Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Here we go again! My kids don't suck and that sucks.

It appears my children suck at sucking or should I say suckling. After Jack was born he gave me fits when it came to breastfeeding. He had his tongue clipped twice to try to remedy his tongue tie yet it seemed like he'd never latch correctly. As I've mentioned in previous posts, we experienced blood, sweat and tears in those early days (and yes, I mean all three). During our battle at the breast, he lost weight. This is not unusual for a breastfed baby, but he lost too much. Early on I gave him donor milk, one bottle of formula and then pumped like I was the last cow on earth forced to provide milk for all the people in the land. I am a woman who gets stuff done. When I recognized there was an issue, I wanted it fixed immediately. I saw experts and Googled the heck out of breastfeeding. I watched countless YouTube videos. I finally had to recognize that I'm a bit more of a control freak than I had realized and that doesn't always work in the wonderful world of mommyland. All that said, when Jack was eight weeks old, we finally got in sync, and he was able to feed straight from mama (I also had a crazy stash of milk saved by this point which came in handy when I went back to work, but I would have given that up if it had meant an easier breastfeeding experience.)

This time was going to be different. I was sure of it! I apparently did not learn my lesson on needing to give up my control freak flag. I wanted a VBAC (vaginal birth after csection) partially because I wondered if the csection stunted my breastfeeding experience with Jack. I decided against an epidural because I'm a little stubborn and crazy (I'll likely blog about that pain-filled, beautiful experience at a later date) but also because I thought it could affect breastfeeding or lead to other interventions that could affect breastfeeding. I was committed to making sure this little one would feed from mama immediately.

Yet here I am. Hooked up to a machine and pumping roughly every three hours around the clock once again. It started about a week after Emilia was born. She, like Jack, started losing weight, but she seemed interested in breastfeeding. The day my milk came in, she even gained an ounce so it appeared we were on the right track. But days later, I noticed she seemed sleepy yet always hungry. I became worried when I realized she might not be having as many wet diapers as she should. Dehydration is serious business for anyone but especially a tiny human who is under 7 pounds. I followed my gut and made an appointment with a lactation consultant nearby. Thank God! I was shocked to see the weight on the scale. She was down nearly 13% from her birth weight. (10% or more is typically cause for some concern). I immediately got to work pumping and feeding. I was stunned and felt defeated to see how small my supply was at first. I again used some donor milk and when she still did not seem satisfied I supplemented with formula. A week after that low point in her weight, she had gained more than 12 ounces. And as each day passes, my supply seems to increase. I no longer have to supplement with formula to satisfy this little gal. I've also seen glimpses of her interest in breastfeeding. Still just glimpses, but it's something.

You may be wondering what the issue is. Me too. Several experts have told me it just might be a case of our bodies not really being compatible. Basically my babies and their itty bitty mouths have to grow into feeding. That's the working thesis at least.

I'm writing this for many reasons. First of all, I just wanted to remind everyone to follow their mommy instinct and lean on others for support. My only regret is that I felt there was a potential problem, and I waited a day instead of acting immediately, but still I acted. It's important we trust ourselves if we think something is wrong. My pediatrician and a couple lactation specialists reiterated the importance of this, and I love that they encouraged me to speak up!!! If you have a doctor who seems bothered by your questions and phone calls, find another.

And I wanted all you moms of newborns out there to know, it's tough. It's tiring and it's tough. If you feel this way, you're not alone. But you've got this! And when it comes to your children and your wants you should fight for what you believe in even if it seems a little silly or crazy.

We parents certainly don't have control over a lot, but that doesn't mean we have to completely drop the reins. (Seemed fitting to end with a horse/farm analogy since I feel like a cow. Happy milking!)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

So long, mommy martyrdom

I get tired. I get stressed. I think, why do I work so much? I think, will I wake up one day in the future and regret not spending more time at home. Sometimes that evil envy feeling creeps into my brain, and I wish I could stay-at-home with my son. You likely have it too. Stay-at-home moms, I imagine you see working moms showered and dressed with coffee in hand and think you'd love to step away from the kids for a bit. To have an adult conversation that isn't interrupted with the words or thought, 'did you just poop?"

Let's admit it. We get a little jealous. We get curious. Let's call it those things. Let's stop thinking other moms have it so much easier.

A very good friend of mine recently texted me and asked me to read a blog article. My friend is a stay-at-home mom with three young kids. She finds time to teach exercise classes while also just being a kick ass wife and mama. She was successful when she held a career, but this set up is what her family has chosen. She'll admit there are challenges. I work full time. I will also say my career/family life has difficulties. Again, it's the one my family has chosen. That makes us pretty damn lucky.

Back to that blog, my friend wanted me to read the article which had a funny scenario about what if a corporate work place and coworkers were like managing a home and little kids. It pointed out the ridiculousness kids put parents through on a daily basis and how parents are constantly struggling to get things done in the midst of the chaos. It made me laugh. But before it made me laugh, it made me roll my eyes. It had to set up the scenario by stating that working moms have it "easy." My friend shared it with me because she saw another person post it on Facebook. That woman, who works full time, found it offensive. My friend wanted my opinion.

We chatted about it.

But here's my overall opinion. Why are we so obsessed with losing? I mean, I guess in the battle for having a harder life, you could call the person with the most self-defined challenges the winner, but I kinda think they're losing when it comes to life outlook. And why do we want that? And we want it bad.

It's not just the work/stay-at home thing either. It's everything. When it comes to breastfeeding or not, using disposable diapers or not, hiring outside help or doing it all ourselves, having a pet, having a c-section, and on and on and on....it seems so many women want to tell you why their life scenario is tougher.

Trust me. I have had my share of pity parties. I think it helps to purge your feelings from time to time. But ladies, I don't know about you, but my back can't handle a giant chip on my shoulder. It's already screaming from carrying a baby in my belly and a squirmy 2-year-old on my hip. Excess weight, be gone.

So how about we focus on being above the jealousy. How about we focus on winning. Let me start.

I chose a career that I love. A career that I feel passionate about. I have a husband who is incredibly supportive and an amazing father. He pursues his own career and spends a ton of time with our son. Sure, I sometimes wish I stayed home. Sure, I wonder how things will change with two kids. But overall, I like my life. It's not perfect, but it's really quite good. Not trying to humble brag here. You won't find a #soblessed. I'm just saying it because it's true.

My heart hurts for people who have had unwanted obstacles in their lives that are truly difficult to navigate. And there are people who have been dealt some crappy hands. But if your biggest challenge is deciding whether or not you wanted to stay home with the kids, you probably haven't had it too rough. Admit that. Own that. Love that. Be proud of that. Feel good for yourself.

Bottom line, instead of bowing down to the jealousy and guilt gods and seeking mommy martyrdom, how about we have a new mantra. How about we want to win. And after that win, let's get together and have a celebratory wine/beer/champagne toast (when I'm no longer pregnant, that is).

Monday, September 12, 2016

Room for the love. So much love.

Sunday conversation:

My husband: Didn't we have a list of people to text and email when Jack was born? Didn't we have a pre-written note with just blanks to fill in? Do we need that again?

Me: We'll just post it on Facebook. Second child. People will understand.


Monday conversation:

My mom: So do you think so-and-so can help you prepare diapers and things for the baby?

Me: Diapers?

My mom: I meant bottles and other things like that.

Me: Crap. I totally forgot I'm gonna need to buy newborn diapers. What else do I need?


The "not-my-first" child conversations are real. Most of them are pretty humorous. It's amazing how much time and energy is sucked up by child number one. And how you somehow feel both completely unprepared for baby number two and also experienced enough as a parent to tackle the chaos that will soon ensue.

That's the brain stuff. The preparation. I've sorta given into the fact that I am a little flighty this time around. It's the heart stuff that makes my brain hurt.

You see, I work. A lot. I love my career. I always wanted children, but I also always thought I could be equally fulfilled in other ways. Then my baby came along. The thought of him twists up my mind. On cue, I promise this is not made up, a second ago my phone dinged with a new text. My husband sent a pic of Jack in a grocery cart made for toddlers. He's at the wheel with the biggest grin on his face. Tears immediately welled in my eyes. 

Yes, I'm oddly emotional and pregnant, but I am also simply oddly emotional about this little boy. The child who has replaced my morning alarm clock. Instead of waking to a weird, obnoxious noise, I wake to loud yells of "Mama. Maaaaamaaaaaa. Mama?" Before the 10 p.m. newscast starts I pull up my video app to watch him fast asleep.

I don't understand where this love came from. It's sooo intense.

And somehow I'm going to find room for more of this love? How is that even possible? I know I will love this next baby just as much, but it seems impossible. I think my heart or mind or something might burst. (I'll tell you this much, I also feel like my dress might burst-but that's a different blog. 30 weeks+ pregnant is not the most comfortable I've ever been).

Back to the love. Moms and dads before me, how do you do it? Parents of 3, 4 or more kids (P.S.-you're saints) how do you do it?

I'm worried that my relationship with my husband could suffer. I'm worried my "me time" could suffer. And I'm worried my bond with that adorable toddler who can make me weep with a smile could suffer. I guess the truth is, it could. And that's most of my worry. I know the balance will fall on my shoulders. I also know there are so many mamas who have walked before me who have done an incredible job. Thank you for being an inspiration. I guess I just need to trust that as my belly gets smaller my heart/brain/whatever the heck it is that stores mama emotion will swell larger and fill with love for a person I have yet to meet.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

HELP!!! I can't find the brakes!

It's like I'm driving full steam ahead, and I can't find the brakes...wait...that's not exactly right...it's like I'm in a weird dream where I do not even comprehend the brakes exist.

I mean, I keep going and going, weeks seem to pass by like days and suddenly I wake up, and I'm in my third trimester!

I believe I've complained about pregnancy enough to suggest that I would like time to fly by, but now as I look at my large belly, I am reminded that SOON there will be a baby.

I know I am not the first, heck, I'm not even the billionth mother to complain about how time speeds up when you have kids, but HOW DOES THIS HAPPEN???

I spent my first pregnancy watching weekly video updates about the progress of my pregnancy. I took monthly pictures to show my belly changes along the way. I even read books that gave me week-by-week updates. Now, I have to double check my brain to figure out how many weeks pregnant I am. I set each doctor appointment four weeks apart and every time they pop up on my phone calendar for the week, I'm stunned another month has passed.

I think the difference is free time isn't really a thing when you're a parent with a young child. This isn't a pity party post. Not at all. I'm not whining about how I long for free time, I'm just factually stating it doesn't really exist anymore. Sure, I have time away from my son. I have time to do things I enjoy. But I have to put in some effort to make that time happen. I have to plan and arrange. And I only have one kiddo in my life. During my pre-kid life, I just did whatever the heck I wanted to do most of the time. 'I feel like getting a manicure, okay, I'll do that now.' 'I feel like going to lunch, okay, I'll call someone and do that now.' 'I feel like going to the bathroom by myself. I will.' None of those things happen without a few steps these days.

And when you have no free time, the minute and hour hands on the clock hit a warp speed that defy the rules of physics. It's just science, people.

So now here I am, looking at the calendar thinking there is no way it's September. There's no way summer is essentially over. There is no way I will have another little person in my life before winter kicks in. There's just no way!!

I also seem to have this false sense of security that I'm prepared for a baby because I recently had one. But I'm not really sure that's true. I don't have a plan for my toddler when I go into labor. I haven't done inventory on all of our bottles and miscellaneous baby gear. I haven't had to because, again, my head thinks we have plenty of time! Thank goodness for my mom. Her recent visit helped me get moving on Operation Baby. And even though some of the baby prep conversations are not among my husband's favorites, he's been really receptive to listening to my thoughts on things we should be doing. 

Because somehow, this is happening, and relatively soon there will be a new little, squishy, beautiful baby in my arms!! And bottom line, I CANNOT WAIT!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Love in the littlest details

I am not Little Suzy Homemaker, I'm a far cry from Martha Stewart in the making and as much as HGTV has convinced me that I, too, can have the design sense of Joanna Gaines, in actuality, I don't.

But I like projects, and I've always been partial to decorations and furniture that tell a story.

When my son was born, my husband's family reminded me that we could use the furniture that my father-in-law first made nearly 40 years ago. It included a crib, changing table, nightstand and dresser. My brother-in-law used the crib as a baby, then my husband, then my nephews. And now Jack. It was pretty incredible to think about the love and memories in these pieces of wood.

I wanted to jazz it up a little though and decided to buy new knobs and pulls for the drawers and cabinets. My father-in-law encouraged me to make it my own. I went with plain white and then painted them with various zoo animals that matched Jack's quilt (which was made by his great grandmother).

Now that baby #2 is set to arrive, I started thinking about nursery ideas. Jack is keeping some of the furniture in his room because I'm not ready to splurge on a full, new set for him, and the nursery is a dual purpose room (1/2 my closet-I blame my profession). I couldn't pick a unisex theme so I found some sheets I liked, and I'm going to do a focus on aqua geometrical shapes with a punch of yellow. The crib and changing table will go in the nursery so once again I decided to spruce up the pulls. I took off the old paint and put on a new design. 

It's not much. I'm sure neither of my kids will even remember them when they're older, but sometimes it feels good to make a house a home with a few, tiny touches. Sure, they don't look as good as something Suzy or Martha would do, but Made by Mom is nice too.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Life translated by a pregnant person

I get it. We have hormones that are off the charts weird. We have a tiny being that looks like a tadpole, then an alien, then an itty bitty human growing inside of us while siphoning food, drink and I'm not sure what else. Our bodies are ebbing and flowing in a way that does not make sense. Everything seems to be popping out: my stomach, belly button, acne, boobs, I hear some ladies' feet grow. But what I'm about to talk about has nothing to do with a pregnant woman's perception or a pregnant woman's brain. It has everything to do with erybody else.

What you say to a pregnant person: "Wow! Are you sure there is just one baby in there?"

What we, pregnant people, hear: "Oh wow!! Move out of the way! Shamu is coming through. Could you get any bigger?!?" I realize this is always said in a manner where the person is trying to show empathy toward the pregnant person. Bad move. Just back away slowly. Now you made hormonal Shamu angry.

What you say: "I see you got Starbucks. I bet that baby is kicking today."

What we, pregnant people, hear: "Why are you trying to do permanent damage to your child? Caffeine
is a no no."

What you say: "You look great! I couldn't even tell you're pregnant."

What we, pregnant people, hear: "You don't look pregnant, you just look like you've put on some pounds." Cuz let's face it, my scale and clothes aren't lying. So if you think I don't look pregnant, you've definitely been wondering if I've been eating too many DQ blizzards. Oh yeah, I have.

What you say: "Are you planning on getting an epidural?"

What we, pregnant people, hear: "If you can't have a child naturally you obviously aren't a real woman."

What you say: "Are you planning on delivering without an epidural?"

What we, pregnant people, hear; "Girl, you're crazy! What's wrong with you?"

What you say: "We should hang out!"

What we, pregnant people, hear (especially in 3rd trimester): "I would like to make you shower, get ready and be nice to people in a space that is not your bed or couch."

What you say: "You've got that glow. I'm not sure what it is. There's definitely something different in your face. I could tell."

What we, pregnant people, here: "Your acne is really noticeable, and I think you're already bloating. Oh yeah, you look REEEEALLY tired too."

I remember compiling some thoughts after pregnancy number one. I then had an ah-ha moment and told my husband, "I'm going to write a book about things you shouldn't say to a pregnant woman." His response, "that's gonna be a short book and it'll go something like this, 'Things not to say to a pregnant woman: everything. Don't say a thing. They'll interpret it wrong.'" Maybe there is something to be said for the hormonal changes...nah...we're right, the rest of the world is crazy. :-)

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The pictures you see. The moments you don't see.

A photo of my son on a bike. A snapshot of him playing with his cousins. In a lake. In a boat. At the zoo. Eating frozen custard with Grannie. Tossing a ball to Grandpa. My husband playing basketball with our son. My mother-in-law watching a parade. The older nieces hanging out a music festival. Mini golf. Sand castles.

As I went through countless photos from vacation (okay about 121) I worked to mark the very best images so I could then make one massive post about our week-long trip. My non-Facebook-loving husband even said to me, "where's your Facebook post about our trip? I'm looking forward to all the pictures."

You get to see these photos. They will be proudly displayed on my Facebook page with a caption about the week spent visiting family and friends. There are no lies in these images. They all happened. The smiles are real. But they aren't the complete story. 

My husband and I recently had a conversation about the rose-colored world that is Facebook. I know we've all felt it. I certainly have. I scroll through the photos and posts and see happy families. Kids who never cry. Husbands and wives who never fight. Parents and adult children who never struggle through the changes of an aging relationship and differing roles. 

On Facebook, people have awesome lives. 

We can sit here and complain about how it can taint our perception about how life should be and make us feel inadequate or we can just accept it and enjoy it. When you walk into my home I have pictures framed on my walls. They're of happy times. They make me smile. They make me feel comfortable. That's why I hang them. But wanna know a secret? Before that first professional photo shoot I spent hours in a postpartum state trying to find the perfect sweaters for my husband and I to wear. There were tears. (We went with basic black. This should not have been an emotional, stressful endeaver). My son's one-year photo shoot lasted about 15 minutes. He broke down rather quickly. 

And this Facebook post is no different. It occurred to me as I paged through the smiling faces that our vacation seems perfect. I could post them and let you all believe that. But let's be real. There were fights before and during. At one point we had five adults and four kids staying in a three bedroom home. There was bickering. My pregnant self cried. The pictures don't show that. Does that mean that Facebook is false and unfair? And harmful to people? 

I don't think so. I think instead we should simply see Facebook as a written record. Like pictures hanging on a wall or a photo album, they do not tell the whole story. They are snapshots taken to freeze a moment in time. But as we know, life is much more fluid and sticky than that. Still it's fun to share the good and remember these picturesque moments.


Thursday, June 23, 2016

When trying is tiring

You spend a good chunk of your life being scared out of your mind that if you look at a boy wrong YOU COULD GET PREGNANT.

Then you want to get pregnant and realize, it's not that easy. If you're under the age of 20 please do not read this blog. I would like you to still believe that it is crazy easy and then be petrified about that fact.

I realize for some couples, it IS a cinch. They decide, hey, let's have kids, then they go to bed, wake up and presto, new life is growing inside of them. (I *may* have skipped a step). Not for some of us older folks though.

And I know I shouldn't complain because in actuality we had it pretty easy. I've had one chemical pregnancy or possibly a false positive test (by the time I got the blood test my hCG levels were at 0). It was sad, disappointing, confusing, frustrating, and a bunch of other emotions. Still, I do not pretend to know what it's like to go through the pain of failed pregnancies and pregnancy attempts. Every month that passes feels like a long time, but I know people spend many, many months, even years and a lot of money and tears on the process. My thoughts are with each and every one of you.

That said, I still find it all stressful. So many questions circulating in my head:

1) Why are there so many things to pee on? Ovulation kits, pregnancy tests. Can I get an amen from the women who wish they could swab their tongue and be on their way instead of peeing on a stick?

2) How many apps does one person need? I have downloaded several. I don't know why I now consider it normal to write down every time we do the deed, but mark it down I do. I am a tracking machine. There is a science to it, dang nabbit, and I will figure it out and ace this test.

3) When can I test? Or should I wait. wait. wait. some more. I think pregnancy test companies should have to stop trying to compete in terms of when you could get a positive. 3 days before a missed period. 6 days. I can't keep track. And it just makes me feel compelled to pee on more sticks. I have marked my territory on far too many things.

4) Why is there soooo much information online? Here's the thing. I am a news reporter. I believe knowledge is power. But at some point I feel like we may have gotten a little too accustomed to knowing everything now. I have googled about two dozen odd observations about my health followed by "early pregnancy symptom" over the years. And guess what, I can inevitably find someone who experienced that same thing and got pregnant. This does not help me and just cuts into my sleep time.

5) Do guys realize what we do? I should probably be honest with myself and recognize that most women probably aren't as crazy as I am either. But I am certain men aren't this wound up over the topic.

Good thing I have a husband who embraces my crazy and is not turned off by it. Because...well...turning him off probably wouldn't help the process very much.

(NOTE: I obviously wrote this before becoming pregnant with our second child!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Two different men. One cherished title. Dad.

Would he have liked me?

It's a question my husband has asked me about my dad. The two never got a chance to meet each other. My dad died about six years before I met my husband.

I remember when he first asked the question I paused. I wanted to immediately give him the reassuring yes he sought even if outwardly he acted like he didn't care that much. But it was tough because, you see, I did not "marry my father." I married a man who is very different.

My dad was a contemplative, cynical, dry-sense-of-humor guy. He seemed to add syllables to words just so they were drawn out longer for him to think through his every thought before they were shared with others. Perhaps he was also conjuring up a rebuttal in case someone delivered one. The man liked to debate.

My husband, on the other hand, wears his heart on his sleeve most of the time. He's definitely an intelligent thinker, but he's more of a doer. He's the man who says what he thinks and feels sometimes before he's thought through the consequences. He often questions my need to question everything.

You see I'm not the girl who married the man like her father because I am a lot like my father.

Years ago I may have pondered my husband's question. Don't get me wrong, my dad would have liked my husband, there's not much not to like. But I wanted to give a deeper answer. Would he have enjoyed spending time with him? Would they have been friends?

But as time passes I realize I can never fully answer those questions because we'll never really know what their relationship would have been like.

I can say this though. My dad would have loved my husband in the most unconditional way. And here's why I know that. He would have seen how much my husband loves me. And he would have seen how much my husband adores his son, my father's grandchild. How much our son believes his daddy is the center of the universe. And these two men who valued their titles as father above any other roles in their life would have had the utmost love and respect for each other.

Happy Father's Day to all men who are proud to be called: Dad.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Dear son, if you rape someone I will not make excuses for you

Something flips when you become a mom. Or at least it did for me. As much as I think it's important to always maintain an independent identity, it is now impossible to not see myself as someone's mom. It changes how I view things, how I think about things, how I behave.

I cannot imagine a scenario where I do not love my child. This feeling in my brain, heart and soul is unconditional. I can, however, imagine situations where I do not defend his actions.

As much as I am a mom. I am a human being. I am a woman. And I am proud of that.

The case of the former Stanford swimmer who raped a woman makes me physically ill. It is indefensible. The family of the rapist seems to think it's more an issue of sexual promiscuity or binge drinking. I knew a lot of people who slept around in college. I knew a lot of people who drank too much in college. Heck, some of them were total jerks too. They weren't rapists. That is something different. You can address issues of sex on campus or alcohol on campus if you think those are problems, but do not think they are the reason this happened. Again, plenty of people get drunk or sleep with people they barely know. It takes a different kind of person to rape someone. It takes a criminal.

(If you would like to read more about the case here is a recent report by CBS News with links to previous reports.)

I've always been the type of person who tries to put myself in the position of a victim in a given situation. I wonder what they felt, how a moment changed their life. I've thought numerous times about what it might be like to be a victim of sexual assault. I hurt for those people who have had themselves violated in a way that makes them uncomfortable in their own body.

This, however, was the first time I ever put myself in the position of the other side.

I read the letter the rapist's father wrote. It made me angry. And then I thought about myself. I can sit here and say I will show my son the world and open his eyes to the difficulties others face, but the truth is, he likely will grow up with some sort of white, middle-class privilege. I know I will do everything I can to teach my son that women are to be respected, that he has no right to harm another person in any way, that there are consequences to our actions. I will teach him right from wrong. I would like to say there is no way my son could become a bad guy and certainly no way he could become a criminal. I hope I'm right.

Let's say I'm not. Let's say my son does the unthinkable. I vow to not make excuses. I vow to value myself as a woman and forever defend all women who are victims of all kinds of abuse. We are in this together. Men, we need you too. I will always love my child, but I do not think he deserves a world that serves him and harms others. I will not make excuses if he does the inexcusable. Because maybe that's the first step in making sure I don't raise a person who believes he is above the law, a person who does not feel empathy toward others, a person who can rape.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Dance like no one is watching

We hear this phrase all the time: dance like no one is watching. Jack and daddy have that down! I thought this was too cute not to share. Love my boys.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Pregnancy number two is DIFFERENT

You are talking to me. I think I am responding. We are holding a conversation about the weather or your family or your upcoming vacation. I don't know. I can only focus on my breastfeeding organs. They hurt. They hurt a lot. They feel huge. Like when you used to have water balloon fights, and you'd accidentally fill one with too much water, and it would bounce and stretch and it appeared like it could explode at any second. That's what's happening with my chest.

I know this is not visible to other people, but this consumes way too many of my thoughts. Well, when I'm not thinking about how tired I am, whether this nausea is going to get worse, how my back is already hurting or wondering if people notice my bulging belly. I'm six weeks pregnant. How in the world can it already be bulging? 

I got really into pregnancy number one. Like many of you I took monthly pictures to watch my body change and grow. I thought it was beautiful and special. And it is. But this time that special beauty seems to be on the fast track. Slow down, Nelly. We've got 34 more weeks. There's plenty of time to look pregnant. My first month picture looks like my 3rd or 4th month picture with baby number one.

I'm convinced I'm having twins.

I've heard the stories, I've read the articles, heck I've watched friends plump out a bit faster with their subsequent pregnancies, but this is insane.

I'm the girl who gets bloated and then shows my belly to my husband asking if it looks as huge as I think. Typically I do this and he shakes his head or leaves the room. These days he starts laughing and tells me to stop purposely pushing out my stomach. I'm NOT! Six weeks pregnant, people. Some people (people who are not as obsessively crazy as I am) don't even realize they're pregnant at this point.

To my friends, family and coworkers, I wish you luck. Because if I'm going to be really honest, I also have seemed to think my life needs a major, drastic change lately. Perhaps...and again...I'm only saying perhaps...that could be because my hormones are also all amok. I like to believe I'm in control of my emotions more than this so I may not concede to this one quite yet but just be ready if you're going to be around me.

Brace yourself folks, it's gonna be a long 3/4 of a year.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

It's just a trailer yet it's already our anthem

Can I get an Amen from all the ladies who watched the Bad Moms' trailer today, and thought, I.MUST.WATCH.NOW.

In case you have yet to watch it:

I felt like a zombie, like a member of a cult, and this was my leader speaking to me. It spoke to me.

I mean, c'mon, first of all you've got Mila Kunis. Hot. Cool. Sexy. Bad Ass. Love her. Slight girl crush.

Then, Kristen Bell. I may have watched her Africa video with Dax and imagined my husband and I surrounded by the giraffes, zebras and lions. I think I want to be them in a non-creepy, I still like my life way. She also rocked an adorable, "I'm just on vacation" bandanna. Casual fashion never looks effortless for me...especially on my head or face. Huge fan. Oh yeah, and the girl can sing.

Kathryn Hahn. I must admit, I'm not as familiar, but what's not to love? How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Anchorman. She's done more recent work, but I'm a boring mom who rarely watches the new releases.

My son is only 1.5. I haven't dealt with school dropoff, bake sales, classroom parties, hypo-allergenic birthday treats, teacher gifts, class projects, holiday shows, school carnivals - but they scare me.

I exist on deadlines. You would think this makes me prompt and organized. No, it means I am always pushing the deadline. I'm a procrastinator who runs late far more often than I'm proud of.

I also work long hours. I enjoy my work. I also love my son. I miss my son while I'm at work. I dream about inventing the next pet rock or Boppy so I never have to work again. But then I worry I would lack substance without my work. In other words, I have every cliche thought about work/family balance that most women have.

I also have trouble saying no. Therefore, I'll likely get myself in binds as a parent that will have my husband asking, "why did you agree to do that," as I'm frantically trying to cook/bake/make something at the last minute. I will likely reply by spitting daggers at him - not pretty, just honest.

This trailer also shows women drinking and partying. I like drinking and partying! Sure, I don't really do it anymore, but just because I became a mom doesn't mean I turned in my "I like to have fun" card.

I will say this though. Judging from the number of women sharing and commenting about this trailer on social media I'm left to believe one thing - we all feel the struggles to be the perfect mom. And if we all feel that way then it seems logical to conclude that no one is the perfect mom. At least not in the way we tell ourselves a mom should be perfect. And let's be honest, that perfect mom would probably suck to hang out with. (Sorry this sit-com closure ending brought to you by a woman who grew up watching Full House and Saved by the Bell.)

Sunday, April 24, 2016

I resolve (about four months late) to finally publish and own my New Year's resolution

I resolve to feel less guilty about everything. I grew up surrounded by Catholic guilt. Catholic guilt has nothing on "mommies trying to be everything to everyone" guilt. And yes this resolution is now getting published months late, but I will not apologize for that. See, I'm sticking to my decision.

In the past year-plus, I've read a crap ton of mommy blogs and articles. A lot are awesome. A bunch are funny. Some make me feel awful. I read it and then I read the comments and then I feel like I cannot speak without offending someone. They touch on everything: things you shouldn't say to someone who is overweight, underweight, pregnant, married, single, the mom of twins, the mom of six kids, the mom of adopted kids, the woman who has no children. I'm exhausted. I've learned to keep my pie hole shut. And that makes me sad. So I've resolved to speak and think with good intentions and also not feel bad about choices I'm making in life. I'm going to own what I'm doing, how I'm living and I'm going to support others doing the same.

I remember reading an article about why you shouldn't ask someone if they're having children or if they would like to have more children. I thought, oh shoot, I've asked that. I'm a bad person. But I'm not. I didn't ask it to pry or bring up painful issues in their lives. I asked it because I was curious, interested and because I care. I also knew that if that person said she didn't want to talk about it, I would respect it. Heck, if she said, I feel uncomfortable about that issue, I would understand.

I lost my father to cancer when I was 23. I can't imagine someone asking questions about my father and then being offended and thinking they should know it's a tough topic for me. That's not how we connect to people and understand them and become better people. I remember one of the best things a friend said to me after my dad died was, "I didn't call right away because I had no idea what to say." Honesty. Loved it. It was real.

I've also spent too much of my life looking through the world in passive-aggressive colored sunglasses. Someone will ask, "oh your son has a cough" and I immediately whine to my husband, "they think I should take him to the doctor" "why are they questioning how I parent." Then I feel guilty about being a bad parent. But maybe instead of getting ticked off, I should have said, "you seem to have experience in this department, is there anything you think I should do?" That's if I respect their opinion. If I don't I should "yes."

Let's face it, I'm not just doing it to be a better person, I'm doing it to save some time. 2015 flew by. Too many minutes got wasted on feeling guilty. And maybe if I stopped feeling guilty about not working out, I could actually spend time working out.

"Make Safe Happen"

My Facebook feed seemed to quickly go from a series of drunken young people to those very same people sporting a few gray hairs while cradling their newborn children to now a place where I can get stuck for hours on scary, negative news stories.

As a person who works in television news, I understand when people say, "I don't watch the news there are too many bad things on TV." Sometimes there are. I also believe most stations have gotten the collective memo on this and are going in a direction that blends positive community stories with the hard news of the day. But that's a bit of a tangent on local news.

Don't get me wrong, there are fun blogs, celebrity gossip and adorable pictures mixed into my feed. (I also understand Facebook is crazy smart, and I likely have more news stories because I click on them. Well played, Facebook.)

Today as I scrolled through I read about a shooting after prom in Antigo, Wisconsin. I used to work in Wausau, WI and Antigo was in our coverage area so I have friends posting about this. Awful. Just awful. Kids can't go to prom anymore?

Then I read about three children dying after IKEA furniture toppled on them. The posts explained how you should anchor furniture to the wall to keep your family safe. I need to do what? I started looking around. There are a lot of things that could fall on Jack. This situation and task seem equal parts petrifying and daunting.

Yesterday, we were at an event and there was a bounce house. My husband looked at me and said, I'm sure you won't let Jack in there. (I wouldn't because he's too little and the big kids had taken over.) But he was actually referencing a fear I shared with him after reading a story about bounce houses taking flight on windy days and children dying.

But here's the truth. My child will go to Prom (assuming he wants to). I will take a look at our less sturdy furniture and see if it needs to be removed. I will also make sure to teach him that drawers aren't steps/ladders and furniture is not a toy. But I probably won't anchor everything.

And Jack someday will go in a bounce house. Probably countless bounce houses.

A friend recently asked me how I handle it. How I handle being a parent while working in news. I know all the obscure, bad things that can happen. I told her, I handle it by trying to learn a lesson from everything but not allowing it to paralyze me. In this world where information is now at all of our fingertips, I felt compelled to share this with all of you. Having a feed of negative, frightening facts is not likely something you're used to. Here's my simple gauge. We've heard it before but one of the most dangerous things we can do is get in a car. I want to live a life where I experience the world. Therefore, I plan to get into a car almost everyday. Which means I have to be willing to do the other things too.

The title of this blog is "make safe happen" because it is a quote a grieving mother once told me. She had lost her 1-year-old son in a terribly tragic way. I talked to her and her husband about whether it's difficult to continue on without letting fear control everything for their other children. She told me her message, "make safe happen." That has always stuck with me. We can't control everything. As parents we want to. We can't. But we can learn, adapt, be smart and allow ourselves to live. And maybe start clicking on more positive stories to trick the Facebook gods into seeing we don't need so much scary stuff all the time.

(I didn't want to bog down the post with depressing news articles about the topics referenced above, but if you would like to learn more, I've linked info below.)

Antigo Prom Shooting
IKEA furniture deaths
Bouncy house problems
Safe at Sleep: story about dangers of sleeping in car seats

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Say what?!? Did the CDC just say "scarier"?

I work in local media. I have heard the complaints that we dramatize or sensationalize things, that we create pandemonium over a snowstorm, a potential new virus or a bed bug outbreak. At times I agree these criticisms are warranted, but for the most part, I understand that sometimes news is, in part, defined by that which is out of the ordinary. Therefore it may seem like a media outlet is creating much ado about nothing when they are alerting you to something unusual and interesting.

That said. This isn't the media. This is the CDC talking about Zika: "Scarier than we initially thought." Excuse me! My husband is constantly telling me I need to relax with stuff like this. And then the CDC goes and says something like this. This woman of a child-bearing age is a bit freaked out. 

My news roots do allow me to relax for a moment and find some facts. I figured if I'm going to start looking up information, I might as well share what I consider most interesting for women like me who plan to someday add to their family or who are pregnant now. 

First of all, you've likely seen the video. It is heart-breaking to see small babies with microcephaly. They're born with abnormally small heads and often have other issues because of it. Areas where Zika are present have seen an unusual increase in the cases of microcephaly which prompted health officials to believe there was a link between the virus and the condition. There had been debate, discussion and theories that perhaps something else was responsible for the microcephaly. Today, the CDC said Zika is confirmed as a cause of microcephaly.

At this point, there have not been any cases of a mosquito in the United States infecting a person here with Zika virus. People in the United States have gotten it, but it's believed they got it while in a country where Zika is present. Feel free to check this information for yourself. There is a graph at the bottom of this link. It's also known that Zika can be sexually transmitted.

Okay. You're thinking, "It's not in my stateside American bubble. No big deal." BUT...that's the issue. The CDC now says, "Zika may spread through mosquito bites in some states later this spring and summer." The agency specifically points to Florida, Hawaii, and Texas, but says it could spread to other states as well.

The other element that caused concern in me was the new state map. Zika has been found in a certain mosquito, and it's believed a couple kinds of mosquitoes could carry it. The CDC originally said there are 12 states where the mosquitoes that could potentially carry Zika are present. They have upped that to 30. Below is a picture of that map. You can find the map here too

Maybe the CDC is saying it's scarier because they just want people to be aware. Maybe they're hoping it generates the funding they have been requesting. Maybe they are genuinely concerned about an outbreak in the United States. It's hard to know the exact motivation, but I believe knowledge is power, so I thought I'd share. I also understand that you may have a gazillion more questions. I recommend checking out the CDC web site and surfing around it. They have a lot of resources including recommended travel restrictions which I didn't get into at all. (I'm not planning on going anywhere, and if my husband decides to shack up with someone who recently traveled to one of those places, we have issues beyond Zika.) 

And bottom line, a word of advice from my husband, try to relax about it. He's right. He just reminded me I was hesitant about us swimming in Minnesota lakes last year because of a brain-eating amoeba which turned out to be something else (although the brain-eating amoeba does actually exist too). It's important to be smart, but I think a lot of us have the tendency to get more freaked out about things than we need to. So fellow mamas out there, let's take a deep, cleansing breath together. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Why isn't renewing your bachelorette party a thing?

I would like to renew my bachelorette party.

I keep hearing about all these people who renew their wedding vows. Good for them. Sounds fun. But you see, I see my husband a lot. I do not, however, see my girlfriends enough. Therefore, I think we should pack our bags and renew my bachelorette party vows. I'm not sure what those vows are but have no fear, I will create some.

This epiphany came to me during a perfect storm of wedding celebrating and friend missing. I was sitting at home thinking about my ladies, and how I long for them. I have the type of job that leaves me scampering to different states. Along the way I seem to gather incredible people only to then leave them as I move on. My friends have similar jobs and lives therefore we're all over the damn place. One of my very best friends visited last weekend, and it was great! But then my son got sick, I got sick, her daughter got sick and all this sickness happened in a 3-day visit. So much pressure and expectation in a short amount of time as regular life ticks on. Then my husband took off for Arizona this week to spend time with his buddies for a bachelor party. I got thinking about my party in Arizona. It was fun. It made me happy. My girls were there. I want that.

Bonuses of renewing bachelorette party vows.

1) The event would be kid-free. When renewing wedding vows most people involve their children. It makes sense since they're often the result of the marriage. Kids are not necessary for bachelorette party fun. And as previously mentioned, without the child you often wipe out the stomach bug which took hold of me like Alien last weekend. You also are able to have a conversation with your friends that don't sound like this. "So the issue with (don't throw that) my job is (sweetie, you need to sit down). The issue is (what do you need? a snack). The problem with my job is (please get down so you don't fall). He does this all the time. Oh, what's that? No, that's fine, go ahead and take your husband's call." Instead your interruptions and tangents are completely wine-induced which is way more fun.

2) Wine. Beer. Martinis. Margaritas. I do not discriminate. Imbibing with friends with little to no responsibilities sounds amazing.

3) You're supposed to be goofy. Being silly, inappropriate and making a scene is basically a pre-requisite at a bachelorette party. I'm not talking about regrettable decisions but just the ability to let your guard down. We played a childish game at my party which involved me asking strangers odd questions and doing a scavenger hunt of sorts. I wore a sparkly headband and let's just say the phallus was featured. On our first night, my glitterly shirt said bride. I typically am more high-brow than these things which is what made it wonderful. I got a free pass to just let loose. When you see obnoxious bachelorette party groups at the bar you often think they're annoying, but then you move past without too much judgement because it's kinda their duty.

So here we go, bachelorette party vows:

I, {state your name}, take you to be my girlfriends, to drink and be merry for the weekend at least. I promise to laugh with you when you probably deserve to be laughed at, to allow you to feel flirty and fun without doing anything stupid or reckless, to let you sleep in and eat pure grease for brunch without judgment (with a mimosa or bloody, of course), to listen to your fears and concerns and let you know they're normal. I promise to make memories that I will cherish for many, many years to come. I promise to love you for all the days of my life because life is better with you in it.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

My emotional self is overwhelmed by emojis

You know those parents who nervously hope for a one word answer from their child so they can get back to the game or their phone call without having to delve in a deep discussion about feelings or worries or questions or concerns? Yeah, me too. They just didn't exist in my home.

I was raised by a psychologist father and a social worker mother. If there is one thing I'm equipped to do, it's "talk it out." We analyze and over-analyze everything.

Maybe that's one of a long list of reasons I enjoy Facebook. I get to see what people are doing without having to interact too much. My simple "like" allows me to connect and encourage with very little effort, and yet I'm not perceived as rude. It's a welcomed break for my overactive brain and heart.

Then this happened.

Facebook emojis.

Like. Love. Haha. Wow. Sad. Angry.

These seem simple enough, but I know my overly emotional self is going to look too deeply at these odd little faces and wonder which one appropriately shows my feelings. Let's say I read a post about your dog getting hit by car, and the driver took off, but then a good Samaritan who happens to be a vet saved the day by reviving Fluffy. Well, I feel sad, angry, love. And now I'm wowed and haha-ing about all those emotions.

Dear Facebook,

Your world of one-dimensional relationships where I can connect in a detached way is starting to get flip turned upside down. And I'd like take a minute, just sit right there, and I'll tell all the reasons I think this is unfair...(sorry sometimes Fresh Prince happens).

As I was saying, Facebook is a great way to connect with people, but it's also not real life. I think that's a good thing. I enjoy meeting people, staying in touch with people and learning about people on Facebook, but I also realize it should never take the place of my real-life interactions. I'm not sure I want to spend time deciding if I'm angry or sad, happy or wowed. If I'm close enough to a person I'd prefer they could hear the feeling in my voice, see it in my eyes or even read it in my private text.

All that said, I'm sure I'll start using the emojis, and in a short time, I'll forget it wasn't always an option. Why? Because, let's face it, Facebook, no matter how many changes you make, no matter how many times I cringe and scowl at those changes, I always quickly forget it was ever different. Remember when there wasn't a newsfeed? I don't really either. Hats off, Facebook. Or I guess I should now say "wow."

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

4 ways I'm preparing for air travel with a toddler

Four days. I'm going on vacation in four days! You read that and thought I'm incredibly excited, right? I mean that's typically how people feel about an upcoming trip. I always did. Visions of sunshine, decadent food, too much alcohol, and making memories with those I adore. That's what vacation is all about. This one will have all that. But I have to get there first. And that, my friends, will be a challenge. Because this time I'm flying solo with a toddler. We will board a non-direct flight bound for a location four states away. I just took a deep, audible, cleansing breath. I am in preparation mode.

1) We have new gear. We now have three strollers for our one child. Our jogging stroller is obviously too big for travel and our too-cheap umbrella stroller has wheels that need to get on the same page - one goes left while the other goes right, then good-ole lefty decides to stop while righty rolls right along. This typically results in me exercising my knowledge of all swear words in rapid succession. And that's during a peaceful mall walk with all the time in the world. I can't imagine the words I'd say when I'm about to board a plane with a 15-month-old. Deep, cleansing breath. I picked a more expensive umbrella stroller during my pre-trip shopping outing. I must have looked determined or a bit unhinged because my husband did not ask the typical, "why do we need another one?" The truth is I bought another stroller because I like to control things. I can't control everything about our travel, but I will - dang nabbit - have working stroller wheels.

2) I am trained to ignore you. I know there will be people who stare at me and then stare longer and longer when my son inevitably decides to scream, cry, throw something, wiggle, kick, push. They will stare and stare some more in hopes of me catching their gaze and seeing their disappointment, displeasure, anger about me ruining their flight, bitterness about their travel not being as wonderful as they expected, heck I'm sure I'll get some glares from the woman who didn't lose the weight she had hoped before she had to squeeze into a swimsuit. I get it. There will be hot and bothered people who will unload their wrath in the form of dagger-like stares that pierce into the woman traveling with a toddler. If that is you, please realize I see you, I just have prepared and meditated for days to fully ignore you and ignore you I will. Ain't nobody got time for that. I'm already feeling stressed. I don't need your social pressures to bear down on me.

3) I have stuff. I made plans. That said, I probably didn't prepare in the way you think I should have. I might bring some toys that make noise because my son likes them. I realize you may think that's a bad idea. I might bring some treats that he decides to throw because he seems to hate them. Trust me, he loved them hours earlier. I pre-picked the back row when that was an option in order to stay out of your way. On the one leg of the trip when I'm in the middle of three seats, I'm sorry. I didn't want that either. I promise I am not doing any of these things to upset him or you. I am channeling peace keeper. If - scratch that *when* - I fail, please recognize I didn't set out to intentionally sabotage your trip.

4) I also am preparing by realizing I am not alone. In fact, there are people who have traveled with two or three children under the age of four. I thank them for paving the way for me. They give me hope. They give me perspective. Also, if you're one of these next-level parents, you are allowed to laugh at me and my current single-child status and single-child problems because you are a saint. I am in awe of you for taking on such a challenge and surviving. You are a true pioneer. Thank you!

Maybe the travel experience will be perfect. Maybe it won't. All I know is mama needs some sun.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Help me understand where the line is

Where is the line?

No I'm not talking about that line a person crosses when they say something they shouldn't. I certainly know where that is. Or at least I quickly find it when I say something a bit more crass than even I expected, and I see shocked eyes and groaning mouths. That invisible line is a bit easier to detect. But this new line eludes me.

Who is Jennifer Griswold the person versus Jennifer Griswold the brand? Am I an influencer? Am I vain for even asking these third-person type questions? My husband hinted I could be going through a midlife crisis. This might be true.

Here's the crux of my problems. I have developed as a reporter while being surrounded by old school journalists. I am trying to survive and thrive among millennials (and I think I may even be a millennial, but we'll save that for a separate identity-questioning post). There is a war among these two groups (or at least there is one in my head. But my head tends to make things much more Hollywood-fight scene than they really are). I understand both sides, but I'm not sure where I fit or where future journalists should fit.

I enjoy and embrace social media. I'm a Snap Chatting, Tweeting Facebooker who Instagrams selfies. Heck, I've got this blog. But I've also signed agreements (that I take very seriously) against payola and plugola. Don't send me something expecting a plug - not allowed. But isn't that so much of what social media is? I mean I've put a # or an @ in front of a lot of companies' names. Did I cross a line? I certainly didn't intend to.

Today I shared a post from the local police department complimenting our news coverage. That seemed to be the nice thing to do and more importantly, I wanted to share it. But we had a story today about how the police department was in a bit of a disagreement with other city officials over how the issue was handled. So by sharing did I show too much allegiance toward the PD? I didn't intend to take a side at all.

I realize these examples may be tailored to my profession, but I'm sure a lot of professions have similar concerns. And I think this post may apply to others because it also brings up this question - what do viewers want out of their TV reporters/journalists/personalities?

My husband has an odd obsession with South Park. Sometimes I overhear parts of it as I'm scrolling through my Facebook feed on my phone while sitting on the couch in front of the TV. This season is about people being unable to detect what a person is versus what an ad is. I worry that social media is blurring that line for all of us. We are becoming walking advertisements. Everyone is a brand and an influencer. I think that's awesome in a lot of ways, but it's also making it very difficult to adhere to the old school, objective journalism model.

Where is the line? Not sure but maybe we're teetering on it at all times. I mean, it is called online.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

When you reach for daddy

His eyelids droop. He looks off at his toys from the comfort of mama's arms. He just can't muster the the energy to walk toward them. It would take a machine to pull his beloved pacifier out of his mouth. The warmth I feel is more than the typical body heat that rises from some mommy/son cuddle time. My sweet pea is sick.

This is his first fever. And it sucks. I'm thankful it's taken 14 months for him to get his first fever, but I'm still aching watching him ache. 

I also feel this extreme power when he seems comforted by my touch. He looks up and reaches his arms toward me. He wants his mama. 

Until daddy comes in. 

I love my career. I can't imagine not working. My schedule is also great for our son. I stay with him in the mornings and then my husband who works part time has the afternoons and evenings with him. I spend a lot of time with our son, but my husband is with him more. 

Over the last few days, more often than not, our toddler wants to cuddle with daddy. Sure there are mommy moments too and when daddy is not around, he's beyond comfortable to just have me. But when he reaches for daddy, I can't help but feel a little guilt. 

I push it down. I think, "daddy has more surface area. I would choose to cuddle with him too." "Daddy is sillier and sometime it's nice to have a big smiley face when you're not feeling well." "Daddy always gives more treats and who doesn't like sugar - sick or healthy." 

But the truth is, my son loves and wants his daddy. 

And when I toss my ego aside and start looking at life through my child's eyes, I realize how amazing that is. 

I may feel envious when my son puts his arms in daddy's direction, but I hope he never sees that tinge of jealousy. And that's on me. It is my job to turn those feelings around and realize how lucky I am. We, working moms, can balance career, family, friends, sanity. But we need help. And we need to appreciate that help.

Sometimes my son reaches for daddy. I couldn't be more thankful he has a daddy to reach for, a daddy whose arms are always open.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

One internet response to "Making a Murderer" fires me up

My 2015 holiday season will go down as the time I binge-watched Netflix's "Making a Murderer." I know I'm not alone in that, but unlike many watchers, I knew the story. I knew what would happen to Stephen Avery and Brendan Dassey in court. I worked in television news in Wisconsin during some of this time. I saw a lot of familiar faces among the media cut-away shots. Heck, by chance, I even met Teresa Halbach when we were placed at the same table at a wedding. She was the wedding photographer. All that said, I do not claim to know her, her family or all the details of the case. I also did not cover it firsthand.

I started watching the series thinking Steven Avery was a terrible killer who convinced his nephew to do horrible things. The series had me do a nearly 180 degree flip. How could my idea of what happened switch so easily? I knew the documentary was very one-sided and that had me thirsty for more information. (I hope others also feel compelled to learn more about the case and what was left out.)

I hit the internet. One thing I found over and over again disturbed me. It makes me angry. Countless tweets about Mike Halbach, the victim's brother. Negative tweets. Accusatory tweets. Hateful tweets. Again, let me identify him, he's the victim's brother. Think about that. This man had to watch as search parties tried to find his sister for days. He then learned his sister had been shot and killed, her body burned. It's certainly plausible there were other horrendous crimes done to this innocent woman. Her brother lived through that. Her brother now lives through this.

Here are some tweets.

Here's a little insight on how television news works. When a person is missing, the public can help and so can the media. There seems to be a greater community response and search turnout when people feel an emotional attachment to the victim. If you just throw a graphic on the screen with a person's height and weight, viewers are less likely to pay attention and think they can help. If you show a picture, interest increases. If you put up a picture and include interviews with loved ones about what the family is going through those news stories have a large impact. Mike Halbach became the family's spokesperson. That must have been difficult, but he did it. I think that's commendable. That role continued throughout the trials.

I realize some of you reading this are thinking I'm missing the point. That you believe Mike Halbach is a possible suspect. A couple notes on that. This article lists the alternative suspects the defense wanted to present information about according to court documents. You'll remember they weren't allowed to suggest alternative suspects. If you read it you'll see Halbach is not on the list. Maybe they only listed possible suspects that were on the property that day but regardless Halbach is not on the list. (In case you're interested and again, I think people should be, the same author wrote: 14 pieces of troubling evidence Netflix' "Making a Murderer" left out)

And let's say you still think Mike Halbach is responsible in some way. I'd argue that's somewhat hypocritical and you've missed the point of the series. There is no evidence suggesting that. Nothing but a feeling people have. Isn't it those pre-conceived notions that people are most up-in-arms about? Okay fine, you think there needs to be more investigating regarding the case. After watching the series, I totally get that.

The Halbach family was experiencing extreme grief (I can only imagine) and simultaneously thrown into the public's eye. They had investigators telling them they found the guy (then guys) responsible. That must have been comforting during a terrible time. It was not their job to find the killer. Maybe Mike Halbach is an amazing guy. Maybe he's not. I don't know him, but I am so glad my family hasn't gone through what his family did.

During a news conference then-Calumet County District Attorney Ken Kratz said, "there's only one victim in this case." This series has made people question whether that's true. There may indeed be convicted criminals who deserve the label victim. But the best way to right that possible wrong isn't for the public to make more victims.