Thursday, October 12, 2017

Books that make a lasting impact on our littles. #ReadWithThem

I have been practicing Mindfulness lately, and lots of it. I really love how it makes me feel, and how it empowers me to be a better me each day. It's honestly a great way to encourage yourself to stay grounded and positive no matter what or who life throws at you. I have gotten to this beautiful place in my life where I don't let things affect my mood. I set my own mood, and own it all day. Do I still have bad days? Heck yeah, BUT the difference is it's not as bad as I let it be before. I remind myself that my emotions are my own, and I can do what I want with them. I have also grown so much when it comes to being more aware of other peoples feelings. I have always been a very nice, understanding and patient person,  but I believe that as I keep growing I realize more and more that people will just always be who they are, and we cant save everyone, we must accept them or leave them alone. It has gotten to the point where I find understanding in everything everyone says or does. I understand both sides, and though I may not agree with one side - I understand the reason for it. It helps me stay grounded, and not too riled up on things that would usually bother me before.

With all that being said. I want to help my kids be positive, and happy, and fearless. I want them to understand all of life's beauty, and teach them to not wallow, or complain about the small stuff. They sure have a lot of complaints about human beings that haven't even lived a decade, so I realize this is easier said than done... but I have found some pretty awesome books that have been helping me with this journey. Down Below I have shared the book titles and a page or two of our favorite parts. They are all available on Amazon.

Reading has always been such a huge part of parenting for me. I am a big-time bookworm and have always been. My grandmother shared with me her love of literature, and I have kept it with me since. I love everything about reading - from the escape of it to the learning. You want to get away and live a different life, then I would suggest a really good book. You want to learn more about something, read a book about it. I have shared my love for literature with my kids since they formed in my belly. Their library collection is overflowing, but I wouldn't have it any other way. Thankfully we all share a deep love for the library, and these are where we got these books from. Reading with your kids will open up so many doors and windows for them, and help them not only stay educated on many things but will teach them to understand all that is going on around them. You can never feel alone with a good book in hand.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

The importance of one on one dates!

Family time is a great way to enjoy moments together that you can cherish forever, and remember years to come. I look forward to days when it is just the four of us out on a brand new adventure. I love showing my children new places, new experiences, new food, new life. And what is better than to share that with the people you love most. As much as I love our family time I also know the huge importance of one on one time. Whether it be the mom, dad, and one child.. or just mom with one child, or dad with one child. It is so easy to get soaked into the hustle and bustle of the day and forget that children need our undivided attention sometimes, and maybe a couple minutes here and there during a busy afterschool day isn't enough.

As a child, I remember getting one on one time with both of my parents. I remember all the special days with my mom going shopping, and helping her run errands at the post office, or just grabbing a bite to eat with her while my dad stayed home with my younger brother. I really enjoyed being able to have her full attention for that time being. I also remember my one on one time with my dad riding bicycles, and going over to Flushing Meadow Park to watch a soccer game. Not only did I enjoy that downtime with them alone, but I feel like it really helped me learn more about my parents. At home, they were my parents, and they had to make sure I was behaving and doing what I had to do. But when I was out with them alone I got to see different sides of them, and hear different stories from them that made me feel closer to them.

Just recently my oldest went to his first hockey game with dad and had such a great time rooting and learning all about hockey from his dad. He got to experience something different, and at the same time, he got to learn more about his dad, and why he enjoys hockey. On that same night, I decided to take advantage and have a one on one with my youngest. We went out for dinner and dessert, went to the park and sang on the swings, and then to a bookstore where we enjoyed reading some books together and spoke about all the things we loved about bookstores. It was a great time to connect with him without having to speak to two children at once. I was able to sit there and talk with him without any rush, or distractions. He told asked me to read him about 10 different books, and I could tell he was really happy to be able to choose them all.  It was something that they both needed to feel connected to us without the usual daily routine of dinner, bath, story, and bedtime.

We try our best to be consistent with these special ones on one dates and switch it up to be fair. I believe it not only helps our bond with them, but it helps their behavior as well. They sometimes show us signs that they need that special dedicated time by doing something completely out of their nature, and we usually see it as a bad sign when its really just them needing that down time with us. I believe that we have so much to learn about our kids especially as they keep growing older, but just as much as we must learn about them - they should also learn about us - our favorite things, things that make us happy, and things that we have done in life.  We sometimes forget that since they are so little, but we must let them into our world as well and let them really understand us so we can create a real bond and not just a routined life.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Strong Mom Face

No matter how old you are, this world we live in is pretty scary. Growing up though I knew I was protected by my parents though so I didn't worry much about it. As a parent now I understand the struggles my parents had to go through to paint a pretty picture for me.  Now let me first say that this in no way means I am sugar coating things to my children, I am just aware of when it is the best time to explain certain tough topics with them. But I find myself having to push my fears to the side, and throw on my strong mom face for them. The first day of school is always a day I put on my strong mom face, and really rock it - until they can no longer see me and tears start streaming down my cheek! Let's face it sometimes its harder on us then them.

Back in July, we were going on an airplane for the first time as a family. This was the boys first time ever going on an airplane, and my first time since becoming a mother. They were pretty nervous about the experience, as any normal child would be I'm sure, but what they didn't know was that I was too! Not only was I nervous for them, but I was nervous myself as I have had horrible experiences in the past when it has come to flying on a plane. Back in 2008, I took a trip to Colombia all by myself to see my grandmother and her side of the family. We were flying right over the Hudson River, not far from the airport, and they prepared us to put on our life vest and stated that something was wrong with one of the plane's engines. It was terrifying, and something I don't think I will ever seem to forget. I remember trying to stay as calm as possible, and the person next to me took my hand and told me that I would be okay. I started crying hysterically as they said they were turning around and trying their best to head back to the airport before the engine completely dies out. It was the longest ten minutes of my life. What was ten minutes felt more like one hour. We did get to the airport safe and sound and were put in a hotel nearby to board our flight the next day. It was the hardest flight to get on, but I knew I had to do it or else I would just be scared of flying for the rest of my life. Though it has been 9 years since the incident, every time I would go on a plane it was my first thought.

So now back to our trip this summer, you can only imagine how tense I was, and how badly my nerves were going on an airplane with the two little human beings that mean the most to me. I told them nothing about my experience, and I didn't bring up anything about being nervous, I did quite the opposite because I knew I had to be their rock. I am the one that has to make them feel confident when they cant feel it right away. So I put on my strong mom face and I told them nothing bad would happen, and that airplanes are safe. I told them it would be fast, and we could have lots of fun on the ride so they don't have to even remember they are on a plane. That just what we did too! I was strong for them even when in reality I didn't feel too strong, or confident myself.

I am a huge believer that if you show a child your fears, they seem to usually feel like it has to be their fear as well. So I try my best to show the positive in everything even if I am terrified of it. The biggest influence on a child's fear is their parents fear. We are their influencers so we should always show them that we got their back, and nothing at all could harm them while we are around. I know that's exactly how my parents made me feel. So we are currently going through a fear of dogs in our home since we don't typically go around many dogs - and I am actually allergic to most. As a child, I was scared of dogs myself because I saw something that made me believe every dog was dangerous. I am not sure where the fear of dogs happened with my children - because I never told them the story about it, but its there and I am trying my best to break this fear. I remember the day I found out I was no longer scared of dogs was actually the same day I found out I was allergic. Ironic huh? I don't want them to fear anything I do not believe is threatening them so I will be doing the same thing my dad did for me to break my fear of dogs. I won't share too much about that now, but be on the lookout for a completely different post on it in the near future.

I want to always be my child's confidante, their balance, their salvage. So with my strong mom face we will face, all of our fears together.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

My Night Time Unwind

Light a Candle: Candles are my thing. If I could I would light about twenty candles a day. But I have a boyfriend which gets anxiety over just one candle being lit for two seconds, and I have kids that are still a tad bit clumsy- so I must be very cautious about them. It honestly doesn't even have to be the nighttime for me to be in the mood to light up a candle or two, but it is usually the only time where I can have time to myself, and the candle can be on without me worrying about it being knocked down or blown out. It has become such a staple in my routine that I do it without much thought. Then there are nights when I realize my candle is just about finished, and I feel incomplete without it being in my routine for the night. It is kind of like my goodbye to the day! I am very fond of light scents that can soothe, and refresh the space.  Currently, I am using the DW Homes- Lavender and Chamomile ($7.99 at TJ Maxx)

Read a good book: with positivity to end my night on a good note. Whether it is a book, poetry, or some notes I have written in a journal. I always make sure I read something good before bed to keep my spirit and my mind in good head space. I have a really hard time falling asleep if I go to bed thinking about something I am worried about, or something that hit a nerve during my busy day. You should never try falling asleep while in a bad head space because I feel like it wakes me up in a bad headspace. Negativity stays where you keep it, until you decide to let it out, and abandon it elsewhere. So I try to block all the bad thoughts, bad experiences from the day - whether it be the kids giving me a hard time, or the feeling of being overwhelmed which I am sure most of us mommas feel on a regular. End your day on a positive note so you can wake up feeling ready to conquer the world again! Currently, I am reading Mindful Evening By David Dillard ($10.19 on Amazon). A simple book I can read a page a night. Perfect for moms who don't have the energy to read for hours in.

Worship/ Slow Steady Music: I usually stick to my worship music because I am Christian, and it really does comfort my stress and puts me in a good place. It is the way most of my days start and end. But not everyone listens to that so I would also say that slow and steady music like Erykah Badu, Sade, Maxwell, or even John Mayer. Now I must say this isn't something I do every single night because I am not a huge fan of noise during my downtime. I remember when I was younger silence scared me, and I didn't understand the necessity for it in our lives. I didn't realize the growth it can give you. Now I need to have silence in my life, even if it is just for 15 minutes so that I can realign my soul to my body. I love the sound of silence, its one of my favorite sounds. I can sit in dark silence by myself for quite some time. It helps me feel at peace, and it has taught me so much about myself and the person I am daily growing to be. Silence has taught me how to love myself unconditionally, and it has taught me to not be anxious in thought. It has created a better mental state for me, and truly makes me happy just spending time with myself. Background noise at the end of the night for me used to be a way to block out all the chaos I was dealing with, or as a distraction to focus on instead of my thoughts... but now that I have learned to be honest and not too hard on myself I can enjoy silence as a friend I look forward to meeting. So if I have any background noise happening it is definitely something to keep me grounded, and lifted. Not something out of boredom, or distraction. Currently Listening to "At The Cross" By Chris Tomlin (Pandora App)

Enjoy a Bath: I wish I could take baths all the time. But the way my mom life is set up, it's not quite possible just yet. I have to get both kids to bed - and though my oldest goes to sleep really easily. my youngest still has a bit of a hard time some nights. So when that rare time that they both go to bed early happens I like to take advantage and switch up the regular showers for a nice warm bath in the tub. It's another chance for me to enjoy some silence while I soak in all my thoughts, and all my growth. I enjoy letting my thoughts flow in the bath because it can get real, and I feel like I'm stripping my soul. I have learned to enjoy my thoughts, instead of weighing myself down with bad thoughts. I love bath bombs because not only are they really cool to watch how they fizzle and change the color of the water, but they smell great and really moisturize your body. I always come out with my skin feeling silky smooth. The scent also stays on my body for a fairly long time. Currently using the Intergalactic Bath Bomb ($7.95 at LUSH)

Drink some Tea: Depending on my mood, I will choose between some wine, or tonight it was hot tea. I try to stick to tea, especially during the week since I am the one that takes my oldest to school in the AM, and I have to be up super early to get everything ready for his day. But here and there you gotta treat yourself. Tea has many benefits as I am sure you know of already, and it warms up your body to help the restlessness of the day. It can help you feel more relaxed and ready to snooze. My all-time favorite has to be Peppermint because it is a good stomach settler to help you sleep better, but the Tension Tamer one is a really good one as well. Currently drinking Celestial Seasonings- Tension Tamer.

How do you unwind at the end of the night?
Let me know in the comments, and share with me some of your favorite nighttime rituals that help you de-stress!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Making Marshmallow Treats for our WWE Funko Pops with BlipToys.

My kids watch YouTube every day. Seriously, every day. I know ... I am the mom you probably hate - like why am I allowing my children to be stuck on electronics. But guess what? It works for us, so I'm just rolling with it. They love watching videos of other kids opening up toys and reviewing them. They think it is the coolest thing ever. They have been begging me for their own YouTube channel and or to just be apart of my social media outlets, and I finally just gave into both. After attending Sweet Suite at Blogger Bash I got to meet so many awesome toy brands, and many of them generously wanted to send some of their toys for the boys to review. One company, in general, was Blip Toys. They sent us a couple of things, such as their infamous Yummy Nummies Marshmallow Treat Maker. 

Now if you know Jace, and have seen his Cooking With Jace YouTube series you know that he absolutely loves baking and cooking. One of many things he wants to be when he grows up is a chef. I love that he enjoys it so much. I'm hoping it sticks and soon enough momma will get a little break when it comes to making dinner. 
Of course, Caleb joined in because everything his big brother does he wants to be apart of! He had a cute idea that they would make believe they were bakers and they were making the treats for their WWE Funko Pops. They lined them up and started up the fun. 

It was so easy, and fast that I barely had to help at all. They both worked together adding the packets together and mixing it all up with the mini mixer. They added the mixture into the mini molds that also come with it and then put it in the fridge for a couple minutes to hold together a bit. We honestly didn't even make the chocolate frosting because they are both the pickiest children in the world. They liked that they were able to do it all on their own, and unfortunately the WWE Funko Pop Superstars went hungry that day. 

( We were sent this toy by Blip Toys, but all opinions are of our own!)

Friday, September 15, 2017

Making moms life easier with #KudoBanz

I don't know about you, but to get my kids to listen to me I have to repeat myself a couple of times. When I say a couple of times, I mean 30 times- and that's on a good day. They really love to test me when I tell them they shouldn't be doing something. They don't even care much when I tell them I will be taking something away from them or giving them timeouts. They are tough little cookies, and it has made disciplining them very hard. I don't believe in violence, or hitting my children when they misbehave.... it's not my style. So I always try and find a good positive reinforcement to deal with the messy situations, and Kudo Banz is what has been working for us.

I received Kudo Banz when I attended Blogger Bash: Sweet Suite this year. I met Amanda and Hamza - The mom and dad of this perfect creation. They were so sweet and so informative on how effective their product is. I couldn't wait to go home and try it out. I loved that it came with a storybook to explain in kid language exactly what the Kudo Ban was for. It came with two Banz, and enough Kudos for two children. So that was a big plus because I was able to start right away with both of my boys.

 I loved that it was something we could take along with us, and use right on the spot. Unlike a sticker chart where you have to wait until you get home to receive it, and let's face it by then you both have completely forgotten usually. I also really liked that it was engaging. I would write down their Kudos for the day on a board, like eat breakfast, drink lots of water, behave during trips on the train. It helped them understand what had to be done in order to achieve the kudos. They would get so excited when they were able to get their kudos for doing what was told of them. It was just so easy and so structured. I like easy!

We used our Kudo Banz all summer and it truly helped my sanity. Now that school is back in session I will be brainstorming on how I can still keep Kudo Banz as part of our days.

Check out the boys Youtube video they made about Kudo Banz!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Women do it too #NYLiberty #SummerSlamHeatWaveTour with MSG.

As a momma of two boys, I have many things I would like to teach my kids - but on my top five, equal rights are super important. I did a lot of dating back in the days, and let's just say I have heard it all. That's exactly what I am trying to dodge here! I want to raise little gentlemen who understand and are comfortable enough to appreciate that women can do everything a man does, and maybe just possibly - even better. I love talking to my boys about history, and we spoke a little about the 1960's when women were not allowed to keep a job during their pregnancy, or even get a credit card. Jace thought it sounded so silly, and couldn't understand why that was even happening back in the days. I can't even understand it myself, but we have sure come a long way since those days. Sure, we still have a long way to go - but at least we are now allowed to vote, and get a divorce without having evidence that it is "necessary". I allow my boys to enjoy and play with what ever their little hearts desire. I hate putting labels on things. If my son wants to wear my purse or play with a doll I am all for it. I can't really stop what others tell them or what society will push at them through television, etc. But I can at least tell them what I believe is right. You don't have to be a girl to like the color pink. I love that Caleb's favorite color is pink, and he so proudly announces it. I love that Jace enjoys playing with his dolls like they are his "babies". I love that they enjoy helping me clean, and cook. I want them to understand that things at home need to get done whether you are a male or female - it is about teamwork, and contributing to a place you call your home.

This summer we attended a NY Liberty basketball game at MSG, and it was a perfect way to enlighten them on the topic more. We had such a great time at the Delta Sky Club where they enjoyed some popcorn, cotton candy, and hot dogs. We then headed to our seats, which were perfectly in the middle and front row. We got to see all the action, and they were so amazed by the players and how great they played. They were cheering them on and truly enjoyed the experience. At the end of the game NY Liberty won, and they were thrilled. As we headed home after the game we spoke about the game, and how great it was and Jace said Women's basketball is one of his favorite sports now. It was such a cute little moment to always remember!

At another event in July at MSG, The Summerslam Heatwave Tour with the WWE we got to watch their all time favorite thing - Wrestling. They are huge fans of many of the wrestlers new and old. They are also big fans of the Women's wrestling division. They love their entrance songs and watch their matches just as fascinated as the others. Another incredible event that shows exactly what I am trying to instill in them. Women are strong, powerful, and fearless, and they get to see this in everything that they love. It shows women of all shapes and sizes, different backgrounds, and ages putting their heart into what they love to do. I am happy to say that you will find The Bella Twins, AJ Lee, and Lita in my boys WWE action figures collection.

It is a big deal for them to be exposed to this empowerment that women have, and how they are daily finding their voice and letting it shine in a million different ways. In the future, they will possibly be a dad, a husband, or simply working for a woman, and I need them to understand that nothing at all makes them better just because they are a man. I want them to also use their exposure to teach others that may be stuck in the old days, because sadly when they are grown ups there will still be men in the world who don't believe the same. As a parent, we have the future right in front of our eyes, and every little thing we teach them will go with them, so make it something good.

I think I am doing pretty good. Jace just told me this morning that he believes I am much smarter and stronger than daddy. I won't agree, but I will say he's a smart little man.