Another crazy year!

crazy-829178_960_720So Christmas 2016 is around the corner and I am just guffawing at how quickly time is melting away. I am constantly looking at my “babies” (and I am using that term loosely since they are now 3 and 5) and wondering “What the heck happened?”

There is no end to my disbelief that time could possibly move that fast. It needs to SLOW DOWN. Seriously.

My baby, who I feel I just had and brought home yesterday is almost one year old! What?! I’m so saddened yet secretly relieved that he made it this far with his two crazy older sisters jabbing, kicking, poking and kissing the heck out of him!

This year was like so many before it, CRAZY! Is it me or do things get more insane each year you get older?

Let’s see, this year alone I sold my business, almost lost my mom, raised thousands of dollars to save my mom, helped two close friends through some tough times, reconnected with family that I didn’t know before, survived three grueling months of sickness that was passed back and forth between the members of my family, contracted some form of illness that gives me constant and intense bone pain throughout my entire body and I got rammed in the back of my SUV with all my kids in the car. And it is only the beginning of October- OY VEY!

I am grateful and so thankful to God that nothing really bad happened this year. Even though I keep waiting for something really bad to happen- there is, sadly, an ever-present sense of foreboding and doom that resides deep within my soul. I have to intentionally wake up each morning and suppress it like a dormant demon that is inflaming me and trying to steal my joy.

Talking about joy- I have more joy in my life than I can wish for. My children and husband, my family and friends. My brother and sister. My in-laws and nieces and nephews. I am so blessed with such amazing and lovely people in my life that I seldom fear the demons within. But there is one remaining phase in my life, I neither wish to face nor desire to imagine… leaving my children to return to work.

It is very difficult for me to acknowledge this but some days, like all other moms, I have a deep and seated desire to wake up, put make-up on and leave the house to go to a place where I can make money and talk to other adults about stuff other than poopy diapers, dirty dishes and the endless nagging of a threenager. Then almost immediately afterwards, I am plagued with intense guilt combined with profound sadness. I feel like I am giving up on my babies who are growing up too fast (hence the initial part of this post) and I am abandoning them in favour of adult conversation and income stability. I loathe the decision to return to work and I envy the ladies who can afford to stay home with their children but I know in my heart that I am not cut out to be a stay-at-home-mommy. I really don’t like house chores and I am quite tired of my kids by the time noon hits. If I am being very truthful, I look forward to missing them a bit – is that awful to admit?

We were looking at the childcare options available to us and we decided to go with a nanny. With three children (2 full-time and 1 part-time) this was our only option. The nanny will apparently help keep the house tidy and clean as well as  take care of my children. We interviewed many people and met many nice ladies in the process. We perfected our questions and made a decision. I will not jinx it yet because it is not confirmed but I do hope she accepts our offer.

I am not sure why I even wrote this post. I just needed to let it be known that I am going back to work and maybe seek validation from other moms who were in my shoes?

If you are that mommy- talk to me and tell me I am not insane and heartless because of my sporadic and intermittent fluctuations of wanting to play grown-up after my maternity leave is up some days and my intensely deep and mourning-like days of loss and pain for the future of my children without me for 9 hours a day.

Talk to me!

SMartignani

 

New Year`s Resolutions

happy-new-year-2014-hd-wallpapers-1 Every year coming to a close is a reminder that we were ‘gifted’ with a new beginning. Many people have lost loved ones in 2014 and struggled through pain and personal battles that we cannot see or understand. In the same year, many others have reached the pinnacle of their careers, met their soul mates, married, became pregnant or birthed a child. Many children found a home whether with a foster family or through adoption. As for me… there are many challenges- some health related and some familial while others are professional. Any way you look at it, a year is a LONG time for things to happen and much of what we anticipate and fear can happen at any moment. So my post today is about gratitude and resilience.

Ever wondered how a person can go on after being struck by a horrible accident or injury? Ever wondered how people can smile through personal storms and battles? I have and I realized that resiliency is an inherent capacity to withstand all the bad and anticipate all the good.

I am suddenly aware of all the things and poeple in my life that are mortal and transient. Parents ail, children grow, jobs change, money is gained and lost, climates shift, friends grow farther away or closer together, circumstances evolve and my story is being written each and every day I breathe. My faith in God and His love does not fade nor weakens because in all of this I believe that there is a higher purpose for our lives and how we choose to live them.

I want to leave an impact, a legacy when I cease to exist. I always tell my husband that I would like to be “remembered well” when I die. But how does that happen exactly?

Here, I have compiled 10 new resolutions I will endeavour to accomplish in 2015. No matter what happens, I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

A-Prayer-For-You1) I will pray more, praise more, worship more. I will realize the frailty of life and how in a blink of an eye it can all cease to be. I will recognize my mere existence on earth and treat it as a journey. I will be grateful for every breath given to me and every morning I wake up- I will be revitalized. I will ensure that my constancy is in the knowledge that nothing else is constant. I will fill my heart and soul with gratitude to the point of bursting so that all can see how amazing it is to be alive.

imagesCAWJ7Y372) I will love unconditionally. This task is challenging due to its magnitude. This one resolution is one of my life’s missions. In order to truly love others you must forfeit your own self-worth and the perceptions you constructed based on your years lived here on earth. You must release all prejudice and choose to see people for who they are not what they are trying to be. To love unconditionally means to sacrifice criticism for encouragement and deliberately blind yourself from context and circumstance. Nothing matters and nothing should affect your love for others. I aspire to have love as my new drug to which I will become hopelessly addicted- no boundaries, no limits, no reservations. Period.

family3) I will see my husband and children again. I will yell less and smile more. I will make an effort to enjoy cleaning up the mess my three-year-old makes instead of chastising her for it. I will let my infant feed her hair and roll in the play-doh if that is her heart’s desire. I will listen more to my husband’s whispered words at night before bed and take a special interest in how he says what he feels not only what he is saying. I will see my husband and children for the blessings they are to me and I will share with them the wonders of God. I will love them unconditionally.

Chrysanthemum4) I will see nature. I will make more of an effort to count the stars and appreciate the sunshine. I will build snowmen and sand castles. I will listen for the waves and the rustle in the trees. I will smell the flowers and curiously observe the bees gathering honey. I will enjoy the sensation of being outside, in the outdoors and truly take in what our world is providing us. Beautiful blessings of nature. I will enjoy the silence more and ‘Be Still’.

1451377_10153467659090224_180124569_n5) I will be a good example to others. Integrity, honesty, positivity and respect- all traits that I truly admire in others. I will be a beacon to those who are not willing or able to uphold values. I will speak out when there is wrongdoing and I will be courageous to stand up to peers, friends and my superiors when these basic human ethics are not demonstrated. I will keep in mind that I am far from perfect and exchange judgement for encouragement. I will give more to those in need and stop my car to help the person on the road whose car has stalled. I will stop and ask a stranger who is crying if they need anything from me. I will assist others when they feel alone. All the time. No exceptions.

1463376_10153501465515224_1660866369_n6) I will see silver lining. Everyone struggles. Bad things happen to good people. You can’t avoid some sicknesses, accidents, tragedies or pains. How I choose to react to bad things is what matters. I will choose to be more positive and see the silver lining. I will work on my patience and endurance. I will attempt to see the big picture and appreciate that everything happening is part of a bigger plan that will make me stronger, more powerful and more resilient. I will selectively ‘like’ and read the updates and stories that inspire me on the various social media sites where we are constantly bombarded. I will stop over-analyzing, over-calculating and overthinking everything. I will just be in the moment and smile at what’s to come.

comparison_wise7) I will stop comparing myself to others. There is nothing more time-consuming and fruitless that spending time comparing yourself to others. There are a multitude of individuals who inhabit our planet and they are all at varying degrees of wealth, fitness, love, success and so on. Constant reminders on Facebook and Twitter of what we don’t have does not help in my pursuit of personal fulfillment. I will no longer envy or betray the blessings I have been given in exchange for petty concern and frivolous anger. I will be inspiring to others without boasting my blessings. I will congratulate more, empathize more and bless more. I will demote my base feelings of jealousy and elevate my humanity. I will appreciate by praise those who give of themselves, those who serve and those who are living their lives with humility and impact. Instead of wanting to be as wealthy or as successful as others, I will only seek to be the best I can be without comparison or compromise. (Thank you fellow wordpress blogger tom.basson for your article on this and the photo: http://tombasson.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/why-comparing-is-stupid-and-how-to-stop/)

laughing8) I will laugh. Not just the giggle or fake laugh that we demonstrate when our superiors say something funny… laughing as in my belly hurting. I will locate the people who I can share laughter with and just put that on the menu. I will play more board games that would make me laugh and I will read more auto-correct fails. I will find new ways each day to share a laugh with my children or husband because at the end of the journey, you remember the stories that end with “we laughed and laughed until our bellies ached…”

10645270_10154814270765224_4395918206427828164_n9) I will be present…in the present. Nothing is more frightful than the inability to recall memories. Memories only become so because you remember the present. People who are struck with amnesia are afraid and lost because they can’t remember who they are or who the people they loved are either. So being present in the present is a blessing and a gift. We cannot move forward into the future without knowing where we are right now. The past is the past and it’s a great lesson in history. Now is amazing because we can still re-write history. We can make a change effective immediately. We can give of ourselves now. I want to stop looking at the future because I don’t know what tomorrow brings. I want to live now, laugh now and love now. I will put away my phone at home and when my daughter says “Mommy, look, see?” – I will not reply with “Eh, hmmmm, ok dear, that’s great” – no, I will ask questions and be sincere and say “Wow… what is that? Can you explain it to me? Do you like it? Well done. You are so smart!”

1909559_5032225223_5452_n10) I will make time for quiet reflection. Life is busy. Incredibly, unforgivingly, incessantly busy. I have learned that peaceful moments where I can contemplate, reflect and reassess can afford me the ability to make sound decisions and impeccable choices. I can regret less because I have given matters clear thought before proceeding. I am the most impulsive person you would ever know… so this resolution will be very tough for me. I will need to implement it though if I have any hope of making the other 9 come true.

Happy New Year to all of you. May 2015 bring you wholesome joy, endless blessings and a year of wondrous discovery and limitless hope.

Until Next Time,

Smartignani

Potty training, poopy diapers and pandemonium…

blog nov 3 (3) Ever since Lisee was born, we have been on the go. Things get pretty busy with two little ones. I figured my last two posts were pretty heavy so let’s make this one a little funny. At least it will be… to me because I usually enjoy laughing at my own jokes.

So my toddler is potty training. By that, I mean, we are talking/lecturing/yelling/pleading/bribing/begging her to pee and poop on the potty but to no avail. She is just not interested. We tried giving her Skittles when she goes. It worked for a while until she decided all the work was just not worth one Skittle as a reward. In fear of making this a negotiable action, I decided against offering external rewards for a natural, biological event. Bad idea. I think I might just start bribing again.

She eats what we eat so in turn that means she tends to excrete what we excrete (I know, yucky, sorry). It’s getting bigger, stinkier and stickier. I know that everyone says she needs to be ready. I don’t know if she is but we definitely are! So we are talking about the underwear. Celebrating every achievement with “You Did It!” and we are consistently reminding her to “Go on the potty”. Tonight she was helping me fold towels (I had to refold them all but it was so sweet that she was trying) and I saw the face… y’know, the one she makes when there is a little push required. A second later, the room was consumed with the penetrating stench of a poop in progress. I asked her “Do you want to go on the potty?” and of course she quickly said “No”. Then I proceeded to enthusiastically suggest to her “Let’s go to the potty.” To which she responded “No Mama”. In desperation and self-preservation I demanded, “C’mon, we poopoo in the potty not in our pull-up” to which my sweet angel sternly replied while wagging a finger at me “Mama, Juya said NO!” (that is how she pronounces her name which is Julia).

I lose. Too late. Daddy cleaned it up because he usually puts her to bed. I can hear him seriously saying “Poopoo goes in the potty Julia not in your pull-up” and I giggle. I never thought I would find that sexy. But somehow, someway, I find it extremely appealing when I hear my husband with my toddler as he lectures her, tickles her, wrestles her, disciplines her, feeds her and reads her a book. He is such a hands-on dad and I love that. I especially adore the giggles that escape from her as he chases her around the house then hides. She then begins her search for him with a sloppy, carefree smile and a squeally, high-pitched “Amma gonna getchu” (Translation: I am going to get you).

Meanwhile, I get to nurse my baby who is now 6 weeks old and I already feel like she is getting too big too fast. RANDOM OFF-TOPIC thought: I have decided that Newborn clothing is a waste of money because babies only wear the ultra-small stuff for like 4 weeks then its 0-3 months for the most part.

Anyhow, I get to play with my baby and feed her and dress her while my husband takes care of her big sister. I don’t know how people say having three kids is easy because there are only two of us. How do people do it? If we have a third, I may have to sit the other two down and let them know that someone may be pink slipped 🙂

In all seriousness now, I can’t believe the number of people who stopped to admire the baby hats I have been knitting and decorating with clip-on flowers. A lady actually told me to blog it for other parents and I said I would so I will and I am – here it is. If you have a little girl and like me, people can’t tell if it is a boy or girl, just buy/make a knitted hat and insert a flower clip in it. Here are two photos of hats I knitted on a round loom (so easy, if I can do it anyone can).

blog nov 3 (1)blog nov 3 (2) Are they not adorable and so cheap!

Also, here is some other cool advice from moi to toi:

– Buy yourself a sanitizer for baby stuff because boiling water is from the dark ages and so slow comparably. Use the time you would spend boiling water, placing objects gingerly in water with tongs then extracting objects and letting them cool off before use and enjoy your baby instead.

– Breast feeding is not all it’s cracked up to be. I have to supplement my baby with formula and I can’t wait until I don’t have to nurse anymore. I can’t really spend time with her or play with her while nursing and quite honestly, I already know she is going to be the slowest darn eater on the planet. A single feeding can take upwards of one hour. Seriously!!

– Invest in a good crock-pot. Discover the luxury of chopping veggies and buying stewing beef or roast to place the next morning in the slow-cooker so you do not have to worry about dinner (and it’s healthy). Instead of cooking, spend time with the kids.

– Nipple Shields. Man’s greatest invention. Enough said.

– Buy a playpen with vibrating capabilities. Usually buys us another half hour or so of complete bliss (for the baby) and time for us to finish vacuuming/showering/laundry/dusting/stretching/online banking/insert preferred activity here.

– Have a routine of things you do on a day together. Our eldest knows that Saturdays, she gets to jump in bed between us, play games on my smartphone while I nurse the baby and daddy catches a few more precious minutes of sleep. On Sundays, we go to Church together as a family then come home and nap as a family. Because you know what they say… the family that naps together, stays together.

– Figure out what your toddler likes to eat and use it to leverage certain situations to achieve beneficial results. Do not fear the stigma attached to bribery and never underestimate its proven potential for success. My husband figured out that Julia likes apples so now she needs to finish her dinner to have an apple (healthy and motivational- life is good).

– Argue in front of your kids (respectfully) and then resolve and make-up in front of them too. It’s important that they see anger as a natural part of life and more importantly how to deal with it. Parents who only fight behind closed doors and maintain a serene face for the kids are setting unrealistic expectations of what the perfect marriage should be. Deal with all emotions so that the kids are well-prepared for reality. And honestly, it is creepy when parents don’t fight. Isn’t it?

– New mommies, I know this is hard, but DO try and treat yourself once in a while. It is ok to leave the baby in the bassinet and go get a hot shower or manicure. Dare I even suggest you get your hair done?

– We were husband and wife before we were mommy and daddy so give lots of kisses and hugs to your spouse in front of your children. My daughter loves it when I loudly kiss daddy on the cheek and she consistently giggles, blushes then demands loudly “More, more, more” (in that order) to which, of course, I willingly oblige.

– Adopt the following methodology of diaper changing for babies: Place a new diaper under the old diaper before opening it to save yourself getting peed on or worse, pooed on (it happened to my husband when our daughter was 6 days old). Practice makes perfect and you will soon be able to do it quickly enough but in the beginning they are so wiggly and constantly pulling up their little legs so it’s like changing a worm under water who is fighting for dear life (great imagery right?)

– If you are worried that your daily chores are taking away from spending time with your toddler, involve them! Julia loves to ‘help’ and often folds laundry, puts away the kitchen towels, throws stuff in the garbage and grabs things for us (baby pacifier, remote, tissue). There are no child labour laws against putting your own child to work around the house. Parking the car and mowing the lawn are unacceptable examples of ‘involving’ your toddlers- c’mon!

– Try and take as many photos/videos/time to scrap book for your second as you did for your first (I am awful at this and trying my best to be equitable).

– Use your maternity/paternity leave to learn something new. With my first, I learned how to knit. This time I am aiming to learn how to cook (I know I am not very domesticated).

– Try not to Facebook/message/tweet/e-mail people at 4 am because you are up and feeding the baby. It is alarming and disturbing to everyone else who is not a new mom 🙂

– Last but not least, do spend time reading my blogs, adding me, following me, liking me and messaging me because I need every ounce of encouragement to continue blogging between the two kids, a business, hobbies and trying to apply all my great advice!

Until next time,

Smartignani

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