Today Is The Day: Introducing the New She’sWrite

I’m so stoked! I’m finally putting on my big girl blogging pants and She’sWrite is launching its new site: http://sheswrite.net

How cool is that? As I mentioned before, it’s been a little over a year that I’ve been blogging and it’s been a great ride. I’ve met many wonderful people online and in real life. Also, I’ve learned tons, though it’s mostly been realizing how much more I need to learn about the blogosphere.

Now it’s time for me to take it up a notch. I’ve become self-hosted and have a customized design. After working with the ever-so-patient Visual Luxe, sheswrite.net is ready for her debut.

So my legion of readers (real and imagined) you’ll need to update your bookmarks, subscriptions and RSS feeds. Please click on over and tell me what you think of the new and improved She’sWrite.

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Making the Most Of My Mobile Home

Who knew that with motherhood, I’d also be gaining a mobile home? It’s got a dining area, a great place for the kids to play, nap and nurse, and there’s office space for Hubby and me.

My mobile home is my SUV. I’ve served breakfast, lunch and dinner in my Jeep Commander, changed the poopiest of diapers, napped alongside my children, blinded high school boys in the Kohl’s parking lot with my boobs while breastfeeding in the backseat.

I’ve edited stories, had conference calls, written blog posts, filled out birthday party invitations. The list (obviously) goes on and on.

My husband marvels at all that’s in the car. I’ve got diapers stashed everywhere, along with juice boxes, bottled waters, changes of clothes, a quart of motor oil,

Logan having breakfast in the Jeep this week. Bacon, blueberries and blackberries, yum!

Goldfish, a stroller, blankets, toy cars, trucks, binkies, “emergency” lollipops. (The “emergency” usually being I need Logan to not speak while I’m in the middle of an important phone call.) The most unique item is a small doohickey (the technical term) that if your car was submerged in water, it effortlessly breaks the glass so that you can escape.

Cleaning my SUV is always an adventure, I try to do it each week so that it doesn’t get out of control. I find preschool art projects, receipts, coupons, forgotten half-eaten snacks and half-drunken water bottles.

Why do I have so much in my Jeep? What am I afraid of? Getting stranded in a blizzard? Dust storm? Flash flood? I’m certainly prepared. More like, over-prepared. But at least I’m making the most of my mobile home.

Wordless Wednesday: It’s Almost Like Super 8, But Not Quite…

The Blubber Battle: My Second Missive Against the Bulge is a Bombshell

Well, I’ve been trying to lose 30 pounds for the past four months. I told myself that after I dropped my first 10, I’d blog about it. If you follow this blog much, you’ll note that I haven’t really written about my weight loss.

It’s because I’m not really losing. I’d lose 10 pounds then gain back two. Then three. After a bit, the scale would start to drop again, but never the steady decline that I hoped needed expected to see. I’m down two sizes, which is great, but I still can’t fit comfortably into most of my wardrobe.

I’ve been doing OK on my workouts. I admit, I’m bummed about my shin splints, and when I bike ride or hit the elliptical, I don’t push myself as much as I do when I’m running. It’s a motivation thing, or lack thereof. I’m working on getting my mojo back.

Where I’m really lax is the eating front. I love food. Love it. And I’m a damn good cook. I was eating clean for awhile and Hubby and I were devouring Tosca Reno’s recipes. That was the problem. I’d fix a properly proportioned plate. Eat it with a glass of wine or two. Then, since dinner was so tasty, I’d decide to go back for a smidge more. That would be followed by more wine and a smidge more dinner. (I’m cringing as I type this because reading about my weight battle in black and white doesn’t seem as complicated as it feels.)

Then when we went on vacation last week, Hubby and I straight lost our minds. Lost them. We had pasta, pizza, steaks, dessert… I even had McDonald’s french fries not once, but twice. Twice! Tosca Reno would be so disappointed. (But them bitches were yummy!)

So when we returned home, I nervously got on the scale and found I hadn’t gained an ounce. Praise the Lord and Hallelujah, it’s a miracle. That was the kick I needed. I decided to do something that for me, the resident alcoholic, is drastic. I’m not going to drink for a month. *gasp*

With the exception of one pre-planned event that is a once-in-a-lifetime thing in which I shall imbibe. Heavily. But other than that (no other exceptions I swear!) my big bombshell is that I’m not going to drink until after my half marathon.

I’m going back to my good behaviors of when I first started this battle and now that I’ve added the no-alcohol rule, I’m sure hopeful I’ll see more improvement.

Pizza? Bedtimes? Whatevs, We’re on VACAY!!!

As you could tell from my latest posts, we’re on vacation. What started this 1,000+ mile tour de Midwest was my family reunion in Kansas City, Mo. I delegated to my husband to plan our trip. Next thing I know, a long weekend away turned into an eight-day adventure.

The boys outside Cracker Barrel.

But I’m not complaining, this escape from everyday is fun. I’ve spent much of the trip in the back seat between my boys. Not to mention all of the people who have seen my boobs by now. (Truckers along I-70, the old man at Cracker Barrel and Mizzou college students: You’re welcome.)

We left last Thursday and stayed the night at my best friend’s house in suburban St. Louis. Then we had lunch with my niece in Columbia, Mo. and moved on to Kansas City. After a few days there, we spent three days in Columbia. Hubby and I met at the University of Missouri, so we visited our old haunts, and bored Logan with stories of our youth.

Now we’re in St. Louis and will be here for a total of 3 days. The kids are totally off their schedules. We all go to bed around 11 p.m. (some nights as late as 1 a.m.!) and we have been getting up late in the morning. But we haven’t been stressing, just saying “hey, we’re on vacation!”

Same thing with eating. Pulled-pork sandwiches? Sure! We’re on vacation! Pizza? Yep! We’re on vacation! Dessert anyone? Uh-huh, we’re on vacation!

I’ll worry about getting the kids back on schedule and the excess calories later. I can’t think about it now, I’m still on vacation.

A Family Reunion: Laughs, Dancing and A Lot of Love

Ahhhh family reunions. Meeting new cousins, listening to stories about your parents/aunts/uncles and older people asking you “do you remember me?” The answer is always no and I never know how to politely say that.

I had my 96th Annual Tyler Family Reunion in Kansas City, Mo. last weekend. I can’t remember the last reunion I attended. Each year it’s in a different city, always on the Fourth of July weekend and it draws people from coast to coast. This year I thought that since it’s in Kansas City, about two hours from my hometown, let’s go!

It was Hubby’s first experience at a black family reunion, well any family reunion. (It’s not so popular to do those in Norway.) More than 200 people registered for ours and while walking through the Westin Hotel, if you saw someone black, we’d wonder, “Am I related to you?”

Logan was excited to meet new cousins because kids at his school have grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins who live near them, but he’s noticed that he doesn’t. After the interesting drive to Kansas City, we got settled and connected with my uncle because his grandkids were staying in his room and the youngest was Logan’s age.

Shortly after walking in their hotel room, we hung out with those three kids and I fell in love with them. Two girls and one boy, between the ages of  7 and 4. There’s a total of five of them, but the two older girls were off hanging with the other teenagers.

With the 7-year-old, I tried my new thing of talking to young girls about subjects other than their looks. I got the idea from a piece on the Huffington Post about not talking to girls about how pretty they are, but for their thoughts and accomplishments. This was a rewarding venture that led to the 7-year-old reading One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish. I’ll always cherish that moment.

I’ll also cherish spending time in the hospitality suite with my aunt, grandma and an older cousin. I talked about how it was a tough transition from career woman to motherhood. They nodded and smiled. I talked about my current work situation and the challenge of balancing family and a career that I love. They nodded and smiled wider. They looked at me like I was a teenager talking about teen angst. Listening compassionately, but with a look of “This too shall pass.” I didn’t find it patronizing, but it was comforting.

Some of the lighter moments include taking Logan to the dance, where my boy worked it out so hard, he got into a dance-off with another kid and my mom went upstairs to give him a change of clothes because he sweat through his outfit.

At the same party, there was another dance-off that would put Step Up 2 to shame. My favorite move was when a girl jumped in the air and looked like she was firing a shotgun, kickback included. Then a woman entered the ring who was in her early 60s? (Hard to tell with us, black don’t crack…) and she schooled all the young dancers. It was amazing.

The whole weekend was fun. My husband’s favorite part was looking around at the family picnic and just taking in that everyone who you see is a part of your family. And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Wordless Wednesday: A Big Tree

Big Tree in McBaine, Mo.

This large bur oak is believed to date back to 1660. It stands 90 feet tall and its impressive canopy spans 130 feet. It’s considered one of the largest and oldest trees in Missouri and though it’s survived a 9 foot flood, a tornado, drought and lightning strikes, it is dying. Arborists have been working to slow the death of Big Tree.

Trying Not To Kill My Child On Our Family Road Trip

It was around mile 454 that I first had the urge to strangle my child. It was Day 2 of our weeklong family adventure on the open road. I was in the backseat, sandwiched between two car seats, my feet were perched on a carton of juice boxes and my eldest was tapping my arms.

I logged many miles sitting in this seat between my two boys.

Incessantly tapping.

On the surface, tapping someone on their upper arms doesn’t seem so bad. Then 30 tappity-tap-tap-filled minutes go by and I start to wonder if my husband would mind if I break our no-hitting policy. (We don’t spank.) Tap tap.

Then I wondered how much time I’d serve for wrapping my fingers around his scrawny neck. Tap. Tap. Tap.

I threatened to take away his iPod and put him in time out. As the words left my lips, I knew it was an empty threat. Tappy-tap-tap.

The whole reason I was back there was to keep my overtired 6 month old from shrieking. (T-t-t-t-taaaap.) Following through on either threat meant that we’d soon have two screaming banshees in the backseat as we torpedoed down Interstate 70. That, tap, also was not a sustainable option.

Yet there I sat trapped like a caged rat, in the back trying not to kill my son.

“I have an unwarranted amount of rage right now.” I told my husband. He laughed. His son tapped.

“C’mon. You pride yourself on creative parenting solutions. Come up with one!” A little voice in my head said.

“Why do you want to tap my arm when you know I don’t like it?” I asked in the fakest nice voice that I have. (It was either that or hissing through clenched teeth.)

“Because your armies are so softy and I love to touch them.” (He calls my arms “armies” and is always petting, kissing or, as in this case, tapping them.)

I sighed. Then asked him if he could rub my arms instead since I liked it when he did that. “If you don’t want to rub them, then I’ll go sit up by Dad where you won’t be able to touch them.”

The tap-tap-tapping stopped, he kissed my arm and slowly stroked my bicep. We both smiled. I was still cramped in the back seat and my feet remained atop the carton of juice boxes, but at least I was no longer plotting my child’s death.

Wordless Wednesday: A Lucky Car Accident

In 1996, I was driving my Ford Tempo “Sherry” when a black car slammed into the driver’s side door.

You can tell how bashed in the driver door was.

I remember waking up with the gear shift between my knees.

This is what hit me.

R.I.P. Sherry

I was lucky to have only a broken collar bone and bruised ribs.

Families By The Numbers: How Does Yours Measure Up?

Do you know how many families are just like yours? We’ve all got aunts who can easily be referred to as the Cat Lady, or uncles and/or cousins who try too embarrassingly hard to be cool.

But how many U.S. households look like yours? Didn’t know if you peeped the graphic in The New York Times recently that gave us a glimpse inside our homes. The link of it is here.

After futzing around, I found that 8.1 million homes are similar to my own, meaning a husband, wife and two kids. Most of us have incomes between $75,000 and $150,000 and compared to other groups, a higher proportion of Asians live in these households.

Of course the graphic doesn’t factor in that my husband’s a blond-haired, blue-eyed boy from Norway and I’m a brown girl from Kansas. I’d love to see the interracial numbers though.

According to the U.S. Census, the number of interracial marriages has risen 20 percent since 2000 to about 4.5 million. And that number continues to grow.

The stereotypical nuclear family is constantly changing, what will it look like in the future?

With New York’s historic approval of gay marriage, I’m sure it won’t be long before other states follow suit. The New York Times’ family-o-meter now shows there’s 18,654 households with two men and two kids. Ten years down the road, what will that number be?

I love that our society is constantly evolving. It wasn’t so long ago that marriages like my own were illegal and people proclaimed that the Bible was against interracial relations. (The U.S. Supreme Court declared such unions legal in 1967.)

So I ask again, how many households look just like yours? None. We’re all unique and come with our own formulations. What we do have in common is beyond the numbers. It’s the good stuff, things like hope, love and happiness. And thank God for that.