*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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Our Journey Through Occupational Therapy: SENSORY DIET

Since we posted our first blog about Our Journey Through Occupational Therapy: The Diagnosis, we received a great number of responses and support from friends who have had similar experiences. We’ve heard from people who have used occupational therapy and also received recommendations from people that did not use therapy but offered tips and practices that might be helpful for Lady C.

We thank you! Community sharing was the main goal for this blog series.

As it stands, Lady C is still seeing her occupational therapist on a weekly basis. The therapist has provided us with feedback and also a plan of action including a “sensory diet” to assist.

What’s a sensory diet?

Occupational therapists use the term “sensory diet” to refer to a planned and scheduled program of sensory activities designed to satisfy the nervous system’s sensory needs throughout the day.

We received a sensory diet that will help Lady C for the following situations:

  • “Proprioceptive Experiences” for when she is overwhelmed and needs to be calmed
  • Hand strengthening
  • Encouraging Hand Dominance
  • Visual Motor Skills

Here are the some of the recommendations we received and many of these things we already do – we just do them more thoughtfully now – hope they help someone else!

PROPRICEPTIVE EXPERIENCES

These activities are also known as heavy work activities and can help improve focus and attention and improve body awareness:

Pushing and pulling

Crawling or wheelbarrowing

Holding or pushing the wall

Using playdoh

Squeezing bottles

Kneading dough

Stretching

Giving tight hugs

HAND STRENGTHENING

These activities help to build hand strength:

Crumpling paper into a ball

Using squirt toys

Use clothespins to hand things (for pincer strength)

HAND DOMINANCE

These activities are key for Lady C because she switches hands quite a bit- Using her left hand to write and switching to the right for other activities. 

Stirring batter and holding bowl with other hand

Using helper hand to stabilize paper when writing

Picking up small objects with chopsticks

Pouring sand from one container to another

Scissors activities

VISUAL MOTOR SKILLS

Playing board games

Doing Mazes

Tracing and coloring pictures

Doing word searches

PLEASE SHARE ANY OTHER SUGGESTIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE – LOVE HEARING AND SHARING WITH YOU!

Next up for the blog series – how we integrate the sensory diet into our daily routines.

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