Milk is going for Round 2!

So nice, we did it twice.

I checked the Chinese Calendars, I ate a diet to make my body more acidic, I did other ridiculous things… and was defeated by genetics and the desires of The Kid for a Baby Brother. When that balloon popped and blue confetti flew out, it slapped me in the face and choked me-literally. I mean ALL THE CONFETTI descended heavily upon my head and, with my eyes closed, I inhaled in an effort to gain the courage to open my eyes. The inhale welcomed blue feathers and confetti into my throat. I coughed for two days. I found blue stuff inside my dress and bra hours after the private gender reveal for The Hubs and me. (Notice how my mouth is closed in the second set of pictures? This was two weeks later at the public gender reveal party.)AF6EB928-9072-478E-AA61-12793CF3BB11

 

( I did a little Roc kick when the cameras were off…you know what I’m talking about! THIS ROC…the fist pump and kick)     Roc_Ella_Joyce_Charles_S_Dutton

It was as if my son to be said, “HA! TAKE THIS MILK!!! I’M ALLLLLL OVER THIS BI$%&!”

I hear you Baby J! We are so excited to have Baby J join the mess that is this loving family. He is the song that the Fat Lady Sings. He is the heavy curtain that drops loudly after the Vaudeville encore. He is the One I already love more than words- and we haven’t technically met.

The reality of it is, there are many reasons I wantED (notice the past tense, Baby J?!) a girl. Yes, I wanted to buy pink and green things. Yes, I wanted to braid hair and style sweet little curls into the perfect ‘do. YES! I wanted to shop for life’s big moments: graduations, proms, a WEDDING! I wanted my amazing husband to let his daughter wrap her tiny fingers around his. I wanted him to hold her hand through all of life’s ups and downs-loving her unconditionally and in the only way that The Hubs does – beautifully and selflessly.

So yes! I wantED a girl! None of which was rooted in not liking little boys. I LOVE my son and the new sweetie too! I already fiercely protect both of them daily. And that’s just it.

In a time where lynchings still happen, racial kidnappings still happen, segregation still happens (legally), and mass incarceration is back on the Legislation table, poorly disguised as a war on crime- having another little Black man to fret over was just overwhelming. I KNOW that daughters bring their own worries too (Sandra Bland, Tanisha Anderson, Yvette Smith-just to name a VERY few). Yet our boys become seen as men as early as age 9. Our Men are seen as threats more readily than neutral.

Studies of deliberately neutral faces (faces showing no emotional facial expressions) find that observers report Black people’s faces to appear angry. One study showed a White face, Black face or other image and at the same time shocked people with a low voltage but uncomfortable electrical shock. This pairing produced a “fear response” whenever the Black face or shock-associated image was shown. The study then showed that Black face or other shock-associated image multiple times WITHOUT the shock in an attempt to get rid of the mental fear that a shock was coming. They found that it was difficult and in some cases impossible to disconnect the physical response of fear of an impending shock from the Black face but not the White face. The study said that perhaps the Black face had an element of natural fear producing similar to the sight of a snake or other natural threat. This natural fear made it harder to disconnect the fear from the face, even after the person was given plenty of time to “know” that no shock was coming. This study was done in the last 20 years and the findings were replicated many times. Furthermore, a 2015 study from NYU found that stress compromised the ability of a person to treat strangers as individuals and instead increased the person’s sensitivity to irrelevant social feedback. So whereas the color of one’s skin might be irrelevant to some, in a stressful situation, all of a sudden race becomes a factor. Given the well-established value of “Blackness”, it’s more than likely to trigger the “natural fear”.

WHEW! You see what happened there? That’s where my mind goes after a lifetime of being Black in America coupled with 6 years of Neuroscience research and reading in graduate school. This is the domino effect I have when I think about how the heavily-armed world sees my sons and male family members. WHO would sign up for double the fear? Apparently me.

So, as I continue to homeschool and enjoy The Kid and wait impatiently on Baby J, I ask that you consider the paragraph above and do you own research. I ask that you think of the joy I felt and how it was tinged with fear that I now have two amazing, beautiful, brilliant little boys who will someday become men. I ask you to celebrate the fullness of my joy with me. And, I ask you to be empathetic of my fears that my little boys might one day be perceived as angry or as a threat and trigger some person in Blue Uniform or person who is licensed to carry. I ask you to consider the singular experience of Black parents who raise their children in America. We do it in constant hope that our children will be given a chance to live freely, make mistakes without street justice, and grow into the beautiful men and women we they are born to be.

So, when people ask me if I wanted a girl, these are all the thoughts that are behind my “yes”. It ain’t pretty. It’s a mess and then some. But it’s the truth and the facts lie scattered all around all of us-no matter your race or economic status.  Walk with me as I go back into having a new human to adore. I’ll be reviewing baby things, asking questions, and sharing how we’re preparing The Kid to be a Big Brother.

Follow me on instagram mamajenhen @milkbrainblog!

 

3D shape exploration 

We used a light table to explore dimensions today. Specifically, we explored the cylinder. We traced the side, top and bottom to discover the 2D shapes that make up this 3D shape. We discussed what dimensions are, looked at examples of 1,2 and 3D shapes then deconstructed and re-constructed a cylinder! After this, we visually deconstructed a pyramid and cuboid. Finally his curiosity led us to a discussion of how to turn our bodies into a 2D object!

Behind The Scenes- Our Photo Video Lessons

My business The Groom Room has expanded to offering photography and video services along with the regular imaging that we offer as a company. Since offering these services we have been receiving business from lots of local brands wanting to enhance their social presence as well as capture the essence of their projects and services. We also gather content for our company blog sowellgroomed.com. Since I homeschool I decided to turn my business into a family business and allow everyone to be involved. This decision sparked a talent within my sons for photography and video. As a twelve year old in todays society my oldest son Makhi is already tech savvy, he knows out to figure out new gadgets and technology quickly. This natural ability makes him an asset to our team. He also gets to observe the hard work that goes into imaging or making a music video or marketing campaign come together. We also give him access to our equipment so that he can create his own images and he owns a cannon professional grade digital camera that he can practice with. He has already had one of his photo’s published on an artist CD cover. Our youngest son, also helps out by carrying equipment and greeting our guest to make them feel comfortable if we are shooting in our home. They enjoy being apart of the company, traveling to different areas and cities with us, and learning the business. They are great team mates and we reward them with gifts or a pay check, but the biggest reward is being able to work together!

Montessori Moments in Homeschooling

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The Red One is learning to use scissors and enjoys creating geometric shapes. Here he is showcasing his rectangle!

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The Kid is excited about Practical Life exercises because he gets to use adult materials that are normally off limits. Here, he is beginning a sewing activity that is aligned with his love for all things outer space.

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The Red One loves animals so we are building our Zoological vocabulary with this Montessori activity. He’s matching the model animals to their picture and written name. By the first iteration of this game, he had already learned the animal “Impala”.

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About an hour and 20 minutes after he began, The Kid completed his Rocketship pillow! You can see his pride!

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The day before, we toured a Mosque with a lovely Muslim gentleman who told the boys all about how the Mosque is used, Arabic calligraphy, and the traditions of Muslim worship. They also learned the many ways that Christianity is similar to tenets of Muslim doctrine found in the Quran. We rounded out this experience with a beautiful Book about Muslim traditions, celebrations and attire. The boys learned new vocabulary and broadened their cultural horizons.

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After an exercise of pattern making, The Red One decided to use the same materials to make his own “snake”! He truly enjoys animals including reptiles.

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This exercise builds dexterity and focus, perfect goals for a 3 year old. “I Never Forget A Face” is a fun, culturally diverse Memory Game that takes you on a trip around the world. You match the faces of children in traditional attire from 24 different nations in the world. We learn to take turns, follow rules, compete and study the faces of children all around the world. This game sparks geography conversations and inquiry every time we play. We used our giant World Wall Map many times to identify the home nations of some of the children.

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Working on multiplication can be abstract at age 5, but not with manipulative a like these. The Kid found multiplication easy to understand with this fun material.

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Questions about multiplication’s parallels in addition sparked an exercise in doubling using addition. We worked our way all the way from doubling numbers in the ones place all the way to doubling numbers in the ten thousands!! No tears and I had to actually tell him to stop! This exercise Reinforced long addition, carrying numbers from place value to place value and was a lot of fun!

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Both fellas are interested in how they can make their mark on the world. One way that we highlight their potential contributions is through order, cleanliness and responsibility. To drive this point home and illustrate Big things Little Hands can do, we talked about and explored recycling. Thanks to Reading Rainbow, we “visited” a recycling plant to look at exactly how old materials are cleaned and repurposed into new, useful products we need everyday.

We played our own recycling game by sorting various pretend items by their composition materials. In short, we played a recycling game!!

 Our new neighbor is excited to have young children back in the neighborhood. Our family has the youngest children on the block. Having tiny neighbors inspired him to decorate his house for Christmas for the first time ever! The Kid wrote him a thank you note to show his appreciation for Mr. B’s thoughtfulness and creativity! We, in turn, got a chance to work on handwriting, spelling and letter formatting!We suited up for the weather and hand-delivered our letter to our kind and newly retired neighbor!

The Island Spot Oak Cliff

It could be that The Hubs is Jamaican but I’d like to think that it’s because the food and service are IRIE!! If you haven’t visited one of their two DFW area locations, you’re missing out on a food trip to Yard ( that’s Jamaica). I am in LOVE with the authentic flavors and the authentically welcoming and warm service that I have come to rely on with every visit to The Island Spot. With two locations in Carrolton and Oak Cliff, you can get your curry or jerk fix from anywhere in the metroplex. The rum punch and other adult drinks are powerful, if that’s what your thing, but they are delicious!! Don’t miss the Sunday brunch with bottomless Coconut Pineapple or Mango Mimosas or the Live Music on Fridays at 7pm! In all the hustle and bustle of parenthood and work, who doesn’t need a meal that makes you feel like you’ve taken a trip to the Caribbean? Especially when the meals look as good as they taste like this Ackee and Saltfish with Fried Dumplings and Spinach. Take it from me, I’ve eaten authentic Jerk Chicken annually from the outdoor fire pits in Boston Bay, the birthplace of Jerk- The Island Spot if the truth!

Having MilkBrain about MilkBrain

Wow. September-November was a beast. A BEAST I SAY! We moved. We tried to unpack everything (fail). We continued our Homeschooling and lives while trying to “keep our heads above water, making a wave when we can”.  In November, we decided to have our Housewarming Party on Thanksgiving, which was also our Third Annual Family Thanksgiving Party. It always seems like it will be so simple. Just make a to do list. Knock it out. Sit back and enjoy! While all those things were certainly done, I woefully underestimated the scale of that to-do list. But hey, I’m back! And I have about a million pictures of our daily adventures in Homeschooling and Unschooling that spans late September to November. I’ll try to hit the highlight reel in the some backdated posts so hang on to your hats and check the archives for new posts from September, October and November! (Those new, backdated posts will cover our fieldtrips, adventures, classwork, and musings about all that’s happened in about 10 weeks…sheesh)

Organic Blueberry Pancakes & Garden Spiced Eggs

dsc_0634     I absolutely love quick meals, especially during breakfast when things are moving hastily and my boys are instantly hungry when they awake. A house favorite is my blueberry pancakes. I start by using Bob’s Red Mill , organic, seven grain pancake and waffle mix.I use fresh blueberries from the market and fresh picked jalapeno in the eggs. ( If you don’t have a garden yet. stay tuned I plan to post about it) Sweet and spicy is a great combination if you are yet to have the two paired before.

What you will need:

1 cup of organic pancake mix

5 organic eggs

1 tablespoon organic butter (plus a little miscellaneous butter)

3/4 cup Califia Farms unsweetened vanilla almond milk and 1/2 cup for the eggs

3 oz. of fresh organic blueberries

1 tablespoon of coconut oil( not a shy table-spoon either)

1 tea-spoon of brown sugar

1/4 water

1 finely chopped garden fresh jalapeno

First  add your mix , 1 egg , and butter (gently melt your table-spoon of butter in your pirex measuring cup) , last add your almond milk into a large bowl and stir until you have a nice smooth batter.  To oil your pan you can use coconut oil or butter the choice is yours I usually do butter, so it does not have to be added when the pancakes are complete.  Make sure your skillet is heated on medium heat and evenly pour the mix into the middle of your skillet. When I made these I used a huge skillet and was able to make them three at a time, they did not make perfect circles but it was quick! Also if you want to put blueberries in the pancakes you will have to double the recommended amount. I only made mine into a syrup/topping.  This recipe should yield about 7 pancakes give or take a few.  After you finish your cakes turn your burner down to 2 or low. To create the syrup add the coconut oil and blueberries to the skillet stir slowly, sprinkle in the brown sugar and add water little by little until you  create a syrup. The mix will slowly start to thicken , let cool for 5 minutes, stack your cakes and pour over the top. Garnish with a dash of powdered sugar, as pictured. ( Do not, I repeat DO NOT put powdered sugar on your children’s pancakes, they already have a fresh full pack of energy, they will be in electronica concert mode if you add this to the mix lol)

For the garden spiced eggs I used 4 eggs. I placed all four eggs in my glass measuring cup. I also added 1/2 cup of almond milk and whipped them together. I used a pinch of pepper no salt ( totally your call) in the egg whip. I heated a very small amount of coconut oil in my egg skillet and added the jalapeno. I sautéed them for about 2-3 mins and added the eggs. They scramble very fluffy with the milk, so if you feeding a few extra people and you have a limited amount of eggs that’s how you can increase the amount. The milk also counters the spiciness of the jalapeno’s although in my opinion fresh jalapeno is not as spicy as the pickled kind.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we have and that its quick for you on your busy mornings. A tip would be to make your pancake batter and egg batter the night before so all you have to do is cook the next morning. Please comment and share if you like this recipe.