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confessions

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Disclosure: This is a compensated campaign in collaboration with Licefreee and #WeAllGrow Latina Network all opinions of how to easily treat a lice infestation are my own.

Ever dealt with a head lice outbreak at school? Isn’t it the worst? The first thing to come to mind is to do all the research on how to treat a lice infestation effectively because no one wants to do that more than once. That horrible letter/email that informs you that someone in the class has been found to have lice feels like punishment. If you have children of school age, you know the terror it strikes in a parent’s heart when it happens because OMG, so much work to get rid of lice.

My girls have been rocking tea tree oil covered braids since they’ve been in school. I am of the school of thought that safe is better than sorry. I try really hard to avoid the girls getting lice. I’ve thoroughly drilled it into my daughters’ heads that they should not share hats, coats or brushes so much so that once, my 5-year-old screamed at the top of her lungs at a classmate whose head had accidentally touched hers, “Get back! I don’t want your lice!!” Honestly, we were lucky she didn’t push her down and run away.

You can imagine how freaked out I was last Nutcracker season when there was a lice scare backstage. All it takes is one person to come to the production with lice and everyone is fair game. Lice do not discriminate; all they need is a warm host with hair. And it doesn’t matter how clean you are, getting lice has nothing to do with being dirty.

In a big production with a cast of over 150 people in tight quarters; there is a lot of sharing and inevitable cross-contamination. Cast members share costumes and headpieces. Jackets, scarves, and sweaters are strewn upon one another as dancers rush to do costume changes. It really is the perfect breeding ground for the spread of lice; almost as bad as your local elementary school.

I’m not going to lie, when I got the email, I went a little crazy. All I could think of was all of that long blonde hair that I was going to have to go through. All of those clean clothes stacked all over the place and stuffed animals now in need of suffocation and hot water. All.of.that.work!

Aside from the prospect of repeating all of that work, I wasn’t excited to put harsh chemicals on my daughters’ young scalps to kill bugs that might or might not even be there. The smell alone of the pesticides are enough to kill anything it came in contact with.

Of course, it had to be done. I wasn’t taking any chances that the girls had caught lice. I wasn’t that keen on power scouring my entire house again so, I womaned up and did what all mom’s do; I took care of it.

After several hours of combing through all of that long, thick, blonde hair, times two, I shampooed their little heads. I shampooed my husband and myself and I scoured every inch of my house. Mind you, we found nothing but we had just hosted a ballerina sleepover and I wasn’t willing to take any chances.

Unfortunately, I haven’t the first idea where to take my girls to get their hair checked for lice. I know there are lots of salons that offer these services but they are costly and not available in all areas. I also didn’t have the financial freedom to hire a hazmat crew to bleach my house or burn the sucker down.

While I can’t give you a quick and painless fix on how to get rid of lice, because it’s a lot of work, I’ve recently learned about Licefreee! It was created by parents, for parents. After dealing with a case of head lice with her own children, a member of the R&D team developed Licefreee, a safe alternative to traditional chemical pesticide remedies for lice that works.

There is no reason that you have to continue using traditional remedies for head lice that contain chemical pesticides such as permethrin or pyrethrum to treat head lice infestation on your children.

Affordable, over-the-counter Licefreee! brand non-toxic head lice treatments use the naturally occurring mineral, sodium chloride, to effectively kill head lice and nits. It’s easy to use so you can get back to your normal life quickly and lice free!

Licefreee, lice, how to easily treat a lice infestation, treating lice, how to treat lice

Why choose Licefreee over other brands of head lice treatments?

First and foremost, it kills head lice and nits. Secondly, and very importantly, it’s a non-toxic, homeopathic head lice treatment that’s safe and gentle enough for children 6 months and older but strong enough for adults too!
Licefreee is the non-toxic choice of school nurses and pediatricians and works on all hair types including thick, curly hair like mine. Last but not least, it is 100% Guaranteed. I don’t know about you but if I’m going to have to go through a lice scare and all of that hard work, I at least want to know that it’s guaranteed to work.

Have you ever had a lice scare? What are your best tips for dealing with a scare or just to avoid it all together?

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Ever wonder how to catch a ghost in a photo? I know some people do. People want proof of the supernatural. I’ve seen some really cool ones of shadowy figures,  legless confederate soldiers floating in a field and orbs but never anything like the one I caught in my photo of my toddler.

It seems like everyone these days have been touched by the supernatural. We live in a world where people enjoy having the piss scared out of them but ghost stories have never much scared me. Zombies are laughable, Vampires are a sexy fetish and werewolves are just big hairy dogs with bad attitudes.

Ghosts are snapshots of the past caught in a loop. Someone dies so suddenly that they don’t realize it and they get stuck but I don’t bother them and they don’t care about me. It’s the same way I think about aliens; maybe they’re out there but I don’t care. I’m not afraid. Life’s too short. I have real living breathing people problems to fixate on like Trump or crazed mass shooters. Who has time to look for ghosts?

I myself am a longtime lover of the horror genre. I watched my first horror movie in the theater when I was 7-years-old. My aunt and Uncle took my 5-year-old brother and I to see it with them. It was a baby swap. They swapped their newborn for the two of us. From then on, I got all my horror books and movies from my 16-year-old aunt. I loved it.

Not only did I watch the Exorcist when I was a kid, I even read the book. I devoured Stephen King. I watched every horror movie I could. They didn’t scare me so much as they intrigued me, with the exception of the Exorcist.

I’m Catholic, I was raised to believe in that shit so that one still scares me. The rest of it, it thrills me but no fear here. Hell, I may have even wished and tried to have telekinesis as a child, like Carrie. I’d totally endure pig blood prom to be able to move shit with my mind. But normally, I don’t believe in what’s not real. However, I may have been made into a believer at my last house.

Now, let me preface this by saying that our house was a new build. I’m leery about old houses because…hello, someone has definitely died in almost every old house. It’s inevitable. But this was a new build. Apparently, I clearly forgot about the Poltergeist loophole. Obviously, having children left me vulnerable and not on my haunted game.

When we lived in that house, the girls were really small. We bought the house when Bella was 5 months old; Gabi was born while we lived there. We live there until Bella was 6.

From the time we moved in, we had lights flicker and our ceiling fan light would come on by itself in the middle of the night. In our previous house (also a new build) stereos and lights would come on in the middle of the night too. The Big Guy always rational would make it all make sense to my superstitious mind.

I was exhausted from babies and the Big Guy would tell me that it was just probably some neighbor who had the same remote and it flipped our lights on. It never dawned on me to question why the hell the neighbor was waking up at 3 a.m. flipping on all the damn lights. I’d snuggle back into my co-sleeping baby and forget about it.

When the girls were about 2 and 4-years-old, the Big Guy had to go live in another state to work so that left me alone with the girls. No coincidence, this is also when I started my blog.

I’d stay up late at night writing and I’d always turn to the hallway where our bedrooms were because I kept catching glimpses of a little girl standing in the hall. I thought it was my girls. And every time, I would walk to the hallway and then enter the bedrooms and my girls were sleeping. They were never in the hallway. NEVER.

I remember having 2 am writing sessions where all the hair would stand up on my neck and I’d get the chills. I just assumed that my body was boycotting my insomniac self. You know how that happens sometimes. Your body gives you a big F you because it needs sleep.

Then there was the time my brothers and the Big Guy were in our media room in the basement late one-night playing video games. When it came time to shut it all down and all the lights were off, all 3 of them saw a red light moving around the room. There was no source. They checked. Again, the Big Guy reasoned it away. My little brother would never spend the night at my house after that.

When Gabs was old enough to stand, we’d catch her in her room sometimes standing in her crib jibber jabbing to the corner. Looking directly up into the corner like someone was there. It creeped me out, a lot but nothing really had happened. Maybe I was just being my usual superstitious Latina self. So, I crossed myself and pretended it wasn’t happening and it was all in my mind.

I’d bring it up to the Big Guy but every single time, his rational engineering mind would say it wasn’t so. In retrospect, I think he was just trying to stop me from becoming all out, balls to the wall drama queen hysterical.

Then after about a year of this happening, one day Gabs comes running into the living room and tells me, “Mommy, Bella just told me…..” and I looked at her and said, “Gabs, Bella’s not here. Remember, Bella is at Kindergarten?”

She looked at me dead serious and said, “No, mommy. I was just playing with her in my room.”

There.was.no.one.in.the.room. I don’t know who the hell she was playing with, but it wasn’t my 5-year-old who was not in the building.

That one freaked me out. Still, nothing tangible. Maybe a toddler with an overactive imagination. That’s good, right?

My husband was still living out of state 5-6 days a week. I was still alone. I had two little girls. I didn’t have time to be ghostbusting or looking for shit that wasn’t there. Plus, I believe that ghosts are snapshots. I’m not scared of some poor sucker that died so suddenly that they don’t realize that they’re gone and they can’t move on. I feel sorry for them. They don’t bother me. I don’t bother me. In case you were wondering about my policy on such things.

However, Exorcist scared the shit out of me. I still haven’t been able to watch The Conjuring again since the first time, when I couldn’t sleep for 2 weeks.

Then, one day my sweet toddler who was between 2-3 years old walked up to me while I was sitting in my kitchen chair. She was tiny, so I shot the photo at a down angle. No one else was in the room with us (that we could see).

When I saw the photo, a photo that she has still not seen and probably never will, I literally almost passed out. I legit freaked out like nothing before. My first instinct was that OMG, my husband was in an accident and died or something and this was his spirit…on a loop.

I frantically called my husband, in another state, but no answer which only intensified my belief that something terrible had happened to him. 5 hours later when I finally reached him ( he had been in meetings all day) I sent him the picture, to which he replied, “Gabs looks adorable!”

To which I responded, “Look next to her at.the.disembodied.head!!!!!!!”

Luckily, he was on his way home. I didn’t know what to do. You know that instinct you have set the house on fire and burn it down when you find a monster spider? Well, times that times a million and that’s how I felt. I felt invaded and vulnerable and scared. Was it trying to make contact? Had it already made contact with my baby? Was that who she was talking to?

And then, I learned to live with it. Many people have asked me why didn’t you leave the house. My answer is this, because I couldn’t. My husband lived in a tiny apartment in Iowa at a contracted job. The kids had school and commitments. I had commitments. We had friends and a life. I couldn’t let it all be toppled by a head that photobombed my baby. Right?

It was always in the back of my head. I got used to knowing that something that I couldn’t see but could feel was there. All those “probably nothing” moments became something but I had to choose to not live my life afraid. I had to put my money where my mouth was and not be afraid of ghosts.

I still don’t know who or what was in my house. I never tried to make contact. I’ve watched enough horror movies in my life to know better than to open a gateway of communication. It never bothered us, other than lights coming on and photobombing us this once.

I also stopped watching all of those paranormal investigation shows because, honestly, activity seemed to pick up around Halloween when we’d watch those shows. Maybe it was a coincidence but the first time the radio came on by itself blaring at 3 a.m., it was Halloween night.

We lived there for 2 more years, just me, the girls and our ghost. Yep, I was scared. Nope, I didn’t sleep but we survived. And hell yeah, capturing a ghost in a picture is a lot scarier and a lot less cool than one might think, especially when it is in your own house.

What would you have done if you snapped that photo in your house? Have you ever had a similar situation? What did you do? Please don’t share your opinion that spirits can attach to people, I’m trying to ignore the sound of someone walking around upstairs. I choose to believe it’s my old house settling.

 

P.S. If you know my Gabs, never speak of this photo to her. She doesn’t know it exists and it would probably freak her out.

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discipline, exercise, parenting, how to change bad behavior with exercise

I found the cure to all bad habits and I can tell you the secret of how to change bad behavior with exercise! Nope, it has nothing to do with exerting yourself and distracting yourself. It has nothing to do with feeling better about yourself or being a better person. It’s much simpler than that and I promise you, it works. I am living proof. You can change bad behavior with exercise and achieve parenting level master status. It is discipline in the best way possible.

We all have bad habits. It’s the truth. I try to be a good example for my daughters. We want our children to grow up to be upstanding citizens of the world. We want them to go out into the world and be so fierce and fearless that they impress everyone they meet. We don’t want them to be jerks. One of my life goals is for people to meet my children throughout their life and be like, “Damn, that is one bada** woman!” At the same time, I want them to be like, “What a lady she is.” That’s my mom getting in my head.

I want my daughters to be the perfect lovechild of Audrey Hepburn, Maya Angelou and Lady Gaga. I want them to be fierce, caring and relentless in their pursuit of good and happiness. That’s what I’m going for but I want them to use their words. I want their words to be the vehicle that can gain them entry into any conversation in the world. I want their brains to be their sexiest body part.

I want them to be giving, loving and embrace life and love and people. I want them to live out loud with no walls or prejudices. I want them to fully appreciate the world they live in without fear or self-doubt. I think I am succeeding, or at least on trajectory with this path, with the exception of one small kink…using their words.

This is where it happens, this is what prompted me to figure out how to change bad behavior with exercise.

Yes, embarrassing as it is, I (the writer) have failed my children in the example of using their words.  You see, I know a lot of words. I know all of the words. I am in love with the words. But sometimes, I am a lazy word user and I resort to profanity. GASP! I know shocking. Well, not really. Not if you’re a long time follower of me. I’ve been trying a lot harder to stop with the lazy words because I don’t want my girls to use all the lazy words. So, I made a decision and it is kind of shocking how well it has worked.

This is how to change bad behavior with exercise.

It’s actually very simple. I implemented a rule a few weeks ago that if you (collective you, as in my family) curse, that is an automatic 50 crunches and if you bicker and yell, that is an automatic 200 pushups and so began the hardest few days of my life. Just kidding, I’ve lived through a lot of hard stuff. I was not going to be broken by crunches and yet, 400 crunches in one day…it was pretty rough but it worked almost immediately. Who knew you could change bad behavior with exercise?

The thing that I’ve learned is that no amount of grounding, taking away of friends, tech or play dates will work to curb my children’s bad behavior. They respond much more astutely to positive reinforcement. I’m not surprised because I am the same way.  I’d prefer to get a reward at the end of hard work than to not get punished. I learned when I was pretty young that I preferred to do what I wanted and suffer the consequences, that’s just how I work and unfortunately, I think I passed that strong will along to my daughters.

However, apparently, none of us love doing crunches. In fact, we despise them. Now, these were not your average run of the mill sit ups. These were those blasted ballet/ floor barre/ physical therapy ones meant to target your lower abdomen. No one works their lower abdomen. It’s not natural and it HURTS!

3 days is how long it took to cure me of my cursing habit. 2 days is all that it took for the girls to never want to use any sort of lazy word ever again. You see apparently, our lazy words are not worth getting off our lazy butts and doing 400 crunches. And the bickering, well, my girls hate push ups even more than crunches. Bickering has been at an all-time low. I can feel my sanity returning. It’s all fun and games until someone has to do exercise.

You see, I’m a die hard, forgiveness over permission gal but I had to be the example and so crunch away I did. I’m still doing 150 every day, just in case I stub my toe or something and need that sweet release plus, I could definitely live without a FUPA. It’s so simple to change bad behavior with exercise. Why did I never think of this before?

I’ve also realized that crunches can probably cure just about any bad habit we have. Think about it. You want to gamble, each bet is 100 crunches. You want to drink, each cocktail is 100 crunches. Want to eat that whole sleeve of Oreos? That will be 50 crunches per cookie, thank you. I’m pretty sure most of us would think twice before doing that again because I don’t know about you but a swear word is not worth 400 crunches and there are no cookies worth 50 crunches. Then again, at the very least, I’d be a heathen with great abs!

Would you have ever thought it was possible to change bad behavior with exercise?

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grief,loss, parenting, miscarriage

Five years ago this morning, I broke the news of my miscarriage to you in a blog post, as I was undergoing my D & E. It was the only way that I could process any of it. It was the only way that I could carry on and your support meant everything to me but every day since, I’ve had to live alone with that loss like we all do. Try to make sense of something so senseless.

Recently, I did something that surprised even me. I shouldn’t have looked. Until, I saw it, in person, in the flesh, it wasn’t “real”. It was just this terrible thing that happened to me five years ago. It was the bill I paid for what is referred to by the medical billing department as a “missed abortion”. It was a child I will never hold. It is the faint whisper of sadness that lingers forever and leaves me melancholy just around the edges. It wasn’t real in the way that you could see it with your own eyes.

But I’ve seen it now and I can’t unsee it.

Last month, we took the girls to Chicago for Spring break. It’s my hometown and the girls have been many times but they’ve never done the touristy things so we took them to some museums and the zoo. It was a fantastic trip.

Then, I saw something that I’ve seen before but with fresh eyes and a heart that’s survived a miscarriage.

As we entered the exhibit, one I’d seen before, I suddenly felt anxious. Like I needed to know. I was borderline obsessive and I couldn’t control myself. No one noticed what I was doing but I think the Big Guy caught a glimpse of the desperation in my eyes as I walked up to the dial upon entering the Your Beginning exhibit and turned it to the first trimester; I wanted to pinpoint specifically the 4th day of the 11th week. What could he do?

grief, loss, anniversary, parenting, miscarriage

 

The exhibit was different than before. It was completely in black, darkness was everywhere and only the fetuses were lit up as if my very soul had put this exhibit together. It is somber. I tried not to do it. You’re not supposed to do it. You’re supposed to carry on. Push it down and pretend it never happened. You’re supposed to move on. Go on living as if your entire life is not tinged by the hole in your heart. 

I didn’t want to make a spectacle with my mom, my sister, my daughters and my husband there. I didn’t want to go down that rabbit hole of grief facing anger and sadness head on but I had to know, so I turned the dial.

Such a little thing and to anyone who didn’t know or even just wasn’t paying attention, this was naturally inquisitive behavior. Only I never twisted the dial to progress to the second trimester. Instead, I left it frozen in time, suspended in disbelief, as is my daily existence since that day 5 years ago.

I try not to overthink it or linger too long in my loss. The emotional time bombs are less and less frequent but I remember every single day. I have two children but I am the mother of three but most people don’t know that.

It’s not like I wear a t-shirt that says so. It’s not like I’m marked in any way but on the inside, I am scarred. I don’t howl like an injured animal as I did on that day or fall apart anymore; so silently I continue on, remembering but not making too big of a deal about it.

Pregnancy loss is so common that some people believe it’s almost normal. I could never subscribe to that way of thinking because for me it was profound. For me, losing my pregnancy changed me forever. But still, after a while, it feels like it happened to someone else and you learn to live with it. It feels like a wound that’s healed and the scar has faded and you hide it beneath your clothes so no one has to look at it or think about it or feel sorry for you ever again.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

But you want to feel it. The pain makes it real. It reminds you that it happened. The pain is the only thing that proves your baby was here at all. So, I looked and now, I can never forget.

The scarred wound of my miscarriage has been ripped wide open.

On the morning of my D & E, I frantically demanded that they perform another ultrasound. In complete desperation, I refused surgery without one more ultrasound. I was desperate for rescue. I needed this to all be a mistake. I needed my baby to be alive.

But when they did the ultrasound, there in black and white, the perfect baby with absolutely no heartbeat. He looked like he was sleeping. Like a little astronaut exploring the space of my uterus and that was the last thing I saw before my heart shattered into a million tiny pieces. I broke, just before they wheeled me into the operating room and I’ve detached myself as much as I can since.

My heart still aches but it’s in survival mode. But on that day in April at the Museum of Science and Industry, I purposefully opened my wound. The pain makes me feel closer to my baby. I walked into the exhibit and I slowly made my way to the 11 wks. Fetus. Yes, the exhibit has fetuses from conception until 40 weeks in formaldehyde. Then, I saw it, the closest thing to my reality; 11-weks and 4 days and 11-weeks and 6-days.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

I felt the wind get knocked out of me as it has been almost every time I think of what will never be. My eyes began to go blurry and the room began to spin. It was hard to breathe. There it was; bigger than I’d thought; a fully formed person; with 10- fingers and 10-toes and ears and a tiny little mouth and eyes. It wasn’t a “pregnancy” that I lost, it was a person.

grief, loss, parenting, miscarriage, anniversary

 

I wanted to run away and howl, like I did in my car on that day 5 years ago. But I was frozen and trying to digest the truth. I couldn’t speak. I only lingered. Truthfully, part of me never wanted to leave because it was like seeing my baby for the first time. I know it wasn’t my baby but it was what my baby would have looked like could I have seen him; touched him; held him in my arms.

My miscarriage robbed me of all of that.

No one said a word. I was like thin glass in an earthquake and it was taking everything inside me to not collapse and sob like a baby on the floor. My legs were shaky. I could feel myself getting wobbly. It hurt reopening that wound but it was something I needed to do. In some small way, it gave me closure just knowing/seeing what was. It made him real and less than a memory cloaked in sadness and emptiness.

On this day, I forgive myself and give myself over to the grief. I get no birthdays to celebrate with my third baby but I will never forget he existed, if only briefly. Every year on the 1st of May, for the rest of my life, I will be alone with my grief and allow myself to remember the worst day of my life because it’s the only tangible memory I have of my third child.

Today, I am frail and vulnerable and my heart is heavy because my arms are empty and my house is filled with the laughter of one less than it is supposed to be and I can never forget any of that.

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fat, weight loss, change, women's health, on being fat, obesity

Being fat is not what I wanted to be. Admitting that I am fat is even harder. I hate saying those words. For me, it’s admitting defeat. As if somehow writing it down and posting it makes it real.

I have eyes. I can plainly see that I’m overweight. I have been for years and all the pulling and tugging at my clothes will not change that. Most days I feel like I’m wearing a suit of shame like my weight is some sort of punishment.

Being fat is hard.

It’s even harder being out of shape. I’ve decided to start working out again. These days working on my abs feels like working out while being 9-months pregnant because I am so out of shape and my stomach is so massive. When I sit down, my stomach literally touches my lap. It disgusts me. When did this happen?

I wish I were one of those women who didn’t care what size her clothes were, what her body looked like in clothes or what people thought of her looks. It’s weird because while I couldn’t care less what people think of my opinions or beliefs or me as a person, I have always been consumed by what people might think of what I look like, more specifically my body. Believe me, I’ve tried to change my way of thinking but still, I feel like being fat is my biggest and most embarrassing failure in life.

I’ve been binge watching TLC shows about being overweight; My 600 lb. life and My Big Fat Fabulous Life. I find myself baffled that people have let themselves get that overweight. Then afraid it could happen to me. Unfortunately, I cannot relate to finding fabulousness in being overweight at all but I am glad others can love their bodies at all sizes.

I used to restrict calories and work out to the extreme. I used to be good at it; too good at it. I was masterful at the art of willpower and self-control, where eating was concerned. The rest of the world could be spinning out of control but I held tight the reins on my food intake. My entire world could be off the hook but my stomach was always tight. When people told me that I looked “sick”, it made me happy because I felt like I was doing something right.

Food is an addiction, worse than any other because while if you are an alcoholic or a drug addict you can choose not to partake. You can quit drugs and you can quit alcohol. It’s f*cking hard but you can do it. You can’t quit food. Well, you can, but you will die. I know, I’ve tried and was pretty successful and unfortunately, being too thin because you are obsessed with your weight and food intake is just as terrible as being too fat because you are eating too much. Being too skinny is just as unhealthy as being too fat. I know because I’ve been both.

My food issues started around the time I turned 7, at least that’s when the photos show that I gained weight. I wasn’t overweight at all but I wasn’t rail thin anymore. I’d love to be able to tell you what triggered it but I can’t because, honestly, I can’t remember most of what happened the years of my life between the summer I turned 7 and sophomore year in high school. It’s all a blur. I just remember wanting to fade into the background.

My dad was an abusive alcoholic who was always angry and my mom shut down to survive. I felt abandoned and the only attention I got was unwanted so I wanted to be invisible and somewhere along the way, I did that because everyone knows the quickest way to not be seen is to become overweight so I hid there, unnoticed. People stare at beautiful things but no one wants to make eye contact with the ugly of the world.

Being fat was my way to disappear.

fat, weight loss, change, women's health, being fat, obesity

I’m realizing that somewhere in that haze is the answer to the question of why I have always battled my own self-image and why I have such a problem accepting the skin I live in. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been at war with my body, my health. Always beating it into submission or ignoring it all together. When I write it down, it looks like a metaphor for my childhood. Maybe that’s the entire issue.

But how do I stop? How do I learn to love my body, myself, unconditionally when I never felt that as a child? It always felt conditional. I feel like by having my own daughters and loving them so fiercely and unconditionally, I’m slowly learning that everyone deserves that kind of love and acceptance…even me.

Even if you haven’t experienced being fat, how do you learn to love something that you’ve spent your entire life wishing you could change?

02172015

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What to do if your child is threatened, school shooting, Run, hide, fight

What to do if your child is threatened at school? We don’t like to think about things like active shooters or bombings, do we? We’d like to believe that we know what we’d do. We’d protect our children, at all costs. But the truth is you have no idea how you would react if your child is threatened. I didn’t. It’s one of those fight or flight circumstances, you either run away and hide or you fight tooth and nail to keep your child safe in the situation. The intention is the same; save the child.

My fourth grader came home last Friday from school and said, “Mommy, I got this creepy note from school.” She threw the note at me from the back seat. I was expecting some weird cryptic message from some fellow student at school but that wasn’t what she got at all. Our school had come under threat from one of the children who attended the school and none of us were told until after the fact.

I was mad and terrified at the same time because how are you supposed to know what to do if your child is threatened? How do you protect your child from unseen or unanticipated dangers?

It was a letter from the school, alerting the parents that there had been a “situation” a “THREAT” at the school. We all know that is code for a Columbine/ Sandy Hook situation in the making. For a moment, I lost it…very quietly in my head because even though I was terrified, I couldn’t scare my children. They have to go to that place every day and they need to feel safe even if I don’t. I told them very little about the note. They just know there was an incident.

My daughters live in a very different world from the one I grew up in. I didn’t have drills to practice in case a “polar bear” got loose in the building and went on a “growling” spree. My mom’s last words to me every morning before school as she kissed me goodbye were not, “Love you! Remember if a “polar bear” gets in the building…bob and weave. Never run in a straight line!” We didn’t have to know active shooter protocol or what the acronym REHF meant. That’s run, escape, hide and fight for those of you who are not preparing for “polar bears” bearing down your hallways with an AK47s by the way.

I mean, what the hell is that? But it’s one of those things I need to say. Just like its compulsory that both of my children take their iPhones to school “in case of emergency” like the emergency that happened to Eddie Justice in the bathroom of the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.

At school board meetings we have to discuss things like escape windows, bulletproof screens and hurricane doors to keep the danger out. We have security measures in place in case a strange “polar bear” shows up to terrorize our children but what about when there is a “polar bear” in student’s clothing? How do we protect our children from the unseen threats?

I’m not going to lie, the note and the intended threat that prompted it have shaken me as a mom. Every morning that I drop my kids off at school, I don’t want to. What if today is the day that a child makes good on an assumed idol threat? What if it wasn’t “just a threat”? What if it was a promise? What if it was a cry for help that went unnoticed? What if this is the last time I see my child alive?

I’ve had a knot in the pit of my stomach now for a week because we were not given all the facts. How could we be? It concerns a minor. We have to trust that the school is doing all that it can to protect our children from threats and polar bears and crazy people with guns. It’s hard to trust in others to protect your children in today’s world.

Of course, as a parent, the thought of someone putting our babies in danger is cause for pitchforks and rioting. We are all very upset. Why wasn’t school canceled? Why were we not told until the end of the day by way of a “creepy note”. Why would a child tell other children maliciously that they are “on my list”? What do we do? Where do we go from here?

The child was suspended which is what I consider a time-out. Not expelled, not ordered to compulsory psychiatric treatment but given the legally mandated slap on the wrist and called a bad boy.

I don’t know who the kid is and I don’t know what he might be going through. It might all be terrible and maybe he deserves my compassion and understanding but when it’s my child who is being put in danger, that all goes out the window. I am not reasonable when you threaten the most important thing in my world. I am outraged. I am mad. I want to feel secure again but I can’t.

But I pretend that I am for my girls. I teach my kids what to do in case of an emergency. I send them with their phones and tell them to bob and weave. I hug them tight and kiss them goodbye every single morning knowing that this could be the last time I see them while acting like everything is alright; like this is normal. Because this is our new normal.

I just want my daughters to be safe and less vulnerable when they are at school; when they are anywhere. What are my options? Put them in a bubble? Homeschool? Hide them away and make them think the world is a fairytale where everything and everyone is good? To lie to them?

I can’t, no matter how much I may want to because the world is not any of those things and I don’t want them to spend their lives hiding from life. I want them to explore, be carefree and adventurous. I want them to embrace all that life has to offer and you can’t do that from inside the safety of a prison of your mom’s making. So, I send them out into the world every day prepared (unknowingly) for the worst, hoping for the best and (me) praying for survival.

No matter how much we want to believe it, we cannot protect our children when they are outside of our care. We can only teach them to survive and advocate for their safety. I’m not trying to scare you. I know we are all already living with this fear. I just wanted you to know that it’s not just something that happens someplace else to someone else’s child.

Do you know what to do if your child is threatened from someone inside the school?

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i love you more, daughter, mother, not listening, growing pains

Dear sweet little girl of mine,

You steal my heart with every glance. You can be the sweetest, kindest, most loving little soul that ever lived and then you can not be just as quickly. I don’t know what it was that set you off this morning.

You had plenty of sleep.

I woke you in plenty of time.

You didn’t even have to wear a uniform today.

All you had to do was wake up, put on something you actually wanted to wear, eat breakfast, brush your teeth and go to school.

At 7:15 a.m when you finally came downstairs, you yelled at me because you couldn’t find the one pair of jeans that you wanted to wear (because the other 500 pairs are not “the One”) then you proclaimed that you wanted to take lunch.

Your hair wasn’t brushed. You were indecisive and sarcastic about your breakfast choice and you lost your mind over a pair of socks. SOCKS!

I am trying to make your lunch because you “HATE” the egg omelets that they are serving today. It’s 7:25 and in your haste and anger, you spilt a drop of milk from down your too-thin, already vetoed shirt. At which point you stomp off barefooted, yelling back to me at 7:27, “I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY MOM!”

I’m not. I’m REALLY not.

Your sister has dressed herself, eaten breakfast and brushed her teeth today. She has also assembled both backpacks and is now looking for gloves for you both. You still don’t have on any socks, nor are your teeth brushed as you dump your breakfast down the kitchen sink. It’s 7:35, we were supposed to have left 5 minutes ago.

Beloved child of mine, I know that at the tender age of 7-years-old socks, shirts and lunch seem like BIG problems but they’re not. I lost a job, there’s a blizzard outside, I’m trying to quit sugar, I have 47 grey hairs, I can’t remember the last time I shaved my legs, I have bills to pay and it’s “that” time of the month. Please, stop tap dancing on my nerves. It’s taking every ounce of my strength not to shake you.

At 7:43, when books are being thrown about and feet are being stomped, I offer to brush your hair to which you roll your eyes at me. I roll mine too.

Your sister is standing at the front door, sweating in full winter gear, trying not to pass out while holding your backpack, violin and COLD LUNCH. As I brush your hair, I try to remember how sweet and kind you are when you cuddle deep into me every night before bedtime. I try to remember that beautiful glorious smile that lights up my life;  your tiny voice whispering, “I love you, mommy” and the sticky love notes you leave me all over the house. I try to remember that you are the best thing that’s ever happened to me. Then you grunt and startle me back to reality. It’s 7:45, school begins in 5 minutes.

You growl and mutter something ugly under your breath, I honestly can’t even remember what it was. I tell you how very disappointed I am in your behavior this morning. I inform you that you will be grounded from all electronics for the duration of the week. You begin to sob inconsolably. I’m not sure if it’s the loss of the electronics or my disappointment that has caused this outburst.

Finally, 7:47 a.m. we are headed out the door. You are annoyed at me that you will be late. I hold my tongue. As we pull away, you yell, “I forgot my ballet shoes.” Before I can respond, you begin to sob again.

“I’ll find them. Don’t worry.” You continue to sob.

We arrive at school, 4 minutes late. Before jumping out of the car, you unbuckle yourself, jump forward and hug me tightly, “I love you, Mommy.”

“I love you more!” I say to both my girls, as the other one jumps forward and gives me a kiss and squeezes me from behind. It’s 7:54 a.m. and I am spent. Even after all of this, the saddest part of my day is watching you both walk away.

daughter, not listening, growing up, I love you more

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Love You More!

 

 

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blog, blogging, 2014, New Year

Discombobulated. Exhausted. What time is it? What day is it? Wow! I am in the throes of one of the worst Christmas hangovers I’ve ever experienced. It’s outrageous. My poor blog has suffered and fallen to the wayside of my priorities. With all the moments saturated in holiday joy and togetherness, sitting down to write about it seemed to feel like it might spoil the magic. I wanted to live it not write about it and that is what I did and it was magnificent.

On December 14th the Nutcracker ended and then I played the most intensive game of catch up that I’ve ever had the misfortune to take part in. My blogging has been shit because I had so many obligations that I needed to get done. Then Christmas came and I have purposely been spending time with my girls and the Big Guy. I am like a damn quality time camel, I am trying to suck it all up while we are in this holiday bubble, before people start going back to school and work, before deadlines are mounting and the out-of-control-ness of life takes hold once again.

I do want to get back to blogging like I did in the beginning before I had to worry about who was or wasn’t reading. I’m forgetting that my mom, mother-in-law and Homeland security have all been known to frequent my page. I want to blog like no one is reading once again. I want to comment and read blogs. I want to know what’s going on outside my bubble. I want people to give me their perspective on what I write even if they disagree. I want to have long, drawn out conversations in 140 characters. I want to make new friends online. I want to hug the necks of all those who have taken the time to engage. I want quality to matter over quantity. I want content to be king again. I don’t want to worry about fucking SEO, my “numbers” or how much to charge. I want to write what I feel and say what I mean and not give a damn.

I have a list of goals for my life, the blog and my family (by the way, I always have a list of goals not just on the brink of a New Year. I am a chronic list maker, if you are one too, I am sure that you have a list of goals at all times too. Go ahead, flip through your phone, notebook or journal, I’ll wait). I want to be better and yet, I want to be who I am; loud and proud and free of over-thinking. I don’t want to worry about other people’s judgment or care what they think about what I have to say. I want to blog like no one is reading. I want to live like there is no tomorrow and I want to dance like no one is watching.

Life is too short to do anything else. So this year, I have my list of things that I want to accomplish. Most are things that I do already, some are things I need to remind myself to do and others I have completely forgotten or given up on but I like a challenge so on my list they remain. 2013 was good to me, better than 2012, but I want to blow the roof off of 2014, in so many ways. Mostly, I want to be better, love harder and live fully. I want to mommy with compassion and patience, I want to be more present in my life and more passionate in my marriage. I want to give 110% to the things that matter and most of all, I want to be happy with myself with no regrets.

I wish all of you an abundance of love, peace in your heart and success in your every endeavor. Be brave, blog like no one is reading and live like each day is a new beginning of your story. Embrace it with enthusiasm and wonder, because each day is a chance to rewrite your story. Each moment is redemption and salvation. Don’t plan for how you want to live your life…just live, right this moment; every minute of every single day for the rest of your life.

Wishing you all the happiest New Year filled with moments that take your breath away!

I am serious about wanting to read and comment of blogs and I am serious about more conversations on Twitter and I really want to have conversations and share on FB not just read and like links like its a job. I want to look forward to hearing what you have to say. Let’s do this. Let’s bring it back.Let’s blog like no one is reading…like it’s 2009.

Leave your blog url, twitter handle or FB page in the comments and I will check you out. Here’s to 2014!

What’s your #1 goal for 2014?

 

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It’s been one of those weeks. You know the ones where you are bone tired but at the same time there is something inside that won’t shut off. It’s like your flight or fight response has kicked in and you have no one to fight and nowhere to run because the cause follows you because it is within you.

The week started with a midnight ding on my laptop; a comment on a blog post about my battle with anorexia. God that seems like a lifetime ago in the miserable state of affairs my body stands in today. The comment was left by a 15-year-old girl in New Zealand who is struggling with eating disorders. She is crying for help but no one believes her. I know how this turns out if no one pays attention; the story ends with her dying. Gone. No more because even her own parents wouldn’t take her seriously. I reply. I give her some number and emails to a hotline. I am triggered. I want to swoop in and save her but I can’t. I am here. I can only offer assistance, listen, believe her and hope she takes the next step. Fight.

Then a couple days later, I hosted a twitter party. I was really excited about it because it meant that I could giveaway  a prize that I thought would make some little girl’s Christmas morning. That meant something to me because I know there are mothers out there who can’t afford to give their children anything for Christmas and I could help a mom give her child the best Christmas ever. It took a lot of work. I’ve been planning and negotiating this since August. Then I even got to give away 2 houses and then after it was all said and done, I was called a liar and a cheat by two participants who didn’t win. I know I shouldn’t take it personally but I do. Fight.

Then I read a post by an asshole man called, Five Reasons to Date a Girl with an Eating Disorder. You know, the disease that kills women, the disease that might be killing a 15-year-old in New Zealand right now and the disease that could have killed me. He makes light of this disease that I suffered from for 8 years; the very same thing that I will be in recovery from for the rest of my life; the disorder that kills women. He obviously has no understanding of it or is the most callous and unkind human walking the face of the earth. Fight.

Then today, November 24th, what would have been the first birthday of the baby I lost. I accidentally watched a 1st birthday video of a friend’s daughter and that’s when it hit me like a MACK truck. I should be celebrating but instead my lap is empty and my heart is heavy today. The air is thick and it’s hard to breathe. I don’t know when this will stop happening. I don’t know if we ever really get over our hurts in life. I think maybe they grow to be a part of us and change us. Flight

I’m here, hammering out deadlines and avoiding my reality. My heart is pretty fragile this week and the slightest push of pressure in the wrong way may break me completely. But in this moment I thank God for what I have; a man who loves me with all my flaws, children who I can hold in my arms a little longer than I need to today, a best friend who reaches out from across the universe to make sure that my heart is still in tact and work. Work that keeps my mind occupied and tears at bay.

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Ugly Babies, ugly, baby, ugly in the cradle, pretty at the table

Let’s talk about the old saying, “ugly babies in the cradle, pretty at the table.” I had never heard of it and quite frankly, took great offence at the thought of an adult calling a baby ugly. Are there such things as ugly babies?

Have you ever heard this crazy saying?

As most of you know, I am walking around in a new baby (nephew) induced fog. I am seeing the world with new eyes and loving on my own daughters harder and stronger than I did a couple days ago because of my reminder of the preciousness of childhood. The moment my beautiful nephew entered the world, all I could think was how very blessed we all our to have our babies children in our lives.

From the moment I saw my daughters’ faces, they were the most beautiful baby, no human, I had ever seen. They still are. They will always be.

I am their mother and their birth was the culmination of a whole lot of love. Their very existence is a constant reminder of how very blessed I am in this life. It was like looking upon the sun. It was joyous and humbling. With each birth, I was metamorphisized into a better person (even if it doesn’t feel like it on most days).

I thought every mother felt this way when she saw her baby for the first time. I naively thought that every mother thought her baby was the most beautiful baby in the world because to her it is the most beautiful baby in the world. I never imagined someone would call their own baby ugly.

Ugly Babies, ugly, baby, ugly in the cradle, pretty at the table

Ugly Babies don’t exist

This morning as I’m driving my girls to school, we are listening to the radio and the deejays are talking about a phrase used by parents “Ugly in the cradle, Pretty at the table” apparently this is something that parents say to console their children who they have told are ugly.WTF? Why would you ever tell anyone they are ugly, little lone your child?

READ ALSO: One in Ten Babies is Born this Way

Newsflash, people have mirrors they already know they are ugly. Kids know if they are not as cute as the kid next to them, but to their parents, they should be the cutest freaking thing in the world. It’s in the parent handbook. Didn’t they get it when they got that stupid ass free plastic diaper bag from the hospital?

Don’t tell your kids they are ugly. Don’t think your kids are ugly. And for the love of God, if you do think they are ugly (besides something being fundamentally wrong with you in the head) where do you think they got those damn ugly genes from?

Ugly Babies are A Myth

Look, I am living in the real world and I have perfect 20/20 vision so I do realize that some babies are cuter than others when they are born. Let’s be honest, most newborns look like one of two things; a little old man or a fuzzy ball sack. But we love them and to the parents who produced them, those babies are the most beautiful babies in the world.

By the way, how good do any of us look after taking a transatlantic flight or participating in fight club? Let’s be real, that’s pretty much what being born is like. How good did any of us look after giving birth and we were on the outside?

Ugly Babies

Precious

 There are No Ugly Babies

I don’t know who came up with such a ridiculous saying as “Ugly babies in the cradle, pretty at the table” but I bet they were ugly on the inside and certainly need to be flogged. Stop using it!

Remember, next time you are thinking about saying how ugly a baby is, those ugly babies are somebody’s everything that is beautiful and good in the world. If you are a parent who has called your baby ugly, please email me a photo because I need to see what level of ugly it takes to make a parent call their own baby ugly.

READ ALSO: Does Advanced Maternal Age Really Mean You’re Too Old to Give Birth?

Please stop telling your babies they are ugly. They will look human in a couple of months. Now put your standard issued Mommy thinks you’re perfect glasses back on NOW!

Have you ever thought your child was ugly? Come on, you can tell me. I won’t tell anyone. We’ve all thought there are ugly babies out there, but usually not our own. I mean come on, we’ve all got an ugly cry. They don’t call it that because it’s pretty. I bet even Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie look pretty gruesome when they ugly cry.

I’m a realist, I am not opposed to the fact that there are ugly babies in the world. I am however opposed to the fact that there are parents out there who are stupid enough to not only think it but to say it out loud, to their little ugly babies. Just remember, there are no ugly babies just adults who should have thought before they spoke.

Do you think there is such a thing as ugly babies?

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