Usually I have a few blog posts in draft mode at a time. My mind works in a way where the ideas just swirl around in my head tormenting me until I write them down, and then I can move on, or perhaps sleep – sleep is a good thing. Right now my “thought provoking” post is about domestic violence and the role society has in the way we allow women to be viewed. Yeah, big topic I know so it’s taking me some time. One point I’m really stuck on though is how society is so fascinated by women’s bodies and while for the most part this really bothers me one of my points let me to a less snarky conclusion that I thought worth taking the deviation to share. I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am not a fan of women breastfeeding in public uncovered, but more so than the actual act I am REALLY irritated by the whole normalize breastfeeding movement. I really do not like when someone tells me how important it is that their child be fed from their breast RIGHT NOW when they are let’s say at the local Target or at a restaurant yet somehow their children magically do not have this need when Mom is at work, or out of town, or going out for the afternoon or evening sans baby and my favorite of all – drinking alcohol. I understand many moms must work to economically support said child and I understand moms need a life too but alcohol is completely unnecessary, no one “needs” half a bottle of wine to survive. No one will EVER convince me of the absolute necessity of breastfeeding in public if they are the type of Mom who likes to take time off to consume alcoholic beverages and make their milk temporarily unsuitable for baby. Go on and do it all you want but don’t try to convince me it’s the right thing to do. In general the more people like to shove their life decisions in my face the more turned off I am by the issue they are promoting. Lately though, I have seen several of my facebook friends do something positive, and it’s made me sit up and pay attention. It seems that I know a few ladies who are donating their excess breast milk. Even the Moms who love shoving their breastfeeding in people’s faces admit that pumping can be uncomfortable and is certaintly inconvenient. Yet here these women are spending their own time, suffering more discomfort and inconvenience than they have to to fed their own child because they believe in it that much. Ok ladies, you got my attention – and my respect. Oddly enough, these same women aren’t the ones posting pictures of their boobs on facebook and if they are the type to breastfeed in public they aren’t shouting the importance of doing so at the world. Their passion has not only made me notice what they are doing in a positive manner but it has made me curious and more open to the idea. I’ve heard breast milk described as liquid gold and witnessed meltdowns from Moms who lost the precious ounces they spent so much time pumping out and yet there are Moms so passionate that breast milk is best they are giving it away to strangers – These women are the real breastfeeding advocates. I have a vague understanding of how production of milk works in Mommies to understand that not everyone is capable of this excess production, and I do not fault anyone who simply has a hard enough time keeping up with their own child’s needs but it’s the spirit of the donations that I find to be so positive. Instead of the look at ME, look what I’m doing for MY child, omg why aren’t YOU eager to do this for YOUR child obnoxiousness that turns me off from the normalize movement it’s a group of Moms putting their milk where their mouth is, and that’s when I as an outsider can see how really important it is to them. I sit on the board of a nonprofit and am involved in several community organizations; one thing that is always very important when looking for corporate donors is the participation in giving from the board or membership. Did you know that alumni’s giving is part of the calculation when colleges are being ranked? It makes sense, don’t ask for my time or money (or both) if the cause really isn’t important enough to be worth your own time and money. Actions speak louder than words y’all, especially when they are someone else’s words – we all know how little effort it takes to share an article on Facebook. As many of you know I’ve been going through my own mama drama lately – doggie mama drama. At one point I had someone question why I wouldn’t “put down” Haley when I mentioned her surgery. At first I was really offended and thought why don’t I push you down a flight of stairs so you can be “put down” for having a broken leg; but you know what – MY dog just isn’t that important to people who aren’t me and I don’t need their approval. In my house Haley IS family, and I don’t give a flying rhymes with buck what anyone outside of our family thinks of the decision we have made. Why people would look to anyone besides their medical professionals for approval on how they care for their human children is a concept I simply cannot grasp. My point here is this: you do you. Do what’s in your best interest and your family’s best interest no matter what; and if you really think what’s right for your family is right for others pay it forward in a real, authentic way – not only will you be helping someone but you can inspire others and that’s some powerful stuff.
Thursday, September 18, 2014
Like all good republicans I recently made the pilgrimage to the shrine of The Great Ronald Reagan . . . Actually I just begged the bf to consider a visit when I found out his parents lived an hour away but the opening line just has more flair about it. But here's my recap of our visit to The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library:
We arrived around 9:45 on Labor Day, the library opens at 10am. The library is set at the top of a hill in Simi Valley, CA and it is a beautiful setting. On the lamp posts up the hill are flags for each American President leading up to Reagan , and on the way down are the ones after him - agh, this cute attention to detail alone told me I would love this place. The front of the library looks like a beautiful ranch home in a very typical Cali style with a center courtyard
Inside the lobby are the names of big donors engraved on the granite walls - lets just say this place has BIG money invested in it. The tour begins down a long hallway that serves as a waiting area while you wait for the next intro film to start, you can also take the time to pose with the Ronald and Nancy statues, which we did
We watched the intro film and I was pumped, Go America! For the record, I actually enjoyed the film at the Clinton library too - I think it's really hard to not feel patriotic at presidential libraries. The exhibit then begins with Reagan's early life - I always wondered how he went from actor to politician , now I know (to sum it up he was a key player in a Screen Actors Guild strike negotiation, became SAG president, became a spokesman touring the country and from there went into politics). One thing I really enjoyed learning about was the relationship between Ronald and Nancy, it's very sweet and even brought me to tears at one point.
The exhibit then moves on to Reagan's time as Governor of California and then the Presidential Campaign. One this that was really fun about the library was all the photo opps provided, like this:
The library also covers the assassination attempt and has video footage from three different vantage points. I thought it was a little startling for young ones but the staff member were not encouraging families to continue past the video.
After the mood is lightened with life in the White House.
There's a film with clips of entertainers that performed at the White House, displays of Presidential gifts, and an interactive area on White House entertaining.
We also got to design our own presidential china, here's mine:
Next was a room all about First Lady Nancy Reagan
So in the begining of the presidency Nancy was criticized a lot for her White House renovations and fancy clothes - she did a hilarious Second Hand Rose act in thrift store clothing making fun of herself and that was the end of that - too funny!
At this point we had reached the half way point of the exhibit and decided to break for lunch. There are two cafes on site with reasonable prices, we spent $50ish on four people which I was impressed with for a captive audience. Plus, here was our awesome lunch view:
Seriously, the entire plane. See:
Photos were not allowed in Airforce One, which was not nearly as fancy as Harrison Ford's in the action movie Air Force One but still pretty freaking cool, they did have lots of fun information . . .
There was also a cool video on bringing the plane to the library, the hanger was built around it. And the hanger itself is very nice:
After this awesomeness the exhibit continued with interactive information on the domestic issues during the Reagan Presidency; I found this especially neat as I was born in 1984 so I was interesting to see what was going on during that time.
The exhibit then turns towards foreign policy, especially the Berlin walk and shows a film about communism. The exhibit was very dark but the library has a piece of the wall outside
The exhibit covers Reagan's efforts to meet with many foreign heads of state and gives special attention to his relationship to Gorbachev
Other foreign policy and events were covered included the Iran Contra scandal, at this point our group was getting a little tired but luckily Im a fast reader, I learned more in this room that years of US history in school.
Next was a room on Reagan and his focus on the American people and had information on various individuals and groups he honored during his term. They also had a piece of the twin towers from 9-11, I didn't really get why.
The mood lightened with a room on Camp David and the Reagan's ranch. Reagan was gifted lots of saddles and belt buckles during his presidency and some of those were on display.
It was also time for another dorky photo opp
Shaun didn't get the angel quite right but oh well, it was still fun.
The exhibit ended with Reagan post presidency, showed some of the honors that has bestowed upon him by other countries and had a brief discussion of his time with Alzheimer's. There was a hallway that showed several clips from his funeral and discussed the world's reaction to his passing and this led to a theater that showed a small film on Reagan's legacy to conclude the tour. After we viewed the grounds and paid our respects as the library is also Reagan's final resting place. We left at little after 4pm so this was an all day activity for our group.
Personally I think Reagan is one of the best President's this country has had but Bill Clinton loving Shaun disagrees - we both enjoyed our day at the library and we both thought it was very well done. Eventually we want to see all the presidential libraries as they are a nice part of American history. Without visiting others besides Bill's I feel fairly confident in saying Reagan's is the largest. I'm really glad we got to go and hope y'all enjoyed reading about our visit.
God Bless America!
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Whew, things are finally settling down and returning to normal. September is over halfway over and I haven't had time to breathe since August it seems. I love vacations but I hate how they're supposed to give a break from stress and they just create more upon return , especially when your dog goes missing during said trip. Ah, I'm really looking forward to the weekend. But don't get me wrong, we still had a fabulous vacation, we even squeezed in an impromptu visit to Disney.
While at Disney I got to fulfill the life dream of five year old girls everywhere - meet Disney princesses. I did this plenty as a kid myself but for some reason it has not lost it's appeal. Like a good obsessive planner I turned to Yelp and researched places at Disney in California and noticed a princess lunch at Ariel's Grotto - heck yeah, sign me up! Now I could have just gone to fantasyland and waited in line to meet princesses but if I'm going to be a creeper hanging out at a children's activity I'd like to be a creeper who gets to rest her feet and chill out in some a/c thank you very much. Plus, we had to eat anyway and food at Disney is overpriced no matter where you go. Ordinarily one would have to reserve a princess meal way in advance, but we were lucky and got in as a walk up. Part of me thinks Shaun might have been optimistic we wouldn't get in when he agreed to go, but man he was a good sport.
So we arrive at the grotto where each party is allowed downstairs after the previous party has been seated, this allows princess ariel to give her full attention to each guest and let me tell you, the pretty college girl Disney has hired to do this job is excellent at it. She squealed with delight over my "thingamabob", asked if I knew flounder and if I had seen any scary sharks in a most concerned voice and was just a general delight.
My "thingamabob" which I got from a nice beach store earlier in the day.
And then of course we got our picture taken. Now, I'm a little confused why Ariel wasn't in her fin and shells if I'm supposed to be at her underwater hideout but I guess these things don't puzzle the actual target audience of the experience.
Now y'all, don't rag on my outfit too much, I didn't get to plan a Disney outfit so I did the best to work with what I had. I'll tell you what though, this outfit was a super comfy Disney outfit, and as much as the shoes are not fashionable I sure was glad I wore them when my fitbit told me I walked 10 miles that day. Besides, Ariel liked it so there (yes, I'm saying that in my best 5 year old voice).
We were then seated and given bread, presented with menus and has our drink order taken. The grotto is pre-fixe 3 courses for $38.99 / adult. While other guests were being seated we placed our orders and soon after our first course arrived the fun began.
Dramatic fairy tale trumpets played overhead and the court announcer made his dramatic entrance to announce the arrival of special guests invited by Ariel to join us. Oh yeah, it was over the top, and yes - I clapped. As each princess came out music from their movie played, they twirled, smiled and waved - they then went around to visit with each table. I should mention that we were not the only childless table there, just on case this fact makes me seem less ridiculous.
The princesses rotate depending upon the seating and day but its always four. During our visit we got to meet . . .
Tiana from The Princess and the Frog. Like a dork I told her how I went to college in New Orleans and love her movie. It's really a good thing I never claimed to be cool.
And Cinderella, who I even got Shaun to pose with:
We mostly just posed with each princess and thanked them for coming by but it was really fun to watch them interact with the kids, some of whom had just been treated to a royal $200 makeover at the bibity bop boutique. So now I'll get to the real purpose of why I started this post - to discuss meeting disney princesses. Ill admit, as an adult I felt a little awkward, but that's all on me because they girls were oh so sweet and professional - that's what I love about Disney, everyone gets to feel special. To keep that specialness Disney has strict rules for their princesses so here's some unofficial guidelines
1. Disney princesses always stay in character - go ahead, ask them questions and they will respond like their character with a smile.
2. Disney princesses do not pose with alcohol or other non kid friendly items, I leaned this one as a college senior when friends and I wants to "cheers" with Aurora at Epcot.
3. Disney princesses will hug children but male adults it's paws off - they will hold onto your arm.
4. Disney trains their princesses to interact with guests, they will pick up on things you are wearing that might indicate things about you and what princess you like best. It's cool, just go with it
5. Disney princesses only make appearances for short periods of time - I think it's 15 minutes but don't quote me on that. This is so they can look the perfect part without melting. Be kind, get your moment and let the other guests have theirs.
6. During the parades the princesses smile and wave into the crowd, chances are a child will feel like they looked right at them, super cool.
7. Disney princesses have a set of proper ways to pose- like the hand over the heart or the arm elegantly flicked out, don't be the jerk that tries to get them to do something ridiculous but do ask them am how to pose with them if you feel awkward and don't know what to do.
8. Disney princesses are experts on their character - so go ahead and ask about flounder or tell them to say hi to their prince.
9. Like all Disney characters, the princesses have a signature and give autographs. Disney sells books for this but they will sign pictures and keepsakes as well.
10. Have fun with it, you're at the happiest place on earth!
In case you can't tell I really enjoyed my royal lunch. Later on I ran into a lady my age who was wearing a disney skirt she made, we chatted when I stopped her to compliment her on it and she asked about the Ariel button I was wearing, which we had gotten with our checks (smooth move Disney) so I told her about the experience and she asked her new husband (honeymoon couple, aww) if they could go - point being it's not just for kids and it's super fun. So if you're an adult going to Disney check it out, and if you're a parent taking kids than oh my, seriously, you need to do some character meetings.
Have a happily ever after y'all!