Team Tabu Updates: The Unexpected

Hannibal enters.

H: What’s everyone laughing about?
Mooch: Myshell is naked on your ladder entering the attic.
H: Myshell, what are you doing.
M: I’m checking it out. I just want to see.
H: Wait, did she just call you Myshell?
M: Yep.
H: What’s that about?
M: It’s my name. She was talking about me — not to me.
H: Still weird.

Myshell shrugs.

This is an average exchange in our house. No one is predictable, but I’m the only one who expects no one to be predictable. The fact that I would climb a ladder naked, or Mooch would call me by my first name, or Fuss would do a somersault in the middle of dinner doesn’t make my balls itch one bit.


I’m very happy with Hannibal right now. January is always rough for us, and this time wasn’t any easier with my returning from a thirty day voyage to Central and South America. Everyone in the house has a birthday around that time, and that is stressful for me. I want everyone to feel special on their day and it’s draining to provide that. It takes about two weeks for me to regain consciousness from January, and Black Love Day is usually the perfect opportunity for that.

We’re still recovering financially from 2010 taxes and the trip, so I knew both Black Love Day and Valentine’s day wouldn’t be chocolate covered strawberries, flowers, and insert other cliche item here. I was fine with that. We aren’t cliche. We never have been. Homeschooling is a choice that requires a lot of sacrifice, because it means the family has to live primarily on one income. It’s so worth it, because the kid is benefiting from it so much, and I do what I can to supplement the finances. Hannibal has been so supportive.

Anyway, I had no idea what we’d be doing, but Hannibal had a plan. It was simple. Actually, when he first presented it, I thought, “That’s unoriginal. Didn’t we cover this in our first season? We’re on season six, episode three. C’mon, dawg!” Of course I didn’t say any of that, because that’s not how we speak to each other. After all, what harm could taking turns listing what we love about each other do, right? So, I agreed to his game. Hell, I hadn’t come up with any options of my own.

To my surprise, it was enlightening. Before it trickled out and we got to stuff like “your eyes” and “your smile,” we covered detailed specific things I don’t believe we’ve told each other before. He said, for instance, that he loves my blog and he’s proud of it. He went on to note that when people ask him how his kids are doing, he loves that he can point them to any one of the blogs and brag about how awesome his wife is with his kids. He’s never shared that with me before, and the fact that he’s a writer made it an even bigger compliment.

Then, he said he loves my cooking. If you follow me on Facebook, you know this had me confused. He’s the pickiest eater. Now I have been know to make a few meals that have him sounding like an animal on the Discovery Channel when he smacks them down, but generally, I can’t tell what he’s thinking. We decided along time ago not to say, “I don’t like this” in front of the youngest kid, because she’ll end up wearing the phrase out. It was good to hear that he’s loving it.

I won’t share what I told him. You’ll have to read his blog for that — if he ever writes another one. 😉

P.S. We got a new turtle!! What? I’m the queen of the non-sequitur.  His name is B.B. Moore Campbell.  Fuss named him. I don’t think she knew he was a he when she came up with that. *shrug*

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Itty Bitty Toyota Fabric

Whoa! There’s so much to catch you up on. Let’s see. Mooch and I participated in the Itty Bitty Art Sale at her school, where people submit tiny works of art on postcards to be sold anonymously at the Itty Bitty Art event. The artist’s name and message are on the back, but when purchasing, the buyer doesn’t know who the artist is. There are always celebrities, famous artists, and politicians who contribute pieces as well, so one never knows who they’ll get. Here are our submissions — now that the event is over.

Mooch’s Toyota commercials also aired. I didn’t have time to figure out copying/embedding from the site they’re on, but you may visit this link to watch them.  Mooch has become well acquainted with her face paint set since her punishment began, so here are a few shots of that. She’s off punishment next week, but she says she’s gotten used to entertaining herself.

Fuss went on a field trip downtown last Friday, where she perused fabrics, and admired flowers. We went with a friend, who was searching for fabric for a couple of projects. It’s quite expensive, I noticed. Anyway, I think Fuss’ favorite fabric was satin. She also liked this fabric, but it was $20 per yard. Umm no.

Number recognition and letter recognition are out of the park, but colors — not so much. We’re working on it throughout the day and with activities on the shelf. She knows what purple is — that’s for sure. Fuss is selectively breaking out of her shy phase. It really just depends on the person now. Sometimes she screams bloody murder, and sometimes she’ll offer a hello or even willingly walk away with the person. She reads energy.

Her favorite thing to do lately is put random crap (and I mean random) in her little shopping cart and push it around the house like she’s going somewhere. Missing an earring? It may be in there. The remote control, socks, Elmo, and a few tortilla chips, yup, they’re in there, too.

Random: I’ve been co-washing her hair almost twice per week, and it is so much easier to manage! I just thought I’d share.

If you’d like to read more about homeschooling Fuss specifically, you can do that here.

As a family, we went to Lakeshore this past Saturday for their free arts and crafts session.  It was pretty cool.  Both girls made flowers and (paper) purses.  On Black Love Day (Feb. 13th), we surprised them each with these little baskets.

There are strawberries to grow, African-American paper dolls, a Star Wars coloring book, and a card signed by each parent.  Mooch also got a journal in hers, because she fills them really quickly!  They got plate sets, because they’ve been needing those for a while.  Hannibal wasn’t supposed to buy me anything, because of our art project, but he cheated and bought me the most awesome earrings from a Black-Owned business in Leimert Park.

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Marital Mondays: Black Love Day Nostalgia

Today is Black Love Day. No, I’m not making that up. Another woman did. It is a day to focus on love and unity in the family and the community — not to buy Hallmark cards and candy (no offense if that’s your thing). Hannibal is off today. Don’t freak out, you didn’t miss a national holiday. Black Love Day is relatively young. He took a floating holiday, or personal time off, or whatever nine-to-fivers take when they stay home and aren’t sick.

Our community commitment will likely be displayed by attending the Pan-African Film Festival, but our project today will bond the two of us in a unique way. Hannibal has a lot of toys and comic books. He generally keeps just about everything — receipts from 2001, stuffed animals from childhood, promotional CDs from random artists, business cards — all of it. He’s obsessed with keeping things. I, on the other hand, purge constantly. I organize. I fight to keep an environment free of clutter. I input the data from business cards and then toss the cards. CDs go into iTunes and then to the recycling bin. I’m obsessed with keeping stuff neat. We both have the same illness, though. I really have a stronger tendency towards keeping everything, so I fight that urge by throwing everything away. I vaguely remember trying to address this with a scrapbooking hobby, which I also never have time for any more.

This didn’t dawn on me, again, until I was on a website that featured toys from the eighties. I saw these plastic junk charm necklaces that my sister and I used to collect religiously. I had to scour the net for one, so I went straight to Ebay. The tacky small collections of radio and sunglasses charms and Coke bottles charms that I used to get out of bubble-gum machines for a quarter were going for a whopping sixty bucks! I couldn’t believe it. I totally still contemplated which of my kid’s shoes I could pawn to get one of those necklaces.

It was the nostalgia of it. The picture of it alone brought back so many feelings and memories. I remembered Baby Sitters Club books resting on my stuffed gremlin, Gizmo. “Baby Skates,” a doll that showed off less than stellar derby moves rolled through my mind. Then there were Ring Pops and Kissing Koolers and jellies shoes! Oh, and my Gameboy (I still have that, actually, but I never play it).

When my house burned down in the sixth grade, all of these memories went up in smoke with it. I was devastated, but didn’t really realize what I’d lost until right now — well a few weeks ago. I mean I cried at the time, but at eleven years old, I just didn’t understand the magnitude. Nothing would ever be the same. As a result, I didn’t form attachments to things very much. Throwing stuff away meant nothing. I’d lost it all before. Couple the house fire with the fact that my father was a hoarder (he’s actually recovering), and you have the prime set up for my OCD ass!

The problem is, I went to Hannibal, with that crazed look in my eyes, a few weeks ago and said, “I want to start collecting eighties toys!”

He didn’t have a problem with it. He actually dove into the conversation with, “Ooh! Which eighties toys?”

“All of them!” I responded in my best Brain voice from Pinky and the Brain. He laughed at the thought, but was excited that we shared a common interest. We sat and talked for two hours about how the toys made us feel and why. I think it was the first time I almost saw him cry (It didn’t happen, though, his eyes just water when he gets excited about a point). Eventually, we came back to reality and recognized that we can’t house the eighties in a three bedroom living situation. Moreover, we don’t play with, look at, or have time for the stuff we do have. We don’t even have anywhere to display it. We are saving for another piece of property now and spending on a childhood museum wouldn’t make sense.

Enter our idea: Since the pictures alone bring out such emotion, why not take pictures and/or print pictures of all the things we want to hold onto, and only keep physical versions of the most precious things (like the Transformers collection, The Transmetropolitan collection of comics [which even I love], my Gizmo plush, etc.).

We’re going to use a large canvas and Mod Podge to adhere the pictures. Then we can embellish with paint and actual tiny toys, CDs, glitter and anything eighties we can find that fits our aesthetic. Our eighties artwork masterpiece can hang in our hallway for us to drool at whenever we like. Hannibal LOVED the idea, and keeps reminding me about it (he even wants to sell large amounts of toys and comic books from his storage on Ebay) so we decided to do the art project today. We can talk and laugh and remember together.

If it gets finished today, then part two of this blog will post this evening with pictures of the piece. If not, I’ll post it next Monday.

P.S. Remember these?

Alright, peace, I’m about to go print my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 🙂

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Tuesdays With Mooch & Fuss: Black Love


It felt a little strange to watch Mooch sing with a banner behind her that read, “Grandparents and Special Friends Day” in large blue letters. Even though my mom was there in spirit, I missed glancing over at her proud smile as Mooch pretended to be a weather reporter in front of the crowd. The subtle way she placed her right hand over her left and rested them in her lap as she watched Mooch perform from the edge of her seat loomed in the forefront of my mind.

Two very important people did show up for Mooch — live and in full effect. My father, in all of his 76-year-old glory strutted into Mooch’s school with a sharp black suit on; and Ms. Carrie, a woman who fell in love with Mooch when she was just shy of 18-months-old, sat proudly snapping pictures as though my baby were her own flesh and blood.

After the performance, each kid escorted their guests back to the classroom, where they shared work, drew a picture together, and gave their special friends a decorated framed picture to take home with them. It was a truly beautiful event. The best moment was when Mooch proudly introduced each of them to her class. Check out the pics in the gallery below.


Fuss has been largely focused on the color red for the past couple of weeks. Her main agenda, however, has been getting to the potty in time to poop. She’s missed that mark many times, but the number of times when she says “boo-boo” or “potty” and successfully lands a big one in the Baby Bjorn (potty chair) is remarkable. We’re very proud of her.

Last week she was really into eyes and elbows, so I rolled with it. She has literally poked each person in the house in the eye no fewer than three times, but hey, she’s learning. Also, I tried a new hairstyle on her which you’ll see below in the gallery. She now looks like my baby picture. Really. I promise this time. Be sure to check out what Fuss has been up to each day on her website.


This year marked the 15th anniversary of Black Love Day, which is celebrated on February 13th. I normally celebrate by attending the Pan-African Film Festival, but there was nothing I wanted to see this year. Aside from the flowers that Hannibal buys me every week, we really don’t like to go spend crazy on holidays relating to love, principals, tenets, etc. So, Mooch and I decided to make our own vegan chocolate covered strawberries. Godiva ain’t got nothing on us. We also had a cupcake each (not Fuss), plus two heart candies from Hannibal (not Fuss — she was pissed when she opened her two heart boxes to find nothing in them). Check out the pics in the gallery below.

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