!! 100 !!

This is my 100th post, y'all!  And in a couple months, I'll be hitting the one-year mark!

FIRST....an update on Dave :)

He got the results today on his most recent CT scan.  His doctor says that everything looks good as in unchanged.  He's more confident now that his two para-aortic lymph nodes are most likely calcified and perhaps have been calcified all along.  The only way to tell FOR SURE would be to take them out and biopsy them...but because they're unchanged and not causing a problem, there's no need to do that.  If his lymph are (and have always been) calcified, that would have changed his initial staging from 2B to 1.  BUT, the course of action (including chemo) would have been the same.  His next CT scan is scheduled for February, then another one in August.  If those look good, then he won't have another scan until the following August.  Everything's looking good so far, so we're SO GLAD to have kicked this thing in the rear for the foreseeable future (and hopefully, fingers crossed, forever)!

I've been reading that the 100th post should contain a list of 100 things you don't know (or maybe you do!) about me.  
So let's dive in!

  1. My birthday is February 6, 1985 (an Aquarius)
  2. I'm a sucker for online quizzes
  3. I have stinky feet...like...man stinky
  4. I can pop my hips in and out of joint (gross, right?!)
  5. I love to shop for office supplies
  6. And organizational items...though I tend not to use them
  7. I'm ULTRA picky about my pens (the ONLY pens worth buying are these right here)
  8. I drive barefoot
  9. My favorite band is, and always will be, Incubus
  10. Likewise, my favorite song is Echo by ^^ 
  11. I do not eat any kind of seafood....not even high-dollar lobster
  12. The texture of grits makes me want to vomit
  13. I can type 78 words per minute...consistently
  14. I used ovulation sticks to get pregnant (and plan on a girl)
  15. I get mad at my phone every time it auto-corrects "bitch" to "butch"
  16. I put ice in my wine...because I'm a girl and can roll like that
  17. I only drink Moscato because it's the only wine that is sweet and doesn't taste like grape juice
  18. I hate grape juice and all things grape flavored
  19. I also hate cherries and all things cherry flavored...too many cherry pickings in Door County as a kid have traumatized me
  20. I'm a habitual non-blinker user if I'm already in a "turn only" lane...I'm already in the right-turn-only lane, why do I need to signal to you with a blinker that I'm turning right?
  21. I do NOT drink tequila because it makes me REALLY angry
  22. I almost never make a recipe exactly how it's written
  23. I tend not to measure things when I cook
  24. But I DO measure things, precisely, when baking
  25. I can eat an entire can of Pringles in one sitting...but luckily I'm an adult and I don't actually do it
  26. I can also eat an entire package of Oreos in one sitting...I have to FORCE myself not to
  27. I really only prefer ice cream in the winter time
  28. If I could, I'd live the rest of my life in Italy
  29. Or London
  30. When I was a kid I got strep throat twice a year every year, every February and October
  31. When eating Rice Krispies, Cheerios, or Crispix, I put AT LEAST 4 or 5 spoons of sugar on top
  32. When making coffee at work (in a standard styrofoam cup), I put AT LEAST 4 creamers in it and 3 or 4 packets of sugar
  33. I drink water like it's going out of style
  34. When I donate blood, I donate for the babies because I'm O-negative, CMV-negative
  35. I love to do puzzles...word puzzles and standard jigsaw puzzles
  36. I'm an overachiever and so I expect my daughter to be an overachiever
  37. I want to take 5 years off from my current life and volunteer for the Peace Corps
  38. I live in an almost-constant state of feeling overwhelmed
  39. I only weighed 116 pounds the summer before my senior year and I still told myself I was overly fat
  40. I dissected a cat my senior year A+P class...and I didn't wear gloves
  41. I cheated on an art project in my Art II class when I asked my best friend to draw one of the still life skulls for me
  42. The concepts of physics that are supposedly common sense make NO SENSE to me at all
  43. I wanted to be a paleontologist as a kid
  44. I still played with Barbies in the 6th grade
  45. I've only had sex with three people
  46. I suck at doing chores
  47. When cleaning, I get stuck when it comes down to finding a place to put the stuff I'm not throwing out
  48. I've said and done a lot of things in my life that I regret...I've hurt a lot of people's feelings and I hate myself for it
  49. I named my first car Tony
  50. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 19
  51. Eating bread and noodles makes my feet swell, but I'll never stop eating them
  52. My daughter said "y'all" the other day...and my heart swelled with pride
  53. My daughter said "holy crap" the other day...and my heart also swelled with pride
  54. I really want to start doing yoga but I'm so tired at the end of the day that the idea of doing anything physical makes me want to fall into a coma
  55. If I had unlimited money, I'd pay off all my family's houses and build them brand new custom ones
  56. I have resting bitch face
  57. I don't say "sorry" often...but when I do, I mean it
  58. Probably because I've heard the word "sorry" so much in my life that it means jack shit to me now...it's just another word
  59. I hate tea....hot tea, chamomile tea, sweet tea, chai tea...all tea
  60. Not to toot my own horn, but my chocolate cake is better than any chocolate cake I've ever had
  61. I wear flip flops probably 355 days a year
  62. I've worked in my current place of employment for 10 years
  63. The person I see in my head is NOT the person I see in the mirror
  64. The person in my head is actually much thinner...but that awful thing in the mirror makes me feel worse about myself than if I never looked in the mirror in the first place
  65. While I want to be extra skinny, I'd be happy just being able to shop at regular stores like Target
  66. I set three alarms in the morning that go off within four minutes of each other and I still manage to sleep through them all
  67. I'd love to stay at home and bake all day long
  68. I take a little too much pride in my Starbucks gold card
  69. I don't like mustard...or any variation of it...plain, spicy brown, dijon, honey mustard...none
  70. I like all things spicy
  71. But I don't like pepperjack cheese (too spicy, ironically)
  72. I don't like anything sour....no sour candy, no lemonade, no lime margaritas
  73. I don't like most fruit because it's all too sour...no peaches, no strawberries (unless doused in sugar)
  74. I do not bite my fingernails
  75. I'm seriously wishing I had NOT undertaken this "100 things" list....I'm honestly not that interesting
  76. I wear my hair in a pony tail not because I love it so much, but because I literally don't know how to do anything else...and it's so damn hot having all that hair resting on my neck and around my face
  77. I regret three of my four tattoos
  78. I'm considering (for the last four years) going back to school for early childhood education...I think 2nd or 3rd grade would be fun
  79. I thought, briefly, in college of changing my major to Psychology because I found it (still find it) so fascinating
  80. I like to look up the meaning of every element in my dreams to find out what's really going on in there (like my most recent recurrent dream of my car being stolen...something about losing my identity or something weird like that)
  81. I wish we lived back in Wisconsin so we could join a bar volleyball league
  82. I wish I had the money to hire a full-time maid
  83. I want to go to culinary school
  84. I wish we were going somewhere exotic for a week next year instead of Disney
  85. I've changed my handwriting style several times in my life
  86. I think my favorite book is Heaven by VC Andrews...I've read it several times
  87. I get mad when I'm coloring with Aria and she says she's done, but I'm not
  88. I also get mad when I'm coloring with Aria and she starts coloring on MY picture with all of her random scribbles
  89. My guilty pleasure TV show is Gilmore Girls
  90. I fell asleep at work one time when I worked at the dancewear store in high school...right on the floor behind the desk...with the door still unlocked
  91. I don't have a favorite movie
  92. I like giving presents SO MUCH MORE than receiving presents
  93. The look on your face when you speak to me means as much, if not more, than the words you're saying
  94. I prefer vanilla ice cream over chocolate cream
  95. I have at least 20 gray hairs and I've officially stopped yanking them out
  96. I don't do well when people who are my equals condescend to me
  97. I tend to struggle with authority...can't nobody tell ME what to do (you like that grammar there, don't you?)
  98. I'm fairly certain that I cry more than the average adult female
  99. Whenever somebody says the n-word, I immediately wonder to myself just how ignorant IS this person
  100. I look like a bitch, but I'm really pretty nice...and quite funny...once you get to know me

Have a good weekend, folks!
PS:  I thought about including pictures in this to break up the monotony of reading...but I for real don't have time for that!



It's no secret that Dave's favorite part about dinner is dessert.  Especially homemade dessert....or even just store-bought cookie dough plopped in the oven after dinner.  He has, unfortunately, passed that lovely trait onto Aria.  Every day during dinner...."Mommy, what's for dessert?" ... "Mommy, did I eat enough to earn dessert?"  It's such a problem that I need to nip in the bud right NOW...but Dave doesn't help when he says "can you get me some ice cream?" after I get done telling Aria that we're not having anything for dessert today.

Last night, I was scrolling through my dessert board on Pinterest and Dave, who was looking over my shoulder, starting tapping on the screen to get a closer look at some things he decided looked extra tasty.  Of course, after looking at them, I was informed that I needed to make them all...go figure.

So today's post is inspired by Dave's dessert choices.  Enjoy!

Cream Cheese-Filled Banana Bread - Banana bread that's like having cheesecake baked in! Soft, fluffy, easy and tastes ahhhh-mazing!
Recipe >> HERE
This is the first one he clicked on, to which he said "You WILL make this this weekend!"  I, of course, said "no" :)   But I suppose I can take a crack at it sometime this fall.  It does match the colors, after all!  I'll probably add chocolate chips to mine, though.

Dark Chocolate Cream Pie-don't let the lighter color fool you, this pie has all the rich flavor of dark chocolate in a creamy, cool pie!
Recipe >> HERE
Little did he know that this one is actually SUPER easy and cheats a bit....it uses a store-bought graham cracker crust!  Definitely something easy to knock out on a weekend in time for dinner (it only chills for 4 hours).

Recipe >> HERE
Dave's favorite ice cream flavor is, without a doubt, mint chocolate chip.  So when he saw these, he was sold.  The brownie is made with a jar of hot fudge sauce and the frosting is more or less mint buttercream.  They do look pretty tasty to be honest!

Recipe >> HERE
This is a chocolate peanut butter cheesecake.  Yum!  Dave's two favorite things!  Not to mention, he's been up my butt to make him another chocolate cheesecake...so as I scrolled through and saw this, I took the liberty of letting him know what it was and that yes, I know it's next on the list.

Triple-Chocolate Mousse Cake Recipe. The dark-chocolate cake at the base is baked in ramekins. Two layers of plush, pillowy mousse -- bittersweet and milk chocolates -- are piped on top and capped with semisweet chocolate curls. Chill and serve as just the right sweet for your sweet.
Recipe >>> HERE
I have two different chocolate mousse cakes saved and, to be honest, I don't remember which one he picked....so I'm taking the liberty of picking this because it's prettier!  Two different flavors of chocolate mousse piped on top of chocolate cake and chilled to perfection.  Yum!

So maybe...if Dave is lucky...he'll get one of these desserts in the next couple of weeks.  Maybe.

And also, hopefully, I'll have some good news to tell you by the end of next week regarding Dave's CT scan that he had on Wednesday.

Till next week...


Random Update

A quick look into my week ahead...

Monday is grocery shopping day...because I spent all day cleaning yesterday and didn't have the time.  Ordinarily on Mondays I make something Mexican in honor of Mexican Monday that we can't really afford to go to with the family anymore...but I had zucchini and basil to use, so Mexican Monday at our house will be Tex Mex Tuesday this week.

On Tuesday, our new mattress is being delivered...I can't wait!!  I'm so ready to sleep on a mattress that doesn't have a hump in the middle!  And I'm so ready to sleep on a mattress that won't leave me with a debilitating back pain the next day that I'm so tired of pushing through.

A bonus of our mattress coming tomorrow:  I can stop feverishly cleaning and actually sit down and relax in the evenings!

On Wednesday, Dave has a CT scan to make sure that nasty nasty cancer is still out of our lives.  And he's taking my car to get an oil change because I .loathe. going to TiresPlus.

On Saturday, I'm going to try to take Aria to visit a gymnastics class to see if she likes it and wants to do it.  Fingers crossed she'll pick it over dance!
***CORRECTION:  On Saturday we're going to the children's museum in Columbia with some dear friends who live SUPER far away.  Thanks mom for the reminder!

Here's a money-saving tip for ya:  Make your menu for the week before going grocery shopping.  You'll spend less and, with everything written down, you won't forget anything, thereby eliminating last-minute trips back to the store.  Plus...by planning it out in advance, you might find there's enough room in your budget to buy that bottle of wine you've been looking at ever week for the last four months!  Here's my menu + shopping list for the week:

Monday:  Sausage Veggie Rigatoni
(sausage, rigatoni, garlic, green onions, basil, zucchini, peeled/diced tomatoes, parm cheese)

Tuesday:  Tex Mex Stuffed Shells
(ground turkey, canned corn, salsa, yellow rice, bell peppers, shredded cheese, sour cream, cilantro)

Wednesday:  Grilled Pork Tenderloin + mashed potatoes
(pork tenderloin, BBQ sauce, country crock mashed potatoes)

Thursday:  Fresh Market Thursday Little Big Meal Deal (it's only $20, y'all!)
(steak strips, stir fry veggie kit, udon noodles, stir fry sauce, cookies)

Friday:  Burgers + corn on the cob
(burger patties, burger buns, lettuce, sliced cheese, corn on the cob)

Saturday:  Cilantro Lime Skillet Chicken + Veggies
(chicken breasts, chicken broth, lime juice, fresh lime, shallots, cilantro, heavy cream, zucchini, squash, green onions, cherry tomatoes)

So there's a quick look into my week!
Hope your's is a good one!


Fab Friday Five - FALL

This post is inspired by the weather this morning.  The air was cool (a lovely 71° according to the car)...the sun was bright and lovely....the sky was blue and pink with wispy orange clouds all over it. It was beautiful, and all I could think was "fall is coming soon...it just has to be."

Fall is, I think, my favorite season.  Or maybe it's tied with winter....either way, it's up there!  I love the colors...the drop in the temperature...the ability to move groceries from your cart to the trunk without sweating all over the damn place...playing in the yard with Aria after school...and the flavors!  So many flavors are synonymous with fall:  pumpkin, cinnamon, nutmeg (mmm I'm ready for pumpkin pie obviously).  And it'll be apple season, so I'm going to try to make my Great Grandma's apple turnovers.  And of course the ability to eat soup without feeling hot from the inside out all day....the ever wonderful PSL from Sbux....and Thanksgiving meals that mimic the falling leaves in their colors.  Oh man...I'm so ready for fall!

According to Accuweather.....
Augusta has had 68 of the last 96 days (since May 10th) with recorded temperatures above 90.
39 of those 68 days had recorded temperatures above 95
9 of those 68 days had recorded temperatures above 100

Of course, Accuweather doesn't save the heat indices, but if you live here, you know that nearly all of those 68 days above 90 were really all above 100 thanks to a 10 heat index every day. So you figure, the days that registered at 102, it really felt more like 110.

Now do you understand why I am SO ready for the fall?  It's too damn hot!

Mile High Caramel Apple Pie >> recipe HERE
Oh I just love apple pie!  And I especially love a deep dish apple pie that's FULL of apples!  Maybe I'll make one just for my dad and me.  I think apple pie is the only thing he eats that has cinnamon in it.  But look at how luscious that pie looks! YUM!

Autumn Weather | Fall Style | Picnic Ideas | Outdoor Food | Al Fresco Dining | Mountain Sunset

Oh man...a picnic on a hillside with cozy blankets and the sunset...that's something I can look forward to!  Now if only I could manage a trip to the mountains sometime around the end of September, beginning of October.

You might be bummed Summer is officially over. But the good news is: #Fall is here! We've rounded up the best reasons to get into the autumnal spirit. #autumn | Health.com

Fires and s'mores are, to me, the epitome of fall!  Don't get me wrong, I love a good fire any time of the year...but they're so much more enjoyable in the fall.  The chocolate doesn't melt BEFORE you put it next to a hot marshmallow.  The fire actually keeps you warm instead of making you feel like you're in Hell.  And it's usually paired with hot chocolate and a cozy blanket.  Oh yes...I'm ready!

Hearty Italian Chicken and Autumn Veggie Soup | thecozyapron.com
Hearty Italian chicken and autumn veggie soup with roasted garlic and tomato broth, served over gnocchi >> recipe HERE
Look at this soup, y'all!  It's fall in a bowl!  It's got chicken, butternut squash, kale, carrots, parsnip, basil, garlic, paremesan cheese...serve it with some warm bread...OH WOW it looks scrumptious!

Nothing like a good book, a hot cup of tea and a cozy lap blanket on a cold winter's day. | Pavel Gramatikov

There's nothing better than curling up on the couch (or a comfy place outside) with a great book and a cup of coffee or hot chocolate.  The PERFECT relaxation.  Even though I didn't finish my summer reading list, I'm already building up some things I'd like to think about reading in the fall.  

There's one more thing about fall that is an integral part of the season and NEEDS to be mentioned.....

Green Bay Packers Team | Packers Fans Want the WHOLE Team in the Picture

That is all :)

Have a great weekend folks!



[Part 2]
This one will be lengthy...I'm pretty passionate about these topics


I thought I understood what it meant to be a parent.  When I had Aria, however, I learned just how WRONG I was!  There's no "right" or "wrong" way to parent...everybody does it differently...but once you're a mom, you quickly form opinions on how to (and, of course, how not to) parent.  

I believe in discipline.  Time outs don't work for everybody, and that's OK.  I believe in spanking.  I was brought up in a spanking household...and let me tell you what...nothing motivates you more to behave than the promise of your father's ginormous hand making contact on your tiny little behind.  I spank my child and I have absolutely no regrets about it.  I also believe in telling my child "no".  Kids need to hear that word often...if you give a kid everything they want all the time, they'll never learn what it means to earn something.

I believe births should be done at a hospital under the supervision of an actual doctor.  There's no safer way.  I understand a lot of people say births have been done at home for thousands of years, and that's great, but it's not for me.  I bled a LOT during childbirth...and had I not been in hospital where they could give me the proper medicine I needed to stop the bleeding, I probably would have died.  I think it's nuts to have a baby at home without an actual doctor present.

I believe in "cry it out".  The turning point in my first few months of parenting was when I left Aria in her crib crying while I went to the living crying in the middle of the night.  I woke up several hours later and everything was silent...because she had cried herself to sleep.  How can you expect to raise an independent person if you never let them learn to cope on their own?

I believe in the elimination of pacifiers and bottles.  Once baby turns one, get rid of that bottle and switch to a sippy cup.  Your kid doesn't like it?  Try a different one...but if he's thirsty enough, he'll suck it up and drink it.  And do not EVER let your child fall asleep with a bottle in their mouth...it causes bottle rot!  Your kid will have screwed up teeth the rest of his life and it will actually be all your fault...he won't need a therapist to tell him that.  There should never be a photo online of a 3/4/5/even 6 year old child with a damn bottle in her mouth (asleep).  That's disgusting...knock it off.  Same with the pacifier.  The pacifier is simply a comfort item.  They don't need it once they move past infancy.  How can your child start learning how to speak if there's always a pacifier in their mouth? If your child is starting Pre-K and you need to ask the teacher if it's OK that the child brings a paci....ugh....I can't even.

Speaking of Pre-K...I believe in daycare.  Before having Aria, I knew that after I had a baby, I would quit my job and be a stay at home mom.  But after Aria was born and we realized that my paycheck really did make a difference, it was obvious she would need to spend her days at a daycare with somebody else raising her.  I was devastated, but there was no other way. The idea of somebody else molding my child terrified the crap out of me.  But now, seeing how Aria is compared to other kids who never went to daycare or had regular playdates with other kids....I'll promote daycare all day long.  She's been learning to socialize, share, be kind, be inclusive, and all kinds of other awesome things ever since she was 12 weeks old.  She's learned more in daycare in four years than I ever would have thought to teach her.

And lastly, the idea of "crunchy moms" and "helicopter moms" baffles me.  For those who aren't yet parents "crunchy moms" are also referred to as "granola moms"...they're the ones who breast fed baby until baby could ask in a complete sentence for more milk please...they're the ones who made their own baby food and only cook organic food and spend their time at the park making sure there's nothing on the ground the child could possibly put in their mouth and get germs from (even though these ones also are the "no vaccines allowed" bunch).  "Helicopter moms" are the parents who are so over-protective of their kids, they hover over them like a helicopter.  These are the ones that will be following their child around on the play ground (actually on the equipment with the child), the ones that will still be cutting the grapes into thirds long after the kid learns how to chew, the ones who won't let their children pet the goats at the zoo because they could bite, and the ones who rush to the doctor every time baby/toddler gets a scratch to make sure it's not going to get infected and there's no underlying issues like broken limbs.  Calm down folks...let your kids be kids.  Kids are going to get dirty..they're going to eat whatever they want...they're going to get germs and get sick (newsflash:  the more germs they contract now, the more antibodies their immune system will have naturally built)...they're going to put things in their mouth they shouldn't (and probably swallow, too)...and they don't need to go to the doctor every five minutes to check out that one stray cough. 


This is the ONE topic that I'll get on my soap box about in conversation or on social media..I'm a firm believer in vaccines and I believe that if you don't vaccinate your child, you should be arrested for child endangerment.  Unless your child is allergic to something the vaccine is made of (I know sometimes the flu vaccine is made with eggs, so people allergic have to get the nose mist instead of the shot), there's absolutely NO REASON to not vaccinate your kids!  

"But Allysa...vaccines cause autism!!"  No, you crack pot, they don't.  First of all, one person wrote an article about it, a couple celebrity moms jumped on board (eh hem Jenny McCarthy) and then all of a sudden the whole nation was all up in arms about children getting autism because they got some vaccines.  It was later found that the person, surprise surprise, fabricated some of his data and vaccines don't in fact cause autism.  But there were so many people on the bandwagon already that this movement is still an issue today.  Read this article from the CDC about how vaccines and the ingredients in vaccines do not cause autism.

Even if they DID cause autism...would you really rather your child contract Pertussis (Whooping Cough) or Hepatitis B INSTEAD of Autism?  Come on folks...use your brains!

Because parents are choosing not to vaccinate their kids, diseases like Pertussis and Measles are starting to spread.  The CDC says this:  "Even though the United States experiences outbreaks of some vaccine-preventable diseases, the spread of disease usually slows or stops because most people are vaccinated or protected through immunity against the disease.  If we stopped vaccinating, even the few cases we have in this country could very quickly become tens or hundreds of thousands of cases."  The Centers for Disease Control want you to vaccinate your children, yet you still don't?

Here's a story:  Johnnie (a non-vaccinated child) goes with his parents to the hospital to visit a family member that just had surgery.  Unbeknownst to his parents (because they suck), Johnnie sits down on the floor by the hospital bed and starts playing with his Matchbox car he brought in to keep him busy while mom and dad socialize.  His car rolls over a dried spot of blood on the floor. Johnnie wonders what it is and then proceeds to pick at it with his fingers.  Later in the day, Johnnie eats chicken fingers for dinner...he has not washed his hands all afternoon.  Two months later at school, Johnnie and Susie, also a child who's parents did not believe in vaccines, are taking turns on the swings on the playground.  Johnnie goes first and cuts his hand on a jagged piece of metal on the chain.  When he goes to tell teacher, Susie takes her turn and gets on the swing and ends up cutting her hand on the same piece of jagged metal.  Both cuts were small enough to be covered with a band-aid, so no big deal.  A little more than a month later, Susie's parents take her to the ER in the middle of the night suspecting sudden onset of the flu because she's got a fever, can't stop throwing up, and says her bones hurt.  The doctor comes in after running some tests and tells little Susie's parents that Susie has tested positive for Hepatitis B.  One month later, another little boy at school...our old friend Johnnie...also tests positive for Hepatitis B.

That spot of blood on the hospital floor was from the patient who had been in that hospital room two day's prior...and that patient had Hepatitis B.  Hep B can live outside of the body for 7 days.  Little Johnnie, who picked at the spot of blood, got remnants of the blood under his fingernails.  Then he ate chicken fingers without washing his hand and ingested those specks of blood.  He now has antigens for Hep B floating around in his system.  It only takes 1.5-6 months for Hep B to incubate in the body.  Johnnie cut his hand on the swing, leaving a little bit of blood on the metal...a little bit of blood with Hep B in it.  Susie also cut her hand on the same piece of metal, getting some of Johnnie's blood in her own open wound.  The Hep B antigens that were in Johnnie's blood traveled through to meet Susie's blood and...voila! Two children infected with Hepatitis B simply because the parents were too ignorant to vaccinate their kids.

(Of course, we would never know little Susie had Hep B because her parents never take her to the doctor for anything, not even extreme-style vomiting, because doctors are bad and just pump their kids full of autism-causing chemicals.)


I'm PRO-CHOICE.  While my values and my beliefs tell me that I would never get an abortion, it's not my decision to keep other people from doing it.  If Aria and her friends went to the movies one night and I'm a little late picking her up and she ends up being assaulted and raped and gets pregnant from that rape...and she wants to have an abortion...that's OK by me.  The saying "my body, my choice" goes for everything about a woman's body.  If a woman is comfortable with her decision to terminate a pregnancy, then that's HER DECISION.  It should NEVER NEVER NEVER EVER be the government's decision.

Yes, I believe that as soon as those cells start dividing and multiplying, it's alive...those cells are a person.  And yes, as stated before, I'm Christian and believe that murder is morally wrong.  But again, it's not my body...it's somebody else's body...and what they do with it is their own business.  And because I believe in exceptions...a gray area.... I feel I HAVE to be pro-choice.  I'm not ashamed of it by any means.

And, contrary to what the super-conservatives are saying, Planned Parenthood IS NOT SELLING BABY PARTS ON THE OPEN MARKET.  The portions of videos released were fabricated by an anti-abortion group who've done this before and got in trouble for it and were told not to do it again.  Not to mention, what should Planned Parenthood do with the fetuses that are aborted that the mom doesn't want?  They should sell them for research...which is exactly what they do.  Research that allows scientists and doctors to better understand the different stages of life in utero.  AND...those aborted fetuses are used for surgical students to practice on so that they can become neonatal surgeons and fix your baby's heart defect while still in the womb.  So don't knock something you don't understand.

Why don't they give them away to research instead of selling them?  Because they still need to make a profit.  I work at a non-profit blood center and I know a little about this concept.  There are some parts of the blood that we don't always use for transfusion due to a higher risk of transfusion-related illnesses.  These products are sold, at a very minimal cost, to research facilities to be further manufactured into other products, such as clotting factor injections.  There's no harm in it.  One business supports another type of business.  Planned Parenthood selling fetuses is absolutely no different.

Planned Parenthood is far more than just an "aboratory", as I saw so eloquently written in GOP propaganda.  Have you ever been to their website?  It's actually a wonderful resource for young folks...or any folks really.  Services offered include:  abortion (oh no!), birth control, emergency contraception, general health care, HIV testing, LGBTQ services, Men's healthcare, pregnancy testing and services, STD education/testing/treatment, and women's health care.

Being the mother of a girl, I'm thrilled to know that if, for some unforeseen reason, she feels unable to come to me for guidance or help, she can go to Planned Parenthood anonymously and seek help...and be given it...without feeling judged.  

If you got offended, I'm sorry..but these are MY OPINIONS and I have every right to have them.
To those of you who've openly said on Facebook "Go ahead and unfriend me right now if you're pro-choice", by all means, now that you know my views, go ahead.


Fab Friday Five - PRETTY WORDS

I've always been artistic and can draw well.  As I've gotten older, however, I'm less inclined to just sit down with a pencil and some paper and draw something.  BUT....in all of my graphic design classes, I fell in love with typography.  The way letters are formed...they way they dangle from the line...the way script letters connect to one another...it's all beautiful to me.  So when I started seeing this trend of the art of hand-lettering pop up, I KNEW it had to be for me!  It's not just about writing, it's about actually drawing the letters.  I don't want to pursue it as a money-making thing...and let's be honest, I barely have time to even make it a hobby.  But it's still fun to do once in a while to make something hand-written look lovely, like an envelope or something to frame for the wall.  I'm not very good at it....it takes me at least an hour just to draw a name...but it's something I enjoy nonetheless.

It's not just the words that make it lovely, it's the beautiful art that generally accompanies it, too. 

Interested in learning?  There's tons of tutorials out there...video and blog...that help you get started and offer tips and tricks.  The biggest tip of all:  PRACTICE!  Just like in any endeavor in your life:  the more you practice at it, the better you'll get.  And to be honest, if you practice and you're still not good at it, there's tons of fonts over at Creative Market that you can buy to make your stuff on the computer with type instead of drawing it out on paper.

Here's some inspiration to get your creative juices flowing!

Lettering and Watercolor via Happy Hands Project

free wallpaper, free downloads, free desktop wallpaper, freebies, This Little Street, Happy Tech, hand lettering, calligraphy, watercolor

Have Courage & Be Kind Hand Lettered/Calligraphy Chalkboard Art - Hand Painted 16x20 Canvas - Inspirational, Quote, home decor, shower, nurs

Will you do something creative this weekend? 

I won't...I'll be cleaning the house (literally, the whole damn house) to prepare for our mattress delivery in a little more than a week.  I hated spending that money, but it'll be nice to have a mattress that doesn't still have the indentations of our fat selves long after we've gotten out of bed.



(Part 1)
It's no secret that I TRY to stay away from getting involved with debates on social media or in general conversation (with the exception of one topic).  I do this for two reasons:  1) I'm so non-confrontational that just thinking about it makes my heart race, and 2) I'm not always as educated as I would prefer on certain issues...especially anything political...so when I offer my opinion around other people who make politics their top priority, I just feel stupid because I don't know all (or even half) of the facts.

Often times when dealing with family, family friends, and coworkers, my opinions on hot-topic issues are vastly different.  And you know, that's OK.  I don't mind that my opinions and beliefs and values are different...I'm fine with that.  It's more than alright to disagree with people.  But what scares me about sharing these things with others is that there's always at least one person who takes it personal.  There's always one person who feels the need to shout at you and get mad that your OPINION is different from theirs.  There's always one person who feels they need to not just openly debate, but down-right argue with you about your OPINION being "wrong" because it's different from theirs.  There's always one person who feels the need to take everything so extreme and outright saying that you can't be friends any more (are we still in Kindergarten?) because your OPINION is different from theirs.  That is what scares me about confrontation...most people can't just talk about the issues without it becoming a heated discussion or a flat-out argument over who's opinion is correct and who can back their's up with the facts.

Part of having a blog is being totally open and laying yourself bare for all to see (no there's no naked pictures, eww).  So this is me offering my opinions and beliefs...this is me being as confrontational as I can be without actually needing to look somebody in the eye (I struggle with this...self esteem and all).  But to be honest, I won't be surprised if I lose a friend or two on Facebook because I disagree with their beliefs...that's how petty some people are.  Some of my opinions are based off research that I've done.  Some are based off pure opinion of what I believe is right and wrong based off my values.

Agree to disagree and we'll all get along swimmingly.

I'm a Christian.  I was baptized in the Lutheran church when I was a baby and I was Confirmed in the Lutheran church when I was 14.  I believe in God, Jesus, Heaven, Hell, and the Devil.  BUT....I'm not religious....at all...not even close...not even a little bit.  You'll NEVER hear me say "I'll pray for you."  You'll NEVER hear me say "God is great and will provide."  You'll NEVER hear me say "The Bible says..."

I support EVERY religion that I know about and I think it's disgusting to try to convert a person to a different religion.  Just because the religion is different from yours doesn't make it wrong. I love the idea of mission trips to help build facilities for those in need, but if it's also on the agenda to teach them about Jesus, I'm not going.

No we don't go to church...you don't need a specific building to believe.  No I don't have Aria in a faith-based daycare or Pre-K.  No Aria did not attend Vacation Bible School and no she will not be forced to go to Sunday School.  When she's old enough to understand and to ask questions, I'll give her all the resources she needs to make a decision on her own as to what she wants to believe in, be it organized religion of any kind or just a deity...I just want her to believe in something.  I'll not chastise her if she decides to follow Buddhism, or Hinduism, or Judaism, or Islam, or Christianity, or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

When reading things online, even from my favorite bloggers, I skip over the religious phrases...I want to read about what you're writing, not about how Jesus or God has influenced you...unless that's the only thing that you ARE writing, in which case I'll probably stop reading there and wait for your next post.

Separation of Church and State
Religion does not belong in government, period.  Elected officials should not use religion as a platform for election...just as the voters should not vote for somebody simply because their commercial shows them going to church.

It also doesn't belong in business.  Business meetings should absolutely not be started with a prayer.  Religious phrases should not be in company newsletters.

Prayer should not be in school as an organized event (unless it's a religious school).  If a child wants to pray on their own during quiet reflection time or before they eat a meal..more than alright.  But for a teacher to lead a class in prayer, or for a principal to start a class assembly with a prayer, or for a Board of Education official to lead a graduation ceremony in prayer....not OK.

You never know who you're going to offend because you don't know everyone's beliefs.  Religion, to me, is personal.  It belongs within, at church, or at home...but nowhere else.  Stop cramming your religious beliefs done other's throats...they might not want to hear it and will eventually stop listening to you altogether.

Wildlife Hunting
To each his own.  Do I hunt? No.  There's no way I could kill an animal unless I was dependent upon it for food...and even then, I'd struggle and end up getting somebody else to do it.

I understand most hunting is for population control, and I totally support that.  And I understand some people get their rocks off by hunting big-game animals.  I disagree with that, but hey....if the people who govern the wildlife (the DNR?) say that hunting of those animals is OK, then it's OK by me.

But I do have a problem with people hunting illegally on wildlife preserves or national parks.  And I know there are conflicting reports about Cecil the lion and how he was killed...I don't know for sure which reports are correct.  And I know lions get killed all the time in Africa and that there's never as much of an uproar about it.  Regardless of that....hunting on a wildlife preserve (whatever the animal may be), unless it's a sanctioned event for population control, is wrong.  Luring animals off of a wildlife preserve so you can kill it is also wrong.

If you're hunting that animal to provide a TON of meat for a local village and the whole animal will be used for the good of the community, that's great, but still don't go about it in an illegal way.  I disagree with hunting an animal for a trophy.  If you're not going to use the whole animal for some actual purpose, don't hunt.  I think it's absurd to kill an animal just for the fun of it.

Coming up in the next installment of "Views"....Abortion, Vaccines, and Parenting Styles.
Oh this one's going to piss some people off for sure!