It’s a Happy Easter with My Little Bunny and Chick

A couple of weeks prior to Easter, my eight year old asked if we would be taking pictures with the Easter bunny. I was pleasantly surprised when she asked because it seems that she’s been maturing and a more rapid pace since entering third grade.

She was so excited to have her picture take with her toy poodle “brother” Zack, and I was too! Not sure if she’ll want to take pictures next year, but I’ll definitely be holding on to this memory.

All the best,

Tanya

Fighting to Be a Caring Mom & Role Model As Someone Watches & Emulates My Every Move

I love to make videos of myself during kickboxing to help me improve my form and to potentially inspire others on their fitness journeys. But another major reason just surfaced today as my daughter was on the bag next to me.

As I watched my footage to edit a small video montage, I caught a snippet of Quinn observing me as I put on my gloves to get ready for the next round and combination. When I showed it to her with excitement, my eight year old claimed she was looking at the kickboxing instructor demonstrate the moves, but the picture definitely gives the impression that she was looking at me.

In knowing that she asked to join me and wanted to exercise with me, I’m still excited about her emulating what I believe to be some of my positive qualities. I will fight as hard as I can to be a caring, supportive mom who she looks up to as not just her mom but a role model.

All the best,

Tanya

Mother Daughter Bond: Exercising Mirrored Behaviors Together

As I looked across the mat at kickboxing this morning, I noticed that the person and I were in sync as we did high knees. What made this mirror image extra special is that it was my soon to be nine year old giving it her all during the ten minute warm-up. Yesterday, Quinn asked if she could come to kickboxing with me early this morning. Of course, I said sure, especially since she’s joined me before, but this was the first time she joined me on the mats for the warm-up.

I was so impressed with how well she did lasting the entire ten minutes even after jumping rope along with me prior to the start of class. This just reinforces that our children are watching and following our lead. Seeing her made my workout even more rewarding.

All the best,

Tanya

Interwoven Lessons: Learning and Bonding Together

I love learning new skills and being challenged, especially when it’s something that will benefit my daughter and strengthen our bond. Over the summer, after watching YouTube videos on how to do knotless braids, I practiced on myself and then my daughter. To my surprise, they turned out better than I hoped.

Restyling my eight year old’s hair on a daily basis can be time consuming, so when Quinn asked if she could get knotless braids again, I thought why not?

This time around, she asked for beads and is so excited to wear her new style at school. I never thought I would learn and be good at doing knotless braids, so it really puts a smile on my face knowing seeing Quinn smile in the mirror with her braids.

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

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

Life is Like Skateboarding : A Lesson from My Daughter

As I quickly snapped a picture of my eighth year old before she started her skateboarding lesson, it occurred to me that life is a lot like skateboarding.

Some of us may be eager and even excited to embrace all that it offers, but others may be nervous about getting hurt or self conscious if they’re not as skilled to handle the skateboard as others may.

Even still, we kick and push through, learning to balance, to move faster, to take corners and hills. We learn special tricks along the way not to simply show off our skills, but to help us maneuver and get through “life.”

When I arrived a few minutes early to pick up Quinn, I observed her focusing and listening carefully to the instructor just as life often requires us to focus and learn from others. Now, if only I can get up the might to take an actual skateboarding lesson as my daughter hopes I will in the near future.

All the best,

Tanya

Family Togetherness: A Good Harvest & Great Meal

This past Wednesday, my friends invited my daughter and I to visit their community garden. This was such an exciting experience for Quinn because it was her first time at a garden growing vegetables and fruits in addition to plants and flowers. My mom had a garden when I was a little girl, and seeing Quinn happily harvest tomatoes, green peppers, egg plants and herbs as well has made me want to start a beginners garden for us to grown organic veggies and fruits together.

The fun didn’t stop there though. Quinn immediately wanted to wash the vegetables and begin looking up what we could make. Yesterday, my eight year old couldn’t wait to start cooking. She settled on eggplant parmigiana, and I decided to add a side dish with green peppers and tomatoes from the garden along cauliflower rice and broccoli topped with marinara sauce. Though she asked that I hand,ev the knife while cutting the eggplants, tomatoes and green peppers, she did an awesome job preparing the eggplants with the Italian breadcrumbs and arranging them on the baking sheet.

There’s something special about cooking together, but what’s going to make it extra special is growing and harvesting our own vegetables and fruit next year around this time then preparing a meal together with those fruits and veggies.

All the best,

Tanya