Kids need parks, right?

How does a city with a population of approximately 5,000 people and with at least four schools have no parks?  Growing up in Washington Park, it never quite felt right that we didn’t have a park. There was a small attempt made some years ago but it was poorly done and barely lasted a year.  Now what remains is a graveyard of what once was a swing, merry-go-round, slide, and basketball court.

Washington Park has at least six strip clubs.  Yes, you heard that correctly.  Six.  The city has at least four liquor stores and at least one that never, ever closes. 90% of the businesses in Washington Park are owned and operated by races other than the 90% of the African American people who live there.  They come to this poverty stricken community where the laws and expectations are more lax than some nicer areas.  These business owners make their profits and return to their homes where their children can walk two blocks to a beautiful playground without passing a liquor store or a strip club.

So, the question is, why is there no park in Washington Park?  Who evaluates cities and implement change for the good of the community?  Is it the mayor, the board, the residents, or a combination of everyone?  I have been thinking of a plan to get all of the neighborhood businesses to invest in the children of the neighborhood they profit from. Children deserve safe places to play and exert their energy.  The children of Washington Park deserve a park.  Now, let’s see if we can get them one!

washington park


Congratulations on your engagement! Are you excited?

38 years old, 19 years of off and on courtship, two beautiful daughters together, and recently engaged.  That’s common, right?  When people ask, “Are you excited?”, I can’t help but to pause.  I don’t pause because I’m not excited, I pause to think of my full-time jobs, recalculate the classes needed for graduation, and remember the grocery list I need to make.  That’s typical, right?

For a woman like myself, getting engaged with the litany of things already on my plate is really just adding one more thing on my to-do list. I know, it sounds a bit ungrateful and selfish, but that’s my reality.  I love my fiance, he is an awesome partner and father. However, when I’m asked about my excitement, I feel bad that I don’t give people the response that they are expecting.  It’s almost like I am more worried about sparing their feelings than relishing in my own.

The truth is, people really just love, love.  So, when they ask me about this very public statement of love, they are expecting a very public response to that expression of love. I really want to tell them how my now fiance totally hit my love language of acts of service.  Being that he is not a planner, he planned this.  He took the time to research, strategize, and plan.  Now, ask me if I am excited about that and I might give you some of the emotions you’re looking for!

For this nontraditional student mom, examples of things that excite me are below:
When Walmart announced grocery pickup
A phone conversation that I can actually hear
Happy hour on a Tuesday
Nap time on a Saturday
5 hours of undisturbed sleep
My daughter not crying and holding onto my leg for dear life at daycare drop off
My daughter not crying
Making it to work with my clothes still clean
Making it to work with my clothes
Making it to work

To all of my nontraditional mommas out there getting engaged and don’t have the lives of the “traditional” woman, keep faith alive! Celebrate the moments how you want, the way you want! 20228635_950064117400_2458642543077569494_n



Is it “common courtesy” or a not so common courtesy?

My salutations to you
Gooooood morning!  That’s the greeting that I usually greet my coworkers with. However, I am still so perplexed that some people don’t acknowledge others when they walk into a room.  I’m not just talking about a room full of strangers.  I’m referring to a room of people you usually see 5 consecutively days and spend approximately 40 hours a week with.  Ok, I’m a social person who loves people and I think it’s just nice to be nice, so my view can be biased.  However, is common salutation courtesy just not so common?

Common courtesy in the workplace
Is it considered a sign of professionalism to walk into your place of employment and greet your fellow coworkers?  Or, is it looked at as just a place of employment where niceties to coworkers isn’t expected?  I don’t know how various work atmospheres are outside of mine, but I would like to believe that they are comprised the same way.  You have people who will walk right by you and not speak.  You have people who are energetic greeters and then you have people who are reluctant greeters.

Have you ever gone into a business and just starting asking a question to the person working?  Have you ever thought, maybe it would be courteous to speak first?  A simple hello would set the tone of the conversation and not seem too demanding.  Try it!

Common courtesy to strangers
You’re walking down the street and pass a couple.  Do you look around at the trees or your phone to avoid eye contact?  Do you look their way and if they are looking your way, exchange greetings?  I enjoy speaking to people and acknowledging their existence. However, a lot of people would prefer to stay in their bubble of security.  Is it considered rude if someone looks at you as they walk by but don’t speak?  Or, is it just their personal preference?  The next time you walk by a stranger, say hello!

Common courtesy to your loved ones
Some people can be so pleasant to total strangers and then go home and treat their family members badly.  Why is it that someone who we don’t know commands so much more common courtesy than the people we care the most about?  I must admit, I have been victim of that as well and it’s really something to be conscience about.  Common courtesy should probably start at home and then branch out the rest of the world.  So, greet them in the mornings, say thank you and excuse me, and show a little bit more courteousness.

Common courtesy counts
Whatever your day to day, let’s make common courtesy common again!  I employ each of you to go the extra step and make the extra effort to be courteous to everyone in your path! Make your courteousness common and make it count!common courtesy


Momming, Working, Schooling

“Hey, Harper, I’m sorry, I’m gonna need to take a sick day.” We’ve seen the commercial of a parent requesting a sick day from their child and it’s pretty darn close to reality.  When you feel that cold setting in, you run to the nearest store and stock up on orange juice, chicken noodle soup, and cold medicine to keep you functioning. If you’re anything like me, you can’t really afford to get sick because you’re saving your sick days for your kids.  You suck it up and keep it pushing.  My life consists of momming, working, and schooling.  Let me explain…

Two little people who are 1 and 3 years old practically dictate my day-to-day.  My momming life is filled with books, blocks, flashcards, snacks, singing, dancing, snacks, refereeing, baths, snacks, doctor visits, meals, snacks, boo-boo kissing, tears, and so much laughter. Momming is great but exhausting and your little people don’t know what tired means quite yet.  So, you fake the funk when you have to and just crash at night. Have you ever had to put eye drops in a 1 year old’s eye?  If the answer is no, just imagine wrestling an alligator.  Yes, it’s kind of like that but you might have a better chance against the alligator. If momming ALWAYS feels like you’re wrestling an alligator, you should maybe reevaluate?

“Work is exactly what I want to do with my 40 hours a week,” said not many people! Let’s face it, working is a way of life. Some people work because they love their job. Some people work because they  love the money.  Some people work because they love little things like food, shelter, and the basic commodities of life.  I applaud working mommies for holding down TWO full-time jobs and only getting paid and recognized for one.  I work to help accomplish my dreams.  It’s a mission for me.  I know some people who work just because they need a paycheck and will stay at a job that they hate and complain every day.  If you are working like that, I urge you to re-examine your life and develop a purpose for your present and your future.

Well, if you’re reading this then you already understand the school strife.  At 38 years old, I look at these young students in my classes and admire them for continuing their education.  College is a major commitment and so much work.  Momming and working while schooling is no easy task but not the hardest thing in life.  For many moms who are schooling while working, school work usually happens at night after the kids have gone to sleep.  Has anyone ever tried to type while holding a toddler?  Imagine wrestling an alligator.  Well, maybe not an alligator but those little people are very strong when they have something in their sight.  There is something about a mom on a computer typing an assignment that sends a bat signal out to a toddler.  The toddler sees the bat signal and thinks, I must type by any means necessary, NOW!  If you ever get to the point that schooling is seeming like too much right now, you might need to restructure some things and/or talk to your adviser.

To all of the moms and dads who are schooling while working, I urge you to stay strong. When life appears to have you in a toddler strength chokehold, fight back and keep pushing towards your goals!

harp and leah



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