The Election: Fallout, Reactions, and Hopes For The Future

This year’s election was particularly rough on me. I’ve been Bernie or Bust since he came on the scene like a wrecking ball, and when he was screwed by the DNC I got angry. In fact, I was so angry that I did not know who I was going to vote for until that day. I knew I had three choices. I could write in Bernie’s name as a protest vote, find a third party that somewhat matched my views, or I could vote against Donald Trump. Now, I live in Texas, so my vote doesn’t matter to a certain extent. However, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain so there I was at the polls the first day of early voting. I cast my vote for Hillary even though I felt an awful taste in my mouth. I can only imagine others felt the same no matter how they voted. In fact, I feel like there were more people voting against another candidate than they were for their own.

I was out of town when the election happened, visiting friends and family back home in Tennessee. I didn’t do much that evening, in fact I sort of sat in my hotel room watching with disbelief as numbers nobody could have anticipated started to roll in. I was confused, a little upset, and a lot sad. I didn’t even stay up until the end because it was very apparent what the outcome was going to be, and I needed to rest since we started our drive home the next day. I went to bed feeling down about Trump, but I’m not going to lie. Deep down inside it felt a little good to see the DNC get exactly what it deserved after it screwed Bernie Sanders. He would’ve crushed Donald Trump in every scenario possible. This is not 3rd party voters fault, even though 15 thousand idiots voted for Harambe. It’s the DNC’s fault. They killed themselves here.

I then woke up and we headed out. For the last two days I’ve been in a car for most of the day, which gives you a chance to think (and scour facebook and news sites thoroughly). I was not amused anymore. While yes the DNC did this to themselves, it didn’t really matter anymore. Trump’s New America was becoming a reality. I was seeing people harrassed for being gay, trans, muslim, latino, black, female even. People saying this was their America and people that were different than them weren’t welcome. People committing violent and heinous acts against people just because since Trump was their president now, that gave them permission. Swastikas. Making America white again. Strange men walking up to females they don’t even know and grabbing them by the crotch. The more I read, the sadder I got. What in the actual hell?

Many Trump supporters are telling people that they need to get over it and just accept it. Well, are we supposed to accept all of that? Are we supposed to accept that just because someone is a female they can be sexually assaulted because Trump said it was ok? Should people of color accept that they’re being told to get to the back of the bus, being called n****r or worse? Should a trans person accept that someone set their truck on fire, but it now won’t be ruled as a hate crime? what is wrong with you people?

We are not afraid of President Trump. We are afraid of what the general public thinks is ok now that he’s President. I can’t remember when I was gripped with the crippling fear that one of my friends would be on the news, a subject of a hate crime, hurt or worse even dead. I fear the day I’m out with my child and see it happening. I won’t turn away, but what will happen to me? And I’m sure some of you are rolling your eyes right now thinking we’re just being dramatic but no.. I have friends this has already happened to. Someone telling one that they “won’t be paying for healthcare” for her “monkey kids” anymore. This is why people are scared and worried. Mike Pence has tried to pass the most stringent laws against the LGBTQ community, ones that had they passed would have driven up suicide rates so much. Conversion therapy is disgusting. It doesn’t work. But then again that’s someone who thinks condoms are “too modern” and “too liberal” and offer a poor defense against STI’s. (source)

I know some of the people that I personally know who voted Trump did so for a few reasons. Some of you voted one issue only, and while I don’t agree, I respect your priorities. Some people voted against Hillary. I understand that, because that’s the only reason Hillary got my vote – it was a vote against Trump. I know in my heart of hearts that a lot of the conservative folks I know and love aren’t racist. They don’t hate women and don’t hate people in general. But the general public, these backwoods racists, the KKK who endorsed Trump, now they are all coming out of the woodwork and Donald used them for his campaign. It was a smart move on his part, but he’s started something that he’s not going to be able to shut down before a lot of people get hurt. So while you are telling people to get over it, please understand people are fearing for their lives. And it’s not in a fake omg they’re coming for our guns paranoia. Eight years of Obama, and you still have your guns. Nothing happened. It’s real here, though. People are already getting hurt and worse. So just please.. Please, if you are a Trump supporter, if you voted for him or whatever … just don’t tell other people to get over it. Instead tell them you understand their fear, you love them, and you will do what you can to make sure they feel safe. If you see harassment going on, don’t be silent. Please help.

In Memoriam

This past weekend was Memorial Day weekend and I feel that it is more than appropriate for me to remember all of our fallen heroes. Without these heroes I would not be in the United States and have been given the opportunity I have been afforded.

You always hear about the Memorial Day sales and the folks at Walmart wishing you a happy Memorial Day. You don’t ever hear the taps being played at the cemetaries or see the tears of those who have lost someone while defending our great country. I’m not barbeque bashing by any means. I do think that it is a holiday to be celebrated with good food and company, but I also feel like it should be a day of remembrance for those who are no longer with us.

There are quite a few veterans in my immediate family and I am extremely grateful for their service. Without my dad having served overseas, I would never have been adopted from Romania. Next to my birth mother, I literally owe my life to this man and our country’s military.

Thanks to these fallen soldiers defending the United States of America and allowing us our freedoms I can now proudly say that tiny Satan is my first blood relative I have ever met, held, kissed, hugged, anything you can think of, honestly. These men and women have given everything for us and I am saying thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a selfless act. I hope all of you enjoyed your Memorial Day weekend and hopefully next year you will remember that it isn’t just a free day off work.

The Road So Far

I am enjoying the chaos, confusion and the mess that is motherhood. I have learned it’s more than cuddles, feeding and pooping. I have also learned to embrace my messy hair, stretch marks and spit up stained shirts.

Ryan will be 6 months in a few weeks, and has entered this exploration phase full force. It seems like the day he started rolling over, he turned into this independent, loud, eating machine. He only tolerates being held for long enough to eat and take off my glasses, and it’s bittersweet to watch him gain independence.

Teething seems to come in waves, we are managing with teething rings, teething beads, washcloths, and his fingers(and sometimes toes). His gums aren’t red or swollen yet, so I imagine we’ve got a long road ahead of us.

-Until next time, hugs & mother love❤️


Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is coming up this weekend. For some of my friends, this will be their very first Mother’s Day with their own little squishy to hold and love. For me, this is my first Mother’s Day without my mother. In fact, last Mother’s Day was the last time we saw my mom before she went into the hospital for the last time. Her birthday was May 7th, so we always celebrated her birthday and Mother’s Day together. Last year, we all went to my niece’s softball game, then back to my sister’s house for dinner and cake.

Mom had been sick for a long time. In 1998, she was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow. She’d had two successful bone marrow transplants, as well as countless rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. She was no stranger to hospital stays. Throughout it all, she kept a fighting, upbeat attitude. Mom was known for her offbeat sense of humor and wit. She was a smartass; always ready with a one-liner. She was also the queen of self-deprecation and deflecting attention away from herself.

With that in mind, I’ll do my best this Mother’s Day to honor her in quiet, subtle ways. I plan on donating some kitty food to our local shelter (Mom was THE crazy cat lady). I would like to have a meal out with my family and leave some lucky waitress an exorbitant tip (Mom was a waitress). Lastly, I want to find some Lily of the Valley or Baby’s Breath to plant in my yard (her two favorite flowers). Other than that, I plan on enjoying the weekend with my family. Our grandson’s birthday party is this weekend, so we’ll be hanging out with him and our granddaughter. I’ll be loving every minute of my time with my girls and baby boy, content to have them all by my side, happy and healthy. That’s what Mom would have wanted.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of my lovely weasels, and our beautiful readers. <3

Introducing analogwatch!

Hi everyone! My name is Erin. I’m originally from Phoenix, Arizona: a place which sucks in many respects but I still rather unfortunately miss dearly — particularly in the wintertime. In late 2007 I reactivated my World of Warcraft account, which is a hobby that I can never quit for too long at a time, and joined a guild. (This is relevant, I promise.) The rogue class leader of that guild was a guy who started flirting with me first as a joke, then more seriously once we got to know each other. We hit it off, he came out to Arizona to meet me, we drove to California in a car for a week, then a month later I came to Michigan and I’ve been here ever since! We got married in February of 2009 then had our first child, a daughter, in August of 2009 and our second, a son, in December 2015.

When I’m not running around trying to accomplish everything ever all at once, up to and including parenting two children simultaneously, I enjoy video games and writing. For video games, I adore just about anything BioWare has ever made (Jade Empire was woefully underappreciated). For writing, I have mostly stuck to short stories of the LGBT romance variety though I have recently begun an endeavor to branch out into novels. I also adore musicals, and have very recently fallen down the hole that is Hamilton.

I also have an avid interest in both the medical fields and parenting,with a special focus on parenting children with special needs (most notably ADHD and sensory issues, with a more minor focus in autism). I particularly have an interest in the attachment parenting school of thought, and I suppose you could probably call me “crunchy,” if that’s a term you’d apply to someone’s parenting ideas.

I am looking forward to working on this project with all of my weasel-tastic Mama friends! I can’t wait to see what it’ll bring!

Introducing Babiicakes

Hello everyone, I was born in Brooklyn NY and raised in the south. My husband is a cross country truck driver and I am a nurse. We currently live in eastern NC, with hopes of buying a house in the next few years. I have an awesome and adorable step-son, and I became a first time mom in December of 2015.

I spend a lot of time attempting to balance motherhood, marriage, school, and work. (When I a schedule that gives me more than 4 hours of sleep I will let you guys know.) I enjoy video games, baking and documentaries. I “fangirl” over too much to mention.

I’m excited to be a part of our diverse group of weasels and share the things I have learned.

Introducing Missy!

Hi my friends! I am Missy. I was born and raised in California, right about where Google and Apple have set up shop. When I was a teenager we had to pick up and relocate all the way across the country to the frozen tundra that is the Northeast. It was either that or get a passport and learn to speak Taiwanese. It actually turns out that I enjoy the snow. The move also led me to my husband and two beautiful children, for which I am constantly incredibly grateful.

When I’m not harassing my eldest about homework and tooth-brushing or babbling with and feeding my squishball, I love to make crafts. Some of which I half-ass in the interest of keeping my hands busy, others I agonize over to perfection.

In all honesty, I like to get things *just right*. I like to try new endeavors and see what happens. I am also lazy if I can get away with it. So my specialty is doing really neat things, really well, with minimal effort because let’s be real, here; if you want to do something cool and have it work in real life, you need to be able to do it quick and painlessly. Probably also with at least one child begging for attention.

I can’t wait to get this project started with all my dearly loved fellow Mama Weasels here on A Dash of Mama. I just know this is going to be great!

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

Hi! I am Roro. I was born and raised about an hour outside of beautiful Philadelphia, PA and now reside on the sunny beaches of Florida. I count that move as the best decision of my life. Besides getting me away from the snow, it led to meeting my husband, who was a single father of 4 when I met him. I adopted his 2 youngest girls, and we have been blessed with another daughter and a son together. Our 4 kids range from newbie to college aged, and always keep us on our toes. They are my greatest pride and joy.

Besides my little darlings, some of my favorite things include: soaking up rays on the beach, camping, sports (especially the Philly teams), listening to music, and gardening. My contributions to A Dash of Mama will include simple projects to do with the babes, going on adventures with the babes, and plenty of outtakes.

I think my favorite part of this project is working with this group of ladies I love and am so glad to have met. The Weasel family has become an extension of my own family, and really, truly, some of my very best friends. I love how diverse of a group we are, yet we can all relate to each other, learn from each other, and grow with each other.

Please be sure to leave me a comment. I’d like to meet our readers!

A Short History of the “Weasels”:

Our group of friends met on a popular baby-themed forum. We were all expecting new bundles of joy around the same time. From a forum of more than 20,000 users, a small group of about 20 of us grew closer, and began to lean on each other as real friends. Soon, we found ourselves becoming friends on other social media sites. From there, we’ve expanded to real-life meetings and this new endeavor, on A Dash of Mama the blog, and the soon-to-launch youTube channel.

The Status Quo

It’s official: I have the most perfect baby ever.

I know a lot of people say that, but hear me out. he’s three months today and already sleeping well. He’ll do a 6-8 hour stretch and then at least one more 2 or so hour stretch after that. I’m getting enough rest – well, except for the last few nights but he just had his shots so part of that is my anxiety and paranoia keeping myself up to watch him. Last night he had trouble falling asleep, but once he did he slept good so we just slept in today. But his sleep habits that rival his daddy is not the reason why we have the most perfect baby ever. Well, not the only reason anyway.

He’s so chill. He doesn’t cry unless there is something wrong. Sometimes he fusses when he’s a bit bored or wants to move, but the Mamaroo we got just clears that right up. By the way? I know it’s a bit of an investment (we took advantage of the Babies R’ Us trade in event that allowed us to trade in an old used bouncer I’d picked up at a consignment sale for like $10 to get 25% off of a new purchase, so it was about 70 dollars cheaper than it actually would’ve been purchasing outright) but it is worth its weight in gold. While Kristopher would sit in the bouncer and rest sometimes, he got bored easily and would fuss until someone picked him up and walked him around. The roo has 5 different motions and 5 different speeds, and even has a bluetooth hookup and you can play mp3s or playlists through it. (Note: I have a Galaxy Note5 and it is incompatible because it’s the newest phone and the software version is too advanced or something. I could still plug it in via the jack and play music if I wanted to, though) He will sit in it quietly and talk to me, watch Little Einsteins, Curious George, or Daniel Tiger (our three favorites! I personally love Little Einsteins) and he will nap for long stretches as well.

I am one lucky mama. He is advancing well enough (except for things like rolling and tummy time because he still pretty much hates that). He loves to talk, coo, laugh and smile at mama and he’s already sleeping well through the night. He hasn’t gone to his own bed because we’re going on a trip next month and he’ll be in the pack and play for that. Plus, he hasn’t hit that 4 month mark yet. To be honest, we’ll probably start the crib transition when Clayton is home in April. I kind of like having him close by when it’s just the two of us at home.

Coming soon: A pic dump of special photos from month-birthdays and holidays so far!

He’s Here! Welcome To the World, Kristopher!

While it wasn’t in the way that we’d anticipated, Kristopher Donovan Estepp made his way into our family – and deep into our hearts – a few weeks early. My blood pressure had been on the rise for a little while, and while pre-eclamsia was a real threat, the protein had managed to stay out of the pees until the very end. Then my MFM decided she was just ready to give the go-ahead to avoid any further complications. I was admitted to the hospital Thursday afternoon, November 19. We prepared for a c section the next morning.

It was frightening. Since we were just at the hospital for observation, I didn’t really have anything with me. Clayton went back to the house to take care of the dogs, get our things, and stop by to bring me my last pregnancy meal (if you’re wondering it was Culver’s – chicken tenders and cheese curds) and my dad and stepmom came to visit for a bit. That night it was just keeping me comfortable and waiting for the morning to come.

I was pretty uncomfortable most of the night and the baby was extremely active. I only got a few hours sleep before 6 am hit and we were prepping me for surgery. First thing was me washing up with special soap and slipping into the hospital gown, then the nurse came in for my IV and shave and everything else. The anesthesiologist followed and explained to me what he’d be doing and I started taking medicine, including the gross citrus acid stuff that helps me not die while being under anesthesia. Clayton changed into his disposable daddy scrubs and after a quick visit from his mom we were off!

They had Clayton wait outside while they got me ready for surgery. I sat on the table and bent over and the skilled doctor started to do his thing with the spinal tap. It took a long time and there was one oopsie that almost had me jerking off the table but we got it done just in the nick of time. He’d said that if it took any more he would’ve just put me to sleep, so I’m glad that didn’t have to happen. I of course got sick and woozy as soon as it started hitting and they had to compensate for that but before I knew it I was stable, not feeling anything, curtain up and they were already carving into me apparently when they led Clayton in. He sat next to me and held my hand like a boss, which was just what I needed because I was suffering from some panicky anxiety. It didn’t seem like any time had passed until my doctor was talking about how he was breech again (he’d been head down on the ultrasound two days before) and well, that explained all the uncomfortable movements from the night before. He was flipping into the best c-section position for us! And then he was out, I heard him cry, and a big sigh of relief was had. And I cried a little bit.

Kristopher was 7 lb 10 ounces (he’d been estimated at 7 lb 14 oz the week before) and 21 inches long. He passed his APGAR with a 9/9 but his sugar was a bit low and was having a few breathing issues. Clayton went to be with little man and once I was stitched up we were all in recovery together for a bit. I was finally able to hold him! The first bit of skin to skin was awesome and I did not want to put my baby down. Unfortunately I had to, because we were going to separate places. He needed to be watched in the nursery and I had to be wheeled to my room (eventually). That’s when things started to not go as planned.

His breathing was not improving – he was having rapid bouts and super high respiration levels so they decided he needed to be sent to the NICU. The grandparents all got to see him before he was carried off, and Clayton got to spend a little more time with him. And that started my crusade to be able to go. Unfortunately, because I was on a magnesium drip, I had to stay in bed with a catheter in for 24 hours after delivery. It was the hardest time because I wanted to be there with him but couldn’t even go in a wheelchair. You better believe that once those 24 hours were up I was rabid about getting someone to wheel me down to the NICU to see my guy. It was hard holding him with so many wires and sensors connected to him, but it was 100% worth it.

We were both there for four days. He progressively got better (though there was a bit of jaundice scare at the end) and I recovered like a champ. By day 2 I wasn’t even using a wheelchair to go to the NICU at all. I was impressing every nurse that came in contact with me over how much I was doing so fast. To be honest, it’s why I feel like I’m doing so well now. The motivation to be near my boy and be recovered for him was all that I needed.

We’re all home now, obviously, and he just had his three week birthday. In the past three weeks we’ve moved 2 hours from our home, celebrated Thanksgiving, been through some struggles and some triumphs and it’s all been worth it. I love this little guy and so does his daddy. He makes our little family 100% complete and he really is the sweetest baby with the best disposition ever. I’ve never been happier, even when I’m drag-butt tired.