1.28.2012

Sex Ed from the 70's

It used to be much easier to answer my son's questions about life, women and sex. I guess in my mind, we were years away from the realities of it all. Our conversations were in theory.


That is no longer the case.

I've now got two teenage boys in my house. I also have a preteen who is full of stank attitude and he thinks he knows everything. Their voices are growing into a deep bass, their feet have grown to yeti size and they're now taller than me. They beat their chests and ooze testosterone. My InStyle magazines have disappeared on several occasions. Every other girl they see is "hot"--especially Jessica Alba and Megan Fox (according to the YouTube history). They are not shy about vocalizing their maleness.

When I am confronted with their hairy armpits, their widening chests and the fuzz on their upper lip, I realize that the physical changes we once talked about are now manifesting themselves. That sex talk we had a few years ago? It needs to be revised. Having the sex talk with an 8 year old, a 10 year old and an 11 year old is much much different than having the sex talk with an 11 year old, 13 year old and a 14 year old. I have to add my youngest boy Cyan into the equation, since he'll turn 10 in April. He hasn't been enlightened like his older brothers were.

You can see it on their faces. They know exactly what I'm talking about. And this creeps me out. These days, I'm referring them to their father more and more. It's just too much for my delicate feminine sensibilities. I don't want to think about my sons having urges. Or spending long periods of time (wink wink) in the bathroom with the door locked.

When I saw the following video, I knew I would have to find a way to emulate this mother. She had that clinical, informative tone to her voice. She was calm, sympathetic and she didn't make her son feel like a cochino, as I probably would have done.

Sigh.

I've bookmarked this video, for future reference. But I can't even front--if I ever walked into this scenario I would pray to God in Heaven that a giant hole open up in the ground and I would gladly jump right in. Gladly.

1.18.2012

An ode to fat thighs

It's late and we finally make it to bed.

"Come here and put those ham hocks over me." Michael whispers.

Obediently, I slide my legs over his and he is cozily tucked away underneath half of my body. I've become this warm flesh blanket.

I listen to my husband sigh contentedly and then drift off into quiet snores, if one can even describe his snoring as quiet. I lay in the darkness, very awake, contemplating how many times people have called my thighs "ham hocks" or "thunder thighs" and it has always held a negative connotation.  Ever since I was baby/toddler/preschooler/kindergartener/grade schooler/middle schooler/high schooler/college student/wife/mother--you get it. I've always had these big thighs.

As a baby girl in East L.A.

Me and my little brother, enjoying the sprinkler on a hot, sunny day. Peep the yellow bikini. Thanks, Mom.

Rocking the Stray Cats tee and yellow shorts that I couldn't get to button. I was eleven years old.

It really used to bother me. The names. The big thighs.

When you are a young girl with womanly curves that you have no idea what to do with, it's uncomfortable. Everyone else had slim, girlish thighs. They could easily sit down and cross them, with minimal effort. They could get away with wearing shorts (that would button all the way!) without it looking too provocative. When they sat Indian-style--or, as my girls call it, criss cross apple sauce--they didn't have the occasional dimple or cellulite.

But I'm not a little girl anymore, I'm a grown woman. And these big thighs have planted me solidly on the ground for almost forty years (yes, forty is right around the corner--like next month--eeeeek!). Ham hocks and thunder thighs no longer hold a negative connotation. Yes, I still have a hard time squeezing these behemoths into leggings and tights but listen.

These thighs right here.
They are really warm to cuddle with.
They hold up the rest of my generous frame. 
They are adored. 



1.17.2012

New art: cross paper collage


One of my dream was to be an illustrator. I loved books and I loved drawing and painting so it just seemed like a logical arrangement. I studied design and illustration in college but soon after I graduated, the only thing I illustrated was a dirty diaper, nap time and Elmo's World. Not that I'm complaining--I love being a mother.

But this art thing is equally important because it's the fire that burns inside me. Without that fire I would be...a vessel that is cold to the touch.

Ever since I was in college, I've had a love for collage. I've done quite a few collages over at Modern Art 4 Kids. Knowing that you can create and manipulate something completely unique from things that are already "made" is so intriguing to me. I had this idea to add another cross to my collection for my kitchen, which I had just painted a nice orange sherbet. But as usual, my art has a mind of it's own and at the end of it all, it found it's way to another home. Sigh.

But the road is always fun, regardless.

This collage is different because I decided to use Mod Podge as the binder. Normally, I get a happy buzz from the rubber cement fumes but this time around, I wanted the collage to have the appearance of tile and I knew that the high gloss Mod Podge would give it that exact affect. And the fumes were equally enjoyable.

So I began to cut out shapes and lay them down on a piece of wood. I used scrapbooking paper, painted paper and tissue paper. I didn't use a sketch for this piece. I am the anti-sketch queen. Drives my husband crazy.


When I work on a collage, I experience this really focused, really calm peaceful feeling. I am working in a very detailed manner, yet I am highly attuned to my surroundings. This is when I really listen to what is going on in my home and I meditate on things.

The Mod Podge stays sticky enough where I still have the opportunity to move things around if I want to. And I usually want to. What does this mean? I complete this entire collage with sticky fingers. It's one of those projects where I start and keep working until I finish.


Almost finished, just adding a few last minute touches. At this point I have to stop myself or else I can just keep going and going. And eventually go insane.



Vibrant and true. I like it.

1.06.2012

DIY: Lace Insert Heart Tee




I love the fact that our society is experiencing a surge of hand-made creativity. A craft renaissance, if you will. People are beginning to realize that manufactured items doesn't necessarily mean better. Thanks to sites like Etsy and Pinterest and the legion of DIY blogs, it's cool to "make your own stuff".

It's about freaking time.

With this is mind, I wanted to share this simple DIY top I made for my daughter Maya. Miss Maya is quite the fashionista--she loves the idea of putting an outfit together, playing dress up and going shopping. I love to have my little ladies looking cute and stylish as much as the next mama but the numbers on the price tag often make me want to weep. So it's time to get creative.

I saw this young girl wearing the cutest top--a sweatshirt style top with lace cut-outs in it--at Forever 21 a couple of months ago, and I immediately began to figure out how I could recreate it on my own. I found something similar on Pinterest, but without any kind of source or tutorial, so I just used my noggin and figured out how to do it myself. I loved the idea of a basic heart shape for the cut-out, since it was for Maya.

I bought this basic long-sleeved tee from Old Navy for $6 in heather grey.

Find the spot where you want your heart to go. I chose the back, right in the middle. Now, looking back I realize I made the rookie mistake of not turning the tee inside out before I traced the heart on it but oopsies.

My heart was looking kind of funky so I folded the tee in half and used that old snow flake technique so I could have an even-shaped heart. Make sure you have sharp scissors and you aren't using a dull pair of craft scissors like I was.

See how off my heart was! I bought a yard of white lace for $2/yd. Next time I will buy black lace. Oooh la la.  I traced around the heart cut out and used it as a template. Make sure you give yourself a couple of extra inches around the edges.

Since the top is for my daughter who is eight years old, I doubled up on the lace. I felt better about the extra coverage. If you are making a top for yourself, by all means hoochie it up and give yourself one layer of lace. You little minx!

Here is where I used my smarts and turned the shirt inside out. I then glued two panels of lace onto the t-shirt with fabric glue and let it dry for 24 hours. Yes, fabric glue. What? I'm lazy and sewing machine-challenged. Don't judge me.

That's it. I know, mind-blowingly easy, right?


After the glue was dry, I turned the shirt right side out. It looked super cute! The white lace looked cute and age-appropriate, and the double paneling was perfect--you could tell that it was lace but you couldn't necessarily see through it, either.

Close up. You probably can't see it, but there is a tiny bit of ball point pen on the t-shirt from me tracing on the outside of the shirt like a numbnut. No worries, it washed out.

Work, Miss Maya!

I really wanted to cut additional panels from the front of the shirt right by the neck so it could be visually interesting from the front but meh, I'll save that for the next one. Oh, before I forget it, when I washed the shirt, one of the lace panels came loose. Stoopid fabric glue. So, I will be hand-sewing the panels soon.

Easy peasy lemon squeezy (as Maya likes to say).

This tee is cute, comfortable and offers a little somethin' somethin' from your average Old Navy tee.


1.05.2012

Hey, you're fat! Tell us something we don't already know.

I have been reading about fat activism for a few years now. It feels good to be aware--to have your eyes opened on things. When I read Spilt Milk's words on the fat body in the post  I am not your cautionary tale, I was ready to wave my white church gloves in the air and dance down the aisles.

In some ways fat bodies are our current culture’s dumping ground for fear and loathing: we are the go-to places for thrashing out anxiety about consumption and excess, death and disease, work ethic and individual responsibility, boundaries and restraint, ugliness and beauty. Fat bodies are politicised — even politicians literally use fat as short-hand for bad, wrong, excessive. Fat bodies are ridiculed, dehumanised, demonised and charged with meaning.

Can I get an amen?

Today, I am blogging about Georgia's Anti-Obesity ads and pure and unadulterated fat-shaming over at Babycenter MOMformation: Fat-shaming children (and their parents). Please go and check it out!

1.03.2012

Custom-painted TOMS shoes: Psalm 23


Happy New Year and all that good stuff.

If the Mayans were wrong and the world doesn't self-destruct in 2012,  I suspect that I'll be painting lots more TOMS shoes. I can see it now, the apocalypse brewing in the center of the Earth, and I'm sitting at my desk, taping off the soles of the shoes so paint doesn't get on them. Meteors crashing onto the Earth's surface and I'll be sketching letters. Tsunamis and earthquakes terrorizing the people and I'll be painting Bible verses on shoes.

All la-di-dah and whatnot.

Heh.

December came and went and with it was my virtual TOMS shoe sweatshop.  Michael and I were cranking out TOMS shoes left and right. Right up until Christmas Eve. I'm happy to say everyone got their shoes before Christmas. Whew. Alongside all of the Philippians 4:13 shoes, we also created a different design that turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself.

When the client asked for Psalm 23 (his wife's favorite scripture), I thought hmmm, this might get a little tricky.

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,
he refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.


You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever.

You feel me? Thankfully, they were happy to have only the first verse. It was nice to do something different. They came out really cute in grey script and pink highlights. I know, so modest.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.

Anyhow, if you are interested in getting a pair of TOMS painted, be creative. You can choose whatever color shoe you want, your favorite color combination and your favorite verse. See, it's all about you. They are on your feet so they should express something about the wearer, right?

Once again, you can email me at pearmama@gmail.com if you're interested in getting a pair of shoes hand-painted.

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