Weekend Video: Boys will be boys

Friday, May 29, 2009

Nature, nurture; Nurture, nature. Check out my adorable nephew A., proving the adage--boys will be boys...

Brown Girls: Childhood Memories

Thursday, May 28, 2009

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Check out Brown Girls in India Currents

Laughter is the Best Everything

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

We went to see the guys from "The Flight of the Conchords" perform last night and--I know this is sacrilege to some but--I got kind of bored. How many purposely bad albeit witty songs can one person take?!? It got me to thinking about humor.

What makes you laugh? Has it changed since you've become a mom??

One of my closest friends and I have diametrically opposed views on humorous books. We joke that if I find something hilarious I should most definitely not recommend it to her; and if something falls flat on me, she might be laughing till she is crying. Why this is, who knows--on so many things we see eye to eye, and we have over 4 years of great (champagne-besotted) memories. But humor. What people find funny. Apparently it exists in a sort of bubble flying separate from much of the rest of our personalities.

Sometimes something makes me laugh and I don't even know why. Sure, funny things my kids say. (Most recently: "Mommy next time you go away on airplane can I fly it?"). But even mainstream things. A certain comedic timing on "30 Rock," or just the way somebody looks at her husband while he is telling a (bad) joke...! But then, I go to see live comedy and sometimes I can't find one thing to laugh at.

On the plane home from visiting my parents in Michigan, I started reading "Sex and Sunsets" by an author who could always make me laugh out loud--Tim Sandlin. And yet, something was falling flat, regardless of the pitch-perfect timing and the wacky personalities. I am still not sure what it was...

What do you guys find funny? Does Sedaris make you laugh so hard you cry, or does he just make you yawn? I'm curious! Who couldn't use more humor in life?


Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Still Fishing! Okay, not really fishing, but you get the idea. See you tomorrow!

Gone Fishing

Monday, May 18, 2009

See you next week!


Weekend Links

Friday, May 15, 2009

Good news: More teenagers claim to like their parents. But they live in Canada.

Everyone knows organic is good. But it's also expensive. Check out this guide for a list of which conventional produce contains the most pesticides. Rule of thumb: If the produce has a tough or inedible skin or rind (think: avocado, pineapple), conventional is probably okay.

Two years after calling his 11 year old daughter a pig, Alec Baldwin tells the world that he would gladly throw her into a volcano. Not even Tina Fey could make that funny.

But this is just hilarious: A compilation of Bad Paintings of Barack Obama. And this is the funniest thing I have seen in recent memory.

Lastly, thanks again for all the emails and questions about the juice cleanse. If you want a full account of everything I ate and drank for the week, please email deviswithbabies@gmail.com and I will send you all the information. No need to email again if you have already asked me for this, I will include you on the message!

Brown Girls: Sometimes There's Only Time For One

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Brown Girls

Cubicle Gangsta

Look's like Anoop is not the only modern day Indian rockstar:

Toy Swap?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

As far as I can tell, we are all finding creative ways to weather this recession. Yesterday I saw a friend who sewed lace over a cheap-o black skirt from Old Navy and--no joke--I asked her if the skirt was Marni. Kudos S--will you make me one please?

I am not sure I have the skill to transform my Target duds to masterpieces just yet. But I did happen upon this site that may save me some money on toys. An idea after the heart of your most hard-core "Uncle" who can "get it cheaper", Toy Swap fulfills most moms' dual desires to save precious cash and reduce clutter, all the while being able to offer the kids new stuff. Win, win, win, no?

Some of how it works:
  • Free membership for buying or selling

  • First swap is free

  • More than 10,000 members trade toys within seven clear price ranges.

  • The site collects a $1 fee for each swap.

  • Categories list all toys currently up for grabs, including any that you list; you work out a swap for desired toys via email with other members.

  • All correspondence and agreements go through the Toy Swap site manager.
I'm curious--has anybody tried this?? I am doing the happy dance at the prospect of getting some of the myriad crap out of my house and trading it for brand new...crap...!

Whine Flu

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Now that the swine flu hysteria has settled down I'm back to worrying about the other epidemic set to level my household: Whine flu.

Why why WHY do toddlers whine so much? Over the weekend, I heard my eldest whine out phrases that I could never have imagined whine-worthy.

In response to me saying I would take him to the park: Okayyyyyyyy.

In response to me asking him if he wanted a piece of cheese: Yea I guess so, I like cheeeeeeeeeeeeeeese.

In response to me saying thanks for the Mother's Day pipe-cleaner necklace he made me: I love you too mommyyyyyyyyyyy.

Of course there are the more garden-variety whines ("I want more tvvvvvvvvvvvv" and it's bastard cousin, "I need more tvvvvvvvvvvv" come to mind) but D's whinyness these days isn't even relegated to things he is demanding and not getting. It's as if, every hour or so, there is just a big old whine in him that needs to be released.

It got me curious and I found this article that purports to answer the question of why children whine, and also offers some solutions for whined-out parents. In sum, it seems like kids whine when they are tired, hungry, or need some attention...

Hmm. That leaves about 3 seconds of the day that might be a whine-free zone!

Some of the combat tactics--talking our kids through what is bothering them, acknowledging that they are upset, respond consistently--are obviously robust tools. But sometimes, I just cover my ears and sing really loudly and tell D that he has to take medicine for his whine flu. That works too. Probably because D, in his early abstract thinking prowess, is worried for my sanity...!

Mother Lover

Monday, May 11, 2009
Just in case you missed it--Justin Timberlake's unique Mother's Day idea:

Monday Musings: Kinda Great Expectations

Judith Warner knows how to stir the pot. This article, making waves throughout the internet and on chat-boards, tells us that if we want to be happy as mothers and as people, we need to lower our expectations. Going one step further than the usual cry to not sweat the little things and to give ourselves a break, Warner hypothesizes that our desires to be better and do more is actually tied up in a refusal to accept our own mortality:

If one were to be highbrow about it, one could see the desire for self-surpassing – the refusal to accept, for example, a muffin top, or a greater need for sleep – as a refusal to accept mortality, which is of course the ultimate self-limit.

Warner has a litany of Undone Things that rings true to every mom: Unorganized photos, art that isn't hung, those extra 5 (10) pregnancy pounds. Who doesn't have a to-do list that never goes away? But she decides that "living life to the fullest" does not necessitate fulfilling these sorts of goals. In fact, she says, living life to the fullest requires re-adjusting what we expect of ourselves.

I guess I agree. In part. If your to-do list is becoming your jailer and you never feel like you can relax and just be, I think it's time to re-evaluate. But throwing out all self-improvement aspirations? Isn't that a bit much?

Sometimes I wish I didn't want so much. Not as in things (okay sometimes things!), but in terms of the self-improvement goals that Warner seems to loathe. It would be easier if I didn't care about making photo albums and keeping the house in better shape.

But...I do want to make photo albums. I do want the house to be in better shape. Is it bad to want to be more? I don't think so. Yet, you read the comments to Warner's piece and it seems that moms everywhere feel oppressed by scrapbooks and are collectively waiting with baited breath till they get the okay to do...nothing...

I'm all about realistic expectations. But sometimes this sort of thinking is simply a justification for complacency. Nothing great about that expectation.

Plus, I am not letting my muffin-top win just yet.

Weekend Links

Friday, May 8, 2009

Sunday is Mother's day. Recognize...!

If you don't want to go to brunch with ten million other families, how about whipping up something simple and gooey and delicious--here's an easy recipe for lemon bars, courtesy of Cookie Magazine.

Too cool for FTD? How about a DIY bouquet?

Here are some ideas on how to pamper your wife, mom, grandmother without breaking the bank.

And here is a great guide for last minute gift ideas that you can buy online--everything from statement jewelry to personalized pillows.

Enjoy your weekend!

Brown Girls: How Meta

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mother Of The Year

Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Surely you know some moms who deserve this, and who deserve a laugh:

Click here to customize a "Mother of the Year" video award (complete with celebrity endorsement from Heidi Klum and Seal) for all the great moms you are lucky to have in your life.

Brown Girl Guide Dispatch: Frizzy Hair Be Gone

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's been a really long time since I have loved a new product enough to recommend it to somebody. It feels good. Welcome to your new no-frizz life. I was skeptical when I first heard about this "miracle product" (developed by MIT scientists no less) that combats frizzy hair without silicon (which, until this point, was the gravamen of any anti-frizz haircare but which tends to either weigh hair down or make it greasy. Or both). I was even more skeptical of the claim that the lotion would not only smooth hair but also increase hair's natural ability to fight humidity. But, after only 3 days of using "No Frizz" I am an absolute convert. This stuff is miraculous. In high school I used Frizz Ease. In college I branched out and tried other things. In law school I tried more "high end" products. But never have I had such success in combating the slightly stuck-my-finger-in-a-socket look that so many Indian women deal with till now. Not only does "No Frizz" ameliorate my "natural wave" (heh). It also manages to allow me--for the first time in my life--to forego the hairdryer. Yes. You read that correctly. If you are polygamous like me (married to your husband and your hairdryer)--you might have just found a way to make your life and your hair a little smoother and less complicated.

Want more beauty tips? Sign up for Brown Girl Guide--your one-stop-shop for all things brown beauty.

Monday Musings: I Want A Good Card

Monday, May 4, 2009

Mother's Day is next weekend. Men are panicking to find "the perfect gift," FTD is trying to swindle guilt-ridden adult children, brunch spots are readying tepid high tea events and, in a light of shining joy in an otherwise somewhat silly day--children are writing their moms cards.

What can you say in a card to sum up what your mom means to you? At any given point in my life, I have wanted to write my mom effusive praise--"Thank you for struggling with every fiber of your being to give us the life we take for granted"--and tongue-in-cheek sarcasm--"Thank you for doubting my fashion choices every step of the way."

At D's preschool, we were told to bring in certain supplies so that the kids can "make Mom a mother's day surprise!!" (Yes there were two exclamation points in the instruction). Regardless of the fact that it's hardly a surprise, let alone a welcome one when when I am rushing to the 24 hour Walgreens at 11 pm to procure craft items for my "present"--I am secretly giddy at the prospect of getting a Mother's Day card from my first born. Maybe not this year--he's only 3--but in the years to come. As much as I appreciate my husband "celebrating" me on a random weekend in May, I am not his mother. I love hearing him tell me that I am a good mom. But he luckily tells me that all the time. It doesn't have to be relegated to one day at an over-priced brunch where I sip really bad champagne.

But my kids. Will my kids tell me I am a good mom? What will they say in their cards to me? I am hoping it will not be "Thank you for letting me watch so much t.v."

At my 11th hour Walgreens run, I took a look at some of the Mother's Day card offerings, thinking about how I would receive some of the (admittedly canned) sentiments from my children.

"Thank you for being my best friend."

No thank you.

"Thank you for putting me on this earth."

My abilities stopped then??! All downhill afterwards??

"Thank you for always believing in me."

Hmm, not bad, but it triggers "The Wind Beneath my Wings" which in turn triggers my gag reflex.

"Thank you for always, no matter what, making me feel safe."

I would take it.

"Thank you for teaching me the meaning of family and unconditional love."

Sold. And if it's written on construction paper with glitter--even better.

Weekend Links

Friday, May 1, 2009
We've been mulling over some changes in our childcare situation. Au pair? Nanny? Daycare? So many options, I thought I had them all sort of under my belt. But here is one thing I hadn't heard of:

Thanks for all the emails and comments on my cleanse. More details on that next week. Have a great weekend!