Sunday, July 31, 2011

Everyone Needs Validation at One Time or Another

Validation is something that I believe we all strive for at some point in our lives. Whether it is consciously or subconsciously, everyone desires their work or actions to be validated by family, friends, or society.

For a child, validation can be seen in the smile on a parents face or heard in the clapping of hands for a job well done.

For a student, validation can be seen in the grade received on a test or by achieving the honor roll.

Once we reach adulthood, these acts of validation become harder to come by. Sure, as adults we receive a paycheck from our employers for a job we have done - but this is something we are told to do. Go to school, graduate, get a job, get paid, and be self-sufficient. This is what society expects of us.

The type of validation I am talking about is much greater. The kind of validation that I am not really expecting; let alone looking for at this point in my life. The validation from a father, who I do not have the best relationship with, and have not seen in years. The father who left when I was only two years old; the father I have subconsciously yearned to get some sort of praise from since I was a young child.

Last week I received not only praise and recognition, but validation on more than one level from this man. I am 41 years old and this man brought me to tears as I read his email. Tears of a little girl who loves her Daddy.

Yes, I am a good mother.

Yes, he is proud of his grandson.

Most important, he is proud of his daughter. The validation I have been longing for all my life came today. This man, my father, sees me for me and has validated all of the little things I do in a way that no other person has. Ironically, the person I thought didn't know me at all may be the one person who really does.

He gets it. He gets me. He understands my purpose, my writing, and what drives me to do the things I do. No matter how small your actions may be in this world, no matter how much support you receive or do not receive, always remember that somebody out there is watching you from the sidelines. Anticipating your next accomplishment and waiting to give you that validation that you so desire, but would never dream of asking for.

#Lego Minifigures Come to Life

Wondering what to do with all those Lego Minifigures your child has collected? You know, the ones that come in those shiny little bags ... the ones you have to feel and desperately try to guess which one is inside?

Well, Dylan spent almost all day creating his very own scenes for some of his favorite Lego Minifigures. He still amazes me at what he can create with these little plastic bricks.

Surfer Girl riding a wave. This one is my favorite and I have been told that I can take it to work and put it on my desk.

Werewolf howling at the moon in a graveyard.

Frankenstein coming out of a grave.

Hockey Player scoring the wining goal on the ice.

Sailor and Fishing Lawn Nome lost at sea.

Looks like he caught a shark and was using chum as his bait. (That would be the red stuff in the water)

High above the water looking out for sharks.

Hazmat Guy rescuing the Tennis Girl from a contamination at the tennis courts.

Sumo Wrestler vs. Karate Man in a Japanese hut burning into flames.

It is Dylan's dream to work at @Legoand_CA and build his creations.

All descriptions of these Lego sculptures were given by Dylan.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

ENC Summer Nature Camp

Dylan recently finished a 2 week summer camp at the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) and he had a blast! This was his second year attending the ENC's Summer Nature Camp and I know he will do it again next year. The ENC offers four different 2-week sessions and if Dylan had his way he would be attending all of them. Lori Whalen is the Director of Education and she is the best!

Photo courtesy of ENC

The camp is from 9 am - 1 pm and the ENC also offers an after camp program that goes until 3 pm. Crafts, nature, and all things environmental ... basically, all things Dylan!

This year he went to Session 2: Under the Sea and learned all about marine mammals, sharks, fish, and everything that lives in and around the sea.

Photo courtesy of ENC
Dylan even got to go on a  field trip to the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.

Photo courtesy of ENC

Photo courtesy of ENC

Photo courtesy of ENC
One of his favorite activities was making his very own ocean in a jar

And of course buying rocks from the ENC store.

My favorite thing he did was carve is own Orca with a chisel after learning about the Legend of the Orca.

If you live in the Newport Beach area, I highly recommend going to the ENC. The Summer Nature Camps are amazing and they offer all kinds of family events throughout the year. ENC also offers School Programs, Scouting Programs, Birthday Parties, and Monthly Events.

Be sure to check out the ENC website for a listing of this months activities ... There really is something for everyone!

ENC is located at 1601 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fill In The Blank Friday

Getting Back to Basics ...

  1. My favorite color is ... BLUE! Any shade of blue. Light blue, dark blue, ocean blue, sky blue, even through in a little aqua blue and I'm a happy girl!
  2. My travel destination of choice is ... Hawaii. I love the islands! Don't need much, just my beach towel, sunscreen, iPod and a good book. Island life is the best.
  3. My favorite food is ... strawberries at the moment. They are my go-to food in the summer and I get all excited when I see the baskets for only 99 cents in the market.
  4. My happy place is ... the beach. When I need to refresh or reconnect with myself I always go down to the beach. Walk in the sand, feel the waves wash up on my feet, smell the salty air, watch the sunset ... Yes, this is most definitely my happy place!
  5. My favorite saying is ... "Everything happens for a reason" Sometimes I don't understand at the time, but give me a few weeks or months and then I say to myself, yep, everything happens for a reason. I have either grown because of it or something better comes along.
  6. My dirty little secret is ... just that, MY dirty little secret. ;)
  7. Something friends might say about me is that I ... never give myself enough "me time" I try, but there is always something to do for Dylan or for my business, Shel Cosmetics. And honestly, I would rather be doing these things than spending time alone. Trust me, I sneak in "me time" when nobody is looking.
Share your random thoughts in the comments below or over at

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension

"There's 104 days of summer vacation and school comes along just to end it ... so the annual problem for our generation is finding a good way to spend it ..."

Yes, if you have a child who watches the Disney Channel then you know this song. Phineas and Ferb are two brothers who will do anything from building a rocket to finding a dodo bird to driving their sister insane! All in the name of summer.

Dylan in 2D

Well, Disney has done it again and now Phineas and Ferb are inviting you to join them in the 2nd Dimension on August 5th at 8/7c on the Disney Channel. Of course the promotions for this have been spreading like wildfire and the games on the Disney Channel website allow your children to 2D themselves and star right along side Phineas and Ferb!

During one of the online games, Dylan was even able to create a custom screen saver and download a t-shirt iron-on image with his 2D character and Phineas and Ferb.

Custom Screen Saver
Will you be joining Phineas and Ferb Across the Second Dimension on August 5th? I know we will ...

Wordless Wednesday - Fun in the Sun

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Who Wants Ice Cream?

Ice cream makes everybody smile. I mean really, who doesn't love ice cream?

Chocolate, vanilla, strawberry ... take your pick. One of the things I love best about ice cream is when I surprise Dylan with a trip to Baskin Robbins. This is our time to laugh and talk about the day we had. Watching him walk up and down the glass case, trying to decide what flavor to get, reminds me of my childhood. To a child, deciding what flavor to get is half the fun!

Dylan must have tasted at least three different flavors before deciding on the Pink Lemonade Ice.
I, of course, had my all time favorite ... Strawberry Cheesecake in a waffle cup! It was a special day, I had to splurge.

Savoring the flavor ...

Enjoying every bite ...

What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?

Friday, July 22, 2011

LEGO Star Wars: The Padowan Menace

Tonight was the premiere of LEGO Star Wars: The Padowan Menace on Cartoon Network and of course, we had to watch it. In fact, we had to arrange our entire schedule today around this special LEGO event. Dylan has had this day marked on his calender for over a week and was actually counting down the minutes until 7 pm tonight.

The Star Wars blanket was ready on the floor and the smell of popcorn filled the house. The first glimpse of the show starting resulted in what I would call a 'girl scream' and a leap off the couch.

Yes, I would say Dylan was excited to see LEGO Star Wars: The Padowan Menace.

** Spoiler Alert **

Although this was Dylan's choice of movies, I must admit I loved it!

The LEGO Padowan children going on a field trip and encountering various destinations as  C-3PO and R2-D2 attempt to fly the school bus/ship was a great parallel to the new Star Tours ride at Disneyland. The crash landing on Hoth was my favorite.

Another really funny and creative aspect to this movie was seeing George Lucas as a LEGO. He appears every so often, as the director, to inform Darth Vader that he is not in the scene. At one point he even reminds Darth Vader that anyone can wear that mask. Hilarious!

Seeing all of the LEGO characters that Dylan has built come to life on the screen was a wonderful way for him and I to connect. After watching this with him, I have a little bit better understanding of why he loves his LEGO's so much.

So the next time you see a child playing with LEGO's try to use your imagination ... you know, that thing that use to come so naturally to us when we were younger? Imagine those little pieces of plastic coming to life like they did in LEGO Star Wars: The Padowan Menace.

You can watch a trailer of the movie over at the LEGO site and play some cool online games too!

Did you watch LEGO Star Wars: The Padowan Menace?  
What did you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dylan's Lego Birthday - Part 2

One birthday party down and another to one to go. Well, this wasn't really a party ... more of a celebration.

Ever since Dylan received a certificate from his school for a free kids meal at Joe's Crab Shack he has been asking to go there for dinner. What better time to go than for his birthday?

Nothing fancy. Just Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt Steph and us.

I was amazed at the amount of food this 8 year old could put away! Give him some fresh seafood and he is in heaven.  Calamari, shrimp, and of course crab!

The best part of the birthday celebration was when it was time for the staff of Joe's Crab Shack to embarrass, or should I say recognize, the birthday boy! The announcement was made to everyone that someone was having a birthday and this is what happened next.

Huge foam cowboy hat about 5 sizes too big!

Must stand on his chair.

Staff singing him the "short" birthday song

And he loved every minute of it!
Once dinner was finished we headed off to Grandma and Grandpa's house for presents and ice cream cake.

What? Another LEGO?

... and a LEGO watch?

I still can't believe my little boy is 8 years old. Where does the time go?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Single Parent - Only Child

Single. Alone. Without a companion. It is one thing to be a full-time single mom; however, it is another thing to be an only child. Sure, both are alone, but as a single mom I have plenty of chores and activities to keep me busy. Sometimes a little busier than I would like. I don’t really have time to sit and think about the fact that I am all alone. Sure, I have my friends to talk to and co-workers, but we all know that just is not the same as a companion.

An only child on the other hand has every waking moment to realize that he or she is, in fact, alone. It is a full-time job, sometimes a mission, for an only child to find a companion. Someone to play with, someone to laugh with. Living in an apartment complex doesn’t seem to help matters much either. My son doesn’t understand why some days the neighbor kids can play and other days they cannot. I can see it in his sad eyes, holding back the tears, when he comes home and says they are having family time. Either their Dad just got home and they want to play with him or the three siblings are watching a movie together. Family time. Something my son has never had. Yes, we do things together and have tons of fun. We laugh together, but sometimes we cry together too.

I know that I am a good Mom and that my son has a good life, so why do I always feel guilty about the fact that he has no Dad and no siblings to play with? He is well adjusted, smart, loves to read, and an all-around great child. However, there are so many days when I look at him, really look at him, and see the sadness deep within his eyes. I see the emptiness of being an only child, longing for someone to play with him each day when he comes home from school.

Like me, my son is single. Alone. Without a companion. The difference is I have come to accept it and filled my days with caring for him. Making sure that I do all I can to give him a good life. So again I ask you, why do I feel so guilty?