Modern Feminism

I refuse to identify with the modern creed of feminism, and here is why:

I am a daughter of the King and I find my liberation in Him, not in any freedom or right that society may or may not give me.

I do not need to assert my femininity by putting down anyone who doesn’t match it, including men. Allowing and empowering my husband to fill his role as the head of our family actually EMPOWERS me to be the woman I was designed to be.

I do not need to assert my sexual freedom by flaunting my body, being sexually “open”, or denying my husband or myself the pleasure of a commited, monogamous partnership.

I do not need to prove that I am a good mother or a liberated woman by exposing my body while breastfeeding. There is ALWAYS a way to nurse a baby discreetly, and so avoid giving offense, while providing for my child’s needs.

While it is nice to have help with the dishes sometimes, I am not entitled to demand that my husband help with housework. His job is outside the home, and my job is inside the home. He has never insisted that I do paperwork for him that he brings home. He has also never demanded that I get a job outside the home, allowing me to stay home with my kids.

Women in America are not oppressed. Yup, I said it. Now get over it. We have the freedom to choose our occupation, our place of worship, and our clothing style, we are afforded every legal right that men are (some may argue we have more than men do), we can choose to have children or not, we can drive, eat what and when we want, and go mostly naked on the beach with no repercussions. Don’t give me that “oppressed” nonsense.

I am a free and liberated woman.
I am free to be a rebel, to do what I want with my life, so long as I don’t damage anyone else.
I am free to pursue the career I want, without censure from anyone.
I am free to raise my children the way I see fit, and fill whatever role I want in my own family.
I am a free and liberated woman.

I am a strong and modern woman.
I am free to rebel against the system, and happily take the role of housewife.
I am free to care for, serve, and submit to my husband as God has commanded.
I am free to give up my career outside the home for the more important things in my home.
I am free to discipline and teach my children to be respectful and reverent of God and others.
I am a strong and modern woman.

I am a free and liberated woman.
I am free from the system that says I must be above my husband.
I am free from the system that says marriage is for old women.
I am free from the system that says I must work and be independent to be true to myself.
I am free from the system that says “look out for number 1”.
I am a free and liberated woman.


The Curse of Beautiful Children

I have adorable children. 

Sorry, it’s just the truth. They are Pretty. Darn. Cute.

This is a blessing and a curse, because everybody’s first reaction when they see a beautiful baby is to touch it. I was actually guilty of this myself this past weekend at my sister’s wedding, I met my dear cousin’s baby son for the first time, and his fiancee as well, incidentally, and my first reaction was to pet the baby’s soft arms and kiss his little forehead. Bless her heart, the mother seemed to realize this was a family thing and didn’t seem a bit offended, even though this person her fiance had just introduced to her was basically spreading germs on her baby. In my defense, he is a beautiful baby. But because of this marginally acceptable faux pas, I’m forced to look a little more forgivingly on people who walk up and pet or pat my children.
(She later took me up on an offer to hold him while she danced with her fiance, so I guess she forgave me, too.)

At a farmer’s market my mom and I took the kids to, I was reminded how little I appreciate people touching my children. The lady at the soap booth kissed my daughter’s hand, the guy at the windmill table pulled half-dollars out of both kids’ ears and gave them to them, and the lady at the flower booth watched my daughter dance to the street musician’s music and gave her a flower.

Now, don’t get me wrong, the quickest way to ingratiate yourself with me is to be kind to my children. And I smiled and thanked each person for the kindness, but inside I was cringing and snapping, “I don’t know where your hands have been, keep them off my kids!”
I know in some cultures it’s rude or bad luck to admire a child and not touch them, and I get that. I also understand how hard it can be to keep yourself from touching an adorable baby. But let me ask, would you come up and touch a full-grown person that you found beautiful? Ummm, no. You would not. Because that would be creepy. And possibly get charges filed against you. So let’s afford little people the same courtesy we afford big people, and keep our hands to ourselves. That’s what we teach them, isn’t it? 

Camping with Preschoolers

I have exceedingly fond memories of camping with my parents when my sisters and I were very small. We hiked Burney Falls when I was seven, and camped on Pebble beach when I was six. Once we saw the California Redwoods. So when my husband suggested that we should take our 2- and 3-year-old camping on his friend’s ranch next to the Molalla River, I was all for it.
I packed and I organized, I planned and I prepped. I bought those awesome baby food squeeze tubes that my kids think are smoothies, and I went to every grocery store in town trying to find all-natural hot dogs without cherry powder or paprika in them. (Never did find any, ended up with chicken bratwurst from Safeway) I gathered everything one family could possibly need for one night in a tent, and brought it all home

When Hubby got home from work, I had everything stuffed into the back of the truck and the kids and I were waiting by the door with bated breath for our epic outdoor adventure. 

Yeah, not so much. 

I did have everything in the back of the truck, except the cooler which I couldn’t lift, but unfortunately, he almost patiently pointed out that the moment we got over 35 mph, the tent, lawn chairs, and sleeping mats were going to scatter along the road like a trail of breadcrumbs.
So he unpacked it all and put it back. 

After that rough start, and a small argument about the state of the house, (Hey! I was getting ready for this adventure! Who has time to fold laundry?) we were on our way. 

“Mommy, are we there, yet?”

“Mommy! He touch mine blanky!”

“Mommy, I’m hungry.”

“Mommy, can we go home, now?”

We were meeting some friends at the campsite for dinner, so as soon as we got there we started unpacking. Of course, the first thing the kids wanted to do was go in the water. Hubby started the barbeque. Then he set up the tent. Then he unloaded the truck. I stood there, feeling a little foolish, with absolutely no idea what to do or what order to do it in. Suddenly, my Mommy skills were called into play:

“Mommy! Sister has to go POTTY!” (She has her very own narrator)

“Ok, ok! Let’s go! Wanna go potty in the trees over here?”


Note to self: When taking preschoolers to the “bathroom” in the woods, a) always have wipes on you, and b) always ask them to specify what they need to do. Leaves are not very comfortable.

Somehow, dinner got made and eaten. Somehow, the kids got changed and strapped into their life vests. Somehow I got into my shorts and flip-flops and made it down to the river with them without anyone eating dirt, literally or figuratively. 

“What’s that?”

“That’s a crawdad. You want Mommy to catch it?”

“Yes! Yes!”

“Here it is, be careful and don’t let it pinch you. You want to touch it?”


Somehow we all survived the river. Somehow we all made it back up the bank. Somehow we wrangled the kids into their pajamas and into their sleeping bags. Though Baby Girl kept calling it a ‘suitcase’, so hopefully she doesn’t tell anyone that Mommy and Daddy made her sleep in a suitcase and zipped it up. 


That was probably one of the longest nights of my life. Every time one kid would start to doze off, the other would wake him/her up. They fought bedtime from 8 o’clock until 10:30, at which point, frustrated and exhausted beyond the bounds of reason, Hubby and I each took a kid to opposite sides of the tent and cuddled and shushed them until they fell asleep. 

Wish we’d have thought of THAT sooner…

We did have fun, though, we went on a short walk the next morning. The kids tried to skip rocks on the slow-moving water like Daddy, and the dog ran circles around the campsite trying his best to keep everyone in his field of vision. Big Brother was pretty excited that Daddy let him poke the campfire with a long stick, and Baby Girl tried to throw every rock she could reach into the river… and even some she couldn’t.

I realized this weekend that it’s been 20 years since I went camping. I also realized that neither camping nor preschoolers are for the faint of heart, and both at the same time may very well be certifiable. 

Maybe we’ll try again in 4 or 5 years. 

When Reality Sets In

I love being a mom. I love being married to my husband, I love our/not really our house, I (usually) love our dog, and I love our constant stream of housemates. 
Being Mom to two preschoolers is tiring, lonely, and sometimes boring. Let’s face it, there are only so many times you can have a conversation about why we don’t put macaroni up our nose before you lose it. Sometimes my husband drives me crazy. Sometimes the house seems to be falling apart. Sometimes, like yesterday, the dog pees on the floor. For no apparent reason other than he wanted to. Sometimes I wish that we could have our house to ourselves, without one of our younger siblings living with us. Sometimes I get so tired of cooking things I know everybody is going to complain about, and trying to convince them all it’s good for them. 
If I had a dime for every time someone told me “enjoy it while it lasts” or “these days go by so quickly”, I would be a rich woman. But the thing is, sayings like that just make moms like me feel guilty. Because we don’t always enjoy it. Sometimes, this stage of our life is just plain unenjoyable. 
I miss daytrips to the beach, I miss antique shopping (have you ever taken a preschooler to an antique shop? It’s similar to taking a giant octopus into a room where everything is highly breakable and expensive and smells like old lady perfume), I miss having spontaneity in our love life (without someone screaming down the hall that they need a drink of water and, oops! They have no idea how that nightlight fell apart again). 
I’m not saying it’s not all worth it, it is. I’m not saying I would make a different decision if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t. I love my kids and our life. But I’m also excited for what is to come.
I’m excited for the first day of kindergarten, for sports and dance. I’m excited to watch them learn to read, and learn to drive. I’m excited to talk to my son about what college he wants to go to, and my daughter about her first love. Sometimes I feel like I’m just drifting along through these early years to get to the real fun later on. 
And I refuse to feel guilty about it. 
Sometimes reality sets in and you can get in a rut, but that’s just life. Sometimes life isn’t fun, sometimes it isn’t enjoyable, but it’s always beautiful and it’s always, always changing. So maybe instead “enjoy it while it lasts”, we should tell young mothers “hang on, everything passes.” 

Precautionary Parenting

Here’s the problem with trusting your instincts and being right about a worst-case scenario: 

You’re paranoid for the rest of your life. 

I was right last July when I insisted there was something seriously wrong with my son, even though the doctor told me it was just a virus. I pushed, saw another doctor, and was right. All the nurses at the children’s hospital were amazed that he wasn’t more sick, because normally with toddlers that develop type 1 Diabetes, they are very sick when they are admitted. My friend’s 8-year-old was in a coma. Maybe that’s because some lazy doctors tell mothers that it’s a virus and dissuade them from checking blood sugar, but what do I know? I’m just a mom. 

Here’s the point of my bitter little tirade: Now I’m paranoid. 

I gave my kids beets with their snack the other day, knowing what could happen, but when my three-year-old pointed and laughed at the pink water in the toilet, I freaked and took him to Urgent Care, terrified he had a kidney infection. 
He didn’t. 
He had beets. 
I had egg on my face. 

As I was driving the 40 minutes home that night, I went over and over in my head how I was going to justify this trip to my husband. I told him in that imaginary conversation that if something was actually wrong and I ignored my instincts, I would never be able to live with myself. I was angry at him for being angry at me in this imaginary conversation. I didn’t need to justify myself, I’m a mom! I do what I think is best for my kids, to avoid those worst-case scenarios. In my mind, I let him have it for judging me and my cautious parenting. 
When I got home, I put our son to bed, and cried on my husband’s shoulder. He gently told me everything that I had been ready to say in my defense on the way home. He told me he was glad I had gone, and that I would be able to sleep that night because I had listened to my instincts. He told me that I was a good mom, and he was glad I was taking such good care of our kids. 

Yes, I’m paranoid. Yes, I overreact sometimes. Yes, I will continue to do so. 

But I will not apologize for it. I won’t write one of those “I refuse to shelter my kids” blogs. I won’t feel bad about it. Here’s why:
If I make 10 trips to Urgent Care, and 9 of them are nothing, they are still justified by the 10th. I’m not going to live my life in fear of something happening, but I’m not going to ignore my instincts for fear of overreacting, either. 
I’m a mom. It’s in my job description. 

What I Did Today- Continued

I have an old blog that I occasionally reread to remind myself why we won’t be having any more kids. It’s called “What I Did Today”, and it is the hour-by-hour account of life with an infant. I got pretty good feedback on it, too, so I thought that since it’s been three years, one more kid, four different teenage/twenty-something housemates, and a puppy later, I might do another. Toddler-style.

What I Did Today

Clean up puppy poop, wash dogbed. Lie awake wondering just how much I would be judged for giving away Puppy. 
Fall back asleep
Retrieve blanky from behind toddler bed, quiet toddler.
Fall back asleep. 
Turn off alarm
Roll out of bed, put dog out
Open bedroom doors (aka, release the Krakens)
“No, you may not have Quesadillas for breakfast. Or Taquitos. Or burritos. Or grilled cheese.”
Change toddler’s diaper, put underwear on preschooler.
Start making Paula Dean’s Stuffed French Toast
Break up fight #1. Bring dog back inside.
Go back to Paula Dean
Break up fight #2. Get dog out of garbage can.
Glare at Paula Dean and consider Cheerios.
Line all three, dog and children, up along the cabinet so I can see them all and they can’t reach each other or anything else. “Stay!”
Blood sugar check
Put soggy french toast and cold syrup on plates, cut into dime-size pieces, serve. Inhale own breakfast.
Give 2 injections to screaming preschooler, put ointment in the eye of screaming toddler.
Make coffee. Realize that preschooler has just knocked on the bedroom door and woke up Daddy. 
Decide that since Daddy is awake anyway, it’s time for a shower. 
Realize that Housemate has just gotten into the shower.
Pour a cup of coffee.
Disentangle toddler from still-buttoned dress that is stuck around her forehead. Notice that Preschooler has on a tank top with more stain than shirt. Contemplate whether this is a battle to fight. 
Fight the battle. Win by the skin of teeth.
Read 4 library books aloud. One of them has to be sung. Who writes this drivel, anyway? Refrain from commenting on the likely outcome if a goose were to try to befriend a bear in real life. 
Take first drink of now-tepid coffee. Make Husband’s breakfast. 
Break up fight #3. Wonder where Puppy is. 
Put Daddy on Duty, race to the shower. 
Tepid shower. 
Discover that Daddy has turned on cartoons, thereby relieving me of the guilt of doing it myself. Wash dishes leftover from dinner last night.
Break up fight #4. Confiscate toy sword. Whose bright idea was THAT?
“Your sister does not have to obey you. She has to obey ME.”
“I can’t hear what you’re saying, but it sounds like your tattling voice.”
“If you want to go outside, you must wear clothes.”
“You must wear your OWN clothes.”
“If you want to go outside you must be wearing your OWN shirt AND pants AND TWO of your OWN shoes.” 
“No, we are playing in the grass, not the dirt.”
“You may not dig in the dirt. You may play in the grass.”
“Please don’t feed the Puppy dandelions.”
“Get out of the dirt, NOW. I KNOW Mommy is in the dirt, Mommy is weeding the garden. No, you are NOT weeding the garden.” 
Announce that it’s time to go in for lunch.
Catch toddler and puppy and carry them inside, kicking and screaming.
Scrub grubby little fingers. Wash own hands. Despair of ever having nice nails again.
Scrub dirt off toddler’s face. Change diaper, wonder how in the world so much dirt got into it. 
Contemplate lunch. 
Decide that boiled soybeans are as good as it’s going to get today. 
Accidentally pour sugar in boiling water. Dump water and sugar down drain.
Reboil water, add SALT and soybeans. 
Blood sugar check
Serve soybeans with jerky and cheese sticks. 
“No, no! Don’t eat the outside, just the inside!”
Announce that it is naptime. 
Catch both children, put pullup on preschooler.
Deposit each child in their respective bed. 
Replace toddler in bed.
Decide between finishing dishes and writing. 

Misadventures in Home Improvement

Last week my mom took my kids down to her house so that I could paint mine. The date had changed several times, and I was just so excited to get this whole week to myself and just get some stuff done without anyone asking me for anything. I figured I was painting three small rooms and two big ones, that should take me four days at most, then I would have the rest of the week to write, catch up on sleep, and read the Orson Scott Card book my husband recently bought me. (Confession: I’m an unashamed Leguminote. Bean is an infinitely more interesting character than Ender.) 
So Mom came on Saturday and got the kids, Saturday afternoon I had a facial, Saturday evening I went to a bachelorette party, and early Sunday morning, I was off and running. I bought paint, dug through the shop and found all the rollers and trays and drop cloths, and set to prepping.
Nothing got painted Sunday.
I cleaned and scrubbed and taped and moved furniture, prepped and planned, washed and watched as my husband re-prepped and moved appliances. 
On Monday I painted the laundry room and prepped the kitchen. On Tuesday, Housemate and I painted the kitchen and hallway. On Wednesday (incidentally, we have Bible study at our house on Wednesdays) I painted the living room. Bible study is at 7pm, and at 5:30 I was so stressed I was in tears because I had expected to have the whole house finished by this point and was barely halfway through, and now had company coming and no where for them to sit because all the furniture was in the middle of the room and covered with painter’s tape and plastic. 
Thank you, Lord, for my fabulous husband who helped me finish and put the room back together just in the nick of time! 
Thursday I did touch-ups and prepped the dining room, Friday I painted the dining room and we textured the bathroom walls. On Friday afternoon I gave myself two well-deserved hours of freedom while the first coat on the dining room was drying and read about 200 pages of Shadows in Flight. 
And on Saturday morning, bright and early, I hopped in my 1998 White Whale and drove 4 hours at 9 mpg to pick up my thouroughly spoiled offspring from Nana and Papa’s house. 
The house still isn’t completely finished, the dining room trim needs another coat of Portland Twilight and the bathroom needs to be edged in Oyster Shell. My bathroom vanity is sitting in my living room where the keyboard is supposed to be, and the keyboard is in my room while its cabinet is in the garage next to the new medicine cabinet, waiting to be stained. Remember that song from The Music Man, “The sadder but wiser girl”? That’s kind of how I feel this week. But I also feel that I learned a lot. So here are

Alissa’s Top Home Improvement Tips:

1. Don’t dance on top of a ladder, especially with a paintbrush in your hand. EVEN if Wayward Son is playing on Pandora.
2. Don’t sit on top of the refridgerator to paint the ceiling.
3. Don’t close the cabinet doors after you paint them.
4. The hardware store gives you those cool little paint can openers. Use them. Screwdrivers are sharp, and band-aids inhibit dexterity. 
5. Always look at the wall you’re painting, not the one beside it. 
6. Use the tape, don’t assume you’re careful enough.
7. Unless the paint is still wet. Then don’t use the tape.
8. Mud, sand, wipe, paint. Don’t mix the order up. 
9. Don’t leave the paint tray right behind the ladder. 
10. Cut your expectations in half. 
11. Texturing is hot, gross, dusty, frustrating work. There’s a reason professionals charge $60 an hour to do it. Pay the $60 an hour. 
12. Doing a project with your own two hands gives a feeling of accomplishment that nothing else can match. 

Twenty Signs you may have Toddlers!

Most people who have Toddlers have been diagnosed by a physician or a stick that you pee on, but some don’t know they have this seriously draining, but highly curable condition. So here are the top signs you may have Toddlers:

1. You find yourself humming the theme song from Winnie-The-Pooh as you clean the kitchen.
2. You’re talking to your friends and announce that you “have to go potty.” 
3. You know that Bob the Builder and his assistant, Wendy, were meant to be together. 
4. You say “put your pants back on” more than 5 times a day. 
5. You have stopped caring whether the clothes match, no matter who is wearing them. 
6. Naptime is the best time of day, second only to bedtime, because you actually get to sit down. 
7. You wait until they’re sleeping to go to the bathroom. 
8. Bodily fluids don’t even faze you anymore.
9. Silence makes your cheek twitch. 
10. You don’t drink, even though you really, really want to, until you’re sure they’re asleep. 
11. The only place to hide things is on top of the refrigerator, and even that is questionable.
12. Coffee is your main source of nutrients.
13. You regularly stop and take stock of your day, because you can’t remember when your last meal was. 
14. Finding a repeat babysitter is nigh on impossible. 
15. You know that Cheerios are a perfectly acceptable meal at any time of day. 
16. You have very strong feelings about Caillou. Like, “That kid needs a serious spanking.”
17. You have heard “Had it FIRST!” more than 10 times in the last 12 hours. 
18. You know it is totally worth all the effort you put in to raise these little humans. 
19. Going to the grocery store by yourself is like a vacation.
20. No matter how long you’ve been away, you’re always happy to come back to them and hear them squeal with delight that you’re home. 

If you think you may have toddlers, talk to your spouse, chances are he or she has them, too. Necessary treatment includes Time, Love, and lots of animal crackers. Condition generally runs its course in 3-8 years. 

*This blog is not meant to diagnose or treat anything except a frown. 

Cooking for Parents

3 c. flour
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. yeast
1 1/2 c warm water (divided)
2 Tbsp. oil
2-3 children, small

Wash all hands, put on aprons. Get stools or chairs so everyone can see over the counter. Make sure everyone has their own, or someone will get pushed off. Get out bowls and spoons. Avoid any electric tools. Get out ingredients. Remove bowl from child’s head. Wash bowl, and return to counter.
Mix together yeast and 1/2 c. (now lukewarm) water, set aside. (Out of reach is probably best) Measure out remaining dry ingredients. Remove child’s hands from sugar, remeasure sugar. Sweep up salt. Remeasure salt. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add warm water and oil, stir until combined. Add yeast and water mixture, let child stir. Wipe flour off counter, wall, and child. 
Turn dough onto floured surface, by now this shouldn’t be hard because that will describe most of your kitchen. Knead for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Find out why children have been so quiet for 6-8 minutes. Put tupperware back in cabinet and cookbooks back on the shelf. While dough is rising, wash children. Have a child punch dough down and let rise again. Read a book, or three. Wash hands again. Let a different child punch dough down, and divide into loaves. Make lunch, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake between 45 and 65 minutes, depending on how many diapers you have to change the moment the timer goes off. Let cool thoroughly, serve as snack. Or dinner. 

Servings: As many as you can get
Prep Time: Most of the day
Nutritional value: Who knows?
Worth it: Absolutely

What if Money didn’t Matter?
(Please click title to view video)

Many people who watch this video will find it inspirational. It has been described as “Life-changing” and “Amazing.” I find it highly disturbing.

The idea of “Look out for number 1” is frighteningly prevalent and highly destructive in today’s culture. The woman (who made national news) who decided she was a “better mom” by leaving her kids and pursuing her own life is only one disturbing example.

We’re told by teachers, therapists, pastors and television, “In order to effectively love others, you must first love yourself.” “You have to take care of you, first.” “You can’t just give and never take.” Or my personal favorite, “Follow your heart. If it doesn’t feel good, it isn’t.”

Let’s disregard everything Scripture says on self-centeredness for a moment, and come at this from a purely neutral, logical standpoint.

I’m twenty-something, going on 5 years of marriage, two kids, a cat, and a husband who works for “the man.” (Read, too many hours, not enough money) Some days, I’m alone with the kids (both under the age of 3) for 12 or more hours at a time. By the time my husband comes home, all I want is to get away from the chaos. He, on the other hand, has had customers yelling at him, equipment showing up late, phones ringing off the hook, and coworkers complaining all day. All he wants is to be left alone, and all I want is a little conversation that doesn’t include Elmo, poo-poo, or ABC’s. Who gets to look out for number 1? If we both insist on it, at least one person (probably both) is going to end  up very unhappy.

It’s good to know what you desire. It’s good to know what you want out of life, marriage, parenthood, your career, your faith, and anything else that’s a part of your life. It’s also important to know that sometimes, I come last.

I am NOT talking about wearing yourself out until there’s literally nothing left. I AM talking about chucking the self-absorption that is spreading through pop culture like a cancer. If you have a family, sorry. They come first. (Um, Guys? This is NOT just for Mom.) If you’re married, there is none of this “50%” nonsense. Everyone has to give 100%, or your marriage will be a disaster. You have kids? Then what the *bleep* are you doing going out every single night? I don’t care if it’s to the club or to church, children need parents. Not one parent, not babysitters that are like family, not even loving grandparents (not only grandparents, anyway). They. Need. Parents. Your desires come after their needs.

Basically, it all boils down to this: Your desires are important, but your responsibilities come first.

“Let each esteem others as better than himself”

“The last shall be first and the first, last”

“Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor”


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