Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Lack Of Energy + A Time Change

Whenever the time changes, my internal clock goes crazy. It takes a week or so for my body and mind to adjust, not only to the actual time change, but the amount of daylight change too.

I love that we gain that extra hour to sleep. I have toddlers.

That hour is heavenly, especially on Monday morning.

Photo courtesy of: mazumafykc.com

But coming home at 4:15 and it getting dark by 5:30...totally kills the evening for my family. My kids loooooove to be outside. They have bedrooms full of toys that rarely get played with because they would much rather play outside. They cannot stand that it gets dark so early because we are forced indoors earlier than we prefer.

They are adjusting, but they are not happy about it one bit.

They have watched more T.V. in the last two evenings than they have all summer.

But I decided to take advantage of being indoors to get my house organized before Christmas.

My goal has been to clean and re-organize at least one major room of the house each night this week. Last night I took on Scarlett's room. It looks great after 2 hours of serious cleaning and furniture arranging. But it literally took every ounce of my energy.

I went to the emergency room on Saturday afternoon after experiencing extreme fatigue and chest pain. Thankfully there were no issues with my heart, but I have an infection somewhere that is causing a low heart rate and blood pressure, as well as dramatic drops in my blood glucose. When this happens I feel faint and terrible. I am going to see the doctor to have a full work-up so that we can get to the bottom of this.

Whatever the cause, I have never felt so tired in my life. I have spells where I shake uncontrollably, get clammy sweats, lightheaded, instant headache, severe hunger pains and nausea. I eat every couple of hours to try and prevent it, and protein shakes have become my meal of choice. It is terrible. And all I can tell the doctor is that there is something wrong, I just know it. I just don't know what is wrong exactly.

My heart goes out to those that suffer from illnesses that bring on these symptoms regularly. I hope these are just side-effects of an infection, and it is not something that will recur.

This is a terrible way to live, especially since there is less sunlight now, and the sun always make me feel better.


Friday, October 2, 2015

Soda Makes You Fat- Or So This One Guy Told Me

I have been battling to get myself together and get these last pesky 50 pounds off. I have lacked motivation for a while. Between busy 40-50 hour work weeks, school, kids, dinner, house chores, family time, etc...I could make countless excuses...I have neglected myself yet again. I stopped working out, but I have done my best to keep my eating in check. Essentially I have been maintaining for the last 8-12 months.

All of that changed dramatically on Wednesday, September 30, 2015.

This is my restart date. And there is a very rude man I want to thank for that.

I have always been overly critical of myself. There aren't many women that don't judge themselves on a daily basis. I have always battled with my lack of positive self image, even though I've never had a reason to be so hard on myself. My parents taught us to love ourselves no matter what, and Dustin has never done anything to make me feel less than beautiful.

My body has done some amazing things in the last 4 years, and it has also betrayed me in the last 4 years. I have had two pregnancies that both resulted in weight gain; as well as the stress of life, and a terrible relationship with food, that has all lead to where I am now.

I read the other day in the Farmer's Almanac that September 29th and 30th were good days to start a new health regimen...I decided to test that theory. The Almanac dates were spot on for training the kids for the bathroom, bottle breaking...all kinds of great tips! So I figured it was worth a shot for getting healthier!

Now...

Back to my recent kick in the gut.

On Wednesday I went to the Dollar Tree to pick up a cheap set of headphones (I forgot mine) when I was on my way to the gym. While I was there I decided to grab a bottle of water (forgot that too!). In the Dollar Tree their drinks are all in one isle, and the water is smack in the middle of the soda and juice. I was standing there, minding my own business, trying to decide if I wanted a one liter bottle or sixteen ounce bottle of water. I decided on the one liter, since I was going to pay a dollar either way.

As I was reaching for a BOTTLE OF WATER, a young man that was pretty fit assumed I was going for the soda. He then proceeded to step towards me and tell me the following....

"You know that soda is the reason you're fat right..?"

*RED EVERYWHERE*

*DEEP BREATHS* 

*WOOSAAAAA*

After I put the water in my basket and the reality of what he said sank in, I flipped out. I proceeded to tell him that while I may be fat, at least I didn't have an A$$ for a face or a dark hole for a heart, and a few other choice things. Not my best moment but I have always reacted impulsively and with no filter. It is a flaw I acknowledge. The cashier came down the isle to make sure everything was okay, because I guess I was yelling at him pretty loudly. After she came around the corner he made a quick and cowardly get away.

After I explained to the young cashier what happened, she got a manger and they apologized profusely. I made it clear I was not upset with them, but the rude jerk who felt it was his job to criticize someone he did not know a thing about.

Photo Courtesy of AlaskaCommons.com


I know what size I am, a 16...average for a woman my age now days. I know what got me this way. And it most definitely was not soda. I don't drink it hardly, and haven't had one in weeks. But thanks for the helpful advice anyways! Not to mention... thanks for judging me!

Women have enough pressure from society to look a certain way and wear a certain size. It is enough to make the most self confident women feel bad about themselves. The last thing women need is the critical judgement of complete strangers, especially if those strangers are MEN. Did he think his comment would incite tears? Anger? Motivate me? If he wanted to do that he could have just offered some weight loss advice. I would have been more than willing to talk with him. He looked to be in good health. But honestly...what kind of person says something like that?

Either way, once I calmed down and left the store, I went to the gym and kicked butt! So in a way,  I could thank him for the anger that incited one hell of a workout, but he most definitely did not motivate me. If anything he caused me to go into the bathroom and look at myself. Try to figure out what it was that he saw that was so awful, he felt the need to make comments to me about my appearance. I will never understand his motives, don't really care to.

People need to know that is never okay to judge people based on their size. While I may not have a medical condition that causes weight gain...someone else may, or any other problems that result in weight gain. You never know what battle people are fighting. Words like that are words that could send many people to their breaking point and cause them to harm themselves. Constructive criticism is great...if it is constructive...but his behavior was destructive. If his goal was to make me feel worse about myself...he succeeded for about 24 hours.

All of this being said, I have decided that I will not let it bring me down anymore. Instead I will use his meanness to motivate others and tell everyone that we are all beautiful no matter what any one else says or thinks.

It really is what you think of yourself that matters most, even if that is hard to remember sometimes.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Men In My Life: Evan

I recently wrote a post about how I have changed since having a son, but what I didn't talk about was the amazing person my little guy is growing up to be.

Evan will be 2 years old in a couple of weeks.

I don't even know where the time has gone. All I know is that it flew by...way too quickly.

And I also know that is one of the most over used cliches by every parent in the world, that times fly. But it honestly does.

I feel like we were just trying to get pregnant with Evan; that we had just decided that Scarlett needed a sibling, and we wanted to try, our last try, for a boy. Thankfully that is who we got, because boy or girl...this was it.



I hope that as my son grows, he will grow to be a good man like his father and grandfather before him. You can read about those amazing men here and here! They have been exemplary in teaching Evan what a good man is and how one conducts himself. Even if he is only two, I hope that some of the things they are showing him are sinking in.

Evan is a third of my heart, his sister and daddy being the balance. He is a vibrant and wild little boy with lots of things to climb on and tear apart. He likes to turn off the burner when I am trying to cook dinner. He likes to peek out at me from behind the kitchen counter while trying to sneak some cheese from the refrigerator. He especially loves when we have tickle time after bath and pajamas. I have never known a more cooperative and happy child. He is totally content with just hanging out and snuggling. I really hit the jackpot on sweet little boys. Guess he isn't made of gross snips and snails and puppy dog tails like the rest, at least not when Mommy is around.

I want Evan to achieve all of his dreams, and I will do whatever I have to in order to help him do that. He and Scarlett deserve nothing but the best, and I won't let them settle for less. My hope is that he will be the man that his Daddy is raising him to be, and one day he will make some woman (or man) as happy as Dustin has made me. I want nothing less than everything for my little man, and it scares me to think he may not have all he seeks in life. Joys of being a mom I guess!

Having a son (and daughter) completely turned my world upside down. I went from worrying about myself to constantly worrying about them. Evan is definitely going to give me a run for my money when it comes to patience, but honestly, I wouldn't have it any other way.

What fun is life if you don't have a little adventure every now and then? And that's what parenthood is...and adventure. And with a boy it is a gross, snotty, bug ridden, dirt filled, slimy, ewe-gooey adventure!

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Men In My Life: Dustin

Like I mentioned the other day, I am spoiled.

Completely and utterly so.

I can be smelled for miles around.

There are a select few men in my life that can be held accountable for it all.

The other day I wrote to tell you about one of the greatest men in my life: my dad. He was the perfect example to my sisters and I, in how we should expect a man to treat us. He has always loved and respected my mother, and taught us to expect nothing less from other men in our lives. He made a point to make sure that we were raised to be independent and head strong women, that could also accept the kindness of men.

When I brought Dustin home to meet my father for the first time almost nine years ago, I was more nervous than he was, I think. My dad is a good judge of character, and he usually pegged our boyfriends for whom they were, whether it was good or bad. The couple of guys I brought home prior to Dustin were not well received by dad, and while his opinion didn't make my decision for me, I also took it very much into consideration.

They hit it off, thankfully! Turns out that my dad knew his family through the farming business, even though they had never met. One of the first pieces of wisdom my dad imparted upon Dustin went something like this...
               
                "The women in my family are very spoiled. She is your problem now. Good luck."

And then there was something to the effect of castrating a cow being similar to castrating a man...Gee, thanks Dad!

But he was right, and he knew he was to blame. But figured it was now Dustin's turn to assume the responsibility. Dustin stepped up to the plate, and now...nine years later I am still a very spoiled and happy woman.



Dustin has many of the characteristics my dad has. He is a hard worker, willing to do whatever it takes to take care of our family, all while supporting me in everything I do. He is intelligent. Kind. Caring. Passionate. Loving. But most of all devoted to the kids and myself. He has gone without so they have what they need. He loves me even when I act crazy (ladies will understand me here). He holds me close every night and tells me so. I could not have found a better man. I know everyone likes to think that they hit the partner lottery, but I definitely did!

There are never enough words to tell Dustin how much he means to the kids and myself. I try to show him everyday just how much he is appreciated. Life has thrown us more than our fair share of curve balls, but we seems to dodge them most of the time...and we still come out of it stronger.

Good man doesn't even begin to describe Dustin either, but it really is the best description.


Friday, September 18, 2015

The Men In My Life: Dad

I am spoiled.

Rotten.

Completely and entirely loved and doted on by the men in my life.

I am lucky.

I know this without a doubt.

Every girl loves their father in ways that no one can ever understand but you and your father. He is the first love of your life. He gave you life. He is there to protect you. Provide for you. Support you. Punish you. Congratulate you. Push you. But most of all...LOVE YOU. My father has and does all of these things, even now that I am an adult.

He showed me what I should expect from a man in the way that he treated my mother. He taught me how to be one of the guys (he has 3 daughters, no sons), while being his girly girl. He made sure that I was tough and could take care of myself, all while being able to let others in to help me take care of myself. He loved me even when I was doing everything in my power to drive him insane. He was always there when it mattered most. But most of all...I have always known his love for me.

He's never said the words out loud, that is how he was raised...to show as little affection as possible. And while he never was the touchy feely kind, I could always count on his strong calloused hands to catch me when I fell. It might have been a ride on the tractor versus a hug and soft words...but I knew...without an ounce of doubt that he was there for me. If a boy broke my heart, I could count on Daddy needing me to ride along with him in the truck with the windows down listening to AC/DC, as a means to mend what he couldn't fix. Even if I wasn't really needed as a tag along.

Good man doesn't begin to describe my father.

A good man loves his wife and family...but my father is devoted to my mother and his family, even more so now that he has grand-kids. After 31 years of marriage, there is no lesser a gleam in his eye when he looks at her, then there was on any day I can remember back to. He does what he can to make sure she has all she needs, and what she wants when he can. He has gone without, on countless occasions, to make sure our family was provided for. He worked day and night, hard back-breaking labor, to give us the necessary comforts in life. And now his body is turning on him for it. And it kills us to see him hurt.

As I sit and watch he and my mother grow older, I have started to realize just how amazing of parents they were. As children we take for granted all they do, because it is their job, and children are selfish. But as an adult, and as a mother, I know what he sacrificed for us. He sacrificed his body to years of hard work, to give us a home. He sacrificed his alone time, to spend time with us. He sacrificed things he wanted, for things we needed. He sacrificed his heart, to give us all his love. 

That is a good man.



I could sit here all day and tell you of all the amazing things he did, but to me the most important thing he did was show me the love that I deserve from a man, not only for myself, but my children as well. I found that love. I found the good man that he lead by example to teach me to find.

I could sit here all day and tell him how much I love him, and appreciate all of the things he has done for our family, but I will never find the right words or enough words to say what he deserves to hear.


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Nurses: I Stand United With You

So on Monday, September 14th my sister gave birth to her first child, a little boy. I was blessed to be a part of his delivery into this world, and I am so proud of the hard work she put into getting him here.

John William. A good strong name, for a beautiful little man.



That is the newest man in our lives. He is chunky, and gorgeous, and pink, and smells like baby heaven. I could snuggle and love on him all day.

My baby, Evan, is officially a toddler. He is my last baby. We decided on sterilization after he was born, because it was the right choice for our family. I don't regret it, but I have recently had to come to terms with the fact that I won't have another "baby". Ever again. So, with that being said, I am going to hoard all the baby loving I can while John is tiny, because we all know they really do grow up too quickly.

Now the reason I am here isn't just to gush about John, even though I could all day, but instead to praise all of the amazing people that helped to get him here!

My sister had a tough pregnancy, she battled terrible illness as well as gestational diabetes. She went to countless doctors appointments, saw countless medical professionals. And for all the countless times she went to see them, she was always treated well and respected.

The people that took such great care of her and John, have recently been horribly disrespected by the women on The View, a daytime talk show. I do not care to go into specifics but you can see for yourself here, what was said. It disgusts me that nurses were spoken of in such poor light.

These people stand on their feet day in and day out taking care of the sick and dying.

They are being screamed at; puked on, pissed on, shit on, bled on, and any other bodily function I didn't list, they have probably wore at one point or another. They go for hours without eating. They go for hours without sitting down. They listen to hours of people complaining and crying. They work long hard shifts day in and day out. They hold your hand when you are sick. They comfort you when in need. 

Nurses are the backbone of the medical field.

They are the fundamental building blocks to caring for those in need. And they do so selflessly. All that they ask for in return is respect, and the women on The View ripped that away from them, and they should be ashamed. Even if they do issue some public "apology" it will not mean anything. All it will be is a means to end the backlash they are now facing for opening their mouths without considering that they are on a national TV show.

Now to the amazing people that helped bring John into this world, THANK YOU!

And to all of the other amazing nurses who have been waiting 6 hours just to have a bite to eat, THANK YOU!

The ladies that were there for my sister's delivery were amazing. They were all incredibly patient and kind, even when things were at their craziest! They answered all of our questions, made her as comfortable as possible, took great care of her, and even cried with us when John arrived! There are never enough ways to thank them for all they did. And it makes me sad that it has taken this kind of issue to bring attention to how amazing nurses are! They should be thanked regularly for all the hard work they do, and never criticized for being proud of their profession, no one should.

So once again, THANK YOU, not only to nurses but all medical professionals!

And as for the women on The View, you have started a movement, and I hope they cancel your show!

#NursesUnite

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Scarlett Baby Gone

My sweet little Scarlett Rose turned four a couple of weeks ago.

My sweet little Scarlett Rose started Pre-K on Monday.

My sweet little Scarlett Rose started showering all by herself.

My sweet little Scarlett Rose now puts herself to bed at night.

My sweet little Scarlett Rose...please so down...you are growing up way too fast! Mommy can't pick up the pieces of my heart quick enough to keep up anymore.



Becoming a parent is amazing. But being a parent sucks... a lot. It is like we go from holding these beautiful little bundles of baby goodness that rely on you for every. single. tiny. thing...to BOOM!...little persons all their own that don't require your services anymore. Tossed to the trash like a used tissue. But I love that feeling.

Confusing, right?

I know. You should...or could...be in my shoes.

I love seeing her blossom into this amazing person. I love that she is hard headed and independent. Those things will take her so far in this life. I love that she doesn't back down from challenge, and is fearless in all she does. But what I love most of all is when she asks for my help.

The night she told me she wanted to take a shower by herself, with the door closed, AND she would wash her own hair...I sat on the couch listening...and crying. I was hit with the sudden realization that I was no longer needed. She really is a big girl now.

BUT...

This morning we were getting ready for work and school, and she was dragging butt. Just not in the mood to dress herself. So she ask me if I would do it. How could I refuse and invitation to do something for her, when she always tells me she will do it "herwelff "?

I couldn't. I didn't.

I basked in the glory of my baby needing mommy!

I pulled her out of her jammies. Put her in her school clothes. Put her toothpaste on her toothbrush. Pulled her hair back. Slid her sneakers on. And walked her to the neighbor for carpool. I was almost lightheaded from the "baby needs mommy" high!

So as hard as it is to watch her grow up...and eventually away...I will take every opportunity presented to be the hero Mommy!

To do one more thing for her.

To hold her close and let her be tiny and dependent on me one last time.

But it breaks my heart every time I do.


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.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The Drive In His Eyes

Rich is one of the most driven and ambitious people I know. He has worked hard his entire life to achieve all that he has...all that he had.



He had a beautiful home that he and Melanie designed together, and put their own blood, sweat, and tears into. He had an amazing garage full of tools and equipment. In that garage was an old school VW van painted blue with flowers, for he and his Flower (Melanie), and a truck that Rich was rebuilding from the ground up. He was excited to get it finished and take her for a spin. It was cherry red. Painted by none other than himself.

He never got to experience the joy of taking that sweet ride.

He never will.

That truck, VW van, garage, house...it is all gone. Lost to a horrendous fire. The van is now sitting on top of a scrap pile. The scrap from the fire paid enough to have a construction dumpster brought out. The remnants of the house are being piled in that construction dumpster.

He lost everything that he and Melanie had worked for their entire lives.

They lost it in less than 10 minutes.

What they haven't lost is their hope. Their drive. Their ambition or THEIR LIVES.

They were fortunate enough to all make it out alive, as well as two of their dogs. But that is all that made it out. However, Abby, a beloved pet, did not make it out. She is resting peacefully on Wood-B-Ranch.

I have watched and listened to Rich and Melanie very closely through all of this. I have learned more about them during this tragedy than I have during the last seven years. I know that they will be okay. They will come out of this stronger and even more driven than before. And their home will be just as amazing, if not more so.

I have also bore witness to true love. An undying love. Because even after all of this they still love each other more than anything in the world. They are all they have in this world right now. They don't lay blame. They aren't fighting. They are there for each other. Concerned for each other. And loving each other.



And I still see that drive in his eyes. That ambition that got him to where he was...will get him back there again. I see sadness. I see a man overwhelmed and so very tired. But most of all I see a man that will move heaven and earth to rebuild THEIR home.

But rebuilding will take money and it will take all of us. And they had no homeowners insurance. So if you have a little extra to spare...please donate here at their gofundme account. Anything helps. Just knowing and sharing their story helps.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Week One: They Survived

Sunday marks one week since the fire at Wood-B-Ranch in Reddick, Fl that completely engulfed Rich and Melanie's home. They lost everything, as you can read and see here. Everyone made it out alive and unharmed, except a beloved dog, Abby.



The heartache is still unbearable as we continue to dig through the rubble, but there is still so much hope.



They have learned that the walls of the home are reusable, and Rich and Melanie are determined to rebuild. It was their home. It is their home. And they will have it again. I have heard talk of floor plans and things that they are going to do differently this time around, and that is exciting!

As exciting as that is, they will need help financially.

They were self insured, but they never imagined that this would happen, and their savings won't cover the repairs and rebuild. They had no homeowners insurance.

They won't get a payout for this.

Right now though, the main concern is getting everything cleaned out of the house, getting the garage and breezeway tore down, and hauling it all away.

The guys have been busy and have cleared out the garage. They have also started to demo the block, and hope to have it completely cleared by the weekend. Then the next item on the list is getting the old roof off and out of the house. And then...removing the piles of sludge and ash.



So much has happened it is difficult to process it all.

Even though it is devastating, Rich and Melanie are hopeful. They are starting to see a little light at the end of this dark tunnel. It has been a long and emotional week...and everyone is so very tired. But we are going to push on. Rich and Melanie need us all, and if you can't be here in person at least be there for them in spirit and prayers.

Should you have an extra bit of money...stop by the gofundme and donate. It is beyond appreciated!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Insurance???

I'm sure you all are thinking just like I did. You assume that Rich and Melanie have insurance that is going to cut them a big fat check.
 
I wish that I could tell you that was true. I really do.
 
They had no insurance.
 
They had what they called self-insured insurance.  Meaning that the house and it's belongings were all paid for, and there was a little money set aside in case any repairs needed to made. But there is not enough self-insurance money for anything catastrophic like this. No one...ever expects this to be them.
 
There is no big payout. No check. No insurance.
 
The car insurance does not cover the vehicles that have been lost because it falls under homeowners...which they do not have.
 
That is why we are desperate to get money together for the Atens. If you have a little to spare, please visit the gofundme account set up by Anita and donate. It is beyond appreciated.
 
Share their story.
 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Aten's Message of Hope!

I usually try to keep my blog positive and uplifting, but not this time.

On Saturday, January 31st at around 10 am we received a picture of a house on fire from Richard Aten, Dustin's uncle. It took us a minute to determine if it was their house, or someone else's...as we just could not believe what we saw.

It was their home.

Their home was engulfed in flames.

The fire originated in the garage, sometime early in the morning and spread quickly through the whole house. The home is a total loss. Rich, his wife Melanie, their son Alex, and two of their dogs made it out. Abby, a very beloved pet of many years, was not so fortunate.

Not much in the home is salvageable, but we are digging. Every little thing that is found, is a little beacon of light, in what seems to be an impossibly dark tunnel. Our family has never experienced anything close to this, and we are heartbroken.

But even through the heartbreak and devastation, life must go on. They have laid sweet Abby to rest, and have begun to start piecing their lives back together. There is Hope. They are alive. They have each other, and the support of an amazing family.

We have started a GoFundMe account for receiving donations to help the Aten's get their lives restarted. I have provided the link here. Anything helps. And if you can't give a monetary donation, please just share their story. Help us to get the information out there so that others can help as well.
 
I appreciate it, more than words can say for any help and every share, and I know that they do as well. Our goal here is to provide them with some financial assistance, but mostly Hope. Hope goes further during a tragedy like this than money ever could.

And if you happen to be the praying type...please say a prayer for them here and there. We know God is still on our side and he is listening to each of you on our behalf.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

My Eating Disorder

My battle with food is a battle I will fight for the rest of my life. I know this. I hate this. But I can win at this.

I traded one eating disorder for another it seems. I went from overeating and eating my feelings, to obsessing over calories. MyFitnessPal helped me to lose weight. But I realize just how much calorie counting has consumed my life. So I am deleting MFP. I refuse to fall victim to a life of calorie obsessing.  These questions have plagued me daily for several years now:

What my intake should be?
How much did I burn?
Does it fit my macros?
Should I eat back my burned calories?
What is the calories in this bite?
Will I have enough for a small dessert?
Will this blow my daily sugar/salt/fat?

It is an endless bombardment of obsession over calories! I am done!
I don't want food to run the rest of my life. I want to enjoy food without fear. But also respect my body to only give it what it needs, with the occasional treat on the side.

I have decided I am going to follow the food pyramid. Keep track of my servings not the calories. Make sure that I get my 2 cups of health dairy and my daily dose of healthy fats. Cut out as much refined sugar and starch as possible without completely denying myself anything.  Have a half a plate of veggies,  and  a quarter lean protein and a quarter starch. 
I have been at this for two days now. It's hard. I still flip every package over and look at the calorie content.  I know it will take time.

But I know this will be good for me.