Helping your Little Deal with Emotions

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Hi everyone! ¬†A bit more serious post today ūüôā ¬†But I wanted to share a bit of my personal/professional experience and opinion on how to help your young child deal with emotions. ¬†As you might know, I taught elementary school for a decade and studied childhood education and policy. ¬†But more importantly, I am a mom and I have done a TON of research on how to help our children have a healthy emotional mind. ¬†I feel that emotional development is JUST as important as physical and educational development, and I feel that this begins at home. ¬†I strongly feel that providing your child with an environment in which they are WELCOME to emote, to feel, to process and to be who they need to be lays the groundwork for a healthy emotional mind. ¬†It is THE best gift you can give them. ¬†Don’t just take my word for it; here is an article about the importance of emotional intelligence in children.

Why we Need to Teach Kids Emotional Intelligence (Psychology Weekly)

(from article) Too often, we tend to think of our kids as less sophisticated and incapable of processing or understanding the emotional complexities of their world. We think we’re protecting them by not bringing up the trickier, less pleasant subjects. But I can tell you firsthand that kids absorb a tremendous amount. Pretty much as soon as they’re verbal, children can be taught to identify and communicate their feelings. In a trusted environment where emotions are talked about openly, most kids will speak freely about their feelings and are quick to have empathy for their peers.

Here are some ways to help promote and foster emotional development in our three boys:

  1.  Scrambled Feelings Feelings Eggs and book ($15.75)- We got these eggs a few years ago when our older boys were just over 2.  We felt it was a really concrete and fun way to explore emotions with the boys at such a young age.  The book is fabulous and the eggs are great models of some basic emotions that your little might be feeling.  screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-56-21-pm
  2. Feelings poster (assorted, based on your individual preference)РWe like to hang this in a place that is kid-friendly, like the play space as it can be used quite often.  I think that giving children examples of emotions and allowing them to point to the one that they are feeling at any given time. Children do VERY well with visual examples so this is a great tool.
  3. Talk about positive feelings as well as negative- So, I was noticing that I was focusing on the expression and feeling¬†of “negative emotions” like sadness, nervousness, etc because I was worried that these emotions were more difficult to express and process than positive ones. ¬†But I feel like it is important to highlight positive emotions as well, especially because I think we overuse “happy” with our kids ūüėČ
  4. Moodsters Feeling Flashlight and Storybook¬†($14.89)- We LOVE this super cool storybook with accompanying flashlight that¬†is a great teaching tool for emotions and feelings. ¬†The product description purports to “give children a basic vocabulary of feelings and promote simple strategies that help kids handle everyday challenges.” ¬†And it sure does! ¬†I think Scott actually picked this out for Z a year or so ago and we have used it extensively in our quest to provide for a healthy emotional environment in our home.¬†screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-2-57-36-pm
  5. Progressive Muscle Relaxation- There are MANY ways to do this and I am NOT an expert in this, so I¬†feel uncomfortable directing readers to a specific site or technique, but “Google it” if you are interested!
  6. Feelings by Aliki– OMG you guys! ¬†What a throwback to my childhood! ¬†An oldie but goodie, I just recalled how great this book was for helping children to label feelings. ¬†I just ordered another copy. ¬†Can’t wait to read it to the boys. ¬†TIP WHEN READING BOOKS LIKE THESE…screen-shot-2017-01-27-at-6-20-28-pm
  7. Refer to storybook or TV characters when discussing feelings.  It helps to relate how a character was feeling or to ask a child to surmise how he or she was feeling.
  8. Feelings Flashcards ($12.06)- I have not used these yet but they seem super cool and go along with the poster idea.
  9. Feeling ball¬†($10.25)- I love this and it isn’t expensive, but you could make one on your own using a Dollar Store beach ball and sharpie‚Ķas you pass it around, a child will describe the emotion their thumb lands on and give an example of a time they felt that way (or that a character in a book might have felt).screen-shot-2017-01-28-at-8-51-22-am
  10. The UnGame- So, this is actually a throwback from Scott’s childhood and I cannot wait to get my hands on this game to play with our boys! ¬†Scott describes fond memories of this game, teaching lessons while still being a ton of fun!

Finally from the above article…

When you teach kids¬†emotional intelligence, how to recognize their feelings, understand where they come from and learn how to deal with them, you teach them the most essential skills for their success in life. Research has shown that emotional¬†intelligence¬†or EQ ‚Äúpredicts over 54% of the variation in success (relationships, effectiveness,¬†health, quality of life).‚ÄĚ Additional data concludes that ‚Äúyoung people¬†with high EQ earn higher grades, stay in school, and make healthier choices.‚ÄĚ

Anyway, those are just a few suggestions that I myself have been mulling over when navigating the very tough but important job of foster emotional health in our children.  Please feel free to share your own suggestions!

Friday Favorites (on Monday)!

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I know. ¬†It is Monday. But with everything going on this weekend (need I remind you all?) I just couldn’t bring myself to post this as I cried big crocodile tears. But today? ¬†Today is a new day…

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SO, here are my Friday Favorites!  I am super excited to start this series as I see other bloggers participating and have seen some really cool stuff!

  1. ¬†Lil Davinci Art Frames- OMG you guys! I saw these at my future SIL’s house and KNEW I had to have them! ¬†My lovely mom got me three for the holidays, one for each of the boys, and I LOOOOOVE them. ¬†These frames not only display artwork in a snap, BUT they also hold additional art work! ¬†They are amazing! ¬†I am sure you are like me, as a mom, unwilling to throw ANY art away that your child created, and so these frames take care of all of that! ¬†I cannot say enough good things about them! ¬†screen-shot-2017-01-21-at-3-16-23-pm
  2. Nashville on CMT- ummmm need I say more?  Hmmm ya know what? Add to that Quantico and Scandal, and of course Bachelor and you have my weekly TV round up right there!Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 3.31.37 PM.png
  3. My Voluspa Candle- My love scored another one of these for the holiday for me so I was STOKED to crack it open last night! ¬†Although the price tag is a bit hefty IMHO, the smell is like none else and resonates throughout the house (hmmm is resonate the correct word when dealing with smell? lol). Anyway, do yourself a favor…screen-shot-2016-12-21-at-3-13-10-pm
  4. My RollerLash Mascara- I feel like I’ve sung the praises of this mascara on the blog before, but it deserves another shout out. I don’t really wear a lot of makeup, but typically you will find me (when outside the house) with a hint of mascara and some highly chapped lips that make it look like I’ve done something super unnatural to them (which I promise you, this needle-phobe did NOT and WILL not). This is THE best mascara that I have found thus far and I LOVE it. ¬†It lengthens and curls a bit too!
  5. Victoria’s Secret Clearance PJS- Yea, so I might have bought just a few pairs…¬†img_7884
  6. My new Jacket from Bloomies Outlet! ¬†Again, another MAJOR steal, this cocoon-style jacket zips ALL the way down to my ankles and would have made a FABULOUS “recess-duty” coat, but instead I am enjoying it as my SAHM wear-everywhere jacket. ¬†If you know me, you know I am ALWAYS cold. ¬†This jacket is a dream! ¬†It was originally $350, a Mark by Mark Jacobs style but I got is for less than $50! ¬†BOOM!fullsizerender_1
  7. Adventure Aquarium with the Fam!- We went last Monday for Mema’s birthday (my mom, the boys’ grandma) on MLK holiday and it was super fun! Unfortunately, we were missing two from our clan as C was with his mom and my guy was away on business :/ BUT it was super fun! ¬†Next time we will all go!
  8. Swim Lessons with this guy- I think I’ve mentioned it? ¬†But it is sooo fun to go with him every other week and, and boy, is he improving! ¬†C really is a good swimmer! ¬†I LOVE being in the water with him; he asks me to come, and it makes him more comfortable. ¬†We both really look forward to it!img_7850
  9. My HUE denim leggings- OK. So, I saw these in the aforementioned Bloomingdale’s outlet and really wanted them but they did not have my size, so to Amazon I went! ¬†I LOOOVE them. THey are soft, stretchy, have pockets and elastic waistband with button. ¬†Win-win-win all around. ¬†I goofed and haven’t taken any pics of myself in them . ¬†Sorry!

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    Um, let it be known that I do NOT wear mine with heels, rather oversized sweaters and booties. 

  10. Just doing anything with these guys. ¬†‚̧ ¬†I know. ¬†Cheesy but true…

Running/Streak Update

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Argh! I wish I could give you a rainbow and sunshine update on my January streak (run every day no matter what) but TBH, it has been ROUGH this time. ¬†I think the last time I streaked was¬†last summer? Dunno, too lazy to search ūüôā ¬†Anyway, the streak started out really well, and then life happened. ¬†And it was all good (mostly) but it happened SO quickly and was SUPER consuming! ¬†January is typically a busy month for our family in general; a handful of important birthdays, school back in session, etc. and then we added the start of my new business, Conmigo, an AMAZING engagement (still glowing), and a massive home-wrecking stomach bug. Well, after listing all of those events, it DOES make sense that my streak got tough at about mid-point.

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So, the good news is that I am still going strong and that I did NOT miss any days in my streak, including the day after that horrible belly bug (squeezed two shake out miles in). ¬†The better news is that I was smart enough to get an amazing massage when things were feeling pretty crummy (my legs were just DEAD constantly after about day 15) and followed up with intense stretching daily since. ¬† But it hasn’t been pretty for the whole time ūüôā ¬†I am SO happy to say, though, that I have been fitting in some hill work (treadmill incline workout) and good speed workouts. ¬†Unfortunately none of my runs have been outside because I have decided to just suck it up and live with the fact that I am simply NOT a cold weather runner, and that forcing myself to do outdoor runs int he cold would only hurt my love of running. ¬†So, about two more months to go and then my outdoor game will be back on.

Anyway, I thought that something that might rev me up for my streak and running in general is…A RACE! I have been DYING to do the Hot Chocolate Race series for a few years now. I get SUPER jealous of those runners sipping on HC and chomping on Hershey’s post run and decided that this is my year! ¬†I will be doing the 15K and could not be more excited! I was just texting with my man about it and said that there are 4 amazing things about this race:

  1. A late start for the 15k (ya’ll know I cannot STAND getting up early, even for running! ¬†Whatever, maybe it makes me less badass but it sure makes me happier when I get up AFTER the sun lol). Start time= 8AM!!!!!
  2. Amazing flat course that is my favorite in Philly; the loop around the River ‚̧
  3. 15K (9.3 miles)- I LOVE Broad Street for MANY reasons, one of the top being the distance. 10 miles is SUCH a sweet spot for me and I am THRILLED to be running the 15k! It is a new distance for me, so automatic PR, right!??!
  4. April 1st race= it can’t be THAT cold (eh, or maybe it could, but it isnt the dead of winter and see above for how I feel about that lol)screen-shot-2017-01-19-at-4-36-56-pm

Also, I really could use another piece of bling around my neck ūüôā OK, Anyway, tell me how YOUR running, fitness or life is going! xo

What Day is Today!?!?

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Ahhhhh! You guys! ¬†To say that 2017 has been a whirlwind thus far would be a SEVERE understatement! ¬†Sorry I’ve been MIA “this year” ¬†But, I. AM. SO. HAPPY. ¬†2017, you have been SOOOO good to us so far (minus the absolutely insane political clusterF&%K that has been going on). ¬†Anyway, I wanted to give you some brief updates over here on the blog in a few areas of our crazy awesome life!

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Current View. Swoon.

  1. ¬†So‚Ķ.this happened. ¬†OK, so I’m starting to sound like an annoying meme because I walk around and say “every day with this guy has been a gift!” and I don’t want to loose readership but it is TRUE! ¬†ūüôā Anyway what I will say is that I am SO lucky and SO blessed. ¬†img_7329
  2. Conmigo- My business is really picking up and I am SUPER excited about it! ¬†I offer two classes at Lilypad in South Philadelphia, one for little ones and one for littler ones ūüôā ¬†I also am starting a private class series and have a couple more inquires in this vein. ¬†It is soooo fun and I LOVE instructing! ¬†Email me with questions!
  3. Babies- these guys are everything and they are SUPER excited about #1 ūüôāimg_7375
    1. This guy turned two on the 9th!  We had an adorable party for him which was a blast but poor Scott was sick :/
    2. This guy helped Mama roll our the fondant and has also been doing a GREAT job at soccer and school! ¬†Also‚Ķstill building Legos ūüôāimg_7418
    3. And this guy, along with soccer, has started swim lessons , which he is AWESOME at, and is doing great in school! ¬†Also‚Ķstill loving Super Heroes ūüôāimg_7447
  4. Running- January Streak is still going strong, although the day after my turn with the stomach bug was a tough 2 miler squeezed out miserably ūüėČ Gotta do what you gotta do! I am also trying to do a TON of speed work, but have forgotten about my goal to raise the incline on the ‘mill. ¬†Writing this in part to remind myself ūüôā I also have NOT been outside running in a while and unfortunately missed an amazing weather-window this week. Bummer. ¬†The treadmill has been good to me though!

     

    OK!  That is about it for now! I will be back soon. Promise!

Ten Hopes for the New Year

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Hi everyone! ¬†So, I am not a resolution-type gal, but I wanted to take a chance to reflect of this past year and create a list of “hopes and dreams” for this coming year. I think 2017 is going to be a GOOD one.

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  1.  Continue to be my best self by waking up each and every morning with good, kind and positive intentions to treat every person I encounter with kindness, respect and love…regardless of how I am treated.
  2. Love this guy the best I can and be open to receiving his love:)  This relationship brings me more happiness and fulfillment than I thought possible. I will continue hopefully to feel lucky every day and to not let a day go by where I do not acknowledge and express this. img_6534
  3. Continue to work of blending our families with the children’s’ best interests in mind and heart and have our home be a place filled with love, acceptance and happiness.
  4. Continue maintaining my fabulous relationship with my boys’ dad, IAN! ¬†He is a gem and I am very lucky, so I will continue to attempt to be as good a coparent and friend/family member to him as he deserves and is to me.6393b84a-bfd9-4633-9019-c768f9be2882
  5. Run healthy and strong. I would like to remain uninjured and fit as ever in my quest to “be a runner.” This involves running smart, running strong, and continuing my love for this sport. I vow also to not let ONE mile go by with out being thankful to be able to run.
  6. Mom hard. I want to be the best mom I can possibly be to my two biologicals and one bonus baby.  I am THE luckiest mom in the world to have THREE healthy, beautiful happy boys and I could not be more thankful.74001590-31e7-4975-86a6-37b15b93d63f
  7. Be a good daughter and sister- As my parents age, I think more and more each passing day of the importance of my relationship with them. ¬†Same goes with my sissy and even though we don’t see each other as much as we would both like, I hope to remedy this in the future and continue to grow our relationship.
  8. Grow my business, Conmigo!Conmigo - PNG.png
  9. Cut negativity out of my life.  Whether it is Facebook posts, negative self-talk or less-than-positive interactions with others, I vow to not let these things cut through the
  10. Choose Happiness. ¬†This kinda piggy-backs on #9, but a few years ago, I made a choice to CHOOSE HAPPINESS and I haven’t looked back since. ¬†And even more so, I’ve realized that it is OK to be happy! ¬†It is actually pretty fabulous!img_6396

Best wishes to everyone for a happy and healthy New Year! xo