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    2015: My Year to THRIVE

    I loooooove New Years!!! Mainly because my slightly OCD tendencies makes it virtually impossible to start something new at any other time than a new beginning (beginning of the week, birthday, year, etc.). As hard as change is for me, I really welcome positive change in my life and that’s what I strive for every year–out with the old, bad behaviors/habits and in with some new and healthy ones.

    This year my focus is on thriving. I feel like right now I’m in survival mode. Like I’m making it, I’m doing ok, but I’m not thriving or flourishing in my opinion. A lot of my days are spent brooding versus being happy and grateful. There’s A LOT that I want to accomplish next year but my focus is on thriving in all aspects of my life. I want to be happy in all my roles that I have. But in order for me to go about this, I’ve got to do something different.

    Every month I’m going to focus on something different. For example, discipline is something that I desperately need in my life again. So for one month I’ll be focusing on sharpening my discipline “knife”. Then another month will be something else. My goal is to use these months to create habits that I build upon so by the end of the year, I have 12 new habits that I’ve honed for a minimum of a month.

    In no particular order, these are the things I’m working on thriving at:
    • discipline (2 mos)
    • being a better wife
    • being a better mother
    • taking better care of myself (2 mos)
    • writing (2 mos)
    • expressing my creativity
    • organization
    • eating more fresh foods and less processed foods

    Some of these things will take longer than one month to work on so that I’m in a place of thriving but I’m really looking forward to the new year. In 2014 I became a wife to the most wonderful man and a mother of two. As much as I’ve enjoyed becoming both of these, it’s been a transitional year for us. I haven’t been the best to myself and it’s been showing in my role as mother and wife. Every month I will either come up with my 30 days of assignments or I’ll find something on Google/Pinterest.

    The goal isn’t to have these hard tasks that I can’t accomplish, rather, to have simple yet useful tasks to complete to help me feel like I’m swimming easier versus struggling to catch my breathe. In addition to these monthly “assignments”, I’m going to make a “jar of accomplishments” where I’ll jot down the things I’ve done well or felt good about or my blessings throughout the year. This way if I’m feeling down, I have these to read. And at the end of 2015, I can look back on what I’ve accomplished.

    Do you do resolutions?

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    Finding the Words

    I think I’ve always loved writing but I never really wrote till I became an adult. And as an adult, I’ve struggled with writing because I never thought that people would care what I have to say and I didn’t really think I was that great of a writer–especially when it came to sharing stuff that I didn’t think that people would care to read.

    This morning I was thinking about this as the hubs and I drove into work. It’s taken a long time for me to get to the point that I feel like I know what I want to be doing, who I want to be and what I want to be “when I grow up”. The ironic thing is that all of these things have to do with the words that I’ve found it so hard to find.

    I haven’t had the hardest life but it’s been hard for me. Finding my place in the world and getting my footing has truly been a challenge. But through the grace of God, friends and family, I’m making it. I’ve gone from being an unhealthy, divorced, jobless, and lost single mother to where I am now–an evolving mother of two, wife to a wonderful husband, and confident woman. I think I’m in a good place. There’s a lot that I’ve learned so far and so many more lessons to come but I haven’t experienced these things for no reason.

    Inspire.

    That’s what I want to do with the words that I’ve finally found. It took till 2014 to figure this out. I can’t wait to see how this manifests in my life going forward!!!

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    Pinterest is the Kryptonite to My Supermom Syndrome

    The crazy thing is I mean this in the most positive way possible.

    I spend hours/week browsing Pinterest. I love pinning workouts, recipes, outfits, kids activities and of course DIY projects. I can get lost for hours in the sewing and patterns area and I day dream of having the time to create all of the pins that I’ve saved. Don’t judge me–this afternoon I sat and organized my Pinterest boards for better efficiency. I digress…

    Today my Supermom syndrome caught up with me. Like a lot of other moms, I balance a lot. I work full-time, cook everyday, pump, nurse the baby, workout, manage the finances and the home, and clean. It’s a lot. As I walked downstairs and was greeted with yet another mess, I immediately became overwhelmed. Not because of the mess per say, but because I saw no end in sight for all the mess.

    Yes, yes, I’ve heard the old adage of “the dishes won’t get any dirtier in the sink”, “the laundry can wait–play with your kids”, blah blah blah. So here’s my question, at what point do you decide to take care of home under this logic? Is it when you run out of clean clothes and dishes and money to buy new ones? Is it when your home becomes a roach farm? How about when the soap scum in your bathroom grows a personality? I can’t wait that long. Cleaning is a necessary evil/pleasure that has to be done.

    As I was on the verge of tears feelings like the worst mom and wife for not being able to keep home, play with my children, keep my temper in check and be a perfect host to my parents, I did the only thing that made sense to me in the moment–consult Pinterest. It was a mighty wise decision and here’s what I’ve learned:

    All Moms Are Overwhelmed
    It’s not just me feeling like they’re walking a tight about to fall to their demise. Some moms are better at strategizing their way out of the overwhelming feelings than others. And those moms create printables to help the rest of us so we can get over this overwhelming feeling.

    Take Small Bites
    Figuratively speaking. Well, literally too because large bites leads to poor digestion but…….we’ll never mind. Choose one thing at a time to work on. There are so many components to parenting and being a spouse that you can’t tackle them at once. Choose the hardest thing and work your way to the easiest.

    It’s Ok if You Aren’t the Most_______
    Patient, kind, best, etc. mother, wife, friend, daughter, etc. We are all works in process and it’s ok if we aren’t Pinterest perfect all the time.

    You Aren’t Alone In Your Struggle
    Some times I read these posts about these perfect parents that don’t tell, spank, lose their tempers and have time to craft, bake, and have sex. Meanwhile back at the ranch I’m all like “my kids are alive and fed and my husband still comes home”. I’m human. And I’m so not perfect. I read some of these articles and I’m like, “damn! My kid is going to be alllllll jacked up!!!” I feel like I do everything wrong. Ok, not everything but I’m not alone in this feeling. I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed as I try to get it right. I’m not alone in losing my temper. I’m not alone in praying for patience so hard I cry. I’m not alone in the mommy guilt for yelling, spanking, working, breathing.

    Pinterest certainly has the ability for lots of epic fails lol but it’s also a place that can help you. And today I needed that.

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    The Work-a-Holic Vs. The Dedicated Mother

    Yesterday baby abc had her 4 month check up. In the midst of raising 2 babes, keeping house, and being the best wife I can be, I neglected to mention to my manager that I had to leave early. Then this morning, abc woke up a little cranky and needing some additional mommy snuggles. Part of me wanted to drop her off at school so I could finish up some things I was working on and the other part of me–the bigger part–needed to stay home with my baby.

    The bigger part won.

    I’m working from home watching her sleep because that’s what she does after shots. She sleeps. All day. Wakes up to eat a little. And then sleeps some more. I’m blessed that I work in a capacity that I can get incredible amounts of work done from home but I can’t help but wonder what would have happened if I’d gone to work.

    Would she have gotten the necessary amount of snuggles she needed? Would she be upset and uncomfortable all day wanting to be around her smells and space? Or would she have been fine with just anyone holding her?

    It’s times like this that I’m forced to really re-evaluate just what I’m doing now, what I want to be doing, and how I can bridge that gap successfully. Watching my sleeping baby fighting feelings of guilt is definitely the fuel that I need to continue to keep pushing forward to get where I want to be.

    I don’t ever want to feel like I have to choose between my babies and my job.

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    Holiday Season

    I looooooove the holidays. This is truly my favorite season. Growing up, this was normally the only time I got to see my extended family. Though I always felt out of place, I was always so happy to see them.

    And now I have a family!

    Come to think of it, the holidays are really only fun to me when you’re the child or when you have one. My pre-having babies time was pretty lame. I digress…

    This Christmas season we’re actually doing Elf on the Shelf. At first I thought it was really creepy. A little elf that “magically” appears in random places around your house because they’re following you. Yeah, super creepy. But I read the story and have managed to turn it into a behavior modification tool. Mini is 100% convinced that Santa can now see her. Santa sent her a note about something she’d done and she was sooooooo geeked about it lol!

    Holiday traditions are my favorite. Growing up, my brother and father would go pick out the tree after thanksgiving. We’d put it up, turn on some Christmas jams and decorate. I would always get a popcorn tin and only eat the caramel. On Christmas Eve my brother and I would sleep in his room and tell one gift we knew we’d each gotten. Then we’d get up super early and tear into our presents. I’m getting warm and fuzzy thinking about it!

    As much as I love the presents, I really want my girls to have memories of the giving. This year we’ll begin some new traditions starting with doing a family community service project. I want to feed and clothe the homeless. I’m thinking I can go thrifting on $.25 day, wash and hand the clothes out as well as find a soup kitchen or something. But I want to give and have my family involved in it as well.

    We’re going to do all the fun things and I’m excited. So far we’ve decorated the tree and house, made cookies, and wrote her letter to Santa. On Christmas Eve we’re going to head to see the lights of Life University and enjoy their little Christmas town. This weekend I’ll have my nieces and I’m so excited about that. I really want my girls to look back on the holidays as I do.

    What holiday traditions do you have?

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    10 Minute Workouts For New Moms

    Becoming a new mom can be time consuming but that doesn't mean you stop your workouts--well, once cleared. Have 10-minutes? Get ready to sweat!

    I’m a self-professed workout junkie—or was. After having mini I was determined to become a runner. Why running right? Well, I grew up as a competitive swimmer and during our workouts, running was the one thing that I just couldn’t do. I remember getting made fun of and how that made me feel. Well, after mini I became a runner. I have a triathlon and half marathon along with countless 5&10k’s under my belt. Dedicated and disciplined. That’s what I was.

    sigh

    Now it’s time for me to get back on the train and stay there. This adjustment to two kids has hit my energy levels hard. My plan was to resume morning workouts before everyone woke up. This way I would have my me time along with my workouts and start my day out strong. Well, abc has a different plan for me and my morning workouts have become null and void. Actually, all my working out had become null and void. Right at the 6 week mark I was on it but I was also home. I was getting my 20-30 min workouts in and feeling really great about myself. But then when I returned to work, that changed.

    sigh

    One of the things I have to change is my mindset about working out. I have to remember that with 1 infant and 1 preschooler, a 1 hour morning workout just may not be in the stars—but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t still be working out. I read a blog written by a mom who talked about just getting in 10min a day. And that 10min/day is better than no minutes. As baby gets bigger, workouts can get longer because you can leave them with people. I’ve come up with some basic 10min workouts that both involve baby and some that don’t to help my fellow mommies out there.

    Becoming a new mom can be time consuming but that doesn't mean you stop your workouts--well, once cleared. Have 10-minutes? Get ready to sweat!

    Equipment:

    • Kettle bell (my favorite)
    • Yoga mat
    • Weighted Jump Rope
    • Weighted Gloves
    • Pilates ball
    • Moby Wrap or other baby wearing contraption

     

    Baby-Friendly Workout

    Make sure that baby is securely strapped to you.

    00:00-00:30 Marching in place

    00:30-01:00 Squats

    01:00-02:00 Stationary Lunges (30sec each leg)

    02:00-02:30 Standing Oblique Crunches

    02:30-03:00 Plié Squats

    03:00-03:30 Wall Sit

    03:30-04:00 Tricep Dips on Chair

    Unstrap baby and lay on yoga mat

    04:30-05:00 Push-ups

    05:00-06:00 Baby Chest Press (lie on back and do chest press with baby—make sure head is supported)

    06:00-06:30 Push-ups

    06:30-07:00 Plank

    07:00-07:30 Heel Taps (lie on back with knees bent. Place baby so their backs are resting on your thighs and legs are resting on your stomach/chest)

    07:30-08:00 Cruches

    08:00-09:00 Pilates Roll-Ups

    09:00-10:00 Walk in Place

     

    Kettle bell Workout (My Favorite!!!)

    00:00-00:30 Jog in place

    00:30-01:00 High Knees

    01:00-01:30 Butt Kicks

    01:30-02:00 Jumping Jacks

    02:00-03:00 Kettle bell Swings Alternating hands

    03:00-04:00 Figure 8’s

    04:00-05:00 Single Leg Deadlifts (30 seconds each leg)

    05:00-05:30 Skater

    05:30-06:00 Goblet Squats

    06:00-07:00 Kettle bell Lunge Press (30 seconds each side)

    07:00-08:00 Kettle bell High Pull (30 seconds each arm)

    08:30-09:30 Kettle bell Russian Twist

    09:30-10:00 Walk in place

     

    Mini Boxer Workout

    Need weighted gloves and jump rope

    00:00-01:00 Jump rope

    01:00-01:30 High Knees

    01:30-02:00 Butt Kicks

    02:00-02:30 Jumping Jacks

    02:30-03:00 Fast jabs

    03:00-04:00 3 Jabs, 1 Knee lift

    04:00-05:00 3 Uppercuts, 1 Kick

    05:00-05:30 Boxer Shuffle

    05:30-06:00 Tuck Jumps

    06:00-07:00 Oblique crunch in low squat

    07:00-08:00 Side to Side Twist in low squat

    08:30-09:30 Fast jabs

    09:30-10:00 Walk in place/Boxer Shuffle

     

    I have more that I’ll post as time goes on. I wasn’t a believer that 10min could make a difference but something is way better than nothing!

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    The Ugly Truth of Racism

    Tonight I stared my babies in the eyes and saw their beauty and potential staring back at me. Mini is this wonderful, quick-witted, strong willed, stunning little girl who has the energy of an unbroken stallion. And my abc… She’s the sweet bundle of giggles who sees everything. Nothing gets past her. These are my girls, my breath, my future.

    But how will the world see them?

    Trayvon Martin. Eric Garner. John Crawford. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker. Tamir Rice. Countless names. The body counts rising daily. And all of them had mothers that looked them in their eyes and saw what I see in my babies–a future for them.

    Were they perfect? No. None of us are. We all make mistakes. I’m so lucky that my guardian angels have been looking out for me with my slew of mistakes made. But no one deserves to be murdered for their mistakes that they’ve made or yet to make.

    It hurts. Seeing these people continue to get away with cold murder hurts. Will my baby be one of the people shot in cold blood because her car broke down and she needed help? Will my nephew be gunned down for walking down the street? Will my husband be strangled to death because he’s perceived as a threat though he’s done nothing threatening?

    It’s disappointing to see and hear people who think that this has nothing to do with race. If it’s not race than what is it? How is it that white people can riot over pumpkins throwing glass bottles at cops and everyone make it out alive but a black child walks down the street with his hands in his pockets and he’s suspicious. As much as I’d like to believe in a utopia where color doesn’t matter, it does. It matters. Whether you’re Raven Symone, Shaq, or Trayvon Martin, we are seen by our color.

    I want the world to be better. I want my girls to have the opportunity to grown up in world that won’t try to harm them because of the color of their skin. I want them to have the same opportunities as their white friends. I don’t want color to have to stand in the way of their greatness. I’m worried. I want to have faith but right now I’m filled with concern.

    What if they make a mistake and it costs them their lives? What will it take to truly make our world a safer place to live in? Why don’t more people want this?

    For now, all I can do is pray for the safety and protection of my girls and love on them as much as I can…

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    Breathing in the Positive and Exhaling the Negative

    Whew! This past 24 hours has been an eventful one.

    After abc woke up with a fever of 102.5 in the middle of the night, I packed her up and took her to the ER at my pediatricians recommendation. Last night I learned that all ER’s are not made equally when concerning babies. Getting seen was a breeze though the entire experience was awkward to say the least. Between the “beautiful mind” moment I had with the nurse to the radiologist touching the air around abc versus her to the doctor telling me about his marital problems after asking me if I suck abc’s snot out with my mouth (I do), I was waiting for the cameras to jump out to say I was being punked.

    Nevertheless, I wasn’t.

    They ruled out pneumonia but they didn’t do a very good job at telling me what was wrong with her outside of maybe a little virus. That wasn’t good enough for me so I took her to the pediatricians office. There we found out she had fluid in her left ear and an infection in her right ear. Pobrecita!

    Cool. So we have the diagnosis. abc seemed to be in good spirits so we did a little running around.

    Breathe in the positive… when I went to pick up the very last Elf on the Shelf from Barnes & Noble, the cashier gave me her discount! Breathe out the negative… I couldn’t get abc to nurse. Instead she slept through her feeding. Breathe in the positive… I got a chance to start on my Christmas shopping at my favorite place in the world and got some great discounts! Breathe out the negative… abc wanted to be held as I walked around Target. 15.5 lbs while pushing a cart is NOT easy.

    Breathe in the positive… Target price matched Publix on my antibiotics so I paid nothing for them!!! Breathe out the negative… abc again wouldn’t nurse so I go to hand express in the car to relieve some pressure and she has a blow out–all over me. Breathe in the positive… We got cleaned up, made it home where she nursed and I was able to hand express a total of 5oz.

    Now that I’m on a positive note, I need some R&R with my hubby!!!

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    Sick day really means sick day

    abc has a little cold.

    It sucks. When they’re this little (I think she’s almost 16 weeks? I’m terrible at this) the only thing you can give them is snuggles and their boob (or bottle). We got in from Nana’s house late last night. Though she’s been in great spirits I decided to stay home with my little.

    In making this decision I was like “yes!!! I can do so much! I can run errands and fold the thousand of laundry waiting patiently to be put away!!! I can write! I can work out!” Here’s my reality check that came in the form of the most cranky and fussy version of abc I’ve ever seen: she’s sick so that means sick day is filled with snuggles for my baby–that’s it.

    The crazy thing is that I’d made this whole schedule in my head. We were scheduled naps and snuggles and laundry till 1pm, errands from 1-2:30pm, workout at the park at 3pm, pick mini up at 4pm, take her to the park to play till like 5ish, go home and make the side dish to dinner, play, snuggle, etc till bed time. Nope. Not one of those things has gotten done except the napping and snuggles. Every time I try to move out the bed, she’s whining and crying. It’s almost like she has a gps attached to me that alerts her when I move.

    I mean, I’m stealthy. I put ninjas to shame with my ability to quietly navigate the bedroom without waking a sleeping baby. But not today. Today I’ve barely even had a chance to eat. I’ve had a sum total of 40oz of water, oatmeal, and 2 apples w/ peanut butter. And I’m nursing her. Can I get a lunch break?! abc says “no”.

    *sigh*

    I need to do better with my sick day planning.

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    preschooler is synonymous with “killer of joy”

    i’m not so sure why the two’s are called “terrible”. maybe the person who coined the “terrible twos” didn’t have a child in the 3’s or 4’s just yet. i’m sure that if they did, then it would go more like the “training twos”, “torrential threes”, “far from fabulous fours”. and i’m in the fours now. -_-

    just my luck.

    but i know for a fact that it’s not just me going through this. in fact, i think that mini is picking up these blasted temper tantrums from one of the little girls at school. last friday they had an art show (it was so cute) and this little girl had tantrums back to back for like 5 minutes. and the mom was so calm. inside of me i was getting agitated and in both awe and shock at the calm the mom displayed. watching this interaction almost killed my joy–but then i realized i didn’t have to take her home with me.

    or did i.

    all this past weekend mini has been whiny and full of tears. her whining and crying sounds like nails on a blackboard. if i’m superman, then those things are my kryptonite and not in the cutesy “i just want to give her the world” weakness. it’s more like “i just want to leave and not come back until she’s done making noise for forever” weakness. i hate it. i cannot stand crying. at all. even with abc. i can’t stand her crying either but she doesn’t have words. mini? she has lots of words. instead of using her words to communicate feelings, she uses them to lie and be sneaky with–which i hate slightly less than the crying and whining.

    i think the kicker about preschoolers is that they know what they’re doing, what type of reaction it’s going to get and they do it anyway. and then they have the nerve to have an attitude when it garners the reaction that they knew was coming.

    and now i think mini is going through the jealousy bit. she’s saying dumb things like “you don’t think i’m pretty”, “you don’t love me”, “you don’t ever forgive me”, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. mind you, the kid gets pretty much everything she wants, does the things she wants to. but nope, that’s not good enough. and she knows that i love her. she knows that the crying, saying mean things, and temper tantrums get her nowhere BUT SHE STILL DOES IT!!!!! why!?!?!?!?

    ugh… right now i’m over aaaaaaaaalllll things preschoolers–minus them spending all those hours at school. that i love.

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