Friday, April 30, 2010


I have never been the recipient of racism. I am a white woman who appears to be of northern European descent. I have blue eyes, red-brown hair (depending on the year) and freckles. I was born into a middle class family and am still part of a middle class family and will always be middle class.I have the sad ability to sunburn at the mere suggestion of a sunny day.

My last name however, is Gonzales. My youngest child's name is Gonzales. And what happened to us last night, I believe, is because of that name.

Last night our day care provider felt that Will was sick. Sicker than he had been. We've all had a cold thing going around our house and Will has probably had it for 2 weeks. But he was wheezing and coughing and having a hard time getting a good breath it sounded like. He wasn't hungry either which is unusual.

So Micah picked him up and we left Kylie in charge of Lizzie and went to the local urgent care. I honestly didn't want to go initially but Micah felt it was important and I'm glad we went.

We were seen right away and they gave Will steroids that he didn't like. They determined he had a slight fever as well and so gave him a breathing treatment that he hated.

His breathing for a time was better after the treatment and then it got bad again. So they had us give him another breathing treatment, which he again hated. He got better and then got bad again.

They also took chest Xrays. I cried.

At this point the Dr called the nearest ER and talked to a Pediatric specialist. They recommended we go over there because even though they could get him better he just got worse again. The Dr seemed to thing that we would eventually be admitted.

At this point I wanted to go to Children's Hospital ER but since the Urgent Care Dr had already called I just shut my mouth and went. Never again.

We get to the ER and get taken in right away because Urgent Care had called ahead. They don't even give us time to fill out forms. (Later on an intake person did come in and get our information and medical insurance information)

They asked us repeatedly what he had been given at Urgent Care. I finally told them that since our Dr over there had consulted with them I assumed they had the information. They did not.

They kept asking if Urgent Care had given him Tylenol.


Intake Nurse:Something for his fever?

Me: No. But they did give him something pink, I think for the chest infection they said he had.

Nurse:Oh, so Motrin?


Micah went out to the car to get our discharge paperwork and see if that helped. Apparently Urgent Care gave him steroids.

The Dr comes in and we are trying to explain what happened and she listens to the baby and talks with us and decides that he needs yet another breathing treatment.

That will make 3 breathing treatments in about 3.5 hours. So we give him the treatment and he hates it and we wait. About 15 minutes after the treatment a nurse comes in, listens to him and says he's doing better. That will be the last time we see a nurse or Dr for the night until we are discharged.

We felt his wheezing start back up and felt like at anytime the Dr would come back and check him again. That a nurse would come listen to him and hear his breathing. I began to get busy trying to figure out if Kylie could babysit Lizzie all night or if I would need their stepmother to come get them.

A little over an hour after we had last seen a nurse a woman in scrubs walks in with a box and asks if the machine is for us. Well we have no idea. She asks is this is William Garcia. I say no, Gonzales. She shrugs. As is to say whatever, Garcia. Gonzales, same thing. She proceeds to explain that she's brought a take home oxygen thing to give him breathing treatments at home.

This is where it all dawned on me. She started to fill out the paperwork and remarked that we didn't have insurance.

Indeed, we do have insurance. We actually have dual insurance. I have ridiculously good coverage and Micah has pretty decent back up coverage. Most of the time we don't even have to pay a co-pay or meet any deductibles. We pay a pretty penny for this coverage (around $400 a month total) .

So we looked at each other and remarked that no, we do have coverage, in fact we have two policies. She seemed surprised. She looked at the paperwork. She called and spoke with someone stating that we did, in fact, have insurance and should we still get the machine.

The way she spoke made it seem as if the machine was for poor people with no insurance. Or that because we had insurance maybe something else would be done. Or maybe we weren't supposed to be given the machine at all.

In the end, we still got that machine and I had to fill out a sales and rental receipt for the machine.

A few minutes later a nurse came in with a prescription and horrible instructions. If he starts wheezing again (he already is) then give him this treatment, here are some samples and here is a prescription. The prescription is for, wait for it, 50 VIALS of the medication to put in the neublizer. And some steroids. No information on the steroids.

Micah asks some questions because the prescription says to give it to him every 4 hours but she's saying to do it whenever. That's not helpful.

As we were walking out, I checked out and had a $65 co-pay for the ER visit. That does not include the Urgent Care visit either.

I feel like we got the bare minimum of care. That we never saw another Dr or Nurse because the hospital assumed we didn't have insurance. Well, not the hospital, but the people IN the hospital. We were sent home with a baby that was still wheezing and coughing and continued for a portion of the night and even this morning needed yet another breathing treatment.

I feel like it was because of our last name. I feel like the Scrubs lady's attitude regarding his last name was overt and I will never again return to Aurora South Emergency Room.

And I will not shut my mouth because of a consult. I will go where I want to go, where I think the level of care will be best. Not where the closest place necessarily is.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Our little garden

Okay so I know a secret that no one ever told me. I figured it out on my own. But it explains a LOT about my Grandma and my Aunts.

Gardening is addicting.

Sure, you start in Feb. one morning saying to yourself, "Maybe I'll grow a cucumber plant. And some jalapenos. And a sugar snap pea plant. Just for fun. To see if I can do it. In my kitchen window."

And the next thing you know you're 5 containers deep, plus 6 smaller terra cotta pots plotting circles of vegetables and delighting over buds on strawberry plants.

It started innocently.....

Oh look, strawberries!

This container contains a tripod of Sugar Snap Peas. In a circle outside of those is carrots followed by a circle of rosemary, chives and sage.

Not pictured are 2 blueberry containers next to the gazebo:

6 Terra cotta containers and an additional former whiskey barrel containing cucumber, yellow onions and hopefully some radishes.

I'm sure Micah is thinking "What happened to just a couple containers of jalapenos?"

Also not pictured:
The 4 tomato plants, 3 additional cucumber plants, 5 carrot seedlings, terra cotta full of radishes and prep pots for bell peppers I plan to start this weekend.

Oh and the raspberry bushes I plan to buy as well as the two apple trees.

Someone stop me......

Well those two are no help...

Kylie asks "What about potatoes mom?"

Oh, and I told you she wasn't a vampire! Look, shes in the sun, helping me garden, in a velvet and sheer shirt....

Whatever. Take what I can get I always say.

Friday, April 23, 2010


Ignore the fuzziness of these photos. They were taken with my iPhone at 6:30am on a rainy Friday. Which means I was REALLY sleepy.

Oh and the baby moves a lot.

William wants to sit. He's wanted to sit since he was at least 3 months old and had some basic control over his head. He will play on the floor if put there but would really rather just sit up to see everything. As such he spends a good deal of time in his high chair, bumbo seat or sitting in my lap. But he hasn't mastered fully sitting up by himself yet.

Every morning I get him dressed and I let him practice sitting up while I put his shirt on him. This morning he didn't want to lay back down so I could put his pants on so I thought I'd give him some sit up time while I finished getting dressed.

Below are the photos from his determined effort.

Propped up and leaning over

Dude, I'm totally sitting up

Now that I'm sitting up I can move on to more important things. Like contemplating black holes.

Or Lunch time.

Whoa wait, I'm wobbling, why am I wobbling?

Phew, caught myelf

And I'm down


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Retirenment for 30 year olds

So Elisa asked in my comments from my last post "What do people our age do to get ready for retirement?"

She also called me an HR Guru. She SOOO doesn't know me.
I prefer HR Ninja. It sounds most mysterious.

Anyways - Good question Elisa and way to inspire a new post!

First - I must warn you, I'm not a financial planner. I don't pretend to be one, nor do I play one on TV. Although it would be cool if I did because hi, I'd be on TV.

Second - my advice works for me and my family. I don't know if it will work for yours. Basically, don't sue me for my advice please.

In terms of preparing or thinking about retirement there are some steps I recommend.

1. Be debt free.

I can not stress this enough, do not carry debt and certainly do not go into retirement with debt. This is the single biggest thing you can do to make your retirement more manageable. I personally am a fan of Dave Ramsey but whatever motivates you to be debt free do it if you can.
I am not debt free. It's a goal of mine and Micah and I are working hard towards it. This is my #1 step. Get rid of debt.

2. Know what kind of retirement you want to have.

Micah and I are homebodies. We like to hang out in our home. We also like to travel but when we travel, we travel big. We want to go to Rome, Europe, Ireland, Asia and all the places in between. We want to travel well and not scrimp and we want to be able to do a lot of that when we are retired.

Conversely, my ex-husband and his soon to be new wife want to retire in an RV traveling the US.

Their financial needs are obviously going to be different than ours. And that's okay. Just know what kind of retirement you want to have because this will help you figure out what kind of savings and how aggressive you need to be about it.

My insurance/banking company, USAA, has a REALLY cool calculator that helps you to figure out how much you should save per month in order to live the lifestyle you want when you retire. According to them I should be actively saving $1900 a month. I don't make $1900 a month. But slow and steady I say.

A good rule of thumb is to budget out approximately how much you think you'll need in retirement using a standard budget, adjust for inflation (inflation calculator here) and then you'll know about how much your need per year to retire. Use an investment calculator if you would like to figure out how much you need to save to try and achieve that. (Investment calculator here)

3. A brief pause to discuss Social Security (SS)

People prior to our generation, that is, people over the age of say, 40, can comfortable say that they will probably receive Social Security benefits when they retire. We can not say that.

For several years now there have been warnings that Social Security wont be solvent and able to pay financial benefits sometime between 2037 to 2041. I wont be retirement age then (although I would love to earlier than that I'm sure) so I may not see any money from there.

Now, to be fair, that may just be nay sayers and pessimists and social security may never cease to exist. I'm not counting on it.

I plan with the idea that I wont be able to draw SS. If I'm wrong then I'll have extra money when I retire. If I'm right then I wont be stuck eating dog food at 80.

Social Security is a tax that employees pay based on their gross wages. The percentage is 6.2% of their income up to $106,800 with a maximum yearly contribution of $6621.00 for 2010.

The money that you contribute today is used to pay the benefits of those folks who have already retired, it is not held into an account for you later and you will not get back dollar for dollar what you contribute but the amount that you get from social security is based on your yearly earnings. That is a complicated mess that I adore but don't have time for. You can figure it out by going to the SS website here.

4. Know what your options are

So, baring massive amounts of money from Social Security, what are your options in terms of saving money for retirement?

Well, the most popular choice is 401k.

In the US a 401k is a retirement savings plan allows a worker to save for retirement and have the savings invested while deferring current income taxes on the saved money and earnings until withdrawal. This money is taken from an employees wages in a percentage usually. This kind of plan generally an employer sponsored plan and employers have the option of matching a portion of the money contributed by the employee. The majority of 401k plans allow employees to select how they want their money invested in a range of options that vary from employer to employer.

I personally like the 401k for savings because it lowers my taxable income now which is lovely and when I AM taxed on it chances are good I will be at a lower tax bracket due to not working and being retired. Also, my employer currently matches dollar for dollar up to 6% of my income that I choose. To put that another way if 6% of my income were $100 per paycheck and I put that into my 401k, my employer does the same thing.

Not employers match or match this much. I've seen and worked for companies who provide less or don't match at all.

When it came to choosing HOW to invest that money I went with a fairly aggressive investing strategy and I keep my money away from my employers stock. Not that they aren't great, they are, but their match is given to me in employer stock and I don't want to be heavy with it in case something goes wrong. Like, say, WorldCom or MCI type stuff. (Oh hey, my company WAS WorldCom and MCI back in the day.)

Then there are IRA's. IRA's or Individual Retirement Accounts are fantastic and you can open one up at many financial institutions. Generally there are two main types of IRA's, Traditional IRA's or Roth IRA's.

A Traditional IRA is an IRA where the contributions are tax deductible, based on your income bracket, and only the withdrawals on money that was earned above your contributions is taxed.

A Roth IRA is an IRA where you pay taxes on the income you contribute but the withdrawals on the income are 100% tax free.

Honestly, for most people an Roth IRA makes the most sense but you want to really research it to be sure of what works best for you.

I personally have a Roth IRA and I have contributions going to 4 investment strategies currently within it including precious metals and medical technology. I opened my IRA with USAA but lots of banks and companies have them.

Stocks. I don't know a whole lot about investing in individual stocks. Keep moving along.

Annuities. I hear they are a good thing, I've been researching them but don't have any yet. This website gives some pretty clear information on what they are.

Traditional Savings Account. These keep your money pretty liquid and accessible but you lose out on any true interest that could be made. At a traditional bank or even a credit union interest rates on savings accounts are currently running on average 2% of less. My credit union in Alaska has an interest rate of .46%. Ouch.

Very few companies offer a pension anymore. In 2007 only 21% of private sector companies offered a traditional pension. Many companies have frozen their pension plans or restrict new employees from participating.

Micah's grandmother receives money from her late husband's pension plan. It's something in the range of $200 per month. Employees who were eligible for our pension plan before it was frozen get around the same amount if they take a monthly distribution (based on years worked and annual salary pre-freeze).

On the flip side, if my Ex does his 20 years in the military then he stands to get a pretty significant amount of his income in pension, roughly 50% of his base salary once he leaves the military. That's not the worst thing ever frankly.

5. Re-evaluate

Twice a year I sit down and review my retirement strategy and plan. I go over the numbers, see how items we have are preforming (or not) and make adjustments. Don't let your plan stagnate, it needs to be able to change and flow with what is happening around you. When you make changes to your circumstances or are thinking about them, be sure to consider how that will affect your saving strategy and make adjustments accordingly.

And PS: Elisa, your HR Guy/Boss is a pretty smart guy. If he says you're fine, I would believe him. :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I rarely write about work on this blog because it's mostly a family blog i.e. read by my family, about my family.

But yesterday I had an employee who so staggered me that I just feel the need to post. I'm going to be vague about some things because that's just good HR practice. If this is already too boring move on and wait for something better tomorrow. My feelings wont be hurt, I swear.

Yesterday, I had an employee ask me if we, as a company, differentiate between Retirement or voluntarily leaving the company. I advised her that we don't make any distinction but that if she retires she has the option of taking some health benefit access with her.

The health access we offer employees isn't great. It's essentially their health plan but now they pay the entire cost, instead of the company subsiding a portion. Sometimes it's more expensive than COBRA. The reason someone might elect it would be because COBRA runs out after 18 months (unless there is some type of hardship and then it can be extended a few extra months) and this health access can go on indefinitely. In case you don't know, COBRA can be prohibitively expensive, cost $1000 or more per month for a family to get coverage. I've heard of it being worse at other companies. It's spendy.

So we kept talking a little bit and she asked me about retirement. Did we pay her money? What is that statement she gets once a year? She really misses the stock purchase program we had for employees years and years ago. Does she contribute to 401k?

No, you didn't mis-read me. She asked if she contributed to 401k. She didn't know.

This employee was in her 60's. Younger than Medicare age but old enough to start looking hard at Social Security benefits.

As we kept talking I came to realize that she had honestly no idea what Retirement was. To me, retirement is a definition. It's something that is going to happen. To her it was a big sign post in the sky that meant when she stopped working she would get money.

For the record, my HR definition of retirement is when you leave your career or workforce and stop earning a large enough income to support yourself with no other means of support.

That statement she gets once a year? It's from the Social Security Administration. She didn't know what SS was either, by the way. I had to explain it.

She had worked for the company since I was 8 years old. But she had no idea if she had a pension. (She did) She had no idea what was in it. She didn't know she was contributing to a 401k. Luckily my company defaults employees to 3% unless they are already contributing more than that. They have to elect not to contribute. In her case that was a really good thing.

I asked her how she had planned to retire and I got silence from her. She told me she had never really thought about where the money to pay her bills once she retired would come from.

Now, I understand someone even my age not totally "getting" retirement. I do. There is a lot out there and people my age are constantly being told to prepare for the worst, that SS wont be there for us, that 401ks are tanking, the stock market is crashing etc. Knowing what to do to save for retirement is confusing and scary.

But in your 60's? It's past time to take your head out of the sand and pay attention.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

King and Queen of the nursing home

I hate going to the nursing home. Specifically, I hate the locked unit where Grandma Jenny lives.

I know the code to get in my heart. But when I walk into that's hotter in there than anywhere else in the facility and it smells. Bad. There are people yelling at each other and to people we can't see. They hit sometimes. Never me but I've seen two women get into it.

It's sad in there. It feels forgotten. Like the people in there have been forgotten.

Everytime I go in Jenny knows me, the nurses know me, but the other residents think I'm someone else. I'm their sister. I'm there neighbor. I'm a nurse. I'm that woman who ordered a cheeseburger from them back in 1948. I've been told my whole like that I look like someone else people know and I guess in the dementia unit that becomes even more true.

So to recap, the residents don't know me.

But. But. They know my children.

I walked in to get Jenny for her birthday party and had no less than 2 women ask me where my baby was. Another, who doesn't talk, made a cradle with her arms, smiled at me and rocked it. The nurses asked where he was.

Everytime I go in without him, people talk. They ask. Jenny makes me promise we'll bring him back with us so she can show him off.

When we do bring him we get mobbed. I used to carry him in. But people started trying to wrench him out of my arms. (One succeeded actually, I thought Micah was going to have a heart attack while my non-talking friend rocked the baby and sang Glory Glory Hallelujah to him) So we bring him in his car seat carrier. Except that isn't heavy enough for them not to try and run off with him. Early on one of the ladies at the home named Betty tried to steal him from me and claimed she was his mother. It was odd.

Now we try and bring him in the carrier and stroller. It's high enough up for people to see him but heavy and unwieldy enough where they don't try and steal him. Much.

The child I'm most proud of though is Lizzie.

When Jenny first went to the locked unit I talked to her about what she would see in there. That sometimes it's scary. These people like to play pretend all the time but they don't know they are playing pretend. I told her to stay close, hold my hand and tell me if she was scared.

Lizzie loves going to visit Jenny. She's calls it Granny's house, which is cute and is well behaved. She wants to go in and visit. And when I bring her in the residents ooh and awwww over her too. One tried to pick her up the other day. They hug her. They touch her. They hold her hand. Sometimes, like last week, they talk nonsense to her.

And she just smiles and hugs back and holds their hands and makes new friends. She isn't afraid. She plays right along with them and never tells me she doesn't want to go in. Even when I've offered it.

People that seem abandoned don't feel abandoned when they are talking to their daughter, granddaughter, niece, best friend or whoever they think Lizzie is. They light up. They love. They remember good times. Always good times it seems.

So while I think the nursing home can feel depressing, my kids sure have the ability to make a depressing place feel a little more like home for the other people there. The nurses tell me, it makes a difference.

Amazing how universal children can be, even in that state, even when you don't know anything anymore.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Best Kept Secret


That was me exhaling. Because I had to keep a secret for a VERY long time and it was killing me.
Not that I cant keep a secret, I totally can, that's why I do well in HR. But it's a secret that I know I'll eventually be able to tell that gets to me every time.

Back earlier this year/end o' last year, I had this BRILLIANT idea to get pictures of all of the grandkids taken for my In laws as a surprise. Their birthdays are 10 days apart and I thought it would be a great birthday gift for them.

I enlisted my sister in law Melissa and we schemed and planned. We color coordinated (sort of) and one Saturday we sucked it up, got brave and went to the JC Penny's at the mall by my house. With 5 kids.

We purchased the CD and then had to get together to decide what to print and in what sizes.

And let me tell you, every time we planned to get together it seemed my Mother In Law was nearby. I had to become super stealthy.

One Saturday Leslie (my mother in law) came over to help me clean Ky's room. Except I needed to meet Mel at her place at 11 to pick the pictures.

Another Saturday Mel and I were supposed to get together to pick the frames. Leslie came over to help with yard work and to come visit Grandma Jenny. I told her I was going to a kids soccer game (which I was, I was just going shopping with Mel afterwards.) Leslie seemed really sad that she hadn't been invited to the game.

Saturday we had Earth Day Craft Day and a joint birthday party for Leslie and Rex and we presented them with pictures of the grandchildren.

Here is the picture Leslie and Rex first saw:

I love this picture. It's correct anyway you turn it too because someone is always "correct".

Here at some of the others:

Myles and Paloma, sharing a sibling hug.

The kids.
More of the kids. Girls on one side, boys on the other.

More kids. I love that picture.

If you look closely you will notice that Paloma is holding the Will's foot. I crack up everytime I see it.

Will at 3 months old. Blue is a great color on him.

Myles aka Mr. GQ. This was the first and last picture the photographer had to take of him, THAT'S how good he was.

Paloma. Stunning.

Can I just stop a moment and point out that Melissa and Matt make supermodel children? Because they do. I know they aren't planning on more but if they were that would a service to the world.

Just sayin'.

Lizzie Lu. The cheese is strong with this one.

I love the look on Will's face in this picture. He looks SO grossed out. And yes, Lizzie really is kissing him.

I like this picture. Despite the fact that she changed into a black shirt.

Oh.My.Goodness. WHO IS THAT? Because that can not by my 14 year old daughter. NOOOOO!

And my favorite picture of all time:

Happy Birthday Leslie and Rex. This is what you've spawned. Be proud.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

For he's a Jolly Good Fellow

Micah and I feel just awful. AWFUL. Last night at about 10pm, after already saying "Oh right, lets call him after dinner." we realized we HADN'T called him.

Him is my father in law Rex.

Yesterday was his birthday.

We are jerks.

Let me tell you about my father in law.

He is kind. He is giving. He is generous. He is a good man. He is a hard worker. He is good natured, funny, and loving.

I asked if he would help tear down the wood paneling in my basement bedroom. He redid the entire room, complete with tiered ceiling and new light fixture and paint.

He drove 45 minutes one way to attend Donuts with Dad with Lizzie at her school. After she specifically asked for him. Because he is very favorite Grandpa.

When the kids sleep over at their house he's been known to share the bed with a kicking, fidgety Lizzie or has been kicked out entirely by her and had to sleep in the guest bed. And he does this without complaint.

He married Leslie (my wonderful mother in law) even after meeting her teenage boys. And having at least one of them kinda suck in a few big ways (shooting his car with paint balls).

He called more than anyone else checking on the status of William when I was in labor. He could not wait to come see him and would have that night if that baby had not waited until after 11pm to be born.

He works hard, morning till night, in construction to contribute and lead his household.

He is an excellent and experimental cook. He always makes my steak well done, which is tough to do when everyone else is content with medium well or less.

He is patient.

He does not believe that biology has anything to do with family. He loves my husband as if he were his own son and my children as if they were his biological grandchildren. And has from the moment I told them I had kids. He has cared for Jenny (my husband's paternal grandmother) and has treated her with kindness, respect and dignity. Jenny loves him more than she loves Micah's birth father.

He loves his daughter and has always looked out for her best interests.

He thinks William looks like him.

He has forgiven Micah and I for not telling him about our secret wedding and making sure he could be there. We still feel like jerks for that too, by the way.

He roots for the Denver Broncos but is not a crazy fanatic.

He lets me play with his accounting software.

He shows me his plans and drawings that he does for people for construction.

For awhile he was the only person who could make William stop fussing during a holiday party. He held that over Leslie for a little bit and then dropped it.

Happy Birthday Rex. I hope you didn't work too hard and you had a great dinner. You're a blessing to our lives and both Micah and I feel like we don't need any other father because we have you in our lives. You have taught us both what it's like to have a "Real" father who loves unconditional and treats others with love and respect. Thank you.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I Hate the Westboro Baptist Church. More accurately, I Hate Fred Phelps.

I don't use the word Hate to convey that I am mildly displeased with him, his group, or their actions.

I use it in the sense that when I hear their name I feel my blood pressure rise. My cheeks turn red. I shake. I imagine doing things to them that are against my very nature and beliefs.

If you are unfamiliar with Fred Phelps or his group let me give you a quick but by no means extensive run down.

They are the church that protests deceased soldiers funerals, among other things. They are the ones holding up signs at those funerals that read "God hates Fags" (as well as others). They believe that because there are homosexuals and Jews in America that God has cursed America and that every dead soldier shows that God hates us. Obviously there is no correct country at this time according to this them but this group, calling themselves a Baptist church, made up of 70 or so members, led by Fred Phelps and comprised mostly of his children and grandchild, believe they are the only people blessed by God.

They also protested at Rev. Jerry Falwell's funeral. So they are equal opportunity haters.

I Hate them for what they do to grieving families. I Hate them for what they believe. I Hate them for their signs and their lawsuits and all of it.

But my God is not a God of hate. And I constantly have to remind myself of that when I think of this group.

My God tells me to Love my Neighbor (John 13:34-35, Luke 10:25-37, Matthew 22:39, & Mark 12:31).

My God tells me that when others wrong me it is not right to seek revenge but that I should forgive (Matthew 5:38-39 & Leviticus 19:18).

Jesus preached to all regardless of if they were different from him or not. He preached not only to Jews, which he was, but the Gentiles. He preached to the Romans, to the poor, to the wealthy, he preached to the sick and the healthy alike. His legacy lives on today because he reached out to everyone and loved all as his neighbor.

So I am torn. This Westboro church is coming to Denver next week. They are protesting several schools, one Catholic school and several Jewish Temples. I could join the counter-protests that are being organized throughout the city and tell them how wholeheartedly I disagree with them. I could tell them I Hate their views. I could tell them that they are wrong. That they have perverted God and the Bible the way a Muslim Terrorist has perverted the Qua ran and Allah.

In my mind they have done the same thing.


Or I could volunteer in my community. There is garbage to be picked up, soup kitchens we could work in and donations of household goods and clothing we could make.

Or I could work in my garden. I have specific plants and containers where I am growing food for donation. I have been meaning to post about those but couldn't gather my thoughts enough to tell everyone about my goals.

But. I will now.

I received a packet of free seeds from Plant a Row for the Hungry and have planted them, along with a variety of other items. My family is not super great about eating our vegetable's so we will be donating anything we don't eat to a local food bank or pantry that I found through Ample Harvest (which has an iPhone app, FYI). I suspect that there will be a lot of tomatoes and jalapeno's in addition to the carrots I am growing specifically for them.

So, do I teach my children to stand up against evil with words and actions at a counter protest or do I teach my children to stand up against evil with compassion and actions at home?

I don't know honestly. WWYD?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Blessed Monday

Every other Monday I lay my head on my pillow and fall into an exhausted sleep. It seems like every other Monday Micah needs to hold me for at least 5 minutes and tell me everything is okay and it's going to be okay.

Because every other Monday my kids have had their first full day back at "home" and they are desperate for Mommy Time.

Every other Monday I have to make an effort to cook a meal instead of just relying on Micah and I to figure it out for ourselves.

Every other Monday is the Monday before Friday payday and we're broke. And out of "edible" food according to Kylie.

Every other Monday is the Monday after employees have submitted or forgotten to submit their time sheets and they call in panicked that they wont get paid.

Every other Monday is the Monday before severance payments and people who have been laid off call to find out if they will be getting their checks.

Every other Monday follows a weekend where we were so busy we didn't stop moving for 10 minutes because we didn't have the other 2 kids so we were trying to get all our weekend "errands" completed.

Every other Monday my kids want one on one time with me. They want my full attention, they want to show me their "skills" of bike riding or retainer wearing or poem practice or comfort nursing (that last one is just William). And they want to have my attention without any other kids being present.

Every other Monday my life becomes loud and noisy and restless and busy and crazy and hectic and stressful.

But every other Monday my life feels more full, more blessed, more complete.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

I owe you all

Alternatively titled: Grandma's birthday

Sorry posts have been light this week, Micah was sick, I was sick etc.

We celebrated Grandma Jenny's birthday on Sunday, which was Easter, and I can not thank you all enough who sent cards and prayers and helped with the party and especially Leslie and Melissa to help with the whole thing.

First: Here are 2 pictures of Grandma in her hat like I promised. Sorry, I ate your cake though.

The crown hat is actually Melissa's. Their kids wear it on their birthdays and she brought it in case my hat sucked. While my hat didn't suck it certainly didn't have the impact that the crown did.

Micah says there is a special place in hell for taking a picture of her in the hat and posting it on the internet. I hope he's wrong. Or that my good deeds for the day wash the hat thing out.

I picked Jenny up from the nursing home around 11:30am and she could not move fast enough to get out of there. As we were leaving I assured her that she would not be back until after dinner and she was thrilled. Her days seem long there sometimes and the party certainly helped break up the day to day for her.

I'll post Easter pictures later but we did have a massive Easter Egg hunt thanks to Grandma and Grandpa and the kids loved it.

To Eric and Elisa, thank you for the three separate cards. Jenny enjoyed opening them and while she didn't know you she played it off REALLY well. She opened Joshy's picture first and smiled and asked "Now how old is he again?" I told her 6. I hope that's right, sorry if it's not but I seem to remember him being a year older than Lizzie.

She planned to hang the kids pictures up in her room at the nursing home and she loved your card as well.

To Aunty Connie and Uncle John, thank you as well. She really loved your card and cried opening it.

To Mia, sorry, she didn't have a clue who you were and my explanation that you two were church buddies did not fly.

Mel, Leslie and I signed cards to her from people who weren't there and we all had gifts for her that she loved. Jewelry, trinkets and shoes, she loved it all.

Leslie served dinner and provided the cake and the kids got to help blow out the candles.

Grandma insisted on getting a picture with everyone and getting everyone's names. Mel's friend Andy took the pictures for us and we even managed to sneak his wife Amy into one of the pictures with us.
I feel incredibly blessed to have such a wonderful Colorado family to make Jenny's birthday so wonderful.

I normally try to be really positive on this blog but for a second I do just wanna complain about something.

We put the word out a month in advance about the party. We called people. We reminded people. And yet, when it came down to it, NOT ONE of her own family or old friends came to the party. Not one of them sent a card or called. The last time she talked to her own son it was when he called the nursing home to tell her he needed money to come see her because she was so far away. (Or at least that's what we've been told. For the record he lives 30 minutes away.)

Jenny may be rough around the edges and I know her memory is crap but she knows the important people. Andy, my brother in law, was the only out of town person to call and talk to her. None of her sisters, nieces or anyone else even bothered to send a card and that makes me a little angry. Wait, a niece did send a card. One. My own family, literal strangers to her, sent cards. People from as far away as Pennsylvania and Ohio sent cards. But friends she used to have lunch with on a weekly basis didn't bother to send a card.

Okay. That's out of my system now. Sorry. I just needed to say it.

I'll leave you all with this. Thank you again, everyone who made is such a success.

Monday, April 5, 2010

So wrong

There is something inherently wrong being the youngest brother to 2 older sisters.

You can bet you wont survive with your dignity intact.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

It's a Vegetablepalooza

I have been awful about updating on my garden. My indoor vegetable garden that is since it's still not warm enough to plant outside. As you may remember, last time I updated my garden was small. Things have happily changed since then.

This is my radish. Or radish's. This was actually an accident. I had an extra 12 in terra cotta pot lying around and thought I would throw some flower seeds that I got in a seed exchange in and see what happened. I was not paying close enough attention and suddenly, I realize I had thrown in a handful or radish seeds.

If you ever want to plant something that will sprout quickly, radish seeds are the way to go. These literally sprouted within 2 days. I don't even like radishes.

Remember Pretty Pea? She's a little larger now.
I put a plastic fork and half a chop stick in last week to help stabilize her but she seems to have figured out something better and is actually hanging on to the top shelf of my window.

Her sisters, Sweet Pea and Mylie P (After my niece Paloma and her brother Myles) have also sprouted and seem to be doing well.
You may see a cuke behind those two, it's doing well as well but it's stem is fatter and it isn't as tall. Thank goodness.

Finally, I would like to introduce you to my pepper pots. As you may recall, they were quite barren before. Well look at them now!

We started naming them but ran out of name ideas as more and more of them sprouted. Apparently I was a little heavy handed with the seeds for the jalapeno plants.

Also, after the last time I updated, I also planted white onions, cherry tomatoes and regular tomatoes. Those are growing on the top shelf right now and are doing well.

Here is the image that greets me every time I walk into my kitchen. I honestly, can not wait to get home each night and water my little garden while Will watches and supports me from his Bumbo seat.

More plans include carrots, chives, oregano, assorted other herbs and possibly some lettuce. Oh and green peppers. All in containers since the dogs will probably destroy anything I plant in the yard. We have begun gathering containers and so far I have 2 whiskey barrels and 2 huge planters. I buy them when I find them cheap so I have time to hunt since we have another month until I can safely move them outside.