Today the boys got their first look at daddy managing a baseball game. Although we only made it through about three innings because of the Florida heat, and the boys weren’t entirely sure why daddy wasn’t playing, it was a milestone for us! This is David’s second year coaching and first year as a manager. We are still getting adjusted to life away from playing, but this new adventure has been a blessing to our family. (more…)
I have been MIA the last few weeks, and I am sorry. My life has been sequestered by important life-altering decisions and commitments. Fortunately, I have surfaced on the other side of the mountain where light is everpresent and now I can focus my energies on following my bliss!
I haven’t had time to share much online since I spent all of last week at Saint Leo University, immersed in my writing program. Because I decided to go back to school to get my Master of Arts degree in a low-residency program, I have one week per year where I actually need to go to campus; the rest of the program is done via long-distance learning. As a mom, this has been the best arrangement for my family and it is the primary reason I chose to study at Saint Leo. Anyway, I was given the gift of time spent on campus with peers and professors, all while learning how to become more mature writers and readers, and ultimately better literary citizens. I have one year of studies left before I graduate and I am hoping I will be able to make the very best of it given my primary commitments as a mom and wife.
Because I have been in school and working two part-time jobs, our family has been blessed to have David living at home. Due to the fact that he started his coaching career with the Yankees’ Gulf Coast League, he is home every evening and has Sundays off. For a baseball wife, this is huge!! I have grown accustomed to him working 24/7 with a sporadic off-day during the regular season. This change in trajectory means that he is home to support me while I find time to study and write, and he never misses a chance to celebrate milestones, including birthdays with us. As a summer baby, I considered myself lucky when my birthday fell in the middle of a homestand. So cheers to this! YAY.
Since we knew David would be around more, we bought annual passes to Disney World this year. As an introvert and someone who rather stay home reading or watching a movie, I wasn’t in a rush to take the boys to Disney, but at David’s insistence and since we live so close, we bit the bullet. We bought the passes the last week of 2017 and have already taken several trips, often leaving after a game on Saturday and returning on Sunday. The drive to Orlando is less than two hours from our house, so we can drive over just for the day, which we did on Father’s Day. It has worked out incredibly well and the boys are super happy – and spoiled. Although we have had a lot of fun visiting Disney every few weeks, I am not sure if we will buy annual passes every year. Because of David’s schedule, the only option that makes sense for us is to buy the Platinum Passes with no blockout dates, which is why they end up being quite a lot of moola. Nevertheless, if you can afford it, they are worth every penny.
Bringing this around full circle, since the last day of my writing residency fell on Brooks’ 3rd birthday, July 21st, I asked the director of the program, Steve Kistulentz, if it would be okay to miss the day, allowing me to spend it with the family. Since we already had passes – and because what three-year-old doesn’t want to spend their birthday at Disney World – David and I made plans to celebrate this occasion at The Happiest Place on Earth. We invited our parents and my sister to join us. Not only was this an opportunity for birthday fun, the boys were going to meet their baby cousin – as they love to call him – for the first time.
My sister and I hardly see each other since I moved to Tampa and my boys still had not met their baby cousin, so what better time than the present?! My mother has been speaking endlessly about getting us together so that the boys can finally meet. My greatest dream, she says. Nothing would make her happier than seeing us all united as a family, setting aside any differences we may have, for the sake of peace and the boys. As I have learned this past month, life is short, and it is important to make time for the things that truly matter.
Looking back now, I can say with certainty that I spent the past week following dreams and spending time in the Happiest Places on Earth, the classroom, and Disney. Although I am not sure it would be in that order. Depends on who you talk to. 😉
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I was compelled to write this post to help other mamas out. The struggle to find a good diaper is real and for those of us who spend hours researching the best options out there, this is a real-life testimony.
From the moment I had my first son, I “swaddled” him in Pampers. I tried a bunch of different brands, including Huggies, Luvs, and Honest Co., but by far my favorite diapers were Pamper’s Swaddlers. I used them for the first eighteen months of Jethro’s life, that is, until they started leaking. I have no proof, but I am convinced that sometime around 2015, Pampers changed their manufacturing process. I would call it their “formula,” but I am not sure that is the appropriate term. All I know is that the diapers I once loved, started failing.
With Jethro close to turning two, and another baby on the way, I set out on a mission to find a diaper that would solve our problems but what I discovered was so much more than that. Initially, the most important factor I cared about was that whatever diapers I chose would last through the night and save me incessant laundry woes. Jethro is four now, and I must admit, I still have him wearing diapers to sleep. This is something a lot of moms I know deal with: their fully potty-trained kids, still pee through a diaper at night. Does that mean they aren’t actually fully-trained? Argh! I am not sure when I will be able to nix the use of a diaper with him, but he is getting awfully big, and at a solid forty-five pounds, I am afraid that he will soon outgrow the largest size available.
But cutting to the chase… which diapers are the only ones I use for my boys? Why, Bambo Nature, of course? Oh, you haven’t heard of them, you say? Well, if that is the case, you are missing out! As parents, we are inundated with commercials and other marketing tactics, proving the industry is saturated with brands eager to gain our attention, and for many families, the companies that are most visible to us can be a great fit. Nevertheless, I am here to tell you that there are other options out there!
Keep reading and I will share the reasons why I settled on Bambo Nature as my trusted brand.
They are By Far the Most Absorbent Diapers
Between 2013 and 2015, I had tried many different diapers, but the quality of Bambo Nature remained unmatched. These diapers are by far the strongest and most absorbent of any other that I tested on my babies. A simple search for absorbancy led me down a rabbit hole that I was afraid I would never find a way out of, but after trial and error, Bambo Nature has earned my loyalty and I haven’t felt the need to look elsewhere.
They are Eco-Friendly and Can Prove It
This is the rabbit hole I was talking about… With two boys that suffer from allergies and one that has moderate to severe Eczema, the manufacturing process quickly became my number one concern. Not only is Bambo Nature a good steward of the environment, their products are 100% safe for children, free of chemicals and additives. (Crazy I have to say “safe for children,” I know, but have you seen the chemicals they put in children’s products these days?!)
Unlike a lot of brands that shall remain nameless, Bambo Nature put their money where their mouth is. They are truly eco-friendly and by saying so, it is not just a marketing ploy; they have certifications backing them up. Certified by The Nordic EcoLabel, Asthma- Allergy Denmark, The Forest Stewardship Council, and ECOCERT, all while sporting the Dermatologically Tested seal, Bambo Nature is a better alternative to most diapers you will find on the market.
They are a Family-Owned Company
Unlike most diaper brands, which are owned by huge corporations, Bambo Nature is family-owned. They care about your family as if it were their own. Cliche? It sounds like it, but it is true. They understand that the safety of the products that we use on our children is paramount; it is simple and they. just. get. it.
If you are looking for a safer alternative to your diapers, want to purchase from a company that many moms like me are falling in love with, and don’t want to sacrifice quality for safety, I highly encourage you to give Bambo Nature a try. I purchase mine by subscribing and saving, so I never have to worry about running out of diapers and it saves our family money because these diapers are by no means the cheapest.
To get you started, here are the products I am currently using and recommending to everyone I know.
Size 5 Diapers
I finallyyyy succeeded at potty-training my youngest, although he still refuses to poop at school and it’s not unusual for him to require a wardrobe change when I drop him off at summer camp, BUT, I’m still calling it a win because he isn’t yet three! Anyhow, these are the diaper sizes we have been using the past year and are still using at night. Brooks is 35 lbs, will be turning three later this month and we are using the size 5s. This is a great size that the kiddos tend to stay in for a while; we switched over from using the 4s shortly after he turned two.
The size 6 diapers are what I am currently using with my 4-year-old, Jethro. Prior to moving up to the size 6, he was using the 5s for well over a year. He is a big boy and still fits into these, although I better get him sleeping without diapers at night soon because at the rate he is growing, I might have to switch to Depends. Unfortunately, he is one to pee A LOT at night, despite cutting his water intake before bed and forcing him to use the potty when he insists he doesn’t have to. Mmmhmmm, sure you don’t. I love that despite my kids refusing to wake up at night to pee, these hold up remarkably well. I’ll need to take pictures of the MASSIVE diapers I take off my boys every morning – I swear they weigh as much as a newborn!
Size 6 Diapers
Lastly, I wanted to share the gorgeous gift box you see below; it has become my new go-to gift for new parents. It includes diapers (available in size 1 and 2), wipes, and skincare products – everything you need for a newborn. I suggest this to all my mom friends as the perfect addition to their baby registry!
Well, that’s it! If you have used Bambo Nature or you decide to try them, let me know your thoughts by commenting below or reaching out to me via social media. I would love to hear about your experience with them!
Today, I am thirty-one. Is life in my thirties exactly how I imagined it? Not, exactly.
Time has flown by, our perception moving upward and onward with every passing year. I have become wiser with age, this is true for everyone, but there is still so much to learn. When we are young, opportunities are all around us, but without the wisdom we gain from years of “learning the hard way”, how are we to know what to do with them? Even today, I am at a crossroads; I have been given choices to make, but now, the decisions I settle on will affect my entire family – my husband, my children, even my parents. Despite being older and somewhat wiser, I still struggle with what to do. Do I listen to my heart or logic? I try to silence my mind, but there is so much noise. (My screaming boys surely don’t help with this.)
So as I vacillate back and forth, trying to figure out what path to take, and because it is my birthday, after all, I wanted to reflect on how my life has played out – pun intended. These are a few of the ways that my life has not turned out as I imagined and a few more ways that it has surprised me…
What My Life is Not
It is 2018 and David isn’t playing Major League baseball or professional baseball for that matter. In our hearts, we believed that he would be playing in the big leagues well into our thirties. He was born to play baseball, we always thought, and he had many wonderful years of doing just that, but what we expected to be his predetermined destiny, just wasn’t so. There are so many factors that go into succeeding in the big leagues, and the cards just didn’t fall into place the way we hoped.
As is to be expected, we aren’t where we thought we would be financially speaking, which falls in line with things not going as planned for David professionally. After years of struggling through the minor leagues, I thought we had jumped over a big hurdle when David made his MLB debut on his twenty-sixth birthday – what a good omen?! Yet things just didn’t pan out that way, and the obstacles just kept coming.
After years of jumping around from organization to organization, David hung up his cleats – an expression that we use in baseball. Since his retirement, I also retired from being a stay-at-home-mom. Being at home with the boys day-in and day-out just wasn’t working for me. I was going crazy stuck at home with two toddlers who couldn’t, and still can’t, find a way to keep their hands to themselves. So I put the kids in school full-time, and I went back to work at twenty-nine.
Even though I had tried to work real estate for a while, I always knew a career path as a realtor wasn’t for me. I could give you a list of reasons why, but I will spare you. Nevertheless, since real estate didn’t work out, and my life as a baseball wife was in transition, it was time for me to find work. Work that would bring in a steady income, and that is precisely what I did – just shy of the thirtieth birthday.
What My Life IS
My life is full of blessings. Even though David’s career took a detour earlier than we had planned, I can confidently say that our family is right where it is meant to be. Since he started coaching, I have seen David come to life. He is thrilled with his job, and I have seen him evolve and mature as a man, husband, and father exponentially from it. If I didn’t know better, I would say coaching was his calling from the start. 😉
Somehow, without putting too much thought into when would be the right moment to have children, we had our babies at the perfect time for our family. David and I have two beautiful, healthy boys and I really can’t ask for more than this. Above all, I am grateful for our health and the all the blessings that have been bestowed upon our little family.
Soon after David retired from playing, and right after we both turned thirty, I went back to school to pursue my career as a writer. I have always been passionate about writing, and publishing a book has been in my purview for years. Few things make me as happy as being able to sit and write, but in my twenties, I was preoccupied with other things, and my writing took a backseat.
The biggest lesson I have learned in the last thirty-one years is that time is a gift. It has a way of healing wounds and allowing you to see the beauty in the challenges life throws you. It is in precious time that I have come to realize that if everything were precisely how we had planned, my aspirations would have gone unattended and life would look very different. If things had played out any differently, I highly doubt I would have had the initiative to go back to graduate school and find the drive to write a book, regardless of whether it ever gets published.
My reasons for living and thriving have changed, and my boys have become my why; they are the reason I aspire to do everything I do. David’s change in career was a blessing in disguise, not only has it been wonderful for him, it has also helped me to realize that I need to work on me, too. Focusing solely on his career and my boys’ lives isn’t healthy – there needs to be a balance.
Now suddenly I am thirty-one. I didn’t arrive at my current destination by chance, I am where I am after many years and many more falls, but when I look at everything objectively, I can honestly say my life is exactly how it should be.
Today is one of my favorite holidays of the year, America’s birthday! The fourth of July is sandwiched perfectly in the middle of the year and it is the ideal time to reflect on all we have to be grateful for, including the beauty and freedoms America affords us. Per usual, David is at a baseball game as I write this. There is always baseball on the fourth, and pretty much every holiday that takes place during the season, for that matter.
Truthfully though, we have been so fortunate the last two years because he has coached with the Gulf Coast League and been able to live at home. Even better, his game started at ten this morning, so he will be home early enough that we can go light some fireworks with the kids – or preferably, watch them. The boys keep asking about buying fireworks, but I can’t help but worry that someone may accidentally catch on fire!
Note: I am not a fan of anything hot or sharp! I am about as risk-averse as they come.
Regardless of your plans today, I hope you get the chance to enjoy the beauty around us on this special day. This is a great time to have fun with your friends and family, and to remember that we have so much to be grateful for!
I wrote this poem on June 27th, in memory of my nephew, Anthony, who my family lost on the 23rd, just a few days shy of his 22nd birthday. Even as I write this, it doesn’t seem true.
Anthony, was my brother, Ricky’s, only son. He was my father’s first grandchild. This loss has been devastating for the entire family. Despite the funeral being in the past and having seen his body in the casket, I still wake up every day in disbelief. I dream with him and of him; my mind doesn’t rest, thinking of him nonstop. I still feel like his death occurred in another realm, one that isn’t real. How could he be gone? The only comfort I have is that he is with God. I know that God held him in his arms from the moment of the accident. Part of me is holding onto the belief that Anthony is one of the lucky ones – those chosen to be with God at a young age. As in Billy Joel’s song, “Only The Good Die Young,” ironically an anti-Catholic song.
IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY & I CAN’T REST MY MIND
Today you would have turned twenty-two
Unbelievable. A life lost, far too soon.
My thoughts are shifting, rambling, begging –
We must be living an alternate reality.
I’ve never lost someone so young, so close.
My nephew, you were a brilliant mind, sharp and bright
The pain, the hurt, I ache for your father – my brother –
your sister, your mother – oh your mother –
The pain of losing a child, the greatest pain of all
I need a respite from the unending loop playing in my head.
Who, What, When, Where, How?
The questions answered, yet a blankness looms so great.
I raise my head above the darkness by looking at the light.
Angels are dancing all around you and holding you tight.