Saturday, July 27, 2013

Counting my Blessings, not my Problems

I've debated whether or not to share this, but as always, this is my little piece of the world...where I share what I feel like sharing, and if you don't like it, don't read it.  But I always, always, always, feel better writing it all out....

If you asked me a few days ago what I'd be blogging about, I am certain I would say something along the lines of, "Oh, ya birthday.. Celebrations. Gifts. Good times with friends and family." And while all of that and more happened, the only thing that comes out right now, is that on my birthday, I found out that I have brain cysts.


What does that even mean?  I couldn't even tell you, if I knew.

I'll rewind.

Remember back in March where I was feeling all down about myself and developed a ringing in my ear?  [I wrote all about it here]  Well, since then, I have seen an audiologist, an ENT (twice) and now I have had an MRI.  The audiologist tested my hearing and concluded I had hearing loss in my right ear.  Which is odd, because I only have a ringing in my left ear.  She referred me to an ENT who evaluated me in April.  She said it did not appear that I had any 'brain issues' to worry about, by running a few quick tests on me.  {Me following her finger with my eyes, walking a straight line...really silly simple things.} Since I was full on nursing at the time, she said it'd be best to come back in July if I still have my ringing.  If that's the case, or if it gets worse {dizzy spells/vertigo/hearing loss} then I could get an MRI.  **Knowing this, is the main reason I chose to slowly switch to formula, and stop nursing...**

Well, July 17 came.  I showed up at the ENT office, on a 90+ day and their AC wasn't working. Sweet.  I had my hearing tested again, and it still showed the hearing loss in the right ear, and that I have trouble hearing high pitched sounds.  Again, the Dr ran through a series of little tests, following her finger with my eyes, checking my glands to see if they were swollen.  She said I appeared totally fine and she really did not see any reason to get an MRI.  She even said that there was a less than 1% chance of them finding anything, so really I don't need one....

Those words ring LOUDER in my ear, than this damn buzzing noise I hear.

Less than one percent.

I looked right at the Dr, and I told her if my insurance covers it, in full, that is one percent chance that I am not willing to take.  Looking over at my daughter, my beautiful baby girl, I pointed and said, "I won't be taking chances and I just need peace of mind."  She said ok, and I will order you an MRI.

I scheduled it for the following week.  Tuesday July 23, at 5:45 I went in to have an MRI.  I tried to stay cool, calm and not freak out.

Have you ever had an MRI? 

They're freaky.  This huuuuge long tube, your head goes into...they place this weird grate thing over your face, all of it is just so sci-fi.  I took a few deep breaths and just kept telling myself, it was all okay and that I just needed this for peace of mind.

After 25 minutes or so, and a million loud banging noises later, they slid me out and the tech gave me an injection in my arm for the contrast dye.  Back inside I went, with more banging, clanging noises, for another 15 minutes.  When that was through, and I sat up and got ready to leave, the way the tech said to me, "So, do you have an appointment set up to talk about the results with your doctor?"  I looked at him and got that weird feeling, like, yup.  He saw something.   "She's just going to call me..."

The Dr. called the very next day, but I wasn't home.  We have a home phone that I keep giving out because sometimes I don't like the cell phone ringing a million times a day when I'm out and about.  Well, I'm kind of glad I did miss that call because I was having a fantastic day with my girlfriend Kristin.  We were at the mall, shopping, dining, just being girls.  But I'll admit, hearing the Dr say, "I'll try back another time." on my answering machine freaked me right out.  Plus, in my experience with Doctors, 'no news is good news.'  I always have to call just to hear them say everything is fine.  I called them the next day and gave them my cell phone.

On July 25, the day of my 32nd birthday I was visiting my husband's grandmother and my mother-in-law at a Senior center.  They were working on quilts.  We had a nice little lunch together, and as if on cue, on the way back to my car, the phone rang.  She told me that there was no tumor {Thank the Lord} however, they did see some cysts, so I would be referred to a neurologist and need to take it from there...oh yeah, Happy Freaking Birthday to me!?

These cysts may or may not be causing my tinnitus (ringing) or slight vertigo or hearing loss. I really know nothing at this point.  I try to just stay calm, and realize that it could be much worse. I don't have cancer. I don't have a tumor.  But, I do have these shitty little cransters up in my brain that will need a little bit more investigation.  I go August 5th at 2pm to meet with a Neurologist.  I'd be lying to say if I wasn't a little scared.  I don't think anyone would like hearing that they have brain cysts...the brain seems to me the most valuable part of our body, and so very important.  Not that an ovary isn't, but I feel like it'd be easier to digest.  The whole brain thing freaks me right out!!

So, I'm trying to stay off of Mr. Google. I'm trying to eat the right foods and get enough sleep and stay away from too much caffeine....but until I know more, this being in limbo, kind of sucks.  I know things could be way worse, and I thank God that it's me and not Brooke with this issue.  Maybe I've always had these stupid things.  Maybe they are very common and it's not a big deal.  I don't want a pity party or any sympathy, but positive thoughts are always welcomed my way.

I'm a strong, tough, determined woman and I will do everything in my power to live a long, healthy, happy life.  I have a beautiful little baby girl who needs her mama, through every tumble, broken heart, backstabbing friendship, first bicycle ride,  A+ on a report card, driving lessons, college classes, boyfriends, dance competitions, family of her own...I will be that silly old lady who wears too much makeup and has cocktail happy hour every day at 4.  I just have to get through some of this (heavy) crap first.

It really does put everything into perspective.  You really never know what each day will bring you, so  please do all that you wish to do, right now.   There is no sense in waiting.

Make each day truly count...and count every little blessing.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Brooke Lynn: 6 Months

Oh, my, goodness little munchkin.  You are already half a year old.  Seriously, where does the time go?  Every where we go, people always comment at what a happy baby you are.  It doesn't matter if they are strangers or friends and family.  You really are a ray of sunshine and everyone who meets you, feels your happy presence.

You are so silly and goofy.  You love riding around in the car and sing up a storm!! You will coo, screech, and yell ahhhhhhhhhhh, all day long.  You enjoy long walks by the beach, the canal, in a park.  You love to be held, and yet always try to push off of us to get away!  You celebrated your first 4th of July and that was so much fun!! I am excited to celebrate my birthday with you tomorrow. 

Brooke Eats:
You are drinking 4-5 9 oz bottles a day.  {Earth's Best Organic Sensitive}
3 meals {stage 2 or homemade w/ a little bit of cereal mixed in}
You still don't love peas, but we are working on that!!
You loved sucking on a lemon, of all things?!
We just started a sippy cup with water.

You are sitting up all by yourself.  I can put you in your pack-and-play and you'll sit there playing with your toys and reading books.   
Fake cough aka the attention cough!
You love when we make the 'farting noise' with our mouth, or when I go, "Meep Meep".
Starting to like Eskimo kisses 
You're a rolling machine! You will roll and scoot all over the bed or the floor.
We have to be very careful when changing you, as you want to roll right off!
You go backwards in your walker--still haven't figured out forward.
Daddy loves getting you out of your crib in the morning, but quickly calls mommy in to change your SUPER dirty diaper..,


Your weight is in the 88%
Height 94%
You still have a rash we are working on getting rid of.  Darn yeast or something; now we have you on an oral antibiotic. Just go away already stupid rash!
Two bottom teeth are finally coming in!
You sleep 8:00/9:00 pm-7:00 am
Nap 9-10:30
Afternoon nap another 2 hours
Size 3 diapers
Size 9 & 12 month clothing

Drooling in full effect.

Sophie the giraffe 
Refrigerated teething toys
Your doorway jumper
Being outside
Playing with your books
Your stuffed animals/dolls
 Your Daddy. Nothing puts a smile on your face, quite like he can. :)
And because babies in black and white, are just simply, timeless...

 I love you more than I ever thought I could. You are my everything, little Brooke Lynn.  I cherish each and every minute I spend with you, and am so grateful that you're such a healthy, happy, & strong little girl.  Your daddy and I are so happy you came into our lives.  You bring us joy like we've never experienced before.  We are happy to see you grow, but sad that you're no longer our teeny little squishy baby. Thank you for being the sunshine of our lives.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Who's Comin With Me?!

OK, sorry...we are not actually going anywhere, but rather challenging ourselves to be the best we can be.  I know it's not for everyone, but I am super confident that this is for me!

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I have been feeling awesome in so many ways, since I've become an AdvoCare Distributor.  Hands down, the best thing about this entire company? The people.  I have listened to, talked with, emailed, text, facebooked, you name it, and there are people there to support little old me.

I love the way I feel after a good workout, but I don't always love making myself work out. I need motivation and I need to see results for me to keep coming back for more.

More than anything, I don't love the way I look. Or feel.

Want to really shake yourself? Take a photo of yourself in a bikini.

HUGE wake up call.

I'm not even ready to share those photos. They are classified at the moment.  Maybe when I have something worth showing off, I'll share!

I felt like I was kind of floundering around; I want to get back to pre-pregnancy weight, and I also want to look even better!!  I have been following Danielle and Nikki for awhile now, and knew as soon as I was done nursing my little girl, I would be ready to follow in their footsteps. Both of these women look and feel incredible.  They are passionate and supportive, and love helping others reach their full potentials. I wish I could talk to them all day!!

I want to be the best mommy, wifey, friend, sister, daughter, and overall person that I can be.  I have so much to offer in this beautiful thing called life, I just feel compelled to share my experiences and hope to inspire others to find themselves happy and healthy once again too.

I strongly believe everyone needs to find what works for her.  I feel so empowered already, I cannot wait to see what August 1st brings me.

Starting August 1st right now I have two people challenging themselves alongside me.  We welcome anyone else to this challenge, to be the best possible self she can be. It's gonna take some discipline and hard work, but I am ready for some amazing results!

24 Day Challenge

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What comes with this challenge?
1 Herbal Cleanse - citrus
1 Omegaplex
2 boxes of Spark packets
1 MNS Max 3
1 Meal Replacement Shakes - Choose from Berry, Chocolate, or Vanilla (these are for last 14 days)

If you do a little reading, you'll see that the MNS packets, are FULL of good supplements {omegas, vitamins etc}

How much?
 Retail: $190.25

Whoa that's a lot of money.  Yup, it sure is! But if you break it down, you're looking at $8 a day.  On the challenge, there won't be any Starbucks trips (gasp, I know!) There won't be stopping at a fast food joint to just grab a snack.  There won't be any going out for an ice cream.  All of that adds right up, and sometimes I bet we spend more than $8 and sabotage our health. I've done it. I'm guilty.  No wonder the pounds won't budge!

I figure anyone can do 24 days.  It's not even a month.

Sure it means, no alcohol, no coffee, no cupcakes, no cookies, no ice cream.

It's 24 days. I can eat ice cream on day 25 if I really am dying for some!!

And the drinking?  I went 9 months, I think I can handle 24 days.

Coffee? I know I have spark, but that will be challenging for me, I think. I love my coffee. I love everything about it.  I didn't drink it the first trimester of being prego because it made me nauseous, but I eventually I enjoyed a cup a day.  So, yes I will be documenting my coffee issues!!

What if I'm going on vacation?  Well, to be honest, we are going away for a weekend.  I'll just "eat clean" at whatever restaurants we go to.  Most places have salad and veggie options, lean proteins and there is always sushi!! Just can't have the rice--so I'll drizzle lemon on raw salmon = AMAZING.  I could go for some now!

Here's an awesome break down of what foods to buy at the grocery store for the challenge, and what to eat out at restaurants.  There is no gimmick; it's just real food people!!

Grocery List/Eating at restaurants

I love that this company promotes clean eating.  They even encourage you to eat actual food, not just their meal replacements.  One a day is fine, especially when you're busy and don't have the time, but the other 4 meals?  REAL FOOD.  Not processed. Not refined. Not stuffed with antibiotics and garbage.  Simple, clean, real food.

The fact of the matter is, until we are actually ready, we will come up with a million excuses as to why we "can't".  When we are ready to make the choice to change, all you need to remember in your mind is, "There is no other option."   Just clear your mind of all the reasons why you can't, and just focus on why you can be healthy.

If you are nursing and hoping to jump on this challenge, that is awesome. BUT, please just favorite this page and come back to it when you are done. I don't want you to miss out on what's really important--feeding your little one mama's milk!! You can always do the challenge later.  I will be here cheering you on when you are ready to lose those pesky pounds.  Think of me as your Guinea pig.  I am so new to this, I am so thankful for Danielle & Nikki who answer any and all of my questions.

If you're ready to take the challenge, feel free to sign up HERE.  Or there's always the blue Advo button on the right side of my blog.  If you just feel like watching, as always stay tuned in my journey to my best self. I'll be instagramming, facebooking, blogging, journaling & tweeting all about my 24 Day Challenge. I am PSYCHED!

Friday, July 19, 2013

Five on Friday

Happy Friday!
I'm getting my hairrrrr diddd today and I'm so excited for some QT with my therapist hairdresser.
Hubs was out of the house on his day off before 8am, since he is all about this rental property business.
I made him a quick egg breakfast and off he went! 
We'll meet up at the hair salon because he goes there too--we'll do a switcharoo with the bella bambina!
What are your plans this gorgeous Friday?
Onto my faves of the week!

I totally ordered this pretty tote with a big old pink D on it. 
I'm excited to keep it in my truck!

These two are a hoot.
They're like two peas in a pod.
I can't get enough of them!!
She loves her daddy, and daddy sure loves her!!
She was an angel as I filled out all my paperwork to get my new ride...

I was not in the mood to cook a big meal, so when in doubt?
Organic chicken wings from BJ's
My mother-in-law's homemade caponata
and of course tomatoes, olives, cheese & sopressata
[I had a lame salad]

My favorite product so far is the Catalyst--
I swear I am seeing my post baby belly shrink as I type this!!
But no, really...
I've been taking it one week and I can already tell a difference.  
I'm taking it every day, even if I hadn't gotten to work out.
I am trying my best to eat healthy and move, but a little extra boost is certainly helping!
Bye bye belly fat!

Last but not least, here is my new ride!!
I went with the white because it just looks so sharp;
Thank you baby!!
I cannot wait to get out and drive it today!!

What's your Five on Friday??

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Wednesday Happenings

Holy hottness up here!! It's already feeling so muggy and 80's and it's 9:00......I love it!  Of course, I say that sitting in my AC.

I must say share that the Mango-licous Tilapia I made was SO good! I threw in some avocados to give the salsa more depth, and I am so happy that I did! There is no reason why you couldn't cook up shrimp, chicken or scallops and use this salsa as the topping.  [if you don't like fish]  It was just like being on a tropical island for dinner!  It seriously wasn't hard either! It requires some chopping (I've learned to wear gloves when cutting up jaleponos!!) but so easy to do, and don't forget healthy!

I'm giving the Crockpot Pesto Chicken a whirl tonight; I'll keep you posted!

I'm excited today I'm making a run to a little Italian Cash & Carry with my mother-in-law. I am almost out of EVOO---the horror!  I love going there.  I also love pretending I'm Italian haha.    After that, I think I'll be picking up my new ride!

Tonight I'm attending my friend's Thirty One party.  I have never been to a Thirty One party, but I own a small bag.  It was a gift for my baby shower!  It held a lot of small baby items in the pockets and I love having an extra tote for Brooke.  I was inspired and impressed by this company, so I ended up ordering totes around Christmas time.  One for my mother in law (to keep her sewing items in) and a holiday one for my step-mom. 

My girlfriend Jamie said the utility totes are awesome for the car/boat.  I have been scoping these pretty gems out:

They have such cute and practical stuff! Here's a bottle thermos!

Here's the link if you're looking for any cute totes or bags!  It's never too early to think about Christmas shopping!!  Also, it's spend $31, save 31% in July.  Woo hoo for deals! 

Everyone can use an extra storage bin or bag, why not make it a cute one? {And get your Christmas shopping started in July!!}

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Menu Plan This Week

It's a lovely little Tuesday.  Are you all staying cool?  It's supposed to be 90's all week up here in New York.  I need a pool! {maybe just even a baby pool?!}  I am excited because I get to go test drive a [new to me] vehicle!! As much as I love my Envoy, the warranty is up this fall and since I know someone pretty well in the finance department, [wink wink] if the deal is right, I may be getting a Yukon!  There are actually 2--one is black and one is white.  I love the white, but the black is a year newer with less I'm not sure?! Thoughts?!

Trying to get back to meal planning again.  I am pulling a few recipes from my Teresa Guidice cookbook.  Fabulicious Fast & Fit Italian. She's a crazy ho-usewife and I can't help but love her. 

Here's my tentative menu this week! Recipes are linked.

Monday: 30 minute Pasta w/ Tomatoes {easy, fresh & Italian hubby approved!} & side salad
Tuesday:  Mango-licious Tilapia
Wednesday: Pesto Chicken Crockpot Pita [minus the mayo]
Thursday: Rosemary Shrimp Skewers
Friday: Pollo Involtini

We had a lot of steak/beef last week, so I'm definitely trying to go lighter this week.  What's on your meal plan?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Never a Dull Moment

It's Monday people! How was your weekend? 

Ours flew by, like usual!  My husband has been working on 'flipping houses' for awhile now.  We've gone back and forth, on whether we should rent or sell them.  We've had them on the market for a bit, and even with burying the St. Joseph statue, they still were sitting there.  Well, we decided to advertise to rent.  My husband had such a response, he literally had to hold an open house for renters this past Sunday!! So maybe we will own a bunch of houses and have our own rental properties deal, who knows?!  That's one thing about my hubby, never a dull moment around here!! It literally happened overnight it seems.  We were supposed to spend the day reminiscing down on Keuka Lake where we got married, but we will do that another day.  Instead, Friday was spent putting last minute touches together in one of the rentals.

Brooke and I stopped over to say hello!

Friday was an exciting mail day, as I am really taking charge of my health.  After much debating and after trying their products, I am totally on board with this corporation.

I was given a sample of Spark, which I was honestly skeptical of at first.  But after trying it, I loved it! 

So now? I'm a distributor.  Heck ya for the 20% discount!! I know that the prices throws people off a bit, but to be honest, I was spending a good amount of money at a health food store for my pre-natals and other supplements and not getting a discount.  Plus, I never know where those products were made or anything about their companies.  Also, the amount of support, love and encouragement from my team makes me want to become in the best shape of my life...

My kit came with these two gems:

I haven't tried the SLAM yet but I've heard it's awesome, especially if you don't have water handy to mix your Spark with.

I was a two+ coffee kind of girl.  I was looking for something to replace that afternoon latte/coffee with.  I have certainly found it!

I was down to nursing ONCE a day, and as of this past Saturday...I believe I am done.  I am happy we made it to 6 months, but Brooke is taking to formula just fine and I don't have the stress or pressure of trying to keep my milk supply up and my weight down. 

I ordered some meal replacements to try and Catalyst was also recommended to me.

So right now I'm taking:

CorePlex with Iron
Spark (1 a day)
Meal Replacement Shake (1 a day)

I am loving the way that I have been feeling.  I believe that when you're taking the proper supplements, your body craves the right foods as well.  I think you're more apt to be a clean/healthy eater if you're spending money on things like vitamins/supplements.  Why would you want to fuel your body with garbage if you're taking control of your health?  That's the way I look at it.  [but sometimes you slip up...oops!]

I am looking forward to sharing my success with you as I continue taking charge of my health.  My goal is August 1st to start the 24 day challenge.  I have seen so many people have great results with it, so I am hopeful to see the same.

It's nice to have the convenience of Spark handy wherever I go!

Saturday I went to the Podiatrist and it turns out I do have tendonitis in my foot.  The Dr wanted to give me anti-inflammatory prescriptions, I said no. Offered a cortisone shot, I refused.  He recommended cortisone tablets----they're still sitting at CVS.  I just hate 'extra' drugs!! I figure, I'll rest it when I can.  Ice it, wear my sneakers more in the house and I will be okay.

Saturday night we went out for dinner and drinks at one of our favorite restaurants Good Luck to celebrate my friend Matty who's moving away.  Thank goodness for Marshall's and their inexpensive dresses!! {$16}

Thanks to my insta-peeps and friends who helped me choose black shoes over nude!! #toughchoices

Thank you again to my mother in law for babysitting for us!! We were out til past 12, which is super late for us (and you!) Thank you so much!! 

Sunday brought some play time with baby girl...

And one tired mama--so hubby ran to Panera for breakfast and a coffee. Thank you Leah again for such an adorable coffee sleeve.  Her store is so adorable, you all need to go check it out Simply Made With Love

So after the open house, we went for a little drive and walk at a park.  And I'll admit...we cheated and had burgers & shared an order of fries...and I {gasp} even had a fountain coke.  Hey, I'm not perfect, but we all have our days.  #especiallywhentoomuchpinotwasinvolvedthenightbefore

When we got home I took the doggies on a long walk, as they had been cooped up all day. 

So, while I strive to be healthier, I will admit it is hard to be perfect and eat clean 100% of the time.  Since our lunch was so bad, I made a huge salad and we had venison steaks on the grill.

Today is a new day, and I look forward to menu planning and getting right back on track with workouts and healthy eating. 

What fun things did you do this weekend?


Friday, July 12, 2013

Celebrating as Husband & Wife


Have I mentioned how much I love summer? Yes, I do believe that I have.  Wednesday night my husband and I got to go out on a real date sans Brooke! We were totally going to just bring her along and go some place to eat [which is cool] but my in-laws asked last minute if we needed/wanted a sitter--woop woop!

We were able to drop off little miss for a few short hours and celebrate being husband and wife, not just mommy and daddy.  It's so important to make that time and just celebrate the two of you.  We hadn't been out since May, since June was so crazy, so this was much needed. Thank you so so so much Maria & Chris aka Grandma & Grandpa!!

So I broke out one of these bad boys as I dolled myself up... I kind of prefer them to the lime ones!

*You know you're a mommy when...

You go and pluck your eyebrows, and you realize how over-grown they are.  I'm talking caterpillars, people. Like I didn't even know where to begin.  I frantically made a last minute appointment with my eyebrow lady and even she was like, "Whoa, I can tell you're a mom now! I've never seen them this bad!!  I'll leave them a little fuller for you to try..."

You get one coat of pale pink polish on....and that's it. haha!   #lame #whybother

You didn't get to blow dry your hair.

You just throw on as much makeup as you can, as fast as you can, before baby starts crying.

I found one dress that I felt comfortable in and it was very forgiving.  I pulled out these bad boys Joe bought me to wear for my 27th birthday.  {sidenote: I've been wearing sneakers around the house instead of barefeet and my foot feels SO much better FYI!!}

ignore the sock lines haha
Me currently.  I need some "before shots...more on that later!"

I chose this tucked away gem down in our city's "Southwedge".  As for the atmosphere, well it was a Wednesday night and I'm all about energy, and it was rather quiet.  It is a rather old building, so I felt like my husband and I were giants walking in, as it's in the basement.  They've certainly tried to not make it feel like a basement, but it wasn't super fancy and glamorous.  It was nice though!

The table.

The drinks:
The martini had rosemary simple syrup and the bubbly drink was citrus vodka, st. germain and sparkling wine I believe?  They were good, but I'm a wino. What can I say?

The appetizers:  Grilled chicken wings and Duck liver pate.

His dinner: Spicy Jerk pork & oxtail---far too spicy for my liking! Very Jamaican.

I had a fantastic pan-seared halibut with fresh veggies in truffles. It really was so good!

We weren't out late but it was nice to sneak off mid-week and enjoy dinner, just us two.

I had lunch with my mother in law yesterday.  Well, rather I ate while she held/played with Brooke!
creeping toes

Hubby brought us flowers home yesterday.

I walked the baby finally feeling good enough about my foot!

And I took in as much Vitamin D as I could!

We have an exciting night tomorrow, as my good friend Matty is moving to we are gathering for a birthday/going away party at one of our favorite restaurant/bars.  We get take out the two-seater and hopefully stay out past 9pm haha!  I feel like we won the lotto, getting this many date nights this month! {Plus my birthday in a few weeks--woo hoo!}

I'm off to the mall, in hopes of finding something cute to wear. Wish me luck!!

What are your plans this summer weekend?