Princess was all too excited to start her first day of class today...she went to sleep early last night because she didn't "want to be late for [her] first day of class". It was just too cute! She's still at the same preschool but she's moving up to the big kids class - I'm so proud of her and I'm really starting to notice that time does indeed go by fast. Happy first day of school princess - I hope you're having a great day!
August 31, 2009
August 30, 2009
Now that Fall is on it's way and summer break is over, it's time for me to reflect on all that I accomplished this summer. Since I don't work in the summer, I use the summer to get my life back in order, spend time with the kids, and do those things that I enjoy doing.
My goal at the outset was to catch up on my fiction reading and add several self-help books to my list starting with the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People because I need to know what they are so that I too can be all effective and stuff.
I went to the library several times and avoided the self-help section simply because I wanted to focus on other books that had nothing to do with me making myself a more effective person or better person.
Who has time for all that self-helpy kind of stuff when I'm home with all three kids, alone, for those long hot-dog days of summer? It was a chore just keeping the kids from hurting each other and entertained all at the same time. (Sidenote- everyone is going to camp next summer, that's a promise!)
Finally, in July when the kids were shipped off to my parents for three weeks, I dragged myself to the self-help section and came across the self help audio books.
Brilliant! I can pop in the CDs while I'm running around town or cleaning the house, etc. Surely multi-tasking is a highly effective habit, right?
Well, I never made it past disc one. Sure, I listened to disc one several times, but I never got around to switching out disc one with disc two and moving past the summary of what I need to do to become more effective.
The reader's voice was so monotone, I couldn't focus or get engaged. I had to keep rewinding, back-tracking, or I would find myself completely tuned out to the disk.
I eventually completely forgot about this goal and the discs because last week I got a "friendly" reminder from the library that my audio book was three weeks over due.
This means I've had this audio-book for six weeks and have not made it past disc one of seven. That's pretty pathetic.
The email was like a big fat reminder that I don't exemplify these seven habits otherwise I would have one, listened to the CDs, and two, um, returned it on time.
So this is a wake up call for me. I need to buckle down and start focusing on living the seven habits and using my time effectively.
First thing I'm going to do is renew the discs and give myself a week to listen to them.
Okay, maybe two weeks.
Wish me luck, I'll check back in!
We are all back in school and it's back to homework for Oldest and teaching for me. On top of that we have all three kids in Taekwondo and Oldest will start violin lessons in two weeks. PLUS, he has to memorize states and capitals and place them on the map. So this book comes right on time!
August 29, 2009
The registration package before camp was my first clue that summer camp, and kids in general, have come a long way since I went to camp back in my day.
Continue reading "Summer Camp 2.0" on DC Metro Moms
August 27, 2009
I took a little hiatus this week as we ventured out to the beautiful and relaxing Shenandoah Mountains on our vacation, so I didn't get a chance to tell you all about my facial at the Aveda Institute last week. Before I continue, I must encourage you to visit an Aveda Institute if you live in a city with one. For about half the price of any regular salon, you can get almost any beauty treatment that you can think of as the students "practice" on you; plus your services are done with Aveda products only! Love it, love it, love it!
I bared it all in the picture at the right the morning after my facial where I took a shot without any make-up at all. I wish however that there was away for you to touch my skin because that was the real kicker. My skin was soft and subtle and felt perfect.
Anyway, there is not much that I can share this week because our skin types and issues are just as diverse as our skin color. I learned early on to make sure that I follow the three step facial skincare regime habitually - Cleanse, tone and moisturize.
Unbelievably I still have acne at my age, so my skin care regime is pretty basic - Proactiv. I used Proactiv a few years ago and my skin cleared up beautifully and then I stopped and you can guess what happened, so I'm back on it and it's working pretty well. Proactiv makes it pretty simple with it's 3 step process. Additionally, I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 so everyday I'm pretty assured that I am also protecting my skin from the sun.
Whatever product line that you use, expensive or inexpensive, please make sure that you Cleanse, Tone, Moisturize and Protect your skin.
A few of my own tips - don't know whether or not they actually work; but some are worth a try:
- ALWAYS wash your make up off at night. NEVER go to bed with make up because the oils may clog your pores
- Witch hazel is a great substitute for toner
- A little hydrogen peroxide on a pimple may help get rid of it faster
- Mix a little oatmeal and water and use as a mask that will leave your skin soft and bright
- Apply mask before taking a shower and leave it on while in the shower because the steam from the shower will help the mask work a little better
- Make sure that you remove any unwanted facial hair either by waxing or using a hair removal creme because it's not a good look to have whiskers!
See you next week for body skin care - I have booked a spa appointment for a Vichy Shower Tahitian body scrub. I can't wait to let you know how that goes.
My mom emailed my brother and I today to congratulate us because today (August 26) marks 20 years since we emigrated to from Trinidad to Canada. She thanked us for making this journey with her and for being good kids and bringing her much joy. I uncontrollably burst into tears (as I am now) because although I’ve never actually celebrated the day, or even remembered it, it is not for her to thank us but rather all the gratitude goes to her.
Life in Trinidad was good. Of course, to many kids life is good no matter what. But, really life was good – my mom, although a single mom, owned her own home and car, had a good job and was making good money, had a large and tight network of friends and knew lots of the who’s who in local business. We had our extended family right around the corner and if you’ve ever been to any West Indian island you will know that the weather coupled with a slower, more relaxed lifestyle makes for great living.
Her dream for us meant so many immeasurable sacrifices for her. She gave up everything that she knew and everything that she was to provide us with an opportunity. She started her life over – which is not an easy feat for a late thirties single mom. She had to find a new career in the harsh winter weather in a new city where there were few acquaintances and even fewer friends, and where racism is so covert and systemic that it’s difficult to understand why there are so few opportunities for an immigrant woman of color. Thankfully, my aunt (her younger sister) had trekked off to Canada a few years earlier and had somewhat learned the lay of the land. Yet still my mom had to learn her way too.
As a teenage girl entering a Canadian high school in 11th grade with no friends and having never been to a co-ed school, I felt the world was closing in on me; I was sad, depressed and angry because I did not want to leave my life at home. But during those times, I never really thought of what it was like for my mom. I think I got a glimpse one evening as she walked in the door at about 7:30 at night crying because it was so cold that her nose hairs had iced as she waited for a bus and then had to walk through the snow to get home after having a rough day at work. I got a glimpse of her hardship that day, but was too wrapped up in myself to really take stock of what it might have been like for her.
Few friends, few family members, little support, little money, frigidly cold weather, new culture, new racism, new big city, new way of life, new career, little independence, little confidence and two kids! And all for what … a question that I can only imagine she asked herself over and over again in the still of the night, when no one was there to ask her questions or to see her cry, but hopefully at a time when God could hear her prayers.
My mom decided to leave home because she wanted us to have more opportunities for a better life. She wanted us to get a better education than we may have received in Trinidad. I wonder whether there were other reasons because it seems like this may not be a strong enough reason to uproot yourself and your kids. But, I guess she so strongly believed that we would have a better life that she put us before herself, as she always seems to do.
Fast forward 20 years and she’s got 2 beautiful granddaughters that I’m not quite sure she would have had otherwise. Our lives have taken a windy path and both my brother and I are still trying to figure out our life plans and our dreams but I am pretty confident that the places in which we are in our lives right now would have been completely different had my mom not left Trinidad. And although I love my home and still consider it home, I know that I would not be the person that I am today had my mom not decided to come to America in 1989.
Mom, thank you for having faith in God, for seeing the long road, for not giving up, for dreaming and for sacrificing for us. Congratulations!
August 26, 2009
Um, where did the summer go? It's been over 12 weeks since the MamaLaw ladies and Joshilyn flew to Dallas to get started on becoming more heart healthy with the BetterU program. I can't believe how the time has flown by. The experience has been a good one, I think, for the simple fact that my own awareness about fitness and eating habits has been dramatically raised.
While I have not lost the pounds that I was hoping to (yet!?) I can say with confidence that I've altered my eating habits in a positive way. My good friend who is staying with us temporarily even said on Sunday: "You are so good with the food." Meaning, that was no longer an area that I am struggling in. And I would agree. Of course I still love food and crave the occasional carb fest, but I am much more conscientious about eating those types of foods in moderation.
On the fitness front, you know my story. I was off to a strong start, but just didn't maintain for whatever reason. I just don't enjoy exercise! That said, I am proud that I stuck with the walk-jog regiment for 6 weeks, even though it's been almost that long since I've walk-jogged. I know this is my barrier and I'm still working on overcoming it.
So wish me luck next week! On Tuesday we will all be back at the Cooper Institute in Dallas taking our Post-BetterU health assessments. Hopefully I will have shown some improvement, especially with my BMI, which is my major area of focus. In the meantime, if you have strategies for fitting in and enjoying exercising, please, please share.
August 25, 2009
First, I must start off with a RHOA update. Have you all heard Kim Z.'s first single "Tardy for the Party"? I love Kim, I really do. But this song is not hittin'. I would have thought with high-powered producers behind her, she would have come out with a chart topper. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Tardy For The Party (Mix) - Kim Zolciak
Kim and NeNe had it out on the Ryan Seacrest Show about the altercation they got into recently. I'm kind of sad because after all, I thought they were going to rekindle their friendship when all was said and done.
And finally, today marks the eighth anniversary of Aaliyah's death. Can you believe it? Eight years. I still remember when I heard the tragic news on the radio. Hubby (then my BF) and I were headed out to party with some friends who were in town visiting. We were in the car and were all shocked by the announcement on the music station we were listening to. Needless to say our mood was dampened and we spent the evening subdued, in disbelief that young, beautiful Aaliyah was suddenly gone. R.I.P. pretty lady.
August 24, 2009
Is a new winter coat on your back to school shopping list? Wouldn't it be great if you could scratch that item off your list by winning one valued at over $130.00? Especially one that is wind-resistant and waterproof with a dirt and water-repellent finish? And a soft fleece lining that does not pill?
Well here is your chance! Polarn O. Pyret has partnered up with MamaLaw for this great giveaway. PO.P. originates from Sweden and is making it's way to the United States. PO.P. is one of the largest Swedish suppliers of quality clothing for children.
If you are already familiar with PO.P then you know about their signature stripe clothing. And you also know that the clothes are functionable and unisex. But did you know they are eco made from 100% organic cotton?
I was lucky enough to have some items sent to me and they are made of super soft cotton, yet are durable for even the toughest of little boys, or girls.
Outerwear is a big part of what makes Polarn O. Pyret so special in Sweden. They have some of the best jackets, rain gear, hats, etc.
Up for grabs is this fabulous coat in size 8-9 years in the UNI red seen here.
Here is how you win yours:
1) Leave your comment below and make sure to include your contact info.
2) Become a follower here, on Facebook, or on Twitter for extra entries. Let us know in the comments. Our Twitter handle is "themamalawblog."
3) Each tweet enters you for another entry. Leave your link in your comment.
4) Browse PO.P's website and tell us about your favorite piece(s) in the comments for another entry.
Contest ends this Friday and winner will be announced on Saturday.
BONUS: Here are a few specials and promotions just for MamaLaw readers!
Use "Autumn" at checkout for free shipping on orders over $50. Join PO.P+ , PO.P's customer club, and get 15% off your order (not valid with sale items).
August 22, 2009
August 20, 2009
To a busy working mom of 3 kids, that sounds virtually impossible. Laughable even. I don't have 150 minutes to do anything beyond the necessities it seems, let alone exercise. And so I broke it down. First, I need to acknowledge that exercise is a necessity. It won't matter that I packed Chatterbox's bookbag and wiped down the kitchen counters if I'm lying in a hospital bed after suffering a stroke, now will it? Second, while the 150-minute number sounds daunting, it translates into 30 mins per day/5 days a week. And what's more is that if I choose to up the level of my workout to vigorous-intensity, I can cut that amount of time spent exercising to 75 minutes per week, which provides some better options for my schedule.
Here's a quick tip: When you see the heart with a check mark symbol on food packaging in the grocery store, you'll instantly know the food has been screened and verified to meet the American Heart Association's certification criteria to be low in saturated fat and cholesterol for healthy people over age 2. Isn't that cool? I've never really paid attention to that before. The AHA can even help you create your grocery list. Click here for more.
And a spot of good news for me this week! I logged my weight into Weight Watchers and got my 5% milestone star and congratulations! This means that I've lost 5% of my original weight. Yay me! Granted, it's taken waaaay too long for me to reach this milestone (i.e. 8 months), but still, I'll take it.
August 19, 2009
BTW, This is not a sponsored or paid review; nor did I receive any of the items for free or at the behest of a marketer or company. Just a tip from one mama to another.
August 18, 2009
I’ve been waiting for this validation my entire adult life “Like Their Lives, Women's Exercise Passes Through Phases”. Better U kept it real when they posted this link on Facebook yesterday!!! The article discussed a study that found that for many women their ability to keep an exercise routine changes with various phases in their lives - young motherhood, retirement, menopause etc. Hello....haven't we been saying that for ages?
If you remember my post last week, I was (and still am) really discouraged about the fact that I’ve only lost 5 pounds since starting Better U and was ready to quit. I got a lot of encouraging words from readers (thanks everyone) and then I saw this article that gave me a quick pick-me-up.
I am stressed right now with planning Blogalicious; dealing with my 4 year old who won’t listen and is just becoming more and more of a handful; thinking about downgrading my car to save some money when my lifeplan included an upgrade at this time; handling the disappointment that I'm not where I want to be in my career; wondering why I’m 4 weeks late and I’m not pregnant (been to the doctor); and all the other the other day to day stresses that come along with my role.
So I think I understand why I’m not seeing the weight loss that I expected. I’m just too stressed to lose weight! Once I get through this stage, the weight will drop off like magic!
August 17, 2009
BE GRATEFUL FOR WHAT YOU HAVE.
August 16, 2009
Tomorrow Chatterbox goes to her last activity of the summer before school starts - daycamp. She's so excited about it and I am too. After all, this is her first day camp and her first activity without Giggles. The campers have to be 4 and older, so Giggles has to sit this one out (and she will happily, I'm sure), but Chatterbox is bouncing off the walls and is itching to do something fun and stimulating, so this super duper daycamp should be perfect. So why am I whining (again)?
Because I want to take her to camp! And pick her up. And see her run off to join her group. And hear about her day. But, of course I can't because I have to go to WORK as freakin' usual, and it pisses me off. I mean, sure it's not her prom or anything, but it's the little moments like these that make life special. What's more is that I know I'm going to feel exactly the same way when she starts Kindergarten in a couple of weeks. I want to be able to take her every day and chat with her teacher and the other parents and see her classroom and learn who her friends are. Sure I can take off a day of work for the first day of school, and I will, but it's not the same. And even for camp tomorrow I've been wracking my brain to find a way for me to drop her at camp in the opposite direction of where I catch the train to work, use the car that the nanny will have to use to pick her up from camp, drop the Authorized Pickup Person card to the nanny, and make it to work before dusk. Basically, it will be impossible without causing big drama.
And so Mom's whining. Again. Will something ever give?
August 14, 2009
I promised to tackle facial skin care today, but I’ve decided to address my beauty regimen in the same order that I’m getting “work” done. So, this afternoon I have a hair appointment and wanted to spend some time talking about the mystery that is our hair.
I have medium length hair that is fine and frizzes in the humidity. I have a lot of hair, but it’s really fine so when it’s straight it looks like nothing. My hair is curly/wavy and for many, many years I did not put any permanent chemicals in my hair – no color, no relaxer, nothing. If you watched RHOA last night, I have “swimmer’s hair” like Lisa Wu Hartwell - I can pretty much wash and go. That was perfect for my time in college and in law school because the upkeep was minimal. Yet, I was jealous of the ladies who got their hair “did” and looked all pretty. So, I started coloring it. My hair grows pretty fast, so the color didn’t do as much damage as I thought. I guess it was not damaging because I didn’t apply excessive heat to it on a regular basis.
When I hit about thirty I decided to put a texturizer in it. To be honest, that wasn’t so bad. I had the flexibility to wash and go, and yet, I could go straight when I wanted and I loved leaving the Dominican hair salon looking like a superstar. (I mention the Dominican Hair Salon specifically because no one else – even the very expensive salons – has ever been able to get my hair as straight as my Dominican lady. I would go there more often if the wait wasn’t so darned long.)
Anyway, about one year and half ago I decided to take the plunge and relax my hair – because I was a grown lady - And grown ladies have their hair done all the time and never wear pony tails (unless they’re working out) and there is no need to do the curly thing any more – because I’m grown!!!!
Now, I don’t have swimmer’s hair anymore. The curl is gone; when I wash it just blows up into a huge poof-ball. The only way it looks half decent anymore is when it is blown straight. I can do it by myself, but not only does it take a very long time, I end up blow drying and then flat ironing and then wrapping and all that jazz. And that brings me to this afternoon – I am going to the salon and I’m going to get some sort of conditioning treatment (deep condition or hot oil) and then I’m getting it roller set. I don’t want to use the flat iron especially since I have time today.
I need to start taking better care of my hair – because I’m a grown lady (period). And it starts here! I will share with you some tips that are stored at the left hand back corner of my brain that I rarely bring forward, as well as some tips that I’ve found during my internet travels.
Tips from the back corner of the brain (not a large arsenal at all - that's why I need help)
- Egg and mayo treatment leaves your hair naturally shiny, smooth and soft. Just mix an egg and about 1-2 tablespoons of mayo together and apply it to your hair. It’s going to be gross but it works. Leave it in for at least 15 minutes and then wash and condition as usual. Your hair will have a tremendous sheen and softness all for under $1.
- A little coconut oil in your scalp is great for shine.
- What ever happened to the hot comb?
Tips from around the net (many tips from jazma.com)
- Always do your color after your perm.
- Split ends cannot be repaired by treatments or conditioner. If you have split ends you must trim them before they continue down the hair shaft.
- Always style your hair using a wide toothed comb. The teeth should be rounded on the ends to avoid scratching the scalp.
- When you blow dry your hair before curling, blow dry it to a point where there is still a slight bit of moisture left in your hair. By not blow drying your hair completely dry before curling and styling, this will allow you use less heat for less time in order to curl your hair.
- My husband will love this one, never go to bed with your hair in rollers or pony tails because the tossing and turning during sleep with rollers or pony tails may cause the hair to pull and break.
- Use a satin pillow case to sleep.Refrain from putting your hair in pony tails because the bands (especially elastics) put too much stress on the hair.
- If you want a longer hold for your style when using a curling iron, try spraying the hair before you iron with a thermal styling spray.
- If your hair is colored and you plan to swim in chlorinated water you must protect your hair. Wear a bathing cap or thoroughly wet your hair before you go in the water and apply some conditioner and don’t rinse.
- Avoid using shampoos that will strip your hair and leave it squeaky clean.
- After shampooing your hair, press the water from your hair, first with your hands and then with a towel. Always avoid rubbing the hair at all times, as your hair is at its weakest when it is wet.
- Leave in conditioners help protect your hair from airborne pollutants, the weather and helps prevent damage from thermal styling tools.
- Mineral oils clog pores.
- Avoid overuse of products with mineral oil or petroleum. They tend to block the pores and are not readily absorbed. If your mother used Vaseline on your hair, stop.
- Do a protein treatment at least once a month.
Next week I'll tackle facial skin care.
August 13, 2009
In the grocery store. Chatterbox and Giggles are "driving" in the kids car attached to the shopping cart. Giggles is doing something (i.e. breathing) and getting on Chatterbox's nerves.
Chatterbox: [at the top of her lungs] Giggles, STOP IT!
Giggles: [at the top of her lungs and on the verge of a meltdown] Chatterbox, STOOOOOP IIIIIIT!
Me: [stopping the cart and walking to the front to intervene before blood is shed] What is the problem?
Chatterbox: [calm and collected] Hello Officer. Can you please take her to jail?
Me: [bursting out laughing in the produce aisle]