Hooked on ME!

It’s been a while since I have written a post on my blog. Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve done anything for my self. For the past 20 months, ever since having my first baby, everything I have done has been around him. My daily routines, outings, chores, cleaning, EVERYTHING has been around him and his schedule. If you’re a mom, I’m sure you completely understand and agree with me: there’s just not enough time.  I’m not complaining, or venting; simply stating a fact that baby consumes most, if not all, your time. I, personally, got lost in the moment and forgot about the most important person I have to take care of: ME! If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I got so caught up in making sure my baby and my husband are well taken care of, and have everything they need, that I forgot to take care of myself. I’ve spread myself so thin, that I don’t make time for myself, and don’t do much for myself anymore.  Well, tonight, for the first time, in a long time, I am sitting at my kitchen island, and doing something that has been on the back of my mind for a while: writing this post while enjoying some “Jamoca Almond Fudge” ice cream from Baskin Robbins while my husband is playing soccer and my sister-in-law is watching my son, who is watching his dad play soccer. I actually have the house to myself without a baby monitor turned on, and not worrying how much time I have before he wakes up from a nap.

I would have given up on my blog long ago, gotten rid of my domain, put it behind me, and moved on with my life, but there is an itch in me saying it’s what I am meant to be doing. Sharing my life, lessons, and everyday activities with the world. You see, I started this blog over a year ago in the hopes of documenting our journey with a newborn, writing about products that made first time parenting a little easier, giving advice to other first time parents, as well as writing about lessons learned with growing babies. Well, that didn’t go as planned since I got caught up in the moment, and lost way of my time management skills. Ironically, I am known in my family as the person who loves to have a schedule and live a very planned life, and have everything done in a timely manner. So who is to blame? No-one, but me. Well, it’s never too late to start something over again, so here I am.

Hi! I’m Hermie-Jane, and I am a stay at home mom with my toddler, Michael, along with a baby on the way (due August 2017). Everyday brings a new adventure whether its digging up interesting worms in the back yard, spending the day at the zoo, (we love our membership to the zoo), or exploring Los Angeles by finding toddler friendly places. My favorite time of the day is the moment when Michael wakes up from his afternoon nap: he hugs me tight for a good five minutes, when he’s had enough, we walk up to his book shelf, pick out a book and go read in his teepee. The way he brings the book to me, turns around and sits on my lap just melts my heart. He loves books, and has a great collection of Dr. Seuss and Sesame Street books, along with other books he picks out when we go to the bookstore. Since he loves books and will actually re-read a book (or in his case, look at the pictures) over and over again, I don’t mind getting him a new book every now and then. Lately, he’s actually been into flashcards with pictures of animals, numbers, shapes, and everyday objects. He’s learning faster than I thought he would, and although he speaks less than other toddlers his age, he does communicate with me in sign language which I don’t mind one bit. He will speak when he speaks.

I try to get Michael out of the house at least three times during the week by either going to the park, visiting grandparents, exploring the nearby gardens around town, or making spontaneous trips to visit daddy at work. Even when we are home the other days of the week, we try to spend as much time outside as possible. We have 2 dogs, a German Shepherd, Fallon, and a Labrador, Charlie, along with 2 domestic cats, Oreo, and Cookie. Michael loves to go play with the cats and give them their lunch, while he is still intimidated by the dogs since they are larger in size than he is. I’m sure once he gets older he’ll love playing with the dogs more since the cats like to spend most their day asleep under the rose bushes.


Aside from spending most my days entertaining and raising my son, I have a few hobbies of myself that keep me sane. First and foremost, I am a gymnastics junkie! I have done gymnastics since the age of 3. In my gymnastics career, I have competed in countless local competitions along with finishing top 15 for state and regional championships. My gymnastics career had to come to an end due to a vaulting accident that left both wrists broken, and hip issues that took several years of therapy to adjust. Although I was physically unable to continue with the sport, I found other ways to be involved with the sport and continue my dream of being a role model that students would love to look up to. My other hobby that is my therapy is crocheting. Sitting on the couch with a yarn and hook really calms me down. It brings me peace and tranquility because while my husband can be watching his favorite TV show, I can enjoy the show with him while creating a work of art that can double as a blanket. I picked up crocheting about 2 years ago when my husband’s cousin was at our house and told me to give it a shot. While it took several weeks to get the hang of crocheting, I’m glad I did not give up and continued learning. What was a struggle at first, is now my output during stressful days.

This much for now, since I hear Michael and my husband, Arthur, walking up the stairs. They’re home. That’s all the ME time for tonight.

Until next time.

Hermine-Jane

Hooked on Tummy Time

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my son on tummy time since the doctor said he could have a stronger back and neck, and I cannot believe how much difference quality tummy time has made for my son. When I was first doing tummy time, I would place my baby on his tummy on a blanket. A bare blanket, and wondered why he was not lifting his head. After I took Michael to his first mommy-n-me class and I saw how other babies were holding up their head and showing more flexibility in their back, I knew I was doing something wrong. I was so busy trying to get Michael to be on his tummy for an hour a day, that I was not thinking of the quality of the hour. Quality that included colors, shapes, numbers, and letters.

After attending several mommy-n-me sessions, I decided to think outside the box, and bring what we did in class to our tummy time at home. I started taking out toys, and making different stations for him that he would complete on his tummy. Now, not only is he enjoying tummy time, he is getting his neck and back stronger by looking higher than he normally did without any toys in front of him.

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Tummy time set up went from a plain blanket to a full blown learning station done on our tummy.

  1. Sensory balls–This is the only station that he does on intentionally on his back.  He will lay on his back, and I will give the balls to him one at a time. At this stage, he is putting everything to his mouth.
  2. Alphabet station–Along with Dr. Seuss’ ABC book, I also have flashcards with a letter of the day. He lays on his tummy, looks at the letters and I let him hold an object containing that letter.
  3. Color Flashcards–The color station is where I can get really creative. I either bring out colorful beanbags, or colorful fruit in relation to the “color of the day”. This way he is on his tummy, and looking at different colors, and even touching items which different textures.
  4. Reading Station–I usually have a book out. By this time, he gets tired, and I roll him onto his back. he will lay there and I read the book out to him, and let him look at the pictures.
  5. Trunk Raises Station–I normally have taller toys here, so when he is on his tummy he can look up higher, raising his trunk higher and working on his upper back muscles.
  6. Fun Station–I put different items out and let him play on his own for the last 5 minutes before he’s so tired, worn out, and needs his bottle.
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Since I had the sensory balls out, I used the balls to demonstrate the colors to Michael.

 

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This tall station is where he begins to reach up higher with his trunk and uses more upper body strength because the items are taller than his head.

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All this tummy time is hard work. Time for milk and a much deserved nap.

Hooked on Gymnastics

After writing my first post, and putting myself out there to the public, I was having difficulties trying to write my second post. That was until I came to work in the morning, sat at my desk, and saw the picture that keeps me going on a daily basis. It’s not a picture that is taken at the top of a mountain doing some extreme adventure, or a picture from an island vacation, it’s simply a picture of me and one of my former gymnasts that was given to me as a gift on my last day of coaching life.

I’ve had hundreds of students throughout my coaching career, but one student stands out more to me than any other. Meet Riley:

I first met Riley in 2009 when I started coaching at Golden State Gymnastics, a local non-profit gymnastics academy in Burbank, Ca.  She was in the recreational level 1 class and I couldn’t stop looking at her. She reminded me of my younger self, and I was hooked. Not only did she have the natural talent of gymnastics, but she was also very bubbly and had a smile on her face that just glowed and I just knew she was special. I wanted Riley in my own class, and would somehow find a way to make that happen. After subbing her class several times, and finally transferring Riley into my own classes, the fun begun. Cartwheels turned into round offs, handstands turned into handsprings, and forward rolls turned into front tucks.  I couldn’t believe the progress she was making on a weekly basis, and I couldn’t wait to see where this would lead us. Even though our practices were only an hour an a half long, they felt several hours long. The way she focused on detailed corrections inspired me to create more detailed instructions. Arriving early to class meant I arrived earlier to work to prepare for the day, being the last one to leave from class made me want to leave work a little later just to make sure I got everything done for that day. Even when her foot was in a cast, she still showed up to the gym because she wanted to make sure she was with the other students and was still able to condition and keep her muscles strong. When the class was on the balance beam, she was on the floor doing sit ups, and would hang on the bars and do her pull ups to keep her arms strong. And if conditioning during practice was not enough for her, she would ask for a list of conditioning she could do at home. Sometimes I wonder what her motivation was. I think I know now.

At the time, she may have been wanting to get stronger for her return to gymnastics, but nature has a way of turning an obstacle into a hidden lesson. I think her broken leg has taught her patience, acceptance, and to appreciate herself. Even though she was part of the recreational program, I would catch her looking off at the competitive team and maybe thinking to herself “Why can’t I do that?”.

The truth is, she could do everything the competitive girls were doing, and even more. But to me, she was more than a gymnast, and I did not want her in the competitive program where the girls would workout anywhere between 20-30 hours a week. Riley had more to offer to the world than to be a gymnast, and I wanted her to know that there was more to the world than gymnastics had to offer her. I wanted her to learn to enjoy her childhood, which I didn’t have much of because I was one of those gymnasts who would spend countless hours at the gym balancing on a beam, swinging on the bars, and running full speed at a stationary object to vault over. Ry was more than that, I strongly believed she deserved a childhood filled with summer camps, science projects, summer vacations, family trips, and most of all enjoy time with her little sister because even her little sister in only little once. I wonder if she ever doubted my decision, and if one day she will look back and ask herself, “What if…”. I hope this will answer that.

Dearest Riley-Jane, 


I hope one day, you will look back at your gymnastics experience and smile because you did the best you could, and you were great at it. Everyone has a chosen path for them, and for a reason I could never explain in words, I turned your path. I know how much you love gymnastics, and I can still see you doing your handstands, cartwheels, and even back and front tucks on a trampoline, but I want you to understand that there is more to life than gymnastics. I want you to have what I did not have: A memorable childhood. Take a look at your mom and dad. Tell them you love them for everything they have done for you. Enjoy every moment with them, (even the annoying ones where you think they’re embarrassing you) because once you’re a grown up, you’ll wish they could embarrass you more, and say ‘I wish…”. Look at your precious sister, enjoy every second with her. Do more activities with her, and really build a strong bond between the both of you that nobody will ever, ever, ever be able to break. And most importantly, make sure you make time for YOU. Do what Riley wants to do. Make memories, be young, and be free. 

In the past, I have been told that I was selfish for not letting you go to team, and that I was re-living my childhood through you, and I wanted to be the one that taught you everything.  Just so you know, Ry, I did it for you. I did it because, to me, you were special, you had more to offer to the world, and your family, than cartwheels, handstands, and an awesome back tuck that was so high I could barely spot you (I know you remember that one)! I wanted you to enjoy the every day life, and find other hidden talents that you have.  Just know this: What we had in that gym was special. Our relationship, our unbreakable bond, and our crazy water bottle episodes (that nobody can understand, but us)  can never be replaced. Gymnastics has been an amazing chapter and story in our lives. We have both grown from it, have learned many different lessons from it, but it was only one small section of our lives. We (yes, now I’m saying we) have so much to learn from life, we have so much more to grow (stop getting taller!!!) and so much more to discover about ourselves. 

So, grow. Grow into the beautiful young lady you are going to become. Grow and develop your knowledge in everything and anything you want to know. Grow into the daughter that every mom wishes they had. Grow to do good for the world. Grow, Riley. And never stop, because you know I’ll be right behind you cheering you every step of the way.

With all the love in the world,

-Jane