Category:

Personal

tweens, teens, Teen Girls Rebel when Teen Boys Rated Female Classmates on Looks, Teen Boys Rated Female Classmates on Looks, teen girls rebel, girls fight rape culture, #MeToo, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School

You’ve heard of burn books? We all have. I remember in high school they were called slam books; same difference. Same jerky idea, different decade. Well, a group of high school boys at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School Maryland are bringing it back. But in the wake of the #MeToo movement, the girls are refusing to stand for it. Teen boys rated female classmates on looks and the teen girls rebel. They will no longer stay quiet. Like teenage superheroes, these girls fight rape culture.

Teen boys rating girls on their looks is a practice as old as time. For as long as men have been objectifying women, girls have been getting rated by their looks in burn books, slam books, bathroom walls and in guy group texts. It’s a national pastime for men and boys. The undiscriminating discriminatory act of objectifying the part of the population born with girl parts. It’s sickening.

This time the list is in an iPhone Notes app. It included the names of 18 girls in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School’s International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, ranked and rated on the basis of their looks, from 5.5 to 9.4, with decimal points to the hundredth place. There, with a number beside it.

A number rating system for girls like they’re cattle being rated for purchase. A group of male students created the list over a year ago and it’s been recirculated. Spreading like a plague through text messages and whispers during class. One male student saw the name of his friend, Nicky Schmidt, on the list and told her about it. Within 24 hours, most of the senior girls knew about the list. Teen boys rated female classmates on looks and the girls are not having it.

READ ALSO: The Problem with Little Boys

In the past, tween and teen girls would see the list, hang their head in shame and pray no one brought it up again. It’s shameful. It’s one thing to feel ugly ( as we all do in those awkward years) but it’s quite another to have everyone at school to see your national ugly average rating in notes, much less hear it whispered as you walk through the halls. The thing about these sorts of lists is that it shakes even the most confident young women to their core. Even if you’ve always thought you were pretty, these books have a way of crawling into your psyche and taking root; growing, twisting and digging in.

As someone who suffered from eating disorders and was never sure of herself, at least in the looks department, finding myself in a burn book would have made me feel so isolated, unsure and depressed. As a grown woman, it would make me rage because of two things, 1) I know I’m attractive enough 2) I don’t care what anyone else thinks about how I look or think or exist. But this is as a grown woman, it took years to have this confidence.

Yasmin Behbehani, a student at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, found herself ranked on this list after her friend, Nicky Schmidt, let her know about the list, as a heads up. But Behbehani didn’t want to know about this list. She was trying to stay in her lane; just trying to survive high school is hard enough without extracurricular  humiliation. She’d spent her entire high school tenure recovering from eating disorders and trying to avoid this kind of triggering comparison to her classmates but there is was in a text message with a screenshot of the list, typed out in the damn notes app.

These kinds of lists are not new. And they will never not exist. As long as boys are raised to objectify women with no real consequences they will continue to do so. But today is not yesterday, or last year, or the last decade. Today, we live in the world of #MeToo.

We are raising ours girls to not take this kind of treatment. Raising our girls to know there are more important things to be than beautiful and to speak up, no to scream, when we need to be heard. We’re empowering our little girls. We are not afraid of you any longer. You can’t demean us with your stupidity and objectification because we know we are more than our parts.

READ ALSO: Raising Girls to Survive Misogyny, Sexting and Slut Shaming

The girls of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School felt violated, objectified by classmates they thought were their friends. They felt uncomfortable getting up to go to the bathroom, worried that the boys were taking notes and editing their scores.Objectification feels horrible; judged at your very existence.

The things that no one counted on in this “boys will be boys” rape culture that we live in is that  there is power in numbers. Dozens of senior girls spoke to the school administration and to the boys, demanding not only disciplinary action in response to the list but a school-wide discussion about the toxic culture that allowed the list to happen in the first place. This resulted in one male student being given an in-school detention for one day. It wouldn’t even be on his record.

Not happy with the disciplinary action, Schmidt texted 15 friends and told them to tell all of their friends to show up at the school’s office the next day during lunch, “to tell them we feel unsafe in this environment and we are tired of this toxicity,” Schmidt wrote in her text. 40 senior girls showed up, packing into the assistant principal’s office where Schmidt read a statement she had written.

We want to know what the school is doing to ensure our safety and security,” Schmidt said. “We should be able to learn in an environment without the constant presence of objectification and misogyny.”

READ ALSO: The Reality of Being Born a Woman

The girls and administration agreed that to have a meeting with the male students in the program, including the assholes who created and circulated the list. On International Women’s Day, almost all of the students in the IB program — about 80 students — met in a large conference room for what was supposed to be a 45-minute meeting during fifth period. It lasted over 2.5 hours.

The girls shared personal stories and impassioned speeches about how the list made them feel. They shared their stories of sexual abuse, harassment and the lasting effects objectification has had on them. And something miraculous happened, the boys heard them. In fact, the boy who created the list stood up, took responsibility for the list and apologized for the hurt the list caused. I am so proud of the girls for uniting and standing up and demanding that their voices be heard. Silence is the enemy of equality.

The thing this isn’t new and the kid who made the list and the ones who passed it around are not the minority. The girls who spoke up and refused to be treated like this, they are the minority in our culture. We need to make doing the right thing easier and more common. It shouldn’t be this hard for women to be treated like humans. We shouldn’t have to fight for a basic human right like being treated like people and not objects.

What will we do next time we find out teen boys rated female classmates on looks? Where will we be when our teen girls rebel?

To be honest, since the #MeToo movement began, I have shared my own stories. I shared them before but I never realized that men don’t actually understand what it feels like to be a woman and be objectified. They have always been bigger, stronger and more privileged than women. They’ve always lived in a boys will be boys culture and they’ve watched, from the time they were little boys, the world apply different rules for women and girls. Boys assault women in so many ways and all they get is a slap on the wrist, even from women. But no more.

Since the day they were born, we’ve been raising our girls to respect themselves and to value no one’s opinion over their own. I’ve taught them that no means no and if they have to scream that, then do so. We’re raising our girls to be brave and determined. They know that they are as good as any man and in some instances, even better.

This generation of moms is raising an army of feminists ready to do battle for their human respect, equality and dignity. If you can’t get on board with that, that’s your problem. It’s happening. Be ready for it. Don’t stand in their way. This is their future and their worth is more than any ranking a man could ever give them.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, William H Macy, Olivia Jade Giannulli, Isabella Rose Giannulli, college admissions cheating scandal

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and 31 other parents were charged in the college admissions scandal. 50 people were charged earlier this week in a nationwide scheme to fast-track students for admission to elite colleges and universities. As a parent, I understand wanting the best for your children just like Lori Loughlin wanted the best for her daughters, Olivia Jade Giannulli and Isabella Rose Giannulli, social media influence and fake USC crew recruits.

I understand wanting to give your child the world but isn’t cheating their way in doing them a disservice? They are learning that they can cheat their way to success and they either don’t care or have lost confidence in their own abilities to earn entrance. What these parents did was absurd and they should be held accountable. But now, it’s not just them but their kids too. These kids, whether they knew about what their parents were doing or not, have landed smack dab in the middle of this scandal. How embarrassing!

READ ALSO: They Wanted Better for Us

For example,  Olivia Jade Gianulli and Isabella Rose are losing sponsorships and their social media influence is dwindling as their teen fanbase are mad about her cheating her way into college. This scandal is not only going to probably get Lori Loughlin’s daughters kicked out of school, but it’s also going to ruin their reputation as social media influencers leaving these girls without a proverbial pot to piss in, well, except for the millions their parents have. They’ll be okay.

Also, let’s all be clear here. This is not the first time this has happened. This has probably been going on since colleges existed and wealthy parents wanted their kids to have a prestigious diploma to hang on their wall. It’s no different than the college athletes who are encouraged by the administration to skate by in easy classes to stay eligible to play. Privilege is nice if you’re on the receiving end of it.

READ ALSO: Everything in Life Worth Having I Earned in College

When I was 17, I applied to several universities, all very high-quality institutions of higher learning, some even ivy league. I got accepted to all of them through hard work, good grades and extracurricular activities. I worked my ass off for it. The only limitation I had when it came to choosing a school was money. I come from a blue-collar family, with an immigrant father and a stay at home mother. They had six kids, one salary and no extra.

Everything we got, we worked hard for. 5 out of the 6 of us graduated from college with real-world degrees. My brothers went to college on soccer scholarships and financial aid. They took the opportunity their athletic abilities provided them and used it to fund their futures.

I worked full-time, took financial aid loans and whatever scholarships I could qualify for as did my sister. I did whatever I had to; late nights, driving an hour and a half each way between school and work because to me, it was worth it. My parents taught us to take the opportunities we earned and use them to better situation.

My parents raised us with pride and integrity. They raised us to respect ourselves and the education system. Our parents inspired us to work hard and believe in ourselves. My parents may not have had money but they gave us what they could, believe in ourselves and self-confidence.

READ ALSO: How to Afford the Education your Child Deserves

Believe me, I get it, wanting to give your child every leg up that you can. But buying their way into college is not only not fair but not even helpful. Firstly, what message are you sending to your child that you have to help cheat their way into college? They are too dumb to get in on their own? Or worse, they are too lazy to try? Either way, you are aren’t doing them favors in the long run.

Secondly, you are actually teaching them to be entitled and promoting white privilege. There are things in life that you need to earn to fully appreciate them and if you don’t earn them, you don’t deserve them. Also, I don’t just blame these mothers, why are we not calling out Mossimo Giannulli or William Macy?

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman, William H Macy, Olivia Jade Giannulli, Isabella Rose Giannulli, college admissions cheating scandal

(Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Thirdly, putting kids into universities that they had to cheat their way into is taking the spot of someone who earned it and belongs there on merit. These students are taking spots that they didn’t earn, probably cheating their way through ( because if they couldn’t qualify to get in on their own they probably can’t keep up) for a piece of paper they don’t need because they are already wealthy. Not to be flippant, but I haven’t heard of a lot of celebrity children going into medicine, law or other scholarly fields. Most of them either go into the family business or spend their lives living off of the spoils of their parents’ careers. I see you, Paris Hilton.

Lori Loughlin, Felicity Huffman and all the parents who did this, shame on you and your privilege.

Meanwhile, the underprivileged, smart kids of the world who are dependent on entry into these universities to not only change their situation but their lives are screwed. Those of us who grew up blue-collar or even middle class are taught to chase the American dream and through hard work and determination we can get into the good universities and get armed with the tools to chase after those dreams.  With celebrities buying their entitled, lazy kids their way into college the kids who deserve it are losing those spots. These parents are literally stealing futures from other kids.

What are these parents teaching their children? I get it. Every parent wants better for their children then they had. It’s natural. These wealthy parents worked hard for their wealth and success. There is a sense of satisfaction and happiness that comes from working hard for something. There is pride and dignity tied to accomplishment. In the end, these parents (however well-meaning their intentions may have been) cheated their own children. They cheated all of the kids who should have earned those university spots. Cheated their own children out of the satisfaction of earning their own way.

What do you think should happen to Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin and all of these parents and the students who are part of the college admissions scandal?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
International Women's Day, healthy, how to keep your kids healthy, happy children, healthy habits, Anthem, ballet, ballerinas

Let’s build something beautiful together. Let’s change the world and fill it full of good humans. Let’s raise young girls to become strong women who demand respect and equality. I want International Women’s Day to be every day from now until infinity.

I am the mother of girls. All day long, for the past 14 years, I #Girlmom. When I found out that I was having daughters, I was thrilled immediately tinged by sadness for the struggles they would face as females. The truth is that being born a woman is both a privilege and a curse. More privilege than curse but still it has its downsides like inequal work pay, permanent second class citizen status, being seen as the “weaker sex”, rape culture, the government has one hand in your uterus at all times, being ignored and invisible, or catcalled and objectified and so much more.

Personally, I think there is nothing so magical and fierce as a strong woman. From the moment I knew I would be raising daughters, I had every intention of raising strong girls who would grow up to be unstoppable women. I felt like this was my time to make my grand contribution to the world, beyond my words, thoughts, deeds and actions, I wanted to leave a legacy of raising good, kind, strong females who are tolerant advocates for themselves and others who need their voice to raise up and call for justice.

Today is International Woman’s Day and I feel like I would be remiss to not to celebrate it, especially as the mother of girls.

Society tends to make women feel like second class citizens in so many ways, I want my girls to know they are first class in every sense of the word. How do we do this in a time when we are telling our girls they are equal but they are seeing that the world does not see them that way? We work twice as hard to build them up. We arm them with educations, strong female role models and the fundamental belief that they are better than good enough and equal to any man. We do this by showing them, not just telling them. We start by loving and believing in ourselves.

It is our jobs as mothers to show our little girls that maybe it’s hard to be a woman in our society but it is also the most beautiful thing in this whole world. We can do everything men can do plus we can bring life into the world. We create miracles. Our bodies are magic and that’s the way we need to appreciate them. We do not need to chastise ourselves because our bodies don’t fit some Barbie doll mold created by the expectations of men. We need to embrace it for all of its curves and beauty.

We need to show our little girls how important it is to have good relationships with other women. Life should not be about competing with other women. We need to teach our girls to lift one another up; to support and celebrate one another. We do not need to divide ourselves. We need to unify and stand strong arm in arm.

Our girls need to know that they don’t ever need to shut up. They are not too brazen for speaking up for what they believe in. They are not asking too much to be treated with the same respect and dignity that any man would demand. You are not less of a woman because you want more out of life than society dictates that you should have.

We need to encourage our girls to travel more. See the world. Teach them that nothing is impossible and everything is possible with hard work. Our girls can do and be anything. Let them know that we’ve got their backs as their mothers and as their sisters in womanhood.

Stop teaching our little girls to be princesses who need to be rescued by a prince. Teach them to rescue themselves. A prince is not your savior; he is your partner. He is the man you will share your life, love and friendship with. Teach our girls that a partner is nice but not necessary to live in this world and to never sacrifice herself to fit anyone else’s expectations.

I’m raising caring, kind, open-minded fighters. I’m teaching them to never back down or step aside. I want them to hold their heads up high and to be proud of who they are and how they live in the world. I don’t want them to lower their standards or settle in life. I want them to know that contrary to what society would have them believe being born with a vagina is not a handicap, it’s a superpower.

I’m drilling it into their brains that no one has power or domain over their bodies, their minds or their souls. It’s ok to say no loudly and bravely. Speak their truth and the world will listen. Feminism is not a bad word and it’s okay to tell the patriarchy to go f*ck themselves. They are not the boss of you.

This is how we celebrate International Women’s Day by fighting for equality every day and showing our girls that they are strong enough to weather the condescension of misogynist. We show them that being considered the weaker sex doesn’t make you less than, it makes you underestimated. Be strong ladies. They have no idea how powerful we are.

How are you celebrating International Women’s Day with your daughters?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Michael Jackson, Leaving Neverland, pedophile

I’m going to be honest with you. I watched Leaving Neverland the HBO documentary alleging that Michael Jackson was a predatory pedophile with a penchant for young boys. It was shocking and disturbing to see it all laid out in the documentary. I feel torn. Not because I’m wishy-washy on how I feel about pedophiles. But I feel like my entire childhood was a lie.

Do I believe Michael Jackson was a pedophile who preyed on naïve young boys? Boys who admired him and their eager to please stage moms? I do. Not because this is new information. I believed it in 2005. I found it peculiar that a grown man, even an eccentric one who never had a childhood, would host children (that weren’t his own) in his bed. Even more peculiar was why their parents would allow it?

READ ALSO: Why Girls should be able to Exist without Men Behaving Badly

It never sat well with me either that he always seemed to have a young boy as his sidekick on his tours. It’s right there in black and white in the press; Michael Jackson walking hand in hand with some preteen boy who accompanied him on his yearlong tours. It was weird then and, as a mom now, it’s absolutely suspicious. I don’t care if it was God, you cannot sleep in the bed with my child.

The world had been conditioned to expect odd behavior from the socially awkward, musical genius known as Michael Jackson. The world turned a blind eye or maybe we just didn’t want to see it and we certainly didn’t want to believe it. The thought that such a seemingly sweet, childlike man could be a predator was beyond the fathomable. Why would a man who could have almost any man or woman he wanted in the world choose little boys?

I think we all wanted to believe that he felt a kinship with these boys. He was somehow living his missed childhood with them. Or maybe he too was a victim as a child? Isn’t that how many predators become predatory? Or maybe he was just born a pedophile? Michael Jackson will never be adequately punished for his crimes.

READ ALSO: Raising Teen Girls to Survive Misogyny, Sexting and Slut Shaming

However, if all that was said in Leaving Neverland is true Michael Jackson was the worst kind of monster because he used his celebrity to lure these families, his money and fame to blind them and the public’s opinion that he was a “good guy” to mask the monster within. If this is true, he was one of the most predatory and dangerous pedophiles to ever live because he was beyond reproach even when all the evidence said he was guilty.

Michael Jackson is dead and we will never have definitive proof of his guilt or innocence. We’ll never have the satisfaction of hearing his confession. From here on out, everything is hearsay. We only have the word of broken men who claim to have been his victims when they were boys. The stories are compelling and too similar to one another to be a coincidence. The damage is done.

READ ALSO: I just want to enjoy their childhood

Michael Jackson songs tick marked my childhood. No one ever wanted the allegations to be true because what we want and what we get are two very different things. We need to embrace the truth and disappointment. I’m having trouble reconciling what I believe to be true about Michael Jackson and my love of his music. As much as I loved the music of Michael Jackson, the thought of singing along with a pedophile who preyed on young boys turns my stomach.

Listening to Wade Robson and James Safechuck describe their sexual abuse in graphic detail made me cringey. Hearing the voicemails Michael Jackson left for these young boys, reading the faxes and knowing how he ingratiated himself into the trust of their families made me sick. He was a cunning predator. He groomed his victims. The intent behind his communications is obvious to us as outsiders. Michael Jackson’s larger than life fame afforded him allowances for his odd behavior. Alarms failed these families who were duped by his celebrity.

 More than anything, though, it was difficult to watch Robson and Safechuck clearly struggling with their conflicting feelings about Jackson in real time; they are both repulsed by him and appear to have some lingering reverence, a testament to Jackson grooming them to serve his perversions.

There is nothing we can do to punish Michael Jackson. There’s not much we can do to help his victims but hear their stories and recognize their pain. We can believe them. I can no longer willingly listen to Michael Jackson. I can’t even look at his image without being disgusted. Where I once saw an icon now all I can see is a predator of children.

Have you seen Leaving Neverland or Oprah Winfrey Presents After Neverland?

What are your thoughts?

 

2 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

Want to eat all the food that tastes good but still want to be healthy? Want to look great in your bathing suit this summer but still want to eat chicken wings? That’s the quandary, right? We all want to look good and be healthy but we simultaneously want to eat whatever we want to eat, whenever we want to eat. This is possible if you’re a teenager but if you are over 25, 30 and certainly 40-years-old, you know that concessions have to be made.

Things like moderation, taste, salt intake, sugar intake, cholesterol points all need to be weighed. Do you know that saying, “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”? Well, sometimes you have to stop and ask yourself is that basket of French fries something you are willing to sacrifice your bathing suit body for?

READ ALSO: Delicious Avocado Toast Recipe

Now, I’ve lived in this world long enough to know that, yes, sometimes they are. Sometimes you just want to eat the French fries and that’s ok but you have to be willing to do the exercise. I think everything is fine to eat in moderation and I don’t believe in artificial sugars and preservatives. My family is foodies. We love traveling the planet and trying new foods and meeting new people. We are all about experiences and while I may not care so much about forever on my hips, I do care about missing adventures because I’m unhealthy or worse, dead.

It’s taken me years to realize that eating healthy doesn’t have to mean eating boring. It just means swapping out a few ingredients, cooking more and moving more. Nobody wants to be the person at the party watching everyone else eat and drink. And who likes to chew on celery while everyone else is snacking on buffalo wings at the tailgate party? It’s embarrassing and you feel singled out for trying to be healthy; you feel punished. I don’t like feeling on the outside. This is why I am taking some of our favorite recipes and making healthier versions.

READ ALSO: The Moment I Stopped Caring What Others Think about Me

Needless to say, my family doesn’t get to eat chicken wings or buffalo pizza as often as they’d like to.

That’s why I created a simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe.

Simple, Delicious and Healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza Recipe

If you love pizza and you want to be healthy and not feel deprived, this simple, delicious and healthy buffalo chicken pizza recipe is perfect for the entire family.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
5 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo chicken, buffalo wings, pizza
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 Chicken Breast boiled and shredded or you can buy pre-cooked chicken breast chunks. We prefer to cook and shred our own but if you are in a hurry, pre-cooked works.
  • 1 Refrigerated Pizza Dough Wewalka Classic Pizza Crust is our choice
  • 4-6 ounces Part Skim Milk Mozzarella Again, you can use more or less, depending on your personal taste.
  • 1/2 cup Mild Buffalo Wing Sauce You can use medium or hot and add as much as you like. I use mild because I dine with children every day of the week.

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. 
  • Unroll the packaged refrigerated pizza dough on its parchment paper. I usually use a large cookie sheet for this, as it is a rectangular crust.
  • Spread your wing sauce across the pizza crust dough, going almost to the ends but not quite. The reason for this is that when the buffalo chicken wing sauce heats up it thins out and gets runny. By not going to the ends, you can prevent the sauce from running over the edges and ending up on the bottom of your pizza and transferring to your hands and clothes when you eat. 
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • Top the sauce with the shredded chicken, dispersing evenly throughout. 
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • Top with mozzarella cheese, using as much or as little as you like. 
  • Bake pizza for 20-30 minutes, until cheese is a stringy and golden brown.
    simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe
  • When it is done, pull it out of the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes so that you don't burn your mouth when you bite into.

simple, easy and delicious healthy Buffalo Chicken Pizza recipe, buffalo chicken pizza, buffalo pizza, healthy pizza, buffalo chicken pizza recipe

What’s your favorite recipe hack to make those delicious dishes we all love so much more healthy?

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
Valentine's Day, Bae, bae meaning, what does bae mean, how to make a relationship last

Before Anyone Else. This is who he has become. My Bae. Not out of expectation or obligation but out of pure, unadulterated and unconditional love. The Big Guy is my one and only Bae. I’ve been calling him bae for as long as I can remember, simply because it was my shortened nickname for “babe.” Ever wonder what does bae mean? The bae meaning is not one I would have thought I’d subscribe to. But maybe the kids are on to something because, in my heart, he truly is before anyone else.

Bae is beyond a regular relationship. Bae is deeper, more meaningful, next level…babies, mortgages and life together. It’s saying let’s do this every day for the rest of our lives. It’s I don’t just love you. I like you, even when I hate the rest of the world. Bae is intended for forever.

Remember when you were in your teens? Everyone you ever dated was your “BAE” but that was before the word had any real meaning. When we are at that tender age, the beginning, it’s easy to get BAE status. We don’t fully understand the depth or the meaning those three letters can have. It’s mostly superficial and surface because, at that age, everyone is beautiful and how much baggage can they really have?

READ ASO: How to Save your Marriage by Having the Hard Conversations

I remember thinking my world rose and set around boys I dated. My teen heart hadn’t yet experienced real love so every twinge, I thought “this must be it.” I was ready and open to it. I was so naïve. But I think we have to grow through these relationships to be ready for real love; the kind that knocks you over the head and off your feet because it’s so different from what you expected. Real love is not hard. It’s easy like a warm surf washing over you. It happens without you even noticing.

All relationships take work, commitment and respect. But it shouldn’t feel like you are forcing anything. Sometimes things run their course and some relationships are training wheels for the real thing. The beast of it all is that we don’t know until we’re in it or it’s over. But when you’ve had it, nothing else will do. The real thing, that love that fills your soul up, the one where you can be 100% yourself and they still get you and love you, it is freedom.

READ ASO: Wedding Ring Tattoos as the Ultimate Sign of Devotion

The Big Guy is everything I never knew I always wanted. Before him, I had no clue what I really wanted. I thought it was a checklist of superficial things. Cute. Check. Strong. Check. Well-educated. Check. Kind. Check. Intelligent. Check. But a relationship isn’t just a series of ticked boxes. It’s so much more and he is so much more than I ever knew was even possible.

Valentine's Day, Bae, bae meaning, what does bae mean, how to make a relationship last

He came into my world when I least expected him and he took my life that was like a hurricane and brought a calmness and sureness that I’d never known. He’s given me peace in a life of chaos. He’s been upfront about his feelings for me since the day we met and I’ve always felt seen. There were never games. It was refreshing. Before him, that wasn’t always the case. People tended to see what they wanted to see.

READ ASO: Love in a Marriage isn’t Always What You Expect

He’s never treated me like a damsel in distress that needed rescuing, yet when I have, he’s been there to quietly put his hand out to help me up. He doesn’t shy away from my strong opinions and beliefs even when we don’t agree. We’ve been able to talk to one another like adults for the past 22 years and I think that might be because we grew together in love and respect. We were like two young plants, planted in the same pot. Our roots intertwined and we grew stronger together over the years.

There has never been a power struggle. He’s not the macho type. There’s never been a time where I remember one of us feeling usurped into the “we.” Even though we are a couple, we are individuals with our own passions and beliefs. We have our own strengths and weaknesses. We know this and this may be our greatest strength as a couple, we complement one another rather than compete with one another. No one needs to be the leader in our marriage because we ebb and flow into one another where we need to.

He is my bae and will always be.

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Ever since I’ve been released back to regular activity last month, I’ve been trying to get myself in optimal health. I’ve started small because that’s what my doctor ordered. I’m pretty out of shape. I’ve been recovering from one surgery or another since 2015 and now, I am free! Free from restrictions. Free to get healthy. Free to figure out all the tech to get you healthy (and me too).

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Last month, I started using the SWEAT app and I love it but, tbh, I get so sore that it’s hard for me to do it consistently. Also, besides being completely out of shape, I am overweight. In fact, I am more than overweight, I am morbidly obese according to my BMI. So I’ve been trying to find what works for me. I’ve started moving and stopped eating out like I was. I know for a fact that one of my biggest issues with food is eating fast food and not eating the right portions.

Top 5 pieces of tech to get you healthy

 SWEAT APP

SWEAT app recognizes that women want flexibility, variety and support when working towards health and fitness goals. They understand that our goals are personal and always evolving so they put the choice in our hands. Offering flexibility and variety through multiple styles of training, SWEAT connects you with the best female personal trainers in the world. Choose the trainer and training style that fits you and your lifestyle. Whether you want to start with yoga, post-pregnancy workouts, weight training, power-training or high-intensity workouts, SWEAT is right there to support you.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC Headphones

Phiaton launched a brand new pair of wireless and active noise-canceling neckband-style headphones. Phiaton has always been a manufacturer of high-performance personal audio products. The Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC features active noise cancellation, IPX4 rating, extended battery life and Phiaton’s Fast Charging technology. They are perfect for getting your workout on and getting into “the zone.”

 Disclosure: I was provided a pair of the Phiaton CURVE BT 120 NC headphones for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Peloton

The Peloton bike brings you the most convenient and immersive indoor cycling experience, streaming daily live classes from their NYC studio directly into your home. You’ll have 24-hour access to studio cycling classes available to your entire household. You can get your workout on and not worry about strangers criticizing your body while you’re doing it.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Flexispot Bike

The Flexispot bike is height adjustable, stationary bike with a desktop built on it so you can stay sedentary even when you are doing sedentary activities, like checking your emails, working remotely or even watching television. It’s whisper quiet and has 8 adjustable levels. It’s great for the entire family. My girls love it as much as I do and it even won the 2018 CES Innovation Awards.

tech to help you get healthy, working out, hydrow, Sweat app, peloton, phiaton, flexispot, tech to help you get healthy when you're over 40

Hydrow

Unlike other indoor rowers, the Hydrow delivers a live on-river outdoor rowing experience at-home that engages 86% of the body’s muscles, compared to 44% for biking (the Peloton) & running, which results in up to 400 calories burned in a 20-minute workout.

Now more than ever, people’s over-scheduled, stressful lives leave little time for meaningful exercise and the soul-enriching opportunity to spend time outdoors. Gyms are also continuing to overcrowd (especially around the New Year) and with the in-home fitness trend on the rise, Hydrow offers hundreds of customizable workouts, so fitness-lovers of all levels, new moms or busy young professionals can reap the benefits from the comfort of their own home.

READ ALSO: Getting Healthy Just Got Easier

To keep users accountable, the workouts are live streamed or pre-recorded by elite athletes, including those training for the U.S. National Rowing team, and leaderboards are showcased to keep users competitive. Check out a video of it here.

What is your favorite tech to get you healthy this year?

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

I never expected it. In fact, I was dead set against it. In theory. For other people. It’s not really couple tattoos or wedding ring tattoos specifically but the whole putting someone’s name on your body. It seems so permanent in a world where almost nothing is guaranteed. I remember the day I saw my sister-in-law’s name tattooed on my brother’s arm and I thought to myself, “Well, that wasn’t smart.” I guess in the end I’m a cynic.

Two of my brothers are tattoo artists. They warn against putting significant other names on your body. Hey, it hurts to have wedding ring tattoos removed. I’ve joked a lot how the only names I would ever put on my body are my children’s. I’m not good with permanency. I’m really not good with hanging my happiness on others and I might have some trust issues if we’re being honest. Not that the Big Guy has ever done anything to warrant losing my trust. I was just raised waiting for the other foot to drop.

This morning, the Big Guy said he was going to swing by “the shop” (my brothers’ tattoo shop) and discuss the final details of a new tattoo, A Call of Duty Juggernaut. I don’t quite get it but if it has meaning to him, it’s his body. Before I left, I jokingly said, “Make sure you have my brother sneak in my name. It can be like a hidden Mickey. You don’t even have to use my first name. It’ll be our little secret.” He left. I continued Marie Kondo-ing my house that’s looked like a hurricane hit since I started organizing way back in January 2019. Yep, that year-long month.

READ ALSO: When a Tattoo Heals Your Heart

An hour or so later he returned. I asked if my brother had stenciled his calf and if I could see this “juggernaut.” Sure, he bellowed. He’s a big guy, he sometimes bellows. He bounds up the stairs and I’m waiting for him to show me his calf.  But he’s just standing there and I was so confused.

“Let me see it.” I was anxious to see what they had come up with and if he had, in fact, had my middle name hidden in the stencil. But he just smiled with an outstretched left hand and there it was, “Deborah” “5/15/99” and “Always” on his ring finger, where his wedding ring sits. I was speechless. I’m never speechless. If you know me, you know that I am a talker and never without words. Yet, there I was with no words.

couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

As Bella says, I.Was. Shook! But I shouldn’t have been. This is just who he is. He jumps all in with his whole heart where I’ve always been cautiously optimistic. There was a time when I would have jumped blindly into matters of the heart. I loved love but then I got burned a couple times, more like set on fire by the frogs I kissed. By the time I met the Big Guy in college, I just expected things to be hard.

I was never one of those girls who felt like I needed to get married and have kids. I wanted all of that, eventually and I knew it would happen but it wasn’t anything I was losing sleep over. I had dated a few guys, been naively all in, written all the sappy letters and did all the silly things people do when they are teenagers/the early twenties and I was left with a lot of relationship “buyers remorse.”

READ ALSO: How Scrambled Eggs Made my Marriage Sexy

Then I met the Big Guy, 4 days after a break up with a guy I’d been dating for some time. We broke up for the last time on my birthday because he forgot my birthday… after almost 3 years of dating. Let’s be brutally honest, he didn’t forget so much as chose not to acknowledge it. Lucky me.

The really honest truth is that the Big Guy and I never should have met, logically speaking. I wasn’t supposed to be there.  I was supposed to be in Boston. I was supposed to have already graduated. And on the night we met, I was supposed to have a boyfriend and I was supposed to be home studying for an astronomy exam.

couples tattoos, wedding ring tattoos, Valentine's Day

But fate intervened or maybe destiny was in control the entire time because, under normal circumstances, he and I should have never met. Yet, here we are 22 Valentine’s Days later about to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary this spring. And they thought we wouldn’t make it?

I met this guy, who ended up being everything I never knew, I always wanted. This giant, loud, humble, sweet, smart, cute man who knew from about week 4 that he loved me. The same guy who told me that very thing. He wasn’t a game player. The certainty with which he loved me scared me a little bit because I’d never had s relationship like that before. The man who after meeting me that September, told my mom and sisters at Thanksgiving he was going to ask me to marry him on Valentine’s Day. (No one told me.)

READ ALSO: The Proposal Do-Over

The gentle giant who jumped the gun from nerves and asked me to marry him in the middle of the dance floor at our favorite college bar with no ring and no speech. He caught me off guard and still takes my breath away on the regular. I guess it’s kind of his thing. He re-proposed to me on our 11th anniversary, on bended knee.

I guess I shouldn’t have been shocked when he showed up this past Saturday morning with my name tattooed on his finger. Nothing should ever surprise me about this incredible, generous and loving man. He can do anything. He’s more romantic today than he was on the day we got married. He lives through actions and not just words.

When he proposed he told me that I was his “soul mate.” I’m not even sure that I believed in the concept before him. He makes me want to be a better human being. His love changed me for the better. When you have someone as kind and thoughtful as the Big Guy loving you, you feel like you can do almost anything.

READ ALSO: I Love You Man

It’s not about what you have or don’t have. It’s about who you have. We fell in love through conversations under the stars. We fell in love in a bar on campus. We fell in love watching a Salma Hayek Rom Com. We fell in love sitting on the roof of his college house drinking beer and looking up at the moon. We fell in love staring into one another’s souls over the head of our newborn baby. We fell in love in the rain in New Orleans. We fell in love watching our oldest meet her sister for the first time. We even fell in love when we lost our third. We fell in love living in separate states. We fell in love poor. We fell in love rich. We’ve fallen in love a million times over the past 22 years and I fell in love all over again Saturday morning when I saw that tattoo.

I’m going to go and get one of my own because I realized that he’s already tattooed on my heart and he always will be. The imprint is already there. It probably has been since we met that night in 1997. I’m the only one who didn’t see it because I was afraid to let myself believe that I deserved to be loved like that. I’ve felt it every day since we met.

Have you ever considered getting wedding ring tattoos? If you were going to get couple tattoos what would you get?

1 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
New Mom Monday, Pregnancy, unexpected pregnancy, the truth about an unexpected pregnancy at 39

A few years ago, I wrote a post called, Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What Would You Do? and it was about my friend who was pregnant. What I didn’t disclose in the post was that I too was pregnant. I had my own unexpected pregnancy at 39 and had no idea what I would do and I couldn’t talk about it on the blog. I was waiting until the following month to tell my family and friends at my daughters’ 5th birthday party. Unfortunately, I lost the baby before I got the chance.

Over the years, many people have contacted me asking for advice or wondering what I would have done. What I did. This is the first time I am writing about this part of our third pregnancy and having an unexpected pregnancy at 39. I think mostly because I felt so guilty.

I realized I was pregnant at my oldest daughter’s 7th birthday party, March 10, 2012. It was the strangest thing, I was holding my newborn nephew and something in me knew. I just knew I was pregnant. I was sure of it.

READ ALSO:  Unexpected Pregnancy at 40, What would you do?

The next day, when I dropped the girls off at school, I went directly to the Walgreens and took the test in the bathroom there. In fact, I took 3. We were living with my in-laws who had teased us at their relief that our family wasn’t growing. I was really nervous to find out that I was pregnant during such a time of upheaval in our lives. Even though we had previously planned on a third child. We hadn’t planned it now. Not like this.

When I found out that I was pregnant, I was shocked. I stared at the pregnancy test in disbelief and I may have vomited if we’re being honest. I didn’t even know how to react. If the circumstances had been different, we would have been ecstatic. But living in a room at your in-laws with two small children, trying to sell a house in another city, with no privacy and nothing of your own, made the thought of all of it daunting. We didn’t know what we were going to do.

A million questions and scenarios went through my mind.  What if something was wrong? I was 39 years old. How would my in-laws react? Financially, we were strapped. Could we afford this baby? If something was wrong, how could we pay for it? Could we burden our children with that? Did we want to start over? Could we? Would our in-laws ask us to leave?

READ ALSO: Unsolicited Co-parenting

Would I have to go back to living in our house in South Bend without my husband (back to commuter marriage life)? Could we afford a third child? Were we too old to do this? Maybe this was too much. But could I even consider the other option? I pondered all the options from the time I found out I was pregnant until I saw the doctor. I was.so.stressed.out.

The doctor wouldn’t see me until I was 8 weeks pregnant. We saw the baby’s heartbeat. We left the doctor’s office, overwhelmed and scared shitless about what the future would bring. We knew there would be obstacles and opposition but we were excited. It was the third baby we had always wanted, just not at the time we had planned. We drove home smiling and discussing names for boys and girls. Declan or Luchedio for a little boy and Graziella for a baby girl. We were hopeful and we were in this together. So no matter what the world threw at us, we had each other; the 5 of us. But for now, it was just for the Big Guy and me.

Those first 11 weeks were like an out of body experience. I was hiding the biggest secret of my life from everyone I knew and loved, including you, my readers. On top of being overwhelmed and scared, I felt like a complete fraud talking about every inane thing under the sun except for the only thing I wanted to write about…my pregnancy!

READ ALSO: Things No One Tells You about Pregnancy

The Big Guy and I fully passed the consideration of what to do and were full-on in the embrace, the fact that we are going to be parents to 3 while living in our in-laws’ house, decided to surprise everyone at Gabi’s 5th birthday party that May. I would have been 15 weeks and 3 days at her birthday party.

We planned on giving her a t-shirt that said “Big Sister.” We were so excited to do this for her. Gabs had been begging to be a big sister since she was 3-years-old. Due to the commuter situation (the Big Guy working and living in another state), since she was 2, the opportunity had just not been there before. We had wanted it but neither of us wanted me to be pregnant while we weren’t living under the same roof full time. We have always been 100% parenting partners. Surprising her with the news on her birthday was going to be perfect.

We imagined how excited our family and friends would be. We’d have support, even if it was a little cramped at my in-laws. We were excited. Like I said, in the beginning, we were terrified and it took a lot of soul searching (and hearing a heartbeat) to get us on board with a solid yes. I was so excited to get to be the mommy to 3 children. But then…

On Monday, April 31st, after a weekend of slight spotting when I wiped, after dropping Gabs off at preschool, I stopped in the parking lot of the Dunkin doughnuts near her school and I called my OB/Gyn. I kept telling myself that I wasn’t worried. This happened with every one of my pregnancies. It was going to be nothing. I was being silly. But, like my mother always says, better to be safe than sorry. So, I called and they had me come right in for an ultrasound. I wasn’t worried.at.all.

There was no heartbeat. There on the screen, my perfect baby. No.heartbeat. I never wanted this baby more. A room filled with deafening silence as I tried to understand what I was seeing. I was alone. The tech wouldn’t tell me anything, only that she needed to take me to see my doctor. I didn’t bring my husband because I didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

READ ALSO: Some Things Change You Forever

She took me down the back stairs to avoid the main lobby. My world was collapsing. I felt like a mad, hysterically silent hostage in my own body. I couldn’t make a sound for fear that I would start crying and never stop. I couldn’t blink for fear that all my pain and loss would escape from my eyes and drown all those perfectly round bellies surrounding me. I couldn’t make eye contact for fear I might die. All I could do was sit in silence to contain the floodgates.

Then, all I could do was cry.

So what’s it like being pregnant at 39? It’s terrifying and it’s beautiful and it’s scary and amazing. But only you can decide what to do about this pregnancy. There is no wrong answer. You must do what is best for you and your family. Not what society or your friends or family expects you to do. A baby is forever. Being a parent is forever. I still consider myself the mom of 3 children and I think about that baby every single day but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong if you decide that you can’t or don’t want to have a baby at 39 or 40 or ever.

READ ALSO: How to Survive the Loss of a Pregnancy

You know YOU better than anyone. Do what will make you happy. Do what you can handle. And don’t let anyone else stress you out or bully you into a decision because that will be a disservice to you and your baby. If you’re not all in, that’s ok. No one is judging you. You are the one who has to live with whatever you decide; baby or no baby, it’s a lifetime commitment.

I didn’t get what I wanted in the end but I felt guilty for many years for the fact that I even considered there was a decision to be made. I felt like God was punishing me for stopping, however briefly, to consider there was an option other than having the baby. I’ve since realized that I wasn’t punished for having free thought. I don’t know why it happened. I never will. I know there was nothing wrong with my baby. I know that I wanted that baby as much as I’d ever wanted the other two. Mostly, I know that the choice to have that baby was the right thing for us even if the universe had other plans.

3 comments
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail
sneezing, stress incontinence, birth, gratitude

Today was the anniversary of the day I fell and dislocated my elbow last year. I know that because my amazon photos wanted to taunt me today.  It also happens to be the 21st anniversary of the night the Big Guy asked me to marry him. Weird, right?

All day today I was dreading going outside for fear that I might slip on the ice  (because the kids had no school today because of icy roads). I stayed inside with the kids most of the day, just waiting for the clock to run out on this day. Then, I went outside because I had to run an errand and ironically enough, not only was there ice everywhere but there I was wearing UGGS again. UGGS the exact kind of shoe I was wearing when I bit it in the wet yard last year. God, I can actually feel the crunch of my elbow dislocating if I close my eyes. But I’m fine. No slips and falls today.

ALSO READ: Beware the Slick Spots

Tonight we were planning our Disney vacation for this fall because we are those people who like to return to the scene of the crime. Since our first trip to WDW was on our honeymoon, we have to go back this year. Right in the midst of the joy of surviving the day and celebrating our engagement anniversary, I sneezed and peed my pants. My kids, keeping me humble since 2005.

This day just reminded me that life can be simultaneously amazing and shitty in the same 24 hours. It’s all in our perspective, although, I’m pretty sure falling and dislocating your elbow constitutes a bad day any way you slice it. However, I’m just thankful that my elbow kept me from hitting my head on the cement. And who cares if I pee my pants when I sneeze sometimes, that’s what panty liners are for. Also, would I ever trade my kids with their big heads for a non– stress incontinent existence? NO, I wouldn’t.

ALSO READ: Everything New at Walt Disney World

I guess all this to say, I’m going to Disney World! But mostly to say, we don’t always know what life is going to throw at us, or on top of us or beneath us but we know that even if it hits us square in the face sometimes, we’re going to be fine. It’s going to hurt for a while and maybe there will be permanent damage but we will figure it out.

That’s what I’m doing, I’m figuring it out; motherhood, being a wife, being a good friend, living on my own terms, surviving the shittiest of days and embracing the little profound moments of complete bliss. I have no clue how I’m going to make it all work. I never have but I do it. I do it because that’s life. Failure really isn’t an option.

So the next time you’re laughing and you start to pee a little, look around, is there any place else that you’d rather be? Probably not. Not really. Not when it’s all said and done and the kids are asleep and your husband is beside you watching your favorite show. Laugh on, laugh hard, laugh loud and then change those panties and live to laugh another day.

 

0 comment
0 FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinStumbleuponEmail

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More