Change

People say the only constant in life is change. Change is normal. Accept it. Embrace it. It’s a cycle of life, but sometimes it knocks you off your feet and carries you into a life you would never have imagined for yourself. That is what happened to me. Now a little over three years after this change I speak of–I’m finally putting my fingers to the keypad and writing. Funny that I say ‘me’ like I was the only one involved in this big life change. In reality it was myself, my ex and our children–not to mention the family who supports us even to this day. This post is definitely long over due. I have wanted to begin writing again, but I’ve felt that my experiences were to painful for me to be able to share openly. I was only inspired to write this after I heard a commercial on the radio speaking about domestic violence month. Realizing that maybe writing this post could help someone else as much as it could help me is the reason I’m typing these words. I still can’t write the details publicly, but if you feel compelled to email me you are more than welcome to.

Three years and three months ago my family was residing in a disguised nightmare. Everything seemed ok. I tried to pretend that everything was ok, but in reality it was all falling apart. The only real peace I get from thinking back on it all is that Journey and Faith were seemingly unaffected by it all. They were fed, nurtured and thrived in a situation that wasn’t ideal. Not a fairy tale at all.

Three years and three months ago the girls and I flew back to Colorado in a flurry of tears, hugs, and heartbreak. I packed three suitcases; one big one full of clothes (for 2 weeks), one small one with some of the girls favorite toys, and one more with miscellaneous items. Without any identification except a black-eye, I boarded us on a Southwest flight back to my native state. Arriving was bitter-sweet. I was happy to be home, but the prideful side of me felt like a failure. Like a dog with its tail between its legs. I had left with so much potential–I was starting a family with a man I loved, we were living in a beautiful house, I was a stay-at-home Mom  enjoying the gorgeous California weather and then in a flash it was gone.

With the help of my best friend I made the decision to stay in Colorado and to not rush back into a life that was not there. I chose to do what was right for me. It’s still hard for me to do that because so much of my early twenties I spent thinking about what was right for everyone else. I pushed my wants and needs to the back burner. Now that I’m in the forefront life is much more confusing. What is it that I wanted? Love, family, stability, happiness? How can I get those things? Will they ever come? I still have trouble realizing that all of those things still have a place, but not in the mold that I have imagined. Coping with this change, I’m not the same young woman who began this blog with her best friend so many years ago. I look back at past posts and feel tears come to my eyes. I’m even more sad that I let this blog suffer in the process. Sharing my journey through motherhood was therapeutic, fun and the perfect way to chronicle the lives of my two daughters.

They are the real reason that I made the decision to leave and not go back. Rebuilding our lives here, alone, has been so very hard. We have had support from a variety of community resources, friends and family.  Unfortunately, we have experienced homelessness and have lived in a domestic violence shelter for two months and in transitional housing for 10 months until we were able to attain an apartment.

Transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a single working mother has been hard. I have had to play double duty when it comes to household duties and raising the girls. I find myself becoming envious of mothers who can stay home with their children, but don’t want to. It is a dream to be able to spend time with your children. I’m at least lucky enough to work in the same school that the girls attend, but our nights are busy and I feel stretched thin at times. I worry that I’m not giving Journey and Faith all that I could. I feel guilty for wanting time for myself. I feel like a failure (again) for not being able to provide the family I envisioned for my children. They don’t deserve to live in a single parent home. They don’t deserve to only see their Dad 3 months out of the year.

What keeps me moving forward is knowing that they do deserve a healthy loving life.

I deserve a healthy loving life.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! I have so many more thoughts, but I will save them for another time (and this time I won’t wait three years to share them). I welcome comments and I look forward to putting the Mommy back in Mommy Lounge.

Changes…

Hi Everyone! This is Kalisha writing you from my new home in the Valley! So much has been happening and Reneca and I never meant to fall off the bloggy map. So, I guess I will fill you in…

It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be…I guess I became kind of a beach snob (and now I really miss just how close we were to the ocean!), but things are definitely making a change–for the better! Now that we have moved the burden of paying over-priced rent for a house that didn’t feel like a home is gone. We are settling in very nicely; we have an amazing bike path behind our house dsc08431and lots of our own private space within our very own backyard. I know I sound a little crazy right now, but I haven’t had a backyard in over 4 years! We have been spending our time getting to know where everything is, taking walks to the park (which is huge!) and spending more time together as a family.

That is the most important thing–time together as a family.

dsc08363Journey and Faith have handled the changes quite well since the “egg incident.” It is amazing how children take change like a breeze in the wind–they just go with it–never fighting it. I know I have fought change before and it has never ended nicely. Motherhood kind of changes you to really accept the changes and go with the flow. At least that is how it has affected me.  There is really no way that any Mom could survive the first year of their babies life if they didn’t give in to the many changes that happen.  Part of my mothering philosophy is to go with the flow, but there does have to be some action to go along with it.

Action requires a bit of Faith and a lot of confidence in yourself. That is the biggest milestone that Reneca and I have come to face. And I can speak for her because we just had this conversation yesterday.We both don’t just want things to happen to us–we want to make it happen! This goes a little deeper than just making changes, but realizing that the changes we make are what we want–not what anyone else wants for us. Sometimes we depend so much on what other people might think or how they will accept us for the changes we make or the action we take. (Am I talking in circles?) I just don’t want to name names–so let me just say this. All people want is for someone to be proud of them. We just need to accept that the most important person that should be proud of us is ourselves.

Having that confidence in ourselves is what can make change manageable. Taking every opportunity or hardship and turning it into a positive to benefit myself is what I am changing.  Sometimes I find myself being sucked into the Mother role and losing sight of who Kalisha really is. And I’m not the same person I was 5 or 10 years ago, but I know I am much smarter and stronger. I mean come on! I’m a Mother! There is no other greater force out there! LOL

I just want to know how you deal with changes? Do you find it harder to accept or make a change since becoming a Mom?

I would love to hear your thoughts…

Lounge Tip #26…Stress Busters

Each week I receive an email newsletter from a local Mom-friend of mine, The Well Mom. She gives weekly expert advice on how Mother’s can make time for themselves and take care of themselves (most important). This week she included a list of Beat the Blues tips that I wanted to share with you. We normally post a tip on how to lounge, relax, rejuvenate ourselves as women so that we can be better Mother’s, but if we are holding onto stress then we won’t be able to fully enjoy our Lounge Tip Saturdays. So, here are 6 tips on how to Beat the Blahs;

Source: Heather Cabot, The Well Mom

1. Get a change of scenery.
It works for small children, right? Ever notice how you can turn the most outrageous tantrum into a giggle fit just by leading your baby into another room and showing her a new toy? We can boost our own moods by doing the same. You don’t have to plan an expensive adventure to some exotic locale (although that helps, too). Sometimes getting a change of scenery in the tiniest, most mundane ways can alter perspective on much bigger things. Perhaps eating dinner at the table instead of the couch? Take a different route on your way to work or school. Stand up while you are talking on the phone instead of sitting at your desk. Shake up the little things and see how it can transform your view.

2. Listen to someone else’s story (for a change).
When we are feeling down about something, it can be hard to be a good listener. But many times, pausing to really hear about someone else’s life can do wonders for our own heads. Inspiration hits us when we least expect it. I recently had the chance to sit down with someone who now spends her days telling other people’s stories of triumph. You may remember Daryn Kagan, a CNN anchor for twelve years before her bosses unceremoniously informed her she no longer had a job with the cable network. Instead of staying home with the covers pulled over her head, she turned her energies into http://www.darynkagan.com, a webcast devoted to “good news.” Her focus on the art of the possible uncovers the victories of everyday people trying to make the world a better place. That’s a message all of us could use—especially when we’re feeling blah.

3. Help a stranger.
Hold the door for someone. Offer to carry a heavy package or box. Give directions when asked. A little kindness goes a long way. You’ll immediately feel happier when you take a minute to assist another human being—even in the smallest way.

4. Call a friend.
When my girlfriends and I have time to call each other, we attempt to fit in a conversation between naptime and conference calls. It can be hard to feel connected when you are just about to start ranting and the baby wakes up from her nap. Kids display this amazing sixth sense for figuring out the exact time to interrupt Mommy when she is just about to finally talk to another adult about what’s bugging her today. But … my point is, even if we never get to finish the whole discussion, I always feel better after a brief “Hi/Bye.” And you know what? So will your friend on the other end of the line.

5. Clean out a drawer.
Anyone who has either worked with me or lived with me knows that I have a really hard time letting go of stuff. Everything has sentimental value. But as a mom of twin toddlers, with a home growing more cramped by the day thanks to all of their stuff, I am trying really hard to streamline. The best advice anyone gave me is to start small. So take a few minutes and trash the old receipts and broken CD covers taking up space. Clearing out a single drawer, shelf or even your email inbox really does make you feel lighter.

6. Eat something decadent.
I’m not talking about scarfing down a package of Oreos. When we’re feeling low, it’s too easy to self-medicate with food. I say, eat something terribly rich but do so in a purposeful way. Take a moment to actually enjoy it and let go of the guilt. For me, it’s all about dark chocolate. Oh—heck, anything chocolate. But it really does taste better when I actually sit down to eat it.

Hope these tips help to alleviate some of the holiday stress and worry. If you have anything that you do to beat your stress we would love to know–leave a comment!

Have a great weekend!

Kalisha and Reneca

MomSpit…”Inspired by the Original”

Our WINNER is Cheryl F!!! Congratulations!

Reneca’s Thoughts on MomSpit…

We’ve all been there at one point or another. Your running late to take your child to school. When you finally get there, you notice the not-so-subtle milk mustache on their lip.  You go with your gut and do the only thing can do…Stick your finger in your mouth, just to get it wet enough to smear away the milk residue.  Your child looks at you in absolute horror.  “Mom, gross, I don’t want your spit on me!” Those are the words of Kaleah last week.   She starts to cringe when she sees me stick my finger in my mouth.

MomSpit has been Kaleah’s saving grace.  We now keep one in the car just in case we have the morning mustache.  Being a typical 5 year old, she loves the  fig and green tea scent so much she has begun to call it her “spit perfume“, and has to clean her hands before we get out of the car. 

There has been so much buz about not using sanitizers that contain anti-bactorial ingredients or alcohol.  So the great thing is, that MomSpit doesn’t contain either.  I do have to admit, that it is a lot easier to squirt a small amount of MomSpit on the hand rather than try to get enough spit in my own mouth. (Gross, but don’t act like you haven’t done it).

You can use MomSpit in so many situations, and it is great for the whole family. I especially like to use it after we leave the grocery store.  I didn’t like to use the sanitary cleansers on DJ because they are too harsh for infants.  MomSpit is mild and moisturizing.   From this day forward I will not use my own spit to clean faces, instead I’ll use the next best thing MomSpit!

Kalisha’s Thoughts on MomSpit…

From the first time I saw this product I knew I would love it just from the name–inspired by the original! As a child I would dread the moment I saw my Mom reach her thumb to her mouth for a “thumb-lick” to wipe crusties off  mine and my brother’s face. I always vowed that when I became a Mom I would never do that to my children…Well, now I am a Mom and I have been in situations where the “thumb-lick” is the only way.

I always joke around that my girls are like magnets to dirt–literally. Playing all morning long at the park leaves their hands, feet and face pretty grubby with mostly sand, dirt, and squished bugs. I would use toomany baby wipes to count trying to keep them clean.  Since receiving my MomSpit, the “thumb-lick” and the baby wipes have become a thing of the past.

 I keep one at my dining room table, one in my diaper bag and another in the girl’s room. It really is amazing how such a small amount can clean any grubbiness into squeaky clean perfection! You know how kids eat; with their hands all in the food then all in their mouths! Either they make you really hungry or not at all! MomSpit cleans all types of dining messes:

  • Sticky Syrup
  • Sloppy Spaghetti Sauce
  • Chocolate Milk Mustaches
  • Dried Yogurt and Cream Cheese

Now after every meal I give Journey a squirt of MomSpit (she really likes the Fig and Green Tea scent) and she knows how to rub her hands together to get the stickies off as well as her face. My 20 mo old, Faith, is even getting in on the MomSpit. She asked me last night at dinner, “Clean hands too!”  I gave her a squirt but she was so in awe of the small little mountain of foam on her hand–I had to break her from her trance to tell her to scrub her hands together!

I’m so happy that my girl’s will be a little less grubby because MomSpit has come into our lives. I really love that it doesn’t contain alcohol and doesn’t dry out my hands. After trying out MomSpit I take the vow never to use the “thumb-lick” again and I hope you will too!

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“Designed for efficiency, you only need a quarter-sized drop to tackle most dirt removal from hands or face. Rub MomSpit in a circular motion until fully absorbed. It’s moisturizing, so it may feel like you’ve put on a very light lotion at first, but it will absorb nicely into your skin, leaving it smooth and clean.”

 mail

MOMSPIT GIVEAWAY TIME!!

MomSpit is graciously giving one of our readers a chance to win some MomSpit of their very own!

Entry #1 : Visit the MomSpit website and come back and tell us what scent of the MomSpit you like the best and why you would vow to give up the “thumb-lick”–forever! (Remember to leave a valid email address with your comment!)

Extra Entries – #1 must be done first.

(Leave a comment for each)

* Blog about this contest with a link to this post and MomSpit.

*Follow us on Twitter and post on Twitter about the contest.

One winner will be chosen!

*We will be using a random number generator to select the winner.

* Contest ends at 11:59pm on Friday December 19, 2008.  If the prize is not claimed in 48 hours a new winner will be chosen.

*Contest open to U.S. residents only.

We also really need and (want) a new blog design…just today I saw a giveaway for just that thing…must be the universe telling me something (*wink) Well, Dr Mommy Says is having a blog design giveway worth $200 by Lagniappe PressWe want to win,but if you need a new blog design then you can click the link to see how to enter too!

U is for umbrella

u_ernieWe are making our way through the alphabet. Let’s work on the letter U.

• Move around: Crawl “up-side-down”, Put your head “under” your arms, Put your finger “under” your foot, Put your arms “up”, Pretend to ride a unicycle.
• Make yummy up-side down cake
• U LISTS
Let your children help you make up lists of some U things.
o A list of things that go Up.
o A list of things that go Under.
o A list of things that are Ugly.
o A list of people who wear Uniforms

• Sing a Unicorn song;
Oh I Wish I Were a Lovely Unicorn
(tune of If You’re Happy and You Know It)
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn.
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn.
I’d frolic and I’d play.
And I’d dream the day away.
Oh, I wish I were a lovely unicorn.
BOX UKULELE
You will need a long tissue box and an empty towel tube for each child for this activity.
• Remove any plastic found around the hole on the top of the tissue box.
• Have children wrap large rubber bands around the box.
• Set out marking pens or stickers for your children to use to decorate their box and towel tube.
• Cut a hole on the top of the box, the size of the towel tube.
• Help your child slip the tube into the box half-way to represent a handle for their ukulele.
Variation: You can also make ukuleles without the handles for your children to play with.

For your U page Print out this U template. Color the Umbrellas. Then cut out pictures that start with the letter U, or animals that live underground.

Now on to the Letter Valphabet_animalandplant_v

  • For a delicious snack gather different kinds of vegetables(tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, corn, carrots, radishes, asparagus, broccoli, etc) and let your child(ren) help wash and prepare for a veggie tray–let them have a taste test!
  • Find big boxes to decorate like different types of transportation…pretend you are using your boxes to be boats, buses, planes, and cars, rockets…take a Vacation using your imagination!
  • Make Vegetable art supplies!

…Use Asparagus for paint brushes

…Use Carrots to make lines

…Use Corn on the Cob for roller painting

…Cut a potato or cucumber in half. Make a design in the middle of it and use it as a stamp

  • To make your Letter V page print out a template here…color or use your Veggie art supplies to decorate your Letter V. Cut it out and paste it to a piece of construction paper. Ta Da! Letter V!
  • You know it wouldn’t be a complete letter day without a song! Here is one that would go well with the Vacation Transportation activity…

Oh We’re Goin’ On a Vacation!

Sung to: She’ll Be Coming Around The Mountain

Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the plane (zoom zoom)

Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the train (chug a chug)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the train (chug a chug)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation on the train (chug a chug)

Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation in our car (honk honk)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation in our car (honk honk)
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation
Oh we’re goin’ on a vacation in our car (honk honk)

include other modes of transportation such as a boat, rocket ship, etc…

Living.

I was wracking my brain to figure out what exactly to write about today. Then I had this dream…I was standing with my cousin, Kareem, across from his childhood home. Half of it was buried in the surrounding dirt and the other part was practically in shambles. I saw a bull-dozer come and start to crush the house in the ground. We both watched then I turned towards him and saw tears in his eyes. I reached out and hugged him, tight. I asked if he was ok. He said he was mad and then I said, “I understand–don’t worry. It’s just a house. We still have each other and that is what’s important.”  While I was saying this to him we gave each other one good squeeze and then my dream meandered off into dreamland.

I read a quote the other day that has stuck with me; “There is no such thing as luck or coincidences. Things happen for a reason.”

Then early this morning after writing this post I read my meditation page for yesterday, Decemeber 1 (because I forgot!) And this is what it said,

“Actually we are slaves to the cost of living.”–Carolina Marin de Jesus

All of us have to cope with the cost of living. Existing gets more and more expensive, and living seems sometimes as if it is only for the wealthy.

We have lost track of the difference between what we want and what we need. Everything has become a need. If we don’t have what we think we need, it lower our self-esteem and our feeling of worth. We can hardly remember what is important anymore.

We are important. Our children are important. Our relationships are important. The planet is important. Our lives are important.

Lest we forget what we are all about, let’s stop today and remember.

 It was good for me to get these reminders that the only constant I can rely on is family and myself. Material needs and money don’t hold any weight with me except to pay the bills. I have learned so much this past year and my family has been through some tough times, but having this dream and reading this meditation has given me a new outlook on what is really important. We could lose it all tomorrow in a big tidal wave, but as long as we stick together (and run very fast!) everything will work out in the end. And in the end I want to live. Not just living in the general sense of heart-beating and breathing kind of living (even though that’s important too). I mean Living; just being able to just be without feeling like you have to do anything. Enjoying the miracles of ordinary life…

Ramblings on a Tuesday

Do you ever sit down at your computer to write and you just stare for a while? That’s just what happened to me. I couldn’t think how to start, but then I did and now I’m on track. Random. I know. But this is ramblings on a Tuesday so there!

These last few weeks I have had a few things stirring in my mind. Oh! But first I wanted to say…HAPPY VETERANS DAY! Please take a moment to honor those that have fought and are fighting for our country. I don’t know if any of you have seen that movie “Stop Loss”, but it was so touching for me and gave me a better insight into a soldiers life.  I just wish there was another way besides war, but that is another subject that is not included in my ramblings for today. Maybe another time.

Well, my first rambling is to share with you that I really enjoy the night time. In my younger days it was a time associated with partying and my social life. Now I rarely leave the house after 9pm. Seriously. Where do I have to go that late at night?! So, one night after dinner the girls and I had to go return a DVD to the library. I let them go in their pajama’s and they brought along their blankies. This was actually Faith’s first time being out at night too! She had been out a few time when she was younger, but this was the first time that she was more aware. Stepping out into the night air felt so different. I love the way no matter what the air at night is always clear and crisp to me. Along our 3 block walk we pointed out the stars and the moon to each other. Journey kept asking why the moon was following her! And Faith just kept pointing up to the sky, “Look! Mooooon!”  Explaining the night time to them gave me a different perspective on it. To some the night is just that–night time, time to sleep, or just routine. But looking at the night through Journey and Faith’s eyes made the night magical. It allowed me to take a deep inhale and when I exhaled I felt like me. I don’t know how to explain it, but the night air just gives me a lightness like a weight is taken off my shoulders. I also realized that along with the very early morning (because it has the same crisp cool feeling) I really like the night time too. I guess subconsciously I liked to go out in college so much at night because I really enjoyed the magic of the night! HA!

My next rambling just so happens to be about the early morning. I really need my time in the early morning to prepare myself for the day. I know that if I wake up between 5am and 6am I will have a couple hours at most to shower, eat, do chores, blog and have some coffee without having to tend to the every need of my family. It really is no offense to anyone that I like my time alone in the morning. Brett always says he wants to wake up with me, but I’m not sure I would like that. All of them getting up at 7am works for me! Now don’t get me wrong. I love my family, but if I don’t have time alone to just be me then I notice I have a little less patience and I feel like I’m being rushed around in the morning. It is in their best interest that I have my time in the morning.

I think that is all the rambling I will do for today. Come back tomorrow as our alphabet book continues with the Letter M.

Kalisha