Thursday, August 13, 2009

MyBrownBaby MOM OF THE WEEK: Danyele Easterhaus



I met today's MyBrownBaby Mom of the Week through the comment junkie website, The Secret is in the Sauce; we were comment neighbors that day, and though I can't remember who visited who first, I became an instant fan of her site—A Thorn Among Roses. It is there that Danyele Easterhaus, mom of four beautiful girls—one, a brown girl pie named Jada—writes and photo journals about her parenting journey and her family's wonderful life. I absolutely adore her stories about her girls, who are so stinkin' cute and sassy and funny and nutty, they're addictive. And while it isn't the focus of her blog, I especially love that Danyele really does think about the impact of raising Jada in an all-white household, and ponders often what she can do better as a mom to make sure her beautiful, brown baby lives an authentic, God-fearing life, confident in who she is—and sure that she is loved beyond measure. One post in particular that truly moved me was SADNESS, in which Danyele chronicles the heartbreak she felt when her then-3-year-old brown baby told her she wanted her skin to look like that of her white sister, Brooke. While Danyele struggled with what to say, Brooke said some really wise words that most grown folk wouldn't have been able to conjure up: "Jada, God made you and He loves you. He does it all right the very first time." Couldn't you just reach through the screen and squeeze her? Out of the mouths of babes, I tell you. Well, that kind of wisdom comes from solid parenting—and Danyele is a heck of a mom. After you read more about her, go on over to A Thorn Among Roses and give her some MyBrownBaby love! Without further ado, our MyBrownBaby Mom of the Week:

My name is… Danyele Easterhaus…or mommaof4wife2r.

I live in… Indiana…and there’s more than corn in Indiana, I promise!

My brown babies are… Well, now isn’t that an intriguing question! I have only one brown baby girlie and three vanilla girlies. My brown baby is Jada, #3 of 4 girlie pies. Jada is 4, and is fashion savvy, opinionated, sweet and cute, loving, playful, poignant, girly, and fancy. Paige is 14…in high school…too pretty for her own good, but doesn’t know it. She’s kind hearted, gentle, a softball rockstar, dedicated and just plain fun. Brooke, 6, is starting kindergarten…vivacious, witty, smart, keen and hilarious.
And Sofia, 18 months, is amazingly tiny, cute, smiley, witty, strong willed, loving, and a miracle.

I make a living… changing diapers, loving hubs and the girlie pies, cooking and shopping, doing coffee time with my teenage daughter, leading Bible studies for teen girls, cleaning (when it’s convenient), laughing and crying, guiding and directing and teaching my kiddos to love and respect. Oh, and I don’t get a paycheck… I’m a stay-at-home mom now—retired from automotive engineering.

The last time my kids cracked me up… Are you serious? My kids constantly crack me up…read my blog. It could be jada screaming at b

The last book I read with my kids was… Fancy Nancy and the Posh Puppy, with b and jk; My Big Animal Book, with Sofia, and; our Bible study book and Bible with Paige.

My favorite place to take them is… on our “alone time” getaways with each of our girlies each week. And it’s different for each one. For Paige, it’s coffee and shopping. We chat and laugh…and I try really hard to embarrass her and I often succeed. Time alone is just precious and super fun! Brooke’s favorite place is the pet store, but I love taking her to the playground or on bike rides. She is so full of energy and creativity that she just “goes” and has a blast. Jada’s favorite thing is definitely french fries. I love that girl. Anything we do, she wants fries first, and I love a girl with priorities. We end up at the park or at the bookstore, but for her, the french fries are the important part. Sofia is still little, but I love spending time alone cuddling her and reading books, and if we’re out and about, it’s definitely playing at the park. We do life as a family, so I love just all of us being together—in the back yard, playing softball or soccer, or at the park. When we are together, life is better.

My proudest mom moment was… When I saw the face of each of my girlies for the very first time, I just couldn’t believe they were mine…each of them have their own story and their own “first sight,” but they are all my proudest moment as their momma.

My most embarrassing mommy moment was the time when… so many to choose from and I must only choose one. Hmmmm. Maybe when I laughed so hard, I peed myself in front of about 75 women on a retreat. I wasn’t mortified, but everyone there remembers me as the peeing girl.

The thing I most want my children to know is… Apologize. Love. Praise. Laugh. Serve. Humble yourself. And pray always. God is passionate about you…he will never leave you…you will never be alone.

The one family tradition I hope my kids continue when they grow up is… eating dinner together every night at the table. It seems to be a lost art these days. For birthdays, we always make homemade cakes and make our own decorations.

If I could invent one thing to make being a mom easier, it would be… a big red flashing sign that said, “(Insert your kid's name here) don’t do that. It’s against the rules and you WILL be busted. Step away from the temptation. Step away from the temptation.” And, of course, if they didn’t, a little water spritz or something could nail them in the face and they would get their second chance before I would have to constantly bust them and put them in time out. I would still do the discipline, but they would get the warning—big flashing lights and spritz is a good warning.

The best invention for kids ever is… For babies, definitely The Bumbo. Ingenious and cute! For preschool/elementary kiddos—cereal bars. That means a few minutes of extra sleep some days. And I can take every wink I can get! For teens—cell phones. Good and bad, I’ll take it all. I love texting my girl, Paige when she’s away and I can keep tabs with her. Hate all the nonsense that goes along with it, but Paige is a no drama girl, so it’s been fine.

The kid snack I’m most likely to get busted eating is… Sadly, cheerios. I love those dumb things. And since I have my own “mommy food stash”; I don’t need to sneak their goodies (because they don’t get any candy) unless, of course, it’s Halloween or Easter and then it’s totally free game.

The most important life lesson I want my kids to learn is… the choices you make don’t affect just you, they affect everyone else around you. Don’t fall for the lie the world sells on this one; everything you do is important. Every word. Every deed. Every action and every inaction. Fearlessly be yourself.

The one thing no one knows about me is… I am a motor head. I love old cars. I still have my first car—a 1966 Mustang. I rebuilt the motor and got her back into shape. Oh, and I’m a total daddy’s girl…still.

The thing I lost as a mom that I wish I could get back is… quiet time for study and reading and sewing and sitting and scrapbooking. But I am in a season right now {keep saying it, danyele…keep saying it}. The day will come when the girlies are older and I will again have my own quiet time, and then, I will probably want more girlie time. Ok, so maybe it’s my waistline. i miss my body…and I know two of them are adopted, but seriously, I gained way more weight with them than the pregnancies!

My “I’d Rather Be…” bumper sticker would say… laying on the beach with a Diet Coke in my hand, donned with a pretty pink umbrella in the foam cup…watching my family play in the sand and surf. (I’d be skinny too and wearing a really great bathing suit).



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6 comments:

  1. Danyele,

    That was the best post. I loved getting to know you so much better over here. Lots I knew, but I learned so much too. I know that you and I could totally hang in real life.
    Hugs,
    Mimi

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  2. Wonderful post and *ahem* I believe I introduced the two of you! LOL

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  3. soooo awesome!!! thank u soooo much!!

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  4. Hi Denene,
    I have been wanting to leave a comment for you for the longest while but not sure if I'd 'fit' in. I am always interested in the African American experience and fascinated as to how it differs from that of the Black West Indian despite our common ancestry. I enjoy reading your thoughts.

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  5. One of my favorite blogs to read. I too am a brown baby raised in a white house hold. I comment the blog author for her attempts at understanding. My parents took a different approach and left me with some identity issuer that look years for me to understand. Keep up the good work.

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  6. what a great blog. thanks for giving a thorn among roses some shine!

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