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Friday’s Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 20 – Keep a journal
I’d love to say I did a fabulous job but that would be a total lie. I had visitors from out of town and it was impossible to find time to post , little lone journal. I am however going to give it a try this week. I’ll keep you posted. How did you ladies do?

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 21 – Fake it

Try curtailing your “anger” (which The New Girl determined was more of an impulse control issue rather than anger) by actually faking it. Rolling your eyes, moving along, and pretending.
You’ll see in the comments that she’s not at all saying that you should fake how you’re feeling. Big difference. So that’s not what I’m talking about at all.

But in many cases, we often let ourselves blow up quickly when really, if we just rolled our eyes and looked at the bigger picture, we’d have way fewer massive blow-ups.Basically,we need to fake our reaction. Feel your feelings but fake control:)

Let me know how that works out for you. I know I will have to work hard on this one. I have a quick temper and I have to work hard to step back and think. I am interested to see how this works out.

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 22 – Dates with your kids

Whether you’ve got one kid or a bunch, it’s really important to spend individual time with them. It’s obviously a little easier when you have just one, and then, increasingly more challenging the more you add to your brood.God knows I spend most days feeling like one is being left out. It was so much easier for me when I only had one. I adore both, but its hard work making sure everybody gets the same attention and no one feels left out or slighted. Lucky for me, they have no issue with letting me know!

So #22: Plan a date night with your kids
Granted, it doesn’t need to be a night, obviously, and it certainly doesn’t need to be anything extravagant. In fact, it could be something that you always do together, month after month. Breakfast out? Trip to a special playground? An afternoon at a museum? This is difficult for us Mommies who are part time single Mothers or those who are actual full time single mothers but it is possible. It’s hard for me to give them each individual personal time because they are so close in age and I can’t justify leaving one out. I am planning on making the time while my 5 year old is on school, special time for my 3 year old and I. I will do the same for my 5 year old, while the 3 year old naps. It’s the best Ic an do.

There are so many fantastic ways for you to connect individually with your kiddos, especially outside of your home, which always seems to be bogged down with 400 things that you need to do other than spend alone time with them. But if you can look past the laundry and the ignore the dishes, quality time can easily be spent int he comfort of your own home.Let me know what ideas you have fro “Date Night” with your kids. How did it go?
And how did faking it go? 

Be a Better Parent Challenge – Day 23 – Give ’em choices

Only a little over a week left, folks. I hope you’re still with me.I hope that you are feeling like you’re getting something out of this. I am loving the challenges and feel like I am being proactive in my parenting.
I also have noticed by utilizing these techniques I have eliminated a lot of the regular tantrums and meltdowns that we were having, which is AWESOME!!!

And I do hope you found some ideas for date “nights” with your kids. I realize that those are a little hard to do impromptu, but you can certainly plan ahead.

#23: Give ’em choices
Giving your kids choices is a fantastic way to get them to do what you want without a battle (ha) but also to allow them some control, which is super important – particularly for the younger set (i.e. 2-5ish). The key here is to only give them TWO. Yes, and only choices that you actually want to abide by, Don’t make offers that you have no intention of keeping. This is how I have always done choices and it seems to work pretty well. It creates a sense of autonomy without letting them get out of  your realm of control.

Forget “What do you want for lunch?” questions and give them options. Just two.
Or when it comes to getting out of the house “You can put your shoes on and come with us, or leave them off and stay here.”This is one of my favorites, Basically, look kiddo you can do as I say and get to go do something fun or we can just stay here. My girls chomp at the bit to get out of the house ( they have their Mama’s cabin fever gene) so usually it goes as I plan. Of course, if you are dealing with a overtired  or sick child, expect the unexpected sometimes they go rogue and  you find yourself punished and unable to leave the house:(

My favorite: “You can pick up your clothes off the floor or I can pick them up and take them all to Goodwill.” Desperate times, mamas.Desperate measures. This works with my girls because they are clothes fanatics. But you get the picture….”Pick up the Barbie dolls or I will pick them up and give then to the homeless!” See, its easy..just be sure to follow through or you will lose all control….forever!

Anyway, you get the idea. Now go give it a try. Let me know how it goes!

Just a reminder, the Month of September, I will be doing a month long Be a Better Me (You) Challenge in celebration of my Birthday! Hope you can all join me. There’s more to us than just being a Mommy, so next month we will give some attention to that woman:) Also, I am trying to reach a goal of 1000 followers by my birthday September 25, so if you are not already following please do.If you already are please pass it on to your friends who you think might like it, tweet it, Facebook it. Only 432 more followers needed:)Happy Mothering!

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happiness, choices, life, being a good person, random acts of kindness

Why do we need permission? Who made these rules we all live by? In the last 24 hours I have went against my “better” judgment twice and both were better choices for me. Yesterday, I was tired and instead of doing what I normally do and miserably powering through my day and just getting things done. Going through the motions really. I stopped. I turned on the fan, closed the blinds and cuddled into my bed and napped for 3 hours. Right there in broad daylight, like I was a baby or a woman of leisure. I woke up and I felt rested and happy. I was in a great mood when I picked up my children from school. I was more patient and kind. I was a better mother than the miserably exhausted person who was there that morning before the nap. I cooked a big dinner and enjoyed the process. I never enjoy the process. It’s usually something that I do because I have to, like laundry. The dinner tasted great. Everything was better but it was all tinged with my secret…the nap. I felt guilty; guilty for actually responding to the needs of my own body. What craziness is that? If I don’t take care of myself, who will? I told my husband my dirty little secret, the nap, and he did not make fun of me or say something flip, he was genuinely glad that I gave my body what it needed. The guilt was lifted and now naps are on the table☺

This is the problem with so many of us. We go through life doing what is expected of us and we are miserable. Who made these rules that we have to follow x, y and z in life? We feel beholden to a certain way of parenting, being married, achieving success even being physically acceptable. If we don’t fit the mold then we feel guilty because obviously we’ve don’t something wrong. We have some deficit. I say fuck the mold. I want to break the mold.

We accept these expectations of us to be fact. They are not! Why are we all made to believe that life is a spinning wheel and once we choose a wheel we are confined to it like a prison for all of eternity? It’s not true and if we just took a minute to think about it logically. If we took a moment to breathe and trust our own instincts, to listen to our own heart, we would realize that we know what is best for ourselves, for our relationships and for our children.

Every day is the chance for a new beginning. I am tired of spinning that wheel that chose me. I want to do what I choose to do; not what life has chosen for me. I want to choose the path my life takes, not follow the path expected of me. I want to be who I want to be not who I am expected to be and more importantly I want to be happy. No one knows what can make me happy and no one can truly make me happy, that is something that I have to take responsibility for. Happiness is internal. It is fulfillment and every person’s fulfillment is different.

I lie awake at night with insomnia worried about all of the things that I didn’t do or need to do the next day because it’s what’s expected of me. I usually go against my better judgment and do what’s expected of me from society. But this morning, after I dropped my daughters off at school as I was pulling out, the car in front of me died. It was a mother who had rushed out the door 2 blocks and ran out of gas. I asked her what happened and she explained. My brother, whose sons also go to the same school, was pulling up as I was pulling over to park to help her. We both got out of our cars and pushed her out of the road and into the median at school. I let her use my phone to call her husband to bring her gas and then I drove her home. Now, to be clear, this is not something I would normally do because you know …I don’t know her. She could have been a psycho or she could have just been a stranded mom. I chose to believe she was someone who genuinely needed my help.

After I dropped her off, I even called the school to make sure they didn’t tow her car because she was so overwhelmed at the situation I doubt she remembered to call them. When I dropped her off, she genuinely thanked me. Someone let me help them. This made my day. It felt great to help her. I felt like I did something good.

The thing is a lot of people just backed out and went around her. It didn’t matter to them that it was 5 degrees out and snowing. It didn’t matter to them that there might have been children in a minivan leaving a Catholic school. They just went around. I don’t blame them because we live in a time where we walk past beggars in the street because we don’t know if they are going to use the money for food or for alcohol or drugs. We don’t stop and help stranded drivers because they could be crazed serial killers who might chop us to bits. We don’t let our kids play outside unattended because everyone’s a potential kidnapper or pedophile. We’ve become conditioned to not trust anyone and our skepticism is keeping us from being the good people we want to be. Our cynicism is keeping us from committing the random acts of kindness we all talk so much about. Don’t get me wrong, an unexpected free cup of Starbucks coffee is fantastic but we can do so much more. We can truly help people in need. We can be happy.

It’s true, we can’t know the hearts of others. We can’t dictate how a homeless person spends the money we give them. We could bring them food or clothes instead of money, I suppose. What we can dictate is how we react to the situation. That is all we can control. We can choose to do the right thing. We can choose to be those changes we want to be. We can choose to follow our hearts and not do what others expect of us because when we do what is expected, we fail everyone, most of all ourselves.

happiness, choice, being a good person

So, I am asking you today to make the decision to follow your heart, listen to your body and do not measure yourself by anyone else’s standards. Be you. Be happy. Love big. Live big. Give of yourself and you will be surprised at what you get in return. In place of going through the motions, you will find yourself living no holds barred out loud and fully. Maybe even taking a much needed nap.

What would you do if you followed your heart? What would make you happy? Give yourself permission to be you.

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zara, anti-semitic, Holocaust, fashion

Throat Punch Thursday is back just for International Clothing designer ZARA from Spain. They are selling a “sheriff” shirt with stripes and a star of David that very closely resembles the shirts worn in concentration caps in Nazi Germany. Talk about low rent behavior.

Look, the world is a cesspool of shit right now. Isis is beheading Christians, African-Americans are being shot dead in the street like animals, mental illness is the silent killer like cancer of the brain chemicals and anti-Semitism is alive and well. See, I learned a very important lesson as a child, those who do not know history are destined to repeat it. Well, not trying to be captain obvious but haven’t we all been here before?

The ZARA shirt is just a reminder of what a group of assholes we can be when we try or just don’t give a shit about other people at all. I’m not going to go on a rant about what a rotten state the world is in because truth be told it’s probably always been in various states of shit depending on who you are and what your perspective is.

The reason this ZARA shirt is so offensive to me is that aside from being blatantly anti-Semitic it lets adults dress unsuspecting children in a sick and offensive garment that is reminiscent of one of the darkest days in history and then send them out into the world like a big Fuck You to the entire Jewish population. Maybe someone thought this was funny but I think it’s sad, hurtful and dangerous. What’s next, swastika print on Bermuda shorts? What are we teaching our children? Isn’t the world messed up enough without reopening old wounds?

Global warming, racism, bigotry, anti-Semitism, the objectification of women, the never ending misunderstanding and stigmatization of mental illness, gun Control, the economy, the hungry homeless on our own doorsteps and just a general lack of empathy and compassion in the world are just a few things going so wrong right now that have all happened before. Were we not paying attention the first 100 times these things have happened?

I’m a pragmatist, I know that the world will never be a perfect place. I don’t believe in unicorns and Utopia. I know that not everyone will always be accepting or tolerant of others. But wouldn’t it be nice if for a change, the assholes were in the minority instead of the majority.  My eyes have begun to twitch from the news lately.

Today , I read about a male pediatric nurse who molested the 2-month old preemie baby boy who he was fostering and then video taped and took photos of the whole thing. It went on for weeks. In one video, the authorities said that they could audibly hear the baby crying. What makes a person able to stomach doing something like that to a newborn, or anyone for that matter?

What are your thoughts on this “Sheriff” shirt by Zara?

zara, anti-semitic, Holocaust, fashion, Spain

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Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Today, I wrote a love letter to my daughter on her 7th birthday. My Gabi, my last baby turns 7-years-old. She is sort of amazing. I look at her and I can’t believe how much she has changed in 7 short years. She is nowhere near the chubby, 8 pounds 6 ounces, full head of black curly hair baby that I delivered who looked up with those giant big blue eyes and melted my heart. She stopped me in my tracks. That baby girl took my breath away and stole my heart forever. My love for my girls is immeasurable. Every year I try to quantify it for them in some way in a post, a love letter to my child, but it always falls short because how can you express the true meaning of to the moon and back plus infinity with all that I am or will ever be? It’s the kind of all-consuming love that hurts.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to my Five year-old

Today, the tall, waif-thin little girl with scraped knees and long flowing strawberry blonde hair with those same big blue eyes that make my heart happy is constantly changing. The freckles that kiss the tops of her cheeks beg me to kiss them and commit them to memory because at this moment, I know, she is changing, evolving, every single second. I breathe in deep and I inhale this moment, this child that she is right this minute. This same child who runs hot and cold at all times, the one who is so passionate about her convictions that sometimes she gets in her own way. How I adore her verve for life.

This is my love letter for your 7th year.

Gabs,

You came into my world and have been my happiness ever since. Your smiles soothe me, your tears tear me down and your sadness destroys me. Your laughter is contagious and infectious and can heal the world. On this 7th anniversary of the day you were born, my beautiful, amazing girl, I wish you a lifetime of the same wholehearted, all in love that you give to others.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

You are moody and broody and artistic and funny and vibrant and in total living Technicolor. You are a rainbow and a unicorn and all that the world has to offer that is good. You are shy and that scares me because the thought of you feeling unsure breaks my heart because I can’t fix this for you. But I am here, for today and for always, to hold your hand, to wipe away the tears and yes, to kick anyone’s ass my mama bear heart needs to. You drive me crazy with your independence when it’s in direct opposition to my plan but, inside, I am so proud of you for standing your ground.

READ ALSO: Love Letter to My Tween

I love that you stick up for what you believe in and for the underdog. I love your stubbornness and your follow through. I love that your heart compels you to get involved when you see a homeless person, sick person or a sad child. I love you for being exactly who you are and I would never change a thing about that. You are the perfect you in every way.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

 

I celebrate you and all that you have become today and I celebrate the day that I met one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known. I wish you a lifetime of love and acceptance of yourself, I want you to see and love yourself the way I see you; perfect, just the way you are.

 

Gabi, birthday, ballet, recital, turning 7, birthday, love letter, love letter to my 7-year-old, love letter to my child

Happiest 7th Birthday, my sweet baby girl, with the giant heart. Mommy loves you to the moon and back plus infinity and beyond. Oops, gotta go kiss someone, it’s her birth minute.

XOXO

When was the last time you wrote a real, handwritten love letter?

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I’ve been biting my tongue on this whole border/immigration issue but this…this is too much.

I am saddened and embarrassed by what has become of our borders and immigration laws. What happened to
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.” ? 

Was it all a bunch of bullshit? Was there a statute of limitations on how long that rang true?

https://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

For the full story please read here

Well,I’ve seen this story in print and on video and any way you slice it, it makes me sick.  First, of all, depending on the source this kid was either 14 or 15, he was small, and he was with a group of other individuals who may or may not have been smugglers or smuglees. The agent may or may not have been male or female. I  guess its all a matter of who is telling it and how they want to spin it.

From gathering the evidence, I’d say it was a kid who was being an asshole with his friends. They started throwing rocks ( not wielding rifles or machetes) at border patrol, very infantile and stupid, but not a crime punishable by death. I love how the video says that the agent was surrounded and then mentions that many border patrol have sustained head wounds from the rock throwing that goes on at the border. How ironic, she could have been hit in the head by a rock but instead he got a bullet through his brain.

I am NOT condoning these kids behavior and I suspect that FBI Special Agent Andrea Simmons was scared with rapid fire rocks being hurled at her head while trying to contain a suspect. Who wouldn’t be? I, myself, would have been scared shitless. But if the border wasn’t in such a shitty way these days, things wouldn’t have escalated and this agent wouldn’t have been so mentally on high alert. The whole immigration situation is ridiculous. Who in the hell thinks its punishable by death to try and find a better way of life for yourself and your family?

I understand the whole, do it legally argument. I agree, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. If your children are starving in a third world country you do what you have to to get them out of that situation. This country was founded as a refuge for immigrants;  a safe haven for those in search of a better life. Now, we decide to change the rules?

Now, we decide its OK to shoot some Mother’s child simply for trying to gain entrance? I don’t understand how we can live in  a time in history when it is alright to shoot immigrants HUMAN BEINGS for minor infractions of the law and to kill all the animals in the ocean with an unstoppable oil spill. Who’s running this circus? Are you really telling me with all that we can do and all the technology we have, we can not get along,respect our fellow man, or our planet? I think we all need to take a step back and examine just what kind of people we want to be? What kind of world do we want to be a part of? What legacy do we want to leave on the history books for our children?

Should breaking the immigration laws be punishable by death?

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Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

I think every family should go RVing before their kids grow up, at least once, if not do like some of my friends and take an entire year to explore. If you want to really connect as a family, for us, there need to be minimal distractions, intimate proximity and the freedom to unplug from the rest of the world. Your priority and attention need to be present with the people who are traveling with you. If there is a beautiful destination involved, a place where you can sit in wonder and awe, even better. This year, we discovered that for us, RVing is the only way to ensure that result.

As many of you know, my family and I are nomads. I could roam the world homeless forever. I was raised that home is where the people you love are and so home for me is wherever the Big Guy and my girls are at. That’s all I need; my health, them and the wide open road. Road trips are my jam; while I love traveling by any means possible, especially to a tropical destination, road trips allow for unexpected adventures that you just can’t plan. Detours and roadside stops or choosing a different path feels a lot like living in your own private choose your adventure game.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Last month, we had one of the best family vacations of our lives and that is saying a lot. I knew traveling by RV would be fun but I had no idea how much we would all connect. I had no idea how many beautiful memories we would make on this one trip. It was as simple as unplugging, being present and actually seeing the people and places in front of us.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLifeDisclosure: We were provided an RV and a campsite at a destination of our choice by Go RVing but all opinions and memories are our own.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

A screen is a beautiful thing but it pales in comparison to looking up and seeing the ocean. It is garbage compared to human contact and interaction around a campfire at night on a beach beneath the stars. It’s a poor substitute for real life. Virtual has nothing on human interaction.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

The weekend before school started back, we went on a magical end of the summer trip in an RV. I like to sneak in that one last relaxing getaway with my people before schedules get hectic and we’re all neck deep in the minutia of our day to day schedules. Last year, we stayed in a parked RV model in Traverse City, Michigan and we thought that was amazing and it was but it wasn’t the same experience as driving with your family in an RV. Definitely not the same as a road trip in an SUV or car, though, I do love those too.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

READ ALSO: Why RVing is the best family trip

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

We drove 9 hours to the D.C. area to pick up our Winnebago Intent Model 31P before driving another 7 hours to beautiful Camp Hatteras campground in Rodanthe, North Carolina. Talk about style. I’m not sure what I was expecting but this Winnebago exceeded anything I could have imagined. It was almost 32′ in length and could accommodate up to 7 people with bunk beds for the kids. There were only 4 of us, so we had plenty of space.

There was plenty of storage space, both inside the RV and in the under-storage areas for food, toys and games and whatever you want to bring along. There was a television in the sitting area, the back bedroom and even outside, along with a mini-fridge and sink; perfect when you’re grilling and don’t want to miss that special game. For us, the television was perfect for when it rained outside. We’d all snuggle up and watch a movie together before a midday nap. That’s what vacations are for, right? We were sucking every bit of relaxing we could get out of this trip.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

The Outer Banks has always been on my travel bucket list and it was not a disappointment. We can’t wait to go back. There is just something about a vacation by water that is intuitively relaxing for me, especially the ocean.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

There were a ton of things to do at Camp Hatteras from mini golfing, corn hole tournaments, live music, ice cream socials to crafts and karaoke but we were more interested in sunsets on the sound, long walks on the beach, playing in the surf, exploring under the pier and bonfires under the stars right on the beach. You choose your family adventure.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

You could surf, kayak, take a boat out and fish or you could build sandcastles, bathe in the sun and talk to the people on the blanket next to you on Camp Hatteras’ private beach while your kids laughed and ran from the waves. Campgrounds have a whole culture that I never knew about before and the people are all so fun and friendly. The first night we arrived, our site neighbors came out and helped us novice campers hook everything up.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Cape Hatteras can be as exciting or laid back as you choose. We opted for relaxing togetherness. I took the girls’ phones away. I only used mine for pics. We stopped worrying about ticking boxes and having to be anywhere and we just played it all by ear and it was magical. I seriously can’t recommend it highly enough. If your end goal is to relax on vacation and spend quality time with your family, go RVing.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

There was no running to see sights. It was just high grass, soft sand, blue water, crashing waves and star filled nights with the three people I love most on the planet. It couldn’t get any better than that and yet, it did. There were nights of delivered pizza while listening to the wave crash from our Oceanside site. There was coming in from a scorching beautiful day on the beach to an air-conditioned, all the amenities of home RV including a hot shower and a refrigerator full of ice cream.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLifeREAD ALSO: Ogunquit Maine is the Perfect Place to Eat Cake by the Ocean

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

There were lots of laughs and lots of love. There were so many moments and memories made in the that RV and on that beach that I will never forget. If I close my eyes, I can smell the salt in the air, hear my girls giggling and feel the Big Guys hand in mine as we watched our girls run in and out of the surf, delighted by the different creatures in the sea from rogue crabs to spotting a pod of dolphins off in the distance. I can’t wait for next year’s end of the summer adventure.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Have you ever taken a family trip in an RV? If not, start planning next year’s trip now. We only get a handful of these precious years of togetherness like this before our kids grow up and the dynamics change. Sure, they will always be our babies but it won’t always just be us and them and they won’t always be as easily contented by spotting a pod of dolphins, splashing under the pier or sitting beneath the stars making s’mores on a starry night with nothing more than the surf and your doting heart.

Why Every Family should Go RVing before your Kids Grow Up, Go RVing, family travel, Cape Hatteras, Camp Hatteras, Rodanthe, North Carolina, Outer Banks, Winnebago, WinnebagoLife

Take advantage of every single moment you can. Go RVing!

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coughing, stress incontinence

Why is it that women of a certain age who have children can no longer cough or sneeze without crossing their legs to stop themselves from pissing. Don’t even get me started on the coughing fits. I have another cold and I am terrified that I might piss myself in public. I am actually choosing my wardrobe based on which is least likely to reveal my coughing fit piss stain. I am becoming a Holiday hermit for fear of urinating myself in public.

I’ve tried party-liners and, let me just be frank with you, they only work if you have one of those teeny tiny sneezes or can slam your thighs shut in the spur of the moment like a bear trap. But if you have a full-on coughing fit or, God forbid, a child or dog sitting on your lap when the unfortunate incident takes place, foggedaboutit you better just get yourself a pair of Depends because in some situations its just better to be safe than sorry.  Sorry you pissed your pants Grandma. Yeah, I feel 105 every time I cough. I love my daughters but did their heads have to be SO damn big?

As if it were not bad enough that they split me apart and there is no longer a urethra, vagina and asshole but just one gaping wound, now I can’t even keep liquids down..errr inside..you know what I mean! This should be included in the What to Expect when You’re Expecting manuals. This should be told to every little girl that watches the puberty video. We should all be forewarned that we will piss ourselves after giving birth.I don’t know about you but I don’t particularly relish the thought of running around all stuffed up from a head cold smelling of the faint scent of urine like the homeless women on Randolph because I can’t smell anything and no one has the heart to tell me. Just tell me.

I was so concerned about shitting on the delivery table while pushing my children out into the world, if only I had known about the entire pissing ever after, I may have begged for a Caesarian section. They say that a steady regime of Kegels will rectify the situation but I say, they are damn liars. I have kegeled so much that I walk around with my vagina closed tight like a fist and yet, one rogue tickle in my throat and cough and there I stand, with a leaking closed fist where my vagina used to be. It should come standard to do some sort of urethra/bladder reconstruction for all women after giving birth. At the very least, can we stick an extra stitch or two in there to bring it back to some semblance of normal? Hell, sew it shut. I just don’t want to have a steady drip during flu season. Yes, doctor, I would like the number 3; urethra reconstruction, labia beautification and a tummy tuck.

Anyone else dreading cold season and stocking up on panty liners? Don’t say know because I noticed a definite shortage of Tylenol cold and flu and pantyliners at the local Target, coincidence? I think not!

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Niagara water, parenting

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are my own.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if the world was peaceful and there were no wars, no hate, no starving children, no displaced and homeless people? What if there was no poverty, racism or bigotry in the world? What if the world was filled with people who loved people equally no matter the color of their skin, their politics or their religion? What if we could all see past the superficial and get to know our neighbors for who they are and not what they are? Isn’t that a refreshing thought?

The world is a crazy place. It feels like it’s gone completely wild (and not in a good way) and maybe just a little off the rails. Every day, the news is filled with one horrible act after another, each one worse and more gruesome than the last. I want more for the world that I’m raising my daughters in. I don’t want our generation’s legacy to be one of death and destruction so I’ve made my mind up to change it.

I know that a lot of people say that they can’t make a difference because they are only one person but every person counts; each one as equally as the last. In my world that starts with me standing up, being the change and being the example for my children. They are always watching and I want to be my best self for them because that’s what they deserve and that’s who I want to be. I’m not perfect and I don’t pretend to be but I want my children to see me actively working to be a good person and the best version of myself.

I’m teaching my children to spread love not hate and to embrace, seek out and spread positivity. I know that it sounds almost too simple, right? But honestly, it is the truest thing I’ve ever known. It starts with me teaching them to love and accept themselves and it ends with them knowing that I am always here for them; no matter how old they may be or how badly they may think they’ve messed up. My love for them is unconditional and everlasting and I hope this allows them the freedom to always follow their heart and do the right thing.

My goal is simple; to raise good, tolerant, loving and accepting human beings. I’m raising daughters who strive to be the best them that they can be and to not compare themselves to others because that only leads to jealousy and bitterness. It also leads to feelings of less than and dissatisfaction with one’s self. I don’t expect perfection. I expect them to work hard at what’s important to them and try to reach their goals. The real living happens on the journey not the destination.

We parent focusing on a few very important virtues 1)honesty 2)integrity 3)respect 4) to know that where there’s a will there is always a way and by far the most important, 5) you cannot control other people’s reactions, only your own actions so do good and don’t worry about whether someone else chooses to appreciate it or not. Life is so much better when we accept people for who they are and not who we want them to be. Life is not a competition and no one is keeping score. I want my girls to take the high road, no matter the road others choose because they can’t control others but they can control how they behave and move through this world.

I’m not saying that I am raising my daughters to be people pleasers, there couldn’t be anything further from the truth. I am just raising them to please themselves and to let others live their own lives. We can’t please everyone, nor should we even try but we can choose to be a source of positivity and optimism rather than a source of sadness. We can choose to go high when the world goes low.

Speaking of being a positive and inspirational force in this world, I have partnered with Niagara Water, the brand that takes pride in being about “Water Not Hype”, to share with you their Refreshing Thoughts Sweepstakes.

To enter the Refreshing Thoughts sweepstakes is easy, simply share an inspiring “Refreshing Thought” in a picture on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #RefreshingThoughts for a chance to win $1000 and have your quote be featured on Niagara Water packaging.

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American, dentist, Walter Palmer, Cecil the Lion, Zimbabwe

Have you seen this photo of Walter Palmer, the dentist from Minnesota who murdered Cecil the Lion,  perched proudly above the remains of a dead lion? It proves that Walter Palmer has no respect for life.

There are bad people in the world that’s not a secret. I’ve always leaned more towards the crunchy, tree-hugging and animal loving side  of life philosophies. On most days, I prefer animals to people because most people suffer from some degree of hubris and I find that to be a most unattractive quality in humans. But on days like today, I’m reminded why maybe being at the top of the food chain doesn’t make you more evolved but more capable of doing wrong; damn walking upright and opposable thumbs. I’m talking specifically about the story of Cecil the Lion and the arrogant dentist from Minnesota.

Have you ever seen the hostel series? This is the vibe I get from this entire situation. Lesson number 1, Americans travel the world and act like assholes. This is our Achilles heel. We travel and think the entire world should bend to our will. We don’t learn the languages, we don’t respect the culture or the people and we basically think we can walk in there and own the place. This arrogance makes us vulnerable to all sorts of wrongdoing.

Walter Palmer is a big game hunter. He says he secured all the appropriate licenses and jumped through all the big game hoops that were dictated by regulations. Yet, the lion in question was lured off of a reserve at night (I don’t know maybe that’s when you hunt Lions?) when he was clearly in the national park and wearing a collar, which means he was not only protected he was being studied. In fact, not only was he being studied, he was the most famous of all the lions in Zimbabwe. But Americans, we can’t be held to the rules of native countries we are above these savages, besides he had money and if there is anything we are taught in the United States it is that everything has it’s price. He’s not the first person to think he’s above the law and he won’t be the last when it comes to murdering helpless animals.

And we wonder why the entire world hates us. It’s because we are a bunch of assholes. I see this all a little differently because while I am American, I have traveled outside the U.S. as a child with a native to another country and I was force learned to respect other countries; their languages, their people and their culture. I was not taught to travel and expect the world to bow to me. I was taught when in Rome (or Mexico in my case) behave as if in Rome, not as if you are in America because you’re not.

This dentist went to Africa, paid some people, greased some palms and had his hunt. He didn’t care how forbidden or illegal it was. He can backtrack all he wants now but why lure the lion off the reserve unless it was to do something illegal. He wanted the full experience of the hunt; the thrill of wounding, tracking and ultimately killing and desecrating the animal. He wanted his photo taken with the slain carcass and the head mounted on the wall. He didn’t give a damn about the law. He wanted to satisfy some desire in him to say he killed the beast.

American, dentist, James Palmer, Cecil the Lion, Zimbabwe

He was trying to get around the law because he has no respect for it and if the truth were truly known, I’d say the only thing he is sorry for is being caught and the financial repercussions he is suffering for this bad behavior.

I don’t know about you but I think Walter Palmer should be extradited to Africa and made to serve jail time, not just issued a fine because he has not only disrespected the animal itself, he has disrespected the law and the country. I feel like he thinks he is above the law. He needs to be shown that he is not.

If this bad behavior is tolerated, what’s next on his list? Hunting humans? The thrill of the hunt will grow and what happens when there are no more animals to be hunted? He will want something bigger, smarter and more of a challenge. Maybe next he will pay the right people to let him murder a homeless man in some obscure country where he thinks no one will notice. Maybe he already has.

What are your thoughts about Walter Palmer murdering Cecil the Lion?

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Father's Day, Gift Guide

Can you believe Father’s Day is just around the corner? It kind of snuck up on us, to be honest.  What with the coronavirus pandemic, not knowing what day, week or month it is and being fully emerged in the fight for equality, things have been upended here and the new normal is absolutely not normal but the Big Guy really is one hell of a dad and husband so I really wanted to make Father’s Day special for him.

READ ALSO: What Makes a Good Father and How to Be a Good Dad

But what do you get the man who has everything? It’s not like when the girls were little, no one is having to wait months on end to try to piece together a free night out or save up for a new video game. Let’s be honest, we’ve all been quarantined for the last 4 months so we’ve pretty much been doing as we pleased…well, within the confines of our house because who’s going out? Maybe a cool new mask that’s better suited for the summer months, just to say we care. You’re not alone in this quandary.

Father’s Day Gifts that every dad will love

1. Well, he’s the dad of a couple of teenage girls so first on the list is no bickering. Like seriously, we love these girls more than life itself but when they start bickering with one another, it pretty much sounds like cats screeching their nails down a chalkboard. So silence could definitely be a gift.

2. But that’s probably not going to happen because they are my children and we’re talkers what can I say. So maybe we use the words for good instead of evil and tell the man how much he means to us. The girls can make cards and tell the man how great he is. Me, I’ve got this here blog that I’ve been cultivating for 11 years so here goes (I’m using my words)

Babe, you are the wind beneath my wings. Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, you elevate me and me and give my soul, my heart and my mind the freedom and support to fly. You are the best husband and father anyone could have ever asked for and probably better than I deserve on most days.  I know it’s hard being the only man in a house full of women but you are the best girl dad I’ve ever seen and our girls are blessed to have you, as am I. Thank you for all that you do for all of us. Thank you for your unconditional love and support. We love you to the moon and back and infinity and beyond.

 

  1. Bake Me a Wish

The Big Guy has a serious sweet tooth sometimes and what’s more delicious than gourmet bakery gifts? BakeMeAWish.com, is a leading national online gifting company.  5% of all purchases will be donated to the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund. Bake Me A Wish! guarantees overnight delivery for those last-minute gifts! Let me tell you, I sampled the tiramisu cake and one of their gorgeous gift baskets and it was a winner in our house.

Even though we may not be able to celebrate alongside dad this year, receiving a bakery gift is a special way to let dad know how much he’s appreciated this Father’s Day. Bake Me a Wish! offers guaranteed next day delivery, for all the last-minute gift-givers.

To order a gourmet bakery gift for dad and support the Meals on Wheels COVID-19 Response Fund, please visit www.bakemeawish.com.

   4. Society Socks

Society Socks are cool socks with super cute designs that any dad would be proud to wear to the office. They offer products with a social cause that are the perfect gift for the stylish dad who has everything. Society Socks are whimsical, comfortable and best of all with every subscription box, you receive 2 pairs of socks and Society socks donate 2 pairs of fun and funky socks to the homeless shelter.

Bonus: They make cool socks for mom too!

   5. Lodge Cast iron for the Outdoorsman

If the dad in your life is a chef or an outdoor chef, Lodge Cast Iron is an unconventional yet perfect way to celebrate Father’s Day. Lodge cast iron is great as versatile indoor grilling cookware but also absolutely perfect for camping trips.

READ ALSO: Father’s Day Gifts for the Great Outdoorsman

As you may be familiar, Lodge Cast Iron has been making heirloom-quality cookware and accessories for over 120 years at its headquarters in South Pittsburg, Tennessee. I’m not normally one for getting appliances or any kind of gift that can be construed as a “chore” but cast iron on a family camping trip is definitely a gift; pancakes on griddles, chili in dutch ovens and pizookies in cast iron skillets. They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

   6. Sugarfina for the sweetest dads

Finding the perfect gift for Dad might be a bit more challenging this year, but who says it’s impossible? We’ve put together the SWEETEST suggestions for Dad, Pops, Daddy, Grandpa, Uncle .. Whoever you’re celebrating, Sugarfina has the sweet treats to make this Father’s Day one he’ll never forget!

  • Choco-holic Dad– give him treats as sweet as he is, Coconut Toffee Macadamias
  • Do-It-All Dad– caffeinated sweets will keep his motor running, NEW Cold Brew Cordials
  • Top-Shelf Dad– keep it classy for the dad who’s casually cool

They have gifts for all price ranges; under $35, gifts under $50 and $75? No problem. Sugarfina has you covered.

   7. Give dad the gift of smart surround sound

Apple Homepod speakers for the tech-savvy dad. HomePod is a breakthrough speaker that adapts to its location and delivers high-fidelity audio wherever it’s playing. Together with Apple Music and Siri, it creates an entirely new way for you to discover and interact with music at home. And it can help you and your whole family with everyday tasks — and control your smart home — all with just your voice. There is almost nothing the Big Guy likes better than a smart home.

READ ALSO: Father’s Day Gift Guide for the tech-savvy dad

HomePod combines custom Apple-engineered audio technology and advanced software to deliver precision sound that fills the room. And at just under seven inches tall, HomePod fits anywhere in your home so no cutting into your walls to install speakers. They are sleek and you almost don’t notice them so they will blend right into your home décor.

   8. Father’s Day Spa treatment

I like getting people gifts that they wouldn’t normally buy themselves. The same way that I’m remiss to buy myself anything luxurious unless it’s on a deep discount, the Big Guy doesn’t spend money on taking care of himself. It seems like he only feels comfortable buying what he needs so a luxury like a skincare system is nothing he’d ever stop to get himself. The Thermaderm Father’s Day set is easy-to-use, effective skincare basics, that will have dad looking polished and ready for anything.

The Theraderm Father’s Day Set comes in a smart black travel bag, great for guys on the go, and keeps it simple with three effective products that will keep skin clean and youthful.

 Kick-off every day with the Theraderm Cleansing Wash to get rid of all unwanted oil and dirt without drying out the skin. Suitable for face, body, and even hair, this non-irritating cleanser is perfect for dads with busy schedules. The Cleansing Wash is gentle, yet thoroughly penetrates all the way to the center of the hard keratin in hair and can get unruly manes and even beards clean before a shave.

 The Fruit Acid Exfoliant makes exfoliating quick and ultra-easy. Alpha hydroxy acid works to minimize pores and slough off dead skin cells while evening out skin tone. Packed of lactic acid toner, this product with get dull skin looking dapper after one use.

 Top off this quick routine with the Platinum Protection Facial Sunscreen 43, the magic number for broad-spectrum UV protection because it has the exact amount of active ingredient needed to trap harmful UVA/UVB rays. This oil-free SPF absorbs into the skin quickly and goes on undetected without pilling or stinging the eyes.

Every dad is different and special like giant dad body shaped snowflakes. In the end, all most dads want is a day to feel appreciated and maybe sneak in a much deserved and long-overdue nap. Just gift from the heart something that will be meaningful to your dad or husband and it’s sure to be a hit.

 

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