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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Progress Report

After a lot of back and forth in the beginning I finally decided to let Chunks skip Kindergarten and go to the first grade. I looked over the curriculum, compared it to other programs, and decided that Chunks could handle the work and he was already very comfortable in his class. He was learning and happy and everything was good, until...

Tests weren't coming home.

Handwriting was getting sloppier.

Homework was written down from the board incomplete.

Phone calls were going un-returned.

So, I popped up.

I took a day off and went down to the school after class started and requested to observe the class from the monitor rooms in the principal's office. Everything seemed fine so, I went into the class myself and took a seat in the back, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. At break, I asked her what was going on with Chunks and at this point she lays out a list of things. He's not paying attention, he drifts off, he acts sleepy...SO WHY DIDN'T I HEAR ABOUT THIS BEFORE??? Anyway, I didn't see any of those things but I didn't want to be that mom who says her kid is perfect so I got on Chunks. 

We cut out t.v, computer time, and dinosaurs during the week.

Dinosaurs were limited on the weekend.

Focus time was put in play and I printed out worksheets, bought work books, and reading books to the second grade level and we now have home-school sessions.

I need you to get this work done!

When I talked this over with his godmother who studied early childhood development she was concerned with how much the teacher was putting in. What was she doing for 2 hours while Chunks was spaced out in dinosaur world and not writing down his homework? How did she let this go on for so long? So, I went back in to meet with her again. I requested his exams and classwork, all 90s and 100s. I asked for his projects, all 90s and 100s. She then expressed that Chunks could "surpass any child in the class but he has to focus". Clearly there's an understanding of the work so what's really the problem??

We had a long conversation about ways to improve this and it comes out that she's one teacher to 16 kids. I might be a little cold but in first grade I had 1 teacher and there were probably 25-30 of us, so...I saw that she needed a cheerleader AND a coach so we met for lunch, I let her know that I am on her side because we were both on Team Chunks. There are tactics taught to teachers to combat this sort of thing especially since this is a kid who skipped that sort of training in Kindergarten, so she can't be burnt out already it's only November! HE has to succeed. When he leaves your class HE needs to be able to compete with everyone else. HE HAS TO WIN! This and only this is my end goal, so if you need to me to help, support, sit in, pop up, cheer you on, let's go because this is kinda a big deal. She saw how serious I was, Chunks saw how serious I was and I think something clicked for Team Chunks. The teacher knows I'm there for her, he knows I'm there for him, and everyone knows I'm a little batty and will pop the hell up whenever, snatching whoever needs it, so we have an understanding lol.

It's been about a month of calm, I've gotten good progress reports, he's back to being happy and the handwriting is improved (most days). Many nights I'm exhausted when I get home but we get homework done, work out of our own work books, and read a few books before bath time and it's not so bad because the end game is the goal: to produce a healthy, educated, and functioning man who can go into the world and compete and leave it better than he found it. POINT. BLANK. AND THE PERIOD.

Here's to you kid and your amazing future, no matter what we have to do. #TeamChunks

How do you deal with classroom struggles? Do you think it's important for you and your child(-ren)'s teacher to have communication outside of parent-teacher night?

So Let's Play Catch Up

And just like that January is Over.

I've been missing from this corner of the world for a little while but not because I lacked things to post but I haven't really sat still since November. Last week I completed my last med-school interview in Ohio and fingers crossed, I'll hear GOOD news in a few weeks.

I've also been working as a junior scientist on a research project that has become near and dear to me not just because it will be published but because of how I got the position, who I'm working under, and the new opportunities to grow that follow. Looking forward to the Spring!

Chunks is Chunks! Growing and Crazy!
We had a 3 month headache with him and his teacher that almost drove me crazy and made me question some of my choices but also taught me yet another thing about myself as a person and mom. You really uncover a lot your talents being Mommy, there's so my hats under that title. More on this in another post.

February, to me, means countdown. My birthday is next month and this year I turn the Big 3-0! I plan on celebrating EVERYTHING about this life so far because while it hasn't been ideal it's what I was given and my story will be amazing, you know, because I say so! I've started a bucket list of things I want to accomplish in my 30th chapter and a few things on the list scare the crap out of me but I really want them so I'll make them happen and I'll have an even greater story to tell. I'll post the list here soon too.

My love's been fun but I'm really not the "dating" girl. I've accepted that I can't do half ass relationships, it's too much work to fake it and all that lol so I'm chilling. At this point I'm not dating to just be dating, if I can't see us going past 6 months, WHY ARE YOU HERE AGAIN??! I know what I like, I know who I am and what I bring, so I'm not searching. I know "I Am Single Hear Me Roar" girls use this a lot be seriously I like my company and am very (maybe a little too much) at peace in my own company so anyone invited into my space has got to be DOPE for me to disrupt that and sadly I don't think I've met him yet, I'm open to it though. Shoulders thinks I'm blind but...

I'm so in love with photography and I was watching a lot last year, trying to find my niche/inspiration. I read everyone's blog, I lurked in the background on forums, I stalked Instagram all the while shooting and practicing with Cease and not really pushing myself to get better...just looking. That period's getting stale so thing year I want to push myself to walk with Cease more, learn more about the art, and create and put myself out there.  I can already see a HUGE improvement from the pics I took a few years ago to now and feedback from some photographers I love have been encouraging. It really has become therapeutic for me, last week I hit one of those I need to get away from my child moments lol and just feeling overwhelmed with life, so I called on my father to watch him for a few hours and got a mani-pedi and took a walk with Cease and I came back like I had a full spa day. So Push, Create, Step Out on Faith, we'll see...

Speaking of photography, I've been doing great with my 52FIVE project I started to celebrated Chunk's milestone age and this month makes the half way mark! Is it crazy to have a little half-birthday party?? I try not to look over the pics too much because I want the book to be special but I can't believe how much has changed and all that has happened in this little life so far. He's amazing, loud, but amazing.

So that's about it from my corner for now, talk to y'all soon.

What kinds of things did you do to celebrate milestone years, either for yourselves or you kids? Any bucket lists?

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mom's Place in A Father-Son Relationship

Because of situations surrounding the Wasband's leaving, I made up in my mind that Chunks and I would move forward without him and try to just make the best of it. I told myself, when Chunks was older I would just be honest with him about why his father couldn't be around and pray he would get it and not be scarred by it.

As time has gone on, I've done my share of keeping photos around him and telling him fun stories whenever he'd ask about his dad. Last year I allowed a few phone calls on birthdays and holidays and I watched how Chunks handled it all and how the Wasband behaved, too. So far he's ok, he can speak to his dad whenever he wants and for now that works.

On Saturday we went back to swimming lessons through which Chunks screamed and shivered, LOUDLY. THE ENTIRE TIME! smh did I mention my guy is a scaredy cat?? When the class was over I took him to the family pool so we could get used to the water one on one and he remembered a pic of his dad swimming in Puerto Rico and said "Will I swim like my dad?" I jumped on the opportunity and said "You've got to try to get it".

Lesson #1, Dad is always a superhero and mom's gotta be ok with that.

On the way home, he asked to speak to his dad, so I called. They spoke for a little while, the Wasband told him he'd like to see him swim soon (he hasn't seen Chunks since he was 1). After this call, Chunks is willing to go back to class next weekend.

Lesson #2, A dad's voice can get a message through that all of mom's trying just cannot ::shrug:: and mom's gotta be ok with that.

Later that evening, the Wasband thanked me for letting Chunks call, he said it meant a lot to him.

Lesson #3, Making it difficult for a Father to speak to his child is petty (if doesn't mean any harm) and since men hate confrontation, sometimes Mom has to open the lines so everyone knows it's ok.

Since this, we've discussed him coming up to see Chunks one weekend. I haven't told Chunks, just in case, but I'm also planning the day out to make sure everything is ok. Opening the lines to my son is a big deal to me and ANYONE, including his Father, meaning him harm will have a problem! But I'm open for a few reasons: Chunks is pretty balanced and isn't coming for a place of "need" or "missing out" when it comes to his dad it's kind of a "fun relative" mindset (sad, but whatever works). Secondly, because I made it a point NOT to speak badly about his dad, Chunks has no bias so while I'll be watching like a hawk and side-eyeing I'm sure, all with a smile lol, he won't know why-it's just mom being mom. Third, at the end of it all I want to know and Chunks to know, I did everything in my power to make him whole with his other parent. We have a great relationship so him having the same (or kinda close to it) with his other parent is only right, right?

Lesson #4, there's a place for dad. Them having a bond, has nothing to do with our relationship so there's no competition.

I honestly don't think this would be possible if I hadn't made peace with the relationship and owned my part in it all, I have a few friends who are having a hard time letting their children's father have their place in the child's lives because they're still mad about the relationship, even men who didn't just walk out and disappear, and it's sad but everyone has their own journey. My plan for motherhood is to release a whole man into the world for a woman to love with as little childhood baggage as possible.

Dear Daughter In Law,

I'm thinking of you.


feeling: COLD! November brought winter in just the way I hate it: cold, rainy, with crazy winds here in NY. Hermit Season has officially arrived.

listening to: blue eyed soul. Sam Smith, James Morrison, and of course Robin Thicke. Great albums between all three.

obsessing over: getting gone. i've got the travel bug really badly lately, but for places like Ireland and Greece. I need some travel buddies. oh and a new camera body, there's one I've been playing with in Adorama's show room but the way this budget is set up...

loving: it's holiday season so of course, the Hallmark Channel's countdown to Christmas. Most weekends you may or may not find my snuggled up with something warm to drink and Hallmark on.

admitting: my kid annoys me sometimes. I love him dearly but OMG! LOL I know mother's aren't supposed to say this but Lord, how many times can you say "Stop that", "Let's try something else", "Get down", etc or hear "Mommy look"?? ::sigh::

looking forward to: now that it's red cup weather, definitely Eggnog Lattes.

trying: Everyday Eyecandy's #ThankfulEveryday challenge on Instagram. I always try these challenges and fall off, but better to try right?? 

thinking about: making my social media accounts public, namely Instagram. with all the crazies out there i'm leery of putting Chunks's face out there so much but there are so many photography projects I'd love to get into that I can't because it's a private account...still thinking.

reading: more photography books and quickly finding my favorites, learning to think slower and visually.

smelling: sage. a friend of mine gave me a bundle and told me how to use it, i was feeling overwhelmed and just down last week so i decided to unplug this weekend and burn it throughout my space and it really helped. The smell is relaxing.

planning: my christmas shopping, did you know Toys R Us has online lay-away?? since someone yells, "I want that" every time a new commercial comes on, getting started early will help with this year's budget.

Here's to a good week and a happy, new November!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Why a Boo-Boo Made Me Proud

As a new mom I remember another mom telling me not to flinch when Chunks fell because if it's just a little fall, my flinch will make him believe it's the end of the world and I think that had to be the best piece of parenting advice I'd ever been given because to know my child is to know DRAMA! I quickly learned that if I reacted to any little thing, child bones were falling off and someone was going to die quick!

I would watch him take a spill and decided early that if it wasn't a hard fall, meaning blood and bad scrapes, I would let him get himself up, brush it off, and keep on having fun. No need crying if it isn't that bad, right? I would tell him "You're ok" or "Ahh it wasn't so bad" and we'd get on with life, little did I know this "life lesson" would be tossed back at me after coming home and finding...


Ok, after I took a few breaths and brought it down a few Chunks told me he took a spill on the playground. After a few "Oh My God, lemme see!" I asked what happened and my scaredy cat son told me he tried to jump off the monkey bars, part me was still shocked but that was quickly getting swept away by the thought that he went on the monkey bars!

Did I mention he's a scaredy cat??? lol MAJOR accomplishment!

So I made the rest of the conversation about that and how proud I was that he tried something that used to scare him, how that was his "big boy" coming out and I watched as he stood a little straighter and then told me "Mommy, it wasn't so bad, I didn't get dead" and hit me with the Kanye shrug and went back to his Dino Netflix stream.

Roll with the punches kid, we roll with the punches.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Weekend In the Life

It was warm, it was sunny, it was windy, it was rainy. It was one of the Fall days that New York goes through right before Old Man Winter takes over where it's unseasonably warm to start and then ended up with wrap up in a cozy blanket and stay in with Netflix kind of chill, so let's start from the beginning of what we got into this weekend!

 *Stealing a quiet moment before the boss wakes up...

Then we headed to the city for a museum day at the Whitney, Jeff Koons's exhibit was so fun and cool, just FYI parents: avoid the 3rd floor with the little ones, things get a little X-rated.

We made one stop to the mad house that is Dylan's Candy Bar and headed back to Brooklyn.

 Ahhhh, Sunday

Wind and rain be damned, laundry and grocery shopping still needs to get done, so off we go! 

We met up with an old friend of mine and her son for some Chuckie Cheese fun...

Then back home to get ready to start another week. Can't believe it's hump day already but I'm glad Friday is so near. What weekend plans do you have? We haven't even been to a pumpkin patch yet, hmmm...

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Night That Inspired with C.O.O.K.I.E. Cocktails and ChicBusyMom

Moderator Renae Bluitt and Mommy Blogger Candace Montgomery
via The CookieLife
There's something about being in the presence of creatives that gets your own creative juices flowing, pair that with some ambitious and fierce women and you have the power to run the WORLD! Last Thursday a gorgeous room of female entrepreneurs got together at the newly improved 40/40 Club in the Flatiron District to brainstorm and get tips on ways to get your brand out of your head and into existence SERVING. 

The night's open forum was moderated by the fab Renae Bluitt of In Her Shoes who interviewed one of my favorite mommy bloggers (and namesake ;-)) Candace Montgomery of ChicBusyMom. On top of being a mommy blogger, Candace is of course a mom of 3, a wife, AND the Event Marketing Director of ESSENCE Magazine, you might remember my time with the ESSENCEMoms group a little while back. The night was filled with gems on how to manage life and get your business and brand off the ground.

The one thing that stuck out for me was Candace's first response to Renae's question of how exactly does she balance it all to which she responded, 
"There is no balance!" 
THANK YOU!! You know how long it took me to be ok with not having everything 100% perfect?? So to hear that I'm not alone in this thought is so freeing. The gem in this was her advice, wherever you are give 110% because something is always going to feel cheated. 

The other million dollar piece of advice she gave was to have a plan. Make a 6 month plan for your blog, your business, your brand and as you go check back in with this plan and make sure you're doing what you said you would do and you are where you wanted to be. Candace advised us to own the voice of our blogs and treat them all like a business because there is a lane for all of us who give this thing our full 100%.

I am guilty of not having much a long term plan for this blog of mine more treating it as a way to chronicle raising this son of mine but more and more I am learning that the stories I share as his mom, raising a son in Brooklyn, in my hometown, doing this work on my own, while still living my own dreams out is meaningful and somewhat encouraging and has built relationships on and offline, so there is value in this space. This night helped me see it by one: surrounding myself with the creatives in the room from the fitness blogger, to the fashionistas, to the mommy bloggers and soaking up that energy and then hearing from some bloggers that they've followed me for a while and are loving hearing about what's going on with Chunks and me. So it's time to put pen to paper and consider the end game: Where exactly is New York State of Mom going?

I'm grateful for the night with ladies and all the encouragement and good vibes that filled that room. It really was a great night!

 Do you have a long term goal for you blog? What steps do you use to make sure you're staying on track with those goals?


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