Parts of the Whole

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Read all of the books!

Recently I was listening to NPR on my way to work and was extremely frustrated when one of the topics of discussion was a children's book that the publishers were pulling because it portrayed two of George Washington's slaves as "happy." 

Seriously? Because we are too stupid as a people to know that slavery was a horrible existence for too many in our countries early history and teach that to our children as we read them a book where they may have a gotten a made up fact wrong? Seriously?!

Here begins my rant: Censorship is not okay. Why limit the amount of teachable moments and narrow the minds of those who chomp at the bit to expand it? What happened to critical thinking, which leads to critical learning (at this point, I'd accept learning period)? Why encourage complacency and a life filled with monochromatic thought?

We can't afford to make minds smaller in a world that lumps giant categories of people in small one world titles (you know what I'm talking about without me even having to say it). Why does the saying have to be "don't judge a book by its cover"? I say, "Don't judge at all. Leave that to Jesus." 

I will never be okay with book bans. I think banning a book is akin to telling something they are too stupid to come up with their own thoughts and ideas and here is what to think complete with presuppositions. No thanks, I've seen your worldview; I need more light. End rant.

In case you were wondering what a banned book might look like, the America Library Association ( has a list. Here are some of my favorites: 

I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (just the mere mention of this book invokes sobs)
Forever by Judy Blume (the queen of banned book list)
Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (quite possibly the most fought over and most often found on high school reading lists)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (and this one hurts the most as it is in my top five favorite book)

I encourage you to check and see if your favorite book has made it on the list. And if it has, make sure to read it to your children.

father reading to his son
PS I knew I found the one when The Cable Guy told me his favorite book is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, which is also in my top five...and also on the ban list...

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Fix or Repair Daily

In a perfect world, I would not lose the paper in which I had written a bunch of notes on my thoughts about banning books. In this world, I lost that piece of paper AND the menu I planned for next month, complete with side dishes. I was completely irritated over this fact three hours ago and now I'm just chalking it up to another day. Instead, you get to hear about The Cable Guy's new truck.

The Cable Guy was recently promoted (because he's a rockstar studmuffin of a man!) and part of his new duties will have him be on call for a week at a time. He also is not able to park his new rig at our house because it is the same size as a small house. A tiny house. Of which I am obsessed. But that too is for another post.

So now that The Cable Guy is unable to just walk out of the door and jump into his work vehicle, he needed a way to get to work. And I needed a way to get home if I was at work on the weekend (his days home with Monkey).

Back story: in December, we traded in both of our Subaru's for a brand new Toyota Highlander. I don't just mean brand new to us, I mean still had new car smell and single digit miles on the speedometer new. I love this car. It is the last car I will ever buy until it dies a very long grueling painful death. It will fit one more car seat nicely and still have room for all the visiting relatives who come to play with our babies and ignore us (a condition I've come to accept but one The Cable Guy still struggles with. Silly only child). Since my beloved and I do not have days off together, on the days he was home with Monkey, I would get dropped off at work. Now that I could be stranded at work at a moment's notice while Monkey is in his grandparents care, we decided we needed a VERY cheap second vehicle.

blue SUV car sitting in driveway
My new mommy mobile, Lander the Highlander.

Enter the last thing I would have ever purchased for myself, a 2002 Ford F150. A Ford. And not a cool Ford, like when we owned a Mustang. Oh. No. A Ford truck. With a cassette player. And a smell. A smell that I couldn't describe. A smell that I still can't find words to describe but has lessened because The Cable Guy took some toxic odor killer stuff to the inside and now it smells like fresh sunshine.

The guys at work were positively drooling over it and I just shook my head, because as wonderful as I think I am, I will never understand the love a man has for a truck. I'd still be driving my little Saturn SL2 if it were up to me. Sigh. The one plus out of this is that if this vehicle lasts another fourteen years, I can tell you what Monkey is going to be driving. Now I need to go cry because my baby will be driving in fourteen years (motherhood is full of interrupting emotions).

Are you driving a vehicle you hate? What is it? What would be your dream car? (Mine's been the same since I was twelve, a Lamborghini. This still blows my husband's mind)

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Yo Soy Mama

While I don't necessarily look the part, I'm Puerto Rican. Well half. Yep, bi-racial baby right here. And unless I've seen the sun (which doesn't happen in the PNW), you'd really never know. 

Sure, there's generally an olive cast to my skin and I live for arroz con gandules, but it's really no surprise to anyone who knows me that I identify with my German half. It's a very strong German half. My mother's family all speaks German to various degrees and we'd be happy eating nothing but potatoes and bread. In fact, I can't remember the English words to "Silent Night," which I almost just typed as "Silent Nacht." That's right, I regularly use Gerglish. 

Occasionally, I'll pull out Spanish but it's really only when I'm reading my son a story in Spanish, of which I'm sure he understands none of it because it's not like I'm using those words anywhere else. Which frustrates me. I wish I had taken more of an interest in retaining it but I HATED my Spanish classes, which I didn't take until high school. They were awful, taught by a professor who was super nice but shouldn't have been teaching. She was from Peru and would throw out informal Peruvian phrases as examples of the item we were learning and then put them on the test. Only class in seventeen years of schooling to make me cry. 

That is not what I want for Monkey at all. Lucky for me, my Puerto Rican paternal unit is one of Monkey's favorite people. The opportunity to instill everything I love about my island heritage is strong since Monkey hangs on everything about his Gramps. I want him to not only love the food, but also the music, the art, the strength that comes from being a Latino. In fact, as I sit here writing this, I have the Viva Latino channel from Spotify playing and all I want to do is jump up and dance but then I'd block my husband's view of the TV and quite frankly, I'm at an age where I don't really "jump" to do anything.

What I find most interesting is that my sad relationship with half my heritage is more accepted than say some of my choices as a mother. I'm more likely to be criticized by other moms for working full time, or not breastfeeding long enough or letting my son sleep on sheets where the monkeys have pink hair bows than I am for the sad way I roll my r's. I have been and will be a Boricua for far longer than I will ever be a mother but to me, both are an integral part of who I am, just like being German and having an amazing career make up other parts of me. In fact my brothers and I even created a term for our mixed heritage, Gerican. I wish it was that easy for being a working mom. Well actually it is. I call myself bad ass. 

Dark haired mom and blonde boy
Best of both sides

Saturday, January 23, 2016

This is Me

girl laying on the couch
This. Is. Me.
I spend the vast majority of my one minute of free time each day thinking about what I'm going to do with this blog. There was the thought to shut it down, but I rather like the creative outlet. I tried vlogging but let's be honest, I don't shower often enough to be on camera. What do I do with this blog? What should I say?

The successful bloggers will say "write for yourself, that way it won't matter if no one is reading." Really? Yeah that's how you got to thirty thousand page views a day and an invitation to meet Madonna. Yeah okay.

The truth is I would love to have my writing out there where everyone would read it, where I would receive accolades and applause and money. Lots and lots of money. The reality, though, is that I work full time, I mom full time, I take a crack at wifing and after all of that is said and done, I'm too lazy to sit down and write anything anyone, least of all something I, would like to read.

And yet, I don't give this us and I come back to it like the proverbial moth to the flame. My love of writing started soon as I realized that those squiggly lines on the pages that my mother read to me night after night after night were words and nothing could stop me from writing my own. When I finally learned to read on my own, it just felt natural to assume that someday I would have a career where I would write. And then I got into junior high and high school, where I could feel my love of writing drain from me. It wasn't because my teachers didn't want me to be creative; they loved it in fact. The problem was that I had caught on to how to structure and use grammar to my benefit and everyone else was taking their sweet ass precious time to catch up. I didn't need to use web diagrams or free writing to come up with ideas. Why were we wasting time coming up with more ideas when I hadn't even made a dent in the ones in my head yet?! This got me into more trouble than my mother would like to admit and required more than one meeting with a teacher or counselor with me agreeing to play by the rules and not allow my eyes to glaze over until I had left the building. Fair enough.

This ability to come to a compromise in my writing has actually aided in my hospitality career path. I also do not sound like a complete idiot when suggesting to people to find an alternative venue to hold their bachelorette toga party for forty somewhere else, for which my boss and employees are grateful.

So where does that leave me with this blog? Well, the name TeamLloyd is staying. The Cable Guy and Monkey are my family and they permeate everything I do. I literally don't make a single decision without contemplating the outcome on them (except when it comes to salad dressing; ranch for them, french for me). What I write will definitely encompass their effect on me but also what effect I'm having on the world, which becomes very evident to me when I'm putting Monkey to bed at night and he puts his hands on my face and says, "I so happy to see you momma." And then he wraps his arms around my neck and declares, "hugs!". Yep, in that moment, the whole world flashes before me and I get to see how I'm truly doing as a human being.

Yep, this is me.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Very Merry Real Birthday to You!

How are we already half way through November? Thanksgiving is right around the corner and Christmas is the next block over. Both of my boys have birthdays this month, first the Cable Guy and the next day is Monkey's. And so the age old question of what do you get the man who has everything comes around twice for me (after all, I'm in their life. What more do you need?).

The Cable Guy is actually the easier one this year, mainly because he can tell me what he wants. Ammo. For the love. I don't even know where to go for that. Do they have ammo stores? Does Amazon carry ammo? What kind of ammo does he need? There are different kinds right? He might as well have asked for a baby alpaca. In fact, that I would have an easier time with. Who doesn't want a baby alpaca?

Now the other one, Monkey, he's the tricky one. He can't tell me what he wants. No I take that back. He tells me exactly what he wants. Milk. Blankie. Poop. IPad. Me to sit down and hand him books until they have been sufficiently read. But what he doesn't tell me is what he'd like that will further his little life. So his dad and I have to come up with the newest addition. We only do one birthday present, so we make it a good one. Like baby alpaca status. 

Baby boy eating breakfast on his birthday
Eating breakfast on his first birthday

I can't believe my high school sweetheart will be thirty-one and my tiny baby will be two. The crazy just keeps coming. 

What are your go to gifts for toddlers?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

I Can't Get No Satisfaction

As someone who has always loved to write, I would consider myself a writer more as descriptor than as a title (ie the short brunette writer blue eyed curly haired chick). One of the bad habits that a writer tends to have is never being satisfied with what they've written in the past and I am no exception. So since I was drawing a blank today on what I should write about, I went back to this post and edited it. Please feel free to leave a comment and let me know what you think about it. 

PS Is anyone out there actually reading this? If so, I'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sugar is Sweet and So Are You

Today Monkey asked me to rock him to sleep. I'm pretty sure it was a stall tactic but I choose to believe he needed a little something extra tonight. He needed his momma to hold him and kiss his little nose and sing him songs in a low slightly out of tune key. True love is not caring what your mom sounds like when she sings and patting her on the arm encouragingly to keep going.

We don't usually rock our son to sleep. Not because we're trying to avoid bad habits or anything like but because we usually end up rocking ourselves to sleep and he stays wide awake. As Monkey gets older, though, whenever he offers up an opportunity to snuggle, I'm all in. Some day he will be a teenager sneaking snuggles with his sweetheart while I randomly pop into the room yelling "hand check!".

And that's life. Especially life as a mom. Every moment is bittersweet. I'm trying to focus more on the sweet than the bitter part because, honestly, it really is sweet. Watching my son develop his personality and his interests and seeing nature versus nurture happen right before my eyes. Even when I'm trying to remain cool while offering the fifteenth snack item in hopes of getting him to eat something, anything that he's asked for. 

Little boy standing on chair washing dishes
One of the sweeter moments. Such a good helper!