Saturday, May 31, 2014

Don't Fence Me In

Today was wash day.  I did another protein treatment.  I think I will ease my focus on protein and try to maintain balance.  TR's hair has corkscrew coils but when I comb or pull the hair, the curl stretches and just hangs straight.  I read that protein is needed when the curl does not spring back. Today's concoction included 1/2 of a banana that i had frozen. I boiled it to thaw it.  It was super easy to mash and remove the clumps Pre-treatment. I used honey, coconut oil, EVOO, 1 egg and avocado. My avocado did not ripen after 6 days in a brown paper bag in the fridge. I had to mash and blend it and it never got mushy. I had to pick clumps of avocado out of TR's hair.  Ripe avocados only from now on!
I left the smoothie in her hair for 6 hours and then washed and conditioned, oiled it, put moisturizer in and did 3-strand twists. Happily her hair is now maintaining its curls.  

I used the smoothie on my hair and it was great.  It was almost as if it straightened and detangled my hair.  sadly I have no one to style it for me, so it's been sectioned and braided and left to air dry.

Meatless 

I gave up meat this week and besides weight loss, I feel like my skin looks good.  I need to get exercise so my skin won't sag with the weight loss.  Its not good (IMO) to be slim because if you are sick a week, you have no fat reserved.   I made roasted eggplant this week.  The kids gave it a thumbs down and Mr. A laughed.  He dislikes eggplant.  He also dislikes quiche and other egg based dishes.  He likes meat, but I think meatless meals should be on the menu at least once a week.

The Fences

I feel like as a black woman, there is a fence some other expect I should fit into.  The fence is not in my yard,  at my house, not in my neighborhood, city, state or even stratosphere.  But as long as my choices work for me, I won't be fenced in simply to be in a crowd. I don't like crowds.  A huge reason I like self-employment is the ability to handle my personal business during the times when masses are at work.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Big Dreams

I've got big dreams, but sometimes I get sleepy.

Yesterday I lamented to Mr. A on my inability to have a day of what I want.  I am the parent mainly tasked with the duty of driver.  I doubt Mr. A can relate.  His day isn't controlled by kids schedules.  My day is.  It can be frustrating.  Mr. A wants TR to be on time to gymnastics and commit to the activity, but on those days she says she does not want I go, I cannot muster up the resolve to talk to her about being committed.  I am too happy to do something else and get a little of my life back.

We miss so mch of the day and life doing gymnastics.

As tired as I get of it, we need to play hookie from the sport every now and again.  One reason is skipping class, reminds me that if we were not at gym, we'd probably be at home doing little.  Of course relaxing at home, is great.

Today QT and I dropped TR at school, got a car wash, went to play at the park, story time, the grocery store to my mom's job, then to Ikea.  We stopped and had lunch at Ikea.  We were there. Little over 1.5 hours. It was nice!  My mom got TR from school, so I was able to relax.

I wanted to do a little more shopping and visit more stores but I'd had QT up without a nap for at least 8 hours.  We walked quite a distance in the heat and he played.  We both needed a nap.

I prefer to avoid crowds and shop on weekdays before 3 pm, so that adds a challenge.  If I was willing to spend a Saturday in crowds, I could spend more time shopping/browsing.  The kids like Saturday to rest so we tend to stay at home.

My other big dream is to take Pilates proformer.  I figure i can take a class while TR is in gymnastics.  We shall see.  Me and my big dreams.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Uniforms- Set

The kids uniforms arrived.  QT is very excited because he knows he will start school soon.  He hides in the lobby at TR's school, trying to sneak into her class. The kids try to help him sneak in.   On some days, the caterer will give him a lunch and I watch as his chest moves out in pride.  My little guy is ready to enter the big boy world.
TR is committed to her role as big sister. She shares her experiences with QT and advises him on doing better and challenging himself. She tod him if he wants to be a better reader, he needs to keep reading harder books. QT is committed to learning to read. TR has him spelling. I need to find my zoo phonics cards so he gets used to the sounds letters makes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Firm Biz

My boutique firm is quite busy.
I would like to slow down but this economy makes me feel the need to strike while the iron is hot. Soon, there may be no money to make and its much harder to earn and the cost of living is so high, so slowing down may present a hardship.
In 2011, it was me and an assistant. Mr. A finally agreed to get on board and now the boutique has 2 attorneys, 2 advocates and an office/business manager (Mr. A) I went from having a max of 2-3 clients at a time to now a case load of maybe 40 at a time.
The addition of an attorney and advocates, have actually made more work because all the cases they work on, I also have to work on, on top of the cases I work on.
I have committed to not stressing out. My clients want me to stress but I cannot. My clients are often upset and want me to be upset with them, but I cannot. I have to many clients to serve and there will not be anything remaining of me to give to anyone if I stress because a client is trying to drag me into their vortex.
Because the firm is boutique I tend to give a very personalized and responsive service. I am great with names and facts and apparently this causes clients to believe they are my only client and I should and can be at their beck and call. Sadly as part of my no stress commitment, I fire those clients immediately and without warning. I just can't deal with people who devalue me.
I give each client close to my full attention when communicating with them and instead of them thinking that maybe I treat each client that way, some prefer to think I have no other clients. I cannot work with people who are overly demanding. I cannot, I will not.
Money So when we were in L.A. Mr. A's income was carrying the business through the no money months. Mr. A became business manager when we were in L.A. and then our income really bloomed. Here in the bay for the most part the business is our primary income source.
It's scary but it feels good because its been supporting us comfortably for two years. Our monthly expenses have more than tripled and we've been able to fund it. I have to compare things in hindsight because its hard to assess the financial piece. But clearly the business is earning more because everything is costing more and we are funding it on mostly business income.
The Future
I have a few more business ideas I want to implement. I knew Mr. A would be a great mate and we would be a great team. He seriously makes a plan of action and acts, anytime I tell him of a business idea. He speaks life to my dreams and goals.
My grandparents ran a business together and because of that business (and my mother preserving what they obtained) they left inheritance for their grandchildren. I want to do the same! Mr A wants to do the same. It feels good to have common goals that we are willing to sacrifice to accomplish.
I know that Bel Air home is attainable. It feels good to know a dream can be attained through perseverance.
The Past
Sunday night Mr. A put meat on the grill. Yesterday, in the wee hours of the hour Mr. A got up to do something to the meat on the grill. It occurred to me that when we lived in our L.A. apartment, in my mind (i am sure I spoke it) I wanted a backyard so he could grill and not have to walk to the back patio of our building to grill. I wanted him to be able to grill, the kids to play while he grilled and me be able to look out the patio doors and see them. We have that now.
I told Mr. A, that everything we have, everything we have accomplished, including our kids, we got together. We moved into our L.A. apartment with a bedroom set and no furniture. I was happy as I could be to be starting a life with Mr. A. I liked our empty apartment because I knew everything in it would be ours.
If feels great to build together, to fund our dreams together, to sacrifice together. We both took the risk of leaving jobs to build a business. We did it before we had kids, but fortunately we took those risks and made those financial sacrifices then.
Business Models
I realize I make my work look easy. I have no desire to make it look super challenging. Building a business and maintaining that business does require sacrifices of time and money. I am always willing to offer my story but it bugs me sometimes that people think a website or an ad was all I did. I spent some time learning first. I have seen folks come and go because they aren't willing to sacrifice and they see where I am and think that is where the beginning is. Once again people want to discount my hard work. Just because I am not sweating and grunting or moaning, does not mean its easy. I try to keep myself centered so the grind does not grind me into pieces.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Potpourri of thoughts

Hair

I am so pleased to have figured out a care and styling regimen for TR's hair.  All of these months -since school began- I have been daily styling her hair.  For the last few weeks, I have styled once a week and her mane is looking healthy and fabulous.  We save so much time in the mornings, so she is pleased.  I think having her hair styled once a week, as opposed to once a day, has allowed her to accept having it styled.  Today I wet it with the water spray bottle, added Tresemme moisture rich and retwisted her hair. I picked up a banana and an avocado so it could ripen for this weekends hair treatment. I am excited!

Gymnastics

QT has joined the boys 6-9 year old class.  One of the team mothers told me I should put him in that class., instead of the 4-5 year old class. I asked the coach and he said QT could join but QT is 4 and the minimum age is 6 and the director only made exceptions for mature 5 year olds.  I emailed the director, a miscommunication occurred and I thought she was okay with QT enrolling.

This week she asked me how QT got in the class.  I told her she okayed it via email.  She said she must have not read the email. At this point QT has been in the class for 3 weeks.  The director asked the coaches thoughts, the coaches said he follows instructions and does the skills.  So QT is now properly enrolled.

He enjoys being with the big boys.  He seems to prefer playing with kids 7 years and older anyway.

I learned with TR that it's easier for some kids to engage with older kids.  I am happy the older kids are interested in playing with my kids.  When TR was two and would see a similiar aged kid, she would introduce herself and ask their name.  So many kids would just stare and I would wonder if the kid considered her the 'stranger' their parent told them not to speak to.  After a year or so of being frustrated by this, I realized that when she approached 6 year old kids or older, they would engage. I later heard that kids parallel play prior to playing together.  My kids played interactively.

Dating

I am often amazed when reading blogs with black women discussing dating issues.  I see so much commentary about what would not be taken. Do the black women who have softer hearts not blog? Is it possible that that the majority of black women resemble the sapphire character and if a man deviates from a chidlike place of obedience he is viewed as barely human without any redeeming qualities?

Apparently lots of black women date in defense and protect mode.  Perhaps that happens as women get older, they have less trust as a result of bad/failed relationships.  This mentality gets vocalized and bitterness and mistrust becomes the norm.

I dated guys that I was not compatible with.  I did not think those guys were horrid people.  I knew early they were not suited for my personality or what I wanted my future life to look like.  So when I am asked about dating I don't bash the character of a man,  I focus on compatibility.  I don't focus on what I would not take, I want to know what the person asking is compatible with.

I really think black women should get their girlfriends out of their dating lives.  If a relationship requires a group vote then maybe people should seek out a person they can date and trust their own self.

Health

Back in my junior year of college I got fat or thick.  I did not want to be thick.  I was in L.A. and I knew the type of guys I liked preferred a slimmer chick.  I did not like the type of guy that dated thick girls.  I dropped over 20lbs and committed to keeping my wait at 136lb range.  I have successfully done that, even after having kids.

My ease in maintaining a fit looking physique has allowed me to slack on diet. I am too old to focus on merely looks so now I have to focus on health.  It's gonna be expensive but my new journey is to eat healthy and intentionally.

Deep sigh............ Fortunately I don't have bad eating habits,  I don't crave desserts, I don't have a love of bread, I don't require meet but I do need to mix in more colors of vegetables, and I plan to fast more and skip meat at least twice a week.

It's beautiful to get older but the body gets fragile.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ready, Set, wait


Monday

Land's End emailed us a 30% off coupon so I bought the bulk of the uniforms the kids will need for school this fall.

QT has two pants colors to choose from and 4 colors for shirts. Choosing for him is simple.
Girls have grey skirt, plaid skirt, blue skirt and tan skirt, blue,tan or plaid jumper and 2 colors of pants. Right now TR has more school clothes than QT because she can reuse her school pants and skirts from this school year.

TR's non school wardrobe is so small.  I remember how I used to shop for her and now she rarely gets any new items of clothing.

We just recently bought her a two new pair of shoes.  Her last pair were tennis shoes purchased for school.  She cannot wear her new pairs of shoes to school, but since summer is approaching and she needs a pair that she can slip on after gymnastics.

Tuesday

I think I blogged about TR and her two baby root canals.  My mother was big on teeth when we werr kids and I picked up her obsession.  So in October 2012, TR hit QT'/ head, richoched (sp) and hit a wall, or maybe it was vice versa, regardless she knocked a front tooth lose.  The dentist gave her a baby root canal to save the tooth.  That was at a cost of $500.  The dental insurance did not pay.  In March 2013, TR and QT ran into each other and TR knocked her other front tooth loose.  That resulted in a 2nd baby root canal, again at a cost of about $500.

I did not want them pulled because she would have spent all of this time snaggle toothed, baby teeth guide the adult teeth in,  and I love looking at her little teeth.  They are so small and fit her face and personality perfectly.  She is mischievous and when she smiles and laughs her smile says it.

So Tuesday, I notice a bump on TR's gum.  I am thinking abscess, infection, something crazy.  We call the dentist and the bill is $350 to extract.  That price includes nitrous oxide/ laughing gas.  TR got it during the root canal and my oh my, she had great fun.

Mr. A took her in and praise the Lord, it was not an abcess!  Her adult teeth are down and her baby took are hanging in because the gum is holding them.  He thinks they will fall out in weeks or a month.  The dentist offered Mr. A a X-ray photo so I could see and Mr. A, had the nerve to say okay.

This is why I prefer to take the kids to doctor.  I want to see and know.  Mr A thinks exercise, spit and dirt are the cure.

So I am grateful my girl got to keep her baby teeth until nature was ready.

I remember being a kid and my mom paid $2k for my sisters braces. I remember being married and Mr. A paid a similar amount for his braces.  TR is 6 years and 9 days and has already cost us over $1k in dental work.  We are starting are medical expense fund yesterday!

Wednesday

QT tells me I do not play with him.  Mr. A had to work away from home today, so I stayed up late and got up early, so I could work and then focus my day on QT.  Being a work at home mom, looks pretty but it requires so much preparation.

We dropped TR off at school and QT asked I go to the donut/coffee shop he goes to with his daddy.  He gave me driving directions,   QT and I usually go to an organic coffee shop that looks something like the coffee place on Friends.  There are no tasty foods for little kids.

We enter the coffee donut shop (which is around the corner from the shop I take him to) and he tells me all of the things they sell. We order and he leads me
to a table. We sit and he asks me if I like the other coffee shop better.  I said no and he smiles and does his best to make me comfortable in a new location.  I was thinking he is going to do great on dates, if he dates the type of girl who likes a man who wants to take care of her.

Did I blog about how last week QT kept trying to walk on the outside as we walked down a sidewalk?  He eventually told me I did not let him protect me.  I asked how did I stop him and he said, " you don't let me walk on the outside.  I have to walk on the outside to protect you."

It's good to have your kids by the person you like.  I love these chilvarious behaviors QT learns from Mr. A.  I just worry about the girls and the "independent woman" model being made the standard.  He might have to leave the country to find a wife.

After we left the coffee shop, we went to the park and while on the swing QT counted to 128.  We got tired of counting.  I told him that now that he knows the pattern, he can count to any number he
wants.








Saturday, May 17, 2014

Hair Cocktail

This morning I mashed half of a ripe avocado (I love avocado), mixed 1/4 of olive oil and coconut oil, an entire egg, and half of a banana and applied to TR's hair.

Unfortunately I forgot to dampen it prior to adding the treatment. O_o.  I will consider this my trial. Her hair came out fabulous.  It is super shiny and moisturized.

When we lived in L.A. we would go to the Hair Lounge on Wilshire and get natural hair smoothies.  I  am going to get creative with my mixtures and add in okra, cactus, papaya and such based on what the hair needs.

I wanted to give QT a treatment but Mr A had his hair cut so short that the treatment would be to scalp.  So Mr A has agreed to be my next test subject but I had to bribe him.

I will try to get a better photo of TR's hair. I also need to figure out what to do with it for gymnastics. There are some skills that bother her head if her ponytail is not in the right position on her head.

Monday, May 12, 2014

In the Closet

I enjoy looking in my kids' closet.

At the top on the first shelf lies items related to their activities, and when I am returning an item or retrieving an item, I smile inside because they are able to enjoy things.  I am oft tired from being the driver but it's either that are keep them home from after school until the next school day.  

Looking at the closets each day makes me want to organize.  I need to purchase items to aide in the organization and I need ideas on  ways to organize.  So now I have the 'closet project'.

I'll keep you posted.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

track meet

TR won both kindergarten events she competed in.

The standing jump in the video was her first attempt.  Her 3rd was a greater distance but a silly parent decided to coach her kid at the end and stepped right in front of the mat and blocked my view of TR's landing.

Only a nut thinks coaching a kid seconds before their last attempt will be fruitful.

video
video
Anyway, here are the short short videos.

Kindergarten countdown

    TR has less than a month to finish kindergarten and QT starts junior kindergarten this fall.  His JK class is mixed with kindergarten so he will be able to learn what the kinders learn.

  TR has had a great kindergarten year! She loves school and she learned and was exposed to so many things.  Her teacher is an amazing kinder teacher.

   TR's class has had a field trip every month since school began.  Last week we went to Davies Symphony Hall and the orchestra held a special performance for an audience filled with k-3 grade kids.  The orchestra sends interested schools a curriculum and DVD for the classes to use to prepare for the visit to the symphony.

Before we left L.A. she got to do cooking class.  When we moved, I was unable to locate cooking classes for a young child.  Her school has a caterer and he gives cooking classes.  TR chose to give up one gymnastics class to take cooking.  She loves gymnastics so I know she really enjoys taking cooking classes.

I can no longer remember what I felt were must haves for kindergarten.  I know my kid loves school, does not want to miss a day and groans at pick up.  She loves school and her classmates also love it.
TR loves her teacher!  We are so blessed that TR got a nurturing teacher.

TR is very high energy. I am certain a different personality for a teacher would suggest medicating her for hyperactivity.  At TR's school the kids get lots of playtime and TR is in a very well rounded environment, so when it's time to learn she wants to learn and is excited to learn.

My little girl reads better everyday and when we go to the library she chooses books that are harder because she says harder books improve her reading. I appreciate that her teacher, individualizes to each kid and doesn't get trapped in curriculum guides.

Today the group of sister private*/parochial schools had a track meet. TR competed in two events and won both. TR won standing long jump and the 50 meter dash.  The rules limit a kindergartener to two events.

If I make my way to my office, I will upload videos. TR is fast. People were gasping at both her
 speed and her jumping distance.  When she ran she laughed the entire time.  She loves competition.

QT wanted to participate but there were no 4 year old events.  It's awful how people group by age and
 ignore ability.  This week he got to do the gymnastics class for 6-9 year old boys.  He loved it and
was invited to join.  My kids are athletes and they know how to focus and understand instructions.

Note: *I don't view a parochial school as a private school.  I have found that parents of parochial school students don't say private either.  Private schools are $30k and focus on character education in addition to academics.  Parochial schools focus on teaching morals and religious based values, which in my opinion builds character.

I try not to say private, but that may be a distinction only parochial/private school parents care about,

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Hair Stories


The top photo: I mixed equal parts Trader Joe's coconut oil with extra virgin olive oil and used it to massage TR's scalp.  I redid her braids and used a soft bristle brush to smooth her hair.  The bottom photo is two days after hair wash and using only EVOO. I have been hearing aboutcoconut oil for a couple of years.  I feel awful for sleeping on it.  The coconut oil is great. Fortunately for TR, I am figuring out her hair care regimen.  When I turn her head over to her whenshe is a teen, I plan to give her a healthy head of hair and a easy care strategy.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Hair stories

   photo taken  May 5, 2014

    On Saturday morning I put cholosteral conditioner in TR's hair, placed it under a plastic cap ad covered it with a scarf.  Around 6 in the evening, I washed, conditioned and parted TR's hair.  I then used olive oil throughout her hair. I added Tressemme Moisture rich, braided it and  I let her hair air dry.

   On Sunday I brushed the edges and put her braids in bands. On Sunday night I removed the bands.

   On Monday I repeated what I did on Sunday.  I plan to see how long I can leave the braids in.  My goal is 10-14 days.

    Her hair is not pulled tight.  The photo looks like I am the mom who has the child's hair pulled so tight that her eyes are narrowed.  It's not.  They are loose.

   I will do the same parts in August and compare the growth.

   My plan is to keep it moisturizered, use protein and low manipulation.  Gymnastics will be my challenge and our schedule of activites.  I'll probably get hair decorations. This summer I plan to get her hair in braids and also in 2 strand twists.


Gumbo

My Dolls

Mommyhood for me is the most fulfilling activity I think I could have engaged in.    My life is never boring, my mind is constantly stimulated, my creativity expanded, my capacity to love increased and I cannot express in words how much the love is freely  provided to me by my kids.

My little kids do drive me wacky multiple times each day, which is why I could not possibly ever be bored by motherhood.  They are entertaining and it is wonderful to observe them experience a new thing or take pleasure in a familar thing.

These little people inspire me to be my best.  I want them to have a good childhood, so I have to control what I can control and do the things I can control to the best of my abilities.  I consistently evaluate my behavior and my treatment of them.  If I want them to be patient, kind and industrious, I must display those characteristics.

I believe God does not want me yelling and fussing at my kids.  I have felt this for a few weeks.  I want my kids to know how to respond to frustrations without resorting to anger, so I cannot get frustrated with them and yell  in anger.  Mr A went out of town for a few days and I seemed to have broken out into stress induced hives.  The bumps did not bother me but one day I was yelling at the kids and the hives began burning.  I calmed myself and accepted the hint.

Fortunately, I do not curse, threaten or demean them (or anyone) when I am yelling.  I usually am yelling asking 'why did you do that?" I then yell instructions or a correction. But the yelling/fussing must cease.

The stress was work induced and a result of needless procrastination. Another lesson learned.

Hair Care

TR's hair is a bit past shoulder length when pulled straight.  A few weeks ago, I clipped her ends and yesterday I washed it and realized how much thicker it is.  I don't know if clipping the ends resulted in the hair appearing thicker.

I am on a mission to get her to mid-back length hair.  My goal is to document the journey on this blog.  We will see if it happens.  On Friday I hit  Tarjay and purchased mixed chicks shampoo, leave in conditioner and the conditioner.  I showed it to Mr. A and he said, 'y'all black.'.   I pondered it and hit YouTube and found longhairdon't care.

My goal is more about growth than style so I took the Mixedchicks products back and got back $45.  I purchased Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner and a salon sized bottle of Tressemme Moisturizer for $5.99 and a few other things.  I was out of there for $19.  Then I hit the grocery store and purchased EVOO.  Next I will purchase coconut oil and mix it with the EVOO.

  I plan to mix up eggs and EVOO and give TR a protein treatment next week.  I have an avocado in the fridge so I will use that too.

 I am excited with my new low to no hair maintenance plan.  I am certain TR is excited.  I told her about getting braids this summer and she is on board with a hairstyle that will allow her to have2 - 3 weeks of having her head left alone.

Arts

  After church today the kids and I went to a dance performance.  It was great!  QT loved it! TR liked it but she was focused on the dancers technique. If she ever decides to do dance again, I am sure she will demand a Debbie Allen Red Birds type of class.  We were supposed to go to a symphony in S.F.
 with TR's class but that appears to have fallen apart.  QT usually goes on the good field trips.  TR's 
teacher said he can't go and I wanted to go as a family.  Hopefully QT's JK class will do it next year.
    After the teacher told us QT cannot go she then asked if we could take more kids because some 
parents had dropped out.  QT may have been kicked off of the trip because they figure we can give 
his seat to another student.
  I will have to find another opprtunity to introduce him to a symphony.  I love the arts and I enjoy exposing my kids to various cultural activities.  
   I plan to let them do lots of art programs this summer.  QT loves taking art classes and creating.  He likes taking things apart and figuring out how things work.  I think he enjoys art because he gets to 
build things and start at the beginning of the process.

Summer

I am getting excited.  Our funds are looking healthy so we'll have some options.  My goal is to provide a summer of fun activities for my kids.  I loved summer as a child.  My mother took us on a trip each summer and we got to play the entire summer.  As an adult I realize my leisure time was work for the adults. In my head I realize I need to meal plan for summer and keep the drink dispenser full.

Yuck!

My disgust for master-planned, cookie cutter homes is undeniably unreasonable.   KB Homes causes my dislike of these boxes to increase each time its ads appear on my FB timeline.  I like craftsman homes and I dislike mass production in most everything.  I like estate sales, owner-run restaurants, owner-run retail stores because I like the uniqueness individuals bring.  I have a strong creative propensity and too much sameness disturbs me.