Archives for ‘Holiday’

Choosing an Appropriate Halloween Costume

October 30, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

The weekend before last I posted the following photo and description on my Instagram feed.
Processed with VSCOcam with b2 preset

 

Halloween = my favorite time for over-saturating social media with photos of my kids. For this party Miss is a loose interpretation of a samurai, Mr is Buzz Lightyear.

If you visit my account you’ll see that my loose interpretation of a samurai costume hit some nerves, and cultural appropriation is something I’ve been thinking about ever since.

The podcast http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/category/stuff-mom-never-told-you/ just did an episode on this titled “What Not to Wear on Halloween” and I think it’s a great listen if you’d like to spend some time working through this issue.

This is the conclusion I have come to: It is never appropriate to represent or impersonate a negative or offensive stereotype of a currently-living group with a costume. Additionally, a privileged group should never dress as a member of a group they have oppressed, offended, or reside above in a given area (either presently or in the past). Be culturally sensitive about donning costume inspired by foreign cultures, particularly those your own culture has oppressed or attacked in some way.

If you have enough not to be homeless, you should not be dressing as a homeless person for Halloween. Living without a home is not a joke. If you are healthy, don’t dress up as a cancer patient. Having cancer is not a joke. (If you actually have cancer, feel free to dress up as someone with cancer. Maybe it can be a make lemonade from lemons kind of situation?) “White trash”, illegal alien, blackface. All are offensive. One of the Stuff Your Mom Never Told You hosts pointed out that at the end of the night the Halloween participant gets to go home and take their costume off. They may have been pretending to be a Black, mentally ill, incarcerated character, but after the party is over they get to go back to being a white, wealthy, TV personality. A better homage to Crazy Eyes would be donating some money to a cause that support similar women who need assistance getting back on their feet after incarceration.

I’ve cited some examples that I consider to be very obvious, but there are some I can’t decide on. What if I want to dress as a maid? Maybe the sexy French kind, maybe as someone in regular clothes who carries around a mop and set of rags all night. I think telling someone that they can’t dress as a maid somehow implies something negative about being a maid. But if I picture Paris Hilton dressing as a maid I get a bad taste in my mouth – it feels wrong. Same thing with dressing as an auto mechanic, or Walmart employee, or coal miner. Where is the line between personifying an idea and making a joke out of it?

I think the best approach to choosing a Halloween costume is to think about the person you are representing and decide how you are portraying their personhood. Most importantly, think about how they might feel if you were to encounter them in person. If there is any hesitation on your part, or any possibility of offense on theirs, choose something else. If you don’t know if something is offensive read about it on Wikipedia or ask someone who is well-read. If you’re reading this I’m going to assume you have the means at your disposal to create almost anything you can dream up; unique and creative costumes are the best kind anyway. Leave the flat jokes and hurtful stereotypes to the comedians who aren’t savvy enough to come up with sharp and innovative material.

Easter 2013

May 05, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

Happy Cinco de Mayo! Now I am going to show you some pictures of my kids from Easter.

We went to an egg hunt that was held in Menlo Park and I was not impressed with the “hunt” portion. There was no hunting. Just eggs dropped on a football field and picked up by dashing children. It worked great for T1 though, because this was his first hunt and he was very polite, giving everyone else a turn and moving very slowly as he tried to figure out why we were picking up eggs that policemen had dropped out of a giant bag a few moments before.

He experienced his first ever tootsie roll that day. It made for some good video footage.

This is the best I could do when it came to “photo with the bunny”. He had no interest in sitting in the lap of a person dressed in a creepy bunny costume, and I wasn’t about to make him do it (I wouldn’t sit in that lap either).

The next day I had a fabulous time putting them in Easter outfits and did my best to get a picture of both of them dressed up and not crying. Who knows how often that will happen in the future!


Christmas 2012

February 02, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

Consider this a recap of everything Christmas/Holiday related from 2012. :)

We kicked things off with a visit to the Los Altos Festival of Lights. We arrived right when it started and found decent seats (bring your own chairs!), didn’t have to park too far away, and found the length to be just perfect for T1′s age and attention span.

I pushed for a real tree, but we decided to get a fake one in the end. This one has a bit of a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree vibe, but it was inexpensive and pre-lit with LED and the perfect tree for us at this point in our life. I hope That Husband knows that eventually I want to go down to Santa Cruz and cut a real one down and bring it home!

T1 spent most of his time managing our efforts.
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Pumpkin Carving 2012

February 01, 2013 By: Jenna Category: Holiday

I love carving pumpkins, it’s one of my very favorite holiday traditions, but pregnancy has toned down my enthusiasm for most things this year. 2013 will be the year of the baby and the toddler, so I’m thinking 2014 will be the year I get my groove back. I’m glad we did something simple and carved at least one pumpkin though, because looking back over our pictures I realized that this was our first time taking the top off the gourd and letting T1 dive in to feel the slime and the seeds.

As his parent, I of course think these are so adorable and hilarious. It’s my right, you know?
I finished off the experience by carving in the date 2/13 and a belly bump as an homage to T2. Unfortunately I didn’t do a very good job, as people on Instagram were asking me if it was a dinosaur. Ha!
T2,
It’s the thought that counts, right?
Love,
Mama

Christmas Card 2012

December 25, 2012 By: Jenna Category: family, Holiday


Yet another year where I (Jenna) am writing this Christmas card from a different location than in years past. This year we are located south of San Francisco in the Palo Alto area of California. It took me approximately three days to declare that I love it here and want to stay forever. We are so grateful that TH not only has a great job, but one that allows us to live in such a beautiful place.

When 2012 started, we thought we had an idea how things would go. TH would graduate with an MBA from the University of Chicago, we’d move back to Dallas, T1 would continue learn and grow and amaze us with his interpretation of the world around him. The first and last have turned out as expected, but a new job offer for TH has taken us in a completely different direction than previously anticipated.

While I went back to school this Summer my parents generously offered to employ, house, feed, and entertain TH and T1 up in my hometown while I finished up at BYU. I was so grateful to have my mom, dad, and sister present as I walked across the graduation stage (I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in English), and three days later we were lucky enough to find ourselves in Poland enjoying the company of TH’s family while eating Krakow Cake in the backyard.

T1 has reached the language explosion stage, and conversations with him become more entertaining as each day passes. He loves preschool, talks all the time about “friends”, and comes home singing songs that I have to look up on YouTube so I can sing along. All those who spend time with him consistently describe him as a sweetheart, and he is developing into an earnest, determined, and meticulous little boy. He loves to whisper secrets to and hug the baby inside of Mama, and though we didn’t find out the sex of our second little one he will always predict that it’s a girl when asked what mommy is having. It’s going to be such a treat to watch him fill the role of big brother.

Our plans for 2013 include surviving with a determined/demanding preschooler and a newborn. We know many of you have done it, so it must be possible… right?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year everyone!

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      I'm a farm-raised almost-crunchy stroller-pushing picture-taking lifestyle-blog-writing gastronomy-obsessed divine-seeking thrift-store-combing cheese-inhaling pavement-pounding laughter-sprinkling lover of individuality and taking chances.
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