Virtual School 101

You would think being raised by a educator I would feel comfortable and prepared to go on this journey of virtual school with Mahkai  (kindergartner). WRONG,  I literally had to first get over Mahkai missing the experience of going to that first day of big kid school. Then I had to navigate a plan to best help my little one feel encouraged to participate and learn from home.

I first started with what I am good at “decor”. I rearranged his room to give space for learning. I wanted everything he needed to be available and accessible to his eye level. Ikea was the perfect stop to get a desk, stool and rug. Then I headed to Michael’s to buy a cart to organize supplies and his learning materials such as books and folders. My last stop was Target where I went a little teacher crazy but still in budget. The frugal section had the perfect calender’s, charts and bins for organizing. Surprisingly we had a dry erase board in our garage and some old boarders in my craft bin. I put everything all together and just prepared for what school would be.

I wanted to be optimistic regarding the school year and virtual learning. I will admit as a parent to a Kindergartner you do have to be hands on and keep them on task. Hats off to our school district we are currently in they had parents safely pick up books and Chrome books the week before school started. So our experience so far has been much better than expected. Mahkai’s teacher is amazing she really goes the extra mile to keep her class engaged. We where provided access to online learning as well as daily class schedule where Ms. Phan takes attendance at 7:40 am like normal via zoom. Every day they have block via zoom art, music and even gym.

Although this is not the ideal or traditional school I am thankful to have a job that I can work from home and keep my little one safe. I stay positive by knowing that this wont be a forever solution and if that doesn’t work I grab wine. I want to know how are you guys adjusting?

 

Tea Party: Bridesmaid Edition

Let’s talk about all the tea surrounding picking my wonderful bridesmaids. I’m going to spill everything so get comfortable. The choosing of a bridesmaid sets the tone of how your bridal experience will be. When Moyo came and said he wanted 12 groomsmen I’ll admit my face was sour. I tried to talk him down to seven but we landed at ten. Still I was like 10 seems like so many until I began to write the names down.

The ten where selected so quick I’ll be the first to admit I have amazing woman in my life but I’ve never been in a clique or have had a set group who are all friends with one another. So it was funny that the ten I selected get along so well. I knew before creating a chat that all ten of the selected woman would fit together. They all love traveling, goal driven and the one thing they have in common is me.

Family first

The first bridesmaid proposal went to my Maid of honor Jamaira and my little cousin Malahja. The choice of Maid of Honor was chosen before I even had a groom in mind. Jamaira has always been by my side we are cousins who are only 2 months apart but we are also opposites who keep one another balanced. Malahja is my baby literally the first child I was ever trusted to baby sit. Malahja is reserved but goofy and is the perfect image of what a parent would want their child to be. Giving these two their proposal boxes was easy we family so I knew they couldn’t tell me no. I flew into St.Louis surprised everyone and waited for my mom to BBQ and gave them their boxes.

The Houston bridesmaids

Yet still I didn’t know how to get everyone in one place at the same time. These woman are all amazing but they are all the type who will quickly ask me “who gone be there” or the dress code. I wanted everyone to come in optimistic ready to break the ice. I mentioned to the girls I wanted to have a brunch Kentucky Derby theme. Living in south it’s just something I love about black woman and big hats. Then Ally and Sally planned every detail and executed beyond anything I could imagine. Custom cookies and menus and all the pink to make my heart smile. The day was here the location of Bloom & Bee and I walked in to all my girls already laughing and bonding. At brunch we told stories made jokes it was a whole vibe. In a room full of bosses we literally where the image of black excellence. I never step out of my friend groups for much of anything Kaylan did my makeup and she killed it. She’s always my go to for anything fashion and style. Last min I reached out to Ashley like girl I’d love to have you as a bridesmaid and she fit right in she’s the lively one of the crew who will always speak her mind (lawyer bae). Christina is my framily (friend/family) basically the friend who became family. She has been my person who I share every hardship and secrets and her family has accepted like their own. Last but not least Olaide my roomie the one I will name our future daughter after. She’s the Yoruba queen with the jokes. Amongst these ladies I feel loved I feel honored that they are on this journey with me.

My Traveler Bridesmaid

The final two who are apart of this fun crew are Tola and Kayla. What they have in common is love of travel at any time they could be anywhere in the world. Kayla was my girl in undergrad my partner in crime for all random adventures. One day we even randomly got our nose pierced. Tola is technically my fiancé’s cousin but she gets me like no one else and she has become my spirit guide throughout the years.

Accepting a No

Being a bridesmaid can be a lot on people rather is financial, time or even just the entirety of the role. I definitely am not the one who is offended when friends say they loved to but cant. Accepting a no doesn’t mean that your friend doesn’t love or support your union it simply means the role that they will play may not fit into your original vision.

THE TEA

Well I hate to be the one to write this but planning our wedding has truly brought who’s for me and against me front and center. I had a close friend I considered a sister we had ups and downs. She never accepted that life happens love happens or even the growth of me as a mother and woman. So boom I get engaged and she’s upset. Then I begin planning and everything was a complaint even when I would compromise or make suggestions. Then the final straw was we where texting about Future the rapper the one with all the baby mama drama and I said “I don’t see how woman date him. Her direct reply was “well you better hope your marriage last”. In that moment I realized I didn’t want any negativity in my bridal party and as the days past I decided I didn’t even want the negativity in my life. This wasn’t the first of rude comments but I didn’t want to be a emotional roller coaster with a friend. I decided it would be best to cut ties root for her from a far but no longer just take the disrespect.

Lastly thank you to my girls all ten y’all. Lets turn up and get me down the aisle May 8, 2021. So what’s y’all wedding tea? Did you have to switch dates? Bridal drama? I want to hear it.

Inexpensive Birthday for Toddlers

Want to know how I pulled off a small last minute party for our toddler keep reading dropping all the details….

Theme: Of course I came up with the theme “Two Legit to Quit” after it catching my eye on Pinterest. The hubby hated the idea of the theme but once I set mind that’s it.

Decor: Went to Dollar Tree yes Dollar Tree. I purchased table cloths, toys for goodie bags, balloons and more. This was a record for me $54 on decor and games vs my usual 200-300+. I also purchased a backdrop from Amazon for $20.

The Setup: setting up the night before is almost tradition for me. I never know what mood the kids will be in the day of party so I try to knock out all that I can ahead of time.

The Cake: With the Corona virus out there and us self quarantine I wanted to keep the cake simple. I reached out to Sweet Kravings our family official cake lady and she nailed it per usual.

Entertainment: I got creative and added a paint station for the kids with paint, and canvas from the local dollar tree. Bounce house worked out perfect it didn’t rain and the coat was right because of the lack of business during this pandemic we secured a discount. Lastly I added a 90’s trivia game for the adults I’ll put it this way the men had to cheat to beat us.

The Tears: I’m still in disbelief that we have a two year old. Let the potty training begin. These past two years have been such a blessing, my biggest lesson for sure has been slowing down and enjoying the moment and thats exactly what I will continue to do as watching our little one grow. Someone please stop the time.

Be right back grabbing tissue. Did you celebrate any birthdays or graduations during quarantine? Everyone was in shock that we actually hosted a party this year but this was small compared to our usual birthday festivities. Plus I made people sanitize at the door. Back to isolation we go!

How to balance kids during Covid-19

Well this momma is going to give the tea on what’s worked for us because it was trial and error the first week. I was trying balance being the teacher, maid and chef all while working my very demanding corporate America job, I knew something had to change and I was barely making it with coffee. Check out the tips below for what I did to find balance and keep the boys busy.

1.Planned ahead- I luckily have friends who are teachers as well as my Grandma so I asked them for a little help and made my own lesson plans. Each boy got a lesson plan designed for their personal skill set. Mahkai’s elementary also provided distant learning tools and Zoom calls with teachers.

2. Switched up the days- Yes the traditional learning is Monday-Friday but that didn’t work with me having to balance conference calls and zoom meetings. I give the boys two FREE days during the week so that on my off days Saturday and Sunday we can truly focus on learning. For example we would follow schedule of learning Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday-Sunday.

3. Dry erase boards- I write out the boys schedules daily and put check marks next to things that are complete this allows the boys to track their progress through out the day.

4. Lunch time- Am I the only person doing groceries 2-3x more often than usual? So the solution was to give them “school food” vs 5 star luxury meals I was making. Typical lunch is fruit, a snack and then kid friendly food you’d find at any elementary ie. pizza, chicken nuggets, steamed veggies. I made sure all lunches could be prepared in 20 mins or less.

5. Recess/ Exercise- I take the boys out once a day typically towards end of day we will go for walks or ride bikes. We got Mahkai a big boy bike and he rides it almost every day. One new thing I added was meditation and yoga and honestly it’s more for me than them because let’s be honest wearing all these hats can take a toll on your mental health. I’ve been finding so many new ways to make learning exciting and fun yesterday we went on a nature walk and used a explore board from Target.

I enjoyed this new time home with my family and will be rolling a lot of these new habits and tips in into or every day life once outside opens back up. I hope these where helpful don’t forget to share your tips below. Lastly what are your plans when outside opens back up?

TIP Tuesday “Hand me Downs”

The nerve of Mahkai asking me “Mommy why is brother wearing MY clothes”. Having two boys who are only three years apart everything gets passed down. Kids outgrow clothes on a seasonal bases so if I can get twice the wear it’s a win for this momma. I use to be the mom who would preach “my kids are individual and wont share clothes” but now things have changed. I’m now the mom who is going to make every dollar stretch. Here are my tips on how a save and reuse the boys clothes.

1.Storage- This is the biggest tip of them all. If you don’t properly store old clothes you are running risk of clothes having that nasty old basement smell. I buy multiple size storage bins from target WITH LIDS. Then I divide the clothes by size example all of the 12-24 months are all stored together. Shoes deserve their own bin, don’t be gross and put those used shoes on top of clothes.

2.Lables- Save yourself sometime and label everything makes things easier when it’s time to go through the bins and take out what you plan to pass down. I learned the hard way after spending many Saturday’s aimlessly digging

3. Let it Go- I use to let Kai wear too little clothes as PJ’s but now once its to small I immediately store for baby brother. Who wants stretched or discolored clothes?

4. Restyle- The best part is making old clothes come to life again. Find new ways to style if Kai wore it in a sporty edgy way I will find a way to put a preppy twist on things for Mahir.

Do you mommas let your children wear hand me downs? Have you ever worn hand me downs? Let me know your tips!

Unsolicited

Have you ever gotten mommy/parenting advice you didn’t ask for?

If you are pregnant, looking to be pregnant or a first time mom then this post is for you. Get ready for all the unsolicited advice you never asked for not limited to just your family either.

I remember the first of many times, I was grocery shopping maybe around 7 or 8 months and a older woman asked “hey, how far along are you” I gave a simple answer to hear the reply “oh my your tiny”. She then proceeds to give me nutritional advice and tell me she’s been a mother for so many years and she has these perfect little ones of her own who are now thriving adults. I being the scared timid pregnant 20 something I was just let this woman talk for what seemed like forever.

I was naive thinking that would be the last of the parenting advice I’d get. WRONG! For each stage and phase there’s new advice. Newborn-6 months you will get the breastfeed or formula debate. Toddler phase you’ll hear all the advice about potty training and which snacks are best. Every mom will give their perfect Patty outline of motherhood. Well I’ll give it to you straight my kids have tried Macdonalds, they have missed bed times and lastly everything isn’t gmo and dye free. Some moms are probably clutching their diaper bags right now.

If I forgot to mention let me tell you now every mom is a chef, a doctor and certified life coach. It’s like one baby down and we all become experts. The thing about motherhood is unscripted and unfiltered. We all think we have it the secret formula of getting it right.

In Conclusion

Most moms who give the random unsolicited advice have good intentions and mean no harm. You can rather listen brush it off or you may just learn something. I remember the first year of parenting I’d take whatever adult conversation I could get seeing that most of my time was spent juggling my final year of college while pumping around the clock. I think we all can agree that that there’s no wrong and right. Its all trial and error but there is light at the end of the tunnel. My only advice to pass along is for when your time comes as the mom with the advice don’t drop to many gems at once.