Why I go on dates with my children…

I remember once when my son was about 8 years old, we were preparing for a night to the movies, just the two of us. He must have been playing some game on his play system at the time and I will never forget the look on his face when I walked out of my room. His eyes were wide and he said, “Mom, you got ready for ME?” Sad to say that my regular daily “look” is more thrown together than put together, but on this night, I took the time to blow-dry and flatiron my hair, found some makeup that hadn’t expired yet on my nightstand, and managed to put together somewhat of an “outfit” for our excursion.  The expression on his face was priceless.  I’ve never felt so beautiful in my life!

That date was definitely not the first “date” we’ve had together, but it was probably the first time he realized it was special “us” time.  Fast forward nearly 9 years later and we’ve been on countless dates together.  Sometimes it’s just the two of us and sometimes it’s both of my kids and maybe a dog or two.  But for the most part, it’s one on one and something that I look forward to always!

So why do I date my kids?  I tell them that I love them every single day.  We give hugs and kisses and all that mushy stuff.  But giving them this special time has always been very important to me.  When times were really rough and money was nowhere to be found other than (barely) paying the bills, we simply had “one on one time” at home.  We still do pretty much every day.  I’m dang lucky that my kids enjoy spending time with me!  It costs nothing (except maybe starting dinner a half an hour later), but it’s priceless, really!

Post MMA line up photo op!
Post MMA line up photo op!

Not so random.  My kids and I go through the months of the year.  We take out birthday months and big holiday months and turn them into “family” dates.  Then we alternate the rest.  For instance, my son and I went to Wiz Khalifa while my daughter and I went to Ladies of the 80’s concerts during their months.  My daughter preferred a pizza date while my son preferred a night at the local MMA fights.  This month is actually family month and we are going to the fair to celebrate the end of our school years!

Ladies of the 80's!!
Ladies of the 80’s!!

When my kids get so busy with their grown up lives, my hope is that they find the time to continue this tradition and pass it along to their kids.  Omigosh, I’m gonna have grandbabies to date someday!!!

Have you ever “dated” your children?

Purple flowers…purple rain…

When I look at this piece of paper…

 

This assignment weighed on my son for weeks.  The “work” of it sucked out all they joy of really creating something and expressing himself in one of the most amazing ways that he can; through art.  I watched him spend hours upon hours huddled over his piece.  I said good-bye to him as he chose to stay home during weekend activities to be sure that he got enough time to work on this.  Finally, after hours and hours of focused work, he thought he was done.  I thought it was amazing.  And then I set him off into the real world.

 

One look at his drawing and his teacher made a quick comment sort of like, “Good, now finish it.” I will tell you that when my son came home from school and told me what she had said I was so upset for him.  I had seen him spend hours working on this and knew the sacrifices that he made to complete it in the best way possible.  So the mom in me was just about ready to go into mama lion mode when my son told me,”Well, I just need to work harder.”  Honestly, after seeing how hard he worked on this and how much fun he sacrificed on the weekend to focus on his piece, the mama in me wanted to have a word with this teacher, but then my son did something amazing…

 

He told me that he knew what could be done to make it better.  He even went to talk to the teacher to find out her recommendations.  And then he did it.  He spent all week working on it, even when he looked at it and didn’t really like what was happening.  He trusted her and he listened.  He did his job.  And then something amazing happened.  The teacher that has been his Achilles heel all year-long insisted upon seeing his finished product so that it could be immediately displayed in the art show for everyone to enjoy.  

 

My son realized that not only does hard work pay off, but that sometimes when people are hard on you, it’s because they see something in you that they want to help bring to the surface.  

 

I love this painting so very much, because I think it’s absolutely gorgeous, but more than that, it represents the lessons that my son learned.  He learned that “good” may not always be the best and that sometimes when people are hard on you it’s because they see something in you that they want to help bring out.  
I can’t wait to get this painting back after its run in the show and frame it for my son.  He already knows to whom he wants to send it to and I know the recipient will love and appreciate it more than anyone else could.  The look on his Pop’s face when he gets it will be worth more than any award my son could ever receive.

I have this T-shirt in my drawer

I have this T-shirt in my drawer. I’ve had it for as long as I can remember and yet I can’t even remember wearing it. It’s just a faded black T-shirt with tattered white lettering, but it’s one of the most treasured items in my possession. No matter where I’ve traveled in my life and no matter where the roads have taken me, I’ve never let this out of my sight. And yet, most of the time it remains safely tucked away into the corner of my drawer.

My grandfather was a legend to me. In all of the photographs that I have pored over since I was a young girl, he seemed so much larger than life. I see him holding the baby me with such pride on his face, I can almost feel him beaming through those pictures. And then there’s the fuzzy memories that I have of him at his home, his castle. I can even remember some exchanges that I have reminisced on through the years. I remember being in awe of his home office, only now realizing that I have always had a home “office” as well. The staple of that room, my grandfather’s desk, now sits in my mom’s home office. I’ve always been drawn to it for some reason and whenever I pull out a drawer, I can’t help but envision my 4-year-old fingers doing the same back in my grandfather’s office.

So what does that have to do with my faded T-shirt? Well, those photographs and my fuzzy memories are pretty much the only things I have from my grandfather. He passed away suddenly right before I turned 5. The desk belongs to my mom and sits in her office as it should. I’ve always loved going “home” to visit and sit there to work. But I have something just as amazing. My T-shirt. It has my name on it! Our family came from a very small town on the Big Island and transportation was not very easy in those days with such a large terrain to cover with limited resources. My Papa had a bus service and would transport items to and from the main areas of the island.

Back in that small town of Kohala, everyone congregated at “the park” where all the action took place. I’ve been told that it was some sort of baseball team that they put together, just to compete against other teams in the area, but I’m not really sure. I do know that I did not play in any game, but that I did score a T-shirt — with a number and my name on it! Totally official like. And that is my cherished T-shirt that I have taken with me everywhere that I’ve moved. Something that I will keep tucked away in the corner of my drawer, safe and cozy like how I always felt in my Papa’s lap.

What’s something that you would never part with?

Love letters to my children

LOVE LETTERS TO MY CHILDREN
Why I keep a journal for each of them

They’re nothing fancy, really. Just two different colored spiral notebooks that I purchased at the drugstore years ago. These two spiral notebooks, though unassuming, hold pieces of every day that sometimes gets lost in the craziness of life; ordinary notebooks that I know someday my children will treasure.
In these journals, I write to my children. About their friends, their likes, their dislikes, their personalities and even enclose little keepsakes. I was really sick and my son picked me a flower from the yard when he was three. That flower which is now browned and pressed, is taped into the journal on the page where I wrote about how compassionate he is to others. My daughter’s journal also has a flower, but hers I picked it the night before I gave birth to her and magically it bloomed in the morning just as I set out for the hospital.
These journals are not perfect. There are mistakes and there are grammatical errors that I would have cleaned up had I done it electronically. Those errors remain and I think it gives it some character. I don’t have any hard set rules about these journals. It’s pretty much “whatever goes.” When my daughter was younger, she wanted to write back to me when she found out that I was writing to her, so there are a few pages of beautifully drawn kid hearts and “I love yous” that I’m so happy I let her draw instead of worrying about her journal being perfect.
I don’t write in these journals every single day. But there’s enough there to look back on. To see how their personalities have developed and to see how some parts of their characters have remained exactly the same is a pretty amazing experience for a sensitive soul like me.
This weekend was my daughter’s birthday. After I watched her thoroughly enjoy every part of her special day, I retrieved her journal let my thoughts flow. I wrote to her about her favorite presents and how she spent her special day. But most importantly, I shared my wishes for her and reminded her about some of the things that I love most about her.
These journals are just something that I wanted my kids to have someday. My kids are hugged and told “I love you” each and every single day of their lives, but this goes beyond the surface. In this day and age where technology and social media rule our lives, some might ask why I choose to write rather than type to my children. Quite simply, it’s tangible. This is something that they can hold in their hands someday, knowing that my hands touched the same paper. On some pages, you can see dried up tears. But on every page, through every line, it’s a message of my love for them and that’s the best gift that I can give them, really.

Social media alert: 5 things every parent must do for their kids

Social media is everywhere these days. It seems that we are unable to escape the advancement of technology or its role in our lives. Adults are still learning some hard lessons themselves because of their choices on social media. So how much more does this possibly affect our kids? Immensely! I’m a mom to a teenage son and a tween daughter and I spend every day with roughly 50 tweens as their teacher so I’ve learned a lot about how social media has affected kids directly.  So here’s 5 things that every parent should do regarding social media for kids.

Parents need to know
Parents need to know!

1. Share your email with your kids.  Yes, as simple as an email. Since my kids were younger, I always had them use my email to sign up for games or kid sites. Since then, they’ve made their own emails both for school and personal use, but they always use mine as a default and/or if they forget their passwords. This has always been my gateway for staying aware of their online activities.  My 16-year-old son still sends me things out of habit and I love it!

2. Know the various apps.  It’s a must.  Sure, you may know about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, but do you know about kik, snapchat, askfm, ovoo, musicaly and pic?  If not, your kids probably have so get on it.  We’ve made it commonplace in my home.  My kids show me shapchats and musicalys that they or their friends make.  It keeps me in the loop as to what’s out there and what they are participating in.

How many do you know?
How many do you know?

3. Have regular conversations with your kids about online behaviors.  Nothing is private and nothing can be undone.  Take lessons from celebrities who have to scramble after uttering something on twitter or a worker fired for a facebook post.  Have regular conversations about the various effects and hard lessons people have learned from social media.

4. Get connected.  I’m not saying that you need to be on every social media platform, but it really helps if you aren’t living in the dark ages. The best way to know about an app and what it’s about is by using it.  I have Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Snapchat.  My kids regularly tag me in various posts.  We also send each other snaps, texts, chats, DMs, etc. on the daily.  I’m part of their online world and they keep me in it because once again it’s become a habit.

5.  Stay relevant.  I know all my kids’ friends and their names.  I spend hours with my kids just letting them talk and share.  I know their favorite music artist, youtubers, celebrities and styles.  This even goes down to my students.  Getting personal with kids and letting them share when the moment arises earns trust that you can’t buy or fake.

If you decide not to let your child participate in social media, they will still be exposed to it somehow so begin to have these discussions.  I’ve seen kids who are “banned” still featured in their friends’ posts or discussions so learn what you can and be there when they need advice!

Last but not least, show respect yourself when on social media.  I respect my kids by not posting about them or their photos without their permission.  They in turn show me respect by not posting photos with laundry I’ve yet to fold in the background.  It’s all about finding balance and learning together I feel is the best way to do that in today’s world.  We give them the tools that they need, but guide them along the way.  Isn’t that our ultimate job as parents?

Do you follow these must do’s?  Do you have any of your own?

 

 

Find your passion and do it!

Children. They have always been a big part of my life. As the oldest daughter and the oldest granddaughter, I’ve grown up surrounded by kids. Caring for children is a natural tendency for me. Through the years, I’ve been a children’s church helper, babysitter, preschool teacher, nanny, aunt, and mom. It seems that my life has led me to my current position as an elementary school teacher.

do-what-you-love-quotes-6

They say that if you do what you love that you will never work another day in your life. Unfortunately, my job does still seem like work because of all the meetings and the paperwork, but the daily interaction with my students is what keeps me coming back day after day no matter what else. That is my passion. To get my sixth graders prepared for middle school, high school and the rest of their lives. I take my job very seriously and I give my heart and soul to my students. I teach them, yes. But I also think about them, try to help them and sometimes lose sleep worrying about them. The moment they walk in my classroom, they are “my kids” forever!

teachers

I feel very fortunate that I get to do what I love to do on a daily basis. I am definitely living my passion in life by being a teacher. That’s not to say that teaching is my only passion, but it says a lot about who I am.

Have you found passion in your career? What’s stopping you?

15 minutes to a happier you!

#diaryinparadise #momsinhawaii #livealoha #motivationmonday
You’re worth it too!

15 minutes.  I’m worth it. You better believe it!  And guess what?  So are you! There’s no time like the present to gift yourself with a new habit. All you need is 15 minutes.  If I can do it, so can you!

YES

I did some research and there are conflicting reports on the topic of how long it takes to make a new habit stick. There are “experts” that claim various specific dates, but all with the disclaimer that every person is different. Duh. So forget all of that. It’s all up to you and it will only take 15 minutes!  Seriously.  And if you really want to know how the experts weigh in on the subject, I found an interesting read that ran in Today Health.

So what’s the secret? Begin today. Don’t start tomorrow. Do it now. Do it when you wake up. Do it when you get home from work. Do it before you go to bed. Give yourself 15 minutes and you won’t regret it. Set a timer because it’s easy to get overwhelmed in the beginning. And get to work.

Today I dedicated my 15 minutes to my ride. 15 minutes and I am already happier than when I woke up this morning. The best part is my son spent my 15 minutes with me and we got half an hour of work done in just 15 minutes! We cleaned out the car and that was no small feat.

I’d love to post an “after” photo, but I’m too embarrassed of my “before” shot.  Maybe I’ll get brave after I’ve given myself a few more 15 minutes.

Hard work? Yes. Always? No. Tomorrow it might be the box of cables and plugs that I’ve been meaning to go through but never found the time. 15 minutes and I won’t even break a sweat!  Because really, today my 15 minutes was a heck of a workout!

So give yourself 15 minutes right now to empty that junk drawer that has always irritated you. Change the batteries in your remotes. Go through your paperwork and shred things that you no longer need. Whatever drives your 15 minutes should be meaningful to you. Just do it. Give yourself 15 minutes right now. You deserve it!

How did you spend your 15 minutes today?

Making the most of my dash!

I woke up this morning to a quote on my timeline that literally jump started not just my day, but my year!

Making the most of the dash!
Making the most of the dash!

Some people have a bucket list of sorts.  Things they want to do, places they would like to go or see in their lifetime.  I guess I just don’t think about life in that way.  Sure, there are many things that I hope to do in my lifetime like dance with my son at his wedding and spoil my future grandchildren.  I’d love to see the Eiffel Tower and eat pasta in Italy someday.

birthdaycake
Happy birthday to me!

But as I sit here on my birthday and truly think about my life, I’d like to celebrate my dash up to this point!  There are many things I’m going to add to this dash in the years ahead, but taking the time to appreciate some of the amazing things that have happened during this dash makes blowing out those candles mean so much more than making just one little wish.  Here’s 44 of the things I can already include in my dash and I look forward to adding more!!

44

  1. Attended a sunrise service on Easter morning
  2. Became a mother
  3. Been Christmas caroling
  4. Been kissed by an NFL player
  5. Built a snowman
  6. Camped overnight for concert tickets
  7. Caught a wave all the way to shore
  8. Clutch, Princess, Sugar, Spice, Niho, Tiger, Pa’ani, Ming Toi, Duke, Duchess, Demus and Olaf…these animals have touched my life forever
  9. Collected shells on the sand
  10. Danced for hours straight
  11. Drank water from a fresh spring
  12. Experienced moments of de ja vu
  13. Experienced the kindness of strangers
  14. Explored caves, waterfalls and hidden treasures
  15. Faced my fear of heights and completed a ropes course
  16. Felt an instant spark when meeting someone
  17. Felt the power of a miracle
  18. Gathered strength I didn’t know that I had
  19. Got all access passes and official concert after parties
  20. Had my feet “cleaned” by fish at the pond
  21. Had sex on the beach
  22. Had the “Pretty Woman” experience including fancy meal, limo ride and shopping spree (without the hooker part)
  23. Held my head up even when I had to fake it
  24. Jumped off a cliff into the water
  25. Listened to my great grandmother’s stories on her porch
  26. Lived through the turn of a century
  27. Made a difference in a child’s life
  28. Met real life heroes
  29. Rode a horse.  And an elephant
  30. Put on a smile while suffering heart break
  31. Sat in a hot tub in the middle of a freezing jungle
  32. Seen myself during surgery
  33. Smiled my way out of tickets
  34. Stayed in beautiful mansions
  35. Swam in the moon light
  36. Summers with the cousins
  37. Visited our family landmarks
  38. Was offered an indecent proposal
  39. Watched a movie with Kanye West
  40. Went camping at the beach and in the mountains
  41. Went down the drag strip in a race car
  42. Wished on a falling star
  43. Witnessed the miracle of birth
  44. Wrote my name in wet concrete, in rocks on the lava and scratched on leaves

These are just some of the amazing experiences that I’ve had and there are so many more.  How wonderful that I’ve had this day to reflect on so many things that I have put in my dash.  Life has definitely been a journey with twists, turns and alternate routes.  No matter where this road continues to take me, I will be sure to “Live my dash”

Making the most of my dash!!
Making the most of my dash!!

 

Are you making the most of your dash?

signature

Speaking my daughter’s love languages

Before I became a mother I did what any excited mom-to-be would do and purchased every book I could find about pregnancy and baby care. I took copious notes and bookmarked every book so that I was up to date and reading exactly ahead of what to expect the following week or month.  And then my sister gave me a gift that I’ve re-read more than once.  It’s called The 5 Love Languages of Children by Gary D Chapman and Ross Campbell (2012).

Awesome read for parents
The 5 Love Languages book

What a powerful read this was — something that I’d encourage every parent or someone who works with children to read.  I must admit that I began reading this book like I read everything else on parenting — with copious notes and bookmarks.  But then I stopped.  Internalized what I read.  And read it over again.  And then I put that book on the shelf for a good 4 years as I excitedly busied myself with full-time mommyhood!

I spent time with my children, got to know them and their personalities.  Later I even read the qualities of each type of love language to them and they selected what their love languages were.  Same as what I knew all along and I never remembered the actual words or categories, but I knew…

motherslove
Speaking to my daughter’s love language

My daughter’s love languages are Quality Time and Physical Touch.  One of my favorite ways to “speak” to her love language is to have manicure moments at home.  We’ve been wanting to get on the gel polish craze for a while, but I wasn’t into buying a whole LED light set up just to see if I liked it or not.  So we decided to go for the Sally Hansen no LED light needed gel nail polish.  My daughter chose our favorite color — blue.  We did one coat of the blue and then one coat of the top coat.  And here is the end result!

Girls Night In
Jasmine’s nail salon

So, we ended up with 2 perfectly manicured sets of hands done for just $20, plus we’ll get to use it over and over again.  Biggest bonus is that I got to speak directly to my daughter’s love languages.  Yep, she knows I love her and I’m a lucky mom!

Have you read a book that opened your eyes?  Do you know how to speak your child’s love language/s?

Mia

Food Network vs. My Reality

Food Network vs. My Reality began with great intentions.  I envisioned my dining room table would resemble something like those that I have seen on TV. I was prepared and thought I had done everything right. I planned my menu for the week in my Meal Plan Monday post and the menu that I made contained things that I already had in my freezer or pantry for the most part (Bonus!!)

So here was my plan for Monday: Pan seared rib eye, baked potatoes, corn.  Reality:  here’s what I actually had available to use.

What's cooking with you?
What’s cooking with you?

It’s called working with what you have.  I had a serving bag of rib eyes in my freezer since I went to the warehouse store the other week and separated the huge family pack into smaller portions (thank goodness for quality freezer bags).  I also almost always have garlic on hand as well as butter that I keep in the freezer so it stays nice and fresh.  I had a large can of corn in the pantry and my favorite McCormick steak seasoning ready to go (I’ll take a seasoning mix any day.  So not into adding a dash of this and a dash of that — someone more qualified has already combined them for me!!).  I had originally intended to make some baked potatoes to accompany the steak, but the store I went to only had 3 very sorry-looking potatoes there — I was not inspired to use them.  Instead I had planned on making some instant mashed potatoes, but the kids said that they didn’t want any so I just left our menu simple.

An outside grill is on my wish list at my new home, but until I get one, I decided on my grill frying pan that my daughter bought for my last birthday (my kids know me so well).  I put some olive oil in the pan and heated it up (you can use whatever oil you want, but I like olive oil.  The next thing to do was to add some butter to the pan so that I could tell when the pan was hot enough to put the steaks on.  You need to wait until the butter begins to brown, but not let it burn.

I love finding life hacks. Testing them is something my daughter and I enjoy doing together. Last night I got to test a kitchen hack out:

Shaved butter
Kitchen hacks tested

Since I keep unused butter in the freezer, it was very hard so I put the kitchen hack to the test and the verdict is in — we LOVE this hack!!  Definitely going to use it more often!

Shaved butter
Kitchen hack testing

Finally the pan was ready.  I put the steaks on the pan and it immediately began to sizzle.  I added some butter shavings to the top to keep it nice and moist.  My son told me that it smelled so good he almost couldn’t wait to eat it!

Dinner
Rib eyes on the grill pan

I kept those steaks in the pan until it was nice and ready to turn.  It depends if you get thick or thin sliced steaks.  If they were thicker, I would have gotten a nice sear on both sides and then topped it off in the oven.  However, because my rib eyes were on the thinner side, I just left them in until I saw the meat brown up a little on the side and then flipped it over for a few more minutes.

Corn: I heated it up in the microwave and just seasoned it with some butter, salt and pepper.  Just a little butter so that it wouldn’t taste dried out.

Red meat calls for red wine so I did the best thing I could think of and bought a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon.  This Barefoot brand was on sale and had a gold award so it was worth a whirl.  It actually went really well with the meal!  The tartness of the cab matched the richness of the meat well and created a nice balance.  Winner!

Yum
Rib eye corn and garlic butter

You are supposed to let your steaks rest (not mess with it or cut into it) for about 10 minutes.  That’s what the steaks were doing in the photo above.  I wholeheartedly imagined myself rolling out butter and herbs into a serious garlic butter roll so that I could put a beautiful dollop on the steaks just like I’ve seen done.  Reality:  I chopped up some fresh garlic and butter in a ramekin and heated that up in the microwave just to add a little sauce to the meat.  My son had never tried it like that before and said that it added some  zing to the flavor of the meat and that he liked it!

Some cab for me
Red meat and red wine!

After the steaks were done resting, I cut them up and the kiddos made their plates.  I asked them if I should keep this on the menu rotation or take it off and they both wanted it to go on our permanent rotation list.  Yeah!

So, my pan seared rib eye meal was a success!  Not the Food Network inspired meal or plating that I had envisioned, but the reality was very delicious and we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly!

What’s cooking with you?  Do your plans always work out like you envision?  Please share your hits and/or misses.

Mia

 

 

NaBloPoMo March 2015