JUST LIKE THAT I HAVE A LIL CHAMPIONS GREEN BELT

I’m amazed and proud my daughter is so committed at the tender age of 4 years old. Just a month shy of her 1-year anniversary of taking Tae Kwon Do, she took her green belt test. I was really worried because we moved after her first 2 months of taking class and she had to start at a new dojo with new masters. She earned 2 white belts with numerous stripes, but I was afraid she was going to be discouraged. My fears were not projected onto her because she felt none of the pressure that I did for her. (Again, my anxiety is not hers. Thank God.) Her Tia Jacelyn bought her a belt rack for her birthday and she loves it. She looks at it daily and it’s helping her count down the time to her black belt! When she is in her room playing, it is a reminder of her goals.

4 days a week my daughter is at Tae Kwon Do on time, dressed, on the mat in first position, focused and ready to start class. Often, she is the only kid who shows up for her class and she has learned to take advantage of the one on one time with her master. To my surprise she said to him, “I’m ready. I know I can pass my green belt test”. He allowed her to do it. It took 7 LONG minutes. She was focused and determined though the whole test. I don’t know if I have ever been so nervous and proud at the same time. The look on her face when he said, “Good job,” was everything! She turned around and looked at me with the biggest smile when he walked away to get the green belt. Then she turned back around and tried to look focused, but she was smiling so hard her Master couldn’t help but to smile back.

I always tell her, “Mommy is proud of you baby but it’s more important for you to be proud of yourself.” At that moment, I could see it. She was super proud of herself! After he put the green belt on her he handed her the yellow belt and said, “Take this to your mom.” I got a chance to hug and kiss her and say, “Good job.”  It was only a second before she was running back on the mat to continue class. It was only a few seconds but those seconds, I will remember forever. She teaches me so much about life.

This test was a big deal! It wasn’t scheduled but she took control in the direction of her goals. Her Master also believed in her enough to follow her direction. That’s trust and the fact that he believes in her is everything. It was more confirmation for me that our move was right. Prior, she was in a class with 30 other children, so she wasn’t getting the 1 on 1 time with a master I was paying $150 a month for. We lucked up and found the right school this time.

I truly believe this world would be a marvelous place if everyone knew how powerful they really are. For my child, Tae Kwon Do helps her connect with her power. I hope you all help your children find an interest that helps them connect with their power.

MOMMY IS PROUD OF YOU SCOOTCHA. KEEP LIVING YOUR DREAMS!

DAILY MENTAL HEALTH CHECK

I think it’s important to be transparent with how you are feeling so that everyone in the house is on the same page. Being a homeschool mom, sometimes, the relationship between parenthood and teacher isn’t always a happy one for my child or myself. When we are transparent with how we are feeling we are better able to aid in each other’s journey.

There is something about female hormones and mood swings that doesn’t always mix. Yes, she may be 4 but she is fierce and mighty.  I have to remind myself that nobody wakes up happy every single day and everyone is entitled to bad days… even a 4-year-old!

So that I can keep a grip on how she is feeling, part of her morning work is to draw a silly face about her mood on the top of a worksheet. After I grade the worksheet, I hand it back to her with my mood on it as well. Sometimes we laugh… other times we share a hug and an encouraging word! Either way we are able to be on the same page.

An extra 2 minutes with this chart helps me stay in tune with my daughter’s inner self!

NATIVITY ACTIVITIES

So, with 6 days till Christmas my daughter shows up to her desk and decides her name is Mary. As in the Virgin Mary, with a scarf over her head and all. Sometimes I really feel I’m not mature enough to be her mother. Instead of correcting her, I was impressed she knew how to spell Mary.

That’s the great thing about homeschooling. I have 1 student, so I know whose paper it is. She read the paper perfectly the first try and answered the questions. So, what if her name is Mary today? Hahahaha….

Well, maybe the fact she is walking around with a baby doll calling him Baby Jesus is something we will have a talk about tomorrow, if this carries over after today.

It all started with a field trip that my community creates for the children. It’s amazing, they literally recreated Bethlehem! They made old school crafts with the children, taught them to make flour from grains, put on a play, they made perfume from herbs and prayers for the kids were optional. It was a beautiful experience for her, whether you are religious or not. She learned a lot of history and the way the olden days really were. Best part of all, it was free!

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I understand what works in my house isn’t for everyone. We celebrate everything, Chanukah, Christmas & Kwanzaa and are looking forward to Chinese New Year. I use all holidays as teaching tools. Introducing her to the world early, will help her understand different cultures and respect them. I think the greatest lesson of all is watching her be so empathetic to everyone’s beliefs. Religion is really about kindness and for us kindness is key!

Let me go back and finish teaching MARY!! Please share your funny homeschooling experiences.  I can’t be the only mother whose child changed their name, right?

YES, I AM THE BAD PARENT WHO TOLD MY CHILD SANTA ISN’T REAL

Don’t worry she won’t spoil it for your children… she will play along for their sake. She plays along for my mother who comes from the school of if you don’t believe, you don’t receive.

Bottom line, I couldn’t let my sweet child believe a fat, white man was going to bring her gifts every year for free. It in my opinion, that was setting her up for failure! Yes, black people, pipe it down.  I know I coulda told her Santa was black and took her to the hood to see a black Santa. Realistically turn on TV, look at pajamas and the decorations when you walk your child in the store. I have black Santas all over my house, thanks to my mom painting them, but the images of Santa thrown in our children’s faces everywhere is a white man.

She was smart enough to ask me if he was like Mickey Mouse…I giggled and told her, “Exactly honey, he is a character!”

She said, “Mommy, Uncle Chris lives in Thailand and Uncle Avreeayl lives in Singapore, we live in the USA, it’s impossible for him to get to everyone’s house in 1 night.”  (She knows how long those plane rides are.)

I giggled again and said, “You are too smart for your own good”. Then I whispered “The spirit of Santa is real. It’s all about giving and doing nice things for other people because everyone deserves nice things”. She smiled and said, “Mom, I want to be Santa.  Can we buy gifts for the kids in the orphanages?  They don’t have anyone to be Santa for them”. “Of course, we can,” I told her.

Regardless of your opinion about me telling my kid the truth, I did something right because her heart is pure and golden. She bought gifts to give to children in need (tried to use her own money but I wouldn’t let her). This is the second year for giving presents to children in need. This was her idea with no prompts from me, but from her own heart! She will grow up to be a self-thinker and know it’s okay not to be a sheep. At 4 years old, she is empathetic

to others in need. So, I will be that bad parent any day!

SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO RUN AWAY!

Every once in a while, I just…can’t! I can’t do life. Hahaha.  So, I quit and do something completely irresponsible as a parent! Yes, it was a school day and it was a little cold outside, but you know what, life is short. Ima enjoy it and I’m going to make sure she’s enjoying it to!

Sure, there were emails to answer, work to do and phone calls to make but guess what they will still be there tomorrow. The look on her face when she realized we were going to Disneyland was everything.

Southern Californians are terrified of drizzle and cold.  So, with a 20% chance of rain and 55 degrees on a Wednesday, Disneyland was perfect! Our longest wait was 15 minutes for It’s A Small World. No fast passes needed this trip.

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When it’s all over, all we have are memories. Ima do my damnedest to make sure we have great ones. Believe it or not, we spent an entire day there. My daughter and I ate lunch and dinner, came home with a few treats of her choice and I only spent like $300.00, including paying for VIP parking. I think I did pretty good! I understand everyone can’t do Disneyland but an ice cream date, a trip to the bookstore or library are all amazing dates to share with your little ones. Live it up and keep it fun.

SHE’S 4 AND ALREADY KNOWS WHO SHE IS

As I iron my daughter’s Gi, I am overwhelmed with emotions! I am so proud because at 3 years old she told me, “No more ballet.  I want to take Tae Kwon Do.” It’s been a year and she has made a commitment to herself and stuck with it! 4 days a week she is there and ready to go. Focused and eager to learn.

The emotion is not just about me being proud, but that fact that she is 4 and knows who she is and what she wants. One thing I wanted was for her to be her own person and not walk in my shadow. To figure out what it was that would make her happy. I so badly didn’t want her to say, “I wanna be an actress” because before she was born people started with the, “Are you gonna put her in acting?” She was 5 weeks old and my agent called her for an audition. It was too much. I prayed she would develop her own sense of self. Her own identity. Me leaving Los Angeles was a huge part of fostering that!

 

Little-GiI’m proud she’s figuring out her way! What makes her happy! That makes me happy. In fact, while I’m writing this, she is over there practicing counting to 10 in Korean so she can surprise her Master on Thursday. She’s learning not because she has to but because she wants to. To me that’s everything!

5 RULES TO END BIRTHDAY PARTY ANXIETY

My daughter’s birthday is in July.  Every year, so far, come April I start to get this crazy anxiety about how to give her the perfect party. I always let her pick a theme. She never picks anything common where I could just walk in Party City and purchase a cute party pack and be on my way. Everything about her is unique and so are her birthday themes. So, if you go crazy over things that shouldn’t be such a big deal, Ima give you a few tips that have helped me tremendously. It’s called early preparation, so party day is a breeze.

First – Set a Budget.  DO NOT GO BROKE OVER A BIRTHDAY! DO NOT COMPARE OR TRY TO PLAY KEEP UP WITH THE JONES’. A party is cake, sometimes ice cream and play. That doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. For me, our family budget is $1,000.00.  That is it, with gifts and party included.

Second – Don’t do everything at once. Start homemade crafts a month early. Plan your menu and order your cake a month ahead of time. It also helps with the budget because there are NO last-minute impulse buys. Prep food the night before the party and keep it simple. I don’t try to please parents at kid parties. Sure, they can eat but the menu is not for them. Rather the party is at a place, at home or the park. Our menus are strictly KID FRIENDLY! (Sorry, I personally feel alcohol at children parties are a huge NO NO. Besides it being tacky, think of the safety of the children. You pour the parents drinks, then in a few hours send innocent children home with them in a car! Nothing about it makes sense. I don’t hate a lot of things, but I HATE seeing people do this)

Third – Every parent needs to know about Oriental Trading Company.  It is an awesome resource for bulk buys like piñata stuffers and the gift bags you give away. Almost all of our give away gifts come from that site. Why, because the prices can’t be beat. Also, Etsy has the greatest homemade invites, party snacks & treats. If you like unique things that will set your party apart from the last party, check the site out. I guarantee you will fall in love. Plus, when you mix in their beautiful homemade treats, other moms will assume you made them and envy your homemaking skills. (I guess I just told on myself.) Hey, I’m realistic.  I can’t always be the black Martha Stewart. Momma gets tired! Also, the Dollar Store for plates, cups, napkins, table cloths, thank you cards and crafts. (Much cheaper than Party City.)

Fourth – If everyone can have a seat, everyone will be comfortable. Sure, everyone won’t sit all at once but in case they would like to, make sure you have enough seating. This means if they do NOT RSVP, check in just to make sure. ALSO, BUY WATER, A LOT OF WATER. No matter what other beverage you serve WATER is the most important.

Fifth – Most importantly, pick a reliable friend or friends to take pictures. Everyone has great camera phones now anyway, so ask them to use them and email the pictures. So, you can have fun and stay in the moment with your child! When it’s over, all we have are memories.

**TIP** 

Save money by skipping buying expensive balloons. Kids just pop them, and they are only good for a day. Instead, buy a pack of balloons, blow them up and put them on the floor for the kids to play with and grab 20 balloons from the dollar store.  $20 and sometimes they last longer!

 

Smile, enjoy and don’t stress. At the end of the day, kids don’t care or know if everything isn’t perfect. All they know are their friends are there, they are having fun and there is a cake! LOL

LEARNING TO LIVE WITH ANXIETY

As a child, I hated taking tests. I got nervous, had to poop, and got physically sick. Watching my daughter get her yellow strip in Tae Kwon Do recently brought back all those emotions. I instantly got a lump in my throat. She was smiling, standing tall and as confident as ever as her Master tested her. I began to take comfort in her confidence as she performed every move correctly. Before she was honored, she turned and looked at her Grandmother and me. I had tears in my eyes, not just because she did well, but because my anxiety was not passed onto her.

Anxiety is something I live with and battle daily. It can be brought on by anything. At times, it gets on my nerves. I get anxiety about being late. Will there be traffic? Will I get my child in bed on time? Even writing this is making me feel some kinda way. I live through it every day. I read everything I can to learn more about how to control it and make sure it’s not projected onto my child. I don’t believe in medication. I tried that once, and it made me a zombie. Never again, but what does help is breathing. I literally talk to myself and make myself breathe easy.  Here are the steps if you’d like to try it.

Calming Breath

• Take a long, slow breath in through your nose, first filling your lower lungs, then your upper lungs.

• Hold your breath to the count of “three.”

• Exhale slowly through pursed lips, while you relax the muscles in your face, jaw, shoulders, and stomach.

If you live with anxiety, you’re not crazy and you’re not alone! 

I SO BADLY WANTED TO BE THE CRUNCHY “GRANOLA” HOMESCHOOLING MOM!

I so badly wanted to be the crunchy “granola” homeschooling mom!

I am a total hippie at heart but… Life doesn’t always go as planned and I am a realist. I purchased $300 worth of beautiful cloth diapers aka Nappies before my daughter was born. That lasted for about a week. Then I went to Costco and started buying the biggest box of Huggies I could find. Let’s just say washing newborn poop wasn’t my thing. Trashing it worked better for me.

I planned on extended breast feeding.  Well, let’s just say after 3 months I wasn’t meeting her demand and I was pumping air. In hindsight, I did make all her “organic” baby food thanks to my trusted Baby Brezza food blender and steamer, which I still love, and she is 4 years old. Organic baby food ended up actually being a lot cheaper than any store-bought brands on the market. No preservatives and pure fruits and veggies for under $10 bucks a week. Yes, I would do it all over again! You would be surprised how much time it did NOT take to prepare, too.

I did manage to continue to co-sleep (even though she turns sideways in bed every night and once bit me – see other post about that) but I wouldn’t change these last four years of cuddle time for anything in the world. She won’t be little long, and I will absorb and enjoy every moment. Plus, I’ve never lost out on sleep like moms complain about. In fact, I sleep more since she’s been here than I ever did before. I have to play sleep, to get her to sleep, which in return puts me to sleep.

Yes, we eat pretty healthy, BUT I still make homemade Pizzas every month with white flour and tons of cheese ;).

My daughter hates bugs, like hates, and if there is a mosquito within 20 miles, it always finds me. So, unless it’s a beach or a farm we really aren’t the nature outdoorsy type. Our back yard is as real as it gets for us.

So Crunchy Granola naw… aint me, in actuality, but in spirit I’m all for it! I’m saying all this to say: be unique! Be you, stop comparing! Motherhood takes us all in different directions. Even if you aren’t doing motherhood exactly as planned, as long as your kid is smiling, that’s all that matters. Make memories, mom, and rest assure your little one thinks you’re the best and that’s really all that matters!

MY DAUGHTER’S FIRST REAL PUMPKIN!

This year I was really excited about my daughter being old enough to really pick out her own pumpkin! I purchased a safety knife, so she could cut it out herself after cleaning it. (She was hesitant about sticking her fingers in.) I told her it was ewwwweeee gooey fun, so she dug in! Still, she wasn’t thrilled about the texture. Being a homeschool mom, I made a really big deal of it.  Not only was it a field trip to the pumpkin patch but it was also a whole Pumpkin Unit Study! We talked about the life cycle of a pumpkin and she learned vocabulary words. We read 4 different books about pumpkins. Her pumpkin investigation worksheet is below.

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She even named her pumpkin” Spookly”! It was a great way to end a productive school week. It also made me realize how much children can really learn while keeping homeschool fun. As she was washing the pumpkin seeds, so we could roast them, she counted each and every one of them! So, math, science, english, home economics and reading were all covered just by a simple trip to the pumpkin patch.  There is a whole world out there to explore with your kiddos and keep it fun! I’d love to learn some of your homeschool tricks.  Please share.