Friday, November 11, 2016


I told my mom last night, "On Wednesday, I cried. Today, I'm angry. I guess I just have to keep working through all of the stages of grief, but eventually, I'll get to acceptance."

And my mom, in a moment of blunt, poignant honesty, said, "Mmhmm...because we're white."

All I wanted from this election was for Americans to proclaim once and for all through our beautiful, precious democratic system: "We reject racism. We do not support it in any way. We do not even tolerate it."

I absolutely believe that the majority of you that voted for Trump are not racists. But "Make America Great Again" was a package deal, and you cast your vote, intentionally or not, for the entire package. Despite the fact that racism was part of the package, was even the way the package was introduced from the start of the campaign, you did not reject it.

A lot of us are afraid for what will happen next. As my mom so bluntly pointed out, many of us will be able to ride it out without much consequence. Many others will not. Even if you did not intend to vote for racism, those that did heard the message loud and clear: In America, we tolerate racism.

If you truly, absolutely did not intend to cast a vote for an America that tolerates racism, stop telling me to quit whining or to accept defeat graciously, and start loudly declaring, "We reject racism. We do not support it in any way. We do not even tolerate it." And then prove to me, and to those who really need to hear it, that those words are true. Please, prove me wrong.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Dear Trump Supporters,

Today, I stood in front of 70 minority students who were looking to me for answers, and I said, "We are not going to talk about the election today."

They said, "I am so angry," and I said, "We're not going to talk about it."

They said, "I'm scared," and I said, "We're not going to talk about it."

They said, "How can I possibly do any work today?" and I said, "We just keep working. And we're not going to talk about it."

I did not know what to tell them. I felt their anger and their fear and their grief, and I had no words. But now, to you, I have words.

Throughout this election, you have insisted that it is not about race, it's about the economy; it's not about race, it's about protecting our values; it's not about race, it's about change.

My husband and I often tell our children that it doesn't matter what you meant to say if it's not what your audience heard. So let me tell you what your audience heard. Let me tell you exactly what you told my students of color, the children of color in my church family, the people of color that I am so lucky to call friends.

"Racism is fine."

"Misogyny is tolerable."

"We don't want you here."

I keep seeing messages on Facebook trying to remind us that now is a time to set aside our differences, to put the election behind us, to unite. I hope that we, as a country, can move past this. I hope, that we as Americans, can heal. But today...Today, I will not forgive you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

To the Races!

Rylan got an invitation through cub scouts to visit the Orange County Speedway for basically free, and I decided this former car lover had to go.


To start, all of the drivers lined up their cars for a meet and greet with the fans.

Orange County Speedway

Then the cub scouts grouped together to sing the National Anthem.

Orange County Speedway

Finally the races began...sort of. During the first race, a piece of metal flew off the track into the stands, hitting a random guy, so the race was paused while we all waited for an ambulance to come take the man away. Then during the second race, one of the cars crashed into the wall (no one was injured), so the race was paused while they cleared the track.

Car racing is either really exciting or really boring - we weren't sure which!

By the time the second race finished, it was about 8:30, and since the next race involved 100 laps, we decided to cut out and get ice cream. I asked Rylan if he would ever want to go back, and he said, "Only when they do ride alongs."

Eli's Room

We've been working this summer on updating all of the boys' rooms. Here's the before picture of Eli's room:

New House - Before pictures

I think that when the original owners built our house, they had only finished the family room, and the rest of the basement was slowly finished over time by various owners. The whole basement feels like an amateur DIY job, and Eli's room in particular is odd. It's situated behind the laundry room, and because of a small step leading into it (which I can't figure out the point of), the ceiling is slightly lower than the rest of the basement, making it feel like a cave. It was not built to be a bedroom - there's no closet, and since the previous owners were using it as an exercise room, there were mirrors on every wall and a TV wall stand that we cannot remove. Also, the vent was a large pipe sticking out of the ceiling, the window is a tiny basement window, and the light fixtures are the kind of long fluorescent bulbs that you find in office buildings.

So starting with this blah canvas, we transformed the room. I am so pleased and so proud.


Eli painted this mural on one wall. After helping to paint the murals for his 5th grade class production of Beauty and the Beast, he has been talking about being a scenery painter when he grows up, so I suggested letting him practice on his wall. We looked at ideas on Pinterest and found one that used this tape resist method. Since then, I have seen some really amazing murals using tape resist that Eli might want to try when he's older. For now, we are loving what he came up with.


I plan to sand down and paint all of the built-in bookshelves in the family room, but since I've never painted furniture before, I decided to test out the method on some of Eli's furniture so that the room would match and feel more cohesive. This is a $50 desk from Target that we were using to hold the rat's cage before we got their current abode, so I knew ruining it would not be a big deal. The top was black, but I sanded it down and painted it white. I also did the little wall shelf on the floor in the bottom right corner.


We also put a vent over the pipe in the ceiling and curtains covering the awful window, and voila, it felt like a finished room. Next year, we hope to be able to replace the window and door and repaint the ceiling.

Due to picture-taking limitations, you really can't get an accurate idea of how great this room looks. Guess you'll all have to come visit!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Fun with the Alleys

Josh and Jaime have been visiting for a few days, and we've been having a blast! We went swimming, played at the Durham Science Museum, and had a water fight.










And of course, we did a lot of this...


Kentucky in July



We took our annual trip to Kentucky in July. It was as hot as usual. Which is to say, as hot as North Carolina. If we were smart vacationers, we would go someplace cool in the summer.

One way to beat the heat in Kentucky is to take a hike through Mammoth Cave, so my mom got us all tickets. I was not thrilled at first (I grew up in cave country; I have been in a lot of caves.), but it turned out to be really fun. We took the historic tour, which led through some narrow, stooped, winding passages. Kellie, Alex, and Michael had to duck for half of the tour, and the Fat Man's Misery was a squeeze for anyone over the age of 12.

We spent the Fourth in Tennessee with Michael's family, where the boys enjoyed the annual Blowing Things Up celebration while I went on an eight mile run. (Kellie and I are training for a half marathon in August.)

Orange Belts

Eli and Rylan earned their orange belts in tae kwon do in June.



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