the "florkens"

June 09, 2016

A Realized Obligation

Just the other morning, I was settling down to work and sipping my first cup of hot tea. My head was still in a bit of a fog from the three-day weekend and my thoughts were somewhat preoccupied by the thought of the workers that were in my home repairing my water-damaged ceiling. I had guests coming into town and my mind started listing all the things I needed to have done in time for their arrival.

In my absent mindedness, I grabbed my cell phone and started flipping through my Facebook feed as I sometimes do. Most days, my mind doesn't read close enough for context. My Facebook feed is  merely a placeholder that keeps my hands busy while my brain thinks of other things. But on this morning, while my mind was thinking about life stresses and the woes of being back at work instead of at the pool with Holland, my eyes stumbled across a picture of a man on a boat cradling a young child. I follow Think Progress on Facebook and this story, was one of many on my feed that morning. I clicked over to read the full story, suddenly curious as to why this man was cradling this baby, but I was simply not prepared.
After reading just the first few sentences of the story I realized that the child in the photo was dead... a refugee lost in the Mediterranean Sea. My heart leap into my throat and my inner voice screamed: "Hurry! Close out of this! It is too sad!!!" Fighting the urge, I didn't. Instead, I scrolled back up and stared harder at the photo. The child's tiny hands were clasped, his eyes closed. He could easily be mistaken for sleeping but he was not. In a way, he reminded me of my own Holland. Soft skin and softer features... tiny perfection with so much potential. As I moved to studying the man holding him -- a rescuer that was simply too late -- my heart officially shattered.

I found myself wondering where this baby's mother was... did she survive? If she did, does she know that her precious son did not? I found myself imaging how tightly she must have clung to him in those waters if she was there. Were they cold? Scared? At what point did she know it was the end? Was the child crying? I found myself wondering if she was one of many mothers that could not afford passage for themselves so they made the ultimate sacrifice and sent their children away in hopes of a better life. If that was the case, the child perished without his mother by his side and somehow, that made the situation even more horrifying to me. My mind was quickly descending into a deep, dark place. I stared at the photo and found myself crying. I was crying for that boy. I was crying for all the children like him. I was crying for the mothers and fathers that lost them. I cried for the families ripped apart by war, famine, disease.

After awhile, I was able to find some composure and I proceeded to read the rest of the story... Think Progress did a good job of summarizing the horrifying situation people are finding themselves in on the Mediterranean Sea. It truly is gut wrenching. The options are limited; Stay in your homelands to starve or be killed or flee only to face closed borders, hunger, and death.

My biggest worry (most days) is exactly how much time I'll have with Holland in between picking her up from daycare and her bedtime. And while over the last nearly 8 months I have worried about her sleep patterns, an occasional fever, and a bump or bruise here or there, I have never once had to worry about starvation or death. I am forever grateful those choices are not my reality. Still, I do not want my lack of experience to turn into a lack of empathy... of compassion.

I am lucky. You are lucky. Our children will grow up playing tag and learning to dive in neighborhood pools instead of fleeing across borders or swimming for their lives. We are blessed. But that blessing obligates us to open our eyes, see the rest of the world, and give a voice to the voiceless.

My soul tells me that the good in this world far outweighs the bad. My faith tells me that there justice and righteousness and more importantly, a reason, for everything. When I looked at that photo, I did not see a reason. I did not see righteousness or justice. I did see however, a baby that deserves to have my attention. And yours.

I don't know the solution. But I know it starts with acknowledging an obligation to help.
I have an obligation. You have an obligation. We all do.

June 02, 2016

Playing Around with UncommonGoods

Playtime is among my favorite time.

When we first had Holland, I was very unsure of how to "play" with her. I mean, it is a little hard to "play" with someone who can barely even track you with her eyes. Now is a different story. Holland is 7.5 months old and playtime is pretty much anytime she isn't asleep. But from very early on, I was concerned with the type of play and the kind of playthings Holland would have.

I don't mind Holland having "girlie" toys but I wanted to expose her to a wide variety of toys. I didn't mind her having a toy or two that made noises and had lights, but I also wanted her to have to think for herself and not always rely the toy to do all the work. In short, I wanted playtime for Holland to be educational and full of surprises. I wanted her to have to exercise that little mind of hers and I wanted her to grow up believing that she could do anything and be anything that she wanted. If she wants to dress up like a fairy princess one day... so be it. But I wanted to give her options and let her know that she could also build skyscrapers or be a scientist like her Dad.
Once that decision was made, I had a new hurdle to cross: Finding appropriate toys! I don't know if you have tried lately, but toy stores are SO crazy. Everything is blue or pink. Everything is divided into dress up or construction. And everything.. and I mean nearly everything makes noise! That's not to say that I haven't found some great options at local stores (I have) but I also learned very early on that the internet would be our friend when it came to finding toys for Holland.

One place in particular that I have loved shopping from is UncommonGoods. I will confess, Adam and I shopped at UncommonGoods long before Holland showed up. Adam would occasionally treat himself to a handy gadget of some kind for the kitchen or I would snag a perfect house warming present for a friend. I was initially drawn to their company because they make a conscious effort to partner with small businesses and manufacturers. They also focus on sustainability and are environmentally responsible. I always try to #BuySmart so these were selling points for me.

So it was probably fairly natural for me to turn to them for Holland too! She loves playing with blocks and hand puppets but most recently we bought her the "Little Patient" doll (at Adam's request) and she just loves it. I love it too because let's face it, it is pretty funny to watch a baby tear the guts (and other organs) out of Erwin (that's the doll's name by the way) as she squeals with delight! Who knows? Maybe she will grow up to be a doctor. (Or a psycho. She really enjoyed chewing on doll's heart!)

Adam and I don't necessarily want to be the crazy strict parents that don't let our kid have fun. We don't. But we honestly do believe that all play is not created equal. I personally love to see Holland really digging in and enjoying a toy that makes her mind tick. I think those are the moments that really help shape her personality and instill in her a love for learning.

And really, there are two things I really want this kid to love in life: 1) Learning; and 2) Harry Potter. If I can accomplish that, I think I will have succeeded as a parent.
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Oh yeah, and don't forget that Father's Day is coming up. UncommonGoods has lots of goodies that Dad is guaranteed to love! Happy Shopping.

May 23, 2016

Life Lately: An Update

If anyone ever tells you that you'll be able to add a baby to your family and still blog regularly, tell them to shut up. Just kidding -- there are a LOT of bloggers who do so successfully but I am just not one of them. Perhaps it is my lack of dedication or maybe it's because after Holland goes to bed the temptation to indulge in a glass (or two) of wine is strong. Come to think of it, it's probably a combo of those two. Either way, I haven't blogged regularly so I feel like this space is entitled to a bit of an update. I think the easiest way to accomplish this is just to dump some information and see how it lands. Here goes:
1. I got a NEW JOB! 
If you follow us on Instagram (and you should) you will know that I started a new job. I no longer have Fridays off (which stinks) but I'm making more money, working MUCH closer to home, and will no longer be required to work late or travel at night. I went from private practice to working in-house. It has been a big adjustment but so far, so good. I am keeping my fingers crossed that I thrive in this new role and that I start making some new work friends. For right now, it just feels "right" so I am hopeful that this was the right move for me. Only time will tell. 

2. Adam got a NEW JOB!
Yup. You read that right! Adam got a new job too. He is back in the lab and is much happier these days. Both of us starting new jobs within a month of each other is a little crazy but amazing. At the beginning of the year, we were both struggling at work. I said many prayers and one night just asked the universe to put us both in new positions by December... Well, the universe responded and we were both in new positions by May. Even better -- neither of us went looking for these jobs. We were both recruited for these jobs so that makes us both feel so special and makes both positions seem very serendipitous. 

3. Holland turned 6 months, then 7
One day I blinked and my daughter was 6 month olds. Then 7. When she was 6 months, we did a beautiful photoshoot to capture the moment and I'm so glad we did. I've shared a few pictures on Instagram (again, why aren't you following us?) and the picture for this post is from that shoot too. I also made sure to take a few (more personal) breastfeeding photos that have quickly become my absolute favorite. I don't really think I can share them online but let me just tell you -- breastfeeding Holland has, hands down, been one of the most rewarding things I've done in my entire life so I am so happy I was able to capture some of those moments on film (er, digital film?). 

4. Master Bedroom Redo
Adam and I finally decided to redo our master bedroom. Trust me -- it was LONG overdue. As a part of the process, we upgraded to a king sized bed with a memory foam mattress. Let me just state for the record -- if heaven doesn't let me sleep in a king size bed I want no part of it! In all seriousness though, I love not having to touch Adam at night. Being married is nice and all, but sometimes I long for those single gal days when I could sleep spread-eagle and not give a crap about tossing and turning. Turns out, you can replicate those conditions as an old married woman if you upgrade to a king and invest in memory foam. Now that the bed itself has been upgraded, we plan to paint the room and decorate later in June (I might even showcase some of those nursing pictures yo!). I cannot wait to see how it turns out. Chances are, I will share some pictures on Instagram. Yet another reason you should be following us there. Just saying. 

5. Our Roof Broke
A few weeks ago, Adam and I woke up to find water on the floor in our living room. Turns out, our roof failed and our attic had been leaking for sometime. As a result, we had to get a whole new roof. The roof looks great. We still have to work on getting the ceiling inside the house fixed and getting the damage done to the attic repaired. For better or for worse, the roof replacement has inspired me to get started working again on #FlorkenFirstHome. We honestly got a little burned out on home projects and boycotted them for quite awhile. But now, I have the bug again so Holland will probably learn to love Home Depot pretty soon. 

That's all the updating I can think of right now. There are a lot of things I've love to discuss here from a wide array of topics if I can manage to find the time. I mean, I could talk about anything from Trump to cloth diapers! Things could get crazy in these necks of the woods. Stay tuned!