Sunday, February 18, 2018

Livi is Eight



Looking back on past birthday posts today and not much has changed. Themes such as tactile learning, love of dance, and kindness still ring true. Her compassion for animals and others is still one of her most endearing qualities. The other day she asked me to buy a stress ball and when I asked why she described a boy in her class that has trouble with dealing with his anger and she thought it would be good for him. The other day her teacher described a situation where another girl was being ugly to Livi and continued to tell me how mature Livi was in handling it. By the end of the hour, they were giggling friends. As she says “how can anyone not want to be friends with Livi?”.  She sees the best in everyone. 

Lately, she’s been really into cooking. She loves to help in the kitchen and when she’s not watching pre-teen sitcoms, she is watching cooking shows and competitions. She’s also been taking hip hop lessons once a week and really enjoys it. She’s totally uninterested in sports but does seem to understand the value of exercising and being strong. 

She has been taking coding class at school. Although I would love to see her grow in that area, she doesn’t seem too interested in it. This is also her first year learning violin in the after care program which some days she loves and some days she hates. I’m noticing anything with a strong structure to it is something she shies away from. But I recognize it’s still good for her so she continues. As long as her friends are involved, she’s happy. 

She's a lovely, little lady with a lot of love to give. She's kind, tough, creative and kinda brilliant. I love you, sweet Livi Lu.

1. What is your favorite color? blue
2. What is your favorite toy? American girl doll
3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
4. What is your favorite tv show? Jesse
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Chic-fil-a
6. What is your favorite outfit? My Valentine's outfit 
7. What is your favorite game? Gymnastics app
8. What is your favorite snack? candy
9. What is your favorite animal? Otter
10. What is your favorite song? Run the World (girls) by Beyonce
11. What is your favorite book? The Babysitters Club
12. Who is your best friend? Sierra
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the pool
15. What is your favorite drink? Slushie
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Rigby and Penny
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Pancakes
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Helping pets if they are sick
21. What is your favorite movie? Captain Underpants




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Liam is Ten


Double digits. How did we get here? I'm not sure, but it's clear that Liam is growing up. He is straddling the two worlds of "I don't need you" and "Can you walk with me to the bathroom?".  He's also trying to deal with some big emotions which seem to be the only kinds of emotions he knows how to have. I know this will serve him well once he learns how to navigate them. For now, it feels a little like walking on egg shells. But when he loves, he loves BIG and he makes you feel like the most important person in the world. 

His friends are so important to him. He’s a social butterfly and he’s made friends here quickly, even though he misses his old ones terribly.  He started robotics club this year and has his first competition next month. He’s taking an extracurricular coding class before school once a week and will gladly inform you that he is farther along than anyone else in his lessons. 

He loves to read. Graphic novels are his favorite and if you want to make him happy, just tell him you are taking him to the library after school. 

His latest obsession is magic. We can’t remember how exactly he got into it, but you can almost always find him with cards in his hand. He’s into card and coin tricks and loves watching the work of Penn and Teller and Shin Lim. He has an Instagram account where he posts his tricks and has a lofty goal of getting a booth at one of the largest art festivals here to perform his magic. He attends magic club once a month at a tiny magic store just outside of Asheville where he sits for 3-4 hours trading secrets with mostly grown magicians that he looks up to. 

The boy has my heart. Sometimes I wonder if he knows it. But I love him more than I can describe. He’s not a baby anymore but he’ll always be my baby. 

1. What is your favorite color? neon pink
2. What is your favorite toy? deck of cards
3. What is your favorite fruit? apple with cinnamon
4. What is your favorite tv show? Troll Hunters
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? hummus pack with pretzels
6. What is your favorite outfit? basketball shorts and NASA sweater
7. What is your favorite game? Roblox
8. What is your favorite snack? any type of chips
9. What is your favorite animal? Road runner
10. What is your favorite song? Rolex by Ayo and Teo
11. What is your favorite book? Prisoner of War
12. Who is your best friend? Kai
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms 
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike
15. What is your favorite drink? Root beer
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? a book
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Bacon and sausage
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Hibachi
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Magician
21. What is your favorite movie? Rogue One until we see Last Jedi
22. What is your favorite football team? Saints and LSU






Monday, December 18, 2017

Livi is Seven



1. What is your favorite color? Pink
2. What is your favorite toy? American Girl Doll
3. What is your favorite fruit? Kiwi
4. What is your favorite tv show? AntFarm
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Chicken nuggets
6. What is your favorite outfit? Shopkins jacket
7. What is your favorite game? Toca Boca town (iphone app)
8. What is your favorite snack? oranges
9. What is your favorite animal? zebra
10. What is your favorite song? Can't stop the feeling by Justin Timberlake
11. What is your favorite book? The Curious Garden
12. Who is your best friend? Luya
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play in the snow
15. What is your favorite drink? Lemonade
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Elly
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? banana ice cream
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Cesar Salad
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? vet
21. What is your favorite movie? Trolls


Livi is fascinating to me. It's just so interesting how siblings can be so different from each other yet be such a perfect mix of their parents. It would be hard to find somewhere more different than Livi is from her brother. She doesn't need constant attention and approval. She is content with whatever is happening around her. She always finds something to do and generally looks on the bright side.

She's social in her own way. It might take her a bit to warm up to you but she's always looking to make a friend. If there is a little sister at any of Liams sporting events, Livi will find her and they will be best friends by the end of the night. But she does it by inching towards her and casually laying out her doll to gauge interest. Pretty soon, they'll be running around and giggling.

She gets distracted. A lot. Liam doesn't like to do chores but if there is a clear reward, he will burn through them. Livi might want that reward just as badly, but as she says "I just see my toys and they make me want to play with them!" Cleaning her room can take upwards of a couple hours. There is no ill intent. It's just the way she rolls. And I totally get it because I do the same thing.

She's smart in a completely different way from her big bro. He catches on to everything so quickly. He never had a problem with spelling from the beginning. He hears or reads something and than he knows it. Livi needs to touch and feel and experience to understand. She's a maker. She loves anything that involves mixing or experimenting or creating and as a result, she's more likely to come up with her own conclusions. She's said some pretty enlightening things in the past that usually catch me off guard.

She is probably the kindest one in the family. She doesn't like to see any of us upset. If Liam asks her for one of her candies and she says no, he will inevitably start to cry and she will inevitably give in to him. It's a trick he uses all too often.

She also likes to please people. Praise or recognition from her teachers mean the world to Livi. When she thinks I am genuinely disappointed in her, it crushes her. And than that crushes me. Chris thinks she looks up to me, but I just see her as a mini replica of myself. She's my bud.






Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Liam is nine



If I left it up to Liam, he would be on the computer or playing video games every waking hour. I've often said that he reminds me of my brother. They are so much alike except for the fact that Liam also loves sports. He will play any sport I put him in and is loving his newest endeavor, Tae Kwon Do. Like my brother, he enjoys games and SciFi/fantasy. He is obsessed with Pokemon and will take it any form (TV show, trading cards, video game, and even "fashion"). 

Understanding the similarities between Liam and my brother have helped me navigate parenting him. My brother is wicked smart and will admit that he doesn't like to work particularly hard and has to be "made" to participate in experiences outside of video games and board games. He will also admit that when he does participate he almost never regrets it. It's one of the reasons he is so thankful for his wife who loves to try new things and go to new places. This is my Liam. The difference is that he doesn't have the maturity to understand that when I want to do things outside of screen time as a family, I don't mean to ruin his life or make him upset. Pretty sure he equates any activity that he isn't thrilled with as a punishment or a secret vendetta that I must have against him. But usually, once he let's go of that and allows himself to enjoy his surroundings he has quite a nice time. Alot of me has been equating this behavior to a sense of entitlement and selfishness. But knowing that my brother behaved similarly and still turned out to be one of the kindest, most lovely humans I know has helped me to realize that this is just an area that Liam needs to grow in. I need to ignore the negative behavior and cut him a break once in a while. He's just a kid. Kids get upset when they don't get their way. It doesn't take away the fact that he is empathetic towards his younger cousins or still wants me to give him 10 kisses and 10 hugs every night at bedtime. 

I love him deeply and I know that he feels the same about me and his father and sister. He's becoming grown up and part of me can't wait for that maturity to set in, but another part of me yearns for him to stay a little boy dependent on his mama. 

1. What is your favorite color? neon pink
2. What is your favorite toy? Xbox
3. What is your favorite fruit? mango
4. What is your favorite tv show? Trollhunter
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Pizza poppers
6. What is your favorite outfit? Pokemon shirt
7. What is your favorite game? Overwatch
8. What is your favorite snack? chips
9. What is your favorite animal? tiger
10. What is your favorite song? Immigrants from Hamilton Mixed Tape
11. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter
12. Who is your best friend? Zeke, Daddy, Kai, Jude and Kama
13. What is your favorite cereal? Lucky Charms
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Go snowboarding or sledding if it's snowing, if it's not- play football with dad
15. What is your favorite drink? Ginger Ale and Root Beer
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Myself
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? banana ice cream
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Shrimp cocktail
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? Football player
21. What is your favorite movie? Rogue One
22. What is your favorite football team? New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers





Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Liam is Eight



Liam is still smart as a whip. He may not technically be "gifted" but he is performing at the top of this gifted/ high achiever class. He is reading at a fourth grade level and learning multiplication and some division. 

1. What is your favorite color?
 green
2. What is your favorite toy? my smartwatch
3. What is your favorite fruit? frozen peaches
4. What is your favorite tv show? Sports Center
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? Lime Mexican Restaurant
6. What is your favorite outfit? Saints Jersey
7. What is your favorite game? Sushi Game
8. What is your favorite snack? trail mix
9. What is your favorite animal? Cougar
10. What is your favorite song? Stressed Out
11. What is your favorite book? Harry Potter
12. Who is your best friend? Cameron, Evan and Jaiden.. and Daddy
13. What is your favorite cereal? Cinnamon Toast Crunch
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Throw the football
15. What is your favorite drink? LaCroix
16. What is your favorite holiday? Christmas
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? Mommy's scarf
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Cinnamon Streusel Cake
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? Hibachi
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? I wanna be a football player but you won't let me so I wanna be a basketball player.
21. What is your favorite movie? The new Star Wars
He asked me to add:
22. What is your favorite football team? New Orleans Saints

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Livi is Six


I just read over Livi's post from last year's birthday and so much yet so little has changed in this little girl. She is still a strong-willed, creative, and loving child but I've learned so much more about who she is as her personality starts to become more concrete. The little clues of being her own person and daydreaming have manifested into something that makes conventional education a little hard for Livi. She is so intelligent, but learning certain things have become a struggle. It's hard for me because I know we are at a crossroads and I want to do right by her. If she continues to be taught by teachers who don't "get" her, she will lose confidence and not tap into the very special and unique way her mind works. I don't want her to shut down, I want her to grow. We are currently exploring different options so stay tuned for more on that. 

Something else that has come to my attention is how incredibly caring she is. She is a caretaker through and through. She cares for her baby dolls as though they were her real babies. She has taken to cooking and must be the one to serve the food at every meal. Great pride is taken in the fact that she helped cut the chicken or make the sauce. She is the first to offer a blanket if someone mentions they are cold or split her candy if yours has fallen to the ground. 

Her smile is infectious. If you are lucky enough to spend some time with her and she chooses to let you in, you will have the best time and you will feel better off than you did before. 

1. What is your favorite color? pink 
2. What is your favorite toy? Barbies
3. What is your favorite fruit? Bananas
4. What is your favorite tv show? Master Chef Junior
5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? school lunch
6. What is your favorite outfit? cheerleader outfit
7. What is your favorite game? Mancala
8. What is your favorite snack? Pirate's Booty
9. What is your favorite animal? Giraffe and Elephant
10. What is your favorite song? Hello
11. What is your favorite book? The Curious Garden
12. Who is your best friend? Mommy and Kama
13. What is your favorite cereal? Wheaties
14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike and play
15. What is your favorite drink? LaCroix
16. What is your favorite holiday? Easter
17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? baby 
18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? Waffles and sprinkles
19. What do you want for dinner on your birthday? pizza
20. What do you want to be when you grow up? a teacher (I would only let them eat candy and play) 
21. What is your favorite movie? Big Hero Six

Monday, May 11, 2015

What Motherhood Has Taught Me


It's a funny thing, being a mom. Everyone tells you your life is about to change and it does. That part wasn't much of a surprise. The thing I didn't expect was how profoundly it would change the way I viewed myself. I have heard people say that they lost themselves once they had kids because everything became about the kids and they had nothing left. The opposite happened to me. 

I've always had an idea of what my values were and what values I wanted to instill in my kids. And as my kids grow, I am constantly thinking of the kind of human I want to raise. At the end of the day, my job is to teach them and prepare them to be respectful, intelligent, kind and independent people. What is the best way to do that? Be an example. I use different tactics and give them certain responsibilities to drive this all home, but it always comes back to me and their dad. There is nothing more effective than practicing what you preach. As I came to this realization, it occurred to me that my ideals did not always align with how I was really living. I had become lazy and comfortable and my kids were forcing me to step it up. I had some work to do. 

So here are all the things that I strive to teach my kids everyday that have now become areas I am working on. We're all in this together.

- Believe in yourself. I didn't intend to start this off sounding like an after school special, but it's true that it's something I needed help in. Have you ever heard of the idea that you shouldn't say anything about yourself that you wouldn't say about your best friend? The idea being that we are much harder on ourselves than the people we love most in this world. And if we just realized that we are human and most people in the world are faking it just as much as we are, we start to gain the confidence we need to move forward. I can say my career has soared since I became a mother and I don't think that is a coincidence. Also, as you get older you just give less shits. So there's that too.

- Celebrate failure. It's a lot easier to say you can't do something and give up than endure the hardships of failing. Sounds obvious when you say it, but I never really thought about it until a study came out a couple years ago stating that kids that were praised for the process (failing) over accomplishments were more successful. If they just realized that eventually they would succeed, they were much more likely to keep trying. Failing is just a sign that you are closer to succeeding. Realizing that simple fact has made an impact on me too. 

- Be kind, not nice. I think I had the kind part down, but the part about being not nice was harder for me. What do I mean by that? Well, I want to teach my kids it is ok to say no sometimes. I don't want them to get walked over and for some reason I have always had a hard time saying no. Saying no has freed me from feeling overwhelmed and stressed and I want the same for my kids.

- Stop whining and fix it. Ok, I don't think I whine a lot but teaching my kids to recognize and solve problems is a big one. Reiterating it to them constantly just puts it in the forefront for me. It has become routine around here to stop a situation from getting out of hand and talk about what the problem really is and how we can best solve it. I mean, how can that not help me?


- Broaden your horizons. Make lots of different kinds of friends and experience different places. I've always loved to travel, but I just haven't done as much of it in my life as I would like. We've made it a priority to take a family trip every year to somewhere new so the kids can experience different parts of the country and eventually, the world. Experiencing different places and people builds empathy and a realization that the world is a lot bigger than our little bubble at home. Showing them around also helps me slash stuff off my bucket list. Plus it's fun to see them experience new things.

My kids have made sure that I am no longer a caricature of what I've always wanted to be. That ideal hasn't been reached but I am lot closer to it than I ever have been and it feels good to know that when I tell my kids it's important to xyz, it's coming from a place of honesty and not hypocrisy. So thanks kids. I love you for it.