He Said, She Said: The Icy Lady Debate

The GreenEs need you to solve a debate stemming from a discussion/situation we had this weekend.

Here is the scenario:

You and your children are at an outdoor event with other kids and their families. The most important person in the world during the summer comes by, jingling her bell… the icy lady. An icy would be perfect at the moment because it is hot outside. Which of the following do you do:

A. Buy an icy for you and your children because, it’s hot and you love cherry mango icies!

B. Do not buy an icy for your children because there are other children around and their parents might not be able to buy one or want their children to have one.

C. Buy you and your children an icy and be prepared to buy an icy for each and other kid at the event/party you are attending.

SHE SAID: EITHER DO NOT BUY OR PREPARED TO BUY FOR OTHER KIDS

So Aisha thinks that if you are at a party in the park with treats and snacks that it is rude to walk away and grab icies for only you and your kids because then your kids will walk back with them and make the other kids jealous and beg their parents for one. It sucks to be the first parent or family that starts the ball rolling. If you are going to get one, you should be ready to buy one for every kid, and if you don’t want to do that, then catch the icy lady another time.

HE SAID: TOTALLY OK TO BUY AN ICY FOR YOU AND YOUR KIDS ONLY

It’s an icy! It’s not an xBox that your kid s flaunting in front of the other guests!! And if you don’t want your kid to have an icy, this is a perfect opportunity for you to introduce the word “no” to your child. I tell my kid no all the time with reasons ranging from, “I have no money on me”, to “that food is made of plastic”, to “the ice cream truck is empty unfortunately”. Why should I be deprived of a traditional summer treat so that other parent won’t have to have a simple conversation about the wonderful word “no”!?!? Not gonna happen. I’m getting my pineapple icy with a scoop of coconut and no whining kid is going to stop me!

What say you… chime in on the icy debate. Do you agree with what HE SAID or SHE SAID?

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Daddy Fails – Dude You’re Making Us Look Bad!

So here’s the thing: men screw up all the time. In fact, in the dictionary under the word “man”, the definition reads:

“creature prone to screwing up”

Don’t bother to look it up. Just trust me on this one…

Anyway, when those men become daddies, their screw ups become immortalized as Daddy Fails. All of us fathers have committed them. Some of us are better at it than others. Some of us are down right pathetic!

Here is my attempt to help those poor saps who are struggling:

DO learn how to comb your child’s hair ESPECIALLY if you have a girl. Please learn a simple braid, or how to make a bun, or how to put a barrette in their hair.
DO NOT pick up a hair magazine and try to mimic one of those styles! Please do not attempt to create a faux-hawk with enough gel to clog up the Suez Canal! We will talk about you, simpleton!

DO learn how to operate your child’s stroller. It is NOT intuitive, no matter how easy it looks.
DO NOT let the first time that you attempt to open a new stroller be in front of your boys. It is not a pretty sight. Ask me how I know…

DO take an active role in your child’s extra curricular activities and play chauffeur to their many practices.
DO NOT show up with your child completely unprepared for the aforementioned activities. Don’t  show up to swim practice with your child still wearing jeans and timbs at the pool. Put the swimming suit, ballet outfit, or costume on at HOME … not 5 minutes before the class is supposed to start, moron!

DO be responsible and feed your kids on the regular schedule if your wife/partner leaves town and entrusts you with the care of your miniature humans.
DO NOT have those meals consist of fries and chicken nuggets, three times a day for 5 days straight, yuh lazy lima bean (shout out to In Living Color)! When your kids gain 10 pounds mysteriously in your partner’s absence you gon’ have some ‘splanin ta do!!

Lastly, and seriously…
DO place your children in a high priority in your life. Remember: they’re counting on you.
DO NOT forget that your partner needs your attention too! It’s easy to become super parents and forget that there is an adult that you are in a relationship with too. Save some (a lot) of love for them too!

Hopefully, this short list saves some new dad some anguish.

What’s the worst “Daddy Fail” that you have ever seen?
What would be different, if anything, if it were a MOTHER that you saw struggling with these things?

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I SCREAM* YOU SCREAM* WE ALL SCREAM! FOR OUR 6 YEAR OLD GREENE!

We just celebrated Lady C’s 6th birthday at Ample Hills Creamery in Brooklyn and it was such a great time that we just had to blog about the experience.

We love love love to throw kid parties and this year had an amazing ice cream themed party at the bestest ice cream shop in the city.

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Ample Hills staff poses for the camera

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Ample Hills menu – including Gooey Butter Cake ice cream *faint*

There is nothing we enjoy more than selecting a theme and then stomping it into the ground until you can’t forget it. We selected Ample Hills because it is a popular spot with a roof top deck and private party room. Since Lady C’s birthdays tend to be on warm days (and it was HOT this year) – the kids were able to enjoy the private room and the outdoor space.

Of course – any party is not possible without a dream team of friends and family helping out. A few thousand balloons might have flown away after being carefully tied to the roof (*clears throat*) but the place still looked great!

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Godmothers and friends decorating

The central activity of the party is that the kids make their own ice cream using the Ample Hills Ice cream bike.

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The famous ice cream bike

The children learned about how to make ice cream, what ingredients to use and how they would use the ice cream bike to mix all the ingredients.

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Ample Hills employee explains how to use the ice cream bike

Each kid had the chance to use the ice cream bike to pedal their hearts out and got a picture on the bike to take home as a souvenir. While the ice cream set in the freezer, the kids made place mats which were laminated for them to take home.

Lady C works on her placemat

Lady C works on her place mat

For this party we could not have normal cupcakes… no no no… We made cupcakes in ice cream cones! Such a hit and easy to make, after we messed up the first batch. Here’s the recipe for how to make these fun treats. THANK YOU PINTEREST FOR MAKING US STARS!!

Ice cream cone cupcakes

Ice cream cone cupcakes

The kids had the chance to eat their own ice cream decked with toppings of their choice and the adults – well, they ate plenty of ice cream too. Truth be told, between the ice cream, wine and great music – we think the adults had as much fun as the kids!

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So the kids had ice cream and pizza and cupcakes and they danced and they ran and had a blast. When all was said and done, it was time to give out the favors from our “Ice Cream Bar”. download (3)

Each child received a bag filled with a tumbler, ice cream erasers and ice cream tattoos.

Tumblers from Etsy.com

Tumblers from Etsy.com

Lady C has two wonderful godmothers and both of them helped with the party this year. One of her godmothers lives in Charlotte, NC and she tries to fly up each year to celebrate with us. This year she joined us for the ice cream party and also Lady C’s school birthday celebration. She braved making the ice cream cake cones with us and dealt with partyzilla parents… thank you Godmommy!

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Lady C and her Godmother

We highly recommend Ample Hills as a birthday party spot. Highly professional and organized and they made this a fun and easy day. We had our party at the Gowanus location (they have a few spaces) and the roof top deck was a great bonus feature. Parents were able to have a seat under an umbrella and enjoy some ice cream and wine.

If you have any fab birthday party locales in Brooklyn – please do share below!

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Hey Mister! What do YOU do?

So we are country of hustlers. Everyone has a side job, or a cottage industry on Etsy.com, or some sort of freelance project these days. Born out the bad economy, people became creative when it came to making ends meet. I even published a book about NYC hustlers called “Hustle City“…shameless plug…buy it on Amazon….

I am no different though. I have been a college administrator for 20 years now (I know I don’t look that old…right!…right?!?!). I have an established career with respect from my peers.

But that’s not all folks!

I have also established myself as a pretty good photographer, if i do say so myself. I have a healthy clientele and I have published two books while currently working on two more (PS see me if you like to wear bow ties).

So where am I going with all of this?

Today I participated in career fair in my fraternity Brother’s school. Streams of students mulled by my table and asked the same question:

“Hey Mister! What do YOU do?”

And then I had to stop and think: what is going to be interesting to these 4th and 5th graders? Then again, maybe I should be telling them about the career that will inspire them…well which one is that? LOL Lord knows I dare not try to explain having two careers to them! I could see their little eyes start to glaze over at THAT prospect!

Well I chose to tell them about being a photographer and all that went into it. They seemed very interested in the pictures that I showed them and how I created the images. They wanted to know if I took pictures of famous people so I mentioned Chris Brown and Mariah Carey. I lost them, though, when I talked about New Edition and Uncle Charlie!!

I started to wonder: what does Lady C think her daddy does? She knows I’m a photographer and she knows which college I work for, but what does she think I DO there? If asked, which job would she choose?

What do your kids think you do?
You should ask them and
tell me what happens?
I’d love to hear the responses!

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*Warning* Bare Breasts Ahead (Don’t Worry – Safe to Open)

Note: There will be no pictures of boobage in this blog post… sorry! But we are going to TALK boobage…

This weekend the GreenEs attended the BEST African dance festival and bazaar around, DanceAfrica. DanceAfrica is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Africa and the African diaspora.  The celebration features a massive street fair near the Brooklyn Academy of Music with vendors from around the world showcasing fashion, food, music and crafts. The highlight of the celebration is the performance at BAM featuring dance companies from around within Brooklyn, the United States and around the globe.

This year’s headliner was Afro-Brazilian dance troupe Balé Folclórico da Bahia, the only professional folk dance company in Brazil, AND THEY WERE AMAZING. The troupe of dancers, musicians, and singers performed a repertory based on Bahian folkloric dances of African origin: slave dances, capoeira, and samba.32124_DanceAfrica_613x463

Yesterday, we discussed the show with a family friend and one thing in particular came up – the women were bare chested for a few of the dance performances and we explored the following question:

Should there have been a warning of some kind for parents of small children that there would be partial nudity in the program?

We don’t think so but then again we are a family that nursed children exclusively for over a year and bare chests are frequent in our home. We don’t cringe when we see nursing mothers go uncovered which happens a lot in NYC parks and play areas. Also, we just viewed it as part of the cultural experience, but… we understood our friend’s point – not every parent or child would be ready for that moment.

How did our kids respond? Well, when Lady C saw the breasts there was zero reaction. But when one woman came out in a halter top she exclaimed, “I SEE HER BELLY BUTTON” – HA!

What do you think? Should the parents receive a warning? How would you feel as a parent if there was a performance with partial nudity and your children were with you?

Date Night MEETS Supporting Black Business MEETS Greedies

While scrolling through our FB Timelines one day we came across an article from IDon’tDoClubs.com entitled 60 Black Owned Restaurants and Bars In New York City and Brooklyn.

As we read the list we noticed a few places that we already know and love (shout out to the homies/owners of Amarachi Prime and Rustik)! But, there were a bunch of places that we did not know existed and others that we did not know were black owned. Some of those places are in our own neighborhood! (Flatbush is on the come up y’all… get ready). 

As we looked at the list and placed mental *stars* around the restaurants that we probably would not go to because there wasn’t enough time, we fondly remembered that we actually used to do date nights, during the week when Lady C was younger. We realized that we needed to TAKE BACK OUR DATE NIGHTS!! And now we also had a road map with places to try!

Date night.

Supporting Local Black Businesses.

Eating and Drinking.

So, the big GreenEs are going to try to visit as many of these places as we can and then tell you about it.

First place we visited: SUEDE, a Caribbean restaurant in East Flatbush, Brooklyn, owned by a St. Lucian woman. 

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So how did we feel about Suede? 

In sum, what they lacked in professional service (the waiter forgot we were there, admitted that he forgot us and apologized) was made up for in yummy and filling Caribbean eats. Hayden is Caribbean and thought the food was pretty tasty. Yes, you can probably get the same food on Church Avenue for $7.50 but it’s actually nice to eat on a plate instead of aluminum pans or Styrofoam from time to time and the prices were reasonable. It was definitely a family friendly spot with tons of kids and strollers around the place. It looked like families stopped in for dinner. This may be a plus or minus for some. We would go again, but mostly because it is pretty close for us. Suede was ok – and we were happy to support by being quintessential Hayden and Aisha – Hayden with a Shandy, Aisha with Pinot. ShandyandWine… so GreenE.

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Now we just need to decide where to go for our next date night! If you’ve been to any place on the list, preferably in Brooklyn, please give us your referrals! 

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Work Hard! Dream Big! Lady C’s Lunch With a Black Rockette

A few weeks ago Lady C went to see the Radio City Spring Spectacular featuring the Rockettes. We’ve been to the Christmas Spectacular several times, we’ve had dinner with a family friend that is a Rockette, several of them signed a souvenir doll for Lady C when she was a baby and we have even done a backstage tour but… she never met a black Rockette and didn’t know they existed.

After the Spring Spectacular, Lady C came home with a question that rocked us. She asked her dad:

Can I only be a Rockette if I am tan?

If you’ve read our blog before, you will know that we’ve explored the topic of race and color with Lady C. She uses the term tan to refer to white people… which includes her little sister… (and that’s a discussion we are still working on… that her sister is not, in fact, white).

Man, we were devastated.

Here we are… a family with a mother with a law degree, a dad with a Masters degree, each of us with careers that make us proud.

Here we are, a family that watched the inauguration of Barack Obama while Lady C was a baby, in utero, and we cried because our child would only know a world with a black President.

Here we are a family who felt like we could tell her she could be ANYTHING …. and it would be true.

But here we were with a five year that feels like she cannot do something because of her brown skin.

Whoa!

This moment was so timely because there was a lot of social media discussion around Black Girls Rock, First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance and whether the Black Girls Rock movement is a racist one. The fact of the matter is that ABSENT representation is just as detrimental as NEGATIVE representation on the self-esteem, aspirations and ambition of young children. They need to see it to believe it!

So what did we do? We did what any rationale person would do… we cried to our mommy. Lady Cs grandmother, GG, has had a part time job at Radio City for years and a great relationship with many Rockettes.  So GG asked Danielle who is not only a black Rockette but was one of the marquis ones for marketing during their most recent season.

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That’s Danielle!

Danielle agreed to meet Lady C and they had a fabulous lunch and even did a kick line together. Danielle told her about her career, when she started dancing and about other brown women dancers. Apparently Danielle is now invited to Lady C’s sixth birthday party… ha!

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Danielle and Lady C

wpid-0422151655c.jpgWhen she got home I asked Lady C about her experience and whether I could record it for other little black girls. She agreed.

Here it is…. enjoy.

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Lady C’s video message

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White House Easter Egg Roll 2015

The White House Easter Egg Roll is an annual event held on the White House Lawn every Easter Monday. Each year there is a lottery to attend the event.

Every year for the past six years I have applied.

Every year I get NOTHING.

This year I applied and got NOTHING.

Then one day my Mommy Twin called and said… “I have extra tickets… do you want them” … and I nearly cried because I felt so lucky.

*Side note* All you purposely anti-social people, please get friends... real good friends are always helping you and you 
will return the favor too and maybe make someone happy... it is a great thing.

So – This year Lady C and I were able to go and experience the egg roll on the White House lawn – YAY. It is a massive event filled with activities, arts and crafts, performances, picture opportunities, etc…. there is too much to do and not enough time so you have to decide how to use the time. We heard a rumor that President Obama was going to speak while we were there and were lucky enough to be able to see him and the First Lady.

This year’s theme was #GimmeFive in celebration of the fifth anniversary of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Throughout the event there were activities, giveaways and information encouraging children to lead healthy, active lives.

My blurry picture of POTUS - yay!

My blurry picture of POTUS – yay!

Truth be told – we never got a chance to do the actual egg roll because the line was loooooong and it would have been the only thing we did but we filled our time quite nicely:

* Yoga class

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* Pictures with characters (and by the way the kids were way more impressed with the Octonauts than the First Family)

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* Making craft projects and getting tattoos

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* Visiting the First Lady’s Garden

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*Planting their own fruits and veggies

*Watching the First Lady perform with the cast of So You Think You Can Dance

We had a nice time and at the end each child received a souvenir egg that they can cherish. I would totally do this again and hopefully we can so Lady H can experience it too. Next year, be sure to check out Recreation.gov for your opportunity to enter the lottery and experience a great event with your little ones.

Aisha 

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Get Global Entry For You… and the Kids Too!

Moving quickly through airports with limited hassle, short security lines and no need to remove your shoes????

Yes, please, sign me up!

How can you obtain this magical life?

TSAPrecheck provides low-risk travelers with an expedited and efficient security screening at participating U.S. airport checkpoints for domestic and international travel. What does this mean for you?

  • Short lines
  • Keep them shoes on
  • No need to take liquids out
  • Keep that jacket on

Ahhhh – how air travel used to be! TSAPrecheck only applies to your security screening and not customs screening. For expedited customs screening you need Global Entry.

Global Entry is a U.S. Customs program that allows expedited clearance for pre-approved, low-risk travelers upon arrival in the United States. Applicants are screened and receive background checks before they are approved. Once approved, you also become eligible for TSAPrecheck. Global Entry is $20 more than TSAPrecheck but the price difference is worth it because you get access to both programs.

I had been grappling with the idea of signing up for Global Entry and TSAPrecheck for a few months now, not because I was not sold on the idea right away – it was because I was trying to decide whether to do it for my children too. I didn’t want to make multiple trips for the interview and needed to make a decision. It seemed like it might be a waste of money for them because they travel but not THAT much… it’s not like they take business trips.

This January I finally decided to bite the bullet and apply for myself and my two girls.

It was easy to apply. We applied on a Thursday and had an interview scheduled the next Tuesday. Interview availability can vary but we were pretty lucky and were approved within one week. We had a scheduled spring break trip and were able to use our new status on the trip and man – oh man…

We literally spent half an hour less on each line – no wait – at all. That was enough for me. But if you are a parent that has ever had to balance a kid while trying to remove your shoes to go through security… well this is for you. You don’t have to worry about whether your liquids are all stored in one bag. So there is less stress packing beforehand and less stress at the airport. And if I do say so – the TSA and Customs agents were just all around nicer to me and I think it is because we were “known travelers” and therefore easy subjects. They were wonderfully helpful!

Less Stress… Beautiful words for people traveling with children.

Get you some expedited travel!!!! You will thank me later.

Have any questions about the program – please ask me below!

Dedicated to Nneka M. Fritz… my travel angel guru Spec…

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Way Too Married To….

Marriage has a lot of benefits…

Love and stuff.

Lifetime partnership and all that jazz.

Even some financial benefits!

Yeah… marriage is kinda cool.

When I earned my Mrs. nearly 9 years ago it dawned on me that another benefit is that I would never have to do certain things again. Not because I can’t… but because I really don’t want to and I have a great guy *pats hubby on the back* who will do certain of those things for me. One of those things is SHOVELING SHOW. I haven’t shoveled snow in years! I’ve sprinkled some salt here and there and I’ve even “managed” the shoveling process – (me: “Hey baby, you should shovel”) but I don’t do it no mo’. That was until this weekend when dear sweet Hayden was out of town – in Florida warmth no less.

I posted about it on Facebook:

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Folks thought the term “way too married” was hysterical and immediately people started inboxing me saying that should be on a shirt… so well, I did that. I created a “Way Too Married” tee and I think I may do more because there are a lot of other things I (and other wives) are #waytoomarried to do.

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If you like the shirt, hope you will buy it. It will only be printed and you will only be charged if 50 shirts are sold. Who knows, maybe this could be something *shrug*… Anyway, let’s give it a shot! Shirts are available at http://teespring.com/waytoomarriedtees!

So – I’m #waytoomarried to shovel snow… what are some of the things you are #waytoomarried to do?

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