What’s your secret?

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I love my wife and I believe that we are happy. That happiness takes work as marriage should. Also, it’s not always a love fest: there are good times and bad times. But people see the good times and often time ask us the age old question: “what’s your secret?” Welp…for the first time, never before revealed anywhere, I am about to tell you our secret….here it is folks…

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WE DON’T HAVE ONE!!!

Seriously. We don’t. We we do have is a dedication to being fresh. Not THAT kind of fresh! (well actually, yes, that kind of fresh too but that’s a different blog!) What I am referring to is keeping the relationship fresh. We draw inspiration from everywhere and we try tons of things. Sometimes we will do regular date nights. When that gets difficult, we try love notes. If that becomes corny, we try journaling. And some times it’s multiple things.

The point is that we enjoy the great experiences that make being marriage fun and we pay attention to the times that will need some attention. Why? The truth is that the rough patches tend to multiply and string together if left unattended. Before you know it, you’ve spent a month being pissed at each other and you’re wondering why you liked spending time with this person.  When you are having fun with each other, talk about how you can CONTINUE to have fun. It’s much tougher to do that when you are struggling to smile. It’s like food shopping when you’re hungry. You’ll make BAD decisions!  Actually that might be the secret!

You heard it here first…

Underbed Reading Nook

Our house has the smallest bedrooms ever. So much so that when it came time to think of converting Lady C’s room into more of a big girl room, we just kinda shook our heads as to what to do because any bed we put in the room would literally make it a BED room.

Our kids don’t really play in their rooms mostly because they are small – they usually play in the basement which we refuse to refer to as their playroom only because it admits defeat – not because it is not the truth. As Lady C starts to age, we want her to have a little space for solitude so in researching beds for small spaces we came across the fab idea of a loft bed and we purchased one recently.

Here is a picture of the loft bed we ordered (note, that’s not our house):

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Desk space: Check! 

Dresser space: Check!

Bookshelf space: Check!

Bed: Check!

Loft beds are kinda awesome – they have all sorts of nooks and crannies and storage spaces including tons of under bed space. Our loft bed came equipped with a chest of drawers which we pushed under the bed at first just like the picture but Lady C protested and asked for a Reading Nook…. and who are we to turn down such a fab request. So we pulled that chest of drawers out. We took her old toddler mattress and tossed it under the bed, got a small rug, grabbed some pillows from around the house, strung lights under the mattress frame and created a pin board of book jackets…. and VOILE! Reading Nook!

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In her Reading Nook in an Elsa costume… I mean, isn’t that the life?

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Try not to judge the extension cord… we are working on the fine details… just want you to see a shot of the bulletin board of book covers.

wpid-20140917_201240.jpgHope she loves it! She better! Here is a picture of Hayden stringing up lights in the small space… struggle.

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If you are looking for cool ideas on decorating or creating a reading nook – look —– here.

Not a Pinterest Dad

So I’m on Pinterest all the time. I use it mostly for inspiration & tutorials for photography and for keeping up with gadgets and innovations. However, there is no escaping the multitude of examples of parents doing amazing things for their children. The one you see the most are the parents who make their children’s meals look like works of art! You’ve seen this: plates of vegetables in the shape of a face, Disney shaped pancakes, or watermelons carved in the Matterhorn. They make the meager pancakes that we feed to our children look like crap that we peeled off the bottom of a donkey’s butt. Who are these people and how do they have the time to create a mini bits of art work on the baggies that they pack their kid’s lunch in (and actual thing. Observe.)? I barely have enough time to reheat the pancakes I made a few days before. Or do I? I decided to stage an experiment:

Lady C likes the same thing every morning: pancakes. Sometimes we add fruit but it’s pretty much pancakes – Monday through Friday.  So I tried something new. Every morning I cut up her pancakes and arranged them in a pattern. I even added fruit and and stuff to jazz it up. Check it out:

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So do you want to know what I found out? THE KID COULDN’T CARE LESS!!!  Never once a mention of “Hey Daddy. That looks like a sun” or “Wow Daddy! That’s a cool pattern”. Nuffin!  It proved one thing to me: most of the time when parents are putting in all this effort, the children don’t really care. So Lady C is back to having her pancakes cut into eights randomly on the plate. She’ll be fine without the Picasso impressions.

What’s your opinion? Are you a Pinterest mom or dad? If you are, how do you carve out the time?

I Don’t Want My Kids To Be ANYTHING When They Grow Up…

…. Yet.

I don’t want my kids to be anything when they grow up YET. We are overachievers in this household. Education is paramount, success is a goal but as I look at my five year old and 17 month old, I don’t want them to want anything in particular as a career goal for a loooooooooooong time.

When I was five years old I knew what I wanted to be… a LAWYER. For a short time, I wanted to also be a figure ice skater like Debi Thomas, but by and large I wanted to be a lawyer because of my two idols: Thurgood Marshall and Claire Huxtable. I did not have any lawyers who were family members but I knew that lawyers helped people, the way Marshall did and that you could have a balanced life of being a great mother and wife if you were a lawyer because Claire did that – HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *EXHALES* HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *EXHALES* HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *EXHALES* HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA *EXHALES* HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

ok….. back to the blog…

So that was it – I was going to be lawyer… and that image and goal became such a fantasy that I could not divide myself from it. It became an overwhelming expectation and I would lead with it –

I’m Aisha, I’m from Brooklyn and I’m going to be a lawyer.

The adults around me started to expect it to the point where I heard – Aisha’s going to be the first lawyer in the family, she’s going to be my lawyer some day. I embraced it without really knowing what I was signing up for and also, I closed myself off from other options that were possible for me. When I was in high school I had a math teacher who asked what I wanted to be… I said a lawyer. She looked me dead in the face and said – you have the mind for math, you need to become an engineer and she suggested that I change my high school major. But, I could not do it, Aisha the Lawyer had become such a part of my identity that doing anything else would seem like a failure. So I pressed on… I went to college with the SOLE goal of getting good enough grades to go to law school… that was it. I did not use college as a space of exploration or growth the way I should have – I just wanted to get good grades… and I did it. I often heard from people that I should be a teacher or counselor but I ignored that. I worked at the neighboring law school, I worked at a law firm. I graduated with Phi Beta Kappa honors and was accepted into one of the top ten law schools in the country… Ivy League. Holy Grail.

Now – I currently love my law related job but I no longer practice law. In fact, in many ways I act as a counselor and teacher (ha!) to fellow attorneys. I don’t regret getting my law degree (still think it’s one of the best professional degrees you can get) but what I do regret is the exploration that I missed out on because I was myopic about my goals. I allowed the pressure of being able to answer the question: WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP? take more control over me than it should have especially during a time in life when answering the question was not necessary. Before I even knew who I was or what my talents were I had defined myself…. that’s backwards.

So for my children, I don’t want them to be ANYTHING when they grow up except … OPEN.

When you were young – did you know what you wanted to be when you grew up?

Fearless Scaredy Cats!

So we’ve discussed Lady C’s crippling fear of all things creepy crawly (Update: she’s doing much better. Freak outs are to a minimum now). The kid is a afraid of bugs like ants, things that you can squash with a pinky finger. But that’s where it ends. The things that I would expect for her to be afraid of, she is fearless with!

We were in the subway one time and Lady C points out an ever-present member of the vermin population of the underground and says, “Awww look at the cute rat!” Really!!??! Ants freak you out but this brown scurrying, long tailed, scourge of NY travelers doesn’t phase you? (side note: I am typing this through fingers covering my eyes and Lady C sitting on my shoulders. If only we had furniture!) And her sister is the same way by the way!

Lady C and H both love dogs. That’s fine and cute but it’s not just the little lap dogs. It’s every dog and in every size. I took them to the park to fly kites and Lady H makes a beeline to some dogs that she sees:
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Now I’m a grown man and I can tell that these aren’t small dogs so my protective instinct kicks in. The absolute opposite happens for my two girls! Forget the kite, let’s go pet the dogs!! As they get closer, they start to realize that the dogs aren’t just big dogs, they’re HUGE!!  No matter. There’s PETTING to be done!

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As you can see these dogs are taller than they are and are curious. I don’t know about you but if I ran into an animal that was taller than I was and looks like it could swallow me, I’d be cautious! Nope! Not these two. They pet them, the dogs licked them, and at one point I think someone asked to ride one (can’t take them nowhere).

Any-Ole_Chocolate-Way, the moral of this story is that kids can be such Scaredy Cats in one instance and be totally fearless in another.

Do you have similar stories or are my children strange (rhetorical question, of course)???