Of Cookies and Tantrums

Dear my beautiful, charming daughter;

You are currently in your room, face streaked with tears. Your little nose, by now, will be filled with boogies, and your too-big-pants are most likely drooped halfway down your bum. You are throwing a tantrum, and a sizable one at that, while I sit on my computer typing this away. Every now and then I can hear you murmur mommy, before the crying picks up once more.

Some may think me cruel for listening to your tantrums, refusing to cater to your needs. I am sorry I did not let you have a cookie, seeing as how we will be eating dinner in less than an hour. I am sorry you found this so unfair that you threw yourself upon the ground screaming out your anger. I am sorry that as I sent you to your room you decided to stomp your adorable little feet and through a little terrible-two-tantrum.

I was patient, at first, ignoring your whining and grumbles. I even used the nice voice and made you smile. But the moment you heard cookie after dinner, the battle was lost. The face contorted, the lower lip quivered, and your little mouth parted to issue the first of many toddler screams. These little shrieks of indignation and anger only increased as you sat in your room, angry at mommy for daring to say no, but that is okay.

Four minutes have passed, and by now you have quieted. I can hear the door open and close as you contemplate exiting. Your cries have stopped, but your temper is still in full force. The little pout on your lips, and the soft sniffle as you look in my direction is proof enough. That is not your I-am-sorry pout, that is your you-yelled-at-sweet-little-me pout. Well, my beautiful little girl, pout all you want. You still can’t eat the cookies before dinner. And now, now you can’t have them after dinner either.

With Love,

Mommy

 

Moms: A Thought about Schedules

Moms: A Thought about Schedules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to interview an author I have been following for a while now, Krystal Wade. The details of the interview will be posted once I sit my butt down to actually finalize the post, but let’s not focus on that. During the interview, Krystal mentioned a few things that really got me thinking. Modern mothers have some serious schedules, most without a minute to spare! So what do we do with our time? The better question is what do we not do!

When we go about our day to day lives, we seldom think about how much we are actually doing. Unless we are in a frustrated mood, our busy schedules hardly register. I got to thinking about this because during my discussion with Krystal, we talked about our schedules. So to better understand just how much I have on my figurative plate, I wrote down all the major things I do. This list is just my basic responsibilities, no shopping, no bill paying, no social obligations. These are just the majorities.

First, and most importantly I am a mom. As some of you may know I am the proud mommy of a two and a half year old diva with an obsession for shoes. Those of you that are parents may cringe when I mention her age, and you should! She is in full terrible-twos mode! I am also a soon to be wife to an incredible man who helps make this crazy schedule possible. Without him, I would be lost!

The next thing is obvious, but I should still mention it. I run this blog, which is a complete blast by the way. I actually spend a lot of time reading books to review, reading other blogs to comment on, managing the social media, etc. Many of you understand this, but for those that don’t I will just say that it can be a bit time consuming, although awesomely fun.

When I am not reading, or writing for my blog you can usually find me writing in general. I write my own novels, though I hoard them like a crazy person and refuse to let the world see the big ones, which of course is most of them. Writing for me is a major stress reliever, and even if I only get a chance to write a few sentences before I can no longer keep my eyes open it is worth it.

Now for the nitty-gritty stuff, meaning my job. I work full time at a very time-demanding job that is 40 miles away from where I live. The commute sucks, but hey it’s a hour of peace that enables me to brainstorm my posts, as well as butcher my favorite songs with my loud, off-key voice. My job is great in the respect that I am kept busy, I get to travel, and I get to meet incredible, influential people in the healthcare world. Plus it pays my bills, so I can’t hate on that!

Sound busy yet? No? You need more? Okay great! I am also a full time student majoring in English Language and Literature in hopes of eventually becoming an editor. Sound fun? I certainly think so! It has been such a wonderful experience so far. I am positively thrilled to be back in school, even though it has effectively reduced the amount of sleep I get. Some people have told me I am crazy, but I just smile. Despite the crazy, hectic, often frantic days I am content with my schedule. There is not a single thing I would give up!

Oh! I am also planning a wedding which is happening in three and a half weeks! So raise your glass to the multi-tasking, I-have-more-to-do-today-than-physically-possible mothers in your life! They may not all have schedules like mine, but you can be assured it is just as hectic!

What does your schedule look like?

Children: A Thought on Personalities

Children: A Thought on Personalities

If possible, her smile is even cuter now!

That pretty, charming little smile gets me every time. She grins from ear to ear, and her little eyes light up. Then, in a cutesy little voice she tells me she loves me. I can feel it working. My anger begins to crumble, my mouth twitches as it attempts to smile despite my best attempts to stop it. My hands firmly stationed on my hips begin to slacken. She knows it too. That little twinkle in her eye gets brighter and brighter. Somehow her previous tantrum doesn’t seem quite so bad anymore. I am weak!

Now there are still certain things she does that no amount of the cutesy face can calm that raging parental anger, such as the last time when she threw her cereal bowl, which was of course filled with milk. However little things, like her getting in trouble for hitting our dog with her over-sized teddy bear, just seem so… miniscule compared to the power of that adorable little smile.

Take the past week for example. My daughter is a whirlwind of mess. She can destroy a room in less than five minutes. Given the right amount of sugar, that five can quickly drop to one. She plays with a toy for about ten seconds until she decides it is no longer worth her attention, then moves on to the next. Much to our annoyance, she usually leaves this toy on and upside down so that some random key is pressed and it just keeps repeating whatever noise that key causes. Do you have any idea how annoying that is? Didn’t I make a rule when I gave birth to her that no one was allowed to buy her toys that make loud noises? Where the heck did all these things come from! If only I could find my screwdriver, I would yank those batteries out! However that would just cause more mayhem.

She is proudly rocking her Auntie’s Versace sunglasses 🙂

You see, my daughter is a lover of broken things. If it doesn’t do what she knows it is supposed to do, she follows us around the house repeating, and I stress the repeating, this conversation…

“Mommy, it broken!”

“Uh oh, why don’t you play with another toy?”

“No, you buy new one.”

Now, I have no idea where she got this buy new one thing. My fiancé and I do not spoil her, and we do not buy her many toys. Most of them she either steals from my mother’s daycare, or a certain sister of mine buys them for her. Don’t deny it! You spoil her and you know it! It used to be “You fix it.” But apparently she has entered into the “buy me this” stage.

How cute are those boots? To this day she still loves them, although they no longer fit!

Luckily, as we do not buy her many toys, when we go to the store she doesn’t ask to be taken to the toy department. Seldom does she ask for us to buy her a new toy, unless of course a current one is broken. Instead, the most common thing she asks for is to buy her shoes. This is completely and totally my fault. I am a lover of shoes, and my love has transcended to her. We cannot walk past shoes without the two of us going “Ooo new shoes!” My poor fiancé is then left trying to drag us both away. She is also obsessed with sunglasses and purses, again which is totally my fault. I love buying them for her because she just looks so darn cute walking around in her little aviators and a bright little purse seating on the crook of her arm.

So is this buying trait my fault? Probably. However I think I might still blame my mom and my sister. It is much easier that way! If I take responsibility, then I will have to stop buying her those cute little shoes, and there is no way that can happen. Fall is here, and do you know what that means? It means it is time to buy boots! I can’t wait!

Are there things that you notice yourself buying your children a lot? If so, what is your “spoil” object?

Bravery: A Thought on Heroes

Bravery: A Thought on Heroes

Today is September 12th, 2012. I know you all know that, but I have a purpose in mentioning it. It is the day after September 11th, a date that will forever be known in the United States as the anniversary of a horrible tragedy. Do you remember where you were when you first heard the news? I do. I was sitting in Religion class back when I went to a catholic high school. One of the sisters came on the announcer and told us all to gather in the cafeteria where we all sat in silence watching the news.

This post is not about who did it, or who caused the pain. It is not about the war and whether it is right or wrong. This post is about remembering the people who died that day, and those who saved many.

Yesterday began as any other day for me. I woke up, grumbled about having to work, then began my day. I spent almost two hours of my morning stuck in traffic, complaining about how much I hated Interstate 495. It was a hectic morning with an easy afternoon. I decided to hop on facebook and browse until my lunch break ended. What I saw both inspired me, and broke my heart.

Pictures upon pictures of 9/11 paraded through my news food. Inspiration pictures with the common quote of Never Forget blazing across the top. I had truly forgotten that it was even September 11th. That unsettled me. I had been so caught up with school, this website, planning for my wedding that happens in a month, and even grieving over the fact that a blog I enjoy will be shutting down. Selfishly, I had forgotten an important day, a day we are supposed to remember.

I thought of posting something on my facebook to show my support of the heroes that emerged that fateful day, but something changed my mind. On posts that other people had made, we saw comments from people who are only created to hurt. People were accusing the government of orchestrating the entire thing; other people were claiming that Americans deserved it. People can have their beliefs, I do support that. You are entitled to think what you want. What infuriated me so was that people who were posting prayers to the families that lost someone, others were attacking our government in the comments. September 11th is not about the government. It is about people. People whose lives were taken, people who gave their lives to save others, and people who went above and beyond simply to help. This one day is not about blame, or about war, or even about terrorism. It is about the loss of life, and a country coming together to support its people.

Perhaps that is my naive take on it. I don’t understand why people feel the need to seek out others, and hurt them with their words. Let people grieve and remember in peace, without fear of verbal attacks. That day was filled with heroes, people we should remember and respect. Focus not on your beliefs of why it happened, but instead focus on healing the wounds that it created.

As I drove home from work, my mind was heavy with these thoughts. How can people not honor the heroes? How can we forget everything that people did for each other that day, and each day for the months that followed? An idea that had been mulling around my head weeks before, when I had remembered that 9/11 was approaching, resurfaced with vengeance. I was going to show my appreciation, even in some small insignificant way.

Yesterday, my two-year old daughter and I brought a tray of cookies, bakery bought since I am awful at baking, to our local Fire Station and Police Department. Trust me when I say if I had tried to bake them myself, my town would be out a few officers and firemen due to food poisoning. I truly am that bad. On the top of the tray was a big pink thank you card decorated in purple, red, blue and green scribbles with the sprawling words, Thank you for all that you do! It was a small gesture, but one that the officers and firemen at our local station loved.

It is a simple gesture, but simple gestures sometimes go the farthest. What did you do to commemorate 9/11?

Self: A Thought on What Defines Us

Self: A Thought on What Defines Us

This Tuesday, something miraculous happened. I went back to school! Okay, maybe not really miraculous but it is still pretty exciting for me. Want to know the best part? I am starting from scratch. Since I was 18, I have entered into about 900 different “career paths” that I just knew I wanted. Slight exaggeration, it is more like 4 but you get the point. They were usually on the science side of things, which is cool. I love science, especially natural related things, i.e. geography, aerospace, oceanography, etc. I hopped from Engineering, to Business, to Biochem, to Business, and a hundred other ideas that never saw fruition.

All of this time I was simply trying to ‘identify’ who I am, and what I would do with my life. Also during this time, I did what I have always done. I wrote. I kept journals, wrote my own fiction, even dabbled in poetry. I did this to help alleviate stress because I loved to do it. You should see my old hard drive, it is filled with stuff from over 10 years’ worth of writing. Most of it is pretty… bad.  Anyways, during this journey to discover myself, the one thing that I loved most was always overlooked. It had never occurred to me to pursue it. I just assumed people when to school for English because they wanted to be a teacher, which I have no desire to do. I would be a really, really bad teacher. You know the type, really intolerant, evil, sarcastic ones that you dread getting. Yes, that would be me.

It wasn’t until I got involved in a very close fiction site that I truly began to think just maybe there is more to this than I thought. I started writing for fictionpress.com, for different fandoms just to keep writing. What started as a hobby to occupy my time turned into a passion that occupied my thoughts. My stories started winning awards, I was started to get a little credit, and a little following. I began to feel like maybe this wasn’t just a hobby.

When I was contacted by a publisher back in December, my world kind of halted. At the time, I didn’t have anything really to submit, but he urged me to keep writing. He said my writing was “effortlessly marketable” and engaging. I was left speechless. I spent the next few months attempting to not let it consume me too much. I had a wedding to plan, work to do, a daughter to raise. There was no way I could add writing a novel onto my to-do list too. Sure, I still wrote the stories that I had been posting to various sites with little issue, but that was different. That wasn’t published work; that was simply having fun and unwinding from a long day.

What finally gave me the push to go back to school? In the end it was one person. A person on one of the sites I frequented told me,

You are a great writer… but it’s more than that. It is the ideas, the emotion, and the passion that you breathe into your stories that makes me a fan.

I was so touched, and so moved by her thoughts, as she herself was a writer I thoroughly enjoyed, that in that exact moment I knew I wanted to go back to school. No matter what happens, this person will remain in my heart. I owe the courage I now have to pursue my passion to her. Thank you, my friend.

Why go back to school then, if I already had a following? I know my weaknesses. I can write so fast that sometimes, I make errors. It is always hard to edit your own stuff. The reason is you know what you are trying to say, and many times you skim over errors because you brain is already filling in what that line is supposed to say. I wanted to change that weakness. If I truly wanted to pursue writing, then I was going to give my readers the best that I could do. That night I spoke with my fiancé, and he supported my decision fully.

After looking into the options I had, I settled on English Language and Literature. True, I could have gone straight for Creative Writing as I originally intended, but writing is not my only goal. I want to take my own experience and ability and help others to succeed in their dreams. I enjoy editing and critiquing just as much as I enjoy writing my own works. It is my belief that interactions with other writers helps make your own writing that much stronger. To me, there is nothing better than surrounding yourself with what your passionate about, as well as people who share that same passion.

That is why Tuesday was a miraculous day for me. It was a day that symbolized my step forward into defining not only who I am, but who I want to be.

Toddlers: A Thought on Tantrums

Toddlers: A Thought on Tantrums

From the moment my daughter hit 18 months, we have been cautiously awaiting that time. The time all parents notice that their children, their adorable, sweet little children turn into stubborn, chaotic, vicious balls of terror: the Terrible Twos. I long thought that my charming daughter would not enter such a stage. She had such big innocent doe eyes, and the sweetest softest little voice that I just couldn’t imagine it morphing into a fearsome creature. How wrong I was. Be warned, you parents of angels, there is a demon lurking just under the surface.

It started with a little back talk, and a little whining every now and then. Occasionally when she got angry, she would smack things. Never you, or any person, simply the table or even her own leg. At first, it was a little comical, but not to worrisome. As time progressed, those cutesy antics progressed. Then it became the look. Yes, even her facial expressions communicated her rebellion. She would give us the look after we told her to do something, or if we did something she did not like. Normally, I can combat her artfully crafted look with a perfected one of my own that sends her scampering off to do my bidding. My fiance, the strong man that he is, has little hope against our precious angel. Men, such tough exteriors and yet such mushy interiors.

She generally ignores him when he tells her to do something, and then laughs if he gets angry. Now I know she is only two, not even two and a half yet, however there is something so utterly infuriating about a toddler laughing at your frustrations! And the talking back, sometimes I am rendered speechless at the things she says or does in retaliation.

Take for instance my Saturday morning. I had just returned from overseas, and was eager to spend time with my demon… err daughter. I poured a bowl of cereal for her, and one for me. Well she did not want the bowl I poured for her, so I gave her mine. Such a good little mommy, she thought. At least that’s what my mind thinks she was thinking. Well I did not like the cereal I gave her (was her favorite) so I decided to make some english muffins. I should have known better, I really should have. She decided, halfway through the cereal, that she did not want the cereal anymore, that she wanted my english muffins. So I informed her that she already had breakfast. She looked down at her little cereal bowl still half full of coco pebbles and milk, picked it up, and threw it on the floor. My jaw hit the ground along with it. She then looked at me. Right at me and said, “No I don’t.”

It was this moment the truth became clear to me. My daughter has gone from being a toddler with a slight attitude to a full on terrible two. I calmly put my perfectly toasted english muffins down, out of her reach of course, and walked into the other room. I counted to ten to ease the torrent of emotions within me before leaving the room with a tight smile. She did not get my english muffins, and she most certainly did not get any more breakfast. Instead, she sat on her adorable little rump and picked up all the coco pebbles and wiped the spilt (thrown) milk with paper towels.

Take this as a warning, all you in-denial-parents, your adorable little baby has a dark side! The cute laughs and bright eyes are just tricks to weaken you! They will get you when you least expect it. And yet you will love them all the more for it.
What about you? Do you have any funny terrible-twos (or beyond) stories to share?

Hell: A Thought on Mondays

Hell: A Thought on Mondays

Juggling my day to day life is normally something I can do on autopilot. I am a fairly busy woman with a two year old who loves to test her limits. That being said, there are days that things just seem to be too much. This type of day occurred yesterday, which of course was a Monday.

It began with traffic. Not just any traffic, but Interstate 495 traffic. Any of you who have been to Massachusetts and driven on this cursed highway know my strife. Although it is not the worst highway, it is definitely one of them.

Two hours I sat in my car to travel the 39 miles to work. Normally, I can do this in 35 minutes without issue. Not yesterday, no it took much longer. I spent an hour and half of it traveling the last 19.7 miles. That’s an average of 13mph. Do you know what that does to a driver like me? Infuriates them, that’s what. I become obsessively territorial and never let anyone merge into my lane, it makes me hate everyone driving on the other side of the highway going 75mph with ease; oh and let’s not forget how it causes me to spew fire.

Yes, it was an awful start to my morning, which was only further soured by Dunkin Donuts getting my order wrong. Not even partially wrong, I mean seriously wrong. Like the type of wrong that has you scratching your head trying to figure how just how they could have possibly gotten it this wrong. Nope, not a good morning at all.

I breezed into my office with my attempt at hiding my scowl in hopes that I could retire to my cubicle and hide away until lunch and repair my mood. I would have effectively reached my happy level by noon. But oh the universe was against me this day, this awful, wretched Monday! Despite my obvious scowl and clear look of “leave me alone” I am at once bombarded with chaos. Not just normal work day chaos, but complete, and utter chaos. Nothing, it seems, had gone right that day for anyone.

“I need this… I need that… Do this… Do that… Did you forget… Did you forget to remind me…” and so on and so on.  Instead of breathing easy by noon, I was foaming at the mouth and nursing a severe headache.

I know what you’re thinking. Man that sounds like a bad day, but it can only get better from there. Shush. Don’t think. That optimism has no place in my bad Monday blog post! It did not get better, it got worse. Ten times worse! A hundred times even! I would say a thousand, but you get the point.

So what could possibly have happened to make it such an awful day? The electric company happened. Now normally, this would not upset me, but it could not have occurred at a worse time. At promptly twelve thirty, our power went out. My lunch was at 00:17 seconds into its 02:30 minute cooking time. Along with the power went the Air Conditioning. Did I mention it was wicked humid out? My office building jumped 10 degrees in about seven minutes. They are cheap as it is so the AC wasn’t even on a good level to begin with.

It never came back on. For two hours we were not allowed to leave. We had to wait and see. After all, the internet still worked and we all have laptops. It was the rule of thumb that once your laptop died, you could go home. Of course this meant everyone turned up their brightness and played the most energy consuming video they could find. Me? Nope. I could not go home. Remember how I said I was meeting with my doctor come Monday to discuss the whole overweight thing? Yeah, that was in the opposite direction of my home. I would have had to drive that 39 miles back home, just to walk in, give the fiancé and nugget (daughter) a kiss before jumping back in my car and driving 59.8 miles to my doctor’s office. I chose this specific doctor because how close they were to my work. Silly me why would I do such a thing?

So I sat there, in my dark little cubicle for another hour playing Tiny Tower on my phone – Awful game, but horridly addicting. The clock strikes three and I leap up and skip to the door and make my merry way to the doctors where I get totally amped up to lose weight and be healthy. Then she says with an irksome smile, “Great! We will get started after your laps and next appointment. My calendar is booked until November.”

Seriously? I have to wait until November to lose weight? This is where I envision myself throwing a massive hissy fit in my mind, meanwhile in reality I calmly smile and say “That sounds great! Thank you!”

What happens next? Well this horrid driver gets back behind the wheel and drives 1.2 miles before having to slam on her brakes. Guess what it was? I bet you won’t guess it. No, it wasn’t an animal. It was… wait for it…. TRAFFIC! More traffic! As if my day needed any more traffic! It then proceeded to take me another lovely two hours to get home. It was great. The only thing that kept me from spewing the foulest curses imaginable was the fact that the radio was playing great songs. Instead I opened the windows, and belted out the songs in my awful, tone-deaf voice. I am sure I made quite the sight, dancing to my music with my gigantic sun glasses in my little white corolla. Did I mention I am tone-deaf? Oh well, it gave them something to laugh at for two hours.

When at last my little corolla pulled into my garage and I entered my nice cool apartment, I felt myself cringing at what would greet me. I had horrible visions of my child running amuck like they usually do, with my poor fiancé running behind her with a look of exhaustion and panic. I debated on taking a walk before heading in, but I was starving. Instead, I opened the door hesitantly. I was greeted with a sparkling clean apartment, a reheated, but delicious dinner and a ice cold cherry coke zero. I kicked off my heels and dove in, famished since the power outage stole my chance at lunch. My fantastic fiancé even knew better than to ask me how my day was. Once I had successfully put on three pounds by inhaling my pasta, the fiancé and I curled up on the couch with Kayla. This time, it only took a few minutes to reach my happy level.

As we put Kayla to bed, after reading her an incredibly long bed time story, I promptly forgot about the woes of my day. Then I woke up late and remembered how much the universe hates me.

Weight: A Thought About Myself

I want to thank Greta, The Coffee Addict for her inspirational blog “Thin people are miserable too”. You should check it out, she has great things to say.

I have a confession. I am overweight, and have been struggling with it for a few years. I know everyone says you should love yourself no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be honest with yourself and look in the mirror and say “I am unhealthy.” I love who I am, and I am glad of how I turned out. However I am not happy with my size. I want to lose weight not because I am vain and want to be gorgeous. As much as I would love to be gorgeous, it’s doesn’t really factor high on my lists lately. I already have a great guy hooked, overweight and all! I want to lose weight for an entirely different reason; Health.

When I was younger, I was in good shape. However, I was still larger than most of my family members. Despite the fact that I was healthy, being larger than my sister and cousins began to affect my confidence, and even my own comfort being around my family. There were times when I couldn’t help but look at them, and wish I could look like that. I think everyone in their life has had this experience. It is a pretty normal human reaction to looking at someone else and wanting what they have. This is jealous, vanity, envy, human nature, whatever you want to call it.

Sometimes, these feelings of not being able to compare to another overwhelm you, and you begin to forget all the things you do have. I was never by any means a skinny girl, but I was always very healthy and active. Of course like most high school girls I couldn’t stand the extra weight I had, but it didn’t really bother me too much. Still, I never looked in the mirror and thought “Wow, I am pretty.” I look back at those same photos, and I am now sane enough to know that I was very pretty, and damn I was in good shape. What the heck happened?

It was college that truly began my downfall. I began putting weight on at a fairly steady rate. A few pounds here, a few pounds there, it ended being a total of 25 by the end of my second year after High School. According to google, I was still in the healthy range so I thought “Hey, 170 isn’t so bad.” Well, that 170 continued to go up. A mixture of things helped it along in its process.

When I was twenty, I became very sick. That is another story entirely, but let’s just say it sucked and I was kept very inactive. Not fully bedridden, but close enough. My weight skyrocketed during this time frame. Once the bulk of the illness had passed, I looked at my weight and knew something needed to be done. I was no longer in that “acceptable” weight range and was now located in the dreaded “overweight” range. I started getting the random nutrition pamphlets thrown in to my stack of paperwork at the doctor’s office. I started getting the looks, you know the should-you-really-eat-that look. I hate that look. And do you know what the worst thing about that look is? Half the time it’s all in your head. You would not believe how uncomfortable I get eating in front of people because I feel like everyone is watching the fat girl eat. Man, am I cocky or what? Seriously, people have a lot better things to do than watch me eat. Even though I know this, going out to eat with friends, or even family is so nerve-wracking for me, sometimes I psych myself out to thinking I am just not hungry. It’s truly awful when I go to family BBQs and everyone is eating chips and dip, and I am having an anxiety attack because I really want a chip, but I don’t want the scrutiny.

Not to sound arrogant, or cocky, but I belong to a pretty good-looking family. My mother’s side are all thin, Irish and Irish Italian mixes who inherited all the best features of their heritage. It was very hard for me to look at family pictures, because I always stuck out. I was always the larger one. I began shying away from photos, feeling very uncomfortable when people would ask me to be in one. Why pose in another group photo where I will just take up half of it? So where does this leave me? Afraid to eat and participate in family functions. Kind of sucks doesn’t it? So once more, I stand determined before the mirror and say to my haughty reflection “I will change you, I will be healthy!” Then I go and Google food recipes. Ah sweet Google, such a useful little thing.

I am actually a somewhat healthy eater. I don’t really drink soda, I dislike fast food, I love veggies and will usually eat them as a snack. I don’t generally eat chips, or a ton of cookies. I don’t eat bacon, mainly because I find it gross, or any really fatty meats. All in all, my diet is mildly normal, but I also know it is not enough. I may not eat unhealthy, but I am not healthy either. This is when I realize something. I look at girls who are thin, and I can honestly say I do not want that. For me, I want to lose weight not because I want to fit into those super cute low-rise jeans, but because I want to get into hiking. I want to get back into horseback riding. I want to do this, I want to do that. I want to be active. I want to go outside in the morning and go for a jog. I don’t have a goal number that I want to be at, I have a goal in my ability. I want to be able to do things that I just can’t as I am now. (seriously, I tried pushing myself and bad things happened, read below!)

Even with my goals and my actions to correct my weight, it doesn’t really go down. It also does not go up, which is a good thing. I just seem to be caught in the middle, scratching my head trying to figure out what to do next. I have done the whole increasing my exercise thing; going to the gym, doing things at home, going for long walks during my lunch hour, and where did that get me? An extra 10lbs and a herniated disc in my lower lumbar. Fan-freaking-tastic. So what happens now? Rest, rest, and more rest… and a dash of physical therapy. And this is where I am now; Overweight, broken, getting married in 2 months with only a few lost pounds to show for my “New Year’s Resolution”; still afraid to eat in front of my family, and still dodging pictures that my family just love to take; oh and let’s not forget needing surgery to fix my back since my weight was counterproductive to the physical therapy. Sounds pretty awesome huh?

So how do I fix this? I am not sure, because many of my attempts have met with failure. What are my options? I don’t have many, but I am determined so I will keep trying. Starting Monday, I will be working closely with my doctor to help lose weight. Maybe having a medical professional urging me on instead of my reflection will give me the strength, and willpower I need to do this. We shall see.

What about you? Do you struggle with your health? Do you want to be able to do the things you love without the inhibiting factors, such as being over or underweight, getting in your way? I know I do.

Reflection: A Thought on Little Girls

Reflection: A Thought on Little Girls This morning some cruel twist of fate had me awake at 3:00am.  No matter how much I tried to drift back off to the dreamland I could not.  Perhaps it was the fact that I was in my home alone, as my fiancé and my daughter had been away visiting family, or perhaps it was because my upstairs neighbors have a dog that is the epitome of annoying.  It’s one of those yippy ones that have a complete inability to stop barking.  No matter the case, I was awake. Instead of continuing the futile attempt at sleep, which would only serve to aggravate me more, I decided to get out of bed and start my day.  First and foremost, I needed coffee. I have been attempting, unsuccessfully I might add, to decrease my caffeine intake however that was out of the question at 3:15am.  After drinking my liquid addiction, I poured myself a bowl of Honey Comb cereal and promptly plopped down on my couch with my kindle to check my email.  As the trusty little thing loaded, I was greeted first and foremost by pictures.  I had been reviewing my facebook, which of course is filled to the brim with pictures of my daughter and nieces.  I decided I would tell you all a little bit about them.

My first niece is Faith.  She is a beautiful girl who is turning four in two days.  Faith is a special girl, and a wonderful child.  She was born with a rare heart defect, and as such needed open heart surgery when she was only a week old.  The doctors said she would need them all throughout her life.  She was due for another one at 6 months, but through some amazing miracle she has lasted 4 years.  Although she is going in for a procedure in a few weeks, it is not known whether she will need to go for another open heart just yet.  She has defied expectations.  Children are pretty awesome like that.  Faith also is an award winning big sister.  Her little sister is a few months younger than my own daughter, and goes by Becky.  Now, unlike Faith, Becky is mom’s best friend.  I suppose she inherits that from her uncle, he is all about his mother!  Becky, much like Kayla, loves to eat.  I remember heading over there for lunch, and that child mowed down on her food like someone was trying to steal it!  It was truly adorable.  You would never guess her apatite by her appearance, she is a peanut.  The two of them are a absolutely beautiful pair.  Their parents are very lucky.  Out of respect for her mother, I did not post a picture of them here.

My next niece is an adorable, high energy, beautiful nut, born on April 3rd, 2010.  This child would exhaust even the most athletic Olympian.  She is brilliant, a fact that can be a bit creepy when this little two year old can hold full conversations with you.  She is sneaky too!  You can’t help but love this little girl, she is always smiling and laughing.  They say that Karma pays you back tenfold to those who gave their parents trouble by having a child just like you.  Have fun, my fantastic cousin, you are in for it!  Alana is the oldest of the new generation in our family.  We are now a 4 generation crew!   Alana was the first granddaughter, and was the beginning step in completing our apparent tradition.  My grandmother had four girls, and then the first four of the next generation were girls, and now that group has produced four girls!  We are kind of hoping the next one is a boy, just for some variety!  As three of the four are within months of each other, they all seem to have similar clothing…

Now the next one born to fulfill the female tradition was my own daughter, Kayla, who was born twenty days after Alana on April 23rd, 2010.  My daughter was born premature, but was healthy.  Her lungs had developed, and she had no foreseeable issues.  However, like most premature newborns, she had jaundice.  Jaundice does not pose a threat to infants, unless its caused by an underlying medical condition, which thankfully was not the case with Kayla.  Despite that, we were new parents, and we were terrified.  In the beginning, we only knew that our child needed to stay under a UV light and that we couldn’t  hold her was not a fun experience.  We ended having to be transferred to another hospital just under two hours away that had a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit).  It was terrifying.  We were there for six days, and it is not an experience I wish to repeat.  Once we took her home, the real fun began.  There were now two newborns in our family, Alana and Kayla.  These two, though very different, were insanely good.  At a few weeks old, kayla was already pretty much sleeping through the night.  How many of you guys can claim that? It was like hitting the damn lottery!  At five weeks, we would put her to bed at 8pm, and she would wake up at 7am.  It was incredible!  I was probably the most well rested new mother they had ever seen. She didn’t cry too much, but that didn’t mean I didn’t call my own mom crying when she did. It was very stressful being a new mother!  It did not help that I lived in another state.  Even now, I look back to how nervous I was, how carefully I handled Kayla as though she would break.  I remembered how I used to panic when she would sleep passed the 4 hours the doctors recommended and thought about waking her up.  Thankfully, my family had instilled the firm words of “Never wake a sleeping baby” into my head, otherwise Kayla probably would not have learned to sleep through the night.  All of these memories paraded through my mind as I browsed through hundreds of photos.  Through the ups and downs, time flew by.  Before I knew it, Kayla was three months old, then she was six and had a new baby cousin.  This brings us to my third niece, Kylie.  Now this child was a little different than Kayla and Alana.  Even just after birth, this child had a set of lungs that identified her as a future powerhouse diva.  She hit notes that I swear did not even make sound!  They just made the hairs on the back of your neck stand on edge.  This child has big blue eyes, dirty blonde hair, and an award winning smile.  She will be two in October, and it just so happens that her birthday is also on the day of my wedding.  Its going to be an action packed October!   Alana, Kayla, and Kylie; the three little pigs, or stooges, or whatever threes group you wish to identify them with.  When you get them together, hilarity and chaos ensue.

Despite age, Alana is the smallest, a little peanut compared to the others. Don’t let her size fool you, she’s as feisty as her mother and can probably knock out anyone who gets near her flailing arms as she dances.  Kayla is tallest, and the darkest.  She has my complexion, thankfully, with her tan skin, large dark eyes, and dark hair.  She is a little more reserved than the others, and has a soft little voice, until you make her mad.  She can be a bit vengeful, which her father swears she gets from me.  I don’t see it; I am a saint I swear!  Kylie is in the middle, but this child is solid.  She is the cutest little brute you would ever meet.  After she knocks someone to the ground, she gives you The Lips; the big, puckering lips that you just can’t stay mad at.  Her grandfather, dubbed Grampy is especially susceptible to them.  This little trio will rule this world, I promise you.

Within the past few months, our little trio has actually grown.  There is a new one, the adorable Brenna.  Although her personality is still evolving, she is showing the signs of being like her sister, Alana.  She is a ham, first of all.  It must be my cousins influence, but Alana and Brenna seem to sense a camera and pose beautifully for it.  My daughter has the opposite sense.  She senses the camera and scowls so all I get is a picture that is clearly telling me to go to the bad place.  Brenna is in that stage where she is still making the adorable little coos that melt your heart.  She has big round eyes and teeny weeny little lips, and chubby little legs that you just love.  I don’t know about anyone else, but I seriously think my family is good at making cute babies.  I might be a little biased though… what do you guys think?

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Honor: A Thought about People

Honor: A Thought about People

Honor, it is a word that has existed for as long as history.  What do you think of when you think of honor?  Do you think of medieval knights?  Soldiers?  Police officers?  Perhaps firemen?  I know we certainly don’t think of politicians.  According to the ever handy dictionary.com, honor means honesty, fairness, and integrity, to be held in high respect.  Honor is a word we use to describe people of greatness, people who held fast to their beliefs and acted with honesty, and integrity.  This could apply to a great many people you know, and I truly hope it does.

This weekend, a simple disagreement about another’s actions sparked a deep turmoil for me, and I began to question honor in today’s world.  I was suddenly thrust into deep thought about the ability to ask for help, deception, and pride.  It may seem a bit muddled, but I will do my best to explain.  My words may seem a bit controversial, because it truth they are.  Besides, it just wouldn’t be a Monday without a bit of controversy now would it?

To begin this explanation, I should tell you a little about where I am from.  I was born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, Massachusetts.  Massachusetts is considered one of the more expensive states overall to live in.  In fact some of you may have heard its nickname, Taxachusetts.  Especially with the recent economy, there are many that struggle to continue living here simply because the cost.  To help this struggle, the State offers programs to assist those in need.  Although there is much negativity towards the Welfare program, WIC, (Women, Infants, and Children) or the Food Stamps (SNAPS) program, I am a firm believer that they are necessary and wonderful programs.  I myself have had the need of WIC aid at one time.  People will do what they must to survive, and there is no shame in asking for help.  These programs were put in place to help struggling families, and there is nothing wrong in accepting it.

I have had many friends call upon these programs to help get back on their feet.  I have never once looked down upon them, or scorned them for it.  In fact, I never really gave it much thought.  That was until this weekend when a simple discussion brought about a sharp sense of anger.  There is a very big difference between needing these programs, and wanting them.

When I applied for financial aid this year, as I am returning to school in September to pursue writing,  I did not receive any.  Instead, the government has graciously allowed me to borrow the necessary funds.  I was prepared for this, as my family and I are in a good position financially.  It did not damper my spirits in the slightest.  I know that many people can receive aid, but I truly believe it should be granted to those that need it.  Although I would love to have it, I know I do not fit the bill.

What upset me so much this weekend was deception, that is to say people who lie to get benefits they may or may not deserve.  Those that live in the United States know that this is a hot topic.  Much of this hatred is aimed at those receiving unemployment without looking for a job, but that is not what this post is directed at.  This is directed at those that receive benefits, and lie about why they need them.  Take a person who receives assistance because they are deemed eligible.  That person receives a free education, usually to a school of their choice pending their merits, cash assistance, healthcare assistance, food assistance, even housing assistance.  To all, it seems like they are getting all the help they need to get back on their feet.  Except what they don’t tell the government is that they are working under the table making a good $500 to $600 plus a week.  It may not seem like much money, but that is a good amount over minimum wage, and that wage alone would disqualify them from most of the assistance they receive, pending the size of their family of course.  So imagine the frustration of those that go to their job, day in and day out, have 30% of their wages taken out in taxes, and receive less take home pay than the other person who is also receiving all the assistance, paid for by those very same tax dollars.  It is very discouraging.  Despite that, I can see why people abuse the system.  It is truly financially a better option.  It is not, however, an honorable option.

So I ask then, is it worth it?  Is it wrong, or is it right?  Anyone who claims that is right is deluded.  And yet history teaches us that just because something is not right, does not mean that people are not going to do it.  After all, if they can qualify for it, they will go ahead and take it.  This is where my thoughts on pride surfaced.  As stated before, there is nothing wrong with taking help when you need it.  Key word there is need.

When I first had my daughter, my fiancé and I struggled.  I was out of work due to the harsh pregnancy, and my fiancé was the only one brining in money.  We struggled to pay bills, and we decided we needed help.  Luckily we were able to join a wonderful program called WIC which helps families by supplying basic things such as fruits and vegetables, milk, and even formula to those who need it.  We joined WIC for a few months, but when we got back on our feet we decided we no longer needed it and stopped the program.  It had served its purpose and we moved on.  Now, we are in a great situation due to hard work, and a drive to do better for our family.  I went out, found a fantastic job and am now supporting my family to the best of my ability.  I am proud to say that.  I am also proud to say that I am doing it on my own.  I have no ill thoughts to those that need help because they are doing what they need to do for their families, and that is something to be just as proud of.

However, I would not be proud to deceive these programs, and cheat the system to get benefits you  are not entitled to.  It may not be ideal that these things are not available to everyone, but then if that were the case our taxes would skyrocket and then this post would be about that.  So to those people who are abusing the system to your own advantage, I ask a simple question.  Does it make you feel proud that you are able to get benefits you might not deserve?  If it does, well then all the power to you.  While you stand proudly over your pile of deception, I will stand proudly over my accomplishments.  And should the government catch you, which in all honesty is doubtful, then you might want to Google the definition of fraud.