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Hope: A Conversation With Elizabeth Edwards
I don't regularly discuss politics here on my personal blog. I'm not sure I can accurately articulate why that is. I guess Lawyer Mama has always been an outlet for what is going on inside of my head. My thoughts on politics and social policy usually aren't limited to the four squishy corners of my brain. I talk about them often, with friends, family and co-workers. But lately? My thoughts about the upcoming election and the direction of this country have been racing. So bear with me. I'm going to get all political on you, my dear readers, and it's going to probably happen pretty often until November 2008.

This weekend, the Silicon Valley, Chicago, and D.C. Metro Moms bloggers had an opportunity to speak with Elizabeth Edwards. The Silicon Valley moms met with her in person and some of the Chicago and D.C. Metro Moms bloggers participated by conference call, including yours truly. Joanne was the spokesperson for the D.C. Metro Moms on the call and she did a fabulous job. You all know what a big Elizabeth Edwards fan I am, so I was thrilled to have the chance to ask Ms. Edwards substantive policy questions. (If you'd like to see live blogging of the whole shebang, go here and here.)

I did, however, have a moment of sheer mortification. I was on the conference call on my cell phone parked at my laptop in the dining room. My husband has been transferring the contents of said laptop to an external hard drive for the last 3 days, so I was grounded, so to speak. I couldn't lock myself in the bedroom away from the chaos created by two small boys.

During the introductions, I accidentally un-muted my cell phone. Of course, H&H began screaming and running around on cue. I didn't realize that anyone could hear them until Elizabeth said "Whoever has the kids in the background, don't shut them up! I might have to bring my own in here too." Everyone laughed while I was staring at my cell phone in horror and frantically pushing the mute button! Of course, I got over my embarrassment immediately. This was a conference call with mothers. Elizabeth is a mother too. She and my fellow mom bloggers certainly weren't going to judge me for showing a bit of humanity.

Elizabeth (she asked us to call her that!) was, as always, articulate, funny, and a font of information. She answered our questions about health care, her role as first lady, and, most impressively, how John Edwards will make our world better and safer for our children. This was Amie's question and, man, it was a good one.

Elizabeth went on to talk about universal health care, college for everyone, and reestablishing our moral authority in the world. She was up front about change being a slow and difficult process. But she also told us that we need to be engaged to make it happen. "We don't get the change we want unless we're willing to work for it."

Elizabeth talked about not just making this a better America, but about creating a better world.

Creating a better world.

What I like most about Elizabeth and John Edwards is that they both have a touch of idealism in them. They don't talk like politicians. They haven't given up on making positive changes. In fact, they've both dedicated their lives to trying to make that happen and they have concrete plans to do it.

I voted for John Edwards in the last presidential primary. I'll be doing so again in early 2008 and, hopefully, in November 2008. I hope that when my children are older I'll be able to tell them about a phone call I had with our future First Lady and about how she gave me hope. Hope that this world and our United States can be better.

Of course, I'll have to tell Hollis and Holden about how our future First Lady commented on their hooligan noise and roughhousing. But I'm quite certain she did it with a smile.
Cross posted at D.C. Metro Moms Blog and MOMocrats.

I'm also excited to tell you all that I've joined another blog, this one with a solely political purpose. It's called MOMocrats and it's a group of moms who are supporting John Edwards for president. You can read all about our bloggers here. I'm thrilled to have this opportunity and I hope you'll stop by often to hear what we have to say.

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Facebook Sucks

I've been a bad bloggy friend lately, I know. I've been awfully busy at work and I have some other things brewing with the DC Metro Moms Blog (more on that below), so I haven't been visiting all of my blog friends regularly. I actually had to take drastic measures and mark the 205 (!) unread blog posts I had sitting in Bloglines as already read.

Please forgive me?

Now on to another rant:

Many people weighed in on the Bill Maher breastfeeding equals masturbation debate last week. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Only by discussing issues like this will we change public perception. In my post, I mentioned that Facebook had been deleting photos of breastfeeding women. You may have even seen the nifty "Facebook Sucks" buttons that have been popping up all over the Blogosphere.

Maybe Facebook has had enough thrashing for the year, but I'm not done yet.

David Westcott of It's Not A Lecture was the first blogger to bring the Facebook fiasco to my attention. In his initial post he pointed out that not only has Facebook pulled breastfeeding pictures from its site, it also banned one woman for life apparently because of her repeated and flagrant violation of Facebook's policies. I'm guessing that she continued to put up breastfeeding pictures. In fact, if you'd like to see the pictures that started it all, go here. (Thank you, Izzy, for the link!)

But wait, there's more. In David's post he pointed to something the Canadian media has picked up on. While Facebook apparently considers breastfeeding photos a violation of its Terms of Service, it permits some 300 pro-anorexia groups on Facebook. In these groups, women exchange tips on how to starve themselves and post pictures. Photos of themselves in an emaciated state.


These are a few of the groups that I found in a few searches on Facebook:

Karen Carpenter: Patron Saint of Anorexia
the "you know you want to be pro-ana really" society
Anorexia is NOT a disease, It's a LIFESTYLE
Get Thin or Die Trying
Us Size 0, UK Size 4
Size 0 to Hero

This is only a small number of the groups I found.

Now let's talk about why Facebook says it removed the breastfeeding photos.

David emailed Facebook and asked them about it. You can read his follow up post about his email exchange with Facebook here. Please go read the emails. They're awfully enlightening. Here's part of what Facebook had to say:
Facebook does allow mothers to upload and share photos of themselves breastfeeding their babies, and those photos remain available on Facebook as long as they follow the site’s Terms of Use. Photos containing a fully exposed breast do violate those Terms and could be removed.
(Emphasis added by me.) Basically what it comes down to is, Facebook says the breastfeeding photos violate its Terms of Use if they contain "a fully exposed breast." OK, so let's see what Facebook's Terms of Use really do say. (I'm going to repeat some of what I said in David's comments.)

Under the Terms of Use, users agree not to:
upload, post, transmit, share, store or otherwise make available any content that we deem to be harmful, threatening, unlawful, defamatory, infringing, abusive, inflammatory, harassing, vulgar, obscene, fraudulent, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, hateful, or racially, ethnically or otherwise objectionable;
(Emphasis added by me.) See anything about partial nudity or even full nudity or exposed breasts? Nope? Me neither. But Facebook's Terms of Use also refer to its Code of Conduct. So let's check that, shall we.

The Code of Conduct says this about Inappropriate Conduct:
While we believe users should be able to express themselves and their point of view, certain kinds of speech simply do not belong in a community like Facebook. Therefore, you may not post or share Content that:

* is obscene, pornographic or sexually explicit
* depicts graphic or gratuitous violence
* makes threats of any kind or that intimidates, harasses, or bullies anyone
* is derogatory, demeaning, malicious, defamatory, abusive, offensive or hateful
Honestly, I don't see how even a fully exposed breast (if one happened to be exposed during breastfeeding) could fall under Facebook's Terms of Use or its Code of Conduct unless company policy makes it so, unless "we" meaning Facebook deems it so. That's exactly what the Terms of Use say. It prohibits content that "we [meaning Facebook] deem to be [...] obscene [...] or otherwise objectionable."

That's what it comes down to, folks. Someone at Facebook made a policy decision that a breastfeeding photo is obscene or otherwise objectionable.

But pro-ana groups. Those are peachy keen. Here I give you another excerpt from David's email exchange with Facebook. When David pressed Facebook on the issue of pro-ana groups, here's what they had to say:
Facebook supports the free flow of information, and groups provide a forum for discussing important issues. Many Facebook groups relate to controversial topics; this alone is not a reason to disable a group. Facebook considers whether the content on wall posts and discussion boards of groups offer opinions on both sides of the issue. In cases where content is reported and found to violate the site’s Terms of Use, Facebook will remove it.
So breastfeeding = obscene or otherwise objectionable.

Pro-ana groups = "free flow of information" or "forum for discussing important issues."

Even though under Facebook's Terms of Use, I think a pro-ana group could definitely be considered harmful or otherwise objectionable, even without Facebook exercising its "discretion."

Dr. Leigh Ann Simmons, David's wife, wrote a wonderful post discussing one of the not so obvious problems with pro-ana sites. She points to a study in the International Journal of Eating Disorders that found that women feel heavier and less confident about themselves after viewing pro-ana websites.

So not only can the pro-ana Facebook groups help girls and women harm themselves physically, it can also harm them psychologically. My guess is that a teenager struggling with an eating disorder is certainly not going to receive positive help and support from a pro-ana website.

Facebook has a lot of explaining to do.

Today David let me know that, earlier this week, the For Immediate Release podcast (according to David, the top social PR podcast in the industry) discussed the Facebook breastfeeding/pro-ana debate and David's post. In it, they mention me and Izzy and quote our comments from David's blog. Here's a direct link to the MP3. The discussion is about 1/4 of the way into the show and lasts for about 5 minutes. When they talk about the lawyer who commented on David's post and read all the legalese you saw above? That's me. Thanks for the heads up, David!

In other news, there are some exciting things happening for the SV Moms Blog, Chicago Moms Blog, and DC Metro Moms Blog posters. Elizabeth Edwards is meeting with the SV Moms on Saturday in California. Chicago Moms and DC Moms will be participating by conference call and apparently, the word is that Ms. Edwards would like to meet with the Chicago and DC Moms in person as well. I'm so excited I could pee myself! I'm glad someone is listening.

To continue this trend and to ensure that moms can participate in a serious discussion of the issues in the next election, we're going to try something a little new at the SV/Chicago/DC Metro Moms Blogs. Next Thursday, we'll all be posting about an important issue - health care. I've heard BlogHers Act is going to get involved and post about the issue too. If we get some good feedback, I'd like to do it every few weeks and hit as many social and political issues as we can. Check back for further details later on but I'm really excited about having the opportunity to speak up and have a great discussion. If any of you would like to participate, email me at lawyermama at gmail dot come and I'll give you more details.

I also have a new review of Phonics 4 Babies over at Lawyer Mama Review.

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Random Stuff You Probably Didn't Want to Know About Me
Emily from the Wheels on the Bus offered to interview people a few days ago. Because I love to talk about myself, I asked her to interview me. I've done this before, but Emily is a fascinating person and an amazing writer and I was curious to see what she would ask:

1) On any given day, how do you feel about your choice to have two children?

I love it. Well, I have to back up a bit. It really wasn't a conscious "choice" to have two. T and I had quite a bit of difficulty having number one. You can read a bit about that here and here. We never in a million years thought we could have an "accident," but we did and his name is Holden. Our children are 15 months apart.

Hands down, the best part about having two children is watching them interact. When Hollis takes care of his little brother or when Holden comes to tell me that "Mommy, Hollis is crying," it melts my heart. I hope they'll be best friends some day.

Now we struggle with whether to try for number 3. I'd like another. My husband is not exactly enthusiastic about the idea of being outnumbered and we don't even know if I can have another. We don't have all that much time to decide. I'm not getting any younger. But in theory, I think I'd like 3. Now, if I had unlimited time, money and energy, I'd have 4 or 5. How's that for insanity?

2) In your experience, do most lawyers make good friends (for you, at least)?

Yes and no. Three of my best friends in the world are lawyers, including Not Exactly A Princess who works with me. I met the other two in law school. But honestly, they aren't my friends because they're lawyers. They're my friends because they get me and I get them. The law is irrelevant.

Generally, I find lawyers to be about the same as the rest of the population. Some are pompous asses, most are decent human beings. Many, many, many of them are total control freaks. Not me, of course. {/sarcasm} And I've never met a lawyer that could back down from a fight unless required to do so by court order.


That's why I'm married to a computer geek.

3) If you had two weeks off of work, relatives to stay with the kids, and $8,000 you had to spend, what would you do?

Sleep and invest? That sounds really lame, doesn't it? Actually, I'd probably do what T and I are planning to do next Fall. We're getting grandparents to stay with the kids and going to Europe. We've been before, of course, but never together. I want to spend most of our time in Italy, but I'm sure we'll be stopping by London too!

4) It has been said that the problem with being a working mother is that you never feel like you're giving anything your all. Yet, you seem to have it all in balance. Does it feel that way to you? And, if it does, what's your secret so the rest of us can try?!



I'm very good at faking it.

I'm not very good at asking for help either, here or in my real life. Occasionally that leads to nuclear melt downs, which is probably not a good thing, but people think I have it all together as a result. I don't. But I don't really struggle with work/life balance more than anyone else with children does. If you stay home, your kids still suck up all of your time. I think even moms who are at home every day feel like they aren't doing enough of something. Those kids are endless black holes for energy, love, and attention. So I think we're all just struggling to figure out who we are as women and mothers, regardless of where we spend our days.

I don't get enough sleep. I get depressed. In fact, I'm taking some very nice happy pills now to cope a bit. But most of the time I just say, "fuck it," rather than get worked up over the stuff that was so important to me before I had kids. You know, like having a house where everything was just so and time to get regular manicures.

5) What makes you giggle?

My kids do on a daily basis. When Hollis and Holden laugh, and frequently one of them gets the other going, they laugh with their whole bodies. It's infectious and it never fails to make me laugh too.

When an H&H giggle fit happens in public, sometimes people will just stare and not even crack a smile. I'm always bewildered by that. I don't know how anyone can watch a child giggle without smiling. It's pure joy.

Aside from that, I have to admit I'm a big fan of juvenile potty humor. I embrace my inner 14 year old.


So how about it? Anyone want to be interviewed by me? Leave me a comment with your email or send me an email at lawyermama at gmail dot com and I'll send you some questions.


Toddler Birthday Party - A Monday Montage
The birthday boy digs in.

Holden attacks the cake.

At the party, I think Holden limited his non-organic consumption to sand and part of a birthday candle. If you're wondering, that's a goat on Holden's shirt. Anyone want to guess why?

Eeyore, daughter of CPA Mom, is too damn adorable. Even covered in cake.

The Pumpkin, son of Not Exactly A Princess.

Toddler's first ipod. The electronic obsession begins....

Below we have a rare sighting: three blogger children in one video. To the left of Hollis is CPA Mom's little boy, Tigger, and the head that pops in to help Hollis with the candles is Not Exactly A Princess's son, the Pumpkin.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

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Welcome To Three
It's so much fun.

Photo Sharing - Video Sharing - Share Photos - Free Video Hosting

I also have a new review up of Baby Loves Spanish.

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On Becoming A Lawyer


Thank you all for your comments on my
rant post yesterday about breastfeeding. It's nice to know that there are friendly voices out in the crowd straining to be heard.

Today's post is one of Julie's
Hump Day Hmmms. She asked us to write about what we do or have done to make a difference. I don't believe that she could have set a more difficult task for me. I'm not sure if this post is what she had in mind, but I certainly discovered a few things about myself while writing it. That alone makes this post worth something to me.

Please be gentle. I bare my soul in all its flawed glory.

When I was in high school I once read that people attracted to the field of psychology are frequently those who are themselves emotionally flawed in some way. Although I can't recall the source, this theory resonated with me. Studying psychology solely for the purpose of self-analysis or to develop an awareness of some flawed familial structure or unhealthy parental dynamic made perfect sense to me at the age of 17.

So, of course, I majored in psychology in college.

I had dreams of saving the world as a brilliant analyst or researcher, or at the very least using my copy of the DSM IV to diagnose the whacked out troubled members of my family. If my family wouldn't cooperate, perhaps I could use my empathy and superior intellect to bring peace to whackadoos troubled souls in the general public. Clearly, I did not have a self-confidence problem. Nor did I know much about the world.

Along the path to my brilliant career, however, I found real people.

In college, I began volunteering for the YWCA's Violence Against Women program. I answered phones for our local hot line for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. The stories were heart breaking. I spent too much time on the phone with each caller. Unable to really help, only to give information, but wanting to just listen, to let each of them find a voice.

Discussing the most private details of people's lives over the phone can be both incredibly intimate and incredibly limiting. There is a distance to it, a removal. At least there was for me. It was as if I was playing the role of calm confidant and informant. When I hung up the phone, it was over for me.

Over time, I took on more responsibility as a volunteer. I began facilitating group sessions for victims of domestic violence and, as I was applying to PhD programs in clinical psychology, I began acting as an emergency room advocate for sexual assault and domestic violence victims.

As you can imagine, most of my calls came in the dead of the night. At 2am I would race to a local emergency room and wait. Wait to speak with the doctor. Wait to speak with the victim who had requested me. Wait to speak to the police. Wait for the rape kit to be completed. Wait for the broken bones to be set, the sister to arrive, the father to call. If there was no sister, no father, no family, I would work the phones until I found a shelter.

The hardest visits were the ones where I wasn't permitted to call a shelter. Where the woman, the young man, the middle aged wife insisted that she or he was going home. Insisted it was an accident. Insisted the police had misunderstood. Insisted that I wasn't needed. While their eyes screamed.

As a mandatory reporter, I was very careful to discuss my obligations to report suspected child abuse before beginning any discussion about domestic violence or sexual assault with a parent. This was part of my training. I understood. The Y did not want its advocates used as a weapon against a victim by an abuser. We wanted the women to understand that we were on their side, but that there was a line they shouldn't cross.

I spoke with many women, a few men, but mostly women, with children. Women who insisted their boyfriend/partner/husband would never harm the children. Had never harmed the children.

And then it happened.

The story on the nightly news. A woman's face I recognized and, after consulting my notes, a name that was unmistakable.

A child in the ICU.

Something in me broke.

I faced an identity crisis. At 22, my whole sense of right and wrong shifted. The sheltered bubble in which I'd floated along for most of my life popped. Everything felt raw and new to me. Sand abraded my feet and gritted in my eyes for the first time.

The path ahead of me was no longer clear and straight. I would not become a psychologist. I could not become a psychologist.

I realized that I could not be an impartial witness to suffering. The distance I felt on the phone and in small conference rooms full of battered women? I couldn't maintain it when dealing face to face with reality. I felt responsible for every woman and man that crossed my path beyond those steely white emergency room doors. And unlike Atlas, I could not bear the weight of the world. If I tried, I would break.

To save myself, to save the humanity I failed to discover until my third decade, I chose an easier path.

I do not save lives. I will not cure cancer. I will never fly to the moon.

If I have an Achilles heel, a tender spot in my self worth that can be breached, this is it. The feeling that I am not living a life of meaning. The fear that I won't leave this world a better place. The fear that I chose the path of least resistance. Perhaps this is my curse in life? Wanting to help, to cure the ills of the world, but unable to shoulder the responsibility or bear the weight on my all too narrow shoulders.

I don't know.

But I do know that in stumbling along this winding path to my current life, among those very real and imperfect people, I found my soul.

So maybe this is not a story about how I make a difference but about how all of us, even those who seem beyond hope themselves, make a difference.

For me, that's enough.

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A Radical Act (Or Suck It, Bill Maher!)
Have you heard about Bill Maher's latest rant? My buddy Pundit Mom posted about it on DC Metro Moms today. Apparently Bill thinks that breastfeeding moms who do so in public are lazy and narcissistic.

It gets better. David of It's Not A Lecture, just wrote about Facebook's deletion of breastfeeding pictures it considers obscene.


I breastfed both of my boys. I'm a big advocate. I wish I could say that I have had only positive experiences as a breastfeeding mother. But I haven't. Unfortunately, I faced quite a bit of censure for breastfeeding Holden in public. Nonetheless, Holden and I made it a year. That's right, "we" made it a year. Holden and I were a breastfeeding team. It was a wonderful, beautiful experience. It was about bonding and love and food. That's it.

Occasionally it was necessary for me to feed Holden in public. No, I couldn't always cover up. Like many, many babies, Holden did not enjoy having his face covered while eating. If I covered him, even if I tucked, he could whip that sucker off in 2.3 seconds by the time he was two and a half months old.

But even uncovered, breastfeeding Holden was never obscene. No one was ever treated to so much as a millisecond glance of nipple unless they were intently staring at me and Holden. In fact, you'd see a hell of a lot more boob if you went to the beach or stood by the magazines in line to check out at the grocery store.

There is nothing disgusting or immodest or even bold about breastfeeding. It is not akin to urinating in public. Nor is it, as Bill Maher declared, akin to masturbating in public. It's necessary and natural. I feel so strongly about this, that you're about to witness a radical act.

I've posted a picture of me breastfeeding Holden right here on my blog. If you think the sight of a woman's breast doing what nature intended is obscene, then click that little x up there in the corner.

That's right, folks. That's my boob. That's my baby doing what came naturally.


Those pictures you see above are some of the most treasured photos I have of Holden. They remind me of a special time in his life, and in mine. When I look at those pictures, I see his milk drunk smile and soulful eyes and I am transported back in time. I smell that milky, baby Holden smell and I feel the intense, all encompassing grip of new mama love all over again.

If you can look at those pictures and tell me that there is something wrong or perverted or disgusting about breastfeeding, then there's something wrong with you. There is nothing wrong with me.

That's right, Bill. Those tatas are for me. "Suck" that!

I did actually post something today before I realized that I had a rant to get out on my blog. If you'd like to view a post that doesn't contain Lawyer Mama nudity, look below.


A Birthday Montage
"Can we have cupcakes for breakfast, Mommy? Pleeeeease?"

Mommy is a suck.errrrrrr!

(Hollis and his adorable buddy, C, son of Not Exactly A Princess.)

Heaven help us when they're old enough for real road trips!

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You Made Me A Mother
Hollis, I wish I could tell you that I loved you from the moment I knew you were rolling around inside me, but I didn't. You see, I didn't know. I didn't really know what love was. At least not in the way that I do now.

As a little girl I made up stories. Lovely, happy stories about how my life would go. I would marry a prince and live in a magical land. But in all of my stories, something was missing. I didn't know what it was. You changed that. You changed me.

I was so overwhelmed and scared when you were born I'm afraid I didn't realize even then what you had done to me. That you had elementally changed me forever. The knowledge came to me quietly, slowly, whispered in the air during 2am feedings and diaper changes. That soft lilting voice grew louder each day until it was screaming in my head, "THIS! THIS IS WHAT I WAS MEANT TO DO! THIS IS WHO I WAS MEANT TO BE!"

Your mother.

Today you turn three. You've started school. You've made new friends. You have a world that doesn't include me, your mommy.

Now it begins. The separation.

This is hard for me, Hollis. You'll forgive me if sometimes I tug too sharply on your hand when you try to walk away, won't you? You see, although I want to see you grow and thrive and become your own self, my heart is bound to yours forever. When I watch you step away from me, my gut screams "NO!" even as my head calmly says "yes."

I see so much of you in me and for almost three years that bound you to me tightly. Swaddled in my safe arms I told you stories and we sang and giggled and counted toes. But I watch you from a distance now. I am an observer to your internal world. But I know that you have such a rich life in your little head. You see fairies in the river, dragons in the sky, and ogres inside little stone huts.

In the corporeal world you approach everything cautiously. New people, new places, new situations all give you pause. But inside? Oh, inside I know that you tame lions and ride elephants and swing through the trees with monkeys.

In the years to come, just remember that I'm trying to let go. I want to let you fly through the air with the birds, but I'll be running along beside you in spirit, with my arms spread wide and flapping to help you soar. I can still help you climb that mountain in the backyard, help you hide from the tickle monster, or teach you to ride that giraffe without a harness. We can sing to the fairies together in sweet, off key harmony. But sometimes, I know that you'll need to sing alone.

When your solitary adventures are done for the day, I hope you'll still crawl into my safe arms for a snuggle and a story. I'll spin you a tale about a beautiful princess who married a prince and had a wonderful family in a magical land with pink skies and emerald grass. I'll tell you about the princess's little boy and his wonderful travels. How he grew to be a thoughtful and handsome young man.

Someday, you'll have to tell me how his story ends.

Happy Birthday, my little man.


We Won't Be Ignored
I have a new post up on the DC Metro Moms Blog. Head on over to read my latest rant. But here's a little teaser....

Last week on our sister site, Silicon Valley Moms Blog, Rebecca wrote a post she has come to regret. In it, she called Elizabeth Edwards, wife of Democratic candidate John Edwards, a "terrible mother" for taking her kids on the campaign trail. Rebecca, and the rest of us, got a big shock. Ms. Edwards replied to her post within a few hours. And the media picked up on it. The original post no longer appears on the site, but our own Joanne wrote about the exchange for DC Metro Moms.

My point in dragging all of this up again is not to rehash the argument between Rebecca and Ms. Edwards. I had the opportunity to hear Ms. Edwards speak at BlogHer in Chicago this Summer and I'm a big admirer. I'm not here to start another Mommy War. I just want to point out that the response from Ms. Edwards should be a big reminder to everyone, candidates and media alike, of the power and exposure women are gaining on the Internet. Read More....

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Reading Too Much Into Cartoons?
A new episode of Word World came on today and my trusty TIVO recorded it. My children adore the show, so we sat down to watch 20 minutes before bed.

In today's episode, Dog is looking for the letters A, L, and L to go with his B, so he can play ball. Dog heads to Pig's Barn, where Pig is filming yet another episode of his Chef Pig show and making breakfast foods that start with the letter B. He tells Dog he knows exactly what he wants & takes Dog's B, sets it up on the counter and adds an A. Then he pauses and for a moment I was absolutely convinced that Pig was going to make BACON.

My mind was already racing to determine whether I should laugh my butt off and then attempt to explain the hilarity to my almost 3 year old or just act like nothing happened. Somehow I thought the humor would be lost on Hollis.

The dilemma was averted when Pig made a Bagel.

In the other half of today's episode, Duck encounters Shark while playing on the seashore. Shark wants someone to play with, so he hops out of the water and starts chatting with Duck. Then he goes back to Frog's log with Duck to find his friends. (Clearly, a very realistic cartoon.)

While we were watching this I kept looking over at T and whispering "Land Shark" and laughing hysterically.

No one appreciates my sense of humor.

Maybe I need to lay off the wine before bedtime.

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Some Questions for Virginia Drivers
For Julie's Hump Day Hmmm this week, she asked that we write about something that's bothering us in a humorous way. Gah! The pressure to be funny on demand is too great! I do have something that's been bothering me. I can't promise funny, but I can promise sarcasm....

I have some questions and comments for Virginia drivers:

  1. If there's construction ahead and a lane ending, let me in. If you don't, I'll be forced to drive to the front of the line and bulldoze my way in. I'll win. My SUV is bigger than yours.

  2. What the hell is up with the confederate flag you're hanging in your back window? The war is over. We lost. Get over it. And stop perpetuating hate and discrimination with that disgusting symbol. It means hate NOT heritage!

  3. What's up with the gun rack? I rarely see actual guns in them, which, let's face it, is probably a good thing, but are you trying to convince me that you actually hunt? If you don't, lose the gun rack. It is not a cute accessory.

  4. Ditto with those annoying play boy bunny mud flaps. It's not going to help you pick up women.

  5. Truck balls. Explain yourself. It's bad enough that you've purchased that truck with jacked up wheels to attempt to overcome your inadequacies. Do you have to hang plastic nuts from the rear too?

  6. Why are you riding my bumper? Does it take too much effort for you to change lanes? Do you really think you're following at a safe distance? I hope you have insurance, because if the kids aren't in the car I might hit my brakes and sue you for whiplash.

  7. HOV Lane means High Occupancy Vehicle lane. It does not mean that you, the solo driver, can use that lane to pass or to cruise when traffic is backed up. All those people you're cruising by will bludgeon you to death with your truck balls if given the chance.

  8. Turn your stereo down. I don't want to listen to your booming music, particularly if it's 2am and I can hear it from my house. I'm going to sound like my mother for a moment but, you're going to be deaf if you don't knock it off.

  9. Put your kids in a car seat! If I see them bouncing all over the back of the car I will call the police and I will pull up next to you at the intersection and yell at you. And yes, it is my business!

I think I'm done for now.


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Oops! I'm Pimpin' Again.
If you'll pardon the Britney Spears reference in the title, I had to share some more photos from Sonia's fabulous Sunshine Designs. I ordered shirts for football season for me and the boys and they turned out wonderfully.

If you're new to my blog, you may not know that I am a rabid Hurricanes fan. Hubby is a Nebraska fan. It's hard to find common ground. But since I'm the parent who buys the clothes, what team allegiance do you think the boys will be sporting this Fall? Yep. Suck it, T!

My shirt is a super-cute pink jersey style tee with "It's a 'Canes Thing" on it it green Swarvoski crystals. The shirts for the boys are hunter green with orange crystals that say "Hurricane Holden" and "Hurricane Hollis." Holden was the inspiration, because I've been calling him Hurricane Holden since he first became mobile. Because, well, he's Holden. He is a force of nature, that's for sure!

So enjoy our attempts at a group photo session. Click on the pictures for close-ups:

Hey! I said we were wearing football shirts not playing football!

"We're taking Mommy down!"

"We've got her!"

"Isn't anyone going to call these boys for holding????"

Here we finally have a glimpse of a shirt as Hurricane Holden drops back for a pass.

Hurricane Hollis sports a cheesy grin.

I just love having little boys!

Go check out Sonia's site or email her at sonia at sunshinedesigns dot biz. You know you want one!

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In the Name of God
I don't believe in God.

I'm an agnostic. This revelation, more than any other I've made on my blog, is the hardest to make.

I wasn't raised to be agnostic. My parents both grew up Catholic. While they were determined not to indoctrinate me and my brother into that particular faith, God was still present in our lives. We attended a Lutheran church when I was a child. I went to Sunday school, the preschool attached to the church, and bible camp. My brother believes in God. My disbelief is not the fault of my parents or any flaw in their parenting.

My brother and I were taught to live moral lives. Not because God wanted us to be good, but because it was the right thing to do. My parents wanted me to think for myself and not simply accept everything they, or my Sunday school teacher, said as gospel. I learned that lesson a little too well. I don't ever remember believing in God.

That isn't to say that I've never struggled with my beliefs. I have. I understand the purpose of religion. It can be a great comfort in times of need. A church community can be a thing of wonder when its members rally around a parishioner or a cause. Often I wish I could share in that comfort and community.

For most of my childhood I struggled with my beliefs, but junior high was the turning point. I was in an American school in Germany, where my father was stationed in the Air Force, when I became friends with an evangelical crowd. They attended youth group meetings every week and urged me to do so as well. I finally explained that I did not believe in God, but they didn't give up.

Mandy and Wendy, and a few others whose names I've forgotten, passed me notes in class about God and finding my faith. One letter I remember involved the story of a girl who asked a dead friend for some proof of God's existence and found it in a bird alighting on a nearby fence. I'm not sure why that story sticks with me, but I do remember sitting in my room after reading this particular letter for the 50th time, looking out my open skylight up into the blue sky and wishing fervently that I could just believe. That I could just be like everyone else.

If there was to be a moment of conversion in my life, that was it. But no bird landed on my window, no sudden belief filled my head, no warmth filled my heart. After that I accepted that this is who I am and that religion is not for me.

Although I've struggled with my problem of faith for much of my life, I'm no longer looking to be convinced or converted. In fact, when my beliefs or lack thereof are questioned now, I find it insulting. I am by nature an introspective person. Trust me when I say that no further look "within my heart" will find God, Jesus or Muhammad waiting for me. I simply don't believe.

As you may have guessed, I don't often discuss this. If asked directly, I will discuss it with anyone who asks. But I also don't volunteer that I am an agnostic if I believe the information will be met with hostility. Why? Here's an example from a post that Gwen recently wrote:
When I was in Mexico, I had a discussion with someone about the narrow mindedness I encountered in my childhood experiences with (modern, evangelical) Christians who seemed to derive unending joy from finding the dust motes in everyone's eyes. This person was reminding me of how impressed I had been, after two years of secular university, with the lack of judgment I felt from my new peers, especially in contrast to the habits of the Christianity I had grown up with.

Me: "That's still true today, by the way, or at least true of my friends, that refreshing absence of criticism disguised as morality."

Other Person: "Well, of course. It's easy not to be judgmental when you don't have any values."

Me: " ........ " (is that the universal symbol for gaping mouth? Because maybe it should be).

Apparently, you see, I have no values. I am, after all, not a Christian. So whatever it is I am attempting to do with my time here on Earth, it can't be informed by any value system. I don't have one.
In case Gwen's sarcasm sailed right over your head, let me be very clear. I am a moral person. I'll put my values up against any Christian any day. My failure to believe in God or to engrave the Ten Commandments on a tablet on my front lawn does not give me license to steal or to treat others badly. It does not absolve me of my responsibility to my children, my family, my country, or the human race.

Let me say it again. I am a moral person.

Despite my clarity regarding my own beliefs, I struggle with what to teach my children about God.

I don't want to deprive H&H of the comfort of religion. But I can't be the one to teach them something I don't believe. I can't be that hypocritical, although many would say I already am. Both of my children were baptized in a church in T's home town. We stood up before the congregation and stated our belief in God and Jesus Christ. I chose the easiest course, a lie, for my children and family. I did something similar when T and I were married. In a church. It was what T wanted and while I don't think my parents cared one way or another, it made our extended families happy. And, no, my particular value system did not forbid me from offering comfort to my family and my husband-to-be.

T and I want H&H to learn about God. Hollis is currently attending a pre-school attached to a Presbyterian church. He says a cute little chant every morning that ends in "God made the world and God made me." I think this is an easy way to break him into a topic he's heard nothing about at home. Eventually we will take H&H to church. Although, depending on the church, it may be just T attending with the boys.

I want my sons to have the community and the foundations for belief. I don't want to impose my beliefs (or lack thereof) upon my boys. I want them to choose for themselves. If I give them the tools to do that, then I think T and I will have fulfilled the spiritual portion of our role as parents.

I don't want to leave you all with the impression that I believe in nothing. I'm an agnostic, not an athiest. In the back reaches of my mind there still lurks the possibility that I am wrong. That there is something bigger than me, than all of us.

If there is a God, the proof is in the world around me, in the things I love: autumn leaves, my sons' laughter, warm sand, random acts of kindness and, oddly, the smell of chlorine. I prefer to find my miracles in the physical realm rather than the spiritual. I believe in people rather than a higher power. This is my religion.

Cross-posted at D.C. Metro Moms.

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D.C. Happy Hour Update
The D.C. Happy Hour was a rousing success. Not everyone could make it and I was sad to have missed a few people, but I'm sure we'll be doing this again. It was too damn much fun not to.

Oh, and all of you who were there? I'm happy to host a party down here too. It's warm, we're near a beach, and I have a pool. Just please, please bring your suits. I shudder to think what this crew might do with too much alcohol and private access to water.

I have pictures for you. If you want to see my whole Flicker Set, click HERE.

I'll hit the highlights.

  1. Mama Loves' office has an insanely nice view and it's huge. If I'm ever homeless, I'm just going to move in there.

  2. I'm going to kidnap Kris from I'm Not a Girl, Not Yet a Wino. She's so friggin hilarious, I need her to amuse me 24 hours a day. She can even bring her cats. Minus the worms.

  3. I only had 1 martini. Gunfighter tried to order me another one. Thank God he doesn't know me better or he might have succeeded. As it was I was already dragging my ass around all day today. Um, yeah, I had a few many beers too.

  4. Amie & Kris let me feel them up. We need to do our own Hot & Bothered video.

  5. Fried pickles are surprisingly tasty.

  6. Mama Loves let us sign her cast with glitter pens! What else would you expect from a drag queen?

  7. The people with kids outlasted all the young, childless people. In the end it was just me, Not Exactly A Princess, Gunfighter & Mama Loves frantically driving to Silver Diner for breakfast food.

  8. You know how in college you'd end up at IHOP at 2 am after the bars closed? Well, you know you're old when you're getting pancakes at 11pm and you look and sound like death.

  9. My throat still hurts from screaming in the bar.

  10. I'm too old for this shit.

  11. We had a great time.

  12. I can't wait to do it again!

Not Exactly A Princess & Lawyer Mama

Gunfighter & Mama Loves

Me & Chrissy (She's known me since I was 13! I can't piss her off. She knows too much.)

Jenn & Jess

I sign Mama Loves' cast while Gunfighter wonders what the hell he's doing with these drunk wackadoos.

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I Was An 80 Year Old Grandmother In Another Life
Edited to add a bonus prize!

I normally put blog blasts and all things reviewish onto my review site. But this post contains some kitsch so horrible, I had to put these up on my main site to satisfy my lifetime goal of utterly humiliating myself. Well, at least until I put up the naked pictures.... Totally kidding. Don't run away!

Earlier this week, I mentioned on my other blog that I did a major closet purge this weekend after reading Nina Garcia's advice in The Little Black Book of Style. (You can read my review of the book here as well.) Because there isn't much left in my closet that's shameful and horrifying, I tackled another problematic area: my jewelry box.

You see, I have inherited the pack rat gene. I find it hard to part with jewelry, no matter how old, tacky, or tarnished something may be.

Check out these fabulous holdovers from the 80's:

At least I hope they were purchased in the 80's. If not, the 90's were worse than I remember. I have no idea why they're still in my jewelry box. Did I honestly think I would ever wear them again? HELL NO!

Check out the shame of this scrunchie I had in my drawer. That's right, I said scrunchie. Carrie Bradshaw would slap me senseless if she saw this:

Those are gold metal links. I thought I was so keeeewl!

I saved the piece de resistance for last. Throughout high school, college, and, I'm ashamed to admit, beyond, I collected pins. The only common thread I can see in these pins is that they are all big, tacky, and make me want to slap my 20 year old self silly and scream "WHAT THE FRIGGIN HELL WERE YOU THINKING????"

Oh and did I mention that the telephone rings, the ferris wheel turns, and the kitty cats with the umbrella play Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head? Does that make this any better? Yeah, I didn't think so.

Clearly I was an 80 year old grandmother in my past life. I thought about keeping those fabulous pins for a few seconds thinking maybe I could wear them as some sort of ironic statement, but I know I can't pull that off. People would just think I was clueless.

Now when you've all stopped pointing and laughing, I want to see your tacky jewelry. C'mon! Let's see it. I can't be the only one....

***If you show me your tacky jewelry or something else you've been holding on to for waaaay too long, I'll send you one of those bad boys you see up there! The first to post is the first to win. I'll keep giving them away until I run out! Just email me at lawyermama at gmail dot com.***

This blog blast is brought to you by The Little Black Book of Style and PBN.

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Happy Hour in D.C.
Do you live in the D.C. Metro area? Are you a blogger? I'll be up in your neck of the woods swamp for a happy hour tomorrow night.

I know some of my favorite bloggers will be there, so I hope you'll join us.

Where: Continental in Rosslyn
Date: Friday, September 7, 2007
Time: 6pm, or whenever you roll in

Just whatever you do, do NOT let me drink more than one martini. It will not be pretty.

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My Family Values

“Values are not just words, values are what we live by. They're about the causes that we champion and the people we fight for.” --John Kerry

Julie's Hump Day Hmm this week is about values. I had planned a post about religion because I have yet to discuss religion on my blog. There's a good reason for that. I'm very conflicted and I'm frequently hesitant to discuss the one area of my life where I have absolutely no confidence.

I can't do it. I absolutely cannot hit publish on that post. So instead, I'd like to share some things I would like to give to my boys:


a love of books
social justice

a love of music

a love of art
an inquisitive mind

a love of nature
the ability to lose gracefully

a love of mankind
a healthy dose of skepticism

a love of laughter
hand farts

a love of competition
the ability to win gracefully

a love of animals and small children
loss and learning

The sun, the moon, and the stars. I don't ask for much, do I?

These are my family values.


I have a new review of Nina Garcia's book The Little Black Book of Style up on my review blog, along with pictures of my shamefully decadent shoe collection and my favorite pair of sexy shoes. Go read it!

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About A Girl
Edited to add news about the DC Metro Moms Blog and a link to my latest post.

Two weeks ago, Jenn from Serving the Queens wrote a post so brave, so overwhelming, so moving, I just can't stop thinking about it:

And this Girl and I, we are going to be running. Running to a church that as of today is 36 days of travel ahead of us, where the Boy is also journeying to. And we're going to somehow find him before he arrives there, and we are going to tell him things that have gone unsaid for too long and we are going to take our mutual heart in our trembling hands and place it before him and tell him it was his all along.
I think this piece spoke to me because Jenn's Girl lives in me too. Like Girl, I would do everything possible before walking away from love.

If you've ever believed in romance. If you've ever hoped for Happily Ever After, then read this post. You can read more about Jenn's Girl here as well.

Even if it ends badly, Jenn, we'll all be here cheering for you and your Girl. Thank you for your Perfect Post.

Please be sure to check out the rest of the Perfect Posts for August at Petroville and Suburban Turmoil.

In other news, today is the official launch of the new D.C. Metro Moms Blog, an offshoot of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog. If you wouldn't mind, pop on over and show some love to my D.C. sisters! I have a new post up over there about Hollis's first day of school.

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Street Theater: A Monday Montage

The curtain closes.

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Lawyer Mama
Made by Andrea Micheloni