINKING I had enough for a full batch, only come to find out that crushed berries fill a lot less cups than whole berries..... yes, seems elementary doesn't it? But, I measured the pectin out via ratios very carefully (the sugar was much easier), and then threw in a little extra for good measure (lumpy jam is better than runny jam).

AND IT WORKED!!! YAY!!  So, despite two strikes against me at the outset, I think I can claim a home run :D. But better, 'cause I have jam, and not just a point (baseball is boring, anyway, so jam is TONS better).

Also today, William discovered that he could sit in his large dump truck, and scoot himself around the living room.












also, I uploaded some videos to facebook, if you like to watch him.  If you don't care, that's ok.  You're just missing out on the CUTEST KID EVER!!!!  

just kidding. I'm not really that vain.

exciting!
switchfoot
switchfan
I managed to sell my old Nikon d50 on ebay a few weeks ago, and now that the window for returning it has lapsed, I can spend the extra money I earned (over the cost of my new Nikon d90). Well, I probably shouldn't say "spend", since it's already spent.  I got 2 backup batteries, and a new 8 GB SD card (which means VERY long movies now.... only, probably not, because William isn't usually that interesting for more than a minute or two at a time).

ANYWAY, I was going to also buy this:

Which makes indoor pictures MUCH better. I have actually purchased 2 already, but they were both gifts...  But, then I got distracted by this book:



We got this at our local used bookstore (for a song, I'm sure, since I get ALL children's board books there for a song - or, multiple songs, if you prefer), and it's currently one of william's favorite books.  It's very large (about 12 inches in height), and the pictures are beautiful.  I assume, since I don't know a whole lot about Africa, that all of the accompanying birds and fauna are real subspecies that a giraffe would encounter.  In any case, it's ridiculously beautiful AND educational at the same time.

I've been meaning to look it up on Amazon to see if there were any others (since the back of the book said there were many books in the series), and lo and behold....:

















There are actually at least 5 more that I didn't post, mainly because I didn't buy those.  So, instead of a light scoop, over the next few days we will be the proud new owners of ALL of these books!!!

Thank you Amazon for a) free prime 2day-shipping, b) having enough of these books on a "buy 4 get the cheapest one free" special, and c) selling me the little rabbit book for $.01 AND giving me free shipping on it!  I thought about waiting until I could get back to the used book store, but that would have required WAITING. And having to comb through the entire children's section in search of specific books (which I hate to do, because I'm always trying to keep William from wandering off to flirt with strangers (who are probably all fine upstanding citizens... but it's my job to be paranoid (within reason))).  I much prefer to just grab a handful of books off the shelf, flip through them real quick, replace them, and grab another. I'm really looking forward to when William likes books enough to sit down and look at them IN PUBLIC instead of wanting to run around EVERYWHERE. Of course, by that point, I will probably have another one who is doing the running around. Maybe I just should give up and get a leash....

In any case, I got all of those books for $27.59, which isn't an AMAZING deal, but it's a GOOD deal, considering they are all in very good condition.

Moving on....

Recently I've also snagged a year long membership to the zoo for $27 (thank you, groupon), and so we've been twice already.  Surprisingly, William seems to enjoy the owl and the snakes the most.  Which is funny to me, because neither of those animals move when we're looking at them. And he's been randomly saying "Camel!" for the past three days. (Also, someone else bought the deal with the link I sent them, which enabled me to turn around and purchase a $50 photobook credit for $5 - sweet :D)

And, I also managed to snag my Dad's future birthday present for FREE because of credits on ANOTHER daily deal site (he reads my blog, so you don't get any more details than that)

In case you care, William just turned 18 months.  He's running, walking down stairs (but only holding on to someone's hand - however, that's just in case his own balance fails), "helping" me in the kitchen (for about 1 minute, until the mess gets too big and I send him off to do something else, usually with a food bribe), being obsessed with his cars (thank you Joshua J), asking to watch the "tee!" (TV), oh! and TALKING!!!  We're a long way away from complete sentences (or even complete/correct pronunciation on everything), but he can come up with more than 60 words on his own (with no prompting), and he knows a lot more than that.  It's so much fun :D  I love being a mom :D  And, he likes to "snuggle with the baby" by pulling my shirt up and laying his head on my belly.  It's pretty darn cute. And mostly not too uncomfortable.

Alright, I'm done bragging.  And I can't think of anything else to regale you with, so it's off to eat some cereal and get more stuff done.
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