10 Reasons Why Taekwondo is Great for Kids

Taekwondo originated in Korea, and as a child I watched my brother compete in many matches and eventually earn his black belt. I saw the many positive effects it had on him, and knew that I wanted to enroll my children one day too. When we moved to the island capital, we were lucky enough to join a newly opened taekwondo studio run by the only Korean master on the island. It’s been six months now and the kids are just as enamored with taekwondo today as they were the first day. The past couple weeks they’ve been taking 2 consecutive classes, so they’re at the studio for 2 1/2 hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! And they’re still not tired of it!


What’s so great about taekwondo or other martial arts for kids?

1) It’s great for kids of all different strength and athletic abilities. Neither of my kids are particularly athletic and Olive has always been physically delayed. Olive has very little strength — she even says the toothpaste tube is too hard for her to squeeze! Olive’s friend in the class is on the spectrum, and only walks on his tiptoes. But all of them are able to excel in taekwondo!

2) It teaches respect. I don’t think there is any other sport that places such an importance on respect as martial arts — respect for your teacher, your opponents and yourself. The kids in the class have the utmost respect for their teacher, and always bow to him when entering and leaving the studio. You must also show respect to your opponent, and bow to them before and after a sparring match as well. Taekwondo really embodies respect and humility.

3) It teaches self-discipline and concentration. Taekwondo is all about self-discipline when it comes to the uniform, customs and techniques. It’s particularly great for kids with ADHD like Charlie. The master always makes sure that the kids have their uniforms and belts on correctly. There are customs they must perform in every class. They must pay attention and listen to learn new techniques and follow along with class. They must stand still and wait for the next command. Since starting taekwondo, Charlie and Olive’s behavior and self-discipline at home has greatly improved too!

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Motherhood has made me brave

Recently I was called brave. It is not usually a characteristic I would assign to myself, in fact quite the opposite. I love being comfortable and safe and don’t often go out looking for excitement. Typically I consider myself kind, loyal, caring, and hardworking. If you are a Harry Potter fan, I am a Hufflepuff through and through, Gryffindor no way. But becoming a parent has brought out some other traits in myself that I did not expect and don’t often give myself credit for. Motherhood, in fact, has made me brave.


Here is how this epiphany all came about. I was having a conversation with a coworker who is a 20 something, unmarried man with no kids.  He was telling me about how he was afraid to go to the dentist but that his girlfriend really wanted him to go. I told him how I hated the dentist and didn’t go through all of college, but when I had kids I started going back. He asked what made me go back, and I told him that I didn’t want my kids to be afraid to go so I started going regularly as well. He said, “Wow, I guess that’s what being a parent is all about, facing your fears for your kids huh?”

I hadn’t really thought much about it at the time, but I just knew that I wanted to set a good example for my kids. I still have a difficult time going to the dentist. The scraping sound of the teeth cleaning makes every muscle in my body tense, but I go.

Recently, we went on a hike in Utah where my husband’s family took us to Red Cliffs. There is a part on one of the trails where you have to use a rope and footholds to swing yourself around a rock and get over a stream. The temperature was about 35-40 degrees, so although I didn’t test the water temperature myself, I knew it was pretty cold. I love being outdoors and hiking but I am also afraid of heights and have pretty horrendous balance. I looked at the rock we were about to cling to and I was nervous. Then my one of my boys looked at me and said he didn’t want to do it. He was too afraid.

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Adjusting to Two

Ours is probably the most abnormal way to adjust to having two kids so I won’t call it relatable, but hopefully there are some universal nuggets in my experience that we can all share together.


With my first child, it was a casual adjustment. After two months of maternity leave, I started working from home more and going into work 1 or 2 days a week (we also moved about a 45 minute drive outside the city so that was more the reason why) and my boss was fine with that. I still got lots of work done and remained passionate about it so that helped too. I was still working when my second pregnancy caused my blood volume to greatly increase – that, paired with the stress of moving triggered my brain bleed.

This essentially caused me to be on bedrest starting at month 4 of my pregnancy – first facing 10 days of coma, relearning to walk, talk, eat… everything. I don’t have memories from that time but I’ve seen a little footage and it’s so bizarre. Eventually I was able to get out of bed and walk with assistance for physical therapy and I slowly started making memories again.

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I stayed in Thailand for many months of recovery since doctors did not recommend flying without radiotherapy and did not want to administer it while I was pregnant. Fair. I’m so happy to have my sweet little buddy health and whole. I’m also really excited to move onto the next phase of life because we bought a house of our own again and we’ll move there next month and start figuring out our rhythm in a new space.

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12 of Olive’s Favorite Chapter Book Series for 6-7 Year Olds

I recently shared some of Charlie’s favorite series for 7-8 year olds, and now I’m sharing some of Olive’s favorite series for 6-7 year olds. They read a lot of the same books, but Olive’s favorites are heavy on princesses, fairies, and animals. They also read a lot of books from Britain that are popular there, but you may not have heard of in the US. I went through Olive’s bookshelves with her and asked her to pick out her favorites. Many of them are published by Scholastic, who makes really great early chapter books!


Rainbow Magic Fairy Series – Every kid seems to love this series which has published over 200 books since 2003! We own at least 100, and Charlie even reads them all too. As I’ve mentioned before, series really get kids hooked on reading, and this is one of the biggest series for early readers out there. Each book follows a similar plotline of two best friends who help their fairy friends against the evil Jack Frost, but Olive has reread many of these over and over again. Perfect for the 5-7 year old range.


Magic Animal Friends – From the same creator as the Rainbow Magic series (which are ghost written under a pseudonym), Olive loves this series that stars various animals instead of fairies. There are 26 books in the series so far, with more being released!

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Link Roundup – February 11, 2019

The school year ends at the end of March here, so I’ve started planning our travels for this year. We’ll be going to America in April to visit my  family, and then have 2 weeks in September to take a vacation. We haven’t left the Philippines in a year and a half so I’m really looking forward to traveling again! Current vacation spot contenders are Sri Lanka (an up and coming destination with safaris!), Japan (Mr. Bee has family there), and Vietnam (most everyone’s favorite Asian destination these days). Where would you go?

Conversation hearts are no more.

Here are some interesting parenting links from around the web!


Defying Parents, A Teen Decides To Get Vaccinated via NPR

How To Help Kids Overcome Their Fear Of Doctors And Shots via NPR

Mothers are being abused during childbirth. We need our own #MeToo via The Guardian

NTSB Wants Infants to Have Their Own Seats on Planes via Conde Naste Traveler

What the umbilical cord actually does via Momlifekeepingitreal

The Preventing Maternal Deaths Act is signed into law via Motherly


Yes, America’s schools are still segregated via Salon

Hidden crisis: D.C.-area students owe nearly half a million in K-12 school lunch debt via Washington Post

Why Girls Beat Boys at School and Lose to Them at the Office via New York Times

How Harry Potter Has Brought Magic To Classrooms For More Than 20 Years via KQED

Why Millions Of Kids Can’t Read And What Better Teaching Can Do About It via NPR

More than 700 sign high school student petition to add Asian American studies classes via Los Angeles Times

Racist? Fair? Biased? Asian-American Alumni Debate Elite High School Admissions via New York Times


Living Near Your Grandmother Has Evolutionary Benefits via NPR

Your Grandchildren Are Already in Debt via New York Times

Instagram Bans Graphic Images of Self-Harm After Teenager’s Suicide via New York Times

The worst ‘social network’ is the one you can’t delete via Mashable

‘A Pumping Conspiracy’: Why Workers Smuggled Breast Pumps Into Prison via New York Times

Life without plastic: pioneer families show how it’s done via The Guardian

You Should Freeze Your Child’s Credit. It’s Not Hard. Here’s How. via New York Times

These Experts Think They Have ‘The Formula’ For Raising Super Successful Kids via Huffington Post

Dear Therapist: I Looked Through My Daughter’s Phone, and I Didn’t Like What I Saw via The Atlantic

The most unique baby girl name in every state via This Insider

Measles Outbreak in the Philippines

There have been at least 79 cases of measles in the US this year as reported by the Center for Disease Control, but I don’t believe any deaths have occurred. To give you an idea of what the measles outbreak is currently like in the Philippines, there have been over 4300 cases and over 70 deaths, mostly by children aged 4 and under, just in the past month. Measles are so contagious that 90% of people who have not been vaccinated and exposed to the virus will contract it.

I have many friends here who have chosen not to vaccinate their children. We also live in a tourist destination that people visit from around the world. Israel is currently in the midst of a measles outbreak; it’s where many of our tourists are from, and where children in the New York outbreak contracted measles on a visit. I even know two people who contracted measles here as adults despite being vaccinated, although the symptoms were weaker because they had received the vaccine as children. And I have a friend who just got measles as an adult because she was never vaccinated for it.

The current low vaccination rate in the Philippines can be traced to a controversial vaccine for dengue (a mosquito-borne viral illness) called Dengvaxia that was administered to almost a million children here a couple years ago. The manufacturer later stated that people who previously did not have dengue and contracted it after the vaccine had the possibility of having much more severe symptoms15 out of 154 kids also died of dengue despite receiving the Dengvaxia vaccine, although whether the vaccine was the cause is still under investigation. This controversy has led to an overall decline in vaccinations in general, from 85% down to 60%. Now doctors here are suggesting that babies get the measles vaccine at 6 months, and the government wants to make vaccinations for measles/mumps/rubella; polio; tuberculosis; diphtheria; tetanus/pertussis; poliomyelitis; and hepatitis-B mandatory.

We all know that vaccines can be one of the most controversial parenting topics out there. I’ve read countless articles to try to understand the opposite perspective of mine, which is pro-vaccine. I didn’t have any friends that didn’t vaccinate when I lived in the US, but I have quite a few here. I thought I would share why they chose not to vaccinate their children.

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Upcoming and Recently Released Books We’re Looking Forward To

A couple weeks ago, I had an opportunity to attend a conference where publishers exhibited some upcoming books. I snagged a couple of advance copies and saw others that we’re looking forward to picking up. Here are a few books to look for this year, loosely organized by my perceived recommended age (from youngest age range to oldest):


Acorn series by Scholastic for early readers. This series was released because of the success of the Branches series, a series of chapter books that have pictures on each page so a great way to transition children into longer books. Lion has loved a number of Branches series, including Dragon Masters, Last Firehawk and Notebook of Doom. The Acorn series is geared for younger readers and I was able to preview the first four books that will be launched: A Crabby Book: Hello, Crabby; Hello, Hedgehog! Do You Like My Bike; Unicorn and Yeti: Sparkly New Friends; and A Friend for Dragon. My understanding is that each of these will be series, much like the Branches books.


Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins – This looks like a beautiful picture book about Alan Bean, the fourth astronaut who walked on the moon.


Superheroes Are Everywhere by Kamala Harris – This one was released last month and folks flocked to the Random House booth for it. The book is lovely, with a great message about the superheroes one encounters every day, from family members to teachers, to neighbors and much more. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what your politics are, this book has a great message for children.

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