Confessions of a Non-Stage Mom

There are four words that can strike fear or love in a mom’s heart. Elementary school talent show. Ahhh, I have such fond memories of mine. I did a tap dance routine with my younger sister every year. I believe in our very first show we wore raincoats and twirled umbrellas to “I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddy Rabbitt. Oh, yes, that was a 45 rpm record that we played over and over again until it was so scratched it wouldn’t play anymore. As we got older, we stepped it up with some clogging to “Mountain Music” by Alabama. Yes, that’s how we rolled in Virginia 30 years ago.

Last year, my 8yo son performed in his talent show for the first time. You can read all about it here. This year with both kiddos at the same school, we thought they should both perform. It was a no-brainer for my older son (he’s 9yo) who pretty much has one awesome talent – Kung Fu. Figuring out a talent for my athletic kindergartner was more of a challenge. He couldn’t dribble a soccer ball or throw baseballs on stage. Hmmmm.

One day Pharrell’s “Happy” came on in the car and my youngest son shocked me by singing all of the lyrics and singing with some attitude. Yes! He would sing in the talent show. He wasn’t very into the idea at first, so we got him a few singing lessons to test it out. After the first lesson, he was hooked. I was so excited for him to branch out and do something he had never done before. He was six! Everything is a big accomplishment when you’re six, right?

As the show got closer, we started practicing everyday. And then a few days before the show, my nerves caught up with me. No, not his. Mine! I suddenly felt like I had unintentionally pushed him into something that would blow up in my face. What if he forgot the words? What if he froze? What if he just puked on-stage? What if it was a horrible experience that plagued him for life? I could envision him walking into a therapy session at the age of 25 and saying, “Well, it all started when my mom wanted me to do that stupid talent show when I was in kindergarten…”

That’s when I realized God blessed me with boys for a reason. This mommy is not cut out for stage stress! Dance recitals, solos, gymnastics…balance beam routines? Oh lordy. I don’t know how moms stay calm. I would be popping Xanax like Skittles with wine chasers.

The night of the show, I told both boys I was proud of them no matter what happened during the show. They had impressed me so much with their hard work, nothing could erase that. And it was true. I was 100% proud. Doing well in the show (or just having the guts to try) would be icing on the cake. In my mind, they had already achieved so much.

And without a doubt, they both did great! My older son who just loves being in the spotlight did so well. He was psyched! My youngest NAILED IT. He sang, he did his choreographed moves, he smiled and he had fun. Afterwards he found me in the crowd and we shared a very special “I know exactly how you feel” hug that was priceless. Of course, we’re already discussing next year’s act… 😉 talent show steele3 talent show cruz3    talentshowcruz

 

Kung Fu cropped

How Martial Arts Transformed a Nonverbal Autistic Toddler into a Thriving 9-Year-Old Sensation

Kung Fu StudentWhen he was a happy but nonverbal toddler, our oldest son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Doctors told us they had no idea if or when he’d become verbal or if he’d ever be social enough to have meaningful relationships. The outlook for his future was unknown and grim. Last year, at the age of 8, he performed a kung fu routine onstage in front of a crowd of 300 people, proving any obstacle can be overcome. This year, he will take the stage again Feb. 27 and dazzle the crowd with a martial arts routine consisting of fan-fighting and staff-fighting techniques with his Sifu (instructor), Robert Roy.

Video of 2014 Practice Session: http://youtu.be/XtnRPP66tVE

We had never thought about getting Steele involved in martial arts until Sam Hicks, the principal at Steele’s school, Lakeway Elementary, told us how much he’d seen other children in Steele’ situation thrive from martial arts. It sounded like a good idea to us, so we did our research and found Robert Roy. During Steele’s very first kung fu lesson, we knew we had found something special.

Kung Fu cropped“Martial arts helped Steele develop both sides of his brain because techniques require students to alternate between left brain and right brain skills, which many autistic children struggle with,” explains Sifu, a twice Hall of Fame inductee as kung fu master who trained in China at the Shaolin Temple. “I worked with Steele weekly and after only a few lessons, I saw dramatic improvements. His physical abilities were improving, his ability to focus was getting stronger and his level of confidence in himself was soaring.”

During the course of his kung fu lessons, we saw Steele transform into a focused, confident and skilled martial-arts student who specialized in staff fighting. In February 2013, he decided to share his martial arts achievements with his community by performing in the annual talent show at his school. The first step was making the audition. The staff at Lakeway Elementary School was extremely supportive and let Steele audition with Sifu. Four more weeks of practice flew by as the talent show quickly approached.

On Feb. 26, 2013, the Lakeway Elementary School gymnasium was packed with more than 300 parents, family members, teachers and friends, all eager for the talent show. I was a nervous wreck! He had never done anything like this in his life and we didn’t know how he’d react to such a huge crowd. When it was time for him to perform, he grabbed the microphone (which was unexpected and unscripted!!!) and asked the crowd, “Are you ready to see it?” The crowd clapped and cheered as Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” played and Steele and Sifu performed an exciting martial arts combat routine.

I’ll never forget that moment for as long as I live. I cried from the moment he took the stage, because I was so overwhelmed with joy. Nobody in that crowd understood how every single thing he did was so magical. It was surreal. He didn’t get nervous, he spoke on a microphone from his heart in front of hundreds of people, and his routine was awesome. I still meet people who remember that routine vividly. It’s just amazing. (And they usually say, “Hey, aren’t you that mom who was crying at the talent show?” Yep, that’s me!)

Video of Performance Last Year: http://youtu.be/IIQGf29K5o4

kung fu 2013This year, he’ll be performing again with Sifu and he will be incorporating fan-fighting into the routine. We’re so very proud of him and can’t wait to see him do it again!

Meet Robert Roy (our Sifu!)
Robert Roy, who was trained in China at the Shaolin Temple, has been actively leading the martial arts community in Austin. As owner of Martial Arts Academy, he was active in Crime Stoppers programs, worked with the Austin Police Department’s SWAT Unit, the Department of Public Safety officers and the Parks and Recreation Department in Brazoria County. He is a two-time Hall of Fame inductee as kung fu Master and Living Legend of the Year. He has performed in countless shows and movies featuring martial arts.

He is currently working on a Bully Prevention Certification program designed to supplement anti-bullying campaigns nationwide. He and his wife are also developing an e-book video instructional series for parents and children called “ROOTAGE: Plant the Knowledge.” It will illustrate the hidden techniques and provide a clearer understanding of how ancient martial arts benefits child development.

(Sifu currently teaches throughout the state, but he holds private lessons at World of Tennis in Lakeway.)

MommyQ’s Ode to Thanksgiving

turkeyday

Turkey, stuffing, gravy, mashers and pie

Smiling at your crazy relatives as the time slowly passes by

Noticing lettuce in Aunt Sally’s teeth

Asking politely for a slice of roast beef

Debating whether to get another helping of green beans

Knowing you won’t be fitting in your favorite skinny jeans

Listening to the same old stories you hear every year

Subtly reaching for another cold beer

Family gossip launches laughter

Politicians always get a bad rap

Tryptophan making me sleepy

It’s time for a nap

Finally, a Black Friday Promotion Makes Sense

I was doing a bit of research for one of my blogs and came across this clever header, “Hide from Black Friday Crowds in Style at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte.” Needless to say, it caught my attention. After all, most Black Friday promos are totally lame at best. I continued reading…

“Are you one of those crazies who get up at the crack of dawn to haul out for Black Friday shopping? Honestly, we’re more the online shopping types — fewer black eyes, more time spent in PJs. But leave it to the new Ritz-Carlton Charlotte to make even that sound luxe.”

She had me at hello. It’s truth in advertising at its finest. Funny thing is, I just mentioned “crazies” on my Facebook status because I saw the trailer for The Crazies and it scared the living you know what outta me. But she’s got something here because if you get up at 5 a.m. to shop, you’re a wacko. Seriously, if you think you can buy something at a significant savings at 5 a.m., but not at 1:00 p.m. the same day, you’re delusional.

Anyway, it’s a funny write up at HotelChatter and I like the way KatieK takes care of business. If you’re in Charlotte, you just might wanna check out the Ritz. “Laptops, Lounging and Libations” offers a wrist massage and lots of cocktails. And we all know how much fun drunk online shopping can be….

Win iPhone App: Peekaboo Wild For Tiny Gamers

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Win on of the cutest iPhone apps for youngsters, Peekaboo Wild, at Droolicious!  I announced this great giveaway today – a free Peekaboo Wild app for five lucky winners. This game is a lifesaver if you have extra time to spare waiting in line at the grocery store, at the doctor’s office, at the restaurant – anywhere!

We discovered Peekaboo Barn a few months ago. Now those quirky farm animals have gone wild! Instead of barnyard animals, it features friendly animals you would find in the wild. Instead of peeking out from behind the barnyard doors, these critters pop out from behind the waving grass in Africa. The illustrations are endearing and the activity makes for great learning opportunities. Remember, you can play it in Spanish too! Thanks for the fun, Night & Day Studios!

Because Moms Need to Know: Shopping & Dining

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MommyQ’s Inbox is always overflowing with information. Sales, grand openings, new products, special events, community giving and more. Seriously, I have 125 unread messages and they ALL pertain to motherhood. I never knew it was such an email-intensive job. Here are some of the highlights so you don’t miss out on something special or as my two-year-old says, “sumpin peshal.”

Kirsten James Handbags Holiday Sale
I LOVE these diaper bags. I have one and use it all of the time. These bags are a great gift idea for any gal on your shopping list. Order your custom bag now and get 10% off your entire purchase. Plus, you’ll receive it just in time for Christmas.  Spend $250 or more and receive 15% off your purchase! (Remember, this company give 5% of the amount you spend to their non-profit too.)

You can receive your discount by using promo code “KJ Holiday Sale” in the message to seller box at time of purchase (your discount will be refunded thru paypal within 24 hours of order). Sale ends on November 30th. Visit Kirsten James today!

Four Days of Feasting in Austin
If you’re going to be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in Austin, you must attend these events. Hosteria Verde, owned by the fabulous foodie Anne Rutt-Enriquez, is teaming up with FLAVORS of Austin to present four consecutive days of unique dining events. You can get all of the details at Hosteria Verde. Buy your tickets today and invite your friends to join you. Trust me, you don’t want to miss out on this tasty fun.

The Brand New LK Stationery Company
Welcome to the BRAND NEW LK Stationery Company, proudly offering new designs by artist Laura Kelly. Welcome to the bright, fun, and whimsical world of Laura Kelly. We look forward to offering you happy and artistic designs on stationery items. From mini memos to note cards to placemats, if you can write on it – they’ve got it! Shop until your heart’s content at LK Stationary.

Delight in Oromono Christmas Stockings

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Like most moms, I appreciate holiday decor that doesn’t scream HOLIDAYS! I like my joy subtle, hip and unique. Take a look at these gorgeous Christmas Stocking from Oromono. I featured them on Droolicious for a good reason. Read more about them and grab a few for your mantle. Retail for $77.

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