Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Indiscriminate Thoughts for the Day

Some random things to share:

+ I read this via @NYTimes Twitter yesterday: "An unpublished Tennessee Williams story about campus lust will soon be published "  Yes, please!  I have been kind of obsessed with Tennessee Williams, namely A Glass Menagerie , since seeing friends perform it at my middle school. This is exciting news.

+ Saw this in my Facebook feed this morning:

"This is Aaron- father to the magical Elvie, husband to @Jessica Bornick and fiercely loyal and fun loving friend to all. Aaron will soon begin treatment for a recently diagnosed brain tumor. In order to raise funds and help offset medical bills we are adding a new special to our menu. Please join us every Wednesday for Aaron's Lunchbox: Mean Bean Burrito (yum!), chips, salsa, a donut (of course!) and special treats. Each week the items will change and we will be bringing on friends to help us curate this box of fun! All proceeds will go directly to the family, so come show your support and eat your heart out for one of Columbia's biggest sweethearts."

Aaron used to teach at my child's daycare, and his wife Jessica is behind the awesome children's line Owlette, which I have blogged about before.  Please support this family if you're in Columbia, and order Aaron's Lunchbox at El Burrito on Wednesdays.

+ I'm a huge proponent of raising the minimum wage in our country, as I see the human side of the issue daily.  I work with adults who are working--many times full-time--yet can't make ends meet to support their families because they make a miserably-insufficient minimum wage.  I fully admit that I am not an economist, and therefore don't understand that side of the debate, but I've been trying to educate myself a bit from that perspective.  This article/research makes some great points, taking into account the economics of it all: How to Reduce Poverty and Save Taxpayers $4.6 Billion a Year.  This makes quite a statement too: 600 Economists Sign Letter in Support of $10.10 Minimum Wage.

+ My Birdie will be 1 in a week, and her flower-themed party is scheduled for next weekend.  I have been "pinning" inspiration on my Birthday Party Ideas Pinterest board.  I am enamored with this cake, and plan to undertake something similar:
via here
I've also asked a local friend of mine to create a succulents centerpiece for the event; I can't wait to see what Succulent Columbia creates!

Planning my children's birthdays is kind of a hobby of mine, so I'll share how Birdie's 1st turns out.  I shared Jones' 3rd birthday party--marching band themed--on my Fig Columbia blog.

+ And last, but certainly not least, today is Bee Day 2014 in SC! Advocates for comprehensive sex ed reform in SC public schools are talking to legislators at the state house today.  If you want to be counted among the thousands of South Carolinians who believe the best way to address many of our state's problems is through age-appropriate, medically accurate health education and access to comprehensive reproductive health services, then add your name to the Reproductive Bill of Rights on the Tell Them site. 

Happy Wednesday.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Soapbox Moment: Early Childhood Education for All Matters

Anyone who knows me, knows I am passionate about the issues of poverty and family homelessness in America, and at the core of those problems, in my opinion, is education

Our country does a poor job of helping every child access high-quality preschools and early education programs, and this is the most critical time for a child's development.

It really is pretty logical why this should matter to EVERYONE, but in case you need some numbers:

benefits of early childhood education

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Temporary Tattoos for the Toddler Set

I am a fan of tattoos.  I have two, and I have never regretted them. A star on the in-step of my right foot, and a bird on my back. My husband has a few, and I am a sucker for a man with a sleeve.

I get why many do not like them, and I also get that they're not that "edgy" anymore either--I mean, according to recent polls, 14% of all Americans have one. And 17% of those have some regret over their tattoo.

My 3 year old is getting to the age where he likes to talk about and look at mine and my husband's tattoos, and like many kids his age, he likes to sport temporary tattoos.  So, this is a round-up of some really cool, artsy temporary tattoos that I've found recently--some of which you can buy locally:

Wee Gallery Origami Tattoos ($5 for a dozen!)

Tattly Popsicles tattoos ($5 for 2 sets)
Tattyoo Fruit & Veg tattoos (6.00 EUR for 2 sets)
Poppy Drops Panda temporary tattoo earring
Poppy Drops Glow-in-the-Dark Animal Friends tattoo earrings ($6.95 for 1 sheet)

These Poppy Drops temporary tattoo earrings (that are made with veggie-dyes, by the way), can be found locally at KD's Treehouse! They have a variety of styles, as well as some cool Poppy Drops tattoo nail art.  (They'd make a perfect Easter basket addition, no?)

And for those craving simplicity:
pepperink tiny heart tattoo ($5 for 5)
I want them all for myself...and my toddlers.  What do you think, are you a tattoo fan?  Do you know some kids who would love these temporary ones?

Also, Obama's method for stopping his daughters from getting tattoos.  Love it.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vacations: Anticipation & How I Enjoy Them More Now That I Have Kids

My husband and I just got back from five glorious days at an all-inclusive resort in Dominican Republic.  We planned this trip back in July of last year, to celebrate our five-year wedding anniversary.  We are not typically a very plan-ful pair, but we decided to plan this trip far in advance for two reasons. 
First, the deals on rooms and flights are typically better the further out you make reservations.  So, we saved some money, I think. But the second reason was a bit more cerebral, and it had to do with this NYT article I read a few years ago.  Basically, the article highlights a study done on the effects of vacations on overall happiness.  "The study, published in the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life, showed that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation...the effect of vacation anticipation boosted happiness for eight weeks."
2 people who much-anticipated the vacation, but maybe not the severity of the DR sun...

The lead author of the study, Dr. Jeroen Nawijn, says  “The practical lesson for an individual is that you derive most of your happiness from anticipating the holiday trip,” so anticipate the heck out of it!

An article I read last week by Mark Bittman, (of whom I am a big fan), highlighted another awesome aspect of our trip that got me thinking about how I appreciate vacations differently now that I'm a mom.  Bittman was speaking specifically about his love for cruises, (as unhip as they may be), but his words ring true for any vacation: "it’s a life that is free of most of life’s normal chores: cooking, cleaning, commuting (can you imagine not driving or taking the subway, for a week or two on end?), working (unless you work independently), even talking on the phone — because at $3 or more per minute you’re not going to be taking any calls from your mother. In my life, this feels like an extra five hours a day.These are hours spent staring at passing islands or shorelines, wildlife, the sky and sea." 

parting beers in the Punta Cana airport

While in DR, our biggest decisions each day were when to eat, where to eat, what to drink, and when to sleep.  The banality of that is so much more exciting when you're a parent. Don't get me wrong, I missed the hell out of my babies and couldn't wait to get my hands on them after five days away.  But for that five days, I did not miss wiping bottoms, making meals, cleaning messes, and waking at ungodly hours.  I really didn't.  I finished three books, took four naps, slept as late as I wanted everyday- (my 20-year-old self would hardly recognize the me who thinks 8 AM is a beautiful hour to wake),- and did not prepare a meal the whole time I was gone. It was perfect.

I am thankful and lucky to have had the means and support from our parents to take such a trip and know that our babies were well-taken care of.  Now, to plan the next far-off trip...

Friday, March 14, 2014

Some Beach-Read Reviews

Fresh off a plane from the Dominican Republic, I give you a couple book reviews:

via here
The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. was highly entertaining.  It took me a couple chapters to get past the sullen, misogynistic superciliousness of the main character, but once I endeared to him just a bit, I was hooked.  Probably because I've known men like him.  And women like the women he describes. (Hell, I've been like those women at times in my life).  I will definitely be reading more of Adelle Waldman in the future.

via here
This one was passed on to me by my cousin who had to read it in a class on Middle Eastern history, I think.   Girls of Riyadh is an interesting look into the lives of modern young women in Saudi Arabia; still trapped by the stifling patriarchy and arranged-marriage-society in which they find themselves, but largely yearning for a more western-modern love life.  A bit chic-lit-ish, but with just enough social commentary to make you feel like you learned something. A good beach read.

What should I read next? My friend Katherine Yon of Eat, Shop, Love has some pretty great book reviews on her blog, if you're searching for a new one.
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Happy Birdie

This little Bird is just about the juiciest baby I've ever seen.  Am I right?

Bird and my momma. I mean, rolls for days.

And, she's pretty much the happiest baby I've ever known...

the head scarf is probably too much, but I couldn't help myself. long as she's being held.  Namely by me.  She's newly in that "oh-my-god-mommy-hold-me-or-I-might-die-or-at-least-drive-everyone-around-me-completely-insane" phase.  So, this is how we travel most places these days:

Bird, channeling Axl Rose at last weekend's Mardi Gras festival at City Roots
And that's just fine by me.