The State of the Union When No One’s Expecting

Like most people on my facebook news feed, I watched the President’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. I was surprised how often things I learned from What to Expect When No One’s Expecting crept into mind listening to the speech.  In his book, Jonathon Last illuminates challenges to child-rearing in our modern, Western world.  The President’s itemized speech this week provided the perfect platform to see how these issues are often ignored in the most pressing of political topics. Below are the two main topics I found lacking in light of falling birth rates:

Immigration— The President focused on many of the positive attributes immigrants bring to America like culture and perseverance. But one thing he failed to mention was babies! Typically Latin American and Middle Eastern immigrants bring with them the intention to have more than 2 babies, often over 3. Not only does their adult presence add to our current workforce, but their children add to our future tax base. In fact, with few exceptions, the influx of immigrants and their high birth rates are what’s keeping our economy and social security from completely collapsing like many in Europe and the Far East.

Equal Pay — Oh the standing ovation President Obama received when he promoted equal pay for women! An embarrassment, he called it, that in the year 2014 a woman earns 70 cents to the dollar a man in her position makes. He declared that a woman’s job should not suffer because she wants to have children. She should be free to take off work to care for a sick child. A father should be free too, the President said.

But not a word about paid maternity leave, and certainly not a breath on paternity leave in any form or fashion. Should a woman who wants to have a child be punished for also needing to work? Apparently the American spirit agrees that her work should not suffer, but what about her family, her new baby, her health or her mental well-being? A great effort over many hard  years was made to give mothers the rights they have today in America’s workforce. In no way do I mean to downplay the significance of these rights. That a woman cannot lose her job based on a pregnancy is a giant step forward in keeping women valued in the workforce. However, it is not only a woman’s role in the workforce that needs to be protected, but her role with her family as well. It is time for another giant step.

What options does the American workforce offer a father? No more than 7 vacation days if they weren’t taken previously during the year? Isn’t being among the only three countries in the world and the only first world nation not to offer paid maternity leave also an embarrassment in the year 2014?  A father should be granted equal rights as a mother for caring for a sick child and given the time to be with his new baby in the precious months following their birth.

There are many political and economic ramifications to issues like immigration, social security and worker’s rights. Many positive changes have been made and will be made yet. One aspect that has been routinely neglected, but that is just as important is, family and fertility. Parents and future children need not only to be protected,  but encouraged. Incentives need to be allowed to not only support families, but also to encourage them to grow. Our culture, economy and way of life depend on strong families with lots of babies 😉

 

The Colorado Kid

I read my first Stephen King book!! Although, after reading it, I realized it’s not at all what I had in mind a “Stephen King book” would be. For that I am thankful.

I like suspense, I like mystery, I even like Gothic stories. But Stephen King has been in another realm all together in my mind. I don’t mind being in suspense, but I don’t want to be scared or freaked out. I don’t like horror stories. I knew King is as prolific writer, but now I’m discovering there may be different levels of Stephen King-ness.

The Colorado Kid by Stephen King

So, The Colorado Kid. Ryan found the SyFy show Haven on Netflix and we enjoyed the first episode. I noticed that it was based on this novel. I plucked up my courage and found it at the library. I honestly could have read it in one sitting if I had started earlier in the evening.

The library had it shelved under “mystery” but I felt like it was more a literary criticism on mysteries —  the neat complete story newspaper s write verses real, true like unexplained mysteries. Two old Maine newspaper men tell the story of a real life unexplained mystery which they have been enraptured by for 25 years. A man, later identified as being from Colorado, is found on their Maine island beach  choked to death by a piece of steak. There is nothing horrific or scary about it, but laying in bed at night in the dark still house, I still felt tingles go up and down my spine.

Stephen King said he expected this book to be either loved or hated by the readers. If that be the case, then I guess I loved it. I feel like I have that badge of honor now. I’ve read a Stephen King novel ha ha. But it has shown me that maybe some of his mystery books aren’t as scary or gory and I may enjoy them. I certainly did enjoy his writing.

The Colorado Kid was published for the Hard Case Crime series, which I’ve never heard of before, but am now intrigued by. Apparently you can sign up for a subscription and have their books sent to you. It is certainly a tempting offer. I think I may pick another book or two from their collection and see if I like them. I may pick up another Stephen King while I’m at it.

Can’t Stop These Carruths!

Family and friends have all been told and now it’s time for you, the interwebs to also know.

Baby Carruth #4 is on it’s way!

New Baby

So all those hopes and dreams for a calm, quiet, uneventful year…well…maybe next year? I’m into my second trimester, and while some of the biggest risks are behind us, we still have some more looming ahead, so we could use any extra prayers you have lying around — for the pregnancy and the fact that we’ll be a family of SIX before the summer’s out!

Giving Experiences

I’ve heard this term being thrown around parenting circles: “giving experiences” instead of gifts. Meaning, instead of giving toys, parents want to give (and receive) “experiences” to their children — instead of a book about animals, a day pass to the zoo, instead of a ballerina doll, ballet classes or tickets to a local ballet.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I think “giving experiences” is a lame-o, haughty term. However, I completely love the idea.

A few weeks before Christmas I was having a harder time than usual with the kids. All the disobeying and fighting and disciplining culminated in a room-wide evacuation of toys. As I was loading up boxes and boxes of toys and books out of the play room and looking for high places to store them, it occurred to me how soon Christmas is coming. And I shuttered.

Our friends and family are so generous and thoughtful in the gifts they choose for our kids. Most of the kids’ favorite books and toys have been Christmas and birthday gifts. We would not have been able to give our kids the amount or quality of toys and activities they’ve received as gifts. We are always thankful to our families who are so generous toward our kids.

This year, however, we are overrun with toys! We have a steady stream of hand-me-downs from Evangeline, to Felicity to Reuben, plus new things they’ve each gotten over the year. It’s so much! Plus we still have gifts in the closet waiting for a rainy day.

The Great Boxing Day Toy-Purge (not even all the toys...we found more later)
The Great Boxing Day Toy-Purge (not even all the toys…we found more later)

We asked for more “experience” gifts for Christmas. The kids got a picnic table for outside, a family subscription to the local Arts and Science museum and Evangeline got a three month subscription to Kiwi Crates. Each month for three months, she’ll get a box in the mail with 2-3 different crafts or experiments and all materials needed related to a central theme.

We got her first crate (themed Antarctic Adventure) and sat down this morning to do one of the crafts. She learned about the Southern Lights — in that penguins come out of their house at night and look at the pretty sky; the sky is full of colors, but it isn’t loud like fireworks. She then used pastel crayons and watercolor paints to color her own Southern Light scenes.

Evangeline's artwork...one of these may have been done by mom...
Evangeline’s artwork…one of these may have been done by mom…
Evangeline painting the Southern Lights
Evangeline painting the Southern Lights

Later, we  decorated penguin cutouts to use for Penguin Bowling and once the penguin ice cubes finish freezing, we have some neat science experiments to do with ice! It’s such a neat idea and even though Evangeline is at the lower end of the age recommendations, she’s already having so much fun with it.

Penguin Bowling
Penguin Bowling

In a few weeks we’ll receive a new box, which I am told is themed Polar Expedition!

(I am also told, that they have a $10 credit offer for anyone who would like to buy a subscription through my referral link. If you’re interested in the Kiwi Crate, you can follow this link or contact me personally.

http://www.kiwicrate.com/Refer?i=KelliC7)

The “experiences” we were given this year are going to go a long way in making this year more fun! When Ryan has a day off from work and school, we can go as a family to the museum. On rainy days when we’re all going stir crazy, we can open the Kiwi Crate and do the next craft. And when the sun is bright and I need some peace and quiet, the kids can spend all day outside playing, and even have their lunch served under an umbrella at their very own picnic table.  Thank you to all of our family who gave us gifts to last the whole year round!

More Cormoran Strike is on the Way!

I enjoyed reading The Cuckoo’s Calling vicariously  through a friend and sharing in her delight as she came to know Cormoran Strike. Over a facebook conversation, a third friend mentioned that J.K. Rowling has already finished the sequel and hopes to have it published this year again under the name Robert Galbraith (info per Robert Galbraith’s website: http://www.robert-galbraith.com)

Detective Cormoran Strike by O. Pelaez

How exciting is that?!?! I cannot wait for the release of a second Cormoran Strike book and sincerely hope more are still yet to come. So tell me, do you want Cormoran and Robin to end up together? Get your bets in now! And let me know if you hear any updates before I do!

2014 Reading List

I am decided and it is done. This year, on top of wanting to finish 35 books and 11,000 pages, I have 8 specific books I would like to read. These books were chosen to help bolster my knowledge of classic, Southern works. At this point I am hoping to have a respectable representation of acclaimed Southern writers in my repertoire. To fill in some pretty big gaps in this area, I’m setting out to read:

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara
Gumbo Ya-Ya by Lyle Saxon
The Moviegoer by Walker Percy
All The King’s Men by Robert Penn Warren
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Wise Blood by Flannery O’Connor
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flanner O’Connor

2014 To Read

I’ve already finished one book this year and I’m working my way through Wise Blood (although, I have to admit, I’m having a hard time really getting into it). But stick around, if I find anything good, I’ll be sure to let you know!

We Survived the Holidays…

And I really think we had fun. Christmas was hectic and Ryan and I were sad to have missed out on New Year’s Eve with friends because we were dying of a super-bad-not-quite-the-flu-cold, but we managed to squeeze in all the traditions!

We made fig cookies…

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We had Christmas with my parents…

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Christmas with my mom’s family…

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Christmas with my dad’s family…

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and Christmas with Ryan’s mom’s side…

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We had a tree…

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We decorated outside…

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We hung stockings…

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We did it all!

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We weren’t able to see Ryan’s dad’s side of the family, but we have a visit scheduled soon. And we have a gingerbread house still to make, but it’s still pretty impressive.

We are back to reality this week. While we were ready to get back into our routine, the adjusting back has been exhausting. Along with all the new Christmas goodies, we had a major purging of old toys and clothes. I’m trying a new system of bringing out just a few toys a day rather than the free-for-all toy room we usually have. Three days in and it seems to be going really well.

We’re still recouping from all the festivities, but Carnival season hasn’t escaped our attention, and once we get some energy back, we are looking forward to Mardi Gras and St. Joseph’s Day!