The fourth of July

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Recently, I resolved to celebrate holidays, no matter how small or insignificant. Okay, well maybe most, not counting holidays like Columbus day, president’s day and other excuses for a day off.

“Keep it simple” is my motto when it comes to celebrations. All the unnecessary fuss that comes with other holidays just seems, to me,  like a marketing ploy to milk us of money, drain us of energy, and keep up with the Jones’—it cheapens the experience.

I do small birthdays, simple holidays, uncomplicated family traditions. But now that the kids are getting older, I’d like to use holidays as a creative way to engage with the kids. Do things like decorate together, and deposit festive memories into their memory banks.

Christmas and Thanksgiving are no-brainers; July 4th is tough.

We started a fourth of July breakfast tradition, and this year we kicked it up a notch with homemade red, white, and blue decor. Ellie really enjoys crafting and “doing things” together. So it was an opportunity to connect one-on-one while Ollie napped. My goal is to do little craft projects with her once a week.

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July 4th is tough because, I don’t have lasting memories of celebrating Independence day. I remember going to cookouts, which is central to the celebration, but I don’t have memories of red, white and blue cakes, and pies, flags, and home decor. Maybe, things were simpler back in the day; cookouts at friends’ and family’s and maybe we’ll catch fireworks.  I can’t help but wonder if pinterest has anything to do with the excessive hoopla around fourth of July (no body used to ever decorate! Or is it just me?).

It’s also tough because I feel like an other on holidays like this. My blood runs hot for Ghana and Sierra Leone just as much as it does for America. (Oh the struggle of being bi-cultural!) Maybe next year I’ll make a tradition of celebrating 6th March (Ghana’s independence day) as well as fourth of July. I want that for my girls.

Then there’s the politics of it. To be frank, my people weren’t “independent” on Independence day. (In fact, slavery wasn’t abolished in Ghana until 1874–eleven years after the emancipation proclamation in America) While it’s easy to gloss over the facts, and celebrate because it’s a national holiday, I like to have meaning and purpose in what I do. I strive to enrich myself and the kids with heritage and history.

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Besides these minor challenges, Fourth of July is significant to me. I’m proud to be of a country that strives to create an environment for freedom to thrive; no matter how flawed or tangled the pursuit of the ideal environment may be. I’m grateful that 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the civil rights act that paved the way for my brown family to enjoy the freedoms we enjoy now.

I’m optimistic of the future and I believe our generation is leading the way in making the fabric of this country stronger

(Okay, I’m off my political soap box now).

Ellie insisted on mixing the colors painting a purple flag...I told you I'm optimistic about the future.

Ellie insisted on mixing the colors and painting a purple flag…I told you I’m optimistic about the future.

We had a picnic at the park.

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But we didn’t catch fireworks this year. The girls came down with nasty summer colds that day which prompted a trip to urgent care–and resulted in Olivia being prescribed a nebulizer. The doctor believes it’s RSV; a respiratory virus. After a few days it should clear up completely. But the treatment was scary. Ollie couldn’t breath very well. She wheezed.

NebulizertreatmentWe did breathing treatments all weekend to ease her wheezing.

They were both troopers though. Grandma came over and spent Saturday with them. Ollie sat still and enjoyed breathing with a mask over her face. She kept asking for “more!” Then sat still with the breathing tube in her own mouth. She didn’t want (or need) any help. My baby isn’t even two yet, but she loves being a big girl—the only thing she wants to be in this whole wide world—just like her sister.

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Room makeovers, thrifted goodness, and Gone again

dining room makeoverI pulled my dining room together!

My mantra was to use the path of least expense, so I “shopped” around the house for things I could use to ground my powder blue dining room. I ended up spending $60 for a few accessories. Hello, Pier 1 silk flowers!–everywhere else’s just looked too whack–so I splurged there. The gold framed art and the metallic chair (which I spray painted) is thrifted–$4 a piece.

gold chair

The room isn’t done yet, but I made progress.

dining room makeover pier 1

I learned of a salon around these parts that does natural hair. So I made an appointment. (I tell ya, with my awesome yoga studio up the street, and a new natural hair stylist close by, this small town is looking better and better–might I stop craving city life after all?)

salon life

But anyway, I went. And just as I feared, she saw my head of dense, (matted?), tightly coiled–and DRY! hair. I thought she would turn me around like another stylist up north (in the city!) did. But she didn’t. She just brushed and combed until I thought I had 3 strands of hair left at each temple.  Then she deep conditioned. And did a super treatment. And sat me under the dryer, until my hair yielded and softened like butter…

All while she chastised me for leaving my hair to dry out and die.

She wanted to cut 2-3 inches off. I declined. If I went home any balder, Ollie wouldn’t recognize me.

Ughhh! I hated that feeling. The shaming part. But I loved that someone else was doing my hair. Washing it, conditioning it, making it smell good…while I read a magazine uninterrupted.

I think I’ll keep going.

Twist out

On Thursday, I had lunch with a former co-worker from my job at my alma mater. We lunch at least 4 times a year. I love it. We catch up on the going-ons of the world like feminism, politics, and environmental issues over yummy Indian food. I miss working in an office sometimes, but then again, I don’t. Not now anyway. But lunch with Andy is always nice.

Right after lunch, I stopped in the new Goodwill retail store next door. Heaven! There was a brand new sofa for $100. Man, sometimes I wish I drove a pickup truck! I picked up some cute pumpkin decorations for this Autumn instead.

goodwill find DMV southbound 95 traffic

The traffic coming back home, southbound!

The girls at an indoor play area…fun, fun, fun!

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Okay, have you heard of the capsule wardrobe/the 10-item wardrobe? I love Jennifer’s blog, the daily connoisseur, and what it’s about. She and I have something in common, in that we both studied abroad in Paris, and loved it! She managed to write a book about her observations on chic living. It’s all checked out of my library, so I’ll have to wait to read it.

But anyway, I cleared out my closet and I’m building it back up with basics. I realized my small wardrobe consisted of disjointed colors and haphazardness that makes it hard to be quick about dressing up in the morning. So I’m fixing that.

capsule wardrobe

colorful socks trendIs anybody else’s man into colorful dress socks? I never would’ve though my straight laced, 90′s bred hubby would like this trend. But he’s crazy about it. Me, not so much.

Inspiration board

I’m on to the living-room-repurposed-as-a-library, now. While the girls were over at grandma’s for the weekend, I took to priming for paint. Ev ripped up the basement staircase carpet, it preparation to do the same to the main staircase going upstairs. We got a lot done. I’m inspired by the image above, that’s my decor inspiration board I created. Hopefully it won’t be too long before this place starts to loosely resemble what’s in my head…we’ll see.

IMG_7463 IMG_7466 IMG_7467 IMG_7468 staircase redoThink I can pull this together?

Ev is gone again this week. We’ll see if I can squeeze in some progress while he’s gone.

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Fathers Day Weekending

Fathers Day 2014

Ev came home to a warm reception. Ellie and I made a welcome home bunting and made him some yummy dinner. Olivia cooked him dinner from her toy kitchen set and he prefers her cooking to mine on occasion.

Saturday I had the day to myself! I went grocery shopping, picked out paint, attended a meeting for an organization I sit on the board of. We went over the grant proposal I wrote. I’m proud of this organization; the West African Community Collaborative. It’s fulfilling to serve for organization that does great work in the community I care deeply about.

I stopped by the mall to pick up a father’s day gift for Ev. Colorful dress socks. That’s his thing. He’s so fashionable, I can’t even shop for him anymore! But I can do colorful socks.

My blood bestie, Janet, turned 37 this weekend. We went out for drinks in the historic district. She laments her upcoming 40th birthday…

I’m looking forward to turning 30 (THIRTY!) this November…I think I’ll throw myself a party. Like, an ah-mazing house party. Wanna help me plan it?

My cousin Sarina, (who I just learned reads my blog!) came over and babysat.

So Ev went up north Saturday night and hung out with his boys. I wrapped and forgot his father’s day present on the kitchen table. He opened it. I had meant to have the girls give it to him on Sunday… oh well.

We had fathers day breakfast on the deck Sunday morning.

I painted a focal wall in the sun room. I love the color! It’s a deep brownish plum purple…called Wenge…it complements the spring mint I painted in there a while back. 

Then I painted my dining room. Benjamin Moore’s Angel Blue…

My dining room looks like pimp heaven…Powder blue…the color Ev’s dreams are made of.

The library and my office next…

Welcome home bunting

Welcome home dad

Kybecca Wine BarHappy fathers dayBreakfast on the deck

Benjamin Moore Wenge

Benjamin Moore Angel Blue

Benjamin Moore Angel Blue dining roomcouple selfie

 

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