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Thankful For Our Armed Forced and How We Support Them Throughout the Year

Thankful For Our Armed Forces

This is not my typical Mom Monday post but more of a combination Mom Monday and Thankful Thursday combination post. Why am I doing this type of post today? It is Memorial Day which means we honor our veteran soldier and every soldier is the son or daughter of a Mom.

In our family, we are thankful for all that the soldiers have done to protect our rights and freedom that we enjoy everyday. I have many friends that went into the service after high school or after 9/11. I am grateful for the time and service they have committed to every single person in this country. 8cad8f35e8c3b88dbced403f30505fc4

As a way of giving back to the soldiers and to teach my children to support others, we joined Soldier’s Angels. Soldier’s Angels is an organization that supports our troops, veterans and their families. A few years ago, I was looking at ways to teach Danyella the importance of volunteering plus incorporate other skills, like letter writing, into her homeschooling. After doing a lot of Googling and research for organizations that write letters to soldier, I found Soldier’s Angels. This was exactly what I was looking for plus more.

Soldier’s Angels not only supports our troops through letter writing but many other ways. The way Soldier’s Angels works is there are different teams set up that a person can join. The different teams help different aspects of our soldiers and their families such as the Deployed Angel Team, the Letter Writing Team, Angel Bakers, Chaplain Support Team, Ladies of Liberty Team (exclusively for female deployed soldiers), Operation Top Knot (virtual baby showers for soldier families), Adopt A Family (holiday support), Sewing and Craft Support Team, Cards Plus Team (holiday and birthday cards), Living Legends (for families of fallen soldiers), and the Special Operations Team (for special forces soldiers). Plus there are programs for veterans and Wounded Soldiers. There really is so many ways to support our troops through this organization.

Along with volunteer opportunities through the teams, there are local ways to help plus donations of money are accepted. In addition, there are many different drives throughout the year, like a blanket drive for soldiers and vets in the hospital. There is even a special beer that when sold 100% off the profit is donated back to Soldier’s Angels for our soldiers. The beer is called Homefront IPA and you can click here to find out more.

To our SoldiersPast, Present and FutureThank You and God Bless You

One of the teams we have joined is the Deployed Angel Team which sends letters and gift packages to our deployed soldiers. We have adopted different soldiers from different services through the years. Sometimes we get letters back from our soldiers and sometimes we don’t because of how busy or the location the soldier is in. We love coming up with different themed packages every month to send our soldier.

The other main group we belong to is the Letter Writing Team which has been a great thing for Danyella to work on her letter writing skills and handwriting while support our troops. This is fun because we will have the system randomly choose our soldier so we have gotten all the different services and recently received our first female. We always include our address and my email so if the soldier chooses, they can write us back. We have received cards, letters and emails from different soldiers which always gets us excited. Something crafty and unique is that we take pages from adult coloring books to make into envelopes with washi tape so they can use the picture to brighten their day.

We have been part of the Operation Top Knots team which is really fun when I make things for other people’s babies. Danyella loves to shop for little gifts for the siblings. Plus the Cards Plus team is a fun way to send cards to others and sometimes we will get cardstock and make the cards.

We would love to join all of the teams but there isn’t enough time or money in our budget to do them all. We support as much as we can and have taken breaks from supporting when life has been a roller coaster for us. Then we let our team leader know that we are ready to rejoin and we are good to go.

If you are looking to support our troops in little or big ways this is a great organization to help with that. If you are looking for support for a soldier or soldier’s family you know they always accept soldiers with open arms. For $1 a month which helps keep the organization running, you can help our soldiers while they keep us free and safe. I hope that you consider helping our troops today. Our troops spend their time and put their lives on the line for our comforts and freedom so cherish those soldiers and what you have in your life. f88ed0df7d85767390146686dfdc6764

Click the photo or any of the links to go to the Soldier’s Angels website and find out more for yourself or a soldier you care about.

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5 Kid Friendly Summer Activities That Won’t Break the Bank

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Don’t break the bank this Summer trying to keep your kids occupied and entertained. Here are 5 activities that will get you and the kids out of the house but won’t cost a lot of money. Bonus points for the air-conditioned activities to keep you cool while the kids are having some fun!

**Please note that I did not receive any compensation or anything in return for the suggestions and links that I provided. This is just helpful information from one parent to another parent or caregiver.

Fly a Kite: Let’s go Fly A Kite, Up To Its Highest Point… yes I totally had to sing that for you! On a more fun note: kids love to accomplish things and feel that wonderful feeling of doing it. Flying a kite can be a challenge that you can both do together because it requires getting that kite up in the air and keeping it up there. On a really windy day, flying a kite is a fun activity and you can find kites at walmart for $5.

Visit Your Library: Another great place to stay cool and keep the kids occupied is your local library. Both our local library and county library hold summer programs for free or a small fee. The local library has a reading program that the kids have different activities that they need to accomplish every week, bring the sheet to the children’s librarian and prove they accomplished these tasks. Then they get a sticker and small prize. They also get entries into a larger weekly prize or the big end of the summer prize (last year was a gift card and a tablet). Our county library holds different crafts and other activities throughout the summer which the kids love to make and take home.

Watch a movie: I mean go to the actual Movie Theater and watch a movie in their air-conditioned facility. The Regal Movie Theater hosts $1 movie days on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10am throughout the summer which is awesome on the budget. The movies are all kid loved movies and some are from the current year. This summer they have Paddington 2, Despicable Me 2 and 3, Sing, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Trolls, and a bunch of other awesome movies. Here is the link to see the schedule for the one closest to you: Summer Movie Express

Visit a museum: Many museums either allow kids in for a discounted amount or free as an educational encouragement for families. We love to go into New York and visit the Met which has suggested rates but kids under 12 are free and students with an ID can pay what they can which being an adult college student, I qualify for which is great. Check out museums near you and see what they offer for kids/students/families.

Local fairs and events: The town next to ours has a free Music in the Park one night a week. We can take a blanket or chairs and snacks or they sell snacks and ice cream for $1-$2. It’s nice to watch the sun go down while listening to a local band that’s kid friendly plus we support our local bands.

What free or budget friendly activities do you have planned for the Summer?

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Family Day at Adventure Aquarium

family Day

Every Summer, Danyella and I, create a Summer bucket list of things we want to do through the summer. We don’t get through all of the items but it is the fun of making the bucket list and trying to accomplish as many as we can. One of the top things on this year’s bucket list was to go to the aquarium. Yesterday, we surprised Danyella and had a family day at the aquarium!

*This is NOT a sponsored post. I was NOT paid and DID NOT receive free tickets. This is just our family’s experience at the aquarium.

Knowing that we had a day that my husband was off of work and Danyella did not have dance, I had to plan a family day. Having nearly 90 degree weather through the week, I thought that the zoo would be the perfect place to go… until the weather changed and the forecast was calling for rain all day. Having a love of sharks, my husband suggested that we go to the aquarium.

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This was a great idea until I looked at the ticket prices. $30 per adult and $22 per child which was a huge leap from the $13 and $11 for tickets to the zoo near us. I did some research and found a discount on groupon. So instead of spending $91 (with taxes and fees), I purchased the tickets for $62 for the 3 of us. Thankfully the baby was free!

We got there and started off with the shark touching exhibit which was fun for Doug and Danyella. Next, we were off to the penguin park. We got outside just as they were feeding the penguins which was fun to watch. Danyella could have sat there all day and watched her precious penguins. There is a play area for younger kids and what looked to be a water play area for nice days. This was a short stop because it was so crowded with strollers that it was hard to maneuver around.

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Our next area to check out was the kid’s touch area. This will be fun to take Evie when she is a little bigger and she can play with the interactive learning tools. It was fun to see the crocodile and frogs in this area.

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Then, we headed to the area with the different exotic fish, jellyfish and other sea creatures. By the time we hit this section, Evie decided she didn’t want to sit in her stroller anymore. I should have known this would happen since she is usually wrapped when I take her out. So, she got her Daddy to hold her as we walked through the rest of this section.

We got to see many cool fish, more penguins just hanging out and the parts of what they call their shipwreck. This is the big tank that extends through different parts of the aquarium that has so many different fist, stingrays, sea turtles and sharks! I wish Evie was a little bigger that we could have sat her up against the glass and gotten some good shots of her with the sharks, stingrays and sea turtles.

The sharks were saved for last since that is my husband’s favorite part and we knew he would want to spend more time watching them. The shark tunnel was really cool to watch them swim all around us. I got a funny photo of Evie crying as one was coming up behind her… just perfect timing for that one. Then, I took a photo of Danyella with this look like she was actually interested and having fun. (Moms of tween girls will understand how hard that is lol). Doug and Dany went across the Shark Bridge which is basically a net walking area across the shark tank! I stayed with the baby since we couldn’t hold her and walk across.

As a mom on a budget, being able to pack our lunch to eat at the aquarium was a huge plus for me. We stopped and bought $5 wawa hoagies plus I picked up chips and drinks at the dollar store the day before. We bought Danyella ice cream which was $5.50 for a small cup of Dippin Dots…. crazy! The money we saved on food was well spent at the gift shop with the girls getting stuffed animals and other cute things.

Overall, the trip was fun for the whole family though in a year or two Evie will really be able to enjoy a visit. The discounted cost through groupon and bringing our own food helped justify the cost of the tickets and parking ($10!!). We were in the aquarium by 10 and left about 2 so it was a short visit and next time I would plan on going when it’s warmer and we can enjoy the outdoor activities. If you want to make a plan the website has lots of information: Adventure Aquarium but I highly suggest looking for a discount on tickets through groupon or local businesses sometimes have discount coupons in the Summer.

Our Day With the Penguins

 

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No Place to Pump in Public

Today’s What the What Wednesday rant is a Mom related rant…  A couple of weeks of go the females in my family went on our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show. Since I am a member of the Philadelphia Horticultural Society, I am blessed with a bunch of tickets for the show so we brought 2 of my mom’s friends and one of their granddaughter’s along for the fun. This is a trip that I have been doing for years because it is filled with beauty.

In the past, I had gone during the week and then last year we went on a weekend. It was crazy crowded last year that we ended up not fitting on our train to go home and had to wait an extra hour. This year we planned things out for during the week to avoid chaotic crowds. We figured Wednesday would be a good day to go down.

Well… Mother Nature had other plans for us and our trip was already plagued with a snow day. So, we had to delay going from Wednesday to Friday. We missed our train going down by just minutes. This was totally my fault. When I put the train station into my gps, I put the wrong one in and we went to the one across town…. whoops! So we waited an hour for the next one.

We finally get down there and are instantly immersed in the beauty of exotic flowers. I love that feeling when you first walk in and don’t know what to expect but you know it is going to be beautiful. The show did not let us down because WOW!

To make life easier, I decided to wear Baby Evie on me because maneuvering a stroller around would have made me run into people on purpose. People were so down right rude and knocking right into me trying to get to the displays which means they were knocking into the baby! I started to give people the elbow when they got to close to me. The crowd of people was more then we saw on a Sunday last year and they were just rude and nasty.

As a pumping mama, I have my body on a schedule to pump every 4-5 hours. Overnight I can get away with 6-7 hours. If you have ever breastfed a baby, you know that going to long not only results in leakage (thank goodness for breastpads!!) but very sore, painful breasts which can lead to further issues. This is something no woman wants to feel.

By noon, I was on a 6 hour stretch and the pain was setting in but the girls wanted to eat lunch. We figured we could eat and during that time I would find a place to pump (ie: a bathroom stall). There is a food court in the convention center so you don’t need to leave the show at all. It was pricey to eat there…. $42 for 2 BBQ sandwiches, fries and 3 drinks! Freaking crazy to pay for the convenience but we did it.

There were no place to sit and eat. People were reserving 4 and 6 people tables for just 2 people. We finally just sat in the hallway outside of the food court to eat our food. That was frustrating as it was but we made due. The bathroom was nearby so after I ate, I handed Baby Evie off to one of my mom’s friends to hold her.

With only 2 bathroom stalls and a line forming, sitting for a half hour to pump was out of the question. All of the bathrooms only had a few stalls so I couldn’t use a bathroom to pump. How does a place that holds huge conventions and shows only have a few bathrooms with a few stalls??

FML what was I going to do?? I gave up, sat down in the hallway and pulled out my pumping stuff. I covered myself with a nursing cape and started pumping. We had tons and tons and tons of people walk by. Every child and female stopped to talk to Evie and tells us how beautiful she is while I sat there pumping. I was never so embarrassed in my life!

I am truly learning how hard it is for breastfeeding mamas to feed in public. No, I don’t breastfeed Evie because she cannot latch correctly. I pump so that my child still receives the best nutrition I can give her. Why does a society that is supposed to be supporting women and their needs, not give breastfeeding/pumping women any support? I would have thought that a place that is filled with people nearly every week of the year, would have a private area for moms for care for their babies!

What is your rant for the week?

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Spring Cleaning Your Finances

Everyone loves or loathes Spring cleaning their house but how many of you Spring clean your finances? This is something that will help keep you on track toward your financial goals whether its saving for your family vacation or saving for your first house.

So what goes into Spring cleaning your finances? It’s taking a deep look into your budget, spending, income and where you can clean some stuff up with your finances. It’s looking at whether you need that donut when you buy your coffee (I am guilty of this) or do you need to eat out once a week or can every other week work into your lifestyle?

For most people, your income is a set amount every week or every other week because that’s when they receive their paycheck. For my family, the hubby gets a paycheck every other week for his night job. Then, our income fluctuates because we own businesses that rely on other people either hiring Doug for a service or for myself someone purchasing my products. We have adjusted our budget to accommodate the way our income is paid to us but for most people you know how much you will be getting and when which makes budgeting and analyzing your spending so easy.

Do you fit into the 50/20/30 rule? One of the hardest part of the rule to stay in is the 30% for your lifestyle because it’s easy to add those extras into your spending. I am so guilty of this especially eating out. When I am to tired to cook because I was up all night with the baby or we were out with the dance or something else going on, eating out is the easiest physical solution. Afterwards, I kick myself because financially I shouldn’t have spent that money because it could have gone towards the family Disney trip we are savings towards.

As a new series, I want to break down ways to cut down on the lifestyle spending through the Spring season. Each Sunday, I will focus on a different way to Spring clean your lifestyle spending in a fun way. Let’s Spring clean our finances while having fun!

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Cutting the Cable Wire

Cut the Cable out

For the past year and half my family has lived without cable which to some people seems crazy but for our family it was an unnecessary added bill. When I was looking at ways to cut costs in our budget, the cable bill just killed me because we paid over $130 for internet and cable. We didn’t watch a 1/4 of the channels! Oh and our Internet was at the slowest speed so we went through constant buffering and delays.

We live in a day and age where you can’t live without internet. I need internet for blogging and business and Danyella’s homeschooling is half done through an online program. Plus, we stream Netflix and Hulu to fulfill our desire to watch something on TV. Which before we cut the cable, we were mainly streaming our shows on an app instead of watching live tv.

Paying over $130 for cable we barely watch and Internet that moved at snail speed just was not ok for me and for our budget. So me being me, I set out and did research with LOTS of notes. I looked at how much it costs for different scenarios to keep our internet and streaming services.

Since our area is limited (due to a stupid 15 year or some outrageous number contract with a specific company) to only one cable and internet company, our options were meek but doable. To go with just the internet package from our cable company, they offer 4 plans starting with the craptastic $45 Plan that is recommended for less than 3 devices in the home. Then, there are 2 middle plans for $55 and $70. Last is the Queen of the plans at $90 a month for the ultimate gaming experience. We don’t need the gaming experience so we went with the $55 plan that is good for 5 devices at once which is about right between streaming, laptops and phones going at once.

How am I watching stuff on my tv without cable? I had previously purchased an Amazon Firestick for the living room tv Danyella’s room plus our bedroom had a roku smart tv so we have streaming devices. ($35 each for the sticks and the tv was $120 at Walmart) In the long run, this was an investment well worth the month. Total out-of-pocket so far is $55 a month and $210 lifetime

Now onto our streaming apps! Netflix is a must have in our lives because I have an obsession with watching Orange is the New Black and Danyella watches Fuller House. When I say obsession… the day either of those shows come out, we get up at 3am and binge ALL DAY until we have watched all the episodes at once. Only breaks are for potty and food. Cost of our obsession is $14 a month to watch on 4 screens (sometimes we are all watching something different and take up 3 screens). An added perk that I only recently discovered is you can download movies onto your tablet or phone for free and watch them without using internet for 2 weeks. New out-of-pocket expenses: monthly $69 lifetime $120

Hulu has become our new way to watch live tv because a little over a year without watching my live sports was killing me slowly. I needed to watch my Eagles on Sundays plus there were some tv shows that I wanted to watch live and not see all the spoilers on Facebook thanks to my friends. Hulu recently came out with a live streaming package with DVR and completely revamped their app which I love! We get all the major channels like ABC, CBS and NBC plus food network, kids channels and a bunch more we don’t watch but sometimes I’ll record movies to watch later. This was worth every penny to watch the recent Superbowl (Fly Eagles Fly) and the Winter Olympics. Oh and I needed to watch the new episodes of Grey’s live before Facebook told me what happened. Only downfall of the live streaming channels is that they don’t stream any of the Hallmark channels (sometimes a girl needs a little girly romance movie binge). The new Hulu live streaming service is $40 per month. The Latest totals: Monthly $109 Lifetime $210

With eliminating our cable, upgrading our internet and using streaming apps our new total a month is $109! This saves us $36 a month which is 2 weeks worth of gas for my car or more than half of my grocery shopping budget a week!! With the Hulu live streaming we can always pause our subscription if the $40 isn’t in our budget one month or we want to use that money towards something else. Saving $36 and upgrading to a better internet package makes the changes feel worth it because we aren’t wasting money or getting frustrated with the internet.

How many of you have cut the cable cord in your homes?

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3 Things Being a Crazy Sport Fan Mom Taught My Kids

3 Things being a crazy sports mom taught my kids

I absolutely need to start this post off with FLY EAGLES FLY ON THE ROAD TO VICTORY, E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!

Yes, I am one of those crazy, die-hard fans for my Philadelphia sports teams. Since I was a little girl my parents had me rooting for sports games and car races. Being one of these loyal to the end fans has shaped how I have raised my children whether they noticed it or not.

1. Having Passion in Your Life: Having a passion for something in your life whether it’s the love of a sports team, movies, music, art or something else, teaches a person to have an almost out of control love of something in their life. Having that love for something in their life shapes a person to become who they are and stay true to that person.

People that know me, know that I have a passion for my Philadelphia sports teams which has taught my children to have passion for the things they love. Danyella has an huge passion for dance which she lives, eats and breathes dance everyday. This passion, even of her bad days, helps to keep her focused on her goals for what she wants to do in her life which is dance.

passion

2. Being a Loyal Person: Loving a sports team teaches a person to be loyal to something in their life. This loyalty doesn’t just last for a season but for a lifetime. Take my Eagles, year after year everyone bashed the team for never winning a Super Bowl. Well this year, my Eagles proved everyone wrong but I continued to bleed green after every win and loss over the years.

Being loyal to a team or other people is an important trait to teach a child. Danyella has learned to be loyal to her friends through the good and bad times. Yes, as tweens girls will fight and have disagreements but the loyalty to their friendship will persevere because that is what is important to them. With Danyella’s dance team, they stay loyal to each other week after week, competition after competition. They build each other up and stay loyal to their team and their goal of improving their dancing week after week.

loyal

3. Believing in the Good in the Universe: Whether you believe in a higher being or not, everyone should believe in the good that the Universe delivers to the world. The sports players that work hard week after week, year after year, waiting for the elusive win continue to believe in the good being delivered to them. This continued belief is what pushes them a little hard and what keeps them working towards their goals.

For Danyella, teaching her to believe in the good of the universe came out recently when she had an audition for the exclusive Showstoppers dance troupe at her studio. In the troupe, there is jazz, ballet, pointe, lyrical and tap that the dancers can audition to make. Last year she auditioned and did not make it. This year, she was trying again and was believing in the good of the universe that she would make just one of the teams.  Not only did she make jazz but she made tap as well! She was shocked and looked at the email over and over again. It was her belief in the good of the Universe that gave her the confidence to have a great audition to make both teams!

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Now I will say this, Danyella does not have the same passion for professional sports teams that I did have at her age but she does have a passion for music and dance. This passion all stemmed from things that I have taught her from my love of sports. She knows that Sundays is football or racing but she loves the commercials during the Super Bowl. Danyella also know don’t get in Mama’s way when she is cheering on her teams! And yes, I am trying to make Baby Evie into an Eagles fan before her Daddy can make her into a Cowgirls fan!

Though many women don’t love sports and may not agree with my take on this post, having an undying love and passion for professional sports teams has many healthy benefits for our children. Teaching our children to have passion, loyalty and a belief of the good in the world are all positive traits that will shape them into well-rounded adults that have fun in their lives.

 

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Thankful for My Healthy Baby

Thankful for my healthy baby girlAs Evelynne turns 2 months today, I am thankful for our healthy baby girl. Our dear, sweet Evie was a miracle, our rare unicorn because I had a hard time keeping a pregnancy to stick. Before Evie’s pregnancy I had miscarriages and was told that as I age, the harder it was going to be to get a pregnancy to stick. When the lines appeared that I was pregnant, I was skeptical and assumed I would miscarry again.

Every week that we gained, I became a little more excited that this baby would stick. We reached 16 weeks and the doctors started me on a shot to help prevent preterm delivery which I had with both my oldest 2 kids. I began contracting at 17 weeks and put on bedrest. Every week until she reached 24 weeks was a blessing because we needed her to be at least 24 weeks to be delivered and have a chance at survival. My baby girl lasted until 39 weeks!

In my baby mom group, there is the sweetest little boy that is struggling for his life. He was born premature with complications. When he was born, the doctors told the parents he wouldn’t survive more then a few days and that was in October. My heart broke for her as she struggled with this news but that little boy has proved those doctors wrong because today is March 1st and he is still with his mom and dad. Recently, his parents were told he has a heart condition which normally could have surgery to correct and help it but due to his size and condition, they refused to do the surgery. The doctors told the parents that the baby wouldn’t survive. I have cried reading the updates from his mom because I couldn’t image going through this with my kids.

I have seen other parents struggle with diseases their children are suffering from either from knowing them personally, reading their stories on the internet or watching a heart wrenching movie based on their story. This morning, I was participating in my blog sharing with other bloggers and someone posted a video of a little girl making the best of her life though she lives with a rare disease. These kids and families are so strong and inspiring for other to be grateful for everything they have in their lives, especially their health.

In a world filled with scary situations, diseases and people, I am holding my children a little tighter because they are safe and healthy. Today and everyday, I am so grateful that my Evie was born healthy and has continued to stay healthy. I am thankful for the smiles and coos that she gives us. I am thankful for the joy she brings to every moment of everyday for the past 2 months. My baby girl is getting so big so fast!

Please say an extra Prayer for Baby Braydon today because he can use every prayer right now.

Thankful for my HealthyBaby

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Our Moving Adventure

Our Moving Adventure

 

Yes, I am still alive and didn’t just disappear into the dark side. No, I didn’t abandon you, my loyal readers, for a blog free life.

In a few past posts, I have talked about the stress of finding a new place to live especially because we have a dog in our family. Renting an apartment or house with a dog is extremely hard because landlords are fearful of the damage they will need to repair when the dog family moves to a new location. Thing is, not every dog family is a bad family or have a bad dog. Thankfully, we found an owner willing to allow our dog child to live with us in an apartment. This was one of MANY hurdles we had to overcome recently with moving. (There will be other future posts about the struggles of being a renter)

Once we were given the keys to the new apartment, the move began. One huge problem was that I didn’t pack fast enough….

In my defense, I had a 7 week old beautiful baby girl who needed my attention and cuddles which took time away from my need to pack our entire 3 bedroom with a packed basement house. I packed when I could between taking care of Evelynne and Danyella, homeschooling, pumping every 3-4 hours, eating and trying to find time to sleep.

Emotionally this was a hard situation to keep pushing myself forward because this became our home. This was where Danyella set up her room and we buried her precious Hannah (her first rabbit). This is the home we took Evelynne home to after she was born. This is the home I thought we were going to buy until the original landlord screwed us over (more on that in a near future post). I began shutting down at times while packing which was my depression kicking into high gear (or low depending on how you look at depression).

Thankfully my family and Doug’s family were great at helping us move. They helped Doug move the big items. My mom and sister helped me pack especially on Saturday when I still had a lot to pack and had to be a dance mom all day for competition dress rehearsal (bad timing but it all worked out). We would have never been able to do this move without their help.

From Thursday until Monday morning we packed and moved nearly everything. It was the most stressful and exhausting 5 days of my life. The stress definitely put a strain on my already delicate marriage. I don’t look forward to doing this again in a year but we now this move is only temporary. Honestly, with this knowledge, I want to leave everything in boxes for the next year to make the next move easier!

Then, it was focusing on setting up everything and the dreaded UNPACKING! NOOOOOooooooo!

Slowly but surely I am going box by box, room by room trying to get everything organized and put away. Downsizing from a 3 bedroom house to a 2 bedroom apartment has been a challenge but one great thing is our walk up, finished attic. This attic will become my business room once I am finished unpacking the downstairs. I finally found my laptop over the weekend so I could get back to blogging. I still can’t find the bag that houses my panties so I am hoping they didn’t end up in storage (never too much TMI on this blog!).

It has been a struggle with packing, moving, unpacking, celebrating Danyella’s 11th birthday, being a stay at home mom to a 8 week old baby, homeschooling and being a dance mom but thankfully our family and friends have been a great support system. Poor “Christina” has listened to me bitch, complain and cry through this entire process and I am sure there will be more to come.

Now that I have complained…. I am thankful for Danyella’s Elite team’s First Place win in their category this past weekend at Beyond the Stars dance competition, ordering all my supplies to start making my soaps and lotions again and that we are out of a house that caused me so much stress and anxiety!

Photo Feb 24, 5 38 35 PM
Congrats to 5678 Dance Elite Mini Team for their 1st place win and showmanship/choreography award AND Congrats to the Petite Team for their Third place win and Girl Group Judges Award!
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Finding Positivity During Hard Times

I thought with the birth of my little Evelynne on New Year’s Day, that 2018 was going to be a great year…. my year. Well the trials and tribulations have just continued into this new year. So a new year doesn’t always mean a new slate, it just means adjusting your perspective and approach to those hard times that plague your life.

I am starting off this new year with having to find a new home for my family due to circumstances out of my control as a renter. I am having to make a decision that is breaking my heart about my marriage because the trust has been broken between my husband and I. I am having to make a decision about to do about going back to work and whether I want or have the heart to put my precious baby into the care of someone else. These are all changes I was not expecting to deal with 18 days into 2018…. 18 days after my little baby was born.

I won’t lie or sugar coat this at all, I have cried and cried and cried but those tears were not getting what I needed done or helping my family. My other concern about my tears is falling into post partum depression which I experienced after my first baby. PPD is not something any mother wants or should have to deal with especially if being triggered by outside circumstances.

How am I keeping the positive during these hard times? I am working on my self care. This is something I have consciously work on or I can find myself just sitting and wallowing in my sorrows for hours.

This means I am making myself get up and shower. I am making myself read and listen to my positivity books when I am sitting to pump or feed the baby. Those moments when I get down, I make myself pull out my notebook and write positive things about myself and my life. Lastly, I let myself cry when I need to cry as long as it does hinder myself from doing things I need to do for my girls and myself. (Even as I am writing this post, tears are flowing because sometimes I need to let them out).

Life isn’t always the way we want it to be but we can’t let the negativity pull us down. As a mother, I need to have the strength to be the best I can be for my children. Yes, Times will be hard and times will be sad and times will be easy and times will be happy but no matter what the times are for you… always find the positive even if it means taking the extra time to do so.