A Magical Time at the Philadelphia Zoo’s Luminature

Yesterday, we were all bundled up and ready to brave the cold weather and darkness knowing that we would soon witness spectacular sights of twinkling lights and displays at the Philadelphia Zoo.’s Luminature event. We attended in 2019 and didn’t get to go in 2020 due to Covid restrictions, so it made it that much more special this year.

My daughter observed how we had to go at night when it was dark. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be able to fully see the lights. This made me think about the significance of darkness, especially with what many of us have endured with being away from our loved ones and spending most of our time indoors. Sometimes to have a greater appreciation for the light, we must welcome darkness.

It was even more amazing than we recalled, and there were new displays that left us captivated. I’m so glad we didn’t allow the cold and darkness to stop us from enjoying this special outing with our aunt and cousins.

All the best,

Tanya

A Smile and Happy Feeling All from a Vaccine Shot

At Quinn’s last wellness appointment this past May, she was delighted when the doctor told her, “No shots this time around.” But this past Friday, she was excited and counting down the days. The week prior she even reported that one of her classmates already got his and that she couldn’t wait to get hers. The day before getting her shot, she asked her dad and me how ours felt. We both said it was like a pinch. So she was ready to take it like a champ.

When the day finally arrived, I picked her up from school, and we drive to the vaccination site about twenty minutes away. It was cold outside, so I had the heat on full-blast not realizing that I was “roasting” Quinn. When we were a few minutes away, she started taking off her jacket and telling me she was hot. Upon arriving and having the nurse take her temperature from the car, Quinn had a 100.7 degree temperature, and I was beside myself wondering if she wouldn’t be permitted to get vaccinated.

Both Quinn and I a looked at each other with nervousness, and me with disappointment. Could we make it this far with Quinn being well and then turned away? Luckily, the nurse could feel the extra warmth coming from the car and suggested that Quinn walk around outside for a few minutes before retaking her temperature. For the second reading it was right at 97.6 degrees, and I was bubbling over with joy inside.

Quinn had a little grimace as she got her shot but reported that it was just a little pinch like we said. Then she told me, “I don’t know why, but I feel so happy getting my Covid vaccine shot!” When I asked her what the shot means to her, she said getting back to normal, no masks and getting to have more fun with my family and friends. Then she said, “I guess that’s why I’m happy.” She couldn’t wait to show off her sticker and Tweety Bird bandage to her dad when we got home. No side effects except a little arm soreness, and she’s already talking about the second dose.

Why does seeing my daughter get vaccinated make me even happier and excited than when I did? She’s the future, and I look forward to her having a normal childhood where she can enjoy her family and friends with limited restrictions.

All the best,

Tanya

My Daughter’s Eight and a Half! Cherishing Past Moments As Time Flies By

Not too long ago, my eight year old reminded me that she’s officially eight and a half. On top of that pictures from past years came up on my phone, social media and Amazon Echo devices reminding me of the many special moments over the years. I’m truly amazed at how much my little girl has grown, not just physically but mentally, socially and emotionally as well. I’m so clad that I decided to chronicle special our special moments together because it allows me to slow down a little and just appreciate her life and my role as her mother.

Though there are still many more years to go, I’m still often brought back to those times when she was a baby just learning how to talk, crawl and walk. Now, she’s dancing, skating boarding, reading, multiplying and even writing plays. As life continues too become hectic again, I’m going to try my best to cherish our moments together as time flies by.

All the best,

Tanya

Don’t Want to Picture Losing My Baby Girl But Happy She’s Growing Into a Beautiful Young Lady

Picture day is fast approaching and will be here is just a few days. Just like when I was a kid, decades later, and it’s now a big deal for my daughter. Picking out that perfect outfit and how she’ll wear her hair is a big deal. Upon going to the hairstylist and getting a silk press for her 8th birthday, Quinn knew that she didn’t want ponytails, which is what I had for my third grade picture, but to wear her hair out.

I decided to honor her request since she doesn’t wear her hair out often; unfortunately, the stylist who did a wonderful job on her hair is unavailable. Instead of being disappointed, Quinn insisted that “I” do her hair.

When I told her that I’m not a stylist but will try my best, she reassured me that I would do a terrific job. Instead of waiting until picture day or the day before, I decided to give it a try last week after watching a few videos on YouTube. To my surprise, it turned out better than I hoped, and Quinn said, “You did a fabulous job, Mommy!”

Though it made me so happy seeing that big smile on Quinn’s face, I saw something else. My baby girl is growing up so fast! In two short years, she’ll be in double digits! But until then, I’m excited to see how her pictures turn out, and know that she’ll have a big smile on her face as my sweet little girl.

All the best,

Tanya

In “Tune with My Squad” on Halloween!

I love dressing up with my daughter for Halloween, so when we both decided on being “Tune Squad” characters, Lola Bunny and Granny, after seeing the new Space Jam Legacy movie over the summer, the wheels were turning on how to bring our characters to life.

Granny was much easier than Lola Bunny. I ordered the Tune Squad jersey top and shorts through Amazon, and then ordered the sweatshirt through Etsy, just in case it got chilly. My granny wig, accompanied with glasses, a glasses chain and necklace came from Amazon as well. It just so happened that I had blue tights to wear under my shorts and blue and orange sneakers to match my outfit.

Lola Bunny, on the other hand, required me to use my creativity and crafting skills. It was hard to find the kid-size thick jersey top and shorts, but I stumbled upon a Tune Squad dress on Target’s website. I then found the blonde wig through Amazon. Though there were some rabbit ears available, they were either the wrong color or just looked cheap. So I decided to make Lola Bunny ears after watching a helpful YouTube video. I got all of my supplies, including a cute tail to add to the dress, from Joann Fabrics, and they turned out better than I had hoped.

Since Quinn’s dress was sleeveless, a sweatshirt would definitely be needed, but after searching for a while, I failed to find a Tune Squad sweatshirt for kids in blue. So I ordered a plain blue sweatshirt through Amazon, purchased picture files through Etsy, printed out the images on iron-on paper, and made a Tune Squad sweatshirt with Lola Bunny. Quinn loved it and thought I purchased it that way. I also found a Lola Bunny mask on Etsy, which was perfect!

The take our costume to the next level, we found a matching Tune Squad jersey for our toy poodle and a basketball purse for trick or treating.

Of course, doing Halloween activities, family fun and trick or treating makes it all a memorable experience. But putting my time, effort and creativity into making our costumes come to life makes it that much more special!

Happy Halloween!

All the best,

Tanya

What a Great Halloween Adventure!

Yesterday, my sister, niece, daughter and I all went to Six Flags Great Adventure for a good time. It was packed! The crowd was enormous! Even the Flash pass line had over an hour wait, but we didn’t care. We were there for some outdoor fun. Though we didn’t get on many rides due to the crazy lines, just walking around the amusement park, doing a little trick or treating in the kids’ section and enjoying the atmosphere was enough to put a smile on my daughter’s face. Sometimes, that’s all we need. 🎃😊

All the best,

Tanya

The Crew is Back for Some Boo at the Zoo Fun!

“I’m so excited! We’re all going to be back together again, Mommy!” My daughter said as we got ready this morning. When I informed Quinn that we’ve seen our cousins and her Nana (my mom), she said, yes, but this is the first time since the pandemic that we’ll be together. The last time was actually at Boo at the Zoo in 2019.

After many restrictions and adjusting to the many new norms, I felt a sense of joy knowing that we would finally be reconnecting with our usual crew too. We all came ready in our cool and creative costumes with smiles on our faces, occasionally behind our masks while in large groups, and had a great time trick or treating while strolling along and seeing the animals. There was a chance of not just rain but thunderstorms. Instead, the sun was shining, and it was unseasonably warm. We didn’t even need our sweatshirts and got ice cream to cool off.

I just love seeing Quinn with her cousins having a blast. We both missed these interactions so much and am glad we were able to have fun together this year at one of our favorite Halloween events.

All the best,

Tanya

Flying High: A Fun Birthday Experience with My Family

I had no idea what my husband and daughter had planned for my birthday, but I knew it would be fun since I’m a big kid at heart. When we arrived after a half hour drive, I was filled with excitement and nervousness as we walked into iFLY King of Prussia.

Though my husband opted out of the experience and took plenty of pictures, this would be Quinn and my first time. I’m so grateful for my family and I love having new adventures together.

The experience, no doubt, was intense but so memorable. As the instructor helped me to “fly” I thought about how my family supports and helps each other. This truly is a moment I will always cherish.

All the best,

Tanya

Back with My Pumpkin and Patching Up a Tradition

We’re officially in fall and October! It’s one of my favorite months to do activities with my family, especially my daughter. Last year, with the COVID restrictions, I broke tradition and headed to the nearest supermarket to pick out our Halloween pumpkins to decorate. Though we both were okay with this deviation from our usual monthly plans, knowing that we would be restoring our tradition and going to a pumpkin patch this year filled us with excitement. We were so happy to have my mom, Quinn’s Nana, accompany us as she’s done since Quinn was a toddler. This was just a another reminder of what we both missed last year to allow us to appreciate it even more this year.

For the past few years, we’ve gone to Shady Brook Farms and enjoyed ourselves, but we decided to try somewhere new, Kohler Farms. While they did not has as many activities, they were about a third of the cost. Also, it was still a fun experience as we enjoyed the sights on the hayride to the pumpkin patch, navigated our way through the corn maze and selected are precious pumpkins to decorate. Then with those savings, we dined at a nearby restaurant afterward and had some well-needed family togetherness.

Of course, I could’ve just stopped by a supermarket or Home Depot to pick up pumpkins again this year and maybe even had saved some money, but the family togetherness, smiles and happy moments with Quinn are totally worth it. Here’s to a great October building fun-filled memories with my family!

Best,

Tanya

An Extra Special Back to School Night!

As my husband and I entered our daughter’s third grade classroom with soft classical music playing, I was filled with joy, not only because her teacher reminds me so much of my third grade teacher but because this was the first time I was back in my daughter’s school, let alone classroom for over a year and a half!

Though Quinn did such a wonderful job adapting to virtual learning last year and never complained about not being in the classroom, when I read her “About Me” presentation that she put together for my husband and me, I came to the realization that she missed being in person more than I thought.

There’s something special about being in person. That interaction with classmates and the teacher is needed for most and allows them to thrive and socialize. Though knowing that the vaccine is not available for Quinn’s age group still makes me a bit nervous, I’m grateful that she was not robbed of another year of limited to know socialization with her classmates and teacher.

On top of that, she was selected as the student of the month for her classroom which makes me very proud. This truly is starting off to be a special “back to school” experience for my daughter and me as well.

All the best,

Tanya