Cowboy Crosby’s 3rd Birthday

4 Nov

Crosby turned three and wanted a cowboy party! The party was hands down the best we have ever thrown. So much fun, playfulness and creativity!

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We created an entire western town in our drought ridden back yard. We had a saloon, bank, jail, wanted poster and hobby horses!

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The town was made out of cardboard boxes.

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We got hay bails, threw over some blankets for extra seating. A fake fire with tissue paper helped finish the look.

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I painted the Fort Crosby sign on scrap cardboard. It turned out so great!

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Each kid got a cowboy hat and bandana along with a hobby horse!

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The hobby horses I google searched and found lots of options on how to make them. My husband and I made a dozen in two nights. It was incredibly easy, fast and cheap.

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We made cake, cupcakes and homemade icing. Oooh sooo good!

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He was a happy boy!

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I said “Look like your in jail.” This was priceless!

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This was easily the best kids party we have thrown.

For the privacy of our friends kids I have not shared their photos… that much. ;)

If you’re going to call me fat…

20 Oct

This post I never published. It is originally from Nov 11, 2013.

 

If you are going to call me fat, you have a serious problem.

Clearly this happened to me.  Why else would I be pushed to the point of writing a blog post about it?  When he said it, it was in response to a room full of playful banter.  So my initial instinct was to laugh it off.  I know somewhere deep down was meant as a joke, but honestly it didn’t play that way.  So I laugh then I followed it up by saying “I’m pregnant.  You know… busy making a life.”  Moments later he said it again and this time  I awkwardly responded with “It doesn’t bother me!” Which it clearly did, and then I say “Hey I’m making a human!  What’s your excuse?”  To which the room gave a roar “OOoooh!!!!” and his reply, “No excuse, but at least I won’t still be fat after the baby comes.”

“No excuse, but at least I won’t still be fat after the baby comes.”

The not-so-playfulness that was happening earlier was for some reason acceptable to me up until that moment.  Why does this man think in any scenario that calling another person fat is okay?  It’s not okay.  That was the moment that I let you get away with saying something truly horrible.  I just awkwardly laughed, turned my back and continued my work.  I just sat with it.   Giving you a power that you didn’t deserve.  Giving up my self respect.

I am a woman who is doing the best I can.  A pregnant woman.  And that’s it.  I wanted to say I am doing the best I can.  But let me clarify what DOING THE BEST I CAN really is.  Because he clearly has no idea.

  • It’s being the mom of a two year old boy.  Giving him non-stop attention, love, encouragement.  Teaching him constantly new words, new skills.  Defining every thing.  Playing cars from the moment we wake up to the moment he goes to bed.  Dance parties, diaper changes, melt downs, laughing fits.  It’s hearing “mommy mommy mommy!” a billion times a day and knowing no matter what I have to stop what I am doing to look him in the eyes so he knows that I am there, for him, always.
  • It’s being a wife.  Loving a man who is doing everything humanly possible to support me and our family.  Supporting him through his career, his improv shows, his meetings, his his ups and downs.
  • It’s teaching middle school kids.  With all their excitement, emotions, story sharing, football and walking dead recaps.  It’s teaching them theater, encouraging them, never making them feel like they will fail.  Helping them to take risk and do something new and terrifying every single day and making it seem like it’s fun.  It’s listening, active listening.  It’s patience at it’s best, because they are in middle school.  It’s making the girls feel powerful and the boys pay attention.
  • It’s driving on the 405 freeway while it’s under perpetual construction and not losing my mind.
  • It’s making a healthy breakfast (not cereal) and healthy dinner for my family as often has humanly possible.  Even if that means putting everything in a crock pot before I leave for work.
  • It’s teaching improvisation to the College Team.  Attempting to teach something new and fresh before I take a leave for a few months.  Making the player schedule, the rehearsal schedule, the coaching schedule, asking to get paid every week by college kids who have no money.
  • It’s teaching improvisation to High School kids.  Answering to everyone about what I am doing, how I am doing it, why it’s different from last year, how to make it better.  It’s constantly having to prove to others that I know what I am doing and to trust the process.   It’s watching the program grow, selling out shows and reffing them.  It’s being proud and knowing that they can do better and figuring out how to help them achieve that.
  • It’s going to rehearsal for shows I am in.  Rehearsing for the middle school shows I direct.  Rehearsing when I know I won’t be performing for a while, but still mustering up any semblance of energy to make a rehearsal.
  • It’s parent teacher night.  One on one parent-teacher conferences.   Meetings at lunch, visiting other schools on days off.  It’s endless work.
  • AND if that’s not enough, it’s doing all of that while simultaneously being pregnant.  Making a human.  The heart, skeleton, lungs, liver, brain, legs, fingers and toes, lips, eyelashes, throat, fingerprints… should I go on?  Because that is what I am doing every second of every day for over 9 months.  All while I go to work, take care of my family, love on the dogs and take care of myself.

So Mr. calls a lady fat.  What have you done today?  Yesterday?  The last 8 1/2 months?  Because I can guarantee you don’t hold a torch to me.  I am badass.  I am powerful.  And you… well you have no clue. You have never experienced life as I have. Your path makes you believe that saying rude comments makes you powerful, but the truth is, you just revealed yourself as a lower class human. You lost my respect. You lost your power. You lost, not me.

Etta’s birth and the immediate aftermath.

20 Oct

This is an old unfinished and previously unpublished post from Dec 14, 2013

It’s almost 2 am and I am wide awake.  Not because my newborn baby woke me up.  I absolutely wish it was because my newborn baby woke me.  It was my neighbors baby in the hospital room next door that woke me up.  Poor baby was so unhappy with whatever scenario was happening in that room.  Be it diaper or breast feeding, something had that babe very upset. This is the part that has me worried about post partum depression.  The events that happened were so out of control and unforeseen that I can’t even wrap my head around it.  And yet, here I am sitting in the middle of it, at 2 am. Tuesday 12/10:  I had been contracting for a while, but specifically on Tuesday towards the end of my work day they were becoming regular.  I was doing parent teacher conferences and joking with all the parents about how ready I was for my girl to be born.  That’s when my contractions really started to kick in.  Sitting on the 405 in rush hour traffic I started to time them, as it was really apparent that they were coming at regular intervals, approximately 8 mins apart.  At home, my mom who is here visiting to help during this time, had made dinner and we all sat down to eat.  Put Crosby to bed and showered.  Hung out for a while, still timing and eventually around midnight decided they are 5 mins apart and it’s time to head to the hospital. After all, aren’t second babies supposed to come fast?  Get to the hospital or run a risk of no epidural!  We check in and the contractions are 4 minutes apart.  It seems like today is the day!  But then again, there isn’t a lot of pain with these contractions, but they are indeed contractions.  I am on the monitor and yes, those are contractions coming and a regular pace.  I am not really dilated much, almost 2cm.  So it was time to walk.  Kurt and I walked and walked and walked.  Then they checked again and I was for sure 2cm.  So we rested back on the monitors and waited until morning.  I was almost 3 cm.  My Dr came in and chatted with us.  After giving us various options, we opted to go home and labor at home.  I could spend the day with Crosby and prep for baby girl.  It seemed like the smartest option.  If I didn’t go into more active labor by Thursday then I could induce.   Thursday 12/12:  I was 39 weeks to the day.  I was 3cm dilated and some decent amount effaced.  Contracting randomly and regularly.  I was getting induced.  It was simple really, break my water and see what happens.  A few hours later add pitocin and let labor progress.  Everything was moving along perfectly.  Hours passed, all signs are great.  I had my epidural and the contractions were strong, I could still feel pain, but bearable pain.  The “magic man” gave me a dose of something stronger to ease the pain, it worked, I felt nothing.  My Dr checked me and I was 7cm and fully effaced.  She said she’d check again in two more hours.  It was maybe 10 minutes later she came back.  Something was wrong suddenly and the baby was in distress.  I was on oxygen, everyone was in my room.  She wanted to see me push.  Wait what?  She wanted to see me push?  But I am only 7cm.  Then before I knew it things were happening.  The bed dissembled, the table of instruments uncovered, my Dr in her full on scrubs and I was told “If you were a first time mom we’d rush you into an emergency c-secion, but because you are a second time mom we are going to see you push first.”  What is happening?!  So I push.  I push so freaking hard, but I am only 7cm.  Am I about to have an emergency c-section?  What happened to my baby?  Screw this, I have to seriously push! Push again. Again.  They are all shocked.  Every face in the room, shocked.  Positive responses about my pushing are coming at me.  I push again, again, again.  Yes.  Everyone seems happier with the scenario.  I push again, again, again.  Wait. Now give tiny little pushes.  What she’s here?  Already!  It’s not even been 20 minutes!  I’m a fucking rock star pusher!  We wait a second, unwrap that cord that’s around her neck and then one more push and she is out!  Her head is blue, her body pink.  She is handed to NICU immediately.  This happened with Crosby too.  But in 10 minutes she will be handed to me and all will be fine.  Then the faint cry, but it stops.  Okay, now someone tell me what is happening?  I am still in position, delivering the placenta, getting stitched up from a tear.  She has to go the NICU.  Okay, dad’s going with her.  Okay.  What exactly is wrong?  Dad comes back, they have to intubate her.  She’s not breathing well on her own.  Then an hour later more is revealed after the NICU Dr visits.  A machine is breathing for her.  She’s not breathing on her own.  Nobody seems to know what happened, or why it happened.  Millions of babies are born with cords wrapped around their necks and turn out fine.  This cord wasn’t hard to unwrap.  I couldn’t fully grasp what was happening.  My daughter was in serious distress and there was nothing I could do. It feels terrible not being able to hold your child after they are born.  To not get that immediate skin to skin contact.  To not hear them cry or kiss their heads.  I didn’t even see her face.  I didn’t know how much she weighed or how long she was.  I was numb from the waist down, and with all the overwhelming information coming at me, I was becoming numb everywhere else. We did get to go in and see her.  It was brief but wonderful.  No holding, just looking and a simple touch on her arm or leg.  Then it was over.  I was given some strong pain management, it knocked me out of sorts.  How anyone functions on pain meds is beyond me.  I couldn’t even see straight.  I remember Kurt saying they are taking her tube out.  It was late and I couldn’t get up.  He left the room and came back.  She was breathing on her own with oxygen assistance through her nose.  This was huge.  This was the best news yet!  Then I passed out. Friday 12/13:  Friday the 13th.  I would get to see my baby!  I woke, pumped and marched my way down to NICU and there she was.  All the color back in her face, hands and feet.  I saw her eyes and her face for the first time without a massive tube and tape all over.  I held her hand in the incubator and talked to her and she respond to my voice.  I was told that I could hold her after her feeding at 11am.  So I waited, right there with her.  Finally just after 11am I held Etta for the first time.  She was so small and a million tubes and wires were connecting her body to machines.  None of that mattered, because I was holding my baby girl.  My sweet Etta.  My mom, Kurt and Crosby all showed up.  Eventually Kurt would get a chance to hold Etta too.  I came out of NICU and saw my boy Crosby.  Giant hugs and kisses were exchanged.  He’s like medicine for the soul.  Chatting with me and playing.  He didn’t get to meet his sister, but having him there for me was the jolt of joy I needed.  Everybody left pretty quickly.  Crosby needed his nap, I needed to pump, Kurt was tired.  The day started to slip in.  The realization of how bad it really was.  How Etta almost didn’t make it.  How serious the situation still was.  And I found myself alone, with all these people checking in with me and updating me on the situation at hand.  I didn’t want to fake happiness to people and I couldn’t quite express the true level of my fear or my sadness.   I started to cry uncontrollably.  Quietly to myself.  I was pumping, because everyone was telling me to pump, she needed my milk.  But not a drop was coming.  Not a single drop.  Pumping and pumping and pumping.  Nothing.  I was failing in every possible way.  I couldn’t even give her my milk. Kurt arrived at 4:45 and I cried.  At 5pm we went down to NICU and could see her but couldn’t hold her.  Told to come back at 8pm.  At 8pm we went back and had our best visit with her yet.  A new nurse allowed me to feed her by bottle and hold her.  We spent an hour with her until we had to leave so she could get tests done.  She was improving and it was noticeable.  She’s going to be okay.  The nurse also said something to me that helped my heart.  She told me of course I wasn’t getting a drop out, my milk hadn’t come in and though I had my first pumping with plenty of milk, it was stored up from weeks of preparing for baby.  She said, Etta is getting formula, which isn’t the first choice, but she’s getting food.  Babies out there with their mommies right now are crying because they want to nurse but mommy’s milk hasn’t come in.  So they will just keep crying.  And it hit me.  I was being so hard on myself.  The series of events that happened came so fast and severe that I felt like I had to punish myself for not being able to detect it or stop it.  I couldn’t protect Etta from getting hurt or having the hardest start to her life.  But being a mom doesn’t mean I have to be a superhero.  It means I am human and experiencing all these things for the first time too.  I am allowed to have these emotions.  To feel such great sadness, fear and loneliness.  Because that is what I am feeling.

Crosby, Cars and Turning Two!

10 Oct

Oh wow, my baby boy turned two.  When did that happen?  The time is flying by, too fast.  His days are ful of joy and his personality is flourishing.  He loves anything with an engine, particularly the Pixar movie CARS.  He asks for it every day, we don’t show it, but he always asks.  It was an obvious choice to theme his 2nd Birthday Party after his favorite movie.  Obvious and smart,  the kid, well let’s just say he LOVED IT!

It was actually quite easy and not expensive.  I image searched the characters he loves from Cars and quickly was able to make labels for food, drink and activities.  Of course I didn’t take photos of everything, like Lizzie’s Bumper Sticker station.  Doesn’t matter, because the party was a total success and my big boy kept saying “This is fun!”  What more could a mommy ask for?

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We got a big Mater standee and had everyone pose for a photo in front or next to it. Here is my family, you can’t see baby girl in my belly, but I love that she is there too!

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We had a water table and a sign that read “Red’s Splash Zone”

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A few push cars and ride alongs under the “Sarg’s Auto Supplies” sign.

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“Ramone’s House of Chalk”

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Orange cones created a race track around the back yard.  The kids had to watch their speed around the Hudson Hornet Curve, the Sheriff was waiting!IMG_7281

We even themed the food.  At Flo’s Cafe we served turkey and cheese sandwiches cut out into the shapes of cars and trucks.  Fresh cut watermelon & strawberries, guacamole, salsa and chips.  Mater’s Taters (Pringles),  Luigi’s Tires (chocolate donuts), Sally’s Cozy Cones (carrots) and red light cherry tomato’s.  To drink we had Fillmore’s Organic Fuel (lemonade), water, soda and beer for the grown ups!

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I even decorated this cake!  Me!  I can’t believe it.  Seriously, if I can do this, you can do it too!

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Even the trash had labels!  “Chick’s Trash” and Rust-eze Recyclables.”IMG_7274

All in all I’d say the day was a huge success.  There was ton of playing, lots of kids, great adult conversation and no major meltdowns by anyone!  How terrible can things really be if there is cake and cupcakes… and sneaking extra cupcakes!

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Happy 2nd Birthday Crosby!  Gosh do we love you!!!IMG_7288

*Out of respect to our friends I have not posted photos of their children who are equally as cute and amazing as my little guy.

The truth about (my) pregnancy, baby #2.

26 Sep

I am just about 28 weeks pregnant, again.  I feel guilty for not having posted about this pregnancy.  For not sharing the ups and downs like I did with my first.  Truth is, it is veeeery different.  But also, I am also running around with, playing, exploring and teaching my kick ass toddler… all the time, so finding a moment to write is not easy.  How all those mom bloggers do it amazes me.  I guess they don’t need time to sleep, or bathe or talk to their husbands, or watch Friday Night Lights for the first time ever and wonder why didn’t they watch it when it actually was on the air.  Nonetheless, I am here, writing now, finally.  Tiny victory.

We, my hubs and I (obviously), had discussed having a second baby pretty early on.  We agreed to wait until Crosby was a year old before we even attempted to broach the subject in a real manner.  No Irish twins for this lady, my mind and body would reject me and I would suffer a long evil range of horrors which in turn you would be subject to reading.  Anyways…  In January we started to try again, try – not try I should say.  Then again in February with a little more focus on timing.  In March I clearly said, “not this month, I don’t want a Christmas baby.”  In April I was thinking, somethings amiss.  I think I should have my period, but I don’t.  So I took a test, it was a very faint line, was it a line?  Was it a bad test?  Wait, we think I am pregnant, but was I?  I sent Kurt out to get another test, the expensive test, you know the one that clearly says “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant.”  Sure enough, I was pregnant.  Of course, as life would have it, the more relaxed you are, the less you think about making a baby, the more likely you (really meaning me – especially if you know my story) will get pregnant.  I was truly shocked.  I mean, how?  Well I know how.  But I really was cautious, wasn’t I?  No.  no I wasn’t.  The best part was I suddenly did not care if this was a Christmas baby, because  hot diggity dog we were doing this again!  AND by the end of 2013 there would be a new fresh baby in our family!  How perfect is that?!  It’s perfect.

First Trimester:  Okay first of all, WHY DON’T WOMEN TELL OTHER WOMEN HOW HARD IT IS TO BE PREGNANT WITH A TODDLER?  That’s just mean.  Is it that we don’t want to reveal that we think it’s hard?  Because news flash, it’s freaking hard! No, it’s terrible!  Throwing up while you simultaneously smile at your toddler who is terrified at what is happening and just wants to play cars.  Feeling exhausted beyond words and NEVER getting to nap because you can’t sleep when a one year old is awake and nobody else is around.  I just have to be honest.  The first trimester was miserable.  With the exception of  less worry about what the hell is happening to my body because I am just too focused on my kid in front of my face to worry about me or the kid inside of me.  Thankfully and surprisingly I had no food reactions or aversions.   I mostly just had a need for an obscene amount of Rocky Road ice cream, the good kind by Bryers.  Trimester one is not for the weak.  It’s a lesson in strength, perseverance and legitimate badass momness.  And if you’re a mom who is all “It’s not that bad,” you’re a liar who LIES!

Second Trimester: Hey now, this one is a bit easier.  More energy, like “they” say.  This did not happen in the first pregnancy.  But this go around I felt energetic and capable of functioning.  Also my brain didn’t feel like it was escaping me completely.  It did, but either I didn’t care or I am so used to only living moment to moment that I didn’t notice too much.  I was still throwing up, but just once a week as opposed to every day.  This, to me, is a beautiful vacation.  That alone is what makes this pregnancy a billion times easier than my first.  Though I don’t get to say “You better be a damn good baby” every time I throw up.  I also don’t get to say, silently in my own head to myself, “Yay I am not gaining too much weight.”  Truth- I am gaining weight.  The kind you are supposed to gain.  Blah blah blah… I’m gaining weight!

Third Trimester:  I only just entered this phase.  The lethargy is kicking in again.  So is the need for Rocky Road ice cream.  Oh and what is up with the acid reflux?  It is just an evil EVIL unnecessary obstacle for pregnant women to overcome.  The babe moves a lot.  Getting busy all up in my uterus.  It’s actually a wonderful feeling.  Though sometimes it feels like a gas bubble moving through me but without the release of a fart.  That part is weird.

I am excited to meet our little girl.  Yes, a girl!  This Christmas we will complete our family (because I am not doing this pregnancy thing again – honey’s getting snipped snipped fo’ sho).  I look forward to watching my son hold my daughter and give her kisses like he gives us.  Living in the endless giggles and adventures we will all share.  I know this will be hard, but what’s an adventure if it doesn’t make you overcome some element that you just never thought you’d experience?  I dreamed of a family.  That dream, that adventure, is so much better than I ever imagined.  That’s probably why moms don’t tell you it’s hard to be pregnant with a toddler.  They know what comes next.  They know it’s totally worth it.

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Photo Credit: Blake Gardner, http://www.BlakeGardner.net

Coconut Curry Crockpot

20 Sep

When I try a new recipe and it tastes this good, I have to post it so you can try it too!  Seriously though, I love myself so much when I make a crockpot meal.  I come home from a day at work to a meal that is delicious and ready.  The house smells all tasty and at dinner all our tummies are pleased.  But honestly, the best part of it all is it allows me the time to play with my kid out in the yard instead of cooking in the kitchen.  Once or twice of week making crockpot meals are a life saver! I am so happy to add this to the rotation.  Hope you enjoy!

I was scanning Pintrest and saw a version of this.  It was simple with just chicken and onion.  I thought, it seems like it needs a little something more and I want to try.  So I did.  This is the amazing result!

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Recipe:

1 Package of organic chicken breast (you can use chicken thighs if you like)

1 onion, chunky chopped

1 potato, chopped

1 sweet potato, chopped

Green beans (as many as you like)

Carrots (as many as you like)

2 cans coconut milk

Curry powder (4-8 teaspoons, depending on your preference of spice)

1 cup water

Salt to taste

How To:

Layer potatoes and onion on the bottom, veggies then chicken on top.  Mix the coconut milk with the curry powder and pour on top until it covers all the food.  If you need more liquid, add 1 cup water.  Make sure to add salt to taste, I missed this step and added it after, which worked, but it did need a little salt to finish the flavor.  Cook on low for 7 hours or high for 4 hours.  You can chop or shred chicken and return to the crockpot.  Serve over rice and viola!  DELICIOUS!

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I promise, if you like curry, you will love this dish.  Easy and family approved, both my 2 year old and my husband loved it!

 

Oh my gosh, I just thought, add some fresh ginger and this would probably be even more amazing!  Yum!

Steubenville changed how I parent.

30 Mar

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Picture a beautiful day.  My son, almost a year and a half and his little girl friend who is exactly one year older than him are playing outside.  Laughing and giggling, having a great time.  My little boy hugs her and tries to kiss her and she says “NO Crosby!” and runs away.  I pull him aside and say “When a girl says no, you have to stop.  We don’t touch girls when they don’t want to be touched.”

And there is was.

Steubenville.  The rape case that brought awareness to the country, had just changed the way I parent my 17 month old.

There is no way he could fully understand what I meant by that statement.  Nonetheless, I made it.  I knew what I meant.  I also knew I would repeat that a million more times.  I was always going to teach my son about appropriate consensual love and anything other than appropriate consensual love, which is rape.  I knew when he was born I would have to teach him.  I am a parent who wants to make sure my kid grows up to know the difference between right and wrong.  I also don’t want a rapist as a kid.  I will do whatever I have to in order to ensure that respect and awareness is always present with him.

We all know what happened in Steubenville was wrong.  On so many levels, so very very wrong.  In my eyes it starts with neglect from adults teaching their children, really teaching their children.  The teens who saw the rape happening and didn’t stop it, who saw a person in trouble and didn’t help them.  All the alcohol that was freely available.  The parents who kicked out drunk kids who were not staying the night instead of calling their parents and saying “get your kid, he/she is drunk.”  Meanwhile thousands of  blasts about a person in need though texts, tweets, Youtube videos and photos… they were all wrong.  But the worst thing of all, was that a girl got raped and not one single person cared enough, or had enough self respect and overall love for all humans to stop it.  To say “No!” and to know that whether she could say no or not, any one else could have.  ANY ONE could have said NO!

So here I am, a mom of a 17 month old boy, already using specific language to hammer in the rights and wrongs of rape.  Before this I said “When anyone says no, you have to stop.”  The simple truth is we don’t touch anyone when they don’t want to be touched or don’t give consent.  That is common sense, or at least I thought it was.  It will be common sense for my son.

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