About three years ago, I interviewed with author Marilyn Shannon about growing up without my twin. He died before we were born and I always felt like something was missing. When the book officially launched last month, I fundraised to get to the launch event in Raleigh, NC. While writing this post, I realized that I have not mentioned anything about the fundraising, event, panel about twins or anything in between. I apologize for that. I guess in my fundraising, I forgot a few things. It was a lot of work, and a lot to keep track of. This is the first of the (three, I think) blog posts I am going to write on my trip.
The first of three vlogs were posted Wednesday. In this post, I am going to talk a bit about some of the silly little stories I did not include in the vlog.
The Train Plane and the Man From Nigeria
On the way to Raleigh, I had a layover in Atlanta, GA. Not only was this, basically, my first airplane ride, but I also grew up in a small town with small buildings. So, when the person taking me to my next flight brought me to what looked to be a subway/ train station, I was totally confused. When I asked him why we were leaving the airport, he said “We’re not. We are going to your next plane.”
“Um… then why are we getting on a train?” I asked.
It was at this point that I heard a computer voice that said “THE TRAIN PLANE IS LEAVING IN 2 MINUTES.” Needless to say, I was very confused.
I turned to the man and said “WAIT! So this train is going to take me from one place in the airport…”
“... to another place in the same airport?!”
The man said “Yes. It’s a BIG airport.” His eyes got really big. He had a heavy accent. I think he said he is from Nigeria. His accent and my total shock made for a pretty funny moment. That is when I realized: you’re not in “Kansas” anymore, Merissa.
The Shake Shack Changed My Life?
At the Atlanta airport, near my gate, there was a Shake Shack. We don’t have those where I am from, by the way. While the Nigerian man and I were going past, a woman who worked at the Shake Shack was yelling “Come get some burgers. They gonna change your life! It will never be the same. They amazin’!”
I thought it was funny how she was telling passersby how amazing their burgers are and how they will change lives. Since it was dinnertime, and I didn’t want to risk getting lost by searching for a cheaper dinner spot (plus the woman was too funny), I decided to get a burger from her. I walked up to the counter and asked the woman “are you sure this burger will change my life?”
She said “Yeah! Of course.”
I ordered my burger and then said “ I probably won’t see you again, but if I do, I will definitely tell you how this burger changed my life.”
She said “Naw! I’ll see you, again. I can tell.” She pointed at me and then at herself. “We got a connection.”
I said “ Oh we do? I think you’re right. I’ll see you and tell you all about how your amazing burgers chaged my life!”
She said “ Yeah, and it will. I know it!”
I ate my burger. A couple of hours later, right before my plane started boarding, I went back up to the Shake Shack. The barrier gate was down, because they were closing. Everyone was cleaning up. I walked up and started just talking to the woman from before. I said “GUESS WHAT! That burger… it DID change my life. Yeah, I’m a millionaire, now.”
Everyone behind the gate, except the woman was looking at me quizzically. From their perspective, I am this rando person just walking up to them while they were closed and telling them how a burger made me a millionaire. The woman responded “Yeah, see, I told ya! ‘This burger gon’ change yo’ life!” When their coworker responded to me in a casual way, they looked even more puzzled.
As I was walking away, I heard the woman explain to her coworkers what had transpired a couple of hours before. But, for about two minutes, those people must have been super confused. There are a lot of crazy people in the world, and they must’ve thought I was one of them. Granted, I am, but not the sort they probably thought.
At the same airport, I walked into a convenient store to get some water. After grabbing my water, I noticed a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter cups was priced at only $3.99. I was surprised at that low price. I was, after all, in an airport. But, it clearly said $3.99. I grabbed the bag and my water, and went to the counter to pay.
The man who rang me up had just been goofing off with his coworkers right before I came to the counter. He rang up my two items and said “That’ll be $16.99.” For a second I thought I misheard him. In my mind, it should have been less than $7.
I said “Wait… what?! You’re joking, right?” Remember, he had been goofing around for the entire time I was in the store.
“No, I’m serious. It’s $16.99.” He said, blankly.
“Wha- how?” I asked.
He said “ Yeah, the candy is $12.99, bro.”
I jokingly said “What ya doin’ chargin’ that much, bro?!”
He said “Well, we got bills.” Only he said it like “ Wah, we got beeyahlls.” Shocked I put the candy back. I like candy, but not enough to pay THAT much. I was sad, though. The sad thing is that I had gotten my taste buds ready for some of my favorite candy. I never did get to eat those Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. 😢
That is the last of my stories for this week. I will be posting more stories next Friday. The second vlog from the trip goes up next Wednesday. It will be about the actual event. I was on a panel with other twins and told my story live. Also, the tropical storm from Hurricane Michael also hit. I got some footage of that.
I have quit doing childcare and started working at a school! I was working upwards of 80 hours per week for nothing. I have determined that my time could be much better spent posting to other blogs and writing articles for magazines, teaching classes and working with kids at my local school district.
This blog will be slowly transformed from a personal blog to a place people can go to find the articles I have written from all over the web, links to events (I teach art classes), webinars, YouTube etc. I may write a blog post similar to those I have been posting the past few years, but I will be focusing on other things for a while.
While, I will be changing the website a lot in the coming months, it will include more about the things I have been doing online and offline. I have been keeping my art separate from my childcare, but I think it makes more sense to combine them and showcase the wide array of things I love to do. I can't be great for you if I am not passionate, and this website as it is makes me feel stress, instead of passion and happiness.
First, you will see current blog posts deleted. Then, I plan to redesign my website to suit all of the things I love so much. If you did not know, I have a business called Perfect Imperfections that is starting to take off! It even made the front page of my local newspaper. I plan to add a tab for that, a tab for my articles from around the web, links to my YouTube Channel (betcha didn't know I had one, huh?), my book(s) and my estore with homemade projects with a purpose.
Keep checking back. It won't be the same. It might seem all over the place, but hey, I am the kind of person who loves to do a lot of things and I don't want to limit myself or my followers. So, prepare! In the coming months, I will be revamping and combining my business ventures. I am excited for this change. I hope you are, too!
These homemade cardboard blocks are a great craft for the whole family if you are willing to do a little preparation. They are sturdy, safe for little ones and fun to play with. I have whole box of them in my toy section. Some of which, were painted by the kids themselves.
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Another Way To Have Fun With These Homemade Cardboard Blocks
These blocks are also fun for your kids to paint after you have put them together. You can even cut out the pieces and have your kids stack and glue them together if they are old enough. If they make their own toys, they are more likely to be gentle with them. They will take better care of them.
Did you try making these blocks? I'd love to see your results! Please, send me pictures or tips and variations and I might feature them on my blog. Have fun!
These puzzles for kids are great for long car trips or for playing quietly at the doctor's office. They are easy to clean up, easy to make and easy to customize. They can even be made by the kids (well, all except laminating and hot gluing).
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How to Raise Kids Who Never Get Bored
Steps To Make
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DIY Photo Puzzle In 4 Easy Steps- Redtri
Easy Homemade Puzzles For Toddlers- Happy Hooligans
School is about to start, again and I have made some fun back- to- school printables for kids! Feel free to print them out and use them this year.
Back- To- School Board Game
The Set- Up:
How To Play:
Here is a list of sample quiz questions by "
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'Connect With Nature Through Art' Cave Paintings
ABC Search Game
The Set- Up:
Have the child call out a letter while you find the right one. The child must determine if the alphabet apple you find is the one he/she called.
Pretend Back- To- School Supplies For the Little Ones
This print- out is meant for younger kids who will not be attending school with their older siblings. They are pretend school supplies. Your toddler can pretend to go to school when your older kids go and you do not have to worry that they will draw all over the walls or do anything they should not.
The Set- Up:
Now, he/ she can play school whenever!
I finally found an apartment! Yes, it has taken 7 months. A lot has happened in that time. Apartments in my town are few and far between, so I have been on several waiting lists. But, I have finally moved in. I just have a few more things to move and put away and I will finally have my own place, again. I'm sorry I have not been posting. I have not had much access to a computer and the app for my website is very 'buggy.'
Let's not talk about the bad stuff; let me tell you all about the really good things that have happened in about the last month. First, well, I got a really cute new apartment. It has a sun roof and is a converted school house. They converted one old school house into four cute little apartments. I am not going to post pictures anywhere online, but I can say that the walls are painted a really pretty color instead of a plain old white. The floor is faux hard wood. The bedroom has a small sun roof and the wall of the pulls out into the living room to make a bigger bedroom. It's really more of a tiny house. I like it a lot. I have always wanted to live in a tiny house with lots of storage. Yes!
Next big of good news... I made it on the FRONT PAGE of my local newspaper!!! I decided to teach a drawing class for kids and adults for free this July. The paper found out about it and asked if they could do a story on it. I did the interview and a reporter attended one of my classes. The picture is of one of my students working on a project. Saturday was the last class for the summer and since my birthday is next week, they gave me a birthday/ thank you for the free class present. It was a GIANT cup. I drink water very quickly and had mentioned in passing that I was planning on getting a big huge 64 oz cup from 7 11 or the like. I also received a magnetic clipboard and notepad.
I am hoping to be completely settled by August 8th (which is when my friend and I are celebrating my birthday). I can't promise an article by next week, but I can promise that I will be resuming my normal posting (every Monday by 8 pm) by August 9th.
To All My New Readers
If you are new to my blog, or are visiting after seeing the article in the newspaper, please comment below. I'd love to hear from all of you!
My blogging has been sporadic, and I have decided that it is time to tell you all why.
A major thing has happened in the past few months. I had to leave my apartment because the ceiling was beginning to fall through. I can't go into much detail, but this is a picture of my upstairs bathtub which you can see into the downstairs living room. I had to move as a result. Unfortunately, there are no available places in the area I live. I have begun searching outside my county. This means I do not have regular access to my computer.
I am hoping to find a place very soon, but until then, I wanted you all to know that, while I may not update my blog as often as I would like (once or twice a week) I have not forgotten about it. I will try to update my blog as often as I can. I am really sad about that. :'(
All of my social media channels will still be as active as they have been. Blogging is the biggest issue right now since it is difficult to blog with only a cell phone. Below are links to my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Please follow me and like my page for continued updates on my move, my blog and all other things I am doing.
I recently watched “Kids React To Kids Are Lit” by The Fine Bros (linked below). After watching these videos, and a few others, I have some things to say. First, let me clarify, for the most part, I think the spread of these videos is great. Many of them are amazing to watch and fun to make, I am sure. But I really can’t ignore the elephant in the room…
Watch any number of these tiny dancers and you will find that the sexualization of these young children is hard to avoid. This is not going to be a post purely about the ‘oversexualization of children.’ The problem I have with them is that these videos are online for the whole world to see, forever. These kids are too often dressing in provocative ways and making some very obscene signals. Most of these signals they are not old enough to really understand. If for some reason they do, that brings up a whole other set of concerns.
So many people say “these are just kids doing a DANCE.” Fine, then how about we keep these types of dances in the DANCE community and not plastered all over the world. Never mind the argument of whether it is moral or not. Let’s just focus on its safety.
You and I (I hope, at least) may not see these children and think ‘sexy’ or any sexual thoughts, but there are people out in the world who do. Those people could very easily find such routines on the internet and, well, think about them in sexual ways. They could photoshop screenshots and post them to pornographic websites. They could even go as far as become obsessed and search out that particular child, or a similar- looking child. Such dances posted so publicly is so dangerous and can have severe, even deadly consequences in their worst cases.
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If you feel it's okay for your child to dance in such a way that it can be seen as sexual (no judgment, I understand within the confines of the dance community), please refrain from posting it online. Even if you think the odds of such a thing happening are low, they are odds that could very quickly affect any child who looks remotely like yours.
*Note- I will not be linking to any of these 'Kids are lit' videos as I do not want to share them. If you want to know to what I am referring, google it.
I was a bit late planning my Christmas family fun, and since I can't be the only one, I have noted some of the best crafts, games and gift ideas I have found to help out my readers, as well.
I know that everyone will be needing lots of Christmas crafts to do this weekend, so I have made a list of my absolute favorite crafts for kids.
By Lishie and Family (Just found this one. Will watch many more)
It's time for all the relatives to get together for some Christmas cheer. Try these Christmas games for families when things get slow. A cool thing is that most of them take no preparation, so you can try them without any extra planning!
Need a last- minute Christmas gift? Try these. Even the newest member of the family can get in the giving spirit.
By Seven Awesome Kids (definitely recommend their channel also)
It may be late in the game, but that doesn't mean you can't create some AWESOME Christmas fun with these games for families, crafts for kids and DIY gifts for all!
I love to draw. In fact, I love most forms of media. I love the process, the planning and the feeling of satisfaction I get when I have finally completed the piece. Since I love art so much, I have decided to share some of my favorite pieces with all of you with my NEW Zazzle store!
My new Zazzle store will feature my unique drawings placed on the following items:
The store will include more than 15 unique designs to start and more than 200 one- of- a- kind products. Above are just a few of the products that will be included in the store.
I am a writer, nanny and artist who loves to see families have fun together. Family is so important and that is why I am so passionate about helping parents and children grow closer and learn to uplift one another instead of put each other down. My mom was a nanny and very creative, so I guess that's where I get my creativity and love for my family!