The TRUTH About Motherhood http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com and everything else! Tue, 21 Apr 2015 20:35:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.2 Grief is a Tricky B*tch http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/grief/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/grief/#comments Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:34:23 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23080 I wrote this one for me, to move through the grief that I still feel on occasion. I call them my emotional time-bombs and they go off without discretion. I wrote this last week, before I started feeling this crazy happiness high that I’m on but after I had a good, hard and ugly cry.Or maybe I […]

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I wrote this one for me, to move through the grief that I still feel on occasion. I call them my emotional time-bombs and they go off without discretion. I wrote this last week, before I started feeling this crazy happiness high that I’m on but after I had a good, hard and ugly cry.Or maybe I should say, while I was having the ugly cry. It was cathartic, as was writing this out but I won’t be listening to any Joni Mitchell anytime soon, just to be sure. I’d like to hold on to the happiness for a while longer.

It’s almost May 1st. You know how I can tell? It’s the lingering feeling of trepidation that I’ve been feeling. At first, I didn’t know what was causing it. Just the slightest tinge of sadness, floating around the edge of my existence; smoldering beneath the surface. I can feel it; the loss. It’s been three years, when does it stop feeling fresh?

Most days, I push it down. I try to forget to pretend that something’s not missing. I’ve stopped crying. And then other days, like today, I hear a song like Both Sides Now and my heart just breaks open into a million pieces and I bleed all over my keyboard. I can’t stop the flood of tears and I’m not even sure that I even want to. Life is sad sometimes.

Bad things happen to good people and it’s not fair. Not one bit. I’m an awesome mother. I would have been a great mother to my third baby. I would have loved him so fiercely. There wouldn’t have been a single day that he ever wondered or doubted it but we’ll never know, he and I.

This hole. It is not something that I will ever be able to fill at all. It will always be there and I’m not sure that I know how to feel about that. I look fine to everyone. They don’t know that I walk around feeling totally and utterly incomplete. Part of me is missing and it always will be. That’s the saddest part of all.

I think there are profound things in this world that can alter your life forever. I’m a survivor. There is not much that you can throw at me that I can’t move past. I refuse to be knocked down by life but this one thing, of all the shit I’ve gone through in my life, this thing, I’m having the hardest time moving past.

Grief is a tricky b*tch.

Every April, I walk around like an exposed nerve and it takes me a couple weeks to figure it out. I try to forget the hurt but I can’t. It will not be forgotten. It demands attention. This is how I commemorate what almost was. This is how I slowly fill the hole. I allow myself to acknowledge that it matters to me. I allow myself to be vulnerable to it. To give myself completely over to it. I allow myself to flood my keyboard from time to time and to cry so hard and so ugly that my face stings and hurts.

I miss all of the “what could have been”s. As I type this, I am painfully aware that my house should not be quiet and still. There should be a toddler running amuck, walking and talking and making my life fuller. I shouldn’t have this much time in my day. My lap should be filled and tiny giggles should be everywhere but there is only silence.

Every year at this time, I feel more alone than I should and the loss feels fresh. I recoil a bit but not enough to be noticed. This is my sorrow, my hurt to feel. I don’t want it to be a “thing”. We have so much going on at this time every year and I don’t want this to be the wet blanket on life. This moment is mine and mine alone. It makes me feel closer to the baby I lost, to feel the pain so I write it out.

I’ve never been the person who screams out in pain. I hold it in and I draw strength from it. That is how I survive it. I have to feel every single ache in order to get through it. Sometimes that does mean screaming and raging against the world in my own way, other times it means an almost catatonic silence. I’m not sure what it will mean this year. I only know that right now a song by Joni Mitchell playing in the background crept into my soul and brought me to my knees.

What is the expiration date on grief and how do I make this pain go away?

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How Ordering Lilly Pulitzer Changed my Life http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lilly-pulitzer-changed-my-life/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/lilly-pulitzer-changed-my-life/#comments Mon, 20 Apr 2015 14:10:13 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23072 I scored some Lilly Pulitzer yesterday. You know how they say happiness comes from within? Well, I never really understood that statement until this weekend. For the first time, in a long time, I felt confident. I love the bold and beautiful Lilly Pulitzer prints and I went for it. How could that happiness not belong in […]

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I scored some Lilly Pulitzer yesterday. You know how they say happiness comes from within? Well, I never really understood that statement until this weekend. For the first time, in a long time, I felt confident. I love the bold and beautiful Lilly Pulitzer prints and I went for it. How could that happiness not belong in my wardrobe?

Don’t worry; I didn’t come to fisticuffs with any other moms at my local Target because there is nothing worth fighting that hard over except for my dreams and my children’s lives. I got mine online by stalking my prey and waiting patiently. I simply decided that if it were meant to be, I’d get it. If not, I wouldn’t. It’s that simple. I’ve been embracing this more relaxed attitude lately. If you know me, you know I’m usually the much more uptight type. I’m a known helicopter mom and control freak; a heart attack waiting to happen, if you will.

I woke up last Friday morning and went to my Weight Watchers meeting, because you all know how much I love to get weighed by a stranger. Not my favorite thing to do but a necessary evil if I want to change my fat girl walking status.. It’s been a month since I started attending meetings again. I have lost a grand total (drumroll, please) of 9 pounds and 18.5 inches. I don’t really see a difference but I certainly feel a difference. Clothes are starting to get a little loose and mentally, I am feeling a lot better about me.

David's Bridal, Lilly PUlitzer, Vera Wang, Diary of a Fat Girl, weight loss, Weight Watchers

After my meeting, I decided to bite the bullet and go get measured for my bridesmaid dress for my sister’s wedding. If you have ever been over weight, you know that I had been dreading this for months (the fitting not the dress). I put it off for as long as I could but I just couldn’t keep stressing my sister out. It’s one thing when my weight keeps me from doing stuff that I want to do but I refuse to let it impede in anyone I love’s life. This is why I still put on my bathing suit to hit the pool even though wearing bathing suits in public is the worst.

I went by myself to the bridal shop so that I didn’t take out my frustrations on my husband or the girls. To my surprise, for the first time in probably 20 years, I realized that I felt sexy in something and not fat. I had forgotten what feeling “sexy” even felt like. But I can tell you today that nothing sets your soul on fire like feeling better than good in your own skin.

David's Bridal, Lilly PUlitzer, Vera Wang, Diary of a Fat Girl, weight loss, Weight Watchers

The thing is usually getting weighed, getting fitted for a bridesmaid dress and ordering clothes are all things that stress me out because they all make me painfully aware of how heavy I am but something switched in me that morning and I’ve been in this intoxicatingly high mood since. I’m happy.

I spent the entire weekend waiting for the feeling to dissipate but I just kept feeling better and better in my own skin. What I’m sure is my standard resting bitch face has been replaced with resting big dumb grin and I can’t do a thing about it. This is weird for me.

See the last time I felt “sexy” in my own skin was when I was smack dab in the middle of eating disorders. Back then, my sexy meter was skewed and it was more of a control high. I felt sexy because I was satisfying some weird need to punish myself and when I stayed within the parameters of what I’d set for myself, I rewarded myself by giving myself permission to feel attractive but it was nothing compared to this natural state of happiness that I am experiencing right now. I do realize that this all sounds weird.

Anyways, as I was sitting at my laptop, checking the size chart for the Lilly Pulitzer and realizing that I did not need plus size anything, it hit me that I could not feel my stomach on my lap. God, I’m embarrassed to even type those words but it’s a big deal. The whole stomach thing, and believe me if you have this situation going on you totally understand, has been making me feel so depressed. It was the physical representation of the beginning of the end for me. Every time I sat down, I was reminded of just how fat and out of shape I was.

After I cleared the tears from my eyes because my “FUPA” is slowly vanishing, I ordered myself the regular sized XL jumpsuit from Lilly Pulitzer and I can’t wait to wear it. I’m sick of letting my weight dictate what I can and can’t do. I want to hold on to this strange and unfamiliar feeling of being comfortable in my own skin. I don’t want it to end.

I know 9 pounds is not a lot in the grand scheme of things, ordering an XL rather than 1X is not a big deal and not feeling my stomach in my lap are all very subtle changes but they add up. They add up to changing my life in a very positive way and that is huge.

What little changes do you want to make to your life to make you happier?

Show of hands, who else will be rocking the Lilly Pulitzer this season?

 

P.S. My first byline at LatinaMom.me is live and I would love if you would check out my article Why I Shaved my 7-Year-Old’s Arms.

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Does Advanced Maternal Age Really Mean You’re Too Old to Give Birth? http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/advanced-maternal-age/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/advanced-maternal-age/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 14:37:43 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23059 What do you consider advanced maternal age? What age do you think is too old to have a baby? Pushing aside, finances and social norms what is your cut off date? I had always said I’d never have a baby after 35. I know, I was so adorable thinking in absolutes. I drew that line in the […]

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What do you consider advanced maternal age? What age do you think is too old to have a baby? Pushing aside, finances and social norms what is your cut off date? I had always said I’d never have a baby after 35. I know, I was so adorable thinking in absolutes. I drew that line in the sand before I knew anything about life.

Then I found myself wonderfully and unexpectantly pregnant at 39 and I couldn’t think of a reason in the world why that would be wrong. I was scared; terrified to be exact. I’d heard all the horror stories of all the things that could go wrong. In the end, it didn’t work out the way we had hoped but if it could have, I was absolutely ready to have another baby because even though my eggs might have been 39, my mind and heart felt 25. Does that matter? How much does that factor in?

A German woman, Annegret Raunigk, is about to make history as the world’s oldest woman to give birth to quadruplets. The 65-year-old mother of 13 and grandmother to 7 already made the news ten years ago when she gave birth to her daughter Leila at the age of 55. Well, she’s making news again now because Leila has requested a younger sibling. The things we won’t do for our children, right?

After several rounds of artificial insemination, Raunigk finally became pregnant with four embryos. Thankfully, the pregnancy hasn’t had any major complications so far.

Is 65 too advanced maternal age to have a baby?

Of course, Raunigk has been blasted with questions regarding the pregnancy, her age and the effect the pregnancy might have on her and her unborn children’s bodies. This is her response…

“I’m not actually afraid. I simply assume I’ll remain healthy and fit. In matters of organization I have enough experience, that’s not new for me.” When asked about the “moral implications” of being pregnant at her age by German broadcaster RTL, she had this to say “How does one have to be at 65? One must apparently always fit some cliches which I find rather tiring . . . I think, one must decide that for oneself.” 

I am all for living your life your way and I don’t think it is anyone else’s business to tell anyone, man or woman, what to do with their body. Female empowerment is one of my life causes and anyone who has been a long time reader of The TRUTH knows that I am a ferocious advocate for women’s rights, reproductive especially. I don’t believe in putting people into boxes or labeling human beings.

However, in this case, I think there is something that no one has mentioned, what about those children? Granted the children may be perfectly healthy and happy, which would be ideal and I don’t necessarily think it’s my business to tell anyone when and how to have their babies but what happens in 20 years when these babies are 20 years old and she could quite possibly be dead?

It’s one thing to survive a pregnancy and delivery at 65-years-old but it’s quite another to bring a child into the world that you won’t be around to be available to them. My mom is 65-years-old and you can’t tell me that she would be able to be the same mom to a newborn as she was to me.

I realize that any of us can die at any time and age has nothing to do with how much we love our children but I just feel like giving birth at 65-years-old could be irresponsible and not fair to the children because 20-years-old is too young to not have your parent. This is a very real possibility for these babies.

Parenting is something we do for our entire lives and our children need us to guide and love them well into adulthood. Maybe that’s naïve of me but when I read this story I felt sad knowing that this mother might not be around to see these children grow to adulthood, get married or have their own children.

I guess the world is full of uncertainties and unexpected blessings and we can only do our best to thrive in our current situation but I feel that the emphasis in this entire situation should be on the children and not Ms. Raunigk.

What advanced maternal age do you think is too old to have a baby?

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The Starbucks Effect http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/the-starbucks-effect/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/the-starbucks-effect/#comments Mon, 13 Apr 2015 17:37:06 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23047 Have you ever heard of the Starbucks effect? I’m not referring to the theory that Starbucks will boost the price of your home, but that is a thing. I’m talking about the kindness of strangers. “Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” it’s the Golden rule. I’ve heard it since […]

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Have you ever heard of the Starbucks effect?

I’m not referring to the theory that Starbucks will boost the price of your home, but that is a thing. I’m talking about the kindness of strangers.

“Do unto others as you would have them to do unto you,” it’s the Golden rule. I’ve heard it since I was a little child. It boils down to this… put out into the world what you want to get back. It’s karma for those so inclined.

In my 20’s I was self-centered, everything was about me. When I got married, I had my first experience of occasionally putting someone else’s needs and wants before my own. Then I had children and putting others before myself has become my full-time job.

Over the years, I’ve found myself doing more good but still that selfish little voice in my head kept asking, “When’s it my turn? When will someone do something nice for me?” I just sort of got tired of always giving of myself. Now that I think of it, I wasn’t giving so much as having it taken. I did nice things because I felt it was expected.

Then my perspective of the world changed, we moved to Chesterfield, VA and I was on the receiving end of several random acts of kindness from complete strangers. These women changed my perception of the world. For the first time, aside from my parents, someone was doing something kind for me with absolutely no expectation. It was so out of my ordinary that at first, I was suspicious. What did they really want?

I decided, then and there, that while I cannot control how someone else responds or reacts to my kindness or goodwill, I would live by the good rule because I’m responsible for my behavior. I can put all the good I want into the world but I had to let go of my expectation that the others would reciprocate, care or even appreciate my act.

Then, I had an epiphany. Who cares if they don’t appreciate it? I feel good when I do good so I’m doing good. I let go of the whole idea of putting good out there so good would come back to me and then it did.

I believe that our simple acts of kindness that we do throughout the day, they cause ripples and eventually we get caught in the tide of our own ripples so next time you find yourself deciding whether you should take an extra second to hold the door for a stranger, smile back at someone for no reason at all, give a dollar to a homeless person or share on an opportunity or helpful advice with someone who you think might be a good fit or need it, just do it. Don’t over think it. You can’t control what others do with the gifts you give but you can take joy in knowing you cared enough to give the gift and tried to help someone else.

I know everyone says this and I know many of us don’t immediately see the effects of our good deeds and that may leave you wondering, why bother? Let me tell you a little story.

I once received a cup of coffee in one of those Starbucks lines, when the person ahead of me paid for my latte. It was the first time this had ever happened to me and I had no idea this was a “thing” or that there was a “protocol”, so I took my latte, said thank you and was happy for the rest of the day. The more I thought of it, I realized that I should have paid it forward and bought the person’s behind me. It was what was probably expected.

Last week, I finally paid it forward. I ordered my Oprah Chia Latte, pulled up to pay and then said, “ I’d like to pay for the person behind me too!” Then I looked in my rearview mirror, and saw it was another mom. She looked exhausted and I saw myself in her. I pulled away feeling good. I felt good for rest of my day and it only cost me $4.50. I mean, who knew happiness was so damn cheap? I’m hoping that my simple gesture brightened her day, at the very least I saved her $5.00, right?

The thing is last week I got 3 new freelance jobs and scheduled an interview for another job. Maybe it was coincidence but I’d like to think that my little ripple has caught me in its tide. I put out into the world what I wanted so, guess what I did this morning (what I will be doing every Monday morning)? I bought another person a cup of coffee and I saw her smile in my rearview mirror when she pulled up to the window and she didn’t have to pay and THAT made my day. If I can brighten someone else’s day by such a simple gesture, why wouldn’t I do it every single time I can?

What random acts of kindness do you do when no one is looking?

I get that buying Starbucks for someone won’t change the world,  but it might change someone’s day and that’s enough reason for me.

 

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Fear and Ignorance is What’s Killing Black Men http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/walter-scott-shooting/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/walter-scott-shooting/#comments Wed, 08 Apr 2015 14:23:23 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23021 Yet another African American man, Walter Scott, has been shot dead in the streets. Hearing this saddens me but seeing the video infuriates me. How many people have to die before we change what we will accept from law enforcement, from the justice system and from ourselves? A 50-year-old black man was pulled over for a broken taillight […]

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Yet another African American man, Walter Scott, has been shot dead in the streets. Hearing this saddens me but seeing the video infuriates me. How many people have to die before we change what we will accept from law enforcement, from the justice system and from ourselves?

A 50-year-old black man was pulled over for a broken taillight in North Charleston, South Carolina. The officer, Michael T.Slager, tasered Walter Scott who had warrants out for his arrest for not paying child support. Scott ran after being tasered. The police officer followed in pursuit on foot and then shot the unarmed man 8 times, in the back. Would he have done the same if it had been a 50-year-old white man?

Then, it appears from the video, that the officer drops the taser by Scott. The same taser gun that the officer said the man had on his person; the very reason he felt threatened enough to shoot him. To add insult to grave injury, Walter Scott was left lying on the ground; face down, bleeding out while not one of the officers attempted to perform CPR on him. Officer Slager is being charged with murder. I’m glad. Still, there is no explanation for these events that can make any of this right for me. If seeing is believing, I’ve seen enough.

My belief is this white cops are shooting black suspects because they are afraid of them. I don’t know if it’s because of some residual guilt over the inhumane way that most Caucasians have treated African Americans throughout history, instilled racism from their upbringing or just plain old ignorance that allows them to treat black people as less than and still sleep at night. Whatever the reason, I believe that some white people are genuinely afraid of black people simply because of the color of their skin.

On the flip-side, I believe African Americans run from Caucasian officers because they are afraid of them too; afraid that their fear will cause them to overreact and use excessive force.Fear that their lack of respect for their basic human rights could put them in imminent danger. If history tells us anything, they’re not wrong. We’ve seen it happen. It’s not unimaginable. This is just my theory.

How many more Walter Scott incidents can we tolerate?

Everything about this sickens me, however, it no longer shocks me. This is nothing new. The only thing that’s changed is that everyone has a camera with a phone that takes video and social media allows us to share these stories instantaneously with remarkable reach. This has been happening for centuries and anyone who believes it hasn’t is fooling themselves. We are being forced to face the reality of our brutality. You can no longer be blissfully ignorant about the world because the truth is caught on video and shown to us. To say you didn’t know it was happening today, is to be a liar.

I grew up in an African American neighborhood and in my world, this is how the cops have always treated African Americans. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. The world is an unfair place where fear causes men to do unspeakable acts in the name of self-preservation. Fear is a very effective motivator, even when it’s completely unfounded.

I’m not saying that all cops are racist or bad people. Quite the opposite. There are many law enforcement officers who risk their life every single day to serve and protect their community but there are a few small men with narrow minds, who function on fear and power and have guns. These are the ones who make me afraid. The ones who can be more compassionate to a dog in the street than a dying man lying in front of them. Those who lack humanity and human compassion scare me the most.

We know there is a problem. No human being should be shot dead in the street. I don’t care what color, creed, race, religion or sexual preference you have. We need to change. How many mothers have to lose their children? How many children have to lose their fathers? How many lives have to be snuffed out before it all adds up to too much?

In my book, one dead human being in the street is too many. We have to stop letting fear and ignorance govern our reactions. Collectively as the human race, we need to say no more and develop a zero tolerance policy for the brutality and abuse of power that we currently accept as status quo. This is unacceptable. This is not the world that I want for my children. Our children deserve better.

What are your thoughts on the Walter Scott shooting?

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What Really Happens at the Water Park (Family Blooper Reel) http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/water-park-blooper/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/water-park-blooper/#comments Tue, 07 Apr 2015 14:55:49 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=23007 Last weekend, I went to a Great Wolf Lodge Water park with my family and I took my GoPro HERO4 Black. I got it for my birthday last year and I know everyone was wondering what the heck a “mom” was going to do with that camera. I mean no one wants to see first […]

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Last weekend, I went to a Great Wolf Lodge Water park with my family and I took my GoPro HERO4 Black. I got it for my birthday last year and I know everyone was wondering what the heck a “mom” was going to do with that camera. I mean no one wants to see first person diaper changes, toddler tantrums or tween eye rolls, right? It’s not like I’m jumping off of cliffs or going to be skydiving anytime soon but still, I think being a mom is pretty exciting stuff so I started bringing it with me on trips.

Mostly, I’ve been using it for recording purposes, just like I would any other camera but when I made our reservations for the water park, I packed the GoPro and my new XSORIES: U-Float 100% waterproof and buoyant handheld camera mount because I thought I might catch some fun shots of the girls or capture a thrilling ride down a waterslide.

water park, waterpark, great wolf lodge, wisconsin dells, travel, bloopers, gopro

Oh, I caught something all right. I caught my entire family losing their minds on the Tornado waterslide. Unfortunately, my husband was the one recording so mostly you see my oldest daughter and I completely losing our minds. I like to think of it as my own personal Mom’s Gone Wild video, wild as in primitive, primal and out of control of her reactions.

This video is not normally something that I would share because well, I am definitely not showing my “best” side plus I’m in a bathing suit. But you know, life is short and I’m always honest with you about what my life really looks like so I’m sharing the video of what most people really look like when they ride terrifying waterslides. Nobody can keep their composure and be cute all the time and I have to say this crazy little video made my entire family laugh.

We will never forget our weekend at Great Wolf Lodge thanks to this water park video.

I know a lot of people share what they want you to know on social media; painting the picture of the perfect life. I don’t do that. My life is complicated, sometimes hard and crazy beautiful because even when life’s harder than hard, I have the 3 other people on this inner tube to laugh, cry and love with. I am blessed to be able to have these moments.

So, here I share it with you and I encourage you to share it with anyone you know who needs a good laugh because people being terrified as they are being thrilled is funny to watch. Just don’t judge me on my bathing suit body. I’m a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

What’s the best water park or adventure vacation you’ve ever taken your family on?

Disclosure: I was provided the Xsories U Float camera mount for review purposes but all opinions and water park mayhem are my own.

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Family Spring Break Style http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/family-spring-break-style/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/family-spring-break-style/#comments Mon, 06 Apr 2015 17:02:46 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=22992 Last Thursday our family spring break started. The Big Guy, the girls and myself jumped into the Rally Red Mitsubishi Outlander that I was driving for the week and headed to my mom’s house in Chicago. I was excited because after a week trapped in the house with a husband with bronchitis and two very […]

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Last Thursday our family spring break started. The Big Guy, the girls and myself jumped into the Rally Red Mitsubishi Outlander that I was driving for the week and headed to my mom’s house in Chicago. I was excited because after a week trapped in the house with a husband with bronchitis and two very cabin-fevered little girls, the open road was exactly what we needed to blow the stink off spring break.

Outlander, Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We loaded up the Outlander with all of our goodies for the weekend, including the girls and their favorite stuffed animals, bathing suits for days and all the pillows in the house. I was impressed the sporty little Outlander held it all, with plenty of legroom. Those adjustable seats in the second row really made traveling comfy for the girls. Then we made our way west for a pit stop in Chicago before picking up Grandma and heading to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells to celebrate 3 of the cousins’ birthdays. What can I say, apparently we Cruz girls are affectionate in the late summer months.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We loved driving the Outlander because it drove sporty, fast and handled well. I loved the built in GPS. My only issue was that you couldn’t operate it while the vehicle was in drive. I know it’s a great safety feature just a little frustrating when you don’t know ahead of time. I also loved that it only took $30 to fill it up.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

The first day of our road trip included a stop at, my sister, Bertie’s house to discuss wedding plans. I’m the matron of honor and love being able to help plan her big day. My girls played with my nephew, my husband and soon to be brother-in-law bonded, and we girls made wedding playlists, discussed flowers, hair styles, make-up and tuxedos. To make the night perfect, my mom ordered our favorite hometown pizza. It may sound boring but we cherish these moments because there are never enough of them.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

I come from a big family of six brothers and sisters and I miss seeing my sisters everyday. Sisters are the built in best friends and I miss girl talk with them and raising our kids together. Being at my sister’s house hanging out, planning her wedding and hearing all the love and laughter fill the house made this one of the best spring breaks ever for me.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

The next morning, we loaded my mom into the Outlander and made our way to the Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin Dells to meet my other sister, Mellie and her family. We’d never been before but this is how the kids wanted to celebrate their birthdays and who am I to stand in the way of kids’ birthday wishes?

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

We arrived at the Great Wolf Lodge. The girls nearly bolted out of the Outlander headed straight for the waterpark. As soon as you walk through the doors, you are immediately aware that you are in a kid-friendly, nature themed lodge. We headed to our room and were welcomed to the hotel with a few surprises to help the birthday kids celebrate their birthday in style. The kid’s received Paw Passes from the hotel. I would highly recommend that if you ever go to the Great Wolf Lodge you get one for your kids.

It included fun thing for the kids to do like a MagicQuest Game, a MagicQuest wand (to play the game), A Great Wolf Creation animal (think Build a bear but much softer), Paw Points arcade card with 20 points, 12 oz. Mike and Ike Candy Cup, Great Wolf Lodge swim goggles, Glitz Glitter Tattoo, personalized Leather bracelet, Clubhouse crew adventure game and more.

MagicQuest, Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

This was nothing we had anticipated but I assure you, we will never go there again without getting one of these passes. This made the experience next level. After hours swimming and riding water slides, the tornado being our family’s favorite, we were able to let the kid’s wind down playing MagicQuest. Then the next afternoon, they got to hit the arcade and gift shop to collect all of their souvenirs.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

Know what the best part of the entire vacation was? Hanging out with my mom, my sisters and talking, our guys bonding and the cousins giggling and getting to spend real quality time together. That truly is the priceless part. I can’t wait to do it again. We took plenty of photos and video, including one of those cheesy vintage photos and we had a blast doing it.

Great wolf lodge, Wisconsin Dells, Mitsubishi, family Spring Break

Do you ever travel with your extended family? If you don’t you definitely should. I know it’s hard organizing a vacation with multiple families but it is also the stuff memories are made of. My girls will never forget this trip because they got to share it with their cousin.

Disclosure: I was provided the Mitsubishi Outlander to drive for the week by STI and The Great Wolf Lodge provided Paw Passes for my children but all opinions about our family spring break are my own.

 

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Parenting Survival Tips from the Walking Dead http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/walking-dead-parenting/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/walking-dead-parenting/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 19:32:40 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=22952 I love The Walking Dead, as many of you know. Last year when I was in Boston and shared a brief moment on the elevator with “Shane” from the Walking dead, I nearly fainted and I don’t do fan girl moments. Well, unless you count that time I made a complete fool of myself in […]

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I love The Walking Dead, as many of you know. Last year when I was in Boston and shared a brief moment on the elevator with “Shane” from the Walking dead, I nearly fainted and I don’t do fan girl moments. Well, unless you count that time I made a complete fool of myself in front of the Pioneer Woman at BlogHer.

Anyways, last night, I was watching the Walking Dead Season finale and spoiler alert, Carol is badass! In fact, as I started thinking about it there are a lot of parenting lessons to be learned from Rick, Carol, Michon, Daryl and the crew.

First and foremost, kids are a liability in the zombie apocalypse. If they’re not killing you during birth, they are crying to attract zombies but then again, they also get your back. I mean how many times has Carl stabbed a walker in the head to save his dad? Now, that folks, is love in the time of the Walking Dead. My kids have never stabbed a zombie in the head to save my life, but when my back was out last month, they made me a PB& J and really, isn’t it the same thing?

But seriously, I have learned the most from Carol. I’m talking lessons that can actually make me be a better, more effective mom. Here are my Carol-isms or

Top parenting lessons that I’ve learned from the Walking Dead.

Make sure that children respect your personal space

Carol literally threatened to hurt a child if he didn’t stop trying to hang around her. I think she may have gone overboard but he knew that she was serious as a heart attack when he looked up and saw those dead eyes looking back at him. She made her boundaries crystal clear and that is something that I could use some help with.

Don’t make idle threats and always follow through

If you want children to learn to finish what they start and to respect your time and you as a person, you have to hold up your end of the bargain. Never make idle threats because you will undermine your own authority and never( ever,ever,ever) break a promise because then you lose the child’s trust.

Actions speak louder than words

Don’t talk it to death, just do it! When Carol thought 2 members of the new group were sick and could hurt her family, she thought they were a threat. She didn’t discuss it or take a vote. It wasn’t a democracy. She did what she thought was best and simply took them from their beds, killed them and then burned their bodies. I’m not saying to hurt your children but parenthood is not a democracy and sometimes the right choice is not the popular one.

walking dead, the walking dead, Carol, parenting, parenting tips

Let it Go

When Carol’s daughter turned, as much as she hated it, she had to let her go. Her daughter turned into a walker and she knew she had to let Rick shoot her in the head. She couldn’t change her back. She had to make the merciful, loving decision. She put her child first.

“That’s not my little girl. It’s some other…thing. My Sophia was alone in the woods. All this time, I thought. She didn’t cry herself to sleep. She didn’t go hungry. She didn’t try to find her way back. Sophia died a long time ago.”

Whispering is Way Scarier than Yelling

When the little boy, Sam, in Alexandria makes a pest of himself asking Carol to make him cookies. She never yells, though she is clearly annoyed, she simply whispers her threats to him and that was scarier than anything she could have yelled. I’ve realized if I whisper, calmly when disappointed or upset, my children are terrified.

walking dead, the walking dead, Carol, parenting, parenting tips

Always make them feel safe with you, even when you have your doubts

Remember season 4 of the Walking Dead when Carol took Lizzie out to the flower patch and shot her dead? What were her choices? The kid murdered her sister and liked to play with dead things. She was an apocalyptic sociopath. It was just a matter of time before that crazy little bish was killing all living people to make them her undead pets.

Look at the pretty flowers…it’s going to be all right….Bang, bang…. you’re dead.

At least Carol did the kind thing and didn’t scare her before she did it. (I told you kids were a liability.)

Prepare them for the “Real” World

There is no way Carol would ever let her kid play on a no winner or loser soccer team. Life is hard and you need to know that it will let you down. Things don’t always work out the way you planned it and sometimes you have to do things you don’t want to like eat dog or shoot the walker that used to be your neighbor. That’s why she taught the kids at the prison to use guns and knives to survive the zombie apocalypse. In the end, it’s every man, woman and child for themselves.

And my husband says that television rots your brain. I’d say that these parenting tips could make me a better parent….now, or in the event of a zombie apocalypse.

What parenting survival tips have you learned from the Walking Dead?

 

Photos via Walking Dead

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What Would Zayn Malik Do? http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/what-would-zayn-malik-do/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/what-would-zayn-malik-do/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 14:59:28 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=22933 “Zayn Malik QUIT One Direction!” her voice cracked as she spoke these words. There was no talk of “flabby arms” amongst the ballerinas tonight only distress that Zayn quit One Direction. My girls are too young to care. I like One Direction. They won me over with Little Things. But this situation made me think, […]

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Zayn Malik QUIT One Direction!” her voice cracked as she spoke these words. There was no talk of “flabby arms” amongst the ballerinas tonight only distress that Zayn quit One Direction. My girls are too young to care. I like One Direction. They won me over with Little Things. But this situation made me think, would you leave a high paying career behind to be happy?

I know the thought is terrifying. It’s a giant leap and many of you are shaking your head with a resounding, “Hell, no!” Money isn’t everything but it certainly is important. I’m with Zayn Malik on this one, life’s too short. You’ve got to get your happy! That’s exactly why I started The TRUTH about Motherhood. This is easy for me to say because I already took the leap. It’s always easier to be brave when you’re safely looking up from the bottom of the cliff than standing at the top about to take that first leap into the unknown.

Why did  Zayn Malik quit?

He’s 22, he’s a millionaire and he just wants to be a regular guy. He wants to live while he’s young. I don’t blame him. Money can’t buy you happiness and fame will never get you privacy. I think he’s brave to choose happiness over money. I get that he’s an artist and from the outside looking in, he’s made it. He’s living the dream but maybe the fame part is too much to bear. Who knows, in a couple years, maybe he’ll come back as a solo artist. After all, he is only 22. Besides, there will still be a ONE DIRECTION, just minus Zayn.

Zayn Malik, One Direction, career, choose happiness, life choices

Would you quit the job you have now to follow your dreams and pursue your passions if you had no children or responsibilities like Zayn Malik? Would pursuing your passions make you happier than what you’re currently doing?

For me, it was simple, I’d rather spend the rest of my life doing what I love and working my tail off trying to succeed than make a lot of money doing something that doesn’t make me happy. To me, success is defined by doing something I love and being there to enjoy the moments with the people that I love without having to run out, miss things or not be there when they need me.

I am a writer. I’ll probably never be a millionaire but I don’t care. I want to be happy. I am happy. I am able to be here for my children and the Big Guy when they need me. I get to travel the world, meet interesting people and do things that the average person doesn’t get to do in their entire lifetime because I write. I get to tell stories, share my life with others and get to know wonderful people all over the world from all walks of life. So, would I choose to take the less traveled path….again? Hell yeah.

I’m lucky. I am blessed because every single day. I get to live life on my terms and that is what I want for my children. I have to lead by example. I’m really lucky because I have a husband who completely believes in me and supports my dreams. I’m even luckier that he has a career doing something he loves that actually pays well. We have family around to help out when I need to travel.

Outside of my husband and daughters, I don’t think that most of my family and friends really understand what I do or how I came to choose this path. It chose me. I was presented with options, my fork in the road, when I was pregnant with my daughter. It took me 2 years to choose which path to follow. I was scared, just like you. What if I chose wrong? It wasn’t just about me. It was about all of us.

Still, I’m with Zayn, when given the choice always choose happiness. Choose to follow your bliss. It might not be the popular choice but if it’s right for you, you can’t worry about popularity. Be brave. Be happy.

Do you think Zayn Malik is crazy or crazy smart to choose his happy over money and fame?

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5 Ways to Have an Amazing Spring Break on a Budget http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/spring-break-budget/ http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/spring-break-budget/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 16:55:23 +0000 http://www.motherhoodthetruth.com/?p=22917 Our life is always hectic and spring break is one of those times of year that I prefer to NOT go running off on a family vacation to some place awesome like Disney World because, you know, the rest of the world is doing that. I just want to sleep in and enjoy not having to […]

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Our life is always hectic and spring break is one of those times of year that I prefer to NOT go running off on a family vacation to some place awesome like Disney World because, you know, the rest of the world is doing that. I just want to sleep in and enjoy not having to be anywhere. I want to actually enjoy just being and giving our minds a break.

I like to take the time to relax and enjoy my kids. Granted, we get bored so we need to do more than just sit around staring at one another and it wouldn’t be right to make the kids clean the entire break, ahem, right? Yeah, no. I know it wouldn’t be right.

So here are a few budget friendly ideas for your next spring break.

spring break, budget, kids, Land of Nod

Indoor camping

There are so many great things you can do just by staying put. We live in the suburbs so first on our list is indoor camping! The girls got an amazing tent, constellation nightlight and sleeping bags from the Land of Nod this Christmas and I know they love camping out. So, one night (or maybe two) this spring break we will pretend we are camping. I will put up the giant tent, lay out the sleeping bags, we will have hot dogs on the grill and s’mores ( in the microwave because it’s snowing today), tell some ghost stories and let our imaginations go wild. This is one of the perks of small children, those imaginations can take you absolutely everywhere without ever leaving the house. The best part is that all play houses and tents are on sale for 20% off through March 23rd.

Local waterpark or hotel

For the last weekend of spring break we are surprising the girls, meeting their cousins and spending a couple days at the Great Wolf Lodge. We’ve never been so we are super excited and by arriving early, staying only one night and leaving late, we are maximizing the fun on a minimal budget. Also, I searched out an awesome discount and that made it even more affordable. We live in the Midwest and unless we drive or fly a few hundred miles south, we’re going to be surrounded by snow and/or wintery weather mix. I hate the cold but if we go to an indoor water it is a balmy 80 degrees. Now, I was not a fan of indoor waterparks until I had children. I prefer the beach but I have found that at the waterparks, it’s always warm and there are so many different slides, pools and activities that no one ever tells me, “I’m BORED!” You may even want to meet up with a group. We are meeting my sisters and their kids and husbands and celebrating a couple cousins’ birthdays while there. We can’t wait! The 7-year-old is marking her calendar. For an added bonus, take Grandma and relax a little. If you want to get out of the house but don’t want the hassle of added cost of a waterpark, you can always just stay at a local hotel with a pool. The kids will love it.

Visit Family or Friends

If you are watching your budget, why not go visit family or friends? You save yourself the cost of a hotel, you get to spend time reconnecting with the people that you love the most and your kids have a blast hanging out in a new city. I’m lucky my family lives in Chicago and it’s only a 3-hour drive, so it’s an easy couple day trip and the city is full of places to go, foods to eat and people to see that my children don’t get to usually do so everyone wins.

Explore Your own City

Whether you live in a big city or a small one, there are always things to do. Check out a new restaurant that you’ve never tried or visit a boutique or shop that you’ve never been into. There are all kinds of hidden gems that most cities have and no one has the time to try new things because we always do what we know because it’s easy. For instance, there is a wonderful art museum right across the street from my daughter’s ballet school. We never go in because we are always going to ballet. During spring break, we are going to check it out and try a new restaurant downtown. If you want to kick it up a notch, get a play date group and do local scavenger hunt in your own city.

Take a vacation from your regular life

If you ask me, the best thing about spring break is not having to be anywhere so why not just relax. Have a pajama movie day. Spend all day coloring in a coloring book with your kids. Have an at home spa day or give each other makeovers. Just do something that you don’t get to do every day like breakfast for dinner or pizza for breakfast. Most of all just try to enjoy your time with your kids because, as I keep reminding myself, they are only little for a little while.

Bonus: We are getting to test drive a Mitsubishi Outlander for the week, so I’ll be completely taking a vacation from my regular life. Can’t wait to tell you all about it.

Disclosure: While all opinions are my own, I was provided product for review purposed from The Land of Nod.

What is your family doing this spring break?

 

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