Thursday, December 31, 2009

New Years Traditions

Hey Y'all:

Just read a status update from a friend on facebook. She listed her menu for New Years dinner and I feel bad that I don't hold true to the traditions in a common Southern African American household. I searched the web and my heart was warmed seeing all the soul food dishes that will be pipping hot on most tables this coming Friday. My husband however doesn't agree that this is tradition. I tried to tell him that it is but he doesn't believe me.

How many of you will have the following on your table tomorrow to bring you 'luck' in the new year?
Collard Greens - meant to represent money
Black-eye peas (or Hoppin' John) - meant to represent coins
Pork - (could be in your black-eye peas) - meant to represent progress

I found this article on the AC that will help give some more background into why these foods were picked.
On New Year's Day, we remember our southern ancestors and how the American Civil War affected so many American lives. We usually eat black-eyed peas flavored with hog jowl and collard greens for dinner on New Year's Day for good luck and in remembrance of times of hardship and courage. The black-eyed peas represent coins and the collard greens represent dollar bills. It is said that if you eat these foods on New Year's Day, you will have plenty of money that coming year. Whether it really works or not, it's a tradition that southerners follow for dinner every New Year's Day. Here's the way I cook my black-eyed peas and collard greens on new year's day. I always add Louisiana hot sauce on my black-eyed peas and the collards. Fresh spring onions and a pan of cornbread baked in the old iron skillet make this New Year's Day dinner complete.
Happy New Year. I pray that 2010 is a wonderful year for all of us!

Until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Adoption Wednesday: The Mom Factor




Hey Y'all:

This Christmas Miss Leah received her first baby doll and carriage. Her dad stared at her in awe because he couldn't believe that his 20 month old daughter knew what to do with a baby doll. Is it just maternal instinct he kept asking me? Of course it is I told him, mommy's just know how to handle their babies! Even at 20 months old. Leah's doll says, mama, papa, bye bye, it snores and it cries. The boys are typical boys! Erick wants to play football with the doll and Myles wants to sit in the carriage.

If Leah is not near her doll and hears her make noise, she immediately stops what she's doing and goes to find out what's going on. The cutest thing is watching her console her doll! She's a little mama and it's too cute.

Watching my little girl with her doll made me think of all the women out there who are childless, going through every procedure known to man to conceive. Although I know first hand how it feels to want an child and not be able to have one, I want you to know that there is an alternative.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Twin Tuesday: Potty Time!


Hey Y'all:


I think it's officially potty training time in our house! While chatting with my Mom on the phone, Myles ran past me showing his naked behind!

"Myles" I yell, "where is your pamper"

My mom hears me asking Myles and is now on the phone cracking up.

"Wait Deveter did he take it off" she says,

"Yes Mommy it looks that way" I respond and off I go to find the now discarded pamper, hoping and praying that there isn't a stinky surprise left behind.


Later on that night he did it again! Erick came running out of his room saying "oooooh Mommy I can see Myles' pee pee" (that's what we call the penis in our house for now) "Ugh" I say, "did he take his pamper off again?" "Yup" is Erick's response! Needless to say this time when I put his pamper back on I included a onesie to the mix!


Note to self don't let Myles walk around the house with just a tee shirt and pamper, when the pamper is wet he WILL take it off!

Do you celebrate Kwanzaa?


Hey Y'all:


I was checking out a post on Blogher.com regarding Kwanzaa and since I've developed a bit of a writers block I thought I would pose the question. Do you (if you are Black or African American) celebrate Kwanzaa?


I can honestly say I don't know anyone that does. The Seven Principles are outstanding and really should be celebrated in the Black community but I'm wondering if anyone really celebrates this holiday?


Check out the principles created by the founder of Kwanzaa Dr. Maulana Karenga

Umoja (Unity)To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.


Do you celebrate Kwanzaa? If you do can i come over for the Feast????
Until next time...
MUAH!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Top 5 Reasons Why...


Hey Y'all:

Now that Christmas is over and hopefully all the candy canes are gone here's a little list that I thought should be on the top of your list for 2010.

Erick had a dentist appointment a couple weeks and she wants to see the twins to be seen in the new year. As a mom I always say that Erick was my test baby. You know when you are a first time parent you have no clue what you are doing, your kid gets to teach you so you know what you are doing with the rest of them. Right?

Well Erick taught us a VERY expensive lesson regarding oral care.

Here is my top 5 reason why oral care is important early in life.

5. You don't want a child with yuck mouth so make sure you take them to the dentist when they have about 10 teeth in their mouth or when they turn 2 which ever comes first.

4. Make sure you use a warm cloth to clean your baby's gum's and tongue if they don't have teeth yet.

3. Never I repeat NEVER allow your little one to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice. The liquid pools around their teeth and can rot them.

2. If you notice any discoloration on their teeth make sure you take them to the dentist STAT.

1. The number one reason why oral care is important early in life is because dental care is expensive! If you can prevent having a $2,0000 extraction bill for a 3 year old do so. Erick had to have four of his front teeth removed after I gave birth to the twins because his teeth were rotting from sleeping with a bottle. He will now be toothless for his first three years of school! All his class pictures from pre-K to about second grade will look like he lost his two front teeth.

So make sure you get your kids teeth checked every six months and don't let your baby sleep with a bottle even if it's water!

Hope this information helps.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Candy Cane


Hey Y'all:

There is no evidence that the following is true but, I find it sweet and want to share it with you as my Merry Christmas!

Many years ago, a candy maker wanted to make a candy at Christmas time that would serve as a witness to his Christian faith. He wanted to incorporate several symbols for the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. He began with a stick of pure white hard candy; white to symbolize the Virgin Birth and the sinless nature of Jesus; hard to symbolize the solid rock, the foundation of the Church firmness to represent the promise of God.

The candy maker made the candy in the form of a "J" to represent the name of Jesus, who came to earth as our Savior. He thought it could also represent the staff of the Good Shepherd, with which he reached down into the ditches of the world to lift out the fallen lambs who, like all sheep, have gone astray.

Thinking that the candy was somewhat plain, the candy maker stained it with red stripes. He used three small stripes to show the stripes of the scourging Jesus received, by which we are healed. The large red stripe was for the blood shed by Christ on the cross so that we could have the promise of eternal life. Unfortunately, the candy became known as a candy cane - a meaningless decoration seen at Christmas time. But the true meaning is still there for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

Merry Christmas and remember Jesus is the reason for the season!

Please find the history of the candy cane here.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why... I SERIOUSLY dislike the MTA


Hey Y'all:


I'm a New Yorker! Born, raised and still reside. I have a problem though and it's with the MTA! It SUCKS!!!! So here is my top 10 reasons why...

I seriously dislike the NYC Metropolitan Transit Authority


10. Trains and buses are filthy! Between the bottles and food that's left on the train, and the newspapers and trash left on the bus I'm fed up. What pray tell are the darn folks with orange vests doing all day? I have yet to see someone clean a bus when it reaches the depot! Nasty

9. The rodents! Why I ask? Why are there so many rats on the tracks? I know it has a lot to do with point number 10 but really? What's up with poison or rat traps or something? Now we are being visited by sky rats (pigeons) they are now entering the station and sometimes even the train.

8. Communication - OK so I see the big yellow and orange posters that are around the stations and on the trains and even on the buses when there are services changes or notices but they are never clear! Then you have the dang on intercoms on the train platform they SUCK. When I'm on the F train I can't hear a thing! And why, why I ask don't all of the conductors on EVERY train announce the station? I mean we all don't know what stop is next! The lady sitting next to me from Idaho trying to get to the tree lighting shouldn't have to ask every person on the A train if she's going in the right direction.




7. How can they increase my fare but not my space. So we have these new buses that really SUCK! There is major space in the front of the bus but there is a huge hump of some sort covering the tire so there isn't space for seats. Then you have a few seats but no hand rails it's so annoying!


6. Customer Service is usually pretty HORRIBLE! I take the same bus every morning to get to my train then I have to transfer to another train. Yes I take a bus and two trains to work every single day! Any who I get on the same bus see the same bus driver and she NEVER speaks when greeted. I get you might not love your job but if you are working with the public the least you can do is say hi back or you're welcome when someone says thank you. Ugh... so annoying. Not to mention the fact that escalators and elevators at most stations are either broken down or under repair half the darn time. Then when the weather is inclement (as they say) why can't they put more trains out or more buses on the roads. Just because there is snow on the ground doesn't mean folks don't have to get to work or kids to school!

5. Panhandlers so I hear the announcement that it's against the law to give money to the homeless on the train. But here is what I'm trying to figure out... how exactly do these people manage to remain in the transit system for so long? Most of these people look like they never leave. We often see the same people asking for money on the same lines EVERY day. What's really being done about this besides telling riders not to give them money?

4. Sick Passenger - Ok people if you are sick DON'T GET ON THE TRAIN. However if someone does become ill on a train why? why I ask does the entire grid get jacked up? I've been on trains when they take the train out of service because there is a sick passenger. How does that help the sick person? Why can't the station manager come get the sick person and wait with them until EMS comes to the rescue? Why must I be late to my dentist appointment because someone got sick? I don't get it. Am I missing something her?


3. Metro card machine. Is there an ulterior motive motive for the metro card machine being done on Monday morning? I mean you want us to use the machine, force us really to use the machine when to took away the token clerk from most stations. So again I have a question Why my dear MTA do you make it so difficult for us to make it to our destination late on Monday morning because the machine won't take cash or only takes cash and not credit or doesn't give you an unlimited just a single ride. I don't get it... there must be an ulterior motive for this behaviour!




2. Fare hikes. I remember when the train and bus cost .75. We are now paying $2.25 and the service is the SAME. Where is my money going? The MTA has the ability to cripple this city and they know it. If we don't have train and bus service many jobs will go undone but the questions remains why tax the people that are keeping this city that never sleeps awake? I don't know if I can handle another fare increase. Not sure when they'll ask for the next one but if they do I'll be sure to protest!



The number 1 reason why I seriously dislike the MTA is because they are trying to force school kids to buy their own metro cards! How in the world can this happen? Do they not realize how many children will end up being truants because their family can not afford to purchase additional metro cards? Are they seriously considering doing this to our city and to our youth? Does the MTA not realize that by doing so they will ultimately damage an entire generation and stunt their growth with this single action? Currently a monthly metrocards costs $89 dollars! I am a family of five and I can only think of what that would mean for my household if all of my children were train/bus age. My husband and I would need metrocards and one for each of our children so that's $445 a month on top of food, clothes, shelter, supplies etc! How the heck can they get away with this? I'm signing this petition to fight for our kids, please join me!


I know that was a long one but I had to get it out. Feel free to leave your top 5 or 10 in the comments area!


Until next time...
MUAH

Adoption Wednesday - How to Tell Your Child...


Hey Y'all:


Now that you've decided to adopt a child, how do you explain to said little one who was adopted as an infant that they are not biologically yours? When you welcome an older child into your home this isn't an issue, most times they know their history and who their biological family members are. What about the little baby you bring home from the agency who is days, weeks or months old? What happens when they discover they don't look like you? How do you explain to them that you wanted a child and went on a search for them.


Well folks there's an app for that (hehehehe just kidding.) There are tons of books out there to help you have this discussion. The one bit of advice I will give is to make sure you are honest from the start. Don't keep the truth hidden until something happens (child needs blood and neither parents are a match, or there are other issues that need to be explained but since you haven't told your child the truth the issue is not properly diagnoised.)


Here is MrsDeveter's top 5 list of books on the topic!


  1. I Wished for You: an Adoption Story by Marianne R Richmond

  2. Talking with Young Children about Adoption by Ms. Mary Watkins

  3. Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self by David M. Brodzinsky, Marshall D. Schecter and Robin Marantz Henig

  4. Family Matters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption by E. Wayne Carp

  5. Adoption Is for Always by Linda Walvoord Girard

My mother was very open with my brothers and sisters regarding their family history. She was instumental (to a fault at times) in making sure my siblings knew their biological familes. For those who did not know their family, Mommy has been known to write letters to Montel Williams and have me send a note to the guy on WE TV, Troy Dunn to ask his help in finding their birth family. We haven't had any luck with TV but with the advances we now have in technology I'm sure we are going to find them all; it's just a matter of time.


Well until next time...

MUAH!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Twin Tuesday: Sista Friends


Hey Y'all:

In 2000 I was employed at AOL and met a few life long friends, one of them was Nicole Perez. Nicole isn't just my friend, she's my Puerto Rican Sister. I was the witness at her wedding and she was one of the first people I told that I was pregnant with Erick. Now we share something that just can't be made up. We both have twins, born 4 months to the day of one another and catch this, they are both boy girl twins and the girls were born (pull out by c-section) first!

Not sure how we have so much in common but I guess it was destiny that we are in each others life. When I found out that I was having twins I didn't know how to tell her. I didn't know if she was just going to be happy for me or if she was going to feel like I was stealing her thunder. It was so odd the feelings I had. When I finally told her she couldn't have been happier for us. When we found out that we were having a boy and a girl as well I just knew she would be a little taken aback, but again she was so excited that our children would grow up together and that Jayla and Leah would be Sista friends just like their moms.

Unfortunately we don't get to see one another that much because of the distance between us. But when we do get together; like we did for Jayla and Jayden's 2nd birthday, it's always fun! Her twins are way bigger then mine but they played well together and will be close friends as they get older. I can't wait until the summer when we'll go visit them in CT and have some pool fun!

Nicole, though all of our ups and downs I just want you to know publicly that I love you and cherish our friendship!

Well that's the mush for the day.
Until next time...
MUAH!

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Santa Issue

Hey Y'all:

The Christmas tree is decorated, lights are up at the window with snowfall as the back drop and then the question came; "Mommy, what's Santa gonna bring me for Christmas?" Honestly folks I just looked at him and said, "I don't know... what do you want him to bring you?" Erick didn't say much but I was left with the question, how do I explain Santa to my son?

I am a Christian and celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ more so then anything else. I don't incorporate Santa, his Elf's or anything of that nature into my decorating. I've never taken Erick to get a picture with the jolly fellow at the mall or anything of that nature, but he's everywhere you look. How do I truly explain what Santa represents to us as a family and the fact that he's not bringing Erick or the twins anything this year, without totally smashing my little ones dreams?

Personally I want to tell him the honest truth - there is no Santa coming to our house. He doesn't come to any ones house during the wee hours of Christmas morning, mommy and daddy buy your gifts and place them lovingly under the tree.

I just don't know how! So I did what any respectable mother does, when ever he asks about Santa I say "Go ask your father"

How did you are will you handle the "Santa Issue?"

Until next time...
MUAH!

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Wake Up Call!


Hey Y'all:

The wake up call has nothing to do with some philosophical realization or "ah ha moment" it's really about a morning wake up call!

You already know that but I'll say it again; I'm a married mother of three, but every morning my mother calls to wake us up! Yes, I said my mother who lives in NC calls me every morning to make sure I'm up, and not still drooling in my sleep.

Why?
Because no matter what kind of alarm I use I don't get up. If it's a loud alarm, I have been know to unplug it after repeatedly hitting the snooze button. I have the television set to go off in the morning and that was working for a while but then my folks on Channel 11 news just became background noise and I can ignore them. When my mom was in town for Thanksgiving she made sure I woke up for work. So when she went back home she continued by ringing the phone. She won't hang up until someone answers. Our phone isn't in the bedroom either so I HAVE to get up to answer it! I need someone to wake me up in the morning unless I go to sleep with something pressing on my mind.

Why is waking up such a issue you might ask. Well because my kids will not sleep in their own beds. this morning for instance I woke up at about 5:45 a.m. with Erick's feet in my back Myles' butt in my face and Leah pinned to my stomach! During the night I put them back in their beds at least twice. So by the time the alarm goes off or the television comes on I'm so NOT ready to get up! I'm still sleepy!

My mom's call (or one of the babies crying) is the only way I wake up. So thank you Mommy for the daily wake up call! It really helps me get Erick to school on time and me to work at a decent hour.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Review: FELA!


Hey Y'all:

Last evening I attended the musical FELA! at the Eugene O'Neill Theater in NYC! And it was INCREDIBLE!

The Music
The Dancing
The Acting
The Sets
It was all breathtaking. Thank you so much Alissa for thinking of me and sharing the tickets.

For those of you who don't know...
Fela Anikulapo Kuti or simply Fela, was a Nigerian multi-instrumentalist musician and composer, pioneer of afrobeat music, human rights activist, and political maverick. James Brown cited him as one of the originators of Funk.

The musical was set in a club called The Shrine in Logos, Nigeria during the summer of 1978 which was Fela's final concert there. It takes place six months after the death of Funmilayo, Fela's mother.

All the actors and actresses could sing their FACES off! Sahr Ngaujah who played Fela during my show was SEXY and super talented! Lillias White the actress who played Funmilayo had a voice that was just out of this world. I mean this woman didn't sing she SANG!!!! The dancers were out of control with their body movements. During Act 1 they had a segment where the audince was involved and were asked to do the "ticking of the clock" dance.. it was so much fun.

My favorite scene was in Act 2; Dance of the Orisas. The set was awesome and this gave Lillias White the opportunity to really show her talent.

FELA! was thought provoking and moving. It helped me think outside of the struggles African Americans entailed during the civil rights era and made me compare the struggles that ALL Africans whether in America or Africa, London, Haiti or the Caribbean Isles; when colonization with military force and bible thumping missionaries come into play it's never a good thing!

Music, for Fela, Bob Marley, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, Nina Simone and countless other politically charged artists, was their weapon of choice. Their voices were heard and people fought for their human rights based on the lyrics these pioneers sang. It makes me wonder if the world we currently live in is so placated that we think everything is all good and there is no need for any new political uprisings. Are we really where we want to be as a people? Really? Have any of the new artists that are so revered by our youth taking a stand on Health Care Reform, homelessness, illegall immigration, crime and incarrceration?

It just makes me wonder what we are doing in honor of our anecestors to continue the fight for our human rights.

All that said... if you are in the greater NYC area you should go see this musical it was POWERFUL! If you don't see the musical at least do some online research or go to the library and pick up a book or two to learn about Fela Kuti.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Adoption Wednesday - Ways to Help

Hey Y'all:

For those of you who would love to become a foster or adoptive parent but don't have the room, time or resources to go through the process, please consider some of the following options.

Children in the system can use your help in other ways then becomeing a parent to them. Check out these ideas from About.com. I picked six things from the list that I will do in 2010!

Drive! Many agencies need people to drive foster children to various appointments. Appointments could be visits with birth family, medical or dental visits, or to a new foster home. Some trips may entail long distances. Call your local agencies and see if this is a need in your area.

Walk! Through a new walking event, Walk Me Home, teams can raise funds that will directly benefit local agencies that work with foster children and the families that serve them.

Become a Court-Appointed Special Advocate/CASA worker. CASA workers are volunteers that work with the court and the foster homes to see that the children are not lost in the system and that their needs and wants are heard.

Become a Big Brother or Sister. Spend 3-4 hours a week with a child and make a difference. Have fun! Teach them a new hobby or learn about theirs. Not every child in the Big Brother Big Sister organization is a foster child, but many are. Help make a difference by taking time for a child. Find out more at the Big Brother/Big Sister Web site.

Volunteer at a children's home. Children's homes are usually one of the first stops on the foster care journey for many kids, or it could be a stop in-between foster homes. Children's homes are often looking for volunteers to do many different duties. Some may include wrapping Christmas/Birthday gifts, sorting through donations, reading to the children, or even playing games. Find out what your local children's home's needs are and see what you can do to help.

Donate items to a children's home or foster care agency. Many need school supplies, shoes, clothes, or even toys. Suitcases or bags of any kind are often needed. Did you know that many children go from home to home with their belongings in trash bags? Make sure you donate items that are in good repair. If you wouldn't let your own child wear it, don't send it on to agencies or homes. Some places prefer new items so call ahead.


There are many ways to help children in foster care. Call your local foster care agencies or children's home and see what needs you can fulfill.

Until next time...

MUAH!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Twin Tuesday: The Christmas Tree


Hey Y'all:


So we (I) finally put up the tree on Monday night! It was a task! Some of the lights didn't work (had to call my mom in NC to figure out how to fix them), it's an artificial tree so I have little scrapes from the branches AND as I put ornaments on Myles and Leah took them off!


Thankfully I don't have any valuable ornaments (I do have a swarovski crystal Santa that's packed away in my jewelry box) last year I found a couple boxes of plastic ornaments at Big Lots! and will continue to use them this year.


When I came home last night from seeing the musical Fela! half the tree was decorated and half the tree wasn't! Apparently my little ones took all the ornaments from the bottom of the tree off! I'm sure they were running around the house yelling "ball, ball" and throwing them around.


What are the odds that my tree is up past the 25th?


Fun times in the Brown house and yet another fab journey!

Until next time...

MUAH!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Happy Shopping...

Hey Y'all:

It's not Friday but there is still Christmas shopping to be done. Hope this is a nice find for you!


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Happy Birthday Erick


Hey Y'all:


Today is Erick's 5th Birthday! This past weekend we celebrated with a costume party (hence the Buzz Lightyear costume) I can't believe that five short years ago I gave birth to a beautiful little baby boy. He's grown up so much and is so smart and self assured.


Here is something I wrote on MySpace about him when he was three thought it fitting to share today...


My big boy... Current mood: thoughtful
He used to be so small. Needed me to carry, feed, dress and change him. But a transformation happened. There was a time when he couldn't speak for himself now he can. He couldn't say he wanted milk or to play or even that he wanted to cuddle but now, now he tells me when he's thirsty and says exactly what he wants. The other day he actually poured himself a cup of orange juice. I don't know if I'm supposed to be happy that my baby is now a boy or if I'm allowed to be sad just for a little while, because my baby is now a BOY!


He doesn't have that powder fresh baby smell anymore but instead smells like a little man full of testosterone. Soon he'll be off to school (pre-k but school just the same) and not want to hug, kiss or cuddle with me. What then will I do?
He's growing into a well spoken articulate little person with personality for days. He has his own beautiful mind. He's three and has a favorite number, it's the number 1 and he hasn't changed his mind about it in two weeks. Next he'll have a favorite color then a favorite class and eventually I won't be his favorite girl!
Oh my, my little baby isn't a baby anymore! The child that I prayed for, begged God for is a walking, talking, singing, healthy beautiful little boy and man do I love him. Noggin all day and all, he is my inspiration.


He carries my heart with him and doesn't even know it or care for that matter. He will always be my baby my 1 gift from God. A blessing from my womb that was promised to me. He will be a powerful human being he will bring light and love into this world. He will live a life full of joy and accomplishment and most importantly he will be a man after God's own heart. He will love the people of God unconditionally, he will empower those who are powerless, and he will develop ideas for his generation that will change lives. Not because I say so but because it is the will of God for his life. He will live a life fully committed and dedicated to God. He will be a servant and he'll be used of God as an honest upright man come what may!
He will be Erick Jeremiah Brown; Doctor, Teacher, Preacher, Lawyer, Musician, Master Builder, Train Operator etc.... whatever he wants to be he'll be and he'll be it to the glory and honor of God.
My baby is a boy who will grow into a beautiful man, just like his Dad!


Happy Birthday Erick! Mommy loves you.


Until next time...

MUAH!

Friday, December 11, 2009

How many is enough?


Hey Y'all:



I love children. As you know I have three beautiful ones of my own. I have four Godchildren and countless nieces, nephews and little cousins. I'm an advocate for foster and adoptive care. One day I want to own a chain of child care centers, but today readers I’d like to ask how many is enough?


How many children that is!

I just read a story on Parent Dish about the Duggar’s giving birth… “Michelle Duggar, star of TLC's "18 Kids and Counting" gave birth to her 19th child, a girl, Thursday night via emergency C-section, although she wasn't due to give birth until spring, TMZ reports. Josie Brooklyn Duggar weighed in at 1 lb., 6 ounces.”

19 Children! Really? What does one do with 19 children? How many is enough? I understand if you don’t believe in contraception, I get it if you just want to let nature take it’s course; and I also know what the scripture Genesis 1:28 says: God blessed them and said to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." but when do you say enough? When do you as a woman say, ok my body can’t take the trauma of having another child.
How many children is enough?

My mother is the oldest of 19 children and ended up raising five of her younger siblings, she also adopted five children from the same woman who just kept having drug addicted babies.

I admire the Duggar’s in that they are a self sufficant family and are doing this own their own… unlike Nadya Denise Doud-Suleman Gutierrez the Octo Mom. But my mind goes to the children. Does the 8th child in line really get any one on one time with his/her parents? Who’s really raising number 17? It just gets me to thinking. I’m the mom of three and it’s often difficult to divvy my time and make sure everyone is getting enough mommy attention. So what does one do with children when the amount gets into the double digits?

I’m really curious y’all. How many is enough???

Let me know what you think.

Until next time…
MUAH!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Adoption Wednesday - A Conversation with Marian Bennett

Hey Y'all:


Finally took out some time to interview my Mom and get her answers to why she decided to become a Foster and Adoptive Mother.


Now that your youngest child just turned 18 I thought I would pick your brain. Hope you have a little while for some questions that I can share with folks on my blog. I know this has been a journey for you and I think more people need to know about domestic adoption.


Why did you become a foster/adoptive parent?
I became a foster parent because I thought I could make a difference in the lives of children who need it.

How many children did you foster before you adopted a child?
Six children and it was hard to let them go. That's the thing about foster care you aren't guaranteed to keep the child(ren). One child that I had to let go really hurt. She was a part of our family and doing so well with us. It was really hard to send her back to her family. I think of her often and wonder how big she is now.

What was the transition like from foster to adoptive parent?
The transition wasn't difficult because the family of children I adopted were in my care for three years. What was hard was the waiting period. Parents have rights. So we had to wait until the parents rights and those of any family members were terminated. Once that was done we went to family court, when the judge had us say our "I do's" it was like a weight was lifted. They were now mine!

Would you suggest foster/adoptive parenting to those you love?
Yes. I am actually responsible for my niece and sister adopting four children, church members have become foster/adoptive parents because of me and I would do it all over again.

Hope this "interview" helped and has motivated you to take action. If you have room in your home and your heart think about foster care!


Until next time...

MUAH!

Twin Tuesday: Twin Love


Hey Y'all:


I know it's not Tuesday! I've been off since Thanksgiving but I'm going to get back into the swing of things!


So for this twin Tuesday post I have to talk about Leah and Myles' love for one another. It's pretty amazing how close they are but how completely different they are as well. Leah is totally the nurturer. Sometimes I say she's Myles mommy! She just loves on him so much. If she hears him crying she'll stop what she's doing and say "why crying" and go find him to figure out what's wrong. The other night we couldn't find both pacifiers.... she had one in her mouth but he didn't and he was whining. She looked at him, then looked at me, took her pacifier out of her mouth and gave it to him! He'd NEVER do that for her.


He will however feed her!

One morning as Erick and I were preparing to leave for the day, Myles woke up. I figured he was hungry so I set him up with some oatmeal and finished getting myself and Erick ready to head out. Well just before we were leaving Leah woke up, she walked over to Myles in his high chair said hi to him and he proceeded to feed her. I couldn't believe it. He didn't think about it... he just picked up his spoon got some oatmeal on it and gave it to his sister. It was just too darn cute and of course I didn't have the camera out because I was heading out the door. They both take really good care of one another and love each other to pieces.

Twin love is pretty amazing.
Any other parents of multiples reading? Leave me your cute stories, I love to read them!


Until next time...

MUAH!

Teenagers! I'm so not ready!


Hey Y'all:


My mom and I have a wonderful relationship and always have. I consider her my best friend. We speak multiple times a day giving and receiving advice, encouragement and of course a good belly laugh.


Today at my dentist appointment I was told that a friends 13 year old daughter ran away from home. Her mom and other family members spotted her but she took off running when she saw her mother! Not sure what the whole story is but it really tore at my heart.


Then I get on the train to go home and happen upon a conversation with two young ladies (high school seniors) I use the term young ladies loosely because these girls sounded like drunk sailors the way they were cursing! One of the girls was speaking (rather loudly) about her mother. Apparently she was caught jumping the turnstile and her mom wouldn't pay her ticket. She was speaking very poorly about her mother and used this line "I'm grown, what she gonna do beat me?" I nearly said something as I heard her utter those words! She's grown yet she needs her mom to pay her ticket, her senior dues and buy her graduation stuff (yes I know all of this based on the 20 min train ride) but yet she is disrespecting her mom with this conversation.


Grown? I'm a 35 year old married woman with three children and to Marian Bennett I will NEVER be grown! Leah is 20 months old and I pray everyday that we'll have the same close relationship that my mom and I have. But, what do I do when my baby girl becomes a teen and I'm her mortal enemy? How will I cope?


Any of you have teens? How do you do it?


Until next time...

MUAH!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A holiday getting to know you!


Hey Y'all:

My Sista friend Mrs. Cooper posted this little holiday getting to know you and I figured I'd share too!


What 5 items are top on your holiday wish list this year?

  • Rest and relaxation (noting happening)
  • A gift card from Bath & Body Works
  • Money (what girl doesn't want some long green?)
  • Some new Gospel CD's
  • I'd love a laptop (I think I want a mini something or other)

What is your favorite handmade gift you have received?

  • A little tray from notes from my sister Nicole. I kept that thing for YEARS. Not sure where it is now.

What handmade gift have you always wanted to tackle?

  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies (I always get the refrigerated kind)

What was the best Christmas gift you received as a child?

  • A china tea set from my uncle who was in the army. I think he was in Germany .

What items are top on your kids wish list this year?

  • My kids don't have a list yet... I think if they did it would be EVERYTHING on Nick Jr.

What is your favorite holiday food?

  • Don't really have one. I think I'm going to make some spare ribs this year though.

What will you be hand-crafting for the holidays?

  • Nothing

What is your favorite holiday movie?

  • Charlie Brown Christmas

Favorite holiday song?

  • Vince Guaraldi Trio - Linus & Lucy from Charlie Brown Christmas
  • Kirk Franklin & The Family - Jesus Is the Reason for the Season

Favorite holiday pastime?

  • Chilling with the family
Feel free to share yours.

Until next time...
MUAH!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Keep hope alive!


Hey Y'all:


There is hope for you single folks!


My SVP just told us a story of her mom (76) getting engaged to her 80 year old boyfriend!


The story goes... they dated and were engaged when she was 17 years old. Things didn't quite work out for what ever reason and they parted ways. They both married and remained with their spouses until death did them part. My SVP's dad has been deceased for 16 years and her mom's "boyfriend" has been a widow for 3 years.


The cute couple reunited and rekindled their romance after well over 40 years. Now they are planning a summer wedding! How about that?


So ladies and gentlemen don't lose hope, there is someone out there just for you. You never know who might resurface from your past!


I know it's not Valentine's Day or anything but please feel free to share your sweet romance stories with me!


Until next time...

MUAH!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Private Time


Hey Y'all:


My children are addicted to Nick Jr. the title of this post is from a Little Bill episode. Little Bill and his mom had what his sister April called private time... it's when you hang out with your mom or dad by yourself. Erick and I try to get our private time in as often as possible.


Today we had private time at home on the couch. We watched The Jungle Book 2, Mulan, The Lion King AND Hercules... it was a true Disney day. We had a great time. But I have to share another day that we had private time and it was really something.


One Saturday morning Erick woke up early and caught me just as I was heading out the door to go food shopping. He asked if he could go with me and have private time, I almost wanted to say no because I needed some mommy time! None the less I said yes and off we went to Pathmark. As we are going down the aisle and picking out the necessary items I asked my smart 4 year old a question, here is how the conversation went.


Me - Hey Erick, how much do you love Daddy?

Erick - Ummm I love Daddy 12

Me - That's nice. How much do you love Mommy?

Erick - I love you 1

Me - 1? You only love me 1? But you love Daddy 12. How is that possible? I gave birth to you.

Well how much do you love Nana? (my mother)

Erick - 5

Me - So, you love Daddy 12, Nana 5 and Mommy 1

Erick - yes

Me - So how much do you love Leah and Myles

Erick - 0

Me - So let me get this straight, you love Daddy 12, Nana 5, Me 1 and Myles and Leah 0


Ok guys here is where it got ugly, and very "Jewish Mom" (you know how they say Jewish mom's are good at guilting their children)


Me - I don't understand how you can love Daddy more then me. I gave birth to you. I do everything for you. How can you love Daddy and Nana more then me? And why do you only love your brother and sister 0? You know 0 means nothing right? I just don't get this Erick.


My poor baby put his head in his hands and was bewildered he didn't understand why I was going off on him. He looked at me with his beautiful golden brown eyes and said. OK mommy I love you 20!


I'm not proud of this folks... I pressured my own child to up his love number for me. Can't say that I won't do it again... but I'm not proud of it.


What have you done to guilt your children?

Until next time...

MUAH!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Top 10 Reasons Why...


Hey Y'all:

With all the drama surrounding Tiger Woods, Shaq and all the other celebs with marital issues I figured I'd dedicate this post to marriage.

Here are my top 10 reason why I love being married!

10. He gets me!
My husband understands who I am. He has learned to read my body language and knows how to navigate around all the Mrs Deveterness


9. I'm better when I'm with him.

Don't need to add anything to this... it is what it is.


8. Marriage is honorable

Hebrews 13:4 says Marriage is to be held in honor among all, and the marriage bed is to be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Doesn't matter how long you are with a person (common law marriage) if you aren't legally tied to your loved one you gets nothing...


7. We are a team.

In the words of Lenny, Tuck and Ming Ming (the Wonder Pets of course) What's gonna work? Team work! If we didn't operate as a team NOTHING would get done in our house!


6. He still gives me goose bumps!

When he's working late and I hear his keys in the door little goose bumps rise on my flesh because I know that my man is home safe. When I see him walking toward me from whatever location he was, my heart starts to beat a little faster because I know he's mine. After 18 years he still excites me.


5. He protects me.

Like any man should. My husband protects his family at all costs!


4. He keeps me honest.

With the level of communication we have there is no other choice then to be honest and loyal.


3. He pushes me to be my best.

He sees things in me that I often don't. He's knows that I'm capable of doing so much more. He pushes me past what I think I can achieve.


2. He loves me the way Christ instructed him to!

Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her


The #1 reason why I love being married is because I don't have to live this life alone, unfulfilled trying to figure it all out. I commend single mothers and single people in general. I can't imagine being on the dating scene in this day and age.


Are you HAPPILY married? If so why do you love being married?


Until next time...

MUAH!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tis' The Season...



Hey Y'all:

I looked at my Christmas stuff... then I quickly closed the closet door and put the box back. I'm not ready!

But yesterday I figured out why....


Decorating the Christmas tree, stringing lights around the house, sending out holiday cards and even preparing for the Kwanzaa feast are all fun traditions that families look forward to at the end of the year.

This year I haven’t been inspirited to put up the tree just yet and I think it’s because I’m trying to figure out what my family’s holiday tradition will be. Although my husband and I have been married for over 10 years we are a relatively new family. Erick will be five soon and Leah and Myles are 20 months so we haven’t created a real family tradition for the Christmas holiday. As I’m writing this post I think I have it…

I have a great idea for the Brown Family Holiday tradition. Erick was born on December 14th so maybe we can celebrate his birth by decorating our Christmas tree and preparing the house for the holiday season! I think this is a great idea! It’s a great way to guarantee that he’ll spend a part of his birthday with us when he becomes an adult! He won’t want to let his dear old mom and dad down! What do you think?

Do you have a holiday tradition with your family?

Until next time...
MUAH!

I keep on falling....


Hey Y'all:

I missed Twin Tuesday yesterday so I had to put a quick one up about the little ones.

It's official the twins are now toddlers, so over the holiday weekend the Hubby and I converted their cribs into toddler beds! Yay! We were really hoping that this would encourage them to sleep in their own beds (check out my previous post regarding co-sleeping).

We have a problem! Not so much about them getting out of their beds to come to ours (which is happening of course) the problem is Leah.

She keeps falling out of the bed!

The other night we tucked her in kissed her goodnight and went to bed. At about 2:30 a.m. there was a thud and a high pitched scream from our little girl. I jumped up and ran into the room and found my precious doll on the floor hollering! Not sure how she did it because there are rails on the bed but some how or another she fell through the hole in the middle. Last night to avoid the thud and scream I put a blanket on the (carpted) floor. Sure enough she fell through but landed on the plush quilt.

Poor kid... what to do? Guess we'll have to invest in some more rails to keep her safely inside.

Until next time...
MUAH!

Leftovers...


Hey Y'all:

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted. Thanksgiving was really nice and forced me away for the digital world!

I'm back...

As I said Thanksgiving was really nice and of course tasty! We are almost a week past the great day of eating and I'm sure you've had more than enough left over turkey, ham, greens and potato salad to last until next year.

It's time to toss the leftovers folks!

I was browsing my favorites and totally forgot about this neat site I found www.stilltasty.com it's a great site that helps you figure out the shelf life of your refrigerated and pantry items.

Did you know that you should toss that chicken you made on Sunday night by Wednesday? Grandma's prized Thanksgiving pumpkin or sweet potato pie wasn't any good after Sunday... so you should have either eaten it or tossed it.

Check out the site and be sure to raid the fridge and pantry to make sure you don't have any out dated items!

Hope this information helps.
until next time...
MUAH!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving...

Thanksgiving is HERE!

Sweet potato pie, apple cider, ham, potato salad, green bean casserole (I don’t like it but I guess it’s part of the tradition) and FAMILY! I can not wait to hang out with my immediate and extended family tomorrow. I have very fond memories of Thanksgiving and hope that we will contribute to my children’s memories this year.

When I was growing up one family member hosts the Thanksgiving fest for the crew. One particular Thanksgiving the family all gathered at my aunt’s house. This was her first year hosting and she was very excited. The table was beautiful and the turkey looked divine roasting in the oven. When the turkey was done and rested we were all ready to get our grub on! My mom is the matriarch of the family so it was her duty to carve the turkey. She examined the bird and congratulated my aunt for a job well done; the turkey was perfectly brown and looked juicy and succulent. My mom asked my aunt what she used as stuffing… she said “it was already stuffed; I didn’t have to make stuffing!”

Well experienced cooks my aunt never took out the turkey neck giblets and all the other leftovers that get stuffed into the cavity of the bird. Needless to say we didn’t consume that perfectly golden turkey!

What are your Holiday Magical Moments?

Until next time…
MUAH!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Twin Tuesday: Myles J. Brown






Hey Y'all:

Welcome to another addition of Twin Tuesday.

Today I'd like to chat about my bonus baby! Myles Jermaine Brown (aka Pop, Poopie Popie or Mylisie). Myles is twin B and therefore the last child within the Brown Crew or as I like to say, our bonus baby. Myles is very active and looks exactly like his big brother when he was is age.

Myles is the clown of the family and our little Picasso! He is not allowed to have crayons, pens, pencils or anything thing else he can use to write on the wall! He has marked up just about all the walls in the living room and has moved on to his room. When we catch him with a writing implement he looks at us, then the wall, then takes off running. We chase him around the living room into Erick's room to confiscate said item.






Recently my baby boy has learned to make a sad face! If you tell him not to do something (like write on the wall) he'll hold his little head down and say "oh no" or "awwww man" ala Swiper from Dora the Explorer. My Mylisie is a sweet baby boy who truly completes our family. And he's cute as all get out!


When I look at Erick and Myles together I really think it's true what they say about mother's and their sons... there is just something about that relationship! I love Leah to pieces, she's a mini me! But those boys... I don't know what it is.



Well until next time...
MUAH!

Monday, November 23, 2009

My Mommy....


Hey Y'all:


I'm so excited!


My mother is coming into town for Thanksgiving! My mom is my best friend (next to my husband of course) we speak on the phone EVERY day and have so much in common. When she decided to move to NC two years ago I was heart broken. She's getting up in age and wanted a slower pace then NY. I totally understood but it's heard not being able to see her when ever I want.


She'll be here tomorrow! I can't wait to hug her and sit and talk, watch my kids love on her and get my cooking course as she stuffs the turkey. My mother is patient, kind and loving. She is the mother of eight and mastered loving each of her children individually. When I grow up I want to be just like her!


I want to teach my children to be outstanding citizens, and the importance of being honest and loyal. I want to honor God with my life and proclaim His goodness to all that will hear. I want to be like Marian Bennett...


I'm counting down until tomorrow evening! My Mommy will be in town!
Until next time...
MUAH!

Friday, November 20, 2009

If it's Free... It's For ME Friday's


Hey Y'all:


It's FRIDAY!!!! T.G.I.F. is has certainly been one of those weeks.

Monday: Erick got glasses - I got no sleep

Tuesday: Leah messed up my dinner - I got no sleep

Wednesday: The hubby had a gig - I got no sleep

Thursday: Went to a great event to support a co-worker and won a Wii - still got no sleep

And today... is "If it's Free... Friday!"


Since Thanksgiving is coming and we are all going to be sick of cooking here are some kids eat free links that might help.


This site is AWESOME... http://mykidseatfree.com/ it lists by state then city all the places that offer a kids eat free program.


Boston Market Kids Eat Free Sat & Sun...



Denny's Kids Eat Free on Tuesday Night...



Until next time...

MUAH!

For the "If's" in life.

Hey Y'all:

Last night I had the privilege to attend a New York Urban League Young Professionals (http://nyul.org/nyulyp) financial literacy series event. The topic was "Cover Your Assets: Protecting your house, health and future." There was a panel of three finance professionals that participated in the "living room" discussion that really got me thinking about insurance!

Here are a few things I learned last night and thought you should know.
  • There are so many types of insurance besides life, home and health. Do your research about: Long Term Care Insurance (is designed to provide coverage for necessary medical or personal care services provided outside of a hospital setting, such as in a nursing home or in the insured’s home.), Disability Insurance ( is a type of heath insurance that pays a monthly income to the policyholder when he or she is unable to work because of an illness or accident.) and Variable Universal Life Insurance (is a type of life insurance that builds a cash value. In a VUL, the cash value can be invested in a wide variety of separate accounts, similar to mutual funds, and the choice of which of the available separate accounts to use is entirely up to the contract owner)
  • Before buying a policy make sure you are working with a reputable agency that has a long history. Also, shop around. Meet with different insurance agencies before you buy a policy.
  • If you have a policy make sure it's valid for the state you currently reside in. The rules for NY are different then the rules in NJ and the rules on the West Coast are different then the rules on the East Coast.
  • It's great to utilize the insurance that your employer provides but you should also have your own disability insurance, because you can't always take your employers insurance with you if you quit or get fired.
  • Insurance is all about protecting what you own or have and the people you love. Even though you don't own your house you should invest in renters insurance... "for the Ifs in life"
  • It's a hard discussion but a very necessary one. It's very important to know where your loved ones keep their life insurance policies. If they are in a safe deposit box they need to make sure they give someone the key or power of attorney to get into the box. It makes no since to have a policy that no one can get access to!
  • The younger you are and the longer the policy the cheaper it can be.
  • After age 65 most insurance companies will not give you a policy! That sucks right?
  • Life insurance is money that shows up when stuff happens. Stuff doesn't always mean death. It can mean, fire, accidents, illness and injuries.

This seminar was truly eye opening for me. Since the death of Michael Jackson I've really been thinking a lot about how I want my children to be taken care of if something should happen to my husband or I. Not only is life insurance important but you should also have a will, a health care proxy and a power of attorney. Those of us who aren't affluent or don't come from a family with lots of money never think about the need for an insurance policy outside of burial costs, but your income is what keeps your family afloat. Think about what would happen if you weren't here. We shouldn't just think about not leaving bills behind but also not leaving our family broke. I want my three children to be well taken care of if something should happen to me! So tomorrow I have an appointment to set up my policies with them in mind.

Have you taken any steps toward securing your future? It's hard to think about insurance when we are in a financial decline as a country but it's a necessary discussion.

BTW I won a Wii at the event! Put my name in for a drawing and won! Go me!!! and Merry Christmas to Erick LOL..

Well until next time...

MUAH!