Musings About Life... After Birth



Posted by Colleen on September 11, 2011

It's been ten years. Longer than I've been a mother, which is now one of the main things that defines me. How can it have been that long ago, and only that short a time ago?

Today I cried in church as I remembered. I hugged my children and thought of the many families that today still feel the sting of their lost loved ones. I thought of the families unable to hug fathers, husbands, mothers, daughters, because they are defending my freedom, my way of life.

I thanked God that I have the freedom to worship Him in a country I love. These are challenging times, but at the end of the day, we aren't Republicans and Democrats, Catholics and Jews, homo- and hetero-sexuals...we are Americans, made even more beautiful as the sum of our differences. We are not afraid. We did not spend today hiding in fear. We spent it in reflection, in love, and in pride.

We won.

Hate lost.

But we will always remember.

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Posted by Chelsea on December 08, 2008

Last night, Michelle Obama appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno clad in head-to-toe J. Crew:

Of course, J. Crew promptly began promoting the heck out of the outfit:

And all three pieces have promptly sold out. Guess buyers followed those instructions on the bottom of the ad.

Of course, during campaign season, the wardrobes of the ladies on the campaign trail were frequently examined, discussed and, often, coveted, so I guess it should come as no surprise to me that folks so quickly jumped at the opportunity to own a piece or two of Michelle’s clothing. What I think is kinda cool about this apparel-oriented frenzy, though, is that her outfit was not some designer ensemble, but off-the-rack (or, I guess I should say, off-the-pages-of-a-catalog) J. Crew, the all-but-official outfitter/style haven of Washington, D.C. While campaigning, she, just like Cindy McCain and, of course, Sarah Palin, wore designer clothes. While she could certainly afford to continue doing so (especially since schmancy designers are likely sending her boxes of free stuff to wear), I imagine that she’s taken the current economic situation into account and is doing her best to be “of the people”. As she said on Leno, “You can get some good stuff online”.

I just wonder if before placing her orders, she searches for a coupon code like I always do…..

Tags michelle obama, j. crew


Posted by Chelsea on July 29, 2008

I don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican - if you’re a parent and are anything but disgusted by President Bush and the Republicans, you’re not paying attention. Here’s the deal:

In today’s Washington Post, there’s an article about how yesterday, Congressional negotiators agreed to a ban on a family of toxins found in children’s products. This ban will include three types of phthalates, which are found in plastics (they make plastic softer and more durable) commonly used in children’s toys, and to outlaw three other phthalates pending a study of their health effects in children and pregnant women. Why? Well, phthalates act as hormones and cause reproductive problems, especially in boys. Federally funded research found that male babies born to women with high levels of phthalates in their blood exhibited low sperm count, undescended testicles and other reproductive problems. Other studies have connected some phthalates to liver and kidney cancer. For purposes of global comparison, the European Union banned the six phthalates in question from children’s products in 1999 and more than a dozen other countries have done the same.

In a mind-blowing response, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said that President Bush opposes this ban. I’m going to repeat this and make it bold, because I want to make sure everyone gets this: President Bush opposes banning plastics that are harmful to children and pregnant women.

This makes me so angry that I am shaking. Shaking. Do I even need to explain why?

Joining President Bush on the deplorably disgusting list: (no shocker here) Exxon Mobil, which manufacturers the phthalate most frequently found in children’s toys. The company spent a chunk of its $22 million lobbying budget in the past 18 months to try to prevent this ban and try to get people to believe that banning phthalates may inadvertently expose children to greater risks, because manufacturers will be forced to use substitute chemicals that may be even more hazardous. Let me get this straight, Exxon Mobil: the U.S. should so allow toxic chemicals to be placed in kids’ toys because there’s a chance that whatever we decide to replace them with might end up being toxic too? Um, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and recommend we just go right on ahead and get rid of the stuff we know is highly toxic, mmmkay? I have faith that on he next go-‘round we’ll make sure that sperm and kidney-destroying chemicals aren’t allowed into rubber duckies. Seriously, how do these people sleep at night?

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who sponsored the ban, said yesterday that the action is a first step toward moving the United States closer to the European model, where industry must prove the safety of a chemical before it is allowed on the market. Now seriously, doesn’t that make sense? Perhaps some prelim research prior to a chemical additive’s approval (as opposed to waiting until children suffer health consequences and THEN taking action) is a wise plan, no? Sadly, only the Democrats agree with her. Senate and House Republicans all voted against the ban, and you know why. Of course, the jerks at Exxon Mobil, etc. poured all kinds of obscene money into the Republicans’ re-election campaigns (check their campaign finance records - it’s publicly available info) in exchange for promises that they’d vote to oppose this ban. Really, how can we not be disgusted by the fact that our governmental representatives can and are willing to be bought at the expense of our safety - ESPECIALLY that of our kids?

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that do not hide the fact that I am a liberal. To me, however, this shouldn’t a partisan issue; liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, parent or not, you should support a ban on using toxic ingredients when making kids’ toys. The record is clear, though: the lawmakers against this ban are Republicans, and the ones supporting the ban are Democrats.

We must keep this in mind when we vote this November.


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Posted by Chelsea on July 09, 2008

On July 4, the New York Times ran an editorial imploring the FDA to update its safety data on sunscreen. In a nutshell, here’s why: Despite the fact that the F.D.A. proposed creating new safety standards and a new ratings system for sunscreens last August, they’ve done nothing in terms of actually creating them. In the meantime, the Environmental Working Group, a Washington research organization, looked into the safety and effectiveness of the sunscreens currently available to consumers (nearly 1,000 products). After collecting all their data and testing the sunscreens, the group found that it could recommend only 15 percent of those on the market with S.P.F. ratings of 15 or higher. The ones they could not recommend - 85 percent of what’s out there - either did not protect skin enough from some radiation that can cause skin cancer or included ingredients linked to possible health hazards.

Yikes, right?

Here are the top 10 products, in terms of effectiveness, as determined by the research conducted by the Environmental Working Group:

1. Keys Soap Solar Rx Therapeutic Sunblock, SPF 30
2. Trukid Sunny Days Facestick Mineral Sunscreen UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum, SPF 30+
3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+
4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30
5. Marie Veronique Skin Therapy Sun Serum
6. Lavera Sunscreen Neutral, SPF 40
7. Vanicream Sunscreen, SPF 35
8. UV Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+
9. Sun Science Sport Formula, SPF 30
10.  Soleo Organics Sunscreen all natural Sunscreen, SPF 30+

Basically, it seems the products that received the lowest marks all had a few things in common: non-lotion formulas (sprays, even a few powders), the ingredient oxybenzone, fragrance and a low SPF number. I was shocked to see that among the lowest-rated sunscreens were products from some of the most distributed brands: Neutrogena, Hawaiian Tropic, Banana Boat and Coppertone. And I’m not even referencing SPF 2 oil - it’s products like Hawaiian Tropic Ozone Sunblock, SPF 70, Neutrogena UVA/UVB Sunblock Lotion, SPF 45 and Banana Boat Ultra Defense Broad Spectrum Sunblock, SPF 80. The bottom line: Just because a product has a high SPF and comes from a recognized brand doesn’t mean that it’s one you should slather on yourself or your kids. To search their findings by brand, product or formula, click here.

To help you make there best choices, here are the common brands the Environmental Working Group most recommends, based on the products’ effectiveness:

1. Blue Lizard (anything without oxybenzone)
2. California Baby (anything with SPF 30+)
3. CVS (with zinc oxide)
4. Jason Natural Cosmetics Sunbrellas Mineral Based Sunblock
5. Kiss My Face (“Paraben Free” series)
6. Neutrogena (Sensitive Skin Sunblock)
7. Olay Defense (Daily UV Moisturizer with zinc)
8. SkinCeuticals (Physical UV Defense)
9. Solar Sense (Clear Zinc for Face)
10. Walgreens (Zinc Oxide for Face, Nose, & Ears)

More than a million cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in the U.S. every year, yet it seems no one at the F.D.A. feels it necessary to set the sunscreen safety standards the agency 30 years ago that it would. Meanwhile, companies are free to claim but not provide broad spectrum protection. Until FDA requires that all sunscreens be safe and effective, I advise using the Environmental Working Group’s comprehensive sunscreen guide—including a list of 143 products that offer very good sun protection—to fill in the gaps. If you’re fed up with the F.D.A.‘s negligence, click here to sign a petition being sent to Dr. Jeff Shuren, who heads up the F.D.A.‘s sunscreen standard process, telling him you want safe sunscreen—and you don’t want to wait another 30 years.

Tags sunscreen


Posted by Chelsea on January 03, 2008

In honor of today’s Iowa caucuses, here’s a quick little distraction to help you determine which Presidential candidate best falls in line with your personal beliefs:

Select a Candidate Quiz

Apparently, CT Senator Chris Dodd is my ideological twin (except when it comes to the issues of immigration and Social Security). And I always thought it was Carrie Bradshaw…..

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Posted by Chelsea on October 25, 2007

The ‘08 election won’t take place for another year, but it’s never too early to start campaigning for your favorite candidate - especially when said campaigning involves purchasing new clothes. In the Thursday Styles section of today’s New York Times, there’s an article about cool campaign wear for adults. Why, though, should you stop with just dressing yourself all blue or (gasp) red? I’m all for using your kids as little political statements too.

I live in DC, so all things political are sort of the norm here. I’m a big ‘ol Democrat, so naturally, I buy things for my kid that reflect such. Here are some examples:

When my son was 4 months old, he ate his first solid food wearing this bib, which I got at Washington National airport.

I also used to outfit him in these shoes from (the ones on the left, of course). When I took him to vote with me last November, he was wearing them, and got sorts of oohs and aahs at our true-blue polling place.

There are some seriously cute - and witty - items available to show your support for your favorite ‘08 Presidential candidate. Here are some of my personal faves:

The “My Mama’s for Obama” tee from ($16-18).

I worship this “A woman for President? Has the world gone sane?”
bib from ($9.99).

Kinda diggin’  this “Bill for First Lady” onesie from too ($13.99).

And, of course, lest we leave out the Rebublicans, the Cheney/Voldemort baseball-style tee from ($22.99).


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Posted by Chelsea on June 02, 2007

I know I tease a lot about wanting my son to grow up an be gay so that he will never leave me for another woman, but the truth is that I don’t wish this for him. Not because I have a problem with homosexuality, but because we unfortunately live in a ridiculously bigoted country where people label acceptance of others with different lifestyles, religions, ethnicities, etc. as “tolerance”. I have always hated that term. “Tolerance”? Like, we “tolerate” people different from us? Ridiculous. Anyway, the real reason I don’t wish this for him is because I would hate to think that he would have to grow up in a country that claims equality, liberty and justice for all, yet still denies homosexuals basic civil rights. What a terrible experience that would be.

It’s no secret that I’m a die-hard, true-blue liberal, but I have yet to get behind one Democratic Presidential candidate thus far. I’m liking a lot of what I hear from Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards, so I’m just going to wait and see what else they say as time passe, and then pick who I’ll support in the primary. Obama, I must say, shot way up on my charts after releasing this, a statement on Gay Pride Month, on his website:

“Pride Month is a reminder that while we have come a long way since the Stonewall riots in 1969, we still have a lot of work to do.”

“Too often, the issue of LGBT rights is exploited by those seeking to divide us. But at its core, this issue is about who we are as Americans. It’s about whether this nation is going to live up to its founding promise of equality by treating all its citizens with dignity and respect.”

“It’s time to turn the page on the bitterness and bigotry that fill so much of today’s LGBT rights debate. The rights of all Americans should be protected—whether it’s at work or anyplace else. “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” needs to be repealed because patriotism and a sense of duty should be the key tests for military service, not sexual orientation. Civil unions should give gay couples full rights. And those who commit hate crimes should be punished no matter whether those crimes are committed on account of race, religion, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

“This Pride Month, let’s make our founding promise of equality a reality for every American.”

Now THIS is the type of person I want running the country in which I raise young people.

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