This is a sponsored post. I have been compensated for the time I spent writing it, but the thoughts and words are all mine
I was asked on behalf of MamasLatinas to participate in the Walmart Family Routine campaign. I was told I’d be given a gift card to purchase a variety of health and wellness products from Walmart. My first question was “will I have to write about products that help with gas?” When I was assured that wouldn’t be the case, I was totally in.
I’ve been a mother for twenty one years. I have lived through many flu seasons. I know it’s important to do my part to keep my family healthy. What do we do to stay healthy? First and foremost, I make sure my family gets their flu shot every year. I make sure to keep healthy by eating healthy, nutrient foods, that we take our vitamins and get good sleep.
I also make sure that we keep germs and viruses.
That involves a lot of me telling my kids to “wash their hands! Wash them good!”
And that is where one of the products I was able to purchase comes in handy.
Clorox Disinfecting Wipes have been a part of my “keeping germs away” routine for a long time. I use them to wipe down door knobs, light switches, etc to keep things free of bacteria and viruses. I also love to carry the travel wipes with me every where I go. (Shopping carts get THE FULL ON WIPE DOWN EVERY TIME.)
I can’t lie, I was super excited to be able to buy these products for my family without breaking into our checking account (I’m still unemployed. DO YOU FEEL ME?)
Cold and flu season is the worst, is it not? What steps do you take to make sure your family stays healthy during that time?
Products I was asked to purchase and that are pictured in the cart: Clorox Disinfecting Wipes, Zyrtec Allergy Medicine, Tylenol Cold & Flu, Bayer One-A-Day Multivitamin (Men or Women), Six Star Protein Bar/Shakes, and Flintstones Kids Gummy Multivitamins.
My baby girl will turn 10 on Sunday. I have feelings about this. I will write them soon, but I wanted to share what I wrote back in 2008 when she turned 4. Time is such a jerk.
This is what you looked like at 6:39 am the day you turned 4 years old.
When you were a baby, I labeled you a “Drama Queen.” I know that it’s not nice to label people, but Girlfriend? There was no denying your dramatic ways.
This past year, I learned that your Dramatic Nature isn’t always a negative thing. Your flare for being a little bit over the top is proving to be an amazing asset. You can charm people where ever you go with your random singing. You don’t care who’s listening or where you’re at, if you want to belt out “Umbrella”, you belt it out with facial expressions and hip movements to boot. You almost always make the people around you smile or laugh out loud. When people tell you how beautiful you sing, you always say “Thank you so much! Have a great day and come visit me at my house, ok?”
Of course, not everyone finds your singing to be as precious as we do. Some people give you dirty looks and you’ll ask me “why is that lady mad, mommy?” I want to say “because she’s heartless witch!” But I usually tell you something like “not everyone appreciates hearing other people sing, because they like peace and quiet.” You’ll find out in time that there are jerks in the world who don’t like for other people to be happy in their presence. And you’ll learn to ignore them and keep being who you are, because you are wonderful and joy and sunshine on a cloudy day.
Can I talk a little bit more about your singing? Your singing is one of my favorite things in life. It brings me joy, laughter and sometimes, you’ll bring my to tears with the sweetness of your voice and the expressions you make while belting out a tune. I don’t know many people in the world who can take the numbers and turn them into a theatrical production. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re the only one.
When I think back on this past year, the two things (because singing and pink!) that come to mind are “Lipstick” and “Hair” because OH MY GOD THE LIPSTICK AND THE HAIR.
You’ve pretty much destroyed/took over every tube of lipstick that I own, but you especially loved my bright red Estee Lauder. You had to take it with you everywhere that we would go. You’d apply it repeatedly in the car on the way to wherever we were going. By the time that we would arrive at our destination, your lips (and most of your face) would be covered with bright, red gloss.
Oh, the shiny, red joy!
You eventually decided that lipstick just wasn’t enough and every single day, I’d find you in my bathroom, painting your face, Tammy Faye Baker style.
I don’t mind sharing my lipstick with you. Lipstick makes you happy and the one thing that I want for you in life is for you to be happy. But do you know what I do mind? The fact that you’ve become obsessed with a hairstyle called “The Princess Fiona.” Basically, TPF is when I pull your hair back into a pigtail and then leave a few long pieces in front for you to flip around all princess like. I have no idea why you named it that, but every single time that I do your hair you say “I want it like Princess Fiona” and I will get annoyed and say “how about I do it like Princess Leah!’ And you’ll start to whine and say “No! I want it like Princess Fiona!” and I’ll say “How about I put a beautiful braid!” And you’ll get REALLY ANGRY and say “MOMMY JUST PUT IT LIKE PRINCESS FIONA BECAUSE THAT IS HOW I LIKE IT.”
I get frustrated because you have the most beautiful hair in all of the land and I could do so many beautiful things with it, but you are unwilling to let me. Except for once in a while, when you’re in a really good mood you’ll let me do something beautiful with it.
But, it never lasts for long. Before I know it, you’re ripping out the braid or buns and asking for me to put it like Princess Fiona.
I have proof of how much you love the Princess Fiona do. A few weeks ago, you were in your room quietly reading books. Or so I thought. “Mom, don’t worry. I cut my hair beeeeeautiful.” You shouted from your room.
My heart dropped. I ran to your room and found you standing in front of the mirror with the scissors in your hand, a mass of hair on your dresser and freshly cut, very short bangs. You were very proud of yourself until you realized that, um, you had very short bangs and you could no longer do your hair like Princess Fiona because OH MY GOD THE BANGS ON YOUR FOREHEAD.
This went on for a couple of hours. You’d stop crying, then you’d feel the bangs on your forehead, try to rip them off and when you were unsuccessful, the tears would began to fall again. It was probably the most traumatic experience of your 4 year old little life and I am sorry that I laughed, but I’m sure by the time you’re old enough to read this, you’ll laugh too.
I’m not quite sure how to end this post. There is so much I remember, so much I want to tell you, so many things that I want everyone who reads this to know about you, my sweet Lil G. Because…You? You are simply wonderful in every way.
Some of your characteristics have the potential to get you into trouble in life. That is why I take my job as your mother very seriously. I want to steer you in the right direction, correcting you and setting you straight when it’s called for, but also never wanting to break your spirit. I know what it’s like to have your spirit broken. I know what it’s like to be told your dreams will never come true. I know what it’s like to be too ashamed to stand up for yourself. So, I will make sure you know the power of your voice, but also know that there is a time to be quiet, listen, learn and plan your next move. I am and will always do everything in my power to make sure you choose the right path for you.
Before I end, let me say one (or 10) more thing(s).
I am in awe of you and always will be because you are the daughter I never thought I’d have. Thank you for bring joy into my life. Thank you for “fixing my hair” when “it’s so ugly.” Thank you for “helping me clean” (even if it really means “making more of a mess.”) Thank you for telling Daddy he should make me eggs for breakfast when I’m working. Thank you for reading me stories. Thank you for not saying “Asshole” anymore because that could have got me into a LOT of trouble with Gramma and Grammpies. But mostly, thank you for bringing joy, love and perfectly timed farts into my life.
He walked into the kitchen while I was finishing up the dishes. This Old Love by Lior came on.
“This song reminds me of us.” I said as he walked past me.
He had never heard the song. I walked over to him, wrapped my arms around his neck and looked up at him.
I begin singing along while looking at his sweet face.
“We’ll grow old together
We’ll grow old together
This old love will never
This old love will never die”
He smiled, buried his head into my neck.
We stood there, slow dancing in the living room. I held him tighter as we swayed back and forth in time to the music. It was just like a scene out of a romantic movie, except for the part where I was wearing sweats with holes in the crotch area and he had wood shavings all over his bleached out ugly green shirt.
We were having A Moment.
I felt the tears welling in what my husband likes to call my “40 Eyes.” I didn’t want to cry because THERE’S NO CRYING WHILE SLOW DANCING IN TORN UP SWEATS IN THE LIVING ROOM!” But I couldn’t stop the tears. I didn’t want him to know that I was crying, so I sneakily wiped my tears with his dirty shirt.
The song ended and we just sort of stood there, holding each other. I finally pulled away and kissed him on the cheek.
“I love you, old man.”
“I love you too, pretty girl.”
I went back to cleaning the kitchen while he headed back into the garage to do whatever it is that he does in there with all of that wood.
I was in the kitchen roasting tomatoes and peppers to prepare fresh salsa for dinner. Gabriella and Tony were sitting at the kitchen table playing a game of Slap Jack. While I was roasting away, I heard the following
Gabby: Come on Dad! Let’s go!
Tony: Hold on. I want to look at your mama. She’s so pretty.
Gabby: Okay, but please stop looking at her like she’s SUPER smokin’.
*She turns to look at me*
Gabby: Don’t get me wrong, Mommy. I think you’re pretty. But dad is looking at you like he’s about to drool!
Twenty four years later and he still looks at me like he’s about to drool. That’s true love. (Or old age. Or both.)
When you lose weight, especially a significant amount of weight, people love to tell you how! amazing! you! look! omg! It’s nice to hear because losing a significant amount of weight is not easy to do and it’s nice to be recognized for hard work, yes? But, if you should happen to stop losing weight and gain weight back, it’s hard to NOT feel ashamed and or embarrassed.
Here’s the thing… EFF SHAME. EFF IT RIGHT IN THE UGLY FACE.
In the past year, I had a traumatic friendship break-up, lost my job and a huge portion of our household income, injured my knee and then injured my neck and shoulder. I was depressed, I was broke, I was scared and so I did what I did what I needed to do to cope emotionally. (Eat. A Lot.) I’m not saying I handled things in the best or healthiest way possible, I absolutely did not. But I did what gave me comfort at the time. It’s taken a lot of time, a lot of tears, a lot of conversations with my husband and a LOT of donuts, but I’m finally at a place where I can say that I’ve truly, completely let go. I’m ready to move on and to live my best life again. I’m ready to admit where I went wrong and to do better.
If I choose to hold onto the shame that I feel about letting myself get unhealthy again, I will not be able to move forward.
I have nothing to be ashamed about. I ate too much, I didn’t work out enough and I gained weight. It happened. I refuse to sit here and feel sorry for myself or feel like a terrible person. Instead, I choose to set goals, to make better choices and to get in shape again.
Here’s my “before and after.” The first photos are of when I was in shape, when I had lost weight and was no longer 199. The second pictures were taken today after my first boot camp class (big ups to Lindsay for hooking me up with a writing gig so boot camp is possible again!) Totally out of shape again, totally 199 pounds again (okay, I lie, 201 pounds) But TOTALLY MOTIVATED TO DO BETTER.
(I chose the LARGE size photo because IN YOUR FACE, SHAME.)
Long story short? We lost both of our dogs last year. Our daughter was heartbroken. She asked for a new dog often. I would tell her things like “Maybe for Christmas next year!”
Then one day my mother in law called me and said that her neighbor had an adorable little dog but her husband was allergic and she had to find it a new home. And she was all “he’s trained and he’s cute and he’s just the most precious little dog in all of the world.” I agreed to meet the dog and see if he would be a good fit for our family. We ended up bringing him home the very next day.
We hadn’t mentioned any of this to our daughter, so the day we brought him home we surprised her after school.
In my excitement, I totally left the dog out of the video. But don’t panic! I have pictures!
He is perfect for us and just what our family was missing. Happy my girl has another furry friend to love and make memories with.
A few weeks ago a friend of mine asked me if I would take senior portraits of her daughter. I’ve never taken senior portraits before, but I was up for the challenge. Luckily, my friend’s daughter has a great personality and made things easy for me.
I started out extremely nervous, but ended up having a great time. It was a good learning experience. The best part was the text that I received after the shoot was over.
Nothing feels better than knowing something you did made someone happy.
On Monday night, Ethan and I had a very serious talk about school and grades. My son has always made good grades. All a’s and b’s so far in high school. But this last semester he struggled a bit with hard classes and he felt like I was being negative, not giving him credit for how well he has done overall in school. Voices were raised, feelings were hurt, tears were shed.
After the conversation was over, my daughter walked into the room and handed her brother a piece of paper.
What she wrote brought me to tears because it was so lovely and everything I hope my children will be to each other in life (Kind, sympathetic, understanding, encouraging, supportive.) It was extra special because those two argue like crazy. But I know at their core and in the depths of their hearts, there is nothing but love. At the moment I can’t think of anything that makes me happier than knowing that my children love and care for one another when it matters the most.
(I have Gabriella’s permission to post this. She wants others to see “how families can love each other.” She’s the best.)