Philly Theatre Week; February 7-17th

Theatre week is back.  A 10 day festival of some of the best that Philly has to offer in theatre.  81 organizations will host 100 events with 315 performances.  All of the performances are either free, $15 or $30 dollars making it affordable to experience these performances.

There are performances for everyone from Valentine’s Day themed, Black History themed, regional theatre and the classics as well.

Philly Theatre Week was the brainchild of Goldenberg and her team at Theatre Philadelphia. The idea dates back to 2017 when Goldenberg was in search of a new flagship program that would focus on inclusivity and reducing barriers to participation.

“Theatre Philadelphia wanted to create a new signature program that would draw even more attention to the region’s theatre organizations and artists,” added Goldenberg. “We wanted to make a big and impactful statement about the importance of theatre in our city and region, and bring artists together in a collaborative and equitable format. Like Philly Beer Week, Center City Restaurant Week or Philly Tech Week, this festival celebrated theatre alongside our city’s other flagship events that are nationally known and recognized.”

Philly Theatre Week is presented by Theatre Philadelphia in partnership with TodayTix and sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional Theatre Philadelphia funding is provided by the WIlliam Penn Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, and the Dolfinger-McMahon Foundation.

Theatre Philadelphia has partnered with the international ticketing platform TodayTix for 2019 Philly Theatre Week to offer reduced-price tickets exclusively through the app. For select performances with participating theaters, $15 and $30 tickets will be available for purchase. Reservations for free events can also be made through TodayTix. Download the TodayTix app or visit the website for more information.

For additional information, please visit www.phillytheatreweek.com or call 267-761-9950.

Kids at the theatre

So today I took the kids to the preview of Philly theatre week at the Cherry Street Pier. I didn’t tell them where we were going because I wanted to be sure that they went in and experience it all on their own. After making sure that once we got there they weren’t disrespectful to the actors of which by the way they weren’t, I was delighted to see how much they enjoyed. We got a preview of ENAensemble. What I liked about this particular theatre group is that they were from the time we entered the door and until we left their presence, were extremely interactive.

Anais Navarro-Murphy caught my youngest daughter’s eye. A lot of people don’t realize that although my youngest is assertive she’s just as shy. However she comes alive through music and dance. I just sat and watched the way she didn’t take her eyes off of her. Anais must have seen her too because she took the time to come to her and show her how to read sheet music. Now I know my youngest didn’t really understand fully, but she was mesmerized. I appreciated Anais taken that time with her. Didn’t help that the kids were able to do a little face painting afterwards!

I explained to my children how behind the scenes it takes a lot of work and dedication to put a show together, perform in front of people and how dedicated they are in their craft. I love exposing my children to new things and I was honored for them to see a variety of performances.

ENAensemble allowing audience members to direct the piece

Take the time to enjoy this 10 day treat!! Get your tickets and get out to these wonderful pieces!!

 

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Take a Break

I love my family. I really do. Today I had to take a break. I have them spoiled and they know that I will make them a huge breakfast every weekend without hesitation. However today when they came in and wanted more emotional support than I had filled in my own tank, I said no!

No means I need a break. That means go grab some cereal until I can gather myself. That means no I can’t manage your emotions until I manage mine. No I can’t figure out all of your needs right off the bat. No means I still love you. No means I will be back in working order after a small break. No I won’t just jump up and act like nothing is wrong. No I won’t just accommodate you until I have some time for prayer and calm.

I will be back after I gather my thoughts, get a shower, plan my day, or simply sit in quiet. I’m simply taking a much needed break!

Communication is great. A few years ago I might have went off to get a break but today, nope! I know what I need and finally realized how important it is to take it. Self-care is not just a Sunday thing but a daily thing. It’s a moment by moment release so I can live my best life. The pancakes can wait. The kids are old enough to manage. My husband is fine. This break is everything!

Surviving R. Kelly; My Thoughts

Let’s cut to the chase on this. There is so much to unravel! These are my thoughts:

R. Kelly is a sick. He really is. There is zero doubt about that. No excuses!! No bull. It is what it is. He was molested himself as a child and that’s so super unfortunate. However he then inflicted pain on others. He doesn’t get to get a pass for his sexual misconduct that had been brewing for years. There comes a point when you even in your pain still have to take responsibility for your actions.

Aaliyah

First of all my heart goes out to her. She is a victim. There are a lot of boys let alone men with money and influence that manipulate girls and women all the time. It’s wrong. So it’s not far fetched that she too was manipulated. My anger resides with R. Kelly being an adult. He knew better. I’ve heard theories that he was sick in the mind due to his own abuse endured but it doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of what he was doing was wrong. The mere cover up of her age means he knew better from a legal standpoint.

My second place of anger is with Aaliyah’s parents. I’ve read the statement about them stating that they were with her and that at no time had she been alone with R. Kelly! However they weren’t there when she got married. The documents were forged and I get that. What I’m saying is there had to be a financial gain for them to allow their daughter to have this “best friend” in R Kelly who was grown. My child is monitored on friends her age let alone my husband would lose his mind if he found out there was a grown man who was her best friend hanging around her. What in the actual world could you have in common with a child?

I hope every parent put yourself in the place of Aaliyah and the other parents of children who were assaulted that you take a firm against such behaviors. I pray that you don’t have to be known as someone didn’t have your children’s best interest at heart!

The ideal that Aaliyah was wise beyond her years or that she was fast or that she was pretty much the reason why she was groomed towards this is completely out of pocket. Aaliyah was a child and her parents failed her and R. Kelly was WRONG!!!!!!!! He was and is disgusting and it’s disgraceful!!

I get you don’t want to speak ill of the dead so since she’s not here it would be in their best interest to rely on a Non disclosures or that $100 they or she was given for her silence. It doesn’t change the marriage being done. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again he married her to sleep with her without others having a legal issue. Anything done that is based on a lie wouldn’t last. Yes it was annulled. I do understand that but what type of relationship could I have with a man who took my daughter to marry her and hence sleep with her even if I wanted to maintain that I was a loving and doting mother?! Even if I wanted to distance myself and make myself be a victim I would want to protect her and therefore would not cover for him. I would be attempting until his dying day to end him. I pray I never allow my daughters to be compromised and I pray that my daughters never feel the need to be tempted to succumb to anything in any realm such as this!!

Family Ain’t……

His family and friends who knew and now are speaking up about this all should be locked up. They all NOW claim how horrible they feel. They feel so bad but did the checks dry up? When benefits did you receive that would okay seeing girls that could very well be the same age of kids you should have been protecting. All of them don’t get how self incriminating it is for them to place themselves in these circles with him and want to push blame on him alone not seeing how complacent they are and were and how they too have a large responsibility to the victims of whom they thought very little of. All of the adults that knew and can recall such details failed each child they came in contact with and knew of R. Kelly’s mess as it unfolded!

Multiple Tapes

We know about the infamous tape where R. Kelly and I’ll use the legal “allegedly” filmed himself doing down right things to this child but the parts that stuck out to me are as follows:

The back up singer knew and saw him “allegedly” sleep with Aaliyah at age 15 but is crying and upset about him in the tape with Sparkle’s niece who was 14. My question is does she feel this pain now or was she feeling that at the time?! I really want to know because I catch you in the act once I wouldn’t be shocked seeing it again. I would be mad but not shocked!

Separate the man from the artist

R. Kelly had been known to tape his encounters, there are more than the infamous tape out! I’m sure there were more than just the children they were discussed on this series. This is why I don’t get why people don’t believe that he really is the man he is being painted to be. The ideal that you can separate the man from the artist….

How can we separate this musical genius from the fact that he literally has a network of enablers that literally helped him to abuse kids. Like are these people void of care? The ones that have kids scare me the most. Like watching this has reaffirmed my ability to make sure that I don’t allow my kids to be groomed like this. Despite the fact that he was so influential, others like him are in our very own communities. They say the things that young people want to hear. They scare them into silence. They abuse them into fear. It’s scary. I’ve been teaching my kids good and bad touch since before they could barely talk. The thought that I could know my children were sexually abused but sit with the abuser of my kids for any reason is overwhelming.

Am I supposed to be like well it ain’t my kids, let’s step in the name of love?! That’s basically what it sounds like. Let’s just keep the party going cause it’s unfortunate that kids that don’t belong to me went through horrible things but it ain’t my issue. If I read a story online I get moved. Kids should be off limits. Kids should be protected and I for one stopped listening to him and stopping the playing of his music around my family. My choice but to keep money flowing into R. Kelly’s pockets as he continues to “allegedly” imprison and groom women (who knows if they are underage or not) would be misguided for me as a woman! What am I doing at a concert as he parades knowing he likes young girls?! Aaliyah was not fluke. Aaliyah wasn’t this special child that he just bonded with. She on her own outside of him was phenomenal but the relationship of Aaliyah wasn’t isolated. R. Kelly doesn’t see anything wrong with having sex with children.

There are way too similar allegations for me to pull a Stevie Wonder. If there is smoke there is fire. I personally am disgusted by the whole documentary thus far.

R. Kelly is like the predator that you know but people tell you he’s not as bad as he seems. It’s like a group of people with evidence of abuse and documentation of abuse but we have to support him and for what? Music. As iconic as his music has been, he is equally flawed. He is problematic. He is an abuser. He is a manipulator. It’s disgusting!

I think the more you know you bear the responsibility of walking in life better. Having R. Kelly the musician’s craft block out years of abuse toward women as a woman myself and definitely as a mom isn’t a price I’m willing to pay. The fact that most of the forgiving fans have been women worries me. Do women lie about such things? Yes. Is everyone telling the same lie? I highly doubt it and I believe them. Not everyone is telling the same lie. Some of these women have been attempting to speak up way before Lifetime produced this series.

So there is a lot to unload. These are my raw feelings. This is how I feel. It’s hurtful as a woman to watch this. It’s almost triggering. It was difficult and is difficult to watch. It’s hard and I made triple certain that none one of my kids were up as I watched this. Although I talk to them for their age to prevent as much as I can with the help of God no way would I allow them to hear that a grown man made kids do the things that R. Kelly is being accused of. I’m grown and it was hard to hear that some of the very beloved songs actually meant more than we imagined. It’s hard! As more men are being held accountable, I pray that even if R. Kelly feels or felt like he is getting away that karma steps up and does her thing.

I hope you make your own decisions if you have an opportunity to catch the series. My opinion is not to make you believe what I believe. Personal choices on whether or not to support R. Kelly, is just that, personal.

There are countless women and men to be honest watching this and having this all hit is a lot! A lot of the stories we knew about. R Kelly has been accused since I can remember. He has been known to mess with young girls. But seeing the lengths that not only he took to cover it is jaw dropping. To see the network unfold in how he would have his own wife in the house suffering abuse while still continuing his life is crazy.

Here is a clip from the Boondocks that pretty much had it right (I do not own rights to this episode; trigger for strong offensive language):

R Kelly Boondocks Trial

To victims of abuse especially sexual abuse who have never told their story and need support, or even the ones who find themselves triggered:

Christmas Fun: Story time with the Polar Express

So not bad for a Friday night but we decided to go to the Barnes and Nobles story time of the Polar Express reading by Chris Van Allsburg for the 30th celebration!!

The reading included hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas carols. It was an amazing time.

The kids enjoyed wearing their pajamas outside the house!!! I enjoyed the fact that there’s no place I would love to be than in my favorite store of Barnes and Nobles.

We ended our night with you guessed it purchasing books!

Take some time to Google free events in your area especially around the holidays. You will be amazed of the fun you can have!!

Breakfast with Santa: Legoland Discovery Center

Every year we do at least one Breakfast with Santa but this year we decided to do it at Legoland Discovery Center in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

One of the benefits of having a season pass to Legoland is getting invited to exclude events. This event was free to Legoland Discovery Yearly pass. We were invited for a continental breakfast with Lego Santa himself. Once there breakfast was already ready. The kids and adults were able to help themselves. The guest of honor made his way over and gave our letters so that the kids could write a letter to Santa! Not to mention full access to the play center before regular opening hours. That in itself is a major win!

Even though it was our first year at the event it definitely will not be our last. The kids had a great time making a morning of fun and the adults were able to relax knowing the children are in a secure fun atmosphere. Plus anything with coffee sign me up!! If you’re in the area and looking for a place for your children to have fun in all year would consider coming to Legoland Discovery! We bought the year pass due to wanting to have an option for the Winter months as well as rainy days like today.

There is a huge jungle gym, snack center, active places to build LEGO projects of all kinds, mini 3D movies, laser zone, and of course a live action Lego man that comes out several times to take pictures with everyone all year long. One of the best parts is the interactive ride for the family of all ages to enjoy!

So I would certainly give my stamp of approval for Legoland Discovery Center! It’s a must try if you’re in the area!!

Who doesn’t love festive events? Certainly my family loves them!! Here’s to getting into the full swing of holiday events and things to do! Also if you have a family of multiple kids gift cards to LEGOLAND make a great group gift as well!! This way instead of more toys you give the gift of an outing!! That is the gift that keep on giving!!

Ask Toi: How do I handle my ex-husband when I’ve asked him to clean his home before the kids come for their visits?

Back story for my readers is they have a custody order to split time. It’s been working. The problem is the kids are old enough to verbally state that not only is the home unclean but its more or less on the hoarding side. There are bugs running around and the kids no longer want to visit until he cleans. She the wife has asked him to clean it up and he the father has suggested that its his house and the kids must still come over.

My answer is simple:

If simple communication between you and your ex-husband isn’t working, you must get the courts involved. Here are my rules when it comes to houses.

One if you are a dirty person it should only affect you. When there are children involved every house may have some clutter. It’s not okay to have so much clutter and dirt and bugs running around. That is a health issue. Now I am not going to act all holier than thou and act like I have never in my life seen a roach or two, but the way the house is being described its unfit. If its unfit the kids shouldn’t have to come and visit in that mess. He needs to clean up his act. His kids well being is and should be the most important thing to both of them. It is his space to do as he pleases. He can’t have children in an unclean home. She should go and file an emergency junction to have a court appointed person go and do a welfare check of the home and if it deemed nasty and unfit he needs to clean it and have it checked before the kids can come over. Simple and plain. As a parent you shouldn’t have to have the courts in-between this. His kids have expressed their concerns to their father and his response to his children are, you are going to be in here however I have it. Wrong answer. I couldn’t imagine my children telling me they were in an unfit home and not speak up and try to work it out only to hear my ex husband say this is his space. I am going to side eye him quick! This is simply unacceptable behavior and response. 

Now before everyone get in their feelings. I see a few things to look at. Was he always this unclean?  Could it be that as wife was able to manage that home they once shared?  If he is going through some depressive state and is unable to see this as an issue, this needs to be evaluated. If not having your children come and visit you doesn’t prompt this man to clean, the children are the only concern.  It needs to be cleaned sooner or later. I don’t get how people think any human can operate with that much clutter and uncleanliness around them. Momma go and get this fixed asap! One of the worst things about co-parenting is learning boundaries and coming together for the sake of the children. It’s important to remember that if you have a child with someone you are bonded for life. Even if your marriage doesn’t last, you will forever be in some form of commitment to the children and the other parent. Keeping communication and a warm heart to speak when things aren’t okay is necessary to make sure that the child gets as much as they can from both parents!

The Worst Advice I Have Ever Received…

So I think bad advice is any advice that is strictly from another person that doesn’t take into account your life. There is not one word that fits everyone. We think that just because it seems like good advice that it will work out all the same. But that is not the case. Just like with life advice seems to be work out differently and varies from person to person.

So let’s get to it…..having children is so super natural that after you birth them you know exactly what to do. It is not as natural as everyone makes it out to be. At least not for me. I knew how to do the basics, but there are a lot of things that comes with having children that didn’t feel as authentic as the books and folks makes it sound. Let me squash all the folks that would love to try to “go up on Tuesday,” I love all 3 of my children. So let’s squash that now. It was never lack of love but lack of mothering skills that I thought I wouldn’t be enough for them.

mothers

My pregnancy with each of my children were all different. Each pregnancy came with their own sets of issues. The bonding with each child also was different too. That is fine as I believe to this day that the difference with having 3 kids should always be taken into consideration with how they are raised. However when you add in the birthing experience and nursing, pumping or bottle feeding and all the things you must quickly learn, the natural instinct didn’t kick in like folks tried to sell me. Some folks said once the baby was out of your womb you would just feel like you had been having kids all your life. I have to STAWP you there, that didn’t happen. I felt like I was tired all of my life. I felt like I was overwhelmed all my life. I felt like I was not prepared all my life, but not one time did I feel like a champ of motherhood just from birthing my kids. I needed so much guidance. I got to shout out the mothers.  I don’t mean just women who have babies. I am talking about the old mothers that we lack today. It’s rare to find a mother of Zion like the old folks used to call them that would give you advice, had enough tenacity to listen, and be there for younger mothers. You see that, teach AND listen. It’s a lost art.

We love to tell folks that don’t have kids how great it will be. It is great if you are talking about the overall sense of accomplishment. We fail to tell folks the real of what to expect. Handing me my oldest child in the hospital came as a shock.  I didn’t get to connect with her right after birth due to her being premature and that made me feel like I had no clue who she was. I felt more connected to her in the womb than outside. Reality hit me like a ton on bricks. I knew how to feed her and told myself well the other things would come. It did but those first few months as she was sick, listening to everyone tell me what I was supposed to do didn’t feel as organic as everyone suggested.  I really wish I could go back and set a few folks straight about a few things. Having a baby is an outer body experience. There are more times that I felt like I didn’t know what to do or who I was becoming. That has nothing to do with the actual child but the preconception of what I believed as a mother in the early years. News flash, even after the 3rd child I still wondered if I having another one was a good idea. It was obviously, but that feeling of natural instinct is always shuttered by doubt and lack of information.

crescent moon and cloud wind chimes

Photo by NIKOLAY OSMACHKO on Pexels.com

I really hope that other mothers who I KNOW FOR A FACT have gone through this, would be honest. It’s not a lack of love for your child (ren) but its a lack of trusting in yourself or lack of information to the new expectations of motherhood. So let’s mark false to all mothers having this natural nurturing ways about them as soon as they birth. Overtime you get better. Over time you develop what your child needs. So although our womanly body is “made” to birth babies, the mind and the body and the emotions have to link together to make the whole experience better.  I applaud all women to understand that above thinking that it will all just come together like a jigsaw puzzle on its own.