Live long… Laugh often… Love always.
My daughter starts her first day of preschool tomorrow. I will be dropping her off at the school she will be attending for elementary school, in hopes that it will be a good transition into her being comfortable with her school and surroundings before going kindergarten. She will go to school two days per week for two and a half hours each day.
My daughter has had horrible separation anxiety, just last year that separation anxiety led me to have to quit my job. Now I am truly hoping that she has no problem leaving me tomorrow. She will have two friends in her preschool class to hopefully help her feel comfortable with staying. I am afraid it will not be a seamless transition when I leave her there on her own. I am OK with her growing up, I am just afraid that the same horrible separation anxiety and throwing up episodes that we worked so hard and finally got past last year, might sneak back into her mind again. I will be positive and have faith she will be fine with her new big kid place, preschool!
I forgot to publish this last night and here is the update- She did great! She was excited to go in, she smiled in her pictures, she sat down and played with the other kids, she said to me “Bye Mom”! I have to admit that I worried the whole time I was gone that I was going to get a phone call to have to pick her up, but the phone never rang!
She was happy when I picked her up! She told me that she played with play-dough, then they had carpet time, read a book, sang a song, did a project, washed their hands, had a snack of mini teddy bears, went outside to the playground and then I picked her up! Ahhhh! It is so nice to pick up a happy kid!
I have had a few people ask me why I did not change my last name when I got married. I ask them back why did you agree to change your name?
Before I got married I had a career, I was an established Human Resources Manager and I had recruiters calling me. I was known as Jessy Clifton, not Jessica Clifton, and certainly not by my boyfriends last name. I liked my name, I was never teased as a child because of my name, I have never ran into another person with the same name and I was not in a hurry to get rid of it because I disliked my last name. I don’t agree that women have to change their legal identity while men don’t have to change their identity when they get married.
I did not want to have to change every bit of identifying information when I got married, credit cards, ID, Social Security, Bank Accounts, E-mail addresses, Business Cards, ugh the list is endless at how many things are personalized with your full name.
I do not agree with the fact that historically slaves took on their owners last names and became a piece of their owners property. I see changing last names as an archaic tradition where women are now owned by their husband’s family. Should you take your husbands family name because you now are owned by them? Lets look at historical marriage ceremonies where the woman’s family gives 4 cows and 1 sheep to the husbands family to take care of her because women were not worth much more than animals. I chose my husband and my family did not give my husbands family any cows to get rid of me. I believe we need to question this tradition! It is archaic and unnecessary. I am still legally married but with my own name. When the priest announced us he said I would introduce the new husband and wife. I did not want to be introduced as Mr. and Mrs. John Johnson! Are you kidding me, not only does a woman loose her last name now she looses her first name and is just Mrs. John Johnson? Ick! How demeaning!
Basically there were more reasons why I refused to have my name changed than why I would ever consider changing it to keep my husbands family happy. Before we were married my husband and I talked about the complications that might happen with separate last names, we have no problem having both of our names on bank accounts, house, insurance, cars. I agreed to allow our children to have his last name.
Now here is where we have had problems. One time my husband was in the emergency room and I had to give them my name and ID to be allowed back to see him. The nurse gave me a hard time because I had a separate last name, she actually told me that I needed to have my marriage license to prove I was married. I told her I would have her job if she did not allow me to see my husband. Jon had tickets held at a will call and he was parking the car and told me to go in and get the tickets. The woman at will-call would not give me the tickets because I did not have the same last name. I said would you give the tickets to his sister? Not that it helped but hopefully I made her think about her process and I will make sure that he gets tickets in his name not me. Now that we have children, I have had a few moms question why my children have separate last names and if I am married to their father. I also tend to write on paperwork that I am their mother next to my name and next to my husbands name I write that we are married with different last names. I don’t ever want my children to be discriminated against because it appears their parents are not married by last names. I will make sure that does not happen.
Why do I bring this up? I am surprised at how few women even consider keeping their last name and happily give up their entire identity in order to get married. I think hyphenated names are very 1992, but still give those women some credit for being forward thinking. I want women to think twice about why they are changing their last names just to get married when you will legally are still married with your own name.
A friend was looking at my son’s baby book and laughed because I took a picture of the positive pregnancy test and put in the book. She said “I can’t believe you put that in there!” I said “Why not? I did not save the one I peed on, just a picture of it.” I am so grateful I took that picture, it was the first message I ever received from my little guy. That picture reminded me of all of the wonderful emotions that I experienced when I found out I was pregnant with my 2nd and most likely last baby. It occurred to me that not everyone looks at pregnancy tests as a wonderful notice that a new life has been created and that they have a joyful life changing event happening in their life.
The pregnancy test has such strong emotions either way for women that it is a very powerful image. I think about the commercials on tv, advertising pregnancy tests are generally shown in the positive light. They are usually being marketed to women who want to get pregnant, not the women who would dread a pregnancy at that point of their life that are only looking for a concrete sign relieving them from the chance that they might be pregnant.
When I look at the photo of my positive pregnancy test I remember thinking that I felt different. I was falling asleep when I was reading my daughter her book at night, I was starving at lunchtime and I felt a little bit crampy, I felt like I was pregnant again. I waited until I missed my period by 1 day, drove to the store and bought a two pack, took a pregnancy test right before bedtime, washed my face while I waited for the results, and looked down to see the digital display clearly saying the word Pregnant. I was surprised, and thrilled!
I had been on the birth control pill up until I decided I wanted to have a baby and never purchased a pregnancy test to rule out pregnancy. I think if you had to take a pregnancy test if you were afraid that you might be pregnant, then seeing a photo of one would have a very different feeling. You might look at the photo of this pregnancy test as dirty and something you want to avoid. I could not imagine having to go the store after missing your period, buying a pregnancy test, going home, peeing on the stick, waiting for the test results, the agonizing wait to determine your destiny. When you finally see the negative pregnancy result you have a huge sense of relief. You would then and quickly eliminate the horrible pregnancy test from your view in order to get over that scarred feeling.
I will continue to see pregnancy tests as a wonderful exciting messenger that can deliver great news. I hope that good women who dread looking at pregnancy tests because of a horrible scare in their lives will one day be able to have a wonderful experience with a pregnancy test when it tells them the news that they are thrilled to read.
Being a bridesmaid in a friends wedding is a strange business. Your friend or relative asks you to be in their wedding and you are honored that they asked you (or else you feel bad for them because they have no friends) so you say you will be in their wedding. Now you just signed up for a whole list of obligations and if you do not make good on each and every one you will be considered the bad bridesmaid and friend. If you are the maid of honor your job is to pick up the slack of these bad bridesmaids and your costs double for each of the days below.
Bridal Showers- You are now invited and expected to attend and maybe even host bridal showers, you have to pay for invites, food, drinks, organize a location, buy a gift for each shower, take time out of your life to devote to the bride. Cost- 2 Saturday + $75 party hosting + $100 gifts ($175)
Bachelorhood Party- You have to help host and pay for the events, bus, drinks, food, and pay for drinks for the bride, and another expensive night of your life devoted to them. Cost – 1 Saturday +150 for party+$40 naughty gift +$60 new dress, +$50 for night out ($300)
Dress Shopping- You are invited to go bridal dress shopping so you can be honest with the bride about what looks best on her, you watch her try on dresses for 2 hours and wait for her to purchase it before you go out for drinks or lunch to celebrate the bridal dress shopping. Cost- 1 Saturday + $50 lunch and drinks ($50)
Bridesmaid Dress Shopping- You are expected to shop for the bridesmaid dresses that she has chosen for her bridesmaids, you go there hoping it will be reasonable priced bridesmaid dress, you know that no matter how cute it is you will never, ever wear it again, seriously nobody does that, you don’t want to be the girl at the next event wearing a bridesmaid dress that the other girls laugh at in the bathroom. Now you try the dress on, the one that only looks good on the super skinny girl with big boobs and you look down at the price tag and gasp, $250 bucks! Holy crap, now you have to purchase it the day you are in the store so they can order them all together so they are all the same lot so you just signed your life away for a dress you can not return for any reason. Now that the dress is ordered you have to buy shoes, the same shoes as the rest of the girls, fingers crossed they are cheap and don’t need to be dyed or something stupid like that. Don’t forget you need to get new support undergarments so the shiny dress does not show every lump and bump, matching nylons and you need a new strapless bra too. Cost – 1 Saturday, $250 dress + $60 shoes, $20 nylons +$80 undergarments ($410)
Day Before Wedding Events- Maybe it is a golf day, or a spa day, or a bar and casino day you are obligated to take the day off of work to help the bride stay busy. Cost – 1 vacation day $80 events +$40 food ($120)
Grooms Dinner- Sure you get a gift and a free dinner out of the deal and hopefully a sincere thanks from the bride and groom.
Hairstyle Morning- You are now told by your friend how she wants you to style your hair, she wants everyone to have matching updo’s and you all have appointments at her salon for a $60 updo at 7AM on her wedding day. Cost -$75 with tip ($75)
Wedding Day and Gift- Now that you are in the wedding, besides each of the previous gifts of your time, bridal shower gifts, bachelorette gift, hosting parties, updo costs, dress cost, shoe cost, nylons, undergarments to fit under the dress, you are also expected to give a nice gift, not just a general wedding guest gift. Cost -1 Saturday + $100 gift ($100)
Gift Opening- You are in the wedding so you are expected to attend the day after to watch them open gifts and be bored out of your gourd sitting around drinking mimosas and eating fruit. Cost – 1 Sunday.
Wedding Total- $1,230 plus 8 days devoted to your friend the bride.
For my wedding I purchased my bridesmaids dresses and jewelry. I realized that they might not have liked my dress choice and I knew how I hated the feeling of plopping down the full cost for a bridesmaid dress that I could not ever return so I wanted to do something nice for my girls. They still had to buy the undergarments and shoes, but I also made sure I only had one large shower because I wanted my friends to remain my friends and not spend months of their life devoted to my wedding.
I am not a wedding hater, I am just practical. I also think that people need to consider the costs you are signing up for if you are asked to be in a wedding. If you are a bride, remember the costs your friends are spending on your day and in your honor. Try to pick out a reasonable bridesmaid dress or better yet, consider buying them for your bridesmaids! If you are still friends after their wedding, try to put the same friends who’s weddings you were in, in your wedding so you guys can pay each other back for the time and energy spent.
Having young kids means it is a ton of work to get ready to go on a vacation. Before I had kids I had to just pack my bag and plan meals, now that is the easy part that takes me minutes. My Dad rented a cabin up on the Cross Lake chain in MN for a family vacation so the kids and I are going up there for the week. I will be bringing everything I can possibly need with me, the pack and play, a bed rail, a blow up bathtub, a fan, the sound machine, baby monitors, blankets, waterproof bedding, towels, pool toys, sand toys, bikes, stroller, paper goods toilet paper, garbage bags, and I haven’t even gotten to the clothes and food. I have to go grocery shopping the day before and pack a cooler, with everything we may possibly want to eat for 7 days because the nearest grocery store is 30 miles away. I have one bag packed of stuff that I need like outlet covers, door knob locks, gate, edge guards, dark sheets and clips to cover windows, organic sunscreen, organic laundry soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, brushes, soap, lotion, bug spray, nail cutter, tweezers, hair accessories, hats, bathing suits, diapers, night time diapers, all possible medications, band aids, life jackets, I will have a big box of toys and books, then I have to pack things for the car ride like snacks, milk, movies, toys, blankets and a restocked diaper bag. I need to remember my computer, books, magazines, radio, ipod, cell phone, charger. Thank goodness we have a big truck with a topper. Then I have to plan my route for the 4 hour drive, find a park on the way to stop and get out energy, and print maps.I need to research all activities possible and print maps to those. I have to plan the trip around nap time so they hopefully sleep a bit in the car. Before I can leave I have to do all of the laundry, I also have to make sure the pool, hot tub, garden, flowers, yard and dog, are maintained before I leave and pick up the house so I don’t come home to a mess.
Just writing this list is exhausting, I keep reminding myself I am doing this for my kids because they will have a great time. It will be a ton of work for me but they will get to spend a week swimming in the sandy lake, eating ice cream cones and having a summer vacation with my family. Now all I have to do is make it there!