I’ve been struggling with something lately that has kept me from my regular routine. I’ve been thinking about ignoring it and posting about healthy recipes and how to be motivated to workout but honestly, right now, I’d feel like a hypocrite if I did any of those things. I think it’s easy to think I have it all figured out. I rarely do let my walls down as I believe in positivity and sharing all that is good and bright with the world. The dark things, well I keep those to myself, as I do not think they will benefit anyone or make anyone’s day better, and really that’s part of the reason I share so much of me. I want to help, I want others to be well, I want to make you think about something mundane in a new light. It’s something that fills my heart.

When I struggle, and I fall, and I have trouble following my own advice I just go silent. I stop posting for a few days and barely look at social media. And it happens. I often go through waves and I’m working constantly on balance. I like to try things. Everyone knows that one thing about me. They may also know I tend to try hard, and intensely and sometimes I wear myself out in the midst of it all. I need a break I retreat from everything and cocoon myself until I feel recharged and ready to go again. It’s something I’ve done most of my adult life and it has got to stop.

I love how lost I get in the excitement of something new. I love how much of myself I give to people and situations and things I’m interested in. I love all of it. I don’t love the moments I feel down, depressed, crippled with an inability to get up and do anything productive. When focusing on simple tasks at work seem like they will use up all of my remaining gasps of energy and when the idea of making food is so tiring I’d rather sleep for hours on end. Therefore, change has to happen. I write this, still unsure if I will publish it but I’m a writer, and this is how I heal, this is my therapy, this is how I make sense of things and see them for the first time very clearly. It’s like speaking with myself in an uncluttered environment because the page is blank when I start speaking and you can only write one word at a time. The countless things in my mind have to get in line and only one thought can come out at a time. A peaceful reflexion when the haze of everything threatens to take over. I love writing.

Unable to write anything else, I think this will do. I’ve sat down to blog about countless other things this last month, but nothing would come. Sitting here minutes after pouring this out I am sure this is what I needed to do in order to break the wall of my creativity and motivation.

I am doing well and I have an amazing support system in my family and friends. I hope if you’ve been struggling with motivation, getting started on your plans or projects, or simply struggling with getting through the day and still smiling, then know it happens to all of us. We’re always switching from one end of the spectrum to the other. Sometimes you’re up while other times you’re down. No matter the reason, know you’re not alone. And sometimes this cloud leaves as quickly as it came while other times some work has to be done in order to keep it moving right along.

Yay to breaking the wall. Up next, a recap of all the great things June brought with it.

Much love always,

Mariangelica


Photo by Dean Johns on Unsplash

NEW MOM MONDAYS CHASING LITTLES
This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?

Rochella Neely

♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I have been married for 9 years. I work as a Branch Manager for a Financial Institution. I’m also a blogger. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with my family, fine dining, laughing, traveling and writing.
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
I have two kids. Rain is 6 years old and Sunshine is 1 year old.
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
I have to make it! I schedule time during the week to do something for me. If I don’t put it on my schedule I won’t do it.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
What to expect when you are expecting
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

The Diaper Pail is the most useful product. I love it. When you have a baby it is the most convenient way to dispose of dirty diapers.

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
Get as much sleep as you can when the baby is sleeping. Don’t worry so much and stress less.
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?
I planned from the moment I found out I was pregnant. So for about 7 months I planned. I needed the entire 7 months as my children were not planned. It was definitely helpful although I still didn’t feel ready I don’t think you ever feel ready to be responsible for a new person!
♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. Ask for help those first couple of weeks home. Don’t expect to get back into our regular routine for awhile.
♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

When I held both my children in my arms after giving birth.

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.
My last birth was completely different than my first birth. It was just my husband and me in the room. I had already experienced a difficult birth with my first child. I was expecting the worst. I had a normal 12-hour delivery. Everything went smoothly. I was induced I did have an epidural and was managing my pain well. I did not push for long and when my sunshine was born, it was a relief, she was here. Healthy and beautiful. She was crying as the doctors and nurses check her out. .As soon as she laid on my chest, I rubbed her on her back and said “don’t cry” at that moment the crying stopped. The nurses and doctors in the room paused in a brief moment of amazement. I’m sure they have witnessed these moments many times before but something still makes it special no matter how many times a person witnesses it.
♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

Love in its purest form. I believe our creator allows us to experience motherhood as a way to show us how much he loves us. Motherhood teaches mom and baby, builds character and is my biggest blessing.

To hear more from Rochella be sure to visit her blog Career and Family Life .

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too! 

NEW MOM MONDAYS CHASING LITTLES
This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?

Vanessa

♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a woman trying to find a way to share my knowledge and advice from what I’ve learned in the short time I’ve been a mother. I apply a lot of what I’ve learned from my education to my family and relationships.
I’ve been married for 8.5 years to a wonderful man serving our country with the US Marine Corps (been together for 12 years). Our relationship has been through boot camp, trainings, a deployment to Afghanistan, recruiting duty, and 3 duty stations (most currently, Cleveland, Ohio).
I have 2 little ones, a boy named Lucas, age 4 and a little girl named Zoe, age 9 months.
Prior to having our littles, I graduated with my bachelor’s in Child Psychology and Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy. Unfortunately, I need to have a license in order to practice Marriage and Family Therapy and moving from state to state makes that difficult to gain the amount of internship hours I need in order to take the licensing test!
Before moving to Ohio, I worked in special education. I’ve had experience in the special education setting from preschool to 10th graders. In the preschool setting, I worked with kiddos who had severe autism. The K-10th graders all had social, emotional and behavioral disorders. I also did an internship working with women in a residential treatment program, offering counseling for the women with their mental health issues.
Because of the moving around so much and wanting to stay at home with my kids, I turned to making money online. I began my journey in May, 2015 and January, 2017, I began my blog focusing on all things family related-crafts, education, parenting, money making, saving, budgeting.
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
2 kids, Lucas-age 4, Zoe-age 9 months
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
Mostly in the shower! (sad but true!) A nice, warm, long, relaxing shower is the best! But in all honesty, I used to go for runs until I injured my knee and it hasn’t been the same since. And now with 2 kids, it comes when the oldest is at preschool and the youngest is napping! Every once and a while, my husband will take both kids to run an errand so I get some time alone. It’s difficult to have “me” time with such a young baby (especially since she’s in the phase of all she wants is Mommy). On weekends, my husband does take both kids down to the basement to play toys or play a game, while I’m working or cooking.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
I read “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” when I was pregnant with my first. All baby books are more of a guide rather than a this is what will happen type of book! As a brand new parent, “The Wonder Weeks” was a great guide to help explain my son’s behaviors and what he was learning at each stage. It also explains when the dreaded sleep regressions begin and why they are happening!
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

BABY BUM BRUSH!!! Love, love, love it! That is one product I recommend to all new moms! You think putting on diaper cream is no big deal with your fingers, but it makes things so much easier to wipe it on with the brush (especially on the go!) when your child is twisting and turning trying to get away, while you are trying to fasten the diaper! Having your hands diaper cream free allows you to move slightly faster so you can get the diaper fastened before your child twists away!

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
You won’t ruin your baby! You learn, adjust, and get in a routine! Soon, having a baby is just a part of your life and you barely even remember how it was before having kids!
Don’t worry so much about if you are doing things right because your child will let you know if they are happy or not!
Also, cat naps are the norm, not the exception! At first your baby will sleep a ton, but eventually, those 1-3 hour naps turn into 30-45 minute naps and it’ll be awhile before you get back to the 1-3 hour naps (like…once your kid is down to 1-2 naps a day…even then maybe even not!) And there will be days you miss the longer naps!
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?
 For the first born, we were living at my parents’ house while our place was being built. We didn’t set up a nursery but we had things set up with a pack and play and a ton of clothes! Too many clothes! As soon as we knew the gender of the first, we started buying things. It helped to have the cost of the baby stuff spread out, but then again, we over bought! We didn’t need half of the things we got!
For our second, we didn’t even start getting things ready until I was around 30 weeks. I didn’t have any clothes or anything set up in the nursery. Even with the lack of planning, things came together just fine, without issues, and she had what she needed when she came home.
♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?
Oh gosh, top three pieces of advice…
For new mom’s/mom’s to be:
1. You can’t ruin your child by loving them and meeting their needs! Their needs are basic, you absolutely will figure out what they need!
2. Breastfeeding is hard! Do what is best for yourself and that is what will be best for baby! Hospitals have resources available if you need/want help breastfeeding. They try not to pressure new moms with breastfeeding and try to make it guilt free, but you’ll feel the guilt by choosing not to breastfeed but it’s okay!
With my son, one nurse supported me breastfeeding, gave me a nipple shield to use and I felt okay with it, but the next nurse I had, was telling me my milk won’t come in without my son’s lips on my nipple so I need to pump after nursing to get my milk in. She freaked me out that my son wasn’t getting any milk so I just stuck with pumping instead. As a new mom, I had no idea how long I needed to pump after nursing and no one explained it to me. Pumping turned out to be what was best for me, which made it best for my son.
3. If you need a break, don’t be afraid to ask for one! It’s so important to take care of yourself during this time! With my first, I didn’t really ask for help because I felt like this is my child and my responsibility. I didn’t want to put that responsibility on anyone else. There were times, I didn’t eat during the day because my first wanted to be held all day. He would wake up the moment I’d put him down for a nap. I wouldn’t put him down and I wouldn’t want to move, so I never got a break!
For people trying to conceive:
1. There’s never a perfect time to have a baby. When you do plan to start trying, know it varies for everybody. For my son, it took us 9 months to conceive but for our daughter, it just happened without us trying.
2. If you get discouraged because it’s taking longer than you expected to conceive, find a group of people to support you in your journey.
3. Use the cheap ovulation sticks and pregnancy sticks you find on Amazon! You get a ton of them and they are just as good!
♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

Watching our son meet his baby sister for the first time! He couldn’t stop smiling and watching her in the carseat! (He soon got over that and realized he’d no longer get all the attention, but then his love for her came back and he enjoys playing with her)

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.
My first pregnancy: I began having contractions on a Thursday night, but they went away. I fell asleep and woke up at 4:45am on Friday morning with contractions. My contractions never got closer together all day Friday, they just continued every 10 minutes. I wasn’t able to sleep Friday night and into Saturday. Finally, Saturday morning at 5am, I called the hospital and they said I could come in (I was afraid I’d be sent away because I wasn’t far enough along to get admitted. They had told me I wouldn’t be because the next day I was just going to be induced anyway.)
I was put on pitocin (the drug given to move along labor if you aren’t dilating on your own) and I got an epidural around 10am. I labored all day while sleeping, and needed another extra bolus (basically an extra dose) in my epidural around 6pm because it was wearing off. My doctor came around 9pm as I was finally at the point where I could push. I pushed for almost 2.5 hours and finally he was born at 11:20pm at 41 weeks.
My second pregnancy: I had 0 contractions and barely dilated when the doctor checked at my weekly checks. I was so disappointed that I wasn’t dilated because she was low in my pelvis. I was thinking she’d come faster than my first because she was my second and so low down. I had my induction scheduled for a Monday morning, but my water broke that Saturday before the scheduled induction around 12:30pm. (I was putting groceries away after my son’s soccer game and grocery shopping) Once my water broke, the contractions began. I would have preferred to labor at home a little, but they told me if my water breaks to come in due to a risk of infection.
I went in around 2:30. They had to make sure my water did break and then they admitted me. By the time I got in my room, it was around 3:30 or 4pm. The doctor asked me some questions about if I wanted an epidural or not and I said yes. At this hospital, they had a whole anesthesiology team, full of students and a supervising anesthesiologist. Well, the student was giving me the epidural and for some reason, they had to restart the whole thing. She poked me again in my spine and they ask what side do you feel it in and I told them only my left side. They said that’s normal, just lay on your right side and gravity will bring the drugs over. Well that didn’t happen! Long story short, the epidural did not take, I could feel the pain, and an anesthesiologist without the team came in and poked me for the third time.
Things are going well, so I thought, they weren’t really telling me much. Just making me change positions a lot! The doctor on call came in around 1am or so and had me start antibiotics. (I didn’t know it at the time because I felt like I wasn’t informed but my heart rate and the babies heart rate were elevated, which is a sign for an infection) They got some antibiotics in me in hopes the baby would get some too to protect her. She was face up while I was pushing and finally turned at the last second when she came out, born at 2:20am.
They let me hold her, but then took her saying she needed another round of antibiotics because my placenta tested positive for an infection. They told me she’d be upstairs in the nursery and will be brought to my room. I was finally brought up to my room at 5:00am and was told they were still trying to get an IV in her to give her antibiotics. I got, maybe, 2 hours of sleep, and at 9am, the lactation consultant came in to have me start pumping because my daughter was being brought down to NICU. They didn’t tell me a thing and I was so mad! At that point, I had only held her for maybe 5 minutes and I couldn’t believe she had to go down to the NICU. I still get teary-eyed just retelling the story!
I was not planning a NICU stay, no parent ever is, but you get through it, and put it in the past.
♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

Motherhood: Transforming from being an individual person, to having a part of you in another form. It’s not just birthing a child, it’s emotional, physical, cognitive, and social transformation. Once you enter motherhood, you will do anything for this little one who depends on you, because they are a part of you. You would sacrifice everything for these little ones, because nothing compares to how much you love them. The pride they have when they accomplish something, you have that same amount. The sadness they have when something/somebody hurts them, you have that same amount. The success they feel, you feel too. The frustration they feel, you feel too! You have immense responsibility for this child and it’s hard to put yourself above the needs of your child/ren. Your life will never be the same once you enter motherhood.

To hear more from Vanessa be sure to visit her blog Simple Lists Simple Life and follow her on Pinterest.

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too! 

NEW MOM MONDAYS CHASING LITTLES
This post is part of the New Mom Monday series! A series about moms and their advice to new moms! Books and videos can only teach us so much, but there’s something special about hearing from real life moms. Honest, true, and always beautifully inspiring!!
♥ What’s your Name?

Fatima Torres

♥ Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m a mom of two boys and two pups, married to my soulmate. I’m also a freelance social media strategist and Family/Lifestyle blogger who is passionate about life and being social.
♥ How many kids do you have? What are their names and ages?
I have two boys and two pups. Sebs (3), Chris (1) and the pups are 5 and 11.
♥ How do you find your “me time”?
I find a little “me time” any chance I get. Oftentimes it means waking up earlier than usual to write a post or finish up promo. Sometimes I sneak in a few pages from a book I’m reading.
♥ What is the best baby related book you’ve ever read?
Anything from National Geographic, which reminds me, we have to replace the dinosaurs book our youngest destroyed.
♥ What’s the most useful baby product you have? Why do you love it?

I had a really good baby carrier we purchased when we had our firstborn. We kept it until our second child outgrew it and gave the carrier to a family member. It was a lifesaver whenever we went on family walks or even when I had to travel to events with the two of them.

♥ If you could say something to yourself when you first brought home your first baby, what would you say?
“Remember, you’re going to be exhausted. Just don’t take it out on everyone.”
♥ How much planning did you do before your baby was born, and how do you think that it helped or didn’t help?

I did a lot of planning prior to having our firstborn, and even then I couldn’t predict I was going to be a mom at 23. Prior to meeting my husband, I had graduated college a year ago and found my dream job. I was hoping to move up on the ladder until I became pregnant. It happened, and I embraced it. All I wanted was to be with my child. We moved to another state and I was home with our little one until I started doing freelance work and blogging from home. It’s been a blessing. Thankfully, I learned a lot from my 3.9 years at the digital publishing firm. Sometimes I feel as though with blogging and side projects I’m running my own digital firm.

♥ What do you believe are the top three pieces of advice a new mom or someone trying to conceive should know?

You are not just a mom, so don’t hold on to that title like it’s the end of the world. There’s more to you. There’s more to who you believe you are. Go find her! 😉

♥ What is your best memory so far of being a mom?

The moments when they’re finally down for a nap/bed after a very long day. Those repeat themselves often, but the emotions are always the same. I always look back at our moments together. Those are what count. Not the mess, not the tantrums. And believe me, there are PLENTY of both.

♥ Give us the short form version of your birth story.

Our first child was born through C-section It was terrifying, and I was numb to the experience. I remember being told I had to breastfeed my child after everything was done. Silly me, I had told them prior to going into labor that I’d like to do so.

When our second, I went through a VBAC. It was a breeze compared to what we went through with our firstborn.

♥ Lastly, for fun, define motherhood!

Motherhood to me is finding strength in things you never thought were possible. It’s breathing life into someone else and even giving a new meaning to your own. It’s tough, but it’s also life-changing.

To hear more from Fatima be sure to visit her blog Motherhood Through My Eyes and follow her on Instagram.

If you would like to participate in New Mom Mondays please feel free to message me by using my contact form! I would love to not only feature you on my blog but learn from your answers, as I’m sure many readers would too! 

Somehow we’re halfway through the year…(HOW?) I wanted to check in with myself and with all of you (because accountability rocks) on how I’m doing with my new year resolutions.

To save you the searching for the post to compare, here are some of the public items on the list and the updates:

I will workout 182 days out of the 365 days of the year.

Last week I hit a huge goal which I am super proud of. I hit 100 days of working out. Originally I had this idea that I would do the first 100 out of the 182 in a row. Then life happened. There was a long necessary three week break in there from injuring my back and fracturing a bone in my neck (ouch!) so although I was very frustrated (believe me, I was not a happy camper) with the situation, I allowed my body to heal with the help of wonderful practitioners and some light yoga. Then got right to it with my daily workouts all the way to last week when workout number 100 was crossed off the list. It was a wonderful feeling, and it’s hard to describe. 100 of anything is a lot of something, and the fact that I didn’t give up, that I continued on is such an exciting and motivational accomplishment as I race to get those last 82 in there.

I will say that the mental battle I went through during the injury was a rough one. I felt like I had failed, that by taking a break I was being lazy, and that every day I didn’t work out I was getting further away from my goal. Talk about negativity levels through the roof! It took some time but with the help of my ever loving and incredible husband I started to understand that no, I wasn’t being lazy, and yes my back did hurt and my bone was fractured, and resting is what I needed to focus on. I was able to feel proud for the 50 some workouts I had completed up to that point and resting my back was not going to take that away from me. Getting the last few workouts in last week was pretty hard from a motivation standpoint. I don’t know if it’s because I felt like I was basically already there or if it was my mood just being a little low for some time prior but it’s now done! Regardless, I just have 82 workout days left before I can officially check off this goal! Here we go!

If there is one takeaway I got from this journey it is to learn to celebrate the small victories. Rejoice after every 5 or every 10 and celebrate your determination. Be kind and gentle to yourself through this journey and if you decide to give a 100 workout challenge a try, do send me a quick message! I’d love to cheer you on on your very own journey!

We will pay off all of our debt, excluding our home.

This is a pretty exciting resolution for me. We’ve been using the every dollar app for a while now and it’s truly been a lifesaver when it comes to reaching $$ goals. Living a debt free life originally seemed like a crazy idea. How can anyone live without a credit card? How does a family not have a car payment? What do you mean you’re going to buy a car with cash, I thought the options were finance or lease? A mind shift has happened in our home and both Christian and I are so excited to be so aggressively shooting for this goal. It’s odd, when you start drifting away from what the norm is and you start creating your unique way of going about life. We know not everyone will agree or understand, but then again, we’re happy with our decision, so nothing else matters. Finances are a taboo subject, so I’m staying pretty vague, but with a plan in action, a goal, a deadline and a whole lot of drive, anything is possible.

I will eat 80% clean and reduce my dairy intake.

I can say this has so far been very consistent. I have been eating a very healthy diet this entire year and it has helped to have the workout challenge at the same time. You need lots of good food to have the energy to sweat every day! I’ve also enjoyed cakes and ice cream, pizza, and veggie burgers with fries etc to fill up that 20% They really taste better when they’re eaten less often!

As for dairy, I have lowered the amount of cheese and yogurt I eat and aside from those two items, there weren’t many other things in my daily diet that had dairy. This has been surprisingly natural and since I’m not looking to eliminate dairy it has gone over well to just reduce it.

I will continue to grow in this beautiful marriage my husband and I have forged for ourselves.

Throughout this year, Christian and I have continued to live every day however we choose to. We’ve planned for so many exciting things in the future and have really taken to enjoying where we are today. For someone like me who lives attached to goals and improving in all these different areas, it can sometimes be easy to forget how wonderful life is today, this very moment. Thankfully my counterpart works very much the other way. Christian is all about enjoying today, being silly and funny and keeping life light. He’s the “things will work out,” to my “what are the steps we are taking to get to this goal,” and do I love him for it. He keeps me young and happy and honestly, I’m the luckiest girl in the world.

We have some huge plans for this year, some trips planned, some days for us to get away just the two of us, and sometimes that’s just with frozen pizza binge watching Netflix. Can’t wait to see what else we get up to this year that isn’t planned because I’ve grown to expect the unexpected and I know together we can tackle anything. It’s now JUNE which is the month of our anniversary. June is my love month. We were flirty high schoolers in June, we started dating in June, we got married in June… It’s just our month and I’m looking forward to thinking back on our journey through all these past Junes.

We will travel to someplace warm.

In February, Christian and I had a most magical trip down to Texas, New Orleans, and many warmer places like Belize, Mexico, and Honduras. We’ve never traveled with other people but this year my beautiful cousin Susy and her husband Roberto agreed to join us on this wild adventure. I am so grateful to have such a large and loving family filled with cousins and aunts and uncles sprinkled all over the globe. It’s difficult when it comes to holidays, seeing as we are all so far away. But when it comes to traveling it means you have many cozy beds to choose from.

After meeting them in their home in Houston we road-tripped it (is that a word? it should be) to New Orleans where we stayed in a super cool guest house that used to be an orphanage in the 1800s. The creepiest photographs littered the walls and the amenities were… well none. No matter though we had a great time celebrating on Bourbon Street until the wee hours of the night the first day of Mardi Gras!

The next morning we cruised down to these magical and beautiful locations and had an incredible time on the ship. The memories that were made will live in my heart forever and I am so grateful to have shared this trip with family.