Friday, January 23, 2015

Do You Live a Healthy Whole Life?

Hello, lovelies!!! Happy New Year! I have a special surprise for y'all on this beautiful Friday. I'm teaming up today with Alissa Mertel from Healthy Whole Life and giving away an 11 Day Winter Detox worth $67! BUT I also have a coupon for 30% off your entire order... that's for ERRYBODY!

I told you it was rad!  

I'm going to come clean and say I've known Alissa for nearly 15 years. Holy crap, has it really been that long? Anywhoodle, we worked together back in the day in the creative industry. I'm still in that industry while she's moved on to create her own company. Another little secrect: I'm the design force behind all the graphics you see for her brand. Yeah. That's me. Except for the logo, I didn't make that.

Alissa is probably one of the kindest souls I know. Her spirit and soul grounds me. I'm a very spirited (read: wired and crazy) person and she helps me center the crazy. I love her to death. I want to show her off because I feel like she can help so many of my readers. Not because you're all crazy (some of you are, don't deny it) but because sometimes we just need a little extra help balanceing our bodies and minds.

We've been working on some sweet ass projects. Alissa, can I say "ass" in this post? Alissa has a line called Healthy Whole Kids. Within Healthy Whole Kids line there's a program called I Ate The Rainbow that is made specifically for kids. It directs parents on how to teach kids about all the healthy and amazing foods available in all the colors of the rainbow and not from a Skittles bag. Although, I do love Skittles... shhhh don't tell.

Healthy Whole Life is just that... it's for a healthy mind, body and soul. You can find meal plans, recipes, blog posts, detox plans, and even essential oils on the website, Twitter and Facebook pages.

My Pinterest board is flooded with good intentions, especially after the New Year. With Alissa's guided support and help, I'm going to make a change this year... who's with me? You can start by entering for the 11-Day Winter Detox! Ooor if you perfer to start with something else, like say a meal plan, use the coupon code: newyear15. The code is good through January 31, 2015, so don't wait too long!!!

Without further adu, here's my sweet friend, Alissa Mertel talking about An Opportunity for More…

•----------------•

Each day you wake is an opportunity for more.

More abundance. More energy. More health. More happiness.

I like to take advantage of that magical momentum that renews each night and use it to turn my new day into a new opportunity for something better than previously experienced. We each have this beautiful gift to renew, refresh and reboot ourselves- physically, emotionally and spiritually. It doesn’t have to always happen at night, though. You can change your mind at any point in the day. You don’t even have to be the same person you were five minutes ago!

As I lay myself to sleep each night, I let go of any occurrences of doubt, guilt, fear, worry- the could-haves and should-haves, that seem to crowd my mind from the incomplete tasks of the day. I softly release them and set the intention to transform those into the positive, hopeful counterparts that will wake me the next morning with ambition and inspiration for the brand new opportunities that lay before me.

Just as we release the daily buildup of emotional residue, when our body reduces its toxic load, we feel lighter, energized, and positive about ourselves, our relationships and our experiences. We stress less and accomplish more as we release the burden of carrying around physical and emotional weight that only drags us down.

With a seasonal Detox, you will reset and recharge your system as you release toxins that make you sick, irritable, and fatigued.

You are ready for this. Your body is asking for this. And, I will be your guide.

Join me as we welcome the endless opportunities of 2015! Let’s clean up and clear out as we make room for the abundance the new year will bring. Let’s flood our bodies with the nutrients of wellbeing and increased health.

You matter and you are SO worth it!

Learn more about the Eat to Nourish – Winter Wellness Detox here.

Your opportunity for more is waiting…

Xo

-Alissa

•----------------•

Don't forget to use the code: newyear15 (good through Jan 31, 2015) upon check out for 30% your entire order!

Be sure to sign up for the Healthy Whole Life newsletter to get your FREE Ultimate Green Smoothie Guide.

My God this post is just overflowing with awesome shit! I'm sorry, Alissa, I cussed again. Not that she cares but still, I can't help myself.



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Thursday, January 15, 2015

A New Year, A New Mom of the Year

This is a tough one to write about and I've debated if I should post this so many times. I finally decided to just hit publish and cross my fingers you guys understand why I write this.

I've mentioned a million times before that Ava (6.5 years old) is, and always has been, our "spirited" child. She's extremely strong-willed. Her mood swings are extreme. She's a rager and lover. She's hard to parent all of the time. Constantly testing our patience and pushing the boundaries. It's exhausting.

I thought it would get easier as she gets older but it's not. She's just getting smarter and I'm getting more tired. People are appalled when I tell them that she'll scream at us, tell us she hates us, and calls us nasty names, etc. And then I'm suddenly embarrassed because clearly I'm doing something wrong here. Wait. Your kids don't say this stuff? Neither J nor I grew up in a household of such disrespect. We simply did NOT talk to our parents the way she does to us.

Why do we let her? We don't! It's NOT ok but we don't know how to... I don't know... stop it. We try everything in the book to get her to stop. Take away toys, yell, time outs, talk quietly, etc. Believe me, we've tried. We go at the discipline with such HURRAH but she lasts way longer than we do and very quickly we get so damn tired of the fight. It's hard for people to understand when you don't have a kid quite like Ava. So many people think they could handle her. I'm going to assure you, you cannot even begin to handle a force like Ava. Take your average child and multiply that by one hundred. Mmm... kind of like a feral cat in a blender. I've used this analogy to explain Ava before and it's down right perfect. I should point out that she's not sassy to anyone but to her immediate family. She's a dream in school, which is a blessing. Thank ya, JESUS!

I'm the one that has a harder time with Ava. Our personalities clash. Ava and I are so much alike. I'm spirited too. I get it. The need to be in control. When I'm not, I get highly anxious. Hoo doggie, Ava is the same way. We both want control and will fight to the death for it. I know I'm the adult here and that I should act like one. Please, guys. It's hard to change the way you are after 36 years. So hard. J has more patience but I'll tell you that he struggles with her, too.

I realize how this all sounds:

We suck as parents. We don't, we are doing the best that we can.

We hate our daughter. We don't, we fiercely love and protect her at all costs.

I'm throwing her to wolves by writing about her. Nope. I just want people who are in the same situation to understand that we feel your daily struggles.

This topic isn't at all funny. It's heartbreaking. Or so I thought.

Recently, I was at a birthday party and was introduced to a woman who is a school psychologist. Even though we'd never meet, we clicked. Ava was there being Ava. She's pretty good in public but she was being sassy to me because I told her she needed to eat her pizza if she wanted to go to the after-party. She didn't like that plan. Not one single bit and made sure I knew how unhappy she was. The thing is... she knew I would bend and go to the party anyway because the party was for our friend and it's not fair to him that his friends don't come because mom said so. At least that's how I thought about it. Keep reading and you'll see how this new psychologist friend of mine turned me around.

I was talking to this woman about our issues as a family, i.e. a mini therapy session. She point blank said to me that I'm the one not setting the proper behavior boundaries. This gave me pause because I didn't take it as a rude remark, to me she was 100% right. It's something I've always known but never actually did anything about... consistently. I'm not consistent enough with those boundaries and Ava, being the smart girl that she is, always knew she could knock down those boundaries by just blinking. Ava always calls our bluff. She knows they are all empty threats. And she's right, they usually are.

The woman asked me if there's anything I don't budge on. Yes. Homework is mandatory. Learning how to read is mandatory. She can fight me tooth and nail but she's still going to do her reading. Bedtime. We've always been sleep nazis. Always wear a helmet when riding your bike. Always wear your seat belt. And on and on. She doesn't fight us on these things (except for reading but that's gotten much better) because she has boundaries. I started to clearly see what she meant that we don't set behavior boundaries.

Have I said boundaries enough? I don't think so, there's about 50 more to come.

I was with this woman for a few hours and she put her skills to the test. She got Ava to eat a whole piece of pizza. She told Ava, using me as the backup, that if Ava wanted to go to the after-party then she needs to eat her pizza. If not, she can't go but it's AVA'S choice, whatever that may be.

Ok, this must seem all very simple to you guys. I can see readers thinking DUH, DUMBASS. And yes, this is a duh moment but with Ava these moments last hours and are 10 times harder than they need to be. After years of fighting her, we give up. She calls our bluff and wins. Doing the same technique with EZ (her 3.5 year old brother) wouldn't end in serious power struggle. To him he knows mom is in charge. Either he eats the pizza and goes to the party or doesn't eat and doesn't go. I'm contradicting myself, aren't I? I know. I am. This is what I mean by consistency. How does a kid have any idea what they can and can't do when their parents are wishy-washy all the time?

We as parents are not consistent enough. We don't have firm boundaries. Within those boundaries we have to give our kids choices so they have some control of their lives. <-- This is the important part here. I can set and follow through with discipline (I promise I can) but THIS part is where we need to change. Giving Ava the feeling of some control in her life helps minimize tantrums and anxiety.

J and I have become a united front on this matter. We know we need to stick to our guns. No more empty threats. We mean business.

Over the past month we've worked hard on ourselves as parents and in setting proper boundaries for Ava. Being at home for a two week Christmas break put us to the test. She still has a lot of anger that we are working on. We immediately discipline sass talk. I tell her it's okay to be mad at me but NOT okay to speak to me with sass. And I tell her that her actions have consequences. At one point, early on, she was being extra mean and I asked her to look me in the eyes and say what she just said. She couldn't bring herself to do it. To look at a person you love and say something nasty, even though you're mad, is a hard thing to do. When I asked her to tell me to my face she immediately understood the weight of the things she was saying.

It's hard being a kid. Not having control of your life but at the same time, if you don't have boundaries then things get out of control. She's only 6. We have to nip this in the bud now. I think we are on the right path and I'm looking forward to watching Ava become the most amazing woman the world will ever know.

I'm working on being an even better mother of the year than I was last year. I'm not a big resolution person because I never stick to them but this... this has to stick. I have to make this work for me and for Ava. Maybe if I don't screw up as much she won't need a much therapy when she's older. There is no doubt our parents screwed up all a little bit. Am I right?

Happy New Years, lovlies! It's good to be back.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

It's a good thing I didn't choose teaching as a profession.

Jeezum, this year has been quite the blur. Hasn't it? Thanksgiving is NEXT FREAKIN WEEK, YO!! In one week, I'll be putting up all my Christmas decorations and I'm stupid excited about it. I'm about half way done with my shopping already too. Shush yo mouth. I like to be prepared.

So what's new with you?

Me? Not too much. Ava is still a sassafrass and a half. EZ still sucks balls at sleeping at night. He's also right smack in the middle of being a three year old who WANTSANDNEEDSEVERYTHINGBUTDOESNTKNOWWHATHEWANTS... WAAAAAHHH!!! <-- Caps lock pretty much sums him up right now.

Trying to get him dressed in the morning is the bane of my existence. He's taken to making the decisions on he wants to wear. Unfortunately his mom is a jerk and refuses to let him wear sweatpants every. single. day. Don't even get me started on shirts. It takes him about 20 solid minutes to pick something out and half way through his day he'll change his mind. I'd like to say I don't cave but I can only have my skin grated on so much. The whining... ooooh the whining... and a 3 year old's independence. So that's something.

Ava is kicking ass and taking names at reading. She's been working so hard and I had a long talk with her teacher over the phone, even before the parent teacher conference because we had a lot of concern. Ava's teacher put my fears at ease. I'm grateful her teacher is super kickass and on top of her game. If Ava didn't have someone like her I think Ava would seriously be struggling.

School is fucking hard and learning to read is even harder. You don't realize it until you have to actually teach someone HOW to read. For example... Ava has spelling tests each week. The words have to be sorted into specific columns along with spelling them correctly. So like, drill goes under the column where all the words end in -ill. Get it? Easy, right? Well this stupid mom didn't catch on until Ava had TWO weeks worth of spelling tests. Her tests were coming back HORRID because her mom is a dumbass and didn't realize they had to be spelled correctly AND sorted correctly.

Mah bad.

Now that we've had many weeks of tests, we are finally in the groove and by looking at the list of words I can tell right away which ones we'll need to work on. Pretty much anything that has as blend, like the word drill.

I gave Ava the word drill. She puts it in the right column, thankfully she has no problems with rhyming but she spelled it jrill. J-RILL. wha?

I asked her what that was supposed to be. She snarkly says, "Jrill, mom." Like I'M the dumbass and to be fair incidents like above would make me be snarky too. I said that drill starts with a D not a J. She said Noooooo it's JJJJJRILL!! Um no. It's not. HOW DO YOOOU KNOW?! Oh no you didn't, child.

After a lot of arguing she said that's what she hears so that's what she's going to write. Pfft! Sorry kid but that ain't going to fly. Make the J a D and get over the fact that you can't change the English language. Believe me, I've tried, it ain't happening unless you write a blog, then you can make up any ole thing you want.

BOOM. drops mic.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Every Child Deserves A Bright Start!

It's no secret that Ava has a little trouble reading. So when I was approached to participate in a “Happy Readers, Healthy Kids” blogger briefing for Nemours ReadingBrightStart! I couldn't help but SCREAM, YEEEESSS!!!! YES, YES, YES!!!

I looove to read. I always have a book I'm reading and Ava sees that. She wants to be able to read mommy books and I always tell her it takes a lot of practice but some day she can.

Ava is getting a lot of help from her school and we work on read every single night. Each night is getting better and better but there are some nights that make me want to stab myself in my eyeballs with frustration. You know you've all been there too. Don't lie.

We just read door on the last page, so what do you think this word is? Frog? NOOOO GAWW!!! IT'S DOOR!! DOOR IS THE WORD!!

She's also started to take kyu-ki do and that's helping build her confidence that she actually can do whatever she puts her mind to.

Not only did I think this webinar would be great for Ava but EZ's (who is 3) language is exploding and before we know it he'll be sounding out words to Dr. Suess books too. Side note: I never realized how amazing Dr. Suess books are. As a parent it's incredibly annoying to be tongue twisted with all the dang rhyming. But all the literary stuff Ava has too learn is right there in the books. It makes her feel good about herself because she can read them. :)

During the webinar, Dr. Laura Bailet spoke with us about ReadingBrightStart! She's the Operational Vice President of Nemours BrightStart! and a licensed school psychologist. Which means she's way smarter than me. Way smarter.

The ReadingBrightStart! website is totally free (free, freee, FREEEEE!!!!!) and set up for parents of children birth to five years old. Ava is six but I feel that she's reading on a lower level so I can still find lots of recommendations here. I would like to note that my kid isn't dumb. We've been reading to her since she was born. She will be reading just fine but needs a little extra help to get going. This website arms parents like me with information on how to help! 

When Ava started learning how to read I thought, she's so screwed. I have no clue what I'm doing here. And I didn't, I still don't! I have more information now and I'm learning as she's learning exactly how to teach her so it sticks in her brain. Reading is so complex. Why are their silent e's? Why do two words spelled the same sound different? PFFT! BEATS ME! But that's the way it, sorry you were born into a language that makes no sense. 

Did you know? If a child is not reading at grade level by the end of first grade that child only has a 10% chance of reading at grade level by the end of fourth grade. WHA?! SERIOUSLY?! This statement makes me sad. It also makes me realized how much I've taken my ability to read for granted. 

The good news is that Nemours ReadingBrightStart! is "dedicated to helping children reach their full potential."

Ok, ok but who is Nemours?

While Nemours is widely known around the world for our pediatric medical expertise, we’re also one of the country’s leading children’s health systems. We reach out beyond the walls of our hospitals and pediatric practices to places where families live, learn, work and play.
Through research, prevention, education, philanthropy and advocacy – as well as our clinical care – Nemours gives kids the very best chance to grow up healthy.

Through funding from the Nemours Foundation, Nemours ReadingBrightStart! was formed. 
They:
  • Have a bold, innovative approach
  • Identify children at-risk for reading problems
  • Provide targeted educational activities
  • Conduct and publish research to demonstrate effectiveness
On the website you can take a free (there's that word again) preschool reading screener that tells you if your child is on track for their age. As of right now, EZ is on track. Cool. Once you are done with the screener it gives you loads of information what to do with the results. The website is jam packed with all things reading. 

Reading is so important and sadly there are so many kids who don't have the access to help but Nemours is trying to change that. As a united front we can all change that. 



*The opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. In exchange for a blog post written for Nemours, I was given a good bag of books and a gift card.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Gorgeous, Dah-ling. Simply Gorgeous.

A few days before my birthday I received these GORGEOUS flowers in the mail from The Bouqs Company. J came home and was instantly like, "Whaaa? Who are those from?" I said, "Helloooooo, I told you that I would be getting a free flower arrangement for doing a blog post."

Theeeen, he was all, "So I don't need to give you flowers for your birthday?"

He received the death stare and I got another bouquet of flowers on my actual birthday. From my husband. That HE paid for. 

Anywhoodle, these flowers were so stunning. I had a hard time choosing which bouquet to pick. I decided on a lovely bouquet of white roses that would be perfect for my kitchen. I was afraid they would die after a few days like the grocery store ones because I'm not good with checking water levels. I have two kids. Acceptable water levels in vases are for people without kids who still have their memories. They didn't die! They stayed alive for way longer than I though they would.

I know that Halloween isn't exactly a flower giving kind of holiday but it could be! Especially for people who really love Halloween, like me. Are you reading this, J?

Or you could celebrate Day of the Dead on November 1st & 2nd.

Movember the whole month of November

Saxophone Day.

World Kindness Day.

Thanksgiving Day.

Black Friday.

Festivus.

Christmas.

New Years.

Does it really have to be a holiday? No, it does not. Any ole day will work to give a gorgeous bouquet of flowers to someone you are thinking about, care about, and/or love. Now you should just get clicking to check out all The Bouqs Company has to offer.

<-- Look at these FLOWERS!! Send (to me) this spooky Bouq full of orange and white ranunculus. I had no idea that's what those flowers were called. I'm certain I'm pronouncing it wrong so I'm going to call them pretty rose-looking flowers that aren't roses.

I don't know about you but a vase full of flowers helps me overlook the death traps of toys and laundry all over my house. One look at these flowers puts mama in such a GOOD mood that I don't even care the kids are eating in the living room even though I specifically told them not to.

Get beautiful bouquets from eco-friendly farms, starting at just $40 - FREE SHIPPING. Send a smile!

The Bouqs - Premium Farm Direct Flowers

*Like stated above, I was gifted a bouquet of flowers The Bouqs Company in exchanged for a blog post. The opinions above are mine and mine alone. 
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