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Thanks for your support.
This Friday marks the first day of summer and I could not be more excited. My husband’s birthday is in May. My anniversary is in June. Pumpkin’s birthday is in June and Ladybug’s birthday is in July. I work in a profession that has summers off. Is it not obvious that summer is my favorite season-HANDS DOWN? Along with summer comes the boredom/insanity challenges. I have an over-inquisitive five year old that functions best with routines and procedures in place (blame me). With summer being a time of fun and exploration, I like to venture out on at least one outing a week. This year I wanted to involve the angels and decided to create a Summer Bucket List with their input.
I am a semi-creative person that does NOT believe in recreating the wheel. I searched and searched for a printable with pictures of summer activities that would be age appropriate for my angels and I finally struck gold. I simply cut and paste the pictures to construction paper and put it on a poster board and our 2013 Summer Bucket List was created. Simple and applicable. It actually surprised me how excited and ready the angels would be to start scratching items off their list. So, now that I am being held accountable by a very intimidating 5 year old and three year old…I better get to planning our first outing.
Activities On Our 2013 Summer Bucket List
Watch a Movie
Teacher Appreciation Week made its appearance and disappeared into thin air. And now it’s really time to thank the angels’ teachers because it’s the end of the year and these teachers have given their blood, sweat, and tears (I’m sure they shed many. At least I know I did.) to 15-25 sweet, sweet children. Between the two angels, there are SIX teachers and as much as I want to give them a gift card to Nordstrom’s, I just can’t do it. So, I found a reasonable and creative way to thank each teacher for at least three days. We were out-of-town the last two days of the week and I took full advantage. I gave each of their teachers a gift a day and these ideas were found after a bit of late night reasearch and Pinteresting. The total cost of the project cost $15.86 (excluding the card stock, glue, and pattern cut-outs).
“You Are Extra Special”
Pack of Extra gum (I found 4-5 piece packs for $1.00 at Family Dollar)
Star (or any fitting) pattern
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a piece of card stock:
You are extra special. Thank you for everything you do every day.
- Glue the pattern and Extra gum to the piece of card stock
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the card stock
Small container of hand sanitizer (I found 3-2 oz bottles for $1.55 at Family Dollar)
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a hand pattern (trace your hand or your little one’s hand) cut out of card stock:
I am thankful for the hands that help me every day.
- Glue the hand sanitizer to the hand pattern
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the hand pattern
“Thank You Notes“
Small Clipboard (I found these for a $1 each at Target)
Small legal pads (I found packs of 3 small legal pads for $.94 at Walmart)
Multi-colored writing pens(I found a 10 pack of multi-colored pens for $1.67 at Walmart)
Heart (or any fitting) pattern
Glue stick/Hot glue gun
- Print or write the following statements and glue to a piece of card stock:
Just a note to say, “You are awesome.”
- Glue the pattern to the piece of card stock and clip to the clipboard
- Attach a pen to the card stock with ribbon
- Write the teacher’s name and student’s name on the card stock
I am not my hair. Or am I? I (just about) contemplate this question on a daily basis. I was blessed with a head FULL of thick, coily (which I just found out about) hair. As most African American girls, my hair has been relaxed since about the age of 12 every 5-6 weeks. It made my hair manageable and “bone straight”. Women are self-conscious for the most part and nice looking hair determines which way your hips shift when you walk. I loved the feel and look of my hair when I walked out of the salon. I didn’t like the wait in the salon, the burning sensation on my scalp that lasted for days, the smell of the chemicals (they made me nauseated), or the comments I received in the chair. The comments should have been non-threatening, but they were the complete opposite. “Dee Dee, look at this head.” “Oh my goodness. Girl, this is A LOT of hair.” “How do you handle this on your own?” My response was usually a giggle or a smile. This is the one area where I am weak. If you talk about my hair-I fold. And those that know me best, know that I have a comeback for EVERYTHING!
Two years ago, I decided to do something about my insecurities. I stopped getting relaxers. I wanted to experience my own hair without chemically altering its true form. It was a disaster. I was so misinformed. I was not ready for the challenge and the time it takes to maintain my healthy mane and my insecurities were now totally exposed. It was too much for me. I failed miserably. Two weeks before Christmas, I treated myself to a relaxer. And I felt good. I walked out of the salon with my head held high and my scalp burning like wildfire. But, I didn’t care. I looked and felt good (or so I thought). About a year ago, I went to the salon and heard the comments all over again. I went home and faced my mane in the mirror and decided enough is enough and I AM NOT MY HAIR. I researched, consulted with a couple of dear friends, and did not look back.
About two weeks ago, I went to the salon for a much needed trim and decided to have my hair straightened (without chemicals). The comments I received this time almost had me in tears. “Your hair is beautiful.” “Your hair is so thick and healthy. It doesn’t even look real.” “Your hair looks like a wig. It is amazing.” It was years of self-doubt being released. It was all those negative comments from friends and family finally melting away. As I walked out of the salon, I couldn’t contain myself. I had to text/call my mom, sister, and dear friend (my self-appointed hair consultant) because this was more than a hair moment for me. This was validation that my hair journey was well worth it.
Needless to say, this road has NOT been an easy one, but I have never been more confident in who I am. I have always known that God made everyone in his likeness. But, it never made sense until now. Growing up with a bestie that has a head full of beautiful hair and a childhood friend that ALWAYS has a comment about my hair made it hard for me. Some people are self-conscious because of their weight or facial acne, for me it is my hair. Now that Ladybug is growing into her own, and is very aware of her hair I want her to be confident in who she is. (Although, with all her sassiness, I think she may be just fine on her own.) I don’t want to pass my issues on to her. She does not deserve that. I even named my mane Mesha (don’t judge me) and I can finally say, “My hair is thick. My hair is coily. My hair is big. My hair is mine. God gave it to me for a reason. And I love it.” Enough said.
It was a beautiful, sunny morning and we were RUSHING once again. We had a doctor’s appointment and just trying to get out of the car with a four and two year old is a major production. As we walked to the door, I had Ladybug on my hip, Pumpkin’s brand new tablet (brand new-like purchased the day before) in one hand, and I was reaching for Pumpkin so he wouldn’t get out of reach in the parking lot. Well, in the midst of all this drama, I completely missed the curb and fell face first. TALK ABOUT COMPLETE EMBARRASSMENT AND FEAR. I was afraid that I had hurt Ladybug, broke the tablet screen (not to mention the tablet needed to be returned because the cord was already broken), and sprained my ankle IN FRONT OF AN OFFICE FULL OF WINDOWS AND PEOPLE. So, I got my fat behind (insert other word here) up, checked Ladybug (who was just as stunned), gave the tablet the once over, made sure Pumpkin was on the sidewalk and not running in the parking lot, and entered the office. I just knew the assistants and other patients were either going to be laughing, concerned, or both. Much to my surprise, we were the first patients of the day so no one saw a thing. There were no other patients in the office and the front desk was so busy with preparing for the day-they didn’t notice anything going on outside. I WAS SAVED FROM EMBARRASSMENT. Ladybug was very concerned about my boo-boos, Pumpkin was concerned about his tablet, and I was thankful that my fall ended up being a major embarrassment only to me. I ended up with a horribly skinned elbow, hand, and a sore knee. After I cleaned my wounds, I chuckled a bit and reflected. This fall taught me so many lessons, it is unbelievable. Paraphrasing the words of Jay-Z, I literally got up and brushed the dirt of my shoulder (although, it was more like my knees).
In life we trip, we stumble, we fall. In our family we have mismanaged funds, lost sight of making God a priority in our home, and made a ton of other mistakes. I have lost my focus and purpose, allowed business ventures fail, and stopped dreaming. This fall taught me that it’s the recovery that matters. At home we literally stopped what we were doing and tackled every issue one step at a time. One day we simply opened the lines of communication about our household finances. One Sunday, we found a church online and just went and have been going ever since. On my way to work, I started crying and praying to God and I’m slowly finding my purpose and picking my business up right where it is. Day by day, step by step, dream by dream, I am picking myself up, taking quick assessments, and moving forward. Otherwise, I will stay broken and bruised on that cold, hard concrete and no one will know.
My dear friend made an hour long car drive (which is not uncommon in Houston) to drop off clothes and baby essentials (crib mattress, changing pads, diaper genie) that she no longer uses. I have a sister and sister-and-law expecting this summer and these items will be greatly appreciated. (Now if you are one of those moms that believes hand me downs are beneath you and your little….keep reading. You’ll change your mind at some point after their arrival.) I was/am one of those moms that takes it all and sorts through it later. We were blessed before my son was born to have great friends that gave us a bassinet and activity center. And now my friends and I are in such a groove of rotating clothes and items that it is ridiculous (see pic above). This winter I really could have survived with only buying Ladybug underwear and been just fine (I did buy a few pieces I couldn’t resist.).
You know as well as I do that your angels wear clothes and shoes for a hot second in their early years. And you also know how frustrating it is when you are trying to make those now high water jeans you just purchased two weeks ago last another two months. If you have your own circle of moms or know of a mom that might be interested, I highly suggest organizing a closet swap. The benefits are endless.
In the past month I’ve hosted two baby showers, so I’m in the shower/party planning mood. Last year, I assisted my mom with hosting a bridal shower for my sister and as a gift my mom gave her a dating jar. The truth is: I created the jar and gave my mom all the credit until now. Its a jar filled with dating ideas that range in spontaneity and cost. It ended up being a hit with the bride and my mom was smiling from ear to ear.
This jar is beyond easy to create. It’s so easy that I forgot to take a picture of the finished product. Seriously, I’ll say it again, crafts are not my thing, so if I can do it, I KNOW you can do it.
Colored tongue depressors
Thin Sharpie marker
Decorative Jar (or create your own)
I color categorized the date ideas (click for ideas) for easier planning for the couple:
- Write one date idea per category on each depressor.
- Place the depressors in a decorative jar and present to the bride!
It was a great morning at least it seemed that way. The angels were dressed, armed with fruit snacks, and ready to go. And guess who couldn’t find her keys? You guessed it…..Mommy. I texted work and let them know that I would be late. I searched all over the house and after 15 minutes, I finally had a breakthrough. Pumpkin said, “Your keys are in the dining room.” I said, “Oh! Show Mommy where you saw them.” So, now, I’m following a 4 year old through the house to look for my keys. And that was a complete witch hunt. I’m asking over and over, “Where did you see Mommy’s keys? Were they on the table? In the plant? On the chair?” And the only responses I’m receiving are, “Oh, Mommy, I don’t remember.” “Look over there.” “Maybe I forgot.” It finally clicked for me after ten minutes of these shenanigans that the boy had no clue of the whereabouts of my keys. And then it was as if I was hit with a lightening bolt, I ran to the couch and found my keys buried under the pillows. I remember sitting them on the arm of the couch Sunday night. The entire process took 30 minutes and pushed my commute back about 45 minutes. Needless to say, we all arrived at work and school late but safe. Lessson learned.
Be. Prepared. I clearly learned my lesson on this particular morning. I have committed a slice of my evenings to being fully prepared for the next day or upcoming week. My evenings are now prioritized by what is mandatory for the next day.
- When I come home from the grocery store, I spend time cleaning the fridge and cutting the fruit before putting away groceries.
- I select outfits for the angels and myself (even my gym bag) for the week.
- I pack lunches and breakfast the night before.
- Jackets, bags, and keys are in a centralized location. (I’ve been pinteresting and a mud corner is in the works.)
- Pictured above is my Bible Study Basket stocked with my journals, pens, bible, and study materials for my morning studies.
The extra work I’m putting forth on the front end has made my mornings that much more pleasurable. And I need all the morning sunshine I can get because I am NOT a morning person you can ask anyone from my angels to my college sweetheart (husband) to my college bestie. I challenge you to make one little adjustment every night. I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
It was a normal Friday afternoon, the day was going smoothly and in an instant it changed. My coworker was called to the clinic for one of her students. I packed up my food and followed right behind her after a few minutes. I walked into one of my scariest moments as an educator. There was a child having a severe asthma attack. I had never witnessed an attack this severe. There was vomiting, choking, moments of unconsciousness, and this girl was FIGHTING to breathe. In this moment, I snapped out of my daze as a mom and jumped into my role as an administrator. Somewhere in the chaos, it was communicated that a parent had not been contacted as we waited (what seemed like forever) for the ambulance to transport the student. The numbers that were on file were all either disconnected or the wrong number. We found out she had a sister on campus and I ran (thank goodness for all the running we do in Crossfit) to her classroom and tried to get a contact number from her. Without giving her sister too much information I asked, “How would you get in contact with your mother if there was an absolute emergency?’ She had no response. I was completely dumbfounded. I am a school administrator in a HIGH SCHOOL. I could not believe this girl could not remember her mother’s number. Needless to say, the student was transported and EVENTUALLY (about an hour after the initial onset of the attack) her mother made it to the hospital. I don’t even know( or care to know) what the excuse was.
I then remembered last spring when there was an incident in the parking lot and a staff member had a seizure walking to her car. We found her phone, but it had a password lock and her contact information on her emergency card in the clinic had changed. I don’t even remember how her husband was contacted. That was also a day when I went home counting my blessings.
I won’t even go in depth about how Pumpkin and Husband have asthma and I knew that this student could have been either of them. What I will elaborate on is the fact that my emergency contact numbers are updated, I have no password lock on my phone (I go back and forth with this one.), and my emergency contacts are identified in my phone with the appendix, ICE (In Case of Emergency). I have my phone with me at all times and pray that one of those ICE contact numbers will never need to be dialed. But, one never knows and all we can do is attempt to be prepared. After your read this post, please update your emergency contact info everywhere.
It took less than 10 minutes.
Ladybug’s room went from this:
For over a month I had been slowly purging Ladybug’s room. From the precious baby blankets to the itty bitty baby toys she and her brother had finally outgrown, I was passing it all on and I had finally completed this endless task. You could not believe (or maybe you can) my frustration when I walked in her room. I wanted to pull my fingernails out one by one. And I totally should have known what was going on because as I was diligently working on some other task (It’s shameful that I don’t even remember.), Pumpkin found me and said, “Ladybug hit me with a book.” Well, now I see…she probably hit him with every book she owned.
Later that evening as I cleaned her room (for the ten thousandth time), I shared precious time with her. She was intrigued by everything about me in that moment and it melted my heart. It started with the sticker on the bottom of my shoe. As she handed me the sticker, she was distracted by the curls in my hair and wanted to sit in my lap and touch them. Her attention then moved to one of the million books on the floor and she wanted me to read to her. After that, we sang and danced to a few songs (kid friendly of course). She was finally ready for bed as I finished cleaning her room. I was in love. She gave me new life that evening and secured her spot in my heart (just kidding).
That mess was deliberately made for me. Without us knowing the plan, I truly believe God sent me to her room for us to share a treasured moment between the two of us. I now look at cleaning a little different. I won’t mind as much when I clean life’s little messes. There just may be a reason for it all.