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tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser Duracell. All opinions are mine alone.

The song says rainy days get me down but not my family because we’ve got Duracell batteries a plenty from our local Walmart. We’ve got rechargeable Duracell batteries in AA because almost everything we own takes AA batteries and a drawer full of Duracell coppertop batteries in every size just in case we need them for lanterns, battery powered radios and fans. We #PrepWithPower so we are not caught off guard during thunderstorms or those instances when we all find ourselves hiding in the basement from a Midwestern tornado or tomato as my 7-year-old calls them sighting that . tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness I love a good rainy day or night during the summer. It gives me time inside with the girls to just relax and spend time without expectation of pools, parks and running from place to place. I throw the windows open because I love the smell and sound of rain and the bullfrogs that come with the rain. I look at a storm like permission to just be still. To every life may there be a little rain, so that we might enjoy those gorgeous sunny days. But that doesn’t mean that storms have to ruin your day. There are many things you can do to not only be prepared by enjoy when storms happen. tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness When my girls were smaller, thunder and lightening frightened them and they would regularly run to my bed for shelter. At first, I was annoyed because I love storms so much but then I realized it was just an excuse for me to get to hunker down and cuddle my girls. We all piled into my king sized window and watched as the lightening lit up the night sky. We’d sing songs like Mary had a little lamb and you are my sunshine to drown out the booming thunder as it rolled in.

tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparednessI learned early on to keep batteries, lanterns, candles, flashlights and everything charged. As the girls got older, we’d have picnics in the middle of the living room if our pool day was rained out. We’d watch movies in bed in our pajamas. And after the storm passed, as a family, we’d go outside and look for rainbows and jump in puddles.By doing this, the girls began to no longer fear the rain and storms but look forward to the rainbow that appeared after the storm passed; to appreciate the smell of rain and the pure joy of jumping in puddles.

tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness

 

Now, at ages 7 and 9 if there is a thunderstorm or a tornado warning, my girls have learned to trust that the Big Guy and I will always have their back and protect them. Now, they enjoy it by building forts, reading, singing songs, playing games like Candy land and checkers, telling ghost stories or just enjoying one another’s company, sharing sister secrets like sisters do and that makes me grateful for the storms in our lives. We look for the rainbows. How does your family prepare for storms and inclement weather? How do you teach your children to embrace life’s stormy weather?

tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness

 

This shop has been compensated by #CollectiveBias, Inc. and its advertiser Duracell. All opinions are mine alone.

tornadoes, thunderstorms,duracell, batteries, prepwithpower, storms, incelment weather, safety preparedness

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special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy, Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod, Boston

Stop waiting for special occasions.

Do It Now!

Don’t Make Your Happiness Contingent on anyone else or conditionals. I will/can be happy when I …. is a crazy way to live your life. In fact, I have spent most of my life bartering with myself. When I get skinny, I will allow myself to finally be happy. When I do this, I will deserve that. When my daughters are no longer bickering and talking back, I can relieve myself of some of this mommy guilt. When my house is clean and my laundry is folded, I will be a good housewife. When I give my husband the attention he deserves, I will be a good wife. Then I beat myself up about all of it. It’s wasted energy.

You deserve happiness now. I.DESERVE.HAPPINESS.NOW! Not tomorrow or the day after or whenever I hit some imaginary goal, NOW! It shouldn’t be reserved only for special occasions. Tell people you love them. Dance like no one is watching. Don’t be afraid. Go for what you want. Celebrate every single day. Stop and see the beauty all around you. Every day that you are alive is a “special” occasion.

I’ve always been that kind of person who has hung my life on conditions and some imaginary set of rules for life. I don’t know why or how this started but I just never feel like I quite deserve success.I always feel like I need permission to just do what I want. Sounds crazy because I am the same person who believes that anything is possible through hard work and sacrifice. Maybe I only believe that applies to other people. It’s the mantra that I base my entire life on but then I just don’t quite feel like I deserve it, any of it. I feel like a fraud, in my own life.

I rush through the moments. Sort of like running through rain trying not to get wet. Instead of spending my life leisurely strolling through on a sunny day like I won the world and deserve all that life has to offer, I run from point to point trying to go unnoticed even when I want to be celebrated for my achievements. I half-ass a lot of things. I never give anything completely 100% because if I give 100% and it’s not good enough, then I am not good enough. I can’t give more than 100%, so if I hold back a little bit at least I can assuage myself with the knowledge that I didn’t try my best so sabotage is better than failure but success is never even an option when you live like that. Fulfillment can’t happen when you aren’t going all in.

special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it,  life's to short to be unhappy, Atlantic ocean, Cape Cod, Boston

Like a lot of people, I reserve things for special occasions; beautiful dresses that never get worn waiting for “special” enough occasions. China that never comes out for fear of being broken or the situation not being “special” enough. Furniture that stays covered, so many things that never get used but instead tucked away safely waiting for someday. Flowers we never cut and enjoy at our table for fear they will die. Well, I am tired of waiting for SOME DAY. I want to live my life all in TODAY. I don’t want to be afraid of breaking or damaging something before it’s appropriate time because if I keep living like this, I am wasting my life waiting. We’ve all done it. I’ll reward myself with this when I accomplish this. I will do that when I deserve it. You deserve it now. Just do it. Stop waiting, life is short.

I should have learned this lesson when I was in labor with my first baby. I refused to use the breathing technique until I was in full on transition labor at which point I couldn’t focus or catch my breath. I was in a silent moment of complete overwhelming terror and I had no way to get out because I had rationed my “breathing” for a “special” occasion, as if breathing itself was a luxury that I did not deserve. That’s my life in a nutshell. Hurriedly being stoic and never feeling the full weight of my joy.

peony, special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it, life's to short to be unhappy

So when I decided to make this summer the throwback summer, I thought I was doing it for my girls and I was, mostly because I wanted them to experience just playing and having fun and enjoying summer without a schedule but it’s slowed me down. I’ve been sitting and listening to my children laugh. I’ve been noticing the rhythm of the birds singing.  I can feel the calm that the water brings as it splashes up into us when we play in the pool. I am breathing, all day long because that is what you are supposed to do. Air is free. I am walking more slowly. I am invested and present and you can’t believe how it changes your perspective.  I have given myself permission to be happy and enjoy my life.

Today, I planned to make enchiladas, Mexican rice and refried beans for dinner. Usually, I hurry the kids out of the kitchen because it’s easier and quicker for me to do it myself. Today, I put on Mariachi music in the kitchen as I boiled the chicken. We were already running late but you can’t make chicken boil faster than it does. The girls were dancing, I was dancing and they were giggling and telling me to call them by their middle names, their “Latina” names. They said they were being full-on Latinas. They were really enjoying all of it and in turn I was happy to be doing it.

My 9-year-old loves to cook and she asked if she could help me prepare the meal. Again, normally, I would have brushed her off but today, I said yes. She was my sous chef. I mean when you think about it, this was a tremendous teaching moment and what kind of person would I have been to deny her of something so simple as helping her mother with dinner? So, she cooked the entire meal with me and it was the best meal I’ve eaten in a long time and I told her so. I mean this could be her passion. Who am I to deny her? The point is that it felt good to do this with my daughter, she felt good to be doing it and the food tasted great. A memory was made and I know my daughter didn’t feel rejected or dismissed. She felt empowered and accomplished and I had something to do with that.

There is a special contentment that comes from going all in. The other day, I was doing an assignment and I really put all of my time and attention into it. I didn’t hurry. I wasn’t thinking of all the other places I needed to be or things I needed to be doing, I was just present in my writing and it felt different. I felt the passion return. I guess my point of all of this is, be present and give 100 % at whatever you do; you are missing out on the best days of your life by running from shelter to shelter in life’s rain. Put your rain boots on and dance in that rain, jump in those puddles and don’t worry, you are stronger than you look. You won’t melt and you won’t believe how great true accomplishment, at something even as simple as listening to what your child is saying, will make you feel. I want to teach my girls to enjoy life, the simple moments because sometimes those that seem the most insignificant are the more unforgettable.

special occasions, life, children, laughter, all in, just do it,  life's to short to be unhappy

When’s the last time you allowed yourself to really and truly enjoy something without worrying about where you needed to be or what else you were supposed to be doing or waiting for special occasions?

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why I write, blog, blogger, the TRUTH about Motherhood

This is not the post that I meant to write today. I meant to write about my family road trip to Boston. And I want to be that person who just let’s things roll of her back. I really do but it’s Monday and I’m not accustomed to being called out and belittled for having an opinion. I’m all about respectful, intelligent debate but name calling is for children not intelligent adults.

See, way back in 2009, I started my blog. I called it The TRUTH about Motherhood because I was right in the thick of Motherhood and it seemed to fit my voice and where I was in life. I just wanted to write.

A friend of mine who worked in traditional media said that the wave of writing was moving to online and to get work, I needed an “online presence”. Hell, I had been neck deep in babies for the past four years, I had no idea what that even was and God knows I didn’t have the time to write about being a mom because I was too damn busy actually being a mom.

The first year was a joke. Seriously, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a few goals 1) develop my “online presence” whatever that was 2) when the kids napped or slept, write, write and write some more because I love to do it. It is how I process. I basically just copied essays that I had jotted down in a notebook for the girls about their childhood 3) to capture all the cute, funny, quirky moments of motherhood and document even the not so pleasant ones so I could appreciate the good ones and if I could help just one mom feel like she wasn’t alone, I’d be happy.

What happened that year was relocation across country that I never documented other than the original drive to Richmond to check out the city. I was too busy living to write about it. Then, things went to shit and my husband was downsized and we had to move home (blessing in disguise our home still hadn’t sold) in a blizzard.

We were quickly running through our money and afraid of what our future would hold with a toddler and a preschooler. The Big Guy (because my husband is 6’5” in case you didn’t know where the reference came from) took a job in another state because it was the only one he could find doing what he does and he made the sacrifice to work to support us and we all made the sacrifice to be apart 5 days a week. It was the worst 2 years of our lives. In those 2 years is when I really started to write.

You remember when you were in your teens and you were “in love” and there were so many ups and downs and drama and all you wanted to do was write poetry? Yeah, that’s called being inspired by your misery. I was going through a hard time and I had lots to write about. That’s where I found my people, moms who blog. I never understood what a “tribe” was until I found one as an adult. It’s more than a clique, it’s a group of people who support one another through good and bad.

I know bloggers are just regular people. I’m not delusional and don’t think they are actual celebrities but they care enough to get up and interact with the world by sharing their experiences. This meant a lot to me because at the time, I was hours away from any family and alone with kids. I needed someone to talk to, especially since my husband wasn’t there.

When you interact with people on such a personal level, I’m not talking just sharing recipes and diaper war stories, I mean the real stuff like marital issues, fertility issues, raising your child and feeling like a failure issues, feeling ugly and vulnerable and raw, the bonds are real and you see what’s on the inside (well, at least what they allow you to see). I have a tendency to have no filter so what you see is pretty much what you get.

I know that sometimes I am dorky, funny, boring, annoying and sometimes my stories are deep or interesting or shocking, sometimes they are well written and sometimes I am half-asleep or writing through the hardest moments of my life and it’s hard to type through tear filled eyes and ugly cries. Sometimes they are completely irrelevant to you and that’s okay because they are written for my children and me. You see it’s been a long time since I started blogging to become a writer. That has come to fruition. People actually pay me to write. I love my job. I am happy.

My blog is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and neither am I. My hair is never perfectly coifed and my clothes are occasionally stylish but I am a tired mom who spends the bulk of my time trying to raise happy, interesting children, while maintaining an open and honest relationship with my husband and sometimes, I write on the Internet.

My blog is real and it is flawed, like me. I cuss on my site and sometimes I add too many commas. I am educated and not a hot “mommy mess” who loses her “mommy cool” at the drop of a hat. I do however have my issues, so I can see where the jump to full on emotional train wreck could be an easy one.

I don’t blow smoke up people’s asses nor do I befriend people solely for their social media stats because none of that matters to me. What matters to me is what kind of people they are on the inside and how they treat me. It’s not about who is the coolest or hottest blogger, not for me anyways. I’m not trying to sleep with them. I want someone who can relate to me.

As bloggers, we have a little bit of the real estate expertise from https://www.williampitt.com/search/real-estate-sales/fairfield-ct/. Change can come in all shapes and sizes, a charity campaign to raise funds for clean water, to bring awareness to pediatric cancer, to help someone through a shared difficult situation like a miscarriage or a medical diagnosis that might be hard to face alone. Online communities hold our virtual hands through all of life’s events, if we reach out and want it.

My friends that I have met online are not virtual. They are real people. They have lives, families, jobs, interests and situations outside of the Internet but the Internet is our meeting place.

I wrote this in case you are new here or you forgot who I was. Make no mistake, I tell my truth on my blog and I welcome friendly, intelligent debate. I have a lot of opinions, I know they are not the only ones but I won’t debate you with name-calling and tantrum throwing. I just want to write my blog, share my story and tell my truth.

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mmisplaced, child safety, school

The end of the school year was last week and the unthinkable happened…the school misplaced my daughter. Errrr, how do you misplace an entire child? She’s not pocket sized. She’s an actual human being. She talks and breathes and walks and matters in the world. Uhm, she is my everything!

Has the school ever lost your child? I mean full on called your house to ask where your child was, after you knew you dropped them off? If it’s never happened to you, count yourself lucky. If it has, I am so sorry. I have never been so terrified as when the school called last week, looking for my 6–year-old. LOOKING.FOR.MY.6-YEAR-OLD!!!!!!

I always cringe when the school calls my house  anyways because I am sure someone is sick or I’ve signed up for something and forgotten all about it. Gabs has been having some allergy issues lately and been a little anxious so I figured somebody needed a hug and reassurance from her mommy. I figured, the no sleep and sneezing and drainage had finally caught up with her but no, it wasn’t that at all.

They MISPLACED my kid.

“Hi, Mrs. Gabi’s Mom we noticed that Gabi isn’t at school this morning. Why is that?”

Me: “Huh? What? Yes, she is at school. I dropped her off at the office and watched her walk in through all 3 sets of doors! What the hell do you mean she isn’t there????”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I must have missed her. Maybe they accidentally marked her absent.  I’ll call down. Do you want to hold?”

“Uh, yeah! I’m not hanging up until you have eyes on my daughter!”

“I’m sorry, Looks like the kids are still at mass. I will check on this when they get back. Do you want me to call you back?”

“No, you need to find my daughter NOW! I will hold or I can come up there!”

“Oh, looks like they are headed back right now. Hold, please.”

Exasperation, tension, sickness, must not vomit, seeing red, must not kill anyone, Fear, please don’t pass out. Cold sweats. Deep breaths! Hold your shit together, Debi. Gah, I can’t breathe.

“Mrs. Gabi’s Mom, she’s here and she’s fine. The teacher said it was an oversight, a long story and she wouldn’t tell me. She is here, safe and sound. Sorry for worrying you. I am so sorry for scaring you.”

WTF?????

Choking back tears and literally trembling, “Thank you for calling and thank you for finding her. Please don’t lose my girls again.”

I accepted her apology because she was sincerely sorry, I could hear it in her voice. The same way I am sure that she could hear my sheer panic, fright and then anger. What I did not accept is a teacher who didn’t have time to explain the “long story” so I emailed her and this is what I received in reply.

Me: Just wanted to see what happened this morning. I received a call that Gabi wasn’t at school. There were a couple minutes there where I was really freaking out. You can imagine. The secretary said that you said that the misunderstanding was a long story. I need you to explain to me what happened and why the office thought she was absent, long story and all.

Teacher who lost my kid: Yes.  She was tardy this morning.  I had already marked her absent.  I asked her if she had gotten a yellow slip.  She told me that she had been to the office and they told her not to get a yellow slip.  I assumed that they office would remember this and figure it out – but I guess in the busy-ness of the morning they did not.  Or else Gabi misunderstood.  Anyway, that’s what happened.  All is well here! 

Maybe I was just too upset but I took her reply to be very flippant. I don’t think you have the right to be flip with a parent when you “misplace” their child. For all I knew, she could have been kidnapped, hurt or dead. She may just be another student to them  but to me, her mother, she is everything.

What would you have done if the school misplaced your child?

misplaced, child safety, throat punch thursday

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Slender man, Morgan Geyser,Anissa Weier, Wisconsin, stabbing, Internet, meme

Have you heard of SlenderMan?

Me neither but apparently he’s pretty big on the Internet. Two 12-year-old girls, Morgan Geyser and Anissa Weier, from Waukesha, Wisconsin plotted since December, lured and almost carried out the vicious stabbing and murder of a classmate the day after her birthday just to see if they could earn entrance into the mythical realm of the Slender Man. The assailants read about Slender Man online and wanted to join the cult of the Slender Man. To gain entrance, you must kill someone.

The girls invited the victim to their home for a sleepover and then lured her into a nearby park under the guise of a game of hide-and-seek, as children do. All of the people involved in this scenario are 12-year-old children, mind you. Once they had the victim alone in the woods, one held her down as the other stabbed her 19 times, very nearly fatally injuring her.

Slenderman, Morgan Geyser,Anissa Weier, Wisconsin, stabbing, Internet, meme

As a mother, as a human being, I am afraid for this world. I am afraid for my children. I am afraid for all of us that there are children out there who are not only so easily swayed and influenced but have the fortitude and deviousness to carry something like this out. I walk around in a state of fear because I love my children so much and the world has gone mad. I want to encase them in a bubble and shield them from all the crazies of the world; the Morgan Geysers and Anissa Weiers, the Elliot Rodgers and the Adam Lanzas but then I think about the mothers of these children, the murderers.

These mothers who have to live with the loss of their children. Who have to suffer the humiliation and sadness of knowing what their child did to the world. The guilt of living with the what ifs. How do you separate the love for your child, your baby, from the hatred of the crime they have committed? I don’t think any of us could just stop loving our children, no matter how heinous their behavior was.  A parent’s love is unconditional and never ending, in my experience. How do they go on, once their child has forsaken humanity in such a vial way?

Then again, maybe these girls are just evil enough to be using all of this as a bullshit reason. Maybe they don’t believe in Slender Man? Maybe they are not as young and impressionable as we might think and would kill for a meme? Maybe they tried and failed and now they are saying and doing whatever it takes to get out of trouble. Either way, three girls lives have been changed forever. The course of their existence is altered. Three sets of parents have to learn to live with what has been done and we all have to face, once again, that no matter how we might try, we cannot truly protect our children from the evils of this world.

What do you think should happen to these girls? Do you believe Slender Man made them do it?

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8:15 a.m. As I sit here, contemplating all of my work deadlines with my eye twtiching, staring out the window, as the aroma of Guinea pig piss wafts into my office and strangles me because some little person convinced me that she would clean the cage and LIED, I look around my office. My own little private space which has somehow become a natural disaster site since shoving all the stuff that we couldn’t get put away before the last round of visitors came to stay. I notice my yet to be unpacked spring break luggage. Did I take the swimsuits out? Oh, shit, I hope I took them out or else I am going to have to burn the entire suitcase, clothes and all. Where do I start? I’ve got on my yoga pants, I should probably exercise. Nah, I should probably clean the Guinea pig cage. Do the laundry. Wash the dishes. Go to the grocery store. Call the doctor about this f*cking twitchy eye.

Seriously, this is my biggest question of every single day. I know that I start by waking up at 6:30 a.m. , forcing myself out of my exhausted fog that every insomniac suffer in the morning, and after a quick pit stop to brush my teeth, because I learned the hard way that little people are brutal, I tiptoe into my daughters’ room to wake them up. That usually goes a little something like, “Bella, Gabi…wake up sweeties.” I whisper this in an almost nauseatingly Snow White like voice. With a grunt, they pull the blankets up above their heads in protest. I think of it as the elementary aged kids, “Go F*ck Yourself, Lady!”

Then I try my Good Morning song that I have sung to them since Bella was a baby. (Sung to the tune of Good Mornin’ from Singing in the Rain) Good Mornin, Good Mornin..it’s great to be alive. Good morning, good mornin to you! And you and you! Good morning, Bella & Gabi, it’s great to be your Mommy. Good mornin, good morning to you! Boopboopitydo!” and I kiss them and they audibly grunt or they smile. In desperation, at this point, I usually pull off the blankets and tell them it’s 7 a.m. and we need to eat breakfast. Sometimes they move, sometimes they don’t. Either way, I head downstairs. Usually followed by two grumbling, mumbling pissed off at the day tiny tyrants.  It sounds a lot like the Hamburgler is trailing me contemplating pushing me down the stairs. I am a little afraid for my life. I am already exhausted.

Then we play the I don’t want THAT! Game. I propose 27 different breakfast combinations and they promptly reject every single one of them. After 15 minutes of this. I say, fuck it and everybody gets Cheerios. Ticktock only 15 minutes before the SUV leaves the driveway bound for school. Come on Debi, You can do this. Get your head in the game. You can survive anything for 15 more minutes. You went through 13 hours of unmedicated labor. You did those 17 days without carbs (once). You didn’t kill anyone on that 3-day juice cleanse last month.  You got this. Hell, you survived Dream Girls. You got this GIRL! Finally, the youngest(who pretty much hates everything and everyone in the morning….so not a morning person. Give that kid of coffee!) tells me just how damn awful those Cheerios were as she throws her empty bowl into the sink. It’s now 7:25 a.m. Only 5 more minutes, 10 tops.

“Go upstairs and brush your teeth! NOW!” I yell for encouragement.

My 6-year-old has now gone into her specialized slowmo movements. It takes her three days to walk up the flight of stairs to her bathroom destination. I can feel my sanity breaking as a barrage of questions and indignant declarations assaults me.

Where are my underwear? I DON’T HAVE ANY SOCKS! I don’t want to wear my uniform. I want to wear shorts. I don’t care if it’s snowing. You hate me don’t you?MOMMMMMMMMYYYYYY! Why is the sky blue? Mommy where are my library books? Can you make me cold lunch? I need money for a field trip. Today is the last day. I hate you! Fine! You don’t care about me.

AAAAAAHHHHHHHH! (in my head) SHUT.THE.FUCK.UP.PLEASE!! GOD! NOW!

Did I mention that I had already set their clothes out on their beds for them while they were eating? They have just not even made it back into their room yet? It is now, 7:33 a.m. The SUV should have departed 3 minutes ago.

One kid is fully dressed but decides NOW is a great time to change her earrings. The youngest is still in her underwear, dancing in front of the full-length mirror in her socks. I say, “Put your clothes on. Now! We are going to be late.” She huffs and, once again, now in ultra slowmo puts on her pants and then her shirt. She brushes her teeth finally, dripping red watermelon toothpaste down her fresh white uniform shirt.

“Where’s my belt, MOMMY?”

Me: “The one hanging from your back belt loop?”

Indignantly, she turns and without missing a beat, “NO, not that one. This one is ugly.”

She has 10 belts; they are all exactly the same.

Meanwhile, her sister can’t find the back of her piercing and is crying hysterically because “obviously” I should have never let her take the damn earrings out because now the hole is closed up and it’s all my fault for giving birth to her. It’s 7:36. We are going to be late.

I flip into supersonic, greased lightening or is that greased chicken (which one is faster?) speed and I brush their waist length hair as fast as I can. As I put them into the only hairstyle we have time for at this point, the side-pony or topknot, my oldest puffs in exasperation because she wants it curled. CURLED? IS this kid crazy? Sorry, no curls for you!

The littlest one, still only wearing one fricking shoe, tells me to stop brushing so hard. She starts to ugly cry and now looks like a spotted leopard. Her sister comes into soothe her and tiny tyrant says, “It’s all your fault Bella! If you didn’t sleep on the left side of the bed, I could have been a morning person!”

ME: WHAT THE F*CK?

And then the big sister starts to ugly cry…AGAIN. It’s 7:43.

NO way in hell these kids are getting to school by 7:50 but we’ve got to try. We get down the stairs and they both decide that NOW is the time to go over every scratch of paper in their backpacks. I assure you that it is not. It’s 7:45.

We get into the car and as we pull out my youngest says, “Mom, I told Lily about your baby.”

Me: “What baby?” because honestly at 6-years-old her imagination has babies coming out of our ears.

Gabs: “The baby that died in your tummy.”

(Pardon the pun) DEAD Silence.

7:50 a.m. I drop the girls off at the school office. They both give me a big kiss and an, “I Love you MOMMY!” They walk into school, turning back one last time to blow me a kiss. My heart melts.

7:51 a.m., I pull away, I ugly cry and I pop a Xanax. This is Wednesday

If you’ve ever ugly cried after drop off been brought to tears by a screaming kid who couldn’t find their library book or just not gotten enough sleep or had a twitchy eye and felt like you were doing it all wrong…please leave me a comment and share this post because I think we have all been here. Well, I hope so or my other eye might start twitching too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

happiness, choice, being a good person

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

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

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Home Run Inn Pizza, Pizza, Family night

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Home Run Inn pizza.

Have you ever had one of those days that are so hectic that you just can’t seem to catch your breath? As parents, those early days seem so long and exhausting and we spend a lot of the time wishing for tomorrow when things will be easier. Suddenly, they begin to fly by and in the blink of an eye, their childhood is slipping through your fingers. Days that used to be filled with random hugs and holding helpless little babies are suddenly filled, from sunrise to sunset, with scheduled activities and obligations. Blink once more and your once “helpless” baby is leaving home for college.

When we are in the thick of parenting a small child, it’s easy to forget to “live in the moment” and enjoy the subtle nuances of motherhood. Who can think of stepping back and enjoying a moment when you are overwhelmed by a toddler and a newborn who are depending on you for everything, right.this.moment? It’s nearly impossible to relax enough to enjoy parenting when you are actually parenting, if you are not reminded. Parenting is challenging work. It’s taken me a couple years to figure this out but I’ve realized, making memories is not about buying the perfect toy or throwing the perfect birthday party.It’s not about the “perfect” thing. It’s not the Christmas gifts or the extravagance of the family vacations that your children will look back on in 30 years and remember about their childhood. It’s about how they felt in those moments; how it smelled, tasted, looked and sounded. That’s what they will remember.

 

I still remember Sunday mornings in our house growing up, the house always smelled like gravy and biscuits. I know that we all went to church and wore our Sunday best but what I remember most vividly and fondly are the smells of breakfast cooking after mass. The laughter that filled the house as we all joked around together. The sight of my brothers and sisters talking or my dad sneaking a quick kiss from my mom, when they thought no one was paying attention, as he peeked in to see how much longer until breakfast was ready. I have no idea what the clothes we wore were or how much they cost. It’s all about the way it felt to be there in that kitchen on those Sunday mornings. That’s what I want for my girls.I want them to one day look back fondly on our time together and long for that time and space.

Home Run Inn Pizza, Pizza, Family night

In our house, Friday night is family night. We all know this. We never make plans with anyone else. There are no date nights, activities scheduled or birthday party invites accepted. Friday nights are just for the four of us. It usually means take out and watching television or a movie together but sometimes it means a frozen pizza, eaten on the couch as we laugh and enjoy each other’s company. I grew up in the Chicagoland area, so I sometimes choose Home Run Inn pizza. Not only does it remind me of home, it’s also all natural and made with real cheese and no preservatives, so I can feel good about feeding it to my family.

 

I know in 30 years my girls won’t remember what movie we watched together, who wore what or even what we ate but they will remember the gooey cheese filled smiles, the laughter, the unconditional love and acceptance that you feel in those moments shared with people you love. Maybe someday when they are having family nightHome Run Inn Pizza, Pizza, Family night with their own children and the smell of pizza wafts through the house, they will remember two things 1) how unconditionally and completely loved they were by us and 2) to stop , look around and enjoy those moments with their own children.

Have you tried Home Run Inn pizza before? What taste transports you back to a favorite memory?

 

Home Run Inn Pizza, Pizza, Family night

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Home Run Inn pizza.

Photo: Webb Zahn, SitsGirls

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Valentine's Day, Family, Love, Happy

Happy Valentine’s Day!

This isn’t my usual gushy Valentine’s Day post that I write about the Big Guy. We are celebrating tomorrow night thanks to a couple of awesome grandparents who are keeping the girls overnight. I’m sure there’s a gushy post coming but this is not it. Nope today, I have been crazy busy with volunteer work, Halloween parties and making 60 homemade Valentine’s Day cards for my daughters’ classmates because obviously, Pinterest has ruined my children but this is how my day started. Valentine's Day, love, Happy Which was the perfect way to start my day just because, he always knows the right thing to say. I Love this man so much. He loves me like no one else can. (**OK, that may have been a little bit gushy. Sorry, I can’t help it. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in hearts all day.) Then,over breakfast, the girls and I did a mass name signing to half made, homemade Valentine’s Day cards for their classes. We were under a time crunch for sure but I refused to let this steal my joy. We giggled and laughed through the whole hurried, chaotic ordeal. With only minutes to spare we loaded into the SUV and started our new morning ritual…listening to “Happy” by Pharrell from door to door. Yes, we dance all the way there. It’s impossible to be in a bad mood when listening to it. Seriously, it’s not possible, especially not when you see the two people you love most in the world , in the rearview mirror, off the hook car dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, “Because.I’m.Happy!!!

I dropped them off but had to come right back for 4 hours of volunteer work at the school. I was in desperate need of coffee, if I was going to keep up my new found “Happy” attitude. So I headed to Starbucks, courtesy of a surprise “Just because” gift card I received. Those are always awesome! I ordered my coffee. I was so excited for Starbucks because I have cut way back on my Starbucks consumption. I, honestly, don’t remember the last time I bought one. I get to the window to pay with my gift card in hand and the happiest barista I’ve ever met tells me to enjoy my Valentine’s Day because the woman in front of me paid for my coffee. I was so stunned by an actual random act of kindness, because I’ve never been the recipient end, that I forgot to pay for the person behind me but I will rectify that on my next visit. Valentine's Day, Love, Starbucks, coffee, pay it forward, love What is it about pay it forward Starbucks that makes it taste so damn good? YUMMMM!@ I went to school in such a great mood and did my volunteer work with a giant smile and a happy attitude. I was passing out compliments and smiles like they were condoms at a frat party. I was giving them to everybody I made eye contact with. Not even cutting out and addressing 60 handmade cards and running a class party on a skeleton crew.  Then this happened. Valentine's Day, Family, Love, HappyMy 3rd Grader repurposed one of her homemade Valentine’s Day cards to say “If parents were flowers….I’d pick you!” while her sister gave me an “I LOVE YOU!” eraser and then there was the homemade “Owl be Your Valentine!” Swoon. Damn, I am happy. My house is dirty, my hair is in a ponytail, the laundry needs to be folded but I am loved and really, when you’ve got these many people who love you so damn much…. what else do you need? Now, go commit obscene amounts of random acts of kindness and make someone smile because believe me, that simple act can change someone’s entire day. So, I hope your Valentine’s Day is filled with love and every day after that too. Now, go get Happy!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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P & G, Let them fall, parenting, encouragement

Falling only makes us stronger.I saw this video and I sat there with a giant lump in my throat because I am still at the pick them up, kiss the booboos and tell them to get back up and carry on. I tell them to carry on because that is what I am supposed to do but each time I watch my girls stumble and fall, I hold my breath and my heart aches for their pain.

It’s very difficult for me to tell them to carry on when all I want to do is take all the pain away and tell them they don’t have to do it again. Any pain, emotional, physical or spiritual inflicted on my child makes a chink in my own soul. It wounds me to my very core but as a mother, I have to teach them to persevere; to work hard and fight the pain because life is not easy. Hard work is needed for success and when we fall, we learn to pick ourselves back up. We become stronger and better people. We have to let them fall so that they can learn to get back up. I watch with baited breath at every new beginning and hope they can achieve what they set out to accomplish and if they do, I celebrate along with them and if they fail, I encourage them to try again. That’s what moms and dads do.

We teach them that everything is possible with hard work and determination. We teach them that if they fall, we will be there to pick them up and kiss their booboos. We teach them that falling down is not failure and getting back up to try again is success. We encourage them to continue on, even when they want to quit because sometimes little legs and arms are tired but we must teach them perseverance and the value of hard work. We teach them that they must face life’s challenges. But most of all, by letting our children fall, we show them that our love is unconditional and we love them no matter if they fail or succeed. We love them, so we let them fall no matter how much it breaks our hearts.

How have you had to watch your child fall?

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