Obligatory Thankful Post

It’s that time of year where we all mull over how thankful we are, ya? I haven’t done this yet, but today is as good a day as any. I shall put it in list form, since I know so many people are so fond of lists. I’m looking at you, Gynji…..

1. My Fiance/Boyfriend/Best Friend/Soulmate: First off, I am so thankful to have found the absolute love of my life. Not only are we completely meant to be together, (seriously, ask anyone who knows us) there are so many paths we could have taken where we would’ve ended up living completely different lives. We have supported each other through good and bad. I do not know anybody who is a better partner, lover, father. Sure, we fight, but I look at it this way: I’m sure you remember that movie, Forest Gump, and that stupid quote, “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re going to get.” If you get the Russell’s it tells you, with a nice diagram actually. The only way you don’t know is if you accidentally look at it upside down or something… Anyway, I think of it more in terms of, once you’ve eaten all the good chocolate, you have to eat the bad chocolate. You know, like the weird nougaty maple or something ones. He’s my box of chocolate, and I don’t waste chocolate.

2. My Little Man/Son/Baby/Child: It’s still hard to believe we made a human. A functioning, thinking, laughing, completely silly, amazingly smart, human.  From the moment we found out we were pregnant, we were scared shit-less. What the hell are we going to do with a child? We can’t take care of ourselves! We suited ourselves up for our greatest adventure, and here we are. You are an amazing child, who has the whole world ahead of you and I couldn’t ask for anything more. An amazingly textbook pregnancy (ya know, besides the 70 lbs I gained…I like food…) a perfect beginning to our breast feeding relationship, (with amazing support from above mentioned) a perfectly healthy baby. I never thought I would feel so accomplished in life, and I am so thankful for you everyday. I see things differently now, and I cannot wait to experience all the adventure life has to offer with you.

3. My mom: Nothing brings mother and daughter together like having a baby. When we found out we were pregnant, my mother and I had a very rocky relationship. As the pregnancy continued, I started to realize all the things my mom must have suffered. Not just in the sacrifices she made, but just life. She was 21 when she had me. By the time she was my age she had 4 kids in a country not her own. To leave her family behind because she felt it was the best for us, is incredible courage and commitment. While, I don’t always agree with her, she is extremely supportive when it comes to B and how we are choosing to raise him. My kid, my choice, and I absolutely love that. Right now, our relationship is the best it’s ever been, and I hope that we always continue down this path. She has shown me to be strong, and to stand up for what I believe in, whether it’s good or bad. She has encouraged me  with her actions and words, and shown me the meaning of hard work and persistence. I think for the first time in my life, I understand her. She has taught me to be open minded, hard working, self sacrificing; she is my fixed point.

4. My dad: This is going to come as a shock to some because my relationship with my father hasn’t been the best lately, but that doesn’t mean I am not thankful for all he is, and all he tried to be. When you become an adult, you start to realize things about your parents that perhaps you didn’t see, or just plain didn’t know about them. My father is a very different person now, then the person he was. I will always remember my father trying his very best to teach us integrity and self pride. However, the biggest lesson I learned is something he never tried to teach. Be Happy. I know realize that my father was never truly happy after his days in the military. Retiring left a hole in him that he cannot fill. As much as he tried, and still tries, to find himself and his own happiness, I don’t know if he knows how. That in itself is very powerful, and I wish he could see himself through my eyes.

5. Jeff:  My mom’s husband. They were just married in August. Even though I have only known him a short time, he has taught me so much about life, and myself. He is an amazing person with a ginormous heart who is so selfless, I don’t have words to describe. All I can say, is I am so thankful to have him in my life. He has opened his home, and his life to us, without question. He renovated his entire house to accommodate our family from Korea. I haven’t seen my grandparents, and aunts since 1994. I’ve never met my uncles, and cousins until this year. Just in that one act alone, he has completely blown me away. He is a grandfather to B, an amazing step-father to us, and truly cares about each one of us as his own. I have never met someone like him, and I am thankful not only for being in my life, but for my mom. He makes her so happy, and I literally do not have words to describe how that has helped our relationship.

6. Extended Family: We have a big family. I have 3 sisters, Ez has 3 sisters and a brother, plus they all have kids. Holidays are definitely fun. Although we don’t all see each other as much as I like, (I will admit I am horrible at keeping in touch with people IRL.) Throughout it all I am thankful for all of them. Family is very important. I have learned no matter how crazy or weird you think your family is, someone’s got you beat. As much as we fight, and as different as we are, I am so glad that B has such a big family. It is comforting to know no matter what happens, or if something happens to Ez and I, he will be well taken care of, and will always have the support he may need.

7. My life: Life is such a precious thing that can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. I have absolutely no regrets, because every decision I have made has brought me to this exact moment, which I would not change for anything. I am thankful I am able to put my family first. I am thankful for the experiences that have helped mold and shape who I am.

The rest are pretty self explanatory.

8. Nap Time

9. Gaming

10. The Internet

What are some things you are thankful for?

/bow

The Sunshine Award!

Brand excited

This is how excited we are!

Thanks to the awesome people at 1001-up.com, I’ve been nominated for a Sunshine Award! If you haven’t visited them, go do it. Now. The link is right there. It’s ok. I’ll wait.

Are you back? OK!

This is very exciting. Do you know how long it’s been since I’ve been nominated for something? Do you?!? This is actually my first ever blogging nomination of any kind, and I am honored to have it come from such an awesome site! You guys inspire me.  Have you visited them yet?

Alright let’s get down to business………….to defeat……….the Huns.

HUAH!

image-1-sunshine-award-brightens-up-our-day

This is an award given to people who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere. The rules are as follows:

  1. Use the logo in your post
  2. Link to whoever nominated you.
  3. Write ten facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate ten fellow bloggers
  5. Leave a comment on the nominees’ blogs to tell them of the award.

 

So, 10 facts about myself.

1. I have an addictive personality. (coffee, gaming, food, hair dye, MMOs)

2. Final Fantasy VIII is my favorite out of the series, with VI coming in a close second.

3. I don’t know how to organize. Really. I think that it’s not in my genome, so I watch a lot of tutorials to learn instead.

4. I hated David the Gnome as a kid. He scared me.

5. The only person in the world I would ever leave my fiance for is David Bowie.

6. I am multicultural. My mom is Korean, and my dad is Scottish and Irish.

7. My first gaming system was a Nintendo.

8. When we received our first Playstation, they didn’t give us memory cards, so I would play every game by leaving the console on until I beat it. If my mom came in my room and saw the green light on, she would shut it off. I started piling laundry on it so she wouldn’t see the light.

9. I didn’t know how to cook until I was pregnant.

10.  I earned a 5/5 on my AP Calculus test in high school.

 

Onto the Nominees!

1. I am Out of Character

2. Domestic Geek Girl

3. Retro Video Gaming

4. InvaderC8

5. Tales of a Mom

6. ANappyNerdGirl

7. TwinStick Gaming

8. Mom Drives a Chocobo

9.  The Archaeology of Tomb Raider

10. Science of Mom

Thank you so much! Be sure the check out these blogs that I have listed as well!

/bow

Ms. Male Character – Tropes vs. Women – Reaction

Anita Sarkeesian has released another video in her Tropes vs. Women in Video Games series, Ms. Male Character, and I take back every horrible thing I’ve ever said about her. Well, almost everything.

The video focused on a specific character design that game developers use to portray femininity to the player. Unlike her last videos, she touched upon games from the 80s and up through modern times, such as Disney’s “Where’s my Water?” and  Rovio’s “Angry Birds” giving this presentation a more relevant message, since this trope is still widely used in gaming today. The most obvious and main example would be Ms. Pac-Man who’s sole existence is a female counterpart to PacMan.

How do know she’s female? “Put a bow on it!”

While the actual character of Ms. Pac-man is somewhat outdated, all the points made in this video can be summarized using this one example. Ms. Pac-Man was created as a sequel of sorts to the original Pac-Man arcade game. *Interesting note: Pac-man was created to appeal to the female gamer, watch the video and find out why* To distinguish her as “female” (because clearly calling her Ms. Pac-Man is not enough) she was designed with stereotypical feminine features, pink bow, long eyelashes, and a mole. This also brings up the point, which Anita executed very well, that the creation of a “female” Pac-Man automatically defaults Pac-Man as male.

These are excellent points that still continue in gaming today. Anita touches upon how “Angry Birds” was, for the most part, genderless, until introducing female versions of characters in their Valentines episodes in “Angry Birds Seasons.” Sporting the pink bow, longer eyelashes, and makeup, these female counterparts are distinctly different, the audience defaults the original characters into the “male” category. It’s not enough to present them with female names, or voices.

 Is the answer to create female characters that look like their male equivalents, or not introduce them at all?

My Female Gaming Role Models: *Guest Post* Why was Coco Bandicoot so Cool?

I’ve been wanting to do a post about Coco Bandicoot, however someone already did it! So without further ado, Why was Coco Bandicoot so Cool? by  InvaderC8!

Woah!

That one word sums up one of the best series from the Playstation: Crash Bandicoot. Released in 1996 by Naughty Dog, Crash Bandicoot changed the foundations of Action platformers and was one of the highest selling games that year. It was about Crash, who started out as a normal Bandicoot, until Dr. Neo Cortex took him and was genetically enhanced to help him take over the planet. However, Crash was too carefree to be able to lead an army, so Cortex tossed him from his fortress, and decides to use Crash’s girlfriend, Tawna for his experiment. With time running out, it’s up to Crash to get through Cortex’s three islands, stop him from taking over the world and save his girl. But I’m not here to talk about Crash, even though he’s the star, and deservedly so, I’m here to talk about his little sister, Coco.

Coco B

From her introduction in CB2 and on, she was a kindhearted genius who loved her computer and helped out Crash when he was in trouble. However, after Crash Team Racing [the fourth game in the series], Naughty Dog gave the rights of the series to ”Radical Entertainment”, who decided “You know what Coco is missing? She needs a bratty attitude and have her make generally useless inventions! Oh, Oh, and, lets use her as a damsel in distress!” *sigh* You were so awesome in the beginning, Coco, and Naughty Dog won’t be able to come to the rescue. Well, with that disappointing thought in mind, I figured to do an article on why I thought she rocked in CB2 and CB: Warped.

Coco first appeared in “Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back” and was established as Crash’s little sister. What happened to Tawna? Your guess is as good as mine. Anyways, in the first few seconds we see her, we quickly learn her characteristics: She’s intelligent, loves her laptop and is more level headed then Crash. On his way to get her a new battery when her Laptop one dies, Crash gets caught by Cortex, who proclaims that he actually needs Crash to help him collect Crystals. It seems that the world is going to be destroyed by a force that will be generated when all the planets align, so he created the Cortex Vortex to protect it. However, it needs Crystals to work, which is where Crash comes in. While he is a good guy, Crash isn’t exactly the brightest bulb in the room, so he goes with it without hesitation. Luckily, Coco doesn’t believe a word Cortex says, and hacks into his computer to try and figure out what his true motives are, which we find out late in the game….

[Skip video to 3:12:45 if it doesn’t jump on it’s own.]

With that knowledge, Crash goes and takes out the vile Doctor. See? Without his sis, Crash would have unknowingly doomed us all to worshiping Cortex. This was a nice introduction for her, and she was a valuable asset to the storytelling, but it’s in “Crash Bandicoot: Warped”, where she truly comes into her own.

Please go to at Why was Coco Bandicoot so Cool? by InvaderC8 and continue reading about Coco!   

Thank you for the first guest post on “My Female Gaming Role Models”!

5 tips for pumping in the work place

Breastfeeding is hard. Breastfeeding and working is harder. For those of you that nurse, are considering nursing, or just plain curious, here are some things I learned about both.

1.) Know your rights.

Although the US is a little behind in a lot of parental rights compared to our peers throughout the world, we as new parents, do have rights. When it  comes to pumping, there are many laws that protect us both on a state and federal level. The most important tool you have is information. According to federal law, a women has a right to express breast milk for up to 1 year, in a private space (NOT A BATHROOM) provided by the employer, and shall be allowed reasonable break time in order to do this. This statute applies to employees covered under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This is the same act that determines your eligibility for Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). These are minimun standards set by the federal government. Any state laws that expand upon these laws will take precedence. If you are not considered covered by FLSA, than you will solely rely on your state laws for information on your rights as a breastfeeding mother. Please be aware that there is a clause in FLSA if employers deem it an “undue hardship” to provide this for you. I have never had experience with this, if you have please let me know so I can make sure to include that information in this post for the people who may need it.

2.) Open communication

The second best tool that you have is communication, with your boss, and your co-workers. While I was on maternity leave, I went into work to discuss this new addition in our lives and how it will affect me in the workplace. At the time, I was a full time department assistant manager, so it was very important to me to have this open dialogue, not only with my superiors, but with my crew. Fortunately I work for some pretty awesome people, and we were able to sit down and come up with a plan. I also had a copy of this pdf with me in case I ran into any problems. I felt it was important for my co-workers to know that we were pumping, so that there wasn’t any miscommunication about any break times, or amount of “breaks” I was taking.  If an issue arose, with another employee for example, it was addressed. I was never ashamed about having to pump, or talking about pumping, and everyone was very supportive.

3.) Private Space

As stated in the law, your employer is required to provide you a private space, free from prying eyes and such, that IS NOT A BATHROOM in order to pump. I used a conference room that was automatically locked, and only upper management had access to the keys. To further prevent any mishaps I also made a sign that I would put onto the door for sessions.  Again, open communication. If you are using a shared space, yes it is your right to pump, no it is not your right to be a bitch about it. If I knew a meeting would be held in there, or someone was using it, I would ask someone if I could use their office, or time my pump sessions around it (if I could). Compromise is a good thing. It helps you, it helps them, and nobody gets angry, upset, or confused. If your employer offers you a bathroom, please remind them of the laws that apply to your situation (state or federal). Alternately, depending on your employer, you may be able to negotiate other compromises.

4.) Compromises

Depending on your employer, you may be able to come up with other arrangements. When I first started pumping at work, I worked 8-10 hours a day 5 days a week. A regular pumping schedule was needed to keep up my supply and still make sure I am doing my job. Now that I am part time, pumping at work is not an issue. I pump before work, or when I get home. B is also into solid foods, so he will usually wait for me to get home to nurse. Once in a while, I will be asked to do an 8-9 hour shift. Normally I am allowed 2 paid 15 minute breaks and 1 30 minute lunch unpaid. Instead of pumping at work every break, I take a 1 hour unpaid lunch, and drive 10 minutes home, feed and/or pump, and go back to work. This is why open communication is so important. This compromise meets both my needs and the needs of the employer, without me having to lug all my pumping stuff to work for one pumping session. I have read of other moms being able to go to daycare to feed their babies, and even of dads bringing babies to mom’s work for a feeding session.

5.) Confidence

You are the most important person in your breastfeeding journey. Whatever your reason for breastfeeding, you are providing nutrition for your child. You are using your body to grow a person, again. You should be confident in your decision and information is the most powerful confidence booster. Know your rights, communicate your needs, and never ever let anyone bring you down. Not all co-workers/employers are going to be understanding. Sadly enough, I even ran into some women that didn’t understand why I needed to pump, or why I’m still pumping. Remember you have the right to pump up to a year under federal law. Remember you are your child’s biggest advocate. Never be embarrassed or question your rights or decisions. Be confident in your actions. You are mom.

For all the men out there: The most important thing you can do for the mother of your child is BE SUPPORTIVE regardless of her nutrition decisions.  

If you would like more information on feeding your babies please go to kellymom.com, or feel free to ask! You can reach me at Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook, and of course here!

Have a story of your own? Please comment!

Remember, CONFIDENCE!

/bow

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