Friday, February 17, 2017

7 Must-Reads for 7 Kinds of Moms


Now that the cold, winter months are upon us, it's the time of year when not leaving the house has never sounded so good. Tis the season for cups of hot tea by the fire with a great book in hand. Here are seven must-read books for you and the Moms in your life:



Check out my list over at Dayton Moms Blog!



Friday, February 10, 2017

Portrait of a Hufflepuff


Okay. First things first, if you are a Potterhead who has not yet been sorted into your Hogwarts house, I demand that you do so immediately.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

I took the quiz on Pottermore a couple years ago and a little to my surprise, was sorted into Hufflepuff. You see, I've always loved writing, loved reading and thrived in academia. It seemed like a natural fit that the sorting hat would deem me a Ravenclaw. As I read on, however, I realized the Sorting Hat (and my sister who repeatedly told me I wasn't a Ravenclaw) knew me better than I knew myself.


Hufflepuffs value "hard work, patience, loyalty, and fair play." It was the Hufflepuff common room that really sold me, though. A bright yellow room, located down the corridor from the kitchens, filled with various plants and natural light. Yup, if any one common room fit me, it would be that one. Not long after I was sorted, I also watched an interview with J.K. Rowling on why Hufflepuff was possibly her favorite house. She described the Gryffindors as being rather "show-boaty," whereas the Hufflepuffs are more humble. Hufflepuff House has produced the smallest number of dark wizards and as the Battle of Hogwarts loomed, Hufflepuffs were the second largest group (besides Gryffindor) to stay behind to fight. Not because they were particularly strong or brave, but because it was the right thing to do. I also love that founding wizard Helga Hufflepuff refused to turn away students that didn't fit into the mold of the other three houses. Anyone who wanted to learn was welcome in Hufflepuff house.

I realize that doing the amount of research I did about Hufflepuff House is fairly ridiculous (and reminiscient of a Ravenclaw), but what can I say? I'm a card-carrying Harry Potter nerd.

I love that I belong to the house that is inclusive. That is filled with genuinely good people who don't feel the need to boast of their accomplishments. I love that it is the house grounded in the "earth" element. That its members are inspired by the natural world (Newt Scamander, Professor Sprout, Neville Longbottom). I can't say I am always this person, but the values of the Hufflepuff house are values I try to model in my own life.

What's your Hogwarts house? Do you feel like it fits you?


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Boys' Bedroom Remodel: Inspiration


When we first bought our house in August 2015, we were so excited by the fact that it had a fourth bedroom. We wanted the flexibility to allow the boys to have their own rooms when they were older, as well as have a guest room and possibly an office. Except the fourth bedroom is...awkward. While it was listed as having four bedrooms to increase the house's value, technically, it's more of a finished attic. There is no window and our living room fireplace goes right through the middle of the room. There is also no real closet space; just a few shelves squeezed into an awkward corner nook. 


That being said, it has potential. The odd layout of the room is also what gives it some fun character that would make it a perfect little boy's bedroom.

Although our budget is not exactly remodel-friendly, now that I'm home full-time I have the time to devote to doing small projects here and there to transform the space. I've utilized some paint and primer leftover by the realtor who sold us the house. We also made a trip to our local Habitat for Humanity Restore and scored some painting tools for less than $3. However, my most valuable asset is our family friend who is a retired builder and gives me occasional tips and tricks.

This is the "before" shot of the space:



I hate the paint color. I hate the stupid, sports-themed border and light fixture. I hate the paneling on the back wall. I hate the random nook in the corner that's too small to be all that useful. Sigh. 

So far with few resources on-hand, I've been able to remove the border, light fixture and my aforementioned friend helped me to remove the trim and paneling off the back wall. Currently, the room looks like this:


Priority number one will be installing a window, and then I hope to put up some rustic-looking wood boards on the back wall. This will likely be the largest expense, so we'll have to wait until we pay off a little bit of debt and have more income coming in before we can justify making the change. My hope is to play off of the sloped ceiling and make it a campy, rustic, cabin theme.

This is my inspiration board:


So, what do you think of the theme? Do you have any tips for home design on a dime?



Monday, February 6, 2017

CROSBY | 5 Months


STAY-AT-HOME MOTHERHOOD
Man, a LOT has happened in the last month. I've been trying to get some work-from-home side projects going to get more involved in my community, as well as earn a little bit of supplemental income. There is a lot that is still up in the air so I don't want to broadcast anything just yet (but stay tuned!). Let's just say, this Mama is going to have her plate full!

BREASTFEEDING
Up until a few nights ago, Crosby was still waking up on average every three hours to eat. I'm happy to report he's started sleeping 7-ish hour stretches! I trusted my Mama's intuition on his sleep habits and just trusted that he would figure out the whole sleep thing on his own, and he did! He finally did! 

BABY FAT
I'm still maintaining a weight that makes me happy, but this winter weather has not been good for my activity level. I finally broke down and signed up for a free 30-day trial with Daily Burn. Charlie and I tried kickboxing together. And although he preferred climbing all over Mommy when she was planking, I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I've never enjoyed working out from home, but since it's currently my only option, I'm giving it a shot!

As for Crosby...


LIFE
With so many side projects happening, I'm on my computer and phone all day long. Sometimes I really have to remind myself after hour three of Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood to back away from the screen and actually spend some quality time with my kids. It's harder to accomplish than it sounds because I'm someone who thrives on feeling productive and accomplished. There's no feeling of productivity from tickle fights and reading Little Blue Truck (which makes me sound like the worst mother ever). I really need to be more intentional about this. Motherhood is my full-time (and most important) job and these sweet boys deserve a Mommy who is actually present.

MILESTONES
This has been a big month for his sensory development. He finally has some hand-eye coordination and loves laying on his play mat and batting at his toys. He smiles and laughs when we tickle his belly and blow raspberries. We also gave solid foods a try! So far, he's tried rice cereal mixed with breastmilk and some sweet potatoes. He seemed to like both, but still hasn't quite gotten the hang of this whole spoon thing. 

STATS
Crosby won't visit the doctor again until his 6-month appointment, but according to our bathroom scale he's weighing in around 15 lbs 13 oz. He's still in Size 2 diapers and pretty much exclusively 6-month clothing, although even some of those are starting to look tight! I feel like I just broke out the 6-month onesies and sleepers and I'm already going to have to sort through Charlie's 6-9 month hand-me-downs!

> > > 

Happy 5 months, Crosby Loren! I have so enjoyed this last month of smiles, laughs, and snuggles with you. I'm so excited to see what this month has in store for us.

Can we all take a minute to appreciate this outtake that makes Crosby look like an evil villain? Haha!


Thursday, February 2, 2017

What I Read | January Check-In


It feels strange not to have my usual list of book challenge categories to cross off. As you may remember, one of my 2017 goals was to hit the pause button on reading challenges for a little while. I found that I wasn't enjoying a lot of what I was reading and I wanted to get back to solely reading for pleasure. Not committing to a reading challenge in January really didn't alter the frequency or the quantity that I read, but it did feel liberating to give up on books that I lost interest in, or completely change course when something new struck my fancy.



Here's what I read in January:

Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham (★★★)

I'm not sure what exactly I was expecting but I felt a little disappointed. The whole book felt like a cobbled-together attempt to capitalize on the buzz around the Gilmore Girls revival. She did get me excited about the possibility of more future Gilmore Girls, but that was about it.

It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover (★★★★★)

I am so thankful to have just finished a book I couldn't put down for the first time in awhile. There are so many things I want to say, but don't want to spoil the plot. The protagonist was wonderful and gave so much insight into women in situations like hers. Frankly, all the characters were fantastically written. The author's note at the end made the entire book for me, however. This was one of those books that just needed to be written. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

March: Book One by John Lewis (★★★★★)

I've never read a graphic novel before, but this was the absolute best one to start with. Written by Congressman John Lewis, this three-book series tells his story through animated flashbacks of his involvement in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960's. This book read quickly and was absolutely fantastic. I'm planning to read the other two ASAP and purchase the series so that my boys can read it when they get older. I have been so fired up with everything happening in our government right now. With the Women's March fresh in my mind, I am so glad I picked up this book when I did. 

7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker (★★★★★) 

Chuck and I have been on a kind of self-imposed budget trim down. That's what happens when you try living off of one income. However, as we've been reviewing our past spending habits, we've had to face the fact that we've been completely irresponsible with our money when we've had it and are trying to reform our ways. We want to be good stewards and this book came at the perfect time. Hatmaker sets out to eliminate excess in seven areas of her life and documents her endeavor through a diary-style narrative. It was so motivating for me to get our own finances under control and nudge us in the direction of a more simple, less wasteful lifestyle.


Scrappy Little Nobody by Anna Kendrick (★★★★)

As far as celebrity memoirs go, this is a good one. It felt authentic, light-hearted and not overly cheesy, much like Kendrick herself. I particularly loved the chapters in which she talked about her past relationships and how she grew from them.






Currently, I'm alternating between The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith and The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. What are you reading?


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

6 Expenses We Cut That Saved us $1400/Month


In November, I quit my full-time nonprofit job so that I could stay at home with my boys. My husband and my combined income were not enough to give us this option after we had Charlie. After we had Crosby, our income still was by no means impressive, but with double the childcare costs it made sense for us to see if it we could sustain our family on Chuck's income alone. Obviously, we took a huge financial loss, but I figured out that by cutting spending in a few areas of our life, we could make it work. Here's how we did it:



CHILDCARE
$600-$1,100

Upon going back to work, Chuck and I had two options:
1. Put both boys in at-home childcare. At a minimum this would have cost us $150/week. The woman who was watching them could not guarantee she would have spaces for them past January and on any days that she wasn't able to watch them, we would have had to scramble to make other arrangements. It just was not ideal for us.
2. Put both boys in daycare. We live in a small town that has one credible daycare that accepts infants. Because of this, when I called prior to Crosby's birth I was #14 on the waiting list. Even if we had been able to secure a spot for Crosby, it would have cost us around $1,100/month. Ouch. 
TRANSPORTATION
$265

In terms of transportation, Chuck and I were able to cut down our spending in two categories:

1. Gas. I had a one-hour work commute so a tank of gas would only last me two days. Obviously, this added up quickly. Now that I'm staying home, Chuck gets $100 every pay period to cover his gas for two weeks and I can make due on about $20-25 for the month. We're fortunate to live pretty close to our town's downtown area so the library, playground, CVS, and one of our banks are all within walking distance. The only times I generally use my car are for grocery shopping or doctor's appointments. We went from spending around $393 per month to $220 per month which gave us a $173 savings.
2. Auto insurance. My driving record is not pristine. I've gotten a couple speeding tickets in the last 5 years, as well as been involved in two accidents (only one was my fault). This meant that my spotty driving record and our long commutes equaled crazy high premiums. Right before I quit, our monthly payments went from $253 to $240 per month. This was not great. So I shopped around and through changing my policy provider, I managed to get a new rate that now costs us $148/month. $240-148=$92
FOOD
$400

I talked at length about exactly what we did to trim our food budget here. Basically, we stopped eating out, ordering takeout and getting fast food which saved us about $250/month. We then started using a cash-only system for our groceries which saved us $200/month. $850-450=$400

ENTERTAINMENT
$128

Although we debated canceling our internet, that would have meant no blogging for me. So for now, we're sticking with it! However, we did manage to save in a couple other areas:

1. Gym membership. Let's face it, that thing wasn't being used anyway. So before I even went on my maternity leave, we cancelled it and saved ourselves $48.
2. Satellite TV. We were stuck in a two-year contract for an impulsive purchase that we got ourselves into so that my husband could watch football at home instead of going to his parents' house every Sunday. He rarely watched games at home and we were stuck paying $80/month for a service we didn't use. We did have to pay an early termination fee, but it paid for itself in two months so we made our peace with it. My sister got Chuck an Amazon Fire Stick for Christmas and we mooch off our family members' Hulu and Netflix accounts, so we now pay nothing for TV.
All in all, these cuts to our expenses have saved us upwards of $1400/month! 

We've talked about where else we can trim our spending. Recently, we changed our electric supplier so our monthly bills will be a fixed rate for three years, as opposed to subject to the fluctuating coal and gas industries. We're not yet sure how much this will save us long-term. We've also discussed changing our cell phone provider, but we need to pay our phones off before we can switch.

How has your family cut down on expenses? Do you have any tips or suggestions for me?



Friday, January 27, 2017

The House that Built Me


You know what's entertaining after the babies are asleep and you have nothing better to do with your life? Google Maps stalking yourself. There's something so sentimental and nostalgic about looking at all the places you've lived in your life. How they've changed, and how they haven't. The memories that each living space carries with it.

Like the house in California that your Mom and Dad first brought you home to after you were born. Where you lived for the first four years of your life until your parents decided there was too much crime and the cost of living was too high.


Or the one on the shores of Lake Ontario. Where you spent your childhood being pounded by feet upon feet of snow in the harsh winters of Upstate New York. Where your dad built a back porch and flower bed and you learned to ride your bike in the driveway.


Or maybe it's the house you try to forget. The one you moved to when your parents got divorced and your Mom got remarried. The one set back in the woods that was filled with mounted deer heads, and nights of screaming, drunkenness, and abuse.


Or perhaps the one that you only lived in for a year before leaving for college. The one that had a killer sledding hill in the back. The one you never quite got acquainted with, but always represented freedom for you, your Mom and sister.


Or like your first home-away-from-home. The grungy dorm building with the shared bathroom and corkboard walls. The one that housed the campus grill on the first floor and whose popcorn chicken was solely responsible for your freshman year weight gain. The one that held midnight dance parties to Pussycat Dolls and where you talked to your crush back home for four hours.


Like the walk-up apartment building in Philly Chinatown that rested above a bakery that produced X-rated fortune cookies. Where you lived for two months while interning for an HIV/AIDS organization and dealt with crippling reverse culture shock and isolation after your semester abroad in East Africa. Where you had your groceries delivered and ate entire Domino's pizzas by yourself alone in your room.


Or perhaps like your first grown-up second story apartment. The one where you learned how to pay rent for the first time, had a raccoon in your attic, and witnessed more than your fair share of cockroaches. The one that was quite honestly, a gigantic shithole, but will always be the spot where you remember kissing your husband for the first time the night you met.


Or the first apartment you lived in when you loved to the big city for grad school. The one that had a turret and former alley for a yard and backed up against the not-so-nice part of town. The one that was sparsely decorated by will be remembered by its abundance of yummy vegetarian meals made in the newly updated kitchen.


Or your second Pittsburgh apartment that is a solid hour closer to both you and your husband's new employers. The one that doesn't have a bathroom door or any overhead lighting. The one you barely see because you and your new husband are both working two jobs to begin paying off your student loan debt. The one just down the street from the Fro-Yo place that's perfect for cheap dates, and the yoga studio where you sometimes so with your only Pittsburgh friend.


Or the house you rented when you moved back to your husband's hometown. The one that came with the sucky landlord, but allowed you to plant sunflowers and was just steps away from the park. The one with the tiny kitchen and bathroom. But the one where you brought home your first, sweet baby boy.


And finally, the one you bought. Your first home to truly be your own. The one with the literal white picket fence. The one two blocks from the library and one block from the local elementary school. Your (hopefully) forever home where you brought home sweet baby boy number two and will watch them grow with each passing year.


It's so much fun taking a trip down memory lane. To see the towns and cities that shaped me. I've moved around a lot. Although I'm grateful for each amazing place that has helped mold my story, it feels really, really good to finally be home sweet home.




Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Two-Under-Two Diaper Review





Just shy of three months after I had Charlie, I published a post reviewing a handful of diaper brands. This now seems ludicrous to me because 2.5 months worth of diapers seems like barely a dent in the grand total of diapers I've changed since becoming a Mom (especially in the last four months of having two kids in diapers!)

I decided I wanted to do another diaper review, because let me tell you- I have tried a lot of brands in my day (i.e. the last two years) and not all diapers are created equally. I indicated new brands that I've tried since my initial post with an asterisk and any updated info is in red. See for yourself: 


EARTH'S BEST
I hadn't heard of the Earth's Best brand until I started reading reviews of the best "green" diapers. Earth's Best kept coming up as the cheapest option for a more eco-friendly diaper so I was immediately intrigued. I got $50 worth of EB diapers for $30 on Diapers.com which was awesome. The fit has been excellent, we've had no leaks and obviously the fact they cost the same as most regular diaper brands is a huge selling point. They also have a rewards program, so when you buy any EB products, you can use your points to enter to win great prize packages and coupons. I've found that they are also frequently discounted on Diapers.com and Target's Cartwheel app. The only downfall for me is that they're really plain-looking. I know that shouldn't matter, but as I mentioned above, I'm a sucker for cute diapers! I'm not sure when exactly it happened, but EB's prices have gone up since I first started using them with Charlie. They also discontinued their rewards program which was super sad. I still think they're great quality, but don't buy them anymore because of the price. 
4.5/5 Average price: $13.99 (44 count)


HONEST COMPANY
Once the Pampers ran out, we switched over to our stash of Honest diapers. Since Charlie was such  small baby, I was glad I had more than enough NB-sized diapers to go around. When it comes to Honest diapers, I love that they are cruelty-free, eco-friendly, plant-based...and mostly biodegradable. But if I'm being truly honest, the main reason I love them is because they have the cutest designs! I figure, if I have to change a poopy, stinky diaper, I at least want something cute to look at. The biggest downfall of Honest diapers? The pricetag. For about a month supply of diapers through their subscription program, you're paying $80. It's definitely on the higher end, and I just don't know if it's worth it to spend that much for something my baby is going to wear for 3 hours, pee in and then throw away. You can now buy Honest diapers in-store, but they're even more expensive than the subscription. 
4.5/5 | Average price: $13.99 (44 count) 


LITTLE JOURNEY (Aldi)
I'm an Aldi addict, but I was always salty about the fact that I had to buy all my baby-related products at a different store. That was until they came out with their Little Journey line this past August. Praise hand emojis! Admittedly, I was kind of bummed out by the quality. They're not bad, but they're not great either. Since Aldi is pretty organic and health-centric, I expected that their diapers might have some kind of eco-friendly quality, but no. I've never tried Huggies, but I've heard they're comparable to those. They're the cheapest diaper I've seen, but I just really don't like them enough to buy them. I will, however, say that I love their wipes. They sell a 3-pack for $3.49 so I usually pick one up on every grocery trip!
2.5/5 | Average price: $4.99 (50 count)

LUVS
Once, we made the transition to Size 1 diapers, I had a hand-me-down package of Luvs that I thought I would give a try. I was excited by the fact they looked all fluffy and comfortable and the tabs are so good at holding the diaper in place! However, we couldn't even make it through the entire package because we couldn't stand the way they smelled! As soon as Charlie would pee, they reeked of this headache-inducing, ammonia-like smell. With all the other diapers, we could smell if he peed when we took a big whiff, but with Luvs we could tell from 10 feet away. That fact alone took off major points for me. I still detest Luvs.
1.5/5 | Average price: $5.99 (48 count)


PAMPERS SWADDLERS
This was the brand of newborn diaper the hospital sent us home with and we continued to use the first few days of Charlie's existence. I have to admit, if it weren't for the fact that Pampers are no friend to the environment, I would have actually really liked this diaper. They were soft, and I imagine comfy for little Charlie, they fit him really well and the wetness indicator on the front was so helpful in determining when he needed a change, especially as brand new parents.
3.5/5 | Average price: $9.99 (35 count)


SEVENTH GENERATION
In my pursuit of running an environmentally-friendly household, I've purchased SG products in the past and was ambivalent about their performance. Their diapers garnered pretty much the same response. They are unbleached, so the aesthetic is equivalent to taping a brown paper bag to your wee one's hiney. As far as quality, I wasn't overly impressed. Charlie had a medium-sized poop one day that was barely contained. They're also not biodegradable. Boo. On the plus side, I thought the tabs held well. Crosby averages a poop every 1.5-2 weeks (not kidding), so we have yet to see how they hold up with him. But I have to say, they've grown on me. I feel though they're a lot more absorbent than I remember them being and they recently switched from the plain brown to cute, kid-friendly designs!
4/5 | Average price: $11.49 (40 count)

SIMPLE TRUTH (Kroger)*
These have become our go-to diapers of choice. They boast being chlorine-free and plant-based so they're more eco-friendly than most store brands. They're almost always on sale and Kroger frequently sends me $1 or $2 off coupons in the mail, so they've made this Mom a very happy camper! They're plain, but for the price I really don't care.
4.5/5 | Average price: $8.99 (36 count)

UP & UP (Target)*
I'm not a huge fan of the quality of these diapers- they get really bloated and heavy and seem to barely contain the mess. They also don't hold up overnight. They do have a wetness indicator, but I don't really see the use in it past the newborn stage. If your kid has a wet diaper, you're going to know. That being said, they're already incredibly low-priced and Target has frequent sales and promotions. Not to mention there's almost always a 5% discount on the Cartwheel app (and an additional 5% if you use your Red card). So if you're looking for purely economical, these ones are a winner.
3.5/5 | Average price: $6.49 (44 count)


> > >

What have your experiences been with these brands? Do you have a favorite that didn't make the list?

Monday, January 23, 2017

#WhyIMarch(ed)


This past weekend, I participated in the Women's March on Washington's sister march in Cincinnati. Obviously, I would have loved to be in DC where the action was, but with two little guys who need their Mama, it just wasn't realistic. So a couple of my friends and I piled into a minivan, I strapped Crosby to my chest and away we marched. The day before the march, the Facebook event said approximately 6,000 participants were expected. Obviously, there's no way to pinpoint an exact number, but some estimated shows appoximately 12,000-14,000 in attendance. My group and I were toward the front of the march and as we completed the 1.5 mile loop, some participants were only just starting. It was crazy! Nothing compared to the hundreds of thousands in DC, LA, and Chicago, but more than enough for me.


Although my husband expressed interest in attending, I was apprehensive about bringing Charlie and was glad I didn't. It was a LOT of people. That being said, it was the most harmonious, unified, and peaceful protest I've experienced. It was very family-friendly and I witnessed several other Mommies with their babies strapped to their chests, as well as a lot more men than I was anticipating. We stood in Washington Park and listened to several speakers representing organizations such as Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter, and the Cincinnati Islamic Center (as well as locally elected officials, an organization for disability rights, worker's rights and a few others that I'm forgetting). Once the march began, there were chants of "Love trumps hate" and "This is what democracy looks like." It filled me with such hope to be in solidarity which such a large group of people fighting for equality and justice in this country.


Prior to the event, people who were planning to march used the hashtag #WhyIMarch to explain their reasons for choosing to participate. I had my own reasons.

1. Because I am a sexual assault survivor who believes that no person should be victimized because of their gender.

2. Because I am raising two sweet boys who will be taught to fully understand what consent means.

3. Because I want to stand in solidarity with my Muslim sisters, my black sisters, my native sisters, and my Latina sisters who have been told that they don't belong. They do.

4. Because I want to protest an administration that openly discriminates against and objectifies half of the citizens it has sworn to protect.

5. Because I want to look back in 10, 20, 30+ years and know that I was on the right side of history.

6. Because I want to be an example for two impressionable children who will no longer be able to look up to the President as a model of decent, gracious, and kind behavior.

7. Because I believe that a woman's body belongs to her and her only.



It has since been reported that approximately 2.5 million people turned out worldwide for this event and I am so glad I can say that I was a part of this movement. However, I was also convicted by a friend who posted that this movement was primarily white women and it was now up to us to fight alongside women of color in their fight for equality.

Smashing the patriarchy is exhausting.


Did you march? What was your experience?

Friday, January 20, 2017

On Inauguration Day


I was thinking about the post I wrote eight years ago when I listened to President Obama's inauguration and the post I wrote four years ago when President Obama was re-elected. Thinking about them both fills me with a deep sense of sadness. To me, this isn't about bipartisan politics. It's about a huge blow to the dignity and integrity of our democracy and the position of Commander-in-Chief. It seems that every day when I think President-elect Trump can't stoop lower, appear more ignorant, or be more offensive, he finds a way to top himself.

I feel the need to state that this isn't a post I want to write. But it's a post that I feel that I should write. I want to lay out my hopes and fears for the next four years and look back in 2020 and be pleasantly surprised that I was proved wrong. I hope to God I am wrong.

  • I fear that President-elect Trump's thin skin and unfiltered mouth will damage our relationships with other countries, our reputation in the world, and put us at greater risk of international conflict.
  • I hope that by some miracle, perhaps President-elect Trump will improve diplomatic relations with Russia which will help put an end to the conflict in Syria and save countless lives.
  • I fear that Trump's economic policies will undo all the work President Obama did to lift us out of the recession and that quitting my job to stay home will have been a big mistake. 
  • I hope that the uprising of love I see in my own circle of friends and larger community will overcome and drown out the hate motivated by Trump's rhetoric.
  • I fear that President-elect Trump will cave to the peer pressure of his fellow Republicans and make significant cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid which will majorly impact my parents and other hardworking Baby Boomers who have paid into these systems for decades.
  • I hope that the Obama family will remain at the forefront in the fight for civil rights, social justice, and economic reform.
If I'm being honest, this list is incredibly abbreviated and could go on for far longer, but right now I don't have as many hopes to counterbalance the fears which is sad, scary, and upsetting. The silver lining of this entire election cycle has been the fire I've witnessed within my circle of women. Recently, some of us decided to meet monthly to discuss how we may be more politically active, but mostly how we can take it upon ourselves to bring more light and love into the world, To be a part of this group of women is such a blessing and gives me such hope on days when I would much rather cave into despair.


Be the light, friends. Be the love. It's on us now.