Monday, December 12, 2016

Tote of Books

I am the Caucasian mother of a daughter of Filipino ethnic heritage.  It has always been a priority of mine to find ways in which we can foster her knowledge of and connection to that heritage.  I have previously written of my attempts to cook Filipino dishes.  I have realized how little I knew of the Filipino history and culture before now.  There is of course a lot more to still learn!

Last year we started  the tradition of giving Rose a tote bag filled with books corresponding to her development and interests.  This year I found a couple books that seemed appropriate.  The first is a book of Tagalog words.  I know no Tagalog, so this will also be a learning experience for me.  The second is still a bit too old for her now and will be put away for another time, but is a book of Filipino children's stories.

I dream of taking a trip to the Philippines with Rose some day.  Maybe a high school graduation trip?  If we go I'll definitely be asking for some guidance, suggestions, and advice from others who have been.

Mama Badge

I wanted to announce the release of my memoir, Mama Badge.  It is the story of my roller-coaster journey to becoming a mother.  The book began as a means of making sure to remember the journey.  It then became a means of healing. 

Both paperback and Kindle versions are available through Amazon.

You are free to e-mail me at with any questions or comments.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Splash Day and the Olympics

R. does not watch a lot of television.  She is allowed to mostly watch Sesame Street or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (in Spanish).  However, we have introduced her to the Olympics, specifically gymnastics and swimming.  The reasons for her watching specifically these is that she is currently taking her first gymnastics class, and we're trying to get her more comfortable and confident in the pool.

She has been exclaiming, "Wow!  Look at that!  So high," with the gymnastics vaults, and "Balance beam!"

She has been especially enthralled with the swimming, requesting, "More splash day."

Last night I got dressed in my workout clothes before bathing Rose and heading to the gym after she was put in bed.  I didn't mind my inexpensive workout clothes getting wet while bathing a toddler.  She asked about my clothes.  I replied, "Mama's going to the gym.  I'm going to exercise to help me be strong."  My hubby later told me that she was telling him all about Mama going to gym to exercise and get strong when he was kissing her goodnight.

I took R. swimming this afternoon.  She was still clinging to me and a bit apprehensive.  We're working on developing a deeper sense of comfort and joy in the pool for her.

Whether or not R. decides to pursue gymnastics or swimming, these Olympics have allowed her to have some pretty awesome role models.  Despite the criticism NBC has received for their sexist comments attributing the success of their female athletes to their male coaches and support, R. has been seen examples of strength, confidence, and passion through the work of female athletes such as Housszu, Simone Manuel, Katie Ledecky, and Simone Biles.

I want my daughter to not be afraid of failure in her pursuit for success.  I feel that J.K. Rowling says it quite well here:

I want my daughter to learn the feeling of accomplishment.  That can only be attained through experiencing failure as well.  Especially the American culture now tries to save their chldren from experiencing any heartache, loss, or failure.  I want nothing more than to protect my daughter.  But I am not protecting her by jumping in and solving every situation.  Through my doing that, she will not at all learn to be self-sufficient or responsible.

Thank you to these Olympics and female athletes for showing my daughter what it means to pursue your passion with determination, strength, and failure as well as success.  I want to emphasize that not winning a medal does not mean failure.  Thank you for modeling what it means to be a strong individual (male or female)!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Children Will Listen

I inherited a hatred and impatience for inanimate objects.  I am told my Grandpa Megill possessed this trait.  I find myself to be more patient with people than inanimate objects.  The worst offenders are clothes hangers and plastic wrap!  There are times when I can physically do something, but I hand it over to my hubby who will complete the task with a more level head.  My mother-in-law also lovingly teases me about my frustration with being short, trying to reach things on a high shelf, and everything tumbling down on me.  HATE it!

A few days ago, my 2 year old daughter was trying to open spray bottles I use on her hair.  I was observing her, intending to stop her if she was successful in opening the bottles.  All of a sudden, she exclaimed, "Oh, come on!  Don't do that!"

I haven't laughed that hard in a long time.  Children will listen.  Luckily, any more severe words coming out of my mouth due to frustration with inanimate objects have taken place out of earshot of my daughter.

What have you caught your kiddo saying that they learned from you?

Friday, June 24, 2016

My Name is Kristin, and I'm a Trader Joe's Addict!

I am NOT at all being paid to write this post!  I sincerely LOVE Trader Joe's!

I grew up in southern California, where Trader Joe's are very prevalent.  While living in Redlands, California, I shopped at two grocery stores each week, Trader Joe's, and a more streamline grocery store.  I was unable to acquire all of my grocery needs at only one of them.

In 2009, my husband's job brought us to Colorado.  We lived in Colorado for 4 1/2 years before Trader Joe's opened in Colorado.  One obstacle for Trader Joe's coming to Colorado was the Colorado liquor laws.  Liquor is not sold in grocery stores here as it is in California.

During those 4 1/2 years without a Trader Joe's, I refused to shop at Whole Foods, otherwise referred to as Whole Paycheck.  A musician without a full-time job, we did not at all have the income for me to spend that kind of money.  I made about 3 trips there the entire 4 1/2 years without Trader Joe's for things I just could not find at the streamline grocery stores.

February, 2014, Trader Joe's opened in Colorado with stores in Boulder and Denver.  We live in Thornton, pretty equidistant between these two cities.  Even though Denver is the only Trader Joe's in Colorado that sells the liquor, Mike and I used to live in Boulder and know my way around well, the Boulder location has a better parking lot, and traffic is usually better that direction.  I did wait about 3 months after the store opened before I braved a shopping trip.  My daughter was also born in March, 2014, and I was in mama of newborn hibernation mode.  The crowds at the store were making a lot of press.

As a busy mama of a toddler, it is not as easy to make the 35 minute drive each way to the Trader Joe's in Boulder as I would like.  Between my daughter's school schedule, naps, meal preparation, and my teaching schedule, I make it to Trader Joe's about once a month.  I made a trip to Trader Joe's in Boulder this morning.  I realized the last time I had made a trip there was the beginning of May.

I about had a heart attack with the receipt shock.  $244!  I had to remind myself that spread over a month, that is not bad.  It also means I buy less at the streamline grocery store on my weekly grocery runs.  I mostly buy frozen items, or items with far off expiration dates.  I also make notes in my phone of what I have on hand so I can add it to meal planning over the following month.

What do I get?  This is not my complete list, but the following are some of my favorite items.
  • ground beef (can be frozen, and at $4.99 a lb., cheaper than the streamline stores 
  • whole milk yogurt cups (My daughter's FAVORITE!  She cries when the cup is empty.)
  • frozen chicken teriyaki (serve with steamed broccoli and rice)
  • frozen fruit for my morning smoothies (much CHEAPER than the streamline grocery store.  I like the mango chunks, raspberries, and strawberries).
  • black Irish Breakfast tea
  • Giant Peruvian Inca Corn (so addictive!)
  • jalapeno artichoke dip
  • string cheese (so much CHEAPER than the streamline grocery store, and my daughter gobbles it up!)
  • trail mix
  • Next to Godliness lavender chamomile soap (My dad is allergic to sodium laurel sulfate, present in most soaps.  I use this hand soap on a daily basis, and am all ready for his visits.)
  • frozen turkey meatballs
  • frozen battered halibut fish (meant for fish tacos!)
  • General Tsao's stir fry sauce (YUMMY with cornstarch coated and stir fried chicken and veggies)
  • red thai curry sauce (delicious with either tofu or chicken, spinach, pineapple, and onions)
  • masala curry simmer sauce
  • precooked and refrigerated turkey breast (One day before the Colorado T.J's opened, I asked my hubby for any grocery requests or needs.  He said, "We haven't had that turkey for a long time."  I had to reply, "That's because I used to get it at Trader Joe's!  :(
  • pollo asado or carne asada (to throw on the grill for a yummy taco bar)

Trader Joe's has been a wonderfully healthy and frugal alternative for grocery shopping for me.  I wish they would open a store in Thornton, of course, but I love Boulder and never mind spending time there.

Your parking lot sucks, and you suck all my money out of me, but I sure do LOVE you!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Honoring Your Adopted Child's Ethnic Heritage

When my hubby and I were pursuing creating our family through adoption, we were in definitive agreement that we would welcome a child of a different race or ethnicity.  To us, a child not physically looking like us in NO way meant that child was any less ours.  I am PROUD to be not just a mama, but Mama specifically to Rose.

Our almost 2-year-old daughter is actually of Filipino descent.  My dad LOVES that he has this dark haired granddaughter among the sea of blonde hair of his other three granddaughters.  My mom gifted me a book about Filipino celebrations.  I plan on including Rose in together deciding how we as a family can recognize and celebrate some of the events.

This has not always been an easy situation.  I have never minded family or friends asking me of Rose's ethnicity.  However, a random stranger kindly opening a door for us and asking, "Where is she from?" stings.  Not that I'm embarrassed or ashamed.  Not in the least!  What bothers me is their bluntness regarding an intimate (not private or secret) subject.  What business is it of yours?  A random stranger. I am still in search of a quick, witty, smart-ass but still polite response.

I have heard that some adoptees in transracial adoptions feel like they do not belong to either their birth or adoption ethnicity.  Rose is still young, and I can not promise that we will never have any questions or issues regarding this subject, but here are some things we're doing to teach her of her ethnicity.

1) We share photos and stories of her birth family, and have frequent FaceTime conversations.
2) We remind her of her beauty and acceptance every day.
3) When someone comments of her beauty, we openly give credit to her birtthmama and her beauty.
4) We speak of her Filipino ethnicity with nothing but respect.
5) I have started to try to cook some Filipino recipes.

The first recipe I tried was Chicken Adobo,  I served it with rice and steamed artichoke.  I've included the link to the recipe I found online, and a photo of the end result.

Rose gobbled it up!  I have received some suggestions of dishes go try in the future.  I look forward to trying them.

I welcome ideas for other ways in which to teach, honor, and respect a child's ethnicity in a transracial adoption.  If you are an parent in a transracial adoption, what kinds of things do you do to recognize and celebrate your child's ethnicity and heritage?