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Just a love tap/bite

I was recently reading a public post on a social media platform from a mother who posted a cute photo of her son with the caption stating he was being kicked out of daycare for being a biter. I scrolled down further to read the comments. I guess I should be shocked by what I read but I repeatedly shook my head at the responses from people. One person stated, “what do they expect you to do?” Another stated, “they kick kids out of daycare for anything and everything these days.”  There was also, “well maybe he’s just defending himself”. Followed by a “like” from the original poster/mom. Then there was “that’s age appropriate”. A few more comments then the mom commented about how he/she does it out of “love”, followed by someone who said “I love it”. Then my favorite, he/she “is too adorable to be in trouble”. 

Let’s look at these statements further...

“What do they expect you to do?” The daycare “expects” you to keep your toddler home until he/she learns that biting is unacceptable. 

“They kick kids out of daycare for anything and everything these days.” I’m sure if your child was being repeatedly (her child did this to other children multiple times on multiple days and she had been asked to correct the behavior...she alluded to this in her post) bit at daycare by another child you would be asking the daycare what are they going to do to prevent this from happening again.

”Well maybe he was just defending himself.” I highly doubt this child was defending himself if he is biting multiple children & has been asked to stop several times. 

“That’s age appropriate.” Just because something is age appropriate doesn’t mean it’s acceptable behavior. It’s age appropriate for my one and a half year old to throw food everywhere when he’s done eating but that doesn’t make it okay. It’s age appropriate for my three year old to be blunt & honest with everyone but it’s my job to teach him discretion.  

He/she does it out of “love”. Again as a parent it’s your job to show your child the proper way to interact with other adults & children. If your child is showing “love” by biting then that behavior should be redirected with another form of showing love such as a hug. You should be teaching your child if the are harming/hurting another person that’s not a good way to show them you love them.

”He/she is too adorable to be in trouble.” A child’s looks should have no bearing on how they are disciplined. Adorable kids need to be kept in line too. 

The common sentiment I get from reading different forms of social media is bad behavior is acceptable as long as it’s coming from someone attractive or related to you. If my child is hitting, biting, or any other violent/hurtful act towards another person and the behavior isn’t changing he should be kicked out of daycare. I’m pretty sure if any of these people’s child came home with a bite more than once they wouldn’t find it cute or age appropriate and they would be demanding an answer from the daycare. We have to stop excusing unacceptable behavior just because we know or are related to the purportrade. 

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Are teachers the enemies now?

I've seen some old videos recirculating lately since the school year has begun for many. I was also on a pregnancy app the other day checking out some of the message boards and opened a post from a high school teacher asking for advice on whether or not people thought she was asking too much of her students & being too strict. Every time I see one of this videos or read a post all I can think about is how bad I feel for the teacher and when did they become the enemy?

An entertainment blog I follow posted one of the videos this morning as a back to school "joke". My first thought was how disgusting do you have to be to make fun of a situation like this. I'm not sure if you've seen the video. In it is a white female teacher having a meltdown and asking a black student to "shut the hell up", which I can only really describe as being a "class clown" (I didn't look at this as a racist act I only stated their racist so you would know what video I was referring to) . He's being really loud and obnoxious to her and clearly disrupting class. She then repeatedly yells and screams begging him to stop which he does not. I'm watching this and my heart was just breaking for the teacher and the lack of respect being shown to her. By now you know my favorite part is the comment section so I head there to see what other people are saying. I'm not surprised that these people are placing blame on the teacher and school for her not being "properly trained" to deal with a situation like this. When it came to the boy they were more sympathetic saying "he's just doing what teenagers do." I obviously disagree strongly. If it were one my children in this video in this video it would be a different outcome. I would film a video of me taking my son to that same class apologizing to that teacher for treating her less than human and zero respect. Next, he would be apologizing to the class for disrupting their education because that is the purpose they are in school. Then, he would apologize to the principle for making the school gain national headlines for something negative. He would also apologize to myself and my husband for embarrassing and shaming our family when he was taught better than that at home. Lastly, he would apologize to himself for not having any self respect!

I'm going to sum up the board post as best I can because I'm too lazy to look for it right now. Basically the woman is a high school teacher and she said at the beginning of the year she gave all her students a syllabus that included what her students can expect from her class and what she expected from her students. She had a line in there about not reprinting any assignments, if you skip a testing day you will not be allowed to make it up unless you had a reasonable explanation, and she does not give extra credit so if they miss an assignment they cannot make it up.  She stated not only did she give them to her students but she gave a copy to the parents as well. The last thing she pointed out was that she stays after everyday for up to 45 minutes for any tutoring needed. I honestly don't see anything wrong with any of those rules. I think it's great that she is teaching them responsibility and holding them accountable for their actions which is a great preparation for college. She was met with a lot of negative feedback from the parents whose children skipped class during a test or missed an assignment. Unless the teacher is being completely unreasonable and has multiple complaints from several parents and students as a parent you should back up the teacher. You should be teaching your child that there are negative consequences for being irresponsible and it's not always going to end with mommy and daddy fixing the problem. She also received negative feedback from parents saying she doesn't stay long enough for tutoring. She pointed out that teachers do not get paid for tutoring so if they do so they're doing it on their own time and that she has children of her own that need to be picked up after school so her hours are set accordingly. Again, I don't disagree with any of this. If your child is struggling and they can't make it to tutoring within her 45 minute window then it's your responsibility as a parent to help your child find other forms other tutoring. There are many and some are free or low costing. 

We as parents need to have empathy for these teachers and stop expecting them to raise and parent our children! No parent wants to be blamed constantly for their child's shortcomings but as a parent you are their main educator. It starts at home. They are a reflection of you and what you do or do not teach them. I'm not just talking about what you tell them I'm talking about what you show them in how you interact with other people. Sure a school can train teachers how to be prepared for multiple children berating, belittling, bullying, and disrespecting them everyday but isn't it a lot easier if we teach our children to be respectful to adults and their fellow classmates? Let me also say this, I don't see anything with harmless class clowning but there is a difference between a child telling a joke or pulling a prank that gets a quick laugh and everyone moves on and a child that takes it so far that the teacher can't teach and nobody else in the class can get an education. Also, your child is not always the victim. I know our natural response is to defend them but we also need to learn how to get all the facts first before we just attack a school and teacher. Lets try to remember we were in school once so we know how things go and how shameful some kids can be to the adults in school. A teacher should be a parents ally not the enemy. 

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The "touchy" subject

You can't going on a social media site or watch the news without the subject of race in it. It's touchy for a lot of people, so much they don't discuss it at all. Businesses are afraid of losing customers, people are afraid of losing friends, family members looking at you differently, and everyone judging you based off your opinion. I get it. It's a tough subject but if conversations don't happen openly how can things change or people learn? For me it's something I have to talk about. I'm black. Since I am fair skinned I get a "pass" more times than some of my darker complexion family members and friends. Even so, I'm raising two black boys who will become black men. I have to admit it's scary. Luckily I'm not doing it alone. They have my husband to guide and shape them and show them how a man "should" be. My boys are very young but it will come a day that we will have to have a conversation about race with them. For now here are my opinions, thoughts, and experiences first and second hand with race.

I, just like everyone else was watching everything that was happening in Charlottesville, VA unfold on the news. I don't think there wasn't a person who was watching who didn't know that things were going to get ugly. Fast forward to the aftermath. Again, just like everyone else I was waiting for the president to speak. I can't say I'm shocked that Trump blamed both sides. He and the people that support his original and hopefully final statements can spin this as the media all they want to but other than broadcasting his speeches live the media did not choose his words for him. Let's be clear the "alt-right" group can try to re-brand and package their image all they want to but they are white supremacists. To add insult to injury he went on to say there were some decent people that was apart of that march. My definition of a decent person is not someone who is marching along with someone screaming "white power" and then throwing up a Nazi salute. Why would you even want to be associated with that? The "alt-right" group can claim all they want to that that's not what they stand for but they were smiling and marching along with David Duke, for the sake of "the white man not loosing his power and place" so they have made their motives very clear. 

I also find it very hilarious that people (mainly the ones defending Trumps "many sides to blame" statement) are comparing BLM (black lives matters) to the KKK (klu klux klan). Why? Well in my opinion because white people don't want to be the blame for everything so they need to share it with another group to ease their guilt. Enter BLM. Let's examine what each group is fighting for and hoping to achieve. BLM: equality for black people. What's equality mean in the terms of BLM? Not to be prejudged negatively based off skin color. BLM doesn't mean black people want to receive special treatment or to be superior to any other race. BLM means black people just wanted to be treated the same as a white person would be. It's as simple as the name BLM. Black people just want their lives to matter as much as a white person's life matters, not MORE but the SAME. What does the KKK, alt-right group, and white supremacist want? To make sure people with white skin can continue to be the dominant race. This really baffles me. If you believe that every other race (white is not a race, I know) is equal to you, especially black people and they are just complaining for no reason why are you threatened by becoming the minority (if we all are really as equal as you people that turn a blind eye to what's going on, nothing would change because we're equal)? Which brings me to their next "want", to not lose power. This goes back to my other statement if minorities are treated fairly and equally what power would there be to lose? These are statements from them not me and it proves that they know minorities are treated differently and negatively because they're fighting so hard to not become in the position. They also claim to be fighting for the right to keep their heritage. "White" is not a heritage or a race so what European country would they like to try and represent and preserve? They are fighting to keep "their" land. What land exactly is theirs? If they're so fond of their European heritage shouldn't they be fighting to take back "their" land in Europe? I love how white supremacist favorite line is go back to "Africa" as if we all don't originate from Africa. Let's say we go by their new "evidence" that shows they didn't originate there, well they could always go back to Europe. Wait, they don't deserve to go back because they built this country. Who built this country exactly? Black slaves, poor Chinese, poor Italian, and poor Irish people actually built the majority of this country so I'm still confused. I digress, you get the point and if you are still saying BLM and white supremacist groups are the same you are the problem. Let me guess, BLM is violent and they loot and start riots. You're right how dare they do those things in the name of equality, there are far better reasons like your favorite sports team losing a championship for example. Moving on...

For white people who believe that the media is the one dividing America and pushing these stories of cops being "racist" I have a two stories to share. My brother and two of his friends were speeding on the highway one night on their way back to college and got pulled over in a small town in South Carolina. They ran my brother's license and unbeknownst to him his license was suspended. Why didn't he know that his license was suspended? Here's why, while he was in college he had a car that broke down on him. He had the car towed to our mother's home 2 hours away from his school. He cancelled the insurance but never turned in the plate? Why because he was a 19 year old dumb college kid who didn't realize he had to. In the state of SC if you cancel your insurance the insurance company is required to notify the department of motor vehicles. The dept. of motor vehicles will then send a notice in the mail to the place your vehicle is registered to informing you that it is illegal to operate a vehicle in SC without insurance and if you have updated insurance information you need to forward it on to them or if you no longer own the vehicle/or drive it you need to turn in the plate. Since my brother's vehicle was registered to my mom's address he never received it. Yes, my mom received the notice but since she never went through his mail she never opened and only told him he had mail at the house. Fast forward to my brother speeding and being pulled over. The cop runs my brother's license and then asks my brother why was he driving on a suspended license. My brother tells the cop his license is not suspended and if it is he was not aware. What happens next?The officer goes back to his vehicle and calls for backup. His backup along with a canine unit arrive and the pull guns on my brother and his friends, drag them out the car, handcuff them all, and put the dogs on them. The cop then asks them usual questions that you would ask three young black males who are wearing white tees and baggy jeans, are there any weapons or illegal substances in the vehicle to which they reply no to and can they search the car and they reply yes. Of course they didn't find any drugs or weapons because they didn't pull over three "thug, drug dealing, black men". They pulled over three young black college kids with questionable clothing choices who were doing what everyone does and that's be dumb and speed. Want to know what happened next? Well if my brother was a 19 year old white boy who attended USC instead of a black boy who attended Allen (a historically black male college) he would have probably been told to get out the driver's seat and let one of the other drivers drive (they ran them all through the system so they new the other to had no priors and valid licenses), written a ticket for driving on a suspended license and speeding. My brother was a college student, who doesn't have a criminal background or any sort of priors and the son of a police officer. My brother isn't white so he was roughed up, searched and then taken to jail. You can argue that the police was just doing their job and if he was white the same thing would have happened. Which brings me to my next story. Several years ago my cousin was getting married and she urged us all to get rooms in the town near her reception because one of the towns we would have to drive through was racist (the same town where my brother was arrested) and it's not safe for black people to be driving there at night. Well some of my relatives didn't listen and decided to drive home. Around 3 AM we get a phone call that one of our relatives needs someone to pick her up off the side of the road. You guessed it, this relative was white and she got pulled over for suspicion of DUI. The cops told her if she called someone to pick her and her two kids that she had in the car with her they'll just let her go with a warning. When a black relative showed up to pick her up they gave him a hard time but eventually let them go. If race doesn't play an issue in this "small town" why was she not arrested and taken to jail? Not only did she put other motorist at risk she also put her children's lives on the line. I can assure you had they given her a breathalyzer test she would have failed. This incident doesn't happen anywhere else though right? This was in SC and they're known for being "like that" in the south. I can guarantee you this happens all over and not just in the south. My father who is also an officer of the law has experienced it while off duty upstate and in the city of NY. My husband experienced it as a young child growing up in Oklahoma. It is happening all over you just don't want to admit because you don't want to feel bad.

The last issue on this "touchy" subject, black people are always complaining about other people killing them but they kill themselves more than any other group. Yes, this is true black people do kill each other at a higher rate but so does every other race. Do you think black people over look other black people killing them? NO! Black people hate when black people kill each other too. Black people doesn't say throw him in jail, oh wait, is he black? Oh, he's black let him out! You want to know the difference? When "Hakeem" kills "Jamal" "Hakeem" goes to jail. When "Michael" kills "Jamal" it was justified because he feared for his life so the jury and white public decides he was justified. Even though there is video evidence proving otherwise. You know it's wrong but because when "Jamal" was 12 years old he stole an eraser from the store so he deserved to be beat and then shot 25 times. What a criminal! Statistics show he probably would have committed a crime again anyway so good riddance. This is how you sound to black people b.t.w. when you try to justify black people being killed by the police or white people who "feared for their lives". This goes back to equality. If you are doing criminal activity you should receive consequences and possibly prosecuted depending on the severity of the crime. Taking someone's life because you believe they stole something, was high in a car, or selling illegal items, or don't look like the belong in your neighborhood is disgusting and extreme. You NEED to understand that black people are not defending these illegal actions. You NEED to understand that just because someone's skin is dark does not make them such an aggressive threat that they need to pay with their life. Again as an officer of the law it shouldn't be shoot first ask questions later. You shouldn't be an officer of the law if you cannot keep your cool and you're afraid of life. 

I could go on and on but I think I made my point. Open your eyes and mouths and stop pretending like their isn't injustice going on all because it isn't happening to you, you're afraid of losing your power, and you don't want to feel guilty for the sins of your family members and friends. Please open your mouth and speak up. I don't want Gabriel and Juliano (my sons) to be another hashtag because they are walking back from the store to our middle class "white" neighborhood and they clearly don't belong because they have on Hollister hoodies because it's raining outside. 

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Stereotypes

I was doing my usual morning scroll through Instagram and a video M.I.C. posted caught my attention. The video was about Asian people trying to put an end to the way people look at them based off stereotypes of their people. The video got me interested immediately because other than "they are terrible drivers", "a fetish", and "they discriminate against black people" I've never really heard any negative stereotypes of Asian people. To my surprise neither of these were in the video. What were the stereotypes that they were trying to break? According to the people interviewed in the video they were trying to break the stereotypes that they were smart and successful. I promise you I'm not making this up. If you're as baffled as I was I'm pretty sure if you do a google search you can find the video. I have to admit that I'm still confused by the video.

I realize that you are not allowed to tell someone what they are allowed to be offended by. I also realize that a stereotype doesn't have to be negative. What is confusing to me is typically if you want a stereotype changed/broken it's because it's detrimental to the way you are seen by other people. I attributed the video to what's been happening lately, I battle for which minority group has it "worse" in America. The last thing I would be offended by is someone thinking I'm smart and/or successful. In fact I would welcome it. I would rather people prejudge me based off them thinking positive things about me. If we want to play the who has it worse game if I was Hispanic people would think I was illegal, "taking jobs from hard working Americans", apart of a cartel, refuse to learn English, don't pay taxes, and cost taxpayers lot of money. If I was Muslim I would be a terrorist, dirty, wear a turban, hate Christians and Jews. As a black woman, my children should each have different fathers who are dead beats, mooching off welfare, too lazy to get a job, if I'm educated it's because of affirmative action, loud, angry all the time, unmarried, a crackhead, not know who my father is, ghetto, and a name you can barely spell let alone pronounce. I could go on but I think you get the point.

Sometimes we need to know when to pick our battles. In my opinion there are a lot more things that you could be upset about or what to change. Being considered smart and/or successful is the least of anyone's worries and should be taken as a compliment not an insult. 

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Don't judge a book...

One of my pet peeves is when people judge people based off how they look. For some people it's just a natural instinct to look at others and see what you attribute to signs of success missing in them so you assume they are lacking. Then you will give unsolicited advice (my biggest pet peeve) under the guise of helping someone better themselves. I know some people have good intentions when they give you advice that you didn't ask for but key words "you didn't ask". 

While grocery shopping the other day I wondered away from my husband and kids to grab somethings further down a crowed aisle. I head back to place the things in the cart and I find a woman in her 50s chatting with my husband. As I start to tune into the conversation I hear her commenting on noticing I have a very "curious" two year and how a child being curious is a great thing. I smile and agree because I agree there isn't anything wrong with a child being curious that's how they learn about the world around them. Then she goes on to say that she has three sons and how they're all very successful and she attributes that to them being very curious kids. People love to brag on their kids and I find it to be harmless so again we smile & give sort of a congrats to you for raising great children. Next she tells us how all her sons have great jobs, they drive luxury cars, two didn't marry before they turned 30, didn't have kids out of wedlock, and those same two owned homes by once they hit 30. Her youngest son who is in his mid to late 20s is in a very committed relationship with a great woman who is a advertising exec. Once again we smile and congratulate her on doing a great job. Then as we were trying to continue on with our shopping and move out the way so other shoppers wouldn't have to maneuver around us she goes on to tell us in depth what type of luxury vehicles & careers her son had. Now we learned that one of her sons drove a 2006 BMW, the other an early 2000 Audi A8 (which then she spent about another 2/3 minutes explaining to us what type of car that is how expensive it is. At this point I became annoyed. I know what an Audi A8 is considering that I was an accountant for 12 years for an auto mall and Audi was one of the franchises that we had). She states that her other one has a van but that's what he wanted & he paid cash for it. She told us her youngest son is a general manager (for some reason she felt the need to explain to us what a GM is) for a marketing company. She tells us how they wear the nicest and most expensive clothes. Then there was something about one of her sons finding museum quality crystals and rocks that he stores in his house. I don't remember what the other sons were nor do I care at this point. Now I've become annoyed. She wraps all this up with telling us our kids can be just as "successful" as her sons if we do as she did and let them be curious.

I don't mind parents sharing stories of their children. I don't mind parents bragging on their children's success. I don't mind listening to A story about their childhood that sticks out in your head. I'm sure this lady might have meant well & probably didn't see some of her comments insulting but this is why you shouldn't give out unsolicited advice. Things can start off great but almost always it takes a turn for the worse. 

Since we are all people from different socioeconomic backgrounds we tend to have different ideas of what success is. For me I don't attribute expensive labels and job titles to signify someone being extremely successful. My husband and I both could drive newer luxury cars than what her sons are driving if we chose to. I owned my first home at the age of 26 which is few years before her sons and although the home we are in now is my husband's first he purchased we bought it a couple of months before he turned 28 so again before her sons did. I was also an accounting department manager before I left my job & my husband is a telecom tech engineer. We have the ability to pay off both of our vehicles right now if we wanted to do so. I didn't marry my husband until after I was 30 and our first child came shortly after. If you go by her way of thinking technically we are way more "successful" than any of her three sons.

I say all of this to say stop judging people based off what you think success is and unsolicited advice isn't always needed. If you're going to give some "advice" keep it short and keep it moving. My husband and I are not flashy people and unless we have somewhere to be you will typically find us in sweats, basketball shorts, and t-shirts. We're not big jewelry people so other than our wedding bands you will rarely find us with much more than that on. I don't judge people based off of labels. If you are truly happy where you are in life & are able to support yourself (and family if you have one) that's what I considered to be success. Everyone lives off their own standards. If you like wearing expensive clothes and driving expensive imported vehicles there isn't anything wrong with that. Please remember that just because someone else doesn't do the same doesn't mean they can't maybe they just don't want to. 

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It's not me it's you this time...

Just a few weeks ago I was talking about a friend I made and how I know eventually things would probably come to an end. It finally ended and in a big way. It all started with her texting me in the morning to see if my family would like to accompany hers to a water park in August. I told her I would have to see because we were headed to NY for about a week and a half for a birthday celebration for one of my grandmothers. A little later in the afternoon she then proceeds to text me again. I had some family members in town so I waited until I dropped them off and the airport to read her messages. She asked me to meet up with her mother in NYC to bring her back some pastries. I explained to her that I was going upstate NY and not to the city. I also told her that even though I was going to NY I was actually staying in PA. She didn't reply for several hours and then when I saw how long her reply was I knew it was going to be some drama.

She proceeded to call me a liar and said I'm now changing my story because I don't want to do her a favor. She also accuses me about lying about my grandmother coming to visit one time (which she has actually visited me twice and I've been to her house several times since I moved to NC). She then continues the rant stating that she's always kind enough to invite me places but when I have family in town (which has been constantly lately and I love it) I don't invite her over.  She brings up a time when I came over to her house for a BBQ and how unapreciative I was when I was there (we brought wine, thanked them for having us over, and sincerely complimented her decor multiple times). She tells me I can stop lying and making up stories because she's not impressed with my life and how she didn't need a "stuck up b*" in her life; that she was happy and had plenty of friends and was not hard pressed for them so she wished me the best of luck. When I tried to respond to her messages none of mine were going through. When I tried to call it went to voicemail. I then realized she blocked me. I guess the new thing to do is to curse and tell someone off via text messages and then block them so they can't respond back.

If I was able to respond back to her it would go a little something like this: I'm not sure why if I stated I was going to NY someone would automatically assume I meant the city. NY is a big state and more exist to it than just the 5 boroughs. Yes I lived in the city at one point but I also lived "upstate" too and the last place I lived in NY is where my maternal grandmother still lives to this day. Also, NY and PA are bordering states so why would it be far fetched for me to be staying in PA especially as I mentioned in several post I don't come from a wealthy family. My 95 year old grandmother lives in a nursing home and not in one of the best areas in upstate. Aside from that since becoming an adult anytime I travel up to NY I always stay with my farther. Why? Because he lives in a decent area and has the space for me to stay a few days. Where he lives is on the border of PA and NY so if I want to visit my grandmother it only takes an hour and a half. I have a cousin on my maternal side that lives in NJ that's also only an hour and half away in the opposite direction. If I want to go to the city I can be there in two hours. Aside from all this as an adult unless you're doing something illegal you're not required to explain yourself to anyone. I don't have to give a broken down, detailed explanation of where I'm going, nor do I need to give my itinerary for my trip. Last time I checked I was not married to her. Also, if the only reason someone is inviting you to do things with them is so they can receive favors in return this is definitely not someone I want in my life. Conditional friendships are not my thing.

After reading over her texts several times I realized something big. She's clearly not as happy with her life as she would like to portray and her texts to me was more about how she feels about her life and self as a whole versus how she feels about me. Would you like to know how I know this? 1) She stated she was unimpressed by my life. That is actually funny because I didn't realize I was supposed to be entertaining her by putting on a show. 2) She has plenty of friends and knows who they are so she doesn't need me. That's great so if that's true why did she repeatedly invite me out if she has other friends? She could have just invited them and stopped communicating with me. 3) I didn't invite you over when I had relatives in town. Why would I? Other than my brother (and lets get real here why would I invite a married woman to hang out with my non-married brother) the other relatives that have visited I don't see often and are typically in town for just a day or two. This also shows me that she's starved for attention because who wants to impose on someone else's family time? 4) I'm a liar and a stuck up b*. Again, then why repeatedly invite me to do things with you and your family? Why have that type of person around your children? We literally just had a paint night the night before and I hung out with her two days before and she disclosed some very personal information to me.  5) She blocked me but continued to send me multiple texts. What adult in their 30s, who has never had verbal or physical altercation with the person they are messaging wouldn't just call or ask to meet up in person to discuss the issue? Especially if you claim you have no problems voicing your opinions and speaking your mind. 

Deep down I knew she and I wouldn't last as friends because even though we had many things in common we lived two completely differently lifestyles. I'm very content with being in my new home and just hanging out in the backyard or playroom with my kids. I don't get my hair done, nails done, have spa days, or go shopping for clothes, bags, and shoes nearly ever. She was into those things and there is nothing wrong with that. If she wanted someone to do those things with regularly she should have found a friend or contacted one of her "many" friends that like to do those types of activities. She also constantly made comments about how I don't wear make up and maybe I should try it. I should expect that from someone who couldn't make it through our ladies wine and paint night without taking an excessive amount of selfies on her phone and everyone else's. If you are okay with your appearance don't let someone else try to make you feel you are less than the queen you are. Fortunately as an adult I've become very confident in my appearance so her suggestions didn't phase me one bit.

Lastly, if you're a homebody it's okay. You're not going to be for everyone. I go out and do stuff but I don't have to do so every single day like she had to. 

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I'll leave it up to you to decide which one she is (and she sent this to me right before she went off).

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All the places to go...

Once I became I parent I wanted to give my children a different childhood from what I had. I wanted to expose them to different states, countries, and outdoor experiences. I also like to take them to do regular outdoor activities.

We have taken our boys to the fair for my oldest son's second birthday. We took them to a farm and cornfield maze for Halloween. We lived on a island for many years so my oldest son had his fair share of trips to the beach. My two year old experienced his first zoo & insectarium/butterfly garden in New Orleans when he was 7 months old. Then after my youngest came along and we moved to NC we took them both to a zoo here. There have been a few trips to a couple of science museums. We spent many weekends taking strolls around different state parks. We also spent many weekends on the trails on a nature wildlife preserve near us in SC. There was a trip to a trampoline park and indoor playground with inflatable jump houses and slides. They have been to an arcade or two. Hiking in OK on preserve. My oldest got to go to a military air show on the base near us. Also, fishing, infant swimming classes, and most recently toured the capital building in NC.

On our to do list is going to a water park, get bikes and a trailer to go on bike trails with, and maybe a carnival. 

They have been to a few different states but hopefully within the next few years we'll be able to take them across the boarders and overseas.  

 

 

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Girl, you're so skinny if I hug you you'll probably break in half!

Where do I start with this one? That statement has actually been said to me numerous times in my adulthood. I can't tell you how many times in my adolescent & adult life I've been reminded of my size nearly every day, multiple times a day. I'm expected to not say anything in return & just laugh it off because being skinny isn't an insult right? Why would my feelings get hurt it's not like they're calling me fat.

I get it, in white mainstream America you're told skinny is the way to be. I'm an 80s baby/90s kid so bulimia & anorexia were big things when I was growing up. If you wanted to model, act, sing, dance, etc. the industry wanted you to be as skinny as possible. Since "Hollywood" made that their standard, being thin was the way to be; because of that if someone makes a remark about a skinny person's weight you're expected to just smile & take it as a compliment. 

I get everything from "why do you work out, if you get any smaller you're going to blow away" to "no, you go ahead and take the last doughnut you need it more than me", "you don't eat that's why you look like that" and yes "you're so skinny if I hug you, you'll probably break in half". Why is that okay to say to someone & everyone around will laugh & agree? If I were to say the opposite of that to a bigger person everyone would look my way in disgust & shock. 

I've even had one of my OBGYN's tell me during one of my pregnancies that is was "ok to eat because the baby needs it". Who in their right mind that actually planned their baby's conception would not do everything in their power to make sure they are doing everything they're supposed to ensure they have a healthy baby? The fact that this woman had seen my weight prior to pregnancy and had my sister and cousin (both are extremely thin too) also as patients just made the statement even more baffling.  

What I need for people to realize is being thin is okay in the white community, not the black one. Typically wanting to be extremely thin tends to be a white and/or older woman thing. Growing up for a good portion of my childhood in the south being thin in the black community is not something that's aspired for. In the south being "thick" is the norm so if you are really thin you stick out. With that being said, I'm well aware of my size and don't have body dysmorphia. I know I'm skinny. You have some people that are naturally bigger and some people that are naturally thinner (if you remember anything from biology this should be an easy concept to understand). I've been this way my entire life due to genetics.  I don't want to be thinner or think I need to be thinner so stop telling me I need to eat. I do eat & probably more than you.

Just because a person works out that doesn't mean they are doing so to lose weight. Your average person that works out regularly does so because they want to live a healthy lifestyle not because they want to drop a few pounds. Also, being skinny does not equate to being healthy. I know plenty of skinny people who have just as many health issues as overweight people. 

Please remember I am an adult, a real grown a- person so if I respond back to you with a smart remark don't be surprised. I didn't ask you for your opinion on my weight nor did I ask you for ways to "fix it". As the old saying goes, if you don't have nothing nice to say don't say nothing at all.  

 

 

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Yes I said the "f" word

Not that one (well at least not on my blogs), I'm talking finances. One thing I find myself doing lately is giving financial advice, mainly to family members. Let me preface by saying I am not a financial adviser nor do I have a degree in financing. What I do have is 12 years experience of working as an accountant, owning two homes, zero credit card debit (not too much other debt either), an over 800 credit score, an actual savings that I only put money into, and life experiences from dealing with my own personal financial issues in the past. This is going to be one of my longer posts so if you don't have the time you might want to skip until you do.

I've stated this before but I grew up extremely poor and finances were not discussion growing up in my household. I was never really told about credit or about how to spend money the right way. I've always wondered if this is a race, culture, and/or a socioeconomic thing. Naturally I learned from observing the people around me. That taught me to buy what I wanted when I wanted whether a bill or two was due or not. I also learned if you didn't have cash there are always credit cards and you can get many of those. The result was me learning the hard way I wouldn't get anywhere in life with those bad decisions. 

Eventually over the course of several years I turned all those bad habits around and freed myself from the wrong mind frame. It was actually quite simple too (not paying back all the debt I racked up on top of the student loans I had) once I changed my way of thinking.  

Most people that come from a background like mines don't even realize you can make 30-35k a year (what I was making when I purchased my first home as a single female) and still be able to do & have many things, such as owning a home, drive a sports car, and travel (if that's what your goals are) all while having a savings. Obviously this is not possible for everyone. I understand that if you have a child(ren) or live in high cost of living area that's nearly impossible with that income bracket. I'm not talking to you, I'm talking about everyone else. Yes, even those with student loans. I did not graduate but I had 40k in student loan debt at one point.  It's all about how you're spending your money. People don't realize after they've paid their bills they might have more disposable income than they think they do (I realize this is not the case for everyone but it is for many). How often do you eat out, get those nails done, shoe shop, clothes shop, and impulse buy? All those play a big part in your disposable cash being so low. If you happen to get an income tax check back every year what do you do with that? A lot of us have this I want it now and I can't wait mentality and that alone causes us to never climb out of financial debt. 

One of my favorite posts floating around on tumblr is "People: If you're so poor and don't have money to pay your rent why did you go to dinner and the movies today? Me: Because my rent is $700 not $40 and what am I supposed to do never have any funny because I don't make a decent livable wage?" That's not verbatim because I can't find the meme right now, but you get the point. This statement is very true $40 isn't going to pay your $700 rent but with that type of thinking you'll never have the $700 to pay your rent. To break that down even further, did that person also have that way of thinking when they saw a new shirt they wanted? This $20 isn't going to pay my rent so let me get this shirt. Oh and I need these shoes to match with it this $100 isn't going to pay my rent either so let me get those too because I have to have it now. Those little impulse buys start to add up. No, $160 isn't going to pay your rent but now you have $160 less thank you started with and you still have $700 instead of $540 of rent due. Nobody says you have to be "poor" and miserable but there are things you can do with spending little to no money.

One of my new favorite quotes comes from Gia Casey, "There's nothing wrong with a little struggle...you live the lifestyle that you are able to at the time; and if you work hard and you aspire to have a different lifestyle at some point you'll be able to get it." Change your way of thinking/spending & you'll see a big change (I'll probably go into further detail in the future but I feel like this post has already become long enough). 

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Is it story time again?

If you know me personally or even follow me on IG you will learn very quickly that reading is a big part of my children's lives. Saying my kids love to read or have story time is an understatement. It's a running joke among our family that we'll punish someone by making them read to my kids because story time never ends with them. My kids prefer reading books over playing with toys or watching tv. Not to say they don't do the others because they definitely do. How did reading become so important to my children? That's simple, I made it a priority. One of them many unsolicited advice I received while my first child was in the womb was to read to him even if it's just once a week. I planed on doing that anyway so it was advice I gladly followed.

When my oldest son started to become more alert and was out of the "sleep all day" phase everyday I would read to him the only 4 children books we had at the time. To my surprise once he was able to crawl he would go and grab a book and bring it to me so he could be read to. Once we noticed that he was more into books than toys we stopped buying him toys and bought him books instead. When family and friends wanted to buy him a gift I always told them get him a book that's what he loves.

Once my second son came along I decided that since my oldest son liked reading so much I would buy him at least one book a month. Eventually we wound up with so many books that reading them all everyday wasn't an option since I was working long hours and then had to come home & juggle my time between 3 guys (my husband and two sons). I also noticed my oldest son was starting to memorize some parts of the books that we read more often than others.

Once I started staying home with the kids I eventually decided to pick 4 to 5 books that we would read daily and the others we would just save for occasional reading. I highly recommend this. My son is two and a half and since he was about 20 months he could basically read along with me. The repetition from reading the same books stuck with him. 

Aside from the education factor reading helps my son overcome his shyness. My son is very shy so when friends and family come over we always tell them read a book to him to break the ice. Shockingly my youngest son picked up his big brothers reading habits.  

I'm not a perfect mom & I don't pretend to be but one thing I did get right is making books a priority in my children's lives. 

 

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Hands off

I've tweeted, snapped, and posted on IG about this particular topic but it still happens so why not blog about it too?

Why can't people keep their hands to themselves? When did it become acceptable for total strangers to come up to your children and touch them on their hands and face? The biggest offenders are older women who more than likely have children of their own. We all know that germs can pose a serious threat for a young child. The fastest way for them to get sick is via their hands and face. So why are strangers touching people's children without regard for this?

This happens to me and my children often. We can be out in public just minding our own business when out of nowhere here comes some random stranger that we don't know approaching us. It starts off with a nice compliment about my children's looks and then they follow that up with either touching my child's hand or caressing their check. I've even had an older woman or two try to kiss my children. 

When I correct this behavior by simply asking them not to touch my children I get a look of shock, disbelief, and like I offended them. How dare I ask them, total stranger not to physically touch my child?

This should go without saying but if you don't know someone you don't touch them in any form or fashion if they did not ask or invite you to. I'm not sure if this is a generational thing, gender, or race/cultural thing. What I have noticed is almost every single time it's the same type of person, a white female between the ages of 40-70. I don't mind the compliments but I do mind the touching. My kids are not in daycare so they are not exposed to as many germs as your average child would be so their immune systems are also not as strong as some of those other kids.

If you've have kids of your own or have been around very young kids you know that they love to put their hands in their mouths and their face is a gateway for germs. If I don't know you then I don't know how you are when it comes to your personal hygiene habits so all I have is personal interactions with other people to base how clean you might be. From working in an accounting department for many years with many different women my experience with hygiene isn't a great one. I've seen one too many women not wash their hands after using the shared restroom. One too many women who sneeze or cough all in their hands and proceed to touch every thing and one around them.

Aside from the germs you are a stranger. Me nor my children know you. Learn personal boundaries! Since you are a stranger I don't know if you just want to say hi or snatch and run. When it comes to my children everyone from the two year old to the 82 year old is a possible threat to my child. Don't tell me a two year old is not a threat when there are two year old kids out here biting, hitting, scratching, and exposing germs/illness to other kids.

The point of this post is, though your intentions might be good if you don't know a person stick with just a compliment and keep your hands off other people's children. 

 

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What's yours is mine

Yesterday after overhearing a conversation that was happening on my phone I thought about something that I think about quite often, entitlement. I hear, see, and read more and more examples of this everyday. It has me wondering do people realize how entitled they have become and why do they feel this way?

I was scrolling through IG one day and came across a post on a celebrity gossip blog about a rapper's mom and brother who were complaining that he had cut the mom off financially. After reading the article I learned that the rapper was giving the mother on avg 10k a month and she was angry because he stopped and refused to give her any more. His brother, whom I'm going to assume was reaping the benefits via his mother also decided to chime in saying how displeased he was with his brother for not taking care of their mother especially since he appears to be living a very lavish life according to his social media accounts. The rapper's response to this was, after giving his mom 10k a month for years he finally decided to cut her off because she was spending the money on drugs and alcohol. After reading all of this I then went to my favorite part of IG, the comments. I seen everything from "how dare he cut her off for abusing drugs and alcohol when he does the same thing" to "what type of person cuts off their own mother?". These are my thoughts on the subject. 

Why is he "required" to take care of his mother? If you're having children in hopes that one of them will "make it big" and someday take care of you then maybe you don't need to be having children. The purpose of a child isn't so you can retire early. Sure if you do a decent job as a parent when your child reaches adulthood they might help you out financially if you get in a jam but again they are not required to do so. You made the decision to have a child and with that decision you know going into this there will be a lot of financial responsibility and hardships on you and that is not your child's burden or debt for the rest of their life.

How do you even know his mother raised him or was involved in his life? Lets say this woman only gave birth to him and he was raised by another family member, friend's parents, or "the streets" raised him. Is he required to take care of her for the rest of his life/her life just because she gave birth to him? Just because you are related to someone that doesn't give you entitlement to their success and everything that comes along with it. Stop claiming things that don't belong to you. If someone wants to share their success with you that's their choice to do so. Be grateful and appreciative because they don't have to.

Lastly, he was giving her 10k a month for many years (I'm sure sometimes it exceed that amount and sometimes it was less) so what did she do with the money? I'm not sure what anyone else's financial situations are so I can only speak from my perspective (someone who grew up extremely poor and now manages to pay her bills on time and still has a little bit of play money) which is how could you squander a 100k annual gift? Let me say that again, a 100k annual gift. That is more than a lot of people make in a year at their 9 to 5. Lets say he only did this for 5 years that's still half a million dollars before taxes. I'm also going to assume she didn't grow up wealthy because if she did she wouldn't be looking for him to continue to support her financially.

To me this is your classic case of trying to "keep up with the Jones". This woman could have bought herself a house, a vehicle, started a savings, and spoke with a financial adviser to figure out how to turn this extra disposable cash in to a profitable steady income/investment. My guess is she had a different vision which included a very big mansion in LA on the beach, a car brand that she couldn't pronounce the name of and had to be on a waiting list to receive, and never ending shopping trips buying labels from designers that don't even want her in their clothes (these are all things I will probably spin off on in the future).

The comments on the post were mostly negative towards him, intended to shame him for not doing what he was "supposed" to do. There were very few commentators that seemed to realize that this man didn't totally abandon his mom but he did in fact give her money he just stopped. This brings me to my next thought, how much is enough?

Let's say I made 2 million dollars after taxes does that mean everyone in my family just made two million dollars? No, okay so then what is acceptable? I have a mother and father who are both are married to someone else and several surrogate parents that helped in raising me. I have several siblings (full, half, and step). How much should they receive? Grand parents, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins. Do they all get a piece of the pie too? What about all my friends that have supported me and helped me out along the way? Where does the entitled giving stop? From what I see, hear, and read all these people all deserve some of your earnings. If someone was involved in your life you are required to include them because after all what's yours is mine right? 

I never understood this type of thinking and don't ever want to. My feelings are if someone gives you a monetary or material gift great but they are not required to. You being related to someone by birth does not require them to take care of you financially. You freely giving someone money or items under the guise of helping them out does not require that person to now pay it back ten fold. The only person anyone should be required to take care of in that way is a child or someone they willingly decided to legally be the financial guardian of.  

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DIY projects are so "easy" right?

So I got this bright idea to start making some of my home decor by hand. Some projects (the really simple ones, and when I say simple I mean they don't require you to do anything buy buy items) turned out really great. Other pieces that required a little bit more effort turned out very mediocre at best. Which brings me to today's post.

I saw this world map canvas on Pinterest that I thought would be perfect for my living room. After doing some googling I realized getting the size I was looking for just wasn't cohesive with my budget. The one I was looking for had a water color version of the map split up into five smaller canvases that made one large piece when put together. I did some more digging and found out I could do it myself for a little less than the cost of the "professional" ones. I looked at everything I would need and the list was short and simple. This should be easy right?

Originally I was going to go with an engineer print, a suggestion given to me by my sister. After looking at the sizes Staples was offering, realizing I would have to make sure the image would have to be the right dimensions for the quality of the size I wanted, and that this would require too much effort for a person like me this just wasn't going to work. I searched some more and found out I could substitute a poster for the engineer print. I also decided to switch from using five canvases to three (later would prove to be a possible mistake).

I bought the supplies which are Mod Podge, canvases, and a 36x24 poster. I ordered the Mod Podge and poster from Amazon (Amazon Prime has become my new best friend). The canvases came from Hobby Lobby. I have everything I need and then I realize it's going to be really difficult to split this poster into three pieces. I decide to just follow through with the project anyway. I taped the poster edges to a 36x24 cutting mat that I had and pull out my rotary cutter. This is where everything went down hill.

My cuts went at an angle instead of nice clean ones like I imagined in my head. After I butchered them up enough to get them to fix the 12X24 canvases the next step is to spread Mod Podge all over the canvases. This resulted in getting Mod Podge all over my cutting mat since the sponge brushes I had were a little too wide. The next step required me to wet the poster so it was "easier to work with". I realized this was a mistake once the water hit my poster pieces and they began to roll up. I'm going to assume that the person whom I followed the directions from had a better paper quality poster. The next step was to place the wet poster on top of the canvas and smooth it out to get rid of as many air bubbles as possible. The last step was to wait for the applied poster to dry and then apply another coat of Mod Podge. 

When everything was done what I ended up with was a poster with very visible jagged edges on a three canvases that I call "art". I ask my husband what he thinks and of course he lies to spare my feelings and says "it looks good, I like it." We hung it on the living room wall and that's where it sits to this day.

I might redo this in a few weeks. When I do I'll stick with the original idea of using five canvases instead of three. Since I used a 36x24 poster I cut it into three pieces so they would fit a 12x24 canvas. I then had to cut them multiple times to get them to about a 9x23 size (which is how I ended up with very jagged edges) to get the look I desired. If I would have split them 5 ways they might have filled my wall the way I was looking for it to. I also won't wet the poster since it made it more difficult with it rolled up and even ruined some of the color quality.

My next project will be a large wall clock because when you screw up something "simple" you have to go for something even more difficult, right?

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Above is what I was going for. 

 

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The poster I ordered taped to the cutting mat. 

 

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Right before I destroyed the edges. 

 

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After I wet it and put it on the canvases. 

 

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The finished project that sits on my wall.  

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The Juggling Act

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The Juggling Act

Everyday is a struggle in this new journey for me called motherhood. I have two kids under the age of three (not twins) and I struggle to make sure I give them both equal time.

My sixteen month old son was breastfed so a lot of my time was dedicated to feeding him. I occasionally wondered if my two and a half year old feels slighted and like he's not as equally important. I want them both to know they’re equally loved and one isn’t any better than the other.

I thought having kids very close in age would be great for social development. I never thought about the repercussions of not making sure my time is close to being evenly divided. 

Eventually I wound up making sure that when my youngest son was asleep I had "cuddle time" with my oldest son.

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That Lazy Awkward Friend

I recently moved to a new state and by recently I mean a year ago. Before then all the friends I have/had I either met in school or at work. Now as a new SAHM I knew finding friends would be slightly a challenge for me. I'm lazy and I'm awkward. I'm lazy meaning my main focus right now is my kids so I don't really text or call too many people. I'm awkward meaning I'm not very good a being a "normal" adult.

I made a friend a few months ago just by chance. I was taking my kids on a stroll around the neighborhood when my next door neighbor stopped me. Once we started chatting we realized we had a lot in common and instantly hit it off. We both moved into the same community around the same time. We both have two children and we both are SAHMs. I also learned she moved from NY. I moved from SC but I'm originally from NY. We made plans to hangout just a few days later. We have since hung out multiple times and our husbands and children have become very familiar with each other.

I still have this friend but since I'm lazy and awkward we haven't been hanging out as much as we use to. There is a lot to blame for this in addition to me being lazy and awkward. One of my sons became very ill for awhile so I was forced to stay in the house for a few weeks. We both recently moved out of our rentals and purchased homes about 10 minutes from one another. We also both have been on vacations at different times.

Lately she's been wanting for us to come over to her house. I don't have a problem with that with the exception of I really love being in my own home. I have two very rowdy, active boys and my house is decorated and styled with them in mind. I don't have to worry about them breaking anything that is hard or costly to replace. My friend's house is more hip, trendy, and stylish with a lot of things that I know my sons will break. Her girls (5 and 2) are content with just playing in their rooms with their toys. When my boys are in a place that is not their own they can only be entertained by toys for 10 minutes at a time. After that they want to explore and touch anything and everything around them. I've found myself giving her excuses as to why I can't come over but I know that will only be accepted a few times before she notices something is going on. I guess the simple solution would be to invite her over to my house but that leads me back to my original problem of me just being really lazy.

My boys can wear me down and sometimes (when I say sometimes I mean for weeks at a time) I'd just prefer to be alone. For people that are social butterflies it's hard for them to understand that. 

 

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