3 Things Thursday

 

Whoa-it has been awhile since my last post. Looks like we’ve got some catching up to do so let’s get right to my latest 3 Things Thursday!

1. The new job is going well! I’ve been in my new position for a month now and I am learning lots and lots. Working in a new industry has been a wee bit intimidating but exciting and I am catching on more every day. The hours, benefits and working environment is so incredibly different than my last position. I am truly grateful for my new job!

2. Last week we took a short but fun filled trip to Florida. Little Kid and I joined the grandparents, my brother and my niece on a visit to Islands of Adventure. Our favorite part was the Harry Potter experience since we are making our way through the book series. It was lots of fun to see elements of book come to life and Little Kid and my niece were thrilled that they were able to buy “magic” wands of their very own.

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The trip was such great fun. I can’t wait to go on more adventures this summer! Just 2 more months until school is out in our neck of the woods!

3. Spring has sprung in beautiful Savannah! It is my most favorite time in our beautiful city. Everything is in bloom and our already majestic city is absolutely gorgeous. The high pollen count is misery for many of us but totally worth it once you gaze upon the beauty of spring in the south.

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How lucky am I now that I am able to stroll through our beautiful downtown every day at lunch time! The beauty of this place will never be lost on me no matter how long I live here.

So there you have it-my latest 3 Things Thursday! Please do share the wonders of your week below or holler at me on Twitter!

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3 Things Thursday

Happy Thursday! I haven’t posted in a bit, I’ve been a busy lady lately so let’s catch up! Here is my latest 3 Things Thursday post.

1. Little Kid’s birthday party was on Sunday and it went off without a hitch. A lot of preparation went in to it so I am thrilled that it all worked out really well. Lot’s of Little Kid’s friends showed up and fun was had by all! The kid’s enjoyed all of the creepy snacks and caught glimpses of the movie Goosebumps between breaks from running around and playing.The Jello worms were a big hit!Everyone was surprised by how realistic they looked and the few brave kids who dared to try them said that they were delicious! Read more

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3 Things Thursday

Hey there, hope that you are having a fantastic week! Here is my weekly 3 Things Thursday post where I highlight what is going just dandy for me this week.

  1. Little Kid’s birthday is coming up and I am in full blown party planning mode! I cannot believe that my little boy will be 8 years old in a week! Where did my baby go?2149_126885060093_4041_nHe has chosen Goosebumps as his theme and I am loving planning his party. I am crafting to my heart’s content and as usual Pinterest has been such a great resource. Check out my Goosebumps Pinterest board here. It’s going to be a great party, Little Kid is super, crazy excited!
  2. For the first time in a long time, I got my hair done. I am terrible at keeping up with just getting my hair cut when I should. This time I went all out and had my hair colored and cut. I tried out a new stylist and I was very pleased with the end result. While she was working on my hair we were chatting and we ended up having some pretty interesting conversations. I am not a big small talk type of person and honestly I dread having to chit chat at hair appointments and the like. This time it was completely different however. I felt very comfortable talking to this woman and we ended up having some deep conversations and amazingly I had a huge a-ha moment as a result. This was definitely a universe moment. It was one of those experiences where a person was put in my path for a very specific reason and meeting this woman opened my eyes and heart wide open…..more on this in a future post!
  3. I had a job interview this week that went very well and a second interview is scheduled for next week. While ultimately I want to be working for myself again, I am definitely seeking a more pleasant day job where I can grow and gain skills and this job opportunity would fit the bill. One aspect of the position would be working with the companies’ social media which would be so perfect for me considering that I have been taking courses in social media marketing. Hello universe, is that you calling again? Wish me luck guys!

So there you have it….now it’s your turn! Tell me what is going splendid for you this week! Thanks for stopping by 3 Things Thursday!

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The Absolutely, Positively Most Boring Mom in the World.

 

It is possible that I am absolutely, positively the most boring mom in the world….

or at least I think that is what my 7 year old sometimes believes.

His little heart was hurt on Friday when his dad sent me a text in the very early morning, saying that he would not be picking him after school as promised…….AGAIN.

Little Kid’s father lives 2 and a half hours away. Per our custody arrangement, he picks Little Kid up every other Friday from school and he returns home on Sunday-that is when he actually sticks to the arrangement. Dad works for himself and as a contractor, he sets his own schedule and is off on Fridays except when some work suddenly “comes up” that absolutely must be completed on his planned weekend with Little Kid. Whether he is actually “working” or not is not my business but the resulting tears and the little broken heart is nothing but my business.

I broke the news that dad wouldn’t be coming over waffles that morning. My approach was to give him the facts but quickly follow it up with, “we will have a great weekend, we always find plenty to do.” But let’s be real-I knew that nothing that I said would stop the tear fest and it didn’t. “My dad’s house is fun, I don’t want to stay here. Fridays suck if I don’t see my dad.”

Ouch.

Believe me, I have learned not to take these words personally for the most part but sometimes not being the “fun” one does suck a tiny bit.

Dad has always been a rock star in Little Kid’s eyes because spending time with him has always been a novelty even back when his dad and I were still a twosome. Well kinda, sorta a twosome….dad was still not around all that much. His work kept him away 4-5 days a week and he was only home on the weekends. So in regards to the rearing of Little Kid, I’ve always done the heavy lifting while Dad provided the weekend fun fest.

What dad doesn’t see is the mess of a boy that is left when the weekend party is cancelled. The boy who is disappointed on missing out on the bi-weekly trip to Toys R Us, the doughnut breakfasts and pizza pig outs.

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It’s no fun to deal with disappointment and my past attempts of trying to clue dad in on the emotional state of our boy has only resulted in him saying that “I am just laying on a guilt trip.” So I gave up because frankly I’ve realized that  it is not my job to convince him to take responsibility for his own actions.

My job consists of things that dad will never experience and will never understand.

Hectic mornings spent making breakfast and school lunch, tucking in shirts, constantly reminding him to wash his face,  having him tie his shoes again but the correct way this time so he doesn’t trip and fall. Flying out the door with a backpack, mom’s bags, lunch boxes, maybe a show and tell item grabbed at the very last moment because he forgot earlier. Making my way through traffic for an elementary, middle and high school to sit in the “car riding ramp” line for his school, hoping that the other rushed parents keep the line moving steadily so mama won’t be late to work.

Dad doesn’t see the daily after school pick up done by Grandpa or the drop offs at Karate and Piano lessons either. He isn’t sitting at the table with Grandma helping with the mounds of homework that our little second grader brings home everyday. Dad isn’t witness to the struggle of getting it all done-making sure that Little Kid is happy, well fed and clothed and trying to find time to keep mama healthy and well too. There is no missing out on work to take Little Kid to the doctor when he is sick or no sitting patiently at the playground or the bouncy house place while Little Kid plays knowing that there is laundry to be washed and groceries that need to be bought.

What he also doesn’t see is the sweet kisses mama gets before Little Kid jumps out of the car at school….the excitement he feels when Grandpa and Grandma let him stay up late and watch a movie on Friday nights at their house when Mama has to work. He misses out on the all of the details of little kid’s every day…he didn’t see Little Kid bursting with pride when he moved up to a yellow belt in Karate or how he couldn’t wait to tell mama that he made the Honor Roll.

Every day life around here is not always a party but this is our life. It is not always exciting and it certainly isn’t perfect but it is real and it is filled with endless amounts of love. It used to bother me that Little Kid considered dad the fun one but I am now confident that one day he will come to appreciate the “boring” life that he has lived surrounded by the love and comfort that my family and I provide…..the life filled with boring routines but the security of knowing that we are always there for him and that we will never,ever let him down.

So  maybe I am absolutely, positively the most boring mom in the world.  But you know what? I am positively okay with that because my love for that boy is endless and unfailing….

and I’ll be damned if a doughnut could ever top that.

 

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3 Things Thursday

 

Happy Thursday all! Here is this latest edition of 3 Things Thursday, where I countdown all of the peachy things going on in my world this week.

1. A post I published here on the blog earlier this week has been featured on BlogHer.com . If you haven’t been on BlogHer, I definitely recommend that you check it out! This website features articles  written by women on every topic imaginable. I am honored to have my post featured on this wonderful, empowering site. Here is a link to my post. Let me know what you think!

2. My efforts to get back to healthy are definitely paying off! I am down 3 pounds because I am back to enjoying the foods and the workouts that are good for my body. Taking a step back and looking at my workout routines helped quite a bit. For a few months, I was spending time on the treadmill and elliptical in an attempt to mix things up and ended even more bored and unmotivated in the process. Now that I’ve gone back to the workouts I love, everything seems to be in balance once again!

3. Over the weekend, I scored some awesome thrift store and second hand finds. I am not ashamed to declare my love for thrift shopping! I hit up Goodwill and found some really cute frocks and also picked up a few great books.

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In my pre-mommy life, I was an avid reader but I can rarely find the time or energy to read anymore. Little Kid and I read together every night and I am loving making our way through the Harry Potter series, but I rarely ever read grown up books. That is going to change! I’ve set a goal to read every night before bed for at least 10 minutes. Reading Pablo Neruda poems before bed has been a real treat. His poems are absolutely beautiful and they send me into a dreamy sort of state before I drift off to sleep.

I’d love to hear what is going well in your world this week! Share your 3 Things Thursday in the comments below!

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What are you? Teaching Kids about Racial Sensitivity

 

What are you?

It’s the question that inevitably my 8 year old son will be asked time and time again. Racial sensitivity is not something that everyone understands or chooses to practice and this is something that Little Kid will no doubt experience.

I cannot count the number of times that I’ve been asked this question. My family is of Puerto Rican descent but my appearance has boggled the minds of many.

My almond shaped eyes seem to throw people off and has had some guessing that I am

Asian,

Asian and Black

Hawaiian,

Native American

and even Eskimo-not kidding!

Little Kid is mixed race. He is half Puerto Rican and both a quarter black and white. While some say that he is my spitting image, I don’t necessarily agree.  His beautiful skin is a deeper brown. His hair is a different texture than mine and he has more gorgeous curls than I could have ever hoped for.

He is a beautiful blend of his father’s heritage and of my own.

And absolute perfection is what he is. 

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His ethnicity has already come into question. Back in preschool (yes, preschool) it became a topic among his 4 year old peers. That’s right, 4 year olds were discussing ethnicity.

This came to light when I picked Little Kid up one afternoon. As soon as I walked into the classroom, his teacher pulled me aside and asked “Is Little Kid Puerto Rican.” I was caught off guard by this question. “He is half Puerto Rican, why?”, I replied not really understanding why this mattered. She then proceeded to tell me that Little Kid said that he was black and that they other children didn’t believe him. At the moment, all I felt was shock. How could this already be a topic of discussion?

 We left the classroom and in my bewildered state, I tried to explain to Little Kid why the other children were questioning his race. But how does one explain this to a preschooler? Gently, I explained to him that he didn’t need to be a certain ethnicity to fit in with those around him. But did he really understand this?

Throughout my childhood, I faced criticism constantly for not being “Puerto Rican” enough. While I am proud of my heritage, I was never okay with being pegged or having to act a certain way to prove that I was any one thing. As a result of my stubborn ways, I never became completely fluent in Spanish. I never learned to Salsa dance and I can’t make a good pot of rice and beans to save my life. There have been countless lectures from other Latinos who can’t believe that I am “ashamed of who I am.”

There is no shame here but I am Jessica, plain and simple and I get to decide what that means. This is how I want Little Kid to approach life too. When it comes time to fill out forms that ask for his ethnicity, there will not be one little box for him to check off and that’s just perfect because all of his awesomeness cannot fit into just one little box.

I do understand that people will always be curious about those who are different than themselves. Other cultures are fascinating and beauty comes in so many different forms. There are just better ways to approach the subject. Teaching kids about racial sensitivity should be an effort that is made. Have discussions with your kids on how to approach the topic. It is better to ask, “what is your family’s heritage?”, rather than asking “what are you?” Teach your children that there are wide varieties of ethnic groups around the world. For example, I taught Little Kid that the continent of Asia is made up of many countries and that it is not appropriate to assume that an Asian person is Chinese. The same goes for Latinos and Europeans and so forth.

In the end we are all humans, flesh and blood, and who we are  is who we chose to be on the inside no matter what we look like on the outside and that is the lesson that I want Little Kid to carry throughout his life. When he is asked what he is, I encourage him to proudly state his name because that is who he is.  I want him to be proud of his family and where he came from but ultimately I want him to be proud of the person he is.

Because that is the true beauty of being uniquely who we are.

I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

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3 Things Thursday

 

Welcome to 3 Things Thursday! Here are the things that are going super swell for me this week

1.Little Kid is stoked to have been chosen to read the lunch announcement on his school’s morning news show tomorrow! He has been wanting to do this for a while and he is thrilled that it is his turn. It may not seem like a big deal but I am crazy proud of Little Kid for being so eager to participate. I was painfully and brutally shy growing up and probably would have passed out if I had ever been chosen to put myself out in front of the whole school. It is such a relief to know that Little Kid is the complete opposite of me in that regard. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!

2. My mother has made the decision to finally make some changes in her diet and lifestyle and for that I am so very thankful. Her health has been declining in the last year or so and she spent some time in the hospital last summer due to some breathing issues. She is due to check into the hospital again next week for a minor surgery. I believe that so many ailments can be relieved or at least lessened in severity with a proper diet. She is finally willing to make some changes that will certainly help keep her healthy.

 3. Starting tomorrow, Little Kid will be taking piano lessons. I mentioned this earlier this week in my post Can you feel the beat? The many benefits of musicHe is excited to get started and I am looking forward to watching him learn. I never learned to play an instrument growing up so this was something that I wanted to make sure that he had the opportunity to try. I know the benefits will be endless and I think that it will be great for Little Kid to have a hobby that will help to teach him discipline and focus.

So there you have it. Hope that you enjoyed reading my 3 Things Thursday. Now tell me all about what is going well for you this week!

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Busy Mom Workouts

 

Here we are mid-week already (can I get a whoop?!) and today I’m talking about my favorite workouts as a busy mom. Finding the time to workout can be difficult but I am committed to finding at least 1 hour a day, 4-5 days per week to fit it in.  I was never an active person until about 6 years ago and while on my major weight loss journey, it took me quite a while to figure out what I liked best.

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In the beginning, all I could manage was walking. I walked outside as much as possible but when I wasn’t able to be outdoors, I did walking videos indoors. As those become less challenging, I tried out kickboxing videos and light aerobics.

Once the pounds really started to come off, I started jogging and when I felt brave enough I joined the local YMCA. The Y offers child care so this worked out really well for me. I began trying out different group exercise classes and instantly was hooked on Zumba and kickboxing! At first, I was really self-conscious but after a few months I was confident and not afraid to be in the front of the class!

I also gave spin class a try. I’ve known so many people who swear by spin but I did not enjoy it at all. The instructor was a Jillian Michaels type and I personally do not care for that in your face approach. And  I had a pretty embarrassing moment that didn’t help much. My not so strong legs plus prolonged standing while pedaling proved to be a bit too much. My legs were a screaming “thanks but not thanks” and they gave up on me….

Yep, they just turned into Jello and I fell off of the bike!

It took a moment to get the legs to agree to work again and it was nearly impossible to get up even with assistance! I was mortified but I faked the funk and kept it moving meanwhile vowing to never to show my face again.

But ya know what?

I did show my face again about a year later. I wanted to prove to myself that I was finally strong enough to make it through an entire class and that is exactly what I did. I was proud to have made it through the class but it was a one and done kinda deal and I likely won’t be spinning ever again.

So what do I like nowadays?

I am still a Zumba girl. I jog when I can and I really enjoy lifting weights. For about 3 years, I was without a gym membership so I had to find ways to workout otherwise. Getting outdoors for a good walk and/or jog was my favorite. There are a few local trails I adore and spending time out there has been good for me both physically and mentally. The Chalean Extreme program was such a great addition to my fitness routine. Before this program, I didn’t lift weights very much and if I did they were very light weight. This program taught me the importance of lifting heavier and it absolutely helped change the shape of my body. I just started another round of the program last week. It has been about a year since I last did it and I am definitely feeling the burn! One of my future goals is to complete a weight lifting program at the gym and to learn to lift barbells and heavier weights.

Another great discovery that I made when I was working out more at home was a the YouTube channel called Fitness Blender. I cannot say enough good things about Fitness Blender! The workouts offered by husband and wife team, Daniel and Kelly are absolutely amazing! The workouts range from HIIT to Kettlebells to Weight Training and more so there is something for any fitness level. And all the workouts are free! I tried this new one at last week and although it is a short one, it totally kicked my butt!

HIIT (high intensity interval training) is no joke and is the best way to maximize your calorie burn.  Fitness Blender HIIT videos are my favorite for HIIT and I really enjoy their Kettlebell workouts too!

So far I am doing very well with sticking to my 2016 fitness goal which is to do some sort of workout at least 4-5 days per week. Going back to my old favorites has definitely helped. Being active has become such an important part of my overall well being and I am so proud to now be an active person. I may not ever run a marathon or be a triathlete but as long as I shaking it in Zumba class or cursing as I’m coming back up from a burpee than I  say I am a winner in my book!

How do you stay active? What is your favorite workout?

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Can you feel the beat? The many benefits of music.

 

Recent events have me thinking about the many benefits of music.

Of all of the gifts that Little Kid received for Christmas, I was surprised that his absolute favorite was a tiny MP3 player. I’ve only downloaded about 5 or 6 songs for him so far but he will listen to those songs over and over again and jam out.

This week, Little Kid will begin taking piano lessons. I never learned to play a musical instrument as a kid and always wished that I had. I hope that he enjoys the lessons but even if he doesn’t necessarily dig the piano I feel that this will be a great way to open him up to the possibility of learning other instruments.

The power of music is amazing. Although I’ve never learned to play music, I’ve reaped the benefits of listening to music time and time again.

When I had my heart broken during adolescence and  throughout the years, music was there. I swear that I literally killed my Adele 21 CD after the big breakup 4 years ago.

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Seriously, it literally just would not play anymore. Thanks for getting me through oh Great One! The CD is long gone but those amazing tunes live again via downloads on my phone.

Whenever I thought that I couldn’t possibly make it through a workout when I was 100 lbs overweight or in recent years when I am just too tired, music has pushed me along. Sometimes you need a little J-Lo and Fergie to remind you why you are working so hard.

When I held a crying newborn in my arms night after night and I just needed distraction and comfort, music was there. I swear that sometimes music is all that kept me sane during that new mommy fog that I was living in.

It has been there through all the up and downs and highs and lows. Just last night, I fell down the rabbit hole that is You Tube and ended up spending hours watching videos. I discovered some new music and I am now totally digging this band from Phoenix called Jared and the Mill.

These guys are awesome! Who would think that a little hispanic girl from New York would like music with a blue grassy feel but my taste in music is wide ranging and ever evolving especially now that I am living in the South.

I love that my taste in music is varied and thus far so is Little Kid’s. It is fun to watch him start to develop his taste in music and watching him jam to his favorite tunes is absolutely adorable. I can’t wait to witness him trying his hand at making music too.

Music is not only beneficial to our souls but it can also have many positive effects on our health. Studies have proved the benefits that both listening and playing music have on humans.

Music has powerful effects on our brains

Research has indicated that music helps to develop the left side of the brain which is the part of the brain that deals with language processing. It can also aid with memory and retention. In recent years, music and the effect that it has on stroke, dementia and Alzheimer patients has been the focus of several studies. Many of these studies highlight the positive effects of music on these patients in the form of improved cognitive functioning.

Music can elevate our moods and help reduce stress and anxiety

Ever been stuck in a traffic jam and your favorite jam comes on the radio. Yep, I sure have and having a song to get lost in sure does help. No matter your mood or situation, you are guaranteed to always be able to find the perfect song to relate to whatever you are going through. The study of music therapy is fairly new however research has shown that music can help release biochemical stress reducers. So my nearly year long Adele marathon is justified and boy did it ever help get me through.

Watching my little guy dive in to the world of musical appreciation is wonderful. It made me realize that I haven’t taken enough time in the last 6 months or so to get lost in my favorite music. Well that problem has been corrected and my workouts just got funkier and my drives just got way more interesting again. Music is my side kick and my most dearest friend and I dare not ever forget it.

How do you feel about music? How has it affected your life?

 

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3 Things Thursday

Welcome to my first 3 Things Thursday post of the 2016. This is when I take a few moments to express gratitude for all of the good things happening in my life this week.

  1. Little Kid returned from a week long visit with his father and I couldn’t be happier. I can never get used to him being away especially for such an extended period of time. I miss my little chatterbox so. He had a good time but was absolutely exhausted, so much so that he actually passed out on the couch Sunday afternoon! This kid never naps so I was surprised to see him snoozing.

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2. Although I love the holidays, I am very glad that we are back into our routine. The Christmas decorations are packed away and I took the tree to recycling center. We are back into our daily hustle and bustle of school, work and activities. I’ve been able to get back to my healthy eating habits fairly easily after overindulging over the holidays and I’ve hit up a few Zumba classes this week….a great start to this New Year!

3. In an effort to smarten’ mama up, I’ve started taking an online course through Coursera. This site offers MOOCS which stands for Massive Open Online Course. These courses are offered in partnership with top colleges and universities and are open for anyone to take. While these courses do not count as college credit, they do offer a great way to increase your knowledge and skills in a broad number of topics. I am currently taking the Social Media course. I chose this course because I am looking to acquire the social media marketing skills to help grow this blog and to help grow my future business. I am excited about learning and I am looking forward to growing my skills!

There you have it! I hope that you are having a great week! What are your 3 things this Thursday?

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