Category Archives: Children and Family

Mother Of An Angel

The celebration of Mother’s day is usually a wonderful occasion. This year, it happens to fall on the day after my wedding anniversary, just like it did on my actual wedding day. At our wedding reception in 2005, we honored my mom, my mother-in-law and also the first lady of our church, who we affectionately referred to as our “first mother” kinda like the first lady with a twist. Almost two years after our wedding, I also became a mother, making this time of year even more special and memorable for me. The following year was the last year that I was able to celebrate mother’s day with my mom. She died in December of 2008.

Mom and wed dayCollage

Since then, Mother’s Day has never been quite the same. In fact, this time of year has been very bitter sweet. I feel so blessed that I have a wonderful husband who I’ve grown to love more and more with each passing year. Celebrating our anniversary during this time definitely helps to ease the longing I feel for her. Having our amazingly loving children shower me with Mother’s Day wishes, love and kind deeds make my heart swell with joy. But while I celebrate and cherish the wonderful memories of my mother, sometimes a part of me is burdened with a feeling of emptiness and a yearning desire for her.

Yesterday was one of those days. I sat almost in tears feeling sad because I missed her. Right in the middle of my despair, my mind recalled a conversation I had just a week ago with a friend who lost her daughter. I see her from time to time and have heard her story about losing her daughter to cancer. But this particular day was a very difficult one for her. She was sobbing.  As I listened to her, I felt such sorrow and compassion and remembered a few other friends who’ve lost a child.  Then she said through her tears “I don’t even know what to call myself. People ask me do I have children and I don’t know what to say. Am I even a mother anymore?” I couldn’t begin to imaging the pain that she was feeling, but  I remembered a term that I’ve heard another mom who lost her child use and I said to her ” Of course you’re  still a mother, you’re now a mother of an angel”. She paused for a second as she wiped her tears and looked up at me. She said (somberly) ” Hmm…I’ve never thought of it like that… Thank you…thank you so much.”

Recalling this interaction in the middle of me feeling down actually comforted me also. It shifted my thoughts on the mother’s out there who won’t get a call, a card or a facebook shout out this weekend. I pray that they will also find comfort and peace during this season.

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mother’s Day to ALL the mothers, soon to be mothers, mothers in memory and MOTHERS OF AN ANGEL.

Throwback Thursday: They grow so fast

Happy Thursday! This month has been a whirl wind so far. Rarely do I make plans and a whole new set of plans crop up everyday. This had been one of those months. Instead of stressing about it, I’ve decided to just go with the flow and (try to) maintain an attitude of gratitude. In all of the unexpected details that have surfaced, I remember the many blessings that God has given me.

After a long and exhausting day, way past my bedtime, I grabbed my laptop and while looking for a document, came across the following video. It made me smile and tear up at the same time. This little misses, age 3 in the video will be 7 next week. Oh how I the time has flown. I don’t even remember what I was looking for. All of a sudden, it wasn’t so important…and I was reminded how quickly our children grow up.

For Throwback Thursday, I’m throwing back a few short years to share my baby girl’s favorite Barney song.

  • When was the last time you smiled and cried at the same time?
  • Have you had subtle reminders of the importance of family?
  • Do you miss the early years of your children (if you have) or do you prefer the adult child stage?

 

Inspired by my thumb sucking 3 year old

I had a different post planned for today, but I’m so impressed with my almost 4 year old that I decided to go ahead and celebrate him today.

My son is a thumb sucker. Not only did he suck his thumb in-utero, he was sucking his thumb the minute I pushed him out… Literally. All soggy, wrinkly, scaly and squished… the boy found comfort in his thumb.

Josiahs mighty thumb

I quickly noticed that he had an affinity for his left thumb but I didn’t mind that much since he was able to self sooth…very helpful  for a newborn.

His thumb sucking habit also made him more prone getting infections…(like the time the babysitter took him to a store, put him in a cart and he picked up cart germs, sucked his thumb and literally got a bacterial infection in his throat…. I digress).

We’ve tried to discourage him from sucking his thumb and praised him when he momentarily removed his thumb. We never pressured him. He’s young and I know he’d eventually stop, but we wanted to gently nudge him.

His response to our nudges have been … “I’ll stop tomorrow”….. ” I’ll stop when I’m 4″ …… ” I’ll stop when I get married”. Eventually it became “I don’t wanna stop. My finger tastes yummy.”

Anyway, someone told be about a product she used on her children to help them break the habit. It’s a really bitter tasting clear nail polish. After researching the product and reading lots of reviews, my husband and I decided to try it.

Day one: I polished both thumbs before bedtime. As soon as he got sleepy, he started sucking. I asked him if it was bitter. He said he only tasted the bitterness when he takes his thumb out of his mouth.

Day two: I polished all 10 fingers. He was eating a snack, he grunted really loud. When I asked what’s wrong, he said his snack was bitter. I felt really bad :( . At bedtime, once again, he endured the bitterness to continue sucking his thumb.

Day 3: Conversation..

son: It’s time to get the thing on my finger, Mommy.

me: No Dear, I’m not going to put it on anymore.

son: Why not?

me: The bitter taste of the polish is supposed to stop you from putting your finger in your mouth, but instead you suck the polish off. I don’t want you to keep getting that chemical into your system.  

 (He looked at me with a silent curiosity.)

son: Mommy, are chemicals poison? (he knows that poison should not go in your mouth)

me: it depends on the type of chemical.

son: I know I promised that I’d stop sucking my thumb before, but this time I’m for real.

me: OK baby (I gave no thought to him actually stopping. My OK was saturated with subconscious doubt and subtle sarcasm that I suspected a 3 yo wouldn’t detect.)

Wouldn’t you know. We are going on day 4 and my son has not sucked his thumb. Four days! Can you believe it?! For the first time in almost 4 years, his thumb looks like it’s healing. I’m almost in tears as I write this because I’m so proud that my almost 4 year old boy has the strength and courage to stop cold turkey.

The product we purchased to help him didn’t work, but the thought of putting something potentially harmful into his body did.

The skeptical adult part of me wonders how long this will last, but I’m inspired by my son to embrace his childlike faith with confidence.

On Superbowl Sunday, my Super boy JR will be 4 years old. Please help me congratulate him!

H4BD Josiah

  • Did you or your children suck your finger? For how long?
  • How did you stop?

 

Without my cell phone…

I’m always quick to declare that I’m not technologically savvy nor am I dependent on technology. I’m not one of who has to have my phone with me all the times. In fact, often times I’ll send a text and walk away from my phone forgetting that I’m expecting a response. And I admit that I get a little irritated when someone tries to call me back to back to back and when I finally answer the phone they drill me about not getting in touch with me instead of just stating the reason for their call.

Anyway, I recently discovered that I my so-called “non dependency” on my cell phone existed as long as my phone was present and readily available. Gah!. I hate to admit it, but like the rest of the modern world, I realized that I am pretty dependent on my cell phone (Not addicted though).

without my cell phone

Case in point: Last Friday morning, I attempted to go for a run. On the way to the park, my improperly sealed water bottle spilled on my cell phone. When I arrived at the park, my phone was soaked and already short circuited. I was disappointed that my phone was wet (and still wanted to go for a run), but when I realized that my music was not working due to the moisture, my disappointment quickly escalated to irritation. I decided to go home, disassemble the phone, dry it out, put it in rice, etc.

Because it was water damaged, the insurance would not cover and I’d have to get a new phone. I checked out a few refurbished phones but the reviews were mediocre at best. I soon realized how much I dependent on my phone. Not only could I not make phone calls because I couldn’t remember anyone’s phone number; I couldn’t instantly check my many email accounts (including for my business), set reminders and add events to my calendar, take pictures (which i do A LOT), add to my to-do list, look up info on the web or interact with social media when I felt like it…I could barely remember what day of the week it was, much less remember what my schedule was. I felt disconnected and somewhat prehistoric. I even forgot to attend an important out of town event.

With this planned technology hiatus, I could feel frustration mounting (especially with the way my cell phone carrier responded to my attempts to acquire a new or used phone). I quickly had to shift my focus and calm my mind. And just like that, I let it go. I found my very old Blackberry and transferred my number to it so I could use it in case of emergencies. I became much more present with my activities. I got an unbelievable amount of work done with no distractions of phone, text or social media.

I also realized how little I actually use my computer, iPad or laptop. Sure, they were always available,  but my cell phone was my main connection. When it went away, my other devices remained secondary (because I had to physically go to them, unlike my cell that always came with me).

There’s no denying the impact cell phone have made on society.

Before and after cell phones Collage

Well, I changed carrier and got a new phone, but this ordeal taught me to

  • memorize my ICE (in case of emergency) numbers
  • make better use of my online back up resources
  • get a land line at home
  • don’t put all my eggs in one cell phone basket, use diverse means of getting things done (ie camera for pictures, pen and paper for to do list)

How dependent are you on your cell phone? Have you ever been forces to go without a cellphone. Do you still memorize phone numbers?

 

Mommy, I’m done! Can you come wipe…

“Mommy I’m duh-hun!” (interpreted done)… In the average household, that phrase that can mean a variety of things: Mommy I done with my homework, my chores, my food or anything…you can literally fill in the blank. But in my home “Mommy, I’m duh-hun” (in a sing-song voice) has only one meaning: I’m done going poo-poo, can you come wipe my bottom? Yep. That’s it.

***This post is about poopy bottoms****

(I decided to spare you the actual visual of my son with head down, bottom in the air, waiting to be wiped 😉 )

Poopy bottom collage

For the past four years, those words have rung out from our bathrooms…sometimes simultaneously. When I hear those words, it doesn’t matter what I’m doing; whether eating, cooking, washing dishes, I have to drop whatever it is and attend to the needs of whoever is calling.

In the past, they would give me the heads up by letting know they were going to go potty. At least then I could anticipate the call. Now, they do no such thing. They just quietly go, then notify me loudly with a demanding bellow across the house. And I’d better run, not walk to wipe their tushies. Once, my son made his need known…I was eating and did not feel like seeing, smelling or wiping poop. So I told him to wait. I took my time and finished eating. When I finally went into the bathroom, he had attempted to self wipe. There was poop-smeared toilet paper on the floor, poop on the toilet seat, and his hands and clothes were poop tainted. Not only did I have clean a whole lot more poop, I had to give him a bath and clean and sanitized the bathroom. I’ve definitely learned my lesson.

My children are programmed to hold their poop until they get home. They don’t poop at school (because the teachers don’t wipe). Maybe I’m an enabler. I taught my daughter how to wipe, but it an effort to avoid throwing out poop streaked undies, I end up obliging when she calls. Honestly, I think it’s way past time for her to wipe herself. My son will be 4yrs old next month. I’m not planning on wiping him too much longer either. I’m thinking 4 might be a good age for him.

My question is, at what age do you stop wiping your kids? How do you teach them to wipe? Do you wash or discard poopy undies.

New Year, New goals.

Every new year many of us are inspired to make resolutions and set new goals. I stopped making “New Years Resolutions” several years ago, but each year I’m inspired to set new goals and work on plans to achieve them. This year I’ve decided to set 12 clear and distinct goals…one for each month. Having a goal for each month will help me remain focused on my specific plans to achieve each goal…although there are some goals that may require several months to accomplish and/or maintain. Not only have I made personal goals, we’ve set a few goals that involves the entire family. In this post, I’ve decided to share some of my personal and family goals as they relate to health and fitness.

JanuaryWeight Loss. Although I’m within my “healthy weight range” for my height, I can stand to lose some weight…20 lbs will put me at the lower range. I haven’t done much or focused my efforts to lose weight. But last year with the help of Joi and her weight loss challenge, I lost 10 lbs. in 90 days (with minimal to no effort). I didn’t follow the plan (for good reasons) so I didn’t even realize that I had lost 10 lbs in the 90-day time frame until I received an email. So I imagine if I put some real effort in, I can lose 10 more in 30 days… by January 31. So far, I’m down 2 3.5  :)

FebruaryRagnar. If you’ve been following this blog, you might be aware that I’m a part of a 12 member Ragnar team  “Heart and Sole” who will be running relay style from Miami to Key West. Yep. That’s about 200 miles. My goal is to “kick butt” and run my best and fastest while staying within the required 11 min/mile. I’m scheduled to run on a gravel road, canal path, run in the heat of the day (1pm-ish) and in the early morning (4am-ish). Our T-shirt was designed by one of our super talented team mates.

BGR Ragnar KEYs

And oh yeah, I’ll be celebrate turning the big 40 all month-long :)

MarchGluten Free. My family decided to go on a 3 month gluten-free diet beginning January 1st. March will conclude our 3 month goal so that we can evaluate the effects of a gluten-free diet on our overall health. It hasn’t been that easy because wheat is found in so many things, but we’re on track. Personally, I think it’s contributing to my weight loss so far.

AprilFamily 5K. We’ve decided to participate in more out-door activities as a family. Which means spending more time at the park, riding our bikes, playing sports and running together. Over the next several months, we’ll be working on building up endurance so that our soon to be 4 and 7-year-old children can participate in a 5K race along with me and my husband. Last year the kids got a taste of racing when they participated in the Gasparilla  Junior Classic kids fun race. They’ve been asking to run with me, so they’ll have plenty of opportunities to do just that. I’m super stoked about this one.

SAMSUNG

SAMSUNG

May – November is chucked full of those small, bite-sized goals with multiple check points along the way to make sure I’m on track to reaching them. Most of these goals are personal goals relating to spiritual, marital, business and financial matters. Maybe in the future I’ll share some as they are accomplished.

DecemberRun a marathon (26.2 miles). Wait! Before you get excited for me, this is NOT my goal. Been there. Done that. One and done! But I have to include this because my beloved husband has decided to run his first marathon. Whoot Whoot! It’s been a goal of his since I completed my first marathon 10 years ago. He supported me and saw the time and effort that I put in and said he wanted to do one too. I think after seeing how much pain I was in afterwards, he backed off.lol. But after I completed the Space Coast Half Marathon in December and bragged about what an awesome course and experience it was, he decided that he’d train to run the Space Coast Full Marathon in December.

These are some my/our health and fitness goals for this year. I made several small goals, wrote them down, developed a plan to accomplish each, have checkpoints along the way and once they’ve been accomplished I’ll either maintain or set new goals.

  • Do you make and keep resolutions?
  • What are your health and fitness goals?
  • Do you have a plan to accomplish them?

 

Merry Christmas from our family to yours…

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” ~Luke 2:11

May the spirit of Christmas be yours today and always. May the hopes that you’ve defined (those confident expectations) rapidly come to fruition. Merry Christmas from our family to yours.

family Christmas 2013

 *Just noticed my daughter’s eyes look crazy. Please don’t hold it against her :)

Got cold? Get solution…

Although we are well into the cold and flu season, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many people, every where I go, big and small complaining of the same symptoms as I’ve seen in the last few weeks.There seems to be a violent respiratory infection that’s been going around. It starts out with a fever, congestion and a cough that lasts weeks after the fever is gone. Last week the bug finally made it’s way to our home. Suddenly, nothing was more important than my baby’s health.

Around this time last year,  both my children had a fever. We generally try to feed them foods with immune building properties, but this year we upped the ante as soon as the weather became slightly cooler in September. I made sure that they were eating a healthy variety of fruits and vegetables, I was supplementing their diet with an appropriate children’s multivitamin, emphasizing constant hand washing and encouraging them to avoid touching their eyes, nose and mouth. Also, at the first sign of illness, I gave them an immune protocol introduced by my kids pediatrician when they were babies.

cartoon cough cold

So last week when my 3 year old son woke up with a fever, I quickly transitioned from my prevention plan to my treatment plan. His teachers warned us that everyone in his class had a fever/cough and that our son was the only one that did not get it. We were hopeful that he wouldn’t get sick, but were also thankful that his immune system was able to withstand 15 other children with the same infection… even with him being a chronic thumb sucker.

On the first day of his fever, I initiated the following protocol. (There are specific recommended doses based on age)

  • Vitamin A – While vitamin A is shown to keep skin and mucous membrane healthy, it is also helpful in building immune function
  • Vitamin C – Research shows that taking Vitamin C will not prevent catching a cold, but it may be helpful in high doses to shorten the duration of a cold. It is also an important antioxidant that is used to maintain of bones, muscle, and blood vessels. It also assists in the formation of collagen and helps the body absorb iron.
  • Zinc –  Shown to shorten the symptoms of an upper respiratory infection for the first few days. This mineral may work by preventing the formation of proteins needed by a cold virus to reproduce
  • Echinacea– Also shown to reduce the length and severity of colds by 10-30% by activating chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation

There are tons of other herbs and supplement that can be given to help boost immune function such as garlic, ginger, honey and lemon, but this list, as stated earlier, is based on recommendation from my children’s pediatrician.

Watching our normally vibrant and rambunctious child become sleepy and lethargic was heart breaking, to say the least. Although we were familiar with the anticipated course of this particular virus, it didn’t make us feel any less sorry for our poor little guy. Because there’s no cure for a cold, we monitored his fever, reducing it if it got too high or if he was uncomfortable, kept him comfortable and hydrated as it ran its course.

I’m thankful that he’s back to his normal energetic self. Other than his residual throat tickle and cough, you wouldn’t even know he was sick’

Here’s to a fever free, cough free and sick free Thanksgiving.

  • Did the crazy cough and fever infection make it to your home yet?

 

Wanted: A new after school routine…

You might have noticed that I’ve been a little behind on my blog posting, reading and commenting. I thought that I’d have more time to do “blog stuff” (among other things) with my new schedule of leaving work early to get the kids. Wrong! Last week I posted about our decision to temporarily remove our kids from aftercare so that I could spend more time with them. Monday was actually the first day of implementation. I quickly realize that I need to make some serious mental adjustments and establish an afternoon routine quickly.

wanted scroll

So Monday, I managed to wrap up my unfinished work at the office and headed out to pick up my daughter. I left the office at 1:30 hoping to get there at least 30 minutes early for the 2:15 dismissal. At about 1:45 I got a call from her school. I answered with apprehension wondering if my daughter was ok. Then the receptionist said that my daughter was in the school office because “Today was early release day. Dismissal was at 1:15” What? OMG! First day picking her up in car-line and I abandoned her. I had completely forgotten that Monday’s are early release day. I never had to worry about early dismissal with after care.

Because we had a few minutes to spare, I stopped to get pizza for the kids (a rare occurrence) before headed to my son’s school for car-line.

We arrived home around 2:45, the kids ate their pizzas and we began what I thought was our after school routine:

I helped my daughter with her homework (no rush, no stress).

We played outside for a while. (My son practiced dribbling and shooting the basketball. My daughter played with her camera and doll.)

I took them to ride their bikes around the block while I ran.

I prepared dinner (cooked a 3 course meal).

I gave them a bath….it was getting late…(or so it seemed).

(My husband had to work late so we sat down for dinner.)

After a few bites, both children started to complain that they were full and wasn’t hungry.

I questioned how in the world are you full? What have you all been eating?

Just then, my eyes glanced at the kitchen clock. It was only 4:45PM What?! That’s it? No wonder they’re not hungry. That just ate pizza less than 2 hours ago.

We were home for only two hours and it felt like an entire evening…(It was still too early to begin their bedtime routine.) Woosaahh Hope. Woosaahh. The time change (with daylight saving time ending) was wasn’t helping either. It was getting dark earlier than usual.

I’m so used to hustling when I get home in the evening that even my “slow down” was still a hustle. I definitely need to figure out and establish an NEW after school routine.

I’m excited to see what each week’s adventure will entail. I’m enjoying the process and I plan on breathing…. embracing every moment with each breath.

  • Do you have an after school routine?
  • Any suggestions?

Bye-bye aftercare, hello car-line

My husband and I have been trying to figure out how to best balance my role and responsibilities of our business, with that of home and family life. In the past, I’d rush from work at 5:30, frantically trying to get to two different aftercare facilities to pick up each child, get home, prepare dinner, help with homework, give them a bath and begin the bedtime routine so that the kids are in bed by 8pm. Two and a half hours didn’t leave much room for emergencies or meltdown…we had a schedule to keep.

Work and Life BalanceI guess it worked if the definition of work meant having super tired and irritable kids who were constantly whining throughout the process, a worn out mom (me) who was frustrated while trying to hold it “together” and being in a state of hurried frenzy with pseudo-quality time.

Fast forward to last week. The hubs and I decided that we would try something completely different on a two month trial basis.

For the rest of this year, we are going to pull our children completely out of after care and I am going to leave work early enough to get them from car-line between 2:15 and 2:30.

I must admit that I’m a little nervous about the whole thing. Primarily for 4 reasons.

1. The hard-line. Generally, because it’s my business, I have the flexibility to come and go based on my commitments. If I left early today, knowing I could stay late tomorrow was comforting. However, having to leave by a certain time everyday is a tad bit disquieting.

2. The car-line.  No matter how early or how late you arrive, there’s no avoiding a long wait, sitting in you car in a line of a million cars in front of and behind you. Not to mention that I will have exactly 15 minutes to get my daughter and drive to my son’s school for his car-line.

3. Did I mention The car-line? In the past, even when I was able to pick up the kids immediately after school, I would wait another 30 minutes until they’re in after care, just to avoid car-line.

Hello Carline

4. My office work is never finished. Although I continue to do “patient care” and the duties associated with it, I am also the CEO, COO, and CFO of the business. I am ALWAYS taking care of behind the scene operational responsibilities to keep the business running. So almost every time that I run out of the office early, I’m leaving unfinished, incomplete work that continues to mound.

But I guess the office will be ok without me :( . If not, like I said…it’s only a trial basis.

More importantly, I’m looking forward to spending more time in the afternoon with the kids, establishing new after school routines and hopefully not feeling totally useless by the end of the day. Because of my work schedule, my children have always either been in daycare or after-care so I’m ecstatic to have the extra time with them. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

  • Are your children in after-care
  • If you owned your business, would you adjust your work schedule to avoid after-care