The Trouble with Being Like Me

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As I watch her dance to the African tribal music streaming from her keyboard, I become a little choked up because Johanna has so much potential. It’s apparent in everything she does. I’m blessed to be able to be home with her every day, to teach her, mold her, and watch her blossom in a variety of ways. She is exactly what pure joy looks like and sometimes that overwhelms me. I want so much to do right by her, to not fail at this task that God has given me of raising her. A winding, bumpy road lead me to my God given path of being a homeschooling parent, and I don’t take that for granted at all. I want to do well at this job. I want the Lord to be pleased with me in this job. And I really, really, don’t want to crush or bruise this child while I’m doing this job.

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She has so many questions, usually to which I respond “ask Mr. Google” in jest. She’s curious about so much, and loves to do so many different things. She was recently stressed because she didn’t know what she wanted to do when she grew up. I told her that’s ok because neither do I. Then suddenly, it comes to her. She looks at me and tells me she wants to stay home with her kids, just like me, when she grows up. And it makes me sad. I want to tell her absolutely not. That she’s so much more than that. That she is so much more brilliant than that. Then I wonder if that’s what my mother would think of me. Is that how she would feel about me becoming a homeschooling mom. Would she be proud? Would she understand the need for the sacrifice? That the shaping of my children’s character and morals are so much more. That these kids today are faced with choices and messages that she never dreamed they would be. That society is constantly trying to tell them to be everything except Godly and I have to combat that. I’m willing to give up the hard work that was put into the degrees to make sure that I give my children a fighting chance spiritually. I’m proud of that. I guess I just never thought about my own child taking that route herself. I don’t really know how to navigate these feelings I have. I feel like I’m putting myself down whenever I think “but my God little girl, you can be so much more!” Maybe it’s because she dreams bigger than I ever dreamed. She wants to be an astronaut, a ballerina veterinarian, a princess. She wants to be a surgeon, a musician, a builder. When I was her age I wanted to be a teacher. That eventually turned into a detective, then an actress, a nun, and then…confusion. If I could do any job besides homeschooling right now it would be a missionary or event planner. I never loved science and math the way she does. Never wondered so much about how stuff worked. She does. She asks me challenging questions that make me seriously run to Mr. Google. Her eyes light up when she takes in nature, especially the moon and birds. Her potential is overflowing. And she loves the Lord. She loves learning about God, and going to church, and learning scripture. It all just makes my heart so full.

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Maybe it’s not that I’m ashamed of where I am in life, or what I do for a career. Maybe it’s just that I don’t want her to box herself in. I want her to know that her options are plenty. I know her talk of what she wants to do when she’s an adult is just talk and she will change her mind a million more times before she ever crosses that bridge. I just want her know that she can be something even more amazing than I’ve ever been. That she can do so much. You know, if she ends up being a SAHM, that’s a beautiful thing, but if she becomes a rocket scientist, that’s pretty darn cool too.

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Twinkle Twinkle Little Star…Gender Reveal Party!

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In fall of 2015 JD and I were contemplating whether or not to have another child. We talked about it often and definitely prayed about it. During that time I thought about the things I would look forward to if I were ever to get pregnant again. One of those things was a gender reveal party.

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I hadn’t even heard of a gender reveal party until a couple of years ago, but once I did I couldn’t shake the idea. How exciting! Finding out the gender with your closest family and friends. That I definitely wanted in on.

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So even though we decided not to have another little one, God had other plans, and while adjusting to the journey I quickly started throwing ideas together for a gender reveal. Then I started poking around pinterest and getting overwhelmed.I was in my first trimester and exhausted, feeling ill, and just not in the greatest frame of mind. How was I going to pull off a gender reveal party? Cheaply. I was going to do it cheaply. I soon realized that this party could be what I wanted it to be, not everything I was seeing on pinterest. It wasn’t going to be as elaborate as my other parties because I simply wasn’t feeling up to it and that was ok. Also, we were having it at our house which meant the crowd had to be really intimate, so it wasn’t going to be some huge affair. All of that was more than ok with me.

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So we pulled it off. We did Twinkle Twinkle Little Star as the theme. Instead of me doing my usual treats table where I make a million sweets, I simply did a Sundae bar and I’m happy to say that it was a hit! We had a ballot and did stickers to show how everyone voted. Then my friend Michelle made me this amazing Star pinata to use to reveal the gender. We slipped the envelope to my sister-in-law and she was the only one of us to know the gender up until the reveal. Food was simple. Burgers, hot dogs, chicken salad, fruit, potato salad, and of course, cake.

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It was a good time had by all, and the best part was, I did it my way. Ok, enough of that. Ready to know what we’re having? It’s a….

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GIRL! Another princess to spoil. Awww, we can’t wait to meet you Jelly Bean! You’re already so loved!

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Time to let you in on my little secret

I have thought about starting this post so many times over the last two weeks. I don’t know what has stopped me from posting. Was I trying to find a witty way to say it? Something more clever than blurting it out? I don’t know, but each time I opened my notebook to write, I quickly closed it back and decided that I would find a better way to write it later. A part of me thinks that I just wanted to keep this to myself a little longer, although I went facebook public about a month ago. Still there was this whole section of my life that didn’t know and I felt comfort in that. Believe it or not, I even struggled with posting to facebook. I don’t know why I finally did. I almost wanted to just keep it a secret until I was ready for it not to be.

I’m pregnant.

No, it’s no Earth shattering event, at least for you all. But it changes me. It changes who I am, it will change how I parent, how I wife, how I friend, just as Johanna changed me. One day I will share my pre-pregnancy story, but not now. Right now I’m still trying to figure out this whole two child thing.

Two kids. Two. No longer just Johanna and I. I mean, of course, it hasn’t just been Johanna and I all along since there’s also my husband and her fur brother Pepper, but… in so many ways, it has just been me and her. Since I’ve begun homeschooling it’s been even more just she and I. I like us, me and Johanna. And I’m scared. I’m scared of losing us. I’m scared of how us changes when it’s me, Johanna, and ______________. It breaks my heart that I won’t be able to hold her all night long because there will be a baby to take care of. I’m totally going to miss the one on one. The thought of it ending sometimes knocks the breath out of me.

I know it’ll be good. I know that having a sibling will be amazing for her (or at least that’s what I hear because being an only child and all I don’t really see the thrill). Everyone tells me having two is great, and I’ll love watching them love on each other, and I believe them. She’s excited to be a big sister and I believe she is going to be an awesome sister. She’s going to be a great helper to mommy and she’s going to love this kid. She is ready, she’s all in, and I love that!

I’m not all in. I’m still trying to get all in.My husband is still trying to wrap his mind around it. This baby is not unwelcomed, but it is a bit unplanned so the surprise is real. All of our desires and fears came rushing to us when we found out. Like, is this really happening? It is. It really is. Ready or not, here baby comes.

So that’s my secret. That’s the secret that I’ve been holding close to my chest. It’s the thing that has kept me from being the blogger I want to be. I can’t even explain to you the symptoms I’ve had with this bean. It’s so incredibly different than Johanna.

I’m excited now that you know. I can finally blog about all the things I’ve been wanting to say since I found out. I can do a whole post about symptoms that no one will probably care about but me. I can dish about all the good stuff too.

If you asked me for one word to sum up how I feel today, I would have to say blessed. I truly feel blessed at this moment that God chose us for this one. Yes, everything else I said before is true too, but…a baby…A BABY! God is good.

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Personalized Art Case – Crayola My Way

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Hello my luvs and happy National Crayon Day! That’s right, it’s National Crayon Day, so of course I have to bring some color your way.

As you all know I’m a homeschool mom to a kindergarten. That means we color ALL.THE.TIME. It’s what we do. Johanna is always very proud of her artwork and she absolutely adores having various colors to liven her pictures up with. So of course she was thrilled when I surprised her with our personalized crayola art case! I was pretty excited myself. You can also get your own personalized crayola box.

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Here’s how it works. Head over to Crayola and personalize your own box of 8 or 64 count Crayola Crayons, OR get a Crayola Art Case like I did. Choose your own colors, your theme, and add a photo and text! If that’s not swoon worthy enough for ya, how about the fact that in the Art Case you get to choose up to 6 color selections! Even with that many selections I was having a hard time picking colors that I knew both Johanna and I would love.

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Johanna was over the moon excited and right away she went to work drawing pictures on a letter to her bff. I’m positive your child (or even you!) will love it too.

*Disclosure: This post was made possible thanks to Crayola. The product was received for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

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Your Guide to the 2016 National Cherry Blossom Festival

monument-600x450I’m late, I know. Prayerfully next week I can post about why I’ve been so MIA and all that’s going on with me, but as tired as I am I still couldn’t just not post about the Cherry Blossom Festival. You guys know it’s one of my very favorite events in all of the DC area! So without further ado, here are the events that are still coming up so that you too can get in on the celebration!

Blossom Kite Festival
Grounds of the Washington Monument near 17th Street NW and Constitution Avenue
Saturday, April 2nd, 10am – 4:30pm
**SCHEDULE**
Depending on wind and weather, schedule is subject to change
Opening Ceremony
Opening Remarks 10 am
National Anthem
Step into Spring Kick-off Parade

*Competition & Demonstration Field
Kite Ballets and Demonstrations 10:30 – 11 am
Adult Kite Makers Competition 11am – 1 pm
Demonstration: Kites of the Decades 1 – 2 PM
Hot Tricks Showdown 2 – 3 PM
Rokkaku Battle 3 – 4 PM
Puzzle Rokkaku 4 – 4:15 PM
Kite Arch and Awards 4:15 – 4:30 PM

*Family Field
Practice Fly for Youth Kite Makers 10:30 – 11 AM
Youth Kite Makers Competition 11 AM – 12 Noon
Youth Kite Makers Awards 12 Noon – 12:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Practice 12:30 – 1 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 5-9) 1 – 1:30 PM
Mini Rokkaku Challenge (ages 10-15) 1:45 – 2 PM
Bol Races 2 – 3 PM
Family Open Fly 3 – 4:30 PM

Cherry Blossom Freedom Walk
National Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism, located at the intersection of Louisiana and New Jersey Avenues and D Street NW Washington, DC.
Saturday, April 2nd, 9am – 12pm
This walk aims to bring awareness about what life was like for Japanese Americans during World War II. The walk will conclude with traditional Japanese and Palestinian folk dancing.

Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival
Southwest Waterfront – 600 Water Street, SW
Saturday, April 9th, 1pm – 9pm (Fireworks start at 8:30 PM)
This event is always a family favorite. It’s our favorite simply because it combines three of our favorite things – face painting, food, and crafts! There’s also live music, and of course, the big fireworks show to end the night.

CHERRY BLOSSOM PLAZA
• Harris Teeter Experience
• Cherry Blossom Photos – sponsored by Harris Teeter
• Caligraphy
• DC Dragon Boats and Excursions
• Beer and Cider Garden – sales stop at 8:15 PM, services stops at 8:30 pm
• Product Samples provided – by Harris Teeter and Procter and Gamble

GANGPLANK MARINA/ COPPER BEACH PARK
• Food Truck Rally
• Coffee and Hot Chocolate Samples – sponsored by Dunkin Donuts
• Sailboat Making
• Hot 99.5 Music and Giveaways – special appearance by DJ Toby Knapp from 2-4 PM
• Blossom Art
• Character Appearances – sponsored by WETA

WATER STREET CIRCLE
• Food Truck Rally and Picnic Area
• Blossom Hair Styles and Photo Shoot – sponsored by Hair Cuttery
• Blossom Ink Temporary Tattoos
• Family Comfort Station sponsored by Pampers, Luvs and Dreft

WATERFRONT PARK
• Paper Bag Puppets
• T-shirt Crafting – by Harbor Patrol
• Kasa Hat Creations
• Paper Kite Gliders
• Face Painting
• Family Games
• Koi Windsocks

Lantern Making Family Day at Yards Park
Yards Park – 355 Water Street, SE
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – 2pm
There will be two sessions of lantern making for children and adults, at 10:00 am and at 12:00 pm. As an official event of the National Cherry Blossom Festival, the lantern making day will feature a variety of Japanese cultural activities, as well as a moon bounce for all children to enjoy.

SAAM Cherry Blossom Celebration
Smithsonian American Art Museum – 8th and G Streets, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 11:30am – 4:30pm
A taiko drumming performance kicks off the afternoon, followed by other traditional Japanese music and dance, face painting, and cherry-blossom themed crafts. Colleagues from the Freer|Sackler can help you make your own Japanese fan. Create a koinobori windsock at one of our crafting tables or check out the spring book corner with our friends from MLK Jr. Memorial Library.

Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival
500 New York Ave, NW
Saturday, April 9th, 1-4pm
Drink the District is back with the annual Cherry Blossom Beer & Wine Festival. With tickets this year starting at just $45, attendees can enjoy unlimited beer and wine, food trucks, and live entertainment all day.

Click here for more information and to buy tickets.

Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony
TIDAL BASIN AT Independence Avenue and 17th Street, SW
Sunday, April 10th, 2:00pm – 4:00pm
The ceremony takes place at the newly dedicated Japanese Rock Garden. It includes traditional music by the Toho Koto Society of Washington, DC and songs by the Washington Japanese Choral Society. The Joint Armed Forces Color Guard of the Military District of Washington, DC presents the colors.

National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade
Constitution Avenue – From 7th to 17th streets, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 10am – Noon
The parade runs for 10 blocks along iconic Constitution Avenue featuring giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and celebrity entertainers, and performers. Individual tickets start at $20. Group tickets are on sale as well. Get your tickets here. Standing along the Parade route from Constitution Avenue between 9th and 15th streets, NW is FREE and open to the public. Arrive early for the best views.

Who Is Performing:

  • Cast members from the award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys
  • Pop sensation Tiffany
  • Chart topping artist and The Voice contestant Sisaundra Lewis
  • R&B Grammy-nominated artist and DC native Raheem DeVaughn
  • Miss America 2016 Betty Cantrell
  • Washington Redskins Cheerleaders
  • Latin vocal group Viva Mas, who recently performed for Pope Francis
  • Local talent, including winners of the third annual Sing Into Spring Competition and the Washington Performing Arts Men and Women of the Gospel Choir

 

Sakura Matsuri
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Head right on over after the parade, rain or shine! Adult tickets are $8 in advance, $10 after April 8. Children under the age of 13 are free. Buy your tickets in advance here.

Cherry Blast!
Carnegie Library – 801 k Street, NW
Saturday, April 16th, 6pm
Every spring this vibrant gathering proves a popular combination of Japanese sights, sounds and tastes, and this year, the event creatively spotlights all things related to anime, cosplay and gaming. This April, the fun launches in a new location –in the heart of downtown DC —at the Carnegie Library at Mt. Vernon Square.

The Japanese-inspired event brings the energy and excitement surrounding its pop cultural experiences to the Festival. At Carnegie Library, revelers can enjoy a range of activities from manga and gaming to electric drifting competitions. Attendees can also partake in creative cosplay contests and learn about the latest Japanese fashion trends – straight from the runway. And the opportunity to relish in mouth-watering Tokyo street food, sake tastings and sushi workshops are just a few of the experiences available. Just when guests think it can’t get any better, they discover DC’s largest Japanese-inspired dance party, which showcases Asia’s alluring club and techno scenes.

Anacostia River Festival
Anacostia Park – 1900 Anacostia Drive, SE
Sunday, April 17th, 1-5pm
Head out to the Anacosita River to enjoy canoeing, kayaking, bird watching, bike riding, and nature walks.

Japanese Jazz Series at Blues Alley
1073 Wisconsin Avenue, NW
April 18-20, 8pm & 10pm
Celebrating Cherry Blossoms! Enjoy the music of young Japanese jazz artists at Blues Alley, performing as part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival! Purchase tickets here.

 

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Review – February Japan Crate

While I’m still trying to get my life together, I’m uploading a couple of videos Johanna and I have done that I never got around to posting. I’ve been holding on to this Japan Crate video since February! And I love this video because you can see so much of Johanna’s personality in it. I hope you enjoy the video. Feel free to leave a comment if you’re over these videos or want to see more of them. Johanna absolutely loves the camera!

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Life Changed On Me

January 1, 2016 rolled around and like most people, I made promises of change for the new year. Promises to kick my weightloss journey up a notch, promises to be a better mom, homeschooling mom, and wife. Promises to be more involved in ministry. So many promises. But here’s the thing. I ain’t got no crystal ball and life can change on you so fast that it’ll leave you gasping for air.

Life changed on me.

I can’t go into the how right now, but I most certainly will sometime down the road. In fact, I can’t wait to include you! This change has left me feeling confused, yet a little excited. Because I didn’t see it coming, I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. I’m still trying to sort out how to accomplish my goals, hold true to my promises, while dealing with it. Today I feel like I’m failing and I have to remind myself to take it one day at a time.

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The one thing I know for sure is that my steps are ordered by the Lord, and that makes me feel like yeah, I can still be the super mom I want to be. I can still get my sexy back. I can continue to redefine myself and get to know myself better. I can find my happy, even if I have to take a detour along the way. It’s ok. This isn’t the first detour I’ve had to take in life, and it certainly won’t be the last. And not all detours are bad. Sometimes they’re simply surprising.

That’s all. As a reader of this blog, I love you. I love that you have stuck with me even though my posting thus far in 2016 has been spotty at best, and I thought that you deserved to know that I’m not slacking. I’m not giving up blogging. I’m just on a detour. Someday I will be able to include you in my detour and it will make writing so much easier again. Not just the fun stuff that is easy to post up (japan crate, events, etc), but the stuff that spills out of my heart. The heart of who I am is coming back to this blog, just please bear with me. I have some sorting out to do.

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