Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Letter to my Husband

To the love of my life, 

In the every day marathon that our lives have become, I don't think I take enough time out to let you know how much you mean to me, how much you are loved and appreciated. 

The twinkle in your beautiful baby blues, the way you clearly loved your boys so, the easy going way in which you spoke that made me feel like somehow I had already known you forever... All these things and more drew me to you that very first night. I had long since forgotten the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, but it all came rushing back to me under the dark lights of Cannon's Blackthorn. I couldn't wait to see you again, to get to know you better. When you kissed me I just knew, I knew I would be kissing those lips for an eternity.  

We've traveled a long and winding road this last 7.5 years. It hasn't always been easy, but together we have managed to take it all on and come through whatever has been thrown our way. Five kids can be a lot to handle, but I think they are all a testament to us, and the strength of our love; to the value we put on family. The boys especially; they are so good, so genuine, so loving, so strong, and it's all because they have you for a role model. An honest, hard-working, loving man who puts his life on the line daily for the job he loves. 

I would be remiss not to mention all the turmoil going on in NYC right now. It has a huge impact on our lives. First and foremost, I have to tell you how unbelievably brave I think you are. There is no way in hell I could ever be a police officer. I'm far too chicken to ever put myself in a position of possible physical altercation, or to even hold a weapon, let alone having to use one. 
I am humbled by the fact that someone I love is so willing to give of themselves for the safety of others, and so very honored to tell people that I am your wife. 
I am amazed by the ease at which you do you job, the comfort level you have even with all the risks involved. The way you never seem afraid...
In spite of all of that, I am terrified every time you walk out that door.

I never gave it much thought in the beginning. Work was just a place you went, and you always came home, and I never heard much about what happened in between. Then the assault happened. Ever since then I'm always a little nervous when you leave for work, because now I know something can happen to you. You are not infallible.

Now, today, in December of 2014, I am petrified at the thought of you being a walking target. The fear that you could walk out that door for work one day and never come home is far to real right now, and it paralyzes me at times. I can't imagine, even for one second, what my life would be like without you in it. You are the thread that stitches my ripped seams. The glue that holds all my broken pieces together. You are the rock on which I depend for all things. Without you, my world would be dark. Our children would be lost. I truly can't even fathom it. 

I wanted you to know that.

Today of all days, I need you to know that you are one of the 6 greatest gifts God has given me. Of course without you, the other 5 gifts would not have been possible.

You show me love, Every. Single. Day. Even when I'm in a bad mood; when I'm being evil and terrible to you, you always show me love and patience. 
You support me, Every. Single. Day. When I feel like the load of this life is just to much for me to bear, you shoulder it for me. 
When I am down on myself, you lift me up.  
You give me strength, Every. Single. Day. When I lose faith in myself, you encourage me in ways I could never to do for myself. 
You truly are my better half, and I would be so lost in this world without you. 

I pray to God that he will keep you safe; that my mother - my guardian angel, is watching over you as well, and that they will keep you coming home to us safely every single night. 

I love you, my lobster. I will never stop loving you. I will love you with every ounce of my being for the rest of my life. 

Today, and every day,  I just need you to know how thankful I am for the gift of you. 

Forever and always,


A Letter to my Mother

To my mother, my angel,

16 years ago I had to say goodbye to you,  the most amazing woman I have ever known. Beautiful, smart and funny; loving, compassionate and kind. Sarcastic and sassy, yet sweet and gentle, generous and the most loyal person you could ever meet. When I think of how difficult it was to say goodbye, I have to remind myself that no pain was greater than the pain of watching you suffer in those 7 months, and I have to thank God for taking you to a place where you no longer feel pain.

For years I replayed that last day over and over in my head. Every. Single. Detail. Every memory like a tiny needle stabbing me again and again. Now, so many years later, I choose to remember all the days before that last day. We made more happy memories in the 19 years before the cancer than can be erased by those 7 long, hard months. Most days now I can wash away the sadness with a happy thought of you shaking your booty in some ridiculous dance, or calling out to me, "Petunia..." from your perch on the couch. I remember the smell of your Trident Original gum, and the curves of your perfect fingernails. I remember the way you would tuck my hair behind my ear, and wait up in my bed for me to come home from a night out. I remember your round face, and your love of Vienna Fingers. I refuse to remember the way the cancer left you. I won't let it win.

It has been 5,840 days since I gave you a hug, or a kiss, or heard the sound of your voice; and while each of those days it has gotten a little bit easier for me to carry on without you, not a day goes by that you are not on my mind or in my heart. It breaks my heart that my children will never know your love the way I knew it, but I know you are watching over us and keeping us all safe every day. I know you live on in Michele and I, more so than I'd like to admit sometimes(!); and that J, A, R and M all have a piece of your spirit - I see it in the way they love others. To quote a great family friend, "she left an indelible impression on all those who had the pleasure of knowing her. My life is a better place because she was in it". I hope you know how much you meant to everyone in your life, not just us. Your friends still reach out to me to tell me how much they miss you, how blessed they were to have had you in their lives. 

Thank you for keeping daddy safe, and close to us. When I was younger I would sometimes wonder how you put up with him, but I see it clearly now. There has never been a man with more patience, or kindness. You chose wisely when you married him, maybe somehow you knew someday we would need him, and his inner strength and beauty would shine through. I couldn't ask for a better father for myself, or grandfather for my children.  He has kept us all going in your absence, you would be so proud of the way he has opened himself up. Ever since that day at the funeral home when he was showing everyone the napkin you wrote your phone number on for him the night you first met, 20 years before - the way he tucked it into your hands so lovingly, so you could take it home with you. I knew in that instant what true love looks like. So I thank you for giving me that gift, even after you were already gone. 

Mom, thank you for being my rock for the 20 wonderful years we shared on this earth together, and for being my guiding light in the 16 years since you've been gone. Thank you for being the voice in my head that keeps me going when all I want to do is throw in the towel. Your memory, your legacy - they give me the strength to keep going. 

"In my dreams I'll always see you soar above the sky, in my heart there'll always be a place for you for all my life. I keep a part of you with me, and everywhere I am, there you'll be. Everywhere I am, there you'll be". 

I hope that I can be even half the mother to my children that you were to us. I hope that my friends will hold me in the same high regard that yours do you. I hope that my husband knows that even though I am rough around the edges, every edge is carved with fierce love for him and our family, just like yours were. Every day I strive to emulate you, your love & your generosity. I hope that someday I will come close. 

I love you, Mom and I miss you more than words could ever say.

Until we meet again, 

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Monday, December 22, 2014

A Letter to my Daughter

I thought I'd write a couple of letters this week. I'm feeling a little emotional with my mom's anniversary this past weekend, and it always helps me a bit to let some things go. So today I write a letter to my daughter. I'm sure it won't be the last, there will be so many things I want to share with her over the years. Experience has taught me to always write things down, to document them, because  you don't always say what you're feeling in every situation in life, and you never know what direction life will take. You may think you have all the time in the world for recipe sharing, story telling, or explanations, and then suddenly your time is cut short...

To my smart, sweet, sassy, beautiful girl,

There are no words to measure how I feel about you. From the first time I held you in my arms 3 years ago, I knew you were the missing piece to the puzzle. I knew you were the band-aid to my wound, the Spackle to the whole in my heart. Please don't be mistaken, I love your brothers fiercely and with abandon, there are no favorites here... but our relationship, yours and mine, was destined to be different from the start. Not only are you our last baby, and the only baby your daddy and I share together, but as our only daughter, you represent a unique opportunity for mommy. With you I can finish all the mommy/daughter things your grandma and I started but never got the chance to. All of things I never got the chance to share with her, I will share with you. She taught me how to crochet, and needlepoint, and sew, but we never got the chance to do any of those things together as adults. We cooked side by side in her kitchen many times during my childhood, but never as adults and friends. The day I graduated college I looked out into the crowd, and she wasn't there, but I will be there to see you toss that cap. The day you stand up before God and family and promise yourself to your best friend, I will be there... and the first time you hold your own baby in your arms, I will look on with amazement.

Whenever I miss my mom, and I'm feeling sad, I just look at you, and it warms my heart. I see her kindness in your eyes, her sass in the way you tilt your head when you talk, her soul in the way you love everyone so freely. I daydream of all the things you and I will do together as the years pass. Even if it's the most mundane things like grocery shopping or taking a walk, I imagine us doing them together when you're grown, and it makes me feel whole again somehow. The idea of being able to share with you all the things I never got to share with your grandma makes the pain a little more bearable somehow. When I look at you I feel a little less empty, a little less lost.

It's not just because you carry your grandmother's name, not just because you are my only girl...
I hope you know that there are a million more reasons why I love you so.
Every freckle, every eyelash, every single brown speckle in your beautiful hazel eyes...
Every time you open your mouth and something so innocent, or so unbelievably funny comes out... Every time I see you with your brothers, the way you love them so and teach them how to be gentle and kind.
I love you so because I know you will change the world someday.
Your sharp mind and huge heart are going to help you make a difference in this world, this I know for sure.
You have already changed ours so very much.

I look forward to every day with you. I cherish every second we spend together. I love every single mommy/daughter game we play, every adventure we take together. We will continue to journey on you and me, the girls team in our house full of loud, silly, stinky boys. No matter what life throws at us, no matter how far away you drift as you grow and try to find your own place in the world, I know you will always come back to me. I know in you I have a best friend for life, and I am telling you now that in me you have yours. I will always be here for you, I will always be your #1 fan. Forever and always.


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Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday Fun!!!

We're back!!!

We had a super awesome time celebrating all the kids birthdays at Universal Studios Orlando last month!!! We were there for Halloween, and baby M turned 3 while we were there as well. It was a very relaxing (meaning no set schedule to follow) and fun extended weekend.

We had a photo finish to the airport because my new iPhone 6 (thank you Verizon Wireless for the $200 trade in, making my phone essentially free!!!) shipped 2 weeks early and was basically delivered as we were walking out the door. I am very happy it came in time though, because the camera takes really great pictures and that came in very handy while we were away!

The flight down to Florida was amazing. Boarding went smoothly, and once we were all on board we took off with no delay. That NEVER happens when you fly out of NY....

We had a late flight, so I was a little a lot nervous about the transportation situation. Thankfully the car service provided by Universal was there waiting for us, and they did have a car seat for little Miss M, so things were going way better than expected already!

We stayed at Universal Studios new on-site hotel, The Cabana Bay Beach Resort. Check-in was pretty smooth, although slightly time-consuming - although that just could have been because it was 10:30 at night, and after a long day of work/school and racing to the airport, we were all pretty beat. We got our keys and headed off to the room. This is where things started to go down-hill. Our room was in the main building, which was good, but it was far - I mean, REALLY FAR away from the main lobby and pretty much everything else in the place. We were the second to last room at the end of the longest hallway I have ever walked down. Needless to say, I was already annoyed...  When we got inside the kids were checking things out, and A noticed that the drawers weren't cleaned out. There were some receipts and loose change. Then he checked the fridge, and there was still food in it!!! I immediately called the front desk. While I was holding with them, M was horsing around on the bed. It was then that we discovered the sheets hadn't been changed!!!! Now, I was FUMING!!!! It was so late already, we were tired and cranky, and I was really hoping this was going to set a precedent for the rest of the trip.

Thankfully, it didn't. In the end, the hotel changed our room, and gave us two new adjoining rooms with a much beautiful view of the pool and a better bathroom set up. Once we were settled, things couldn't have gone better!!! The transportation from the hotel to the parks was a cinch. It is within walking distance, but since this hotel is relatively new, the walkway was not 100% completed. We didn't want to chance it with all the kids and the stroller, so we stuck with the bus. It was great! The seats were cushioned and leather, and the ride was less than 5 minutes from door to door. The bus lets you off at City Walk, so there is a little walking required to get to the actual parks, but since the weather was beautiful, no one seemed to mind.

In my opinion, this was the perfect time of year to visit. The temperature was good, a little cool Saturday and Sunday, but it sure beats sweating your behind off!!! The crowds were manageable. We didn't wait terribly long for anything except for Harry Potter Escape from Gringotts. The line for Transformers was also pretty darn long, but they gave us what they called a "birthday express pass" so poor M wouldn't have to spend her entire day waiting on line for a ride she wasn't even big enough to ride. We thought that was super awesome of them!  

We had the meal plan for this trip, and it really was worth it. For a large family like ours, we really did save quite a bit of money. We actually ended up taking some snacks home. I definitely recommend it. Our package came with two complimentary breakfast at Harry Potter, we had some quick but great lunches, and we had some pretty delicious dinners as well. Unfortunately, M's birthday dinner was our least favorite place, but live and learn. If you're down there, skip Vivo Italian Kitchen. It wasn't worth it. Food was sub-par & the service was terrible. They did take some stuff off the bill though, so at least there was that. We did the character breakfast for her that morning at Jake's in the Royal Pacific hotel, and that was a much better experience. The food was great there and the characters were awesome. M was loving it! We all had a good laugh when Gru ran around the restaurant with my cell phone while my mother-in-law was on FaceTime.

While we were away I had a bit of a breakthrough in the body image area. At the request of my husband I did bring my bikini on the trip, although I wasn't sure I would wear it. I let the kids talk me into going down to the pool even though it was only in the 60's, so I had to put it on... and I actually felt good in it!!! For the first time in almost 15 years, I put on a bathing suite and felt comfortable in it. The fact that it was a 2 piece just takes it to a whole other level. I've been working hard for that, and I'm proud of all that I've accomplished. I'm hoping by this summer I'll be even more comfortable! Small victories!!!

We really had a great time, and it was hard coming back to reality. It was nice to have the whole family together for 5 days. We don't get to do that often enough. The kids did not want to go home...

Somehow the time has slipped from Halloween to Thanksgiving and past, and now we are just 2 short weeks away from Christmas! How could this be??? Looking forward to some more family time while the kids have an extended break from school. After that, it will be Mommy & Daddy's turn for a little fun so....

Now I'm looking forward to some alone time with my man... Next up, Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend!!! Can't believe I'm running my second half marathon next month, AHHH!!!! 

More on that to follow....

Happy Monday :)

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Friday, October 24, 2014

School Days

This school year has marked a lot of new beginnings for us. We now have one High School student, one Middle School student, two 4th graders and a pre-schooler!!! That's right, folks! We have at least one at every level, and yes, Baby M started school this year!!!

It is hard to believe that 3 years have gone by already, and that our baby girl is in school, but it's TRUE!!! She is going to school 3 days a week, for 3 hours a day, and so far she is loving it! She loves her teachers and has made a couple of good friends so far. We thankfully did not have any trouble with her separating from Jay at drop off right from the start. So far, so good on that front! She is enjoying learning about the days of the week and the seasons, and play centers is one of her favorite times of the day. She loves playing in the "home" center, specifically in the kitchen. The apple did not fall far from the tree with this kid!!!

As far as the boys are concerned, I wish I had better news to report. Three out of four of our boys are not doing as well as we would like at this point in time. Enter blended family BS mentioned in my last post... When there are no adults who are fluent in your native language in the house to help with homework & studying, it can be difficult to do well. My husband has tried to no avail to discuss the situation, with not one response. So what can we do from an hour away? It is breaking my heart to see them struggling, but I'm really not sure what the solution is. We both feel that our hands are tied, and it's a terrible feeling. To top it all off, they are moving... AGAIN! Thankfully not far enough that they have to change schools again, but the inconsistency and constant moving is not good for them. They need stability, and are clearly not getting it where they are. I really, truly wish the courts were set up to favor the more responsible party, which is not always the mother.

A while back I posted about R having "Ants in the Pants". Thing were slightly better over the summer, but picked right up when school started and were worsening at an alarming rate. We decided to take him to a pediatric neurologist where he was diagnosed with ADHD. So now the big question was to medicate, or not to medicate.

All summer long I tried changing his diet, modifying his sugar intake, etc. I used some essential oils as well, but nothing really seemed to help. By the time we made it to the doctor I was literally at the end of my rope. I still am really. We decided to go ahead with the meds and he was really showing signs of improvement for the first 10 days. No side effects to speak of, increased attention at school and better behavior overall at home. Then the bottom fell out. After the first week and a half he started to have what I've been told is called a rebound effect. He was showing less focus at school and his behavior at home was terrible. The doctor changed his dosage at our follow up but it was evident to me after only a few days that this was just not the right medicine for him. I immediately called the doctor and we decided to change to a different medicine. She told me not to worry, that these things take time, and sometimes it can be months before they find something that works. So, it's been about a week on medicine #2. So far so good. He is experiencing decreased appetite, which we are watching closely, but thankfully no other side effects. He is doing extremely well in school and is making much better choices at home. I am grateful for the improvement, but am only cautiously optimistic given what happened with the last one. I'm really hoping that this, in conjunction with the therapy we just started with him, will be the key we need to manage this with him.

As a parent it's difficult because of course I want him to be happy, successful and well adjusted. I am fully aware of the challenges he faces, and I understand what is going on completely. However, as a human, I'm easily frustrated by his behavior. It's hard for me to find the patience to deal with this day in and day out, but I am digging deep. Thankfully, his dad, step-dad and I are all on the same page as far as treatment and resolutions for at home behavior are concerned. We are all working well together with the school & doctors to best help him and our family get through this rough patch.

I found this article on FaceBook today about how ADD/ADHD effects relationships. I thought it was interesting. I never really thought about it from the perspective that it's something that is impacting him every. single. minute. When you look at it that way, the gravity of it really sets in. When he says he can't help himself, he really means it, and it's heartbreaking...

I try to focus on the good times, and these smiles make it easy to do! Just hoping things continue to improve from here. Please say a prayer for us!

In the meantime, we will be busy with lots of family time while Jay is on vacation next week. Looking forward to our big birthday bash trip coming up, there will be lots of pics to come!!!

Have a great weekend!

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Saturday, October 18, 2014

I'm Back... Again!!!!

I've been away... for a while. Sorry about that :(

Lots of things have been happening. Some good, some bad, and I haven't really had the time or the desire to write about them.

Today I decided that instead of sulking about the bad points, I'm going to share the good ones instead! Maybe I will inspire others to make a change, maybe I will even inspire myself!

Last year I made a bucket list, 20 in 40, a list of 20 things I want to do before I turn 40. You can read all bout that HERE. So far, I have accomplished only 3 things on that list:

Run a 5K
Run a Half Marathon
Get a pet - Yay, Guinness!!!!

I'm hoping to cross of one more in a couple of weeks on our family trip, which is to ride The Incredible Hulk roller coaster in Universal Studios.

I'm not sure if 3 or 4 things in a year is good or not, but I feel pretty proud of my running accomplishments for sure. I have been working hard this year to clean up my health a little bit and make myself stronger. Small changes to my diet have definitely improved my endometriosis symptoms (more on that next week) and helped me to increase my muscle mass and general physical fitness.

While I was in the process of trying to improve my general health and well being, I fell in love with Beach Body and some of their programs. I started with Shaun T's Focus T25, and then I decided to try the 21 Day Fix. The results I got were amazing! I feel stronger at 35 than I ever have in my life, and with that has come the self-confidence I have always been lacking.

Gaining strength and confidence each day has given me the desire to want to share these things with others, so  I decided a couple of months ago to become a Beach Body coach. I am really enjoying helping other people realize their own potential and achieve their fitness goals. If you are interested in any of the BB programs, you can check them out HERE, email me at DeeRoeTonesUp@gmail.com, or PM on FaceBook. These last 6 months or so have changed my life. I am now a firm believer that the body achieves what the mind believes. YOU can do ANYTHING you put your mind to, you just have to take the first step. 

The changes I made to my diet and exercise routine were small, but because I continued to make them day in and day out, I was able to run my first half marathon at the beginning of this month!!!

My official time was 2:28:33. Not bad for my first time!!! Now I can officially call myself a runner & I am ready to take on the Walt Disney World Half in January 2015!!! #RunDISNEY #WDW #WDWHalf #WDWHereICome #Runnergirl #Runnermom #ALLTHEHASHTAGS

The low points of my hiatus will be for another post, today is all about the positives! I started a new business and achieved what I consider to be one of the greatest accomplishments of my adult life (outside of my college graduation and my children, of course!). 

The moment I crossed that finish line it was an "in your face" to every bully in elementary school who called me fat, to every jerk who pushed me around and made me feel ugly and worthless.

I am having the last laugh. 

Not only am I healthy and strong, but I am teaching my children to be the same. I'm also teaching them to be compassionate and tolerant of others who may be struggling to find their own way, which is way more than their parents ever did for them.  

Next week I'll post an update on the kids & all those happenings. We've been very busy with school, birthdays and outings, among other things... Plus, we can't forget the usual blended family BS (but that's a whole separate post!!!!)...

More on those little munchkins to come :)

Happy Weekend!!! 

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Office... The Story of This Week's NSV

A funny thing happened to me today on my way from my office to the main office in my building. 
I was taking my typical thrice daily walk to check my mailbox when I just so happened to catch a glimpse of something, or someone, in the display glass in the hallway. This person seemed familiar to me, although I didn't quite recognize her. She looked kinda like me, only thinner! and she had toned-ish looking legs! and a spring in her step!!! "Who could that girl be?"  

I think a lot of women deal with this, especially if you have struggled with weight issues for a long time (or you know, FOREVER). I don't see myself in the mirror the way other people see me. A lot of the time, I still see the old me. 

Don't get me wrong, in my conscious brain I know I've lost weight. I also know I look better and healthier now than I did before but... when you are overweight for a decent portion of your life, when you use food to cope with your emotions - the inner fat girl does not just politely back out the door when you tell her it's time to go. 

She hangs around, nagging at your subconscious, rearing her ugly head at you from time to time. 
I think sometimes it can be a good thing. Sometimes you need a reminder of where you came from to kick your butt in gear, and sometimes you just need to indulge - and believe me, she's there for that too!
However, sometimes she is there to mock you and play games with your head. 
Some days you just can't see past the inner fat girl in the mirror, no matter how hard you try

For me, today was not one of those days. For the first time in a long time I walked past that glass and caught a glimpse of what I've been working so hard for. I saw someone who looked strong and happy. It doesn't happen every day, because all you ladies know we are far too critical of ourselves and our bodies, but today I actually liked what I saw. Today I was proud of what I saw. 

Today I had a non-scale victory! 

I'm not sure I'll ever be satisfied, but I'm also not necessarily sure that's a bad thing. I think it's good to have new goals and aspirations to keep us moving forward. I'd like to see how far I can will push myself, how many things I can accomplish now that the old me never thought were possible (like beach volleyball, maybe???). 

I don't know what the future will bring, but I do know this... Today is shaping up to be a pretty good day my friends, a pretty good day indeed :)

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Wednesday, May 7, 2014


So... I got this super cool email the other day telling me my little ol' blog has been nominated as a top Step-parenting Blog! How cool is that??? 

We've been so sick, I almost missed it. Thankfully that didn't happen and now I'm sharing this little tidbit with all my internet friends. Who doesn't love a good contest???

If you would like to cast a vote (or two) for little old me, please follow this link & show me some love <3 Votes can be cast one time per IP address.


I'm not sure which lovely nominated me, but I am flattered BEYOND belief! The fact that anyone reads this thing makes me smile, the fact that people might actually think it's good takes it to a whole other level! I just try to share my journey, my experiences with my wacky crew & keep it real. Thanks for taking the ride with me :)

Love to all! 

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Friday, April 4, 2014

5 on Friday

I haven't done a link-up in forever. My friend Cari over at Adventures of the Roberts always does this one and I thought it looked fun so I'm going to jump in this week! I'm sharing 5 bits of randomness on my second favorite day of the week :)


So happy for warmer weather. M was able to play on the playground during R's baseball practice the other night, so everyone was happy! Except for me, mainly because she insisted on leaving the house looking like this....


Beach volleyball. 
I'm playing it. 
This summer, on an actual team. 
Fo Realz.
This is scary, mainly because I'm extremely uncoordinated & tend to fall a lot... but it's guaranteed to be a good time with this motley crew. Can't wait for that debacle to begin!


We finally broke down and bought M a baby Anna doll since she has been doing so good with potty training. To say this girl is in love would be an understatement. Her braids have already been removed, hair is a hot mess, & she must have "AH-na", Olaf & "AH-na's" hair brush everywhere we go!


Captain America comes out today!!! Can't wait to catch this one in the theater with my love! 


I finally found a Quest bar I can get behind!!! I've been looking for something meal replacement-ish to have before/after I workout besides my protein shake. Jay has banished from using the Nutri-bullet in the morning, so I can't take one to work for breakfast or have one before I hit the gym on the weekends. I bought a few different flavors of the Quest bars because I've heard so much about them and how good they taste. I tried Cookies & Cream and Chocolate Brownie; I was not impressed with either. They both had that funny aftertaste that things with artificial sweetener tend to have, so I gave up for a while. Last night I remembered I had a Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough left and let me tell you, that was delicious! I need to buy myself a whole case of those bad boys!!! The best part is they're gluten free too, so good for my belly :)

Have a great weekend!!!!

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ants in the Pants

I've been struggling a bit lately, and I hate the feeling that I am losing control over something. So I'm coming to you for help, my bloggy friends. The beautiful thing about the Internet is that there are so many people out there, and someone is bound to have a similar experience to you. I'm hoping that's the case, and someone out here in the blogoshpere can give me some guidance or maybe just a boost. 

As a parent, you always want what is best for your children. You want them to be happy and successful in everything they do. For this reason, I have always had a hard time with school. I hate not knowing if they are happy and feeling special and successful all day. I worry about them getting picked on or feeling "stupid" if they get the answer wrong in front of the class. Part of this is me projecting my insecurities from my own poor school experience, and I know that. I assume the other part just comes with being a parent and the difficulty of separating from your child.

You see, my son has ants in his pants. These ants have followed him since kindergarten, all the way to the third grade. They even make their way home with him at the end of every school day. We have been watching them closely, hoping they would hit the trail (pun intended), but so far we've had no such luck.  

So what do you do when you know your child requires a little more attention than most? How do you focus on your own responsibilities when you know your child is struggling and you can't be there or don't know how to help him? 

Our two older boys both have had their share of learning difficulties so I'm no stranger to this sort of thing, but with our little guy it's a little less black and white. He is academically quite capable, but he has a very hard time focusing. The concern is that if he continues to have this difficulty, the missing information will eventually cause him to fall behind. We have already tried manipulating sleep/wake times to improve behavior during the school day, and giving a break after school before homework to no avail. 

We are currently working with some behavioral modification programs both at school and at home, trying to focus on the positives rather than the negatives. The consensus is that if we give the power to him, he will focus longer and try harder to make things go in the direction in which he wants them to go.   

Yesterday I was a little nervous to tell him about the new system we were going to be using at home where he will be earning his TV and electronic device time by way of neatly and correctly completing all of his homework assignments. He was SO excited about the new program his teacher was using in school and how well he did with that in school, I thought it might go better than I expected - and it did, at first. Homework went off without a hitch! He made corrections without complaint, and earned almost of all of the electronics time available during his allotted after school hours. Apparently the more he thought about our arrangement the more he decided he didn't like it, because by the end of the night it was all he could talk about... and then he put his nasty pants on. Next came those dreaded words. The words no mother ever wants to hear, even when you know they don't really mean it.

 "I HATE YOU", he said. 

Then he put himself to bed. He wouldn't even say good night to me.

* SOB* 

This is hands down the hardest part of parenting. My mind knows we are doing what is best for him, but my heart wants to tell him to forget the whole thing & give him whatever he wants just so he won't be mad at me anymore. I know it was only the first day of our new systems, but I was hoping it would go a little bit better than "I hate you" right out of the gate. Cross your fingers for me that day 2 goes a little a lot better. 

Do you have a hyper or easily distracted child? How do you deal with homework? Outbursts? Has anyone tried modifying diet, and if so, did you find it to be successful in any way? I would love to know I'm not alone in this and hear some other perspectives/advice. 

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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thankful Thursday

I've spent the last 2 weeks suffering miserably and recuperating from the flu. I have never been so sick before in my life. The fever and sweats kept me up all night. I mean literally had to get up and change my clothes in the middle of the night, menopause-type sweats! The pounding in my head and ache in my back made me want to curl up and sleep all day. 

Unfortunately, when you have children rest is pretty hard to come by. Jay was unable to stay home from work, so I was on my own most of the time. It's taking me a little longer to get 100% back to myself since I wasn't able to rest as much as I should have. 

It's been very hard to get back into the exercise groove because my body is still so tired, and I had an asthma attack during my first post-flu attempt at running. I like to do everything full throttle, so I'm having a really hard time taking it easy. I'm generally an all or nothing type person when it comes to working out, so it's really been bugging me that I can't get in the type of workout that I love. I'm feeling better every day though, so I think I'm almost there! 

Slowly but surely I'm getting back into my routine, and I've been thinking this week about how lucky I am... even when it seems that maybe I'm not. 

In spite of all the hardships, I still have a ton of things to be thankful for:

Since we live in NY, where everything costs a bloody fortune, it's sometimes easy for us to forget that we both have really good jobs and make a good living. Unfortunately it's not enough, but I'm very grateful for what we do have. 

Last week when I was sick I had to take care of the kids myself, which sucked a little bit, but not too much because I have the best kids ever. They were both so well behaved! Baby M especially, I still can't get over how good she was!!! Even R was able to reign in some of his excess energy and keep it together so I didn't want to kill him on top of feeling like shit. On Saturday when the boys were with us they were also so good and so helpful. I really am so blessed to have such good kids. At first I was mad at Jay for not being able to help me out more, but I decided I have to just view it as more time spent with my loves, whether I felt good or not. Being upset about it isn't going to change anything, and I need to focus my energy on more positive things. 

I am also thankful that I have such wonderful friends, who brought me & the kids dinner and goodies when I was stranded in my house for a week. My bffl checked in on me every. single. day. When you don't have a mom, it's nice to have someone looking out for you... 

Which is why I'm equally as thankful for my sister, who also checked in on me daily while I was sick & helped out by taking R to religious ed for me so I could rest. 

I really am so blessed to be surrounded by such wonderful people. I have definitely learned my lesson for next year & I will be first on line at my doctor's office for my flu shot! Never want to deal with that bullshit ever again. 

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Lost: Patience

Lost: Patience
If Found: Please return to the frazzled crazy woman at the end of this blog. 

I know that being a SAHM is not walk in the park, but there are some days that I really wish with all my might that I could give that a whirl. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy my job(s), but sometimes it just gets the better of me. I am constantly wishing I could do more, be better... and it's exhausting.

I have to be at work super early and my friends let me tell you, I am NOT a morning person. AT ALL. Having to wake up to the alarm at that God-forsaken time Monday - Friday is a chore in and of itself, forget about having to be ready to be somewhere on top of that. Dump 8  hours of work on top of that, and I'm already day-dreaming about actually dreaming before I'm even half-way through my day. When I come home I have to squeeze in 45 minutes of exercise for my own sanity, and then I have to put on my wife/mommy hat. 

The major problem with this, is that I'm too exhausted to enjoy my children while wearing said hat. 

Last week Jay was on vacation, so that was a dream come true. He is most definitely the chef of the house, so he had my lunch ready for me every day when I came home (Who's better than him?) and either he cooked dinner every night, or we partnered up and cooked together. All four of the boys have a job to do, so set-up and clean-up went smoothly. It was so nice to be able to enjoy family dinners and then actually have time to hang out with the kids when it was all cleaned up. 

Sadly, this week we are back to reality. The boys are back at their moms, and Jay is back at work. We are back to 2 hours of homework a night, plus reading. Night time showers and packing lunches. Now it's just me, R & M for dinner and it's just too quiet. R helps out, but by the time I'm done cleaning up left overs and doing dishes, I just don't have the time to spend with them that I would like. 

I know people say to just leave the messes because your kids are only small for so long, but what do you do when you are a type A personality that simply just can't do that?

 ...also an undeniable nervous twitch?

It's a compulsion, I know - but I just can't stand the papers on the table, the dishes in the sink, the crumbs and toys all over the floor... If I try to leave the chores behind in an effort to spend more time with my loves, it literally keeps me up at night! I want to be able to enjoy the little time I have with my kiddos after working all day without feeling like I'm being a bad wife because the house in unkempt. Not to mention the fact that it would be nice to have 5 minutes for myself to watch some TV or read a book. GASP! A book? Do I even remember how to read? How do I find balance? 

this is what I should look like all the time....

but I'm pretty sure 95% of the time I look like this...

Or maybe more like this!

How do I find time for myself when my darling 2 year old won't sleep? She boycotts going to sleep, and lately is having trouble staying asleep. Where did we go wrong? She was doing great going down on her own for months. No fuss and no tears, sleeping through the night like a champ, and now all of the sudden bed time involves more negotiations than international peace summit! WTF? Aren't babies supposed to sleep poorly as infants and get better with age? What is with this regression here? I really don't know how much more of this broken sleep I can take! I. am. dying. here! 

but how can I stay mad at this face???

Between the lack of sleep, stress from work, and stress from life in general, I'm just really not feeling like myself lately. Little things are setting me off that never did before. I have lost my patience and I need to get it back, STAT! Apparently healthy eating and exercise alone are not enough to ward off the stress. 

Someone please tell me I'm not alone! How do you find balance between work and home responsibilities and keep your stress level down?

This mama is tired and feeling pretty crappy :(

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