Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Want to go to a party?! Come to the Social Media Party with me!

A couple weeks back I was lucky to be the winner of the #SoMe2 Rafflecopter Giveaway to be the featured blogger of the week. Here it is, my week to be featured! I am very excited and invite you all to join the "Party" and take a moment to enter for your chance to be featured. I would like to say a BIG thank you to all the hostesses and a special thanks to Kim from Enjoy The View.  Please come and party with us!

Come join the Social Media Link Party!!!

Welcome to #SoMe2 - Week #68

#SoMe2 is a SOcial MEdia link party where we link up
a blog post that you have shared on social media
every Tuesday @ 7:00pm EST!

SOcial MEdia is all about ENGAGEMENT, and as bloggers, we want to do more than find new followers - we want to engage with them!

This week we want you to link up a
blog post that you have shared on

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Google Party! Join us, link up a blog post you've shared on Google,  and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

But first, let's take a minute to meet your #SoMe2 hostesses....

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Google Party! Join us, link up a blog post you've shared on Google,  and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty Designed Decor enjoy the view Little Red Brick House Creative Ramblings Image Map

And our #SoMe2 featured blogger of the week...

Crystal from Discovering Me in Them!

Crystal has shared this with us:
Crystal is a SAHM of two happy and energetic boys. She works part time as a Veterinary Technician. Crystal is addicted to running, loves taking pictures, writing, and spending time with her family. You can find her on a Saturday night with a glass of wine in her hand, a craft beer, and some nights, a whiskey drink. This of course is while she is chasing around her toddlers, cleaning up crumbs, and kissing boo-boo’s. Crystal is the creator of Discovering Me In Them and is an author for VT Mommies. In her blog she writes about the humor of the life with two toddler boys, health, running, and discovering herself.

Thanks, Crystal!

Would you like to be a #SoMe2 featured blogger?
Everyone who enters the Rafflecopter each week will have a chance to win a spot as our featured blogger. We will feature your blog, and links to your social media. Your links will be inserted into the Rafflecopter for that week - gaining you more followers.

So be sure to enter to win the weekly featured blogger spot!

Note: Please be sure to fill out the Rafflecopter form accurately. Entries are verified.

The rules are simple!
  1. Please follow your hostesses and featured blogger (first 5 links).
  2. Please add the #SoMe2 button (found at the bottom of the post) to your sidebar or link page.
  3. Tweet about the party! More partiers = More followers! All you have to do is click the "tweet" button!  
  4. Use our hashtag #SoMe2 when tagging or posting so we can find each other!
You will automatically be entered into our email reminder list by entering a link. You may remove yourself from the list by using the un-subscribe option.

It's time for the #SoMe2 #Google Party! Join us, link up a blog post you've shared on Google,  and enter to win a featured blogger spot! #socialmedia #network #linkparty

1) 1+ and comment on your HOSTESSES & FEATURED BLOGGER'S links
(first 5 links). Yes, before you even link up your own post, show your thanks to your hostesses by 1+ing AND commenting on their links.
2) Link up 1 recent Google+ Post. NOT your Google profile or a post directly from your blog.
(How to: Go to your Blog's Google+ posts page, hover the cursor in the right upper corner of a recent post until you see the "options menu" arrow, then click on "link to post", copy the URL, and paste that URL into the link party.)
3) Like and comment on at least the 2 links in front of yours. This way everyone will get Google+ Love! One of hostesses will make sure the last two links get comments.

Thanks for joining our SOcial MEdia link party!
See you next week – same time, same place!

DeDe,  Kim,  Sarah V.,  Sarah C.,  & Susan

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Being the voice for my son

As parents we are wired to nurture our children. To guide them. We offer a place where they can grow and become their own person. Until that time, it is up to us as parents to be our children's voice. It is up to us to speak up for them, advocate for them, and do whatever it takes to be sure that their well being comes before ours. It is my job, as a mother, to be the voice of my son.

It was back in July that I had taken my son, Chase, to get his hair cut. Chase has light brown hair and in the summer he gets blond highlights. When I let his hair grow out the kid has beautiful, thick hair I can only dream of having. While getting his hair cut Chase's hair dude (sounds better than hair dresser) noticed he had some white hairs. I had never noticed this before. It was only a couple of strands. He showed me and said that sun had probably bleached his hair. At the time I shrugged it off. It sounded like a perfectly good explanation.

Over the next couple of months I was noticing that it was not just one or two strands of hair that were white. Chase now had several strands of hair and it was becoming more visible. By the end of September my mommy gut feeling was telling me that it was time to find out why my son had white hair.

I did the dreadful thing I tell clients not to do (I am a veterinary technician), I went on the Internet and started searching. Google would surely tell me what it is that I needed to know and settle my mind. That was not the case. There actually was not much information to be found about children with white hair. The information that was there I certainly did not like reading. I decided that I would call and make an appointment at his pediatricians office and go from there.

We were unable to get in with our regular doctor and were scheduled with someone else. I was not feeling anxious about the appointment. I just wanted to be sure that as my son's mother I wasn't missing anything. I am not someone who rushes my kids in as soon as they sneeze. I had watched this for a couple months and my son had been otherwise a healthy and happy toddler.
The doctor we saw took a look at my son's hair, snapped a couple pictures with his cell phone, then asked what I wanted to do about it. He glanced at the internet right there in front of me and then stated that I probably read what he read and what is it that I wanted to do. I was taken back by this. Here I had come to get some guidance. I was not looking for or expecting to get answers right away. I thought maybe whomever I saw would say they wanted to do a little research, maybe make a few phone calls, then get back to me. Instead I sat here with this doctor who was telling me to: "Just ignore it". This was not said to me only once in the short time he spent with us, but twice. There were other aspects of the appointment that were unprofessional and disappointing that I am not going to even get into. I left that appointment with no answers. The only thing of comfort was that this doctor would set up an appointment for dermatology, yet we would have to wait to find out when that would be.

I left their feeling defeated. I had no answers. Now I was worried. I just wanted to be sure that I was not missing something. The next couple of days I tried to process the entire appointment and figure out what I wanted to do. I called the office and was able to get my son in with his regular doctor for a second opinion. I received a letter the day before our appointment that we did have an appointment with dermatology...in three months!

This next appointment went much smoother. We talked about the issue. We devised a plan. There was research done and some ideas of what this could be. The fact that my son had this white hair was rare. The good thing was he was healthy. To be sure there was nothing auto immune going on or something internally we could not see on physical exam, labs were ordered. My son rocked getting his blood drawn. He never flinched, never cried, and was happy to leave and get his chocolate milkshake that was promised to him. Chase's blood work came back normal. I was relieved! Our doctor then contacted a pediatric specialist who put her in the direction of Dermatology. We received a phone call from Dermatology moments after our Doctor had spoke with them and they asked us to come down right away for an appointment that had opened up. In the car we went and drove into town, hopeful and anxious.

Chase was examined by the resident and the doctor. Finally, we had a diagnosis! My son has Vitiligo. There are a couple of different types. Chase has localized Vitiligo. "Vitiligo occurs when the cells that produce melanin die or stop functioning". Some people have it on their skin, others hair. One out of a hundred people have this, as we were told by the doctor, some people don't even know they have it since some spots can be so light. With some research and talking with other parents and people who have this condition, it can be different for each person. His condition will likely just remain localized in his hair, yet there have been people later on in life that have developed spots on their skin. For now what we know is that for Chase, he is just going to have awesome hair. I like to say he is going to be that hot boy with the white streak in his hair that all the girls are going to drool over.

We talk about how his hair is special. He knows he has Vitiligo. I even caught him singing and doing a dance a few weeks back about it. I do not ever want him to feel ashamed about his hair. Kids are not kind these days and bullying in the future is what I want to not happen. If it does, I want him to not care and be proud of his awesome hair! I want to instill self respect and pride in my son. I want him to love every aspect of himself, even if it is different.

This experience taught me that as parents we need to speak up. We need to always trust our gut. He is my son and I knew that there was a name for his fabulous white hair. I knew that we could find an answer. I needed to be my son's voice.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Battle between my body and my baby

I have always been passionate about nursing. Nursing both my children was important to me. I knew I always I wanted to be able to do this for my children. I had a rough go at it in the beginning with my first son, Chase, due to my milk not coming in for eight days post c-section. I was determined and stuck with it and happily, successfully, nursed him for 18 months. My second born, Wesley, is now 16 months and we are still nursing. With Chase it was first a goal of 6 months, then 12 months, and then finally I decided I wanted to wean him at 18 months. I knew before Wesley was born that my goal would be to nurse him until he was two, unless of coarse he weaned himself before this.

All smiles!

Breastfeeding to me is a magical thing. I feel fortunate that I have been able to do this for my children. I will never regret this decision. With that being said there are some moments these days where I just want my body back! There, I said it! It's my body! I created, carried and birthed two amazing little creatures with this vessel. The body is an amazing thing. The fact that I can make milk is mind blowing to me. Honestly, I am exhausted!

I don't want to sound like I am bitching or taking it for granted. I still do love nursing. Lately, these days and nights though, Wesley has been a little excessive in wanting to nurse. It's not like he is this tiny, little six pounds, eight ounce baby anymore. I now have a toddler who is nursing just as much as he did when I brought him home. Sleeping is almost non existent these days. I find myself getting frustrated because I just want to fucking sleep! Isn't that a simple request?!

Taken at Wesley's One year photo shoot

I feel like a human pacifier most of the time. He falls, he wants to nurse. It's nap time, he wants to nurse. He wakes up, he wants to nurse. He's bored, he wants to nurse. I feel little hands grabbing at me, pulling on my shirt. I look down and see tears rolling down his cheek as he screeches. I do say no some days, but most of the time I give in.

Yes, nursing gives me fabulous boobs. Right now they are just perfect. I should probably take a picture because soon enough they will be wilted and hanging to my knees. My body has been tackled by the changes brought on by motherhood. I have extra skin where I don't want it. A large scar "commemorating" the birth of both my boys. My hair is thin from massive amounts of hair that has fallen out. Soon the ladies will be right behind all of it...dragging!

This is the battle between my body and my baby. I want to give my child this incredible gift, yet I also want my body back. No, I do not want to wean him. Some of you might be reading this thinking that it would be the simple solution. I still want to nurse him and it is far from simple. I know I will miss these days, he is my last baby. There will be no more holding my children in my arms and nursing them to sleep. I tell myself these frustrating moments will soon be memories I will be yearning to get back. I do not want to feel selfish or ungrateful. I chose to nurse my children for them, not me.

When my child wants to be next to me, when those little hands are grabbing at me, or when my son wants my attention, this is exactly what I must always remember: It is all about them, not me. I know it is important to still do things for myself, to grow in my own personal way. For me, it is also important to remember why I chose to nurse in the first place. It's pretty evident, the baby wins this battle.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Time to Train: Running Goals For This Year

I may not have made a New Years Resolution this year yet with fitness I decided it was important for me to set some goals. Last Year I ran my first two Half Marathons and logged a total of 1,188.77 miles. Running a half marathon was an incredible experience. Both half's were completely different than the other and challenged me. If it is not challenging, why do it? Challenging myself creates growth. We all know by this point that I love running and that it has become an important part of my life. Fitness and health play their part in my everyday routines, and diet, in a way I never imagined they would. With a new year now upon us I knew it was time to start making some new goals for myself. When I finished my second half in November I decided that the following year I wanted to do three to four Half Marathon's. I believe three is reachable, four may be pushing it. We will see what the year ahead brings.

Yesterday morning I woke up early to jump on the computer to be sure I could reserve my place in the Half Marathon Unplugged on Saturday, April 11th, 2015. There is a limited amount of runners allowed with two waves. The coarse offers beautiful views as well as the selling point of "no hills, no frills." I thought this would be a good Half to get me in training mode for the Vermont City Marathon on May 24th. (Let me clarify I will only be doing a Half for this as well! No marathon for me!) Here we are, just under 3 months away from the race. Signing up is an extra kick in my ass to get moving on training. I have been running throughout the winter yet my miles have decreased. I now have something to work towards. I know this race is coming and having trained for two half marathon's before I know what I need to do in order to be ready. It's go time!
The weather has not been my friend these days. It is not the cold weather (which I do hate) that makes running difficult, it is the conditions it creates. I have been fortunate not to fall on my ass this season (been there, done that). I also am getting over a nasty cold which has thrown me off. Because of this I missed a couple of runs. I hate missing a run. When I get something in my head I stick to it. That is the determination which pushes me to complete my runs. I may not always want to get out there for the run yet I always feel happy about completing my runs. It is harder to find my motivation this time of year. Knowing now I need to be ready for April is exactly the push I need to get more miles in.

Running these races not only takes dedication, passion, and strength.  I could not do it without the support of my friends and family. Most importantly, running with my father is special to me. He inspires me. My father has been running for as long as I can remember. I love that we are able to do these runs together. Indeed, I am my fathers daughter. I hope that someday one, or both, of my boys will fall in love with running like I did. I hope to share in new races and running memories with them. It took me in my 30's before I started my love affair with running. If it is not running that I instill in them, I hope to at least teach them the importance of self respect, exercise, and living a healthy lifestyle.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

With Gratitude and Love to all of you!!!

Today marks 1 year since I have started my blog. To be honest when I first began writing it I was not sure what I intended for this blog to be. I started writing first, and foremost, for ME! I would go for a run and there would be all this "stuff" in my head. I suddenly felt overwhelmed with some of my own emotions and knew I needed to start writing. I remember keeping several journals throughout my teenage years. I loved writing. I could always count on those blank pages to be the canvas of all the feelings I was tucking deep within. Years later it was as if that teenage girl was screaming again. She needed to be released. And so it began, Discovering Me In Them. Over the past year I have fallen back in love with writing. I wrote 73 Blog Posts in 2014. I was also fortunate to have found a group of wonderful women who took a chance on me and let me start writing for them. Thank you to my fellow VT Mommies for all your love and support! I was also thrilled to be featured in Mamapedia twice at the end of 2014. It has been incredible to share my words with others and have them mean something. That is why we all write isn't it?! We write to release, to heal, to grow, to share, and to hope that maybe we can reach someone else who knows exactly what we are saying. None of us are alone. Thank you to my two boys; my crazy, amazing creatures. Without them I would not have learned all I have in the past 4 years. I am blessed they chose me. Thank you Jason for being a part of this wonderful journey. Thank you, all of you, I give to you my gratitude and love. Thank you for sharing in this crazy ride with me!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

The Glass Jar : A Journey through our Moments

Last March I wrote a post titled The Glass Jar. The concept is all over Pinterest and Facebook. Some refer to it as the happiness jar. The first time around I failed miserably. I had intended to make use of the jar and it turned out over the course of a year I only found six things to drop in. Of coarse there was more than six things to be happy about. In 2014 I made more of an effort with the jar. This time around I kept it in my bedroom instead of on a shelf in the kitchen. It sat right on my bureau where I was forced to look at it every day.

New Years Day we decided to open up our jar and take a journey through the happy moments we had collected through the year. I am proud to say that I had a nice pile to dump out. Champagne was poured and Chase was leaning on the ottoman eager for me to read our "moments". We recorded things from Wesley getting his first tooth to Chase playing soccer. There was how we went strawberry picking, took a family vacation to Old Orchard Beach, and how mama did her first Half Marathon. The things I wrote down were happy. Some were funny. They were "firsts". They were moments. Some big, others small. Each one having a special meaning to us as a family.
I felt emotional reading some of them. I could feel tears burning in my eyes as I read how Chase made Wesley belly laugh as I listened from another room. It's those moments that you will never get back. The fleeting feelings that grab a hold of your heart and squeeze. Squeezing so tight that you have to take a moment to breathe. Suddenly you are there again, in that moment.

The glass jar had become more sacred to me than I ever intended it to be. We even talked about other moments through the year that were fun or memorable that we forgot to put in the jar. I was able to jot them down on paper and add those to our pile. Something so simple became a powerful new tradition for our family. In my first post about the glass jar I wrote: "I want to be sure to celebrate these moments and look back on them with a smile and a full heart". This is exactly what we did on New Years Day while reading through the contents of the glass jar. We smiled, we laughed, and my heart felt full of love and happiness.

It all is much more than the glass jar. I know that life moves quickly. I wish I could freeze time or even just slow it down to relish every memory with my boys. I don't want to forget the sound of their laughter, the feel of their hands grabbing at me, or the embrace of their hugs. Moments rush by leaving their impressions on everything around us. It rains, it snows and  the sun comes out again. We love, we cry, we laugh and we grow. Time passes. We mistakenly forget about those events and people that brought us to where we are. I like that we can be reminded in this simple way. Years from now I will be able to look back on these notes and be brought back to each of these moments. The glass jar holds pieces of our hearts; paper treasures to look back on.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Box Brownies: I say Never Again!

I am into fitness and eating well. I believe in a healthy lifestyle for myself as well as my children. I also feel strongly in indulging from time to time. I think it helps keep balance in a healthy lifestyle. In our house, chocolate or dessert of some form is a necessity on Friday and Saturday night. We wait all week to have a sweet reward. Then when you discover you forgot to get to the bakery to get that "something", you better figure out a quick fix because you the four year old may have a melt down.

Last night right before dinner was when I realized I had failed on getting something for us. It may be the fogginess in my head which has come from this nasty cold I have. I did manage to get my kids fed, bathed and dressed yesterday...that in itself deserves rewarding. When I said out loud that there wasn't any cake the four year old started pouting and whining that we needed to go get something. I too was having my own meltdown inside yet it had just started to snow and I had just poured a Switchback (you know, to kill the cold) and the last thing I wanted to do was go to the grocery store.

I suggested we make brownies. Chase, the four year old, loves helping me cook or bake. This is something that we do together often. There are times that I will suggest baking just to reel him in from being the crazy kid he can be. I then looked in my cabinet to discover we did not have any brownie mix. I needed to come up with something or else the house could fall apart if we didn't get our weekend sugar dose. That is when I turned to my dear friend, Google.

Image taken from Inspired Taste

I typed in: homemade brownie recipe, and of coarse several hits popped up. When looking for recipes I always check how many stars it was given. There it was: Fudgy Brownies Recipe. I clicked on the link to the site for Inspired Taste, a food blog. Reading the post I decided this was what we would do. We were going to make some fudgy brownies!

Our baking project was in motion. The recipe was easy and as always, Chase helped me in the kitchen. I did make a few changes in the recipe that I will share. What I want you to know is that these brownies were so good! Delicious! Yummy! Fudgy! Right out of the oven these brownies were perfect. I even tried a small piece today, still just as fudgy and soft!

To get the full recipe click on Inspired Taste. I have it linked right to the recipe and directions.

Here is what I changed:

* I used 8 tablespoons of butter instead of 10

* It calls for 1 1/4 cup of white sugar. I changed it to 1 cup of white sugar and 1/3 cup of brown sugar.

* I used King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

*  3/4 a cup of Trader Joe's Unsweetened Cocoa

* I added 1/4 a teaspoon of baking powder

* I added 2 tablespoons of ground flax meal

* We added 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips (of coarse we did!) 

* I did not add nuts to our brownies (though I am sure they would be just as good with walnuts)

I followed the directions exactly as they say to prepare it. We cooked ours for 20 minutes at 325 degrees then the last five I dropped it to 200 degrees just to be sure I didn't over cook them.

These truly are some of the best brownies I have ever tasted. I have no reason to buy box brownies with this recipe. If you like to bake, if you love chocolate, you must try this recipe. I know some of you may have set up some new guidelines for eating with it being the new year. I am not saying make this every weekend. Chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation. If you need to indulge or bring a dessert to an event, make some of these brownies!

Bake, Eat, & Enjoy. We did!