A souvenir from election night

Ava’s picture was taken by a photographer at the Obama victory party we attended on election night and posted the following day on our local paper’s website. I’m not sure if it made it into the actual newspaper or not since I didn’t manage to snag a paper that day (grrr. still trying to get my hands on one), but I got the digital version of the picture and am going to order a print to put in the scrapbook that I hope to someday make for her. 🙂

Ava and other Obama kids play at the election night party 11/4/08

Yes We Can, Yes We Did

Last night history was made. The United States of America elected its first multi-racial president, Barack Hussein Obama.

Jody, the kids and I had the opportunity to go to an Obama victory party held by the Boulder County Democrats. We met up with my sister Carrie as well as some friends. The energy was high, the cheers were loud. There were two big screens, food, drinks, and the place was decked out in red, white and blue. There were lots of smiles, lots of tears, lots of hugs and kisses. It felt like a New Year’s Eve party, except instead of people being donned in New Year’s accessories, everyone was wearing Obama shirts, stickers, buttons, balloons and even signs!
Woohoo!My family on election night

The crowd went wild when Colorado’s results went up on the big screens. Our great state went blue! I was proud to have done a very small part to help make that happen, making calls from home, in my car, in the Democrats office and again from home yesterday afternoon as I gave it one last push, feeling confident that no matter what the results, there was no way I could say,  “I wish I would’ve done more.”

When it was announced that Barack Obama was the next president, I got tears in my eyes. I have never been so excited about our country’s future and been so proud to be an American as I was in that one moment. I hugged Jody, I hugged Carrie, I hugged Melissa, I hugged both Ava and Julian and told them that Barack Obama would be our president!

Carrie, Jody and Julian celebrate Obama’s victory Ava with her happy balloon Julian has fun with balloons too

We listened to John McCain’s gracious and heartfelt concession speech. He really seemed to be speaking from his heart and I just wanted to give him a hug. Although I’m obviously happy the election ended the way it did, I still admire McCain and am thankful for his service to our country.

And then we waited and waited for Barack to talk. When he, Michelle, Malia and Sasha walked onto the stage, again, the crowd went wild.

Boulder County Democrats cheer for Obama

It was inspiring, as always, to hear Barack speak. He’s inspired me to get involved with my country’s future and I know he’s inspired many, many others as well. It is my hope now that those who did not vote for him will accept that is going to be the president and to show him respect. If you don’t agree with him, let him know. He even encouraged that in his acceptance speech. That is just one thing that I think is particularly appealing about Obama, that he’s so well connected. He’s on FaceBook, he sends emails, he’s on Twitter. I got a thank you email from him last night for the donations I gave and volunteering I did and that really meant something to me. I know that email went out to millions of people, but I appreciated it. I feel connected to him in a way I’ve never felt to other presidents. See what I mean? 😉

Barack and me

Barack Obama has shown me that great things can happen when people are inspired and they come together to work towards a common goal. I believe the momentum that’s been started will continue and that there are good things in store for the United States of America. Yes We Can.Carrie, Julian, Jody, Ava and me

I’m also so proud of the amazing voter turnout in this election. Thank you to EVERYONE who voted. That alone shows me that people truly care about our country’s future. If we can harness that energy and turn it all into something positive, imagine the possibilities.

“You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one” — John Lennon

And now, here’s where I ask for your help. I can only report what I’m experiencing here in the USA, but I’d LOVE to know what my readers in other countries think about Barack Obama being elected president. If you live outside of the United States or you have family outside of the US, would you please email me and tell me how you/your family is reacting to this news? Please include where you live. I’d like to put together a post including all of these sentiments. Thank you!

One word

I have just one word for all of you United States’ citizens today:

VOTE!

i-voted.jpg

OK, maybe a few more words too. 😉

Be sure to bring your ID along with you, and maybe a book and some water in case of long lines.

If you run into a problem at the polls, you can get voter protection information online at: HTTP://WWW.866OURVOTE.ORG and on the phone at:

– 1-866-OUR-VOTE (administered by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law)

– 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (administered by the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Education Fund)

– In addition, CNN has a voter hotline to call if you encounter any problems voting or know of a problem: 1-877-462-6608.

Thanks to Moms Rising for this information.

Our Barack Obama Rally Experience (pictures & videos)

On Saturday, Jody, the kids and I drove 2 1/2 hours to Pueblo, CO, to experience our first political rally where both Michelle and Barack Obama were scheduled to speak. According to the LA Times, there were over 15,000 people in attendance.

We were seriously lucky and got amazingly close to the stage thanks to a phone call my sister Carrie made on Friday. Jody and I had been debating whether or not it’d be a good idea to take the kids for the 2 1/2 hour drive, then make them wait for the rally to begin and sit through the rally before having to drive 2 1/2 hours back home. It seemed like a lot to ask of them. I had several questions like if I could wear Julian in my Ergo (baby carrier), if we could bring a blanket to put on the ground, and if we could bring in a bag with diapers, snacks, toys, etc. to entertain the kids. Carrie called the Colorado Springs Obama office for me and said we’d be coming with two small kids and asked my questions (yes on Ergo, no on blanket, yes on backpack with snacks, diapers, etc.). She then told Carrie that since we’d have little kids with us we could use the disabled persons’ entrance.

So we decided we would give it a go, try not to have any expectations and just enjoy being a part of the event. We dressed the kids in their “Kids for Obama” t-shirts, I donned my “Obama Mama” pin and, because it was warm enough for short-sleeves, even displayed my Obama temporary tattoo on my arm and we headed out on a beautiful day to Pueblo.

When we finally got to Pueblo, about 30 minutes before the rally was set to start, we parked a block from the disabled persons’ entrance and made our way there. A police officer outside of the line told us that we’d have to go to the main entrance – FIVE blocks away. I explained that we were told to go to the disabled entrance because of the kids and he was skeptical. He said we could try to get in, but they might just turn us away and direct us to the main entrance anyway. Unsure what to do, we started to walk down the street to the main entrance when I said, “Ya know what? No. We are going to try to get in back there.” So we headed back, told him we’d take our chances and waited in line for about 10 minutes while I formulated my story, even verifying on the phone with my sister the name of the person she talked to. (Carrie and her friend had got to the rally before us and were out in the crowd, about 2 blocks away from the stage.) When we got to the front, the security guards didn’t bat an eye, they just had us go through the metal detector like everyone else and we were in! We walked around some Port-O-Johns and a building and discovered that we were in the media area and about 30 feet from the podium where Obama would be speaking!! SCORE! 🙂

I took both my SLR and P&S cameras and am so glad I did. I got a few videos, some snaps, as well as some good pictures of Barack and Michelle. The only thing I didn’t get that I wished I had, was a picture of Barack and Michelle with their daughters. They all came out on the stage for about 30 seconds at the end, but by that time I was holding a tired and very much ready to leave Ava (Jody had been walking around with a tired, cranky Julian for the entire rally) and was unable to get a shot off. Despite that, I was very happy with the pictures I got.

Julian looking sleepy in the Ergo – Excited Ava and Jody waiting in the security line – Before the rally began, Julian was ready for a nap
A tired Julian in the Ergo on my back as we walked to the rally 11/1/08 Ava and Jody waiting in the security line before the rally 11/1/08 Excitement mounts before the rally, but Julian is ready for some Zzzzzs 11/1/08
Cute baby for Obama – Our view of the media (which we were standing right beside) – SWAT team on the roof
Baby for Obama 11/1/08 We were in the media section 11/1/08 Members of the SWAT team 11/1/08
Michelle Obama spoke briefly before introducing Barack – Love that Obama was speaking on Union Ave. (since he’s all about unity)
Michelle Obama speaks at the rally 11/1/08 Michelle Obama introducing Barack 11/1/08 Barack Obama speaks on Union Ave. (nice) in Pueblo 11/1/08
Obama speaks to the crowd
Barack Obama addresses the crowd in Pueblo 11/1/08 A very small part of the crowd 11/1/08 Barack Obama in Pueblo 11/1/08
More of Obama
Obama speaks on Union Ave. in Pueblo 11/1/08 Barack Obama in Pueblo 11/1/08 Barack Obama in Pueblo 11/1/08
Obama – Ava and me with Obama speaking behind us
Barack Obama in Pueblo 11/1/08 Me, Ava and Barack Obama 11/1/08 Pueblo, CO Another of Ava, me and Barack 11/1/08
The kids run off some energy after the rally ends
The kids running off some energy after the rally 11/1/08

The energy at the rally was incredible and it was amazing to be a part of it. Obama encouraged everyone to volunteer – make phone calls, go canvassing, etc. – in the last few days before the election. I’m hoping to do that again Monday evening. If you’ve already voted and are looking for something to do on Tuesday other than make last minute calls encouraging people to vote, please consider taking water or food to the people waiting in line to vote. Seriously, that’s what is needed (Edited to add: I learned today that you need to SIGN UP to be able to do this – don’t just show up at the polling place expecting to get to distribute food to voters. Call your local democratic office first. However, you CAN bring food to the people working at the polling place (according to someone who will be working) without signing up first.).

While the kids weren’t very excited to be at the rally (it was a long day for all of us, especially them), I am glad we went and that they got to see Barack Obama in person. Someday, I think they will be glad they were there too. (Oh, and Julian finally got that nap in – all the way home.)

If I’ve still got your attention and you want to see a couple of videos from the rally, here’s Michelle welcoming Barack onto the stage (they are so cute together) and a short one of Barack talking about unity.

Oh, and as for my choice for Best Shot Monday, this week I really can’t choose just one. I like the “Obama baby” and the one of Michelle smiling and then I’m also very partial to the ones of me and Ava with Barack behind us because they are priceless. 🙂 You can see more Best Shots over here.

I hope to post about my experience hearing Gloria Steinem talk (I saw her today at Borders) tomorrow. Stay tuned. 🙂

Me and Obama, we’re like this

On Saturday, Jody, the kids and I drove 2 1/2 hours down to Pueblo for the Obama rally. Many more pictures and videos to follow, but I just wanted to say how awesome it was to be a part of history and give you a little taste of what we got to experience.

(Click the pic to enlarge.)

Me, Ava and Barack Obama 11/1/08 Pueblo, CO

Yes We Can!

As if this weekend wasn’t exciting enough already, today I’m going to Borders Book Store to hear women’s rights activist Gloria Steinem talk about how issues in this year’s election will affect women’s lives and families. Wow.

Voting: Before and After

This post was inspired by Morningside Mom‘s cute voter makeover post yesterday.

On Thursday, after Jody and I had finally completed our monstrous mail-in ballots, Julian and I picked up Ava from preschool and headed downtown to drop off the ballots in person (and save $.59 x 2 on stamps). We drove around the block two times before finding a parking space a block away. Because this was the location of the early voting as well as the drop-off for mail-in ballots, it was THE place to be.

Before voting, I was a tired, frazzled, but ever-hopeful Obama Mama.
Tired Amy pre-voting

We went into the county clerk’s office where Ava got to put the ballots into the box all by herself. (I’m cursing myself for not taking a picture.) She was so proud and said, “I voted!” Then when we walked outside she said, “Did we just vote for Brock Obama?” 🙂

After voting, I honestly felt energized, excited and proud, not only of Ava for her enthusiasm in the political process this year, but of all of the people who were turning in mail-in ballots and voting early. This is an exciting time to live in!
Energized Amy post-voting

And I did get a picture of Ava once we got home, with an “I voted” sticker on.
Ava voted!

I know many of you are getting sick of the political posts here, there and everywhere. Based on the fact that I’ve had some email subscribers cancel lately, I think perhaps some of you don’t want to hear about politics on my blog either (though my subscriber #s have gone up overall so I can’t complain!). But there are only 4 days left until election day and I have to be honest, you might read a bit more about politics on this here blog before I go back to business as usual. I feel it’s my right and really my obligation to share my thoughts.

Happy Halloween to all! 🙂 And, if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to VOTE next week!

Obama Mamas Get Involved: A Call to Action Part 2

Last week I wrote The Time for Change is Now: A Call to Action Part 1 and promised that I would follow up with Part 2 with stories of my family and friends who have inspired me with their volunteer efforts to help Barack Obama win this election.

obamamama.jpgWe have just one week until election day. One week to rise to the challenge. One week to get involved and make a difference.

Earlier this month my friend Alison from GreenMe wrote Ask Not What Your Country Can Do for You. I have to credit her with helping me reevaluate my priorities and giving me the proverbial kick in the pants I needed to go volunteer myself. She wrote:

Okay, so you would like to volunteer, but you don’t have the time? I am sure that you — like myself — procrastinate on a daily basis. You put off the laundry or the vacuuming or dropping off the recycling — so that you can do something else. Right now there is nothing more important in your future and the future of your children and grandchildren — nieces and nephews than getting out the vote and talking to your neighbors. No single thing is more influential in your future than the future of your country. The last 8 years of President Bush have been a near disaster. The election is less than 4 weeks away — and YOU don’t have time to volunteer? Not even 2 hours? What about 4 hours?

Think about the amount of difference that you could make in 4 hours? Supposedly, every 14th person that you contact is likely to actually “hear” your words and have a change of heart and mind. Consider this: if 100 people read this blog today and, 100 people then go out and each to talk to 50 people tomorrow — statistically that would result in 357 additional people voting for your candidate. In swing states, such as Colorado, 357 people just might make the difference in who is the next President of the United States of America.

Alison, who is a third generation Coloradoan and mother to a 15 month old son, has spent several hours volunteering herself at the local Democrats office, making phone calls and canvassing. When asked why she chose to get involved, Alison said: “Life on earth is interconnected. What happens today, what happens here, affects not only you and me, but future generations and people around the world. Obama understands the interconnectedness of life and he genuinely wishes that United States of American lives up to its own motto as a ‘Government of the People, for the People, and my the People.’ With that it mind? How could I not get involved in this election?”

Another “Obama Mama” (which is on a pin I’ve been wearing for the past week) who inspired me to get involved is my good friend Brandy Lance, who’s currently living in Georgia with her husband and two young boys. Although she hasn’t been able to volunteer as much as she’d like, she still found ways to get herself and her children involved in this election.

We decided we wanted to thank those who can donate more time. My boys and I began baking goodies for our local Obama office volunteers. We’ve made them cookies, muffins, and pretzels and even though a volunteer that lives just down the road from us has volunteered to take them to the office, I have driven the boys down each time. I at least want to show them how the volunteers are dedicating their time, what the office looks like and how appreciative the people are when they receive their gift of thanks. It’s a small way to get children involved in the political process while helping to create a better sense of community and appreciation.

Brandy has also done some data entry work for her local Democrat office.

This is the first election Brandy has gotten involved in and says the reason is, “I believe that America needs major change now and needs to have some better policies in place for the sake of my children’s future. If I don’t help elect a candidate whom I believe can, and will, help our country, then it seems to me that I really don’t care all that much.”

Another mom who felt the need to get involved in an election for the first time is Erika Carlson, mom of two of Louisville, Colo., who organized the Louisville Mamas for Obama, which is comprised of a few dozen women. They held a bake sale which raised $650 for the Obama campaign and also got hundreds of bumper stickers, buttons and yard signs out to Louisville supporters, as well as managed informational tables at the Farmers Market. She’s now working on getting the Louisville Mamas for Obama to volunteer for the Get Out The Vote efforts these last few days before the election.

When asked why she choose to get involved she said, “I felt last election that Bush could not possibly win, and he did. I want to make sure that our feelings of ‘being ahead’ in the polls doesn’t lead to complacency.”

A couple other women I’ve been inspired by as of late are my sister and my mom. Both have been doing work for the Democratic party in this election. My mom, a retired school teacher in northeast Michigan, has been volunteering a LOT – canvassing, making phone calls, and working in her local Obama office, and I’ve been really proud of her for it. She plans to work the last four days before the election, doing whatever they need her to do.

Although this isn’t her first election to be involved in, the last time was many years ago when Bobby Kennedy was running for president. She decided to get involved again this year because, “Enough is enough. I cannot just sit by and let another Republican get elected. I declared myself a Democrat and started to volunteer. We have to have a president that really and sincerely cares about our country’s future and the future of my children and grandchildren, and we have to improve our image globally.”

So there you have it, four stories from four different women, all motivated to get involved to help shape the future of our country, and all of whom helped inspire me to get involved.

We have just seven days left before history will be made. Can you get involved? Do you have an hour or two to spare? Can you make some phone calls to remind people to vote and tell them their polling place? Can you drive people without transportation to the polls? Can you make a donation? Can you bring some food to volunteers on election day? Every little bit helps.

Here’s one more (specific) way to get involved. Cynthia Samuels recently posted about a group called Election Protection that will work to protect people from voter suppression on election day. She urges, “If you are an attorney or law student or paralegal, please sign up to help.” My little sis, who is an attorney, will be involved in those efforts.

Lastly, today Barack Obama gave a very inspiration speech in Canton, Ohio. You can watch the last six or so minutes of it here. A few things he said that especially stood out to me were:

“We have to work this week like our future depends on it in this last week…because it does.”

“We can choose hope over fear and unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo.”

“It won’t be easy, it won’t be quick, but you and I know it is time to come together and change this country.”

We only have one week left. Let’s come together. Let’s get involved. Let’s change this country!

The Time for Change is Now: A Call to Action Part 1

If not me, who? If not now, when?
— Mikhail Gorbachev

obama_sunrise.JPGAfter reading and hearing about some of my friends* doing fund-raising and volunteering for the Obama campaign, last weekend while out running errands, the family and I stopped in our local Democrat headquarters and I inquired as to what I could do to help. I happily signed up to call democrats and undeclared voters in my city to remind them to turn in their mail-in ballots. I hadn’t given a whole lot of thought as to when I would do the calls, I just knew that I feel so strongly about this election that I wanted to do something more than exercise my right and responsibility to vote.

The first day I tried to make calls while the kids were playing outside. I got through about seven calls before Ava came to the backdoor and started yelling – while I was in the middle of a call, of course. The woman on the other end chuckled and I said, “You can’t tell I’m making this call from home, can you?” 😉 I decided then that I should probably reserve my calling time to when my husband Jody was home in the evening or on the weekend.

On Tuesday night with Jody home to tend to the kids, I got through about five pages of calls while sitting in my car in the driveway. Seriously. That’s not exactly what I had planned when I signed up to volunteer, but it was quiet and there was no one to disturb me. 🙂

Even though there are less than two weeks until the election, there is still a great need for volunteers (and donations as well). Beyond making calls to remind people to return their ballots or remind them of their polling places, etc., volunteers are needed for other reasons. Volunteers are still needed to canvass local neighborhoods, especially in key swing states like Colorado (where I live). They are needed to drive people without cars or licenses to and from the polls on election day. There is also data entry work to be done (which would be a lot more practical for this mom to do at home in her jammies). And although this is not an actual volunteer position (but something that I’m sure would be very much appreciated), one can always deliver snacks, meals, etc. to the poll workers on election day.

That quote by Gorbachev has been going through my mind a lot lately. If not me, who? If not now, when? In these last few days it’s up to all of us to do whatever we can, whether that be talking with our friends and families about our choices, blogging about it, pointing out lies that the GOP is spreading (I just got a flier in the mail today saying Barack Obama is a friend of terrorists – paid for by the Colorado GOP), volunteering on a formal level, etc. If you’ve been wanting to do something, but not knowing what you can do, I encourage you to visit or call your local Democratic office and ask. It’s that easy and I bet you you’ll feel so good about yourself once you’ve done it. The time is now.

* There will be a follow-up post to this one chronicling the volunteer efforts of my mom and a few of my friends. They’ve inspired me to get involved and it is my hope that maybe they will help inspire you too.

Still not convinced you need to do something to help Obama secure this election? Watch this video. Maybe it will change your mind. The time is now.

Brock Omama for pwesident – Wordless Wednesday

I haven’t written much about my political views here. It’s not because I don’t want to share them or that I’m afraid of turning off some readers (that’s not it at all). It’s due to lack of time, which I admit, with an election that is as important as this one, that’s a pretty lame excuse. I plan to write a bit more about my thoughts later this week, but for now I’ll leave you with two very cute Obama supporters.

See more Wordless Wednesday posts at the original WW home and at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Obama, the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash, and me

rmbb5k_160240.gif

After much deliberation, I finally decided on an outfit to wear last night (a black dress complete with – get this – a non-nursing bra!!!). I blew a kiss to my napping Julian and hugged and kissed my Ava and Jody (hubby) goodbye as I headed out for my first real night out on the town since Ava was born. It was a little hard to leave, but I knew the kids were in great hands with Jody and that there was nothing he couldn’t handle. Me and my girls (women I’ve known as a result of attachment parenting since the birth of our kids 4-ish years ago) – Melissa of Nature Deva, Heather of A Mama’s Blog and Julie of Chez Artz – caught a bus from Boulder and made our way to the Rocky Mountain Blogger Bash at Trios Enoteca in Denver.

Me and my blogging girls
All dressed up for a night on the town – Mel, Heather, Julie and me

On the bus we ran into Jeremy Tanner who, upon overhearing our talk of blogging, Twitter and Facebook, asked if we were going to the blogger party too. Was it that obvious? 😉

When we got to the bar, we immediately met up with Amber from Crazy Bloggin Canuck and Mile High Mamas. She’s just as sweet and bubbly in person as she is online. 🙂 And honestly, everyone I met last night was nice as could be.

Not long after we got there, it was time to find the nearest TV and plunk down in front of it. Dozens of us bloggers gathered together (most of us squatting on the floor – which, in a dress, was interesting let me tell you) in the back room of the bar to watch Obama’s acceptance speech. There were many cheers and rounds of applause as the feeling of hope and desire for change was tangible in the room, which made up for the lack of feeling I had in my legs from the precarious way I was kneeling/squatting/sitting. But seriously, the speech was awesome. 🙂 Watching Obama on the TV from Trios Enoteca

After the speech, there were free drinks to be had, food to be eaten and more bloggers to meet. I met Laura (LaLa Girl) who I spent quite a bit of time chatting with and Suzanne (Crunchy Green Mom) who I Tweet with all of the time.
Blogging ladies
Back row: Laura, Heather, Julie, me Front row: Melissa and Amber

Blogging ladies 2
L to R: Julie, Amber, Melissa, Laura, Suzanne, me, Heather

In addition, I met Julie (Mothergoose Mouse), Amy (Inherent Passion), Aimee (Aimee Greeblemonkey ), Tara (I Quit for Ligit), Sarah (Imaginary Binky), a husband and wife (Tessa) from My Left Nutmeg (Connecticut’s Democrats’ blog), as well as others. On our way out to catch the bus, we briefly met Stephanie (Lawyer Mama), Glennia (The Silent I) from Momocrats and Heather (No Pasa Nada). Unfortunately, the BlogHers I hoped to meet up with too got stuck in Invesco and there were a few other bloggers who were at the party that I didn’t know were there and I didn’t get to talk to.

Other bloggers
Julie (Mothergoose Mouse), Amy (Inherent Passion), Aimee (Aimee Greeblemonkey)

Julie decided she had to have the hat in the picture below, so she did her best to sweet talk this blogger (from My Left Nutmeg) out of it, but he wouldn’t give in. Can ya blame him? 😉

Julie and the man in the hat

We soon learned that this man and his wife Tessa were visiting from Connecticut to cover the convention and three of us guest blogged for My Left Nutmeg

Blogging for My Left Nutmeg Bloggers

And, of course, I had to get my Tweet on. (Thanks to Tessa who let me steal her laptop for a bit.) I was trying to find the whereabouts of Erin and the rest of the BlogHers and Momocrats. Thanks to Twitter and Vdog, I found out Erin’s phone had died, but I was able to get in touch with Maria who told me they had a hard time getting out of Invesco and were exhausted and at Denny’s, grabbing some food before going back to their hotels.
Tweet, tweet

So I didn’t get to meet the BlogHers, but I did meet a few Momocrats on our way out to catch the bus back to Boulder.

I didn’t end up getting home until 2 a.m. (wow), but am happy to report that the kids and Jody did great. Jody even emailed me a time line this morning to report back last night’s family events. I didn’t ask for it (really, I didn’t – I know I have control issues, but c’mon), but I guess he knew I would appreciate it. ;)  The time line ended with this summary, “no melt downs. they played well with me, together, by themselves. only time jules really wanted mama was when ava accidentally dropped a book on his foot. how was your night?”

I’d call it a successful night all around. I’m thinking I definitely need to get out more often. Who’s going with me?

Thanks to MrLady and ZombyBoy (both whom I didn’t even get to meet – arg) for throwing such a great party. 🙂 Denver rocks!