Sunday, August 20, 2017

Introducing Tradition, Culture, Respect and the Solar Eclipse

My goal in life, my goal as a mother, a Diné mother is to instill in my little one, the importance of self-identification. Autumn, at age 6 now, is starting to grow into her own skin, her own identity, and that identity includes being Navajo (Diné). The other day she randomly says: deiji’éé’, I’m confused and I ask her what she said: “shirt Mommy, it means shirt.”  I feel like now is a good time in terms of age and understanding to start introducing Navajo traditions and culture into this tiny, beautiful human. As she begins to grow and later evolve into a young woman, I want her to always know her strong, culturally rich background; American Indian and African American. I want her to know her clan, speak some of the language, know the history, culture, and traditions. 
I want her to respect and stand up for her history
I’m not going to know everything, and I don’t, but I do have my experiences as a child, my family, and my friends. Most of all, I want her to grow up being proud of who she is, I want her to stand tall, resilient, confident, and humbled.

With that said, tomorrow is the Solar Eclipse, August 21, 2017, and while many have traveled far, those still in search of eye protection and the anticipation throughout the public continues to increase, Autumn and I will be home. For a few weeks, I put a lot of thought into how to I would approach this with Autumn. She’s still very young and she may be confused, unaware of what’s going on, or she may just overall not care. I wanted this to be a teaching moment, a defining moment in her growth. I was stuck for a few days and then I pictured myself asking my grandmother and one word stuck in my head; "Yiiya.” I took that as a sign and I knew what I had to do. I truly feel like she spoke to me.

In the Navajo tradition, it is believed that the sun dies during a solar eclipse. This occurrence is an intimate/private moment between the sun, moon and the earth. In accordance with Diné teachings, one must not look at the eclipse; one must respect the Eclipse by maintaining stillness in their homes and not partake in food or water during the eclipse. This is a time of rejuvenation, a time of prayer and new beginnings.

So tomorrow, as Autumn and I partake in our stillness, I will be reading “Sunpainters: Eclipse of the Navajo Sun” by Baje Whitethorne. I look forward to this beautiful moment between her and I. 

Summary: In Sunpainters; Ecelipse of the Navajo Sun, Baje shoes childen, adults, too, the Navajo way of stillness and prayer at times when Mother Earth causes the ground to tremor as she raises her voice or cracks her back…Baje wishes to pass on Navajo culture and tradition. “We ask permission and give thanks for everything we take from Mother Earth,” “and this is important to know.”

Monday, May 8, 2017

Autumn. Mini Style

I've always wanted to do a style post, and I'm not sure why it took me so long. We have been preparing for our trip to Disney World this week, along with the warmer weather approaching. I find that this kiddo needs a new wardrobe at the beginning of every season. Autumn seems to be growing at a rapid rate, one I am not prepared for as she turns 6 this week. When it comes to clothes for Autumn, I aim for comfort and style. Here are a few pieces I selected for Summer and Disney World. The Giraffe printed swimsuit from Gap adds a safari touch as we will be staying at the Disney World Animal Kingdom Lodge. These items range from Mini Boden, Zara Kids, Gap and Nordstrom.

Sunday, May 7, 2017


As I mentioned in the previous post, ART has become somewhat of a fourth member of the family. For the past year, we’ve spent a lot of weekend time at the St. Louis Art Museum. One of Autumn’s favorite things to do on the weekend is brunch and a visit to the Art museum. On a daily basis, she creates Art; at school, at home, and her after school program. She’s very much into making stuff, of course that also includes a mess. Toys seem to be a pastime, and she’d rather spend her money at Michaels and time on cutting, coloring, gluing, painting etc. Her eyes light up at the thought of a creation, an idea. So what do Re and I do? We encourage and support her love for Art.

She can spot a Van Gogh, and her Art preferences include Modern, Contemporary and Abstract Art. We’ve recently visited the Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago, National Gallery of Art and the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden in D.C.
While visiting the Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, I dragged little Miss with me in hopes of viewing the Infinity Mirrors exhibit by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. This was something I was really excited to see! So we arrived early to a long line. Starting out at 400 passes available, I took a guess and thought there was no way there was 400 people in front of us, we were as good as IN. Time passed as we became closer to the entry; we stood in line for 2 hours. As passes started to dwindle, I crossed my fingers, hoping we were going to get inside. With about 20-30 people in front of us, they gave us the devastating  news of NO MORE PASSES! The 30 or so of us were devastated, a young boy age 3 or 4 began to cry. I felt like a bad mom for having Autumn wait with me and we weren’t even going inside. Turns out that each person in line has the opportunity to receive up to 5 passes, which can quickly add up to 400. I managed to ask questions, found a loop hole and scooped up Members passes at a low rate. WE WERE IN! Of course as we went in, we realized the exhibit consisted of more lines, more waiting. Autumn was in awe of every experience/project. She never complained of the time spent waiting, she knew at the end of each line, there was going to be another amazing experience.  The Infinity Mirrors features six of Kusama's iconic kaleidoscopic spaces. Within 20-30 seconds, you absorb and lose yourself within the mind and legacy of the artist. Using mirrors, Kusama transformed the intense repetition of her earlier paintings and works on paper into a perceptual experience. Each space has a story, a purpose. I was truly inspired and within the first few seconds of the first Room, Phalli’s Field, looking down at Autumn, the awe in her face, I had a feeling of euphoria. I’m glad we experienced this together, the line was worth the wait.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Washington D.C.

Somewhere between a career change, a small move, and an unexpected surgery, our family embarked to the city of Washington D.C. Autumn had her very first spring break this month and Re had to go to D.C. for work/business related purposes. An opportunity for a family getaway! With things being hectic and unexpected lately, it was nice to get away for a few days. I was not sure I could handle it, and we almost canceled, considering I had an appendectomy a week prior, but healing occurred faster than I expected. Walking was not easy, but I managed, and did as much as my body allowed. It has been 3 weeks and each day I am starting to feel more like myself.

A brief summary of the unexpected surgery; it was a Thursday night, I started to feel pain in my lower abdomen, I honestly thought it was nothing. I thought sleep would take my mind off of the pain and I’d wake up happy and healthy. A few hours passed, the pain did not subside and sleep was out of the question. I soon started to cry in pain and finalized my decision; yup, something is wrong. I didn’t want to wake Re and Autumn; she had school in the morning. After an hour of persuading myself this needs to happen, we left for the ER at 1 am.  I figured it would be quick, I’d get some pain medication and then back to bed/home I would go. Tests were ran, blood was drawn, eventually the nurse managed to spill the information before the doctor came in. She said I was going to be admitted with surgery. My reaction; Ummm, excuse me?!? I am healthy, I exercise on a daily basis, this cannot be right. For a moment I thought maybe she entered the wrong room. I had early signs of appendicitis and my appendix needed to be removed; surgery first thing in the morning. Everything happened so fast, I really had no time to think or absorb all of the information they were giving me. Surgery was quick and I was in the hospital for a few days. It has been 3 weeks, I guess the only hard part right now is the occasional pain and not being able to run/exercise. Although I feel the appendectomy was minor, I am so grateful and appreciative of all the support I received from family, friends, and my co-workers. 

Back to our trip to D.C. This was Autumn’s first trip to Washington D.C. Autumn has become quite the mini-traveler. We explored the National Mall, we managed to see a few museums. Her favorite; the Hirschhorn, and the Air & Space Museum. We had the chance to see Yayoi Kusama's Exhibition: Infinity Mirrors, which was, for me, truly memorable. I'll have a second blog for our trip to the Hirschorn, as ART has become a fourth member of our household. She was excited to ride the Metro, which was her number one choice of transportation as we toured the city. This trip, for me, was special, anticipatory more than anything. I have not been to D.C. since 2008. I briefly lived there for school/ an internship. Re and I reminisced the city as we once explored as young loves, pre-marriage/child. I have many fond memories of D.C; a lot of self-exploration, lifelong friendships made and the overall enjoyment of living in the moment, but still anticipating an unknown future. A young, excited and naïve Adrienne. Another city shared with our Mini, more memories created.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017


We were together, the three of us, having dinner in what seemed like a hotel reception room. Outside, the weather was windy, and each time the wind blew the gusts grew stronger. We would move location to location each time the wind grew in strength.

The three of us; with them I felt safe.

Our last location was a large auditorium; the place was filled with other’s like us trying to seek shelter. We were fed, we were warm and safe. At that moment, all I wanted was to shield her in a blanket, to lay her in my lap, as I knew she would drift into a safe sleep. So I told Re I would quickly go out to the car, grab some blankets for us and I would be right back, as the weather was still somewhat fair. He said “Okay, the car isn’t far, but please hurry up.” I ran outside, pressed the car key lock to locate the vehicle. I didn’t hear or see anything. So I ran and I searched, the wind was picking up, but I finally made it. I quickly selected a few blankets, I picked a few pink ones, her baby blankets, for a moment imagining her wrapped and snuggled safely in my lap. I ran, and decided to cut through a building to get back to them. The building was large, reminiscent of a casino. People were eating, laughing, oblivious to what was outside, as I quickly dashed by them. I made it outside of the building, I looked around and I didn’t know where I was. It was now dark, the wind was blowing extremely hard, I could feel I did not have much time left, but I decided to run any way. I ran, but I felt like I was getting nowhere, so I screamed “Someone! Please help!” But as I looked out, I could see and hear other people in the same position as me, screaming for help. I stood there, and in front of me was another building, maybe I could break the window, maybe if I could just move a few feet, I could hopefully survive. But my feet would not move. I kept picturing them in my head, waiting for me. I just wanted to be with them, where they were. Why did I have to go get blankets? Why did I have to leave? I would probably never see them again. I would never get to snuggle her in my lap. I would never feel her warmth wrapped in those pink blankets. I would never make her feel safe again. And so I gave up. 

They would have to be without me.

And so, at that moment, at my very last moments, I woke up.

It was a dream. I was breathless. I was scared. 

I looked to my right, covered in a pink blanket, she was right beside me; safe and sleeping.

I quickly got up, raced downstairs and there he was, cooking breakfast.

I grabbed my golden throw, sat at the kitchen table and cried my eyes out.

He stood there looking at me, concerned, listening to what I had just experienced.

He wrapped me in his big arms, the arms that always enclose me with love, safety, and warmth.

Everything was okay.

I was safe, again.