Category: Family

What are our Rights as Parents?

Last week, a couple had their 5 month old baby in the hospital. He had suffered from heart murmurs and was developing flu like symptoms. After seeing a nurse give their baby a medicine she could not identify, later finding out it was antibiotics, even though the doctor told them the baby should not get antibiotics, and other incidents that raised their concerns as to the reliability of the hospital and staff where they were, the doctor told them the baby needed heart surgery. The left against the doctor’s advice and sought a second opinion. The second doctor said the baby was fine to go home. There were no concerns for the parents. The next day their baby was taken from them by Child Protective Services. After a week with their sick 5 month old baby in custody, where they were only allowed a single 1 hr visit under observation. They finally had their hearing yesterday and were told

“The court also ruled that the parents must follow all future medical advice, including not removing their child from Stanford Medical Center without proper discharge.”

Since when do we not have any choice but to follow all medical advice? I though we always had a right to decline treatment if we did not want it. Or is that right no longer ours? They did not trust their first doctor because he kept making mistakes, so they went straight over to another doctor who said the baby was okay to go home. They were responsible, caring parents, not some drugged out idiots leaving their baby sick at home while they went out partying or drinking. And for being good parents their baby was taken from them for almost a week, and they weren’t even allowed to see him except for one 1 hr visit. This makes me sick.   How long until they start taking our babies for feeding them solid foods or peanut butter before they doctor says it is okay? They could easily look at our Facebook posts about such topics and report us as bad parents if we admit to doing these things.

Doctors can now ask you at routine checkups if you have a gun in the house and then record it as a risk factor on your file. Just recently a German immigrant family is facing deportation after coming here seeking political asylum so they could homeschool their children. The Department of Homeland Security ruled that homeschooling is not a right and so they cannot stay here. If they go back to Germany they will have their children taken away because they chose to homeschool instead of sending them to a state run school. In Germany, even if you send them to a regular school during the day, you can have your children taken from you if you try to teach them anything at home. It was a policy instituted under Hitler that was never repealed. They were on their final warning and were about to lose their children when they left Germany and moved here in 2008. Now our government is ready to send them back to Germany to have their children taken from them because homeschooling isn’t a right, so they do not qualify for political asylum. Our government has made this decision.

If they can take our children away for seeking a second opinion from a doctor and then tell us we have no right to deny medical treatment for our children, what is to stop them from saying we are abusing our children by not puting them in Head Start programs at regular schools? They have already set precident that homeschooling isn’t a right. If we don’t have the right to decide when someone is going to perform a surgery on our baby, what makes us think we can argue we have the right to decide how to teach them the alphabet?

If we let incidents like this go by un challeneged, we will not wake up until it is our child they take for no reason, and we are left begging to have our baby given back to us.

Many of the news stories this past few weeks center around employees being forced to come in to work on Thanksgiving. Opponents say it is an attack on a family holiday and unfair to the employees. There are strikes and petitions and everyone is mad at those evil, greedy companies who only care about profit.
But what of the customers who go to these sales? Do they share no blame? Are we so weak-willed that if they open we must shop? In these difficult economic times companies are grasping at every sale they can get, desperate to survive until things can get better. Is it right to open on Thanksgiving? Probably not. I am one of the many who roll my eyes at the forgotten holidays trampelled over on the way to Christmas. I actually saw Christmas decorations up at stores before Halloween this year. Even the Halloween decorations were sparse this year, but when was the last time stores even bothered promoting Thanksgiving? (other than a few generic fall decorations of brown and orange leaves and maybe a sale on turkeys).
But whose fault is that? Is it the evil, greedy corporations, or are they just reacting to us? Maybe we hate them, because they reflect who we have become, and we don’t like what we see. It is easy to blame the stores, but that is just addressing the symptoms without attacking the illness.. We could end this trend right now. All we have to do is not shop on Thanksgiving. That’s it. If no one comes in th to the stores to shop on Thanksgiving night, the stores won’t open. we pay lip service to family, but we aren’t spending quality time with our family while standing in line, running and pushing and shoving to get to the deals before anyone else?
So the next time we want to jump on the “Blame the Companies” bandwagon, take a look in the mirror and look at the checkout person at the store. Ask yourself if that deal is worth making that employee work on Thanksgiving, and instead of shopping, go home and give your kids a hug. We get so few days to spend with our families, let’s not waste it  with arguments, lawsuits, petitions and shopping. If you think the stores should be closed., don’t shop on Thanksgiving. It really is that simple.
Amanda McLain-Young

Congratulations to my uncle for publishing his book of short stories. We love you Uncle Bill Dickey. (currently available in paperback and ebook ).



Rich Man’s Daughter

by Betty McLain

When Carol discovers her father plans to force her into a marriage she does not want, she must take matters into her own hands. But how can a girl who has always had everything prove to her father and herself she doesn’t need money or good looks to make her way in the world?

Buy the eBook on Smashwords for $0.99 here
Buy the paperback on Createspace for $5.99 here
View the Teaser Trailer here

Congratulations to my mom for publishing her first book! You can read more about her and her writing at

Scam alert: If someone calls saying a relative is in jail in Sarnia, Canada after being involved in a car accident near Niagra Falls where the driver was drinking, and needs $1000 wired to them so the judge will let them leave and come back to the USA, it is a scam. Courthouses do not have a Western Union in them, and Sarnia is not that close to Niagra Falls. It is about 3 to 4 hours away. Anyone arrested near Niagra Falls would be taken to neared jail/courthouse, probably Saint Catherines.

The attorney calling claimed to be Daitalin Eisner with Johnson and Johnson law firm in Canada and gave a Vancouver number: 778-239-9035.  Sarnia courthouse had not heard of this attorney or lawfirm. Lawyer claimed relative was being held, but not formally arrested, pending the payment of the fine to release him. Thus, the police and courthouse had no record of him. Attorney refused to provide any proof of who she was or where she worked. Could not provide name of judge, number or courthouse or police station (I had to look those up online), website for lawfirm, proof she was even a lawyer, and we were given one hour to pay fine or he would have to go to jail.

“Relative” claimed to have a cold to cover up the fact that he didn’t sound exactly like the real relative.


Sqeezable Fruit

I’ve noticed lately an abundance of fruit puree in squeezable pouches. It started out as a toddler snack on the baby food aisle. First came the name brand, then the store brand knock offs. Yesterday I found that they have made the jump from baby/toddler food to the fruit isle. I often get fruit cups for my older son. The diced fruit makes a good snack, and he likes it. I try to get fresh fruit and berries, but inevitably they go bad before we can finish them. I don’t know if is our grocery stores down here or what, but I often find food that is either at or past its expiration date still sitting on the store shelves. I’ve bought macaroni and cheese that was expired for two years, cookie dough that was stored at improper temperatures and didn’t cook correctly (twice), and tried to get some bottled water only to see that it was best by six months ago. Fresh fruit and veggies don’t usually last very long once I buy them, making me wonder how long they have been on the shelf, too. Fruit pouches don’t go bad as quickly and have a couple other advantages as well. They are easy to take with us on the road and they usually have a good variety of different fruits and berries that aren’t as easy to come by in the cups. But they do leave me with one observation. Feeding my 10 month old son, I’m excited he is transitioning to more solid foods. He is moving away from baby puree and eating more table foods. As parents this is a fun time. Yet my four-year old is now moving back to puree for his snacks. Strange how things work out.

-A.D. McLain

The Princess and the Pea

You know those things that make you question your sanity or wonder if you’ve somehow stepped into an alternate reality? The story of “The Princess and the Pea” is that for me.  Everyone knows the basics of the story: A princess is so sensitive she can feel a pea under her mattress, even if you put it under a stack of many mattresses. In the story, a prince is looking for a bride. The prospective brides are tested in this manner to see if they are princesses.  And here is where the story gets interesting. Everyone I’ve asked in the past twenty years has told me that the princess wakes up complaining about how she couldn’t sleep, and everyone knows she is a princess, since she could feel the pea. But that isn’t the story I heard as a child. In the version I heard, the princess doesn’t want to be a rude guest and tries to hide the fact that she couldn’t sleep. She is so tired, she ends up falling asleep at breakfast. The queen is livid. How dare a guest fall asleep at the table? The prince interrupts her rant and says that the princess showed true sensitivity. Not only did she feel the pea, but she showed sensitivity of heart by not wanting to hurt anyone’s feelings or be rude.

I can not find this version of the story anywhere. It is like it never existed. No one I know has ever heard it. It leaves me to wonder where I heard it, did I imagine it, or what? If anyone out there has heard this version of the story, I welcome your comments. If not, I also welcome a discussion on the merits of each of these stories. I am partial to the story I know. It teaches a lesson and shows that it is good to be polite and care about the feelings of others. I would love to find it in print somewhere, if only to know I’m not crazy. Until then, I will be content to share it with my children.

-A.D. McLain

Fast Food Memories

I just had one of the best anniversaries ever. The best part was the simplicity of it. We grabbed some food from Sonic and had a picnic on the lakefront with our two little boys.

There have been a lot of attacks on fast food in the past few years. People complain about the high calories, marketing to children or even how they need to warn us that hot coffee is hot. (Don’t you wish we could return to the days when people actually had to have a brain to survive?)Most disturbing to me is that the fast food places are actually starting to cave to this pressure. I don’t mind them offering menu options so people can chose healthier foods, but the day when a fast food restaurant forces me to accept half the french fries I would normally get, while they replace the rest with apple slices in the kid’s meal is the day I stop going to that establishment. Sure, eating fast food all day every day is not good for you and can make you fat. But guess what, kid’s aren’t the ones buying the kid’s meals. Their parents are. So who cares if they are marketing to children? It is the parent’s job to say “no” and set the rules and boundaries.
But I digress. The real reason I am writing today is to lament what may soon be the loss of a very important element in our lives. While fast food restaurants are a business and have their problems, they have also been an intrugal part of many of our lives. I remember having a joint birthday party with my best friend at McDonald’s when we were in first grade. On long road trips to visit my family in other states, we would stop and get pancakes and hashbrowns for breakfast. Sometimes I would eat it in the back of the car while we drove. There were impromptu family reunions held in fast food parking lots and over a few combo meals. It made the perfect stop after a long trip to meet up with family or friends so they could lead you to their home, or to exchange Christmas gifts when driving all the way to one person’s home was too far, and you needed some place in between to meet. I would grab some fast food after school, before band practice, and share it with my classmates. I learned to eat without much salt back then, as they would always forget to put salt packettes in my bag for some reason. 🙂

As a child, every weekend, my mother and I would go to the store together. We made a day of it, went to eat at Dairy Queen or Sonic, went to the movies, shopped for awhile, got groceries, and would sometimes grab a pizza on the way home. It was wonderful. In college, I would grab some fast food between classes, and my first date with my husband was at a McDonald’s. We drove around for over an hour looking for somewhere to eat before I finally decided to go there. I’d never been to real restaurants before and felt comfortable with that choice. We recreated that first date a few times on anniversaries. We did so again this year with our Sonic picnic by the lake. I will always remember my time at fast food restaurants fondly. I only hope that my sons will have an opportunity to build those same kinds of memories, unmarred by political agenda and stupidity. May we all learn to appreciate our own fast food memories, before they are gone forever.

-A.D. McLain

I’ve often heard there is inequality in the workplace, and that is absolutely true, but the kind of inequality that actually exists may surprise you. There are complaints of glass ceilings, lower pay and discrimination for women, etc. And that may exist in certain instances, but the real inequality exists for men. Think about all the allowances that businesses are required to make to women, particularly during pregnancy and the post-natal time period. First, during pregnancy women often get morning sickness, suffer back pain, swollen feet, etc., not to mention they are prone to other complications, can suddenly go on bed rest with no notice, are unable to lift or push heavy objects, use ladders, and have to take a large number of breaks to rest, eat and use the restroom. They also have to go to very frequent doctor appointments and leave their job from as few as 6 weeks to several months or more once the baby is born. An employer never knows if they will actually return to work, so they do not know if they should look for a permanent replacement or a temp. Women often keep their actual plans a secret to avoid losing health insurance benefits. In either case, employers must spend time and money on training, drug tests, background screenings and interviews. A lot to go through, and very costly. This is on top of the lack of productivity from a pregnant woman who doesn’t feel a hundred percent and has many other things on her mind. But assuming the woman returns to work, it can get even worse. If the woman decides to breastfeed (a completely legitimate choice that helps the mother and the child and is deeply rewarding), the employer must suffer even more. In almost every profession, the employer must accommodate the breastfeeding mother. This requires giving her time and a place to pump during work. Let’s break that down for a minute. It takes 15-20 minutes to pump to get to the hind milk that is needed for the baby. Assuming a few minutes for set up and a few minutes to clean up, you are looking at about a 30 minute break every three hours. If you go to work from 9 to 5:30 with a thirty minute lunch, your schedule could be as follows: Work an hour, take a thirty minute break to pump. Work an hour, take a thirty minute lunch. Work one and half hours, take a thirty minute break to pump. Work 2 hours, pump, work and hour, go home.You get paid for 8 hours. You work 6 and half hours. And that is assuming you actually work that entire time. Most people have a warming up period after a break where they have to get their minds back into work. And that doesn’t count any breaks to talk with co-workers, get coffee or water, use the restroom, etc. The employer must have someone else to cover the time she is pumping, and they must provide somewhere to pump. If this happens to be a break room with kitchen, well any other employee is just out of luck if they need anything in that room while she is pumping. Other employees must move their lunch plans around to accommodate the breastfeeding mom. And what if there is a meeting scheduled when she needs to pump? It can be a very big deal, depending on the workplace. Imagine if a man were to ask for that many breaks during the day. He would be laughed out of his job and replaced with someone who actually wanted to work. Don’t think for a moment I am disregarding the amount of work a mother puts into taking care of her family and home, on top of a job out of the house. I do not imply that any new mom is lazy or doesn’t want to work or do her job. I am simply saying that good intentions aside, a breastfeeding mother is a costly inconvenience to any business.
I am not suggesting that businesses should not make accommodations for breastfeeding mothers. I am myself a breastfeeding mom who puts my own boss through these same inconveniences. I do it for my son, so that he can get the best and be as healthy as possible. But I’m not stupid enough to think that it is fair on the other employees. I can’t imagine any business wanting to put up with any of that. But if they say anything, they are sued for discrimination and treated like the bad guy. It is a wonder any businesses even hire women between the age of 20 and 40. And that isn’t enough. We want more. We want more money, more benefits, more everything. We claim we aren’t treated fairly. Well, fair is a relative term. Life isn’t fair and all I can say is thank God I’m a women, because I could not do what my husband does. I could not put up with the months of extensive overtime, long hours, no vacation, standing all day in the heat/freezing cold, on concrete floors with back pain, neck pain, foot pain, and no sleep, watching my wife bond with our children while I am forced to work for her to stay home, never getting that same opportunity to bond with our children one on one, never getting to even take a break to welcome them home, since maternity leave puts us one paycheck short. We run on the same sleep deprivation from late night feedings, but he does not get a break to rest. He does not get a break to do anything. All the while, women complain about those evil men in the workplace who get paid more. Guess what, they deserve it. Not all of them. Sure, there are some women who deserve more pay, just as there are some men who deserve much more pay than they receive. That’s just the way life is. Truth be told, if we all stopped worrying about some imaginary glass ceiling and wanting to get the bad guy big business who just wants to stick it to women, and started worrying about what was most important (family and being with our children) things would be much better. If women could afford to stay home longer with their children, if we didn’t have to all work two jobs just to survive, it would solve a lot of problems. Think about it. If women could afford to leave work during difficult pregnancies and stay out of work long enough to finish breastfeeding, they could feel free to inform their employers of their plans with enough notice to allow them to make plans, hire their replacement and train said replacement. They would not have to deal with all the doctor appointments, breastfeeding at the workplace, etc. Husbands would not have to work their fingers to the bone to make up the lost pay and could afford to take their vacations to be with their little babies and children more. Moms wouldn’t be stressed about wanting to be home, feeling guilt over leaving her baby and looking for ways to make it right. Wouldn’t it be a much better place if we could all just be honest about what we really want and stop playing around? Mothers should not feel guilty about wanting to be a mom and stay home with their children. We aren’t less of women or betraying those who fought for equal rights when we want to be a mother. Women fought for the right to give us a choice and somehow took one from us. Instead of being forced to be a mom, we are now forced out of motherhood. I’ve met many career minded women who did not even understand wanting to stay home with their children unless one had too many children to afford childcare. To them, it was only something you wanted to do for financial reasons. What has happened to us that women have lost that bond with their children? Instead of being raised by loving parents, our children are raised by day cares and schools. We are fighting for the wrong thing. Instead of fighting for equal pay and rights at work, we should be fighting for our right to be mothers again. We should stop trying to force ourselves down employers throats and be an inconvenience to everyone and start trying to take care of our families.

-A.D. McLain

I was finally able to post some new pictures to my husband’s art website. (Seems just as soon as I update his site, he has created more things for me to take pictures of. But I’m finally caught up, for now). Check out the “Wood Works” page and the “Insect Wire Work” page.

-A.D. McLain