Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Catching Up!

I realize that I haven't been posting as often this month ... things have been so busy! After the new year I will get back into the groove of things and there will be more but in the mean time, I thought I'd give you all a few updates ...

*Work - my supervisor went on maternity leave. She had a gorgeous baby boy and I'm so happy for her... but while she is gone I am running the department which means I am super busy with both my own workload and hers! I haven't had much time for social media or blogging during the day but that's okay with me. It is actually nice to be super busy because time flies by quicker while I'm at work. I also work really well under pressure so it has kind of brought out the best in me. I think it is going really well, I'm meeting all my deadlines and keeping it together, thank the sweet baby Jesus!

*Ministry - my husband and I recently agreed to be the Directors of the young adult ministry at our church. We're not certain of the exact ages but this is our group of "twenty-somethings". We are currently discussing our plans for this group and I am really excited about what God is going to be doing! It is a really diverse group of young people... some married, most single and in all different places in life. I am praying that this be a really fulfilling experience for us and a growth opportunity for myself as a person. Leading others has a way of really sharpening one's character so I am nervous but grateful for the opportunity. I also LOVE all the YA's in our group and have made some really special friends so I know it will be wonderful to share with them and strengthen our faith together.

*Christmas - it is such a fun time but it can also be hectic. I got the house decorated and I am really happy with it.. I haven't had time to snap photos but it looks really nice! I put the tree up in our sun room which is great because it has become the "forbidden room" for Aiden. You can see the tree through our window from the street which I LOVE. I found a really cute Christmas plaid tablecloth at Bed Bath and Beyond and it really makes a difference. I got a wreath, some poinsettia, and lots of red pillar candles that smell like cranberry. The place looks great and it totally feels like Christmas. Aiden loves it especially the mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. He reaches out for it every time I walk by with him. I'm super excited for our first Christmas at home as a family. I'm going to be making a special breakfast that will include red velvet pancakes... ohhh yeah!

*Getaway - we are going to be spending our first night away from Aiden on the week between Christmas and New Year's. I booked a romance package at a hotel and it sounds really nice... champagne & strawberries, a candlelight dinner, breakfast and a late checkout of 2pm. I am excited for the sleep opportunity this will provide too- haha. But I am also really nervous about being away from Aiden. I hope he knows that we will be back! It is just really important for me and the hubby to get some alone time. I am excited about it.

*New Years - I have no idea what the plan is for NYE. We have a celebration at our church but Aiden won't make it until midnight and I wouldn't try to make him sleep through all the celebrating. He is a light sleeper so he would just be miserable. I think it is going to be a quiet evening at home watching the ball drop. Maybe we'll have our best friends over and make a nice dinner ... I don't know.

*Home decorating - I do love decorating my house but I am NOT crafty at all...  my friend Caroline gave us some bookshelves and I am going to be sprucing them up with a little project. I can't say if I think it will be a success yet but it is pretty simple and I will definitely be posting about it more in detail soon. That is all I can disclose at this time.

*New Hair -- Guys, I got bangs!!! I haven't had bangs since I was like in 4th grade so it still feels really weird but it looks pretty good. I've gotten lots of compliments and it has helped me feel better about myself since the postpartum hair loss has kicked in. See new bangs in picture below :)

Anyway, if I don't post again until after the holidays... please have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! Lots of love, health, happiness and blessings from my family to yours.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tis the Season: Gifting, non-gifting and re-gifting

It is mid December people! Christmas is upon us. For me, Christmas is a way to remember and celebrate the birth of Christ, a time to spend with the ones I love, to take a little break from my usual hustle and bustle and reflect on all the love in my life. My favorite thing about the holiday is the decorations... Houses are lit up and everything smells like pine. I love Christmas!
But the one part of this holiday that can get a little stressful- the gifts! I love giving gifts, I love shopping but finding "the perfect gift" can get a little overwhelming. Let's face it, I procrastinate every year and end up buy gifts the week before Christmas. That in itself is bound to cause unnecessary stress. So here are my tips and pointers on gifting, non-gifting and re-gifting:

1) Don't be a procrastinator like me - get your shopping done early! You can really pick out something that is meaningful if you aren't rushing.

2) and on that note... make it meaningful! I can tell by a person's gift giving if they really pay attention so make it count. I know gift cards are more convenient but nothing can replace the feeling that someone actually took their time and resources to PICK SOMETHING OUT for me.

3) You know that saying "it's the thought that counts" ? Well, it really is! One pet peeve I have is when close friends or family give the same "we had no money" every year. Especially when they are buying flat screen TV's, I-pads, and all the latest gadgets throughout the year. I mean, really? At least send a card then! It is a nice, inexpensive way to show you care.

4) My favorite gift of all -- a card! I love greeting cards of all kinds. We make it a point to send out cards every year because it simply is not in the budget to buy everyone we love a present. One day when I am a baller I will but until then I really enjoy sending out my Christmas cards.

5) Presentation counts-- wrapping, bows, labels, come on get into it! LOL.

6) Yummy goodies make great gifts. One year my friend made peppermint bark and gave it out in cute boxes. Just the fact that she took the time to give us something homemade really meant a lot.

7) Have fun, give from the heart and be a good receiver too! Christmas is not about the gifts at all. Don't get sucked into that "why did you get me something? I didn't get you anything" mindset. If someone wants to give, learn how to just receive gratefully. Gifting from the heart is "no strings attached".

8) Remember not to attach emotional strings when you give. Giving a gift no matter how big or small does not give you entitlement to anything. I know this one seems kind of obvious but given some recent events, I just had to mention it.

Happy last minute shopping friends :) XOXO

Friday, December 2, 2011

Monthly Devotional : December


I am so excited to share my very first GUEST POST over on the "Devotionals" section of the blog. This post is entitled "As I Sleep" and is an incredibly touching, personal experience of a good friend of mine named Sophie Jones. Sophie has chosen to remain anonymous but was very glad to share a little piece of her heart with you all. I hope you are blessed in reading it and look for our next devotional in January =)

To read it, go up to the tabs on this page and click "devotionals".

PS- If you want to contribute to future devotionals, please feel free to contact me!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Thanksgiving Recap

I can't believe the holiday weekend is over! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and I usually anticipate it for so long that when it finally does come, it just races by and I'm left awaiting next year with that much more excitement. I just love the time shared with family, the food, and all the preparations that begin for Christmas. Thanksgiving is so much fun and this year was pretty awesome.

We went to my aunt's house in Balston Spa, NY - about 3 hours north of the city. My hubby drove up with Aiden and my mom and brother.  I was nervous about the road trip because of the baby and I'll admit keeping him happy in the car was really tough. He hates being strapped down into his car seat and he will just start to SCREAM if he wants out. I fed him some yogurt and apple sauce on the way up and then tried to give him a little expressed milk in a bottle but he was having none of that. We pulled over so that he could nurse and then he slept the rest of the way there - THANK GOD.

My aunt prepared a beautiful dinner for us. When we arrived she had appetizers out with egg nog and apple cider. She made this awesome pumpkin dip that we had on sugar snaps and I got the recipe so I can't wait to try it. There was also an olive, roasted pepper and romano cheese spread that we had on crostini bread that was so yummy! Not to mention the deviled eggs... I love deviled eggs! After that long drive it was so easy to fill up on appetizers and it was a good thing we still had a few hours before dinner.

Baby Aiden did really well among all the familiar and not so familiar faces. It takes him some time to warm up to people but once he does, he is really a fun, delightful baby. My aunt set up a mat on the floor and we spread his toys all around and let him have some play time. I was worried about him being over stimulated but my aunt, uncle and cousins were really careful not to be "all in his face" and let him slowly warm up. He was laughing and playing with everyone soon enough! I was so happy that my aunt got some time with him... she is like a second mother to me so our bond is really special. She got Aiden an adorable outfit and some board books which I LOVE. She has a Yorkshire terrier named "Little Lady Lucinda" (yes, that's her full name) and Aiden was enamored with her! He kept following her with his eyes and reaching out to grab her. I was so nervous that he would pull her hair and she would retaliate but everyone helped keep an eye on them. I think Aiden is going to want a dog when he is older!

When it was time for dinner we said a family prayer and were ready to dig in! Turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, rice, veggies, it was all so good! I made a dish called "pastelon" which is sort of like a lasagna but with sweet plantains instead of pasta. Aiden had some pureed sweet potato and turkey so he got to enjoy Thanksgiving food too :)

My cousin and hubby decided after dinner that they would go do some "black Friday" shopping. I was asleep when they got back but my cousin bought a pretty nice camera so I asked him to take a few family photos of us outside. With the pine trees and snow as our back drop, the photos came out pretty good and I think they will make a great Christmas card this year!

Overall, it was a great time and I'm so thankful! Thankful for my amazing family, my husband and my sweet boy.

Monday, November 21, 2011

You Know What Really Grinds my Gears?!

1) Men in the subway who run for a seat and trample over the women to get there... especially when it's elderly or pregnant women.  Ohh and men on the subway who pretend they are asleep when an elderly or pregnant woman is standing in front of them. I KNOW YOU ARE FAKING IT!!

2) When I get to the office and 15 people want to talk to me before I've had my coffee.

3) When by the time I get into the kitchen to pour myself a cup, the coffee is gone.

4) When people say "wow you look tired" ... umm yes I am tired but you don't need to remind me that I look like crap Lol.

5) When I let someone hold my baby and they bolt out the door to be in another room with him. What is that about? Do you not want him to see me and want to come back with me? He will actually cry more if he doesn't see me in the room! Try holding him and saying "look, Mommy is right there" and you will have better results. Just sayin.

6) When people make comments about how I am going to "spoil" my baby if I tend to him every time he cries.  It's an INSTINCT to go to my baby if he is crying! It's called oxytocin and it is real and there is a reason God designed mothers this way. He's my kid and I'll follow my instincts whether you like it or not so get over it.

7) When people read a Twitter, Facebook, or Google status I wrote and over analyze it assuming it has something to do with them. You want to know how I REALLY feel? Come on over to my blog, I'm an open book!

8) When I am waiting for the cashier at Dunkin Donuts to ring me up but he or she is preoccupied in a conversation with a co-worker. I just gave you my debit card and you are holding it while waving your hands all around during this fun discussion with your friend. Just swipe the darn thing and send me on my way!

9) When single people try to tell me what is healthy and unhealthy about my marriage. Don't get me wrong, I am open to anyone's advice but from single people, I take it with a grain of salt. It takes actually being in a marriage and trying to make it work to understand some things.

10) When I don't have time to Blog! I am so busy with work lately and I haven't had a chance to really sit and finish some posts. There are so many in my draft queue just waiting to be published! Oh well, hopefully soon =)

And that my lovely readers, is what really grinds my gears!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Extreme Faith

"When you come to the edge of all the light you know
And are about the step into the darkness of the unknown
Faith is knowing one of two things will happen:
There will be something solid to stand on
Or you will be taught how to fly."  -- Richard Bach

Lately, I've been pondering the idea of blind, radical faith. I know I talk a lot about "faith" and throw that word around a lot but it's almost like I am learning to see it in a whole new way. A way that I have honestly never considered before. I am not a big fan of the words "radical" or "extreme" but this is kind of what I've been thinking -- extreme faith.

And while I would NEVER in a million years have the guts to do it, I think extreme sports are really cool.

And while I would NEVER in a million years have the patience to do it, I think extreme couponers are smarter than everyone else.

There's this guy in the bible who in my opinion was a little extreme. His name was Paul. Well, actually his name was Saul but then it became Paul and that is a different blog post entirely but anyway... this Paul guy was very passionate about following Jesus and helping others follow him too. He helped run all these churches in different places and offered advice, encouragement and prayers for all these people. The crazy thing is that he would do all of this from jail! And I'm not talking about the twin sized bed, cable TV, 3 meals a day jail that we know about today... I'm talking about being in chains, sleeping on the cold dirt, starving jail of back in the day. He would write letters and before signing his name at the bottom he'd say "remember my chains" and I'm sure that gave a whole lot of perspective to the people receiving them. Paul followed Jesus no matter what the cost.

There's this other guy in the bible who in my opinion was not extreme enough. I call him the "male version of April" because I can relate a lot to this guy. His name was Peter. He was one of the 12 disciples so  he had faith okay! One of my friends from my old church always said mean things about Peter like "oh he was such a punk" and I'd get all ghetto because I happen to relate to Peter and I won't be hearing that but again, different blog post entirely. Peter was emotional and I guess that's why I see a lot of myself in him. He pulled Jesus aside before he was about to be taken just to say "listen, you don't have to do this we can run away right now."  He loved Jesus, he was his friend and although he knew what had to be done, he just didn't want to see his friend killed. A soldier came to get Jesus and Peter was like "oh hell no" and he cut that dude's ear off with his sword. Peter had a lot of passion just like Paul did, but Peter had a hard time trusting.

So I guess what I'm saying here is ... I think I need to let go of my plans and trust God more. I think I need to get a little more extreme about having faith. Maybe Paul just had an extreme personality but maybe he had the right idea -- faith should have no limits! I have to remember that what I know is not the full picture but there is a God up there (and in my heart) who does know the full picture and he has a plan for my life. Just like Paul did, I can have security in that. Do you believe in God or do you believe God? "So also Abraham “believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness." Galatians 3:6.

Monday is looking good so far! Have a great week everyone =)


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tales of a Working Mama or Simply: I am TIRED!

I have a 6 month old son and while he does eat some baby food, he is breastfed exclusively. This means, no baby formula...

I have a 6 month old son who is supposed to drink milk that I pump for him and store in the refrigerator while I am away at work. I'm away from 7:45am until about 7pm and he is supposed to drink his bottles with Grandma.

He does NOT want his milk in a bottle... he is all like "WTH is this crap Grandma?" and he turns his nose up at it and seals his mouth shut and she has to perform all sorts of magic tricks to get him to drink it.

Drinking his Milky on the swings at the park

I have a 6 month old son who knows that I will be home eventually so he just waits until the evening to get his milk from "the source" instead. Since he isn't drinking much during the day, he makes up for it by getting up a lot more throughout the night.

I have a 6 month old son who wakes up every 2 or 3 hours and I haven't had a full night's sleep in so long and I am TIRED.

I have a 6 month old son who is "teething" and so when he wakes up to drink milk he sometimes cannot because his gums are hurting. I have to soothe him with some teething tablets, then feed him, and if that doesn't work I wake Daddy up so he can hold him and walk him around.

I do NOT sleep anymore....


I have a job at an amazing company and an awesome boss who has tolerated me for way too long.

I get to work late EVERY DAY... I drink too much coffee.


I have no time to iron my clothes or comb my hair... sometimes I put a little eye concealer and mascara on in the subway. On a really good day, there is even some blush! I am so hot I know.

Me in my cubicle today w/ my non-hairdo complete with dark circles. I have lip gloss on though!

I was in the conference room in a meeting today that went a little longer than I expected. You see, I have set times to go pump milk because my body isn't aware that my 6 month old is not with me. My body just knows that at certain times, we make milk and today that meeting cut right into the "milk time"

I have a hot pink blouse covered in milk now... I hope I was discreet about it during the meeting when I pulled my sweater closed and crossed my arms and continued talking with my company President about how I will be amazing at running my department while my supervisor is out for the next 3 months.

My supervisor is going on maternity leave and I have to juggle being a mom and being a good employee because I can't let anyone down.

But, I am TIRED.

I always forget something - my keys, my metro card, my wallet, my socks... yep I forgot socks today.

Yea that's right I took a pic of my feet. I wear basic black patent flats almost every day because I am sooo not a "shoe girl". My feet always hurt :/

I am TIRED ... just call me "Zombie Mom"

I need a manicure and an eyebrow wax soooo bad. I look like Burt.

As in "Burt and Ernie"... stay with me people!

I need a haircut too because apparently I am NOW after 6 months, experiencing postpartum hair loss.

When I get home, my boy just wants to be attached to me (both literally and figuratively) and I don't blame him... He has no idea why I up and leave him in the morning.

He fights his bed time because he hasn't seen me all day but he is TIRED.

When I get home, I have to run and cook dinner because I need food to survive. I also have to talk to my husband because after all, he needs me too.

This Mom stuff is no joke... this Career stuff is just too much some days. Today is one of those days. I am TIRED.

When I get home, I open the door and exclaim "Hi Honey!" and I see those blue eyes light up and that toothless smile and I hear my boy give a high-pitch belly laugh and realize that it's ME... that he is happy to see ME.

When I take him in my arms and he wiggles around excitedly, laughing and cooing as I sing to him, I know that I will do ANYTHING to see him laugh again.

And I am still TIRED ... but he is my anchor, he is everything, and it is all worth it. It really is :)

Mama loves you Aiden 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Initiative 26 in Mississippi

While I do follow politics and concern myself with the issues of our country, I have made a careful choice not to get political on my blog. I openly talk about my faith and as soon as someone hears me say that I am a Christian, they assume to know where I stand politically as well... but I will just say this - I am not even 100% sure of where I stand. While I value the biblical principles that form the centerpiece of my life, I do not feel that the "conservative" republican party exemplifies those biblical values all the time. When I think about how Jesus would treat issues like abortion, homosexuality, and the economy I am certain that if he were here living as a man now, he might surprise a lot of people. That was his style after all :) I know that republicans are said to be "conservative" and democrats are "liberal" but I simply cannot align myself with a party who advocates the continuous cutting of funds to low income programs all while rewarding high income Americans with tax breaks and incentives. What would Jesus do? He definitely would NOT turn his back on the needy... he wouldn't tell a struggling widow to get off her ass  booty and go work. I'm just sayin.

Anyway, the real reason I am writing this post is because Initiative 26 is being decided in Mississippi and I wonder if it will pass and what influence it will have (if any) in other states. For those who haven't heard, Initiative 26 is an amendment for "personhood" that says LIFE begins at the time of conception. This is the debate that really has made the abortion issue so difficult -- when does life begin? For me, as a person of faith I do agree that life begins the moment an egg is fertilized. A life is beginning, being formed, but that life is still unable to sustain itself without depending on the mother. As a mom, I will go even further and say that when a baby is born, that life is STILL unable to sustain itself without the mother. I guess that kind of complicates things right? So as someone who has faith, this is what I believe and thank God I live in a country where I have the right to believe whatever I want  and express it. So what about those who have no faith at all? What about people who do not believe there is a God? Is this not their country as well? I don't know, but this "church and state separation" thing is looking like a good idea to me.

Now let me just clarify... abortion breaks my heart. Seriously, it does. I have a very hard time understanding why a woman would end such a fragile human life but more importantly, a human life that is a part of herself. Especially after carrying a child myself, I am certain of where I stand in regards to abortion... but I guess that is the key here - where I stand..  lots of women have different circumstances and I cannot pretend I know what it is like to be in their shoes. initiative 26 seeks to put an end to abortion regardless of rape or the health of the mother. It also could ban common forms of birth control like the pill and IUD and it could ban in-vitro fertilization. When we seek to make the law so black and white without recognizing that there are extenuating circumstances and personal choices to be made, well, I just think it is a slippery slope to becoming more like certain countries we have been fighting in for years and less like America.

I have the right to believe the bible...  I have the right to believe when something is sin.. and in my relationship with Christ, I also have the choice to sin or not. As a Christian, I love sharing my faith with anyone who will listen and I do not have to impose my beliefs on anyone... you see, I  am confident that when a person gets to know Christ, they will make the right choices. God is kind of awesome that way =)

  I'm not sure what will happen in Mississippi but I do hope and pray that in America, we continue to have the freedom to choose.

If you want to learn more - here are the websites to No on 26 and Yes on 26.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Our Family "Staycation"

Noun: A vacation spent in one's home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions.

This is my new favorite thing! I love, love, love to travel and see different places but since having the baby, travel has kind of been on the back burner. It just takes so much to get the baby ready and out of the house so I can't imagine (right now) getting organized enough to take him on a plane or out of the country. I know that lots of people do it and we will soon, but for now a "staycation" is good practice. This weekend we had such a fun one!

We went to Glen Cove, Long Island for a quick getaway and it was so relaxing! The drive from the city was under an hour and we were able to bring Aiden's play mat, his CD player with night time music, his bath time supplies and bath time book, and all that good stuff. I had read some mixed reviews about the Glen Cove Mansion but I was very happy with the accommodations. It was clean and pretty and we had a KING SIZED BED! I mean, come on... I have mentioned before that we co-sleep and Aiden pretty much takes over the bed so it was nice to have the extra space.

We enjoyed time at the indoor heated pool and a great dinner at Pub 1910... then we lounged in our room and got to bed early. Aiden woke up about twice throughout the night which is not much considering how our nights have been lately thanks to teething. Then we enjoyed the breakfast buffet - it was so yummy. I ate pancakes, eggs, bacon, oatmeal, fruit and pastries. I completely lost control and loved every moment! We mashed up some banana for Aiden at the breakfast and he was a happy camper. After breakfast we hung out around the hotel for a bit and then took the drive back into the city.

I really love Staycations =)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Homemade Baby Food: My New Favorite Hobby

I have so much to blog about and am actually in the car on my way to a mini vacation with my boys but I needed to post about how it's going with Aiden's solids. He loves them! He was so ready and he eats like a champ. Even more, I love making them for him.

First, I sit at my computer and plan his meals for the week. I have an Excel sheet and spreadsheets make me happy. Then I go out and buy his brown rice, fruits and vegetables. The most annoying part is peeling and coring the fruit but i just bought an apple corer and slices so it got easier. I take skins off apples, pears and stuff like that.

Then, I load everything into my rice cooked / steamer. I can boil apples in water and steam peas on the tray above them. Rice cereal is made on the stove top and it's super easy. Once all the food is cooked and soft, it's time to puree! I load the veggie into the Baby Bullet, add breast milk (I use instead of water) and press down to blend. Viola!

Today I made peas, green beans, rice cereal, bananas and prunes. Aiden has enough baby Food for two weeks! It makes me feel so good to cook for my boy :)

I only included one photo of a freezer bag full of food. By the time I thought about taking step by step pics, it was all done. Sorry! You have "April's Promise" that I will include more pics next time. Hehe I'm cheesy don't judge me.

Ok well, that's all for now. Happy weekend folks!


Thursday, November 3, 2011

Movie Review: 50/50

Hey there blog world! Guess what? I went to the movies! I know, amazing right?! When I first had Aiden, we decided to stay on top of having "date nights" but whenever we went on these dates, it was sooo hard for me to have a good time and not be worried about Aiden. The only time I don't worry is when he is with my mom because Aiden just LOVES her. He will totally ignore me and look at my mom, laugh with her, he loves her! So yea, I am just more at ease when she can babysit and thank the sweet baby Jesus, she did and we went to a movie!

I hadn't been to a movie theater in months so it was a bit weird. And we also went early - a 5:20pm showing so the theater was pretty quiet.. perfect for an old lady like me =) hehe..  Anyway, I was so excited to not only watch a new movie but post a review because I haven't had much going on in my "movie night" section of the blog. Yay! Here it goes:

We saw the movie "50/50" starring Seth Rogan and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. It was fantastic! It was written by Will Reiser and actually based on his own true story and friendship with Seth Rogan. Seth not only starred in this film but served as a producer and I just love, love, love him. I totally went in expecting a fun comedy and though it was really funny, I also cried my eyes out... and I'm not talking about just crying.. It was full on sobbing! So emotional and REAL.. just an HONEST story that captured honest emotions about life, death, family and friendship.

The story is about Adam, a young man (27 years old) who works in radio with his best friend Kyle. He has a girlfriend who is an artist and a pretty good life. After experiencing back pain and night sweats for a while, Adam goes to the doctor and learns he has a rare form of cancer on his spine and will need chemotherapy to decrease the size of the tumor. As Adam undergoes treatment, he experiences a lot in his relationships with his girlfriend, his mother, his best friend Kyle and his therapist. He basically has a 50% chance of survival and we have no idea if he will beat the odds.

There is one scene in particular that really touched me... Adam is about to be wheeled away to surgery and he shows a vulnerable side that we have not seen throughout the entire film. He has a special moment with his mom and it just really brought me to tears because I didn't like this character's relationship with his mom throughout the movie. It kind of made me think of my own family. Sometimes, our family can be annoying but at the end of the day, we would do anything for each other.

I really don't want to say more about the story because this is just one of those films that you NEED to go and see for yourself. It was so inspirational and spoke so much to me about not taking life for granted. It was also hilarious and I must warn you that there is a lot of profanity, some sexual content and drug use... it is rated R after all so not one to take the youngsters to see!

I give it many, many stars! Go see it =)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 Months Left of 2011: A look in the rear view mirror

This is one of those posts that just sort of happened... just started to pour out of me and my fingers touched the keyboard and the words started to flow and here we are. Because what I originally planned to post today was all about our plans for the holidays and a few getaways we are going on this month and all the awesomeness just around the corner... but for some reason, while reading my devotions this morning on the bus and while quietly reflecting and praying, I looked into the rear view mirror of this year and I guess a huge part of getting where I am going is remembering where I have been.

2011 had so much to offer me. So much that I'd been anticipating and awaiting with excitement and joy... and so much that I had never expected that totally blindsided me and broke my heart. I seriously have never experienced so much JOY and so much heartbreak in the same year but 2011 was determined to give me both and grow me in the process.

Sometimes, it seemed like the timing of things was the worst possible... but now as I look back, I am grateful because I don't know how I would have gotten through some serious heartbreak if not for that very timing.

As I was getting ready to welcome my son into our family and experience the beauty of motherhood, I was also being hurt by some people I loved so much. I literally had to grieve the loss of a very special person in my life (which somehow, through this loss, about 3 other bridges were burned unexpectedly -- when it rains it pours) while at the same time carrying a miracle inside of me. I was aware of the impact my emotions would have on my unborn child and I am just so grateful to GOD for the love in my life at that time. My amazing husband, my mother and a few friends I would have NEVER expected, acted as a seal, a protective fence around me and I know that God was using these people to show me that he still had me in his embrace. That no matter how difficult it was to experience the feelings of betrayal and loss that I had, it was necessary and it was all a part of a greater plan for my life.

I had never felt so alone, but at the same so loved and I know that doesn't seem to make a lot of sense... but it's the best way I can describe it. It isn't in my nature to be vague, it isn't who I am to not express freely but I am actually having a hard time with this. I want very much to continue to heal and let go and learn to love those who have hurt me. You see, I value my relationships so much and a lot of the richness of my life I attribute to my relationships... because at the end of this all, it isn't going to be about what my career was, or the places I had traveled to, or the house I lived in... at the end of this all, it is going to be about those who I LOVED and those who also loved me. My legacy will be in my relationships, in the lives I was able to touch and those who touched mine.

Slowly but surely, I am finding peace... slowly but surely, I have forgiven and slowly but surely, I am healing. Honestly, it is having my son that has given me the strength to move forward and it is God's grace that has helped me rise above and not succumb to depression as I probably would have a few years ago. I may not be where I need to be, but I am NOT where I used to be. That my friends, is called growth!

God knows, that when I love someone, I love all the way. My husband once told me that something he loves about me is how I love others... he said "I can see it in your eyes, and you're not playing games, you're for real!" That is probably the most encouraging thing someone has said to me. I am so very aware of my flaws and imperfections... but I am sure of my heart and where I stand... and I am proud of who I am becoming. A better ME every single day. If someone wants to be in my life and reap the benefits of my love, then they will make that effort, and if not then they won't and I will be at peace with that also... even if at times when looking in the rear view mirror, it hurts :/

I love how T.D. Jakes said it:

" The bible said that, they came out from us that it might be made manifest that they were not for us. For had they been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us." [1 John 2:19]

"People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go. And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead. "

For 2012 and the rest of 2011 (because why wait until a new year to start) that is my "theme". No trying to raise the dead!

I know this post seems kind of somber... sorry about that folks. But I'll end with some pictures and highlights of awesome times in 2011 =)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Baby Decisions

Can I just say.... when it comes to babies, people get crazy! I mean, it all started while I was pregnant and total strangers would look at my coffee and be like "that's decaf right?!" Like, really? People feel like they need to be involved in decisions for MY baby and I admit, I don't quite understand where that comes from. Sometimes it gets really frustrating and I want to yell at people LOL. I value advice and certainly ask for it when needed but at the end of the day, I know better than anyone what is best for my baby. It's especially annoying when I have done research and have education on my side but people feel like they still know better because of what was done years ago. Honestly, it isn't my job to educate anyone but here are a few of the baby decisions I have made that have constantly come up and other people feel the need to question:

1) Baby Cereal in the bottle - No, I am not putting cereal in Aiden's bottle at night so that he can sleep longer. First of all if you didn't know, it's a choking hazard and second, he does not eat the cereal from the box. Also, we've noticed since starting solids that if we let him eat before bed he gets a tummy ache and actually sleeps less because his body is still learning to digest food. He gets gassy and uncomfortable so we are pulling back on the solids and taking it a bit more slow.

2) Juice - I am not giving my baby juice. He drinks breast milk and water and that's it. He enjoys apple sauce that I make him from sweet red apples and he really enjoys pears too. We have introduced prunes and he likes them. Banana so far is his least favorite. I prefer to just give him FRUIT and I don't feel he needs to drink sugary juice.

3) Baby Leap Frog / Baby Einstein - I know that when you go to the store and see all those baby toys with buttons for baby to push that make a bunch of sounds you think "that is so cool!" I know these toys claim to be educational and maybe they are. But for a child under the age of 2, it is really important that play be "child directed" in other words -- the toy should not be directing, but the baby should! Aiden has two toys that play music but besides that we are into blocks, balls, stuffed animals, and lots of board books and soft books. I love old school, wooden toys and toys that encourage him to develop problem-solving skills. Honestly, this Christmas if Aiden gets any electronic toys we will take them back or they will sit in his closet.

4) Bed Time Routine - Yes, Aiden has one! Some people think this is ridiculous but it really works. On nights when we have company over or for some other reason we don't do the routine, it takes him forever to fall asleep so I know it works. He gets a warm bath and we read his bath time peek-a-boo book. Then he gets lotion and a massage in the dark with his Praise Baby worship CD playing. Then we put on his feetie pajamas and rock in the rocking chair while he nurses. Usually, when I start to put his pajamas on he already starts yawning and rubbing his eyes.

5) Breastfeeding - I have encountered really mixed opinions on this and some people have even felt the need to tell me that Aiden should at least get one bottle of formula before bed. I know that formula fed babies go longer between feedings but it's only because it takes baby longer to digest. Here's the deal people -- Aiden is breastfed exclusively and will be until he is at least 1 years old. At that point, I may try to introduce whole cow's milk and continue breastfeeding him at night. Hey may even continue to be breastfed until he is 2 years old and NO I do not think that is gross! If you think it's "weird" or "gross" to breastfeed a child for the first two years or even 3, that really isn't my problem. It is really great for his brain development not to mention that extended breastfeeding decreases a woman's risk for breast and cervical cancers. Get educated!

I do not think that parenting is "one size fits all" and the most important thing is that every parent do what they think is best for their own baby. When a friend tells me about her decision to formula feed, I offer encouragement and support not judgment. This is NOT the freakin "mom of the year" contest is annoying when someone tells me "well you must not like sleeping" because I say that I am not giving my baby formula with cereal at night. Yes, I got this comment and it took all the strength inside of me (and some help from the sweet, baby Jesus) to not go on a rampage telling this person off and "dropping some knowledge" in the process.

We all just want to do our best at this mommy thing and I think that's all that really matters.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Centaurs, Satyrs and Demigods Oh My!

Sometime last year, a friend of mine introduced me to a book series for kids called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" by Rick Riordan.

Let me explain, a few years ago my sister-in-law told me I had to read this book called Twilight. Now, I know that this is teen fiction she said but it's soooo good you will love it. Well, she was right, I LOVED reading Stephenie Meyer's melodrama about the young girl who fell in love with the hot vampire. I didn't go into it expecting a great piece of literature, I just wanted to read something for fun and pure entertainment. I like many others got completely sucked in and obsessed. After I was done reading the Twilight series I felt empty. I needed to experience that again! I needed a story that was so fantasy, such an escape from reality and an easy read so that I could relax with a cup of tea and take a break. So then, someone recommends that I read Harry Potter.

Again, I became completely obsessed and LOVED this series even more than Twilight. Now, let me just say that in my opinion, Harry Potter is written much more eloquently and is far more clever and "meaty" than Twilight. I cannot say any fantasy series I have read again has topped that and once I finished it, again I felt sad. So in comes my friend who assures me that this series about Demigods called "Percy Jackson and the Olympians" is my "next Harry Potter".

Since it's a series it will be kind of tough to review but I just finished the second book of the spin-off series and it was soooo good! This story is basically about demigods (half human / half god) from Greek mythology but with a modern twist. There is a camp where demigods are trained to fulfill their destiny and of course lots of adventures follow. Mount Olympus is at the top of the Empire State building!

As a kid, I loved learning about Greek mythology in school and though the author of this series puts all of this in modern America, he is incredibly true and accurate to the stories in Greek mythology. I found myself going down memory lane and enjoying the very same stories I enjoyed as a child. I grew an attachment to the characters and wanted to know what happened next as I finished each book.

I know I'm a total dork but I just LOVE fantasy stories. For a while it was vampires & werewolves, then it was wizards and the wizarding world, and now it's centaurs, satyrs and demigods... oh my! So yea, if you're into this stuff and want a fun read you MUST check out Rick Riordan's series.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Would Like to thank all the Little People... and God, and my Manager

..... Oh my gosh I didn't prepare a speech! I'm blushing! I'm a fumbling dork trying to look cute in this couture gown and walk in these designer stilettos that Carrie Bradshaw lent me... ohh, wait - This isn't the Oscars?! Sorry I guess I got a little carried away... It's just that I checked my email this morning and discovered that I GOT AN AWARD!

Look, I never win anything okay! I mean, besides winning a bottle of chardonnay at a Bingo game in Aruba a few years ago, I never win anything. (Oh I still have that bottle). Anyway, I totally won an award for my blog! Courtesy of my friend Quiana; one-third of the Harlem Love Birds. Her blog is all about her life with her husband and beautiful daughter Nia in Harlem. Not only is it fun to read, her blog has literally been my encyclopedia for everything baby, cloth diapering, nursing, etc. I've learned so much from the Harlem Love Birds so go check them out.

Anyway, so the cool part about this award is I get to
answer some fun questions (the form below), then list 7 random facts about myself, and pass the award on to 10 other bloggers. So exciting! Here we go---

The form

  • Name your favorite song: Hopelessly Devoted to you from Grease
  • Name your favorite dessert: Chocolate chip cookies
  • What pisses you off: Dishonesty and Gossip
  • When you're upset, you: Rant to my husband, Rant to my mom
  • Your favorite pet: I'm a dog person
  • Black or white: Black
  • Your biggest fear: Anything happening to my baby
  • Best feature: My transparency
  • Everyday attitude: This is me - those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!
  • What is perfection: God
  • Guilty pleasure: The Bachelor / The Bachelorette episodes

7 Random Facts About Myself

1) I'm an Excel geek... like, I thoroughly ENJOY spreadsheets. It makes me happy to take a bunch of data and manipulate it so that we can find things out. Like, the percentage of this vs. that or how much we've spent so far, or whatever.

2) I read obsessively. I fight my sleep to read when a book is good. Then I get a little depressed when the story is over and it takes me a few days to get over it. LOL. So sad.

3) My husband and I met on My Space. What?! Don't judge me! Lol

4) I speak English, Spanish and bits of Italian.

5) Marc Anthony is my absolute favorite singer (that voice makes me melt) and if a song of his comes on I will stop whatever I am doing to sing along... especially if it's in Spanish!

6) I'm pretty good cook but I can't bake to save my life. I guess it's an Art vs. Science thing.

7) My Super Power -- playing TABOO. Don't challenge in that game... I cannot be defeated! Muuahahahahaha!

And now I get to spread the love! Here are my awardees:

Lace Garden

Hitting My Stride

Life With The Baxtrons

Mommied Life By Cynthia

A Word with Penelope

Odd Girl Out

The Mom Creative Blog

The Ulmers

The Fatherhood Guide

Kveller - Mayim Bialik

Yay! Thank you to all my fans and the academy for this prestigious honor... See? When it's time to accept my Oscar I will be ready :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Rant: Bad grammar ruins my reading experience

I've never claimed to be perfect and I realize that we all make mistakes... seriously, I do! I also realize that in the world of social media (Twitter, Facebook etc.) and blogging the rules are a bit more relaxed when it comes to grammar... but can I just say that when reading, it is incredibly distracting when bad grammar is used over and over?

The content may be great, the ideas being presented may be awesome but if the spelling and grammar is deficient, it makes appreciating those ideas pretty tough for me. It's kind of like receiving a nice gift in an unwrapped, beat up old box. (whoops!)

Again, I know that I am not perfect; but is it really THAT hard to use spell-check? I mean, depending on what browser you use, your errors can be corrected as you type. Plus, don't you find it embarrassing to post misspelled words? Gosh, I do!

Besides spelling, these are my main pet peeves:

* Use of prefix and suffix -- I.e. unappropriate --> NO, that is not the correct prefix. It is inappropriate and if you just used spell check you would see that. Oh, and kindless is not a word either. I think what you are trying to say is unkind.

*Than and Then -- No, these are not the same thing. Than indicates comparison and Then indicates time.

*To, Two and Too -- I'm going To the store. I'm going Too! I'm leaving at Two.

*They're, Their and There -- They're is a contraction! Their indicates possession and There can be used when referring to a place.

*Loose vs. Lose -- a) I always Lose my keys. b) I always Loose my keys -- sentence A is correct

*Could of / Would of -- Ughh! It's not "Could of" it's "Could have"

*Apostrophe usage -- I know this one can be tricky but I try to remember these two reasons to use an apostrophe: 1) for contractions i.e. don't and do not and 2) to show possession i.e. April's blog.

There are so many more but just listing these is giving me a headache! LOL I can deal with run-on sentences, fragments and comma splices... Really! I realize that writing is more about what you are trying to convey but sometimes when reading a piece every other sentence contains one of these pesky errors and it's annoying! Ugh!

This rant has been brought to you by April and her "isms" on a Thursday morning =) Thank you for reading -- ain't this been fun?!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Pumpkin Spice Lattes: Getting into the Fall Mood

Right now I am sipping a pumpkin spice latte... my receptionist at work usually gets pumpkin creamer for the coffee around this time of year but she can't seem to find it this year. I sure hope it hasn't been discontinued. I am against spending $5 bucks on a cup of coffee but I had to walk down to Starbucks and splurge. I'm feelin' like Fall today and I've got Fall fashion on my mind.

I ordered myself a pair of brown riding boots and can't wait for them to arrive! I love riding boots probably almost as much as I love flip-flops but not nearly as much as I love Uggs. But besides that, I have no idea what to do about my wardrobe this Fall.

You see, I don't really have "a style" and I am the worst at accessorizing. I have lots of jewelry but I end up wearing the same - pearl studs, diamond studs, silver leaf, silver hoop, then pearl studs again over and over. It's rare that I wear a necklace these days if it isn't my Smart Mom teething necklace. I haven't worn a belt in years and I usually just throw on a black jacket with matching black scarf and call it a day. My style is umm... boring I guess and I want all that to change this year!

I was reading my friend's blog Lace Garden for inspiration and looking at the "Fall Essentials" listed on the different websites of my favorite stores. Here are some of the items I am trying to work into my shopping list:

Riding Boots - I have a decent black pair and a new brown pair. I'd love some in grey, let's see! I'm really not a "shoe girl" and I wear flats mostly because heels and I just don't get along. So riding boots are my fave!

Sweaters - I am a big fan of sweaters because they are comfortable. My goal is to come outside my box of usual earth-tones and simple colors. I would love orange, purple and emerald green sweaters.

Flowy tops - Again, really comfortable! I don't have very many and they are all solids. I want to work up the courage to wear some bold prints. My closet is full of solid color pieces ... I'll admit it, prints scare me!

Leggings- These keep me warm in cooler weather and look cute too. I just can't bring myself to wear leggings with just a shirt though. I feel like I'd be walking around with no pants! I need to wear at least a long tunic or a mini skirt with my leggings.

Scarves - I love solid color pashminas. I need to mix some prints in and I think I will be visiting the street vendors on 5th ave to get some scarves at a decent price.

The main thing I look for when shopping is comfort so I guess that has to change? Sigh.... I wish I could go on What Not To Wear so that Stacy and Clinton can set me straight. Oh well, wish me luck on my Fall shopping guys =)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Venting is often really gossip. And that is not okay

I love a blog called "Mom's Toolbox" it has been very helpful to me on many occasions. I had a post in my draft queue about this topic and I guess it's hard for me to put my thoughts into words because I am still healing.... so rather than screw things up with my own words, I thought I would share Amy's words. You can check out the Mom's Toolbox here.

Scripture: Psalm 101:5

I will not tolerate people who slander their neighbors.

I will not endure conceit and pride.

Observation: Gossip is not okay, neither is an inflated ego. And I will not take part in either.

Application: Over the last few days someone irritated me and I shared that with someone else. As much as it may have been just “venting,” it was also gossip.

If I have a problem with someone’s behavior then I need to be a big girl and either talk to that person about it directly or let it go. “Venting” is also often gossiping. And that is slandering my neighbor. And that is wrong.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for again calling this to my attention. What I did was wrong, as minor as it seemed to be at the time. Please continue to forgive me for my error.

Please guide me in going to you when I am frustrated and remind me to seek your guidance, not just complain to another. Venting is not okay when I say anything bad about someone else. True or false, it is gossip. And I don’t want to have any part of that, as you don’t want me to have any part of that.

Thank you for this reminder, Lord. And thank you for your forgiveness of my selfishness.

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