Monday, September 1, 2014

Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato

Oh, what an adorable tale of the cutest little elephant New York City has ever seen!

Designed for kids of all ages, this oversized, hard covered book is great for story time with your little one. The story is simple, yet sweet. Elliot is a small, pale, polka dotted elephant who lives in New York City. Because he is so tiny, he has to be very careful, and is often not noticed.

He starts feeling sorry for himself, until he runs into someone who is smaller than him, and struggling with something. With the help from this smaller critter, Elliot gets to finally enjoy his cupcake, and share it with a new friend.

Super sweet, very short, perfect for any family!

Find it online at Amazon HERE or from your local book store.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Back to School 2014

I cannot believe that summer is over/

Tomorrow, I strip their beds, sort their clothes (again), hang and refold everything, and get them ready for school on Monday.

We had dreams for this summer. We were going to go on day trips, and perhaps a few overnights while we explored Florida. Instead, we spent it repairing our car. First, a radiator. Which literally opened up the flood gates unto a dozen more minor- yet crazy expensive because it was all at the same time- repairs. Then, we had almost a week where things were ok.. and then the sensor went out. We replaced the sensor and realized it went out because the main-frame computer died.  You know, the thing that tells the car to START. Yeah, that. It died. And I cried.

We made our own fun, but the kids will tell you it was boring. We had a kiddy pool set up for my little guy, I hosed them all down as often as I could, and you would think that since we live so close to the beach we would have lived there-- but we don't live close enough to walk.

One day, we took an accidental 6 mile walk. That was fun.

We taught Zackie some of his colors, and how to count to five. Sometimes he throws a six in the mix, but what the heck.. it's better than nothing.

I decided to change our future, and launched ANOTHER home based business. While it's difficult keeping up with two businesses, a blog and a family, I think I'm doing ok. Now that the kids are going back to school, I see more regular posts happening here.

Our name change is happening soon.. Our designer moved cross country, so we're waiting on him to get settled, and then going from there. The name, logo, and domain are chosen, designed and ready to go- it just needs to be installed.

So.. this is our life. Crazy, chaotic, fun, and awesome- even when it's not so great. Get ready to ride this ride with us as we enter the newest chapter and say good-bye to 4BabyAndMom as we know it.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Spartan Obstacle Race -Enter to RACE for Free!

This year we made the commitment to start getting healthier.

We've been watching what we're eating, we've been walking more as a family, and alone, and we have been consciously making an effort to BE healthier in all areas of our life.

Once upon a time, I was a runner. This was a time before running was "cool" or "fun" or the trendy thing to do. I ran when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was mad, and everything in between. There was nothing better than the sound of my music in my ears, and my feet on the pavement, trails, or beach.

With the sport of running hitting a peak in mainstream media, as well as nationally, more and more running competitions, races, and events are popping up. Once race in particular, the Spartan Race has really grabbed my attention.

Now, I'm saying this, with the full spirit of  'disclosure' upon me, my behind is way too big, and my body is way too out of shape to participate in the 2014 Spartan Races this year.. but it's giving me something to strive for. Motivation, if you will.

That being said, I will be participating in my first 5k this December, and while I may not be running it all (yet), it's a step in the right direction.

Anyway- back to Spartan. From hill climbing, to mud, to fire, to monkey bars, to kids races, Spartan
offers something for every one to cringe at, to be inspired by, or to overcome.

A friend of mine, and his son, did the one down here in the Tampa area and he said it was "invigorating".  His little guy had a BLAST.

I personally think my kids would crawl up in a ball and cry.. but maybe once mommy starts doing it, they'll want to try. One can hope.. right?

So, I'm calling all of you fitness buffs, runners, thrill seekers. I'm giving you an opportunity to win your race registration- FREE! All you have to do is find an open heat race near you, and enter to win! Don't want to wait, and want to register now? Use the code: SPARTANBLOGGER to save 10% off of any race!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, August 1, 2014

Back to School: Free Resources for Teachers + Parents

As teachers, parents and students prepare for the start of the new academic year, the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation, the leading charitable organization dedicated to supporting the stuttering community, offers an array of free tools for teachers with students who stutter in their classroom.

 “One in every one hundred people stutters,” said Jane Fraser, president of the Foundation. “But as many as two or three younger children in each classroom may struggle with this complex disorder.

 "We know that teachers have a wonderfully positive influence on our children and their classmates, and we are thankful for the opportunity to provide the tools that prepare them with best practices and tips for working with and advocating for the child who stutters."

Tools for teachers available from the Stuttering Foundation include:

8 Tips for Teachers - answers to urgent questions teachers may have
Famous People Who Stutter - PDF mini-poster to print out
Dear Teacher - a personal letter

All of these resources can be found at The Stuttering Foundation — known internationally for the quality of its resource materials available to the public — offers DVDs, books, brochures, newsletters and referrals through its website as well as its toll-free helpline: 800-992-9392.


Friday, July 18, 2014

Happy Birthday, In Heaven, Ma.

How do you celebrate a day that belonged to your mom for your whole entire life, until last year?

I don't feel sad this year, yet. I don't feel as angry as I did last year. Yet. I don't know how I feel. Do I just keep continuing on like today is nothing? Do I honor her some special way and continue that tradition? What if it makes the kids sad? What if they forget her because I don't do something to make them remember that she's still with us, even if her body isn't? 

I decided I'm going to get her ring resized this weekend. I will wear her ring in honor of her. It's a way of keeping her with me.. at all times. I can't tell you how many times I still reach for my phone and get inches away from dialing her number before I realize that heaven doesn't have a phone number. The kids do something awesome, like score a 5 on their FCAT, or master their math level in camp, or speak a full sentence for the first time, and I want to call her.  I want to hear her nag me, and yell at me, and tell me I'm being foolish, or timid, and to go be bold. I know that she would be so excited over what's going on in my world, even if my world seems to be falling apart at times.

Grief counseling is helping a ton. But on days like today, I'm not sure if counseling could even help. I just want to crawl into my mom's arms and have her hold me. I guess we're always our parents kids, huh?

So, ma, I hope you're up in heaven, having one hell of a party with Aunt Normie, Grandmama, Grandpapa, Paul, Colleen, and the rest of our crazy family. I love you, and I'm so sorry that I didn't tell you that as much as I should have. Happy Birthday, ma.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

7-Eleven Free Treats ALL Week Long!

Yesterday, was free small Slurpee day at 7-Eleven because it was 7/11! But this year, 7-Eleven is celebrating it's 87th birthday and giving away treats ALL WEEK LONG!

This year’s birthday bash is being called, "7-Eleven Week", where guests will be able to redeem a FREE treat each day from July 12-19 through the 7-Eleven App, while supplies last.

The 7-Eleven Week offers change daily and include:
· Saturday, July 12th – Big Gulp®
· Sunday, July 13th – M&M’s® Brand Birthday Cake Candies
· Monday, July 14th – Grandma’s® Cookies
· Tuesday, July 15th – Hostess® Twinkies®
 · Wednesday, July 16th – TWIX® or Snickers® Brand Ice Cream Bar
· Thursday, July 17th – Quaker® Chewy® Yogurt Snack Bar
· Friday, July 18th – Pillsbury® Cookie
· Saturday, July 19th – Small Slurpee drink

To receive each day's free offer, guests must first download and register on the 7-Eleven app. Guests can join in the ‘APP’-y birthday celebration by texting BDAY to 711711 to automatically download the 7-Eleven app, also available on Google Play and the App Store.

Guests will then open the 7-Eleven app at the store and show the member barcode to the sales associate at checkout. The bar code appears below the coupons. Once the associate scans the barcode at the register, guests will receive the item as they check out.

This year, guests can also try the NEW Doritos Loaded, a new nacho cheese snack for the bold, available exclusively at participating 7-Eleven stores across the country. So, what are you waiting for, head to your local 7-Eleven and get your goodies- Oh, thank Heaven!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

Acidic vs. Alkaline and How I'm Changing Me + Giveaway

I'm a total skeptic when it comes to products that are on the market that are supposed to help you detox, lose weight, tone up, "get healthy", etc, without  having some sort of adverse side effects or multiple trips to the bathroom.

I am a big girl. I love my curves, but I want to lose what I call, "My Mom Flap."

If you cannot relate to this term, skip this article and move to the next, but for those of you that know what I'm talking about, it's horrific. After my first c-section I inherited this flap of skin that just sags.. all of the elasticity is gone from it. Like a piece of my youth, withered, and dead.

When the movie "Click" came out, I poked fun at the fat flap scene, but deep down inside felt that embarrassment and shame that comes along with relating to that disgusting feature. As you can hear, this is the area where I'm most self conscious, and awfully disgusted by. I have no problem being positive over my curves- just not my flap.

Anyway. I tried the gym. I lost a few pounds, but over all gained about 20 pounds when I was going religiously for 4 months. I now pay for a membership and don't go. I can't afford another 20 pounds. I know the old saying muscle weighs more than fat, but I have a lot of fat to burn. My body works backwards. I've come to terms with that. Now I needed a solution.

I started researching different detox products on the market. I figured that I've been exposed to both environmental and product toxins for over 30 years of life.. maybe that would be a good place to start.

While I was narrowing down the field, searching many blogs, review sites, and online shops, I came across an article about cancer and alkaline foods. This article resonated within me, on many levels, mainly because my mom had recently passed away, but more so because I *know* that I'm very acidic. I touch plants and they die.. seriously, within 24 hours.  

While I can't find the actual article to quote, the information was eye opening. While your body metabolizes all night, you wake up with a naturally acidic body. An acidic pH can also occur from emotional stress, toxic overload, and/or immune reactions. This causes the body to not absorb vitamin and minerals properly from the foods you eat, as well as a decrease in energy, a decrease in the body's ability to repair damaged cells efficiently, and its ability to naturally detoxify itself, or heavy metals. Cancer cannot grow in an alkaline environment. An alkaline forming environment also boosts the oxygen levels in the blood making it impossible for bacteria, viruses, and yeasts (as well as other pathogens) to survive and thrive.
An alkaline-forming diet also boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, making it impossible for bacteria, viruses, yeasts and other pathogens to survive and thrive. - See more at:

The processed foods we eat, as well as the abundance of animal products like meat, eggs, and dairy are acidic, and the amount of alkaline foods we eat are just not enough. To maintain a healthy diet, it  should be made up  70% alkaline forming foods, and 30% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should be an 80/20 split.

Click on this picture to enlarge it
 Therein laid my problem. I hate vegetables. The only veggies I do eat are the acidic ones- potatoes, string beans, corn. I do eat a lot of the fruits on the Alkaline side, but not enough, and definitely not regularly.

With this new information, I started to research ways to help alkalize and detox my body. I found may super green supplements, shakes and powders. I couldn't get past some of the names, textures, or tastes. {I mean, algae grows in a pond!!!!}

I tried quite a few products, but I just couldn't do it. I tried a handful of natural detox methods found off of Pinterest and Google. I started changing my eating habits, a little at a time. I started drinking mostly water. Thanks to Pinterest, I started drinking lemon or watermelon infused waters, too. Some things worked, and they worked well- like the infused waters. I lost a few pounds of water weight right off of the top. It stalled out, though, and I needed more.

I was afraid that a detox available from my local vitamin store would have me running to the bathroom. I have a really sensitive tummy, after all, and really, really couldn't do that to myself. When I spoke with the salesman in the store, multiple times, about multiple products, I still couldn't bring myself to do it, and in turn, was stressing out completely. I started researching seaweed wraps at a local spa, and thinking maybe I'd do something relaxing, instead.

And then I went to a home party for one of my friends who was advertising a detox wrap, and a greens supplement. I went with the intention of learning more about the greens supplement, and ONLY for the greens. As mentioned earlier, I'm a total skeptic when it comes to crap that sounds too good to be true. I was a little discouraged seeing all of the promotional material with people who were skinnier than me, but I figured it was worth a try.  I figured I've wasted a lot more than $30 on a product to help with these things the lady was claiming it did, so what the heck?! So I did it.. and was ecstatic with the results! 45 minutes later, the wrap came off, and the distributor explained that it continued to work over the course of 72 hours.

I've wrapped a total of three times, and I've gone down a full pant size, am sleeping through the night, and am waking up well rested. My stomach issues have virtually vanished, and I only *just* started the greens last Monday when my shipment arrived.

According to the lady, my results are "not typical", and she can't quite explain how it works, all I know is so far, It Works works! Will this be my only stop? Right now, I'm letting it work. I am excited to try some more of the items they offer since I've been happy with my results. I've never tried a product where I had instant results, visual results, and results other people noticed, too.

I got to try their chocolate shake at the party, and it wasn't grainy at all. That's a big positive for me, texture. I will continue to drink my infused water, but I'm also drinking the greens supplement, knowing that it helps to alkalize my body, and contains 8+ servings of green veggies and fruits makes me happy, too. I chose the berry flavor, because in my opinion it tasted better. They say you can mix it with juice or tea, too, but I tried that with the orange flavor and it turned my OJ green!!

There are real results with this company, and if you google it, a plethora of amazing before and after pictures. Some people call it a gimmick, but I can tell you, so far, all of my results are real. I'm not confident enough in my body image to share my results, but maybe one day, I will.

Thanks to my It Works! distributor, I am giving away a wrap for you to try. It can be worn anywhere (except for your face) including your belly, thighs, arms, love handles, back, and butt!

Here's How to Enter:

Comment on this post and tell us where YOU would like to wrap. Include your email address in your comment.

Click here more information on the Crazy Wrap Thing, or for a list of product ingredients. This giveaway is open to residents of the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Ireland, Belgium, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Norway, & Switzerland.


Saturday, July 5, 2014

Evolution of Drag- A Musical

Last Saturday, I was invited to step out of the box and attend a show at the Palace Show Theater in Spring Hill, Florida with a friend and her mother in law. This was a show like no other, not only because of the theme, or actors and actresses involved, but because I am a self-proclaimed music lover.

My first job was at Record Town at our local mall, and I prized myself on the fact that I could "Name That Tune" within the first few notes 99% of the time, from almost every generation of music. I was not the typical kid in High School, some called me "goth" and there was no where to get fishnet stockings from, so I had to hop on a train and take it to Avenue A in The City, until the very first Hot Topic opened in our mall. I wasn't a complete freak, as I didn't pierce anything except my ears, until I was over age, and I listened to everything from the 20's to the 90's.. and I loved it. I preferred big hair bands of the 80's and grunge and electronica of the late 80's and early 90's. I jammed out to hard rock, and spent my entire paycheck on concerts, concert tees, and black lipstick.

Looking at me, 15 years later, one would never suspect that that was the 'label' I wore back then, but it was what it was. It was an awesome, exciting, awful, and enlightening time in my life, and made me into the person I am today.

So, here I sat, in a theater filled with people of all ages, giggling, singing along, and hooting and hollering at the show before us like nothing we'd ever seen before. The audience ranged from young to old; one patron was even celebrating their 80th birthday!

The Evolution of Drag took us on a musical journey from the roaring 20's through the new millennium, demonstrating classic favorites through the decades, in a show that had us all giving a standing ovation at the close of this comical, inspiring, and insanely enjoyable evening out.

Brilliantly organized to bullet, illustrate, and poke fun at the history of  U.S. pop culture, this performance was so much fun.  

As a person who overly criticizes cover bands and cover performers, I can genuinely tell you that our group was blown away by how spot on the lipsynching, dancing, and acting was. Did I mention we had a blast?! A lot of the more mature crowd mentioned that they weren't familiar with the artists after 'Cyndi Lauper' made her dash across the stage as Evolution of Drag brought the audience into the new millennium with special guests 'Katy Perry' and 'Lady Gaga'. However, the interactions with the audience kept everyone on their seats, clapping, tapping, and whistling! My only complaint was due to the sequins on a lot of the costumes, I was unable to get pictures that truly showed how fabulous the costumes were.

While The Evolution of Drag has already made its way through the Spring Hill/Hudson area, have no worries, because you'll be able to catch it at The Parliament House in late July/early August. Follow their Facebook page for more details and show times.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Little Tikes Make Summer Fun! Review and Giveaway!!

Happy summer 4BabyAndMom'ers! We're still in the process of rebranding, and launching the new, improved site but the fun part is- all of our content will travel to our new site! The only teaser we can give you right now is that it will be "I.L.C." and will have a whole new feel to things.

We were hoping that we could get it all up and running by the first of July, but it looks like there will be some delays. To not hold up this product review and giveaway, I figured I would post it now. I need all of your help though, sharing it on social media, as our current link is . Don't worry, as always, you'll get extra entries for it.

Now, onto the good stuff.

My 2 year old is obsessed with Jake and the Neverland Pirates, and calls them, "Oh-ho's". It's hysterical and adorable all at the same time. Our new house doesn't have a pool, and I live in Florida. It's hot. All. Year. Long. Finding fun, safe, and creative ways to keep cool- aside from stalking Pinterest- are getting harder to do. The big kids want a slip and slide, if I do a wading pool the frogs will mate in it, and well, that's just gross. I found this Anchors Away Pirate Ship, and *KNEW* the baby just had to have it! Sure enough, as soon as he saw the box, he started screaming for me to put it together. ..Ok, well, he started screaming, "Oh-ho's!!", and jumping up and down.

Set up was easy. After I called customer support. They're so nice and easy to talk to. They don't make you feel like a moron, (even though you might feel like one for calling to ask them where to find the screws that are in the box), which is always nice. In my defense, they do kind of tuck it away with a piece of the ship that's wrapped separately. Anywho.

After I found the said pieces, I put it together with the help of an excited 11 year old, 8 year old, 2 year old, and a power screw driver. Once it was together, we filled it in seconds, and the fun began. My little guy began exploring, and experiencing the water table, twisting and turning all of the gadgets on the flag pole, making it "rain" with one of the cups with holes in the bottom, and freaking out about the "oh-ho's" and boats. His new favorite was the "sharkie" or "fish". Ignore my annoying voice, but enjoy the cuteness that is my baby.

All in all, this is by far his favorite toy, and I love watching him problem solve. My only negative experience was the cannon that is on the corner has a button to squirt water with. The cannon is not designed for toddlers, or easily frustrated kids. The big kids have no problem with it, but every time Zackie tries to push it, it pops off, or doesn't work quite right, so he gets frustrated with it. I know as he grows, he'll learn how to use it better, but for now I try to redirect him when he wants to play with it.

We also had an opportunity to review the Little Tikes Easy Store Picnic Table with Umbrella which is perfect for our afternoon lunches, or even when we grill outside. My little man loves to sit at it, and pretend he's a big kid! I love that it was super easy to pop together, and if we ever chose to take it apart for a BBQ at a friends house or the beach, all it takes is 5 minutes and it's all packed up.

Now YOU have the opportunity to WIN either an Anchors Away Pirate Ship, or an Easy Store Picnic Table from Little Tikes.

Here's How to Enter:
Leave a comment telling us which toy YOUR child would love to win and why! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway




Sunday, June 15, 2014

Redesign, Renaming, and More!

So, in the process of renewing and updating our blog, a vulture came in and scooped up our domain name. Without spending a fortune to get our name and our brand back, we decided to put on our big girl britches, and grow up. Literally.

After much thought and consideration, I have realized that I've started to grow out of the image that "4BabyAndMom" stirs inside of me. I'm so much more than 'just a mom blogger', a 'review blogger', or a 'parenting blogger', or well, a mom. Aside from the many hats that the job title "mom" holds, I just realized that when I'm 50, and still wanting to write, the title of "4BabyAndMom" just isn't going to be *ME* anymore. Does that make sense?

I wanted something that will grow with me, my family, and my life. And I've found it.

With the advice from blogging friends and internet guru's, as well as the help of a very talented web designer, I'm trying to re-brand as fast as I can. I have some giveaways coming up from Little Tikes, Downy, and the Spartan Race, as well as some reviews and life articles coming up that have a whole new look on things.

Hopefully, you'll still enjoy what I have to write, and I won't lose too many of my readers, but I can't wait to start this new journey with you all! SO. . . bookmark my site, as it will be the site that will redirect you to my new link, and as soon as the design is ready to launch I will let you all know the new domain.

Please, please don't be fooled by the awful ads and content on 4babyandmom dot com... it's NOT me!


Kid President: Declaration of Awesome TV Series on the Hub! 6/21

Set your alarms or DVR's, and get ready for this pint-sized, powerful premiere.

Based on the wildly popular YouTube series “Kid President,” which has over 75 million views, 10-year-old Robby Novak, aka Kid President, brings his playful spirit, positive approach to life, and inspirational message to change this world for the better to the new TV series “Kid President: Declaration of Awesome.” This half-hour docu-variety program reflects the universal values of kids and families across the country as seen through the lens of Kid President.

In each episode, Kid President introduces a theme that is explored through interviews and interactions with a variety of diverse families. Each episode also features interactions between Kid President and a variety of guest stars, including Kevin Costner (“Draft Day”), Gene Simmons (KISS), Jamie Foxx (“The Amazing Spiderman 2”), Craig Robinson (“Get On Up”), Mario Lopez (Host, “Extra”), ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic (Musician), and plenty of other surprises. So, mark your calendars, and get ready for these amazing life lessons starting June 21st at 7pm EST/4pm PT.

The first episode is about "Heroes", forcing you to stop and truly think if a hero is someone in a cape and tights or if it's an every day person in your world. Great food for thought, and an awesome way to open conversations with your kids about real-world, heavy duty stuff. Go.. be a parent, talk to your kids about this. If you haven't heard of Kid President, run- don't walk- to YouTube and check out some of the programs there. His laugh is crazy contagious. Enjoy!


Thursday, May 22, 2014

End of {School} Year Festivities!

It's been a hell of a journey to get to where we are today. My son is in fifth grade and on the verge of being a middle schooler. Tomorrow we go on the end of the year field trip... to Sea World, Orlando!!

I'm so excited about it, probably more so than my son. It's been an emotional year.. the first one without grandma.

He's handled that better than me. It's times like this, with all of the end of the year events, that I really miss her. She wouldn't have missed this for the world.

I have no idea what I'm doing with the kids this summer. The blog will be getting a little bit of a make over, and the whole tone of my posts will change a little, to become more "me". I'm excited for the posts that I have planned, and a few reviews for products and brands that I've been loyal to through the years.

If you have a baby, snuggle with that little bundle of awesomeness.. it really does fly as soon as you blink a few times. I didn't believe it, but it's truer than any thing I've ever read on the internet.

If you have a toddler or a smaller child, breathe. Whatever they're doing that you're irritated by.. it's not the end of the world. You'll survive, and so will they. Building them up, instead of tearing them down- now that's real parenting. Be careful with the words you speak.. Looking back, I can tell you, just because he colored on the bathroom walls with blue marker is no reason to tear him down.

It's a mess, yes, but he's your baby. A glorious gift that was given to you. Cherish him. Even when he's being disobedient or naughty. Laugh. Let it go. Move on. Love them.

It goes very, very quickly.


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Blog Re-Launch! Look for the New US in June, We're Back, Baby!!

The last few years have been crazy. We've tried to hold onto our blog and post as often as we can. However, life kept us away from it, due to many factors beyond our control. Some people can work through it, but I, my friends, was just not strong enough.

An update of sorts is due to any of you who still read our blog.. thank you to our faithful subscribers.

Marissa has graduated with her teaching certificate, and we're super excited.

My big guy is moving up to Middle School, and all of his fifth grade fun things are this month.

My daughter is doing very well, now even cuter, with glasses.

My little guy is two today.. Happy Birthday, Zackie!

The road along our marriage has been bumpy, but we're still trudging along- and recently celebrated our 10th anniversary.

My mom passed away a year ago February. It's been the most difficult season of my life, dealing with that grief.

That's basically it, in a nut shell. Don't worry, there will be plenty of stories shared of some of the craziness that is my life. Some of these things I can't even make up if I tried; some are hysterical, and will hopefully have you laughing at me, and with me.

Here I am, prepping, negotiating, and scheduling some amazing reviews and giveaways for the month of June, so bookmark, pin, and share this post and get ready for the new, and improved, 4BabyAndMom.. we're not just for babies or moms, and I can't wait to show you what I mean! 



Saturday, January 4, 2014

Blue New Year

During the holidays you often hear of people saying they're having a "Blue Christmas", but this year, the whole season seemed to have just a spirit of "blah" over it. Everyone, whether financially secure, single, married, divorced, kids, no kids, except for a few jolly souls out there, seemed to have the same feeling this holiday season.

This year was the first without my mom. I won't lie. It was rough. I drank. A lot. I wish I had more. Not the healthiest, I know this in my heart of hearts, but I didn't get smashed, drive, or drink while the kids were awake, and 99% of the time I was with others.

I wanted to stay in the bed, with the comforter pulled over my head, and live off of cocoa and yogurt, but I knew that wasn't a possibility. The kids were more devastated that they couldn't go to grandma's on Christmas morning like we usually did for breakfast and presents from Santa. It sounded like it was all about the presents, but I think it was their way of dealing with it.

My sister had her party on Christmas Eve, like she always does, then my dad came by on Christmas Day. He graced us with only a few hours, and it was rough. Especially because he's only given us a few hours less than a handful of times over the course of the year. Like an ass, I thought that after my mom passed away, my father would step up. Join our family, and my children's lives again. Visit the school for Grandparents day, and go to recitals, and all of the things a normal grandparent does for their grandkids.

I find myself watching people.. at the mall, at the store, even church, and feeling so jealous of them. Mothers and daughters about my age, laughing while carrying bags full of holiday goodies, talking over recipes in the baking aisle, grandmothers giggling with their grand baby every time she raises her toes in the air so grandma can kiss them. Hell, I didn't even take my kids to see Santa Claus this year because he's old.

I still pick up the phone a gazillion times a week to call her. I take pictures of my amazing baby, who's turning into a toddler, doing amazing toddler things, and hit send before I realize that I'm sending a picture to someone in cyberspace, or to whomever inherited her phone number.

Mom's Facebook account is still "here". One of her friends used to play games out of it.. it was her way to stay close to my mom. My sister recently changed the password to it. I cannot tell you how many times I've messaged that facebook account, because I want to talk to her, or vent to her, or have her tell me every thing will work out in the end.

We're at another crossroad in our lives.

Our lease is up.

We don't wish to renew it, but finding another home in our area, in our price range, is proving very difficult.

My husband had a great job here. My heart and head want us to be able to head back up north, but I know it would be difficult to make it through a transition of that magnitude without my best friends. My friends have become my lifeline. My encouragement. The oomph I need when I'm dragging my feet. Perhaps if I felt more mentally and emotionally stable, that might be an option, but right now I'm certain moving back up north is off of the table. On top of that, we can find housing, but finding a job for my husband hasn't been successful. We have a job down here, just no housing.

Until today. We found a house we love. Now we just need to have the deposit, plus security, plus first month.. about $2000. My husband keeps telling me not to stress, and that God provides, but my faith is so jacked this year.

It's the kids bed time now, so I'm going to have to leave this post at this point. I pray that it all works out. I miss my mom like crazy, and I think I need a glass of wine after the kids go to bed. But I'm out of wine, so I'm going to grab the rum. I just want my blankey. And my mommy.  





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