I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past

I have had one hell of a week.  One hell of a few weeks actually …or a few months or years… depending on when you want to start counting.

Yesterday I drove past a church and the sign said, “I’ve never met a strong person with an easy past.”  I thought… wow, that is very true.   I internalized that for a moment and realized that I feel that I am stronger than I’ve ever been before, yet I feel so defeated.  It was an interesting thing to contemplate.

So why have things been increasingly hard this week?  I’ll tell you.  I used to work for a company that does senior care.  Wow!  What a rewarding job that is… seriously.  I got to “meet” some of the sweetest seniors and had some of the greatest conversations.  I had excellent coworkers and felt very rewarded in what I was doing.  However, there were things that also stuck out to me that weren’t quite right. I won’t go into those details here because they’re personal and they will be dealt with but just trust that though I found a wonderful industry, I needed a better company.

I decided to put out applications and was delighted to hear from a seemingly wonderful company that was voted top 100 places to work last year!  I was so excited to advance my career with this company and continue to work out my passion of helping seniors, the disabled, etc.  Of course, before I applied for these positions I checked with the HR at my company to make sure there was nothing preventing me from doing so… and they said I was good to go.  I wasn’t good to go.  In my paperwork was a non-compete.  I have no recollection of signing it and am certain I didn’t know the extent of what it meant but that’s neither here nor there.  Long story short, my previous position stopped me from stepping into my new role.  She smiled as she handed me the document.

I consulted a lawyer and she told me that in NC it would be a very difficult, costly process to fight them.  And for whatever reason, I didn’t have it in me to fight them.  I felt that even though I’d been so wronged by these people trying to make an example of me… that the universe would work it all out in some way.

I’ve heard things here and there about them and I feel that they’re reaping what they’ve sowed I guess.. but more importantly… I’ve seen such generosity from others.  I saw my psychiatrist this week and had a wonderful talk with her.  I told her that everything felt like shit… things were shit and I felt like shit and …those were my exact words really.  She let me get them all out and she reassured me.  I really got connected with my psychiatrist after the birth of my daughter and what a blessing that was.  She genuinely cares about my well-being and is there for me through every stage.  I’ve raved about her this week because when you find a business that is truly wonderful, run by people that are genuine and pure in their intentions… it should be celebrated.

My daughter’s daycare reached out to me as well and told me they were willing to half her tuition for the next several months until I could find a job. WOW!  This is a very wonderful school and I believe it has a waiting list! She did not have to offer something so generous… but she did.  She told me that we were a good family and my daughter was a great kid.  She wanted to help out as MUCH as she could.

I’ve also had so many friends reach out to me during this time. I mean, seriously guys… Phone calls, texts, lunches… I have been so blessed with the connections I’ve made and the people I’ve come to know and love.  When shit sucks… I have friends all over the world sending me those good vibes, praying for me and checking on me.  I love you guys!

With that being said, even with the love and support and the very-necessary-perfectly-timed-generous-gestures… there are hard times.  There are really difficult times.  I cried the other night until I couldn’t cry anymore and then I fell asleep.  I woke up at 3 am and cried some more.  My 22 month old rolled over (co-sleeping for the win!) and in the silence of the middle of the night I heard the SWEETEST sound.  She said, “mommy.”  I looked at her and said, “hey baby… i’m sorry, go to sleep.”  She said, “mommy sick?”  I said… “no baby, just sad.  Mommy is okay. ”  She then sat up and said, “Mommy, let me hold you.”  My little perfect girl.  She held me and I couldn’t help but cry harder.  My baby is such a caretaker with a gentle, sweet, caring spirit and she knew what her mama needed.  So blessed.

This morning, my son didn’t want to go to school.  He told me there would be a fire drill… that school was cancelled, etc.  I took him there and told him I would ask the teacher if there was going to be a fire drill and if there was going to be one I would stay with him for as long as I was able to.  I got to the school and was surprised there was no fire drill.   I told him this and he stood there panicking.  He started pacing, digging at his arms and tearing up.  I sat there and held him and talked with him.  He then told his teacher that “mommy needs to work here.”  My heart fell into my stomach.  I realized that my sweet, perceptive, beautiful little boy was worried about my situation.  He had been worried about it all week and was trying to fix it.  I’d thought I’d been careful about discussing anything in depth with him… and explained everything “kid friendly,” but he is such a sweet soul.  Our souls are so connected I know he feels when things aren’t quite right.  My heart broke into a billion pieces as I had to walk away and let his teacher help him cope/breathe/relax and adapt.  I knew it was the best thing but I sat there in the car crying and staring at the rain beating the windshield for 45 minutes… frozen.  I couldn’t leave… but I knew I probably shouldn’t stay and all I wanted to do was tell these people that they’d ruined everything… and now my kids?!

I called my husband over and over and over and tried to get him to talk me down but then I called my former employer.  I wanted to tell her what this was causing… that the loss in income was the LEAST of my worries at the moment… all I cared about was making my child feel secure.  I wanted to say that what’s “Business” to you… is someone’s life… but I’ve said it all before.  Some people don’t change.  Nothing I say or do will make them feel any remorse for what they’ve put us through… but regardless, it shouldn’t matter anyway.

I am trying to stay calm, focused, and pure.  My heart aches but I’ve utilized many resources.  I’ve called my parents, my friends, my husband, my psychiatrist, the crisis hotline, etc.  I’ve tried to find inspiration in little moments and encouragement in everyday things that maybe I wouldn’t have noticed before.  I do find that so much negative makes you really, really appreciate and see the positive.  It becomes quite clear and in focus.  It was always there and is always there but sometimes you have to go through some things to really see it.

I am blessed beyond measure.  I’ve always been taken care of and I always will be.  My children are pure, beautiful, caring, kind, amazing humans.  My husband and I are doing a FANTASTIC job of raising beautiful, loving people.  I can say that honestly and therefore I have everything.  I have a lot of work to do.  I have to start with what is most important and work my way out.  I need to protect my kids and help heal their hearts and minds… focus on finding a new job and calming myself.   Each day I have to remind myself that it IS worth it… and that I am worth it.  Practicing self compassion is not something I am good at doing.  I am the first to beat myself up when it all goes to shit… but hey… maybe now is the time to work on it even more.

This post is long and I don’t even know where it started… but I had to write it.  I don’t even know if I’ll re-read it.  I just hope that if you read it… you practice kindness.  It makes a huge difference.

 

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Quick Tip Tuesday: Keep it real

My tip this (almost) Thursday… is to keep it real.  Weird right?  This isn’t really a tip is it?  Well, I’m not really in the mood for a tip.  Lately, I’ve been tired.  I’ve been really beaten down by life and things have just been hard.  I sat around tonight wondering what my tip could be this week and all I could really think about is how I’m feeling right now.  Specifically, how there is no tip that anyone can give me to make things easier necessarily.  So… I decided to just come to the blog with how I feel.  So… my tip is keeping it real.

If I’m being very real… rather than post a tip, I wanted to come here and tell you guys that I’m extra exhausted right now but I can’t do anything but obsessively clean my house.  (Wow! What a work in progress that is… I could work for a year and not be done most likely)  All I can think about is how I want to organize things or what needs to be cleaned next.  I don’t know why …but its the only thing I feel like I have control of at the moment.  I’m also sad for my husband… who is sad, obviously.  I’m sad when my son realizes each day that granddaddy is indeed still in heaven.  I’m stressed beyond belief… and I’m having trouble managing it.

Tonight, I texted my doctor to tell her that I couldn’t remember if I’d taken my medication, and feared I may have taken it twice.  Though I knew this would not be a problem, I compulsively had to text her.  And call the pharmacist.  And my mom.  And my husband.  This panic and paranoia landed me a 9 am trip to her office tomorrow morning.  When things feel out of control I start to spin out of control.  It is my reality.  I have dealt with it for many, many years.  Thankfully, I have amazing healthcare providers that can see it and know when to step in and check on things.

Overall, I think we’re doing a pretty damn good job of handling the absolute insanity that has come our way this year.  My kids are happy.  I get out of bed every morning.  We sometimes make it to story time.  We drive around… we talk, we play and we laugh.  So, even though I have very hard moments, I’m still happy and I’m still blessed.  And I’m not just writing that so that this happy mommy blog post has a happy little ending.  I mean it.  I’m lucky to have my kids, my husband, our home and so much love.

Maybe next week I’ll come at you with a new tip… a real one.  But for now, this is all I’ve got.  <3.

Parenting during stressful life events:  7 things to remember. 


This week has been a whirlwind.  We planned out our dinners on Sunday, made it through school drop off on Monday and I even got a walk in at the lake with my friend Emily!  It seemed that the week was starting off nicely (aside from an extremely hard drop off at school Monday morning– oh Mondays.)  Then we got a text to come to the hospital an hour away to see a family member.  The week has been an emotional rollercoaster.  I’ve found it extremely hard to parent, get my work done, be there for my husband and also have my own worries and sadness on top of everything.  Thankfully my mom helped us out and things seem to be on the upswing.  Well, aside from the ton of work I need to get done that is not currently getting done because my hospital wifi won’t connect to my work desktop! ahhhhhh!! stress.

I guess since I can’t do my actual work I will share a few thoughts I’ve had on making it through a stressful time.

1- Take it as it comes.  There is no need for speculation in hard times, it is going to be how it is.  Simply making it from one moment to the next is all that is expected of you.  Going with the flow is kind of necessary.

2- Vent.  I don’t know how many friends I’ve vented to this week.  I just needed to tell someone how I felt.  My fears, my sadness, being overwhelmed.  I needed a listening ear, and thankfully, I’ve had quite a few.

3- Kids.  I think it is easy to think in situations like this, ahhhh HOW am I going to possibly handle my children right now?  There is so much expected.  We have to travel and stay up late and not have real meals…but they need routines.  It is especially hard to have a little one with food allergies (that means no pick up McDonalds) and another one with serious anxiety and OCD.  BUT…this week I’ve not focused on these things.  I’ve had help from my mom, offers to help from my friends, and family members that helped calm them and keep them entertained.  Kids are go with the flow, especially when you take the time to appreciate them, comfort them and love them.  Its great for them, and really great for you.  Kids can always make you smile and always make you laugh.  They are such blessings.

4- Keeping the kids entertained.  If you have to take the kids to the hospital… it is important to pack an entertainment bag!  My kids are 4 and 1.  I packed blocks, books, kumon writing books, pencils, toy cars, the ipad, chargers (so necessary), snacks, a baby doll for my little girl, etc.  For the most part, they stayed pretty entertained.  Do not, I repeat, do not go to the hospital without these things haha.  You think you’ll be there for an hour or two but you are there for 6.  It happens.  Be prepared.

5- Ask for help.  If you need help with anything, ask.  It takes a village and your village is there to help you when you need them.  Whether it be with work (which I’ve definitely needed help with– and amazing coworkers have stepped up to help with that), childcare, or running errands.  Sometimes you can’t do it all and you need that helping hand.  Reach for it.

6- Prayer.  Spending time to reflect on the events of the day and pray that all will be taken care of and trusting that, is essential.  God has shown us miracles this week and we are so grateful.  Prayer changes things, and us.

7- Sleep.  Don’t be dumb and stay up late catching up on TV.  (guilty.)  Sleep really is essential.  Sitting in waiting rooms isn’t physically exhausting, but stress is very mentally exhausting.  Your body wants you to sleep… when you get the time, do it.  Seriously… do it.  Your body needs to relax and recharge.

Through a very stressful week I’ve found peace in quiet moments, tickle fights with my kids, sweet embraces from my husband, and the love that is so present in serious times.  Family is so very special.  I am grateful for mine.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Calm down app for kids


Today’s quick tip Tuesday is coming at you on Wednesday, again.  I’m sorry.  This week has not been what we expected.  A close family member is sick and in the hospital.  We’ve been hanging out there this week and I haven’t had much time for blogging.  I haven’t even thought about it really.  But, I’m here now and I’m excited to share this tip with you…& if you wouldn’t mind sparing a bit of time to say a prayer for our family that would be pretty amazing and greatly appreciated.

So! For the tip… it is an app download.  My son is very anxious.  He is also prone to tantrums or meltdowns.  I think he’s growing out of them, but when kids are young… it happens.  One thing I found to be really helpful is an app called “Settle Your Glitter”  Basically, it is a glitter jar… but in your phone– which is actually super convenient because sometimes you don’t have a glitter jar, but you usually always have your phone.  At least that is the case for me.

This app starts by asking how you’re feeling.  It has silly faces and choices and you can select the best description (mad, sad, silly, worried…).  My son is very responsive to this and seems to like that he can put a label on how he feels at the moment.   Once you select your feeling it asks how intense the feeling is.  (a little, very, extremely) …then you shake your phone (which is kind of awesome in itself… it puts the focus on something else and lets your child get rid of some of that built up anger and anxiety.)   You then see the “glitter” swirling around in the circle and a little character practices mindful breathing with you!  We’ve used this multiple times and it usually does the trick! 🙂

Anyone know of any other great mindfulness, calming apps for kids?  I would love to find more!  Leave suggestions in the comments– and check out the app!

Why I won’t spank my kids

[note:  this opinion is solely my own! it is what works for me and my family. everyone is doing their best to parent the best way they know how.  I can appreciate all parenting techniques. people I know and love discipline all sorts of ways and they are wonderful parents. This isn’t meant to offend– it is just something that has been weighing on me and I felt like writing about it. love you all! ]
Tonight I’m posting about something that has been on my mind and on my heart lately. I’m not sure why I feel so compelled to write about it, perhaps because my son is 4 and he lives to try my patience. At some point in each day I sit with my head in my hands and wonder how I can make him listen! It is so frustrating and so perplexing. I wonder what I can do to make him do what he is supposed to do.

When it comes to discipline I’ve tried just about everything. Time out, taking away privileges or toys, etc. I’ve even tried “spanking.” (In quotes because they weren’t the spankings I got as a kid.) I’ve heard it time and time again from older family members, etc…, “He wouldn’t act like that if you spanked him.” “What he needs is a good spanking.” In my most insecure parenting moments I’ve taken these comments to heart and felt that maybe I was being a bad parent by NOT spanking my son. So… a few times here and there I’ve popped him on the butt. A little pop here or there to get him to really pay attention to what I’m saying. NEVER anything more. Guess what? A little pop here or there, still feels terrible. It still sucks. and oh yeah, it doesn’t work in the long run (or even in the short sometimes).

So, spanking. Let me tell you all the reasons I won’t spank my child. First of all, it feels wrong. Nothing about striking my child feels okay. My children are precious and I don’t want anything to hurt them. Or anyone. Including their parents. Even if it is a socially acceptable form of discipline. It is not acceptable in my house.

Studies over the past 30 years have shown time and time again that spanking is ineffective long term. It is a quick fix. It is lazy parenting. (Don’t take offense to this, we’re all lazy parents at some point in some way). I don’t want to be lazy in this VERY important part of my life. I want to be a good mother that understands my children. I want to see behind the reasons they act out. I want to listen to them, understand them and react accordingly. Spanking is dangerous because it is lashing out from our own frustrations. I think that sometimes spanking can be more of a release of frustration from ourselves instead of an appropriate discipline technique for our children. How is that okay? We tell our children not to hit. Keep their hands to themselves. Don’t act out… and through spanking we contradict every bit of what we’re saying.

Spanking is confusing for a child. Personally, I was spanked, and yes, it worked. (In that I was terrified to do anything wrong). I feared it to the point of feeling sick at the threat of it. My parents didn’t take joy in it. They hated it, I know. They even said it. As a child all I could think was, “if you hate it, why are you doing it?” 30 years later I still feel the same way. If it feels wrong, why do it? It was scary, caused a lot of worry, and it was very confusing.

A parent’s job is to guide us. They’re supposed to show us how to live in this world. Spanking a child because they do something wrong is not showing us how to live. We do not hit the first person that wrongs us in a day. Every situation is a learning experience. We should take these punishable situations and learn from them. We should teach our children how to think, react appropriately and make a better decision in the future.

In very stressful moments when my son is at his peak of rip-my-hair-out behavior, I can usually take a moment to find out what is really going on. He is 4. He doesn’t know all the perfect words. He doesn’t understand all of his feelings. Little children are so complex. Sometimes they act out because they don’t know any better. Often, my son acts out because he is tired, he is scared, he is frustrated, etc. LISTENING to my child can guide my own actions. I can prevent meltdowns by making sure he gets enough sleep, stays on a schedule, etc. I can listen to him when he tries his best to explain his own insecurities and fears. Even if he does them loudly, in the floor with giant tears. Our children don’t want to make our lives hard. They don’t WANT to meltdown or be upset. If we took the time to see this rather than get frustrated by the external behavior we could approach situations with compassion.

The times I’ve felt like spanking my child I’ve known that taking that way out is the lazy way. I don’t want to be lazy. I want to be an active parent that listens, engages, redirects and teaches my babies. I want to show them how to handle difficult situations in a positive way. Studies have shown that children who are spanked are more likely to have emotional problems in the future. They can be more aggressive, depressed, etc. (Please see this wonderful article for more facts and citations http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/positive-discipline/should-I-spank-my-child ) I fear these things with my family history of depression/OCD/anxiety. The very LAST thing I want to do is contribute to the possibility of these outcomes.

I’ve seen the effects of being lazy on a child. My son was in a preschool last year that punished him for everything. If he didn’t want to stand in line he was sent to time out. If he ran from the teacher he was sent to time out. His first time out was at 2 years old. He was sent to the director’s office for the remainder of the day. Rather than try to understand the reasons for my son’s behavior, he was disciplined. They saw him as defiant. They grew frustrated with him and angry. They isolated him from his friends and activities. Eventually he stopped making art, his behavior got worse, he voiced troubling things to me and he was removed from the school. At his new school he is approached with love and compassion. He is appreciated for being the bright, beautiful child that he is. He is redirected when necessary. He is listened to and valued and he hasn’t been in trouble once.

I know I’ve rambled on a bit in this post but the most important thing I hope to express is that there is a better way to discipline our children.   Finding our own individual ways to discipline is our own journey unique to our children and our circumstances.   I think we’re all figuring it out as we go.  I’m also not judging generations before us. My parents were really good parents. Most parents are trying REALLY hard. We want to do a great job at this whole parenting thing. I think it is important to be willing to grow and change though. I saw on a friend’s facebook a quote that said, “When you know better, you do better.”  In 2017, we know better. I plan to do better.

Sunscreen review: Badger Kids SPF 30


Ahhhhh! My computer died. This is the ultimate mom thing…my kids used my computer as a trampoline and suddenly it was really loud and finally died on me. Now it is at the computer store getting a new fan 😩. I am lost without it! So this is why I’ve been MIA. I have missed the blog!

Okay so- this review…as promised.


Badger Balm SPF 30 Kids Sunscreen Cream, 2.9 Ounce

First- I’ll tell you why I decided to review this sunscreen first. I consulted my favorite website, ewg.org, (I really am obsessed right? I go there so often.) and looked around at their top 2016 kid’s sunscreens. The 2017 list wasn’t out yet and I needed sunscreen quick! It is hot here already and my kids are pasty just like their mama.  After browsing the list I decided some were too expensive (looking at you California Baby ) and tried to find some that wouldn’t completely break the bank.  Badger was one of the first ones I found that looked good without requiring I sell an organ to purchase it.  So…I did. I ordered the sunscreen on April 10 from Amazon and it came quickly! (Amazon prime is my favorite thing.) I couldn’t wait to use it…and used it that same week for the first time on my kids when we went for a walk around the lake.  I loved it!

So let’s get a few of the facts out of the way first before I fangirl over this.  I ordered Badger balm SPF 30 kids sunscreen. 2.9 oz with a tangerine and vanilla scent! This bottle was $13.82 on Amazon.  It is 100% certified natural with 98% organic ingredients. It is water and sweat resistant for 40 minutes of activity (including swimming). It is made of only 6 ingredients, it is hypoallergenic and and biodegradable. Pretty great right?  I hoped so! It sounded perfect on paper so I thought I’d try it out.

I applied it to my kids and immediately noticed the smell. It was wonderful! The mix of the tangerine and vanilla was very pleasing.  It was nice that it didn’t immediately smell like chemicals.  It also applied really well. It went on smoothly and wasn’t cakey at all. I did have to rub it in really well, but for me, this made me feel better! I like a thick sunscreen that is really protecting my kids’ skin.  Once it was rubbed in it left a slight white residue but it didn’t bother me or the kids.  So far, so good!

After an hour on the trail the kids were burn-free and the sunscreen protected them quite well! I noticed that the tangerine/vanilla scent fades after a few minutes and the smell is the typical “sunscreen” smell, but again, not a problem.  I was really satisfied with our first experience with Badger.

I’ve used this sunscreen several times since, most recently at a birthday party when my son and daughter were playing in water, and it did not disappoint.  A friend commented on how great it smelled and I was pleased that it worked so well even when they were playing in the water. I questioned my husband as to whether we remembered to apply it to my daughter’s face and he pointed out that you could see the water beading up on her cheeks–showing us that it was there and working! I love that this sunscreen is so effective, yet so gentle.  It does not irritate the skin of my super sensitive-skinned kids.

Overall I give this sunscreen an A!  It works, it smells nice, the price is good! I think it will go a long way as it is so thick. It has protected my kids from the sun several times at this point and I look forward to taking it with us on our beach vacation in a month!

What other sunscreens do you guys recommend? I am going to try ThinkSport next but would love to know if there is a sunscreen you trust over others! Leave suggestions in the comments.

Quick Tip Tuesday: Honey! 


So we’ve been battling strep throat and a cough in our house for nearly a month. It has been a LONG March. We’re all on antibiotics and while my husband and I get fantastic horse pills for 10 days, the kids have to deal with liquid antibiotics. My daughter is on Amoxicillin and I think all kids really love the taste of that stuff.  This hasn’t changed in 20 years. My brother even smelled the bottle and had a bit of nostalgia ha! He remembered liking the taste of it as a kid. Unfortunately, my son is allergic so he is on another antibiotic.  An antibiotic with a terrible taste.  He has flat out refused to take it.   I felt like I tried everything. I can’t blame him really, the taste is truly awful.

After trying and failing I called the pediatrician to see what I could hide this stuff in. They suggested whipped cream or chocolate syrup. I had neither. I had to get creative.  I opened my pantry and reached for the honey. I thought it would be perfect. It’s thick, sweet and has a strong taste. Fortunately, it worked great! I mixed a nickel sized dollop of honey in with my son’s meds and he gladly took it! No drama! It was almost too easy.

Also, honey is a great natural remedy for cold/cough/sore throat.  It has antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. When my son starts with a cough I make him avocado honey toast, yogurt with honey or just give him a spoonful of honey! He loves it!

Yesterday was the last day of antibiotics and he has no idea he even had them.  I highly suggest trying this if you’re running out of ideas moms. Pick your battles and good luck!