Reading for Fun(draising): My Little Girl Supporting the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House

 

My daughter has loved leafing through books since she was a baby and looks forward to her father or me reading stories to her before she goes to bed, regardless of how tired she may be. Now that she’s five, she enjoys trying to read on her own, especially books about art, creativity, unicorns and princesses! So when she came home with a packet from her school to raise money, for the Read for the House Program, a service-learning project that raises funds to support the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, I thought it would be an excellent opportunity to not only raise money for a good cause but to encourage Quinn to read even more.

Throughout the entire month of February, Quinn eagerly read several books, many from the Fancy Nancy and Amelia Bedelia series. She’s only in kindergarten, but I am so amazed at how many words she can read by herself with little to no assistance from me or her dad. This was such a great experience for us both, and my sweet girl was able to exceed her fundraising goal with the generosity of family and friends. Even though the fundraising period is drawing to a close, the  fun times of reading together with my little girl will continue.

All the best,

Tanya

The Fear of Picturing Lost Moments with My Little Girl

img_0790-1“For how much longer will you be working on your class work, Mommy?” my five year old asked with a sense of urgency in her voice. This past Wednesday was a snow day for the both of us: no school! But that did not mean the work stopped for me. I had to send out an early morning email letting my students know how to proceed and started working on modifying the course syllabus as a result of losing a day of class. I also had to still work on reading and grading essays. It pained me that it couldn’t just be a “snow day” for my daughter and I to have some fun, and I had to explain to her that work sometimes still goes on, and work has to come before fun.

Though this was just one day, I am finding more and more that I am telling Quinn, “I need to do work first, and sometimes it takes much longer than I anticipate. She seems to understand, but there are times when I just feel guilty. Yes, we have fun together and do many activities that I even talk about on this blog. Yes, I know it cannot be all about having fun all of the time. My daughter knows this too. But when she looks at me with those brown eyes simply wanting my undivided attention and to spend time with me, I feel horrible wishing that I could just drop everything and enjoy everyday moments with her.

There are so many more years to go in her childhood, and I do fear the idea of picturing lost moments that I will never be able to get back. I don’t want to get in the habit of saying, “We’ll see. Maybe this weekend. Or give me twenty minutes that turns into sixty minutes or turns into maybe tomorrow.” Being a present mom, in general, is not easy, definitely while working full-time, but I’m going to continue to try my best to perform the balancing act and create as many memorable moments as possible with my little girl that we can both close our eyes and picture for years to come.

All the best,

Tanya

One Sweet Girl, One Cool Cat, One Fun Dad & One Loving Mom Trying to Find Her Place

For Christmas, we welcomed a new member into our family, Tori the cat! My five year old has been wanting a pet for a while and settled on a six month old rescue kitten  to shower with love. My husband just went along with the plan even though he was apprehensive about getting a pet since he still holds on to the memory of his pert cockatiel who he had for decades that passed away, while I excitedly went out to purchase all of the necessities for Tori’s arrival.

Actually, Tori arrived just a day after Quinn was came home after being hospitalized for nearly a week with bacterial pneumonia and the adenovirus. So we tended to her until Quinn was feeling much better and up for some cuddle time.

I imagined building a bond with Tori along with Quinn. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it went. Tori immediately bonded with my daughter but had limited interest in me. But for some reason, she absolutely adores my husband. Months later, she follows him around the house, wants to play and snuggle with him, and tends to avoid me whenever possible.

Sadly, it is bringing back those torn feelings I once had when I saw the special daddy and daughter bond Quinn and my husband have. Of course, we are close, which I am grateful for, but daddy can do no wrong. Now, the pattern continues with Tori. She plays games with my daughter and husband and is so sweet with them while I try to when her over day after day.

Interestingly, my five year old has been consoling me and has suggested that I keep trying. She’s convinced that Tori will eventually come around and want to be with me just as much as she enjoys being with Quinn and my husband. Her kind words and optimism gives me hope. I’m so grateful to have such a sweet girl and am glad that she is able to bond with Tori even if it’s going to take a little time for me to bond with her.

All the best,

Tanya

Magical Moments with Mommy’s Mini Me

“Mommy, are you going to wear the dress that looks like mine? You promised!” My five year old asked and informed me. Before my daughter was even one year’s old, we would often dress alike. I had a few reasons for this. It was a way for her to learn colors, I would always know what color she was wearing if for some reason she got separated from me, and let’s face it, I think it’s fun and cute for us to dress alike or at least in similar colors from time to time.

Yesterday, we attended a special dance hosted by her dance school. Quinn’s father was her initial plus one, but I was eager to come too so that I could take pictures of her at her first “dance.” When I let her know about the event, she excitedly told me, “I have an idea! How about if we both wear our special blue dresses that look alike. Then we can be twins!”

Even though Quinn spent most of the time dancing the night away with her dad as I snapped pictures, it made my day that she wanted us to be “twins.” I’m not sure how much time I have before she no longer enjoys dressing a like. Maybe it’s something she will always look forward to doing for many years to come. For now, I will just consider these moments with my mini me as magical memories I will hold near and dear to me heart.

All the best,

Tanya

Zingo! Fun Telling Time with My Little Girl

“I got 8:35!” my daughter said as she placed the 35 minute card on to the proper place. I just love the “Zingo” spelling game I got for my daughter last year as does she. So when I saw that there was one teaching children how to tell time in a fun way, I quickly added it to my five year old’s Christmas wish list. The game has a similar set-up to the spelling version with double-sided cards. The green side uses digital and analog clocks, and the advanced red side uses only analog clocks. We played a few rounds of the game, and I was impressed with how quickly my daughter caught on and was trying to use just the analog side to tell time.

Actually, I think some adults who struggle with telling time could benefit from this game. During these cold months, if you are looking for a fun game to teach your child a helpful skill, Zingo Time Telling might be the perfect one for you!

All the best,

Tanya

Mark My Words: Science is Awesome! Colorful Fun with My Little Girl

“Can we make purple next, Mommy?” my five year old excitedly asked. “Sure, what colors do we need?” I inquired. “Red and blue,” she quickly responded. My little girl loves drawing and doing projects, so the “Marker Lab” was perfect for some weekend fun. It comes with a kit that allows a person to create eight markers in various colors from start to finish. While it had the potential to be messy, the process actually went rather smoothly. We read the instructions together, determined what colors were needed and how many drops of color would be needed and got to work!

“To make green, it says we need 1.5 milliliters of blue and 1.5 milliliters,” Quinn informed me. She carefully added the color to the tube with the included the eye dropper, with little assistance from me and eagerly waited for the marker tube to fill up with the marker ink. I then helped her to assemble the marker, and voila they were ready for writing and drawing.

Where was the marker lab when I was a little girl?! I found this really fun project at Home Goods for just $12.99 and was probably more excited than my daughter to make the markers. I highly recommend this kit to any parent who wants to sneak in science, math, writing and a bit of art with a lot of fun.

All the best,

Tanya

Life Lessons of Winning & Losing: Fun & Games with My Little Girl

“Let’s play a different game!” my five year old insisted as she started putting away the “Connect Four” pieces. “Why?” I asked. To which she quickly replied, “You won the past two games!” Yesterday, we spent a few hours playing games from Hungry Hippos (a classic for me), Disney’s Surprise Slides, which is a variation of Shoots and Ladders, Who Shook Hook, Guess Who and a few others.

I can easily recall when I was younger having game day with my mom and my siblings. Though I enjoyed this family time, I often struggled with being a sore loser when we played “Sorry” or “Old Maid,” which I always seemed to be. It might have been the feeling that I’d never win, the hope that my mom would just let me win or even the occasional taunting from my siblings, but there were times when my eyes would fill with tears, and I’d utter those famous five words, “I don’t want to play anymore!”

Now that I’m older, losing isn’t necessarily easier to accept, but I am able to look at it through a different lens for the sake of my daughter. Though she handles losing much better than I did at her age, I can tell that it still upsets her. As we play games together, we laugh, have fun and hi five, there are also opportunities to discuss life as it correlates to games.

I told her that we all need to learn how to lose and win gracefully. We also discussed how we all can improve with practice, as she did with “Connect Four. When we first started playing when she was around three years old, she was still learning the concept of the game of getting four in a row, and diagonal was definitely tricky. Yesterday, she was really strategizing by making sure to block me and really gave me a run for my money. She legitimately won quite a few times without me going easy on her and just needs to balance blocking me while keeping an eye out for how she can get four in a row simultaneously.

Quinnie’s technique actually made me think about how people, sometimes focus so much on blocking others from winning that they still wind up losing because they aren’t paying attention when the opportunities for them to win present themselves. We went over how her strategy will continue to improve and played a few more rounds before moving on to “Hungry Hippos.”

I am so proud of her for her willingness to keep playing even when she was not winning. She even learned with Disney’s Surprise Slides that it’s not over until it’s over. She was far ahead on the board, and I managed to catch up with her. She then kept saying with each turn, “I don’t think I’m going to win!” But she still kept playing. I was on her tail, when she spun the red Mickey Mouse to win the game. A big smile was plastered on her face as she said, “I can’t believe it! I won! I thought I was losing for sure!” That’s when I told her, “Sometimes that’s how it goes! You think you’re going to lose, but you still win. That’s why you always keep trying your best!” We learn so much from life but sometimes more from games reflecting how life works.

All the best,

Tanya