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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Life Lately

I made it my mission not to waste this summer and now that it's August I'm tired but feel great that i lived up to it. I got to hang with girlfriends more, dance more, get Chunks out of the house and away from the tv ::heavy side eye::, we got more adventures under our belt and I think we managed to get a little closer. I didn't think it was possible but with my managing this single motherhood business and him managing being an amazing kid we've fallen into this rhythm that lifts the other even when things are crazy.

While I wrote on here some time ago about working with his other parent on building their relationship back, we hit some snags and bumps in the road that make it a little bit more difficult but I have faith that something can and will be worked out. The pressure of protecting your child's safe space becomes a little heavy when their other parent is one of the concerns. Pray for us y'all.

Well we finished 1st grade and are in the last weeks of summer break and looking forward to a new school year. I've been praying more and more this Summer also and one of my prayers was wisdom to make the right decisions for him, well there's this school I've had my eye on, which is hell to get into!!! ::sigh:: NYC struggles, something told me to call and ask about their openings in the second grade and guess what?? THEY HAVE A FEW SEATS OPEN!! Won't He Do IT?!? So we'll be there on the first day, ready to claim our seat! Wish us luck.

Life at work hasn't gotten much better but a lot less stressful and I'm also believing in something greater coming along soon for me, sometimes it's the way you look at something that gives it power over your emotions and I can't have it draining me. I've made some great connections and worked on some studies I am proud of so I give it to God and I'll do my part and wait to see the greater.

So, it's August which is birthday season in my family. My father was at the end of July and celebrated my mother's at the beginning of the month and JUST celebrated the main event: the big SIXTH birthday, stay tuned for more on this highly anticipated new age.

SoFamily's Play Day with Crayola Sidewalk Chalk

Last week we were excited to hang out with our blogger boo Monica J of SoFamily Online for her first SoFamily Play Day with Crayola in Downtown Manhattan at the gorgeous Cannon's Walk at South Street Seaport. The day was filled with fun activities that took it back to the simple days when kids played outside with classic sidewalk chalk and came up with a million and one adventures that left their imaginations on the concrete (and not all over mom's good furniture).

I was happy to see Crayola upgrade some of my own childhood favorites to cool products my son can now grow up loving, along with the classics.

The fun stations the SoFamily team arranged for the kids were perfect ways for the kids to try out all the new products, like their chalk station, the bean bag toss, and the throw back that still has a soft spot in my heart, HOPSCOTCH! kept everyone excited for what was next in store. I might have challenged a couple of the kids :-)

All in all it was a fun afternoon of play and the kids all went home with a goody bag filled with fun products for me them to try on their own at home.

Congrats to Monica J and the SoFamily team on an amazing kick off to a great series. Check out SoFamily Online for all the latest in toys, apps, and activities to keep your little ones busy, creative, and thinking.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Train Up A Child: Going in Mommy's Purse

Growing up the best candy, my long lost My Little Pony, and cool magazines could be found in the bottom of my mother's purse. It was my go to spot for treats, especially Sunday mornings in church. I never really bothered with my father's pockets, only keys, tools, and loose change there but mom's bag was the spot!

When I got a little older she would get a little more testy when I reached for her bag but still I knew what was in there. So now here's Chunks with the same thinking but now it's MY purse. I really don't mind him going in because he knows there's always some kind of treat in there (sometimes just for him) but some days are worst than others.

The other night I noticed he was chewing gum and asked where he got it, I noticed my bag thrown to the side and not just one stick taken out but several pieces and some half chewed. WTF?! I scolded him and told him not to go in my bag unless I sent him in there. My father, in the peanut gallery says "You should never send him in there in the first place!" ::heavy side eye at the unwanted piece of advice:: but when I asked why he said "Boys shouldn't make it a habit of going in their mother's bag".

I think Dad was traumatized and found some feminine things in his mother's bag as a kid lol but it got me thinking. Should kids be allowed to go in Mommy's purse? Do they ask permission or is it just completely off limits?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

More Than Mommy

Right after my 24th birthday there was a drastic change to my body. I worked third shift at the hospital and every few nights my belly button would itch and by the time I clocked out I would notice a tighter fit of my scrubs. It was body's way of reminding me I was someone's mom. There would be days I would be caught up in all that Candace had to do, had planned, was used to doing that it wouldn't be until I sat down and noticed my cankles were pushing my right foot out of my Crocs that I would realize that I needed to slow down a bit and focus on this baby growing inside of me.

I'm a mover! Always going somewhere, trying something, laughing really hard with friends, and living and so far this baby was keeping up but I could definitely feel it at the end of the day.

Then he got here and nothing else mattered. I wanted to show him everything, take him every where, and watch him try all new things and quickly got caught up in everything Chunks because, you know, that's what a good mother does. Right?! I became playground expert, mini foodie, playdate planner, quick meal scrambler, coach, and home school teacher over the years and he's thriving. I look back over these 5 years and I can say I'm proud of my mom job so far, but...

I snap easier lately when he makes what I call "foolish" mistakes that 2 steps back would just be laughed at as a boy being a boy. I don't want to read this book again! (through gritted teeth). Dinosaurs are NOT fun or cool to me, I'm just letting you babble but I'm distracted and need Instagram and he can tell. There's a Spring concert on the 22nd, we have to build a car by next Tuesday, tuition is due Monday, bake Sale on Friday, 2 birthday parties on Saturday ::SIGH::

I missed me. 

Outside of Mommy, who am I? I go to work and I'm a supervisor/problem solver, but that's not ME.  Don't get me wrong I've learned a lot about who I am, what I want/don't want. What I like/Don't like but what sets me on fire was missing. When I turned 30 in March I started journaling and started to see a pattern and decided to get back to Candace and building up and protecting her spirit better without guilt. I love coffee, Netflix binge watching, reading, traveling, photography, trying new foods/restaurants/neighborhoods, working out, laughing at inappropriate things, and dancing but I wasn't doing any of these things really.

My job as Mommy will never take a pause, it's the greatest thing I've ever done, but there will be more time built in just for me and I'm already seeing a huge change in how I deal with Chunks and my everyday. I don't have the luxury of passing him off to Dad when he gets home anymore but there are others in the village and creative ways I can make the time to check in with me. I still feel guilty from time to time in ME time but I get back to him refreshed and ready to hear all about T-Rex and friends. So, I'm encouraging all Mommies (single or otherwise) make time for YOU on whatever level that means. If that means working out, going out for coffee, taking a girls trip or solo trip (both of which I plan to do), journaling, yoga, whatever, make an unapologetic space just for you and enjoy every minute of it. It makes you a better woman, better person, and ultimately a better mom. From this our kids will see the other side of Mommy and know it's ok to have their own spaces too.


I wish you all the chance to pee and shower solo, a full plate to yourself, and a chance to breathe :-) ENJOY LADIES!!

Monday, May 4, 2015


I've had more than a few disappointments in life lately and so I've been nursing my wounds and trying to come up with the next steps to take all while avoiding the pity party I wanted to throw, complete with pulled curtains and pints and pints of ice cream. 

I took this picture early last year and in my head I had the story but it just didn't come out the way I saw it. I over processed it in Lightroom, then converted it to black and white just because I thought it sucked and needed something that wouldn't highlight that so much lol. Through the gap above the ladies, you should be able to see the Empire State Building, but was blown out. The view is so pretty from the hill I'm standing on in real life but fell completely flat in camera. SIGH

Since that day, I've thought about going back to the hill and retaking the shot but I didn't think I'd grown enough to make it any better. I've been practicing on Chunks but this shot still kinda haunted me.

Expose for the sky next time, huh?
Adjust exposure, what??
Get a zoom lens, who's got the coins??

I put it out of my mind and just never made it back over there and decided to stick to portraiture and macro. Last weekend, Brooklyn FINALLY saw Spring and naturally Chunks and I headed to DUMBO to soak up some sun and we happened to walk the hill. I saw the Empire State, got my readings right, and THIS happened!

Ahhhh I honestly only adjusted the contrast in Lightroom a little and refuse to do any more to it. It's not perfect (thank you sir for jutting your elbow in my shot ::side-eye::) Sometimes you never realize how much you grow until you've had a chance to step away from it a little while and just try to got after it another way, watching alignment and order come together is so encouraging.

This lesson applies to a few things in life right now, I'm just glad I've got the shot as a reminder I can see everyday to keep going.

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?


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