Sunday News That Didn't Make the News

Smooth-ie Operator

If you've been here before, you know I hate my body. And you know one of the items on my To Do If I'm Going to Have Another Baby list is lose weight. At least 10 pounds. If you haven't been here before, Welcome! And you can catch up here and here.

If I had the money I'd go to LA Weightloss or maybe Weight Watchers. But I don't so I'm still fat and have no one to blame but me.

Well, last week, I finally decided to take action with my weight instead of whining and then stuffing my face. Since last Monday, I've been making smoothies in the morning as my brunch, then really cracking down on snacking (hey, that rhymes!) during the day.

I'm trying to copy the new Breakfast Meals at Jamba Juice. Theirs are super thick and need to be eaten with a spoon. So far I haven't been able to match their consistency but mine are still tasty.

My hope was that the smoothie would keep me full all day and I would only need something small to keep me until an early dinner. I wasn't smart enough to weigh or measure myself before starting (duh!) but it's probably a good thing because Memorial Day weekend was a complete bust. Hubby made ribs and potatoes with bacon and cheese... SO good!

Anyway, this past Sunday, I had hubby break out the measuring tape and I
stepped on the scale for the first time in ages:
Weight: 147

Waist: 30"

Hips: 37"

Ugh! I can say this isn't the heaviest I've ever been but that doesn't make me feel any better. I went to Jamba yesterday and got one of their 16 ounce meals instead of making my own since I happened to be in the area.
I asked about the consistency problem and their advice was to pulse, not blend so I tried it today.

In my smoothies are bananas, strawberries*, peanut butter, soy milk, yogurt (but not today because DS ate the last container yesterday), flax seed oil (because I don't eat seafood), my daily multi vitamin and granola.

I have a blender, but use my Magic Bullet because it's faster and the cleanup is easier, but might switch to the blender for a true pulse setting.

I started out great, thinking I had all the liquid to solids ratios correct. It was looking thick and spoon worthy until I added some fresh strawberries that weren't going to make it through the weekend.

Then I figured "what the heck" and threw in another banana and some blueberries that were starting to look like rabbit poop (I won't eat blueberries unless they are blended).

I use the biggest plastic mug we have, which when filled to the brim holds just shy of 24 ounces. I've done better this week, especially with the snacking, but still have a ways to go.

I'll weigh in on Sunday to see if there has been any change. If not, I'll have to come up with Plan B because dammit I'm hungry!

Anyone else on a weight loss journey? What's worked for you? Or better, what hasn't?

*Note: I cut up strawberries and bananas that are starting to turn and freeze them so they don't go to waste. If I don't have any left I'll use fresh fruit and the "backup" bag of mixed frozen tropical fruit from Costco. I also don't measure anything, sorry! No kickbacks from any of the companies shown, though if the folks at Jamba are lurking I'm more than happy to take the 21 Day Breakfast Challenge! ;^)

Can You Smell That?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

It's the smell of change in the air! I'm got something going behind the scenes and I'm SO excited! Should happen next week some time. Stay tuned, there might even be a giveaway...

You Had Me at... Meme

I've been tagged. Which I've always thought would be fun, but it's actually kind of stressful! I'm pleased as punch that Steph included me in her meme linky love. Big kisses to her.

Matter Of Fact Mommy came up with the idea for this meme and it is oh so clever! Here's the way she described it on her site:
"I want to hear which specific post got you hooked on the blogs that you read regularly. You only have to choose 5 blogs. This way, you won't feel bad for leaving anyone out. And it can be 5 RANDOM blogs. You don't have to claim these 5 blogs as your 5 FAVORITE blogs. Get what I'm getting' at? Good."
Steph tagged me last week and I've been stalling because I couldn't figure out who I should include. Even though the rules don't call for favorites I felt like I should give props to the people I visit every day, but that would include almost my whole blog roll.

I've met so many great people since I've been online. I have laughed, learned, cried, vented and confessed. I am captivated by the stories, impressed with the writing abilities, blown away by the craftiness and moved by how much we all love our families.

But, the rules state 5 and only 5 so I am opting to spread the love to a few sites I hope are new to you and here's wishing you come to enjoy them as much as I do. In no particular order:

(I may be cheating on the specific post that reeled me in but whatever. You'll get the idea.)

Mommy Snacks
I have no idea how I found this site but I'm glad I did. Being jobless has put the pressure on us financially and her site has so many great ideas on frugal living, how to get the most out of coupons, menu planning and more. I went to CVS on Tuesday, got my card and am ready to start saving! I also made this crockpot chicken recipe last week and it was fab! I think the post that got me hooked was this one about taking surveys for cash. I signed up for several of her suggestions and can already see the money will definitely add up.

Freebies 4 Mom
I love getting things in the mail that aren't bills. I have a few sites I visit regularly to score freebies but hers is one of the best. In another 6-8 weeks my mailbox should be brimming with all sorts of good stuff from WalMart! And the free phone number idea? I'm signing up this weekend. We're getting rid of our landline and this will be a perfect back up system. There are also links to printable coupons and contests (I'm also a sweepstakes junkie!)

This Week for Dinner
This lovely lady creates a weekly menu and posts it on her site along with great photos, how-to's song of the week and recipes. I want some of these cookies RIGHT. NOW. And contests. Did I mention I like entering contests? I started visiting her in April when she was still living in my fair city and have been hooked ever since. Her site is awesome, but don't go there hungry!

Hostess with the Mostess
If I won the lottery I'd have people over for fun parties every week. I love, love, love entertaining, and this site is totally drool worthy. There are theme party suggestions, menu suggestions, decorating ideas, party supplies... There's so much eye candy I can't stand it! And contests. I think I mentioned I like contests... It was either this post, this one (because I love almost all things lemon), or this one that had me add it to my reader. This site will bring out your inner Martha.

Choosing My Own
I think Jamie and I could be buddies in real life. We have the same sense of humor, she lives in my 'hood and she's just as sweet as can be. I'm not stalking her, I promise! It was this post that made me want to go back and I'm glad I did. Are her children not the CUTEST! Our kids will be playing at the park together soon, you watch and see. That is, if I can accidentally on purpose run into her at Starbucks and convince her to be one of my new BFF's...

So, those are my five. Rock on bloggy sistas'! You ALL make my day!

Works for Me Wednesday: Rechargable Batteries and the Wii

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When we got our Wii around the holidays, we found we were going through batteries like crazy. We have 4 remotes and three nunchuks and several hours of playing would really take a toll.

I felt bad about all the batteries we were throwing away. I've been wanting to go greener at home and started looking for a rechargeable kit.

I found the eneloop battery system by Sanyo at our Costco. The best part of the system is that they come already charged and ready to use! The kit also has an adapter that will convert a AA battery into a square D or round C. I've never seen that with any other system.

The kit was very reasonably priced ($25 I remember correctly) and so are the expansion packs.

Happy playing!

*For other great tips head over to Shannon's place.

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A Conversation With My Younger Self

I came across a photo of myself from my college days. On a trip to Hawaii for a Journalism conference, my fellow writers dared me to enter a bikini contest at a bar in Oahu, so I did (!!!!!).

The photo I found is of me, in the red stripper suit I wore in the contest.

Looking at the picture, particularly at my pre-baby body, I thought, “why didn’t I appreciate that girl more?”

If I could go back in time and speak to that girl in the minuscule scrap of fabric bikini, first I’d say, “Damn girl, you look good!” and give her a catcall and a whistle or two.

Then, I’d say I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not eating better. I’m sorry for drinking until you puked. Staying up all night when you needed sleep. Going to work or school when you were sick and needed rest.

For thinking that walking all over campus was enough exercise. For the brief time I smoked. For not wearing the glasses, not using sunscreen and the one time I had unprotected sex.

But mostly, I’m sorry I didn’t have more confidence and a better self image. Why did I spend so much time shaking my fist at your thighs and bemoaning your butt?

I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror back then, but looking at you now, with my stretch marks and mini muffin top, I’d give anything to have you back.

You with your tiny waist, flat stomach, curves in the right places and the girls up nice and high. That body was beautiful. That body was sexy. And I feel so badly for thinking it wasn't.

Please forgive me. And for the love of all that is holy PLEASE COME BACK!

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Q & A: My Growing Up Years Part Three

Monday, May 26, 2008

Now for Steph's question:
"Was your family upset when you married your husband?"
Yes and no. There's lot's of backstory so bear with me.

(Homecoming Oct. 1990)

DH and I met in high school. (Which is a story in itself because he was SO not my type!) He was my first serious boyfriend. At 17, I think parents are going to be concerned about their daughter getting so serious so fast about anyone, regardless of color.

So, we started dating the summer between junior and senior year and were inseparable until I left for college. Even then we visited as often as we could.

I think my dad hoped that when I went away and was exposed to a much bigger world than my hometown, I would outgrow my "crush" and meet a nice young black man, preferably a Kappa, and live happily ever after.

He practically begged me to join a sorority so I went to a meeting but that
lifestyle just wasn't for me.

DH and I did break up for several years when he was stationed in Italy right out of boot camp. We dated other people, but none seriously. When DH returned from overseas, we pretty much fell right back into our relationship.

My father saw in DH an unmotivated, pothead surfer (true, except for the unmotivated part) who had no real ambition. DH didn't finish college. He joined the military instead. My dad's attitude was "only people who have to join the military join the military."

I, on the other hand, was proud that DH recognized that he was on a path to nowhere and took steps necessary to make something better of himself.

My mom has never had any real problems with DH other than how serious we were at 17. Her long time boyfriend is white, so she had no room to complain, though my father blamed her for "putting ideas in my head."

One time, my dad set me up with one of his co-workers' son (this was pre-DH).
Whom I'd never met. To go to prom. I was furious! But, I went along to make Dad happy and to get a new dress and shoes. I invited R over so at least we could lay eyes on one another before the dance.

That fool showed up at my house with no money, kept his ball cap on the whole time he was inside, didn't stand up to greet my mom when she came home and didn't offer to help her bring in the groceries! I never saw him again.

Anyway, DH and I resumed our relationship, he moved into my apartment and we lived together for 2 years before eloping getting married in 1998.

It's bothered DH that my dad didn't approve of us being together. I told him not to worry about pleasing my dad, that's not what he wants to see. Just continue to be a good person and he'll either come around or he won't.

It was a long time before Dad finally said he couldn't be upset with me for the choice I made as it was his and my mother's choice to move us away from the city, into an almost all white (at the time) neighborhood therefore severely limiting my options. That was a Halellujah! moment for me.

(Prom, May 1991)

And, as my father has watched my husband (literally) grow from a boy into a man, husband and father, he's come around. Dad said to my mom (which she relayed to me):

"Kids and animals are the best way to know if someone is a good person, and that little boy (DS) adores his father."

After the phone call I immediately ran to DH and said, "You're in! My Dad likes you now!" and there was much rejoicing.

Dad calls hubby son, which is HUGE. And when Daddy (yep, you heard me) took me to lunch a few weeks ago, he asked whether I was trying to talk DH into finishing college. I said no, I've tried but hubby's logic is that of all our friends who went to college, he's the one with best job and no student loans.

After a minute Dad says, "well, he's got a point, don't bitch at him about it," which is also HUGE because my dad is the poster boy for "everyone should go away to college to make something of themselves."

It's all good now. And I don't blame my dad. He has a right to his feelings. And they never really gave me any grief about it or made DH feel unwelcome or uncomfortable, which I appreciate.

And I wonder if I had backed down and broken up with DH, would they have respected me? After all, I learned from them how important it is to be your own person, to follow your heart and go for what you want.
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Sunday News That Didn't Make the News

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Strange stories from around the world

A tall glass of milk would go nicely

Criminals are so stupid

At least he got a good story from the scar

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Friday, May 23, 2008

For those of us who are WoW widows, (World of Warcraft, the game hubby plays, which I bitched about here) sports widows, Playstation widows or any other type of widow this video, sent to me by hubby, should make you laugh.

Have a good holiday weekend!

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Name Change?

I want to change my blog name. I should have given it more thought. I have a few ideas but I'm not sure I should go with something geographical or a play on my name. This is what I have so far:

Strawberry Doorbells (It's an inside joke with me and hubby)

Just One San Diego Mom

Suddenly Stay at Home (What if I get a job soon?)

We Three in S.D.

I'm Ready for Breakfast (Those are the first words I hear almost every day)

Mel A Drama Momma or Mel A Dramatic

Wakin' Up Happy

Thoughts? Suggestions?

I'm Going on a Date! *UPDATE*

Thursday, May 22, 2008

With my hubby of course. He took today and tomorrow off so he can have a 5-day weekend! We're headed out shortly to see the new Indiana Jones, which I will definitely come back and tell you about.

Then, we're going to Ikea (we live about 40 minutes from it so getting there is an event in itself!) then to lunch and a quick stop on the military base.

I also have my first book club meeting tonight. We're discussing Naked by David Sedaris. I hope these ladies are nice and fun, not bookish and boring!



So, I can't give my opinion of the movie without spoiling it, so I will quote my husband:
"They deviated from the formula. They didn't need to, it's already a successful franchise. All they need is a religious artifact and Nazis."

Works for Me Wednesday: Sunscreen and Sun Safety

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Most advice on when to re-apply sunscreen, including the says that more applications are needed after two hours, swimming or excessive sweating (blech!).

I followed either the two hour rule or when my son’s cheeks started to get pink, whichever came first. I’m crazy anal about putting on sunscreen before we head out, but not always good with the re-application. Then I saw an ad last year in one of my parenting magazines for Sun Signals and became a changed woman.

Sun Signals are small stickers that react to UVB rays. Fresh out of the package, they are light orange with little sunbursts. The more UVB rays they absorb, the darker orange they get, and the sunbursts disappear. The transition from light to dark lets you know it’s time to re-apply the sunscreen, regardless of how much time has gone by.

Today, I put a Sun Signal outside to demonstrate.
The day started out a little overcast, but was starting to clear up. I put a Sun Signal on my patio at 9:51am, before taking DS to school.

I ran a few errands and in just over an hour (11:05), it had gone its darkest shade.

The two on the left are from the package, the one on the right was outside (sorry for the blurriness!)

These have been so helpful because after we started using them, I was really able to grasp the idea that keeping “fresh” sunscreen on is so important. We’ve never made it a full two hours before the Sun Signal changed colors, which means we were going under protected for years! And, I would put on a little sunscreen on an overcast day but rarely, if ever, thought to re-apply.

My son hates putting on sunscreen even though he knows it means he can’t go swimming/to the park/to the zoo etc. without it. With the Sun Signals he can see what the sun would be doing to his skin if he didn’t have it on. He still fusses, but not as much as before I started using them.

People see the sticker on our shirts or hats and ask about them, especially when I pull the old sticker off and put on a new one, so I wanted to pass them along. Have a safe summer!

Q & A: My Growing Up Years Part Two

I'm liking this Q & A thing, mostly because I get to talk about myself, but I also like giving people something to think about. I'm still answering questions from the comments on my earlier posts here and here about my childhood, having a bi-racial family and my experiences with racism.

Steph asked:
"Was your family upset when you married your husband?"
Ahh, the husband questions! I thought that one would have come first! LOL! That one requires a long answer so I'll address MoFM first.

She said:
"My brother in law is black. he grew up in Long Beach, CA and then went to Stanford. Like you, he has been chastised by his relatives for acting "white." Not something that I understand, never having been a minority myself."
I can't honestly say I understand it completely myself. Within the black community, there is this idea that speaking, dressing or behaving in ways that have been associated with white culture somehow makes a person "less" black.

Unfortunately, the things that make someone "less" black are typically educational and/or economically based. The fact that I liked to read, made good grades, was articulate, moved away from black neighborhoods and had designer clothes made me (and therefore my parents) a "sell out." I'd "forgotten where I came from."

It's hard for me to see it as anything other than jealousy. It would be one thing if people chastised me for not celebrating Kwanzaa (which I don't though I know a little about the history) or not knowing some of the major historical events and figures of black culture.

But to say I've lost touch with "my roots" because I can effectively string a sentence together borders on the absurd. And I refuse to apologize for the fact that my family worked very hard to buy the house in the safe neighborhood with the good schools. My parents sacrificed to give me everything I have today. Isn't that what anyone wants to do for their children?

James C. Collier hosts a great blog addressing issues just like this, among others. This is a great post that clarifies the ideas behind "acting white" better than I can.

I found these great articles offering more perspective

Hopefully that helps a little. It's too bad that there is often so much strife within our own community. Our shared skin color, history and desire to make racism a thing of the past should be enough to keep everyone friendly and helpful toward one another, but I guess there are always going to be a few bad apples spoiling the bunch.

My relationship with my hubby and the ripples it caused within my family is another looong story that I think will have to wait until tomorrow so I can address it fully. Along with Eminem.

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Q & A: My Growing Up Years

So Steph has asked me to detail some of the painful experiences I had growing up as a minority. Kidding!

Seriously, though, she commented on my post about our bi-racial family and asked me a few questions. I told her via email that I consider myself an open book. I'd rather have someone ask me a question despite how it may "sound" because I believe dialogue is important.

Again, this is in no particular order. I'm going to go with the flow, whatever comes to mind.

I can definitely say I had a good childhood. I grew up in a suburb of Chicago. We were one of the first black families in our neighborhood. I don't remember any incidences of racism against our family but I was pretty young. Bad things didn't start happening to me until we moved to So Cal.

There were not many black families in our new city either (a nice part of Ventura County). I was usually the only black student in a class. Almost all the issues I've ever had were with boys. It was only name calling (I shouldn't say only, verbal abuse is still abuse) nothing physical: Chocolate Bar, Hershey and the ever present N word.

Most of the time I told my parents and they took care of it. My dad is in law enforcement (at time he was Secret Service) and a pretty big guy.

If I was having issues, I'd ask my dad if he could come get me from school. One time, I said I had a lot of homework and could he come with me to my locker because I needed all my books and they were too heavy for me to carry. I could tell he wasn't quite buying it since I'd never asked him to do this before but he played along.

Of course I had to walk him down the main hallway and of course I had to introduce him to several of the guys. I think Dad understood then but he didn't ask me to elaborate. This was junior high and I guess he knew I was wanting to start handling things my way.

Needless to say, his 6' 5" presence in the midst of all the pre-pubes really lent credence to "if you don't knock it off my dad will kick your ass."

There was one boy though who just wouldn't let up. I finally grabbed him by the wrist, bent it backwards and made him apologize. He eventually met Dad too and that was that.

My parents lived in St. Louis and moved to Illinois when I was a baby. For awhile I thought it was odd that my dad would move us so far from the city into a place that was so, well, white, given his feelings about white people.

Now, I feel I have to defend Dad a little here and say he's not a racist. He has a definite mistrust is the word I'll use, but it doesn't come out of nowhere. Given that my parents are in their mid 50's, the climate they were raised in is 180 degrees different than today. He's never said
anything hostile or derogatory about whites around me.

When my dad and uncles were little, "do not go across the train tracks after dark" was not an idle threat parents used to keep kids in line like the boogeyman. People were seriously hurt or lynched for being in the "wrong"neighborhood.

My dad played football and made all sorts of notoriety for the school. I think he was named all state champ or something, but when it came time to award scholarships, he didn't get one. My uncle told me the story. Dad was sure he was going to get a scholarship and coach called out all these names on the team. The last person awarded was the team kicker. He did go to college, to a HBU (historically black university) and even played arena football for The Chicago Fire until right before I was born.

My parents would not have been remiss in raising me to have the same anxieties, but they didn't. Instead, I had to give 110%, be better than everyone else and never give anyone a reason to deny me anything. People were not going to expect much from both a black and a woman so I had to prove everybody wrong. Which is why I'm such a type A control freak perfectionist.

Now that I'm a parent I can absolutely understand their decisions. And I respect the hell out of them for it.

It was hard to go back to St. Louis to visit. As a kid, I didn't know where the hostility the other black kids showed towards me came from. But I got a lot of, "she thinks she better than us," "she's not black enough" and "she thinks she's white." I always thought it was so stupid.

I couldn't understand why, just because we had the same skin color, I was all of a sudden supposed to start saying "ain't" and "aks" instead of ask. I was a straight A student and I was taught that "ain't" was not a word. Period. And I couldn't just flip a switch because I was around all black people and add it to my vocabulary.

Looking back though, I
was different, and different makes people uncomfortable. We'd come to visit every few years and I'd have my hair freshly done, new toys, a suitcase full of Esprit clothes (hey, it was the 80's!) and I lived in California (that alone was enough to make me stick out like a sore thumb).

I guess I can see me through their eyes. My not knowing how people outside of family were going to treat me made me, not really shy, more like cautious, and that could have been perceived as haughtiness.

I kept to a small circle of friends and tried not to let it bother me too much. My dad has a saying (one of many), "they may be your color, but that doesn't mean they're your people." I took it to heart and it helped me to not get my feelings hurt too often.

Anything else you want to know?
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Multitaskin' Mama

Sunday, May 18, 2008

In the car on the way to a birthday party today:

DS: "Mama, you can do three things at one time?!"

Me: "What do you mean?"

DS: "You can drive, eat and read a map all together."

Me: "Well honey I'm a mommy."

DS: "Sweet! I wish I could be a mommy!

Me: "Don't worry honey, mommy can teach you."

How is it that my 5 year old can be so observant, but my husband is oblivious?
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The Quickest Way to Know a Woman is to Go Shopping with Her - Marcelene Cox

Friday, May 16, 2008

I've been bad. I've been shopping. I know I shouldn't have but sometimes I can't stop myself. The bargain bins call my name and I love how it feels to score a great deal. I'm sharing my latest finds along with my Mother's Day gifts to myself and what I gave to my MIL.

By sharing my good fortune with the two of you, I can justify my purchases because I'm helping other people with any gift giving needs they may have. And I'm nothing if not helpful.

That's my story anyway.

Aren't these just the cutest! I hate not having gift bags, wrap and assorted cards on hand so I stock up whenever I can. I got all 14 of these for $6!

I could have gone crazy with the baby and wedding themed bags too, but my trunk is only so big. These are from Dollar Tree.

My other discount fave for things like this is 99 Cents Only. I usually go there for party bag filler and stocking stuffers.

I Love, Love, Love this straw tote! This is going with me to the beach, to the pool, to the farmer's market, to the library... This will probably be on my shoulder all summer long.

Guess how much it was?

Nope, guess again. Give up?

$2.50 baby! I love Target!

I will probably be wearing these while carrying my awesome straw bag. I had a devil of a time choosing between these in white or brown. The white just looked so summery. $20 at Payless.

These scream for khaki capris, a white sleeveless blouse and a fresh pedi.

And maybe a latte. And my straw hat.

I told myself at the beginning of the year I would do less email more snail mail. I love getting mail other than bills and I think letter writing needs to make a comeback.

I haven't been doing that great with it so naturally I figured that meant my current stationery was uninspiring.

Hence, these. 20 per box for $4.99 each at Marshall's. I love the retro colors! They are sold here, but for significantly higher.

These are what I gave my MIL for Mother's Day. The mug is so pretty! The other side has an Asian-like design. My photo taking abilities don't do it justice. Sipping coffee or tea out of a pretty cup is mandatory. The mug was $2.99 and the 12 teas were $6.99.

I bought my own Mom's Day gifts while at the Carlsbad street fair. When we went to the Red Bull air races, there were lots of vendors set up along the sidewalks. This couple makes the jewelry by hand. The necklaces are awesome with semi precious stones wound inside. We were leaving to make it back to car before the meter ran out and I asked if they would be at the fair the following and weekend and to my joy they said yes! I took so many shots of this and unfortunately this is the best one. $25

Every time I go to craft fairs I always look for fused glass pendants. This woman had some that were more unique than others, plus, she had purse hangers and I really, really want a unique and pretty one that can handle the weight of my heavier bags. $35 for both pieces.

Those are my latest finds. I hope you've enjoyed my trip down girly lane. I wanted a break from the more "serious" things I've been thinking about lately. BTW, none of these people know I linked to them, there's no kickbacks involved. I'm just spreading the love!

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Gobble de Gook

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Recently, it's become quite obvious that the time to consciously expose my DS to more of the African American side of his heritage has come and gone. I guess I was naive in thinking the idea that our family was "different" than other families wouldn't occur to DS until he was old enough to have a mature discussion about race, ethnicity, skin color and what it was like for me growing up.

But, given some of the statements he's made lately, I need to be more proactive and find age appropriate ways to answer his questions and address some of the things he says, like:

"Oh that guy is gonna win because all brown people are good at basketball." (We had a talk about labeling)

"Whoa, look at all the brown people in this movie."

"Mama, you're the most beautifulest mama ever, even though your skin is different from mine and daddy's." (Which is funny because DH is totally pale and DS isn't)
I've composed something several times and it's always ended up disjointed with no logical flow. I'm taking Steph's suggestion and throwing it all out there, totally at random. Warning: it makes no sense AT ALL.

A new boy started in DS's class this week. I met the mom and the son. They are black, and darker than me.

DS saw him and grabbed onto my leg the way he does when he gets shy. I asked what was wrong and he said he didn't want to play with him because he looked weird. I took him outside and asked why he thought that.

"Because his hair is so curly."

"Yours is too."

"But his is really curly."

"You know who has the same hair? Papa [my dad] and Uncle D. And if I didn't use my curling hair (that's what he calls it, cute no?), mine would look that way too."

I told him that wasn't a nice thing to say and reminded him how he felt when his classmate told him his skin color was stupid. I said he didn't have to be friends with N, but he couldn't not be his friend just because he looks different from DS.

This one was hard. I was disappointed in DS and a little hurt too. After all the times we've said to him that families come in all different colors, shapes and sizes, his reaction to this little boy was surprising.

When the boy in DS's class told DS his skin color was stupid, we had a long talk about how that made him feel and what to say if it happens again.

But the situation made me feel like I had failed DS somehow. I know it is my responsibility to expose DS to the African American side of his heritage, and I don't take that responsibility lightly.

I want him to have pride. I want him to know the history. I want to show him the cooking pot our great great (maybe one more great) grandmother used as a slave (my mom uses it as a planter) and have him understand the significance.

I want him to know that in our family, we have one of the first black cowboys and one of the first blacks to own a business in Missouri.

I want my son to grow up happy and secure in the love of his family. I want him to be friends with whomever he chooses. I want him to be in a relationship with whomever he chooses.

Being in a bi-racial relationship hasn't been an issue for us, unless someone else made it an issue. We know raising a family might have its challenges. But, we figured that when the time came, we'd deal with it and now that the time is here, I feel strangely unprepared.

When DH and I were dating, one of his cousins said, "No fair. If you guys get married your kids will be the cutest ones in the family." It bothered me at the time because I wondered if she thought that's why I was with him, to have attractive offspring.

And when DH was still in active duty, after seeing my picture one of the guys told him it was "cool" that he was with me.

I can't talk to DS about what it's like growing up bi-racial because that's not my experience. I hope he doesn't have to go through some of the things I did, but I fear he might.

He's also going to face his own challenges like people asking "what are you?" and having to decide which box to check under "ethnicity" or to make his own category.

When we would visit family in St. Louis, the friends of my cousins nicknamed me Proper. As in "She talks so proper." It was strange because we were all in school. They took the same English classes and learned how to conjugate verbs the same as I did. But I spoke differently and sometimes they made me feel bad about it.

I don't want my son to feel ashamed of being smart and articulate. I don't want someone to finally meet him in person after only knowing him from phone conversations and say, "I didn't know you were black," as happened to me.

When I was younger, maybe junior high, after my parents divorced my dad would ask me about school and my friends and he's want to know if any of them were black. I understood why he cared. But to me, friends were friends. And I didn't want to be friends with someone just because we had the same skin color.

I've never had a big circle of black friends for the simple reason that there have never been enough of us in the places I grew up to make that circle!

The same is true now. There aren't that many black faces in DS's school. Part of me wants to find a play group or sports team we can join so he can have more exposure than I did. But that seems so contrived.

I could go on and on but I won't. I've rambled enough. All words of wisdom and advice are welcome and appreciated!
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Firing Blanks

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A few things have been weighing on my mind lately: faith/religion and my son's recent curiosity with our bi-racial family/skin color. I've been trying for several days to write something that is not a bunch of incomprehensible gobble de gook.

I thought I was being so clever today when I remembered the voice activated mini recorder we bought for our last nanny.

So, I take it in the car on my way to an oil change and car wash and talk for almost nine minutes about DS and what a boy at school said to him, the book I checked out from the library, I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla and what DS said about the new little boy in his class.

I talk and talk thinking I can transcribe everything and re-arrange it until it makes sense. Then I thought of one more point I wanted to make, and recorded over everything!

So now I've got nuttin'. Zip. Nada.

I Give, and I Give...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Something happened at school last week that I'm still chuffed about. I was going to write a letter to the principal, but thought I may be overreacting. Here's the scene:

I'm dropping DS off at school. Everyone has to sign in before going on campus. The head of the PTO is in the office discussing the latest fund raiser that took place the previous Saturday. It was a dinner dance with a silent auction. I think tickets were in the $25 per person range. We didn't go.

So, someone asks PTO Mom how it went. She says not so good, hardly anyone came, no one was bidding, they hardly raised money etc.

Then she says this, "C'mon people, this is your kids school. Don't you care? [Another school] had this same event and they raised thousands of dollars."

It's not what she said that bothered me, but how. Her tone was so... indignant and bitchy.

I can't tell you how many times this year I've been to Wal Mart carrying yet another letter from the teachers begging (their word) for supplies.

I've bought wrapping paper I don't need, gifts for Teacher's birthday, Christmas, Valentine's Day, Teacher Appreciation Week and the most recent request that came home yesterday for $10-20 for an end of the year gift.

There have been science projects, book fairs, pizza parties, scoop night at the yogurt shop and school pictures. We bought and filled a backpack with school supplies for the underprivileged at the beginning of the year. And I spent $6 on a fridge magnet with one of the lamest pieces of artwork my kid has ever done.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad to help when I can. Schools are horribly neglected and teachers are pathetically underpaid. Schools need help.

But listening to PTO Mom complain that we parents aren't doing enough for the school really pissed me off. She may have no problem filling her Mercedes but perhaps the rest of us don't have access to magic wallets.

And I think it was totally inappropriate and tacky of her to say such things out in the open where parents could hear (which would have been my main point to the principal).

The school year ends in a few weeks. I'm over the donating and I would hazard a guess that by now, many other families are too. If this event was so important, perhaps she should have scheduled it in the beginning of the year before all the donation requests and fund raisers went from cute to annoying.

Am I just being touchy? Should I have sent a letter to the principal?
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Proud vs. Private

I have been called obnoxiously proud when it comes my son. He is my heart, my precious cargo, my favorite. And he's totally gorgeous. (I had a pic up for a little while yesterday).

We're all a bit biased when it comes to our kids and naturally think ours are the cutest on the planet. I'm no exception. The fact that he's a beautiful person too makes him all the more attractive.

Since infancy, we get stopped by people admiring and commenting on his looks. True tales, I had one mom say she wished her kids were as cute and a tweenager said I should take her number so he can call her when he's 18. That one creeped me out. A lot.

And it just kills me not to show him off here. I want to. But I can't.

Because then Petey the Pedophile, Larry the Letch and Deviant Dave will be able to see him too.

I've said I have an overactive imagination. And my biggest fear is that someone will take him from me.

When he was little, a woman leaned over his stroller and said, "oh he's so cute I just want to take him!" It took tons of self control not to knock her on her butt.

I know she didn't mean it, but seriously? Who says that?

For those of you with photos online, did you struggle with the decision? Any regrets?

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Stimulating the Economy

For the first time in years, the La Costa Mom family are getting a tax refund! Add to that the bribe from Bush stimulus check, we'll be looking at a tidy little sum for ye olde bank account. This is our state refund. I'll be stalking the mailbox this week looking for the others.

Hubby and I disagree as to what to do with it.

I want all of it to go in the bank. He wants to go to Disneyland.

I want to take advantage of the upcoming Memorial Day/Fourth of July Zero Down, No Payments till Armageddon furniture sales and re-do the living room. He thinks a flat screen also qualifies as furniture.

My mom got us this couch several years ago from Goodwill. I hate it. But the one it replaced was even worse. This is what happened after DS has spent hours jumping on the cushions.

What are you doing with your refund? Do you believe that credit is evil and if you can't buy it outright you can't afford it? Or is charge it! your middle name?

Sk*rt is now Kirtsy

I notice many bloggers have a link after their posts so people can Sk*rt This! Sk*rt has changed their name to Kirtsy (which I think is much cuter) so everyone needs to replace their banners, buttons etc.

I'm doin' my part to spread the word (and hoping to win their cool prizes).

Happy Mother's Day! **Updated**

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Thanks to all the great people I've met in blogland. You're a wonderful bunch of ladies. You make me laugh (Steph), you make me cry (Beth) and I learn something from you all.

Enjoy your the rest of your day!


Here's a few photos of my handmade gifts. And I'm cribbing from
matteroffactmommy. Photos of us up for a limited time only. Get 'em while they're hot!

One of the cards made in kindergarten

The outside of another

And the inside

Mushrooms are the exact opposite of my favorite food! And my shoe size and weight are the same?

This is the "favorite foods" cookbook the class put together. All the kids' recipes are similar; 10 pounds of this, 12 cups of that mixed together and cooked for 8 minutes at 100 degrees.

Hope everyone enjoyed their day!

*Pictures removed, too bad so sad*

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Friday, May 9, 2008

I didn't give too much thought to what I wanted this blog to be "about." OK, at the time, I didn't think about it at all. But, since my first post I realize that I want to make a conscious effort not to come here only when I'm in a bad place. There is much in my life that is good and I need to honor that.

Take my DS for example. So far, the things I've posted about him
here and here make him look like a defiant brat. And sometimes, he is. But most of the time he's not.

I'd say 80% of the time DS can wear his halo proudly. He really is a sweet, kind, loving, handsome little gentleman. He holds doors for me. He pulled out my chair at dinner a few weeks ago.

But sometimes the bad stuff follows me around. Hovering. That 20% can be like a mosquito in your ear at 2am: persistent and biting.

I don't know about you but sometimes I let that 20% set the mood for the day and totally stomp on the 80%.
And that's not fair to him. So, I want you to get to know my little guy the way he is most of the time.

I keep a journal of some of the cute and funny moments we have. Here's a few from over the years (I added a few details for clarity):

Nov. 29, 2004 (age 2)

I could tell DS was doing something he probably shouldn't be by the silence in his room. Earlier I'd caught him jumping down to the floor from the side of his crib. I came around the corner into his room and caught him mid climb. He said, "Mommy go sit down couch, I jumping."

Nov. 2004
Our nanny at the time put this in-

Little Man kept trying to get his mine (pacifier) from the basket on his crib even though it wasn't nap time. I finally took them all and put them on the kitchen counter. He went to his bathroom, got his step stool and brought it into the kitchen and tried to get them down.

Jan. 27, 2005
DS and I were grocery shopping. We turned into an isle and there was a family of four, mom and three kids. The mom told one son to settle down and DS heard her. He leans out of the cart looking around my body and says, "calm down!" really stern. I was horrified and tried to cover by asking him why I needed to calm down. Fortunately the mom thought it was funny and responded with ,"you tell him," so he said it again.

August 2006 (age 3)

From our daycare person-
I told your son today that I liked his outfit and thought it was really cool He said, "yeah, but not as cool as me."

May 7, 2007

I burned myself on the shoulder with my curling iron. It looked raw and yucky after my shower. DS saw me struggling to get the band aid on and offered to help. I bent down and as he put in on he said, "BAM!" just like Emeril.

Feb 18, 08

"Mom, you're almost the color of chocolate. You're from Africa because Africa peoples are your color. Do you know how to speak Africa?"

April 27, 2008

We had friends over for dinner. The kids played well together but at the end of the night DS's room was trashed. I asked the kids to clean up. Ann (not her name) starts putting things away and DS says, "no Ann, I'll do it," and he turns to me and says, "because I want you to be proud of me."

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Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

At least I hope to be. There's a new blog in town, BloggedIn. They are part of the Family Friendly Blogs Network. They have a contest going for a $100 Target gift card. I haven't poked around their site too much but I think I'm gonna like it. From their About Me:
An e-zine with no attitude, we promote the family and those who choose to blog family-friendly style. It’s a safe place to network, learn, and grow. We’re here to promote your blog, help you find new blogs to read, and promote the family in a society that seems to be forgetting the pivotal role it holds.
I really need this because DS's pants look like he's waiting for the second coming of Noah. Plus, I love entering contests! So, will the two of you who read this head over and enter here telling them I sent ya? Please? Contest runs for the month of May.

Buttons confuse me. Sorry for the lame linkage.

Finally- The Baby Post

I'm still not really ready to talk about my baby issues, but a friend brought it up today so it seems timely. We had lunch at Pizza Port in Solana Beach* (pic from the web).

We haven't seen each other in awhile so we had much catching up to do. She asked if I was able to convince DH to have another baby. So, I told her the latest update which is this:

DH is indifferent as to whether we have another child. "If we do, fine. If not fine." Huh? I'm not talking about adopting a puppy from the shelter!

We had a conversation recently about our mortgage. I said something to the effect of "we had to choose between a house and another baby and it was the right time for us to buy."

DH: "We can talk about having another baby."

Me: "No, we can't because talking about it makes me think there's a chance it will happen and I know it can't."

DH: "If you want to have another baby then let's figure out a way (so far, so good). I don't want you to be all angry and resentful 10 years from now." (Not so good)

Me: "I'm going to be angry and resentful but it's my issue. Besides, having another baby just so I'm not upset is not a good reason to add to our family."

DH: "It most definitely is a good reason."

And I kind of dropped it. Seriously, what kind of reasoning is that? So I won't be angry?

If I have another baby, there will be no going back to work until she/he is at least two. Which means DH is the breadwinner and then he gets to resent me for the extra pressure it puts on him. It's like we're at the OK Corral, fingers twitching waiting for the other to back down. And that stinks.

When we decided to try for DS, hubby surprised me when I broke out the condoms because we had talked about trying but I didn't think he was seriously ready. He looked so disappointed that I might have changed my mind and it was really touching and sweet.

That moment, when I tossed the Trojan over my shoulder and we made love in front of the fire in a cabin in Hawaii, was the most special, romantic moment of my life because of the idea that we could possibly be creating a whole new person
right now. It was mind blowing.

But I'm now on the clock. He gave me six months. If I'm not pregnant within six months then discussions are over, the deal is off the table. No romantic meeting of the minds this time.

It seems I'm damned if I do, damned if I don't. Either I "force" him into having another baby he seems not to want or I take one for the team and wonder how long it will take me to get over (if at all) deciding not to.

The real kicker is that me losing my job makes this the perfect and worst time to do it. With DS, I was commuting an hour each way starting in my 7th month. I was on bedrest for all of month nine. Not having a job would make this pregnancy a full 180 degrees different. Maybe I'd like it this time. Maybe I wouldn't be so ass draggin' fall asleep in my car on my lunch break tired.

On the other hand, the child will need clothes (unless it's a boy, I have tons of clothes). We'd need a new crib, a stroller a place to move the computer and all the junk in the closet so baby would have a real nursery. And with one income, mortgage, HOA dues, car loan, student loan, credit card payment, dental work, food, utilities and gas + baby = no can do.

There are other issues too: the fibroids and my weight.

First, the flab. I'm not fat. I know this in my head, but don't feel it in my heart. I'm 5'5" and hang on, be right back..... 147. Pretty normal I guess. But I hate my body. I don't like what I see in the mirror. I gross me out. Thus the efforts to exercise more. I told myself I can't think about getting pregnant until I lose 10-15 pounds.

Then the fibroids. I didn't know I had them until my first check up. The doctor was doing the pelvic exam and said, "hmm... what's this?" I kid you not. My overactive imagination goes into hyperdrive and I'm picturing all sorts of scary things and I wanted to cry.

He asks if anyone has mentioned that I might have fibroids and I'm floored because how is it that I can be almost 30 and had the same doctors for several years at a time and this, when I'm pregnant, is the first I'm hearing of it?

Long story short, I have two in there (maybe three). One is lemon size the other golf ball. My doctor painted a gloom and doom picture of my carrying to term (I will not have another male OBGyn) and said he wouldn't feel out of the woods until I hit 22 weeks. Then 26. Then 30.

I was stressed for much of the pregnancy and DH got his command to send him home early in case we miscarried (He was activated after 9/11, sent to Hawaii to fill posts vacated by those sent to Iraq. He was supposed to be gone for a year but came home when I was almost 6 months).

The fibroids weren't too much of a factor in the pregnancy, but I have no idea what's going on down there now. DH wants me to have them removed. I say "stay out of my uterus."

So, to recap: figure out how to afford a new baby, lose 10-15 pounds and make sure the tumors I have haven't grown or multiplied. In six months. I think I know how this story ends. And it sucks.

*I'm originally from Chicago so pizza is a serious issue for me. I haven't had a truly good piece of pizza since I moved here when I was 9. Until this place. I won't order from a chain restaurant ever again. Period. (Birthday parties for kids don't count. I refuse to see these slices go half eaten)

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