Monday, June 7, 2010

HP Printer Giveaway

Thought this was such a cool printer.

Just entered the giveaway...

What a lifesaver!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Mommy Lens

Before I became a mother, people would always tell me that becoming a mother changes everything. I never understood that statement until I became pregnant. And yet, once my daughter was born that understanding grew even more. It grows every day. Everything I read, everything I see on TV or read online typically is viewed through my mommy lens. It’s where I’m at in life right now. I’m sometimes annoyed by it because I would love to take the mommy lens off at times and just be me. But, all that I am affects my daughter and I have to keep my mommy lens on in order to be the best and give her the best.

I recently read I Am Nujood –Age 10 and Divorced for the SV Moms Book Club. It’s the story of Nujood Ali who at the age of 10 was married off to a much older man. In this powerful memoir, Nujood shares every detail of her horrendous marriage and fight to restore the life she deserved to live. I appreciate the fact that Nujood’s focus throughout the book is her freedom. The monsters who would allow a child that age to be married, raped and abused will find their fate. But, the most important part of this book is the fact that a young girl with barely an education or financial wealth pushed past her assumed fate and found courage to write her own destiny.

As I was reading through the book, I kept asking myself where is her mother? Why has she not stepped in? Where is the mother’s love that will bridge past the cultural boundaries and control and stand up for her daughter? Why is her mommy lens not on? Those are easy questions to ask, but not too easy to answer.

I put myself in her mother’s shoes and imagined how debilitating it must have been to know your daughter was suffering and you honestly could do nothing about it. She had to voluntarily remove the mommy lens and allow her daughter’s fate to play out right in front of her eyes. With no recourse, she separated herself from the reality of her child and could only pray that things would change.

When they say that becoming a mother changes everything, they weren’t lying. I believe that every mother, whether they have separated themselves from their children or not, knows each child’s strength. Nujood had strength that surpassed age, gender or class. She had fight in her. She looked at the end of the road and decided to change course. She showed her own mother that we have control over our lives and as women, especially; we have more power than we think we do.

I don’t think our kids understand how much they challenge us to be better people. They make decisions and choices based on their own desires while also shaking our worlds. I can only imagine how Nujood’s mother felt once her daughter became the first woman in her country to win a divorce. She was no longer a victim and I don’t think her mother could remain one either. Nujood’s decision to change her situation may have just restored a piece of her mother’s mommy lens.

Monday, January 4, 2010

No Cleavage Allowed

Motherhood is full of humor. There's the hilarious faces that only a toddler can make or the occasional out of the blue comment that send you bending over in laughter. I love it when my 2-year-old announces that she's passed gas in front of everyone. I love how my daughter, like most toddlers, so easily speaks her mind. She points out the obvious and doesn't adhere to the typical social norms. That's one great thing about children. There are no limitations.

I found this to be even more true while reading See Mom Run. While reading these side-splitting essays, I started to think about my own humorous stories from motherhood. It seems that my most outrageous stories come from my daughter's music class. I remember one particular class when one of the students had a guest attend.

Our music class is usually set-up in a circle with every child sitting on the parents lap as we sing songs and play instruments. The kids are usually able to walk around, dance and explore the room. Well on this one particular day there was a very interesting guest and I've been racking my brain to figure out how I could describe her. But, only two words come to mind: large chest! It was hard not to notice her because she was wearing a pretty revealing shirt that revealed nothing but cleavage. So, while all the adults were trying not to focus on the elephant in the room, my daughter walks right over to her.

What's even more embarrassing is that she stares directly at her chest, points, looks at me and says, "What's that mommy?" I immediately look at my husband while the two of us desperately try to hold in our laughter. I politely look at the woman, apologizing profusely while pulling my daughter to my side. Well, let's just say this exact scene happened three more times. I know by the fourth time, the woman didn't want my daughter near her. But, all I could keep thinking was there ought to be a sign posted on the door of the music class that says, "No Cleavage Allowed!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

What defines you?

We all identify ourselves differently. Within the last 18 months, my identity has changed from Janelle the wife and woman to Janelle the wife, the woman and the mother. In Who By Fire, I was captured by the way Diana Spechler used the circumstances in each character’s life to define them. Whether it was religion, relationships or children, each character depended on one of those circumstances to give them the identity they so desperately needed.

Is it ok to rely on a person or group to define you? You wouldn’t think so, but I know there have been times in my life where I’ve allowed that to happen. Like in seventh grade, when I was so desperate for friends, I joined the hippie group. I knew I wasn’t a hippie, but they welcomed me with open arms. Or, when I took my daughter out by myself for the first time and mimicked other mothers so I looked like I knew what I was doing.

New roles, new definition. That’s what I sum it up to. It’s about adapting to your new life or new circumstances in your life. So what if you allow something to define you for a moment? As we get older, we realize it was but for a fleeting moment. I’m obviously not a hippie and my role as a mother will never be perfect. I will constantly watch others, but am becoming more and more secure in who Jada’s mother has become. We also find out that some things stick and help to define us, but not overtake us. I especially thought that was true for Spechler’s character Asher. He pursued a life as an Orthodox Jew and held on to that aspect of his faith because for him it was just an extension of himself.

I’m constantly defining myself and will probably do it for most of my life. Being comfortable with the change is what’s important.

Original post on Mama Daisy by Janelle Marshall. Post for Silicon Valley Moms Book Club.

Who By Fire Book Club

As part of the Silicon Valley Moms Blog, I joined their Book Club and have written my first review. It's about a novel by Diana Spechler called Who By Fire. It was an excellent read and I highly recommend it. A true story about family, secrets, relationships and forgiveness. Check out my review and leave a comment if you wish (pretty please!).

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A new America!

Well, the day is coming to a close, but I feel it is just the beginning of a new America.

My heart is overwhelmed, my spirit is strong and I know the responsibility is now in our hands.

I have never felt a call to my country, my fellow Americans and my God as much as I did today.

This country has truly become an example for the world. It shows the world we are made up of different religions, colors, nationalities and cultures, but that is exactly what makes us strong. We cannot advance the way we do without variety. And boy is there variety!

I'm so proud to be an American and I'm anticipating what will come from this day. I have a strong feeling that our resolve for change will not waver.

I'm ready to step up to the plate and do what I have to do to change my world.

What will you do?

Monday, January 19, 2009

Day of Freedom

Throughout the last few days, there have been tears in my eyes. It seems as if our country has finally hit a plateau and it is such a privilege to see history in the making.

The implications of Obama's inauguration for my daughter is emotional. She will always know of a bi-racial president. She will never know what it's like to look into a history book and not see someone who looks like her.

What a glorious day for our nation. I feel God has given us a second chance. With that chance, we must devote ourselves to loving one another and diminishing all forms of hate, discrimination and bigotry in our country.

Tomorrow will be a day of history. Cherish it and let it change you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

New Beginnings

I'm always a little uneasy when the new year comes around. There have been a few years in my life where I couldn't wait for the new year to begin. Like the year I was pregnant with Jada, but had just suffered a miscarriage a few months before. That was 2006. What a year and boy was I ready for it go away.

But, this year was really different for me. I wasn't ready for 2009. I wished I could buy 24 more hours of 2008 just to get a few things done. I kept telling myself, you can't go into 2008 with a dirty house. But, my house was still dirty and 2009 came anyway.

I think I was uneasy about 2009, because I have so many expectations for myself this year. I'm really trying to pursue my writing and this blog is definitely helping. But, now a new year has begun and I'm really challenging myself to stick to my guns and make sure I'm writing at least once a week.

I'm really contemplating where I'm at professionally and if where I am is where I want to stay.

We're a 2-hour flight or 14-hour drive away from my parents. So, this year we will have to work really hard at making sure Jada sees her grandparents often. And then there's the rest of the family. Our family is spread out all across the board and we have to make some connections happen.

I also still need to lose a few pounds...I may be signing up for a personal trainer. I need someone to get my butt in gear!

Oh, so much to look forward to this year. But, if none of these things get accomplished, I still know the people in my life who love me, the God I serve and that I'm here for a purpose.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


There have only been two times in my life that I have not spent Christmas with my family. The first was shortly after we were married and Kerry's father invited us to his home for the holiday. The second will be in a few short days. This is truly our first Christmas as a family. Jada is finally able to unwrap presents and she knows what gifts are. Our home really feels like a home now. We're more organized and there's a natural flow.

So, I'm cooking Christmas dinner for the three of us. I'm totally excited about it and have been watching Food Network to get some ideas. I've also changed my focus. It was a little hard for me to grasp the fact that we wouldn't spend Christmas day with my family, but I also realized that this is a time for us to start our own traditions. I know most people grasped this idea a long time ago, but it's become reality for me now. I'm excited to create our Christmas Eve, Christmas meal, present opening and giving back tradition.

We'll see how it goes and I'll post some pictures. Until then, Merry Christmas. We have a lot to be thankful for and even more to do to make our world a little more peaceful.

Monday, December 8, 2008

A breath of air

So, Jada's been sick for the last two weeks. Yes, TWO weeks. Kerry and I have totally felt it. We're exhausted and at last, it looks as if she's over it. When a baby's sick it's like the whole house shuts down. It's like 100% of your energy goes to making the baby better. Not to mention, you have snot and coughs coming at you from every angle. At times, it's unbearable.

But, she's over it and for the first time tonight, I was able to load the dishwasher. I know to some people this is no big deal. But, to me, it's as if I just got a really large breath of air. Dishes had been sitting in our sink for a few days and that drives me crazy. So tonight, Jada went down at her normal bedtime and I loaded my dishwasher with Anita Baker swooning me in the background.

My how my life has changed!