24 June 2013

Transformations

This month has been quite the month of transformation for us Tatums! So many milestones reached, so many mountains conquered. And it is only the beginning.

Well, I have officially graduated from my first program of study. It has only taken me 8 years since graduating high school, 6 years in the military, 4 degree major changes, 2 children and 1 husband later but I have finally done it. As of June 15, 2013 I am the official and proud owner of an Associate of Arts degree with a focus in Deaf Studies.







And just when I was feeling light as a feather, I am immediately reminded that I still have a little way to go before I reach my end goal. Only two days after graduation I was right back in school, and starting my bachelors program. So far it has proven that it is not going to be an easy journey. College work alone is tough. College work in a practice profession that requires many hours of internship on top of regular classes while still having to take care of 2 children, run a home, exercise, volunteer and manage a home-based business will be more than just a little challenging. But up for the challenge I have to be!

Speaking of challenge, just three short days ago I ran and completed the Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon. 5 months of training, 5 hours and 20 minutes of non-stop running and 26.2 miles of endurance. A feat I never imagined I would actually complete. My mind, body and soul is full of so many emotions but I have little words to describe this experience. It was simply...amazing!



















As I reflect on the event of this days, my heart is filled with joy and sorrow. This marathon was in honor of my dear friend, who sadly passed away 3 years ago. A race we were supposed to run together, I ran alone. But I carried here memory in my heart the whole way. After all of my hard work, determination and commitment I crossed the finish line and completed my first full marathon; just one week shy of the anniversary of her passing.

Thank you SSG White for always believing in me, for pushing me when I was ready to quit, for encouraging me to go further than I had ever gone. Thank you for confiding in me, for being a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen to when I needed you. I am sorry I didn't hear your cries. I wish you were still here but until we meet again...rest in sweet peace!
SSG Chenique "Niki" White (November 2, 1981 - June 29, 2010)


Post marathon "depression" has already began to to sink in and I am feeling the need to shoot for another crazy goal of mine... triathlon it is! This time next year I will be participating in my first triathlon series and this time around Kevin will be joining me! Then it's ultra marathon and Ironman after that. As long as my body keeps up I will keep going :-)

In just 5 short days I am Colorado bound. Leaving my babies, husband and Washington home behind for 30 whole days. This is a big deal! Aside from giving birth to Kameron and being hospital bound for 3 days, Kevin and I have spent 1 night away from the kids, ever. And technically Kameron accompanied us as he was still in my womb. Leaving my kids for such and extended period of time breaks my mama heart, I will miss my crazy kiddos and all of the joy they bring to my life daily. I am more than confident in Kevin's ability to care, nurture, engage, teach and entertain the kids; this is never a worry of mine. I just wish I could be here with them too. Kaydence will turn 3 during my time away and this breaks my heart the most. I never wanted to miss one of my children's birthdays (0-18). If anybody knows me they know that birthdays are a big deal, A BIG DEAL! I plan months in advance, nit-picking at every detail, and over planning. I just think that people should feel special on their birthdays, I mean nothing is more worth celebrating than your day of birth. So we have pushed her birthday party celebration back one month, and plans for a August luau are underway.



If being away from home isn't going to be hard enough, I am sadly leaving just one day before moving out of our town home. Although hubby is quite excited about the fact that his micro-managing wife won't be present to add more stress to the move, I am a little nervous about the fact that I will not be present the whole first month of moving into our new place. Our new permanent place might I add!

We are happily moving into our forever home. The home that Kevin and I became husband and wife. The home in which my kids have always known. The home in which I have grown to love, with the most perfect view of the Puget Sound and some of the warmest memories. We will be taking over the mortgage and moving into Kevin's parents house and what a perfect house it is!

The most intimate and wonderful wedding,
in our (now) home!
Our new backyard view!
















Now for the superficial transformations.

I am now only 4lbs shy of my pre-pregnancy weight and fitting into jeans I wore in high school.

Favorite jeans from high school!
Senior year cotillion dress!



Oh and I chopped off all of my hair! I have spent the last last 8 months or so going all natural. No shampoo, conditioners, or chemicals and with 8 months of new growth I was ready to chop off the damaged hair and start new. To never again color, relax or add chemicals to it again. My curls are amazing as of now and I can't wait to see them in years to come, long and luscious.



So my weeks for the next month and half are full, and my extra time will be little. I won't be blogging or vlogging during my time away so catch me on Instagram for regular picture (and now video) updates. Until then Enjoy your summer everyone!

04 June 2013

Touche Cheerios

The new Cheerios AD and the controversy around it has really ignited a fire within me. Being a interracial person myself, in a interracial relationship, with interracial children this entire topic speaks deeply to my heart.

Growing up I dealt with my fair share of racial remarks and awkwardness. My mom being of African American/Native American decent always left people puzzled with her choice in men (white), music (country) and way of speaking ("proper"). And my father (a white guy) being quite the opposite adored his African American women, rap music, beat boxing and break dancing. They "broke the molds" of what people thought they should be and this left me one very confused little girl.



 I grew up me. I never identified myself as black, Native American or white; I was just me. I talked like me, I walked like me, I listened to the music I liked and dated the people whom I was interested in. However it wasn't very long into my life that I realized I was different. 



In some instances I never seemed to fit in. In middle school and high school I hated life. I was too "black" for the white kids and too "white" for the black kids. The small town in Iowa that I lived during my high school years was very segregated. The west side of town was white and the east side of town being black. I attended my first year of high school on the west side where I quickly realized that although my skin was lighter than most black people it was still dark enough to be considered black and this left me an outsider. After my freshman year I moved to the east side of town thinking things would be better and in fact they were worse. I was much to "white" for this side of the community with my proper English, ballet skills, and "good hair". In the black community I seem to be prized by men and hated by women. 


One area that has always been of annoyance to me is the need for me to identify my racial preference. On college and job applications there are always those plaguing boxes that ask you to identify your race; and until recently they always had just one choice. I always had a hard time choosing between the two races wondering if I had a better chance of getting into the college if I checked "African American" because I would be a minority, and on the other hand I wondered if checking Caucasian for the job applications would better ensure me a phone call or interview. My whole life I have been bombarded with the annoying question of "What are you?" like I am some mutt dog in which they are trying to identify it's breed, like knowing this information will help them understand my temperament or life longevity. 

As I have grown older and matured I have seemed to be able to just take the occasional occurrences of biracial remarks and glaring stares as my husband and I walk hand in hand at the grocery store. They have seemed to fade over time, which I have just attributed to the growing acceptance and change in mindset of the world...until recently.





Just 17 short months ago I gave birth to the most amazing little boy. My daughter was born just a 1 1/2 years earlier and she has slowly adapted into the most perfect mix of me and my husband. She is lighter than me but not as light as my husband, with the biggest brown eyes and soft bouncy brown curls; a gorgeous bi-racial little girl. My son on the other hand has grown into the most handsome Caucasian skinned, blonde haired, blued eyed little boy. As you can imagine this leaves many people staring questioningly. One time I took my daughter to the play area at our local mall when my son was just a few months old. I had been getting a lot of questionable stares from the time we arrived and I knew people were wondering if this little white baby was mine, if I was his sitter, or had I stole him. Needless to say people weren't confused as soon I wrapped myself up in a nursing blanket and latched him on. The looks of total amazement that this little boy was actually mine was astonishing. 




Just recently I was out for a run with the kids and was approached by two women walking the same trail I was. They were lovely women, very kind and super in love with the kids. They cooed and cawed at how adorable they both were, telling me how beautiful Kaydence's curls were and how jealous they were of her long lashes. When they got to my son they were just as thrilled at his adorableness and so proud of me for "adopting". Quote: "You adopted, good for you!" I kindly told the women that my son in fact came from my vagina and thanked them as I quickly went back to running. I have since then encountered 2 more people inquiring into if I adopted Kameron, because no way can this "black" girl have a "white" baby like that. 














My new personal encounters with the inter-racial ignorance as well as the recent news of the man who was accused of kidnapping his own kids because of the difference in their skin color has wavered my faith in the progress that I once thought we had. And then upon hearing the awfulness that has surrounded the new Cheerios commercial featuring the bi-racial family has made me realize that we as a country still have a very long way to go. 

I really thought by the year 2013 when we have a black president of our country, that a very cute and harmless commercial featuring a bi-racial family would truly be  UN-news worthy; but apparently I am wrong. 

I love the new commercial and as a bi-racial person myself I am proud and very happy to finally start seeing more bi-racial families like my own depicted in the real world; because believe it or not, we do exist!

Touche Cheerios!




03 June 2013

Monday Montage Madness

A montage of photos from the past few weeks. Heavy on the photos and light on the words. Enjoy!



::Mother's Day Color Run 2013::








































::Live to Run, Run to Live::

My happy place #feettogravel #feettopavement
My most favorite running buddy


#newtrail #gravelroads #bighills #imbigger #justkicked20milesass #livetorun #runtolive #ismelllikeass



::Saturday Family Dinner Traditions::






















::My Little Nudist::











She has recently decided she hates wearing cloths.




::Loving my Boys::

Bed Hair
Great smiles





















::Letting go of the idea of perfection...::

...Because I am not too proud to admit
 I could learn a thing or two
...because shaving cream happens



...because puddles are made for splashing
and cloths can be washed
...because teaching independence, hard
hard work, and pride is more important than
perfectly made beds.

































Memories in the Making!

Relax, Reflect, Rejuvenate

This weekend we took a trip up to Kevin's Grandpa's property. We pitched our tents, kindled our fire and enjoyed the serenity of the solidarity. No technology just good old-fashioned fun; the way it should be. 



It was peaceful and calming


A daddy and his little girl...and spit bugs!
Hubby's happy place





Even grandma loved our mini vaca!
Because girls will be girls; no matter what age







































The kids loved every second of the outdoors. They ran freely and did what kids do best...played.




The Tatum kiddos

We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows; although my lovely kiddos preferred the fruit. Smashed marshmallows between dry gram crackers just wasn't their cup of tea. 




















I listened to the sound of the crackling wood and dreamed of my future farm; milking goats and laying ducks included.


Exploring nature with my favorite little guy in tow

It was exactly what I needed! A break from the fast paced world of my life. A break from Saturday cartoons and the same old boring toys. A break from homework and bills. Just time to relax, reflect and rejuvenate.


Even Scarlett had a relaxing great time


Now back to the real world...Bring it on universe!