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Friday, November 21, 2014

I am Ferguson

I live in St. Louis. I may not have been born and raised in this wonderful city, but it is and will always be my home, whether I reside here or not.

When I moved here for a job after college in August 2001, I knew no one and knew nothing about my new home. I was alone, scared and in need of some feeling of belonging. Unfortunately, that was soon to come in the form of one of the greatest tragedies our country has ever experienced: 9-11.

I had the privilege of working at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on the day that 9-11 befell America. I arrived at work between the first and second planes hitting the towers. When I walked into work that morning, I had no idea what was going on, all I knew was that the news floor was on lock-down and people were eerily quite. To say that the experience immediately related me to my fellow St. Louisans is stretch, but it was a large part of the glue that bonded me to this great city.

But before things change in my hometown forever, I would like to talk a little bit about what it is like to be living in such a political hot spot. My family and I live in St. Louis. My husband is a teacher in Ferguson. As a person who suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this entire situation has been one huge trigger for me.

Every day, people in St. Louis wake up scared for when the grand jury announcement will come out. We don't know what's going to happen. We don't know where it is safe to go. We have been advised to stock up on food and supplies because it may not even be safe to go to Target (talk about first world problems). My husband waits daily to hear whether he is to report to school or whether school is canceled indefinitely due to Ferguson no longer being a safe pace for children to learn due to the violence erupting there.

With the Michael Brown grand jury announcement hanging in the air like a thick cloud of poison waiting to descend upon us at any moment, my great city is at the crux of something bigger than the people who make up this thriving metropolis.

It seems that people from across the world have made up their minds one way or another on what happened that fateful afternoon in Ferguson. The problem is, only 12 jurors and a handful of people connected to the jury have all of the facts. Others see a Facebook post or a tweet from Anonymous and believe it as the word of God. I've even seen someone I went to college with post a photo of a police officer macing a child and saying that it happened and Ferguson. It happened in Brazil. In 2011. Things like this are not helping. There are real people stuck in the middle of this and hearsay and misinformed judgment are hurting the good people of Ferguson. The people who are protesting a corrupt and racially biased justice system and the mistreatment of America.

But 99% of the people who are protesting are doing so in a peaceful and productive manner. No matter what the announcement comes out as, what happened was wrong. No matter what the grand jury decides, lives will be ruined. Whether Darren Wilson used excessive force or Michael Brown attacked the officer doesn't really matter. What matters is going forward in a way where things like this don't happen at all so there is no gray area.

There need be no sides. The only side we need is one for change. One that, going forward, things like the killing of Michael Brown, no matter what the logistics of the actual incident were, are black and white. Not in race, but in facts. Whether a young black man used force against a young white officer or a young white officer used force against a young black man, we need to create an environment going forward that allows both of those individuals to thrive and survive without fear of the other.

I don't have all of the facts. I am not one of the 12 men and women who were chosen to take in all of the information and make one of the hardest decisions asked of Americans in decades, so I do not have a side. Because without all of the information, picking a side is just conjecture of my own beliefs on a very volatile situation. All I know is that no matter what decisions comes down from those 12 people, my city and our world as we know it is about to change. For the worse for a while, but eventually, I can only hope, for the better.

If you comment, please do so respectfully or I will drop your comment like a hot rock.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

First world kid problems

My kids complain a lot. Well, not more than most, just 99% more than I want to hear. Which is basically none. Most of the time, it ends up making me laugh though because they complain about shit that is just ridiculous and so first worldly of them. Like their food being too hot or their DVD not loading fast enough. A few of you shared some of you kids' first world problem and photos with me and thus was born my first edition of First World Kid Problems. Enjoy.

Have pics of your kids being whiny assholes or first world problems you want to see published in my next post? Send them to me at ilikebeerandbabies @!

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

Friday, November 14, 2014

How to make holiday shopping painless (when you don't have a bottle of tequila).

Our house is overrun with toys. I feel like at any minute the toys will start overflowing and Barbies and Legos will start pouring out of our windows like popcorn in the movie Real Genius. Every year around this time I make an effort to go through what the kids have outgrown or have duplicates of and donate the like-new toys to Toys for Tots. But that only brings the situation from threat level red to orange.

But, alas, the time of year has come where even more plastic crap will soon be making its way into our house thanks to the wonderful and loving people who are our well-meaning family and friends. I am incredibly grateful that anyone is generous and thoughtful enough to buy my kids gifts. But sometimes common sense just doesn't enter the gift-giving process.

Here is a list of a few things to not buy my kids for Christmas this year (or ever):

Things that are way over my kid's pay grade 
A lot of gifts we receive are for kids that are more than twice their age. This is lovely and all, but the toys basically sit and collect dust until my kids can understand them and by the time they can, I have either buried them under three tons of other crap, or they are so completely uncool that my kids wouldn't touch them with a 10-foot pole. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle erector sets, grandma? These are so 2014.

Things that are choking hazards
On the same age-appropriate note, though one of my kids is old enough to play with toys with small pieces, the other is not. So buying my 4-year-old Polly Pockets is AWESOME until she plays them with her 2-year-old brother and says, "Here, play with this tiny shoe. I hope you choke on it."

Things that take up an entire room People like to be generous when giving gifts to kids. Which is freaking awesome. Except when their generosity comes in the form of toys that take up an entire room. Though the 16-foot blow-up ball pit was a super awesome score for the kids, I now have to watch TV while sitting in the middle of it.

Toys that my kid obviously already has
Wow, a set of blocks? I TOTALLY never thought to get my 4-year-old blocks. You are a genius. Let me put these right next to the 16 other sets of blocks she has because she is FOUR and not a homeless child who lives on the street.

Things that require D batteries
Seriously. Just stop. Those things are like $5k a piece and each toy that uses them needs at least four of them to work. And then 15 minutes later…it needs four more. Mama is broke and that toy is ANNOYING!

Things that require ninja-like skills to assemble
If it takes more than five minutes to assemble, please, please, please either assemble it before you give it to them or don't buy it. Christmas sucks major ass when we are in the middle of 3,000 tons of empty boxes and wrapping paper and my kids just HAS TO play with Barbie's ski chalet RIGHT NOW. I am still in my pajamas and haven't had any wine yet, so I am not prepared to work an allen wrench, hammer and power saw to put Barbie's winter timeshare together right now. OK, stop crying. I will just get some duct tape and super glue and this shit is on.

He got another set of blocks...

But in our family, we don’t just have to navigate the gift-giving hell that is Christmas, we also have to figure out what to do for the kids birthdays. Because for some reason I am only fertile during times that will end with my children being born during the shitstorms that are Thanksgiving and Christmas. So, yeah, I have THREE gift-giving holidays coming up. JOY!

The mere thought of organizing all of the gifts needed for birthdays and Christmas, then relaying said requests to the interested parties, makes my eye twitch. But I have found a way to get it all done in a way that doesn't end with me wanting to punch a kitten: Giftster.

Giftster let me make a list for everyone in my family and then add crap to the lists from all over the internets. Then I just email the link to my list to my friends and family who ask what everyone wants. Here are my lists for Me, ADD Daddy, The Cool Cucumber and The Quiet Contemplator.

So far I have added stuff from Target, Blik, Amazon and even a site for a race series that I want to enter. And to thwart more plastic from sneaking its way into my house, I have added links for concerts my kids would like, Zoo memberships and dance classes. Because how freaking cool would it be for Grandpa to take them to see Frozen on Ice so Mommy doesn’t have to? Right?

So, basically, I am winning at the whole birthday/Christmas thing this year thanks to Giftster. And you can suck it, Santa.

If you share this post, I will buy you a pony. I suck at Twitter. I am OK at Facebook. Pinterest is my bitch. I am also on Bloglovin' and Instagram.

This post was sponsored by Giftster but you Boozehounds know I would NEVAH EVAH subject you to anything I didn't think was amazeballs on my own. For realzies. 

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