Dear Matt Walsh’s of the World: It was a Felony, Not a Mistake

By now, you’ve heard the story, or at least pieces of it. You probably haven’t read the police report. You probably haven’t put it all together to realize that he was sexually abusing his 4-5 year old sister while he was roughly 14, and that it happened to multiple little girls, time and time again.

Because if you knew all that, you likely wouldn’t be saying things like,

“It was a mistake!”

“It was 12 years ago!!”

“He’s repented!!”

“Get over it!”

In general, a mistake implies accident, or at least a one time thing. He did not trip and fall onto their genitals, here. He repeatedly molested his little sisters! These are not simply actions of a confused teenage boy. This is criminal behavior and should be acknowledged as such. Did his strict upbringing contribute to these deviant actions? Most likely, but the fact that he sexually abused 5 girls, over a period of time, multiple times (and in their sleep) leads me to believe he has sociopathic tendencies- the kind that make up the vast majority of the repeat offenders.

This was not a mistake. We should not get over it. I hate to speak for his victims, but as a victim myself, I can pretty much guarantee they are not over it.

Of course, the “Christian” blogger Matt Walsh had to get his digs in, saying everyone around him is a hypocrite. He goes onto accuse those who are criticizing the Duggar family of not even being upset about the victims. Sure, maybe there are some people who care more about the Duggar’s losing their credibility than the well being of the victims, but let me assure you, that is not the case for most. See, many of us are upset because we have been victims ourselves. We know first hand the pain and suffering- physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual those who are left in the wake endure- for a lifetime. We are now coming out of the woodwork because old wounds have been ripped open in light of this information, and the subsequent defense of the criminal behavior. We should not simply get over it, Matt. We can’t. We have been through counseling, both Christian and traditional, we have worked our entire lives to get put back together, and you know what, we are still not over it. We are not whole, we may never be. And you sit on your high horse trivializing this by calling it a mistake and saying we ought to forgive. NO WE SHOULDN’T. We should speak out. We should fight to change the laws- so often, these crimes aren’t reported and the offender walks free based on the statute of limitations. But given the culture of abuse, the victim is often too ashamed to speak out in time, or her family is too afraid or simply too stupid to go to the police.

Read the stories, Matt. Read them here and here and here and here! Read the accounts of these victims, and the shame they carry around. How can you continue to defend him? You may think you aren’t defending him because you so selflessly admitted his actions were evil. But, by trivializing the magnitude of the felony, plus calling us hypocrites AND saying we should forgive him, which is another way of telling us to forgive our own attackers, you are defending this behavior.

And the hypocrisy! Oh my! Because not everyone thinks Michael Brown deserved to die for his crimes, we are hypocrites?! For what, for calling for justice for Josh Duggar’s victims!?! As far as I know, no one wants Josh Duggar to be killed in the street. Though, as a culture, we are less forgiving of those who destroy the innocence of children than other criminals. Wanting justice, not counseling that is truly nothing more than victim blaming, does not make one a hypocrite. What makes you a hypocrite is saying that an entire subset of the population is a danger to children while you yourself have molested at least 5 girls. That, my friends, is the definition of a hypocrite. Expecting others to adhere to values which you cannot. And by values, we mean keeping your hands off children’s genitals!

I also think it interesting that nowhere in Matt’s diatribe against liberals did he once call Josh’s actions illegal (which, by the way, Matt, I’m a libertarian, and a Christian- so stop trying to put us all in a box!). Even though it was a felony. A felony, that if it had been handled appropriately and brought to law enforcement in a timely manner, would have meant formal charges against Josh Duggar on several counts of CHILD MOLESTATION. Stop calling it a terrible mistake, Matt. Call it what it is. Imagine a teenage boy “fondling” your children’s genitals, and then tell me how much you forgive the person and are okay with them walking free.

I know, I know, they brought him to a police officer. A police officer who is currently spending 56 years in jail for child pornography doesn’t count though. It also raises the question, why him and how deep does this go? They claim he was a family friend. Now, no doubt any of us could be unknowingly friends with someone who has child pornography, but the fact that he brought his son to this man definitely makes me wonder if there is something much more sinister going on here. Time will tell, and truly, I hope I am wrong.

This whole case has brought to light things many people would rather stay in the dark. But you know what, maybe now, maybe because of his actions more people will stand up for themselves, call out their attackers, and get the help they need to heal as much as possible, and regain some of the innocence that was taken from them. From me. From so many of us. We do not have to remain silent. And no, we do not have to forgive. Yes, I said it. We can forgive our attackers in order to help us heal, but we never have to simply accept or minimize what was done to us. We are not responsible in any way, shape or form for what happened. Let’s stop the victim blaming and shaming, and let us rise up and hopefully prevent future attacks.

Hear this well, church. It is YOUR responsibility to change the culture of abuse within your walls. Your followers should not be defending and minimizing this behavior. If you are made aware of sexual abuse in your church, bring it to the authorities who can handle it properly. Criminal actions are not to be dealt with “in house”; do not “keep a lid” on it (I’m looking at you, Village Church in Dallas).

 

Big Sister

I am giddy about sharing this post. It is my daughter’s very first blog post. She is still at the age where she wants to be like me (lawd, I treasure this time so much!), and she wants to be a “mom blogger” and drive a minivan when she grows up.

Recently, we sat down and collaborated on this post. The concept was her idea, and I just helped her put her thoughts together and type them up. She is extremely proud to share her thoughts with you!

Being a Big Sister

I have a very important role in my family. I am the big sister. I have two little brothers. In order to be a good big sister, I do a lot of things. One of the things I do is make my bed. That sets a good example for my brothers, even though they aren’t old enough to make their own beds. I also like to help them learn how to play games. Because of me, they can play Zingo, Operation, Go Fish, and Duck Duck Goose.

When my brother’s do things that I know my mom won’t like, I make sure to let her know, especially if what they are doing can hurt them. I try not to do things wrong, because I want to show my brothers how to be good. That’s what big sisters do.

Sometimes, my brothers upset me. My brother Gavin makes fun of me when I am sad. And my brother Dylan takes my things. I get mad and sad when they act that way. I try to remember that they are little still, and they don’t know better.

I love my brother’s though; I love them so much. I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world. They teach me things, too. Gavin taught me a song, and Dylan teaches me new games. I am happy to have my brothers, and I love being the big sister.

Three Words: Marvel Universe Live

This post brought to you by Feld Entertainment; all opinions are my own.

Y’all. I love being able to take my kids to the Disney shows that come here. We’ve always had a blast, and I’m sure this will be no exception. Marvel Universe Live is coming THIS WEEKEND! I am honestly not sure who is more excited, me or the kids. We are HUGE Marvel fans here- my son even had an Avenger’s themed birthday party! I am quite certain this will be our favorite show of all time.

marvel

The show will feature more than 25 Marvel characters together on one epic quest around the world to retrieve the fragments of the Cosmic Cube in order to combat Thor’s villainous brother, Loki. The Avengers, which includes Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man, and Wolverine, will embark on a journey which will pit them against villains from all over the Marvel Universe.

Show Details:

Smoothie King Center, 1501 Dave Dixon Dr. New Orleans

Thursday, January 15, 2015 , 7:00 PM   
Friday, January 16, 2015 , 7:00 PM  
Saturday, January 17, 2015 , 11:00 AM   
Saturday, January 17, 2015 , 3:00 PM   
Saturday, January 17, 2015 , 7:00 PM   
Sunday, January 18, 2015 , 3:00 PM  

Get your tickets HERE!

And if you’re not in the New Orleans area, click here see if they are coming to your town.

This Christmas

Christmas 2014 has been hands down one of the best I can recall. It’s not because we got so many great gifts, or went on some exotic vacation, but because my kids were happy, healthy and full of love and gratitude. We spent three days celebrating with different family members and enjoying each other. We began at my sister in law’s house where the kids exchanged gifts, we had  a nice dinner, and the kids had a blast decorating cookies. We are pretty close with my sister in law and her family, but due to life and all, we don’t see them nearly enough.

Christmas Eve, we headed across the lake to celebrate with my dad, his girlfriend and her family. It was SO festive and fun over there, and we were given so many wonderful, thoughtful and creative gifts. The only downside was Gavin had an ear infection, so he wasn’t very social, which meant I could’t be very social since all he wanted to do was lay in my lap. He did, however, find energy to get up and play with his new toys!

Christmas morning was amazing. The kids were genuinely grateful for all their gifts, and I was in awe watching them. At these ages, they all really get it, and they were able to take turns opening gifts and even seemingly enjoy watching their siblings open presents. The highlight of the morning was seeing my children open gifts from one another. Every year, we take them to dollar tree to pick out a couple of gifts for their siblings. We choose dollar tree because there, they can truly pick anything and I know it won’t break the bank. ;) Anyway, to see their excitement as they gave their hand selected gift to each other, and the hugs and thankfulness that followed, it made my day. Or my year.

We spent the rest of the day in our  pajamas hanging around the house while the kids played with and fought over their new toys and games. Mostly games. I had just done a major decluttering of the toys at the beginning of the school year. I was not about to go right back to having too much stuff. We purchased gifts that were more “things to do” rather than “things to have”; we got board games, video games, crafty activities and the like.

You know what else I loved about Christmas? There was a calm in the air. Around here, it’s always hustle and bustle- getting ready for school, getting the house cleaned, getting dinner on the table, and all the other normal things that everyone deals with. But on Christmas, we were all more relaxed and present. I kind of wish every day was like that. Kind of.

Our life isn’t perfect. There are always things we can improve upon, but this Christmas was the closest thing to holiday perfection that I’ve ever experienced.

Disney Junior Live on Tour: Pirate and Princess in New Orleans

One of the coolest things about having this blog is I get the opportunity to enjoy exciting events around the city, and I’m able let you guys know about them. It’s no secret that we are HUGE Disney lovers around here. Jake, Doc, Mickey and Sophia have been wonderful babysitters, and when my kids get the opportunity to see them live, whether it is here or at Disney World, they are beyond thrilled.

I just surprised them this morning with tickets to: 142513a

Disney Junior Live On Tour! Pirate & Princess  Adventure

They freaked the freak out in the car when I told them the news. Looking back, I probably should’ve waited, because after they found out, being dropped off at school was suddenly a million times worse than normal. Whoops.

There are several chances to go, beginning tonight!

Dates:

Thurs. December 11th at  7:00 PM
Fri. December 12th at 10:30 AM
Fri. December 12th at 4:00 PM
Fri. December 12th at  7:00 PM
Not in NOLA? Not to worry! They will be visiting several cities. Check HERE for more information.

Too Long

It’s been too long since I’ve been here. So long, that most of my blog friends have either stopped blogging altogether, or moved on to other platforms. I’ve thought about just shutting the site and Facebook page down, or changing things (again), but I can’t. I love it here. I love having my own little corner of the internet. I like having a place to put my random thoughts, when I have the time. Even though my older kids are in school now, I still can’t seem to find the time to write here. And I want to write so many things. I want to write about how much I love our school, yet how intimidating it can be to be a “new mom”; I want to write about how I’m still nursing my youngest, and how it pains me yet thrills me to think about stopping soon. I want to write about my life, my thoughts and my goals. I just… I never make time.

Maybe I am done with a personal blog? My children are getting older, so I don’t feel quite as comfortable sharing their experiences. I get an outlet through the New Orleans Moms Blog where I can write about parenting, and I recently started writing for a local wedding blog, which is very exciting. Do I have nothing left for myself though? No more random thoughts? I’m not sure.

For now, I’m here, I’m there, and I’m okay with that. If I update randomly, that’s okay. If no one reads this, that’s okay. If I don’t write again for another six months, that’s okay.

If you are reading this and want to see what I’m writing lately, you can check out my latest parenting post here:

Cheers to My Mom Friends

And my first wedding post here:

These 3D Cakes Take the Cake!

 

The Greatest Show on Earth is coming to New Orleans

This post is brought to you by Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.

circus

After waiting nearly six years and three kids, we are finally going to the circus! I’ve always wanted to go, but the dates would interfere with our work/school/vacation schedules. But this year, we are all free and excited to go!

Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey: Built To Amaze, is the 143rd edition of the Greatest Show On Earth. Surprise and wonder delights audiences with over the top feats of strength, agility and courage.

Circus performers from across the globe create the perfect blend of athleticism and bravery, where power meets fearlessness and amazement has no bounds.  Magnificent elephants, ferocious tigers, astonishing acrobats and awe-inspiring aerialists are engineered into one spectacular performance.

 You have eight showings to choose from, starting tonight! Get your tickets here.

DETAILS

Location:

Smoothie King Center
1501 Dave Dixon Drive
New Orleans, LA 70113

Showtimes:

Wednesday, June 25 at 7:00pm
Thursday, June 26 at 7:00pm
Friday, June 27 at 7:00pm
Saturday, June 28 at 11:00am, 3:00pm, and 7:00pm
Sunday, June 29 at 1:00pm and 5:00pm

But wait, there’s more! Get there early for all the pre-show excitement. Built To Amaze! opens with the All-Access Pre-show where everyone is invited to join the fun and meet the Built To Amaze! International cast of performers as they prepare for the show. The Ringling Bros.® Ringling Girls and Barnum B-Boys encourage kids to participate in a tug-of- war and kick off what will soon become an insane battle of girl power versus boy power in Built To Amaze! Audiences also can pick up some hip dance moves during the dance party, try on custom designed costumes, learn circus skills like juggling from the famous Ringling Bros. Clown Alley and even have the opportunity to witness and win a one of a kind masterpiece created by Asia, Ringling Bros. very own painting pachyderm!

My kids are more than thrilled to go this weekend, and I can’t wait to see their faces light up with excitement the way mine did when I was a little girl!

Let’s Celebrate with Disney on Ice!

It’s that time of year again, Disney on Ice time!! We have been taking our children to at least one of the two Disney on Ice shows that come to New Orleans D30_Mardi Gras_FINALeach year. In December, we were lucky enough to attend the Pirates and Princess tour, and this year, we get to go again! In exchange for this blog post, I was given the opportunity to take my family to Disney on Ice, Let’s Celebrate! And I’m thrilled to share this with you guys.

It’s going to be a colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Join Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse as they celebrate a Very Merry UNbirthday Party with Alice and the Mad Hatter, New Orleans own Mardi Gras with Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen; a Royal Valentine’s Day Ball with the Disney Princesses; A Hawaiian luau with Lilo and Stitch; A winter wonderland with Woody, Jessie, and Buzz Lightyear; A Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains (sure to be my favorite), and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe. Come join the party when this spectacular ice show visits your hometown!! Disney on Ice Presents Let’s Celebrate! features more than 50 characters from 16 Disney stories!

They will be in New Orleans at the UNO Lakefront Arena May 1-4

Showtimes:

Thursday, May 1 at 7:00pm
Friday, May 2 at 10:30am and 7:00pm
Saturday, May 3 at 11:00am, 3:00pm and 7:00pm
Sunday, May 4 at 11:00am, 3:00pm and 7:00pm

That gives you NINE chances to see the show!

D30_Mickey and Minnie Gift Basket_FinalI remember as a child going to He-Man on ice, thinking it was the most amazing thing ever. I was wrong-seeing my children’s faces light up with sheer delight as their favorite characters come to life brings me more joy than I could have ever imagined. Get your tickets soon! You can also enter to win a set of four by heading over to the New Orleans Moms Blog.

Ticket prices start at only $10 and are on sale now! Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster retail outlets, online at www.ticketmaster.com or charge by phone at 800-745-3000. For group sales information, please call 866-248-8740.

Additional tour information can be found by visiting www.disneyonice.com.

 

Take the holidays as high as you wish

Last year around St. Patrick’s day, the very talented Kristen over at Rage Against the Minivan wrote an article titled “Let’s Bring the Holidays Down a Notch”, and it went viral. This year, the article is inundating my Facebook feed, again, along with the “Amen!” And “Highfive!” comments of agreement.

Well, I disagree. At least partially. I do think holidays have gotten a bit out of control with the Elf on a Shelf (though some find ways to make it fun!), Gold coins, Pinterest 101 birthday parties and the like. I think she’s right to not give into the pressure and create Leprechaun footprints in her house. When I was growing up, St. Patrick’s Day was simply a day to wear green, just like she said. In that respect, I totally agree with her.

The problem comes in here, with the last paragraph:

But I can’t do this alone. Fellow parents… teachers… sunday school workers… I beseech you. BRING IT DOWN A NOTCH.  Ya’ll are setting up expectations that I just can’t maintain. Wouldn’t we all be just a little happier if we returned to the slacker days of store-bought valentines and kit-dyed eggs and JUST WEARING A GREEN SHIRT AND CALLING IT A DAY?

For the sake of overwhelmed parents like me, I beg you. Stop the madness.

Again, in theory, I get it. I understand. I also do not have kids in school at this time (though they have been in preschool before) so I could very well change my stance on this in the future. But for now, why can’t crafty, overachieving mothers be free to do what they like regarding holidays and celebrations. Parenting is not, and never was, a level playing field. We all have different talents, interests and priorities. For instance, mine is usually to do very little regarding holidays, but one year, I did a sweet little homemade Valentine. Did the other mom’s in my daughter’s class think *I* was part of the problem? Frankly, I don’t care. I had the time, energy and will that one time. And that needs to be okay. It was the one and only time I did something remotely creative for school. Maybe that is the case with some of the other moms. Or maybe not. Maybe these moms live for this kind of thing, and they enjoy it, much like I enjoy wine, blogging and watching TV. Maybe these moms relax by knitting their own Easter Eggs or whatever it may be. If they are doing this to compete with or keep up with what they see online or in their child’s classroom, and they hate every minute of it, then they should stop. But if they truly like and want to do it, are we at a place to tell them otherwise? Why, because it might affect us?

When discussing this with friends, the main objection was that children and schools are setting up these high expectations, then you look like the bad parent for not meeting said expectations. I understand that as much as possible for not having endured it as a parent. What I have endured though, is growing up with friends who celebrate different holidays, friends who had much more (or much less) money than we did, and my mom explaining that different people have different traditions and different abilities, and I was able to live with that.

What if we turned the tables? What if crafty mothers came out and said, “Guys, you are really doing your child a disservice by not making tree shaped candies and planting a tree for Arbor Day. Our kids deserve it. They love celebrating and getting a day off from normalcy at school, and all you slacker moms are making it really hard for us to keep this momentum going.” Well, those moms would be called judgy and rude and I’m sure the post would go viral for very different reasons than Kristen’s. Again, to be clear, I am not that mom. I just think it has to go both ways. We cannot claim we are in support of all choices, (I’m looking at you #moms4moms), yet try to change a mother’s choice to celebrate humdrum holidays. It simply isn’t right. Judging cannot be okay from one side of the fence. As mundane as this particular issue is, it is still divisive and judgmental to say that one type of parent should change her ways to appeal to the masses.

If you don’t want to hide leprechaun coins around your house, don’t. It should be that simple. When I was in elementary school, I wanted a Lisa Frank Trapper Keeper. All the kids at school had one. My friend had one with unicorns and rainbows and sparkles; I was so jealous. So, my mom went down to the school, held a meeting and beseeched all the other parents to not give their children Lisa Frank Trapper Keepers because she and several other moms had no plans to get one for their kids. Oh, wait, that would be crazy. She just told me no, and while I was bummed, I learned to live with my plain blue, no-name-brand binder. A BINDER. It wasn’t even a trapper keeper.

To the mom who goes all out for the holidays, you have my blessing. I don’t plan on joining you, but you have my support to go as big as you want and celebrate (at home and at school) whatever holiday you wish.

I resolve

pledgeEvery year around this time, people start reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the next. Often, we tout our resolutions and determine this year will be different. More often than not, the resolutions do not make it through February. There are a million things I could list out for New Year’s Resolutions, but I know myself all too well.

One thing I have noticed over this last year is that I do not take care of myself as much as I should. Since I began staying home, I lost the motivation (or time? or desire?) to get gussied up, or even get dressed some days. I find that even when we are going out of the house, my hair is in a ponytail and I’m in yoga pants. I’m all for yoga pants as wardrobe staples, but I would like to wear non-stretchy pants here and there.

Not only is my wardrobe suffering, everything is. I don’t style my hair or wear makeup. I’ve also slacked with my skincare regimen, and it is painfully obvious. I am not trying to be some sort of mommy martyr here. Adjusting to life at home with three kids has been difficult. It has been wonderful, but we have all had to adjust. In my quest to get us into a groove, I put many of my needs on the backburner. That has to change. I now need to find more of a balance and take better care of myself. My children are getting older- heck, my “baby” is almost two. We are no longer in survival mode (most days). I do not have to neglect my needs to meet the needs of those around me.

This year, I resolve to move myself up on the priority list.

If I  have to decide between a shower and finishing laundry, I will choose a shower.

If I my choices are wear yoga pants or skinny jeans, I will wear the skinnies.

If I am at the gym, I will workout instead of working on my computer.

If someone gives me a gift card, I will buy something for myself.

If it takes a little longer to leave the house because I’m doing my hair, then so be it.

In 2014, I am going to take care of me.  I will of course still be taking care of my kids and my house, but I can’t do any of that well if I continue to let myself go the way I have.