I’ve always loved jewelry. When I was a 5-year-old and in a community play, we did an icebreaker. The rules were that you had to say your name and something that you liked that started with the same letter as your name. Well, I had my answer all ready to go: apples (go figure) but when the girl in front of me used it (the nerve!) I was faced with a dilemma. As I couldn’t quickly think of another ‘a’ word that I liked, and I didn’t want to be unoriginal or lie, I decided to break the rules and say something I genuinely liked: jewelry. It drew many laughs, and probably made more than a few think I wasn’t very with it; but it has since served as a good story and foreshadowed a pattern of rule-breaking in order to be original and authentic.

On a recent day trip to a cute neighboring town I came across a sweet bracelet. It was a silver bracelet with a bird’s nest charm made of white pearls and silver wire. It was labeled as an “our family nest” bracelet. I was smitten, but it was more than I felt I could spend. So I was DELIGHTED when I came across Sarah Ortega’s instructions on how to make a bird’s nest necklace (or bracelet) easily and inexpensively. The only other instruction that I needed was to Google a youtube video of how to attach a jump ring. Pictured above is one of my first attempts. I’m not usually crafty, but found this to be easy, calming, beautiful, AND related to mothering.  I’m excited to make some for my fellow feminist mamas!


Pod Parenting

image from apple.com

In an increasingly digitizing era, technology appears to evolve at warp speed. This evolution strikes me in a couple of ways. On one hand, new technology and the capabilities brought with it such as connection and ease excites me. (As a blogger, how could I not delight at these innovations?) Yet sometimes I drag my feet about new technology, dragging along with it a nostalgia for “simpler times” that is perhaps more romanticized than real. I am finding that these tendencies carry over into my thoughts on technology and parenting as well.

This Christmas, A (age 8) got an iPod touch from her biological mother. Within wireless service, an iPod touch pretty much has all the capabilities of an iPhone (texting, internet, apps, etc.) save for the actual phone calling. But it has face time, the i-version of Skype. I can see the potential benefits: easier connection with one parent when with another, staying in touch with friends, a means of accessing help in an emergency (as long as within wireless range!) educational apps, and play. Yet at first, and still somewhat, it made me uneasy.

As a new iPhone user myself, I know the vast amount of information A now has access to, and frankly, it scares me. But that isn’t my only concern. After an iPod touch, will toys seem a bit irrelevant? A limited cell phone would have served well as a stepping-stone, and in an emergency, more useful. An iPod touch just seems a little adult for an eight-year-old. A book recommendation from one of J’s sisters flashes into my head: Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl by Dannah Gresh. I haven’t read the book, and as it is written from a seemingly conservative Christian perspective, I am sure I would take issue with a number of points. However, the concept of giving kids a childhood is of interest. Is an iPod touch moving A further away from girlhood too soon?

Yet, I also have to ask myself, am I just being persnickety? Overprotective?  Am I just behind the times? Not progressive enough? Do I wish my childhood had been more tech savvy? After learning that both A’s cousin, and a good friend of hers, KK (both her age) also got iPod touches for Christmas I have to ask myself, is this the new IT item for kids in this age range? When I was A’s age, I longed for a pogo ball. And for the toy versions of technology, not the real thing. Yet she is growing up in an age and space much different from my own experience. Everyone’s childhood is different –  I’m just wondering will A’s have a pod at the center of it? And if so, to what consequence and benefit?

Another selfish reason I have for pause about my initial reluctance comes from the connection that A and I have made via the i-technology. Though I love A as much as I love E, my relationship with her has been harder. Yet after she got the iPod touch, I felt a profound shift in our relationship. All of a sudden she was smiling when I took pictures of her and even texting me. I felt a particular glow when she reached out to me over text from a sleepover to let J and I know about something she had forgotten.  Part of me wants to thank Steve Jobs’ family myself for helping facilitate this (even if temporary) change. As with many things, my working conclusion is that the iPod is neither angel nor devil, but a much more complicated phenomenon to be navigated with thought and reflection.

J and I are in the process of talking about limits (right now iPod touch goes to sleep when she goes to bed). As so much parenting is, this is new territory. We’ll see how pod parenting goes . . .

after some time

decorating the tree with E

Hello, blogworld! Finally after a long silence, I am back. The past semester was extremely rough on me . . . it was a fall into winter of feeling “not enough” in any area of my life. That said, however, I did also have lots of moments of joy stirred into the mix. We had good holidays (above is a picture from tree-decorating with J and the girls) but all of us got sick at one point … lots of fevers, coughs, and stuffy noses. I’m currently recovering from my own version of the flu and gearing up for the last semester of graduate school. Teaching, thesis-writing, and becoming a Master awaits!

It won’t be long before I write again . . . one thing I learned in my absence is that blogging is a form of self-care that I need to make time for. Whether the words are read or not, sometimes it just helps to have a blog of one’s own. Perhaps V. Woolf would feel the same if living in today’s times? I think perhaps.




Music to live to

Until I can get around to a real post, here is my current go-to song!


November magic

Hope you all had a Happy Halloween! I wasn’t able to go trick-or treating with the girls this year, but we had a Halloween weekend instead. Along with some other family and A’s friend, KK, we carved pumpkins and had some sweet treats. A designed the jack-o-lanterns, but E made hers unique by adding a couple of curls.

I’ve always loved the wonder and magic of Halloween, and I tend to feel a sense of disappointment when it’s “officially” over. This year, though, while carrying the magic of October, I want to be open to seeing the magic that November offers. As I think about the upcoming (and problematic) November celebration of Thanksgiving in the U.S. I question whether the lessons of gratitude, reparations, and forgiveness are among this magic.

We’ll see what the month brings! Sending magical wishes to you…

Today in one of the classes that I am a grad student in, we had a most interesting activity.

Our discussion centered on talk about how to have what Patricia Hill Collins terms “honest bodies” in her text, Black Sexual Politics. Collins writes eloquently about the concept of honest bodies being a space where mental, spiritual, and physical elements co-exist and interact (283). She also calls for a shift from seeing  Black bodies to placing emphasis on how honest Black bodies experience (i.e. feel, hear, move).

In order to ground us in what this means for our lives (regardless of our racial identity) our professor had us jot down what we think about during sex. If this was too large, we were guided to think about the last time we had sex. Though some balked at the exercise, I found it to be very insightful. I focused on the last time J and I had sex. An excerpt of my list is:

* i think i forgot to shave my legs

*that feels good

* i want a baby someday; we’re going to have so much fun trying to conceive someday

* i’m so glad he checks in with me while we’re having sex

* i’m so glad we can laugh together (my ex-husband got VERY angry if there was ever laughter in our sexual bedroom)

I ended up sharing the list with J, and we had a conversation about how our thinking during sex varies. He laughed and jokingly said, “All I think is this feels good.” Which some days is true. Some days there is no thought — there is only movement, there is only a sinking into one another. And some days there is a very long list. I’ve been pondering this activity and seeking ways to become a more honest body. How can we become more honest in our bodies, and encourage our partners to do the same? It’s something to think about.

Last week, both of the girls were a tad under the weather on the evening I had planned to come spend the night hanging with them. While I was consulting with J over the phone about whether that would be best, E, hearing the discussion, declared loudly in the background “laughter makes me healthy!” And she made sure to followed it up with a huge laugh.

I did go to the city that night, and we did actually laugh quite a bit: speaking gibberish, taking self-portraits with a digital camera, and cuddling while catching up on the week. I don’t have any grand jokes to incite laughter, but I do catch myself hearing E’s proclamation and laughter in my heart (I meant to type head, but think the typo is probably better.) This indeed does make me healthier.

Wishing you all a giggle, a chuckle, and a happy roar!