October 12, 2008

Too Old to be Young

Niki In a matter of days I'll be 35. The big 3-5. Five years from 40! I apologize if you're 40 or over 40 and you're offended by my next statement, but geez louise, 40 just seems so...old. And I'm well on my way to being old too.

I was riding in the car with my mother about a month ago and I told her I needed to do something big for my birthday. You know, kinda let it all hang out and celebrate in some kind of major way because it's a landmark birthday. She looked at me as if I was crazy and I said, "Well, you know I'll be 35 this year!" She almost fainted.

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September 01, 2008

Labor Day...Literally

2 It was September 4, 2005 and I was nine months pregnant, wobbling all over the place and waiting for my son to make his big arrival. My mom, cousin and cousin's then boyfriend came over to visit me and the husband for a while and they brought crabs. You know, nothing says "we're celebrating Labor Day weekend" like crabs. After eating we walked down to my community's pool where Mr. Leroy, the star of the neighborhood, was strumming his guitar poolside and singing his slightly popular songs about fried chicken wings, all the women he's ever dated in his life and giving shout outs to various areas in DC.

You had to be there to believe it.

Oh, Mr. Leroy had entertained us big time. I was cracking up laughing, almost to the point where I wanted to just fall out flat on the ground and sorta roll with laughter, but since I was toting a humongous belly I thought better than to actually have my unborn child on the pavement.

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August 13, 2008

Trimming the Fat


One thing about my family, they keep it real. Really, real. Like almost too real. Which brings me to my weight issue. You see, for the most part, I've always been a pretty slim chick, but we all know that there's something about hitting 30 that tends to make your metabolism slow down a bit. Honey, those Ho-Ho's and Krispy Kreme Donuts start sticking to places you would've never imagined in your 20s. So needless to say, after 30 I started to notice a little bit of a pudge blossoming on my waistline. And my mother noticed too. She told me over and over and over again. "Oh, you've gotta start working out, baby girl. And niki, please hold in your stomach. It's most important. You have to train those muscles!!"

Then I got married and got pregnant a few months later and well, after eating Chipotle's burrito bowl just about every other day (along with a whole slew of other tasty treats), I gained a full 60 pounds during my pregnancy. I could barely even believe it when the scale read 200 pounds in my ninth month. 200 pounds? Little skinny ol' me? But it was true. And if you'd gone months without seeing me I'm pretty sure I was hardly recognizable.

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July 11, 2008

Why I Don't Do Maryland Beaches

3 On the Fourth of July my family packed themselves into to various cars all around the Washington, DC area and headed to Point Lookout in St. Mary's County, Maryland for a huge cookout and a day of hot, sweaty fun in the sun. We had food and drinks and big wheels and balls and Off for the bugs and sunblock...well, to block the sun. My cousin rented a pavilion that was within walking distance to the beach. Yep, a good ol' Maryland beach.

I remember going to Ocean City, Maryland as a child with my aunt, uncle and cousins just about every summer. I was pretty young when I took my first few trips there, but I recall lots and lots of jokes about how "niki, is a sandcrab and she just plays and plays in the sand all day." I had witnessed a few of my cousins get stung my jellyfish and well, that just wasn't the beach adventure I was seeking. I might have been a child, but I was no dummy.

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June 26, 2008

Educators Dig In

Moxie_3 Do you happen to have a student who attends Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia? If so, this just might interest them a bit. Students will arrive at Wakefield this fall with pure shock and awe on their faces as they witness a bright and shiny new school all because of the kindness of a few hundred volunteers. Of course, it won't make much of an impact on the freshman, but boy will those upperclassmen be excited as they head back to class! 

This Friday more than 300 college students, teachers, retired educators, higher education faculty and education support professionals from around the country will take a break from the National Education Association Meeting to pick up shovels and start digging in an effort to clean up Wakefield High School in Arlington, Virginia.

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June 17, 2008

Afraid in the Dark

MoxieSaturday night I checked my caller i.d. only to realize that I had missed a phone call from my mother. She had called a little past 10:30 and I was immediately a bit alarmed because she never calls me that late. Never. I called her back and she asked if I had heard from Gizelle*, my 16-year-old cousin. I told her I had spoken to Gizelle earlier that day, but my mother said, "No, have you spoken to her tonight? She got clocked out from her job at 8:40 and she hasn't gotten home yet."

Fear. That was the first thing that struck in me. Two hours had passed since Gizelle had gotten off from her summer job at Six Flags in Largo, Maryland and she hadn't been heard from? If you're at all familiar with this area then you know that the amusement park is located on a part of Central Avenue that is lined with trees and isn't well lit at night. This is where Gizelle usually catches a Metro bus to the subway station and then heads home.

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June 03, 2008

The Kung Fu Panda That Almost Wasn't

Mypandas I was excited about the Dreamworks/HP Kung Fu Panda event as soon as I received the Evite. I'm not ashamed to say that whenever there's food involved (free food, people!!), I'm psyched! I told my husband about it and he thought it'd be fun too. Shared the news with my 2.5-year-old son Dutch and he...well, he really didn't know what the heck I was talking about. So Saturday we were pretty stoked to see what the whole thing was all about and then it happened. The sky darkened, quarter-sized raindrops hit the sidewalk as we stood outside chit-chatting with neighbors and the thunder began to its thunder-y thing and roared like a mean ol' lion.

It wasn't looking good.

Anybody that knows me knows that I don't do the whole driving in lots of rain thing. I just don't. I can't see the lines on the road, can barely see the cars in front of me and well, that makes me a wee bit nervous. But I told my husband that we should get ready for the event anyway and just hope that the rain would pass by the time we were all ready to leave. By this time Dutch had gotten a little spooked by all of the thunder and homeboy wasn't trying to go anywhere. In fact, his exact words were, "Mommy, I don't wanna gooooooooooo. I wanna stay hooooooooooooome."

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May 30, 2008

City Kids in the Woods

Niki1On Memorial Day, since my family and I were just kicking back relaxing with not a thing to do, I suggested, "Hey, let's go to Lake Accotink!" We're not extra outdoorsy types of folk, but hey, we enjoy looking a tree every now and then and since it was a nice day out, it just seemed like the perfect plan. Lake Accotink is located in Springfield, Virginia and it offers all kinds of cool stuff to do, you know, if you're outdoorsy. They've got picnic shelters for those who wanna have a bite under the bright sun and clouds, they've got canoe, rowboat and pedal-boat rentals, an ol' school carousel (they call it antique, I call it ol' school), miniature golf, hiking and biking trails and a small sandy spot for those who like to imagine that they're sitting on the fluffy sands of Jamaica when they're actually sitting on gritty brown stuff that was probably purchased at Home Depot. No thank ya, kindly. I'll pass on the sand.

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May 26, 2008

Ol' School Toddler

NikiI love music. Love, love, love it. And hip-hop is near and dear to my heart because it's the music that I grew up listening to. Back in the 80s, it was all about Kurtis Blow and Whodini and LL Cool J, Run-DMC, and honey, when Roxanne Shante and Salt-n-Pepa pounced on the scene the ladies [ahem, the pre-teen and teenage girls] finally had a bit of feminine representation on the airwaves. So it's only natural that I would want to share my love of hip-hop with my 2-year-old son, Dutch. Talk about mission impossible. The thing is you can't just turn on the radio (not the radio stations that I normally listen to anyway) and expect it to be all gravy. Oh no, because nowadays you have people like rapper Lil' Wayne who put out ridiculous songs that cut right to the chase. There's no guessing about what he's talking about. For instance, his hot song of the moment is called "Lollipop." And no, the song is not about running to your local 7-11 and snatching up a Blow Pop for a quick, sugary treat. Not at all. The lyrics in the hook are: "She, she licks me like a lollipop."

So my reaction to that is: Whoaaaaaa!! Hold up there, partna! I can't have my toddler son walking around bopping his little head and singing along to that! It's bad enough that he has grown attached to Mariah Carey's "Touch My Body." Thankfully, he doesn't sing along to that one, but there for a while he insisted that I continue to put the song on repeat, but I just couldn't. I mean, I couldn't imagine what type of reaction his daycare provider would have if she heard him singing "Touch my body..." while he was busy playing with a truck or during one of their walks around the neighborhood. Is there a such thing as daycare suspension? Because I'm thinking Dutch might've been up for it.

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