We did it for the “Gram”

Since my daughter has decided her newest hobby is chalk drawing, I decided to commission her to create something for @iheartmiles’ instagram account. The end result was nothing short of amazing, especially considering it was done in less than three hours (probably two and a half).
Two and a half hours of work for a handful of photos for Insta, sure why not.
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Striving for Improvement With Each New Experience

originalLast year around the same time, my family and I attended the I Madonnari Festival in downtown San Luis Obispo. For those who have no clue what it is, the “I Madonnari Festival”, benefits the Children’s Creative Project, a non-profit arts education organization. If you’ve ever seen those cool 3D scenes, this is where they have a few of those in addition to some various artwork from the young at heart to the i-travel-from-festival-to-festival-to-draw-masterpieces artists. This year Noni was lucky enough to be able to participate by being sponsored by my work and she got to try her hand (literally) at duplicating a work of art. She decided on a painting by Leonid Atremov. This is the original. We actually had to trim the original to be a square in order to fit the square she was provided.

She was definitely nervous and almost changed her mind on her selection but thankfully I didn’t let her change her submission. Being her mother and because I know best, of course, I knew that she was going to do just fine. The two day event took place on Saturday and Sunday with her finishing up her square around noon on Sunday. Here is the final product.

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As with anything in life, I want all of my children to strive to challenge themselves at anything and everything they do. Noni walked away with a great experience and was able to accomplish something that many of her peers have never participated in. I know that as time passes she will improve her artistic skills with each challenge she faces. She made me extremely proud and considering this was her first attempt at chalk drawing, she was truly amazing. Bravo daughter of mine, now if you could only put that effort towards cleaning your closet then my life would shine just as bright as the drawing (maybe).

Sugar Cube Designs

I took this photo on the plane when I arrived in London several years ago. The first thing that comes to mind when I look at this photo is that I should have modeled my sugar cube castle design in seventh grade after this one. If you can relate, bravo. If you think I’m slightly off, I’ll have you know that I’ve been certified not crazy.

True story.

Poetry and I

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I wrote this poem many, many years ago during one of my on-again off-again poetry phases. Poetry has always been an outlet for self- expression and I hope to revisit that part of me again some day. 

Not Good-Bye

During the presence of love between two distant souls,
I squeezed through the cracks and new forming holes,
They may have occurred while lonely was spent,
Or in between rings when feelings were sent,
Upon a shelf, there lie my thoughts of concern,
While on this final page, a new lesson learned,
The warmest affection only given to replace,
Only to discover their hearts sought a new place,
Yet fully aware of the plans on the wall,
Gone was their face, while twice it’d be fall,
A quick embrace for hours shared that ran thin,
A single trace of salt, left to moisten my skin,
A lengthy wave unseen as you soared through the sky,
I’ll always possess a shoulder to lean, so take care not good-bye.

The Calm Down Box

Calm Down Box

A Calm Down box for my little ones.

After a conference for my two year old (who is now three), I picked up an awesome idea that I had never heard of before. His school explained to me how they have a “Calm Down Box” they use when the little ones need to focus their energy elsewhere. They are given a box full of miscellaneous sensory items that assist in calming their emotions. Whether frustration, anger or sadness, this box allows them to re-focus their energy on one of the random items contained in this box.

At that very moment, it clicked in my mind how great of an idea this was and how beneficial it could be in my household. Children and their behavioral needs seem to vary depending on the child, so while my eldest was always calm and rarely had mood swings the others are not quite the same. My youngest children have the tendency to be more emotional and once they pass a certain threshold, there is no turning back. No amount of hugs or gentle words will reel them back and personal space seems to be the only option for them. Being able to provide them with a box of safe and calming items to assist them in self-soothing seemed perfect.

A few weeks passed and I decided to create my own calm down box. Very soon after, the opportunity to use it presented itself. My four year old was Ms. Cranky in the morning and after getting her dressed her clothes magically were removed minutes later. I was then greeted with screams of tiredness and unwillingness to get ready. Morning routines are  best disrupted by tired and cranky kids with the added pressure to make it out of the house before everyone ends up late. Knowing this, I calmly walked downstairs and grabbed the box. She looked confused when I opened it put bubble wrap in her hand. She then began to quietly pop the bubble wrap and I went about my morning routine. I checked in with her a couple minutes later. At this time she was shaking the water bottle that had food coloring and glitter (that was safely secured with super glue) and I asked her if she was done and she quietly shook her head no. Another two minutes later, she was back to popping the bubble wrap and the next time I checked on her she was ready to get dressed without any objections.

Success.

I decided to add more items to the box in order to provide a variety of sensory objects to. The items that other parents include will obviously vary based on the child. I am a strong believer in calming colors, so I steered clear of a box that had any red on it. I opted against the rainbow box simply because of the red stripe. The items inside were selected based on the variety of stimulation they provided from squishy play-doh, to furry characters to musical items such as maracas and a recorder. I chose items that I knew my children would enjoy, but made sure not to select things that could possibly injure them if they were upset. Scissors, pencils, or sharp objects should NOT be included and my calm down box is meant for three years of age and up.

This small but meaningful project reminded me that there are more ways than one to accomplish something. Open-mindedness (for me) is key to growing as a parent (and a person).