Thursday, July 30, 2015

A Mother's Guilt

I am a mother. I have two absolutely beautiful, amazing, full of life and wonder...toddlers.

Scarlett is vivacious. She is a red-headed spitfire with a daily goal of trying to argue her father and I into oblivion. And Evan...well he is a person all his own too. He spends his days climbing, toddling, falling, yelling, hitting, playing, eating...and well...he is just a very busy little man.

After a 10 hour work day, I come home to these marvelous little creatures., and I look forward to it all day. But once I am actually home, and chasing those little tyrants...I often have selfish thoughts.

I have seen and heard enough to assume that most parents do. It is only natural to want to do things, or have things just for yourself. Yet, being a mother, when I do want to do things, or have things (even just alone time)...I feel incredibly guilty for it.

You are taught from a young age that when you "grow up" and have children, that you are supposed to sacrifice and do without so that they can flourish and have success in life. What no one bothers to mention is that this leads to an insurmountable level of guilt when you do.



Here are some things that I find myself feeling guilty about as a mother:

Hiding Yummy Food From the Kids for After Bedtime.
I don't indulge in many things sweet. Just not my thing. But I loooove ice cream. And I haaaate having to share it. I don't even like sharing my bowl of ice cream with Dustin. And lord help me if I even open the freezer and the kids see my tub of Edy's Sundae Cone ice cream. They will bug the every loving daylights out of me to get some. Every. Single. Day. until there isn't any left. Call me selfish, but I want to indulge myself a little at night. After a long days work, and then coming home to chase little people; feed them, wash them, wrangle them into bed after about a million trips out of their rooms...I just want to sit down and devour the entire tub. Alone. Watching Netflix. In my house coat. But every time I do I feel absolutely horrible. I feel like I need to wake the kids and share. But I don't. Ring my selfish bell please.

Going To The Grocery Store Alone.
Whenever we need something from the store, Dustin and I will have a formal duel to see who gets to go. He tends to draw faster. Or run out the door faster. I haven't figured it out yet. Either way...whether it is a quick 10 minute trip or day long event...I relish the idea of going to the store alone. And when I do, I always leave one kid or the other standing at the door bawling their eyes out. It absolutely devastates me. I just try not to look back, and stick ear plugs in so I can't hear the heartache at the door. Going to the store and not having to say "No" a million and one times is so luxurious. Going to the store without looking like a crazy person screaming at her kids to be still is so grand. But the guilt of a crying baby can practically eat you alive. No joke.

Taking A Shower Alone And Locking The Door
{GASP} I know. The absolute horror of showering alone, AND locking the door. Who does that? Well I get the joy of this occasion, every now and then. And when I do I will sneak a glass of wine and 3 pieces of dark chocolate in there with me as well...then I turn the music on my phone up to drown out the pleas to be let in. I would love to let them shower with me every time I go in, but in all honesty we are getting old enough to take baths by ourselves. And sometimes mommy just needs the 30 minutes alone especially when I need to shave. Shaving and toddlers...bad idea. They are little recorders and Scarlett loves to be just like Mommy. I'd have heart failure if I caught her with a razor in her hands. But either way, I hate locking them out...even for 30 minutes. It feels like I am telling them that they aren't welcome, and they are. Once I get out of the shower.

Shutting Them Out For Sexy Time
If you are a couple with young children...you just nodded when you read that statement. I can't even tell you how many times Dustin and I have sat the kids down to a movie and popcorn, and locked the doors, just so we can sneak off to our bedroom for some "alone" time. I can't tell you how many of our friends with children, have shamefully admitted to the same thing. Guilty as charged. One of the key ingredients to a happy marriage is having sex, and lots of it. That is so very hard to do when you have kids. And just isolating that time for bedtime isn't going to work either. You need spontaneity and fun, or else its just routine. A Wham-Bam-Thank-You-Ma'am on a Saturday afternoon while the kids are busy can reduce stress and friction. I always feel bad, especially if one of the kids discovers our indiscretion, and yells through the door the whole time. Busted. But we know they will be okay until we are done. Even if we feel fleetingly guilty.

Losing Your Patience and Yelling
Being a parent is so hard, but so rewarding. You may think you know what you are signing up for when you have kids...but TRUST me...you have no idea the task at hand. Toddlers are demanding, evil little creatures. They have a mind all their own. And you are always wrong. And you are always a meany-poopy head when you are wrong, which is always. And the word no...oh boy...don't even think about it. And when you do say no, you tend to lose your mind after you have said it a million times in the last two minutes after they have begged you relentlessly for gummies while you are cooking their dinner. And you yell. And then they run away in fear crying. Because you look like an absolute maniac...with sharp razor teeth and glowing red eyes. Just accept it now that you will yell. And you will feel like the worlds biggest chump when you do. It comes with the territory.

Leaving Them With Grammy For The Night
I love when I get to spend time with Dustin all alone, it doesn't happen often in this crazy busy life we have. I love it even more when we get to go away for more than a couple of hours. Like go away all night. It's exciting knowing we can do whatever we want and stay out as late as we want. We usually go out for dinner, shoot some pool, go to Wal-Mart, and then go home and pass out. We sleep like the dead knowing that we don't have to worry about anyone waking up in the middle of the night because of bad dreams or needing a drink. And we know we will get to "sleep-in". But the whole time we are out and about sans children, all we do is talk about them. Or talk about how much they would love what we are eating, doing, seeing, etc. They really do consume your life..in a good way of course. We always make a point to get them something special or do something special with them to compensate for our guilt. 

I love being a mom, more than anything in this world. I love my babies. I love our life. I love my husband. But I have to take time to stop and love myself. It is hard to do that when you feel guilty for it. I know I shouldn't, and neither should you. Sacrificing for our children, doesn't mean we have to sacrifice who we are as individuals. And it also doesn't mean that we aren't entitled to be a little selfish sometimes.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

5 Things That Changed When I Had My Son

We wanted a boy. Every couple wants a boy. And if they say they don't...I call total bull.

Yes, everyone wants healthy and happy...but deep down when asked, "Do you want a boy or girl?"
                                               
                                                                     ...most think boy.

It is encoded in our DNA to want a son so that there is someone to carry the "family" name. It is only natural. It is only human.

Originally I did not want  a second child. I love my little Scarlett Rose more than life itself, and felt that she was more than enough, and she would have been with or without Evan. But we decided that she needed a sibling...a friend...and ally...someone other than Mom and Dad.



We decided to try for a boy. And we succeeded thankfully...because whether it had been a boy or girl...this would be our last child. We were responsible enough to know that we could not afford more than two kids, and that it would be difficult for us to devote enough time and attention to more than two kids as well. 

I signed the paper work for sterilization before Evan was born.

I am not in any way saying that people that have more than two, cannot give their children what they need as far as materialistic needs and emotional needs...we just knew that we couldn't.

When we found out we were having a boy...I suddenly realized that I knew absolutely nothing about them. I grew up with two sisters. Most of the children in my family were girls...so boys...totally foreign breed.

And now that I am mother to a boy...I can say that with the utmost confidence. So here are 5 things that have changed since I had my son:

I changed how I treat my husband.
Dustin is a good man...and an even better father. He treats me with respect and love, and really is the doting father. He has always been really patient with the kids, even when I have lost my cool. He is a great example for Scarlett on how women deserve to be treated. I realized that I needed to be the perfect example for Evan on how men should be treated. I needed him to see that men deserve just as much respect and adoration, as I receive from his father. That a man should be loved as he is, spoken to respectfully, and treated with decency. Now days women can be cruel and just as abusive as any man, and he needs to know that it is not acceptable. So I make a point to be more patient, more understanding, and more affectionate with Dustin.

We all know that children inevitably search for partners that have qualities similar to the mother/father...so I want him to find a good partner. I have to set the bar...lead by example. 

I changed my tolerance for the down right disgusting.
Boys are gross. Evan does things that I never thought I would see a child do. He has eaten dirt. He loves to dip his hair in mud. He will eat anything that looks remotely edible whether it is on the plate or floor. He will bring me bugs. He will eat and drink out of the bowl with the dogs. He will pick up doggy poo and throw it. He will lick snot off of his upper lip before I can catch it with a tissue. He will lick my toes given the opportunity. He farts and giggles. Just. So. Gross. I could sit here all day and list all of the horribly gross boy things he does.

I don't find myself being as surprised when he does these things now...but every now and then he will catch me off guard and cause my yucky meter to spike!

I changed the way I talk about men.
We all do it ladies. Trash talk men. You know exactly what I am talking about. Whether it is intentional or not, we are all guilty of saying inappropriate things about men, as well as grouping them into one category like they are all programmed the same. We all crack jokes that men are dogs, can only think with one "head" at a time, or some women just have very disgruntled opinions of men based on bad experiences. I know I have done it. Still do sometimes. But I make more of an effort to watch how I stereotype men, so that Evan does not think that this is the acceptable way of male behavior. Boys also need to see that they deserve just as much respect as ladies do. So next time you think about accusing a man of being a "man"...remember that not all men are the same.

Don't hold your son accountable for the mistakes of other men. And remember that there are good men out there. Make him one.

I changed the way I see myself.
I am a woman. Women nit pick everything about themselves. We are never happy with our looks, our weight, our relationships...we just find all the bad in ourselves. It is sad. And I realized all of this when Evan came along. I love who I am and I respect myself...but I never treated myself the way I deserved...so how could I expect others to do the same??? That stopped once I realized that my son saw me as perfect. To him I am superwoman. I come to the rescue when he needs me to. I fix boo-boos. I make food (especially important to Evan). I run baths. I make mud puddles. I eat his mud pies. I laugh at all of his silliness. I discipline when needed, even if he doesn't agree. I love him unconditionally and he knows that he and Scarlett are the apples of my eye!

He doesn't see the extra pounds around my mid section. He doesn't see the bags under my eyes. He doesn't see the haircut I am in desperate need of. He just sees Mommy. The amazing and beautiful woman that will always be there for him. I see her too. It just took seeing it through his eyes first.

There will always be changes.
It is that simple. Being mom to a girl is a totally different ball park than being mom to a boy. I was a girl once. Been there done that and wrote the book. I will know how to help Scarlett get through life and face most of the challenges of being a girl. Evan...I have no idea. I have never been a boy and will never even attempt to understand how different it is. But I will always change how I see things, how I do things, how I say things...so that I can help him to be a good man.

I am willing to reconsider all I think I know about raising a boy, so I can get most of it right. Maybe not right...but good enough. 

I want nothing but the best for both of my children.

I will do the best  I can or die trying.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Stream Of Un-Consciousness..?

Ever been so tired that it feels like your eyelids are sand paper...and with each blink you lose another layer of moisture...?

Toothpicks just are not enough to hold these steel doors that keep slamming together on my face.

Yea. That's me today.

Monday.

Hope I don't nod off.

*Startles awake* No... I was not snoring. Just checking that my nasal passages are clear.

Ugh.

Monday. Have I said that yet?

I decided that it would be a great idea to stay up until three this morning.

But now, I am really questioning my abilities to make good decisions...

                                               ...especially when I know that I have to get up for work at six!

I have never felt more inclined to the saying "Old enough to know better."

My body is screaming for sleep.

I wonder if I could sign up for a sleep study today? Will they give doctors notes for work for that?

*Reminder*- Google local sleep studies later.

All this talk about sleep is making me sleepy. I should change the subject. Except every time I blink I am painfully reminded that I have neglected my brain..
           and eyes..
                                 and sleep..
                                                                yes sleep..

I think I will get up and sweep the office. If I don't get moving soon...I will nod off for sure.

I think the coffee in the kitchen is actually calling my name.

"...Lizzziiiieeeee...you know you need a little Folgers in your life...Coommmee onnn Lizzziieeee..." says the evil coffee pot, much to her dismay.

Oh well. Off to wake up, I hope.


                                                                               Photo courtesy of CalicoWrites.





Friday, July 24, 2015

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish

Most women love going to the salon and being pampered but it is hard to find the time and sometimes hard to spare the extra money to do so.

I for one, love the beautiful feeling I get shortly after getting my nails done.

It makes me feel relaxed, pampered, and like I could grab the bull by the horns...
                                                                            all because I got some badass nail color!

          ...I will take a side of Superwoman with that coat of teal polish please!

Anyways...

I just cannot justify spending twenty five bucks every two weeks to get a gel polish manicure especially when Christmas is fast approaching, and my entire family has birthdays in the next several months!

That and I am cheap. 

Really cheap. 

Like I can talk myself out of spending a dollar at the Dollar Tree cheap.

So I decided that I would take the year of experience I have from cosmetology school and start perfecting my own nails. Yes I do lose out on the "salon experience" but I am saving money, and being more economical.

This is where Sally Hansen comes into the equation.

Melanie, Dustin's Aunt, that lost her home to a fire...also lost all of her nail polish. So Rich took her to Wal-Mart to buy her some new ones. That is where she stumbled upon Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Polish. Both she and Rich picked a color for her to try, along with the Miracle Gel Top Coat. This gel polish is a no light required gel finish, that I was a little skeptical of.

We just happened to go to their new home, which is beautiful by the way, for dinner shortly after she painted her nails this amazing shade of hot pink. I ask where she got them done. She told me that they were not done at the salon, but she had done them herself! She went and got the polish and top coat to show me what the brand was. I knew instantly that I was going to get some for myself because this is the kind of thing that makes for a great blog post!

So to Target I went.







There I got two different colors. I bought the 540 Combustealble and the 720 Mintage. I tried the Combustealble and let me tell you...I LOVE IT! They were about five dollars each and the top coat was about eight dollars. Not a bad price. I spend more with a visit to the salon!



Combustealble                                                                                                                                  Mintage

The first step is to apply two coats of the color. The brush is designed so that the polish goes on very smoothly and evenly and it doesn't get all over your finger. I applied my two coats and waited a minute or so. I then applied the gel top coat. It says that you don't have to wait to apply the gel but when I went to apply it without waiting, it started to lift the color off my nail. So I recommend waiting. You only have to apply one coat, and it goes on very thick. That is what gives you that "salon look" and finish. It takes a relatively short amount of time for all of it to dry. Maybe a couple of minutes.

Since I painted them (9 days ago) I have zero chips. They still shine like they were freshly painted. Even my right hand, which I never paint well, looks amazing!



I have heard how these store bought, no light gel polishes never work...but let me tell you this one is actually the real deal. I will know in 5 days if it really lives up to its two week lasting promise. But so far I have worked everyday, cleaned, done dishes, helped Dustin work on a truck, and changed diapers...but it is still there. Looking fresh! And I am not being paid to say that!



*Photos courtesy of Sally Hansen*


Monday, July 20, 2015

The DivaCup! A Gal's New Best Friend? or Foe?

I have recently returned to work after taking about a year off to stay home with my babies again. I work in an office full of men, I am literally the only female, other than they occasional customer. And even then those are far and few between as I work in what most would call a "heavily male populated workforce". It doesn't bother me, except where bathroom issues are concerned.

We all know that men and women have very different bathroom practices, as well as expectations when it comes to cleanliness. Not saying all men or women are the same with bathroom hygiene, just different. But that's not the issue I am trying to get to...another blog another day!

No I am talking about that time of the month. The most dreaded week of every woman's month.

SHARK WEEK ... ! 

... DUN DUN DUN!

Well that's what we have deemed it in my household anyways!

To the point...there is nothing more embarrassing than being the only female in an office and being on your period! I'm not ashamed that I have one, or that my body is just doing what it is supposed to. But I'm embarrassed because of noisy wrappers, the trash which is a dead pan giveaway that I am on my period, the possibility of odors, leaks, etc...there is just a lot of crappy things about a period that really suck!

So all of that being said, I read an article online about women using menstrual cups and how they simplified that time of the month.

Menstrual wha-whats?!

A menstrual cup is a cup that is placed inside your vagina during menstruation to catch all of the blood. It only has to be taken out once or twice a day to be dumped, washed, and put back in versus a tampon or maxi pad change every 3-4 hours or so.

Yeah, so initially I thought yuck too! There is no way I could use one of those.

But then I thought about it some more, and started researching the brands that are out there. And it piqued my interest. The biggest selling feature for me was that  I could work all day and not have to worry about changing anything! Not to mention all night! And not to mention it was $40 one time a year versus $20 a month every month of the year for an annual total of $100-150! That is a lot of savings when you think about it. 

So I bought The DivaCup, Model 2, since I have had children. Model 1 is for women under 30 that have not had children, and Model 2 is for women ages 30 and over or women that have had children whether via c-section or vaginal delivery.


Photo Courtesy of DivaCup!

**TMI ALERT**

Now to the nitty gritty. My first time using The DivaCup...it was...shall we say...interesting?

There are two techniques you can use to insert the cup, feel free to visit their site for instruction on both. But before you begin anything wash your cup, using a mild unscented soap, as well as your hands. To me it is easier to insert while sitting relaxed on the toilet. 

I prefer the second option or the "Push Down" option. It makes the rim of the cup much smaller and easier to insert. 

I had trouble inserting it the first couple of times. It is safe to assume that everyone does. Before I used mine I did a lot of research. So I am going to offer some tips for newbs like myself:

Tips For First Time DivaCup Users:
     1) Practice inserting before your period comes. Get comfortable with the technique you find most beneficial to you. Like I said I like the "Push Down" method while sitting on the toilet.
     2) Once you have about half of the cup inserted, I take my index finger and run it around the edge of the cup to ensure that the bell has opened completely.
     3) I then push the cup (back towards my tailbone) until the tip is about 1/2 inside. I also cut the end of the tip off as it made me feel very uncomfortable.
     4) Twist the base of the cup a full 360 degree turn to make sure it is suctioned properly.

Was it painful to wear?
I was paranoid the first day. I took it out half a dozen times to make sure it wouldn't overflow, or that it wasn't leaking. Once I realized that once it was in and secure, I was good to go. I do have to admit that I was very conscious of it the whole time. Mostly because the silicone was still a little stiff, and it is something totally new. As far as discomfort, when inserted correctly, I had none. However at one point I inserted it too far and it caused a lot of cramping. I simply took it out, replaced it correctly and the cramping stopped.

I am in love with the DivaCup. I feel like my period is now no longer a cause for concern or embarrassment. I am considering buying a second cup, one to have in my purse and one for home. Just in case I am ever out and about and need it, I will have it.

I also feel like I could go on a 5 day camping trip while on my period and I wouldn't be concerned in the slightest, other than keeping it washed. I like that I am now able to see just how "heavy" I flow, and I am much more aware of what is happening in there. Not to mention the fact that  I am helping make the planet a little greener!

I highly recommend it to any woman that wants to free herself from the burden of tampon and pads!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A Little Fiji In My Life, Plus Some Berries

I honestly don't know many people that just love water and its lack of flavor. It is work for everyone to make sure that they drink adequate amounts of water, not just to have something to drink, but to remain hydrated. I live in the grand ol' "Sunshine State", (Florida for those that don't know) and it is HOTTTT! Not only is it ridiculously hot in the summer, but it is so humid that you pour sweat while sitting on your derriere. I have watched my hardworking and wonderful husband Dustin work in this heat with sweat just running down his arms. You can dehydrate in as little as a couple of hours in Florida due to the humidity. I cannot even begin to explain how important it is for all of us to drink adequate amounts of water.

All of that being said, I have decided to share some facts about water consumption and dehydration while drinking my Fiji Water infused with Mio Water Enhancer (Acai Berry) and some fresh blueberries!



What are the benefits to drinking this bland stuff called water?
Well the number one benefit is it keeps you alive. That simple honestly. Our bodies are comprised of 60% water. So in order to maintain the ability to breathe, you need water. Water maintains our organ functions as well as just about every other thing our bodies do. So...yeah...it is a big deal.

*Facts courtesy of Mayo Clinic*

How much water does the average adult need?
-The average adult female needs at least 2.2 liters of water a day to maintain body fluid levels.
-The average adult male needs at least 3 liters of water a day to maintain body fluids.
-If you live in a more humid climate (like Florida) they recommend you drink 1 extra liter per day for males and females.

What is dehydration and what are the signs?
Dehydration occurs when you have too many fluids being taken from the body and not enough are being put back in to replace those fluids. Water is lost from our bodies in more than just sweat. We lose water every time we use the restroom or breathe even. Severe dehydration can even result in death, so that goes to show how important this water stuff is to humans.

Increased thirst
Dry mouth and swollen tongue
Weakness
Dizziness
Palpitations (feeling that the heart is jumping or pounding)
Confusion
Sluggishness 
Fainting
Inability to sweat
Decreased urine output

So the whole point of all this information about water is just that you need it. You should drink plenty of it. You should try it different ways. You should infuse with fruit. You should drink plenty of it. You should make sure to watch you and loved ones for signs of dehydration. And well...like I said before...you should drink plenty of it. 

ITS SUMMERTIME...DON'T LET

 DEHYDRATION GET YOU DOWN!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Melanie's Modesty

Melanie is one of the most kind, caring, and loving women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She never has a bad thing to say about anyone, and she ALWAYS has a smile on her beautiful face. She loves Rich with every fiber of her being, and I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it must be for her to see him so down on himself.



Rich and Melanie lost their home to a fire. Melanie lost her home. She also lost her sweet dog, Abby.

As a woman I know that our homes help to define us. We make them a representation of our lives and our happiness. Our homes are our sanctuary.

Melanie had a gorgeous home, and the doors were always open to visitors. Her home was inviting and warm.

Now her home is gone.

The brick still stands. But it is no longer warm and inviting. It isn't a happy place. It is scary. It is heartbreaking. It is overwhelming.

She worries that no matter what they do...they will never get the smell out. In all honesty I don't think it is a smell any of us will ever forget, regardless of where we are. She jokes that her house is dirty. But I can tell that the jokes are a mask for the pain. A way to hide that she is sad, and discouraged...ready to give up. 

She stands and stares at her home in disbelief...a lot. We all catch her just standing there...looking...waiting to wake herself from this horrible nightmare. But its reality, and its hard to see her so upset.

She cries a lot. And sometimes she cries over what she thinks is something silly. I cry a lot and it didn't even happen to me directly. I never think she is silly for crying. I think she is incredibly strong. She goes out there everyday even though she doesn't want to. She helps dig even though it is physically taxing. She works in the cold right along side Rich...because like him she is determined that they will rebuild. She will have her home back.

She has even used her tragedy to try and teach a lesson. She has taken a couple of her great nieces down to the house and explained to them how dangerous fire is. And how dangerous it is to leave cords plugged in that are not being used.



Even through all of this though...she still has the biggest heart. You know what her biggest concern is...How will she ever repay everyone for all of their help/charity?!

She is worried that we expect something in return for being there for she and Rich in their time of need. Incredulous, I know.

And I can't even begin to describe in words how appreciative they are for any help they receive right now, whether its being there digging...or donating through the gofundme that was set up. They won't ask...but I will.

Please donate whatever you can, because it is going to take all of us to help them get their home back.