Monday, December 29, 2014

My 10 Year Old is An Atheist

A few weeks ago, my ten year old daughter proclaimed that she is an atheist.  My daughter is not one to take a stand on something without doing her research.  Just last year, after watching Blackfish, she did about a month’s worth of internet research, wrote a non-fiction children’s book about whales, and she told me that she will never step foot in a Sea World park ever again (not just Sea World, but any park that Sea World owns).  She was nine at the time.  So, when she announced that she believes in science, rather than God, I knew that she had already made up her mind.

I have been racking my brain on how this could have happened.  I was quick to blame her father, my ex-husband, as he is an atheist.  But then I remembered that shortly after my first daughter was born, we had a very enlightening conversation about religion.  His view was not what one would expect of an atheist.  He had very strong feelings on how we should raise our children.  And his feelings were that they should be raised Catholic.  I remember this conversation as if it were yesterday.  He explained that his entire life was lived in fear of death.  In his mind, everything he did was a risk, because ultimately, everything could result in death.  And because he didn’t believe in God or in heaven, he was missing a very important element in his life.  That element was hope.  He said that he didn’t want his children growing up without hope that there is something better after we leave this planet.  He didn’t want his daughters to be scared to die, and therefore, scared to live.  Even if hope was all they got from religion, that was good enough for him.  So, off we went, Catholic and Atheist, and had our children christened.

At that time, I was an avid, church-going Catholic.  Since then, I have strayed from the church, but not from God.  To this day, I still pray almost daily, and I still have faith that there is a God who listens and answers.  However, I never continued my girls’ religious educations because of my own personal feelings about organized religion.  I stopped sharing my beliefs with my children because I wasn’t certain that the teachings that I learned of as a child were the right way to teach my children about God.  Although I still know when to sit, stand and kneel at church, a lot of the information that I once knew about God is no longer a part of my memory, and therefore, doesn’t make me a great teacher.  And because I had a friend who decided on a religion later on in her life, I figured that, like her, my children would benefit from making their own choices about religion when the time was right for them. 

It looks like that time has come earlier than I expected.  Although my seven year old staunchly believes in God and in heaven, my ten year old firmly does not.  And of course, it’s my fault for not guiding her toward a more hopeful kind of life-a life with God.  I guess I just never thought that a little girl who still believes in Santa, the Elf on the Shelf, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy would go the opposite way when it came to believing in God.

So, now I’m left with guilt and the nagging feeling that I need to do something to show her that God is the right choice.  Part of me wants to start going back to church, regardless of how hypocritical that would be.  But another part of me thinks that forcing my beliefs on my daughter isn’t the right choice either.  The truth of the matter is that no human being has ever died and come back to tell us all whether there is a God or not.  Both science and religion have strong arguments on how we got here.  It’s a lot like the chicken and the egg argument.  So, I can’t have a conversation with my daughter telling her that I have all of the answers.  No one does.  And I also can’t have a conversation with her telling her that my answers are better or more believable than hers, because this isn’t about my perception.  It’s about hers.   

Because I have never spoken to her about what I believe, she’s only heard about what her father believes-and that is in science.  I think the only thing I can do at this point is let her into my world.  I can let her know that I have a belief that is different from hers and different from what most religious people believe.  Maybe I can share my thoughts with her, and maybe we can research all of the different religions-everything from Buddhism to Judaism to Islam.   In the end, she will still be the one to make up her own mind.  But at least this way, she will have more options to choose from.  And who knows?  Maybe she’ll do her own research one day and decide that science and religion don’t necessarily have to be mutually exclusive after all.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Elf on the Shelf Ideas (With a Note to the Haters)

This isn’t really a blog, as it is a collection of my favorite Elf on the Shelf ideas.  Most of these are original, but I also put my own spin on some of my favorites from other Elf on the Shelfers. 

I know that some moms hate people like me, saying that I am an overachiever or a show off.  The truth of the matter is that when it’s Elf on the Shelf season, my children literally burst out of bed with excitement, ready to look for our elf, Rose.  I have to ask the haters a question. Can you imagine being so excited about something every day for one month that you literally jump out of bed for it?  Watching their excitement is the number one reason for why I do it. 

The second (and not nearly as important) reason is that I have a very technical job with zero creativity involved.  I look forward to this time of year so that I can let my creative juices flow.  Is that such a bad thing?

And yes, I post these pictures to Facebook almost daily.  I do this because I have tons of other mom friends who also do wacky things with the Elf on the Shelf, and I have benefited greatly from their ideas as well.  I treat it like a way to share Elf on the Shelf ideas.  I’m not trying to be arrogant.  I’m trying to be helpful. 

So, for all of you haters out there, cut us “overachievers” some slack.  We do this because it is fun for everyone involved.  And unless you are against other families having fun in different ways than you might do it in your home, can we please stop the mommy shaming when it’s Elf on the Shelf time?
Merry Christmas to all!  

snowing in Florida
The Lion King reenactment with a Hershey's kiss playing the role of Simba

The Hunger Games

Gymnastics Meet

Science Fair

Having a pet is not always fun
trapped by Spiderman

Ronda Rousey vs. Elsa UFC- MMA

Elf television

tic-tac-toe with Santa

fruit loop volcano

snowball fight

tree climbing

uh oh!
Lady and the Tramp


Target practice with Merida


how low can you go?

reminiscing over last year's visit

peppermint craft


arriving in a box

stacking books in Christmas shapes

bowling with chocolate

Grumpy Cat

lighting the fairy door

emoji kingdom

igloo in the freezer

everyone loves mistletoe


game night

sitting pretty

in the band

Where's Waldo?

plane ride back to the North Pole

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Audrey Brooke Cici Leather Flat

I have been on the lookout for comfortable pointed toe black flats for about two years now.  Maybe the fact that pointed toe shoes and comfort don’t ever belong in the same sentence might account for the longevity of my quest to find the perfect pair.  Not only did I want the elusive, comfy, black, pointed toe flat shoes, but I also wanted the perfect amount of toe cleavage.  Hey-if I have to wear flats, they’re sure as hell going to be sexy.  Anyway, over the years, I have tried on numerous pairs that tried to fit the bill, but failed.  I’ve tried on round toe flats with perfect cleavage; I‘ve tried on pointed toe flats that gave me blisters from just trying them on; I’ve tried on square toe flats that made me feel like a pilgrim.  You get the point, right?

All of my disappointment was replaced with excitement a few weeks ago when I had the privilege of visiting one of my favorite shoe stores-DSW.   I took my time and browsed through aisles and aisles of amazing shoes when, lo and behold, there they were!  The first thing I do when I am specifically looking for comfortable shoes is my “bend” test.  Once the shoe passes this test, I try it on. See the infamous bend test picture below.

These shoes were perfect!  Despite them not having my size, the smaller size shoe was extremely comfortable and had just enough toe cleavage!  Score!  Even though I left the store without them, I ordered them online as soon as I got home.  Once I got them in the mail, I took them out of the box and wore them all day long.  And guess what?  No blisters! 

So, if you are looking for a really comfortable, yet sexy flat shoe, I would definitely recommend that you treat yourself for the holiday season!  They are called the Audrey Brooke Cici leather flat, and they were only $49.95!

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The List Phenomenon

“8 Beers You Should Stop Drinking Immediately”

“11 Things You Didn’t Know About Lucky Charms”

“3 Reasons to Never Open a Bank Account”

“7 Reasons to Never Drink Bottled Water Again”

“Top Ten Reasons Why Bottled Water is a Blessing”

“7 Evidence Based Health Reasons to Eat Meat”

“10 Reasons to Stop Eating Meat”

“6 Reasons to Use Organic Makeup”

Are any of you as tired of these lists as I am?  They are everywhere!  And for the most part, the content in these articles are mostly the opinions of the authors or bloggers, loaded with “facts” that can be otherwise contradicted by anyone with a smidgen of knowledge on the subject.  In doing just five minutes of research, I have found that for every article that tells us not to do something, there is an equally compelling article telling us why we should.

I don’t see the point in the scare tactics that these list based articles contain.  People make choices on a daily basis that may or may not be the best thing for them.   And by now, due to the increasing amount of these articles making their way around social media outlets like wildfire, everyone and their mother is aware of the chemicals that are used in a large portion of our consumables.  I am not debating the accuracy of these claims.  I am just questioning whether or not these things need to be used to deter people from making their own choices. 

Two of the most recent articles that I find most entertaining are the “8 Beers You Should Stop Drinking Immediately” and the“11 Things You Didn’t Know About Lucky Charms”. 
I think the beer one is particularly funny.  Chances are that if you are an avid beer drinker, you probably don’t care all that much about ingredients or which is the healthiest beer for you.  Rather, I would imagine that your primary care is cracking open your favorite beer and enjoying the taste while unwinding from the pitfalls of your day.  Most beer drinkers I have encountered are also pretty loyal to their brand, regardless of what’s in it.  And I think that this is okay.  I don’t feel the need to go to my nearest watering hole and shame the beer drinkers into drinking a healthier beer.  I think they deserve to make whatever choices they want to make.

As for the Lucky Charms paint thinner claims, to my knowledge, no one has perished from consuming a bowl of Lucky Charms.  I agree that there are definitely healthier cereals out there, but I disagree with trying to persuade people to change cereals (or anything), especially if everything in that article is not factual.

Those of you who know me know that I am a pretty healthy chick.  So, it’s not like I am against a healthy lifestyle.  I guess what I am against is people trying to tell me (in list format) what their idea of health is for me.   What works for you and your family may not work for me and mine.  So, I have a request.  You do you.  I’ll do me.  And I’ll bet that this will work out just fine for us both.
And here’s my unsolicited advice:  do your own research, educate yourselves on BOTH sides of every story and reach your own conclusions.  Make the decisions that you feel are best for you and your family.  And for Pete’s sake, stop reading and making these decisions based on these asinine lists.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I’m going to go have a beer with a side of Lucky Charms.