Monday, March 28, 2016

A New Latino Family On TV

Disney channel just launched the show Stuck in the Middle. The Diaz family is the latest family to hit the airwaves on Disney Channel. They are not just a family, they are a BIG family.

Yes 7 kids. The show is from the perspective of Harley Diaz, the middle child. She has 2 older sisters and 1 older brother and 2 little brothers and a baby sister.

My kids were really excited for this new show. I had no idea that it was a Latino family until I walked by while they were watching an episode and I overheard the term "abuelita" and stopped and watched for a few minutes. Of course I was sucked in. I am a sucker for disney channel shows. (Austin and Ally Forever!)

I watched the first episode with bated breathe. I tend to be over critical when mainstream media takes on Latino culture. My activist background just brings it out in me. But I have to say that I loved the show. Instead of focusing on culture, the focus was on family. More importantly growing up in a large family. This is a show and a family that anyone can relate to. I kinda love that. No matter the color of skin, or the background family is family as we can all relate to the highs and lows of growing up with a strong family who loves you. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Dinner with Papaw

Last week this Instagram post went viral....

Of course people did what people do and started harassing the other grandkids on Twitter. I can remember being a teenager and making excuses as to why I couldn't visit my grandparents on th the weekends. At that time to me football games and hanging with my friends was more important. I didn't learn that valuable life lesson, that family trumps everything, until I was an adult with a family of my own. 

Though I don't condone bullying of any kind I understand where peoples upset emotions were coming from. This post made me sad because there is nothing I wouldn't do to sit down to eat with my grandfather again. I can't drive over and see him or hug him or tell him I love him. For those who have lost our grandfathers we are so jealous of those who still have them. And to see an example of someone ditching Papaw is hard to take. 

On a happy note, the grandkids are making it up to Pawpa by hosting a big cookout with Papaw and inviting everyone to come.. 

You can even buy a Sad Papaw t-shirt at Now this is a prime example of taking your 15 minutes of internet fame and milking it for all it's worth. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

My husband's PMS tracker and how it helped!

So here's the deal. I don't really get a period monthly (TMI, I know). Well I am sure I do, but it causes no discomfort. I barely notice it happening and I love it this way. Gone are my dreaded teenage years of painful cramps and heavy flow. I have my birth control method to thank for this "side effect" of pretty much nonexistent periods. However, I recently learned no periods doesn't necessarily equal no PMS!

The other day my husband very calmly and in a nonjudgmental manner asked if I was okay? I knew he was being apprehensive, but then he blurted it out, "I've noticed you're... you're... more emotional than usual." He saw my defensive eyebrows rise and immediately said, "it's okay, I've just been tracking our fights and it coincides with a 28-day cycle, however, the cycle is off." 

WHAT THE HELL? He quickly followed up with a very safe: "oh, I am not judging you, I just want to know how to help... is everything okay?" 

WHAT AND HELL, AGAIN! Was this his nice way of asking: "are you PMSing more than usual?" According to him, my emotional outbursts defined as "fighting with him or yelling at the kids" were suddenly not jiving with his nifty tracking system, which turns out he's been tracking for over a year!

I must say, this is my husband's strength. He likes data and so over a year ago he decided to track our fights on a calendar. This was intended to make him better, or at least this is the story he tells. Apparently, that calendar caught a 28-day sequence. Surprise, Surprise... don't all men believe everything is connected to a woman's menstrual cycle? Nevertheless, there's now data to back up such a claim.

In all seriousness, I thought it was interesting that our fights corresponded with my cycle. I had an inclining but I would never admit that to my husband. I am also the more prideful of the two. He quietly tracked the data and only brought it up out of genuine concern. A concern that is valid since I've been under more stress than usual.

He caught on to this change not only as he saw the shifts in my behavior, but through his "wifey mood tracker". I suppose he can go on tracking and from that we can go on learning. Not that we didn't already know stress can lead to mood altering issues. Yet, this tracker brings to life patterns that if unchecked could become extremely unhealthy. Besides, his care and concern is just the ticket. The hubby did a great job of expressing he wasn't judging me, just concerned. So even though I may not experience your typical period, my body is going through changes month-to-month, as it should, and awareness helps us navigate any of the personal struggles that surface through those changes. In the end, his tracker helped us talk about stress and how to support each other.  Something I wanted to be pissed about when I first heard of, actually helped! 

How would you react in this situation?

Monday, March 21, 2016

This Unruly Mess I've Made: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis Do It Again with Their Second Album

Light Tunnels: My oldest kid loves this song. What I love about Macklemore and his style is that he is truly a story teller. With this song we get to go along for the ride with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis to an award show where they win.

Downtown: This was the first release from the album and was a great counterpart to the big hit Thrift Shop. It's fun and funny and has a hook that you will find yourself singing all day long. You know how you were talking about poppin' tags, this time you will be talking about downtown and contemplating buying a vespa.

Brad Pitt's Cousin: I think this is my favorite song on this album. This song freaking awesome. A great comment on social media and the idea that you can be whoever you want online. How even animals can gain fame on Instagram. Yes even Brad Pitt's ugly cousin.

Buckshot: This song gives me Busta Rhyme vibes. Which I like.  And that's because KRS-1 is on this track. This one is all about graffiti on the wall. Like literally about paint cans and tagging walls.

Growing Up: When I heard that this song with a collab with Ed Sheeran I knew I was going to like it. But then I heard it and I love it. While writing this album Macklemore was waiting for his first child to be born. This song reveals all his worries and hopes for his child. While some of them I can't relate to, (I wasn't on tour when my kid was a baby!) most of it are all the normal fears that first time parents have. Even today as a parent of a 10 year old I am surprised that I am raise a kid when I feel like I am still growing up.

Kevin: This song has been getting a lot of press. We all know that Macklemore had his issues with drugs and alcohol. This song is all about Kevin, a friend who died from an overdose of prescription pills. This song makes a comment on the idea that America is too quick to prescribe a pill and people are abusing way too easily.

St. Ides- Never to shy away from his demons, this song is all about his battles with alcohol. A slower tempo song. Very cool, very chill.

Need to Know- After the success of The Heist came fame and fortune for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis. This song sheds some light in how our generation is driven by things. How we battle our demons by buying the best and showing it off.

Dance Off- Before The Heist Macklemore made a few singles and music videos. Back in 2011 he did an awesomely 80's feel video for a song called "and we danced". Think metallic leggings, wigs and sweat bands.  This new jam is just has fun as the old one and has potential for an awesomely 80's music video.

Let's Eat- This is a song that any one of us could have written on January 1st. That time when we all resolve to work out and eat better but then in the end fail miserable and resolve to love ourselves as we are.

Bolo Tie-This song is directed to his haters. To the people who didn't believe in him before he got big. To the fake friends who showed up after he made it. And even those who turned their back after he got famous. That's a lot of haters.

The Train- a slowed up song featuring Carla Morrison with some vocals in Spanish. A song about being on the road and being away from his loved ones. The train sound gives you the feeling that he's conveying. This idea of trying to hold on to something you left behind, but you keep moving further and further away.

White Privelage II- Another controversial song. This song is all about racism and the notion that black lives matter. It's a mix of music and spoken word. Macklemore has been getting a lot of slack for speaking on a topic and for a group that he doesn't belong to. But just like on his song "Same Love", he speaks beautifully and poetically.

What do you think of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis' sophomore album? Will it be as big as The Heist? 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Digital Citizens

There's a huge campaign at my kid's school about being a great Digital Citizen. Of course, this is a thing now. Kids need all the guidance possible to keep themselves and others safe online.

In my house, we have at least 5 digital devices. That's 1 for the each of us. And to think we raised our firstborn for about 5 years without even owning a TV.

The times have changed and we'll need to adapt to those changes. Here's a list to keep in mind when it comes to digital safety and kids:

Are your children aware of these great tips? Last night, my son said to me, "we don't have bullying at my school because we have mental toughness and stand up for ourselves!" That to me was everything and then I jumped in to examine if he had the same assurance when it came to his digital footprint and his online habits! 

Have you had this chat with your kiddos lately??? 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

We hope you are celebrating today by wearing green and maybe indulging in a dinner of corned beef and cabbage and maybe, just maybe washing it down with a Guinness or maybe a good Irish Whiskey.

To celebrate the day we are sharing just a few fun facts about St. Patrick and some holiday traditions...

  • He was born in England and brought to Ireland by pirates where he was forced into slavery!
  • He often used shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity and entire kingdoms were eventually converted to Christianity after hearing Patrick's message.
  • Traditionally, every year, the Irish leader hands a crystal bowl full of shamrock to the US President. The shamrock, grown in Kerry, is immediately destroyed by the Secret Service after the exchange.
  • There are no snakes in Ireland and it is believed that St. Patrick banished them to the sea after he was attacked. 
  • The first St. Patrick's Day parade was not in Ireland, but in Boston in 1737
  • Green was not the original color associated with St. Patrick. Blue was! Imagine blue beer! 
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

When Art Speaks To You

A fellow Hermana posted this picture up on social media last week and it stopped me in my tracks. I love art and chicana art is my absolute favorite genre. But this piece just spoke to me. This is a piece by the artist Sheila Garrett Rodriguez. She is an artist who works in different mediums like tapestry, embroidery, sculpture, paint and even performance, You can see some more of her amazing work on her website. I have searched for a name for this piece with no luck. If you know please leave us a comment and tell us the name!

I love everything about it. The papel picado is beautiful. I love papel picado so much a banner hangs from my mantel. The colors of the serape or rebozo around her shoulders take a step away from the traditional colors. I love this because I feel it represents the Chicana experience. The idea of living within a culture and being raised in another. Keeping the tradition but evolving a little. The corn in her arms takes me to my Tata. Every summer he grew rows and rows of corn so that my family could have "corn parties" over the weekend. In this piece the corn is being cradled, like a child. Just like my Tata cared and loved us. As if all that wasn't enough this image had an exposed heart. This imagery always makes me think of motherhood. The idea that when you have children your heart is walking outside your body. The rawness your heart feels when you are a mother. But the knitting needles stuck inside with the small piece of knitting. Well that just brought it all together and made me feel like this was painted just for me. When you have a super busy job, homeschooling 2 kids, juggling activities, running a house and writing for 2 blogs there is nothing that I enjoy more than relaxing with some yarn and knitting needles. Next to reading it is my favorite hobby.

Now what the artist meant when she made this piece is probably completely different than what looking at it means to me. But that is the beauty of art. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Pearmama's Story

For weeks lots of Latina bloggers that I love and follow were excited about the upcoming We All Grow Summit. One blogger in particular was very excited and super nervous about attending. She had been chosen to be one of the We All Grow Storytellers.

Now Pearmama is an amazing writer. Many of the post on her blog have brought me to tears either through emotions or hilarity! Despite her obvious talent she was so nervous about speaking in public. I followed her along on SnapChat and when the big day arrived I was nervous for her!

I am so happy that a video of her story is up. It is a story that will break your heart and fill it back up with so much love. It is raw, personal and funny. Everything I have always loved about Pearmama!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Visiting the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, CA.

Looking for a quick and easy day-trip in the LA area? Get out of the busy bustle of Hollywood or Downtown and venture to the Westside. The Getty Museum (free admission 24/7) perched above a gorgeous skyline is more than a scenic excursion to be seen. My family of five (kids ages: 4, 5, and 9) loved more than the stunning landscapes and exterior photo ops.

I mean how exciting to begin a museum visit with a tram ride over the 405 freeway winding through lush greenery, beautiful mountains and trees?

Bring board games and lay out in this gorgeous garden! It's an aromatic ambience with vast views and a fun sculpture garden to explore.

Image result for getty

The family room at the museum is a wonderfully interactive space where students create colorful masks, play in the tube room, enjoy a huge victorian bed surrounded by books, trace insects of all kinds, and much, much more. The mirror room is also a fun maze with stunning photo ops. Kids could enjoy this room for HOURS and quickly puts to rest any belief that museums are boring.

After the family room, make sure to visit the sketch room. This was a huge hit with my kiddos and the excitement was contagious. I got the best pics of my little picassos at work and we brought home each of our sketches which were stamped with "Designed at The Getty Museum". Also, staff who run this part of the museum were excellent with little ones.


All in all, this was the perfect family excursion and we will be back!

What's your favorite family-friendly museum?