Red, Blue, Purple and Persnickety

For the first time ever my children and I were confronted about our ‘otherness.’

We are not people of color, we are not minorities in any sense, unless you count being Democrats in a Republican town. We don’t encounter issues with police, or neighbors or well, anyone really. We are lucky to be able to live our lives in relative peace with the world.

Hair!

Except when some people get a glimpse of my tattoos. Or, as is the case this month, I have purple hair (I’ve been dying my hair purple every May for Lupus awareness month…I was a bit late this month, but I made it for the last few weeks of May and now into June) my son has a red streak in his hair, and my daughter’s hair is a nice turquoise. Standing together if you glanced over at us you might see nothing but a rainbow of hair color and the Mom’s wrist tattoo.

I never really think twice about these things. It is just not a big deal. My daughter and I have been dying our hair since the first Lupus awareness month we celebrated back in 2011 or so. This year, my son decided he wanted to dye his hair too…but he wanted red. This lead my daughter to think about blue and well…it didn’t make much difference to my husband and I. It’s just hair. They can do whatever they like.

Yes, they are 9 and 11. For some people. children shouldn’t be making their own decisions about their hair. Especially dying their hair. However we don’t subscribe to this sort of parenting. If they can decide what to wear and how they express themselves through their clothing (so long as it’s weather and age appropriate) we don’t really mind. My daughter spent a few weeks big on fingerless gloves and knee high socks. Cool by us. My son could care less what he wears so long as it’s comfy and he doesn’t have to think about it much. He is, however, very particular about his hair. He likes it long. Also cool by us.

So when we left the grocery store the other day and we were getting ready to load bags into the car I really wasn’t thinking about much of anything, certainly not our hair.

An elderly woman walked towards us saying ‘wow. WOW. wow. WOW. wow. WOW!’ and varying degrees from a whisper to loud to average speaking tone. Looking at us and now openly tsking, she began to shake her head as she uttered her ‘wows’ … and walked past us to get a cart.

The wows and tsks now louder, I finally turned around to confront her, as I could fee her still staring at us as she begged for my attention.

‘You know you are RUINING those children by allowing that ridiculous hair. You are RUINING them! And you doing it too…you encourage this? This.. this… ridiculousness? You are RUINING them!’

I took a breath and looked at the kids who both had their jaws hanging open. My brother has just pulled up with the car and could see something was going on between the woman and I but wasn’t sure what to make of it…

‘We enjoy expressing our individuality…I hope you have a really nice day!’ is all I could get out with a huge smile on my face.

The kids, now realizing what happened had varied reactions but mostly were in shock.

My daughter, with a confused look said ‘Wait…WHAT?’

My son, repeated the woman but in a totally different tone of questioning and confusion, ‘WOW…really?’

We got in the car and on the way home I told them that some people may think we look strange with our hair different colors. And some people probably don’t like my tattoos much either. But do we care what other people think of how we look? Nope. And how much do we love our hair? A LOT…we’re having fun!

They agreed and we laughed and I felt sad for the angry, elderly woman…who clearly was so upset by our hair she absolutely had to confront me. It was shocking to her. This made me sad. Not for us, but for her. To be so angry at people who are different. To be so upset by things that are weird or not the norm.

I wanted to go find her again and give her a hug. Although I’m guessing she doesn’t want one from me. At least not until the purple fades from my hair…

 

A Boycott That Hurts – Target

from Erin Kotecki Vest
to Gregg.Steinhafel@target.com,
Aaron Vest
date Mon, Aug 2, 2010 at 11:12 AM
subject Regarding your donation to Tom Emmer
mailed-by gmail.com

Mr. Steinhafel,

I’m currently headed out the door with a purse filled with cash my family and I earned at our garage sale this past weekend. My five and seven-year old children finally have their own rooms for the first time in their lives, and we’re about to decorate each of them accordingly.

My daughter is a girly-girl and is aiming for pink and purple pillows, curtains, lamps, a throw rug, – the works.

My son needs a new comforter, a rug, and wall decorations. And even Mom and Dad could use some new sheets and a dust ruffle.

Anyway, I just wanted you to know that despite my love for Target, we’re headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Your donation to anti-LGBT candidate Tom Emmer speaks volumes as to what sort of CEO you are, what sort of man you are, and how you feel about equal rights for all Americans.

I’m teaching my kids to respect everyone in this country, not just pay them lip-service and take their money all while voting to take away their rights. No, Mr. Steinhafel, I refuse to teach my children that hate or inequality is acceptable in the United States.

Women control .82 cents on every household dollar, and this woman is taking her control and wallet elsewhere.

Sincerely,

Erin Kotecki Vest
@queenofspain on Twitter

http://queenofspainblog.com

Sea Turtle Relief – My Kids Help the Gulf

Mom, I saw the news. I saw them. They were covered in oil. How can they do that? They were covered in oil and we have to help them. We have to help them now. We have to go there and we have to help them. -Jack

With tears in his eyes my seven-year old son begged me to help the sea turtles in the Gulf. He told his five-year old sister what happened with the oil spill and he insisted our family do something. Insisted.

So we’re doing something.

At Jack’s request I am posting six pictures, hand drawn with great love and care. He would like you to bid for them – with the picture going to the highest bidder and all proceeds going to Sea Turtle relief efforts in the Gulf.

My children have very big hearts, and I really want to show them the world has a big heart too. Help me help them make a difference.

Please bid on the items below by leaving a comment on this post. Please note the picture you are bidding for, what price you are offering,  and where you can be contacted (email, twitter id, etc). The “Sea Turtles are Awesome and Cute” Auction ends July 10th, 2010 at midnight.  ***BIDDING IS NOW CLOSED!!! THANK YOU ALL!!!

All monies collected will be donated to various Sea Turtle Relief org’s helping in the Gulf including but not limited to:

Oiled Wildlife Care Network

Institute for Marine Mammal Studies

And the organizations associated with Plug That Well – a fun game for a cause… go play!

**update! If you have left a bid on a pic or will leave a bid, please leave a comment on Twitter for @jterzieff or on her blog. She will match $5 for every bid! Please do it!

*for those just wanting to make a donation: ($180 was donated via paypal before this was installed so add $180 to the tally below!)


Jack’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #1- current high bid $50

Jack's sea turtle relief creation #1

Hala’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #1- current high bid $60

Hala's sea turtle relief creation #1

Jack’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #2- current high bid $50

Jack's sea turtle relief creation #2

Hala’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #2- current high bid $50

Hala's sea turtle relief creation #2

Jack’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #3- current high bid $60

Jack's sea turtle relief creation #3
Hala’s Sea Turtle Relief Creation #3- current high bid $50

Hala's sea turtle relief creation #3

Father’s Day 2010

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Showtime!

Father’s Day 2010
By the President of the United States

From the first moments of life, the bond forged between a father and a child is sacred. Whether patching scraped knees or helping with homework, dads bring joy, instill values, and introduce wonders into the lives of their children. Father’s Day is a special time to honor the men who raised us, and to thank them for their selfless dedication and love.

Fathers are our first teachers and coaches, mentors and role models. They push us to succeed, encourage us when we are struggling, and offer unconditional care and support. Children and adults alike look up to them and learn from their example and perspective. The journey of fatherhood is both exhilarating and humbling it is an opportunity to model who we want our sons and daughters to become, and to build the foundation upon which they can achieve their dreams.

Fatherhood also carries enormous responsibilities. An active, committed father makes a lasting difference in the life of a child. When fathers are not present, their children and families cope with an absence government cannot fill. Across America, foster and adoptive fathers respond to this need, providing safe and loving homes for children facing hardships. Men are also making compassionate commitments outside the home by serving as mentors, tutors, or big brothers to young people in their community. Together, we can support the guiding presence of male role models in the lives of countless young people who stand to gain from it.

Nurturing families come in many forms, and children may be raised by a father and mother, a single father, two fathers, a step father, a grandfather, or caring guardian.

Read the entire proclamation at WhiteHouse.gov

The Psychology of Gaming: What does the evidence really tell us?

After my appearance yesterday on CNN, I thought it best to delve into this subject matter a bit deeper. I’ve invited Andrea M. Letamendi, M.S. to guest post. She is a contributor at Geek Girls Network and my brother’s girlfriend.

Video games can be considered one of our “informal learning environments” because they inadvertently produce learners who possess a variety of psychomotor and cognitive abilities. For instance, a “side effect,” of leisurely gaming is the development and sharpening of visual-spatial skills, including iconic representation and spatial visualization. Not bad for an after-school activity.).

Very little is known, however, about the specific brain mechanisms involved in prolonged gaming. Through experience, we can only conjecture that neurobiological systems are activated—what else explains the vivid dreams (and sometimes nightmares) involving explosions, gunfire, and dismembered droids that follow four uninterrupted, obsessive hours of Battlefront just before bed? And how might we interpret that subjective feeling we get when we employ a combination successfully or unlock a level? Yes, that feeling—both a psychological and physiological alleviation of tension and resulting micropleasure—that gamers say they unequivocally crave.

Disinterest, boredom, or aversion toward gaming are psychological states that must also be explored for us to better understand the differential appeal of video games. Perhaps you walk past a television screen that’s displaying a baseball game—or Inside Sportfishing, Big Brother, The View, or anything you’re likely to ignore—and the response feels like…neurobiological static. Cerebral silence. Brain crickets. Nothing seems to be firing in any part of your body, let alone your cortex. Your neurological pleasure zones seem to be in hibernation mode despite exposure to vibrant images and sounds. Some people experience this subjective cognitive static when you put a controller in their hands. After the initial shudder—we must wonder, why are some people’s brains aroused by gaming while others experience cerebral static?

Clearly, we need empirical evidence to support any psychological theory of gaming. Unfortunately, the state of the science is far from satisfying gamers and non-gamers alike when it comes to conclusive evidence about personality, neurobiological, or even gender differences explaining the appeal of video games. A few scientific highlights are mentioned here to give readers a sense of the current knowledge in this area—and what we can expect at the next level of scientific discoveries. I, too, hope for an Easter egg.

Personality Traits
Psychologists have found that certain personality characteristics are associated with gaming, and may explain the initial attraction. Online gamers, for instance, score higher on traits of openness, conscientiousness, and extraversion than non-players. These traits drive our motivation to learn and allow for flexibility of “training” (i.e., tolerating trial-and-error in order to master a task). Gamers with these traits are therefore not only eager to learn but operate with resilience and perseverance—characteristics that are certainly necessary for killing those pesky Jedi on Coruscant.

Right: Killing. Research findings about video games that contain violent themes have caused much debate within the mental health community. Without question, violent gameplay is associated with negative psychological traits by today’s sociocultural standards. Child studies, for instance, point to increased hostility and aggressive cognitions among youths who play violent video games. But before we pull the plug and assign a therapist we must take a critical perspective. As consumers of science, we are often thrown a chicken-or-egg dilemma; in this version, we are constantly told that gaming and child aggression are intertwined and yet we’re given little evidence for where or how the cycle began—and if there are any third parties involved (parenting, anyone?). Many American youth are exposed to a lot of television violence, for instance, and do not exhibit abnormal aggression—therefore, mere exposure is not sufficient to explain behavioral effects of violent gaming.

A truly understudied area surrounds initial motivation for violent gameplay. What draws a player toward Halo, Mortal Kombat, or Grand Theft Auto?* Here’s the deal: It is unlikely that any one process or trait fully explains entry into virtual violence. Indeed, scientists are beginning to elucidate the complex systems that may predict a person’s attraction to violent gaming. Preliminary research shows that, even though trait aggression plays a role in predicting some preference for violent content, it was the level of competence and autonomy during gameplay that predicted a person’s desire for violent games overall. This finding may explain the high prevalence of gamers—men and women alike—who are bright, self-directed, and competitive. Anything but hostile.

Brain studies
Brain imaging is, to scientists, what Mad Men’s Joan is to Sterling Cooper: hard to get your hands on and extremely sexy. Neuroimaging studies demonstrate increased activation in areas of the mesocorticolimbic system—essentially the reward system in the brain—during computer gaming. This effect was stronger among males. Scientists posit that the reason men are more likely to spend excessive amounts of time gaming stems from this higher activation in the reward hub of their brains.

”My mesocorticolimbic system is forcing me to play Yu-Gi-Oh!”

A similar study showed increased cerebral blood volume in the prefrontal region of the brain during Donkey Kong play. This finding is highly unsurprising given that this part of the brain is responsible for decision-making and planning. Hurdling barrels apparently requires higher-order thinking.

Perhaps the most sophisticated neuroimaging study on violent gaming is one that employed (a) an actual violent video game, i.e., first-person shooter (see Image 2), (b) gamers, as in people that actually play video games, and (c) state-of-the art measurement of brain activity, i.e., functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).

The study found that experienced gamers had changes in activation in the areas of the brain responsible for regulating emotions. Interestingly, they found that these brain changes occurred during exposure to violent moments of gameplay. In other words, violent scenes, not general arousal associated with gaming, ignited activity in specific regions of the brain. The authors posit that the active suppression of areas responsible for fear and empathy “improves the ability to react precisely in a violent situation and virtually kill opponents” (p. 954).

Addiction studies
With the release of next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) slated for 2012, a new category of mental illness termed “internet addiction disorder” (in which excessive gaming represents one variant) is gaining much attention. Some psychologists posit that certain character traits—perhaps the same ones that lead to alcoholism—may predispose individuals to spend hours online. One study, for instance, found that high levels of aggression and narcissism coupled with low self control is a common profile of individuals with online gaming addictions. However, many psychiatrists and research-practitioners argue that there is not enough evidence demonstrating a neurobiological basis akin to substance abuse disorders to render excessive gaming an addiction disorder.

Gaming makes you fat, depressed, and destined to live in your mother’s basement
A large problem surrounding the public’s knowledge of gaming effects—or any subject, for that matter—is how we receive messages from the scientific community. We can blame media spin (damn manipulating journalists!), a communication deficit on the part of out-of-touch scientists (damn snobby sciencey folk!), or what Carl Sagan describes as our inability to “knowledgeably question those in authority” (damn the increasingly dim-witted American public!). Recently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published findings on health-risk correlates and video game-playing among adults. The term correlates refers to mere associations—while the finding that gaming and high BMI’s go hand-in-hand is compelling, we know little about which came first. The American public, however, will read MSNBC’s article which subtly distorts the CDC’s findings with subheadings and phrases that imply causality. While some journalistic liberties are necessary, the general paradigm goes a little like this:

Direct message: Gaming leads to bad shit.
Indirect message: If you’re a gamer, society will hate you.
Submessage: Don’t be a gamer.

This is a crude representation of one news article, serving only to highlight the important role the media has in communicating scientific findings about things we really care about.

Whether an aptitude or an abnormality, gaming deserves more attention by the scientific community. Increasing knowledge in this area requires strong intersecting roles of technology, neurobiology, and scientific method. And of course, actual gamers!

*Full disclosure: I wrote this after four consecutive hours of Halo. All in the name of science.

References:

Hoeft, F., Watson, C. L., Kesler, S. R., Bettinger, K. E., & Reiss, A. L. (2008). Gender differences in the mesocorticolimbic system during computer game-play. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 42, 253-258.

Kim, E. J., Namkoong, K., Ku, T., & Kim., S. J. (2008). The relationship between online game addiction and aggression, self-control and narcissistic personality traits. European Psychiatry, 23, 212-218.

Mathiak, K., & Weber, R. (2006). Toward brain correlates of natural behavior: fMRI during violent video games. Human Brain Mapping, 27, 948-956.

Nagamitsu, S., Nagano, M., Yamashita, Y., Takashima, S., & Matsuishi, T. (2006). Prefrontal cerebral blood volume patterns while playing video games—A near-infrared spectroscopy study. Brain and Development, 28, 315-321.

Przybylski, A. K., Ryan, R. M., & Rigby, C. S. (2009). The motivating role of violence in video games. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 35, 243-259.

Teng, C. I. (2008). Personality differences between online game players and nonplayers in a student sample. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11, 232-234.

I’m More Intimidated by Cows Than the White House

crossposted at BlogHer.com

I have to admit, when I get driving directions that include “The road is CR 12345, but I think a cow knocked over the sign. Ha!” I not-so-silently freak out a little.

When I see tweets from Ree Drummond that say “My cowlick is violent.” I immediately think one of her calves got loose and attacked her and then I calm down a little and realize she’s probably talking about hair.

It’s not that I don’t love fresh air, and cattle, and beautiful open spaces…it’s that I’m an urban girl and nature scares the bejesus out of me. (For those that can remember my live-tweeting and blogging of a camping trip in West by-god Virginia last year, you will understand. Every sound made me jump and every bug made me scream.)

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Which means Friday as I travel to the middle-ish of the country to The Pioneer Woman’s PIONEER life, I’m a bit more intimidated than when I set foot in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. No really.

Dirt roads scare me more than men in power ties.

BlogHer is filming it’s first episode of “Putting it All Together” – and as the Producer of Special Projects I will be there doing whatever it is I do in these situations. But more importantly, I’ll be wondering if a tornado is coming, running from charging cows (what? cows there must be mean because all the happy cows live in California, duh) and worried what bugs might land on me. EEEW NATURE! GET IT OFF!

Yes, I realize that Ree lives in an actual home and there is running water and everything…but this doesn’t help my irrational mind process that I’m going to a CATTLE RANCH IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE.

It reminds me of the first time my husband took me to see his family in West Virginia. I asked him if it was possible to “fall off” the family mountain. He’s still laughing. No really, over a decade later and he’s still laughing. But in my defense I had never been to West Virginia and he kept talking about this mountain which I assumed was like any other mountain…you know, with cliffs and what not. So let’s just say my “country” living knowledge is very, very limited and therefor I get quickly intimidated in situations such as…oh, say…hopping a plane and traveling to where the wind comes sweeping down the plains.

And BlogHer is used to me in this sort of situation too… in fact, I just sent in my expense report from SXSW where I attempted to make the most of my stay at the Four Seasons. Erin = White House and room service. Erin = Cattle ranch? Do you see the math problems here? Maybe it’s more like Erin = spoiled brat who could probably use a few good nights on the farm…but…I digress.

My kids, however? They think I am the LUCKIEST WOMAN ALIVE and had a very large debate the other night over which they would like to do more: Go to work with Mommy at a cattle ranch or Disneyworld.

And guess what? The cattle ranch won by a long shot.

Cowgirl

So as I pack up yet another suitcase and attempt to NOT throw in things like my emergency earthquake kit (it has rations!) and my red cowboy boots (there are cows, and cowboys, seems like I should be required to wear them, no? or will I be trying too hard to blend?) I’m going to try and let go of my fears and embrace my children’s perspective on my trip to the country: “Mom has the best. job. ever.”

Maybe, before it’s all said and done, my husband’s premonition will be right and I’ll be begging him to sell our house in Los Angeles and buy a farm in the middle of nowhere. In which case I will change my blog name to Queen of Country and trade in my minivan for a truck.

Cause this is how we roll

If all else fails, I’ll have Montana girl and BlogHer CEO Lisa Stone, Sheila, and Loralee there with me to make sure I don’t get into any trouble. Oklahoma is a red state, after all.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog and would much rather talk Health Care Reform than Cattle.

I Do NOT Want To See John Edwards Have Sex

crossposted at BlogHer.com

I’ll admit that I like a good train wreck. Most Americans do. We watch reality TV shows as families squabble and crumble, we see friends fight, lovers break up. We watch and either laugh or sigh. The paparazzi circle and the photos and video spread from computer to computer.

However there’s an added element of voyeurism when a politician is involved. These “leaders” of our cities, states, and country parade themselves from podium to podium discussing important things, such as the economy and health care. They champion causes like fair wages and worker’s rights. They make promises. They debate. They ask to be held accountable.

Then, like John Edwards, they admit to having an affair (ouch), fathering a child with the mistress (double ouch), and find themselves the subject of rumors of a sex tape.

Yes. A John Edwards sex tape.

I think that needs to sink in for a minute. I mean, sure we had The Blue Dress and the lap sitter ala Gary Hart. The foot tapping in airport stalls. But is this the first time we just *might* really see a politician do the nasty?

My mind reels.

A few things immediately hit me when I first heard an Edwards sex tape may exist:

1) I really don’t want to see this man naked.

2) I really want to know if his hair moves during sex.

3) Could this politician sink any lower?

4) Will he ever run for office again?

5) I really do not want to see this man naked.

Never fear though, Emily Miller at Politics Daily says it’s likely I will never see the former senator get it on:

Let’s face it, Young has lied before: He previously claimed paternity of Edwards’ daughter with Hunter, and if we believe him now, was willing to drive his own life over a cliff to cover up for his boss. But he now insists that he became disillusioned when he discovered the sex tape in 2007 … in his friend Hunter’s home. (Gee, was it hidden on the coffee table, along with an open box of chocolates?) Doubtless the motivation of a book contract had nothing to do with Young’s disillusionment … but he’s threatening to reveal more gory details of Edwards and Hunter’s affair in his new book, The Politician, which will be released February 2. Oh, and those who do not want to hear another word about the contents of the (purported?) sex tape should NOT tune in for his interview Friday on ABC’s 20/20.

Yes, our leaders fall from grace and yes we’ve seen public figure after public figure admit to transgression after transgression. John Edwards isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last. However this is the first politician I may ever see have sex. If I watch. Oh who am I kidding, I’m watching.

Lori Ziganto is shielding her eyes though:

On the plus side, perhaps it is just him admiring himself in front of a mirror? Sigh. No, we won’t get off that easily, I suspect. I wonder if he says things like “Oh, yeah, brush my hair just like that” or “Who’s your illegitimate baby daddy?” or “Oh, baby, how do you like my stimulus package?”

Please disappear, John Edwards. Kindly take your icky tape and go to that second America you were always rambling on about.

As someone who talks to staffers up on the Hill daily and occasionally sits down with Congress members, I’m really rather disturbed by this recent trend of naked politicians. Newly-elected Senator Scott Brown’s chest in the middle of Cosmo, the possibility of Edwards on my computer screen moaning and sweating … it’s really more than one political director can take. I mean, let’s be professional for God’s sake! Isn’t this some sort of sexual harassment on the job?

What ever happened to the good old days, way before the Internet, when you paid your mistress some hush money and kept her far, far away? Maybe in another country where the local reporters would never suspect? You even had your staffers tell people you were out “hiking the Appalachian Trail” and no one was the wiser? What happened to “kept” women and wives who quietly said nothing so their husbands could climb that political ladder?

At least then, while the indiscretions were just as pervasive, we didn’t have to WITNESS the acts. Such is life in the age of transparency, easy uploads, and immovable hair.

Contributing Editor, Producer of Special Projects, and BlogHer Political Director Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain Blog

Politics & News Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest

Yes, They Are Having Candy for Dinner- So What Of It?

Cross posted at BlogHer.com

My kids ate popsicles, orange and red to be exact, for breakfast this morning.

Today, about an hour before dinner, they asked for Twinkies while I was cooking. I said “sure, go for it.”

I’m a slacker Mom when it comes to food and I don’t really care who knows it. Ok that’s not entirely true. I care that my husband knows it, because it horrifies him. In fact, I think he stuffs them full of nothing but veggies and fruit on the weekend just to make up for my week filled with junk and meals that aren’t really meals.

I think appetizers are meals. I’m also ok with with those meals that start with ‘Happy’ … I know, I know.

But total truth be told, despite mornings of sugary cereal and lunches that may or may not end in ‘able’ they also eat well. My kids will eat sushi. They eat mussels and clams and slimy things a lot of other kids won’t touch. They will try anything and everything in the name of ‘adventure’ and that makes me proud.

Why? Because I try very hard not to make food an ‘issue.’ They aren’t those kids in the corner who’s only ever had one piece of candy and FREAKS OUT with excitement at a birthday party. Having an ice cream is a ‘treat’ but it isn’t the be all and end all of their day.

They also tend to eat in front of the tv. More than a lot. *gasp*. But hey, even Mocha Momma’s family agrees those sit down dinners aren’t all they are cracked up to be:

Don’t eat with your mouth full of food.

Jesus would think that eating with a mouthful is gross.

Yeah, what would Jesus do with a mouthful of food?

Jesus wouldn’t be mad about that.

No! Jesus would DO that!

Jesus wouldn’t eat with his mouthful. Can’t you hear his mother right now? “Jesus! Close your mouth!”

I think Jesus would want ice cream. Maybe a McFlurry.

For dessert? Oh, for sure. Jesus was all about the McFlurry.

You know, The Last Supper would have required some dessert. Can you imagine that Passover meal? I mean, seriously. Bland, boring food.

What did they eat at The Last Supper?

Unleavened bread. Bitter herbs. All that stuff with cut up apples and raisins. Right? Yuck. Jesus would need a McFlurry to wash away that grossness.”

I mean, there are even moms playing games at the dinner table. So I don’t feel so bad. Location isn’t everything. But I will admit nutrition is important.

My son will choose a mango over a sucker 50% of the time. My daughter eats broccoli raw, straight out of the garden.

But they both also had pizza rolls and twizzlers for lunch. Then again, we had a dinner of whole wheat pasta and turkey meatballs.

It’s all about balance. And moderation. And making food fun and NON serious.

One of my favorite dinner time , light hearted stories comes from Chris at Notes from the Trenches:

“Me: So if you could only have five foods for the rest of your life, what would they be?

Ice cream!
Ice cream!
Candy!
Pancakes!

But, wait a minute, if we had the ingredients tomake those foods couldn’t we make them into different foods instead?

No.

But why?

Because it is my rules and I say no. Only five already prepared foods.

But how would we get them?

Sheesh, I don’t know. They would fall from the sky like manna, okay?

But…

Just go with it, ok?

Soda!
Candy!
CANDY!
Gum!
LOTS OF GUM!!!

Okay, but technically those aren’t foods.

Spaghetti and meatballs.
NY Strip Steak, medium.

Now we are talking.

10 yr old: Brussel Sprouts.

At which point we all turn to look at him, the room falls silent.

Who are you? I ask.

We all laugh.

Do you even like brussel sprouts? someone asks over the laughter.

No. Not really.

The laughter bursts out of all of us”

Laughter at meal time. I love that,and sometimes it doesn’t matter what we’re eating be they popsicles or brussel sprouts.

Contributing Editor Erin Kotecki Vest also blogs at Queen of Spain blog, where her children are sticky faced and malnourished from too many pieces of cake for breakfast.