Snow Day Sidetrack

Snow Day Sidetrack

Due to my crazy schedule/life, I generally write my blog posts the day before they are published. I have long wanted to have a collection of blog posts at the ready for when life happens, but of course life keeps happening, so it hasn't happened. So when a snow day occurred on my usual writing day, my whole schedule got shot in the foot. In a good way. Like I got to spend quality time with the family.  

Christmas 2016: A Tale Two Christmases

Christmas 2016: A Tale Two Christmases

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. On Sunday we celebrated Hailey's first Christmas. It was so fun to see the joy on her face eating wrapping paper and playing with her brother. It was the first time we had all 4 cousins together. It was also the day my grandma went to be with her husband in heaven.

Diabetes: Why I Walk

I hope everyone had a nice Labor Day weekend and if you don't celebrate, I hope you had a nice weekend anyway!!  We had a nice time. I had a 4 day weekend and the hubs was actually off 2 days so we had a lot of family time. We went to church, to the park, watched movies, and just played together. It was glorious.

Speaking of family, today I wanted to talk about the upcoming Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes. If you have been reading a while, you may know that my brother is diabetic. To be specific he has type 1 diabetes. He was diagnosed during the week of my birth back in April of 1985. He was not yet 2 years old. Growing up he would often blame me for the diabetes seeing as how we both arrived around the same time. I knew he was kidding, sort of.

Growing up, my brother wasn't always the best patient. As a child mom took care of all the finger pricks and needles, but as he got older he definitely resented the diagnosis. Especially in his teen years when he was able to administer the insulin to himself he would not always be conscientious about it. He had several episodes where he neglected to take his insulin and ended up in the emergency room with ridiculously high blood sugar levels.

Since then however, he has been good at monitoring and caring for himself. A year or two ago he was in a good place. He was living upstate, pursuing education, and enjoying a social life. Recently, however, the side effects of this disease and other complications have hit him hard.

It started out with more minor ailments, Crohn's disease, a bout of Bell's palsy, loosing the arch in his foot. Then he started going blind. He suffered kidney failure and currently has dialysis 3 days a week.  He lost feeling in several fingertips, which then became gangrenous, and eventually had to be amputated. More recently he began to loose toes and has now had his foot amputated.

At this point, he is in an assisted living home because his leg has yet to heal so he cannot yet use a prosthetic. Since he is wheelchair bound and our family's homes cannot accommodate the chair, he is there until he heals.

At only 33 years old, my brother is in a hard place. He is super smart and well spoken. He is a lover of the outdoors and enjoyed camping and other outdoor pursuits.  I can only imagine his mental state at this point. I know he looks forward to seeing my kiddos and he is motivated to heal to spend more time with them.

This is why I walk.  Because a vibrant 33 year old shouldn't have this laundry list of ailments.  Because we need to find a cure and I will do what I can to help that happen.

If you would like to contribute to the cause and donate, you can follow this link to my page on the American Diabetes Association Website.  Any support whether it be monetary, kind words, or prayers is greatly appreciated.



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Things to do Before 32: Update 1

So on April 11 of this year I turned 31 and around that time I created a post about the things I'd like to do before my next birthday. This list consisted of a wide range of goals including trips with the family, school goals, and friends goals. You can find that post here.

Now that it's been about 3 months since that initial post, I thought I'd update you on the progress through my list.

1.Make 5 recipes from Pinterest - OK, so I haven't started this one yet. My excuse is that I have a newborn. At this point I feel accomplished if I remember to defrost the meat for dinner at all.  Hopefully, we can try something soon!

2. Go to the zoo at least 3 times - We have gone to the zoo once so far since I made my list. I don't think this one will be an issue. We plan to go at least once more over the summer and we always go in the fall for their Halloween event, Boo at the Zoo. Our membership makes this a lot easier. you can read my tips for zoo trips. here.

3. Go on a real vacation - This one might have to take a back seat for a while. We had wanted to take a family vacation in the fall. However, with all of the medical expenses from Hailey's diagnosis not to mention her constant doctor's appointments I don't think it's in the cards. We can revisit that in the spring and see if things have changed.

4. Read 2 inspiring books - So far I read Eat That Frog which I talked about in this earlier post. So that leaves one book left!

5. Rent or sell my house - Well we had to put this on hold what with the baby being born and all.  Therefore, we had taken it off the market for a while. However, last week we signed with a new realtor and we hope to get things back on track.

6. Move to new home - We're currently looking at houses to move into. Since we can't float 2 mortgage payments, moving will likely have to wait until this home is sold.

7. Get back in shape after baby - I am officially in training mode. I relaxed initially and let my body heal, but I recently started to get the itch to get my sweat on, so I did. I haven't officially weighed myself yet but next week we will have a weight and progress picture update.

8. Perform in 2 dance productions - Well I'm still working on the get back in shape part, so we'll see about the performing part...

9. Finish writing my book - In all honesty, I haven't worked on this in a while. I haven't had a break from grad school since Christmas time. The summer semester began immediately after the spring semester ended. I hope to work on this during my month off of school between the summer and fall semesters.

10. Start creating vertical images for blog This is one of the first things that I started working on. I haven't changed every image, but I have changed most of them.

11. Do 3 DIY projects from Pinterest - This is just as stagnant as the recipes one. My problem is not lack of time per se but instead not knowing when I will have time or how much, so I don't pick out projects or have the right supplies. I will work on this.

12. Declutter - We are doing really well with this one. We organized Tyler's room, the living room, the downstairs closet, and have made progress with the basement. The next major room will be our bedroom!

13. Plan a T and mommy date at least once a month after Hailey is born -Having a newborn that breastfeed a made this difficult the first 2 months. The boys had one on one time out of the house, but Tyler and I didn't. I'm looking to have a lunch date with him next week, which is my last week off before I go back to work.

14. Complete 27 credits of grad school - I have now completed 18 credits. Next week I will finish my second summer class and if all goes well, I will be up to 21 credits. Then 2 courses in the fall will bring me to the 27 credits. Then just a few more classes and requirements and I will be a Math Master!!

15. Have consistent date nights with the hubs - As I said, this is super hard for us because I work days and my husband works nights. We set a goal of 2 dates a month. So far, we are doing well for July. This past Sunday we went to a concert together and we will be seeing Guns N Roses on the 24th. Next month I don't think the dates will be so fancy, but we definitely intend for them to happen.

16. Complete cookbook for my nonprofit - Before I had Hailey, I presented the idea of doing a cookbook to my board. I had explained that with a newborn I would not be able to take the lead on this project. However, a cookbook would be a lot easier than organizing and holding photo shoots for the calendar. We have done nothing to gets his project going.

17. Have a couples game night - Well my husband got me cards against humanity. Now we just have to invite people over to play....

18. Plan and have a girls brunch - With baby being born almost exactly a month after my birthday, I haven't had time to plan this one yet. Plus one of my friends had their baby about a month after me. Hopefully soon we can all get together.

19. Participate in 2-3 charity walks - I am already registered and started fundraising for the diabetes walk. That one is close to my heart. I'm looking into the Autism Speaks and St Jude, and Lupus Walks in the fall. These all, however are on Saturdays which conflicts with T's dance class.

20. Run a donation drive - I'm looking to do this closer to the holidays. I will possibly be doing a book and pajama drive again.

So that's my progress so far on my list on things to do my 32nd birthday. I've made pretty good progress on most of the items, there are just a few more to start working on. Mainly the ones involving Pinterest. Hopefully I can make some headway there for next time!

Do you have big birthday goals? Tell me about them in the comments.

Have a great weekend!!



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Places to Go with the Family This Summer

It's summertime! School is out and the weather is warm. You are just itching to do things with the family. Here is a list of fun places we have gone to or will be going this summer. If you are in the New York area, check them out. If not, there is likely an equivalent in your area.

1. The Zoo:

We've been to the zoo twice so far this year and we will definitely be going several more times. The zoo is one of our favorite places to go as a family. There are so many things to do and animals to see. They also regularly have activities for the family. We love it so much that we have a membership so we don't have to pay for parking, or admission, or the rides each time we go. Membership also provides discounts for food and merchandise. It really makes economical sense if you wish to go more than once a year. I have a whole post about zoo trips which you can find here.

2. The Botanical Garden:

My mom just so happens to work at the NY Botanical Garden. Between volunteering and paid jobs, my mom has been involved there practically my whole life. They have lots of fun activities for the kids and nature to explore. A lot of the time, my son just wants to chase the squirrels and chipmunks and birds. He'll also stop to check out the pond and hear the frogs and smell the flowers. In the Everett Children's Adventure Garden they have nature activities and puppets and books, toys, and plants to explore. We have passes to the botanical garden as well due to my mother's relationship with the location. It a great place to bring the kiddos over the summer. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy nature.

3. Sesame Place:

We have not been there yet this year, but we will definitely be going this summer. Sesame place is so much fun and my son, at 3 years old, is at the perfect age. They have tons of water rides and chances to meet the Sesame Street characters. When it gets too hot, you can stop into one of the air conditioned shows. They have lots of things to do for small kids unlike many theme parks that have a tiny kids area but are mainly geared for teens and adults. It is small enough that you can do a day trip but big enough to get a weekend out of it too. Busch Gardens in Virginia also has a Sesame Street area which we went to last summer. T really enjoyed that as well.

4. Outdoor Movies:

Outdoor movies are great fun for kids of all ages. In our area several malls have outdoor movie showings. They often show a mix of recent movies and classics. Last year we saw Big Hero 6 at an outdoor screening. We brought folding chairs and snacks and watched the movie out on the lawn.  If you follow me on Facebook, you know that my son is obsessed with the original Willy Wonka movie. In August they will be showing that as an outdoor movie in our area. We will definitely be attending that showing as well as one or 2 others.

5. The Park:

Just heading to a local park is a fun outing over the summer. Some parks have sprinklers that they turn on in the summer for the kiddos. Otherwise you can stick to the classics: swings, slides, and jungle gym. Invite other kids to meet you there as well. We try to bring Tyler to the park regularly  to play with his cousin Bradley. They love to go on the slides and climb the jungle gyms and just run around. It's also a great way to get their energy out. This one is also free, so you can go as often as you like!

6. Local Theme Park:

I love to go to local small theme parks with the family. They have a bunch of cute rides and games. It's also not as overwhelming as some of the major theme parks. In our area, we have Rye Playland which is the perfect size for small kids. They also have dance shows and costumed characters which Tyler loves. On Friday nights they have fireworks throughout the summer. At the same boardwalk they have a beach, Tiki Restaurant, and a children's museum.

7. Children's Museum:

Some days are just too hot to play outdoors. This is the perfect time to head to the local children's museum. They have lots of interactive exhibits and often have special events over the summer. At the Westchester Children's Museum they have lots of interactive exhibits including a music making areas, and tumbling area, and a place for making shadows. The exhibits are made for kids so you don't have to worry so much about kids touching things they aren't supposed to. We took T to the children's museum over 4th of July weekend and he had a blast. We were there until closing and he still didn't want to leave.

8. The Beach:

This is not really my husband and my favorite place. Given the option, we'd much prefer to swim in the pool. I hate sitting in sand and getting it in my shoes and bathing suit.  However, my mother in law has a beach club membership and Tyler loves it. We took Tyler there on July 3rd and he had a ball. He loved building sandcastles, swinging on the tire swing, and playing with the other kids. It was another night where he didn't want to leave.

9. Local Festivals and Fairs:

Take some time and research local fairs and festivals in your area. So far Tyler and Hailey have been to two such events this summer. We went to a local fair with games, food, and small rides in June.  This was T's first time going on a ride by himself. He had a great time and was so proud of himself! Today we went to a Hot Air Balloon Festival in upstateNew York. They had a petting zoo, bounce area, walking into a hot air balloon, a maze, a train ride and much more. This was located at the same farm where we go apple and pumpkin picking in the fall. With each new activity we found, Tyler thought he found the best thing. That is until we moved on to the next thing. If you want to tire your kids out, fairs and festivals are a great way to do it. If it's a good distance away from home, you can tire them out and let them fall asleep in the car on the way back. If you pack food and drinks, it doesn't have to be too expensive either.

10. Renaissance Faire:

This is a staple that we try to get to every summer. There is so much to see and do between the various shows, shops, animals, and activities. This one can get a little expensive especially if you are a sucker for artisan goods. This summer will be Tyler's third time going and Hailey's first. This is one of those places where there is something for everyone, so make it a family affair. Bring the grandparents and the aunts and uncles. Just be aware, it's a lot of walking.

Some other places that we will try to get to include the aquarium, Coney Island, and Central Park. I only have 2 weeks left of leave and then. Few long weekends in August, so we will try to fit everything in. The first 10 are definite though. With 6 out of the 10 already done, I know we will get to all of those.

Do you have any favorite places to go with the kids in the summer? Let me know in the comments!



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Getting Through One of Those Weeks

Getting Through One of Those Weeks

This week is one of those weeks.  I have 2 graduate level math exams this week.  My son who was doing so well with potty training had a rough week last week.  He was having pain when he peed and then began holding it in which made for numerous accidents.  Finally, we got the test results from the doctor on Sunday that he has a UTI.  Then there's work and family.  My brother is in the hospital again for another amputation.  This time a toe.  Oh and my due date is this Friday.

I don't bring up my big brother a lot on here, but he is a 32 year old diabetic.  He was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes the week I was born and has blamed me for it ever since... For most of his life, he didn't seem to have any major complications, but the last few years tell a different story.  I wouldn't say all of his ailments are caused by the diabetes, but it's definitely a heavy load for someone who won't be 33 til July.  Here's a brief listing of his current conditions: Bell's Palsy, Crohn's disease, fallen arches, kidney failure, legally blind, has had 3 fingers of one hand amputated and part of one finger on the other hand.  He is currently on the transplant list for both a kidney and pancreas.  He recently had a staph infection.  In fact, although he was released from the hospital just in time to attend my baby shower, he was under contact quarantine, meaning no one could touch him.  This was hard to explain to a 3 year old who hadn't been able to visit his uncle for almost a month.

So on getting through a week like this, here are my 2 tips: find the silver lining and let things slide.

Silver Linings

So my brother is in the hospital and my son had to see the doctor to diagnose his UTI.  While unpleasant for both parties, it actually gave them something to bond over.  My son and brother talked about seeing the doctor and about their medicines and how they can't wait to feel better.  Granted T does not understand the vast difference between why my brother sees the doctor and why he does, but he found a camaraderie with their situations.  Seeing him bond with my brother is a silver lining to me.

As far as my grad school tests, the silver lining is if Hailey waits until after the tests to be born, I won't have to be worrying about school when she arrives.  I can concentrate on our new addition and our changing family dynamic.  After this Thursday I will have only one final left next week  and the semester will be over.

Letting Things Slide

Here's the other big tip for getting through a week like this: you have to let some things slide.  I have been spending all of my free time studying (Well almost, I did write this post). On top of getting up at night myself to pee, I have been woken up several time with pee pee emergencies from my son.  So, you know what is sliding, working out.  I mean at 39 weeks pregnant many people would say that that's totally acceptable.  On the other hand, I know for myself that if all this wasn't going on, I'd still be working out all this week.  However, getting a little more sleep and getting my studying done so I do well this semester is worth sacrificing one week of working out.  On the bright side, dance parties with T definitely takes his mind off his pee pee problems so I do get some cardio there! Silver linings to the rescue!!

Another thing that is sliding: laundry.  With all the peeing the bed and the clothes there has been a lot of extra laundry this week.  No extra loads were washed however.  We'll make it up sometime...

For now, I have to get back to studying.  Hopefully, Hailey comes right as scheduled and this crazy week will end with a big bundle of joy just in time for Mother's Day.  If you don't hear from me Friday, you'll know she is making her entrance!



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Pre-mom vs. mom vs. post-mom

Ok so the post-mom part of the title is a bit inaccurate, you never stop being a mom once you become one. I just mean to say post having your kids at home, but for title purposes, that seemed more catchy.

Today, I'd like to talk about why I think it's so important to be a multitasking mom, and it has to do with the 3 phases of a mom's life: pre-mom, mom, and post-mom.

Prior to becoming a mom, we all had lives and ambitions and we had a lot more time to ourselves to pursue whatever we wanted. We probably had jobs and families and all, but for the most part our free time was our own. Pre-T (my son), I worked full time, danced for sports teams, taught dance, took dance classes, was studying for actuary exams, and participating in community theater. When offered a new performance opportunity, I jumped at the chance. If a team practiced 3 times a week plus games, who cared. Dancing was how I enjoyed spending my time.

Now that I have T, guess what, I still enjoy dancing. Not only do I enjoy it, but I still pursue it. Just differently.

I still need to work full time to support the family. But my love for dance didn't stop just because I made a person. The thing about dance is your child rearing years are also your prime dance years. It's not exactly a field that you just jump back in when your kids are grown. Plus it makes me happy. I don't want to wait 18 years to make myself happy. So I adapt.

I still dance for companies and teams, but I choose teams that don't require as many practices. I teach at places that allow me to take my son with me and I specify when I am available to teach. I choose not to teach on weekends so I can have family time and I am available for all those fun weekend events that come up. I also select gigs that only require a few rehearsals, if any.

I make it work because while I love my husband and son and spending time with them, I know I am a better mom when I am feeling fulfilled. I am super lucky to have supportive family and friends as well. My inlaws are always willing to watch T if I have a rehearsal, my husband will bring T to my performances, and the places where I teach allow T to sit in class with me. Without that kind of support, I could never balance it all.

The emotional support is key as well. My husband encourages every endeavor I pursue. He never questions when I say I want to try something. When I decided to try pageants, that meant that our family vacations we're going to be wherever I was competing. My husband just asked when and where. He never questioned or complained or asked me to stop. We make it work.

This has a lot to do with my husbands pursuits as well. My husband works, but he also pursues acting. He understands the need to fulfill the part of yourself that was there pre-kids, so we work with each other so that both of us can pursue our outside interests.

Now back to the 3 stages. While it's important to pursue your interests during parenthood because you will be a happier better person, it's also important for after your kids grow up. If you do nothing for yourself when your kids are growing up, then what do you have when they leave? A lot of time and nothing to do. While it's perfectly acceptable to start trying new things at that point, it's nice to have something that you've maintained throughout.

You're the same person at all three stages. Your goals and dreams and inspirations may change, but you should never stop pursuing them. It's what makes you, you.

Love yourself and make time for yourself. It's one of the most important tasks in your multitasking life!!

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