I know that the title of this post sounds superficial but it’s not just about the beauty of my nails. It is more that once every two weeks, I get to feel like a woman. Not a Mom, not a wife… just a woman.
Every other week, I drop the girls off at my moms for a couple hours. My Christina picks me up from my moms, we grab Dunkin’ coffee and head to the nail salon.
While we wait for the salon to open and the women to set up, we enjoy our coffee and talk (what we do best lol). We both get gel manicures so we pick out our colors which I usually have a reason behind my color choice like a holiday or celebration. This week they are green for St. Patty’s Day that just passed.
In that hour of sitting while my nail color gets changed, I feel like a woman. There is no baby to feed, no tween drama, no house to clean. It’s just me in that chair getting my hands pampered.
It might not sound like it’s a big deal but to a work at home mom with an infant to care for, a tween to homeschool, a house to clean and a business to run. Just being a woman for 2 hours every other week is something I need to keep me sane.
With summer coming aka flip flop season, I’ll be adding pedicures to my bi weekly Woman time. I am thankful for the time I have to sit and feel like a woman while I get my nails painted!
As 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.
About 15 years ago, I was watching Oprah and she had someone on her show that was talking about living a positive life. I don’t remember who the woman was but I remember what she was saying about mind over matter and changing your thoughts will change your life hit home. At that point in my life, I was living in a dark time and needed the positive influence to change things for the better to get out of the rut.
This woman and Oprah talked about Vision Boards and how they truly helped change their lives. Essentially, it was taking things that they wanted and put it into the Universe to become a reality by seeing these things on a board. They even presented a little kid that had a vision board which helped them stay focused and achieve their school goals. I wanted this board to change my life too!
After that show, I bought a bunch of magazines and cut a piece of cardboard to start my Vision Board journey. I didn’t know what I was really doing with that first vision board but I cut out all kinds of things I wanted for my life. Things I wanted to have, a job that I wanted, clothes I wanted to wear, an apartment I wanted to live in and other things that I can’t remember at this point. I would continually add to the board as time went on and I received some of the things on my board.
Over the past 15 years, I have created 5 Vision Boards to help my life be what I want it to be. I have added words of things I wanted to feel like beautiful and confident, things I wanted to accomplish like running my business from home, the relationship/marriage I wanted to have in my life, things that I wanted in my life like a new phone and new computer, places I wanted to travel to like Las Vegas, even the baby that I wanted in my life and so much more. These things have all come true in my life though somethings haven’t ended the way I wanted but that is why a vision board is always evolving with your life.
For the new year, I started a new vision board but never finished it because life just became difficult. I let my vision board sit there for so long. With the new year, I knew it was time to get back to my Vision Board and my positive life. What did I want to see in my life this coming year? I want the house we have been looking to buy. I want my body to feel happy and healthy. I want to have fun and enjoy life more. I want to take my kids on a vacation and so much more! I can’t wait to keep updating my Vision Board… Are you ready to start your Vision Board today?
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.
I want to start out by saying Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Whether you are American and celebrate Thanksgiving or you are from another country and don’t celebrate this holiday, everyone has something to be thankful for today. What are you thankful for today?
Being Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much good in my life. As stressful as life has been this past year or even in the past few months, there is so much to be thankful for in my life.
I am thankful for my husband that has had to deal with so much lately including a last-minute wedding.
I am thankful for my children who always keep me on my toes and teach me something new everyday.
I am thankful for my family who has been there to help and support us during this difficult pregnancy.
I am thankful for my friends who know that even if I disappear from the world, I appreciate everything they do and the encouraging words they always have for me.
I am thankful for so many things in my life that I can’t list them all but those are the most important ones today. What are you thankful for today?
The past couple of weeks I have struggled with my Thankful Thursday posts because what I am thankful for didn’t seem genuine. Yes there are material items and lots of people that I thabkful for but how do I write about these things without feeling either materialistic or generic? I was struggling big time.
I went into my speech class one day last week, which I enjoy because my professor always makes class interesting. He started the class out by talking about having passion in life and passion in what you do. I will admit that I lost some of my passion for art lately which turned into frustration and procrastination to get my projects done or even attend my studio classes. This lesson that my speech professor was giving on passion was the wake up call I needed to make a change in my college major and career.
I love art and love being an artist which means it should never be something I dread and I needed to get back to myself. I love my handmade business and have wanted to learn how to really work my business because that is my passion. So, I sat down with my professor who is the academic advisor for the business department and discussed the change I wanted to make.
After reviewing my transcripts and classes, we made a game plan to change my major to business and focus on learning the ins and outs of business. This will allow my to enjoy my art on my time and in my way. I love my art but losing my passion for it is something that’s just not acceptable to me. It has made me wonder if artists shouldn’t be art professor because pushing their own style and agenda isn’t cultivating a budding artist but instead hindering them to reach their full potential.
I am thankful for my professor that woke me up to the fact that my passion is exactly that… my passion and not someone else’s so be happy with my decisions or change them. Life lessons are taught at any age including a 35 year old adult student!
We adopted our puppy Max in February after my miscarriage, not thinking that I would get pregnant just a few months later and have both a puppy and a baby in the house. Max is a Plott Hound mix that we adopted from our local animal shelter when he was just shy of 3 months old. His mom was rescued when she was pregnant from the south and brought to New Jersey to be cared for and deliver her pups.
Danyella had been asking for a dog for so long, but I always refused because I am not an animal person. I despise animal fur but I have come a long way with dealing with the fur since having a rabbit that shed for 2 years. One random day, Doug decided to stop by Common Sense for Animals and we both fell in love with Max. We took him home that moment without having any puppy supplies so we had to stop to get him the basics. I surprised Danyella, which I got on tape, by having Max in the car when she got out of school. She cried and held that puppy all the way home.
Since we have brought him home, he has been the life of our house. Getting himself into trouble all the time but then giving you those sad, “I am sorry” eyes and kisses that make you feel bad for having to discipline him. He loves to bark at everything he sees outside though he is getting better at not barking at the neighbors and the school kids that walk by everyday. He loves to play with his “sissy” and follow his daddy around the house. Max has daddy wrapped around his paw because when Max wants to go out a million times through the night, he will go to Doug’s side of the bed and wake him up… he knows not to bother Mommy until morning. One smart dog!
Max is the bestest cuddler ever (as Danyella likes to say). He will jump at every chance to cuddle with Danyella, Doug or myself. As my belly has been growing, he tries to cuddle with it but Evelynne is not having it. She loves to kick and hit at his head when he lays next to it. With dealing with my anxiety and depression lately, I have been crying a lot lately. Max comes over to me when he sees me cry and places his paw on me and then snuggles right up to me. He does not like to see his Mommy cry at all.
Max has been such a comfort with his cuddles and kisses. As much as I say I am not an animal person, I am Max’ Mommy which is the best thing to be. I couldn’t image our family without Max, even in his bad moments. Do you have a pet that you love like a child?
It is Thankful Thursday and as a pregnant mom, I am Thankful for my shower! Yes, you read that right…. My Shower! My shower time is where I get my mommy time right now. It is my happy place! Do you have a happy place?
My shower time started when I was pregnant with Danyella and was told no baths and no standing for more than 5 minutes in the shower. So, I began to sit in the shower so I could enjoy the steam and water for more then a few minutes. The water dripping on me was like being outside in the rain. Sometimes we need to just feel that peace and be one with the water. This continued after Danyella was born because it became a place where I could almost meditate, relax and clear my mind.
Being pregnant with Baby Evelynne has been uncomfortable between the ongoing morning sickness, growing belly and having a baby pushing against my ribs. Add that to just the stress of needing to move, starting school and being out of work. My shower time is my sanctuary. There are times where I can just sit for an hour or more. The times where I need to take a quick shower, they just suck the life out of the moment of getting out of the shower. Like it is unfinished business that I need to take care of still. My hour-long shower times will be cut shorter after the baby comes but until then I will be enjoying my shower times.
Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.
Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.
Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.
My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.
Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.
I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.
I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!
Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.
Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.
Wednesdays are my baby doctor appointment days which since July my rear end has been seen by my high risk OB nurse every week. Why you ask am I showing my OB nurse my rear end every week?
Well since I have had 2 preemie babies, my doctors wanted me on weekly progesterone shots that are administered by Maternal Fetal Medicine office. So every Wednesday, I walk into the office, Nurse Charlie gets my shot ready and then I expose my back end. It can be quite embarassing the bigger that I get and the bigger my pants and panties get.
I am sure that Nurse Charlie sees many rear ends every week and it is just another day to her but as a self conscious pregnant woman it is a HUGE (not just my rear end) deal to me. The plan is that I continue my weekly shots until I am 38 weeks (if I make it that long) so I will be exposing myself weekly to Nurse Charlie for another 12 weeks. Oh boy!
Something that I have learned in my pregnancies, is that it is really the nurses that make sure that us hormonal, pregnant are doing what we need to do for our babies and are really good while we grow a human inside of us. When I switched my insurances, my copay for the progesterone shots were over $1000 a month which just wasn’t going to happen now that we are on one full time income. When I brought this up to Nurse Charlie, she is the one that has bent over backwards to make sure that I got the shots that I needed and at a price that I could afford. She is the one that has checked on me at home when I have gone in with bad side effects of the pregnancy like low blood pressure that has been making me light headed and have fainting spells.
I truly can’t thank Nurse Charlie enough for going above and beyond for myself and my baby girl while she is still growing inside my big ole belly. If you are pregnant, make sure you thank your OB nurse because they truly care about their patients, the big ones and little ones.
Let me start off by saying, I am not one of “those” dance moms where I get all crazy and cut throat so that my child is the focus of the dance studio and rant all about the studio to get my way! Not my style unless I feel the need to step in because there is a problem or something comes up.
Even though the show “Dance Moms” is what inspired Danyella to want to take her first dance lesson at age 8, I vowed to never be one of those crazy sports moms because they just embarrass themselves and more importantly their child. Don’t get me wrong, the drama on that show can be addicting but I started watching it with Danyella years ago because she loved to watch the dances these girls would learn and perform in less than a week.
When Danyella first started out at the studio, she wanted to take Musical Theatre and Jazz. She wanted to take the musical theatre class because she loved watching me work on the costuming for local theatre shows when she was younger. With jazz, Danyella knew that it was fundamental in learning dance. I was shocked when I saw her excel in dance because in everyday life she is quite clutzy (don’t tell her I said that). Part way through the year, we added a ballet class to her dance schedule and Danyella found her passion in her young life… Dance!
All this girl wanted to dance, day and night. It was heart-warming to see her find a passion like this at a young age. That first year, she was much older and taller than the other girls in her classes because I didn’t know how she would like, let alone find a passionate talent in dance.
At the end of the year, her studio announced that they were forming their first ever Mini Elite Competition Team. Even though Danyella had only been dancing for a year and wasn’t at the class level required to audition, she was encouraged to audition anyway. Bad mom moment…. my thoughts on her auditioning were that she would learn the lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve things she wants in her life. Aka, she wouldn’t make the team and learn the lesson of losing and being denied something you desire.
2 months after auditioning, I received the email and was mind blown, shocked to read that she had made the team! What?????? She had only been dancing for a year…. A YEAR! Did she really have that innate ability to dance that she would make a competition dance team? How would these other dance moms act? Would we be living the show’s drama now?
After 2 years of dancing under our belt and one year of competition team, I am so happy to talk to you about MY life as a dance mom! Both Danyella and I have made wonderful friends through her dance passion. When you spend every week, sitting in a room with the same moms you begin to have conversations. Most of those conversations began with a mom asking what I was crocheting or making because I can’t just sit and not have my hands moving. From that first conversation, we began to share stories of our kids and our lives. That is how friendships are formed and kept.
The Elite Moms had an extra special bond because we would live our lives based around dance every weekend from August through March. We would travel together to the competitions and bond over what it was like as a first year competition mom. We were all in this together. Eventually, we started connecting over Facebook and still chat about what is going on with our girls. We have been able to commiserate over our girls and their behaviors. It was great to know we weren’t alone with our tween girl problems.
As the girls bonded as a team, so did us moms. We have learned to rely on each other when we need help or have questions and never feel alone in this experience. This year, the team has changed because some people have left the tea
m, so girls moved up and new girls were added. Our girls embraced the new girls just as us moms embraced the new moms. Another new change was the addition of the Petite Elite Team, which consists of some younger girls and a new set of moms. The Minis and Petites bond and help each other just as us “experienced” (not really but we fake it) moms help the new moms navigated the uncharted waters of having a child on the competition team.
Last night, I was reminded of the bond that us dance moms have because as I was sitting for 3 hours of classes on the first week of the new season. Witheach class, brought in a new set of moms and we would all begin to catch up from either having the summer not seeing each other, having a year of our girls having opposite schedules or having a week since the last elite rehearsal. Each conversation just picked up like we never lost anytime.
It was an eye-opening experience to see all us in a room just talking like we have been friends forever. This is what a dance mom life truly is! It is not about drama, it is not about making sure our child is number one or gets special treatment, it is not aboutthrowing adult temper tantrums. It is about showing our children that they should pursue their passions. It is about showing our children that the friendships they make with their fellow dancers are ones that should be cherished. It is about showing our children that we should support one another no matter what and no matter our age.
As today is the last day of August, most people look forward to September to start them off with fall’s with its crisp, cool air, leaving turning and falling, school starting and the start of everything pumpkin. For me, September is a time of mourning those that I have lost this month. These people are ones that have had a huge impact in my life and I take the time to mourn them every September.
It has been 16 years since I lost my first person in September. I will never forget 9/11, where is was, what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing but instead I was glued to TV watching the horror unfold and awaiting to hear that people who I cared about or know where safe. Then I found out 3 days later that a close friend of mine, a firefighter in the FDNY, had been trapped in one of the towers when it collapsed and they never were able to recover his whole body, just parts. His mother was devastated and so was I because I never thought that I would lose a friend in a horrible way like this. He is someone who had been through some of the worst times of my teen years with me and his death changed a part of me that may never be fixed because I still see myself push people away when they get to close in fear of losing them as well.
The next person I lost has been the hardest death I have ever experienced because it was my little brother. Another situation that I remember that day like it was yesterday when it was 9 years ago. Being the oldest of my siblings, I had to be the one to keep it together for my family when I was mentally losing it. The little brother that I used to torture as a child, was gone and I could never say I am sorry for not being a better big sister. His death is the one that I learned what drugs could do to a person and their family. When people make a joke of drugs and what they use or have used, I explain that my brother didn’t think they would take his life until one tragic day they did. This is the death that has affected who I am today the most because it has taught me to love those in your life and be thankful for everyday you get to spend with them because you never know if it could be your last.
I went from losing one person to drug addiction to losing an on again/off again boyfriend to his addiction to alcohol. After seeing the horror that my family went through with losing my brother, I thought that I could save my ex boyfriend from his alcoholism. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that he had a problem because we all drank alcohol. In the beginning, we had a blast drinking and having fun until I realized he didn’t know how to be sober unless he was at work. There were so many signs that I ignored because I loved this boy (he was not yet a man) and didn’t realize alcohol was his problem in life. As time progressed and he couldn’t live without a drop of alcohol in his house to the point where he would drink cooking sherry just for a buzz then it started to hit me. Add that to the mental, emotional and (at times) physical abuse I endured, I began to see his problem but the rest of this friends and family wouldn’t see the problem until it was to late. I still remember the last thing I said to him was to never talk to me again. Well my wish/nightmare came true because exactly a week later he died driving off the side of cliff on his Sunday alcohol run on his motorcycle. His death taught me not to say things you will later regret because you may never be able to say your sorry.
The last person that died was at the same time as my ex boyfriend but I was never able to meet her… my daughter’s heart stopped beating before she was ever able to be born and meet me. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just found out it was a girl when the Ultrasound tech all of a sudden stopped talking, went to get the doctor, who came back in the room to tell me that her heart had stopped beating a few days before the scan. I had to carry her around inside of me for another 2 weeks, attend my ex boyfriend’s funeral, and wait for my body to miscarry her. My body decided that on the anniversary of my brother’s death that it was time for her to leave my body. I went through a depression like no other after this and it took time and therapy for me to feel like me again. After her death, I never thought that I would have another baby but I am so grateful that I am expecting Baby Evelynne in just 18 weeks or sooner.
In reality, I never became me again because these deaths all changed who I was in different ways. I have learned how to get past some of my fears or recognize when I am escaping back into my fears when getting close to other people. I have tried to use my experiences of loving someone (family and significant other) to teach others that if they love someone with an addiction, they need to want to fix themselves we cannot fix them. On the flip side, I have also tried to scare addicts or “recreational” drug users that they are not invisible and can die from what they are doing whether it is just once or millionth time.
For years, September became a month that I would push everyone away just to deal with myself and my feelings because I didn’t want people to see me be week but as the years have gone on, these deaths have made me more grateful for the life I have to live everyday and to not take the people I love for granted, though I am only human and have my moments. I still mourn in September but this is the month that I try my hardest to find the things that I am grateful for because each and every day is a blessing to cherish. Please hug and love your loved ones today and everyday!