Author

Deborah Cruz

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safety

Children and teens love being online. The older they get, the more they love it. Whether it’s watching videos on YouTube, playing Fortnite or interacting with friends from school on SnapChat and Instagram, our kids spend a lot of time online. The thing is, do we really know who they’re hanging out within the online world? We can’t even be sure that we know who we’re dealing with in this world of online personas and filters. Is anyone who they seem to be? I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to keep my children safe online from the toddler age through to their teens.

Maybe it would be easier if our kids were just playing outside. But that’s not the real world. It’s only part of it and our kids need to learn how to navigate safely through the digital world. It’s not like when we were kids. There’s a whole online world connecting our children to people all over the world. All the hoping and wishing is not going to unring that bell.

READ ALSO: Online Persona who’s real and who isn’t? How to know the difference.

There may be those that argue that digital technology makes children unhealthy from the lack of fresh air and physical activity. People will tell you that this generation of kids will be awkward and develop poor social skills but I think that’s an alarmist attitude. Our children need to have their bearings in both worlds because currently, the future is living in one and experiencing life in the other.

There are solid arguments in defense of having exposure to technology from a young age. Many games involve complex problems that need solving. Schools use online classrooms and apps to teach our kids. These same games can improve hand-eye coordination and children learn very quickly how to use technology in great depth, in a very natural and intuitive way.

A bigger concern though is how safe our children are online. With access to so much, often unrestricted content, how do we know that our children are not going to come into contact with things that they’re not old enough to deal with? We have parental controls on our daughters’ computers and phones. They are only allowed the apps we give them permission to use and we check often. But even the most vigilant parent can’t be everywhere all the time. We need to teach our children, from an early age, how to be safe and smart online.

READ ALSO: How to keep your family safe online

The other aspect of this is also a concern over who they might come into contact with. There is always a worry with social media or games that have chat functions, that children may come into contact with strangers who prey on the young. My biggest fear is a pedophile posing as another child, gaining my daughters’ trust and violating them in some way.

So how do we deal with this challenge? Nobody wants to cut their children off entirely from enjoying something they love, and with technology being a bigger and bigger part of our lives, the children of today will have even more of a relationship with technology.  As parents, we have to keep them informed, tech-savvy and safe by doing a few simple things.

Take An Interest In What Your Child Is Doing Online

Make online activities a family experience where you can. Get involved with their gaming, and spend time understanding what they’re doing when they are online. My girls only game online when their dad is playing with them. Keeping a healthy, positive interest will mean that your children will be less likely to hide activity from you. If you know the games, they’re playing, and the sites that they’re visiting, you’ll have a better idea of what any specific risks are. This will help you put things in place to minimize these risks.

Teach your children about passwords by sitting with them when they sign up to their first sites. Make sure they learn early on how important passwords are, and that they should use different passwords on different websites and use a healthy mix of letters (upper and lowercase), numbers and special characters.

Having Straight, Honest Conversations

Be honest with your children about the dangers of strangers online, and the kind of content on there, but try not to scare them too much. They do have to live and work online. Encourage them to be cautious. Encourage your children to talk to you about anything that they see so that if something ever happens, they go to you immediately.

Parental Controls

Make sure you know how to access any master parental controls from your home router, as well on every device your children might have access to. This is so important. Find out about the best apps and devices for monitoring your kids safe online activity. Make sure that these are installed and working.

“Friend” Your Children

If your children are using social media, befriend or follow them online. Your children need to learn that anything they post online has the potential to be viewed by anyone and that once it’s posted, even if it gets deleted, it could come back and cause them damage. I taught my girls from the beginning to not post anything that they wouldn’t want their grandpa seeing. I’ve also shown them how screenshot works and the reality that nothing is temporary on the internet. The Internet is forever.

How to keep your children safe online from toddler to teen, online safetyThese are just a few tips for keeping your children safe online. What’s your best tip?

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Netflix,Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

Hope you all had a Happy Stranger Things 3 Fourth of July! Wait, you didn’t spend yesterday binging Netflix’s Stranger Things Season 3??? I have a tween and a teen girl so, forget the fireworks, we were glued to all the action happening in Hawkins and in awe of the kids in the Stranger Things cast. They are all so grown up.

READ ALSO: The TRUTH about Parenting Teens

I have a special place in my heart for Stranger Things because it not only reminds me of my youth, but my girls are around the same age as the kids in the show. I’m living Stranger Things. This Netflix binge is something the girls and I laugh, cry and bond over. Remember the Stranger Things 13th Birthday party we threw for Bella? Still one of my favorites.

Stranger Things 3: It’s 1985 in Hawkins, Indiana, and summer’s heating up. School’s out, there’s a brand new mall in town, and the Hawkins crew are on the cusp of adulthood. Romance blossoms and complicates the group’s dynamic, and they’ll have to figure out how to grow up without growing apart. Meanwhile, danger looms. When the town’s threatened by enemies old and new, Eleven and her friends are reminded that evil never ends; it evolves. Now, they’ll have to band together to survive and remember that friendship is always stronger than fear.

11 Reasons Why You Should Binge Stranger Things 3 Today

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown1. Big Kids, Big Problems

The kids are older and behave so. People have coupled up and the storylines are relatable not only to your tweens/teens going through the same thing but for the parents having to navigate the murky waters of first loves too. Someone met a girl at camp. I adore the bromance between Steve and Dustin. If the Eleven and Hopper relationship evolution in Stranger Things 3 doesn’t make you cry, you are dead inside.

2. Girls Rule, Boys Drool

Steve is fulfilling his destiny and winning for the first time ever. Steve might actually win a fight and, no spoilers, but a lesson in humility and an open mind might make him a better person. Mike and Lucas learn a few things about how to treat a girl, the hard way.

Hopper. Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

3. Adulting, it’s complicated

Hopper and Joyce…Jopper? Does anyone need a love story more than these two? Also, a steamy near affair Mrs. Robinson style. Not going to tell you who but you might not be surprised.   

4. The 80’s nostalgia will bring all the feelings of childhood back.

If you were alive in the ’80s or love 80’s movies be prepared to have flashbacks to every 80’s movie you’ve ever seen, in the best possible way. Be prepared for your kids to ask for all the 80’s styles that you rocked back in the day. FYI, they are available now at Hot Topic. Of course, they are.

5. There are far worse things than demogorgons…like way worse.

I thought the Demogorgon and Demodogs were disgusting but there is something much scarier and Stranger Things 3 brings it to you courtesy of all the citizens of Hawkins, Indiana.

Netflix Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

6. There is a healthy dose of girl power.  

Girls rule Hawkins from powerful Eleven to sassy Max, no B.S. Joyce to Suzy in Utah. The girls of Hawkins are tough cookies and even Nancy is giving the Wonder Woman pose this season. Go, Girls. Your girls will walk away from this season feeling empowered and elevated.

7. The Cold War is now.

You think the Russian interference now is scary, wait until you get a load of the Stranger Things 3 Russians. Nyet, thank you!

8. Something terrible happens to someone you love to hate.

We get the backstory on one of our favorite characters that we love to hate. We find out they’ve had it rough and just need a break. Self-sacrifice will leave you in deep need of Kleenex.

9. First LGBTQ character introduced in Hawkins.

It happened fast but we are pretty sure that one of the Hawkins kids is out. The best thing about it was that it was a no big deal moment. For the ’80s, that was everything. Bravo Stranger Things 3 cast and writers for keeping it 100. Never doubt that Hawkins is woke.

10. Life in Hawkins, Indiana will never be the same again.

A major character dies. I can’t tell you who because I’m not a jerk but have.all.the.Kleenex. I was ready to riot. Let’s just leave it at that. If it turns out to be real next season, I still might. I will tell you that if this character actually died, Hawkins will never be the same again. Also, there is a major shift and our gang gets separated.

11. Watch to the very end of the credits for a super plot twist.

PLEASE WATCH THROUGH THE CREDITS!! If you don’t you are going to miss a major clue for next season and you will spend the next year crying over the state of our favorite characters’ existence. The ending is hopeful.

Hopper, Joyce, Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brown

READ ALSO: Parent Guide to Teen Slang

That’s all the non-spolier reasons that I can give you to binge Stranger Things 3 today! Now, I’m off to plan our Stranger Things 3 Halloween costumes. I mean, the Fourth of July has passed so basically, it’s time for pumpkin lattes, right?

Netflix, Stranger Things, Eleven, Will Byers, Mike, Max, Stranger Things 3, Stranger Things Cast, millie bobby brownI am obsessed and we’re about to re-binge the entire series tomorrow.

If you already binged Netflix’s Stranger Things 3, let’s discuss in the comments.

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weight loss, lose weight fast, loose skin, thighgina, weight loss problems, how to lose weight fast, weight loss, how to lose 100 pounds

Want to lose weight fast? Don’t we all. I’ve been wanting to lose 100 pounds for years but I never did it. But, not because it was impossible but because I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to commit to all the things I needed to do to lose the weight. It’s not hard to lose 100 pounds, but it is a lot of work. A lot of work and it won’t happen overnight. If it does, you may want to go see your doctor because something is probably wrong.

READ ALSO: The Burden of Being a Fat Woman

To lose weight, you need to make up your mind, seriously, that you are ready to lose the weight. You need to go into it knowing that it will take time. It will require sacrifice. It’s not a diet. It’s a lifestyle change. You will have to dedicate yourself to pursuing this for as long as it takes, maybe forever.

The good news is that you can unlearn bad habits and form new habits in about 3 weeks time. 3 weeks is a long time when you are adjusting to reducing carbs and calories. 3 weeks is a long time when you are just starting to move and work out but it’s only 3 weeks.

How to lose weight without feeling like you’re being punished.

After 3 weeks, moving will become a habit. Believe it or not, you will begin to crave it and even enjoy it. You’ll look forward to your morning walk or workout. I promise you will. Your body will adjust to your new way of eating. The bad foods will stop tasting as good and the good foods will start to taste better. You will learn to live in your new normal. You will find that after 3 weeks, it doesn’t feel restrictive. This is a lifestyle change so everything in moderation. Don’t put anything off limits or your mind will want it more.

What am I doing to lose weight aside from changing how I eat?

I am developing a healthy relationship with food for the first time, honestly, in my entire life. Food is fuel.

Am I still a foodie? Yes, you can be a foodie without being a glutton. I eat everything in moderation and a weigh and measure before it goes in my mouth. No more mindless eating. No more stress or comfort eating. I’m having to face my issues. It is hard. No more asking for forgiveness. It’s all about permission now and allowing myself to be human.

I’m eating fewer carbs and less sugar, and eating more vegetables and whole foods. That’s it.

READ ALSO: How a Doctor’s Visit Saved My Life

I’m moving.

Moving doesn’t need to mean going to the gym or getting a Peloton, even though I still want one of those. For me, it means alternating between CIZE by Beachbody ( I started with the 30-minute video and just upped to the 45-minute one) and the BBG app. It can mean just walking.I’m still pretty overweight and out of shape so BBG is hard for me so I modify and on some days, I even do the postpartum workout because it’s what I can do. In the past few weeks, I’ve also added walking 45 minutes a day (when it’s not raining out.) The point is that I am making a conscious choice to move and more importantly, I’m making the time and not excuses. Excuses are what got me here in the first place.

how to lose weight fast, weight loss, how to lose 100 pounds

Forgiving myself for not being perfect.

I am a human. I am taking one day at a time. Losing this kind of weight and fighting for your life is not a sprint, it’s a long ass cross country race and it takes time. There will be slip ups and plateaus. But with the one day at a time mentality, one foot in front of the other, it’s just one moment of my journey and that one slip up does not define me. Neither does the size of my pants.

Loving myself.

I never thought I could truly love myself. As I said, I am a perfectionist with control issues. I am my harshest critic. I love big and fearlessly when it comes to others but I’ve never been able to look at myself that way. I’m learning to love me. I’m prioritizing me. I am as important as the people I love. I’m beginning to see the good in me. The gifts that I offer the world.

READ ALSO: Sugar is a drug and I was an addict.

Letting others be there for me.

This is another thing that has always been hard for me. I love being people’s rock but I hate hinging my happiness on others so I never do. I’m always afraid they will fail me. But after 20 years of marriage to the Big Guy, he has always been there for me. I always say that he saved my life when we met because that’s when I stopped the anorexia. Well, he’s doing it again. He’s all in and so are my girls and my friends and family. I have received so much love, encouragement and support from so many of you. It means everything to me. You all inspire me.

This is how you lose 100 pounds.

Well, actually the end goal is 111 pounds. It’s not about starving yourself. It’s about loving yourself, forgiving yourself and prioritizing yourself enough to take the time, have the patience and put in the effort to get healthy.

To be honest, the end goal is not even a number on the scale for me. The end goal is being completely healthy and on no medication. The goal is to live as long as I can to see my girls grow up, my grandchildren be born and grow up and get married. The goal is to be happy, love myself as unconditionally as I love my family and to feel good in my own skin; to be around to see as many sunsets with my husband as life will allow.

What are you doing to take care of you?

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Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

I’m so excited to share with you Tim Burton’s all-new visionary live-action DUMBO that is available everywhere on June 25th!  Fall in love again with this heartfelt story when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD – with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, bloopers and more!

 READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

“Dumbo,” the grand live-action adventure from Disney and visionary director Tim Burton expanded on the beloved animated classic and sent spirits soaring. Disney invites fans to fall in love again with this heartfelt story, in which differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight, when it swoops into homes on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ and Movies Anywhere, and physically on 4K Ultra HD,  Blu-ray™ and DVD — with never-before-seen bonus features, deleted scenes, Easter eggs and bloopers.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

Stunning extras will transport viewers to the set of “Dumbo,” where cast members Danny DeVito (circus owner Max Medici), Michael Keaton (opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere), Colin Farrell (war-veteran-turned-elephant-keeper Holt Farrier), Eva Green (stunning aerialist Colette Marchant), Nico Parker (Farrier’s daughter, Milly) and Finley Hobbins (Farrier’s son, Joe) share their personal stories of courage and character.

READ ALSO: Why I Loved Disney’s Aladdin Live-Action more than the Original

Features explore how Disney’s timeless animated story was brought to life with an incredibly expressive, lovable, fully computer-generated baby elephant; the longtime collaboration of Burton, production designer Rick Heinrichs and costume designer Colleen Atwood, which resulted in jaw-dropping sets and costumes; and the creation of the visually colossal Dreamland parade sequence. Also included are nine deleted scenes, hidden and not-so-hidden Easter eggs, bloopers and a special performance of “Baby Mine” by Arcade Fire.

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo

In “Dumbo,” struggling circus owner Max Medici enlists former star Holt Farrier and his children to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive but sinister entrepreneur V.A.Vandevere, who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, spectacular, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland.

READ ALSO: Toy Story 4 Reveals the Meaning of Life

“Dumbo” will be released in several different formats, giving families the flexibility to watch it on a variety of devices. Viewers can watch the film in Digital 4K UHD, HD and SD, and bring home a physical copy of the film as the 4K Ultra HD Edition (4K UHD, Blu-ray and Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD.

Bonus features include*:
BLU-RAY & DIGITAL HD:

  • CIRCUS SPECTACULARS: Dumbo’s cast shares their experience of making the film—and get to the heart of a story about family and believing in yourself.
  • THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM: Explore how one of Disney’s most lovable characters went from an animated classic to a stunning live-action retelling.
  • BUILT TO AMAZE: Get a closer look at the film’s production and costume design.
  • DELETED SCENES: A compelling collection of scenes that almost made the final film.
    • Roustabout Rufus
    • Pachyderm Plans
    • The Other Medici Brother
    • Monkey Business
    • A Star Is Born
    • Where’s Dumbo
    • Elephant Heist
    • A Seat at the Show
  • EASTER EGGS ON PARADE: Discover the hidden and not-so-hidden nods to the animated Dumboin this narrated tribute to the Disney classic.
  • CLOWNING AROUND: Laugh along with the cast in a collection of big-top bloopers and goofs from the set.
  • “BABY MINE”: Visual video performed by Arcade Fire

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's DumboDIGITAL EXCLUSIVE:

  • DREAMLAND – ANATOMY OF A SCENE: From Final Script to Final Scene: The filmmakers and cast talk a lot about the feeling of “grand intimacy” in the film.  Step right up as they bring the Dreamland parade to life, accomplishing the rare marriage of a massive spectacle combined with an emotional tenderness.
  • 4K Ultra HD: English Dolby Atmos and 2.0 Descriptive Audio; Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus Language Tracks
  • Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA and 2.0 Descriptive Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Language Tracks
  • DVD: English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio Language Tracks
  • UHD Digital: English Dolby Atmos (some platforms); English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • HD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)
  • SD Digital: English, Spanish and French 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital; English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)

Dumbo, Disney Entertainment, Disney's Dumbo 

DUMBO” CAST AND CREW: 
The film stars Golden Globe® winner Colin Farrell (“In Bruges,” “The Lobster”) as war-veteran turned elephant-keeper Holt Farrier, Golden Globe winner Michael Keaton (“Birdman,” “Beetlejuice”) as opportunistic businessman V.A. Vandevere, Emmy® and Golden Globe winner Danny DeVito (“Batman Returns,” “Big Fish”) as circus owner Max Medici, and BAFTA Award winner and Golden Globe nominee Eva Green (“Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children,” “Dark Shadows”) as stunning aerialist Colette Marchant. Nico Parker and Finley Hobbins make their feature film debuts as Holt’s children, Milly and Joe.

Here is a fun origami activity to do with your children in celebration of the release of Disney’s Dumbo.

Like DUMBO on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DisneyDumbo/

Follow DUMBO on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dumbo

Follow DUMBO on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dumbo/

Visit the official DUMBO website here: https://disney.com/dumbo

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Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

I thought Toy Story 3 was the best wrap up of a series as there ever was. However, I was proven wrong last night. Toy Story 4 takes us parents on a ride and sees it through to the end and this mom is all in her feels. Where’s Drake when I need him?

Toy Story 4 Basic Synopsis:

Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy, Forky (voice of Tony Hale), declares himself as “trash” and not a toy, Woody takes it upon himself to show Forky why he should embrace being a toy.

READ ALSO: What is Disney Creator Days and How Can I Get Invited?

But when Bonnie takes the whole gang on her family’s road trip excursion, Woody ends up on an unexpected detour that includes a reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts). After years of being on her own, Bo’s adventurous spirit and life on the road belie her delicate porcelain exterior. As Woody and Bo realize they’re worlds apart when it comes to life as a toy, they soon come to find that’s the least of their worries. Directed by Josh Cooley (“Riley’s First Date?”), and produced by Mark Nielsen (associate producer “Inside Out”) and Jonas Rivera (“Inside Out,” “Up”)

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Parenting is a thankless job of loving and living for other people. People we created and have made the very reason for our existence. There is nothing more fulfilling or joyous than being given the gift of loving someone so completely and unconditionally. We are in those years, blinded by that love.

But one day, they will grow up. They will move on, as they are supposed to. They will have lives, families and children of their own and as much as we want to hold on tighter and forever, we have to let them go. And it hurts so much. Too much. But that’s the job; raise good human beings and then set them free to go forth and make the world a better place…no matter how much it breaks your heart.

READ ALSO: Everything You Need to Know about the Disney Dream Cruise

But something unexpected happens, when your little birds fly away and you are left in your empty nest, you have time for you again. Time to live for you. Time to pursue what makes YOU happy. Time to love your partner. Go ahead, you deserve it. Just like Woody deserved to find his Bo Peep. He did his job. He loved Andy and Bonnie with everything that he was. He sacrificed. He selflessly served them as long as they needed him and only when they no longer did, did he let go and even then it was begrudgingly.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

As parents, it is our mission to love our children. Sometimes it feels like our sole purpose and we are happy to have it. But, like Woody, we’ve got to let go of the past and live in the present. Look toward the future. We deserve to be happy. We deserve to be loved the way we loved our children. We deserve that.

READ ALSO: Disney’s the Lion King

Where, then, does Woody stand? In the movie’s scheme of things, he stands for all of us who feel we’ve lost our purpose in one phase of our life and haven’t yet found the courage to start the next phase. Toy Story 4 is all about transitioning to the next phase for everyone one of us. We are constantly evolving.

What Woody comes to understand, ever so slowly, is that life is not only for living but for loving, and he and Bo have found each other. As Woody struggles to resolve his fears and feelings, “Toy Story 4” transcends toydom. It feels exquisitely alive.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

It boils down to this, in the end, our quality of life is weighed and measured in love; the love we give gives us meaning and the love we receive gives us purpose.

Toy Story 4 teaching us lessons we didn’t even know we needed to learn.

Whether it’s romantic love, familial love, parental love, friendship or mutual respect, love is the true meaning of life and without it, the quality of our lives is drastically reduced if not removed. At the basis of humanity, we need to love one another. The love we give is reflected back in the joy we feel.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In Toy Story 4, we’re shown all different types of love and its value is quantified from an outside perspective and suddenly, it all makes sense… love is the meaning of life. Giving and receiving.

READ ALSO: I Loved Aladdin Live-Action More than the Original

In the end, they all chose to love and let themselves be loved. The thing is that kind of vulnerability is terrifying. Putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to become part of something bigger than just yourself, allowing someone else to be a part of the equation to determine whether or not you are happy and fulfilled is risky but so worth it because the only way to experience life fully is with love and the only way to love is completely.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky

©2019 Disney/Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

In the end, Andy grew up and Bonnie gave her love to Forky but Woody finally got to be part of something for him, he got to be loved in return and that’s something. He got to start a new adventure in life as part of a couple. His friends loved him so much that they let him go follow his bliss with Bo Peep, the same way Bo Peep put her feeling for him on a shelf and left him behind when she knew he had to stay with Andy. That’s what love is about, taking someone else’s needs and wants into consideration.

In Toy Story 4, Woody finally got to choose to love and be loved in return and there’s nothing better in this life. Sometimes love means letting go, sometimes it means jumping in with both feet and taking a chance and sometimes it means holding on for dear life. Toy story 4 taught me that.

Duke Caboom, Woody, Buzz, Bo Peep, GabyGaby, Toy Story 4, Meaning of Life, Love, Forky, Ducky and Bunny

Disney Pixar’s Toy Story 4 in theaters June 21st. Now playing. Giving me the meaning of life.

What was your biggest takeaway from Toy Story 4?

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Going back to work, stay-at-home mom, new career

Are you a stay-at-home mom? Have you taken a break from corporate America to be at home and raise your family? Maybe you’re thinking of dipping your toe back in the office pond? You’re not alone. It’s scary.

A few months ago, I got really excited about the thought of returning to a corporate job. I actually got way more excited than I expected to. Dare I say I was giddy. Suddenly, the thought of someone calling me by my actual name and not needing me to keep them alive was very appealing. I felt wanted for my brain and it was amazing.

Building a fulfilling career is a challenge that a lot of people struggle with. It takes years of pushing yourself in the right direction and doing the hard work to move up the ladder. It’s easy to end up back at square one in the process, especially if you take time out for personal reasons, like raising a family. Nobody wants to hear it but it’s true even if it shouldn’t be.

READ ALSO: Working Mom Guilt; Finding the Balance 

Raising children takes a lot of time and effort, so it’s no wonder that you have to work twice as hard if you are trying to balance that with climbing the ladder in corporate America. Let’s be honest mamas and papas, I’ve only got two legs and after spending the day chasing little ones and running behind eye-rolling teenagers, my two legs and my brain are exhausted.

That shouldn’t keep us from having the careers we went to school for and worked so hard for before we became parents. Being a parent should not mean an automatic, go to jail do not pass go. We should not be penalized. Let’s be honest, parents need the money more than anyone else. Kids are expensive.

If you’re planning on returning to the workforce, hopefully, this post will help pump you up to go out there and do you.

Why Do It?

First, decide what your ‘why’ is? What is your reason for wanting to return to work? If you’re like me, your “why” are those little people whose butts and noses you’ve been wiping for the past few years. Then, get your head in the right space. There are so many reasons to want to build a career as your kids grow up, from wanting something different in your life to planning ahead for when the kids are grown. You have to decide what makes it worth it for you and your family. Obviously, there are benefits anyone would get from this, you’ll find a few below.

Money: While working any “job” can provide enough money for you to live on, especially if you are going from a 1 to 2 income household, but getting something higher up the ladder will obviously present the potential to earn more money. This extra money could go towards a vacation home, helping your kids as they start their own careers, traveling the world or just saving for a rainy day. But, I’ll be honest, if I’m leaving the house and my family, it’s got to be worth it, so the higher up the ladder, the better to me.

READ ALSO: Would You Prefer Being Divorced over Being a Stay-at-Home Parent?

Satisfaction: Personal fulfillment is a big motivator. I used to speak 4 languages. Now, my first languages are baby gibberish and teen slang. Retirement sounds like the real American dream when you’re in a job you hate. However, the reality is that spending all of that time focused on yourself might not be all it’s all cracked up. You might actually find it to be boring, especially if you take early retirement. By building a career doing something that you love you can add a lot of satisfaction to your work life and when you do retire it will be because you’re ready to relax not because you are trying to get away from a job you hate.

Personal Value: Not everyone cares about being around other people, and will be happy to work for themselves for their entire life. If you value the community to live in, maybe you pursue a career as a way of increasing your personal value to your local area. For example, entering a new field where you are contributing value to your community may be something that you find fulfilling and fills a need for the people in your area.

Your Direction

Now that you’ve considered the benefits, time to think about how you’re going to build your career. First, decide on your direction. This doesn’t have to be as specific as the company you’d like to work for or the exact role you want, as long as it gives you a clear path to follow. Not a lot of people take this approach, but it can be a good idea to build your goals into something like a business plan. Having a plan will help you find your way to the career path you want.

This is a serious decision and it’s important that you consider everything and everyone this move will affect. You’ll want a career that you will enjoy and this will probably be the most important factor for most of us, but it isn’t the only thing to consider. It’s also worth considering the things that you’re good at, as well as those things that you struggle with. With these considerations in mind, it should be easy to find a fulfilling career path that you’ll love. You’ll need to do lots of research to find something you can jump into that meets all of your criteria.

Education

There are several hurdles that you’ll need to overcome before you can find yourself a new career, and education is one of the biggest. It’s common for employers to expect degrees and certifications from potential employees, even if the jobs being advertised don’t require them. The market is oversaturated with qualified people. With Professor Google, it shouldn’t be too hard to figure out what you need and you can easily search for courses to upgrade your qualifications.

Research: This will start with a little bit of research, with each of the courses you have available asking for different requirements. There are websites out there which collect and compare qualifications, but you may have to do some extra searching to make sure that you’re not missing an option that could be perfect for you.

READ ALSO: If You Send Your Kids to Public School, You’re the Worst

Type Of Study: Over the last few years, it’s become increasingly common for schools to offer e-learning courses. These options are perfect for those who want to raise children at the same time as learning. Not everyone will have the discipline or attention span for something like this, so seriously consider the commitment before you decide to take on something like a BBA online to become a business manager.

Get Qualified: Once you know what kind, of course, you’d like to take and how you’d like to do it, it’s time to start getting qualified. This could take anywhere from a couple of months to several years, making it hard for a lot of people to stay focused and motivated. If you start when your kids are babies, you’ll have lots of great opportunities to do some learning as they grow up. Or maybe you prefer to wait until they are in school all day, either way, where there is a will there is a way. You can do this.

Experience

Along with working on your education to build a new career or return to the one you had, you may also need to spend some time thinking about the experience you have. While you need to work to be able to get experience, most roles will expect a minimum of a few years working in an entry-level role before you can get into something better. For some people, this will be a normal part of progression, and it won’t be too hard to push yourself to work for a few years before you can get the job you really want. However, maybe you’ve been doing some on the job training as a parent that you haven’t even considered. For example, I think my organization and multitasking skills have definitely grown as I’ve been working with children for the past 14 years.

As your kids grow up, you will have plenty of opportunities to get experience. If you wanted to become an office manager, for example, it would make sense to spend some time working in the school office or a local doctor’s office. This can be done when the kids are at school, and even as little as one day a week can be enough to build the background you need. This will enable you to slip into your new career far more quickly once the kids have left home, and won’t force you to spend the first leg of your career doing entry-level work.

Getting Your New Job

After all of this effort, it’ll feel like you’ve done more than enough to get the job of your dreams. In reality, though, you still have to go through the application and interview process. Applying for the job you like is simple enough; you only need a resume and a cover letter. There are loads of resources around the web that can help you with this. Employers will get far more applications than they need, and your documents could end up simply being ignored. This isn’t something you can control but makes sense to cast a wide nest and apply for as many jobs as possible.

If you’re successful with your application, you’ll be asked for an interview, and this will usually be face to face. This can be equally terrifying and surprisingly exciting. This is where I got to in the process. Prepare for your interview. Even if you feel confident, a question you’re unprepared for can easily throw you off your game. There are lots of resources on the web to help you prep for an interview. You might get confusing and difficult questions, but it will be worth taking the time to think about each of them. Anything that makes you feel more at ease in the interview process is an asset and a weapon that puts you ahead of the other candidates.

READ ALSO: What’s the DIfference Between a SAHM and Working Moms?

In most cases, you will only ever hear back from an employer if you’ve got the job, with the rest of the candidates being ignored. It’s not worth letting your hope die if a couple of months go by, though, as a lot of businesses have to go through long processes to hire someone, and won’t be able to get back to you until everything is properly in place. Unfortunately for me, that position that I was really excited about got put on hold according to the last email I received from the HR department. But still, it felt good to be interviewed and see a company get excited about what I have to offer.

With all of this in mind, are you ready to take on the challenge of building a career while you’re a full-time parent? And what parent isn’t a full-time parent? This approach can make your future more enjoyable with more money, satisfaction, and skills you’ve ever had before all working together to provide you and your family with a higher quality of life.

Are you ready to go back to work?

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Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Do you live near a Primark? Me neither. But I do frequent Primark Boston when I’m in town each summer. What is Primark? It’s an Irish fast fashion retailer headquartered in Dublin, Ireland but is now the fastest growing retailer in the United Staes. We’re talking Depeche Mode at its finest if you ask me. But why do I think that Primark is the best place to shop with teenagers?

What does that mean? I think the about us page says it all…

Adored by fashion fans and value seekers alike Primark is widely established as the destination store for keeping up with the latest looks without breaking the bank.

Primark is an international retailer based out of Europe that offers the latest fashion, beauty and homeware trends at the best value on the high street. Simply put, amazing fashion at amazing prices. Don’t walk in there expecting Nordstrom quality but you won’t be paying Nordstrom prices either. In no way am I saying that the products are of bad quality. I am a big fan and my daughters are even bigger fans.

READ ALSO: Best Things to Do in Boston with Teenagers and Tweenagers

All this to say, I love Primark. My daughters love Primark. Why? Because I can get them trendy clothes at a great price and good quality. But budget-friendly enough that I’m not going to get upset when they outgrow pieces or it goes out of style because we all know that trends change faster than a teenager’s mood these days.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Not convinced that Primark is for you?

Let me give you 5 reasons that Primark is the best place to shop with teenagers.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has all different trends available.

Not into crop tops? Hate denim? Love denim? Love rompers? Prefer long dresses? No, more of a mini dress connoisseur? Maybe you love Harry Potter t-shirts? Or maybe Disney is more your speed? Perhaps you want to look a little more mature with some chic professional tops and blazers? No matter what you need, Primark has got you covered.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has constantly changing inventory.

Didn’t find anything you liked today? I’m calling bullsh*t because I never leave that place without finding something but if you did, come back tomorrow, there will probably be some new inventory. Awesome if you didn’t find anything yesterday but not fun if you found the perfect jeans and now you want 12 more pairs. Best to buy it when you see it. They don’t call it fast fashion just because.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Try it Before You Buy It.

No, I don’t mean you can rent the runway at Primark but it sure is easier and more cost effective to buy that Zimmermann dupe before buying an actual Zimmerman piece with a much higher price tag. BTW, I love everything Zimmermann and if I could afford it, I’d have it all.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark has Cute Clothes that you won’t find everywhere else.

Well, at least you won’t find these pieces at your local Target or Kohls. I feel like the pieces are more fashion-forward than some other staples. For example, I saw lots of pastel flower patterns, cotton eyelet dresses and paper bag pants and shorts on the runway this spring but I’m not seeing those in the stores, at least not here in the Midwest. I love that we can get cute clothes and won’t see everyone else in town wearing them.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Primark is budget friendly.

I will post my last haul below. I spent around $150 between 2 trips. At any other store, I would have only gotten a fraction of the items and I can guarantee that I wouldn’t have had the selection of sizes and variety.

Still not convinced that Primark is for you and your family?

READ ALSO: How to have a High Fashion Wardrobe on a Budget   

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

This is what $150 got me at Primark:

3 pairs of culottes $12 per pair

1 pair of awesome fit, high-waist, skinny, raw edge jeans $24 (*Best jeans ever).

2 Flutter sleeved, cotton eyelet blouses $17 each

1 adorable pair of Aladdin lounge pants $11

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

1 pack of Harry Potter socks (the softest socks I’ve ever owned) $2 ( on sale)

Cropped blouse with arrows on it $5 (on sale)

6 pairs of lightweight lounge shorts $4 per pair

1 lightweight festival dress $17

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

I don’t know about you but that’s a steal because that’s what I normally pay for one blouse/dress at Free People. And yes, I do love Free People and I mostly, shop the FP sales at Macy’s but still I could never get this many pieces for this price, not even at Target. With Primark Boston we don’t even have to worry about what to pack for our trips to Boston because we know we’ll be buying plenty.

Did I mention that the girls got so many cute and trendy outfits? They are like little kids in a candy shop every time we hit Primark. Maybe I should change the saying to like teenagers in Primark Boston. Every time we visit Boston, this is the first place the girls want to hit. In fact, hotel distance from Primark may even be a factor when we travel. Shhh, don’t tell the Big Guy.

Primark Boston, Why Primark is best place to shop with teenagers, teen fashion, budget friendly fashion

Have you ever shopped at Primark Boston? Or any Primark? What do you think of it?

Are you a Primark devotee or can you take it or leave it?

We’re obviously obsessed.

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food's an addiction, sugar is a drug, I was an addict, carbaholic

I’ve never had a healthy relationship with food. It’s always been the one thing I’ve loved and I’ve hated. I love the taste of food. It comforted me when things were tough. It would console me. Then I would use it to punish myself; to find myself unworthy. I would withhold it from myself, like love from a misogynist. Yet, I never thought sugar is a drug and I never considered myself an addict. This is how I lived in this vicious cycle pursuing perfection that doesn’t exist. It was a controlling relationship wherein I was the victim and the abuser.

But then I had a revelation, food’s an addiction. Sugar is a drug and I was an addict.

Yes, food is a drug and I am an addict and it’s almost killed me twice. Anorexia in the ’90s and diabetes in 2019. I used to proudly proclaim, “I’d rather work out for 3 hours straight than give up my French fries!” I was also the same person who secretly high-fived myself when people started to tell me that I was getting “too skinny” and looked sickly. In my mind, I was winning. I was cheating the system and beating food. Really, I was killing myself.

READ ALSO: Bulimarexia the Consequence of Impossible Standards

Here we are, 20 years in recovery from starvation and purging. Nasty little fact, being an anorexic is like being an alcoholic, every day is choosing to not indulge in the bad behavior no matter how much you want to. I won’t lie, there have been slip-ups. I’ve had a big meal and thrown it up. I’ve skipped meals. I’ve worked out excessively. I’ve tried to cheat the system and lied to myself that it was, “Ok, just this once” knowing how slippery the road really was. But for the most part, for the past 20 years, I had to let go of the control.

The problem with me is that there is no in between. There is micromanage everything that goes in my mouth and purge, there is restrict and starve and there is eat all the things with wild abandoned and no worry of consequences.

READ ALSO: How a Simple Doctors Visit Might Save My Life

Let me create a picture, so you all don’t think I was shoving whole sleeves of cookies down my throat. When I say wild abandon, I mean I ate food in moderate amounts but without worrying, caring or writing down anything. I had to do this because the alternative behaviors sent me right back into obsessive, controlling behavior that caused my anorexia in the first place.  Basically, I was out of control for two decades to avoid being dead. Or at least, that is what I made myself believe.

Now, here I am. Last month, I told you all about my come to Jesus meeting with my doctor. It was eye-opening, if not traumatic. She told me some hard facts. I feel like, for years, my doctors have been coddling me. I went from 103 pounds and inched up over the years and through the pregnancies to a whopping ( gulp..I’m about to say it out loud) 259.9 pounds at my heaviest. On the day my doctor gave me the bad news, I was 249.9 pounds. I’m 5’7”. I am morbidly obese. You know morbid means deadly, right?

I went home that day, cried my eyes out, stayed in bed for a couple of days, quite frankly, terrified of food. After all, it was literally killing me. But really, it wasn’t the food at all. It was me. I needed to take ownership of that. It was always me from anorexia through to diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

READ ALSO: A Day in the Life of a Girl with Eating Disorders

I took my 3 days to cry it out and feel sorry for myself and then I did what I always do, I put on my big girl panties and I figured it out. Not as easy as it sounds. I am still figuring it out.

Here’s where I began to break my food addiction.

I changed my thinking. I stopped thinking of it as a death sentence and began to think of it as a blessing. I was still alive. All I needed to do was change my behavior and learn how to eat.

I began to measure my food. You cannot imagine how off my portions were. Try it, you will be floored.

I began to count carbs. My doctor gave me grams per day; 45 per meal 3x a day, and 15 per snack 3x per day. The thing about counting carbs is first, carbs were not taken away. There is nothing that makes me want something more than making it forbidden.

I eliminated all pop and juice because they are nothing but sugar. Instead, I opted for fresh fruit and if I need a drink other than water or milk, I drink Bubly. Actually, I am obsessed with the cherry flavor.

I am learning to say no to things. I am learning that sometimes it is ok to say yes to a bite or a ½ of something you really want but always in moderation and always aware of the portion size and carb count. Through this process of cutting my carbs and portion control, I’m learning that I really don’t love some of the food that I thought I loved as much as I do.

Case in point, pizza. I can have one piece with a salad if I feel the need. However, wasting 27 carbs on one slice feels ridiculous and it just doesn’t taste the same to me anymore. Pizza, the food that I thought I couldn’t live without. I don’t even really like anymore. It tastes weird to me.

I’m eating real food. I’ve been focusing on lean meats, fresh vegetables, fruits and logging every single thing I put into my mouth. I’m not living on chicken broth or cabbage. This isn’t a diet. I also weigh myself every morning and check my blood pressure and my blood glucose every day. It feels a little bit like restricting and that terrifies me because I can’t slip back into those old behaviors but I can’t eat with wild abandon either because my life is at stake. For now, this is what is working for me.

So far, I’ve lost 20.5 pounds in 6 weeks. I’ve lost 17.5 inches since May 29th ( that was the first time I measured but by then I had already lost about 10 lbs. so I’m sure I’ve lost more than that). My blood pressure is completely normal. No more headaches. My blood glucose is completely in the normal range. No more insomnia. I’ve had insomnia my entire life. Now, I shut my eyes and go to bed on most nights by 10 p.m. I feel better than I’ve felt in years.

Maybe food’s an addiction. Maybe sugar is a drug and I was an addict but I’m changing all that and you can too. Do you think you’re a carb or sugar addict? Does your health say otherwise?

 

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mobile apps, mobile app, does your business need a mobile app, does your website need a mobile app

Does your website have an app? Mine doesn’t yet but lately, I’ve been wondering, should I? Mobile app developers are in high demand because more and more business owners are realizing just how beneficial having an app can be for their company. If you have an e-commerce business and you’re considering app development services, keep reading to see why you should definitely consider it.

We all know that it is imperative that our websites are mobile friendly. Google has made no bones about that. However, do you realize that users actually prefer to shop using their mobile devices? There are several studies that show that users prefer to shop via a mobile app versus a mobile browser. Apps make the shopping experience more enjoyable and faster, and users don’t need to worry about logging in each time or remembering a URL. Bottom line is that an app makes their life easier.

READ ALSO: How to Write a Media Kit for Your Blog

In a world of instant gratification, where convenience is everything, mobile apps are the future and the future is now. That’s why mobile app development is more important than ever for e-commerce businesses. It helps build brand loyalty. Having a mobile app for your business will give your brand an advantage over the competition in the digital world.

Apps are also a great way of nurturing and building loyal customers because you’ll engage with them more often, simply because its easier. Remember when Twitter was all about building relationships and interacting with people? Well, apps are the new Twitter. With push notifications on mobile apps, you can deliver personalized and streamlined experiences for each user. Push notifications can be location-based, which means you can offer customers special deals if they are close to one of your brick and mortar stores. If that wasn’t enough, mobile apps encourage social sharing, and they make payments faster, easier and more secure.

Top App Developers Provide A Lifelong Service

Top app developers provide a service that never truly ends, whether it’s an e-commerce app or custom Android firmware development services. This is the difference between good and bad app developers. You may think that your experience with the firm ends once the app has been delivered and launched, but that shouldn’t be the case. We don’t stop taking our kids to the pediatrician once they are born. There’s a lot more involved than just that first slap and tickle when they enter the world.

The digital world is ever changing. Just think about the advancements and developments that have happened over the past few years. There are always new trends and technologies emerging. I can barely keep up with all the changes in SEO, Google best practices and algorithms. Sometimes, keeping up feels like a full-time job of its own. If your app remains stagnant, you will only get left behind and your competition will leave you in their dust. This is why your relationship with your app developers should be long-lasting and ongoing.

READ ALSO: How to Start a Blog

Once your app developer builds your app, they’ll need to continually test it and analyze data to make sure that it’s effective and current. Tech is changing constantly, to stay relevant your app needs to be updated. When new iPhone and Android updates are released, your app will need to be tweaked to make sure that it is suitable for the new software and that it still performs like it’s supposed to. Can you imagine it not working and you not knowing? Your app developer will keep up to date with recent trends and changes in the way apps are used. By constantly looking for new features to add to your app, you can continue to deliver the best service and value to your users.

So are you convinced? Does your website need an app to make life easier, more convenient and engaging for your users? Google wants us to be mobile friendly, we know this for a fact. Maybe having an app means our site is super mobile friendly, or at least, user easy and, in today’s world, everyone’s always looking for the easy button.

If you were having a mobile app built for your website, what would be its best feature? What would you want it to do to make your user’s experience better? If you already have an app for your business, what do you love most about it?

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father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

Today is Father’s Day. When you think of the word father, you think of the man who gave you life. But really, a father is something much more than that, if you’re lucky. What makes a father? More importantly, how do you know how to be a good dad? A father is someone who loves you at your worst, someone who shows up every single day, even when it’s harder than anyone could have ever anticipated.

I think in a lot of ways; men are given hall passes on their responsibility as a parent. It’s like we’ve lowered the bar so far we don’t even know what makes a father anymore and no one is teaching men how to be a good dad. I’m not even blaming the men. I’m blaming society as a whole. Somewhere along the way, it became acceptable to do the bare minimum and still hold the title of father. A lot of dads just accepted the status quo. Maybe they didn’t know any better or maybe it was all of those pats on the back for taking care of their own children.

READ ALSO: Happy Father’s Day

What is a father? A father is defined as a male parent but to be a good dad includes behaving paternally. Instinctually putting your child before yourself. Prioritizing their happiness and well-being above your own sometimes. We should celebrate these dads every day of the year, not just on Father’s Day. It’s about more than gifts, it’s about appreciating all that they do.

Today, I wish a Happy Father’s Day to all the involved fathers.

There are a lot of great dads out there. Men who constantly show up and are there for their children and partners all the time. Men who embrace the title and feel privileged to be a part of their children’s lives. Men who do everything possible to create a better world for their children. I hope there are more of those dads than there are men who contribute to the genetic makeup of their children and think that’s where fatherhood ends.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

I’d like to say a special Happy Father’s Day to my husband, the Big Guy, for being the best father and husband anyone could ever want. He is 100% my partner in parenting. There is nothing I can do that he can’t do for our girls, well, with the exception of gestating them but then again, he is the husband who had sympathetic symptoms and weight gain so he tried. All kidding aside, I know that we are lucky because he is a kind and good man at his core.

He shows up when he’s exhausted and weary. Woke up many a night with our newborns, paced the floor with a colicky baby and held toddlers with nightmares of chickens and lemurs. The Big Guy does what needs to be done even when he doesn’t want to. He’s selfless and caring. His family always comes first and even though he and I had different upbringings and came from different cultures, he saw how important family was to me and he embraced it all.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

This is what makes a father.

He drives on long road trips so that he can show his girls the world. He treats them (and me) we unconditional love and respect so that they can see what a relationship is supposed to look/feel like. He holds them when they’re sad, listens when the world is hard and confusing, hears the things that go unsaid and makes them smile when they are sad. The Big Guy tries new things and goes out of his comfort zone so that our girls won’t be afraid to spread their wings and fly someday. His love knows no bounds.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

He’s driven to and attended countless ballet classes, recitals and performances. The Big Guy has worked backstage and volunteered to do things most dads would emphatically refuse. He’s been there for Robotics, soccer, gymnastics, violin and cheerleading. Helps with homework and hugs them when they’ve had a hard day. Listens to them gossip about school and talk about boys. Holds their hair when they’re sick, keeps them calm when they need shots and laughs the loudest when they are funny (even when it’s not funny). He builds them up so no one else can knock them down.

READ ALSO: A Baby Changes Everything

The Big Guy spoils them and makes them feel special because they are his girls. He encourages them and supports them in all that they’ve ever wanted to try or shown interest in. He is a cheerleader and a coach. He’s a soft place to land when the world knocks them down. He is so much more than words can say. They call him daddy, Papi and papa and he is all of that and more.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

Wondering how to be a good dad?

I am so happy that my daughters have such an amazing man as their father; a man who comes home from a long day at work and still musters the energy to play for hours with the girls. A man who listens quietly as they recount the most inane teenage drama there ever way. A father who doesn’t try to fix everything and knows when to just hear you. He makes 3 am runs for Tylenol and 6 am runs for cupcakes for school, rides your favorite roller coaster with you 15 times in a row and watches your favorite cartoon until you tire of it. He does all of this and never complains. This is love. This is what I wish for every child.

father's day, what makes a father, how to be a good dad

Happy Father’s Day to our Big Guy. We love you so much and we see you. We see all that you do for your family. We see the sacrifices that you make and we feel the love you give every single day. You are the best man we could have ever hoped to share our lives with.

Love you to the moon and back and to infinity and beyond!
XOXO Your Girls

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