Toddler in the (Home) Gym!!

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Every once in a while, when I don’t feel like running, I (try) work out in the basement. We have a little gym set up down there, nothing fancy, a bench with legs extensions and bench press/squat bar, curl bars, punching bag, and free weights. If I have to go down there, I try to do it when Aspen is napping or before the whole house wakes up. Otherwise, I end up fussing/entertaining her rather than working out. Xavier on the other hand can work out with that crazy toddler running around down there.

Xavier is helping me out with training this week, so when Aspen sees us getting ready to work out, she too has to “exercise”, she says. I protest, of course. But, Xavier says she can come, all we have to do is let her exercise, he says. I have tried to work out with her down there and it usually ends in a war and no workouts.

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Anyways, I start working out and after every rep that I finish, Xavier lets Aspen do her, “exercises”, in between when I am resting. Of course, why didn’t I think of that? He lays her down on the bench and have her do sit ups while she counts out loud. It helps with her numbers, he says, and she loves that she gets to do everything on the bench. If you let her be a part of your workout, she won’t be a bother, he says. Yea right.

But, I do notice that after she does an exercise she goes off on her own and starts playing with her toys and even goes back up to play with her sisters. She only comes back down when she is ready to do her next “exercise”. And surprisingly, I am working out without any issues. And all I had to do was let her exercise. Of course I’m sure that when it’s just me and her, it won’t go as smoothly. But I will definitely be doing that next time she insists on exercising with me, instead of skipping a work out because I don’t want to fight with a toddler.

I am so busy seeing her as a distraction down there, that I forget that she might actually learn something from watching me work out. Maybe, I should see how it might teach her the value of fitness and exercising, and help with her numbers. Maybe. We’ll see. I’ll let you know how the new method, “works out”, without Xavier.

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Week 41: Finally, Friday!!

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Happy Weekend!! I hope you had an awesome and productive week. Excuse the blog silence during the week, it was a long week.

This week was a test-bed(an overused compound word/phrase at work) for running early in the morning, before work. I’ll give it another week or so before I denounce it.

Highlights:

Since we didn’t have the girls for Father’s Day, I got Xavier and I tickets to the first Boulevardia (Beer)Fest at West Bottoms on Sunday. Mistake number one: we should have definitely went on Saturday. Mistake number two: expecting it to be similar to the Houston Wine Fest or the Houston Beer Fest. Also, I missed out on the first PorchFest KC on Saturday, because I am a super procrastinator, and father’s day gift perusing took way longer that I had anticipated.

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Boulevardia:

We went on Sunday afternoon. It was not as crowded as the previous day, as indicated by Instagram. The down pour in the morning might have impacted this as well, and the fact that it was Father’s Day. I was a little disappointed at the selection of taps and what was available to for tasting on this day. Maybe the participating brewery and distillery did not pack enough for the 3 day festival, I don’t know. But, this event was scheduled for 12-6, and by about 230-3pm, most samples were gone.

We got there around 2pm, as I was sure, this was early enough and more than enough time to taste and stroll. Not. We were able to taste a couple of samples. I tried out an awesome cocktail from Pinckney Bend Distillery, their white corn whiskey collins, and it was great. We didn’t get much in by the way of tasting. The beers on tap were ok.

But the music was pretty good and there was plenty of food trucks lined up. There was an awesome all girl band on the Homegrown Stage, whose name escapes me. I was glad to find out that the festival had plenty of family friendly activities as well. There was also a Makers Market of local artisans. Overall, for a first time event, it was decent, and I will probably go back next year, on a Saturday.

Also, Xavier invited me to go fishing with him and his friends. The last time I went fishing, I hooked my finger pretty bad. This time wasn’t so tragic, and I even caught a fish, though not as big as Xavi’s catches. I can’t remember ever catching a fish as an adult, so it was nice. The fishing spot was really nice and peaceful, and we were so busy enjoying the peace and quiet, that we lost track of time, and Olathe Police had to kick us out of the park. But, it all ended well, lol.

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Finally, we finally got to try out La Bodega. Apparently, it’s the only tapas bar in Kansas City. Is this true? The paella was pretty good, but the sangria was only ok. The Spanish Coffee, with its fancy blazed 151 and cinnamon, was awesome, and not just because it’s a coffee drink.

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The Girls:

This week the girls were in Dallas. They went to Six Flags and got to spend a day in a farm and feed some cows. Interesting. They were really excited about the cow and were minutes of missing a mama cow give birth. They did get to see a baby cow take its first steps. No cow milking though.

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Jaelan said now she is a real Cowgirl. This is good practice for when they visit Tita Dora’s place in West Virginia. She has chicken, pigs, and goats.

Aspen is missing home and she keeps asking me when I am going to pick her up. Soon, Terminator, soon.

Also, Aspen’s birthday is coming up, and she is very excited, she can’t wait to turn 3. I can’t believe she is turning 3, already.

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Week 40: Finally, Friday!!

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Happy Father’s Day Weekend! What are y’all doing this weekend? Hope everyone is able to take the time to celebrate dads this weekend or every weekend :). The girls are not here, so we are going to check out the first ever PorchFest KC and the first ever Boulervadia Beer Fest this weekend. Plus it’s the last episode of Game of Thrones, sad face.

Also, it rained cats and dogs for like 6 days in a row this week. That’s crazy.

Highlight:

Nothing much going on over here except work and randomness. Last weekend, Xavier and I checked out the Glass Labyrinth by Robert Morris at the Nelson. He is a local artist. It’s a pretty cool exhibit, and if you decided to go, be careful. We saw 2 kids get hurt running into the glass while trying to get to the middle.

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We also checked out a couple of other outdoors exhibits at the Sculpture Park. Pretty solid, but I thought that the headless statues were creepy. And then we checked out Grunauer, an Austrian/German spot rated one of the top 21 beer gardens in the country. I thought the food was ok, didn’t do beer, and the garden was really nice, the awesome weather helped a lot.

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Quay Coffee had a little show with the band, Joseph, of Portland, OR. They are a talented group of sisters, and the lead can sang. Their genre is different from what I usually listen to, but good music. Gotta venture out sometimes.

Finally, we planted a garden. Yes, planted. a. garden. I am optimistic, but I doubt that it will survive, as the only living organisms that I have been able to grow in life so far, is children. Our first ivy here died, but Xavier brought it back to life. And Poppa told me that it takes a lot to kill an ivy. Also, one of the pepper plants has already been a casualty of our resident Bunny and/or maybe Princeton, Xavier’s pet chipmunk, who lives in one of trees in the back.

The Girls:

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They are still having too much fun in Texas. So much so, that Jaelan has ignored my requests for summertime photos. She said she will email them to me when she gets home from the park. That was like 5 days ago. She takes after me. So for now here are a couple from Nana Bubu.

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Also, I don’t think Aspen likes Buc-ee. Weird kid. But, her cousin, Devi, loves him ๐Ÿ™‚ SEE:

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In 350 Words or Less: Executive Loan

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Yesterday, President Obama signed an executive order that will cap student loan payments for another few million individuals. You can read about it here. The law will cap loan payments at 10% of income. If you recently started paying on your student loans, you probably already have this option. This order is more for those who borrowed between 2007 and 2011, because those who borrowed after 2011, is covered under student loan laws that were signed in 2010 This plan is set to take effect after December 2015.

I am sure you have already heard of the abysmal numbers regarding student loan debts and what not, so I’m not gonna waste anymore internet space on that. What I will blurb about is the not so many number of individuals who are taking advantage of student loan re-payment programs. These laws are pretty much useless is people don’t take advantage of them. Numbers say that out of a bunch of million of people who qualify for re-payment programs such as the one the Presidents signed today, only like 200,000 are actually enrolled in them. So , it kind of losses its essence. And, paying 10% doesn’t have to be permanent, just for that time that you need a little help, while waiting for that dream job that will end your student loan misery, like becoming a superstar politician.

Anyways, in addition to signing the new order, the President is also endorsing another piece of student loan legislation that will allow individuals to refinance their student loans later on. This particular law is going to go through some rough waters as the partisan claws are already out against it in Congress. I’ve read that all hell will break lose before it passes anywhere in Congress, since a similar bill has been rejected like 8 times already.

 

**Image from google.com**

In 350 Words or Less: Education Blues

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If you are one of my kids, you know how, “tiger mom”, I am about education. I am very big on it and it saddens me to see the hit that education has or is taking in life right now or ever; from the ridiculous rising debt/cost of higher education to the rising gun violence on college campuses and public schools. I am pessimistic that, by the time Aspen makes it to college, it will be obsolete, and/or impossible for normal people to attain, and I am not just talking about higher education.

But worse, have you heard about the public school system in New Orleans, LA? I’m sure you have, if not, you can read about it hereย and here. I find it hard to believe that a major city in America can no longer afford to provide traditional public education to its children. Beginning next school year, New Orleans will have the first all-charter school system in the country. Charter schools are publicly funded, but operate independently

I am not sure if it is still the case today, I’m sure it has changed, ย but when I was in grade school, charter schools were seen as negative, alternative school options. It was pretty much like where all of the bad kids go when they get kicked out of public and private school. According to several articles, the root of the change in New Orleans is corruption and poor performances. Maybe, it’s my ignorance of the system, and I will definitely find out more about it, but I don’t see how switching to an all charter school system will get rid of corruption and poor performance. If anything, I see more potential for a wider range of corruption in a charter organization and for the manifestation of a plethora of discriminatory issues. As the article states, it is still somewhat of an experiment, and I hope that it gets better for education in New Orleans. At the end of the day, we just want our kids to be able to go to school and receive a decent, if not, a good education.

Week 38: Finally, Friday!!

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Happy weekend!! The short week was really nice, but busy, as usual.

But, I miss the girls ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The house is very quiet and I have no one to order around! Just kidding.

I try not to call (too much or at all) because they are too busy having fun without their parents, but it’s ok, I understand ๐Ÿ™‚

Highlights:

Well since the girls are away, this department will be pretty limited. Besides the holiday, catching an Astros/Royals game at the K was pretty nice. The ‘Stros won and swept the Royals, so that is always awesome. I like the Springer kid, he is playing pretty well during the winning streak, which is a welcomed change.

Kauffman Stadium is pretty nice, plus the weather was great, which is always plus for an open stadium. It is also one of the easiest stadiums to maneuver around and find parking at, for me anyways. It’s smaller than Minute Maid, but looks bigger than Wrigley. The crowd was calm and I did see a couple of other Astros fans.

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Big Girls:

Jaelan is pretty excited about being able to visit her friends in Houston and that is pretty much all she calls to talk about. And Xavi is still Xavi, but with a really nice tan from all of the swimming that they are doing.

Aspen:

Aspen called me this week and told me that she is ready to come home, but I’m sure she was just being nice. I know she is having a great time with her Mimi and Poppa.

Also, her birthday is coming up and it looks like it will be a Texas celebration.

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Week 36: Finally, Friday!!

Happy weekend!! Another week bites the dust. Also, it’s May and it was in the 40s all week, why?

Highlights:

I figured out what Jaelan is singing at the year end talent show, it’s the number one song in the world. The show is this coming Wednesday, so wish her luck!

Xavi got her glasses this week and she looks so cute. She is still trying to get used to them. It was kind of cool to see her reaction once she put them on. Her first comment:

“Mom, everything looks like HD and 3-D! Those are leaves!!” *Points at a picture across the room*

Then it dawned on me how bad she needed glasses and it made me kind of sad. I gave her bad eyes, even though I don’t wear glasses ๐Ÿ˜ฆ And I’m a bad parent for waiting so long to get her glasses ๐Ÿ˜ฆ I did not realize how bad her eyes are.

She did have a moment of panic. She was scared that the television looks blurry when she takes her glasses off. I explained to her that, her eyes are adjusting, and that now she knows how clear vision looks with the glasses on.

Now, the next challenge is to teach her how to take care of her glasses. We got her 2 pairs, let’s see how long they last ๐Ÿ™‚

Aspen:

Of course once Aspen saw Xavi’s glasses, she quickly let us know that she can’t see, and that she too needs some eyeglasses, so she can see.

Her new phrase this week:

Aspen: Can I have a fruit snack?

Me: No, you already had 2 packs!

Aspen: “That doesn’t make sense!”

Week 36 Gallery:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 35: Finally, Friday!!

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Hope everyone had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend! Here is a late Friday post.

Highlights:

Last weekend, we went to the Brookside Art Annual and also checked out a couple of places we have been meaning to visit, Foo’s Frozen Custard and the Reading Reptile. The girls loved the Reading Reptile, it’s now the coolest bookstore ever, said Xavi. More on this place later. And then we decided to have a random Cinco de Mayo BBQ at the park with friends.

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*Apparently there is not a flavor that they do not have at Foo’s.*

The big girls are gearing up for end of school year activities such as finals testing and field day. This year went by so fast, I can’t believe that the school year is over in two weeks. Xavi finally finished make-up testing and she is too relieved.

I went to the girls’ Book Fair with them at school because some kids were stealing books, so parental supervision was required. Kids stealing book. Really. They were having a buy one, get one free sale and apparently it was a must.

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Xavi has picked up her reading time quite a bit, maybe she is prepping for when she get her eye glasses. She tells me that she likes fantasy and magic books a lot. She was too excited when we picked out her eyeglasses this week and she couldn’t understand why she had to wait 2 weeks to take them home.

Aspen:

Aspen has a new phrase that is gonna get her in trouble more often than not: “I was talking to Daddy not you Mommy”….Excuse me?

She uses this phrase a lot when she wants something and I or someone else tells her no.

Also, she told me that she is going to be Aspen the First like Sophia the First. So she said that she will need a pink crown with a pink dress with pink stripes. Eww and Gross, says me. Pink. I told her, her dad will make it happen.

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Her birthday is slowly creeping up, so I have started asking her what she wants for her birthday party and these seem to be the constant requests: A pink Bubble Guppies pinata and pink balloons and pink cake and Lightning McQueen and Frozen and Woody plates….? And a plate for Bambi(her current favorite stuffed animal deer)

I will have to narrow it down later.

Week 35 Gallery:

 

First Solo!

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Jaelan loves to sing. She sings all day, everyday. Music is a very accurate way to describe her. She has been in a school choir ever since she became old enough to join. When she found out we had to move to Kansas, the only thing she was worried about was if the school had a music program. I have no idea where she gets her musical acumen from, probably Xavier, but she is pretty good. I love that she loves music and I love that schools around here are continuing to nurture and prioritize music and fine arts in their curriculum. I hope she continues to love music and uses it for good in her life. And so that being said, last night, at Open House at her school, Jaelan had her first solo part.

About 2 weeks ago, Jaelan tried out for the small solo part in the choir concert and she got it, YAY! She had a great week last week, she had a birthday and she got the solo part that she had been obsessing about. It is also the first solo part that she has ever done, meaning she has never sang by herself in front of people. She was very nervous, but excited at the same time.

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Anyway, below is a video of the intro portion of her solo and another, longer video of the rest of the song. I thought she did great, she stood up front like a British Royal guard, I mean she didn’t move a hair. Aspen even cheered her on and called her name out, but Jaelan did not flinch. She said that she was concentrating on her dad’s and our faces in the crowd. After the show, she had several people compliment her on her performance and that gave her such a huge relief. We were proud parents and sisters tagging along. Anyways, hope you enjoy the videos! ๐Ÿ™‚ GREAT JOB JAELAN!! YOU ROCK!!

 

A Book of Wishes!

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A little blurb on holiday family traditions, instead of shopping, plus December is almost here. I believe that family traditions, no matter how small or silly, are pretty important. To me it is part of a family’s, “fingerprint”. ย They are the little details that you look back and pass on to your kiddos that make every family different, special. Growing up, I don’t remember us having many memorable family traditions, and this is something that I want to change or have with my kids.

I still consider us a pretty young family, yea we are, so we are still in the infancy portion of creating our own family traditions. Already, I have a couple of favorites, my Thanksgiving Turkey Trots, which I hope to include my girls as they get older, holiday photos, and Xavi’s idea of how to tell us what she wants to for Christmas.

A couple of years ago or three, Xavi couldn’t decide on what to tell us that she wanted for Christmas. Before Xavi’s grand idea, we would usually take the girls to Toys’r’Us, Walmart, or Target’s, Gamestop, and a few other places to make a wishlist from. Well, this particular year, Xavi decided to snatch up the Walmart Toys Catalogue. Yes, there is such a thing. I never knew. A couple of weeks later, we ask the girls what they want for Christmas. Jaelan hands us a list of a few toys and stuff. Xavi handed us this:

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This is a sample of a Walmart Toys Catalog. Except the one Xavi handed us had something circled and numbered by importance, on every page. Yes, she did. I thought it was brilliant for a 5-6-7 year old. I mean if someone comes up to you and asked you what you wanted for Christmas, wouldn’t you hand them the ultimate wish list? Well, that’s what she did.

Yea, I know it sounds silly, but ever since then, the girls have picked up a toys catalog and used it as a guide to give us some idea of what they want for Christmas. We have also learned to tell them that they can only circle 20 items in the WHOLE book. As I have mentioned before, no matter how small or silly, family traditions are, they are important. We always look back and talk about that time when Xavi circled something on EVERY page of the Walmart Toy Catalog, and we give her hard time and then laugh about it. It’s fun-ny. And then when they are older they are gonna do the same with their kids. Except it will be hologram or something fancier.

What are your favorite holiday family traditions?

The photo above was our Christmas card photo from last year, 2012 ๐Ÿ™‚

Image from walmart.com