What was the best advice your pediatrician ever gave you?
Today I was having a discussion with my daughter about people who say hurtful things. We discussed how to handle situations in which people say things that aren’t so kind.
I was amazed by my daughter’s ability to understand that people who say unkind and hurtful things usually do so because they are not happy with themselves.
After a long conversation, she came to the following conclusion.
“Sometimes people say mean things to other people so that they can feel better inside. I should’t get sad or mad if someone calls me ugly because I know it’s not true. If someone calls me ugly at school, I’m just going to tell them that I know I’m not ugly and that they aren’t ugly either and they should be proud of who they are.”
We talked a bit more. At the end of our conversation, I told her that it makes me happy to know that she thinks she’s beautiful and that she wouldn’t believe someone who told her she was ugly. And then, I asked her the following question.
“What makes a person beautiful, Gabriella?”
Without hesitation, she said “Passion. Passion and love and kindness.”
I smiled. My daughter is only eight years old and she gets it. I hope that she carries that belief with her always.
Babies are so precious. They are cute. They are cuddly. They are soft. They smell amazing. They bring joy to your heart, a smile to your face. They are everything that is good and wonderful about life.
Except for when they won’t go to sleep. Then, they can be the most frustrating little creatures who make you cry and pull your hair out and scream “WHY GOD, WHYYYY?”
(Or maybe that’s just me? Maybe I’m the only one who cried “why, God, why?” when my babies wouldn’t go to sleep?)
Sometimes, putting a baby to sleep is easy– you feed cranky baby and cranky baby falls asleep at your breast or in your arms while sucking on his/her bottle. But there are times where the baby just won’t go to sleep no matter how much milk is in his/her belly or how dry his/her diaper is or how many times you beg him/her TO PLEASE JUST CLOSE YOUR EYES AND GO TO SLEEP NOW PRECIOUS LITTLE PERFECT BABY! These are some things that worked in getting my babies to sleep.
The Swing. Oh my GOD. I don’t know if I would have survived babyhood without it. I didn’t have a swing when my first son was born, but a friend of mine offered to let me use hers to help put the baby to sleep. “It’s like magic.” She said. “You just wind it up, put the baby in and he’ll be out!” She wasn’t lying. When my son would get cranky, I’d put him in the swing, wind that baby alllllllllll the way up (back in the Old Days, when I had my first baby, we didn’t have the fancy battery operated swings. We had to wind our swings up.) and let it go. Within minutes, he’d be out cold. I could do things like shower! And laundry! It was amazing. I highly suggest investing in a swing.
Take the baby for a drive. This might sound crazy, but this worked for all three of my kids! When they were having a bad night and unable to calm down, we’d put on our slippers, wrap the baby up and take him for a drive around the block. It’s not the most convenient way to put the baby to sleep, but desperate times calls for desperate measures.
Make the Buzzing Bee sound. Okay, this one is just weird, I know, but you guys– IT TOTALLY WORKS. I learned this trick from one of our babysitters growing up. When my baby brother would have a hard time going to sleep, she would put him close to her chest, rock him and make the buzzing sound. Within seconds, he’d stop crying and knock out. I did this with my children many times and it worked wonders. (At this point, you’re probably thinking, “This is why you’re not a professional Baby Advice Giver, Y.” I know, I KNOW. But all I can do is share what worked for me and my husband. And, well, that worked.)
Do you have any tips for helping to put the baby to sleep? I’d love to hear them!
Today is a Thanksgiving like no other.
I woke up at 5:45, put my running shoes on and left for what I thought was going to be a 5K run. I imagined we’d stretch, do a warm up, do our run and then laugh and eat our breakfast together. But that’s not quite what happened. Instead, we stretched and then did a mini “Max Out” workout. (And if you knew what that was, you’d be all “ohhhh, damnnn!) and THEN we ran what was supposed to be a 5K, but turned into 3.5 miles because some of us got a little lost on the run and went farther than we were supposed to.
I read through all of your comments last night and I can’t thank those of you who took the time to leave me advice enough. Your tips and advice and encouragement were SO helpful while I was out there running. And guess what? I did it! And I didn’t die or lay down on the ground and cry!
I poured myself a giant mimosa when I was finished to celebrate. (We were asked to bring something to eat for a Thanksgiving breakfast after our run. Of course, I brought the alcohol. I know what’s up.)
On the drive home I was feeling pretty pumped about what I had just done. I was feeling so grateful to have found a group of men and women to workout with who inspire me, encourage me and push me to do my best. But then, it hit me.
People who mean the most to me in life won’t be here to celebrate Thanksgiving with us. My son is away completing his MOS training. Both of my beautiful, loving grandparents are dead. Giant chunks of my heart missing from my life today. It hurts, but I will try to focus on all of the blessings in my life. I’ve raised a son who is willing to give up the comforts of this life to serve his country. I had my grandparents in my life for most of my adult life. I have my children here at home, a loving husband who just went to the store to buy all of the ingredients to make a pumpkin dump cake, my parents, my sister and brothers, nieces and nephews, friends and a neighbor who is saving a bottle of wine so we can sit on the porch tonight and drink it all up.
I am blessed.
I am grateful.
And oh my GOD, I am sore.
Happy Thanksgiving, all.
I do not like running. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I hate running. These are all things that I’ve said about running just before running or just after running.
“The thing that I hate about running is EVERY thing.”
“The best part about running is when I stop running.”
“Running is the worst.”
“I don’t trust people who (quote fingers) look forward (/quote fingers) to running.”
That’s how I feel every time I run. My lungs burn, my calves hurt, my boobs feel awkward and everything in me is screaming STOP RUNNING RIGHT THIS SECOND. There’s nothing about running that I like. But I know that running is good for me, and so during this session of boot camp, I’ve been trying to find a way to not hate it. In fact, these are my goals for this session of boot camp:
learn to not hate running.
strengthen my abs.
not feel angry when I run.
lose more than 5 pounds.
not suck at running.
lose more than 3 inches.
not want to punch everyone when I run.
not miss a single workout.
not cry when I run uphill.
push to my maximum every single workout.
To learn to like running maybe just a little bit.
Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, I will be getting up at 6 in the morning to join my fellow boot campers for a 5K run. I’ve only done a 5K once before and it was on the treadmill. NOT THE SAME THING AT ALL. The farthest I’ve run is 2.75 miles. I have no doubts that I can do it, but I have doubts about how good I’ll be at it.
There will be uphill running and uphill running is what KILLS ME. I have both mental and physical issues with uphill running. (I have issues in general, with running, but ESPECIALLY the uphill running.)
Here is where I ask for your help.
Do you have any advice you can give me about running? Do you have any tips that will help me get through the mental aspect of running. Do you have any songs that I can download that will help keep me motivated? Do you have any words of encouragement you can give me that I can say to myself when I want to just stop and lay down on the ground and cry instead of finishing the run?
I look forward to reading what you have to say.
I love beauty products. I love makeup and creams and scrubs. I especially love finding new products and sharing the things that I love with friends. I was totally excited when I was asked to be a part of a Mary Kay campaign because I knew that I’d be receiving some new products to try and share with you all.
The products arrived in a pretty black box with pink ribbon. Here is a list of what was inside of the box:
I have had enough time to try and use every product, and I have to say, I really do like them all, but there were a few products that stood out. My absolute favorite products were the NouriShine Plus Lip Glosses!
I’m picky when it comes to lip gloss. I hate glosses that are too thick or leave my lips feeling sticky. Let me tell you, these glosses are awesome. First of all, the colors are gorgeous (my favorite is Mango Tango). They are light, packed with moisture and go on super smoothly. Also? They’re super shiny. I love them and carry them everywhere with me. Because my daughter has the most amazing lips, I asked her if she’d be my Lip Gloss Model for this post. She hesitated at first, but when I agreed to let her put the lip gloss on all by herself, she happily agreed to participate.
Another product I love is the TimeWise® Microdermabrasion Set. I used it twice a week for the past few weeks and I absolutely notice a difference in the texture of my skin. My skin feels smoother and just generally more healthy. Unfortunately, I did not take a before photo, but here is what my forty-one-year-old skin looks like now.
I’ve also been using the TimeWise Repair™ Volu-Firm™ Eye Renewal Cream, and I do think my fine lines look somewhat diminished. What I love about this eye cream is the applicator– just press it directly on your skin and apply. Cool, yes?
I also love love love the Lash Love™ Mascara in Black. I used it with the Lash Primer and wow! Perfectly long, separated, non-clumpy lashes. It’s my new go-to mascara.
Another cool product is the Mary Kay Compact Mini. You can fit three eye shadows and one blush in it. You can also store the small brushes in the compartment in the back. I love that you’re not committed to the same three colors and that you can switch them out.
I’ve found several new products that I will continue to use in the future. Thanks, Mary Kay!
Would you like to try some Mary Kay products for yourself? If so then just tell me your greatest beauty tip for an opportunity to win a fabulous Mary Kay gift basket, courtesy of BlogHer.
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November 17th was our 22nd anniversary of our wedding anniversary.
This is what I posted that day on Facebook:
22 years of arguing about driving, emptying your pockets before you put your jeans in the hamper, how to properly load the dishwasher. 22 years of falling asleep in the same bed except for the nights when we’re mad at each other and one of us sleeps on the couch, or IN THEIR CAR. We’ve been madly in love. We’ve been on the verge of breaking up. We’ve been through so much together– Having babies, losing people we love, sending our first born son off to become a U.S. Marine. We are not a perfect couple, we do not have a fairy tale love story, but 22 years later, we still have each other, our health and our 3 close to perfect children. That’s good enough for me.
And then, later that night, I got dressed up and went out to a country bar to celebrate my friend’s 40th birthday party while my husband stayed at home so he could go to bed early.
We are the most unromantic couple and yet, somehow it works for us.
We argue about the dumbest things all day long, but at the end of the day, we kiss each other, say I love you and hold each other’s hands until we fall asleep. Or until one of us rips one and the other either laughs or gets angry and says something like “GET OUT OF BED TO DO THAT, YOU INCONSIDERATE JERK!”
Our marriage is far from perfect, but it works for us.
I’m grateful for the last 22 years and I hope we’re blessed with another 22.
When I found out my third (and last) baby was going to be a girl, so many thoughts ran through my mind. One of those thoughts were “I AM GOING TO HAVE SO MUCH FUN DECORATING HER NURSERY!”
I was so excited that on my way home from my ultrasound appointment, I stopped by a few baby stores to start the search for a theme for my baby girl’s room. It didn’t take long before I found what I wanted. It was Wonderfully Girlie. It had pink and purple and blue and yellow and there were flowers and ruffles and TINY LITTLE DRESSES. (Ahhh, tiny! little! dresses!) I was so excited, I wanted to show everyone what I had chosen, so I took my mom and my mother in law to see what I had picked out. They both loved it and thought it would be perfect for our nursery.
A few weeks went by and I decided it was time to start buying All of The Things for our nursery. I asked my husband to go with me to purchase the bedding for the crib. He tried to talk me out of it. “It’s too soon! We don’t need to buy that stuff just yet.” he said. “What are you talking about? The sooner we get it and start decorating, the better.” “We need to talk.” He replied. He sat me down. “This was supposed to be a surprise, but since you’re insistent on going to buy the bedding, I have to tell you.” I was a little bit nervous. “My mom decided she wanted to give you something special as a gift, so she’s going to make the bedding and all of the accessories by hand.”
….. ……. ………
I know this sounds awful and makes me look like a very bad person, but I was FURIOUS. I was in love with this bedding and there was no possible way that anyone could duplicate it. It was perfect in every way and although I knew his mother could sew beautifully, there was no possible way she could duplicate what I had my heart set on.
I was angry with my husband for allowing her to do that. “Why didn’t you tell her no? Why DID YOU LET HER DO THIS TO US?” (I know, BAD, AWFUL, HORRIBLE PERSON.) He told me that she was almost finished and would be bringing it over for me to see very soon. I cried a little bit (okay, a LOT) because I was terrified that I was going to be disappointed, that it was not going to look anything like what I wanted and there wasn’t going to be anything I could do about it because it would hurt her feelings.
The big day arrived shortly after he told me about The Great Baby Bedding Surprise. She came over to show me what she had made. I was so nervous, hoping that if it was awful, I could hold back my tears and fake a smile. I was not going to hurt my mother in law’s feelings when she had went out of her way to do something so thoughtful and kind. She told me what she had done. I acted surprised. And then, she showed me what she had made. I couldn’t hold it in. I started to cry.
But they were not tears of disappointment. They were tears of relief, of happiness because what she made? Was perfect? In fact, I think it was better than The Real Thing. It was exactly what I wanted. I hugged her and I thanked her for her labor of love. Soon after, we painted the room and set it up.
And it was perfect.
Recently, a very close friend of the family asked me if I would photograph her wedding. I instantly felt panicked because I am not a wedding photographer. I consider myself a Candid photographer. What does that mean? I’m at best at capturing the moments of big events that may could easily be forgotten had it not been captured by a photograph. I am not a big fan of Staged Photography. Don’t get me wrong, it absolutely has it’s value and there are many photographers who are creative and talented enough to make the most beautiful staged shots. I happen to not be one of them.
My joy, my passion is the candid photo. I love to capture the little details, the interactions between people, the moments that make a day memorial. Nothing brings me more joy than to watch someone look through my photos and say things like “I didn’t know that happened!” Or “I missed that, thank you for capturing that!” Here are my tips to help you capture amazing candid photos whether it be for a big event like a wedding, a day at the park with the family, or a child’s birthday party.
Stand back and pay attention to what’s happening.
To get the best candid shots, you need to capture people unaware. You want to capture moments as they happen authentically. This may mean making yourself invisible by standing out of the way so you can have a full grasp on what’s happening around you and so that others will not be tempted to pose for a shot. Zoom lens is your friend in these types of situations.
While standing back, observing the goings-on at a birthday party I was asked to photograph, I caught a glimpse of the birthday boy with his parents standing in front of a mirror. Because I was out of the way, they were oblivious to my presence. I was able to zoom in on their reflection in the mirror. It turned out to be one of their favorite shots of the day.
After shooting the bridal party getting ready, I quietly stepped outside of the room and shut the curtains a bit behind me. While standing outside, I looked into the room through my lens and captured this moment without being noticed.
Turn off the flash.
It’s hard to capture spontaneous moments if you’re flash goes off every time you snap a shot. If you’re in a low light situation, you can crank up the ISO and be sure to use a fast lens. Flash can totally ruin a moment or create a distraction that could possibly ruin a moment you would have captured otherwise.
Change your perspective.
When capturing a moment, take several shots from different, unique angles (keeping the Rule of Thirds in mind, of course.) Don’t be afraid to get down and dirty (literally) by kneeling on the ground or actually laying on the ground to capture a moment from a different point of view. Here are a few examples.
Capturing expressions is important.
Pay attention to what’s happening in the moment. Laughing, tears, children being silly. When you see little moments like that, be sure to snap away and capture the emotions as best as you can.
Lastly, don’t hesitate.
When you see a moment, take the shot. You can’t recreate authentic moments. It’s better to take lots of shots and delete later if necessary than to not take the shot at all.
This post is part of BlogHer’s Pro Photo Tips series, made possible by Panasonic.
This week will be my last week of a 9 week fitness boot camp session. Friday we will test out. (Test out means we’ll get measured, weighed, and tested on our push-ups, sit-ups and timed mile.)
Have I lost weight? I have no idea. After week four, I decided to stop weighing myself. I absolutely refuse to let the numbers on a scale mess with my head. I am putting in the work, five days a week. I am giving it all I have. If the scale doesn’t budge, and with my thyroid condition, that’s a huge possibility– I don’t want it to discourage me.
Have I lost inches? I can’t be sure, but I think so. I can feel my body changing. Clothes definitely fit me a little bit differently. People have started making comments like “your waist looks smaller” and “you have more definition in your legs” or “Damn, girl, you’re ass is looking REAL GOOD. Come over here and let me feel it!” (One guess who said that. He gives the BEST compliments.) But I have not done any measuring of any kind, so I can’t be sure.
Do I feel better? Absolutely! I remember the very first class I attended 8 weeks ago after not having worked out for MONTHS. When it was time to do a run, my instructor sent me with the advanced runner group. (The advance runners always go longer distance than the beginners.) I was stunned– surely I belonged with the beginners! I hadn’t run for months! I was out of shape and huge and no possible way could I run 2 miles, uphill, NO POSSIBLE WAY. “Are you sure I belong with that group?” I asked, while trying not to cry. “Oh, I’m sure.” She said. “You’re stronger than you think. You can do it.” As I was running uphill, I felt like I was going to die. My lungs were burning, my legs were aching, I couldn’t catch my breath. I started to walk. “Come on, you’ve got this!” My instructor said. “No! I don’t. I feel like I’m going to die!” I replied. “You’re not going to die. Just push yourself. You’ve got it.” He was right. I did have it. It hurt and it sucked, but I did finished it, and NOT in last place, and best of all? I DIDN’T DIE. Since then, I’ve improved tremendously. I am running 2.5 miles at a time without an issue. I mean, it still sucks because IT’S RUNNING AND RUNNING IS THE WORST. But I’m doing it. I’m not the best, I’m not the fastest, but I am better than I was 2 months ago.
Do I feel stronger? Last week, I pushed a truck, uphill, across a parking lot, THREE TIMES. Hell yes, I feel stronger.
I’ve chosen to make this journey all about improving myself, learning lessons, about not being afraid to fail. I want to be healthy, I want to be strong, I want to be fit. Mostly, I want to strive to be better than I was yesterday.
Getting leaner, weighing less than I do now, will just be a bonus.