Thursday, November 17, 2011

Fall, Pumpkin, Autumn, Harvest, Whatever

I know, I know. It's been a while. I promised pumpkins and costumes and corn mazes and such, but every time you've opened the Darby blog for the past few weeks you've gotten the angry stop-being-such-assholes-Mississippi blog. That one took a lot out of me, and I had to regroup. I want to apologize to my 2 fans for not getting the Halloween photos up before Target put out their Christmas cards, but sometimes I guess I don't have my blogging priorities straight.

We just returned from a fantastic wedding weekend in Memphis a couple of days ago (I have a new sister-in-law, and she's really, really cool and from Chicago. Although she only lived here for, like, a few months, but that doesn't really matter), and it's high time I get a little more organized. By the way, Mimi is OBSESSED with the idea of weddings and getting married now. At the moment she has all of her Fisher-Price people and EI-EI's (of course, those are the farm animals) all lined up in a nice semi-circle, and she informed me that they are getting married so they can dance. Well, of course that's why people get married. She's got this all figured out.

In only a couple of days, my family will begin arriving in Chicago for Thanksgiving. No, you don't have to read that last line again. I am indeed hosting Thanksgiving this year. Yipee! And I'm not ordering take-out. I've flipped through the pages of my November Southern Living so much that I'm afraid it may fall apart soon, but I believe I have settled on some really fab recipes. I'm trying an all new line-up for the dinner, so fingers crossed that all the kids and my picky father will find something that is "fair." "Fair" is my father's word for "it's not as bad as rat poison." He used this word to describe Clint when he first met him, but now I'm pretty sure he is my dad's favorite son-in-law. I know my sister only looks at photos and never reads, so she'll have absolutely no idea that I've said that. My attempts at unpacking and cleaning and doing laundry have been futile -- which, by the way, I washed ALL of our dirty clothes the day before we left Chicago AND the day before we left Memphis, but somehow I still have, like, 3 loads of laundry. But I'll stop talking about housework because a very wise woman told my sister (who never reads my blog) that no one wants to hear about how many loads of laundry you've done this week. They want to hear about where you've been and what you've seen. So I guess I'll get started with the Autumn Harvest Pumpkin Extravaganza . . . otherwise known as October.

First of all, Mimi LOVES being in school. It's only 2 half days a week, but it's enough for her to bring home some really funny material. She talks about their daily "bathroom trip" and how they sing a song called "Scoot Against the Wall, Against the Wall" on their way to potty . . . and how she never uses the bathroom at school because it's scary (Great. She already has a public bathroom complex.). They sit criss-cross-applesauce during circle time and must yell things like "FALLLLLLL!" and "OCTOBERRRR!" and "TWO-POWSAN-UH-LEBBIN!!!" (which I think is what year it is) because this is the way she responds when I ask her questions. They have show-and-tell every day, which is fantastic for a little girl who loves to perform. Anywho, there was a fun Halloween party at her school, and of course it was a great photo-op.

By the way, I must give Mimi's costume credit to Amy Norris. You should totally stalk her blog because she's a lot funnier and more creative than I am. Which is why I stalk her so I can steal her really great ideas. I did ask her permission to be a copy cat, but I think I would have stolen the idea of cow pants with pink fringe regardless of getting her blessing. Amy, someone just needs to post YOU to Pinterest. Anyway, Mimi found this hideous pink pony costume for Halloween, which she decided she hated about 10 minutes after having it on her little self (check out the neglected thing on the floor), BUT she still wanted to be some type of cowgirl.

Catch a lion by the tail . . .

I'll have to say her little friend in the photo has probably the coolest Jessie costume ever -- I mean, red glitter boots and hat. How can we compete with that?

Face Painting by Miss Kelley. I think she should start a business. And her whole 80's fluorescent American Apparel get-up made me love her even more.

Mimi's favorite party activity -- painting a pumpkin with ridiculous amounts of red paint. Somehow that pumpkin made it's way to a really high shelf in her classroom and hopefully someone really smart has chunked it in the trash. And check out the Edward wanna-be sitting next to her. And my brave girl wasn't even frightened of him . . . even though I was a little.
Now I must back-track a little because, well, that is how I downloaded the photos, and I'm a little too lazy to put them in order. We finally visited Michigan, and, oh, I will be back. We drove along the southwest coast, and there are so many cute towns and beautiful views . . . and why have I never known about this? Whenever I think of Michigan, I think about those loud, obnoxious boys who go to PCB for spring break every year and Detroit. That's it. But now I have a beautiful view of Michigan . . . pretty beaches and boutiques and sand dunes and wineries and a really cool pumpkin patch.

Before we left, I tried my best to herd my kittens onto the couch for a matching-pumpkin-shirt-that-mommy-made-photo, but they had other plans. I have about ten shots of poses that are very similar to this one. And I totally came up with the pumpkin shirts on my own. Because no other mom has ever thought to sew an orange pumpkin onto her toddlers' t-shirts.
Awww . . . isn't he so cute? No, you can't have him. He's all mine. And maybe a little Clint's but mostly mine.

Okay, maybe he's half Clint, but I pretend he likes me more.

Hmm . . . which pumpkin goes best with my shirt????
Cute, cute, cute, cute cute. I'm so cute I can just lie on the ground and you'll still take my photo."Wa-HOO!! Yee-haw! Gitty-up, little buddy! Ride like the wind, Bull's Eye!" And she yelled these phrases NON-STOP while riding her little pony that went in circles.
As happy as a girl should be who's inside a giant plastic jack-o-lantern.
I had my camera ready as soon as I heard Mimi's voice at the end of the corn maze . . . but then there was no Mimi. I yelled for Clint to make sure everything was okay, and Mimi screamed to the top of her lungs, "WE'RE OKAY, MOMMY! BUT I DON'T WANT TO BE FINISHED!!!" She loves to be lost in the middle of tall corn, I suppose.
Surveying the maze.
My chirrens love some livestock.

Hmm . . . maybe this one matches better . . .

Phew. We're getting closer to the end. Finally on to Halloween.

I have decided that Mimi needs to become best friends with two little girls who live a couple of houses down the street. They're around her age and blonde and have a fun mom -- what else do they need in common? So we went to their house prior to trick-or-treating for a little pumpkin carving fun.

"Just give me an ice cream scoop and a pumpkin, and I'll show you a good time."

Sweet Little Lion Man.

Awww . . . you can't have this one either. Trust me -- I've tried to take him. He belongs to my sweet neighbor, and I kinda think she likes him.

I have a few other photos I took on my phone (because my camera died OF COURSE) of Mimi and her buddies trick-or-treating, but I can't seem to figure out where photos from my new phone are on the computer. Sigh. I think I've had enough photo fun for the night, and I need to get Miss Priss in the bed. So maybe next time I'll have wedding and Thanksgiving fun . . . or maybe another rant and rave session. Nah. Maybe not.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Are You Going to Do about It?

I'm going to warn you in advance. There is going to be a lot that I am going to say that will make you want to stick your fingers in your ears and scream LA LA LA LA LA at any time. I am NOT going to tell you how to vote. I am NOT going to tell you how I would vote or point you to an unbiased website (because honestly there isn't one that exists. Trust me -- I've searched). And I'm not going to point out my opinion on all the "what ifs" of abortion, morning-after pill, IVF, IUD's, and possible lawsuits. Not even going there. But I am going to challenge you . . . just keep reading and you'll see what I mean.

In case you've been living under a rock or you don't care to keep up with the news of my home state of Mississippi (really? You don't?), this is what is being voted on soon:
SUBJECT MATTER: Definition of “person"
BALLOT TITLE: Should the term “person” be defined to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the equivalent thereof?
BALLOT SUMMARY: Initiative #26 would amend the Mississippi Constitution to define the word “person” or “persons”, as those terms are used in Article III of the state constitution, to include every human being from the moment of fertilization, cloning, or the functional equivalent thereof.
Sigh. And the madness this question has started. What is a "person"?
Honestly, I don't care how you vote. Just do your research and listen to your heart. I no longer live there, so I'm sure you don't care to hear about how I would vote so I'll spare you. BUT I do still have something to say on the matter, and it is this . . .
There, I said it. Now I feel much better.
Part of my problem is me. I don't have a lot of free time to lie on the couch and space out, so my only time to remove myself from this world is to browse Facebook. Please, don't judge. I normally do it to see photos of my friends' adorable babies and puppies, but lately more and more people have been posting their opinions about this proposed amendment. It starts out very simple . . . "Hey, check out this link if you're still unsure about how to vote" . . . and then I read that the link says something like "The Lies of PRO-ABORTION Advocates" or "Why Mississippi is about to Make a HUGE Mistake," so I feel I MUST see the 104 comments that people have posted under this status . . . and then I stupidly get all hot and bothered by the mean, mean, mean and hateful comments people have made.
They usually go something like this:
"I can't believe people are afraid that if this passes a doctor can't help them if they have a tubal pregnancy. That's so SILLY AND RIDICULOUS."
"If you vote "yes," you obviously CAN'T THINK FOR YOURSELF and haven't done ANY research."
"It's never a woman's choice -- it's God's choice and the CHRISTIAN THING TO DO is vote 'yes'."
And the list goes on and on and on, so I won't bore you. Whether this thing passes or not there will still be HUGE problems to deal with. So this is where I need to open my big, fat mouth and challenge all of you big talkers who have been so finger-pointy and judgemental . . . what are you going to do about it?
If it doesn't pass, then things will stay the same. There will still be teen pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies and rape and incest and abortions.
If it does pass, things will stay, well, almost the same. There will still be teen pregnancies and unwanted pregnancies and rape and incest and abortions that are performed in surrounding states.
Let's be honest, changing a law will not change a person's heart. Changing the law will not make a selfish, career-oriented woman want to stop her "accidental" pregnancy. It will not make a 16-year-old who's scared out of her mind suddenly be excited about going shopping at Motherhood Maternity. It can't make the single mom of 4 whose boyfriend abuses her not want to bring another child into her situation. It will not make the confusion of a mentally challenged fourteen-year-old who was raped by her uncle go away.
Those who have the resources and money will just go to another state. Those who don't will have to deal with it, but more than likely those are the ones who are already dealing with it anyway.
You see, while you're sitting in your church pew feeling all holy and godly since you decided to cast a "yes," or feeling all intellectual debating at your water cooler about voting "no" these problems will still be going on around you. So, what are you going to do?
First of all, let's stop with all the judging. When I was in high school and when I taught high school, there were always SEVERAL pregnant girls. Some poor, some rich, some popular, and some with bad reputations. And these young girls marched in that school every day knowing that they would be stared at and talked about. But we all knew that at least half of the other students had done just exactly what these girls had, but still lots and lots of gossip and judging ensued. There were also "rumors" of girls who had abortions, and whether they had or had not there was still lots gossip and whispers of "baby killer" -- some behind their backs and some to their faces. Many more were ready to judge and gossip than to offer them kind words or a hug. If you know you're going to be judged, are you willing to open up and talk about your feelings? Uh, no. And neither are these girls and women who are struggling with a life-changing decision.
Instead of just being concerned about removing a morning-after pill or abortion, find a way to get involved with a place that offers guidance and counseling. Many towns and counties have women's resource centers already, and even if you can't volunteer I'm sure they always need money. If there isn't one in your area, find a way to get one started. Go to the mayor. Go to your local schools and churches. Figure out where the need is and if other women are willing to help. Make it SAFE and CONFIDENTIAL and OPEN-MINDED. Right now I'm sure Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinics offer better counseling than some of these meanies who are being all finger-pointy at "baby killers."
Here's a link to an organization called Ramah International, which lists many of the women's resource centers in Mississippi that offer pregnancy tests, pregnancy counseling, adoption options, post-abortion counseling, and other resources.
Talk to kids about sex. They may stick their fingers in their ears and say LA LA LA LA LA (and then you may do the same) but actually start the conversation in an appropriate manner just as soon as you think they're mature enough (okay, this is going to be a huge challenge for me!). Don't just say that it's bad and God says you're not supposed to do it until you get married, but actually be open-minded and encourage them to join in the conversation. This was totally lacking when I lived in Mississippi. Parents and teachers were so scared to say anything but that it was bad and wrong and God said no, but the parents who were actually open had children who were smarter and made better decisions.
No matter how you look at this, the proposed amendment and the problems surrounding it are in no way simple or clear-cut. There will always be those extremists who will never vote against a woman's choice and those who will always vote against abortion even if the amendment forces teenagers to wear chastity belts. Save your breath -- those folks aren't budging.
Do I believe that those who are pouring their hearts and souls into passing this amendment and saving unborn babies are doing the right thing? I do.
Do I believe that people should be concerned about the lack of details concerning certain situations such as health risks and exceptions for mentally challenged? Sure do.
Sorry I can give no insight on how you should vote -- just call me if you really care to know, which I'm sure you don't. In the meantime, I'll try to stop reading all the garbage on FB and will figure out what I can do to help.
And I promise photos of Halloween costumes and a pumpkin patch next time and no more of this crap . . .