Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Bad Mom

"No more sugar today," I said. 
"No running around the house. Go outside and play!" I said. 
For my excellent parenting, this is the note I got from my appreciative sons. 

"If you're going to insult me," I said, handing my certificate back to them, "at least spell the words right."
And they did.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Biggest Photo Overload Post of ALL TIME

Since I haven't posted here in 100 years, I've missed the opportunity to document for history's sake all the things that have been going on in our lives.

And since ain't nobody got time to go back and recap the last 6-7 months (!!) I am just going to dump a bunch of photos here and try (TRY) to do better going forward with at least short posts at least somewhat frequently. Maybe I can try for once a week for now, since clearly I suck at posting daily, or monthly, or this year.

I just really need to get all these photos off my phone and into a place that won't get left behind in a taxicab or dropped into the toilet.

So -- feel free to ignore this post unless you are just a big fan of photo dumps.

If that is you, then ENJOY!

Here's what we've been up to:
We went to our friends' "Living Museum" event again and this time the kids were Malcolm X, George Washington Carver and Nina Simone!
Close up of Cary X. We did a good job, didn't we?!
Clair continued to do cute things.
And, now that she's 3, she had her first big girl check-up!
We continued to get settled into our new house and one of the best things is that I got to hang the piece of artwork that Frank Morrison painted for her. Remember that story? I'm so excited to have it in her room and to have her see "I See a Queen in Me" every single day. 
More cute kids.
I had little people underfoot allllll the time!
Which made hanging with my girlfriends that much sweeter.

Dean wrote a word on a post-it, taped it to the wall in the playroom and hysterical giggling ensued for 15 minutes.
The boys learned yoga poses during daily "reflection" times at school.
Lester and I got jiggy and went to his friend Shayla's wedding. The guy behind us was super drunk and super loud. And of course he was seated at our table.
We celebrated Easter at church and dyed eggs and had an Easter egg hunt in our new backyard - which is perfect, I gotta say, for Easter egg hunting.
I hosted book club at my house. And I loved every minute of it. I wish I could host book club at my house every weekend. Love these women!
Just because I love them so much, here's another shot!
We went to Stacey's house and Clair fell in love with a Hello Kitty mug -- full of hot chocolate. I fall in love daily with those eyes of hers. Just look at them. My God.
Tahira turned 30! We went to see Toni Morrison (!!!) at a reading in D.C. 
Coolest kids in the world.
We celebrated Mother's Day at Sherwood Gardens.
Cary and Dean turned 5!!!!
We celebrated at their school with cupcakes and their best buddies! We also had a huge party at the Maryland Science Center. 
Dean's friend Devyn came to their birthday party. Don't tell him I told you, but Dean gets all blushy whenever he talks about Devyn. Awwwww.
My mom's family came to visit and this is my Uncle Buddy, my Mom's younger brother. Family resemblance much?
I joined Jack and Jill! And now I have even MORE things to do! Because I wasn't busy enough. Noooo.
Cary and Dean finished up a fantastic school year at the Friends School and will be going to KINDERGARTEN in the fall. Lawdhavemercy. 
Lester fell asleep on the sofa and Clair covered him with her favorite blanket and some stuffies "so he won't be scared."
Devyn and Cary played together and looked super cute!
Clair had what might just be her best day ever, getting her nails painted, her hair decorated and eating cotton candy at her school's Fun Day.
We made S'mores (for the first time ever!) with friends. Dean and Cary were very excited that they got to be so close to fire. And also for S'mores.
We ran around in a rainstorm like idiots and had a total blast. 
Clair exerted her 3-year-old will and insisted on all sorts of crazy fashion choices, such as rain boots with shorts on one of the hottest days of the summer. I learned to pick my battles.

We took the family to New York for three days of sightseeing, taxi-hailing, subway-riding and eating, eating, eating. It was exhausting. It was awesome.
We went strawberry picking with Auntie Hira, Russy and Matthew.
I turned 42! And I celebrated  over brunch with 11 girlfriends. I invited 14 but three couldn't make it. And I could have invited so many more if people lived nearby. PEOPLE! Move nearby! I miss you!
Dean and Clair continued to be super cute and sweet together.
My Dad bought us tickets to see "Marley" at Center Stage and we all went and it was so great to all be together, and the play was awesome. We're all singing Bob Marley songs all the time now. (Also, apparently I really like that dress...hmmm.)
The boys have pool-time every day at camp, but Clair doesn't so we enrolled her in swim lessons.  She's very enthusiastic about it - unlike her brothers. But I imagine this will be a long process -- for all of them, before they learn to actually swim.
For Father's Day, Lester took Cary and Dean to their very first movie in a movie theater, to see Inside Out. Which they loved, but -- you know the deal with my kids -- they loved the popcorn, root beer and candy even more. While they were gone, Clair and I had lunch together and bought a chair for our living room.

OK - now you're all caught up! Don't you feel better? I know I do. :-)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

2015: The summer of boys and baseball

This is the year my boys were introduced to baseball! All three of them. LOL.

Lester took Cary and Dean to their first ever O's game this month!

The Orioles won, which made the boys very happy! But Lester says they were mostly excited about the Gatorade, the popcorn and the cotton candy. Of course.

Funniest moment of the game: A very confused Cary asked Lester, "But when do they hit it off the tee?"

They learned all about tee-ball during their first baseball clinic, which went from April to the end of this month.

Lester was their coach, and there's a funny story behind that. You can read it here.

The good news is, despite auspicious beginnings, the Purple Dragons had a very successful clinic, finishing up their 2015 season with sno-balls, hot dogs and high-fives!

Cary is more interested in his frozen treat. Of course.

The boys loved playing on a team with their friends Antony and Marcus. And they made lots of new friends too!

Go Purple Dragons!!
Hooray for baseball! And hooray especially for Dads who just jump right in to help out when needed.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Art imitates life

In the past few months, the boys' fine motor skills have really picked up. 

Dean, especially, is really taken with drawing, writing, coloring, cutting, creating.  He's always making something. Paper airplanes. Wall decor for the playroom. Little pictures to mail to Nana and Granddad. It's really very cute. 

Since we moved into the new house, he's drawn a lot of pictures of houses, usually with a chimney with smoke coming out (because we now have not one but two awesome wood-burning fireplaces! Holla!) 

This week, he drew a picture that was totally cute, of a house with a car parked next to it.

Isn't that little car the cutest?
He made it for Miss Arlene, our after-care provider, but I asked him if I could have it, because 1) It was the first time he ever drew a car on his own and 2) For some reason, it made me get all filled up.

I brought it to work and put it on my desk, where I've been thinking about why Dean's picture moved me so.

And I think it's this:

I once read somewhere that if you own a car, you are in the top 10-percent of wealthiest people in the world. 

Dean drew a picture of a house (likely ours) and a car (also likely ours) which means he associates the two -- a house and a car go together. 

I imagine that an average child in Haiti or Zimbabwe would maybe draw a picture of a happy yellow sun, some grass and a house, but probably NOT a car.

But Dean did. And it reminds me how incredibly privileged we are. 

Sometimes -- even with the new house and the promotions and the private schools -- I know I can feel poor. (Well, maybe that's because of the private I dream of more, more, more - better vacations, pricier summer camps, the (good ol') days when I used to get my hair done once a week. I think about the things I wish I had, as opposed to being grateful for the things I do.

For example, we went into credit card debt for the first time in our marriage to pay for some of the renovations to the new house. And because of that, we're not going on our beach trip this year. This not infrequently makes me sad. But HULLO -- you renovated a house, Tanika! You're not going to the beach this year because you installed soft-close cabinets and an induction range and office built-ins! Not because you make the equivalent of $2 a day like many, many people in this world. Also, it's the BEACH. Not a necessity. Get over yourself!

(I have to talk to myself this way sometimes. Tough love from me to me.)

The truth is we have a house - a modest, but beautiful, well-stocked, love-filled one. We have a car. We have two, actually. We are blessed beyond measure. We are rich in so many ways, figuratively and, compared to so much of the rest of the world, literally. It's an embarrassment of riches, actually. I mean, really, our cups runneth over.

My son's rudimentary drawing is a wonderful reminder of my blessings. It makes me think of the goodness of God and the arbitrary nature of birth. Why I happened to be born to educated, middle class parents in the wealthiest nation on Earth is beyond me. I didn't do anything to deserve it. But it happened. And I'm thankful. 

My children are growing up safe, comfortable, educated, loved (adored and pampered even). My children are free.

We are so very blessed. 

And I've got the picture to prove it.

(Thanks, Dean, for the reminder!)

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Is it March? Can't be!

I honestly have no idea why I haven't posted here in 10 million years.

I won't even try to come up with reasons.

Here's what you need to know about what's happened (majorly) in the last 4 months.

We moved!

That's our new (to us) house! Sooo exciting!
Clair turned 3!

Look at my beautiful sweet pea! She makes my heart melt.
We had a Frozen themed party at Sweet Frog, a frozen yogurt place. On one of the coldest days of the year.
I got a promotion to Senior Director. Lester got a promotion to Deputy Chief of Staff! 

(No photos of that.)

(And somehow we're still broke -- more on that later...)

Lester lost like 50 lbs. I gained probably half of that weight, no kidding!

(REALLY no photos of that!)

And I promise to get back into the blogging game -- where I will explore all my thoughts and feelings about the move and the baby girl becoming a threenager!

Stay tuned! Or, rather, tune back in! I'm coming back!