Friday, July 31, 2009

Against God's Plan - Pt 2: Icky Life Stuff

J and I have been together for 13 1/2 years. The first 3 1/2 we were best friends. We went from being best friends to engaged in a long-distance phone call and about 2 months later, we were married. Yesterday, I discussed how 'Against God's Plan' our marriage was.

When we were best friends, people - strangers even - would tell us we HAD to get married because we were such good friends. We thought they were crazy and that marriage would end our wonderful friendship. And we were right. It kinda has.

In the mire of life, the always laughing and joking part of our friendship has waned. It's not the giggle fest it used to be, but we still laugh and play often. Mainly that's my fault for taking life so seriously. (Shhh, don't tell J I admitted that!).

When I was single, a lady at work told me her and her husband were not friends. Being young and foolish, I didn't understand why she thought it was important. I had best friends (usually girls) and I had boyfriends (always boys). It wasn't until I married my best friend (a boy) and we went through infertility and all the icky life stuff that I realized how crucial the core friendship was to the survival of our marriage. If we weren't best friends, I don't think we would have made it to 9 years, 51 weeks and 1 day.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Against God's Plan - Pt 1: She's A Bad Influence

Our 10th wedding anniversary is in 1 week from today. The closer we get, the more I think about where we are in our relationship, how far we've come, but mostly how wrong people were about us getting married....

There was opposition. Not from J's parents - they walked me down the aisle to make sure we got married. They weren't letting me go! Gotta love them for that.

I think of all the people who told J NOT to marry me - seems I was a bad influence. Can you believe people told J not to marry ME?? Ahahaha!! For real. Me. Not good. Lord, I'm one of the best things that happened to that boy!

To all the people who thought we were pregnant and that's why we got married so quickly... Hahahahaha!! Not only were we not pregnant, come to find out years later, we couldn't even GET pregnant.

Crazy drama was beginning to unfold with the big wedding we planned for October which is why we moved it to September. The first Monday in August, we looked at each other and asked "Why are we waiting?" We eloped that Friday. It was the best decision for us. Each time we attend a wedding, it reaffirms how right our decision was for us. Perhaps our marriage was against God's plan, but we don't think so (most days, at any rate...)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Humorous Yet Disturbing

You know I'm a City Girl, right?
I may been raised in suburbia bliss, but ultimately, I am a city girl. A city girl with a mom who never really taught her the birds and the bees.

Therefore, you will understand why I found this video:
- informative
- shocking
- humorous
- disturbing

Please be sure to turn up your speakers.
The sound make this video priceless.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Hmmm...Is that legal?

I went hunting for a loft.
The loft with a guy sleeping in bed had this...

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Turns Out, It's Not So Stupid Afterall

I've tried to do the coupon cutting thing many times. Usually, I forget I have a coupon in my wallet when I pay. It seemed a stupid waste of time to me. Lately, I've tried it again. With great success.

I shop at Old Navy and GAP on Tuesday, when it's 20% off for using your card. Add that to a 10% off coupon for completing their purchase survey and that is a nice savings. If your coupon code is for Old Navy, you can still get 5% off if you use it at GAP and vice versa.

Before making an online purchase, I search for coupons for that store. For example by typing in "Kohl's online coupon" the coupon codes from RetailMeNot saved me almost $50 on what would have been a $117 purchase. $15 = no shipping charge and 30% off my purchase. Sweet!
I've been going to CVS for the first time in my life. I signed up for a CVS Saver Card for greater discounts. Like, milk for $1.99! I even check the sales each week online.

And, I've learned Walgreen's has great sale prices. The other day, I saved over $17 with coupons on Mini Me's school supplies. I went online to print manufacturer's coupons then used coupons from the Walgreen's flyer to maximize savings.

What I refuse to do, is purchase items I would not normally purchase, simply because I have a coupon or it is on sale. I think, ultimately, this saves me money.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


My son was outnumbered yesterday.
6 girls to 1 boy
And that was AFTER 2 girls went home...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mini Me School Uniform Model

Mini Me CAN work a camera!!
This is her trying on her new uniforms.
She is really working it!

I'll kick your butt on the playground!

I'm tired! I don't wanna go ta school

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Priceless Family Portrait

Widney Family at friends for dinner. Circa June '09
Last year, I would've never posted this 'family portrait'.
I think it is priceless.

It's okay to laugh. We did.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Oprah Show - 2nd Time

I can't believe I didn't properly blog on this.
What is wrong with me?

My niece, the Original Mini Me, turned 18 a few days before she came to visit us in March. I knew I had to do something great for her birthday, so I emailed an Oprah Show producer who came through with tickets. Yes, I just happen to have an email address on file. I'm resourceful like that.
Naturally, Original Mini Me (referred to as MoJo from here on out) had to buy a whole new outfit and wake up 5 hours early to do her hair and makeup. This could be her big break - the one where Oprah sees how beautiful she is and decides to feature MoJo in a movie as the lead. Or just give MoJo her own little talk show. Come on, you must remember when you were a teenager and thought crap like that.

At Harpo Studios we had to wait outside.
Thankfully, there was people watching to be had.
I told MoJo my goal was for her to be in the front rows. I would be thrilled to sit way in the back as I already had my front row at Oprah experience. I did NOT want to be on camera.

We were ushered in to the 2nd row center seats. I must have a gift. The lady next to me was being mic'd. MoJo and I switched places because whoever sat next to her was sure to be on air. MoJo was stoked!!

After the show, they asked if anyone could come back to the next day's show and was willing to ask a potential on-air dating question. I gave MoJo a unique question to ask. They decided to tape her and a few others. We were escorted through ALL of Oprahland.

We saw the wall of pictures with all the big name show guests, the parking garage, the blue hallway, the section devoted to President Obama, staff break room, cubicles, conference rooms, we saw just about everything!!

MoJo was taped by 2 hot staffers. One guy in particular was HOT!! I wanted him to ask her out. I would have allowed it. They said they would call us if she was chosen for the show.

We were escorted through the amazing lobby with an oil of Oprah as a slave woman behind the receptionist's desk and a huge staircase. At the security desk on our way out, we met Oprah's makeup artist, Reggie. Reggie was awesome!! So personable and friendly. He was gracious enough to go outside with us for pictures (no photos allowed inside Harpo).

MoJo & Reggie, Make up artist to the Stars
Widney Woman & Reggie
MoJo did not get a call back, sadly.
Seems her big break is going to have to come another way.

Now, I should tell you, our show finally aired about a month later. Turns out, I was on camera for the first 15 minutes. If you knew where to look, you could see MoJo in an audience shot at the end of the show.... So much for me not wanting to be on camera!

Friday, July 17, 2009

It's Decided!!

Motor Mouth will attend a private Christian school
this fall. Yippeeee!!!

Just in time, too.
At dinner, Motor Mouth told me homeschool was 'the worstest thing ever!'

Why do we love this school?

City Centric is a unique Christian elementary school in the heart of Chicago where children use the city's resources to learn in new and exciting ways. Students develop both a Christian worldview that roots them in their faith and a multicultural awareness that equips them to understand and respect people who come from different backgrounds.

City Centric prepares students for leadership and living in the urban environment. They are part of a diverse, caring, community where they are loved and accepted and learn to enrich their lives by serving God and his people in today's world.

Captivated by this creative learning approach, City Centric students score well on standardized tests and have been accepted into the best high schools in Chicago. They are equipped with an excellent educational foundation for life-long learning and creative problem solving.

What to expect

I was reading my friend's blog over at Serenity Now. In one of her entries, she talked about what we would find in her sparkling beautiful home when she comes into her millions. We all do it, don't we? Dream of what we would do with our millions when we win the lottery or invent some great device, or become a best selling author. Yes, we do.

Here is what to expect when I come into my millions:

- A full-time massage therapist. I want to be put to sleep at night with a massage. I would like to wake up with one too. Still debating if I should also employ a full-time chiropractor...

- Chef. Someone I will call Chef. He should be a little chubby because you shouldn't really trust a skinny chef.

- A Prius. J wants a Bentley. I want a Toyota Prius. I'll get 2 because when Mr. Bentley over there realizes he can't drive in any neighborhood with a Bentley or just park it anywhere, he will want to drive my unpretentious and environmentally friendlier Prius.

- My parents visiting. A LOT. They are retired, but I swear, they are busier now than they were when they were 'working'. When they give me too busy excuses, I will hire someone to do what they need to be doing and fly my parents to visit me.

- Kinesiologist. I had the best body ever when I worked out with a kinesiologist.

- Trump Tower condo. Motor Mouth wants to live in Trump Tower. The unit we want is only $3 million, so why not make my kid's dream come true!

- Real estate. I love real estate. I want to own lots and lots of properties.

- It goes without saying I will be generous to those who are less fortunate than me. Remember, I'm the one with this motto: "Give more to your community than you receive."

That's a few of the things that run through my mind when I see the lottery jackpot is high. Sadly, I think the fact I seldom play more than 1-2 times/year negatively affects my chances of winning.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday - Attitude Adjustment

I've been in a bit of a tizzy with all of this school stuff up in the air. Will Motor Mouth go to public, private or virtual school? I have all these scenarios of if this happens, then that but if that happens, then this, floating in my head.

I get so this or that in my head and then I am reminded of Matthew 6:34 where it says: "So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own. Sufficient for each day is its own trouble."

Alright. I won't be anxious. Instead, I'm going to give THANKS!! We have been blessed with so much. I really should not dwell on the one thing that is working itself out.

A Thankful Heart
1. Mini Me was accepted into a great Montessori school.

2. We do not have to pay for Mini Me's Montessori preschool education. This is major because many of the Chicago Public School preschools have become tuition based this year.

3. J has a job. In this economy, that is to be thankful for. Moreover, J loves his job (most of the time) and works with a team of incredible staffers at our church.

4. This past year, the number of people in J's industry who have become aware of his work has increased dramatically and that is a good thing.

5. Chicago's Park District and Public Library systems are incredible assets to the city and have enhanced our lives, enabling us to experience the city and participate in activities that would have been difficult to get into, or extremely costly.

I know I say this all the time, but we really love Chicago. I LOVE this city. Thank you, God, for bringing us here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm WHAT??

I didn't know I was 'East Indian' until I was in high school. However, it was obvious to the 'ignorant' kids in my neighborhood who called me ridiculous names like 'Paki', a slang/short form for Pakistani, or told me I 'smelled and should go back to Pakiland where (I) came from'.

How ignorant they were! I wasn't from Pakistan. I was born in Trinidad (but spoke perfect white Canadian). Pakistan and Trinidad are a whole 2 oceans and a continent apart. And I did not smell. Well, to be honest, my parents would say, 'You smell like outside.' after I'd been playing outside all day. We lived in Hamilton, a steel town, around the lake from Toronto, so I chalked it up to residual steel mill smells, not the body odor I knew those ignorant children were getting at. My parents would just tell me to ignore them. They are ignorant.

We weren't East Indian. Those were the people my family watched dancing and singing on TV Saturday mornings. Or the one family in our neighborhood that wore those 'costumes' every day. Not us. We may have mimicked the dancers and singers, but that was about as East Indian as it got for us. We were West Indian. Christopher Columbus and his crew found Trinidad in 1498. Columbus was that confused sailor that sailed West to get East. So, I guess that must be why Trinidad is located in the West Indies and why Trinidadians refer to people in India as East Indian. I've since learned the correct term is South Asian. Who knew? Well, certainly not me. Seems there is much I didn't know.

The kids who called me 'nigger' growing up usually received a beating if they weren't too far away for me to have caught up with them. Well, typically, if I missed them that day, I got them the next or the following week when they had forgotten and were unsuspecting. Naturally, I didn't like to be called a 'nigger'. For the most part, we were called 'colored' back then - the '70's. Colored suited us perfectly. We weren't white. We weren't black. Just kind of middle of the road mocha, really. As kids, we knew we were mixed with Spanish, Chinese, British, African, and Caribbean Indian (like a Native American but in the Caribbean), so colored we were. After my dad read about the origins of our last name, he said we were also German. So I studied it for a few years in high school.

I was in grade 12 when I forgot my purse at home. I called home and was so relieved when my dad answered. He was to leave my purse in the school office. After class, I retrieved my purse and was shocked to find it filled to the brim with tampons! I called my dad at work to find out why madness. I could hear him shrug as he said, "Well, you said you needed your purse. I thought it was that time." In perfect, ungrateful, '80's teenager speak, I hissed, "No, Dad, I'm not on my period!! Oh my gawd. I like, needed my like, lunch money!"

At basketball practice, Sonia, a black girl (during the '80's, we were called 'black'), told me she saw my dad. I asked how she knew it was my dad. I'll never forget her words, "I saw a tall, good looking Indian dude walking into the school office and hoped he was my substitute teacher. But then I saw he was carrying a purse, so I figured he must be your dad."

Huh? My dad looked Indian? What a joke! I told my mom who chuckled. That was it. Just a chuckle. When I told my dad, he got all tense and angry and said he wasn't a 'cooley'. A cooley is what people in Trinidad called East Indians. Maybe by now you are figuring out why I didn't know the correct term was South Asian.

Why was my dad so angry at being referred to as East Indian? Soon, I recalled a funny little story my dad told us a few times. It was about how when he came to Canada in the early '70's, a potential employer asked my dad if he was a 'Paki', because he could not hire my dad if that was the case, and laughed. My dad laughed as well, said he wasn't, and accepted the job offer. It really was a great company, other than the whole racist interview comment and all.

Turns out, my paternal grandfather, whom I've neither seen a photo of, nor met, was VERY East Indian. Essentially, that employer in Toronto caused a portion of my racial heritage to be smudged. And like a smudge, it's still there, but sometimes, you just can't really tell unless you are looking for it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Quirky Mini Me?

Mini Me is Quirky!!

The 'beauty mark' is a result of a face bounce onto concrete while running on July 3rd at Museum Park Campus, prior to the fireworks.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Adventures of the 3 M's - Science & Industry Museum

The continuing Adventures of the 3 M's takes us to the Museum of Science & Industry via 2 city buses. Big deal considering Mommy has never gone to any of the museums without getting directions from Daddy and, well, without Daddy!!

Mini Me looks ready for a NAP!!
Arriving at the Museum
Motor Mouth holding up a transit card he found on the ground
What a cool mail box!
Yeah, you should know Mini Me is not exactly my photogenic child.
Mini Me was climbing those ropes like a monkey!
Mommy thinks Mini Me has sailing in her future
Steering the ship, Part 1
Steering the ship, Part 2
"I'm so lost. I don't know where I'm going."
New display: LEGO!!!
Did you know there are 75 colors of Lego now?
Lego Chicago skyscrapers
Spire (project on hold until 2011), Marina Towers, Hancock Building, Trump Tower, Sears Tower (in the back)
Astronaut Motor Mouth
Astronaut Mini Me
Not at Museum - on the way home
Cool sculpture
Cool leaf sculptures
Walking on a fallen leaf

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Planning for Death

There is so much uproar over Michael Jackson's will. We've made similar choices so I get it.

Like MJ, our money goes to our kids. That money is for their college education and to ensure they are not financial burdens on their guardians. We named an independent executor who is not in line to care for the children. Everything I've read says that is the way to go. Keep the money and the kids separate - didn't you watch the movie 'Glass House'? We picked a primary and a backup who are good at managing their own finances and who will not cause stress for the guardians over the money.

J's parents are healthy, mobile and more than capable to care for our children. They have a special bond with both kids, so the emotional challenges of parenting our children would be lessened. They could afford the role without undue hardship. Religious values/beliefs are the same as ours. And, they did a mighty fine job raising their 3 kids. 

Because we used to travel with J's parents a lot, it was necessary to have a backup. We asked Papa Martian and his lovely wife, Mrs R to be the godparents. While not family, they lived in the same city as J's family, which meant they would be near to J's siblings and the kids cousins. They were of similar religious beliefs. Their daughters were poised and well-behaved. Financially, our kids would not have been a strain. 

Why not Widney Woman's family? Although very strong, healthy, and active, my parents are the age of J's grandparents. My 3 siblings were single and very busy with their careers. Because they live in Canada, they didn't see the kids weekly from birth, like J's family and Papa Martian and it would have meant uprooting the kids from everything and everyone they knew. 

Things have changed. We have moved to a different state. J's little sister is married now to a man who wants 7 children. We don't travel with J's parents as often. It's time to re-evaluate.

Death and taxes are guaranteed. You have to plan for both, regardless of how annoying and depressing it can be.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Knowing Me, Knowing You - July '09

Knowing Me, Knowing You - July Editions.

It's that time once again...
The Fairy Blogmother's Monthly Interview Project.
Here we go...

1. What household chore do you dislike the most?
Just one?? Cleaning floors. And putting away laundry.

2. Do you have any travel plans this year?
Yes and no. We visited J's grandma in Tulsa last month. We are waiting to see how Grandma does and will likely return to Tulsa this year. It's all about Grandma.

3. Ever met a bloggy friend in real life.
I have talked to WhittakerWoman on the phone and I know I will get to meet her husband, RagamuffinSoul this fall - she better come with, Los!!

4. Seen anything good lately?
My Life on the D List. Kathy Griffin did a show for her mom, where she brought all these major stars her mom has loved and admired for decades. It was one of the funniest shows I've ever watched in my life.

5. What is your favourite kitchen appliance?
My Pampered Chef food chopper. It never disappoints and often surprises me.

Now it's your turn! Let's get to know you a little better and then post a link to your post on Shan's site.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson 1958-2009

The Michael Jackson I grew up watching was a person who broke down walls and stereotypes. He was someone who paved the way for a lot of talented people of color.  Michael Jackson effected a cultural shift felt worldwide. And yes, Michael Jackson was an incredible talent.
Michael's music was the theme of much of my life, as a kid in the '70's, a teenager in the '80's, and a young adult in the '90's. Michael was there. The very first concert I went to was a Jackson 5 concert in 1981 - 3rd row, center. 

I will miss Michael Jackson's music. And I know his family will miss his love.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Widney Family Photos are UP!!

These are the most recent family photos. My husband, J, is a photographer and captured these beauties!! He is available for hire...

Mini Me, J, Motor Mouth

I Saved!!

I hear of all these people who save massive money using coupons and going to, of all things, their local pharmacy to purchase grocery items. It was my turn at Walgreen's yesterday. 

I looked at the flyer for sale items we would use, clipped coupons, then I went to a coupon website to grab a couple more coupons for deeper savings. 

My biggest accomplishment was getting the new Purex Detergent/Dryer sheet combo packs on sale, 2 for 1 at $8.99 - $1.00 coupon = $7.99!!! We're set for the rest of the summer!

Walgreens Coupon Savings: $21.05
Walgreens Advertised Savings: $31.00
Manufacturer Coupon Savings: $1.75
Your Total Savings: $53.80

I honestly think I could have saved more money if I had taken more time to clip coupons from a coupon website and if I had looked at the CVS flyer to compare prices and show it to the cashier for a price comparison markdown. But $53.80 wasn't bad for 30 minutes work!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Dead Dreams

Dead Dreams

Jason has attended our church, Grace Fellowship, since he was a child. Now on staff, Jason came up with the new name, “Grace Kids”, for our children's building because he was a Grace Kid. Jason also designed the new children's logo and he spent literally months working on special lighting for the children's building before it opened. When the doctors told us we would probably never have children we were devastated. We made ourselves go to work and keep going even though we wanted to just close ourselves away from everyone. At least twice a week Jason had to walk those children's building halls, knowing he would never have a child who would benefit from the fruit of his labor. 

Late one night, Jason went to Wal-Mart and purchased baby stuff. He arranged it in a big basket and set it in our bedroom as a faith statement. Soon after, Jennifer Hatch, a teacher at our Christian school gave an interpretation of Ezekiel 37:1-10 during staff devotions. We held on to this scripture. Simone even taped it to her computer monitor.

“So I prophesied to my dead dreams like God told me to. And I commanded life to come into my heart's desire. And that inner dream God gave me lived and rose up fully manifested.” 

When Simone took Jazz to the nursery the first time, she was given a new mom's gift pack that contains a bib, bottle, rattle, and fridge magnet all with the Grace Kids logo that Jason designed!! 

After Jason took this picture and put the scripture with it, he realized the sleeper Jazz is wearing was one of the ones he purchased that night. Our once empty sleeper, purchased as a faith statement, now is filled with a beautiful baby boy. What a testament to God's never ending mercy and faithfulness. 

Now the “inner dream God gave us lives and has risen up, fully manifested.” 
His name is Jazz David Paul.

I wrote "Dead Dreams" for our adoption agency's newsletter. We have shared our story at adoption workshops. As a result, we have heard many stories of how Dead Dreams encouraged and helped others. If you have a dream that seems to have tanked, I hope this short version of our story gives you encouragement.

Click to read the original Dead Dreams,
then scroll down to the article.