A Few Of My Favorite Things {January 2016}

I wasn't planning to do these posts this year. But then I had people telling me I'd got them hooked on Jane the Virgin and inappropriately obsessed with sparkling water. It was so exciting to bond over these "passions." (Yes, I'm passionate about my Dasani lemon-flavored sparkling water.)

And then I discovered something that so shocked me to my core, I absolutely had to tell you. Here we go!

Mid Rise Jeans

I feel ridiculous. If you already knew what I'm about to say, then you are my hero. But I feel like a young butterfly recently emerged from her tiny, isolated cocoon. To be fair, I have never been fashion savvy. But now I feel like I was missing the entire boat, as well as the ocean.

When I purchase pants, I look at size and length. That's it. Unbeknownst to me, I was often buying low rise jeans. I thought we all were pulling up our pants all the time! I thought we all were worried about bending down to care for our kids in public!

And then, quite by accident, I tried on a pair of jeans labeled "mid-rise." Not low-rise, MID rise. Like holding in some of my baby belly and helping me move like a well-clothed boss. #gamechanger So I am sharing this with you in case you have been next to me under this rock. Let us hold hands, stand up, and enter the world together, my friend.

All The Books

It's been cold here in Atlanta. I mean, no snow, thank goodness, but it's dipped below 60, so I've been inside a lot. So I've read three books this month. Hooray!

The first was Modern Romance by comedian Aziz Ansari and sociologist Eric Klinenberg. The focus is on the unique challenges of dating in the modern age, particularly with how communication and technology have changed. It's a fascinating read to be sure. (Billy and I talk a little about technology and our own dating experience here.)

I also read Pretty Girls. I loved that it was set in Atlanta as it was cool to recognize nearby locations. I can't really say I liked this one, though. I enjoyed it in the sense that it was a captivating mystery/thriller, and I wanted to keep going to find out what happens. But honestly, it was a too dark and violent for me. If I'd known more about it before I started, I just wouldn't have picked it up.

(Side note: I listened to both of these on Audible. If you want to try it and get two free books, click here.)

The third book I read I'm not sharing just yet. (Intrigue!) I'll simply say it was a young adult novel and discusses immigration. I'm featuring an interview with the author and a book giveaway on February 8, so come back and check it out!

But I also just picked up a bunch of new ones I can't wait to read in February:

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir: I mean, this just seems fun. A memoir about internet fame.
Sharp Objects: By the same author as Gone Girl, which I really enjoyed.
Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice: I have so much respect for Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil and am eager to learn from her.
Midnight in Mexico: A Reporter's Journey Through a Country's Descent into Darkness: I stole this book from Leigh Kramer's reading list, and can't wait!

Favorite Instagram

This photo basically sums up my January.

Favorite IKEA Hacks

Since I've been "resting" so much, I've been pinning like it's my job. Combined with a few too many episodes of Fixer Upper... Things have gotten entirely out of hand.

I keep saying things to Billy like "let's knock out that wall" and "sliding barn door." I even used the word shiplap. Thank you so much, Joanna!

Currently, I'm in an active campaign to convince Billy we can totally create built in bookcases using IKEA shelving and a few odds and ends from Home Depot. He keeps suggesting we might not be able to pull that off, but I've read the DIY blogs. We just need a bunch of uninterrupted time and some paint. But seriously, how cool is this?

Favorite App

Okay, ya'll. I'm all about that Periscope. Are you familiar with Twitter's new live-streaming video app? I am never an "early adopter" on anything. (Seriously, I started using Instagram like last year.) But Billy and I tried it out one evening, and it was so fun to interact in live video.

If you don't know how it works, we logged on and started talking on the video. And people can join the live stream. They can type questions, say hi, whatever... all in real time. It was so fun.

We are planning to do a lot more Periscope in February, and we've already been brainstorming ideas for conversation. If there's something you want to talk about, let me know in the comments (or any other mode of communication you desire). If you're on it or want to join, follow us here:


Favorite Posts

I've started sharing my favorite links around the web in a biweekly round up. You see January goodies here and here. These are some posts reads have liked this month at A Life with Subtitles:

Why We Need Different Friends Now More Than Ever - When I feel bombarded by the heart-break of injustice, I sometimes don't know how to respond in the midst of my day-to-day life. I'm reminded that relationships are the key to sustaining justice work long-term.

Do You Live In A Good Neighborhood? - I get this question a lot because of where we live, but it bothers me. I wouldn't describe the place I've lived for almost seven years as bad.

Shut The Door Behind Me: An Immigration Story - This guest post by Karen Gonzalez discusses how her perspective on fellow immigrants has been influenced and affected over time.

Thanks to Leigh Kramer who hosts this monthly link-up. What were some of your favorite things in January? And seriously, have you always known about mid-rise jeans???

A Valentine's Giveaway For Spanglish Kids

It's always exciting to find modern, fun multicultural swag for kiddos. When I first saw Ellie Elote's collection, I had to have one of the "I Love My Papi" shirts for my daughter. You can see her rocking it in the photo above.

I just love it. And I'm so excited about this giveaway. I've been wanting to share these goods with you for a while. And now, you can win your own Ellie Elote shirt or onesie!

First, a little about Ellie Elote, founded by Lisa, a graphic designer who grew up in Canada. Her Guatemalan-Mexican husband came to the States at a young age, and they met while studying abroad. He was living in Miami, and now they live in Detroit, Michigan. (Don't you just love all this global journeying?)

They are raising a bilingual two-year old, and it didn't take long for Lisa to notice the lack of Spanglish clothing options. Given her graphic design background, she decided to start her own company. She designs all of Ellie Elote’s products herself, and they are printed in Detroit, Michigan on ethically manufactured apparel.

Bonus? Ellie Elote has a heart for Guatemala. A portion of every purchase is donated to Mayan Families’ Well Mother, Well Baby Program.

So if you want to check out Ellie Elote or connect with Lisa on social media (I love her Instagram!), here are some muy important links:

Shop: ellieelote.storenvy.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ellieelote
Instagram and Twitter: @ellie_elote

UPDATE: Giveaway ended Friday, January 29, 2016. Big thanks to Ellie Elote for partnering for this giveaway!

When The Whole World Is Telling You How To Parent

Being a new mom is crazy, amiright? From that first moment the pee stick told me I was going to have a baby, I had so many questions. Can I eat this? Can I drink that? Can I play bumper car basketball? (Answer = no. Boo. I had to sit on the sidelines and keep score.)

I was grief-stricken when my midwife said I should stay away from lunch meat. Tell me I can't have it, and it's all I can think about. I think I asked her every visit to clarify this restriction. Can I still eat at Subway? What about lunch meat from the deli? C'mon woman, I need a sandwich!

When you're pregnant or parenting, everyone has something to contribute regarding your lifestyle choices. Throw cross-cultural family or neighbors in the mix, and you'll get a beautiful potpourri of contradictions, wives' tales, and advice. It's overwhelming sometimes. Okay, all the time.

We found out we were pregnant about a couple days before we were going to Guatemala for a family visit. Everyone was over the moon about the news. And then I horrified some folks by jumping into the ocean. Apparently, pregnant women aren't' supposed to swim as jumping belly first into oncoming waves could be seen as a little rough for the little one. My father-in-law was all, "That baby is going to be tough." Oh, how right he was...

Do you know what I'm talking about? Have you ever had people react to your parenting in shock and horror when it seems perfectly normal to you?

Once I had my little bundle of joy and wildness, it almost amused me to watch cultural traditions about all things baby. It could be 95 degrees outside, and some folks are just never going to feel comfortable around a baby with no socks on. That baby looks cold. Don't you have a blanket?

When we carted our 5 month old around Argentina, the world's most beautiful people could not get over how chunky she was. I must have heard the phrase, "Que gigante!" a thousand times. You would've thought my baby weighed two hundred pounds.

At the pediatrician's office in the States, though, she was measuring just above average. And when I pushed her in a stroller through our neighborhood? One of my African American neighbors peeked in the stroller and said, "That baby is thick." And that's a compliment, I believe, because who doesn't love an infant with some thigh rolls?

But you know, I think it's wonderful. Everyone giving their opinion or telling me what to do. I find it freeing.

I think this peace came to me in a moment with some strawberries. I was holding one while my infant daughter waited. I was confused and debating. Is it here that they say don't give babies strawberries? Or is that in Mexico and here they say it's fine?

Well, in one of those countries, babies are eating strawberries. And they're doing ok. So here we go! She loved the strawberries.

So I find pregnancy no-no's and parenting debates oddly comforting. Because people all over the world may be doing different things, but babies continue to grow up. So I hope you are encouraged raising babies in this global world. If you're getting advice from family members and neighbors who all love your baby, hear their love.

And if you ever find yourself considering whether or not to blow dry your baby's hair before bed, my general conclusion is that it'll all work out.

NOTE: If you're interested in a book on global parenting, you might enjoy How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between).

The Double Click: Casual Racism, Fingers Of The Feet, And Tacos

Sometimes time zones, laundry, and the algorithms of social media mean we miss each other online. So I'm sharing my recent, favorite links for you to read when you get a chance. Here's some fun articles (and videos) to make you laugh and to make you think.

What Goes Through Your Mind: On Nice Parties And Casual Racism || The Toast

I’m uncomfortable right now, sure — terribly so — but does that mean I have the right to make everyone else uncomfortable, too? Do I really want to force all the people at this table to choose sides in the ultimately unwinnable “was or wasn’t it racist” debate?

Spanish Words That Don't Exist In English - Joanna Rants || Flama

The Pregnancy No-No's From Around The World || The Motherish

If there is anything people get regularly and relentless judged for it’s pregnancy. But are you eating sushi? Drinking coffee? DYING YOUR HAIR? There are just far too many rules and complicated algorithms mums-to-be are supposed to follow. Reddit posted a thread recently asking its readers to discuss the major pregnancy “no-no’s” they’ve encountered in their home country.

6 Podcasts For Your Kid That You'll Dig Too || Fatherly

It seems only fair, then, that you let them control the dial sometimes, and luckily there are a few proven kid-favorite podcasts you just might enjoy, too — including one with actual cereal in the title.

Justin Bieber "Sorry" Parody - I'm 40 || The Holderness Family

The 1st Atlanta Taco Festival will take place May 1, 2016 at Candler Park from 1pm until 7pm. This is the largest taco competition and taco celebration on the East Coast. There will be local bands, Gringo Bingo, Salsa Dancing, Lucha Libre Wrestling and huge bar experiences by some of your favorite local establishments. (For discount tickets, click here.)

Shut The Door Behind Me: An Immigration Story

I love featuring guest posts of others' experiences of our multicultural world. Today I'm happy to introduce Karen Gonzalez, who immigrated from Guatemala as a young child. She shares how her perspective on fellow immigrants has been influenced and affected over time. If you are interested in submitting a guest post, click here.

A few years ago, I was an English teacher in the former Soviet Republic. One of the courses I taught was a conversational English class through American culture topics. It was a fascinating class for my students who discussed topics  like how to play baseball (“strange game”) and the wedding tradition of the bouquet toss (“tell us why they throw flowers!”).

It was also in this class I was introduced to an American culture book that began with a history of the United States as a great nation built by immigrants.

The book described English pilgrims fleeing religious persecution, as well as Ellis Island and the many European immigrants who were processed there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Then, on the same page, it declared that immigrants were no longer necessary in this country.

We had moved past the time when we needed immigrant populations to develop undeveloped natural resources and to populate the western part of the country. Immigrants, the book implied, were no longer a blessing. They were a burden.

I was previously uninformed on this issue. But now I had solid information - from a textbook, no less - and I felt like I’d solved a math problem whose solution had eluded me for years. So even though I had immigrated to this country from Guatemala as a child with my parents and siblings, I now had information, however incorrect, that supported a position I’d heard proclaimed in many public spaces. Much like several presidential candidates whose parents are also immigrants, I arrived at the conclusion that the immigration door should be shut firmly behind my family and me.

And that was the end of that, as far as I was concerned.

Like me, many people - whether natural-born citizens or documented immigrants - have information without relationships. As my immigration success story receded into the distant past, I had fewer and fewer relationships with undocumented immigrants.

By the time I arrived at the conclusion that immigrants were burdensome, I didn’t know any at all. As Sarah so eloquently put it “when we are in relationship with those most affected by the news, we find ourselves deeply committed to prayer, to action, and to justice.”

Conversely, when we’re out of relationships, we can receive information - however correct or incorrect - as cold, hard truths that must be enforced without mercy. I’ve encountered this not only in my own personal story but also in the local church when I hear people who don’t have relationships with any immigrants say things like, “Well, the Bible says we must obey the law, and undocumented immigrants are breaking the law, so they should be deported.”

How different is the response of a person who knows immigrants trying to get right with the law, but who is finding current immigration laws won’t allow them to be reconciled to it?

A Salvadoran immigrant fleeing gang violence and certain death, only to be told that US immigration laws don’t consider him a refugee based on his country of origin.

An immigrant from Cameroon who can’t receive the medical care he needs to survive in his country, but who is told that under current immigration laws, he isn’t eligible to remain here legally.

A Dominican widow working as a nanny and struggling to provide for her children but being told that by law, economic need is not a valid reason for a work permit.

Without relationships, it’s easy to allow other human beings in need of our kindness and understanding to become nameless, faceless statistics lost in political and economic rhetoric.

Having relationships where we know names and stories activates not only our compassion, but our advocacy bone.

Without these relationships, I wouldn’t know our country’s desperate need for immigration reform.

Without these relationships, I would continue to think of undocumented immigrants as outsiders, as the “other,” and would lose the humanity in myself as I fail to see it in them.

I need these stories and relationships, not only for the sake of my immigrant brothers and sisters, but also for myself—in order to be changed, to become more human.

Image credit: Christopher William Adach

Do You Live In A Good Neighborhood?

Twice in one week I was asked this question.

Do you live in a good neighborhood?

And I found myself stuttering and giggling and a little bit angry.

One of the question askers was no where near my house and had never been there. Her question was in response to "near downtown Atlanta" in my description of where we live.

The other was a stranger standing on my street. He was looking around, taking in the overgrown lots and the boarded up houses.

"Is this a good neighborhood?"

I don't exactly know what people are asking when they pose this question. To me, a good community is racially diverse and mixed income. It has strong neighborhood schools, lovely green space, local businesses (especially grocery), and a variety of transportation options. There's places for spiritual growth, a quality relational fabric, and a good dose of community pride.

My neighborhood has some of those things. (Come on out to our annual kickball tournament and you'll see our neighborhood pride!) But there's other things we don't have. Of course, by the definition I've included, I imagine most of us have areas that need work in our neighborhoods.

So yes, overall I live in a pretty good neighborhood.

But my fear is that what people are really asking has much less to do with accessibility to produce and more to do with stereotypes and fears. Do your neighbors look like you? Has your house ever been broken into? Is it safe? Would I feel comfortable on your block?

I don't like the dichotomy of "good neighborhood" and "bad neighborhood." My neighborhood has some challenges. Our neighborhood school is ranked in the high 600's out of 702 city schools. And we struggle to get restaurants and reputable businesses to open shop on our streets. These are real issues. But there are organizations and neighbors working really hard to address these challenges.

But even still, I wouldn't describe the place I've lived for almost seven years as bad. And honestly, it kind of rankles me when other people ask me if it's good or bad. Like I would choose to live in a bad place, or to raise my kids in a bad place.

I am aware that not everyone would choose to live in my neighborhood. But I have chosen to live here. And I like it.

So since I freeze on the spot, I've compiled a list of the ways I wish I would've responded. Maybe I'll use these in the future.

Yes, it's a good neighborhood. The staff at the local coffee shop know I like a mid-morning snack of sparkling water and hummus. And they also know I rarely remember my wallet, so they hook me up with a tab. It's like my very own version of Cheers.

Yes, it's a good neighborhood. Our community civic league organizes a Saturday morning where we all get together and eat pancakes and watch cartoons. How crazy is that? Oh, and they do a progressive dinner and a Halloween festival and, of course, the kickball tournament.

Yes, it's a good neighborhood. My kids carpool and have playdates a few streets over. Friends bring us meals when we've had babies or even when I'm just super sick and the hubs is out of town.

Yes, it's a good neighborhood. We ban together to be on the lookout for a man named "Cowboy" who occasionally gets out of jail and pops over to the neighborhood to steal people's rain gutters. We've got our eyes on you, partner!

Yes, it's a good neighborhood. We got a new grocery store last year and an amazing library that I visit in my dreams. Lots of good stuff is happening around here.

So yes, we have our challenges. But I live in a good neighborhood.

What do you love about where you live?

#WorldCupWives Needs You!

What?!? It's 2016. The next World Cup is over two years away! Why on earth is that adorable dog wearing Brazilian sunglasses and holding a soccer ball?

Well friends, I have some very exciting news. The World Cup Wives are hiring!

Okay, the word "hiring" might be a bit misleading, but hear me out. We need you!

First of all, who are the World Cup Wives?

Our names are Katie and Sarah (me who's writing this now). We are not the wives of World Cup players, announcers, or mascots. But we are the wives of soccer junkies. And while we are fine by soccer, but we cannot always keep pace with volume we are expected to consume.

So we chat.

And that's basically how World Cup Wives was born. We turned on the camera phone and started discussing the part of the game we found fascinating that our husbands weren't so interested in discussing. For example: Why do some players wear mismatched shoes? What do the wives or girlfriends say to their players after a crushing loss? WHY ON EARTH IS ONE MAN BITING EVERYONE?

For the World Cup in 2014, we had so. much. fun. Women around the world joined us on social media with the hashtag #WorldCupWives, sharing their parties, patriotic outfits, and how they were celebrating the games where they lived. Interestingly, this project kept us engaged and actually helped us enjoy the games with our husbands more.

But that's old news.

#WorldCupWives #RoadtoRussia      

Our World Cup Wives run in 2014 was awesome. And as we look ahead to the next tournament, two thoughts stick out. #1 - We want to grow this community to be bigger and badder and so much more fun. And #2 - How wild would it be to go to Russia?!

So we started thinking about how to accomplish these goals, and three thoughts came to mind. #1 - We'll need to reach out and grow our community before the games actually begin. (Or as my husband keeps reminding me... THE QUALIFIERS HAVE ALREADY BEGUN!) #2 - We can't do this alone. And #3 - We may need to sell some questionably-necessary organs to afford a trip to Russia.

I'm making headway on #1 by writing this post two years out. And now comes #2: Asking for help.

We'd love to have some others join the World Cup Wives team.

Here's What We're Looking For

#WorldCupWives Insider - We need a researcher who has equal parts love for the game of soccer and pop culture. Who is already out there reading everything there is to read on the games, the players, the venue, yada, yada. This person will help us plan content and stay up-to-date on which games are can't miss underdog sensations, which players recently had babies, and which teams choreograph the best celebration dances.

#WorldCupWives Party Maker - Let's be honest. A big part of soccer is eating. For those of us watching the games in our living rooms, we may care a bit less about "off-sides" and bit more about "how did you make this guac?" This person will likely manage some Pinterest boards, perhaps contribute some recipes or party planning ideas to the blog. We're open and flexible. Feel free to bring your own ideas!

#WorldCupWives Name Your Title - Do you have an idea? Is there something you'd like to contribute to the World Cup Wives team? Maybe you want to help with marketing or sponsorships or caricatures. Maybe you want to send us large sums of money. Share your ideas! Our attitude is pretty much "the more the merrier"!


You do not have to be a wife (or even a woman) to get involved. We're just looking for a love of hype and a commitment to the project. You can live anywhere - we'll hit you up online. And you have to accept our payment of virtual high fives and shout outs on Twitter. This gig is currently money-free all around!

So that's what we got! We're excited about continuing the World Cup Wives. And now we're off to address idea #3. Maybe pinkie toes are big sellers underground? We'll keep you posted!

Interested? Contact me and we'll talk.

Are you not a part of the World Cup Wives Community? Click here and sign up!

[VIDEO] How Do You Communicate Your Modern Romance?

I spent a lot of time driving during the holiday season, so it was the perfect time for... audio books! I downloaded Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance and listened to most of it in a day. So good.

It starts out with Ansari describing an experience of asking a friend out on a date via text message. He sees the dots that indicate she is writing back, but he doesn't hear from her. He tells a funny, relateable story of his emotional spiral as post-text time passes. 

This drama launches him on a global quest to better understand dating and romance in the modern world. Technology is, of course, a huge player. His findings will have you nodding your head and laughing. But I also found that some of the disconnection (and frankly, dehumanization) happening in our "phone world" (as he calls it) to be more than a little sad. 

It's an interesting read. And it got me thinking about how Billy and I communicated when we were dating. Technology was a player for us as well. Though by technology, I'm also including "talking on the phone" because... we're old. Check out the video below for the inside scoop!

(If you're reading via RSS or email, you may need to click here to view.)

P.S. If you're into audio books, you can try my go-to app, Audible , free for 30 days and you get two free books to boot. Just use my link for the deal and I get a small kickback from Amazon for referring you. Thanks!

Why We Need Different Friends Now More Than Ever

"Meh," a woman in the audience shrugged. "You care about immigration now, but you won't in a couple years."

My husband Billy and I were speaking to a group of folks about his immigration journey and the impact it had on our marriage and our hearts for justice. And this woman - based on her own, similar experience - was convinced we would soon "move on" now that our situation was resolved.

The statement made me nervous. Maybe it haunted me?

Would I eventually become so absorbed in my daily challenges of diapers, client meetings, lunchboxes, and writing that my passion for immigration would fade? After all, my husband is now a citizen, and most of what happens with politics now no longer affects us.

I've thought about that woman several times in the last week.

Because 2016 in Georgia started off with immigration raids. Families being woken up at 4 am, forced to stand outside in freezing temps while their homes were searched for "someone." When that person isn't found, the parents and children in the yard are being divided up and sent to detention or left behind.

And my heart breaks. But I also take a shaky breath, thankful that our situation is resolved and we no longer live in that constant under-lying state of fear.

But what about everyone else?

As I scrolled through these news stories in my Facebook feed, I realized I have very few undocumented friends these days. It wasn't an intentional shift, but a variety of circumstances means I'm less connected than I used to be.

I wouldn't go so far as to say that the woman's words have come true. I don't think Billy and I have "moved on" simply because our personal immigration journey ended. But as we've become more socially isolated from those experiencing injustice most intensely, our urgency on the matter has waned.

Relationships are key for sustaining justice work long-term. When we're bombarded by the heart-break of the day, it's difficult to care beyond the few seconds the story flashes on the screen or the article zooms by on our phones. But when we are in relationship with those most affected by the news, we find ourselves deeply committed to prayer, to action, and to justice.

And the world is full of heart-break. I am convinced we need relationships that cross boundaries of race, ethnicity, religion, and socioeconomic status now more than ever.

Because last month we were reminded of the tragic death of 12-year old Tamir Rice. He was playing with a toy gun in the park, and an officer shot him within two seconds of arriving on the scene.

Seeing his photo, I cannot help but think about the boys on my street. When we moved here almost seven years ago, they were mostly around eight years old, knocking on our door to borrow our air pump (yet again). We watched them go through their own awkward tween years. The ones where they were twelve year old boys playing outside. And I can't help but mourn young Tamir.

We need different friends.

Because people are fueled by fear of the unknown. Attacks on Paris and shooting in California unleashed a torrent of dehumanizing, fearful rhetoric. Syrian refugees are labeled as terrorists. And it's easy to stand by and watch it all play out... if we don't know anyone from Syria.

A Muslim woman was escorted out of a Trump campaign event when she silently stood up after he declared Syrian refugees were affiliated with ISIS. Her words later regarding her attendance struck me: "I figured that most Trump supporters probably never met a Muslim so I figured that I'd give them the opportunity to meet one."

And you know what? She described positive encounters with the Trump supporters seated near her. They had opportunity to talk, and several whispered "sorry" as she was led out of the event.

We need different friends.

Relationships with those who have different life experiences than our own make an impact. We are all changed when we have the opportunity to share life and see situations from multiple perspectives. As the news continues to prey on our fears of those who are different, we must be counter-cultural. We need to reach out and connect with others, experience our shared humanity, and learn from our unique experiences.

We need different friends.

The Double Click: Global Parenting, The Cosby Show, and Nutella

Sometimes time zones, laundry, and the algorithms of social media mean we miss each other online. So I'm sharing my recent, favorite links for you to read when you get a chance.

Here's some fun articles to make you laugh and to make you think.

In Switzerland, Parents Observe. In the U.S., Hovering Is Required || NYT Motherlode

If we had been living in Switzerland, the incident would have ended here. But four weeks ago, we had moved “home” to the Chicago area. So this story had another chapter. Because thanks to hovering American parent culture, the La Grange Library food fight was not only between a 3-year-old and an 18-month-old. It was also between their mothers, who were right at the table with them.

Choose Your Own Identity || NY Times

Racial identity can be fluid. More and more, it will have to be: Multiracial Americans are on the rise, growing at a rate three times as fast as the country’s population as a whole, according to a new Pew Research Center study released in June. Nearly half of mixed-race Americans today are younger than 18, and about 7 percent of the U.S. adult population could be considered multiracial, though they might not call themselves that.

There's A Whole Festival Dedicated To Nutella || Relevant Magazine

Obsessed with Nutella? You’re not alone, and there’s an opportunity for you to join a whole bunch of other chocolate-hazelnut spread fans at a festival in Australia this spring. Nutella

The Hill On Which This Cosby Kid Is Willing To Die || Shalom In The City

I never saw my family- a father with multiple advanced degrees and a mother who balanced a job and family. As a little girl, I was looking for words and images, anecdotes and history to help me tell my story. Every Thursday night for eight years, the Huxtables taught me how by living theirs. They lived into a new narrative of the black family that was both empowering and redemptive.

11 New Year's Goals For Raising Bilingual Kids

New Year's Goals for Raising Bilingual Kids

I love New Year's. Nothing beats the wonder and anticipation of breaking open a fresh, clean journal and writing down your hopes and dreams for the year. (Well, okay, jet skiing might beat that feeling, but I think you catch my drift.)

When you're raising bilingual kids, it is a goal akin to losing weight. It takes long-term consistency, some lifestyle changes, and requires checking in and recommitting. And for me at least, it's turned out to be just as much of struggle.

My husband Billy (a native Spanish speaker) and I (a more or less monolingual English speaker) started our bilingual baby journey with idealistic visions. He would only speak Spanish, and I'd handle the English. I mean, our kids would never even know he knew English, we'd be so sly.

But alas, our kids are now 5 and 2, and we find ourselves celebrating even the tiniest milestones. One Sunday morning, my daughter (5) woke up and just started talking in Spanish. It was a marvel. She was speaking poorly, but she was communicating nevertheless. Billy looked at me after she left the room and said, "I just had a whole conversation with my daughter in Spanish!"

He admitted her grammar didn't totally make sense - she was translating directly from English. But he could follow along and engage her, and that's what mattered. He intuitively knew not to correct her and risk discouraging her limited efforts.

We also recently celebrated our son's first Spanish sentence. He's a big eater, and I guess we weren't responding to his insatiable needs to his liking. So he decided to try in Spanish. Pointing at a tub of cheese puffs, he's saying, "Yo quiero!" I was stunned and thrilled! My enthusiasm diminished only a little when I realized he now has the bilingual prowess of a 1990's chihuahua. But I'll take it!

So as we gear up for another year of raising bilingual-ish kids, here's some ideas for ways our family (and yours) can start out the New Year with enthusiasm and resolve!

#1 - We resolve to watch more TV in the minority language.

All good resolutions start with "watch more TV." But if the kids already have screen time, why not leverage it for good? My son is still young enough I can just switch it, but my daughter barters. I have to get trickier. (You can find my list of 101 Spanish shows on Netflix here.)

#2 - We commit to up our reading in the minority language.

We've been working on this one. Billy has found that bilingual books work better for him than solely Spanish ones because our daughter is more interested if he can also translate for her.

#3 - This is the year for language tutoring.

You might sign up for Skype lessons or find local language classes or tutoring. These resources are available for adults and children.

#4 - I promise not to correct my kids' bilingual efforts.

My daughter recently had a birthday. And she walked around our Spanish-language church telling anyone who would listen, "Yo soy cinco!" That's a direct translation from the English "I am five!" but it doesn't work. This article, though, reminded me not to discourage her.

#5 - We will choose one meal a week to converse in the minority language.

Choosing a specific time and place where only the second language is allowed can be a very effective strategy for raising bilingual kids. This one is anxiety producing for someone like me who is monolingual and panicked about being left out. But I need to practice, too!

#6 - We resolve to make language learning fun!

Discovering a second (or seventh) language together as a family can be an enjoyable, bonding experience. You can play games (we like Simon Says), memorize verses or poems together, sing songs, or listen to minority language podcasts or stories.

#7 - We commit to creating our own immersion experiences.

You may decide to join a minority language church or local kids' programming this year. I recently discovered a Spanish immersion summer camp I'm hoping to try out! Of course, travel is another great way to help kids learn language.

#8 - I promise not to holler "Speak Spanish!" to anyone in my family.

This is the resolution for the monolingual mom. As much as I value my kids' bilingual development, pushing them (or my husband) to practice more never really seems to be effective.

#9 - I resolve to educate myself about parenting bilingual kids.

Sometimes this journey can feel lonely (or hopeless), but there are so many resources available. You might enjoy the Bilingual Avenue podcast or this book, Bringing Up A Bilingual Child. (I haven't read it yet, but it's on my list!)

#10 - I promise not to compare my kids' language development to anyone else's.

This is like the all-time parenting resolution. Whether we mean to or not, we often look to other kids to see how our own children are doing regarding walking, talking, potty training, reading, etc. etc. But kids are on their own clock, and it doesn't do any good.

#11 - I commit to staying the course.

Just like losing weight, bilingualism is not an overnight accomplishment. I will admit that I thought the process would be much simpler and more straight-forward. But as a New Year dawns, I'm reminded that I must continue to commit and not give up.

How are your bilingual kids? What goals and resolutions do you have for language learning this year?

A Life with Subtitles. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.