Saturday, November 17, 2012


Sorry to leave that depressing post up at the top for awhile. Here's a cool video that finally captures some of the crazy big movements I'm seeing and feeling lately.

Don't forget to check out more posts at the new blog here.

I have, at the most, a week and a half left until these are outside babies.

Monday, November 12, 2012

the other F word


In many respects, I'm lucky for how I grew up. I always had food, shelter, clothing, and sometimes extras. The early years were pretty lean sometimes, but we never went without.

In other respects, things were tough. My parents divorced when I was 3 1/2 and my brother was less than a year old. The split was not amicable, to make an understatement. There was joint custody, which was no treat for any of us. The following three DECADES have not made things any better; my parents still do not and can not talk to each other. There is still manipulation and guilt-tripping done by both sides. I was around eight years old when I realized that when one parent asked about the other one, it was to glean info that would then be used against that other one, and I had to tell both of them that I was not the post office to pass messages between them. I remember feeling angry and frustrated and sad that the grown-ups were acting so ridiculously. There continued to be a lot of drama and issues for years after that. A lot of unhappiness and stress.

Once I got to college, I was old enough and removed enough to have better relationships with both of my parents (it started in high school, but I was still angsty and teenager-y) and in general things have been pretty good since then. Together (well, not literally--that would imply they worked as a unit), they paid for my college (though I did work for three years to cover books and living expenses)--I have zero student debt, and for that I am extremely lucky and grateful. They are both supportive of the life decisions I've made and have helped me in different ways.

However, the drama still rears its ugly head. That was one huge benefit of living across the country for so long--I could stay away from the nonsense. I could stay in New York or travel for the holidays and not have to hear about how much time I'm spending with one parent versus the other, or carefully schedule holiday days to make it as equal as possible.

I have a photo of myself with both of my parents when I was a baby and they were still together. The next photo of the three of us together is from my college graduation. That photo was maybe a minute of being close to each other, in strained silence, before one parent escaped as quickly as possible.

The biggest issue in the last few years was our wedding. Both of my parents would be there. In the same space. For most of a day. What would happen? How would they act? What kind of drama would occur with all of my family in one place, something that has literally never happened? I worried and fretted and cried about it for pretty much the entire planning time. (Thank god it was only four months. If we'd had a year-long or more engagement like many people, this may have given me an ulcer.) I'm tearing up thinking about it even now.

Happily, and to my huge, huge relief, things were fine. They didn't speak to each other, they stayed out of each other's way, there was no drama. I got a third photo of the three of us together.

There was a lot of worry for that one day, a lot of stress hanging over me for what is supposed to be a magical, wonderful day about me and my new husband.

And now there will be grandchildren. What kind of worry and drama does there promise to be for the next eighteen years?

I hate the way I had to grow up. I hate the fact that I'm still crying about it, as a mature and married thirty-three-year-old. I hate the fact that it's a legitimate worry to have even now--the drama and stress has subsided over the years, but it's very much still there, under the surface. Now that I'm so much geographically closer to them, and seeing them more often, it's not taking much for that bullshit to come back up.

I would not wish this on anyone. I want to avoid this kind of thing for any child, let alone mine. Thinking about the future of holidays, fighting between three sets of grandparents who want to see our kids--it makes me almost sick with dread and sadness and anger. I don't want this! I don't want to have to deal with it! I really, REALLY want to shield our kids from this nonsense. But I don't know how. I don't know how all the grandparents will act or react to our limited time and schedule. I don't know if they'll be more forgiving or more demanding. I just don't want to deal with it. For god's sake, I shouldn't have to deal with it.

I want to remember--and remind them--that Mister M and I and these babies are now my primary family, and will be our focus. Our needs as a unit will have to come first. I am excited about my parents being grandparents--despite all this, I think they will be good at it. I really just want to do whatever it takes to avoid them having to live with the kind of stress and secret-keeping that I have lived with for so many years (yes, even now! I'm an adult and it still hasn't stopped!). I'm not sure if I can make that happen without causing even more problems. Again, it makes me sick. And quite frankly, that is the absolute last thing I need to worry about right now or in the next couple months!

I need to focus on myself, on getting these babies as big as possible, and hope that I'm cooking them properly so they will be healthy when they come out. And then we'll need to figure out life with brand new babies and figure out how to be parents. Those are big enough changes and worries. But the other stuff continues to lurk in the back of my mind. For now, I think we've got a good excuse to bow out of Thanksgiving, and hopefully Christmas too--I can only hope that it won't be much of an issue this year, since everything and everyone will be so new. The pessimistic and realistic part of me says that oh no, there will still be Issues and Drama and Stress and Goddammit.

I don't know what to do except worry and cry. I don't want to do either of those things. To be clear, it's not like I sit around thinking about this all day every day. But it lurks in the back of my mind, and any mention of the holidays brings up at least a little of it, and sometimes I let it out enough to start upsetting me.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

thank goodness

It's past time for the *need* to read these, but here they are just for posterity and because YES, FOR PETE'S SAKE, YES:
The Case for Obama

The Case Against Romney

Why I am Voting for President Obama 


On Election Day 2008, all I remember is that I had to go to bed before a winner was called. (I know I voted, but I don't really remember the specifics of how or when.) An hour or two later, I was woken up by shouts and cheers of ecstatic Brooklynites in the streets. At the time, I was teaching at First Charter School, where I was exhausted and miserable. I remember that our grade had held an assembly to talk about the election and someone showed the music video. Our students--almost all African-American--were glued to it, and so emotional and thrilled about even the possibility of someone who looked like them being the leader of our country. There were tears of excitement and hope.

This time around, being on the West Coast and not working traditionally both meant that I could stay up as late as I wanted--the official call happened by 9pm, and though it took forever for the speeches to happen, that wasn't a problem. (I have to say that I kept remarking how boring it must have been for all those people in the Obama arena to stand around and wave flags/dance/etc for hours...)

My favorite part was being on social media for the night--I really enjoyed seeing what everyone was thinking and reading their reactions in real time, on facebook and twitter. I really felt like I was part of a big community of friends around the country (and around the world even!), and it was special. I don't know if it's silly, but I think that's a big part of what I want to take away from the election as a whole--people with common beliefs coming together. Happily, and probably not coincidentally, most people I know in real life and online have similar ideologies, at least at a basic level, to mine. I felt like we were all celebrating together.

I believe that with this win, more people's lives will improve, and more people will retain more rights (like gays, women, immigrants, people with pre-existing health conditions). I hope that the government can get its head out of its ass to get some freaking work done for the American people, rather than for extremist votes. The economy will continue to improve (which was projected to  happen regardless of who is president), and maybe there will be some important reform (corporate, environmental) that will get us on a track to positively impacting our future generations.

My home state of Washington as well as three others passed laws for marriage equality. New Hampshire elected all female government representatives (governor, Senate, House). There are now a record twenty women in the US Senate. An AmeriCorps alum was elected to the Senate too! There is no doubt that there is a lot of work to do (there are some truly disgusting comments/tweets/posts flying around the interwebs--if I could, I would personally go visit each and every one of those vile people and slap some sense into them), but overall I'm proud of the election results and I'm hopeful that America is heading in the right direction.

Four More Years!

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

a new beginning

I'm enjoying keeping up with my blog again, since there is plenty going on (and will, for the foreseeable future!). However, I'm really hesitant to share out this blog with friends and's been host to so many ups and downs and all kinds of things. Isn't it funny that we feel freer to confess to an anonymous audience rather than people we know well?

So, in case you didn't see this on facebook yesterday, I decided to start a new blog that focuses on this new life we're living. I've uploaded pretty much all the posts from the spring to now, along with the belly growth page. I'll keep updating that page here, and I'll probably find things to write about here that I don't want more 'public' on the new blog. So please bookmark the link below and keep an eye out for new posts there, and don't forget to check back in here occasionally too. :)

I really appreciate all of you out there reading!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

your future

Dear A and B,

Today is Election Day. You don't know what that is yet. (Really, you don't know what anything is yet. That's not your fault though.) You did sort of participate though--I completed my mail-in ballot last week. It's not as exciting as entering a voting booth and pulling a lever or completing and scanning a ballot, but it still counts!

Election Day is an important day for Americans to participate in our democracy and make our voices heard. Politicians are our representatives in the government, which makes choices about our country. They work for us, so it's very important for citizens to do their job and be part of the process.

You're being born American, white, and middle/upper-middle class. This means that without even trying or doing anything, you already have an amazing amount of privilege. This will follow you for the rest of your life, when you're in public, at school, and at work. It is vital that you understand this. Not everyone has the same privilege and it's one of our biggest jobs as parents to make sure that you don't ignore or take advantage of that, to raise you not to be entitled and self-absorbed. We want to help you develop into informed and thoughtful world (not just American) citizens. Don't ever think that your voice doesn't count, that all politicians are the same, and nothing's really going to change anyway.

We've all been going through this endless campaigning for President for two years now, and pretty much everyone is sick and tired of it all. Most of us feel pretty strongly about one candidate or the other. By the time you can read this, you'll probably know my/our political idealogies and who I voted for in 2012. The different candidates and their political parties have the very real abilities to change a lot of our collective lives and liberties. I'm never sure how elections will turn out--I don't want to count my politicians before they hatch, so to speak--but I really hope things end up the way I want them to. (Mostly because I'm always right, as you'll soon learn!) I believe it will help all of us, individually and collectively, have better lives and futures. And the future is what we're all here for and need to remember and work for. There are so, so many problems that we're facing right now--as a country and as a planet--that will only get worse for you as adults. I hope the political process isn't as ugly as it's gotten lately by the time you're able to vote. But regardless, you need to vote and make your voice and choice heard and be a part of your own future.

Your Daddy loves current events and especially politics. He has a lot of opinions and knowledge about various candidates and policies and histories. For the next presidential election, you'll still be very young, but I have an inkling that you'll be the most politically informed four-year-olds in your class at preschool. We won't be able to take you to the polling place with us (if we still live in Oregon), but we will certainly let you see us reading and talking about the issues together, and then completing and dropping off our ballots.

Rock your civic duty!
Love, Mommy

Monday, November 05, 2012

thirty three

On occasions like birthdays, it's always interesting to take a moment and contemplate and compare life with the previous one.

Last November 1, I lived in Brooklyn and had been working as a 'consultant' for my company for a just over a year. I was working weekends shooting babies. I didn't really do much else.

The twelve months to this November 1 must set a personal record for most/biggest changes. (And I've had some big years in my day!)

In January, I was hired full-time at my job. Finally!
In April, I found out that I was pregnant. And then that it was TWINS.
In May, we went to Central Europe for vacation.
In June/July, my company mostly went under/reorganized.
In the spring/summer, I did more portrait work and even shot a wedding.
In the summer, we finally made the decision to move out of NYC (well, more like Mister M finally relented that it had to happen).
At the end of June, I stopped shooting babies.
In August, we drove across the country to move to Portland.
In August/September, my company resurrected, in its barebones form, and I've once again been working part-time.
In the fall, we've been settling in to our rental house, and I spend a lot of time on the couch.

Wow. It's been a heck of a year. We joke sometimes that we're getting all the big stuff done and out of the way at once this year.

The time until next November 1 won't be filled with these kinds of life changes, except that it will include one of the biggest lifestyle changes I can imagine--we will become parents. My next birthday will be so different! I wonder how different I will feel and look. I envision a family photo on our front lawn--me and Mister M jumping, and two little ones either standing up or falling over trying to jump with us.