Mike and Laura Icardi
We are Laura and Mike Icardi. We have been married for almost 11 years, and we genuinely like each other way more each year. We have two biological children, and we are adopting our third child - a son - from Uganda. We live in Arlington, VA, and we homeschool. Mike is a rock of a guy, solid in faith and love for his family, and I'm a spontaneous, emotional, passionate weirdo who has no filter. Welcome to our mess.
Posted in 1 on November 7, 2016
Most of the people I know who are voting for Trump are justifying it by some of these means:
1. He is the lesser of two evils; he claims to be conservative, so he’s the best option we have. Clinton is worse.
2a. The Supreme Court seats must be filled by conservative justices! He has promised to do that.
2b. (Insert whatever pro life argument you want here.)
3. I know he has said some terrible things, but at least he’s honest. He’s a flawed man, a sinner. We all are. Give him a break.
I believe that character matters. I believe that integrity matters. I believe that the words that actually come out of a person’s mouth matter, and that those words, and a person’s actions, are the best way for me to judge their fitness to be my leader.
Clinton is not an option. She is unethical, dishonest, and pro-choice (deal breaker for me). She aligns herself with whatever is popular, aligns with the relative truth of the day, disregards the truth and grace of Christianity or any other religion that could encourage some kind of character modification. She is cunning, conniving, and shrewd in the worst ways. I won’t go into more detail because she is not the point of this. I won’t vote for her and I will not entertain the notion that she is the lesser of two evils.
Trump is not an option. He is unethical, dishonest, and crude. His God is himself, and he worships his god faithfully. To get a picture of who this man is, allow me to quote him on a few occasions:
1. “Ariana Huffington is unattractive, both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man – he made a good decision.”
Because rejoicing in divorce and infidelity is the mark of a good man. Doing it publicly is a sign of a great leader.
2. “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
I have never in my life heard a father say this about his daughter. If you heard a man say this at a Wal-Mart, would you assume he’s a good guy with a merely foolish tongue? Or would you spirit your children away, suspecting him to be an incestuous pedophile? I’m not saying Trump is a pedophile. But I am saying his words, if spoken by an average man who wasn’t being touted as the conservatives’ last chance, would be words worthy of reproach and condemnation.
3 “You’re disgusting.”
Spoken to a woman who asked for a break in court to pump her breastmilk in private for her baby.
4 “They’re [deeply troubled women] always the best in bed … You don’t want to be with them for the long term. But for the short term, there’s nothing like it.”
I like my Presidents to be fornicators and sleaze bags. It wasn’t too long ago that the GOP was destroying Bill Clinton for behavior much like this. I believe the GOP tried to impeach him. But now that “our guy” is the sleazy one, he’s just flawed. We all are. Ok.
5. “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you … they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
Mexicans. Rapists. Got it. I mean, not ALL of them. SOME of them are good. So that’s something.
6. “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”
Muslims. Terrorists. Got it.
7. “Maybe [the BLM protester] should have been roughed up. It was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.”
Black people deserve to be beaten up, especially when peacefully protesting. So says America’s history and so says Trump. Other quotes show Trump claiming black people are “thugs,” “lazy,” and “criminals.”
8. “You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
I’ll let that quote settle in for a minute. As many times as I’ve heard it since the quote came out, it is still wildly shocking and disgusting.
Do you still believe that Trump is a lesser evil? How? Why? Less evil than what?
And what would it take for you to finally say: enough is enough. He is too evil for me to vote for him. What would he have to do to lose your vote? At this point, I worry that many people who claim to value holiness above all else would vote for him at this point no matter what. So it seems thus far.
Ah, the Supreme Court and all things pro-life. Listen, guys. I’m staunchly pro-life. I do not believe abortion should be legal, ever, no matter what. I believe it is murder 100% of the time. I believe in the sanctity of human life and that life begins at conception. One of the things that motivated us to to adopt was our strong pro-life value: to provide a home for a child whose mother chose life. I have never voted, and will never vote, for a pro-choice candidate. Never. Trust me when I say this is important to me.
Read the quotes above. Trump is a man who delights in the attention he gets from saying evil things. He speaks with no filter, and his true thoughts are horrifying. Horrifying. He is a lover of violence, racist, xenophobe, stirrer of distrust and fear, slanderer, sexist, sexually dangerous, disgusting, mean, and a quick-tongued fool.
What in the dang world makes you think he will appoint conservative justices, when every day he reveals himself to be the enemy of conservative ideals? Pro-life? He is only pro-life insofar as that life is not:
He has supported democratic, pro-choice candidates in the past. Listen to me. THE ONLY REASON HE IS SAYING HE IS PRO-LIFE NOW IS TO GET YOUR VOTE.
He has zero history of conservative action. Zero history of pro-life ideals. Zero history of valuing the sanctity of human life. And zero history of choosing the narrow, diffIcult, morally superior but wildly unpopular path. If the conservative Presidents that came before him couldn’t get Roe v. Wade overturned, do you really think this filthy man will? Do you trust him to do what he says? Do you trust him to do anything well? Do you trust him to be a man worthy of the highest office?
I don’t. I don’t trust him, and I refuse to vote for him. Voting means “I choose this person above all others to be my President.” There is no fine print on your ballot. No additional check box to choose “I voted for him because I had to,” or “I only voted for him because he promised something that I am desperately hoping he will actually do but I have no actual collateral with which to prove or believe he will do it.” There are no footnotes on your votes, people. Your vote means you choose him.
I am choosing a candidate who does believe in absolute truth, who values conservative ideals, who – for all we can tell – lives a life of integrity. Is he flawed? Yes. We all are. But Evan McMullin does not flaunt his flaws or revel in them proudly, as something to be celebrated. He does not openly compare his penis size to those around him. He does not openly degrade women by calling them fat, ugly, or implying that they exist only for his sexual or viewing pleasure. McMulljn is flawed, but he is sufficiently ashamed of his flaws enough to try to be a better man, at least in public. He is pro-life and gives no indication of being racist, sexist, or a liar.
Now, I realize there is not much chance of McMullin winning. So some will say it is a wasted vote. No, no. A wasted vote is a vote for a man who is so vile and reprehensible that his actions and words are regularly compared to those of Hitler. A wasted vote is a vote for someone that you consider to be evil, but less evil than another. As though “less evil” somehow meant “good.”
If more people stood against Trump by voting for other candidates, it would force the GOP, the House of Representatives, and the country at large to finally say THIS IS THE LINE. THIS IS OUR LINE. AND WE WILL NOT CROSS IT.
Have a backbone, voters. Stop voting out of fear and start voting out of conscience. If everyone who was going to vote for Trump out of reluctant strategy actually voted for McMullin, we could actually have a decent GOP President take office next year. But you won’t. Because…?
Posted in 1 on June 30, 2016
I was recently asked to provide the Christian response for an interfaith Q&A. I wanted to share it here, because it was fun to write and really gets to the heart of what drives adoption for us.
The question posed was “does your religion have any teaching on orphans or adoption?” It will be answered by leaders of several faiths, including Islam, Jusaism, and Hinduism. Here is the Christian response that I provided:
To get a full picture of the Christian teaching on orphans and adoption, we have to back up and first address the topic of salvation. The Bible teaches us that Jesus’ blood pays for our sins, and faith in him grants us the status of “God’s children” (1 John 3:2). In another passage of scripture (Galatians 4:4-7), we are told that believers have received adoption as sons. Scripture tells us that God is the “Father to the fatherless” (Psalm 68:5). In another part of scripture, John 14:18, Jesus says “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” (All emphasis is mine.)
Think about earthly adoption: does a child do anything to earn his new family? Does he choose his new parents, or make it possible for them to find him? Does an orphan pursue his father?
No, adoption is the most beautiful reality of the gospel: God, our Father, pursued us when we were lost in sin, alone in our trespasses, rebellious, helpless, and unwanted. It was He who initiated the adoption, gave faith for us to believe, and gave us a new name: child of God. As the prophet Ezekiel states, about Israel’s state (before the coming of Jesus): “No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you [cared for or protected them] out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day you were born.” The verses that follow show God saving the abandoned baby (Israel). He speaks life into the orphan baby, covers her, adorns her with jewels, feeds her the finest grains and honey, and cares for her as a Father.
When the gospel of Jesus came to humankind, it was expected that it came just for God’s chosen people: the Jews. But God, in his infinite generosity and kindness, extended the mercy and grace of the gospel beyond His chosen people, and offered salvation to the Gentiles, too (people who were not Jews, and therefore not part of God’s chosen people). In reality, though, both Jews and Gentiles were adopted – plucked from sin and rebellion and saved from the devastating effects of their sin.
And with our spiritual adoption, as with adoption we see here on earth, we receive a new name, a new identity: we become more and more like our Father every day of our faith. We are transformed from an orphan creature into a new creation, one that reflects God’s image, bearing His likeness through love, compassion, sacrifice, and courage.
As children of God, we are called to bring His truth and blessing to others, to care for those in this world who need it, just like He did for us. This is both an action of imitating our father, as well as a joyful result of our changed identity. We know adoption is important to God, because He did that for us. We were once spiritual orphans and He rescued us. Now we are His children, and we lose more and more of our “orphanness” each day and gain more and more of our “Christlikeness” each day. John 5:19 says it well: “…for whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.”
This transformation takes many forms, but one of them is certainly the call to care for widows and orphans – the most helpless among us. Deuteronomy 10:18 says of God: “He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.” As Christians, we are often the means by which God executes justice, by calling His people to care for the fatherless.
We find a plea in the Psalms that we, as believers, necessarily agree with: “Give justice to the weak and fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.” (Psalm 82:3). James, the brother of Jesus, wrote the following: “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27) Christians are also told in Matthew 25:31-46, that the genuineness of our faith can be judged by our care for “the least of these.” This care for the least is not the basis of our salvation, but rather proof of it.
It is clear that, if Christians are to live a life of genuine faith, submitting our lives to the authority of scripture, we joyfully take up the call to care for orphans. For some, this means adopting a child into their family; for others, they may financially support a family who is adopting; for another, they may help and support orphan care through international sponsorship, foster care, or offering help to others who are serving orphans. As believers of the gospel, it is our privilege and joy to care for orphans among us, and our holy scriptures confirm this calling.
Posted in 1 on July 25, 2013
There are so many days of motherhood that just overwhelm me. I know I’m the only one since every other woman is cooking fancy meals and recreating Pinterest projects in between teaching their toddlers how to speak Mandarin and write calligraphy.
There are days where I spend literally hours counting down to the kids’ bedtime. Not because I don’t love them or even enjoy mothering them, but because they are so gosh-darn exhausting. Ella is in a “why?” phase, and Michael is in a “destroy everything or relocate it to the toilet or trash can” phase. I’m up to my elbows in toilet water and diapers (thankfully, not together… yet) and giving lots of “Because God made it that way” kind of answers, and of course, throwing out that phrase for which my friends love to tease me: “Ella, please control your emotions.” Parenting an emotional 3-year old and a destructo-1-year-old is serious business. I find myself collapsing on the couch, bed, pile of laundry, floor, etc at the end of the day, looking ragged and haggard and other double-g words, and – wait for it –
I begin to miss my kids.
I’ll let that sink in…
I literally just put them to bed. I’ve been waiting for this moment all day. I opened up wine 15 minutes ago so it could breathe while I sang lullabies and tucked in little faces. I set the DVR to play “Drop Dead Diva” (Oh, stop judging, you people who watch The Bachelor.)
But I begin to think about their chubby little faces, kissable bellies, musical giggles, curly hair, bright eyes, and their oh-so-unconditional love for me, and I’m all ILoveMyKidsSoMuchWhy WasISoImpatientWithThemTodayICan’tEverLeaveThemToGoOnVacationBecauseICan’tBeAwayFromThemThatLongIMissThemSoMuchI’mAWreckWhat’sWrongWithMe.
What is wrong with me? Anyone?
I leave for vacation with my husband and our two best friends in 8 days. We’ll be out of the country for a week without our kids. And instead of counting down to the enjoyment of it all, I’ve actually begun to stress out about missing my babies. What the fudge muffins is wrong with me??
Posted in 1 on February 25, 2012
Posted in 1 on January 31, 2012
It’s official: I’m pregnant again. Baby number 2 (a boy) is due at the end of June. I love him already and cannot wait to hold him, snuggle him, and study him. I’m looking forward to enjoying those moments that I forgot to enjoy with Ella: the sleeping baby on my chest; the sleeping baby everywhere we go; the ease of feeding the baby anytime, anyplace – because the food supply is attached to me.
But heck if this boy isn’t trying to kill me before then.
I found out I was pregnant on October 16th. Within about 2 weeks, the nausea started. Whoever came up with the word “morning sickness” is on crack. I was sick all day, even in the middle of the night. I would wake up feeling like I was going to throw up… But I wouldn’t. I never did barf, and I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than if I had just gotten it over with. Instead, the nausea lasted about 6 weeks, with very little reprieve. Wandering around the house with a barf bowl, chasing my toddler and changing her (very smelly) diapers while gagging… These aren’t the glamorous moments of motherhood that I pictured when I was young. I am supposed to be the beautiful, glowing pregnant woman who nests and has energy and wears adorable maternity clothes.
Oh yeah – maternity clothes. I was in full maternity wear by the time I was 10 weeks along. My stomach has popped so much, in fact, that my belly button resembles a pig’s snout – and has resembled that beautiful specimen for about a month now. My daughter likes to push it like a button, and then giggle. Ok, usually I giggle too.
November is when the real fun began. In short, we visited the ER or Urgent Care 4 times in 1 month – twice for our daughter and twice for me. My daughter had a stomach flu, a cold, her first ear infection ever, and hand foot and mouth virus – all within one month. I caught her stomach flu, then wrapped it up with a cold that turned into bronchitis that caused me to separate a rib (yes, seriously). While I was under Doctor’s orders not to bend, twist, sneeze, cough, or lift anything (including my darling girl), I developed paralyzing sciatic pain. Sciatic pain originates from a nerve that comes out of the spinal cord and runs down both sides of your butt, down your legs, and into your toes. The pain can be constant and dull, sharp and searing, or tingling and sore. Or all of the above (check!). So, to review: coughing, separated rib, sciatic pain. The coughing slowly dissipated, but my pains remained. I developed another cold a few weeks later, and as that was wrapping up began experiencing light-headedness. I had a couple bad mornings where I laid on the couch while my child destroyed the house, but then I convinced myself that I was being a wimp and dramatic and lazy and needed to suck it up and get on with my life. “Good for you!” you say? Wrong. I blacked out in the checkout lane at the grocery store. Mike had to come home from work early, I made a doctor’s appointment, and we are now awaiting test results to figure out why I am falling apart.
I have had approximately 14 copays, 2 blood draws, 4 debuts in hospital gowns, 2 bouts of narcotics, and additional bills from providers whose care was not fully covered by our insurance (like the ER) – all in the span of less than 2 months. Amidst all of this, we also traveled to Florida and spent the holidays with both sides of our family, returning by plane with a screaming toddler (which is how I discovered she had sores covering the insides of her mouth).
Make no mistake about it: I am not faring well. The stress, the illness, the pain, and the lack of sleep (due to pain or worry) have not made me a better person. At least not on the outside. My skin is rough and uneven, my eyes sunken with dark circles, my hair wiry and undone. My days are not spent beautifying myself or my house – the dust bunnies are organizing an attack, the laundry has morphed into a monster beyond control, and the dishes keep piling up like they’re staging a Beauty-and-the-Beast-esque dance number. I use my energy to lay on the floor to keep from fainting, lift Ella into and out of her crib, high chair, car seat, and various other necessities. I’m a mess and I know it. I look terrible, feel terrible, and I am unable to do anything to change that – just survive.
But God has sustained me. Even in the moments when I thought I would puke up my toes, or the pain has been so bad I have cried, or the light-headedness has become so strong that I’ve laid on my daughter’s floor to keep from falling… He has sustained me even when it doesn’t feel like it. Because here I am: proof that He’s still got me in his big old Papa hands.
And He has given me gifts, like friends who come at a moment’s notice to babysit me in case I faint, who run to the grocery store (yes, on foot) to rescue me while my head is still between my knees, who come over bearing snacks and clean my house and care for my child. Who pray for me, hug me, and take care of me – even after 2 months of doing so. They are cheerful, loving, and encouraging.
He has given me family who cheerfully cared for Ella while I was in Florida and unable to lift her. Who have prayed for me, checked in on me, worried about me.
And He gave me Mike. My strong, patient husband. Who has done dishes, laundry, sweeping, vacuuming, cooking, and caring for Ella, including baths, bedtime, and meals. He has worked full time, traveled to the West Coast several times, volunteered at church, and still has energy to take care of me and our child.
Not only that, but he turns to me in bed every night and whispers “I love you.” Then he holds my hand like I am the most beautiful, glowing, vibrant woman in the world. We lay there, facing each other, haggard me and handsome him, and we fall asleep.
Posted in 1 on November 25, 2011
Check out the card I made on Shutterfly
Posted in 1 on May 3, 2011
Your Harris Teeter Deals this week are awesome due to their super-double coupon special, running through today (May 3rd). Run over there today and get coupons up to $1.98 doubled, instead of the usual $.99 limit.
Tostitos Salsa or Chips is $3.59, but it’s on BOGO sale, so it rings up half price (you only have to buy one). So consider that it is really $1.80 each. Use a $1 off coupon (which will double), and your chips or salsa will be FREE.
Birds eye steam fresh veggies are on sale for a dollar. Use the $1 off 3 coupon to make them each $.33.
Gilette shave gel is on sale for $1.99. Use a $1 coupon to make it FREE.
Skintimate shave gel is $1.99. Use a $1 coupon to make it FREE.
Sister Schubert rolls are $3.99, and on BOGO sale, making them basically $2 each. Buy one bag and use the $1 coupon to make it FREE.
El Grande chips are $2.50 each. Use the $1 coupon to make them $.50.