The Great Adventures Of Da Bratt Pack: Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman at the Cummer Museum






When school's out we take full advantage of our extra day and hit the streets running. You can always find us #intheseduvalstreets taking in all our city has to offer. This past Friday Da Bratt pack was out of school due to a weather day so we went to visit one of our favorite spot, the Cummer Museum






Lennox made a new little friend and together they braved the beautiful gardens, took over Art Connections, and lived their most sophisticated toddler life spending the day at the museum. L.O.L No, but seriously we did our usual routine when visiting the museum. We always start out looking at the art, taking time to talk about each of their favorite exhibits. Then we make a pit stop to grab some create crates, find us a spot and take a few moments to get creative. By then they are ready to get some wiggles out so it's to the gardens we go! There Aya loves to work on her cartwheels, Lennox likes to check out the river, and King wonders freely through each area taking it all in. We almost always end the day in Art Connections. They get to be creative, dance a little and just be kids.








This visit was an extra special one we got to visit the Augusta Savage exhibit. The exhibition features about 80 pieces of art. You can find everything from sculptures to paintings and even works on paper. Who is Augusta Savage you ask? She was a gifted sculpture born in Green Cove Springs in 1892. She created work that uplifted the images of black culture in mainstream America. At a time where our children were portrayed as dirty and wild in the mainstream, she showed their magic, and so much more. As we scrolled through we got to not only see the artistic impact she made but the social and historical impacts as well. If you have been following my motherhood journey through this blog or my Instagram then you already know I am passionate about representation, it matters. Being able to see the work of a black woman artist and to read about all she accomplished is a powerful thing. You can read all about Augusta Savage here on Cummer Museum website. 



If you haven't already I strongly suggest visiting this exhibition. The Augusta Savage: Renaissance Woman will be at the Cummer Museum until April 7, 2019, don't miss out.

The Great Adventures Of Da Bratt Pack: Jacksonville Fair Edition



This past weekend we got to enjoy some much-needed fun at the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair! I don’t know about you but I absolutely love the fair and always have. It’s been a part of my families tradition like oldies but goodies (music) blasting through the speakers on a Saturday morning or family holiday dinners. From going with my family as a child in Virginia to meeting up with my friends for some fun under the lights in coordinating outfits as a teen in Florida, the state fair holds some of my youths fondest memories. With that being said it was only right to make it apart of my children childhood as well and luckily for me they all love it just as much as I do.


This year has been our best fair experience hands down. First, while on a school field trip to the fair (which of course only included an amazing visit with the animals) we were informed that school-age children were allowed free admission that following Saturday from 10am-3pm. On top of that, the gift bag we received from the field trip visit included one free admission ticket. I mean how could we not go right? With the kids all getting in for free and one adult accounted for we only had to pay for one entrance. That alone made for a successful day if you ask me, but the mom wins didn’t stop there…OH NO!



This year my sister n law and I agreed to meet up for a fun cousins day so we decided to try and get there early. 10am was the goal. Dressed and out the house on time (WHAT? YES!) we headed to our destination. Ok, I know some people are thinking 10 am is way too early for the fair but when your house is always on a 7am wake-up call you’ve already been up for hours and ready to take on the day by 10 o clock. Parking was 10 dollars as expected but like the Superman, he is dad found us a free parking spot. YES! The wins just kept on rolling. I won’t lie this mama was like no what are you doing…I’m not walking but that’s because I didn’t realize just how close we were to the fairgrounds. We were parked maybe a block away. 

  

For years I’ve been trying to figure out the perfect time to take kids to the fair, for some reason I want to take them at night because of all the pretty lights, and while the lights are nice everything else is a bit chaotic. The lines are long, the big kids, teenagers, and adults are out and in full effect, and the place is just too crowded and overwhelming. My children don’t get to enjoy the rides I don’t get my fair food, well I do get my fair food but sometimes I have to make a decision on whether I’m getting a turkey leg or a funnel cake. There is no way those lines are going to allow me enough time to get both and who wants to have to make that decision?



Anyway, this year has sealed our fair going fate…we shall return every year at 10am lol. It was like having an amusement park all to oursleves. Which was perfect because all of the children are finally at an age where they can all ride the rides, even Lennox! She definitely lived her best fair life EVER! Equipped with her very own unlimited wrist band she rode every single ride her height allowed, some even twice. With no lines, and plenty of space to run and play the kids had the time of their lives. Oh and guess what? I got a turkey leg, lemonade, and a funnel cake! WHOOP WHOOP! By the time everyone started rolling in we were rolling out. I have to say today (well Saturday) was a good day. 


 






A few words of advice for all my fair going mamas and babes: go early, dress in layers, bring a bottle of water just incase, wear your most comfy closed toe shoes, shades, and a backpack diaper bag so your hands can be free to do your mommy thing.

shop this bag at www.lily-jade.com 


Any fun fair stories, tips, or advice? Share below in the comment section!



That Dope MOM guide to a stress-free Halloween: Tips For Kids With Autism (and more)

Yesterday, on Halloween, I received a ton of questions regarding my son and how he handles Halloween. While I tried to answer as many questions as I could via Instagram DM's I figured why not put together a few quick tips on how we do Halloween. Now I have to state that I am no expert, simply a mom raising a son with Autism. Like ALL KIDS in general, children with autism are all very different so what may work for us may not work for you and that's ok...you just have to figure out what works best for your little one. For this reason, I've also partnered with my insta friend Gabrielle Dunne, who is raising a little girl with Autism, for this post to give you guys another mother's point of view. 


I may or may not have bribed him with candy for this picture  😂

The thought of Halloween seems like the perfect storm for a serious meltdown for my son. It's dark, there are people dressed up in weird costumes everywhere, it's loud and busy, but honestly, he loves it! While he can be anxious and overwhelmed easily he also has the amazing ability to super focus in on whatever it is that he is interested in and candy just happens to be his jam. He loves candy and I'm not ashamed to admit we have used it on plenty of occasions to bribe him.....don't judge me lol. Now with that being said here are three tips on how we handle different aspects of Halloween.

Tip 1- Go To A Familiar Place: we go to the exact same neighborhood every year. He actually knows which homes are going to have what decorations and if they change from the year before. Since he recognizes his surroundings he is much more comfortable and relaxed.

Tip 2- Don't be too concerned with the costume: King picks out who or what he wants to be every year and while I may get one or two quick pictures of him he is probably not going to wear the entire costume. Most likely whatever mask that comes along with it will end up in his candy bag and that's fine. So what if it's hard to know who he is supposed to be without the mask, or if the costume doesn't' look complete. As long as he is comfortable and having fun that's all that matter. If your little one isn't comfortable wearing costumes that's fine as well. You can be creative and make a character out of everyday clothing, let them wear a this is my Halloween costume t-shirt, and keep it moving. When King was younger he refused to wear a costume one year so I put a t-shirt on him that looked like a sheriff vest and badge, some comfy pants, and that was his costume. He had the best night ever!

Tip 3- Come up with your own traditions: if trick or treating around the neighborhood is too much for them then that's fine they can still have Halloween fun without going door to door. There is trunk or treating, it can be like going from door to door but on a smaller scale which can be a lot less intimidating, fall festivals that give out candy so they can still get the experience. One year we hosted a Halloween party with only a few family members and did a ghost hunt where they looked for ghost filled bags of candy in our backyard (something like an Easter Egg hunt). There wasn't a lot of people, he knew everyone there, he was in the comfort of his own home...and he got his CANDY!!

Check Out Gabby's Tips below⬇️ 


Check Out Gabby's Instagram here

I’m Gabby a 28-year-old single mother of a 6-year-old little girl named Skyla with level 2 autism as well as OCD, SPD, speech and language delay,  and a slew of other health issues. That means a lot of visual schedules and social stories to not only get through day to day life but to handle Holidays, because well this time of year just isn’t the same as every other day. Lucky for me Skyla LOVES Halloween, here are three of my biggest tips on how to help your little one understand Halloween.










Tip 1- START EARLY. We start talking about Halloween as well as looking at costumes online in JUNE. That’s right 4 MONTHS in advance. This way your little can think about what they might want to be and have time to buy and try on the costume.

Tip 2- Once they have decided what they want to be for Halloween make them a social story, and read it every day! They will learn what to expect on the day of, as well as what is expected of them.

Tip 3- HAVE FUN! Just try to remember this is FUN if the day comes and they decide they DON'T want to wear the costume that’s OKAY, make up little cards to hand out house to house explaining a little about why they aren’t dressed up!


I hope that we have helped in some way. I know as parents of kids with autism we just want them to be able to participate in childhood like every other child. Just remember they can just in their own ways! If you have any tips please feel free to add them below. We are all here just trying to figure this thing called motherhood out. Let's support one another along the way. 



           

That Dope Mom Guide To Encouraging Individuality With Little Miss Matched

Have you guys ever heard of Little Miss Matched? If not I highly suggest checking them out! They are a girls lifestyle brand that inspires girls to "BE BOLD and to HAVE FUN all while being themselves!" 






At first sight, I thought to my self, now this brand screams Aya! She loves to express herself through clothes and this is something I noticed at a young age. Mismatching patterns, bright bold colors, yup this was definitely right up her alley. Aya is the kind of kid that owns the costume of her favorite characters, not the dolls. No costume no worries she will create the look with whatever she has in her room at the time. I mean I guess its fitting that she's been saying she wants to be a fashion designer since pre-k. For a while, I would say Aya those socks don't match, that shirt doesn't go, try a different jacket and her response would always be but I like it. Then one day she just straight up asked, "If I like it why can't I wear it?" and I really didn't have a response. It was a well put together outfit it just wasn't what I wanted her to wear. I've always told her to be her, to not follow trends but set them. I've always promoted the importance individuality with my words but my action spoke differently. Now don't get me wrong as a mom I have to step in at times, we not wearing flip-flops in the snow and hoodies in 90-degree weather, I'm not trying to have sick babies, but if the outfit is appropriate then why not let her do her thing? Some days she only wanted to wear tutu dresses, some days she wanted to wear all black and on other days miss matched socks, and that's completely OK. 






As I learned more about Little Miss Matched I realized while Aya loved the look I loved what they stood for. I'm all about a brand that uplifts our youth and encourages our girls to be confident in who they are. As a mom, it's amazing to see my little girls embracing their individual styles and having fun while doing it. Little Miss Matched core value is all about celebrating the uniqueness of girls everywhere and that makes me not only excited but proud to stand behind them. I'm always looking for a teachable moment with my littles, even when shopping. With all that being said they have the cutest items ever. Everything from fun jewelry to bedding! My girls love their mismatched socks, ombre leggings, fun backpacks, even their little journals. Feel free to browse their Instagram here for fun inspirational looks and check out their website here to shop! Oh, and the holidays are quickly approaching you can't go wrong with a gift from Little Miss Matched