Another Week

Sometimes they just run together. Weeks come and go, we follow our little routine and then I check the calendar and suddenly we’re almost halfway through JUNE. But this week has crawled by, I mean craaawwwled. I think because I’m anxiously awaiting next week to be here. Pierre is working from home for 5 whole days and that’s like Christmas for us! We miss him a whole lot and getting home for more then 2 consecutive days is so nice, especially for the kids.

This week has been so hard. Eva was sick over the weekend and passed it on to little Pierre and Esme. Pierre has barely eaten anything in two days and his fever comes and goes, too. Esme’s fever is teething related I’m pretty sure, she has two more incisors cutting through. Having sick kids and with this crazy rain we’ve been having makes for a serious case of cabin fever. It’s been pouring for 4 days straight so Florida is basically under water now. I think the cabin fever is getting to my head because I willingly cleaned our leather couch at 8am this morning. I don’t even know myself anymore.

I made turkey egg cups for the first time!

I haven’t eaten all that great this week either. My meals have been overall healthy but I’ve had more sugar than I normally eat. I made these delicious monster cookie bars with coconut oil instead of butter and with white sugar instead of brown sugar. Also, I didn’t have chocolate chips so we just added a bunch of sprinkles. If you saw my Instagram video about them then you know I’ve had those red white and blue M&Ms since last July! I bought them in hopes that they would help me bribe the twins with potty training and we still have a ton! It was a massive bag from BJ’s. Anyway, I only had one cookie square! I’m going to force feed my kids cookie bars through the weekend to save myself and they better like it.


We don’t have any weekend plans, mostly smothering daddy when he gets home and church on Sunday. I hope the rain stops long enough so we can take the kids to the beach. They’ve been begging to go since March when it warmed up but there’s no way I can take them alone during the week. What are your weekend plans?

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Fitness Journey

I feel like my fitness journey has been all over the place for the last 5 years. Mostly because I’ve had 4 kids in that time frame but also because I’ve basically had to learn everything on my own. While my mom enjoys fitness now she didn’t have much time for working out when I was a kid. She worked full time and raised 3 kids. And I don’t think my dad knows what the inside of an actual gym looks like ha. The only sport I was familiar with as a kid was baseball because my brother played and we were always at his games. I was forced into ballet when I was in 8th grade. I hated it at the time but grew to love it and continued for 3 years with ballet and dance. But that was it. No team sports, no real extracurricular activities. I don’t feel like I missed out on much, my parents were doing the best they could as immigrants, working their own business and hoping to provide a better life for their family.

So all that to say that I didn’t have any examples of fitness around me until I met my best friend Ashley in high school. She loves sports and fitness to this day. I still remember seeing her abs at the beach once and thinking how in the heck did she have those? Anyway time crept forward, I went to culinary school and definitely gained some weight. Then I got married and definitely gained some more weight. I wanted to be a good little wife and made 3 course meals for my man every single night. It wasn’t until our third year living in Baltimore that Pierre and I decided to join a gym. The only thing I “knew” how to do was run on the treadmill and I hated every second. But I was determined to lose some weight and I thought running would do that for me. I started slow, I remember I couldn’t run more than 5 or 6 minutes at a time without stopping to catch my breath.

Along with going to the gym I started reading fitness blogs! I don’t remember how I found them or how it all got started but at some point I was introduced to blogs and my life hasn’t been the same since. I began learning about HIIT workouts and circuit training, and weight training. So many different ways to get in shape that didn’t involve staring at a treadmill for 30 minutes and wanting to cry.

Slowly I started incorporating weights and other workouts into my life. I had Eva in 2012 and a year later decided to do one round of INSANITY. It was so challenging but at the end of the 90 days I was so happy with the results. I couldn’t believe I could be as thin as I was, 118 pounds! The thinest I had been since high school. Shortly after reaching that weight goal I found out I was pregnant with the twins! I ate anything and everything I wanted and didn’t lift a finger. That pregnancy was very hard on my body and I used it as an excuse to let myself go. Delivery day I weighed in at 191 pounds! Pretty extreme weight gain in only 9 months.

When the twins were 3 months old I joined the gym again and started taking group fitness classes to get myself back on track. Things were going great and I was really learning more about weight training and getting more comfortable at the gym when I found out I was pregnant again with Esme, the twins were 9 months old. Again, due to stress and moving from Michigan to Florida, I used my pregnancy as an excuse to eat all the things. I didn’t have a firm grasp on the whole eating to fuel your body concept. I always looked at food as more of a reward/punishment scale. If you ate something “bad” then your punishment was shame, guilt and 2 hours killing yourself on the treadmill. If you worked out for 5 days in a row you rewarded yourself by eating anything and everything on the weekends. I can’t tell you how wrong that is and how it really messed with my confidence and self esteem.

I can’t pinpoint the exact day and I don’t even think there was a lightbulb moment for me but I can say I’m in such a better place today than I was even a year ago. Life went on, the stresses of raising 4 little kids were some days too much to bare. I didn’t have an outlet, I didn’t have an escape. I tried several at-home workouts on and off but nothing really stuck. Until one day I met my friend who is a group fitness instructor at one of Eva’s classmate’s birthday party. Turns out her son was in Eva’s class and he’s a twin! She invited me to the gym immediately and I of course out of desperation to make friends joined the gym she worked at shortly after meeting her.

I started going to the gym every day, taking any class I could in the mornings while Eva was in class and fell in love. I started making friends and working out because I was proud of what my body could do and what I was capable of. A lot of days in the beginning I just wanted to give up and stay home but I pushed through. The friendships I began making at the gym helped motivate me to get there. Food used to be an escape for me but now it’s fuel. Yes, eating things that have a lot of sugar and fat are delicious and I eat those things, too. But I don’t feel like I need to eat those things or forbid them from my diet in order to be happy with myself. If I feel like eating something with lots of sugar then I eat it and move on.

In January of this year I signed up with trainer. My goal with her is to push myself beyond my limits with weights and really transform my body, she guides me and gives me workouts to do on my own. Because I was never “in shape” before I had kids I have no idea what my body’s potential really is. That’s my true goal, push my body to it’s full fitness potential. It’s exciting! Everyone’s fitness journey is different and I hope I can motivate even just one person to get up and get moving. I really have fallen in love with working out and pushing myself to try different things at the gym is something that I don’t take for granted. It’s quickly become a passion that I hope to continue to share with you.

I don’t have many photos of myself but I do plan on doing a before and after photo comparison in a few months, when I reach my 1-year goal at this gym. Bottom line consistency is so key. Consistently do what will get you to your goals and you will have it. Don’t give up!

Summer

Help. Me. I don’t know what to do with my kids over the summer! Now that Eva is a school-going kid I feel like she needs to be doing something to hold her attention. The twins, Esme and I usually just go to the gym and wait for Eva to get home from school. That’s not going to fly anymore, they will notice how lazy I am soon enough. We have a membership to the Jacksonville Zoo but it’s so hot and humid this time of year, we can’t go as often as I’d like in the middle of Florida summer.


All water parks are pretty much out of the question, too. My kids are too little for that and the beach is kind of the same because with Pierre traveling so much I’d have to take them alone and I can’t chase them in four different directions. SOOOO what to I do? We have a water table and they like playing with that but usually they get bored after 20 minutes and add dirt to it to make a huge mud table, dig up the grass and catch as many frogs as possible. Even the littlest one is beginning to enjoy frog hunting. Why God why?


We’ll be moving into our very own home this year! Its been a dream of ours for 10 years. I can’t wait until we’re all moved in and have a place to call our own. A place our kids will remember as their house. Exciting stuff! I’m sure I’ll be busy making it our own all summer but I don’t want the kids to miss out on fun memories because I’m too busy doing that. I’d like to make sure I take time out every day for them to enjoy the day somehow. Our new neighborhood has a pool which I don’t see us using much unless Pierre is home but there is a splash pad! I hope we’re there a lot cooling off.


Today is Tuesday and the local library has a story time in the late morning that I’ve started incorporating into our week. The crazy thing is that up until last week the twins had never set foot in a library. Isn’t that insane? They’re three. Taking tiny kids to the library is probably my biggest fear. Zero control over their traveling voices, the fact that you can almost always hear a pin drop makes it a lot harder for me to yell at my kids when they eventually do something catastrophic free of judgment. I’m finally trusting them though and we’ll be going this morning after the gym.

Learning the art of cleaning 🙌🏽

But really, other than the gym and Tuesday library we have no plans this summer. It’s a little freeing but also intimidating. The bigger kids don’t nap anymore but Esme does take a decent 2-3 hour nap every afternoon. That tends to throw us off sometimes but pretty soon she’ll be off to college and I’ll be the one taking naps. Kind of can’t wait for that.

They’re so bored they’ve resorted to this.

What are your summer plans?

The Sound Of My Voice

Have you ever barked orders repeated things to your kids so many times that you swear if you say it one more time you’ll snap? I mean, they’ve heard you say it as many times as you have so you’d think they’d be willing to just do as they’re told so they don’t have to hear it again. I’m so over my own voice.

“Don’t touch that”
“Don’t lick that”
“Don’t put that in your mouth”
“Be nice”
“Clean up your toys”
“Get off your brother”
“Go play”
“Stop playing” 

I mean, really. Wouldn’t it be easier on everyone if we stopped demanding things of our children and just let them be for once? Just hear me out. I’m not suggesting we let our kids raise themselves and I’m definitely not saying that the things we repeat to our kids don’t need to be said. I’m simply saying that maybe there’s a better way.

There have been times when I started to reprimand one of my kids and then stop myself midway through because it just wasn’t worth it. I know we all want our children to grow up to be great people but nagging them all day won’t teach them that. Do you know what will? Loving them, showing them forgiveness, showing them grace, helping them pull up their socks when you know perfectly well they can do it on their own but they are having a rough morning and just want you to do it or else they’ll melt down and start screaming and crying because they haven’t learned to control their emotions. Talking to your kids like they matter with respect and in full adult sentences will give them a sense of pride and it will teach them how to speak to others.

I’ve had my fair share of outbursts, I’ve probably even had your fair share too, but then sometimes I’ll catch a glimpse of that ugliness in the way my kids talk to each other and it stings. I’m embarrassed and ashamed when I tell my kids not to speak in that tone of voice and I used it on them just yesterday or, even worse, I’m using that tone while telling them not to use that tone! Hi, I’m a mess. And my kids aren’t stupid, they’re well adjusted little people, they see the hypocrisy but ultimately they will learn by example, not because I’m yelling at them to do or not to do something.

I’m encouraging you to let go. Let them learn and be curious, let them be free and get a little dirty, let them figure stuff out on their own and make mistakes. If they’re not in any immediate danger then just let go.

Why I don’t Play with My Kids

I know what you’re thinking. I’m so mean. But it’s true, I don’t play with my kids and I’ll tell you why, it’s simple really. I want my kids to develop creativity and use their imagination. I want them to run around and chase each other, I want them to call each other “mom” and “dad” when they play “going to school” or “going to the store”. I want them to crave being alone and make up games where one queen (Olivia) tells the other queen (Eva) what to do.

My kids watch me all day long. They copy my mannerisms and the words I say and I don’t want them to copy the way let off steam because I think that kids really develop their sense of self in the way they play. Every child plays differently the same way every adult releases stress differently. For me its going to the gym every day, for some it means reading a book, or scrolling through Facebook, for others maybe its cooking. Some kids like to play with others, some kids like to play alone. Some kids like to get dirty and some like to stay clean. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy participating in their games from time to time and I’m never too far away to miss out on their fun. But I don’t like to interfere and possibly influence the way the play.

It would be easy for some to say “just play whatever they want, just do what they tell you”. Yes, and no. If your kids are anything like mine then they’ll tell you that you’re doing it wrong 10 times before running away crying because I ruined their game. Or I’ll start getting upset because they want to play games where they periodically say things like poop and booger. I can’t stand it when my kids say those words but they’re kids so they’re going to say them because they think its hilarious. Once you’re a mom you’re always going to be a mom and correcting your children kind of comes with the territory. They already have to remember to use their manners, to watch what they say, to be thoughtful of others, to be a helper, the evil of sharing, to answer with yes ma’m and no ma’m. They deserve some time to play and be kids and let their hair down.

Yes, kids need to let their hair down. Mom are so quick to say they need breaks (BECAUSE WE DO) and that we need to get away (BECAUSE WE DO) and that we need a drink (BECAUSE WE DO) but all that means is that we need some time to separate ourselves from the everyday to recharge and come back to our tasks with a renewed sense of purpose. Kids need this too. They don’t have to worry about feeding others and cleaning the house and budgeting and keeping the dog alive (yes, my dog is still alive) but maybe we expect too much from them. Maybe we don’t give them enough freedom to learn to be themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t say give them all the freedom. I said enough freedom. It’s still our job to make sure they grow up to be decent human beings, but just because we’re all human doesn’t mean we’re all the same.

I’m no saint. Sometimes I don’t play with them because I just don’t want to. We get dragged down by the day’s work of cooking, cleaning, working, commuting, cooking again and cleaning again. Almost everything we do is for our kids already wether you work out of the house or you stay home with them, it’s okay to say no to your kids from time to time. Parents make the ultimate sacrifice of giving most of themselves over to their kids, it’s beautiful really, but it’s hard and you shouldn’t be judged because you need a break from your kid and what a better time to take a break then when they’re off trying to recharge, too. You go your separate ways, so to speak, and come back together when you’ve each had time to yourselves.

So, that’s basically it. I don’t play with my kids because I want them to learn how to let off steam and come into their own personality through play. I want them to be able to problem solve and make mistakes, I want them to love being alone when it’s important. I want them to stop sharing and start taking turns. And sometimes because I don’t feel like it… but mostly the other things.

Helicoptor Mom

That’s me. Yes, I admit it. I smother my children in attention, I follow them around to make sure they don’t trip and fall, and heaven forbid, get an ouchy. I need to have my kids in my field of vision at all times and I want to know what they’re thinking, what they’re feeling and if they need a drink of water. I’m overprotective, I care what their hair looks like and if it’s falling in their eyes and I get a weird feeling if my kids have a meal and I’m not there. How do I know what give them for their next meal if I don’t know exactly what went into their bodies at the last meal because proper nutrition is IMPORTANT. The first few weeks of Eva going to school I had a strange feeling too because I didn’t know what she had done all day. Who she talked to and did she raise her hand when she had the answer? Did she listen to her teacher when there was an order given? I am a basket case.

This isn’t a new revelation. I’m fully aware of my crazy and, for the most part, I’m okay with it. But it became almost painfully obvious this past weekend when I took Eva to a friend’s birthday party, her first birthday party that was for a child in her class, first party that wasn’t for family. FIRST FIRST FIRST. Is she overwhelmed, is she going to have questions, will she be polite? You guys, I’m crazy.


Anyway, we went to the birthday party, just her and I because it was during nap time for the rest of the kids. I had to interact with actual adults (without using my husband as a buffer) and I kind of cared a little about what they thought since a lot of other kids from her class were going to be there. It was a little awkward in the beginning as some introductions go but then I started hitting it off with some parents and I didn’t want to pull away from our conversations so I let Eva go play on the playground with her friends. And I didn’t follow her.


That’s when it hit me harder than it ever has before. I felt this pull, a need almost, to go out to where she was on the playground and watch her, make sure she didn’t hurt herself and minded her manners. The playground wasn’t in plain view so for the most part I only got glimpses of her every 5 minutes or so weaving in and out near the slides and swings. The longest 5 minute intervals of all time. I just kept telling myself to stay put, it’s part of  being a kid to have fun on the playground without your parent hovering. I think back to my own times on the playground as a kid alone with my friends while my mom watched my brother’s baseball games. Did she have the same feelings? My siblings and I used to walk 4 blocks to school in South Philly without my parents all the time, we played outside in the street, and later when we moved to suburban New Jersey, roam the neighborhood until the sun set. My parents cared but they didn’t hover.


When I became a mother a sense of empowerment and responsibility really overtook my life. I was pretty much in charge of everything that happened or didn’t happen to my little girl. I determined the clothes she wore and the music she listened to, the food she ate and the toys she played with. I really have no idea how to detach myself from her without causing us both serious damage. It’s what I’ve been training for these past 4 years, I guess. Each day they grow up a little bit more and each day they try something new. They learn to live their own lives, they learn there is more to life beyond mom and dad. In the end absence makes the heart grow fonder, and that couldn’t be more true in mine and Eva’s relationship. After a morning at school we can’t wait to embrace and tell each other about the day we had, what silly thing Esme did and what masterpiece she’s working on in art class.


Eva is special in many ways and one of those is that she is, after all, the firstborn. She’s the guinea pig. Trial and error until we get it right. She’s patient with me and shows me grace and forgiveness every day and for that I am forever grateful. The others are still small and need a little extra hovering every now and then. But now when the times comes to let go as the littlest ones get older, it’ll still be painful, but at least I’ll know I’ve done it before and it only make my bond with my children stronger.

Photo An Hour

A few of my favorite bloggers have done this in the past and I really liked the idea. Here’s what a photo an hour looks like for me. This particular day was a regular Monday school day for us.

SIX.

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Wake up! We live on the 18th hole of a golf course and the sunrise is breathtaking every single morning.

SEVEN.

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COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE. I get Eva ready for school and bring her down for breakfast.. and did I mention COFFEE?

EIGHT.

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While I take Eva to school my mother-in-law watches the littles as they eat breakfast.

NINE.

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WORKOUT. I’ve been wanting to get up earlier to workout but for now this is the magic hour. I love a good high intensity workout, the flavor of the week is Insanity Max:30

TEN.

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Finally breakfast! 3 egg whites with veggies and toast with almond butter and more COFFEE.

ELEVEN.

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Lunch for the littles!

TWELVE.

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Finally all together again!

ONE.

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The three littlest are down for naps and Eva has a snack while I eat lunch and we spend a little time together before she goes down for a nap.

TWO.

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I literally stare at the twins in disbelief while they blow my mind with their shenanigans. No doubt that gate isn’t in their room anymore.

THREE.

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Twins are finally asleep so it’s time for a snack, Pinterest and Netflix.

FOUR.

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Everyone is up from their naps and its snack time. This day I made banana oat cookies. With chocolate chips, as shown by Pierre’s face.

FIVE.

Dinner! Somehow I didn’t get a photo this day.

SIX.

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Baths. My back hurts just looking at this photos, but they sure are cute. I’ll miss the day I can throw them all in together.

SEVEN.

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I nurse Esme before bed and the oldest watch Netflix or play on phones and iPads. DON’T JUDGE ME. I’m tired, okay?

EIGHT.

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Kids in bed and it’s time for a snack. I LOVE these cookies.

NINE.

DECOMPRESS. Netflix, painting my nails, folding laundry, reading, and, my personal favorite, FaceTime with my husband.

TEN.

Bedtime! Some days it’s a little later but I’m working on it.