Sleepovers, Parties, and Play Dates...

As Summer approaches, Haley has began to insist on more play dates and sleepovers. Haley absolutely believes in play dates, parties, and sleepovers; if she had things her way, every single birthday party I throw for her would end in a sleepover! However, what's a good age to drop kids off at a birthday party and not stay with them? As a veteran mom of 20 plus years, I have attended my share of birthday parties as you can imagine, and I have seen a great deal at many of these parties. For example, moms dropping their kids off and not staying with them. Are birthday parties becoming the new opportunity for babysitting? If the invite does not say, "I'm babysitting for the day, drop your kid off", should parents assume that its okay to just drop their kid off and leave?
Personally, I think it's rude to assume that the mom, who is hosting the party, does not mind watching your kid. She already has her hands full with the party ensuring the schedule is maintained, kids are having fun, and being a hostess.
Imagine those parents with the kids who are not "good listeners" and have a tendency of having tantrums when they don't get their way; oddly, those are the first ones to drop and run!
This same parent is the very one who will have an "issue" with anyone who may have to reprimand the child in their absence, yet they are quick to "drop and run". I don't believe a child should be left unattended at a party. The reality is, knowing where your children are and what they are doing is crucial. It's great meeting new people and allowing our children to have play dates with one another, but dropping them off and leaving is tacky  rude; the mom may need assistance with the party (games, serving food and cake, crowd control, etc). There are a number of "what ifs" which may occur at a party. If you're off having a break, you're not there to deal with those issues.
When you are invited to a party and you RSVP, that means you will be in attendance. Don't assume that your gift entitles you to babysitting services for the day. Arrange play dates and get to know the other parents so that you feel comfortable mingling with them. Stick around the party and help the mom throwing it. I haven't been to one birthday party for a kid where the mom didn't need any help; there is always something to be done.
Sleepovers are something I don't do often. Before a child sleeps at my house, I have to really know their parents. It is very important to me that the parent of the other child knows me and my family and vice versa. Let's be honest, there are some strange individuals out there. Over the years,  sleepovers usually occur with cousins and best friends.
The biggest thing for me is safety. I'm a mom who does not look to others to care for my children unless they are being paid to do so. Of course they stay with family, but on average, I do not assume that someone else wants, nor needs to be responsible for my kid when I am able to do so myself.
I'd love to know what other moms think about this...

They're Baaaaaack!!!!!

So... the College Kids are home! My two eldest babies are home from college and it has been an interesting transition to say the least. Besides the normal shock of the grocery bill going up weekly, seeing my two older children walk my floors again, and waking up to a full household, it has been challenging realizing how big of a gap there is between my eldest and my youngest....I really do have a 20 year old and an 8 year old. WOW!
Having Preon and Prettie in my "PRIME" years was not something I planned, but it occurred that way. After careful consideration, I vowed to keep only my two children until I married; meaning I refused to be a single parent a third time. I learned a great deal while raising Preon and Prettie. It was during their youngest years that I decided to become an Early Education Teacher; I learned a great deal about the growth and development of young minds and bodies. Seeing them in College now (TWO College Students) validates my decision to be the best mother I could be.
Now, here I am raising a second set of children (Jaedyn, 12 and Haley, 8) which is also proving to be very interesting as well. There's a vast difference in raising the two sets. Times have changed and issues have become greater in terms of social settings such as school and media outlets.
However, my ability to stay involved and stay focused on my responsibilities as a parent have not wavered. What I have found to be difficult this year is not having anything major to plan for in terms of graduations. For two years straight, I had children deciding upon which College they would attend, what they would wear to prom, who would be their dates, etc. This year, I'm focused on Jaedyn's trip to TN for Basketball Nationals and getting Haley ready for Cheer Nationals in Vegas (Jan, 2013).
There is life after the kiddos go off to College, but Hubby and I are anxiously awaiting the day when we come home to an EMPTY nest. When all the children have completed College, have their own lives and families, we will then see our grandkids coming and affectionately welcome them with open arms as we say in unison.... They're Baaaaaaaaack!!!!!!!!!!!!

Parenting Gone Wild...or NOT

Lately, in the news, there is a great deal of fuss occurring regarding renowned author ReShonda Tate- Billingsley who punished her 12 year old daughter for her post on Facebook and Instagram. You can see the story HERE
The question is: did this mother go too far by making her daughter post this sign?
I'd like to know from you, the readers, what you believe is too Wild of an idea when it comes to disciplining your children? Is there a limit? If we hold our children accountable for their actions, are we being too hard on them?
I've heard mixed opinions regarding this story. In a world of technology, we are raising tech savvy children who have a great deal of exposure to many things that children did not have a mere 10 years ago. How do we filter the amount of "stuff" our children see? Are we doing enough to ensure that they understand the importance of the "harms" the world wide web can cause?
As parents, we can't be everywhere with our children, we can't see everything they do. However, when we do see with our own eyes, what they are doing and it involves questionable behavior, how should we respond?
It is my belief that children who abuse their privileges and are disrespectful to themselves and their family, should be made aware of the consequences. I am the mother of a 12 year old young lady and I am constantly reminding her of the importance of not giving in to peer pressure and making wise decisions.
It may be difficult for children to understand the consequences of their actions at that moment, but it will be more difficult for them to function properly in society as individuals who are not accountable for their actions.
What are your thoughts?

What Do You Give a Mom Who Has Everything?

I am very blessed to have everything I need in life. I may not have everything I WANT, but I definitely have everything I NEED. Mother's Day means something different for every mother. For me...
It's not about the Brunches... I have those monthly! It's not about the chocolates...I eat those all the time! It's not about the Bling... I have lots of that!
 Mother's Day is about relaxing and having things my way for a day. I am usually the one catering to their needs, but on Mother's Day, they cater to me!
I am blessed that my mother is still alive and in good health; some don't have that. I spent yesterday with my mother having dinner and reminding her how blessed I am to still have her. I am blessed that I have four wonderful children and a wonderful husband who love and appreciate me; some don't have that. As I reflect on this past year, I am grateful that I am always appreciated. My two older children sent me chocolate covered strawberries "just because", from Arizona. My hubby purchased more for me for Valentine's Day (the little ones ate most of the ones from Arizona!), my son gives me fresh flowers weekly when he's home from school. I enjoy Brunch monthly with a great group of diverse women, and I am blessed to have friends and family I can spend time with. I have everything I need, so today, I enjoyed myself a great deal just relaxing and being catered to.
I spent the morning doing what I rarely get a chance to do: sleep! My eldest daughter fixed breakfast in bed for me; I woke up, sent a few texts, made some phone calls and went back to sleep. After eating my wonderful breakfast, I went back to sleep again! The children and hubby gave me my cards, gifts, and flowers.
Hubby and I later went to a late lunch at one of our favorite places. My day was absolutely wonderful and full of so much love. So...what do you give a Mom who has everything? Exactly what she needs....More LOVE!
Happy Mother's Day to all the wonderful Mother's out there. I hope everyone's day was truly full of LOVE.

If You Can Read This...Thank a Teacher

In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week, I thought I would take time out to thank myself and all the other hard working educators out there. The job of a Teacher is no easy task. To some, on the outside looking in, WE make it look easy. That's what great educators do...make it look like a walk in the park. When you really begin to consider the responsibilities of a great educator, it can be very overwhelming. Many teachers go home to their own families and do many of the things they do all day long.
I have a friend by the name of Stacey Joy who is an Elementary school teacher. She's a great teacher! She inspires her students to think way beyond the box and she makes learning fun. That's no easy task to stand in front of 20n plus students and keep their attention, be animated, and teach... all in the same breath so to speak.
As for me, I'm an excellent Preschool Teacher. Yes, I'm tooting my own horn! College Begins in Preschool! My job as an Early Childhood Educator is so very important. Why? I am laying the "foundation" for the remainder of their educational career. It is in my classroom that students are exposed to a number of strategies and concepts for the first time. I introduce them to Science, Art, Literacy, Math, Music and Movement, Dramatic Play, and they are introduced to Social and Life Skills. They are taught the skills required to function in a "classroom". My responsibility is to take Weekly Themes and turn them into an interactive and fun lesson that students will remember for years to come (hopefully).
The biggest reward is when I see students on the playground with bug catchers and goggles on looking for bees because we're studying "Bugs", when I see one student reading to a group of students during Free Choice Time (while mimicking me), or...when I see a student who could not hold a pencil properly, manipulate scissors, or identify alphabet begin to write their name, knows the letters in their name, and can cut complex shapes. Watching students separate the healthy food from the junk food in the Dramatic Play Area because we have discussed Food and Nutrition...
Many of my students are fed Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack at the Center. We are responsible for teaching them table manners, the use of utensils, self help skills in pouring their own juice and milk, hygiene habits which will last them a lifetime are also taught. I could go on and on, but I won't.
Next time you see a teacher, thank them and let them know they are appreciated. The are responsible for touching the lives of our future leaders. Although there are some days I just want to throw my hands up and walk away, I don't. If I do, who will teach the children? Sure, another teacher can replace me if necessary, but there's only one Mrs. Nickie!

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Because Sometimes You Have to Let Your Hair Down...

As I continue to "Let my hair down" and do more things I like to do, I had a great weekend. I started Friday night by seeing a movie with my best friend, Nakitta. We decided to let the crowds die down before going to see "Think Like a Man". The movie was pretty good and quite hilarious thanks to Kevin Hart; it's a movie I'm sure many can relate to.
I spent Saturday morning at the Park with Haley getting fitted for her Cheer uniform for this season. The highlight is that they are getting new skirts (totally changing the look). Because Haley didn't Cheer last season, and her uniform is too small now, he had to be fitted for a brand new uniform, sweatsuit, shoes, socks, etc. We're getting the whole sha-bang! Haley was so excited! I was more excited when we finally left the park 2.5 hours later! Whew! LOL
Saturday night, hubby and I attended a fight party and a fight after party! We went to two different locations and had a pretty good time. I ran into an old friend at the first party and we caught up a bit and exchanged information (current). Hubby and I really had a great time; we ended the morning, yes, I said morning, as in 2 a.m. with some Popeyes! We were showing out. LOL
I ended my weekend with my monthly D.I.V.A. Brunch on Sunday. The theme was "Derby" and we wore lovely hats. A friend of mine I invited (Michele) had the opportunity to join us today and she had a ball! I'm glad she joined us and she vowed to return to more!
It feels good to take off the Mommy Hat sometimes and just have a little fun. However, I think I had too much fun this weekend. Not looking forward to Monday Morning... I'm definitely going to need to make a stop at Starbuck's!
By the way...I'm glad Mayweather won. I knew he would!

We enjoyed Brunch at the Reef in Long Beach

Enjoying some time with the D.I.V.A.s

What Motherhood Looks Like...

In honor of Mother's Day, I thought I'd share a few pictures depicting the various looks of Motherhood. Enjoy...

Can you guess who this is with her mother and sister?

Well, I Never...

Recently, I was reflecting upon my life and how things have turned out for me. As an Early Education Teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District, I, as well as many other teachers, am facing huge cuts and possible layoffs. Whether or not this happens is out of my hands. I have chosen to not this subject consume my every thought.
Over the years, I have made many choices and decisions based upon my responsibilities and priorities. My entire college career was dedicated to advancing my career in Early Education; I put all my eggs in one basket. I was focused and determined to climb to the top; this required a great deal of TIME and commitment. As I look back, I realize that there are some things I have never done just because I never "got around to doing them". I want to, for a change, not focus so much energy on my career and where it's going. If a major change happens, it does. God is in control. Period.
I plan to create a "bucket list" and start checking things off. Some of these things I have not experienced are simple things, but nonetheless, things I have not accomplished. Therefore, I am determined to focus my energy on positive things which will bring me delight.
This past weekend, I did something I have been wanting to do for a long time...
Stay tuned.

It Kills Me...

"It kills you to see them grow up.  But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't."  ~Barbara Kingsolver
My two eldest children returned home today from college. I was so excited to see them; there were so many emotions I felt. However, there was a sense of "relaxation" for me. I couldn't understand why I didn't feel anxiety about them driving home from school. I'm usually a worrying Mom calling every hour but there was a calmness over me this time.
Why? Because they have grown up! That's no news flash seeing as how they are 19 and 20 years of age, LOL. Unless you are the mother of young adults, this may be difficult to understand. They actually do grow up and do not need you as much. They both have their own individual personalities and qualities and they both have things they are great at. What makes me so proud is how they look after one another.
Preon took on a couple side gigs during school to help put a little cash in his pocket as well as a little cash in Prettie's pocket. They are responsible young adults who have remained focused and determined to finish what they have started.
Preon really wants to play Football and I hope that dream becomes a reality for him some day. Prettie wants to open her own practice one day and I truly hope that dream becomes a reality for her some day. Regardless of what field they choose to make a career in, I love them, support them, and will always be proud of them. Even if it kills me to see them grow up!