Finding Ways to be Thankful

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Today is #thankfulthursday and I am not going to lie, I have had a hard time coming up with one thing that I am thankful for. Part of this is because some of the things make me feel materialistic and other things feel like given things in life.

Yes, everyone is thankful for the basics in life like food, water, shelter and clothing. Thing is, there was a time in my life where I was living in my car and lived in a homeless shelter. There is a time where I was trying to come up with change just to find money for food. If you look in my drawers, most of my clothes are from 10 or more years ago, from thrift stores or cheap clothing from Walmart. At least I have clothing to wear right now.

Lately, things feel like they have been going in opposite direction that I want which can be so frustrating and makes it hard to find the things to thank the universe or your Higher Power for. Sometimes, you need to step back and remember the basics in life and that the rest is just an added bonus.

My housing situation isn’t ideal right now but at least we have a place to live that allows us to keep our special puppy. We need to move and finding a place that will fit our family and puppy has been the most difficult thing in the world. I wish we had the money to buy the house we are living in or another house but it is a very difficult option right now. All we can do is to continue to look and the right place will find us.

Holding to a meal budget has been such a difficult thing for my entire adult life. I will make a list, purchase what is on the list (online grocery shopping has made this so much easier), stand at the fridge or cabinet and struggle to find something to make or eat. So then I blow the budge out of the water because I end up getting takeout somewhere. I need to learn how to stick to a meal plan, meal budget and learn to be creative with the food I buy because there was a time when I didn’t get a choice of what I ate. I need to be thankful for any and all food and not be so damn picky.

I went from having a job that I could afford to buy my first Coach purse and Jimmy Choo shoes. High end clothing, handbags and shoes was my life over 15 years ago but that all changed in an instant. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be able to afford those luxury items again but they don’t make my world go round now. I have always been one to shop at consignment and thrift stores which I have found some amazing deals.

I have 2 specific claim to fame for my finds… My first amazing find was a vintage knee-length wool coat that zipped up the left side and had a corset-type ribbon back. My words can’t even describe who gorgeous this coat looked but someone stopped me on the streets of SOHO New York and offered to buy the coat off my back for a client of his (he was a personal stylist). As tempting as the offer was, I cherished that coat and declined. Unfortunately, when I became homeless I lost the coat. My second claim to fame was finding a BRAND NEW WITH TAGS Baby Dior outfit at a Salvation Army store for Danyella. Now when I found this outfit, it was before I even knew she was a girl but I couldn’t resist not buying this amazing outfit and thankfully she was a girl!

Since the only decent, affordable consignment shops (yes there are ones that are way overpriced for used clothing!) are a bit of a drive for me, my options have been limited especially since getting pregnant. I know that there is online shopping but I still prefer to go to a store and try clothes on so I know that they fit right. My go to is either Target or Walmart which sometimes you can feel the (lack of) quality that you are buying with cheap clothing. One good deal I have found at Walmart has been these super-soft, stretchy shirts for $5 for a short sleeve shirt. They had them in basic navy, black, maroon and olive-green colors which I bought XL in each size because they are large enough to cover my growing belly. I was super, super excited to find them in long sleeve (only $6.88) in some Halloween prints and other solid colors which I bought in 1XL and 2XL to keep me going while my belly grows. I wish I could afford the adorable pregnancy clothing on the market but it really isn’t an option when you are out of work for most of your pregnancy so I am sticking to these comfortable, affordable shirts and leggings.

Sometimes we take the basic things in our life for granted when we need to step back and be thankful for these necessities because life could be worse one day or you could have worked your way up from a situation that is worse than it is right now.

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Thankful for my OB Nurse #thankfulthursday

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Wednesdays are my baby doctor appointment days which since July my rear end has been seen by my high risk OB nurse every week. Why you ask am I showing my OB nurse my rear end every week?

Well since I have had 2 preemie babies, my doctors wanted me on weekly progesterone shots that are administered by Maternal Fetal Medicine office. So every Wednesday, I walk into the office, Nurse Charlie gets my shot ready and then I expose my back end. It can be quite embarassing the bigger that I get and the bigger my pants and panties get.

I am sure that Nurse Charlie sees many rear ends every week and it is just another day to her but as a self conscious pregnant woman it is a HUGE (not just my rear end) deal to me. The plan is that I continue my weekly shots until I am 38 weeks (if I make it that long) so I will be exposing myself weekly to Nurse Charlie for another 12 weeks. Oh boy!

Something that I have learned in my pregnancies, is that it is really the nurses that make sure that us hormonal, pregnant are doing what we need to do for our babies and are really good while we grow a human inside of us. When I switched my insurances, my copay for the progesterone shots were over $1000 a month which just wasn’t going to happen now that we are on one full time income. When I brought this up to Nurse Charlie, she is the one that has bent over backwards to make sure that I got the shots that I needed and at a price that I could afford. She is the one that has checked on me at home when I have gone in with bad side effects of the pregnancy like low blood pressure that has been making me light headed and have fainting spells.

I truly can’t thank Nurse Charlie enough for going above and beyond for myself and my baby girl while she is still growing inside my big ole belly. If you are pregnant, make sure you thank your OB nurse because they truly care about their patients, the big ones and little ones.

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Thankful For Being a Dance Mom #thankfulthursday

Thankful For Being A Dance Mom

Let me start off by saying, I am not one of “those” dance moms where I get all crazy and cut throat so that my child is the focus of the dance studio and rant all about the studio to get my way! Not my style unless I feel the need to step in because there is a problem or something comes up.

Even though the show “Dance Moms” is what inspired Danyella to want to take her first dance lesson at age 8, I vowed to never be one of those crazy sports moms because they just embarrass themselves and more importantly their child. Don’t get me wrong, the drama on that show can be addicting but I started watching it with Danyella years ago because she loved to watch the dances these girls would learn and perform in less than a week.

When Danyella first started out at the studio, she wanted to take Musical Theatre and Jazz. She wanted to take the musical theatre class because she loved watching me work on the costuming for local theatre shows when she was younger. With jazz, Danyella knew that it was fundamental in learning dance. I was shocked when I saw her excel in dance because in everyday life she is quite clutzy (don’t tell her I said that). Part way through the year, we added a ballet class to her dance schedule and Danyella found her passion in her young life… Dance!

All this girl wanted to dance, day and night. It was heart-warming to see her find a passion like this at a young age. That first year, she was much older and taller than the other girls in her classes because I didn’t know how she would like, let alone find a passionate talent in dance.

At the end of the year, her studio announced that they were forming their first ever Mini Elite Competition Team.  Even though Danyella had only been  dancing for a year and wasn’t at the class level required to audition, she was encouraged to audition anyway. Bad mom moment…. my thoughts on her auditioning were that she would learn the lesson that she needs to work hard to achieve things she wants in her life. Aka, she wouldn’t make the team and learn the lesson of losing and being denied something you desire.

2 months after auditioning, I received the email and was mind blown, shocked to read that she had made the team! What?????? She had only been dancing for a year…. A YEAR! Did she really have that innate ability to dance that she would make a competition dance team? How would these other dance moms act? Would we be living the show’s drama now?

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Our First Competition Mom and Me Selfie!

After 2 years of dancing under our belt and one year of competition team, I am so happy to talk to you about MY life as a dance mom! Both Danyella and I have made wonderful friends through her dance passion. When you spend every week, sitting in a room with the same moms you begin to have conversations. Most of those conversations began with a mom asking what I was crocheting or making because I can’t just sit and not have my hands moving. From that first conversation, we began to share stories of our kids and our lives. That is how friendships are formed and kept.

 

The Elite Moms had an extra special bond because we would live our lives based around dance every weekend from August through March. We would travel together to the competitions and bond over what it was like as a first year competition mom. We were all in this together. Eventually, we started connecting over Facebook and still chat about what is going on with our girls. We have been able to commiserate over our girls and their behaviors. It was great to know we weren’t alone with our tween girl problems.

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The shirt that I made for the Dance Moms for last year’s competition season.

As the girls bonded as a team, so did us moms. We have learned to rely on each other when we need help or have questions and never feel alone in this experience. This year, the team has changed because some people have left the tea

m, so girls moved up and new girls were added. Our girls embraced the new girls just as us moms embraced the new moms. Another new change was the addition of the Petite Elite Team, which consists of some younger girls and a new set of moms. The Minis and Petites bond and help each other just as us “experienced” (not really but we fake it) moms help the new moms navigated the uncharted waters of having a child on the competition team.

Last night, I was reminded of the bond that us dance moms have because as I was sitting for 3 hours of classes on the first week of the new season. Witheach class, brought in a new set of moms and we would all begin to catch up from either having the summer not seeing each other, having a year of our girls having opposite schedules or having a week since the last elite rehearsal. Each conversation just picked up like we never lost anytime.

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The first Elite Team at Competition last season.

 

It was an eye-opening experience to see all us in a room just talking like we have been friends forever. This is what a dance mom life truly is! It is not about drama, it is not about making sure our child is number one or gets special treatment, it is not aboutthrowing adult temper tantrums. It is about showing our children that they should pursue their passions. It is about showing our children that the friendships they make with their fellow dancers are ones that should be cherished. It is about showing our children that we should support one another no matter what and no matter our age.

 

Thankful for Life and Death #ThankfulThursday

Be Thankful For Life and Death#thankfulthursdayAs today is the last day of August, most people look forward to September to start them off with fall’s with its crisp, cool air, leaving turning and falling, school starting and the start of everything pumpkin. For me, September is a time of mourning those that I have lost this month. These people are ones that have had a huge impact in my life and I take the time to mourn them every September.

It has been 16 years since I lost my first person in September. I will never forget 9/11, where is was, what I was doing and what I was supposed to be doing but instead I was glued to TV watching the horror unfold and awaiting to hear that people who I cared about or know where safe. Then I found out 3 days later that a close friend of mine, a firefighter in the FDNY, had been trapped in one of the towers when it collapsed and they never were able to recover his whole body, just parts. His mother was devastated and so was I because I never thought that I would lose a friend in a horrible way like this. He is someone who had been through some of the worst times of my teen years with me and his death changed a part of me that may never be fixed because I still see myself push people away when they get to close in fear of losing them as well.

The next person I lost has been the hardest death I have ever experienced because it was my little brother. Another situation that I remember that day like it was yesterday when it was 9 years ago. Being the oldest of my siblings, I had to be the one to keep it together for my family when I was mentally losing it. The little brother that I used to torture as a child, was gone and I could never say I am sorry for not being a better big sister. His death is the one that I learned what drugs could do to a person and their family. When people make a joke of drugs and what they use or have used, I explain that my brother didn’t think they would take his life until one tragic day they did. This is the death that has affected who I am today the most because it has taught me to love those in your life and be thankful for everyday you get to spend with them because you never know if it could be your last.

I went from losing one person to drug addiction to losing an on again/off again boyfriend to his addiction to alcohol. After seeing the horror that my family went through with losing my brother, I thought that I could save my ex boyfriend from his alcoholism. It took me nearly 2 years to realize that he had a problem because we all drank alcohol. In the beginning, we had a blast drinking and having fun until I realized he didn’t know how to be sober unless he was at work. There were so many signs that I ignored because I loved this boy (he was not yet a man) and didn’t realize alcohol was his problem in life. As time progressed and he couldn’t live without a drop of alcohol in his house to the point where he would drink cooking sherry just for a buzz then it started to hit me. Add that to the mental, emotional and (at times) physical abuse I endured, I began to see his problem but the rest of this friends and family wouldn’t see the problem until it was to late. I still remember the last thing I said to him was to never talk to me again. Well my wish/nightmare came true because exactly a week later he died driving off the side of cliff on his Sunday alcohol run on his motorcycle. His death taught me not to say things you will later regret because you may never be able to say your sorry.

The last person that died was at the same time as my ex boyfriend but I was never able to meet her… my daughter’s heart stopped beating before she was ever able to be born and meet me. I was 16 weeks pregnant and just found out it was a girl when the Ultrasound tech all of a sudden stopped talking, went to get the doctor, who came back in the room to tell me that her heart had stopped beating a few days before the scan. I had to carry her around inside of me for another 2 weeks, attend my ex boyfriend’s funeral, and wait for my body to miscarry her. My body decided that on the anniversary of my brother’s death that it was time for her to leave my body. I went through a depression like no other after this and it took time and therapy for me to feel like me again. After her death, I never thought that I would have another baby but I am so grateful that I am expecting Baby Evelynne in just 18 weeks or sooner.

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In reality, I never became me again because these deaths all changed who I was in different ways. I have learned how to get past some of my fears or recognize when I am escaping back into my fears when getting close to other people. I have tried to use my experiences of loving someone (family and significant other) to teach others that if they love someone with an addiction, they need to want to fix themselves we cannot fix them. On the flip side, I have also tried to scare addicts or “recreational” drug users that they are not invisible and can die from what they are doing whether it is just once or millionth time.

For years, September became a month that I would push everyone away just to deal with myself and my feelings because I didn’t want people to see me be week but as the years have gone on, these deaths have made me more grateful for the life I have to live everyday and to not take the people I love for granted, though I am only human and have my moments. I still mourn in September but this is the month that I try my hardest to find the things that I am grateful for because each and every day is a blessing to cherish. Please hug and love your loved ones today and everyday!

 

Give Thanks For the Small Things

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Originally I wanted to make my Thursdays my day to rant but on my path to find the positive side of life, I changed my mind and am making Thursday into Thankful Thursdays. We should all take the time to find the things we are grateful for in our lives.

Yes I could start this off with being thankful for my friends and family because I most definetely am grateful for them but sometimes it is finding the small things that make your life, just that your unique life that makes us even happier. I am going to list my 5 small things in life that I am grateful for this week and I want to hear what small things you are grateful for!

  1. I am grateful for Netflix. Yes it is completely materlistic of me to say an internet app but when you are on bed rest and all you can do is sit around, bing watching Grey’s Anatomy, Sons of Anarchy and other awesome shows becomes a way to avoid going completely stir crazy.
  2. Facebook Marketplace and Yard Sale groups. As we begin to pack to move, I have noticed how much stuff we have accumlated over the years. Let’s just say it is alot more stuff then we really need especially when I want to buy more stuff because it would look pretty in my house. Without having an income right now, selling off this extra stuff has been a great way to pay for groceries and have less stuff to pack for the move.
  3. Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Yes I am one of those crazy Pumpkin loving peeps! I love anything pumpkin but I look forward to the day that every coffee joint announces or people secretly find out they have Pumpkin Spice Lattes! I have found my local Starbucks secretly is making them and DD is starting theirs on the 28th.
  4. Washer and Dryer in my house. Have you ever had to tote 6 baskets of dirty laundry into your car, out of your car, into the laundry mat, sit for 2-3 hours (I didn’t wany my clothes stolen), back into the car and back out of the car. Then it was having to fold the laundry and put it away. Since installing the nice, big washer and dryer in our house my life has gotten alot easier.
  5. Notebooks and Journals. I have always been one that loves to write things down. I keep notebooks of notes and tips about projects I am working on. Journals of my thoughts. I am a big advocate on writing your thoughts, wishes and gratitude down because writing it down triggers in your brain to make it a reality.

A great way to start your day or end your day is with this gratitude journal that I found on Amazon! (Click the image to check out the book on Amazon)

Take the five minutes everyday to write down what you are grateful for especially on those bad days that you feel like nothing can go right. It is those days that you need to find the positive side of life and you will see more of the good moments and less of the bad moments. Don’t forget to share your small things you are grateful for below!

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