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miscarriage, loss, grief, May 1st

Is there a right or wrong way to experience loss? Is there a time limit on grief? I don’t think so.

May 1st is my annual day of mourning. I don’t know if this is normal or not but it’s what is normal for me. My miscarriage changed me forever. It’s how I get through this. It’s the one day of the year that I am completely still and I allow myself to feel all the feelings because quite honestly, this week just knowing that the anniversary of such a terrible event in my life was approaching had me walking around feeling like an exposed nerve. I changed forever on that day and I‘ll never be the same. No matter how hard I try or pretend to be.

I have cried at song lyrics and at the sound of the giggles of my daughters, knowing that one is missing. There is a hole in my heart that will never be repaired; not for my entire life. When my littlest daughter cuddles into me at bedtime and asks me for baby brother or sister, I hold my breath, push down the lump and pray I can hold back the tears long enough for her to fall asleep. Most days it’s a tiny little ache that I hardly even notice anymore but other days, it’s a sharp shooting pain that steals my breath away and others that confine me to my bed and the space in my head where I am allowed to dwell in my heartbreak.

It’s just one day and it doesn’t seem enough but at the same time, how do you quantify loss?

When I had my miscarriage, I wanted to die. All I could do was cry.I wanted to sink into one of my deep, tear stained sleeps where I had sobbed myself into exhaustion and never wake up. I was given pain killers and sleeping pills to help. I can’t tell you how many times in that first month that I mixed them, hoping to “accidentally” not wake up. The only thing that kept my weary mind and body grounded in this world were my girls and the Big Guy. I’ve never told anyone that.

May 1st is the day that I had my D & E. Two years ago, I went in to my obstetrician’s office for a little spotting, just like I did in both pregnancies previous. Today was the day that my entire world crashed down around me. Then, it became real. My body failed me and my heart shattered into one million tiny scattered pieces. May 1st is the day that I lost my baby. I was 10 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I will mourn that day for the rest of my life.

I feel like people don’t understand; not my family or my friends and certainly not the general population. I feel like people are thinking that I should get over it. After all, “It” was just a pregnancy. It wasn’t like I had a child who lived and then he died. The thing that I feel people fail to understand is that “IT” was not an “it” at all. It was my child; it was a Bella or a Gabi. In my heart and in my mind, I loved that baby just as much as I love the two I get the privilege of kissing good night every blessed night.  I lost everything and I won’t ever get over that.

I don’t linger in my loss anymore these days. I live each day knowing that a piece of my heart is missing and it hurts when I think about it. I give myself this ONE day of the year. I don’t need permission or to explain it to anyone. I just need this one day to not buckle under the weight of my own heart, to not choke from the lump in my throat, to cry until there are no more tears left and to be mad as hell that where my baby should be, my arms are empty and will always be.

The pain of losing a pregnancy or a child is like no other pain. If you’ve never experienced it (and I pray that you don’t) just take that all-consuming, unimagined love that you felt for your baby the first time you held her and then multiply that by a million in the opposite direction. That is what I feel like on May 1st, like I am being hit by a Mack truck and the worst part is that I know its coming.

I know I’ll always take pause in remember the day that my world was shattered. Some years the anniversary will hurt less and some years it will hurt more. But every year, on May 1st, I am giving myself the day to feel all of my feelings , even if I feel absolutely nothing but flat exhaustion. Or maybe one of these days, I will be happy dressing my daughter for her wedding or witnessing the birth of my 1st grandchild  and I won’t be overcome with grief or even tinged with sadness. No matter what I feel, it’s okay but I have to do this for myself.

Part of me shut off that day. I pushed it down, way down so I could function but it’s there bubbling beneath the surface. There are feelings that are so overwhelming that I’m afraid to let them in and that is what today is for, to sit still, alone and feel whatever feelings come up.

Can we ever truly recover from loss?

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Mother's Day

I wasn’t sure what to expect this year for Mother’s Day. Normally, my only wish is peace, a clean house and not be needed. I appreciate a good day off of mom duty. I know it sounds selfish when so many moms just want to celebrate with their children or their moms but really all I want is a quiet house with no one asking anything of me. I want 24 hours of no responsibilities and no one depending on me for anything. I want to just be me. Somehow this Mother’s Day was more special than any other.

Normally, what I’ve wanted is exactly what the Big Guy has given me. It’s a Queen for the day situation. Well, to be honest, with the Big Guy, he always treats me like a queen just this queen has to do dishes and break up bickering matches between teenagers and fold laundry. Being a queen is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sometimes, I just want to drive somewhere with my favorite music blaring singing at the top of my lungs or eat what I want to eat or watch a rated R movie or binge a foreign film series without judgment. I hate the feeling of expectation. You know when the world gives you some side-eye as it wonders pretty damn aloud, why you aren’t doing something else…something they deem productive? No, just me?

READ ALSO: A Mother’s Day I’ll Never Forget

I grew up in a house where weekends were not for sleeping in; they were for waking up even earlier to get more done. And you never had the luxury of being bored because my father would find some household chore for you to do. Everything was never always done and there was plenty to go around. And so, now, I find I almost impossible to relax if anyone else is around. If you are anyone who could possibly expect anything from me…you can rest assured that I cannot relax.

But this year, Mother’s Day fell on quarantine, so did the anniversary of my miscarriage which I observe every year as my national day of grief (this year I had an audience because everyone was underfoot), as did my husband’s birthday, our 21st wedding anniversary is this weekend and my daughter’s 13th birthday. This shelter in place is really jacking up life as we know it. My expectations for Mother’s Day were pretty low.

I didn’t expect gifts because who can go shopping. I didn’t expect fancy brunches at a restaurant or visits from my mom or my sisters. All I wanted was my day off but how? We’re all in this quarantine together so I couldn’t really expect alone time. All I really wanted was no bickering between the kids, no housework for me and not to have to worry about dinner. Done, done and done. But something was different, aside from the world being in a coronavirus tizzy… my girls did something different.

READ ALSO: Sick, Fat and Nearly Dead on Mother’s Day

I don’t know if it’s the fact that we’ve all been quarantined for over 2 months or the fact that they are getting older or maybe they just were trying to make me happy with their thoughtfulness but they surprised me. Both girls posted sweet messages on Instagram with pictures of us from when they were little. It wasn’t about the picture on social media it was the fact that they said how much they loved and appreciated me, with specifics, online, in front of everyone. They’re teens.

Not to be that person but my 15-year-old called me, “Diosa,” which means goddess. Fuck a queen, my girl thinks I’m a goddess and she called me her best friend. Then, she thanked me for making her the “bad bitch” she is. Now, I don’t like women being called bitches but when my teen thinks of herself as a “bad bitch” I call that a mom win.

My youngest, who I’m pretty sure hates me on most days because fucking hormones and she is my teen wonder twin, told me not only that she loves me so much but more importantly she said that I’m always there for her and never give up on her which I don’t ever but I wasn’t sure she realized that until that moment. The fact that she does lets me know that I’m on the right track. God knows we moms spend so much time trying to figure out what’s going on in our kids’ heads. It was so nice for them to tell me.

READ ALSO: The Best Mother’s Day Gift Ever

Not going to lie, I’ve done a lot of shit in my life. I’ve accomplished a lot. I’m well-educated, well-traveled, I’m cultured and I believe that I can do anything that I set my mind to and still these two girls are and always will be my legacy, my greatest achievement. My goal is to raise good human beings and that’s a lifetime position. It’s hard work; it takes up all of my time, my energy, my heart and my soul but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Their words, those notes, unprompted and unsolicited expressions of love, meant more to me than any gift ever could.

I don’t know what you did for Mother’s Day or how your family celebrated you but I hope they made you feel like a Diosa, a goddess, and I hope you know how much they love and appreciate you. You’re a bad bitch and I see you. So when you’re tired, exhausted from no sleep, dealing with tantrums or bickering teens, sick children and it feels like nothing in the world is going right…you’re homeschooling and you’re never off duty, just remember inside the crazy storm of motherhood, there is a calmness. Motherhood is misery peppered with profound moments of bliss. I know I’m a day late because I was trying to just be yesterday but Happy Mother’s Day to each and every one of you. May the odds be ever in your favor.

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Day of the Dead, dia de los muertos, dis de los inocentes, Mexican Holiday, Halloween

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead? It’s a Mexican holiday but I think it’s something everyone who has ever lost someone could benefit from taking part in. It’s hard when you lose someone you love because of the finality of the situation but when you celebrate Day of the Dead, there is a comfort to be had every year. It’s about being soft and being strong at the same time.

First, let me start by telling you what Day of the Dead is really about. I know it follows immediately after the pagan holiday, Halloween, but it is not the same. Not at all. One holiday is celebrated by dressing up and begging for candy from strangers, the other is celebrated by building alters and remembering loved ones who we’ve lost.

Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. Cleaning the headstones can involve pulling up weeds and removing any debris before decorating. It’s a chance to ensure everything looks neat and tidy, and that the graves serve as worthy memorials to lost loved ones. In Mexico, graveyards are often publicly owned, unlike in the United States when they are often private, so it’s the collective job of the community to maintain them. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Day of the Dead we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Day of the Dead we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that they dead enjoyed in their life.

I like that Day of the Dead recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Day of the Dead, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

I like to think of it as a way of staying connected to those I love that have passed on. Sure the connection is based on building an altar and spending a day or two celebrating their lives and my life with them but it helps. In the end, it makes me feel not so much like I lost them but like they are still with me, all around me.

I find this particularly comforting on Dia de los Inocentes. I don’t have a headstone to decorate with marigolds or photos to use on an altar but I do take the day to remember the baby I lost. Losing a baby was one of the hardest things I’ve ever survived and Dia de Los Inocentes is very personal for me because it’s not about a spectacle or a grandiose gesture, in my case. It’s about quietly grieving my loss but at the same time being thankful that I had that baby in my life for as long as I did. I celebrate the possibility and the blessing.

In a weird way it gives me closure while at the exact same time it makes me feel connected to my baby and to the world in away that I don’t on most days. For me, Day of the Dead, especially Dia de los Inocentes, is about being strong while being soft.

Who would you celebrate on Day of the Dead?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Georgia Pacific. The opinions and text about Day of the Dead are all mine.

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first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Nothing could have prepared me for my daughter’s first day of high school. I expected there to change. Even expected there to be stress and nervous energy. Definitely, did not expect the first day of high school to be harder than the first day of kindergarten. It was so much worse.

I not the mom who cried in the kindergarten corridor, my girls are stoic. They’re independent and they suck it up. They get that from their daddy. I’m highly emotional. I do suck it up but I always give myself permission to feel my feelings.

READ ALSO: Kindergarten, the beginning of the end

All summer Bella’s joked that she wants to be homeschooled. She’s wanted to be homeschool since about 2nd grade. Due to demanding dance schedules, Bella’s ballet friends are homeschooled. I never put much weight in it because I work from home. I’ve taught and had classroom time. But teaching your own child is something different entirely so my answer has always been a firm no.

But this summer, she wouldn’t drop it. I assumed she was getting nervous for the change to high school. After all, she’s been at the same school since 1st grade. But on that first morning, she was overcome with fear and begged me to not make her go.

READ ALSO: The Different Kinds of Moms You Meet on the First Day of School

Do you have any idea how hard that was for me? I’m very close to my girls. We’re a small family, just the 4 of us and they really are my best friends ( I know it’s not cool to say that but in our case, it is true). I don’t say no very often to things they really want. Things yes but not asks of me as a mom. This morning, I had to stand strong and push my baby bird out of the nest, for her own good.

As moms, I think most of us would love to just keep our little ones snuggled up near us forever but that’s not what’s best for them. How can I expect her to be a functioning good human being when I let her shy away from everything that scares her?

The entire car ride to school, she was silently holding back tears. I saw it. I didn’t acknowledge it because, just like when they are toddlers and you make a deal about a booboo, that’s the moment the histrionics begin. I was trying to be stoic because, confession, I am totally the mom who kisses all the booboos and makes a big deal. But I needed to be strong for her.

READ ALSO: Slipping through my Fingers

About a block from the school, we were stopped in traffic and she could see the cars lining up to make the street cross at the yield sign. She could see all the other freshman and realized that she knew none of them. I heard the whimpering as she stifled her cries. My heart broke into a zillion pieces. Be strong, Debi. You can do this. Do it for Bella She needs you. This is not about you. Do NOT fall apart woman. Not turning the car went against all of my mommy instincts.

There we were in the car at drop off on her first official morning of high school. This day was just for incoming freshman. I love that. The student ambassadors were standing outside lining the drop off lanes, holding banners welcoming the new students. Cheerleaders were cheering. Teachers were standing at attention with full-faced smiles. Even the school mascot was standing outside giving out free hugs. I felt comfortable dropping her off in this situation.

I turned to the passenger seat and there say my baby, my firstborn, sobbing from fear of the unknown and no amount of reassurance was going to fix this but neither was letting her not face it. It was now. This was her moment. It was also a really hard parenting moment because I confess, all I wanted to do was grab her in my arms, peel outta there and take her home with me and make it all better. Instead, holding back tears behind my giant Gucci sunglasses, I grabbed her hand, told her that I loved her, kissed her cheek and told her to have the best day. ” I’ll see you soon.”

first day of high school, high school, back to school. teenagers

Looking back at me with her cheetah spotted face, through blubbering from sheer panic and fear, she said, “I hate you, mom.” I knew she didn’t mean it. I knew that was her way of letting me know how very hard this moment was for her. This was her being scared and clinging to anything that would get me to stop the trajectory of our morning. She wanted off. She wanted out. She was terrified and I was the only thing that stood between her and the comfort of how things were.

I cried all the way home. I felt like the worst mom in the history of the world. I felt like I had abandoned her at the moment she needed me most. But I know that I did the right thing because it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I had to walk away when my daughter metaphorically had her hands outstretched to me, begging me to rescue her. Instead, I gently pushed her out of the nest. I’m not sure how I’m going to survive when she goes away to college.

READ ALSO:  Only 9 more Summers

That’s the thing about being a parent, we have to love them so much that we do what’s best for them, even when it breaks our hearts. We have to let them go, even when all we want to do is hold them tight. We have to love them so hard that they see themselves the way we do. We lift them up, give them courage and self-confidence when they are at their most vulnerable. We watch from the sidelines, with no glory or fanfare, being their biggest cheerleaders for all of their lives. We love them enough to convince them to see that they are as wonderful as we’ve always known they were…since that moment they were first placed upon our chest the moment they were born. As a parent, it’s our responsibility to give our children the best possible education that would cater to their needs and future goals. In fact, you can opt to learn more about best high schools in Raleigh, NC.

What was your child’s first day of school like this year?

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Mother's Day. march of dimes, anthem foundation, premature births, fertility, regret, postponing motherhood, baby, birth, pregnancy, labor, delivery,new mom, what labor feels like

Normally, for Mother’s Day, all I want is a day of peace and rest. The kids leave me alone (except for hugs and kisses in the morning) and the Big Guy assumes 100% of all the parenting and household duties. This has been my dream Mother’s Day for many years and I’ve been living the dream.

 

I’ll gladly accept homemade cards, baubles and gift cards for massages. I love all of those things. But mostly I love sleeping in, no bickering, not having to do dishes or cook or think. I love binging R-rated movies and blasting the music that I want to listen to as loud as I want. Now if a cleaning fairy would just show up and dust and fold all the clothes (and put them away).

 

However, this year is different. Monday I was told I’m sick. Really sick. Life-threateningly sick. So this year, while I would love to sleep in and have no bickering or do any menial household chores, I mostly want to enjoy my family because that I’ll always be here is not a given. That I can send them into another room while I binge Netflix alone isn’t what I want. This year, I feel like I can’t take anything for granted.

 

Maybe I won’t be secluding myself this year, as I’ve done for many other Mother’s Days. I won’t be over planning or trying to fit someone else’s expectation of what Mother’s Day is supposed to look like either. I don’t want roses or brunch at the Waldorf, I just want to relax and not have to be anywhere or do anything. I want to live a day at my leisure with no responsibility and yes, this year, I want it to be with my family.

 

I want snuggles and cuddles and kisses and hugs. I want talking and laughing and enjoying one another’s company. I want memories and nostalgia and never letting go. I want to be a Mother because not everyone gets to.

 

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate motherhood. For each of us, it is different. For all of us, it’s personal. Each mother is beautiful and special in her own way and each family celebrates differently. The important thing is that we take the time and savor the moment, reflecting on the honor it is that we are blessed to have children and they are blessed to have us because without one another, what would we be?

 

This weekend, we’ll be celebrating in a way that is us. Saturday, we’re taking a short road trip to see Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo and I’m super excited because it’s in the middle of the day so I don’t have to worry about early mornings or late nights.

 

Sunday, I’ll sleep in until I wake up then head to mass because this mama can use all the God she can get these days. Then, home for a healthy brunch cooked by the Big Guy. It will be a designated bickering-free zone for the day, so the lovely tween and teen will have to abstain from killing one another. Followed by watching movies, a nap, a family walk, and a delicious, yet healthy, dinner. Then, Game of Thrones and a back rub. Maybe I’ll even throw a long bath in there somewhere. I haven’t had a soak in years. Sounds like perfection to me. I know, I’m pretty specific but this is what my dreams are made of these days.

 

Anyways, that’s my dream Mother’s Day 2019. Normally, it’s to be alone so if that is your perfect Mother’s Day, I am not mad at you. We are the same people. This year, I have a different perspective and every moment with my girls counts so this is where we are…spending the day in peace and love with my family. Here’s hoping it all plays out.

 

What’s your dream Mother’s Day? If you could do anything in the world on Mother’s Day what would it be?

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September 11, 2001, New York, United States of America, Bin Laden,

I resolved not to write about September 11, 2001, that fateful day. I didn’t feel that I needed to be reminded of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 because, in all reality, I have never forgotten them. I never will. I see it every day in the eyes of my husband and the sweet faces of my daughters.

September 11, 2001 is the day that the world stood still for all of the collective United States.

We held our breath and helplessly watched as our lives were tragically changed forever. Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of

Most of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that infamous morning, when the plane hit the north tower, at 8:47 am. That moment is seared into my brain like a branded battle scar. The myriad of emotions that overwhelmed me in that exact moment in time will be with me always. It can’t be forgotten. I can still feel the sickness in the pit of stomach eating at my soul, as I type this.

September 11, 2011, #NeverForget, New York, The Day the world stood still, Bin Laden. loss, United States of America

No, I wasn’t going to write about September 11, 2001 but I am thankful for my husband that I was afraid I might have lost that morning, my daughters who have been born since that day, for my friends in New York who made it through that day with their lives and survived the devastation that losing their friends, family members and loved ones brought in those following days.

I am commemorating those unsuspecting people who lost their lives, the heroes who at the cost of their own lives kept going into the collapsing buildings to save others and those of us who have chosen not to be victims of that day but who joined together as a nation to overcome the heinous crimes inflicted upon us by a group of cowardice monsters.

My thoughts and prayers are with all of those families who lost someone that day and for the rest of us who survived it and must live with the pain and loss that September 11, 2001, has left in its wake. This is my story, we all have one.

September 11, 2001 they ran in when everyone else ran out

I can very clearly remember the bright blue morning sky of September 11, 2001, as if it were yesterday. We were living in North Carolina, it was 2 weeks before my 29th birthday. We had only recently celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary. My husband was away on business in Pennsylvania.

Per usual, I went to work, at a small publishing house, and the moment I walked in the door my editor silently motioned me over to the television to see what was happening. There we stood paralyzed, watching in shock and horror at the footage being shown on the television… of what was happening. Could this be real?

It couldn’t be real. It looked like some horrible action movie but it was live TV. It was the footage of flight 11 hitting the first tower. I remember my heart falling to the floor as I realized my husband was away from me on business. I couldn’t make sense of it. It was all happening so fast. We were being attacked on our own soil.

My husband, the other half to my whole, was in Pennsylvania, much too close to where everything was taking place. I tried to call him but all the phone lines to the east coast were jammed from terrified loved ones trying to reach their families in New York.

I distinctly remember the newscaster making the announcement and showing the footage of the south tower being hit by flight 175, as I was still trying to absorb the north tower being hit. Seeing the dark billowy puffs of smoke escaping from the rubble and the heartbreak of seeing the frightened and desperate people jump from the building, it was all I could do not to start driving in the general direction of where my husband was. All I wanted to do was hear my husband’s voice. I needed to know he was safe.

I couldn’t imagine the fear and thoughts going through the jumpers minds as they were forced to make that decision or the pain and sheer fright they must have felt being trapped in the collapsing towers. It must have felt like the world was ending. In many ways, it was.

Just imagine minding your business, doing your work and your entire life being snatched away. Your future, no longer an option. Knowing that you would never hold your baby, kiss your husband goodbye or tell them that you love them.

Then they made the announcement on the news that Flight 77 crashed into the western side of the Pentagon. I held my breath once more and through tear filled eyes, continuously dialed my husband’s number on the cell phone. I had to reach him, somehow.

September 11,2001; A Day that will live in Infamy

Then the announcement that Flight 93 went down very near where my husband was at on business. I dialed and dialed ( as I know many people were trying to do ) until my fingers were cramping from pushing the buttons. But the phone lines were all down due to what was happening and all the calls trying to be made by scared families trying to reach their loved ones, just like me. Everyone was trying to make sure that their loved one was not in or near the buildings hit. We all just wanted to hear the voice, to have the reassurance that our loved one was safe. I remember being there at work, watching helplessly as my world was collapsing. An entire generation of American people lost our safety and security, our trust and innocence. We thought we were untouchable on our own soil but the events that transpired on September 11, 2001 made us realize just how vulnerable we were. I stayed at work that very long day with my boss because I was 10 hours away from my nearest relative and going home to our empty apartment waiting for him to call me meant sitting there alone with my thoughts…with my fears.

My husband was there…nearer to the situation than I would ever want. I thank God every day that he wasn’t in New York that morning. Eventually, he called me. It seemed an eternity waiting for that call to come. I remember thinking..this is it..this is the day my world could come to a screeching halt. It did in a way. My life was changed forever, as were the lives of every American. I will never feel safe again. Not completely.

Every time someone I love gets on a plane, I hold my breath until they land safely. I’ve not been on a plane since this happened and I am sure that when I do, there will be an inordinate amount of anxiety. When the phone call finally came that my husband was OK, hearing his voice on the other end was one of the greatest moments of relief that I have ever experienced in my life. I had never been so thankful for my blessings and for the simple things such as my husband’s smile across a crowded room, his laughter ringing out at the most inappropriate times or just the way he says my name. I will never take those things for granted ever again.

September 11, 2001, New York, Bin Laden, #neverforget

Osama Bin Laden is dead and I’m glad. I won’t make apologies for being glad that he is gone. I feel that we are all a little freer from the tyranny of terrorism that we have been under for the past 10 years. My heart still aches for all the wives who lost their husbands, children who lost their parents, parents who lost their children and anyone who lost a loved one, a friend, a co-worker or even just someone who smiled at you on the street every day or as you passed in the building.

Their smiles, voices, laughter, and existence will be missed and felt by many. Their ripple is great and every moment is more precious to me now because I know that any moment can be the last. I now know the unconditional love that a parent feels for a child, I know the unbreakable path between a couple, so close that you don’t know where one begins and the other ends, and I can imagine the unfulfillable void and pain that losing that would cause.

I’ve been holding on to these feelings for a long time. I’ve had them wrapped up tight in a small little box, hidden away far back in the recesses of my soul because I didn’t want to think about how vulnerable we were are. I was afraid that if I allowed myself to feel those feelings, it might be too much. I was dreading today because I wasn’t ready to dig that box out and open it up. But we owe it to those we lost, the mothers, fathers, friends, daughters, sons, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, the heroes who ran in when everyone was running out on September 11, 2001 to #NeverForget!

September 11,2001; I will #NeverForget

 

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change, first communion, dress, growing upAs you may have noticed, change is inevitable in life in general for all of us and, more specifically, on my site in the last few days. If this is your first time here, you probably only noticed that holy smokes this woman likes her pink, like her men, hot! But really what you don’t know is that yes, while I do like the Big Guy hot, like my pink, my site has gotten a complete overhaul this past weekend. Thanks to my tech guru/ web design genius, the Big Guy. Hey, you know what they say, it’s cheaper to keep him. No way could I afford what he would charge for the pain in the ass kind of person I am to design for, especially since he undertook this task on my shark week. He is so brave. This was by far my favorite Valentine’s Day gift thus far.

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calavera, beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead makeup

Do you celebrate Day of the Dead, also known as, Dia de Los Muertos? Always wanted to dress up but had no idea where to start? Well, I’ve got the perfect and easy Day of the Dead make-up tutorial? Celebrating Day of the Dead will never be easier than with my Dia de los Muertos make-up tutorial.

We celebrate it as one of our culture’s most sacred traditions. One of our favorite things to do besides building our altar to honor our dead is I to dress up as La Calavera Catrina. All the makings of the perfect DIY Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos Costume, was in my closet.

Halloween and Day of the Dead are right around the corner. Every year at this time we start trying to figure out what our Halloween costumes are going to be and what our costumes for the annual Zombie walk might be. Yes, we’re that family. As they say, a family that costumes together stays together.

This year I went Day of the Dead, Dia de Los Muertos, makeup for the zombie walk.

While the Big Guy and our girls are getting their zombie on, I prefer to dress up as la Calavera Catrina, more universally recognized as the Day of the Dead Doll.  Dia de lo Muertos royalty.

READ ALSO: How Disney’s Coco got Mexican Culture Right

I love the vibrant colors and the fact that I get to share my Latino culture with my daughters in such a big, beautiful way. I stick out like a flower among weeds with my make-up compared to all the zombies. Believe it or not, it’s pretty easy and it’s perfect for adults and kids.

The hard part is getting the make-up off but with a quick trip to WalMart, I can pick up a package of Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes and removal is easy peasy.

Here are step-by-step instructions on how to get your very own Day of the Dead look with this Dia De Los Muertos Make-Up Tutorial:

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  1. First, begin by spreading an even layer of the Clown White make-up all over the entire face, except the eye sockets, with a sponge, and set with powder. It is important to set the color with the powder, because the black lines and color on top may get smudged unless you place a barrier in between.

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2.  Next, sculpt the perimeter of the eye sockets with black liquid eyeliner, it allows you be more precise with your lines. Then intensify the area by blending a matte black shadow in the same hue over the top of the entire eyelid and filling in.

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3.  For detailing, I used a black liquid liner with a precise tip, and drew an upside-down heart on the nose, two rows of scalloping, connected by a circular motion, that surrounded the eyes and the two small circles on either side of my cheekbones. Mark out seven lines in a V-shape on your forehead. I made a jewel in the middle of mine. Connect the lines with curved shapes to create a spider weUse the same liquid liner to draw the two lines on your cheeks and draw a rose on your chin.

READ ALSO: How to Celebrate Dia de Los Muertos

4.  Use a color wheel of your choice to fill in the scalloping around your eyes, your jewel and any other designs on your face that need color. I set the color with more translucent powder, not too much, just enough to keep the color from running.

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5.  Moving on to the lips, I wanted red lips so I used my red lipstick to draw in my lips. Then with the black liquid eyeliner, I drew in the intersecting lines across my lips. I let all lines dry well and then went over with liquid eyeliner again.

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6.  With the liquid liner, add a few dotted details over the face, and a flower on your chin. Touch up individual areas with the color palette of your choice as needed, and after a few coats of mascara.

calavera, beauty, day of the dead, make up tutorial, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

 

After showing off your gorgeous la Calavera Catrina Dia de Los Muertos makeup on day of the dead or Halloween, you can easily remove it using Neutrogena Makeup remover cleansing towelettes. It will effectively dissolve all traces of dirt, oil and, most importantly, makeup, even the waterproof mascara that you used to make your Calavera eyes pop. The cloths are ultra-soft and gentle with superior cleansing technology that is clinically proven to easily remove 99.3% of the most stubborn Halloween makeup. One step and you have clean skin with no residue.

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What are you dressing as this Halloween, Day of the Dead or Dia de los Muertos?

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Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

Earth Day is one of my favorite days of the year because it’s a great reminder to take a moment and be thankful for the planet we live on. I know, it sounds super crunchy but it’s like realizing that you should be thankful for your body for all that it does for you, instead of complaining that it doesn’t look like everyone else’s. I’m always looking for awesome Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids.

Aside from raising your children to be good human beings (which should be first and foremost every parent’s goal) and showing them how to commit random acts of kindness in the world, we have to teach them the importance of taking care of our planet. We have to make it clear that the earth provides for us; food, water, air and everything else we need to survive and thrive in the universe. We need to take care of it in return. Like any good functional relationship, it takes two and lots of respect and reciprocity.

READ ALSO: 10 Steps for being Environmentally Aware

Kids understand so much more, at much younger ages than we often give them credit for. They can understand concepts like climate change, endangered species and overflowing landfills better than some of their adult counterparts. Showing them the way could motivate them to adopt Earth-friendly behavior. Encourage them with your own actions.

You should be having Earth Day conversations with children as young as preschool-aged about why taking care of the planet is such a good idea. The more you talk with your kids, the more they’ll understand but don’t dumb it down too much. Talk in age-appropriate explanations.

  • Use Analogies: Wasting the Earth’s resources too quickly is like spending all your piggy bank money before allowance day.
  • Outline Causal Relationships: If you throw trash down a storm drain, it can make ocean animals sick.
  • Define New Vocabulary Terms: Like “biodegradable,” or “renewable energy.”
  • Make Connections to Prior Knowledge: Just like plants use sunlight to make food, solar panels use it to make electricity.

Show your child how important the environment is to everyone around you. But you have to do more than just show them on Earth Day. For eco-friendly behavior to truly become second nature to our kids, it helps if it is done daily, rewarding and fun.

READ ALSO: Beach Bag Must-Haves

Here are Earth Day Tips for Raising Environmentally Aware Kids

  1. Recycling: Cut bottle, can and paper slot shapes into your bin lids to make sorting recyclables a fun family game. You can even sing a song while you sort.  And if you take your collected items to a recycling center, consider sharing the redemption money with your kids for an added incentive.
  2. Transportation: Look for chances to reduce emissions (and your stress levels) by taking car-free trips whenever you can. Biking, walking and riding public transportation can give your family some exercise and make traveling a lot more fun, too. City dwellers should find this easy, but even if you live out in the suburbs, we bet you have a park, restaurant or friend’s house within pedaling distance.
  3. Reducing Waste: Help your kids look forward to saving electricity by having one fun candlelight dinner every week. Or encourage them to use less water by timing who can take the fastest shower (while still coming out smelling clean, of course)!
  4. Water: Use only the water you need, and reuse when possible.
    Rain barrels can be used to collect rain and then you can use it to water a family garden.
    Bathe together. Put the kids in the tub together. Shower with your kids or your husband. It saves water, creates memories and nurtures the bond between siblings Dispose of solid and liquid wastes and medications safely.
    Take advantage of medication take-back programs or household hazardous waste collection programs that accept medications, pharmaceuticals, oil, paint and other liquid wastes.
  5. Pass on gas! For example, take public transportation, carpool, plan your day to reduce trips and vehicle emissions.
  6. Make sure your home’s air is healthy, learn about indoor air pollutants from indoor energy use and toxins.
  7. Plant a tree. Or plant many trees! Plant a garden. Plant a vegetable garden.
  8. Prevent additional air pollution by finding alternatives to burning your waste.
  9. Use pesticides safely! Reduce or eliminate where possible.
  10. Learn about composting, try it out!
  11. Reducing yard waste by recycling yard trimmings into free fertilizer.
  12. Learn about the native species and the negative effects of non-native plants and animals in the environment. Plant native species in your gardens, encourage important pollinators such as bees and birds by planting gardens full of their favorite plants. Join a team in your community that removes non-native species.
  13. Save energy at home Choose energy-saving appliances if they’re available. Look for Energy Star!
  14. Hang dry your clothes. This is one of my favorite things to do.
  15. Go renewable! Create your own power from the wind, the sun, water, or biofuels.
  16. Find alternate ways to reduce the use of diesel and other fuels for transportation, production and energy.
  17. Upcycle! Take something that is disposable and transforms it into something of greater use and value.
  18. Recycle metals, plastics and paper
  19. E-cycle Recycle and/or properly dispose of electronic waste such as computers and other gadgets
  20. Don’t litter! Properly dispose of trash and waste

Earth Day, Earth Day 2019, Earth Day tips for how to raise envirnmentally aware, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers, traveling with teens, travel Tuesday, Banff, Alberta, visit Canada, Visit Alberta, Things to do in Banff with Teenagers and tweens, family travel

The best thing you can do is simply the act of getting your kids outdoors; no matter the ages. In our high-tech world, kids spend a lot more time indoors looking at screens. I’m not judging. I’m stating a fact. We all do it but we need to actively get our kids moving outside, for their health and the health of the planet.

One amazing experience in the great outdoors is worth a thousand nature lectures. Children who have an immersive experience in nature between the ages of 5 and 10, tend to care more about the environment. There is also a greater likelihood that they will actively work to preserve the important life-giving aspects of the environment as adults.

READ ALSO: Tips to Keep Your Kids Healthy

Rather than teaching our Earth Day tips about sustainability, give your kids a nature experience that will instill them with an environmental ethic that will inspire them to develop their own dedication to sustainability.

We’ll be spending this beautiful Earth Day outside, as we always do, watching our girl play soccer, going for a nature walk and playing in the backyard. There is something about getting outside, breathing in the fresh air and playing that truly inspires my family. Nature is like my church.  I feel most at peace just being still and taking in the wonder and beauty that is outside.

What are your best Earth Day tips for raising environmentally aware kids?

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First day of preschool, last baby

The First Day of Preschool has snuck up on me. After 4 years, my baby girl is starting preschool. Let the letting go commence. My heart is a little broken at the very thought at not having my little girl next to me every day all day, her big bright smile beaming up at me at any and every hour of the day. Her giggle not resonating through the house at something silly she has thought up or seen on the television. No sticky little fingers to grab at my breakfast. No little toes to trip me when I walk. No small little hands to hold mine when we leave her sister at school. No more special breakfasts, just the two of us. My last baby is starting her first day of preschool.

First day of preschool, last baby

The truth is that it has all gone by way too fast. It feels like a month ago that I found out I was pregnant and heard your heartbeat for the first time. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I brought you home from the hospital, swaddled tightly in a little blanket of pink. Wasn’t it just a couple of hours ago that I was changing diapers and waiting desperately for you to say Mama and take your first steps? Where have the years gone? I want them back. I want to hold you in those moments and close to me forever. I know babies outgrow their Mommies laps, but you will never outgrow my love.

last baby, first day of preschool

First Day Of Preschool, where have the years gone

There is so much change coming. I remember this part. This is where my forced letting go begins. This is where your growing up begins. This is where the hurt starts. I am so proud of you. You are so smart. You will take preschool by storm. You are fearless. You are amazing in ways that I can not fully explain. I am sitting here typing through tear filled eyes because I know where this road ends. A parent’s job is to raise children that make the world a better place, to be humans that we wish we could be more like to fulfill their potential and exhaust their dreams. I will be your biggest cheerleader, no matter where your passions may lead and I will always be here when you need to come home. My heart will ache, it may even break, bursting with pride and love for you my little girl. Tomorrow will be just the first in a long line of little letting goes.

last baby, first day of preschool, bluesTomorrow, the First Day of Preschool

Tomorrow, we begin a new chapter. Tomorrow will be one of the hardest mornings of my life. Tomorrow, my last baby has her first day of preschool. I have already summonsed the troops. The Big Guy is taking a vacation day. When Ella started preschool, Abs held my hand and we spent the morning together, trolling the aisles of the grocery store keeping ourselves occupied until we could pick Ella up from school. Abs had spent that morning screaming down the hallways of the school, as I pulled her away kicking and screaming “ELLA!!” Tomorrow, that will be the Big Guy’s job but this time it will be me who is kicking and screaming, raging against my baby growing up..crumpling to the floor in a pool of snot and tears. I only hope that I can hold the tears at bay until I am securely out of Abs’ line of sight. God, how I love this kid. She is my heart and soul. She is my happiness.

first day of preschool

How did you deal with the letting go? Does it ever get easier? I am so dreading college that I feel like I could vomit at the very thought of it. What helps you get over that missing my baby hump? Or worse, how do I get over this giant lump in my throat? Every time I think of dropping her off tomorrow morning, my eyes begin to fill up and I just know if I try to speak…I will cry. I’ll need you ladies tomorrow to metaphorically get me through the first of many letting goes of my last baby. How did you deal with the first day of preschool?

My last baby, First Day of Preschool Blues

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