The Wedding Ring: An Awesome Update.

When my husband came home from work, I told him what had happened. After dinner, he took apart the plumbing under the sink and to see if maybe, just maybe the ring had been caught in the p-trap. I was in the other room doing laundry.

Gabriella came running into the room.

“Daddy found it, Mommy! HE FOUND YOUR RING!”

I ran into the bathroom and there he was, holding my (filthy, dirty ring.) We all laughed and celebrated. I asked G to come close so I could tell her something. “I want you to remember this moment.” She listened carefully. “When I asked you if you knew what happened to my ring today, you could have told me a lie. Even though you were scared, you told me the truth. And because you told me the truth, we were able to find my ring. If you had chose to tell me a lie, we never would have known and when we move, we would have left that ring and it would have been lost forever. You can ALWAYS tell Mommy and Daddy the truth. Even when you’re scared to.”

While we were talking, Tony walked into the room with my now clean and sparkly ring. He got on one knee while Gabriella giggled. “Are you going to ask her to marry you again?”

He did. And while he began to put the ring on my finger, I held my breath, unsure if it would fit.

It did.

Best night ever.

And Now I Know the Truth About My Missing Wedding Ring.

When Gabriella was a bit younger (maybe 6?) she loved to play with my jewelry. I had asked her to please never play with my wedding ring. (At the time it was in my jewelry box because it no longer fit me due to weight gain.)

A few weeks ago, I decided to take my rings out to see if they would fit me now that I’ve lost some more weight. I found the engagement bands, but not the wedding band/diamond. I called my daughter into my room and asked her about my rings. “When you were little, did you play with my wedding rings?” She denied it and I didn’t push the issue with her. I’ve been looking for the ring daily, hoping it would turn up in a drawer somewhere. I didn’t panic much because I figured it was just misplaced and I would eventually find it.

I was searching through some little drawers on my dresser just now while G was sitting on my bed. “I know you said that you didn’t lose my ring, but I’m starting to think you may have lost it when you were little and are too scared to tell me.” Her reaction was not what I had expected. Her eyes filled with tears. “I am afraid to tell you, Mommy. I know what happened to it.” I told her she didn’t need to be afraid, that she could tell me the truth.

She took a deep breath and then she confessed that when “she was little” she was trying it on to see what it looked like on her when it slipped off of her finger and fell down the bathroom drain. “I wanted to tell Daddy when it happened so he could try to get it, but I was so scared he would get mad.”

I felt sick to my stomach, but didn’t feel angry with her at all. She was just a little girl when it happened and I am sure that carrying around that secret, that guilt has been difficult for her. I pulled her close to me as I fought back tears and told her that I wasn’t angry with her, just a little bit sad. I told her that I’m happy to finally know the truth so that I can stop looking for the ring now.

I could see the relief on her sweet little face after she made her confession.

It is not a good feeling to know that the ring my husband chose for me 24 years ago was washed down the drain and possibly gone forever (because maybe, just maybe it’s still there?) but it was a really good opportunity to have a conversation with my daughter about telling the truth, even when you’re scared to tell the truth.

Sigh.

The Answer to Loving Myself, My Body.

This morning I read a post I had written in 2007. You may be familiar with the post– I read it at live the first BlogHer Keynote in 2008.

As I read it again this morning, I marveled at how much I’ve changed. “What is the answer?” I asked in the post.

I never thought I’d find the answer. I truly believed that I would always feel that way about myself, my body.

Six years later, I can honestly say that I no longer allow my weight or the way that I view my body to negatively affect the way that I live my life. Turns out that for me, the answer was to change my behavior. I began to take care of myself, to treat myself with the same respect that I treat others in my life.

I work out daily. I make healthy food choices, but don’t deprive myself. I never turn down an invitation to spend time with family or friends because of my weight. I don’t feel guilty for spending money on taking care of myself. Boot camp is not cheap, but I’m worth the expense. It keeps me active, healthy and motivated.

I’ve been doing boot camp since September of last year and I still weigh 184 pounds. I still wear a size 14. I still have bumps and lumps on my chubby legs. I have sagging skin from the weight loss. I still struggle with the way my body looks at times, I would be lying if I said I didn’t. But here’s the difference– I no longer focus on those things. I focus on how strong I feel, I focus on the joy that I feel when I’m spending time with family and friends. I focus on love, laughter, on living my life. I allow myself to feel proud of my accomplishments, no matter how small they may be. Did you know there was a time where I couldn’t run for five minutes without feeling like I was dying? But now, I can run (slowly) for three miles and feel TOTALLY GREAT when I’m done? I am proud of that. I CELEBRATE THAT.

For me, that has been the answer to stop the self hatred and to start enjoying life and loving who I am, in this imperfect but perfect for ME body.

Sweet Bandit.

“Let me get him a puppy.” My mom said, shortly after we had to put our dog Willie to sleep in 2007.

I didn’t think I was ready to even entertain the idea of a new puppy. But my mom felt a new dog was just what Ethan needed. You see, Ethan and Willie were very bust buddies. The days after Willie died, Ethan’s heart was broken. He couldn’t bear to go in the backyard, too many reminders of Willie were lingering back there for his tender little (broken) heart handle.

I wasn’t ready for another puppy, but I was overcome with sadness for my son, so I agreed to let my mother find a puppy for our grieving family. It just so happened shortly after this conversation with my mother, a friend of the family mentioned that she was getting a puppy from a woman whose lab had puppies, TOO many puppies (I believe it was 13 puppies? Nuts.) She invited me to come with her if I was interested in getting a puppy. Perfect timing.

“Pick the biggest puppy.” My husband said as I walked out the door.

I found the biggest puppy and he was the cutest thing I had ever seen. I picked him up and instantly fell in love.

I brought the little guy home and Ethan was smitten.

“What do you want to name him?” I asked.

“I want to name him Bandit, because he has stole my heart.”

It was a rough few weeks for me. Bandit was very young and so he was very needy. I slept with him every night on the couch for the first week. I would get up to take him potty and to pet him when he would cry. And OHMYGOD, how he would cry. Sometimes? I’d cry because it was just like having a newborn baby all over again. But man, I would do anything for my children’s happiness and dammit, I loved that puppy.

Bandit grew up to be a huge dog. He was so large and weighed so much, he could knock you on your butt. When he’d come running towards you, you would have to brace yourself, plant your feet firmly in the ground and hope for the best. But that dog was so amazing, he would never run towards the little kids. He would always approach them gently. I loved that about him.

Such a beautiful, fun loving, dorky, hyper, dog.

A few weeks ago, we knew something was wrong with Bandit. There was a growth on his nose. Then, we heard that one of his brothers had cancer. When I heard that, my heart sank. I knew the news wouldn’t be good for Bandit.

Our fears were confirmed by the vet. Cancer. Nothing they could do.

We had to have him put to sleep.

I didn’t go with Tony the night we put him to sleep. I couldn’t bear it. I just couldn’t. But when I got the call that it was over, that he was gone. I just lost it.

It was a sad night for our family. And it was especially sad for his best buddy, our other lab, Luke. He howled for hours the morning after and still to this day, he’ll run to the gate on the side yard and cry. It’s awful.

Bandit was only 6 years old. Seems so unfair he had such a short life. But I am grateful we had him in our lives for those 6 years. He was such a funny, loving, loyal, pretty dog. I’ll miss him forever. We all will.

Not Yet a Runner.

I’ve been doing boot camp since September. One of my goals has consistently been to a) get better at running b) learn to enjoy running. It is now March and well, I still hate running as much as I did when I first started. It doesn’t feel as bad, but I still hate doing it.

In order to avoid falling on the ground and crying during our runs (which are usually 2.5 – 3 miles long) I try to find little ways to motivate myself to help get me through it. For instance, if on a particular route I usually have to stop at a certain point, I try to go past that point the next time we run that route before stopping to walk and catch my breath. I also try to find markers and pass them. I’ll tell myself “you can stop after you pass this tree coming up!” And then when I get to the tree, I try to go even a little bit farther.

I hate that I have to think so much during my runs, I wish I could just enjoy the music, the fresh air and think about happy things. But, no. I have to fight through every minute of the run. I have to tell myself “JUST GET PAST THIS TREE THAN YOU CAN WALK FOR A MINUTE” the entire run.

Today, we did a 2.5 mile run. The first mile was all uphill. I knew it was going to suck because uphill is the worst. My instructor stayed with me, which was awesome/not awesome because she would only let me stop for 10 seconds at a time. Then she’d be all “Pick it up, RUN!” I was dying, I hated every second of it. At one point, she said “just make it to this stop light, then it’s all flat or downhill.”

I told myself once we made it past that signal, I was going to run the rest of the way without stopping. I’ve told myself that before. I’ve tried doing it. But I have never quite made it without having to stop at some point to catch my breath.

When we turned the corner after passing the signal, I stopped for a few seconds. Then I told myself “Let’s DO THIS!”

I started to run. I ran for a few minutes and then everything in my body was all “STOP AND WALK. STOP AND WALK. WALK WALK WALK.”

But I pushed through. I tried tuning into the music. I tried thinking about other things.

Stop. Stop. Stop. went my brain.

Keep running. Keep running. Keep running. said my heart.

Everything inside of me wanted to stop. But I didn’t. I kept running. And just when I thought I couldn’t keep going, a fellow “Camper” jogged up next to me.

“I can’t stop now.” I thought. “Just keep up with him.”

And I did. And it felt good.

I didn’t stop until we reached the stop light.

My instructor gave me a high five.

“How did that feel?” She asked. “Didn’t it feel amazing.”

“Yes.” I replied. “It felt amazing.”

It probably sounds dumb, but I was so proud of myself for not stopping. Small victories are what keeps me going and coming back for more.

Well, that and all of crazy/fun/mostly crazy things we do.

StriVectin-SD Review and Your Chance to Win $100 Gift Card

When I was a teenager and in my early twenties, my skin care regimen consisted of terribly bad things, like dousing my face with rubbing alcohol to try to clear my pores and get rid of the oils in my skin I believed were “clogging my pores.”

I cringe now when I think of how poorly I cared for my skin in my earlier days. It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I begin to take care of my skin and learned the value of having a good skin care regimen. It wasn’t until then that I started to notice, or even worry about, things like “fine lines” and “crow’s feet” and “wrinkles”.

I’m 41 now, and so I am careful to do all the things I can to care for my skin. I make sure to drink plenty of water to keep my skin hydrated; I try to get plenty of sleep to keep my eyes from looking puffy and tired. Most importantly, I make sure to do these things every night before I go to bed:

Remove my eye makeup.

Wash my face with warm-ish water, using a good cleanser.

Apply an eye cream.

Moisturize.

I do this routine every night, without fail, except for the rare night that I pass out on the couch while trying to catch up on my recorded television shows because I am old.

I don’t spend a ton of money on creams and potions, but if I hear about something that really works and that’s worth spending money on, I will splurge and give it a try. When I was given to opportunity to receive StriVectin-SD™ Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles and give it a try for a review, I jumped at the chance. I’ve been told really good things about this product and was super excited to use it on my 41 year old skin.

 

I briefly considered using the product on my stretch marks but decided against it. I’ve had these stretch marks on my body for almost 20 years, they’ve grown on me and become part of who I am. So I chose to use the products on my face because while I’m not super stressed out about wrinkles, I wouldn’t be sad to see them diminish. I’ve been using the product for about two weeks now and here is what I can tell you.

I love the way the StriVectin-SD™ Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles feels when it goes on. It’s got a bit of a minty smell and feel to it, but it’s not overwhelming. It doesn’t feel heavy or greasy at all. My skin feels invigorated after I apply it. I absolutely notice a difference in the way my skin looks and feels. The texture of my skin has improved. It’s softened, and it feels and looks much smoother. I don’t yet notice a huge change on the wrinkles, but my skin has definitely improved.

My husband even commented when I was putting my makeup on yesterday, so I’m not the only one who noticed.

StriVectin is the leading clinical anti-aging brand that rebuilds skin health over time, based on 25 years of biological research. Only StriVectin formulas have a patented, clinically-proven NIA-114 molecule that powers up skin to help repair damage and fight off all visible signs of aging for a youthful look and feel. The box claims that by week 2, my “skin will look smoother and more resilient.” Learn more about StriVectin on their website.

I have to say, that is very true of my skin. I actually look forward to see what happens as I continue using this over the next couple of months!

What interests you most about NIA-114, a key active ingredient in StriVectin-SD™ Intensive Concentrate for Stretch Marks & Wrinkles? Leave a comment and be automatically entered for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card. You must leave a valid email address to win!

Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1.       Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2.       Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3.       Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Be sure to visit the StriVectin brand page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

Comments are now closed. Thank you.

She’s Practically a Tweenager.

It was pouring rain at school pick up time this afternoon, so I walked to the classroom to meet my daughter with an umbrella in hand. She ran over to me with her much too full backpack and big, puffy jacket zipped up to her chin.

She handed me her backpack and I said “Give mama a kiss. I’ve missed you all day!”

I bent down a bit and kissed her little chapped lips.

She put her head down quickly and then asked me to come closer to her. The rain fell down around us as she begin to whisper.

“Mom. Next time you kiss me at school, it’s important that you kiss me on the cheek, NOT on the lips.”

She may as well have kicked me in the chin, super hard because ouch.

“Why?” I asked. “Why can’t I kiss you on the lips when we’re at school?”

“Because, it’s super embarrassing. It’s okay at home, just not at school.”

It was just a few weeks ago that she informed me that she no longer wanted to be called Gabby because Gabby is for babies. Oh, and also? Could she please start calling me mom instead of Mommy? Because she’s not a baby anymore! Oh and could I please stop calling her princess because, again, for babies.

She’s growing. She’s changing. She’s maturing. She’s blossoming. She’s becoming a little lady.

And I love it because it’s wonderful.

And I hate it because it’s heart crushing.

High School Sports Are Filled With Excitement, Life Lessons and Sometimes? Concussions!

My son Ethan started playing basketball when he was three years old. It was the sweetest thing to watch that little guy running up and down the court, trying to dribble the ball, trying to make baskets. He fell in love with the sport and became passionate about it.

Even at that young age, he would spend hours practicing putting the ball into the basket. All day, every day. As he got older, his love for the game never faded but only grew stronger. He started to develop his skills and became what coaches considered a good player. His specialty? The 3 point shot.

It was a thrill for me to watch my son improve every season, to become really good at something he loved so dearly. Basketball was his passion and it showed in the way he played on the court.

When he entered middle school, the thing he was the most excited about was trying out for the basketball team. He made the team both years. The 8th grade team went undefeated and he was so proud. All he could talk about was how good their team was going to be in high school.

He tried out for high school ball in the summer and made the summer team. He was thrilled to learn he’d be a starter. He did well offensively, but struggled a bit defensively. But, he kept pushing himself to get better. He never missed a single practice or a single game. He made the team for fall and secured himself as one of the starting five players. He shined during his first freshman tournament, scoring seven 3 pointers in one game, only missing one shot. It was EXCITING to watch him out there, nailing shot after shot, watching the crowd cheering and getting more excited with each made shot. When the game was over, he had scored 29 and was awarded the award for Player of the Tournament.

He had a fantastic freshman season. I can’t tell you how cool it was to hear the other coaches yell “he’s the shooter!” I’d be like “DAMN RIGHT HE’S THE SHOOTER.” He was a team player all the way around and just so much fun to watch. I couldn’t have been more proud of that boy.


(Taken last year at his Freshman basketball banquet)

This year, he made the JV squad. He was excited to start a new season with his teammates. The day of their first pre-season game I asked him if he was going to be a starter. “Probably not, Mom.” He replied. He said there were kids on the team that were better than him, so he didn’t expect to start. He was fine with that and I was fine with that. I mean, I know what my son is capable of, but if there were better players that would help them win games, I totally get it. Ultimately, it’s more important that the team win than my son start, right?

My family came to the game, and there were a lot of friends there. We were all totally pumped up! First quarter passed, Ethan got no playing time. Second quarter, still no playing time. Third quarter? Nothing. Nada. Game was over, my son never left the bench. I was upset, because I knew he was going to be upset. Not in a “I deserve to play” way, but in a “basketball is my passion and zero playing time crushes my soul” way.

I was upset, but swore to myself that I wouldn’t say a word to Ethan about it on the ride home. This was between him and his coach. Personally, I thought his coach was crazy to not use Ethan, but, again, not my battle to fight. The very next practice, Ethan made me proud yet again by pulling his coach aside. “What can I do to earn my spot?” was what he asked. Not “Why didn’t you play me?” but “tell me how I can earn playing time.” (Love. That. Boy.) His coach told him to keep working on his defense.

So, that’s exactly what my son did. The next game, he got a few minutes playing time in the third quarter, in those few minutes he had a rebound and scored 14 points (Boom!) The next game? Zero playing time. The next? A few minutes of playing time. The next game? Zero.

My son was devastated. And as his mother, I began to worry about him. His confidence was shattered. I spoke with him about it and told him to keep working hard, to not give up, to play hard anytime he was given playing time. I told him to keep a positive attitude towards his coach and his team. “There is a lesson to be learned here, Son.” I said. Even though I had no idea what the lesson was. Seeing him so utterly wrecked was hard to handle. When other parents would approach me after games and ask why the coach wasn’t playing Ethan (because they knew what he was capable of) I’d get choked up, fight back tears and just shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know.” I’d say. I wanted to talk to the coach, but I knew that would be the wrong thing to do. (But don’t think I didn’t cuss the coach out IN MY MIND.)

Two weeks ago, Ethan’s team played one of the better teams in our league. We were getting beaten quite badly, so, coach put Ethan in the game during the second quarter when we were already down by 20. Ethan took their shooter defensively and shut him down completely. He didn’t score a single point while Ethan was in the game. It was super obvious how great his defense has gotten. The varsity coach happened to be at that game. Later that night, Ethan got a call. He was smiling from ear to ear. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” I overheard him say. When he hung up, I asked him who it was. “It was the Coach F.” (The varsity coach.) “He said I played great defense, that he noticed how much I’ve improved. He told me to keep up the hard work.” I was relieved that he had noticed but more importantly, that he had taken the time to call my son. He had absolutely no idea ho much my son needed those encouraging words.

The next game, I was sitting in the stands like I am at every game, ready to cheer on the team. I noticed my son take his shooting shirt off. The only time he takes his shooting shirt off is if he’s going to play. I looked over to my other son. “Do you think Ethan’s going to start? Could that really be happening right now?”

Yes. It happened. My son was one of the starting five players.

(#3, my boy!)

I took a deep breath and fought back tears because my son freaking earned his spot. He worked hard, he never gave up and oh my God, he earned a starting spot on the JV team.


(Taken right after his first starting game last week.)

On Tuesday, he started for the third time. He was pumped up, like he always is at game time. When coach pulled him out, they were winning. He didn’t come back into the game until they were down by 10 points. I know my son and he wanted desperately to win that game, so he came in aggressive. During one play, he jumped up to grab a ball that was heading out of bounds. I watched my son jump into the air, get a little push from another player and come down with such force, that his head slammed into the ground. The sound of his head hitting echoed in the gym and a sound came out of me that I can’t explain as I watched my son hit the ground and black out. He wasn’t moving, the crowd was completely silent. I screamed from the depths of my soul and then covered my mouth with my hand in shock. I wanted to run down there to be with him, but my husband beat me to it. I just stood there, saying “oh my God oh my God oh my God” while trying to breathe. He laid there, not moving and then, suddenly, he moved just a bit. I couldn’t believe what I had just witness or that this was actually happening. I had no idea if my son was going to be okay. I’m not exaggerating here, it was bad, a nightmare before my eyes. I was frozen with fear. Another mother who was sitting next to me kept telling me “he’s okay, he’s going to be okay, he’s okay” over and over again while her hands trembled in fear for him, for me. There was nothing I could do except wait to see if my son was going to be able to get up. He eventually got up and everyone cheered as he walked back to his seat. I could see he was dazed. I walked over to him and told him as soon as the game was over, he was going to the hospital.

After the game, parents were coming up to me saying how scared they were. One of his teammates said “I was so scared, I thought he was dead.” Everyone agreed I needed to take him in for observation.

My husband took him to urgent care while I stayed home to do homework with Gabby. I texted non-stop. “Have you seen a doctor yet? Is Ethan okay? Don’t let him go to sleep! How does Ethan feel?”

He finally called to tell me that they said “he seems fine. Give him something for his headache.” And I was all “did they check his pupils?” And he was all “No?” And I was all “ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME? TAKE HIM BACK RIGHT THESE SECOND TO SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR.” And he did and came home and said THE SECOND DOCTOR DID NOT CHECK HIS PUPILS OR DO ANY KIND OF TESTS WHATSOEVER. He literally said “well, he’s not throwing up or slurring his words, so he’s fine, but if he starts throwing up or slurring his words, be sure to bring him back right away.”

I was LIVID.

That night, I did not sleep. I woke my son up every two hours. And then, first thing in the morning, I called my doctor and told him what had happened and how he did NOT get a proper examination by the doctors at urgent care. After listening to the facts, he asked me to bring Ethan in right away so he could check him.

Oh, guess what?

Turns out, my son had a concussion. Because of COURSE HE DID, asshole Urgent Care Doctors!!

And then, the doctor said it.

“No sports or any type of physical activities for at least one week.”

There are only five more games left in the season and he will miss at least two of them.

He’s worked so hard to earn his spot and this happened. He’ll no longer be able to practice or do the one thing that he loves, possibly for the rest of the season. I keep asking myself “what is the lesson now?” The only thing I can think of at the moment is “Sometimes life sucks. Deal with it.”

Hard work sometimes goes unnoticed, but that doesn’t mean you should quit or give up on your dreams/goals. It means you should work harder at bettering yourself, no matter what. Even if he doesn’t play another game this season, my son can hold his head up high knowing he earned a spot by working hard and ever giving up on himself or on his team. As tough as it was to watch my son struggle, I’m grateful for the valuable life lesson he learned from the experience.

Most importantly though? I’m grateful that my son was able to walk away from that horrible fall and that he’s going to be okay. My God, that was terrifying.

Valentine’s Day Craft: Hugs and Kisses Gumball Machine

Last week I stumbled across the most adorable Valentine’s Day craft and I knew I had to make one with my daughter. So, today we hit up Michael’s and the Dollar tree to get all of the things we needed. Just under $13.00 for everything we needed. Which– awesome!

Adorable, yes?

What you need:

4″ terracotta pot
4″ terracotta saucer
wooden doll head
paint (we used outdoor patio paint, white for the base, pink for the top coat)
a small round bowl (we found one at the Dollar Tree.)
Alphabet stickers (Although we almost used a Sharpie and glitter.)
Ribbon
Candy (we used Hershey’s Kisses.)
Glue

paint the pot, saucer and doll head. (we did a coat of white, followed by pink after the white had dried.)
Once it’s dry, glue the doll head to the top of the saucer. Next, turn the pot upside down and glue the jar on top. Fill the jar with candy and once everything is dry, add the lid (the saucer with the doll head on top.)

Super easy, super quick, super ADORABLE.

(Originally found at Love Sweet Love.)