A Gift From My Baby Girl

I’m proud of Anya for many reasons, but it is her heart that is so special. She is so giving, loving and caring that it melts my heart! This past week was insanely busy and as I was trying to clean up the house and getting ready for my parents to come she was busy in the kitchen! She kept telling me not to come in and although I really needed to get in there I waited. To my surprise she made us lunch and set the table so sweetly for us. How blessed I am to have this little one!

This table was completely bare before Anya got a hold of it!

This table was completely bare before Anya got a hold of it!

She even made napkin rings :)

She even made napkin rings :)

A Lesson I Learned From The Fabulous Kiddo! Aim High!

Ready to Audition 

Being a parent is a reciprocal learning relationship. If you aren’t learning from your kids then something is wrong, right? I’m constantly amazed at the lessons about life that I learn from Anya, my fabulous kiddo. Anya taught me a life lesson last week that I somewhat knew in the back of my mind, but didn’t always put in practice and that was, “Aim High,” If you’ve read my blog then you know that Anya is in ballet, actually since she was 3 years old. So for 5 years she has been dancing her little toes off. Well this year, she was eligible to try out for an open audition for the Ballet West Nutcracker performing at Kennedy Center in Washington, DC.  As soon as she heard about the audition she wanted to try out. We talked about it, and to be honest, I wasn’t sure if she was ready because it is a huge commitment. If she made it she would have mandatory practice every weekend, sometimes Friday, Saturday and Sunday. That’s a lot for an eight year old along with school and ballet classes twice a week.

As the time drew near, she kept reminding me that she wanted to try out. Still thinking it was too much for an 8 year old, I gently told her that maybe she should wait a year and she may be able to try out for her school’s Nutcracker performance. She looked me squarely in the eye and in all seriousness said, “Mama, that is not my dream, my dream is to perform in the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center. Please mama let me try out.” Then she…cried, and I mean wailed that she couldn’t miss this chance. She really had me convinced before the crying started so I quickly told her she could try out before the girl fell out! She threw her arms around and me and literally still crying thanked me over and over.

The next day, I got her out of school early and we went to the Kennedy Center where an abundance of bun heads were stretching, leaping and looking nervous. Anya got her number (#10) and waited until her group was called. We said a prayer beforehand and I told her to have fun and that I believed in her and I did. I won’t lie and say sitting there for an hour was easy though. Anytime your child wants something so badly and there is a chance they won’t get it, well wow it can turn your stomach  into war zone.

Finally, after an hour they said your children are coming down. Then before the kids came they said if you don’t see your child they have been chosen. I nervously looked and there was no Anya! She made it!!! My girl accomplished her dream! She aimed high and made it happen! When I was ushered into the elevator with the other parents I thought my heart would burst! She ran over to me and I never seen a smile so big. As I sat upstairs in one of the dance studios of the Kennedy Center I knew that I would never forget that moment. The moment when my determined girl went for her dreams and made them a reality. That night we screamed, laughed and celebrated and I learned a lesson from Anya and that is to aim high, go for your dreams and believe in yourself. Don’t just talk about it, but make it happen and know that it can be your reality. I am so proud of her not just because she will perform in the Opera House where so many great legends have once performed, but because she was courageous, brave and had faith in herself and fought for her dream all at 8 years old.

If you ever read this Anya, I am in awe of you! You are extraordinary my sweet brave girl~!

Practicing at the Kennedy Center

Little Bits of Lovely

With only 2 days before school starts, I’m feeling nostalgic. My little girl is going to 3rd grade and I can’t believe it! It seems like only yesterday she was a tiny munchkin with little ponytails and now she’s a bigger munchkin with longer ponytails! But, she’s still my munchkin!

Sometimes Discipline Means Work, Not for Me for the Kid

So, you all know I adore my girl, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t get a little sassy sometimes and when that happens it’s time to discipline. Now you all may not agree with this and that’s okay, but I thought I’d share a little parental discipline that I had to dole out yesterday. So here’s the story…

Yesterday, we were in the car and Anya had one of those bottle that she uses for her baby doll. Inside of it was this concoction she mixed together. I had been telling her not to open it and actually for her to take it out of the car along with a host of other things that piled up. Well, lo and behold the bottle of mystery fell in the car. I wasn’t so mad that it spilled but what I was annoyed about was the attitude I got when I told her to bring the bottle up to the house before we left for dinner. Well, Miss Anya stomped her way up to the porch and she threw the bottle down. OH YES SHE DID! Then when I addressed it in the car and told her she needed to bring the toys and the piles of other things in the house when we got back she had an attitude and said why couldn’t I do it. OH YES SHE DID! A few other words were exchanged and I knew something had to be done. Now she thought we were going to dinner so I was quiet and we were getting closer to the place we were going and she said something like, “Oh I didn’t know we were going there, great!” But instead I rolled right past it, I could see the confusion appear on her face in my rearview mirror.

Instead, we went to the gas station, the one that had a vacuum cleaner that you could pull up next to and that is where the discipline train pulled into. I explained that I didn’t appreciate her attitude and disrespect not only that she showed me, but our car. I reminded her that we were blessed to have a car and cars cost money. Then I dropped the bomb shell. I told her that I wouldn’t be cleaning up her mess she would. There were a few tears, but I didn’t let them distract me or her, I’m okay with working through the tears. She was to clean up all the junk she threw on the floor, put all her toys together that she’d be bringing in the house, wipe down the seats and then vacuum. I have a Hyundai Sonata so the back seat area isn’t that big, but big enough that it was a sizable job.

At first she tried handing me stuff to throw away for her, and I said she was on her own with this one. I told her she is responsible for cleaning up her own messes. I also raised the stakes a little higher and said if it wasn’t done correctly we would not be going to dinner out but instead be eating at home. I hesitated on this one ladies, because I was exhausted and used last night as our one night out to eat. So I said a silent prayer that she would rise to the occasion. There was a bit of pouting, but after she knew I was serious she did a good job. In the end I gave  her a hug and explained why I had her do this, which was to learn the value of things and not take what we have for granted and not to disrespect it either. I also told her that there are consequences to her actions and she is accountable. After a few kisses and her apologizing we were on our way.

We ended up having a great breakfast/dinner at IHOP and I think she got the gist of what I was trying to convey to her. Sometimes discipline is work literally!

Cleaning a car is hard work!

Passing Down a Cloud of Witnesses to Our Children. Never Underestimate a Spiritual Legacy!

This simply makes me happy! Whenever I’m having a bad day I’m going to visualize this picture in my mind.

This was before bedtime. Anya had her bible, her journal and my grandmother’s bible out as she wrote and studied Genesis. She said keeping my grandma’s bible open made her feel closer to her and encourages her to study the bible. The bond Anya still has with my grandma who passed away when she was almost 2 is incredible and is from God. Again, my Eva is close to us always passing on her legacy.

It is such a gift to pass down the spiritual legacies to our children left to us from our grandparents, parents, friends, and from mentors in the church. Our kids need that rich history of people to motivate them on their on spiritual journey. The bible speaks of the cloud of witnesses, I believe each of us have our witnesses that we can teach our children about on a daily basis. By taking what we learn from those who nurtured and encouraged our own spiritual  walk and passing it down to our children we can keep a legacy of faith going.

That adage it takes a village to raise a child is true on so many fronts, especially in the spiritual realm. If you are a Christian then it is your responsibility to teach your children about Christ, help them learn his word, and surround them with those who are spiritually encouraging and nurturing. Building a spiritual foundation for our children is not a one person job, so gather your workers and start this amazing journey for your child and for the body of Christ.

We Made It To San Francisco!!!

Well, we made it to San Francisco and had a beautiful trip full of memories and laughs! God works out everything as he plans not the way we plan. So because of the snow storm coming back we stayed an additional 2 days in San Fran which was a total of 6 awesome days! Anya was the best traveling buddy and to be honest there is no one else I’d rather go on a vacation with than her. She was totally go with the flow and enjoyed every minute. We saw so much and did so much, not to mention she had a chance to meet one of my best friends! Here is a peek into our belated vacation and this just touches upon what we did!

The day started early at 4 am to catch a 6 am flight! She was a good sport!

After a 6 hour flight we arrived! Our hotel was great and in walking distance to Fisherman’s Wharf which was the first place we hit. There’s Anya with her sunglasses, her first purchase.

Before Pier 39 though we stopped at this famous little place!

She loved it!

She met the aqua green marine guy..yeah we aren’t sure what this was! LOL! Anya was a bit hesitant about holding that finger!

She climbed the Musical Steps at Pier 39 and made music!
My favorite thing to do on Pier 39 was seeing the sea lions!
Anya got to ride the double decker bus, yes there were day tours!
And night tours…

We spent a lot of time in Chinatown
We walked and walked and walked….
We went to a cool cafe at North Beach and had some goodies!!
We had bread
Shaped like turtles!
Breakfast was our favorite meal!
My favorite part of the trip was going to Monterrey and Carmel…
The lone cypurs tree was a sight to behold!
17 Mile Drive is in incredible
We could have stayed forever in Carmel :)
We rode under the Golden Gate Bridge
Look at the View!
We went to the Golden Gate State Park!

 I love the Tea Garden!

She had a ball at the Children’s Park

 Anya loved San Francisco and plans on living near the beach one day in California!
To collect Sand Dollars…
Hopefully she will still want me to tag along!

Happy Birthday to My Beautiful Eight Year Old!!

This weekend I celebrated my daughter’s 8th birthday! Wow 8 years, I can’t believe it! This year instead of throwing the big party I decided to forgo the pony (that was her 6th birthday) and goody bags and instead share an experience and have an adventure so I…

Booked a Trip!

To…

This was her face when I told her where we were going…

Yes, I planned a 4 day getaway and wanted to leave my heart in San Francisco. It was going to be perfect! One of my best friends lives about 15 minutes outside of the city so we would see her, along with going up to Monterrey and Carmel and doing a ton of other fun things. So we were packed and ready to go, I even had a hotel booked by the airport so I didn’t have to worry about driving to BWI at the crack of dawn and then it happened….

There was a SNOW STORM!!!!! I checked the weather I swear I did!! We drove through the snow and arrived at the hotel and decided to be positive!

We enjoyed the suite we booked, ate dinner and acted silly after all it was  just a little snow right? WRONG!

It was a total MESS! Our flight was cancelled several times and eventually I knew we weren’t getting out. Instead of leaving my heart in San Francisco my heart was breaking in Baltimore. At one point I had to just go in the bathroom and have a good cry. It was such a letdown and it was my sweet girl’s present. I was so mad at myself for not planning better. But, realistically I knew I couldn’t fight or control the snow. After my breakdown I got it together and made a decision that we would celebrate with the ones we loved and make lemons out of lemonade. This was going to be the Hap hap happiest birthday ever!!Snow be darned!! Nothing stands in the way of a momma and her baby’s birthday!

Anya handled way better than I expected and we booked another trip in 2 weeks, which was actually cheaper and a better deal. Then we drove off to Pittsburgh after staying another night in the hotel and having a fabulous dinner.

So we landed in Pittsburgh which was our first plan in the beginning! Funny how we make plans and God has something else in store for us. Anya was surrounded by her grandparents, uncle and our close family friend Hannah who she absolutely adores. Her birthday was special regardless of the missed trip.

What do you do in Pittsburgh in February??? Bury your child in snow of course! Along with an epic snowball battle!

She went to a car show with my family that she loved and my awesome brother bought her this lovely impromptu cake :)

Before the cake in the morning was a cupcake and a happy girl!

Then we sang Happy Birthday to her and she had the biggest smile ever!

We didn’t leave our heart in San Francisco but our hearts were exactly in the right place. I realized that  family is the experience that matters most and everything else like trips and parties are just the icing on the cake. I had so much to be thankful for, first there is Anya who adds so much color to my world, then my wonderful family who loves us both to the moon, and the so many other things we’re blessed with like a home, friends, a good school, a car, our safety, and just being alive and healthy! I could be in a box and every year that I see Anya grow I will thank God for it and just be present. I’m so blessed that 8 years ago this amazing and incredible gift entered my life! Happy Birthday to Anya who has my heart!!!!

Anya’s World…What a Beautiful World It Is!

I love sharing with Anya’s permission some of what she writes in her Faith Journal. This entry was from last week . We were praying before bedtime and after she asked me if she could get her journal. Although it was bedtime I said sure, because well how could I say no? Right? Here is what she wrote:

 
I’m always humbled by her sweet little spirit.

Labor Day Fun!

I hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend! Summer is coming to a close so I hope you are squeezing in all those last minute summer fun activities or traditions you share with your family. This year we did something totally new! Anya will be attending a new school and every year the school has a presence in the Labor Day Parade, so Anya had the opportunity to march in the parade with her classmates. It was hot as a furnace, but my girl was a trooper! I actually rode in the school van behind them waving a blow up paw in the air! Ah the things you do for your kids. Joking aside it was a great time and I’m glad she did it. Hope you had a fun day celebrated with those you love!