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growing up

Dreft, eczema, how to protect baby, caring for baby skin, sensitive skin, spring allergies, mom tips

Do you like surprises? Me, neither. Unless it’s, here’s a bag filled with a million dollars sort of surprise. Still, I got a big one this Mother’s Day. My baby girl became a woman.On.Mothers.Day. If that isn’t putting a fine point on it all, I don’t know what is. I thought we had some time. She’s only 11, well, nearly 12. In a week, she will be 12-years-old. But if I’d been in any sort of denial about my baby growing up, welp, that’s all been slapped right out of my mind.

Mother’s Day wasn’t what I expected this year on any account. Normally, I relax and spend the day focused on myself, alone. It has been heavenly and indulgent and wonderful for my entire tenure as a mother because my husband is awesome. He gets me. He really does.

This year was different because mortality decided it wanted to pay me an unexpected visit just to remind me that I am not actually invincible. I am human. I err. I can die at any moment. We all can.

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

While I’ve been secretly patting myself on the back because I don’t feel like I’ve had a “midlife crisis” like some others who have told me they are in the throes of one, I got too damn big for my britches, as my southern mama would say. While I was busy not obsessing over my looks, rejecting bread like it was syphilis and trying to fight mother nature my body played a nasty trick on me. While I was being “cool” and “aging gracefully” my body had other plans.

Here I am with a health created, self-induced midlife crisis. Suddenly, the carefree, living in the skin I’m in, tired of being fat but not tired enough to do something about it woman is now, working out and eating like her life depends on it. I’m not fighting the hands of time but I’m trying to keep death at bay. I’m trying to reverse the damage a lifetime of abusing my body has inflicted.

READ ALSO: That One time I went into “HEAT” at Panda Express

So amidst all of this, on the bleakest of Mother’s Day, laying in bed feeling completely overwhelmed by my own inner monologue…living in this moment of the winter of my most discontent…an effing period snapped me out of it. My baby girl became a woman and put even a finer point on the fact that I’ve got work to do. My girls need me and there is no time for self-pity. Self-care yes. Self-reflection? Hell yeah. I need to be at my best because my girls need me for many more firsts.

She was a little scared. It’s new and it was her first. It was different than her sister, as they’ve always been. It was magical and scary for us both. But it was exciting too because it’s her first and she’s a young woman. This is the beginning of a lifetime of womanhood. We are all three of us women. We’re like a club or a coven or something but this binds us in an even deeper way. Then we went out to celebrate with Starbucks because in our house becoming a woman is cause for celebration.

READ ALSO: Girl, You’ll be a woman soon

My babies are growing up. One of them, quite literally, on Mother’s Day. The Big Guy and my girls have been my saviors in this life, more times than once. They give me reason and purpose and that is more than enough. The Big Guy saved me from myself when he came into my life. The girls rescued me from mediocrity. Having them has always made me want to do and be better. Because of them, I am becoming my best self.

How did you celebrate Mother’s Day? What do your children inspire you to do?

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How to embrace getting older, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, I used to be beautiful, getting older

I use to be beautiful but no one told me how to embrace getting older. When I was younger, I always thought I could be taller, thinner, lips fuller, breasts bigger, skin darker, nose straighter, fingers longer. Believe me, I had a laundry list of things that I wanted to change about myself. I think most of us probably do, at that age. But photos tell a different story. In retrospect, I can see that I was beautiful. My skin was flawless and the perfect shade of golden brown or alabaster, depending on the time of year. I had great legs, hair and boobs. I can see now that I was pretty. I couldn’t see it then.

Now, I am middle-aged and though not “ugly”, I look tired and grey. I look worn and everything is the victim of gravity from eyelids to breasts and my ass. Every part of me is exhausted from years of sporadic sleep, worry and stress. When I gave birth, I knew there would be sacrifices but I had no idea how much it would change me, inside and out. I had no idea that it would rob me of my vitality.

READ ALSO: I will not become the Invisible Woman

I am no longer first in my life. I probably never will be again. Even when I try to make myself a priority, my heart knows that my children always come first. I don’t mind so much. I feel like I have given my life over to a higher purpose. I sacrificed myself for them. It sounds damn pitiful when I write it out but it’s not.

The only time it bothers me is when I show an old photo of myself to my girls and they stare blankly at it for a few minutes trying desperately to place the face. It’s mine but not one they recognize because it has bright white teeth, big happy eyes, make-up on, hair not in a ponytail and a body that I should have been thanking God back then instead of complaining and killing myself via starvation of my body and soul.

I used to be beautiful.

The girl in the photo is young, beautiful with perky breasts and svelte legs. She was well rested and ridiculously optimistic. She had her entire life ahead of her. There was nothing but hope ahead. She still lives inside of the woman you see today.

The thing is this, I don’t want to be who I was at 25 because then I wouldn’t be who I am today but I also don’t want my children to look at photos of me when I was 25 and find me unrecognizable. That hurts because to me, I am still that girl. I know I am exhausted, and not as hip or free-spirited as I once was. I am no longer the life of the party or the girl who lived so big and hard that the only thing constraining her was the atmosphere. No, she is long gone but in her place, someone deeper, wiser and better has emerged even if I do have more luggage under my eyes than I do in my attic.

READ ALSO: I’m so Tired

I was not born a mother; run down and tired from caring for others constantly. I was not born old. I used to travel, dance and go out to fancy dinners. I used to enjoy being the center of attention. I used to be selfish in ways that you cannot imagine. I am much happier now.

beautiful, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, How to embrace getting older, sisters, best friends, motherhood, growing up, I used to be beautiful, getting older

I used to be beautiful.

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You know how people tell you that you have such good kids and you are like..go on! Because you know the bickering and squabbles that come with the minutia of daily living but in your heart you know. You know that your kids may have their faults but they are good. They are better than good. They are everything you ever hoped for in a child…well, most of the time.

gabsaudition

Sunday was a HUGE day in our home. There was a lot of growing up going on and even a little letting go. Sunday was Nutcracker auditions, which are always a big deal in our house because my girls wait all year to be able to have the chance to audition to have a part in the city’s Nutcracker production. This is our Big Show. Gabi’s been chomping at the bit for the past 4 years and it is finally her turn. This will be Bella’s 4th production if she is chosen. Come on, this is a mom blog, I have to be allowed the occasional brag on my girls.

Sunday morning started off like most Sunday’s; coffee, conversations and the Food Network followed by the adults doing some cleaning and kids doing homework, which meant we all got to listen to Bella become unrusty on the violin. Gabi was a little skittish. It was going to be her first time and the nervous energy was palpable.  I tried to alleviate her fears but what the hell do I know, I’ve never danced ballet or auditioned for a production. Luckily, her big sister is a pro. Well, as pro as you can be at 8-years-old and in your sixth year of ballet. Crazy, right? I don’t know that I’ve done anything for 6 years, except for parent, write and marriage.

tinydancer13

Bella is the suck it up kid in our family. Gabi is the lay down on the floor and throw a tantrum until you drag her out kicking and screaming one. Bella got dressed for the audition, urging her little sister to do the same. Gabi happily obliged. Then Bella took Gabi to our living room and proceeded to help her stretch out and demonstrated the entire audition choreography for her little sister and then she told her what a great hob she did, carefully instructing her to correct any weaknesses but not in that snotty big sister way that I see on a daily basis but in a very caring, compassionate adult way. I was blown away, almost brought to tears watching it all go down.

sistersb

Gabi may be growing up, in first grade, growing like a beautiful weed (4 inches this summer, both girls),  losing her first tooth ( because she did that on Sunday too) and auditioning like a big girl but her sister is maturing. She is becoming less of an equal to her sister and more of a mother hen and not just in the “I’m your boss” kind of way that I know all to well. Bella is finally comprehending that her sister looks up to her and she is her role model…like it or not. Instead of fighting it, she is embracing it and it’s making growing up easier on her sister. I am so proud of both of them.

With a renewed confidence, both girls auditioned on Sunday. Gabi was a lot less nervous than she was a few hours earlier thanks to her big sister taking her under her magical big sister wing. In just the right light, they both looked a lot like angels to me that day.

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birthday, 6th birthday, Gabi

birthdayIt’s been a weeks since my baby girl turned 6. It’s been a crazy, crazy week that is the end to the craziest month in our household. We are all exhausted and run down and have the stomach bug to prove it.

Over the weekend, we had Gabi’s birthday party. She had about 15 friends come to her party and about 25 family members. She was surrounded by love. Finally, our new house felt like home.

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The Big Guy set up the bouncy house and the girls shared their new clubhouse with all of their little friends. My brothers and sisters sat around catching up as all of our children played together in my backyard. These moments are so few and far between these days. I cherish each one.

birthday , 6th birthday, gabi's birthday

Then I see Gabi; tall, thin and waif like looking more and more like a big kid than a little one striding across the backyard. Blushing because the little boy she has a “crush” on is at her party and her Godfather, my brother, asking him 20 questions. She still has all of her baby teeth and that giant baby teeth smile lets me know how very content she is.

gabi's birthday, birthday, 6th birthday

Long gone are the dark black curly ringlets she was born with, in their place is long straight blonde hair pulled back with flowers. Her big blue eyes taking it all in, just like they did on the day she was born. She was so alert. Each freckle on her face that kisses her nose and cheeks appear to me more beautiful than the last. She is graceful and quirky and funny and possesses the kind of innocence that you wish they’d never lose but you know all too soon, reality will find its way in.

I glance across my yard and hear the laughter that fills the air and I am happy. It reminds me of my own 34th birthday when I announced to my brothers and sisters that I was pregnant with Gabi. There was a lot of celebrating that night. My Gabi has brought joy to our hearts since the minute we knew she existed and that has never changed.

birthday3

The day was filled with family, friends, cake and gifts; everything a 6-year-old could wish for. For me, it was filled with love; the big, crazy kind that overwhelms you and leaves you breathless. The kind of love that makes your heart beat fast and wishing you could freeze the moment in time.

birthday4

To celebrate my Gabi’s birthday I want to give your child a beautiful and endearing, personalized bedtime story, Owl Always Love You *insert your child’s name here**.

birthday, Owl ALways Love you

Award-winning flattenme just hatched their latest personalized book – OWL Always Love You. There’s no better way to lull your little one to sleep than with a soothing story and a reminder of mom and dad’s love. Owl Always Love You is the perfect signoff for dreamland.

Unlike traditional bedtime tales, the Owl Always Love You personalized storybook makes your child the star of the story by repeating his name in the narrative. Your little one will be drawn in by the beautiful illustrations of fuzzy (and sometimes silly) owls settling down for a good night’s sleep, and he’ll love the ethereal images of soaring kites and starlit skies. Cuddly owls, fluffy lambs, and friendly cows dazzle the pages in this very special book. Complementing the visual delight is a sonorous and soothing rhyming verse, chalk full of reminders of mom and dad’s love.

Believe me, your child will love hearing her own name repeated throughout the book. We got a book for both girls and they both giggle and snuggle in deeper, every single time their name is read aloud in the story.

To enter to win a copy of Owl Always Love You, for your own child, all you have to do is leave a comment below telling me what your favorite bedtime story to read to your child is (include your email address that you use to subscribe so I can contact you if you win) and mandatory entry ***subscribe to The TRUTH about Motherhood! *** It is that simple. Contest open residents of the U.S. and Canada. Contest ends Monday, June 3, 2013 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Disclaimer: I was provided copies of Owl Always Love You by flattenme for free to review but all opinions are my own and we adore this sweet little bedtime story and so will your child.

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first moments, baptism, tide, vivid white

white, first moments, tide, life, bellaMy daughter is about to celebrate her birthday in a few days. I always seem to get a bit emotional around birthdays. Logically, I know my daughter is growing older but, in my heart, she will always be my fresh newborn that they laid on my chest, swaddled so tightly in her soft, white receiving blanket. I couldn’t believe how something so small and vulnerable, begging me to love her and protect her from the world could be my greatest honor and privilege in life but she has been from that moment on.

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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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Motherhood, in the quiet, mom, wife, parenting

Embracing Motherhood in the Quiet Moments ~ Those few and far between moments of motherhood when I can drink in the love of my children and fully cherish my role as mom. In these quite moments of mothering, as I lie here between my two little girls in bed; both holding a hand, cuddled deep into me and making me the center of their universe. I inhale the sweet smells of their childhood and grip their tiny sticky hands more tightly than I should and exhale with a sigh of appreciation at the gift of these two creatures. How I want these moments to last forever. Before I had my girls, I never realized how dynamic the mother/child relationship actually was.

Embracing motherhood means finding bliss in the mundane.

I look at my 6 year old, lying to my right, and I see a 16-year-old looming. I can feel her childhood slipping through my fingers. As she lies there in her slumber, her angelic face relaxed, no sassing in sight, I can lose myself in that small face forever. She is so pleasing, imaginative and clever, the type of kid who simultaneously amazes and inspires you. She looks at the entire world with a child’s naïveté and wonder.

My sweet girl is the kind of child who leaves random sticky notes for me to find with  “I Love you Mome” written on them in the endearing handwriting of a child. I always seem to find them just when I need them the most. In many ways, she is my savior. How I wish I could protect her from the hurts of the world and from the cruel realities and injustices that exist beyond our doorstep.

Soon she will be taller than I am, but when I look at her, I always see the tiny newborn that they placed into my arms on the day that I became a mother. The day that my life changed forever. I may barely be able to carry her off to bed any more but I will always carry her in the space that she occupies in my heart. It was made for her. For as long as I take breath into my lungs, she will reside there.

Embracing motherhood is finding awe in the ordinary.

My 4-year-old, lying in bed to my left, with her night mask on, looking like the world’s sweetest sleep bandit. How I wish I could keep her small forever. She brings joy to my world on a daily basis and I am eternally grateful for being allowed to be her mother. She is so strong, sensitive, and loud. Yet, shy when meeting someone for the first time. She is refreshingly, near brutally honest. This is one of her most endearing qualities. She becomes more and more like me every day. When she was born she was so round and full and now before me lies a waif like angel. She was once dark and covered in curls, now she is ethereal and light. She is ever changing and ever surprising and certainly, keeps us on our toes but she is like the air that I breathe; she sustains me. She gives me hope and happiness just to see her smile. She makes the world a better place just by being in it.

In this moment, I realize that I need to be more present. These moments of motherhood are moving by quickly, years are passing like days and before I know it, I will not be able to lie here at night and watch them sleep; hear them breathe, know they are safe, fully employ this honor of being their mother. Motherhood has made me a better person in the world. I’m not afraid to say it out loud, my daughters are my greatest accomplishment and joy. I know that may sound antiquated but as I lie here looking at their tiny faces, so gentle, peaceful and perfect; I know that I have changed the world. I have made a difference. These girls are a gift to the world. They are the change that I want to see in the world.

These quiet moments of motherhood inspire me to embrace all that I have been given. How has motherhood changed you? How has motherhood inspired you to go after your own dreams?

Motherhood makes Ordinary women ExtraOrdinary

 

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parenting

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parenting

akanemd

Parenting Techniques are like assholes..everyone has one!

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Miley Cyrus, Fat, demi lovato,

Throat Punch Thursday~ Miley Cyrus:Don't call me fat! Edition

Miley Cyrus is NOT Fat

Miley Cyrus: Don’t Call Me Fat! ~ Seriously, what in the world is wrong with people? Miley Cyrus is not fat. She looks like a healthy young woman. Healthy and woman being the operative words. Hollywood is so used to seeing the Miley Cyrus and Demi Lovato girls of the world running around like starved waifs that when they see them with a curvy figure they cry FAT! The Miley Cyrus: Don’t call me Fat! article that is seemingly everywhere is has onlookers split down the middle. There are actually people in the world who think because she is not shaped like a 12 year old boy anymore, she must be fat. This is hurtful gossip at its worst for entertainment value. Shame on you trolls for taking cheap shots and mocking the Marilyn Monroes of the world. If we collectively think that healthy is fat, maybe we are the ones who should seek some help.

Miley Cyrus, Fat, demi lovato,

Miley Cyrus is Beautiful & Healthy Looking

Why do we have to make a strong young woman feel less than enough when she has had the good fortune and upbringing to know that her self-worth does not come from the size of her jeans. Are we jealous? I love that Miley Cyrus, spunky and sassy as ever, shot back almost immediately by declaring a public  Twitter war on those who insulted her. Miley Cyrus tweeted to her three million plus followers, “By calling girls like me fat this is what you’re doing to other people.” Her tweet was accompanied by a picture of an emaciated woman.

Miley Cyrus, Not fat, Demi Lovato

This is the Photo that Miley Cyrus Tweeted

Of course if the above photo is what one identifies with as chic and thin then they may want to seek some mental health themselves. I used to think the image above was a good size and that the Marilyn Monroes of the world were fat. Then again, I have a diagnosis of Body dysmorphic disorder and anorexia/bulima on my books. Even I know that this above photo is too thin. Miley was right to be hurt and insulted. Miley went on to criticize her critics, writing, “I love MYSELF & if you could say the same you wouldn’t be sitting on your computer trying to hurt others.”

To drive the point home, Miley Cyrus posted a picture of Marilyn Monroe with the caption, “Proof that you can be adored by thousands of men, even when your thighs touch.” Damn, I wish I had this girls self-confidence!

Soon, Miley’s friend and fellow pop star Demi Lovato joined in on Twitter tweeting back, “I love you, whoever called you that has it coming.” Lovato recently got out of rehab, which she entered in part due to body image issues. Demi Lovato had to defend her post-rehab weight gain back in August, as well.

Miley responded : @ddlovato AMEN! I will destroy any one that ever calls you the F word. You have the SEXIIIESTTTT curvyyyy body! I LOVE IT! #werkthosecurves

Cyrus wasn’t backing down. She tweeted again, “I LOVE being shaped like a WOMAN & trust me ladies your man won’t mind either.” Indeed, young master. I really wish I had her confidence and felt that comfortable with my body. This is a great message to send to women everywhere. Men don’t want girls who are shaped like little boys, unless they are Jerry Sandusky…then maybe.

Amen! I commend these young girls for having the fortitude to stand up to Hollywood’s image of what beauty is and for speaking up in defense for healthy young women everywhere. You are not fat. You are beautiful, healthy and hopefully happy. If we could just get the rest of the world to understand  what you already know, our self worth is not determined by the size of our jeans. Throat punch to all the asshats who think it’s okay to make a running commentary on someone else’s body. Whether you are being a lecherous pervert or a jerky hater, keep your comments on other peoples sizes and shapes to yourself. They have mirrors in their house and they are perfectly aware of any and all flaws that you might feel is your duty to point out. Know this, they know they are there. No one needs your jokes or opinions. Miley Cyrus you impress me with your big, giant self-confidence!

 

 

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I’ve found that as a Mother, the moments that I learn the most valuable lessons are when I am not thinking at all. So sad but so true. For example, amidst all the craziness that this morning was..the girls were having a slap fight, Gabs decided to tell me : “You hate me! ME no love you!” for the infraction of not letting her wear long sleeves outside in the 90 degree weather ( I can see her point..I’m just a mean bitch), and Bella went completely deaf and ignored absolutely every single thing I asked her to do or told her not to do this morning ( again, must be me. How dare I think my girls should be held responsible for their actions!)! Stupid, naive, me…I thought it was going to be a good day, I woke up to sunshine, hot coffee, and Paramore and then hell broke lose!

 

But, somewhere along the way, something clicked. Oh yes, I remember. I was checking my FB account and a friend of mine had posted her son’s senior montage. I watched it, for no other reason than curiosity. I don’t really know her son. As I was watching it, I started tearing up (just like I did at the end of Toy Story 3).

Suddenly, like a ton of bricks it hit me…these tantrums and days that seem to be endless..are fleeting and passing me by at lightening speed. Before I know it, I will be watching Bella’s senior montage and sending her off into the world to be her own person; left to her own devices and there will be no more daily tantrums, slap fights, screaming matches but there will also be no more random I love yous, neck ringing hugs, co sleeping, spontaneous dance parties and silly song concerts! On a day soon after that, it will be packing Gabs up for college and sending her off.

When we are waiting to meet our children, 10 months feels like forever. When they are toddlers and having tantrums, and it seems like the days will never end of changing shitty diapers, or we’ll never get to be alone again; these days we wish away. But I am here to tell you, if you change your thinking and realize that those precious little hands that hold yours will soon be to large to want to do so, that the child who won’t leave your side will soon rather not be seen in public with you because you are an embarrassment, and that the little girl who thinks that you are the world and annoys you to no end messing with your shoes, clothes and make up will soon want nothing to do with you.

If we realize from the moment they are born, we are losing them and that with every milestone and tantrum they are one step closer to heading out the door for college, then maybe we can slow down, gain perspective and enjoy the madness; embrace the chaos, and love our children for the who they are today. I know its hard to realize this in the midst of the chaos, but take a moment and try to remember to cherish even the worst days because they are flying by and soon there will be no more chaos to cherish!

Hug them, kiss them, let them play in the puddles, act silly with them, let them cook with you, don’t waste their childhood wishing it away.Sometimes you’ve got to break some rules to make some memories. It’s not about how much money you spend, how clean your house is, or what you cook for dinner. What they’ll remember is how much you loved them and how much time you spent with them….make it count! Happy Mothering!

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