Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Prop 8 Debate

Here in California, the Supreme Court ruled to uphold the Prop 8 decision against same-sex marriages. I was truly saddened by this although I'm thrilled that the thousands of couples who were married during the "legal" time period are still holding valid marriage licenses. Surely, this is a sign that the debate over this issue is far from over.

My dear friend, Sugar Jones, over at Sugar in the Raw, mentioned Prop 8 in her wonderful post on Freedom and Independence today, which got me thinking...

Prop 8 is an issue regarding same-sex marriage, which in my opinion, has nothing to do with religion. Sugar did point out and it's not hard to see that many Christian groups are strongly against same-sex marriage and have helped to make this a religious debate after all, claiming that marriage was originally deemed as a religious ceremony between a man and woman and should not be redefined.

In my opinion, the Prop 8 issue is a legal debate, one of equal rights. Eliminating the same rights for same-sex couples goes against many of the same beliefs that Christians hold, like the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." If we examine the request of those who want to have the same rights that opposite sex couples have had since the beginning of time, isn't it easy to see that the heterosexual lifestyle will not be affected by allowing same-sex couples to marry? I can't see how anything would change if same-sex marriage is allowed, except, perhaps, for the change in our economy.

Before I continue, I do have to say that I grew up in a Catholic household. Both of my parents grew up Catholic and raised my sister and I with the same beliefs. We attended Catholic schools from kindergarten - high school. That's right, I have never attended a public school unless you count college, and my ex-husband and I send our son to an independent school also, but that's beside the point.

When our son was born, we didn't even think twice about having him baptized. It was simply something that everyone (in our family) did and we celebrated the event with friends and family. I brought my son to church a few times, but the very last time I stepped inside a Catholic church (with the exception of a few weddings and baptisms), was when I sat through a sermon where the priest spoke of homosexuals in such an offensive and degrading way that I felt sick to my stomach and vowed to never again step foot inside that church, or any other church who considered homosexuals second class citizens, sinners, or compared them to pedophiles.

I know many couples, men and women who are in a same-sex relationship. Many of them have kids (biological or adopted) and I have a great deal of respect for each and every one of them.

Not that long ago, bi-racial marriages were illegal and schools were segregated so that children of different colors would not be in the same classrooms together. Does no one see the correlation here between segregating marriage in a similar fashion?

Our culture and our world is evolving, every day. To say that our definition of marriage cannot evolve along with society is not only ignorant, but dangerous. Children today are learning so much from adults and practicing what we preach to them. Do we want our kids to grow up in fear or hateful towards people who are different than us or do we want to teach peace, respect and equality?

I want my son to grow up to believe what he chooses to believe, not what I tell him to believe, and I truly hope that he will grow up in a world that has evolved, not only in thought but in practice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

San Diego Zoo's Unforgettable Elephant Odyssey

Last night, The San Diego Zoo held a VIP Event for the grand opening of the Elephant Odyssey exhibit. I had the pleasure of touring the new 7.5 acre display with fellow San Diego bloggers. It was a great event and a beautiful exhibit.

The event started at 5pm. We enjoyed some yummy cookies prior to taking the Sky Ride over to the exhibit, which is on the far end of the 100-acre zoo. We arrived at the entrance of the Elephant Odyssey and picked up a Pink Elephant (alcoholic for us, non-alcoholic for our kids, of course) which made it somewhat awkward for taking pictures, but somehow, we managed!

Somewhere along the way, I put our drinks down and I'm not quite sure which one my son ended up finishing, but he did end up having a crying fit moments later when he realized how hungry he was (Oh yeah, we sort of need to eat dinner!).

I got a few photos in prior to that, of the elephants enjoying their new play area, a baby crocodile which my son was frightened of, and the tapirs - adults and babies - enjoying the sunshine.
We cut through the Conrad Prebys Elephant Management Facility to sit down for some food outside the new Sabertooth Grill. Food was all my son needed to keep us going for the rest of the night. We all had dinner together and then my son ran around the Pleistocene Playground with Sugar's kids once the sun went down.

The event ended at 9 when the Zoo officially closed and we jumped aboard the top level of the double-decker bus to be dropped off right in front of the Exit. We walked to our car, said goodbye to our friends and then - major drama - my son discovered that he left his blanket and the stuffed elephant we were given at the beginning of the night, all the way back where we were seated for dinner! Seriously?!

I hesitated between teaching him a lesson (leaving it behind) and knowing how upset he was because he doesn't go anywhere without his security blanket (picture Linus from Peanuts). After a few tears (his, not mine), we ran back to the entrance so I could explain to the staff why we so desperately needed to to back inside.

They were so understanding and in seconds, we were seated on a golf cart which the security guard drove - the back way - to the elephant display so we could retrieve my son's beloved blankie. He clung to me the entire time as we zipped through the zoo in the dark, no one around except the animals and the noises of the night. It was a beautiful drive and I enjoyed seeing the zoo in silence although my son was having a mini panic attack next to me.

The security guard who drove us there escorted us back to the "scene of the crime" and my son had to run to keep up with us since we were walking so quickly for his little legs. As soon as we got to the tables where we were previously sitting, my son crawled underneath the table and pulled out his blanket which he had stuffed up underneath the legs of the table (these photos proved the fact that he disappeared under there long enough to take several pics of the table legs and the napkin that fell on the ground).

Overall, the lasting memory of the event will be a traumatic one for my son since he nearly lost his blanket, but for me, I will remember how wonderful the staff was, how great we were treated and the laughs shared with some fabulous women.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Food & Relationships

I was talking to some of my single mom friends the other day about relationships. This was during lunch, of course, and one of the women - who is a bit older and much wiser - started talking about how we tend to view relationships the same way in which we view food.

Now, I know this sounds crazy but bear with me. She had a good point, in that she tends to eat two big meals a day, starving herself in between and not snacking or thinking about food until her body's ready to have a meltdown. Interestingly enough, her boyfriend lives out of state so she sees him every other weekend, spending time with him 24/7 for those few days before returning to her "normal life" and focusing on what needs to be done here before she's able to see him again.

Others I know tend to eat only at fine restaurants and spend a lot of money on organic foods, not allowing themselves to step foot inside a fast food restaurant or eating diet soda, or anything else unnatural. They know what they want - the finer things in life - and damn it, the men in their lives know it too!

Another friend of mine eats small snacky foods all day, healthy or not. She also likes to date many men at one time, not really ready to commit just yet to a full meal, so to speak.

And then there's me. Now, I have interesting eating habits which change from time to time and that could be also true of the relationships I have. Sometimes, I'll be really healthy and eat foods that are good for me (dating men who bring out my strengths and can recognize who I am) while there have certainly been times in my life where my eating habits have been horrible. Times when I'd eat junk food and drink way too much, and guess what? The men in my life at those times were also not good for me and drank way too much as well.

Nothing's wrong with any of the above scenarios although you can certainly see how some situations are not as good for us as others. We're all different, thank goodness, and needing different things, and people, in our lives. The point here isn't to try to change how you eat or who you date, but to just be aware.

If you're in a healthy relationship and are putting healthy foods into your body, chances are you can see how this affects you. Take a look at your relationships and the way you eat to determine what changes you could make, in either department, to make sure you are treating yourself to the best that's available.

Happy eating!

About Last Night

I'm not sure what happened this last week. It was all such a whirlwind, trying to get everything ready for the 2nd Annual Parenting Party last night.

My dearest friends came to support me and I met some fantastic moms and dads that are passionate about parenting so the event was a success and everyone who came had a great time.

Just to re-cap the night, here are the great sponsors and advertisers who made the event possible and who offered some fabulous giveaways to those who attended:
I do have some Goodie Bags leftover if anyone wants one! I'll be bringing them to the upcoming events to hand out, such as Baby Time Expo and BlogHer (if there's any left by then).

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Amazing Grace

The one complaint I have about Finding Grace, by Donna VanLiere, is that there wasn't an index highlighting the many brilliant minds mentioned throughout the book. Quoting authors, poets, philosophers, and even the Bible, VanLiere's literary education is quite impressive. The best quotes though, in my opinion, are from VanLiere herself:
"Sometimes we need to be reminded why we're here, that we are valued and loved, and at the end of the pain there are still deeper and higher dreams to discover."

"The mysterious yet wonderful attribute of grace is that it is never earned or deserved, and it will never be forced upon anyone - it can only be received."
VanLiere's memoir is at once heartbreaking and inspiring. Her story starts when, as a young girl growing up in Ohio, she is sexually abused. Through this experience and many others in her life, Donna manages to find grace with each new challenge she is faced with.

The author's search for herself never fails to amuse as she uses humor to sail through the difficulties presented to her.
"No matter what you're going through, you can be assured of advice from stupid people."
Reading this book brought me to many different places from my own childhood, growing up in the Midwest, learning - too early - about sexuality, and questioning what it means to trust.

I started reading this book in the morning one day and found myself returning to it again and again, finishing the last page close to midnight that same night. There is something so transforming about reading this book that I definitely recommend setting aside a full day to absorb the intensity of the emotional roller coaster found within.

Finding Grace is so much more than about sexual abuse, becoming a mother or adoption. It's about discovering the meaning of life and understanding its joys and disappointments. VanLiere's book is both disturbing and comforting, touching readers in a way that will have them looking inwards and realizing that grace can be found in every situation.
"We arrange our lives to alleviate disappointment, frustration, dissatisfaction, and pain, viewing them as enemies of our soul. But are they always bad? Can't disappointment and broken dreams actually be good if we listen to what our life is saying through them?"
Donna VanLiere is a bestselling author and speaker. She has published many novels, including The Christmas Hope series. She has won numerous awards and speaks at countless events for women and families.

She lives in Tenessee with her husband and three children.
GIVEAWAY: I'm pleased to announce that we have 3 copies of Finding Grace to give away! Simply post a comment about why you think this book might help you, or someone you know and I'll pick three winners on June 1st. Good luck!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Happy Mother's Day to Me

Yesterday was Mother's Day. I woke up (a bit hungover) to my son staring at me and asking me to play first thing in the morning. One of the first things I typically do when I get up, regardless of what day it is, is visit my Twitter account and Facebook to see what's been going on. I was surprised to see so many congratulatory notes and assumed people were congratulating me on my Front Page feature in the San Diego Union Tribune. But wait, how would people outside of San Diego know about that?

It wasn't until I saw the tweet from Totally_Toni of Just Stop Screaming, that I realized that my blog (yep, the one that you're reading right now) was listed in the Top 50 Power Moms list published by Nielsen! So, what exactly does this mean?

It means that the audience is listening, or reading to be exact. They're commenting, sharing links and passing along valuable information and resources that are shared on my site and those of the other moms on this list.

I couldn't be more honored to be listed with such influential and successful mommy bloggers. These are the women who I look forward to meeting in person at the upcoming BlogHer convention in Chicago.

Happy Healthy Hip Parenting was mentioned - or appeared - elsewhere over the last few days. Thanks to Keep It Classy Jen and Sugar Jones for putting together this awesome Mother's Day video:

Mammarazi Knows Best
and San Diego Momma did a lovely re-cap of the San Diego Mom's Nite Out event that took place last Thursday night. If you're a San Diego mom or dad, you'll definitely want to join us on Thursday, May 21st for the 2nd Annual Happy Healthy Hip Parenting Party. It takes place at The Airport Lounge and each guest will receive a FREE drink ticket, half-price appetizers and be eligible for some GREAT giveaways provided by our many sponsors. I hope to see you there!

Friday, May 8, 2009

National Mom's Nite Out

Last night, I spent a few hours with a great group of moms at the National Mom's Nite Out celebration at Buster's Beach House in Seaport Village.

While there were so many prizes given away throughout the event from so many sponsors, there were also some great, local companies who put some promotional materials and coupons in the Goodie Bags that were handed out to each guest.

Mel and Debbie were fabulous hosts and the night was a great success and so much fun!

Here's a brief list of companies who participated:
Proceeds from the sale of the raffle tickets are going to the March of Dimes in honor of Maddie Spohr.

Happy Mother's Day - this day and every day!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Mamapedia - Get your parenting advice here

It's 2:00 a.m. and your three month old is crying...a lot. You're a first time mother, and while you've got a ton of questions, you called your mom at 2:00 in the morning last night about that crazy looking diaper, so you'd really like to get through this one on your own.

But where can you turn?

Mamapedia is a new site that takes the wisdom of thousands and thousands of moms and makes is searchable! You can head to the computer with that screaming infant in your arms and type,

"Why does my baby cry so much at night?"

And this is what you'll find - an article about a mom who asked a question titled "Sleepless Nights with a 13 week old" and the responses of forty-four moms. You can read those forty-four answers while bouncing your baby, and with a little luck by the time you are through your infant will be fast asleep and you will feel better as well.

To launch this new mom resource, the Momfluence network and Resourceful Mommy are throwing a party. Join us on Twitter this Friday, May 8th, from 9:00 to 10:00 p.m. eastern time along with mom experts in a variety of parenting areas: multiples, kid crafting, health and safety, potty training, home schooling and more!

During the party, details about a "What Can I Learn Today?" contest will be revealed...along with the incredible grand prize.

Join us by RSVP'ing here!

This event brought to you by Momfluence: rocking the cradle and shaping the world.