Worst Case Scenario: Life Without My Family

Ever think about the worst case scenario? While we may all try to avoid it and hope it never happens, we’re all occasionally put to the test! Last week, the Franklin Institute debuted its new exhibit, “The Worst Case Scenario: Survival Experience,” and today, my daughter, sister, niece and I went and had a ball. Though it was a fun experience reading the tips and doing some of the activities, especially the rush we got from falling backwards into a pool of balls, there were some thought-provoking moments that made me think about the importance of valuing life and loved ones and not taking time or them for granted.

There was a huge blackboard where people could write down their “worst case scenario,” and without giving it much thought, the one that popped into my head was not being attacked by a swarm of killer bees nor being in the middle of an elephant stampede nor trying to escape from the ledge of a building but experiencing life without my family.

Sometimes we’re so busy with work or so self-involved that we don’t even imagine what our lives would be like if those who “matter” were no longer there or were taken away from us. I love my family, and my daughter has made such a huge impact on my life in the six years that she’s been in this earth. Of course, I don’t even want to imagine what my life would be like without her, my husband, mother, siblings and extended family. So instead, I try my best to create lasting memories with her and my family.

One of my “best case scenarios” is simply seeing smiles and feeling the love and joy of my daughter and family as we enjoy each other’s company. What’s your “best case scenario?”

All the best,

Tanya

Another Lesson from My Little Girl: Humans Need Nature

Yesterday, my friend and her family were kind enough to host us at their lake house for the day, and there were so many magical moments and memories made. One in particular is when my six year old, holding her hand behind her back said, “I got something for you, Mommy!” It was a bright yellow flower, one I’d never seen before. “I got it when we were near the lily pads,” she informed me with a smile. I smiled back and said, “Thank you, Quinnie! It’s beautiful!”

As I admired this interesting little flower, I noticed something. There was a little insect inside making its way out. I called Quinn over to take a look with me, and she was fascinated by the little creature too. Once it was out, we actually discovered that there was another inside. I snapped a few pictures of it and thought to myself, humans need nature. I may not be fond of creepy crawlers, but I found myself entranced. There’s something endearing about observing children be their natural selves exploring nature. I truly am grateful for the ability to simply slow down and enjoy nature with my daughter and friends. It may not be the “norm” for most in 2019, but it feels so natural.

All the best,

Tanya

It’s My Mommyversary! Six Wonderful Years of Motherhood

In 2013, just a week after giving birth to my little girl, I celebrated being a mother for the first time. Now, six years and hundreds of blog posts later, I have many baby steps behind me yet many more to go! Being a mother is such a rewarding experience, and my daughter has played a significant role in helping me to grow not just as a mother but as a person. I truly am lucky to have my own mother available to share advice and words of wisdom and to have a thoughtful and caring daughter who both make the challenging journey of motherhood an absolute joy.

Here’s to all of the mothers everywhere! May your baby steps into motherhood turn into bountiful leaps and jumps of joy filled with wonderful memories.

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

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

Grateful to See the New Year of 2019 with My Little Girl

The last few weeks of 2018 were a roller coaster ride for my family as we dealt with my daughter being ill and hospitalized and then rejoiced in her being home for Christmas and having a great recovery. Even though gratitude is something that I try to practice and teach my daughter regularly, I decided in 2019 I would make a more conscious effort. I also made a resolution to be even more present with my family.

Both my daughter and I received gratitude journals as Christmas gifts, so I thought it would be awesome for us to talk and write together about that for which we are grateful. It’s also a perfect way to promote writing with my little kindergartener. We started our journals on January 1st and actually were grateful for the same thing: a visit from my mom (her nana) and my aunt (her great aunt).

It pleases me that my daughter is grateful for her family because I certainly am grateful for her. I’m looking forward to bonding and sharing wonderful moments together with my five year old as we write about that for which we are grateful throughout 2019.

All the best,

Tanya

Baking Up Memories with My Little Girl

 

“I’m so excited, Mommy! I want to do everything from start to finish!” my five year old informed me as we prepared to bake chocolate chip cookies for Thanksgiving. Though it can be time-consuming, and it’s difficult to always carve out time to do it, I love baking. I especially love baking with my daughter. Now that she’s in kindergarten, she’s starting to read, is understanding the concept of measuring more and more and really was able to do just about everything from start to finish, with the exclusion of putting and taking the cookies out of the oven.

As we stood in the kitchen together, we bonded and talked about how excited we were to share our cookies with the family for Thanksgiving. Quinn even said, “I really love baking with you mommy. We ought to do it more often!” I agreed. It is such a wonderful feeling to see her applying what I’ve taught her over the years. I did not have to remind her how to sift the ingredients. Using the Kitchen Aid mixer is a no brainer for her. Without me suggesting, she said, “I’m going to start the mixer on the lowest setting firs so that the flour doesn’t go everywhere. Then I’ll flick the switch so it can mix the cookie dough faster. She was able to use the cookie scoop with ease, and even knew the importance of not putting the cookies too close to one another of the baking sheet.

This experience made me think of an analogy with my little girl. Before she was born, she was “baking” in my stomach until it was time for her to come out. Now, I often observe her “baking up” some ideas and searching for life “ingredients.”  She’s on her way to becoming a master chef, and it comforts me to know that I’m playing a role in sharing my recipes for heartfelt moments that she will be able to use to cook up a wonderful life for herself.

All the best,

Tanya