Here’s October. It’s taken a while to get this uploaded.
Here’s October. It’s taken a while to get this uploaded.
When I planned out what I’d be writing during the month of November, I had a very different post planned for today. Last Friday, I wrote about how my daughters would get to live a huge chunk of their early lives with minority presidents – a black man, and a woman. I was so sure that would be the case. Everyone was, right?
Today, I feel raw. I’ve written a few things on Facebook. I’ve shared a few things on Facebook. I’m working on processing everything. I’m not sure where I’ll go with this blog, but you’re welcome to come with me.
This morning I told my girls, “Mommy and Daddy love you so much. We have some bad news. Hillary didn’t win, and she won’t be president.” I know it was a cop-out. I just couldn’t bring myself to say the words Donald Trump will be our president.
Instead, Alma had to draw the conclusion herself and said, “So Donald Trump is the president. Well, I don’t have to listen to him.”
Harriet said, “I have an idea. We can make a trap. Donald Trump is a bully.” The Trump Trap has been a big theme in our house for almost a year. Alma has come up with many plans about how to deal with the Trump Situation. None of her plans included the White House.
When Bush won his first term, it was my first time voting for the president. My friend and I wandered around campus in a daze. We didn’t know what to do, but we figured the best idea would be to move to Italy and do yoga on a rooftop. Since that wasn’t possible, we just walked.
Last night I just listened to Hamilton and wanted to quote it all on Facebook.
“Raise a glass to freedom, something they can never take away, no matter what they tell you…”
“To the Union, to the revolution, to the hope that you provide!…”
“I remember that night I just might regret that night for the rest of my days…”
“History has its eyes on you…”
“The world turned upside down…”
“What comes next, you’ve been freed. Do you know how hard it is to lead? You’re on your own, awesome, wow. Do you have a clue what happens now? Oceans rise. Empires fall. It’s much harder when it’s all your call…”
“I’ll make the world safe and sound for you. We’ll bleed and fight for you. We’ll make it right for you. If we lay a strong enough foundation, we’ll pass it on to you, we’ll give the world to you. And you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday. Yeah, you’ll blow us all away, someday, someday…”
“‘Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,’ we fought for these ideals; we should settle for less…”
“There are moments that the words don’t reach, there is suffering too terrible to name. You hold your child as tight as you can, and try to push away the unimaginable. The moments when you’re in so deep it feels easier to just swim down…”
“I hear wailing in the streets…”
“I stop wasting time on tears, I live another fifty years, it’s not enough… and when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?”
I don’t know. I just don’t know.
I mean, we have to move on, right? We have to take this horrible moment and find the good in it, right?
We have to organize and fight and stand up and teach our children that our country matters. That the racists and misogynists don’t speak for us. That we are better. That our story is worthy of being told.
I am a woman and I just voted. I voted for a woman to become the President of the United States. One hundred years ago, that would have been laughable. Not only would a woman never be on a ballot, but women couldn’t even cast ballots. There is something so important about all this. It is imperative that we look at this and acknowledge the enormity of the situation.
I’ve always known the history of Oswald West and women’s suffrage in Oregon. I’ve always known that he was able to grant the vote to women during his term as governor. I’ve always known about Abigail Scott Duniway, and known that she was a suffragette. But I haven’t always known the full story of women’s suffrage in Oregon, and I wonder how much you, my curious reader, know. I did some research and I want to share it with you.
When Oregon’s constitution was written in 1857, it included this statement, “every white, male citizen of the United States of the age of twenty-one and upwards, who shall have resided in the State during the six months immediately preceding such election…. shall be entitled to vote at all elections authorized by law.” One man, David Logan, moved to omit the word ‘male’ before ‘citizen,’ but his request wasn’t even discussed. When the 14th and 15th amendments were passed in the federal constitution, the Oregon constitution was amended to include all males as electors, but not women.
Women still didn’t count, despite efforts by equal suffrage supporters to claim voting rights for women, along with the newly emancipated black men.
In 1872, four Oregonian women took a stand and went to the polls to vote. They gave their votes to the judge, who put them under the ballot box – not in it. Their votes weren’t counted, but their act of voting was an important one, nonetheless.
The next year, 1873, Abigail Scott Duniway , one of those four brave women, founded the Oregon State Equalization Society, and my great-grandfather, Oswald West was born.
Abigail Scott Duniway wrote and published a newspaper, New Northwest, which was a widely circulated pro-suffrage publication. She also led the way for suffrage supporters in Oregon and followed the “still hunt” strategy for gaining support for suffrage. Instead of throwing parades and huge protests, Duniway and her supporters tried to influence the men in power in a more personal, quiet way. They would write letters, hand out pamphlets, and wait until the end of the campaign to make public displays for their cause.
As the family story goes, ten years later, in 1883, young Oswald West was able to hear Abigail Scott Duniway speak on women’s suffrage near his home in Salem. He remembered her looking right at him and asking, “Don’t you feel like your mother is as good, if not better, than the ordinary saloon bums in Salem?” Os, being a staunch prohibitionist from an early age, whole-heartedly answered that – yes, he did feel that way. From that moment on, his political opinions were ignited and he worked to help women win the battle for the vote.
Oregon has the distinction of having put this matter to the voters more than any other state. Oregon male voters voted on suffrage in 1884, 1900, 1908, 1910, and finally passed the amendment on November 5th, 1912 with 52% of the votes – 67,625 votes in favor, and 57,104 votes against.
On November 30th, 1912, when Oswald West was Oregon’s governor, he asked Abigail Scott Duniway to write and sign the Women’s Suffrage Proclamation. (photo of this can be see here) She drafted the proclamation and Os West, along with Ben W. Olcott, as Secretary of State, signed it.
This is a history I’ve always known. I have always been proud of this family history. I’ve always been proud to carry on the legacy of the great men who were there when Abigail Scott Duniway made her lifelong dream a reality. I’m so proud of this history that I gave my daughters middle names that honor and remember West and Olcott for the foresight and respect they showed to Oregon’s women.
Today, we get to cast a ballot that Abigail Scott Duniway, along with Os West and Ben Olcott, would be so incredibly happy to know exists. We get to vote for a woman to hold the highest office in our nation. Not only that, but we get to vote for a woman who deserves that office more than anyone before her.
One hundred and four year ago, tomorrow, Oregon’s men decided that women were worthy of the incredible right to vote. Next Tuesday, we all get to decide who will be our next president and it very well could be a woman.
It was a fight to achieve equal suffrage. It has been a fight to give women the rights that men have taken for granted for centuries. It has been a fight to get women in any office. It has been a fight to get Hillary to November (a long, hard fight that just proves her strength and resilience). It will be a fight to get her elected. When she’s elected the fight won’t stop. It is clear that we still live in a nation wrapped up in sexism. Hillary has crashed through the glass ceiling, but there are still shards of sexism laying everywhere.
As a child, I remember looking at the poster of all our presidents that was in my first grade classroom. It didn’t even occur to me that it was strange that all the presidents were white men. It was just the reality that I knew. I so much love that that isn’t the reality that my daughters were born into. They were both born while we’ve had a black president, and, hopefully, the next one will be a woman. The world is changing.
Here are some websites that I consulted as I wrote this post:
Oregon Blue Book
Woman Suffrage in Oregon
I also was able to look at some amazing historical documents at the University of Oregon Knight Library’s Special Collections.
Also, I came across this lovely coincidence: There was a suffragette who was very active during the 1912 campaign who was named Harriet, but called Hattie, just like my Harriet. She was a brave African American woman “in a state that had codified black exclusion laws in its constitution. Redmond’s work for voting rights helped lay the groundwork for the Black Civil Rights movement of the mid-twentieth century.” I can’t think of a better woman with whom Harriet should share a name. Read more about Harriet Redmond here.
Oh yay! It’s November! It’s time that I get to post my gratitudes every day!
Gratitude is a big part of my life. I did 365 Days of Gratitude in 2014 and I was interviewed about it by the lovely Hannah. Every November, I take the time to photograph and post one thing for which I’m grateful. I’m pretty sure this is my fourth year practicing gratitude in the month of November.
I know that it’s important to me to begin to slow down at this time of year. September and October are both busy, hectic, loud months with school starting, routines being developed, Halloween excitement, all that. In November, we begin to pause, we begin to quiet down. We get ready for Advent and the meditation and introspection that comes with that season of preparation. It gets darker and darker as the days get shorter and shorter. Nature starts to shut down and pack up for the winter. November is just a natural time to turn inside and give thanks for those things that surround us.
So, please join me in giving thanks for the month of November. There are so many hashtags on Instagram that point to gratitude, but the ones I use the most are #30daysofgratitude to be part of the larger community of gratitude, but I also like to do my own #30daysofgratitudeATT (for And Then They…) so I can keep track of my, and my friends’ posts more easily. So, if you post some gratitude posts this month (there are no rules saying you have to do it every single day), please add those hashtags so we can all follow along with each others’ months of gratitude. I’m carolynfwilliams on Instagram if you want to follow along.
I’m grateful for you!
This was our 5th Annual Playgroup Pumpkin Patch trip!
Oh my, how we’ve grown!
This year we were back at Northern Lights Christmas Tree Farm, but it didn’t feel the same. For one thing, they more than doubled their prices, so we ended up not doing the hayride at all. We were lucky with a warm, non-rainy day. It was also Henry’s birthday, so we all dressed up and had cupcakes. It was fun, despite the fact that we didn’t get to do the hayride.
I have already gone on and on about how much I love these people. Let me just say that I’m so incredibly happy to have them as my tribe and how happy I am to have my girls grow up with these fantastic kids.
reading Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
knowing it would be so much better live, or in a fully written book.
wishing I could fly to London with tickets to the play in my hand.
listening to my Autumn Playlist on Spotify.
feeling nostalgic, which is apparently my Autumn mood.
wanting to be more creative, more consistently.
cutting all the felt into all the shapes and letters.
preparing to sell felt things at a bazaar next month.
watching all the Friends reruns on Netflix.
getting excited for Halloween.
looking forward to November, when I practice 30 Days of Gratitude.
thinking that I might start a few days early.
feeling like we all need more gratitude in our lives right now.
imploring that we can just vote early and get this shit-show over with.
reading and watching way too much about the election.
fearing the worst.
hoping for the best.
enjoying the colorful days and dark nights.
stopping to watch the leaves.
choosing to see the beauty.
reminding myself that playing with the kids is what I should be doing.
8:23 – I want to remember these girls and the cuddles in the mornings. Now that they share a room, it’s more likely that they will stay in their beds, or at least their room, and chat and play before they come into our room. We do all, usually, end up in bed together for a few minutes.
8:47 – I want to remember how the girls love to play with new things. They made this goo the night before at a Science Fair at the university and were really excited to play with it first thing in the morning.
8:56 – I want to remember this view, with the gorgeous yellow birch, the flaming red dogwood, the landscaping growing up and getting bigger. The junky car that’s been parked across the street for a few months, I’m happy to forget that, if only it would go away.
9:03 – I want to remember how great it feels to wake up to a mostly clean kitchen. I never want to do it at night, but it’s always worth it in the morning.
9:08 – I want to remember these autumn breakfasts. Oatmeal with frozen blueberries for them, tea with orange oil for me.
9:14 – I want to remember how Harriet says “hot cococo” for hot chocolate. I don’t want to remember how she threw a huge fit because I gave it to her in the wrong cup – I’ll just choose to remember that she eventually accepted the cococo in the Santa mug (the one she usually wants).
9:25 – I want to remember that this was not a normal day for us. My To Do List isn’t usually a bunch of chores around the house. We usually actually leave the house. I don’t usually spend the entire day cleaning the house. I do want to remember how good it feels to clean up our messes and be able to have such a wonderful home to take care of. I also want to remember how using the essential oils to clean the house makes it all so much more fun.
9:48 – I want to remember how the girls are actually eager to help me these days. Harriet loves to help me cook dinner. Alma likes to help with the dishes, dusting, and sweeping. I’m working on giving them daily and weekly chores.
9:52 – I want to remember these eggs and these chickens. I love that my chores include getting eggs, taking out food scraps, and giving them water.
10:07 – I want to remember the corner of our kitchen where things build up. Art projects from school, mail that needs attention, empty shoe boxes. These are the things that show our busy existence. I especially love when this corner of our kitchen gets sorted and put where it all goes. That was my job this day.
10:12 – I want to remember how these girls play together. They use their imaginations and really work well together. They used these boxes as houses, horse stalls, tunnels, who knows what else. I also want to remember Harriet’s love for her new boots and her tutu.
10:25 – I want to remember the imaginations in these girls. They had a full conversation between these two candlesticks.
10:31 – I want to remember these candlelit meals and snacks. Candles, while eating, are pure magic.
10:49 – I want to remember the love and care that goes into keeping a house. These wood floors shine thanks to me and my care for them. And essential oils.
11:56 – I want to remember these plates and the little hands that made them. I want to remember these peanut butter sandwiches – honey for Harriet, homemade strawberry jam for me and Alma.
12:59 – I want to remember all the sewing. I haven’t sewn in a couple months, so it feels great to get back to it. I finished Alma’s witch dress, fixed my sweater, and got started on Harriet’s much needed big bed quilt. I love giving my girls quilts so they can always be wrapped up in my love – and a tangible representation of that love.
2:03 – I want to remember how much I love Christmas and how much I love making good things for our family. These blend perfectly when I use Christmas Spirit oil (Orange, Cinnamon, Spruce) in my homemade hand soap.
3:13 – I want to remember how Harriet is the queen of the pout. She will sit down and pout, or just stand in the middle of the room and pout. Here, Alma is her horse who ran away. The pout went away once the horse came back.
3:20 – I want to remember these colors and snacks. Pink and honey for Harriet. Blue and jam for Alma.
3:52 – I want to remember these slow, cloudy days when I don’t get around to taking my shower until well into the afternoon. And my old Cal Young tie dye t-shirt that I use for my hair after my showers.
4:15 – I want to remember these days of forts, and make believe, and reading corners.
5:31 – I want to remember how our friends came over, bringing us a fake Christmas gift for an upcoming music video, and how it was fun to wish them Merry Christmas in October. I also want to remember how they all came inside and hung around for a little bit. Surprise guests and good conversations fill my bucket in a big way. Even if I forget to take any photos. Especially when I forget to take any photos.
6:11 – I want to remember this season and the comfort food that it brings. This was a baked potato bar, using lots of things we happened to have on hand.
6:18 – I want to remember “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest; let this food to us be blessed. Amen,” and how Alma and Harriet say “Come Lord Jesus, be our guest; let this family to us be blessed. Allmen.”
6:49 – I want to remember the chaos that falls at bedtime. It is a constant battle to get them going in the right direction to get their teeth brushed, jammies on, and everything else that needs to be done when there are so many other things that they’d rather be doing.
7:03 – I want to remember the calm that settles when we’re all in our bed, reading a story before they head to their own beds. A few final cuddles and they race to their room.
7:04 – I want to remember how the girls need just a little bit more chaos before they can settle into their beds and eventually fall asleep.
I want to remember the time that Jesse and I get after the kids are in bed. We watch shows, get stuff done, clean up a little, read books, and eventually fall asleep ourselves.
Did September fly by for everyone or was that just me? Seriously, it feels like I blinked and it was over. I’m not complaining because October is my favorite, but you know. The days are long and the years are short and the months are shorter.
I’ve been working on eliminating the toxic chemicals in our house for a few years now. I started thinking about all the toxins we come into contact with during the day – shampoos, conditioners, soaps, detergents, dish soap, floor polish, the list goes on and on and it’s really overwhelming.
Things have really changed this year, and I’ve been able to eliminate so much in the past few months. It all really kicked into gear when I got my starter kit of essential oils from Young Living. Not only did I get the oils to just make the house smell good, but I’ve also started making my own shampoo using four simple ingredients, I can mop the floor with no toxins at all, I make my own sugar scrub that I use for shaving and exfoliating, plus so much more.
My favorite thing I’ve done, though, is eliminate the toxic chemicals that I was using in my laundry. It’s really intense when you think about how much our laundry, and the chemicals used, can affect our daily life. We are constantly wearing clothes that were washed in the chemicals, sleeping in sheets with chemicals, washing our faces with washcloths, drying off after showers, etc, etc, etc.
I found this website: The Environmental Working Group, that breaks down things and grades them based on the chemicals and toxins in them. I found my old laundry soap, the one that I bought because it was supposed to be chemical free and natural (the one I bought to wash our diapers, the things that are closest to our baby’s skin) – and it had a D grade. That isn’t good.
Now I make my own toxin free laundry soap and I’ve been really happy with it. It has simple, natural ingredients, that when individually entered into the EWG website come up clean. Here’s another surprise: Borax scores really poorly, in face it scores an F. This is something that a lot of people put into their homemade laundry soap but it has concerns for reproductive health among other things. So, I skip the borax.
My recipe is super easy and lasts a long time.
Just grate the soap, add the rest of the ingredients and store in an airtight container. I use 1-2 Tbs per load. For the essential oils, I like to add Purification, Lavender, whatever smells good.
Another huge contributor to chemicals in laundry are those stain removers. We’ve always had a bottle of that on the shelf and the amount of perfume has always bothered me. I looked up the kind we’ve used and guess what – D. It may get the stain out, but at what cost? A moderate concern for respiratory distress, asthma, developmental and reproductive problems and cancer. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.
I have another solution. I bought Young Living’s Thieves Laundry Soap a couple months ago, but since I’m cheap and love a DIY, I only use it as a stain remover. I just take about a tablespoon of the laundry soap, rub it into the stain and throw it into the washing machine (sometimes I let it soak for a bit). I don’t even add more of my homemade soap because a 1 Tbs of the Thieves Laundry Soap is all you need for a whole load of laundry, thus that tablespoon is doubling as stain remover and laundry soap. That’s music to my deal-loving ears. Also EWG hasn’t graded Thieves yet, but I went through the ingredients list and most things are A and a couple are B, so I’d guess it’s around an A-, which is way better than the D I was using before.
Want proof that this method works? When Alma got her head wound and my shirt was covered in blood that set up for days, the Thieves took it right out. Blood. Gone. Harriet’s favorite jellyfish shirt, covered in soaked in, dried hot chocolate:
And after treating it with Thieves Laundry Soap and washed like normal:
So, there you have it. Go to the EWG webpage and enter in your laundry detergent and dryer sheets and stain remover and decide if you want to keep using them.
I love this toxin free laundry soap and that I’m not leaching toxic chemicals into our clothes and towels and sheets. I love that my clothes get clean. I love that we’re saving money.
Oh, here’s a bonus! If you sign up for Young Living this month (September), not only will you be getting a diffuser, eleven bottles of essential oils, lots of other good stuff, but they’re also throwing in a bottle of Thieves Laundry Soap. There’s really no reason not to try it now!
Today was different than other first days. The girls were excited. Our time at home was relaxed and slow. We got out of the house a few minutes later than we’d wanted. We showed up to a very full parking lot. We got some rushed photos near the school sign. We went into Alma’s classroom, where the circle time had already started. I told her to go find her name on the floor without a hug or a kiss or anything. She sat by her teacher and got to be the first calendar helper. We waved and exchanged some excited, nervous smiles. We took a grumpy Harriet out to the playground, where her class begins their day. We dropped off bike helmets and extra clothes. We showed Harriet how she can still look in Alma’s window to wave to her. Then we left. On our way down the hallway, we could see Harriet, peeking in at Alma, no longer grumpy. We walked back to campus together. Now I am sitting at a table in near silence, enjoying the solitude, looking forward to nine whole months of time that I know the kids are being enriched, socialized, educated, and loved. And looking forward to nine whole months of time that I spend by myself, thinking, planning, writing, reading, walking, or with teenagers, working, teaching, talking, learning. Man do I love the first day of school.