Monthly Archives: January 2009

Bloggers to Take On the Big Apple

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As the fates would have it, Morningside Mom is heading to New York City. I know, pretty fabulous right? Now you are probably wondering why? And how? And don’t I have kids to watch and coupons to clip and… other, um, important stuff to manage?

Well, thanks to HP and the fabulous folks at Buzz Corp, I am a part of a crew of bloggers headed there to learn more abot the Vivienne Tan HP Mini Netbook. Four days of blogging from the center of the universe. Four days of checking out all that is fabulous about the designer Vivienne Tam. Four days of meeting HP peeps and getting the scoop on this product so I can report the real skinny back to you all. Four days of looking up a lot.

viviennetamhplaptopmini

And what about the kids? Well, let me send a quick shout out to Grandma and Grandpa Morningside who are braving four days of kindergarten pick up lines and potty training to make this happen. I know they’re wondering what they got themselves into but no take-sies, back-sies. They’re coming and I am grateful.

Back to NYC. So I am heading there in mid February and will be meeting up with a whole crew of bloggers on the same adventure as I am. I think it is only polite that I introduce myself and my readers to them here. Come take a look at who is a part of this and what they’ve had to say about the VT so far. If you are interested in purchasing a VT, it should be a real advantage to have access to so many opinions in one place. And this is only the beginning so be sure to come back and check in with all of us later!

The Art of Accessories and her VT intro post.

The Technology Starlet. Check out the Journey of a Pro Fashion Techie and Vivienne Tam HP Mini!

A Mom in Red High Heels and her VT intro post.

Moosh in Indy and Moosh’s Buys and Tries site.

The Gadgeteer

OSNN

VivirLatino

Gizmodiva, Newlaunches and PCLaunches

The Coveted. Check out both her VT intro post and her VT mini review.

Gotta Be Mobile

Geeks!

Notebooks.com and here is her VT intro post (be sure to check out her great video too).

Gear Live

Digital Home Thoughts

Techmammas

Techie Diva and her VT intro post

Gear Diary

Chip Chick and her VT intro post.

Mobile PC World

(Fellow bloggers: If I’ve missed your post and you’d like me to list it, just let me know!)

Hey, and did you see how I’ve organized my HP Updates page? Be sure to check there to find links to all of my HP product reviews and information in one place.

10 Comments

Filed under Bloggers, HP, Reccomendations, Reviews, Techie Stuff, Travel

The Rants and Raves of a Potty Trainer

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“Baby. When you feel like your body is telling you there is a pee pee about to come out, you make sure you LISTEN TO YOU BODY. Ok? Ok, honey? Ok? …Ok??”

“C.! Where does pee pee go? Huh??? Where does it go?! You know, you’re so smart. IN THE POTTY, right? Right, C.?? IN THE POTTY!!! YAAAY FOR POTTIES!!! THEY”RE SO COOL!!! …what?”

“Hey hon, remember, you don’t have a Pull Up on. If you feel like a pee pee needs to come out, you need to go put it IN THE POTTY. Ok, baby? That’s all. So easy.”

“Whats your body telling you??? Any pee pee in there?”

“I GOT AN IDEA!!!! How about if you put a pee pee in the potty, I’ll give you a sticker! You can put it on the potty if you want!! What do you think? WHAT DO YOU THINK?”

“Or how about a cookie?”

“….Or one of Mommy’s South Beach bars….?”

“AAHHHHHOHMYGODYOUDIDITYOUPEEPEEDYOUDIDITAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”

“Ok, um…. careful, CAREFUL!!!! Don’t spill it… yes you’re a big boy, ok, carefulCAREFULCAREFUL!!!!”

“Its ok baby. Yup, mommy will pick it up.”

“Ok you can help….. um…. yup, into the potty. Ok LETS WASH HANDS!!! YAY!!!!! …hey… GET BACK HERE!”

“So. Baby? If you have poops, they go in the potty too. Ok?”

“Here, lets put the potty on the PORCH. Fun! And heres a book! Fun!! Just hang out and read your book and if you feel that poop just **PUUUUUSH**…mmmkay? Kay, baby?”

“What? Wheres the poop? Did you put it in…? ….OH! Ok. Well. It was very close, hon. So close. Not too far away at all. Yes, thank you for showing me where it is, now back up.”

“ACKDON’TTOUCHITDON’TTOUCHIT!!!!! …Oh, I didn’t mean to scare you. MOMMY just needs to pick it up, ok?”

“Ok, let’s put it IN your little potty right where it belongs, ok? And now we’ll go back to the bathroom and flush it. OK? OK? Because poops go *IN* the pottty. Right??? Right baby?”

“Um… Alright. You can carry the potty. …just… careful? ok?”

“BLAOHHAHHWATCHOUTFOR…. oh baby you tripped. Are you ok? Just stand up! Careful now. Back up, ok? You need your boo-boo bear? Um, ok. Wait here. NO DON’T TOUCH THE MESS.”

“DON’T TOUCH, Mommy cleans up, you sit with your boo boo bear, I got this. …Oh.  …You want to help?

“You get the clorox wipes, *I* get the spray. No baby, I get the spray.”

“Ok, NOW the poop goes in the potty. Bye bye poops! Bye bye! Go ahead and flush… ok… AND DON’T MOVE A MUSCLE ITS TIME TO WASH HANDS SO HELP ME GOD!!! …Yes. You can do it.”

“OK!!!! GOOD JOB BABY!!! …So… how about lets put on your Pull Up for now, ok?”

“And here’s your sticker… and Mommy’s South Beach bar.”

8 Comments

Filed under Children, Growing up, Panicking, Parenting, Potty Training, Teaching kids

Is Obama’s Hope for Bipartisanship Possible?

It’s week one for President Obama and he faces an overwhelming to do list; a tangled rats nest of diplomatic, economic and environmental issues – all of which are deemed an absolute priority. However, our President has made one thing very clear. In order to succeed at untangling any of this mess, our country must unify, shake off bad partisan habits, and move forward as one nation. But after all the anger across party lines over this past year – heck, over this past decade – is national bipartisanship actually possible?

During President Obama’s historical inaugural speech, he turned to the nation and announced:

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.
On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

Bipartisanship was clearly his priority the night before his inauguration as Obama attended a number of dinners, one honoring John McCain, where he aimed to demonstrate his intentions to unify this country.

And while President Obama’s stimulus plan only needs the majority number of votes to pass, he hopes for more. Obama is aiming for at least 80 votes to demonstrate to the nation that our government acts with one voice working together to solve our economic issues.

Before and since Obama was sworn in as our new leader, he has prioritized efforts to reach across party lines. There are an endless number of examples and Jonathan Martin at Politico lists many of them here. However, many are still skeptical whether these bipartisan efforts will actually work – and for various reasons.

Jake Tapper, an ABC White House correspondent, pointed out examples where Obama critiqued McCain during the election year – and at the time, he was clearly not in a bipartisan frame of mind. Will conservative citizens forget his criticisms and allow this water to pass under the bridge?

And that stimulus plan? Well, even if it is likely to pass, folks on both sides of the fence think such an idealistic goal of 80 votes is unlikely. Jay Newton Small from Time Magazine explains that Obama will either have to reach much further over to the Republican camp, which would disappoint supporters – or push the plan ahead going against his bipartisanship ideologies. Newton-Small writes:

“Obama may quickly find himself forced to choose between betraying his party and betraying his principles.”

Ed Kilgore wrote about Obama’s bipartisanship goals at the Huffington Post – and he too recognizes those that are skeptical his efforts will work. He writes:

“Call it ‘bipartisanship,’ ‘nonpartisanship,’ or ‘post-partisanship,’ this strain of Obama’s thinking is impossible to ignore, and has pleased and inspired some listeners while annoying and alarming others.”

Kilgore explains further about the possibility of Obama’s bipartisan intentions:

“Among self-conscious progressives and conservatives alike, there’s a prevailing belief that Obama’s ‘bipartisan’ talk is largely a tactical device without real meaning — and a lingering fear that he might really mean it. “

So, critics seem to think Obama’s bipartisan efforts are not genuine but some underhanded method to get what he wants? Or worse still, if he does mean it and politicians drop their baggage at the door, where does that leave both parties? Will they have to (gasp) compromise and listen? Have open discussion and actually tolerate differing opinions? That’s just not how Washington works. Right?

FireDogLake.com goes so far as to say that Obama cares more about bipartisanship than a stable economy. RealClearPolitics.com explains that bipartisanship is not such a great idea after all because it requires both sides to work together – and if one side has got it all wrong, the entire effort will be diminished.

And let’s not forget Rush Limbaugh. Like him or not, he has a huge conservative audience that hangs on to his every word. What are his thoughts on Obama’s bipartisanship efforts? Well, go see for yourself. But he certainly doesn’t think conservatives should “drink the Kool-aid”.

So what do everyday people think? Well, I was discouraged looking back at the comments of the Politico article I mentioned above. But not everyone considers Obama’s efforts impossible. Corina Fiore from Down to Earth Mama explained to me:

“Obama’s bipartisanship agenda is possible. As a nation, we know that with hard work, determination, intelligence and common purpose, anything is possible… This task, though, is difficult with so many egos and so many different ideals to consider.”

And then another blogger, Wendy Piersell from Totally Her, relayed to me that:

“I hope/think the Obama administration will change the dynamic between parties forever. But politics will always be partisan.”

I agree with both. Opposing parties and differing opinions are important for this country to check and balance itself. Our country is defined by its diverse perspectives – we don’t all agree and it’s our right that we don’t have to. That being said, President Obama simply wants to keep the door open. No idea or suggestion aimed at fixing our nation’s problems should be ignored based on party affiliation. Let’s keep an open mind and sit down to fix this together. We may all not get exactly what we want but, if our country is better off for the compromises we’ve made in 5 years, it will all be worth it.

And bipartisan efforts should extend even as far as Type A Mom. Please make sure to jump over, welcome and read future articles by our new Conservative Mom Editor, Krista Herling! Welcome Krista!

Cross posted at Type A Moms.

2 Comments

Filed under Communication, Economy, Giving respect, Government, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Partisanship, Politics, Presidency, Reality check

Just Thought I’d Ask

8ball_0

As much as I try to deny it, my children are growing up. (Damn.) My sweet little two year old C.  is going to be three this summer. I have even begun the process of enrolling him in school part time this fall. Its hard to believe that in a mere nine months, I won’t have a child home with me full time.

How did that happen?

And where does that leave me?

In 2003, I quit my full time job to be home with my children. And soon, over five years later with two kids in school and a huge gap in my resume, I have to figure out how I am going to help earn more for this family. Times are tough everywhere. We are lucky my husband is even employed. I am an able bodied person, so back to work with me. If this all sounds familiar, it should because I have been stressed about this issue before. Its one I go round in circles about. I think we all do.

But here’s the thing. This past year, some amazing things have happened for me. I am beginning to feel that I need to pay careful attention to whats going on around me. The signs are there.  It seems that something real may waiting for me in my future. I know this sounds like I am buying into some new age hocus pocus… *Shrug* Well. I don’t know. Maybe I am. Because I almost feel like the universe – and all that is beyond me – is quietly trying to tell me something. You might remember I have noticed this before. And all of those crazy signs I was talking about then still just keep popping up everywhere.

This way, this way. Over here. Come this way…

So, if we are going to go there, and get all spiritual up on this blog, I think I am going to go ahead and practice a tried and true lesson from the heavens. I have heard that in order to get what you want, you must ask for it. So that’s what I am going to do. I am going push aside those feelings of “I shouldn’t ask for anything, I don’t deserve anything more, I have enough” and just simply ask the powers that be for a little favor.

To all that are listening, whether they be up at the pearly gates or right here next to me as I type this post (cue the inspirational Enya music, switch on the hallowed lights from the heavens) – this is what I hope I can do to earn my keep around here:

I want to write.

(Shocking, I know.)

But I want to be paid to write. And I adore blogging, really I do, and I plan to keep doing it. But am I the next Dooce? I don’t think so. My life is really not interesting enough to have a well paying blog about… err… little ol’ me.

But I would love to write articles, be paid to post on other blogs, write reviews, write editorials in magazines or online… shoot, whatever it is, I just want to write and make some extra scratch for groceries or (eeks, this seems like a lot to ask) maybe even a car payment.

Now if you are a parent blogger, writing from home like I am, I am betting you are having a good laugh right about now. Because this is probably exactly what you want too. You know how great writing is. You can work from home and then be there for your children when they get home from school. You set your own hours and you take on as much work as you can handle. Its kind of ideal, right? Yeah, that’s what I think too.

Well, even if every other parent blogger wants to do what I hope to do, so what. It still can’t hurt to ask, right?

So. To the powers that be. Whoever is out there, up there, over there, right here pushing mystical buttons and pulling heavenly levers… could you just make a note? Maybe tag me and set me aside for something that seems to fit my needs down the road a bit? I’m not asking to be Editor in Chief of Redbook or the next Jen Weiner, I just want to love what I do… and write. Then maybe I can help pay some bills around here and make sure T. is getting his homework done before he turns on the Wii. It’s not too much to ask, right? I hope not.

Anyway. Back I go to stumbling down this path, with no clue where it will take me, uncovering the tiny little signs that are pointing me this way.  I know I keep checking myself, questioning my faith in it all, saying “Well, I don’t know, I’ll try it for now but lets not get our hopes up.” But then, right at my feet, another sign will appear. And if I look very, very closely it says the same thing that they all do. It simply says “write, write, write”. So I am.

8 Comments

Filed under Blog love, Deep thoughts, Destinies, Guilt and motherhood, Identity crisis, Panicking, Reality check, Self-analysis, Signs, Spirituality, Working moms

Vivienne Tam HP Mini “Netbook” Review

hp-viviennetam_270x486

Ok folks. I got really lucky again. And I mean REALLY lucky. My favorite PR peeps over at Buzz Corps brought me into the fold of another project for HP. And a couple days ago, they sent me the product we’re reviewing this time. What is it? Oh, you’re gonna like this one. Its a Vivienne Tam HP Mini Netbook. It’s pretty damn fabulous – and I’m going to tell you why.

Now, I am going to warn you. I am going to post here all about how I endorse this product. But I am going to try my damnedest NOT to sound too much like an infomercial… I’m not sure I’ll succeed, but stick with me anyway, ok?

So to keep it interesting, I decided to also check out the 12 seconds site. Instead of typing a bunch of bladdy bladdy blah text, I thought I would try sharing my top 5 reasons why I love the HP Mini on there. Consider it my first stab at “Vlogging”, if you will. But I love the concept of the videos only being 12 seconds – its my personal guarantee that this review can’t get too boring. So check it out because if you’ve read this far, you clearly have an attention span of more that 12 seconds.

So here we go.

Reason #1: It has a camera

Reasons #2: It’s the perfect size

Reason #3: Lovely design = “Mommies Only”

Reason #4: It’s light

Reason #5: SD port for pics

(So, be honest. I really don’t think I got away without sounding a little bit like an infomercial, did I?  Yeah well, what are you gonna do. I’m sure Vanna White is quaking in her stilettos…)

Now there are certainly many other reasons why I like this mini so much. And I know that if you read on it will take more than 12 seconds, but bear with me if your interest is peaked now.

viviennetamhplaptopmini

While it is certainly very light and easy to pop open and work on just about anywhere, it also doesn’t get as hot as my other HP laptop. The weight and low temp make this HP Mini seem almost effortless – and extremely easy to curl up on the couch with. (I guess it should be no surprise it has an energy star rating, right?)

The operating system is Windows XP and comes with Windows Media Player (which I use all the time). But I know someone else who just put Windows 7 on theirs and it sounds like it is working great.

It has two USB ports, one of which I am using for the remote mouse, a headphone/mic jack, a network jack, an expansion port, an SD card reader, and a security cable connector. Along with its camera, the HP Mini has speakers to play tunes on (and for such a little thing, its speakers actually sound surprisingly good – about as good as my regular sized HP laptop).

I know I talked about the design in Reason #3 but I have to go over that point one more time. It is really lovely to look at. The design makes it feel very unique. This mini even comes with a silk cloth “clutch” that you can slip it into. From there, I slip it into my purse. And as I mentioned before, all the flowers and femininity acts as its own security system – my husband, brother, father and the rest of the dudes in my family won’t be taking it out in public to use. With no threats of it disappearing, this mini has become the uber Mommy laptop.

Ok, how about a couple cons? Well, once again, I would have to say the very shiny screen is a frustration (this has been an issue I’ve seen with most HP screens). The shininess is very pretty to look at initially but it is just too shiny. Its very hard to look at outside, especially if the mini is unplugged and the screen is not as bright.

The overall shininess of the Mini also means many finger prints. Finger prints (and other various types of smears) are a reality in this mother’s world. I feel like I need to wipe it down a lot to keep it looking beautiful.

Also the camera seems dark. I need to be outdoors or near very bright light to have any hope of being seen. Perhaps I don’t have a setting quite right but I have heard this is an issue for other VT users too.

**Update about the Webcam!**

While on our Vivienne Tam NYC trip, the wonderful HP rep who came along explained to us that some of the first VT HP minis still have a small bit of plastic over the webcam. She wasn’t exactly sure why it was left on, one idea was that it was to protect the camera from the paint treatment. Nevertheless, it is fixable. She actually opened each of our VT HP minis and peeled the piece of plastic off. If you are having issues with yours, I would call HP tech support and explain the problem. HP has now recommended that you do not try to do this on your own in case it causes unnecessary damage.

If you unplug the Mini fully charged, you really don’t have too long on it without having to power it up again. I think I’ve gotten a couple hours out of it, but that’s about it.

All in all, it is a fabulous ride. And my bottom line is: if you’re someone looking for something stylish and easy, something more than just a blackberry but less cumbersome than a regular sized laptop, you might want to check out one of these Vivienne Tam HP Minis.

In the meantime, I am going to hope the men in my family don’t get over their complex about flowers too soon and do finally walk off with the thing. Wish me luck.

For other blogger reviews of the HP VT Mini, visit this post of mine for links to each blogger involved in this review. They should be listed at the HP Website also. For more information about the HP products I review, please visit my HP Update page.

11 Comments

Filed under HP, Reviews, Stuff I have, Techie Stuff

My Son Learns about his 44th President

While my son was at school yesterday, his kindergarten class watched the inauguration. They also read books about Obama and his teachers explained the significance of that day. When T. jumped into the car yesterday afternoon, he yelled out to me “Hey Mom! You won’t BELIEVE why the President’s Office is called the OVAL office!” Hmmm, I can’t imagine – but I was thrilled that he knew. So then it was my turn for a presidential factoid. “Hey, did you know President Obama has two little girls?” I happened to spy an eyeroll in my rear-view mirror. “I KNOW that.”

Already, President Barack Obama is being taught in schools. Already, he is considered part of my son’s “social studies” curriculum. Already, he is getting colored in and pasted on to construction paper.

It should come as no surprise then that I consider this sort of school work: “refrigerator-worthy” – and it is posted proudly for all to see.

bo1

bo2

4 Comments

Filed under Education, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Patriotism, Presidency, Teaching kids

Inauguration Day: Proud, Patriotic and Pantsless

So here I sit, under a blanket, with a cup of tea steaming on the coffee table. My laptop, with about 10 separate windows open (CNN.com, twitter, various blogs, email, etc.), is sitting on, well, my lap. CNN is on the television in front of me and my two year old son is napping (finally).

And Barack Obama is President of the United States.

Wow.

He’s been president for almost two hours now. And I could not be more grateful.

Someday my sons may ask me where I was the day President Obama was inaugurated. And so I think it seems only right I post today to “archive” it in some way. But I hate to disappoint them. Even though my parents live in the DC area, we are not there. We are home in Florida. Or I am, with C., doing dishes, making dinner and folding laundry. My 5 year old went to school today and my husband went to work and won’t be home until late in the evening. A family trek to DC was not practical or affordable right now. So here we are, its just another day in the neighborhood.

But I know its not. Something has changed. A subtle but deeply felt shift just happened, and we were all moved by it. Our country is now somehow altered with the swearing in of this single man. Hope is an extraordinarily powerful thing and the meaning of an event like today’s inauguation can be felt in every office, work place, and living room nationwide. Even in the far reaches of boring old suburbia, even in a little ol’ living room like mine.

As the crowds gathered on the Mall this morning and I gathered my robe around me while I watched, I suddenly figured something out. You know this whole concept of change that Obama has been going on about? Yeah, well, I have realized that “change” – or making it happen, rather – is something that we all must to own. It’s no longer Obama’s line anymore. Once he was sworn in, change has become an action that we are all responsible for. We can fix these issues if we all harness the energy of the people on that mall today and commit to making a significant difference in our communities, from where ever we stand. Even if we stand in a spot far from DC, maybe even at the edge of a cookie cutter community in Florida, in a home with stew simmering in the crock pot and a child napping in the front room. 

So back to my point. What was I doing when Obama was sworn in? Well, as Aretha Franklin began singing, I noticed a certain… odor… in my living room. And it wasn’t the stew. C. looked at me sheepishly – and I knew. Yup. I spent Obama’s swearing in changing a very full and fairly horrifying poopy diaper. Afterwards, I let C. “air” out some and left him pantsless. The poor child has had horrible diaper rash. And I dragged out his potty too which he graciously peed in for me – twice – while I caught snippets of Obama’s speech.

That’s where I was when Obama became President of the United States. I was at the helm of my current and very humbling profession, doing what I do best right now, being a mom.

(And you can’t say *I* wasn’t “changing” something during that very pivotal and historic moment in history, correct?)

So here is my two year old, only minutes after Obama officially became president, standing on our back porch: pantsless and patriotic. cinaug

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Filed under Deep thoughts, Educating myself, Election, Family, Florida, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Obama, Patriotism, Presidency, Reality check

Honoring Dr. King’s Dream

We can never take for granted how far we have come to ensure equality for every citizen in our country. Thousands of people have suffered so that the rights of our people are upheld and preserved. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech has lived in our minds for decades. It has remained alive in our hearts, reminding us to work for a dream, to accomplish the impossible. And tomorrow, with the election of Barack Obama, we are so close to realizing Dr. King’s dream.

But we can’t assume we have accomplished his dream entirely. We can’t assume equality comes simply with the election of an African American president, because it hasn’t. But we’re getting so close. And as we watch President-Elect Obama be sworn in tomorrow, there can be no doubt in our minds that the impossible can happen. Now, we have every reason to believe that Dr. King’s dream may soon be entirely realized.

I think it is all of our responsibilities to watch this speech, read this speech, and experience this speech before tomorrow’s inauguration. Amoungst everything that it represents, every one of us should understand the significance of this new presidency and the effect it will have on our hopes for equality in our country.

“I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked “insufficient funds.” But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quick sands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. They have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied, as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “For Whites Only”. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with a new meaning, “My country, ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring.”

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

Let freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

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Filed under Equal Rights, Giving respect, Inauguration, Inspiring people, Martin Luther King Jr., Obama, Patriotism, Peace, Presidency, Racism, Raising Awareness

A Flock of Birds in my Backyard

This morning, my 5 year old came running in to tell me there were lots and lots and LOTS of birds in our backyard. “Uh huh, that’s nice dear.” “No, Mommy, LOTS. Come see.” And I did. And so did my husband with my 2 year old toddling behind us.

There were, in fact, many birds in our backyard. Hundreds potentially. A flock like I had never seen were swooping and swirling and flying just above our heads. And then landing in one bush, weighing it down. And then off they went again. It was close to magical.

I grabbed my video camera and threw this little montage of the scene together. It certainly doesn’t capture the feeling or size of this flock flying all about us. But blog-worthy still. My backyard strikes again.

By the way, I used my Muvee Reveal software for this. It took 5 minutes to put together. The software edits the footage to work right along with the song. Pretty cool, huh?

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Filed under Animal appreciation, Florida, One of those moments, Wildlife

Inauguration Activities for your Children

change-has-come

In case you hadn’t noticed, I am very excited about the upcoming inauguration of President-Elect Obama. And as a mom, I think it is only fair that I share the excitement of this historical event with my children too. I also think this is the perfect opportunity to teach our children about the United States presidency and the purpose of an inauguration. So, after doing some research, I have found all sorts of fun ways to engage our children in this historical event.

Where to begin? First, and depending on their age, you might want to explain to your children what the United States President is actually responsible for. Ben’s Guide will give your kids a simple but fairly thorough explanation.You may also want to show your children our nation’s past 43 presidents. White House.gov provides a list of past presidents along with interesting facts about each. And what better way to remember our presidents than to learn a rap about all 44 of them? The song and lyrics can be found here.

The inauguration is as much a celebration as it is a learning experience for our children. Parents should think about explaining what this inauguration is for and what it means for so many people. Here are some excellent books which will teach children further about the presidency and the inauguration process:

Our President-Elect represents a great deal to our country. His principles, his history as a politician and recent election can teach our kids many important lessons. Princemensah at Ehow wrote a wonderful article about the inspiring lessons children should learn from Barack Obama. One suggested lesson reads:

“Point out the lesson of working with different people.

The President-Elect has a history of working with people with differing views. From Harvard to the Hill, he has established faith and friendship with people who do not share his views. This attitude is critical to a nation sharply divided over war and worries over the economy. Your children need to know about the value of being able to gain the respect of your enemies.”

While teaching our children about the inauguration is important, there are plenty of fun, interactive ways to include them in all the celebrating too. Active learning with lots of cutting and pasting always gets the brain moving. As I mentioned in a post before, Kaboose.com has some excellent craft ideas for children. More crafts can also be found at Amazing Moms.com.

Does your child dream of becoming President of the United States someday? Scholastic.com has a fun game for older children where they can decide what they would do if they were president.

If you have an inauguration whiz on your hands, perhaps the whole family can sit down and play this inauguration quiz found at pbs.org

Or do you have a musician in the house? Have them try playing “Hail to the Chief”. The sheet music can be found here if you click on the “score” icon at the top left of the page.

Are you looking for coloring pages? So that your young ones can stay busy coloring up a storm on Tuesday, we’ve got plenty of links to share:

While the rest of your household readies for the inauguration, you may be wondering how you can engage your tween or high schooler further. Nickelodeon, The Disney Channel and MTV will all be hosting events with many favorite performers like the Jonas Brothers and Miley Cyrus.

With millions of visitors expected to converge on the capitol next week, it is likely that some of you are headed there as well. Due to all of the security restrictions, I am sure you are frustrated to hear that it may be very difficult to bring your children to the inauguration itself.

That being said, there will be so much to do in the DC area for families. Be sure to check out Go City Kids for all of the city wide activities. And did you know that there will be, in fact, a Children’s Inaugural Ball?

And for those families like mine who are scrambling to figure out how to celebrate inauguration day hundreds of miles away from Washington DC, be sure to check locally for events and activities for children on the day of the inauguration. I know that Borders will hosting inaugural events in some cities, so it’s worth doing further research online.

So strike up Hail to the chief, hang your coloring pages proudly, maybe do a little presidential rap, and enjoy celebrating the inauguration with your entire family this coming Tuesday, January 20th.

Crossed posted at Type A Moms.

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Filed under Children, Education, Family, Government, Inauguration, Inspiring people, MTV, Music, Obama, Parenting, Patriotism, Presidency, Reccomendations, Teaching kids