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9 Things About Mothering an Almost Two Year Old

Well... here I am.  An emotional roller coaster trying to navigate my way to the end of the exit before I end up throwing up in a paper bag from nerves, sadness, stress...life, ya know.  Trying to keep a dry eye today is almost impossible.  ( MEGA Thanks to my dear friend Debbie for allowing me to get lost in my tears with you.  And my amazingly organized friend Darla came over yesterday and fueled my heart with good and bad emotions too.)

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Darla is working with the Just Between Friends Philly sale as an ambassador and she's been amazing in helping me clear the clothing clutter in my house.  I have 3 racks full of baby, toddler & kid clothes plus some crazy awesome tips that I'm sharing in the next week with you so be sure to be on the lookout for that.

So between getting emotional yesterday with Darla as I was reminded that my baby isn't a baby anymore as I cleaned out his adorable -too-small clothes yesterday, him turning two, my dad struggling with walking and spending a week in the hospital after he fell...then the ups/downs of traveling last week.  The cold.  The stress.  All of it can go fly a kite for all I care.  

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I'm not really sure whether the emotions I am feeling is totally because my 'baby' is about to turn 2 tomorrow. Or whether it's some other things that are going on in my life.  But then again, it wouldn't be life if it wasn't filled with ups and downs, right?  I just wish at this point I was feeling more ups than downs.  But I guess most moms feel this when they know that they are forever past their own baby stage, right?  Please tell me this is normal.  

I can tell you that right now, my boy and his birthday are the most important thing on my plate.

There is nothing going to get in my way of celebrating with that little love this time.  Last year, I missed this poor kids birthday.  He doesn't have a clue. But I do.  I was devastated that my flight from Kansas City got cancelled and I got home right when he needed to go to bed but we managed to throw in a cake, candles and a song.  Last year my Mother in Law was in town helping with the boys because I was traveling so much.  She did a great job at giving his special day merits of awesome.  She even baked him a cake. 

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Here I am, a year later and it's time for me to reflect on Hudson. 

There is so much guilt with this job.  Guilt is so hard to release and move on from, isn't it?

So, I'm going to bestow upon you some of the learning lessons I've picked up with this little monkey in his short years of life. 

Isn't he so freaking cute?  It kills me how cute he is.  Blonde hair & blue eyes. How could have God given me a more beautiful gift?  So let's get out more tissues for the day and lets reflect on motherhood to me.

9 Things About Mothering An Almost Two Year Old

1)  REPETITION.  OH, my dear child how I love you.  But you love to nail it home!!  haha.  For instance, when I'm trying to get dinner ready and you come in with your 'APPLESAUCE APPLESAUCE APPLESAUCE' chanting.  Hudson, please learn "JUST A MINUTE PLEASE" a little faster, k?  =)

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2)  YOUR LOVE OF GO-GO SQUEEZE. 'MORE APPLESAUCE MOMMY'  Dear Go-Go Squeez, this kid is obsessed.  That word is an understatement.  

3)  THE RUB A DUB THING THAT YOU DO.  Honestly, the most amazing and most special thing that I will never ever forget about this kid is what is going to be the hardest thing to see go!  I know it's going to hurt me more than it will you, kid. For sure.   Hudson loves to rub shoe strings, stuffed animal tails, blankets....anything funky and soft on his binky.  It's how he soothes himself.  Wow.  How am I going to survive that one?  Eh.  One foot in front of the other, right?

4)  THE LOVE YOU HAVE FOR YOUR BIG BROTHER.   Oh dear Lord.  Here come the tears again.  Dangit.  Ok, so Hudson - and Boston.. maybe you'll both read this one day.  Maybe you'll both forever be the best of friends.  Boston just adores you, Hudson.  And Hudson thinks Boston hung the moon.  The sweet things they do.  They really are the best of friends.  (Tossed in with a glimpse of wrestling...boys will be boys though.)  There is definitely something special there between the two though.  I hope it lasts.  And there is a small part of me that is totally jealous of it because I hardly talk to my sisters.  We have had some big bumps and bruises in our lives and not the best relationships between us.  It's sad.  But I'm chalking it up to the fact that we are females.  Boys are just wired so differently.  

5)  YOUR TRAFFIC STOPPING GOOD LOOKS.   Yes, kid.  You're a freaking doll.  Every single room you walk into the girls giggle and the boys want to kick your butt.  =)  Ok, maybe not the last part - but females LOVE your blonde hair and blue eyes!  If only I had a camera rolling when your pediatrician told me that your eyes would stay blue.  I was over the moon!  I just couldn't believe it.  I still don't believe it.  Your daddy has deep dark Armenian eyes.  So does your brother.  I was convinced that there was nothing I could do produce a blue eyed kid.  Toss in the blonde hair bonus?  God is good.  And I guess he wanted to help me out since the first kid, I was always thought of as the 'baby sitter'. ha.   You're a hunk Hudson.  

6)  THE WAY YOU LOVE YOUR MAMA.  Kid, tears are a permanent stain on my face today.  What crinkles my lips to an upward grin is playing what I know would be your response to my tearful tirade.  You would grab ahold of me kid.  Pull me close to you.  Your eyes totally focused on me and trying to take away my pain.  Your sweet heart would touch my cheek and say 'mommy - mommy - mommy' with your repetitive personality and once we locked eyes?  You'd have a 1/2 smile and say 'HI.'  That two letter word is magic from you.

7)  YOUR 'FRIENDS'.  So, I started calling your stuffed animals 'friends' and you immediately caught onto it.  It's so cute. Because at night - you make sure you say 'goodnight friends' to all of them.  Right now your favorites are Mickey Mouse.  (The big one you use to rub his tail on your binky often.)  Also, last week when we went out to dinner you got a COW and you LOVE him as your friend!  They are your friends little buddy.  You can tell them all the stories in the world and they are the best of friends.  They will listen to your every words, Hudson.  They won't judge you or hurt your feelings.  They are always going to have an unconditional love for you little dude.  Just like your mama. 

8)  HOLD YOU, MAMA.  Ya know.  There was quite a few amazing things your big brother did that was sad to see go when he became a 2 year old.  The biggest one I miss the most is the one you picked up.  When you want me to pick you up?  You repeat 'HOLD YOU, MAMA' till I do.  And it hits my heart so deep that you only have to say it a couple times and I'm all over the words and the feelings you give me when you're in my arms. Oh buddy.  The thought that soon I won't be able to hold you makes me cry. 

WHY AM I SO STINKING EMOTIONAL????!?!?!  CAN I PLEASE JUST GET THROUGH THIS. 

DEEP. BREATHING.

9)  SHOES ON!  Hudson, you are so funny with this.  You're obsessed with putting your shoes on! You pick up a pair and walk around the house with that phrase on repeat. It's awesome, dude.

10)  THE WAY YOUR FACE LIGHTS UP WHEN I WALK INTO THE ROOM.  Oh Hudson.  Please don't ever stop doing this.  I could be having the worst day ever and I'll walk into your preschool and that fast moment where you see me and there is nothing I want more than to feel the rush of your grin, your grasp, your run to me... it's something special that words can't even describe.  

Hudson... today I grieve the 2 YEAR MARK.  I definitely don't grieve any loss of love... but I do grieve the loss of little.  The singing you to sleep.  The lullabies that I played for you every night nearly of your little life.  Holding you in my arms and rocking you to sleep stroking your cheek.  Kid, you bring me so much joy.  I can't even imagine my life with out you.  You fuel me to be a better version of myself.  One filled with more love and compassion for others.  One who fears the loss of your little. 

But today is the only day I'll grieve a bit.  Because yes... it's the natural state of life and the cycles we go through.  Knowing that we won't be wearing diapers forever or that you'll brush your teeth, speak in sentences, laugh at the silly boy fart jokes just like your brother.  

I'm not the most spiritual person in the world.  But I know that there is a reason why you were put into my life.  God has so much more life for me to live with you.  I can't wait to watch you grow up in the next two years, Hudson.  May you always love life the way you do today little boy. 


Your biggest fan, 

Your Mama

Happy Birthday Hudson

Yes, I know.  

His birthday was almost a MONTH ago. 

But today as I sit here I realized that the past month was such a bizarre state of life that I completely didn't post about my little love.  

I swear.  I have been slacking on this blog.  I've been so wrapped up in the must do - must be - must all - I have skipped the moments where I should have been documenting the life that I did 5 years ago when I started this blog. 

Don't get me wrong.  I actually HAVE been scrapbooking again!  That is a huge bonus.  So much so, that even though I haven't shared it here - I've actually got proof that I have been keeping up with my #2 and his little life. 

Have you seen my facebook page?  Twitter?

So.... I may not have shared it here - but he's out there.  The love - warmth - growing obsession with this little dude is out there.  And what's great about it?  I'm so present when I'm with him. 

So, here is my little message for my little dream boy, Hudson. 

Dear Hudson, 

You - my darling, have been such an amazing blessing to our family. You have been a constant reminder to slowwww down.  To live in the moment.  And to capture as much as possible every day!

One year has passed.  (Well, a year and about a month but who's really counting?)

You just started crawling while we were away in Florida.  And can I tell you how much work you are now? ha.  So many people ahem-your grandma- were constantly questioning your growth.  They were worried about you not crawling or hitting other milestones.  Well, your brother didn't start walking until he was 18 months old.  So I knew, it would happen on YOUR time.  

And, I'm glad it did! ha.  Cause if you were crawling like this anytime sooner???  OMMGGOSH!

Oh how I can't wait till you start running walking.

Be sure to check out your scrapbook little dude as you get older.  I promise to truly capture every funny moment.  Oh yeah-and the Childhood Biography book that I'm always filling out.  Funny, funny things - kid.  

May your 2nd little year of life be filled with moments that help you grow.  Moments that your brother remembers with you.  He sure adores you Hudson.  Boston kisses you everyday.  He calls you 'Little Legs'.  He reads books to you sometimes.  And he's starting to get annoyed at you for going after and wrecking his Legos.  Oh how he'll learn though.  (BOSTON - PICK UP YOUR LEGO'S!!!)

I can't wait to take you to the shore this summer, Hudson!  We'll make sandcastles.  Or, we'll tear down your brothers. hee hee.  Pay back big dude.  Pay Back.  We'll get ice cream every.single.day.  We'll play ball.  You can make messes, Hudson and at the shore - I don't get crabby!  =)

May this next year God give you good health. May you smile instead of frown.  May all your dreams come true, Sugar Bear.  

And yes.  You are Sugar Bear.  And you will still be my Sugar Bear when you're 16, ok?  

Love, 

Yo Mama

Life in Motion

My Life in Motion

Here I am. Monday morning after a week away.  

I've been in this limbo place for some time.  In a place where I'm not really sure  what I want to do when I grow up.

Hudson was born February 20th.

And today is October 7th.

Ask me how much I remember from the past 7 months?

Yeah.  That's really how I feel right now.

I went from being pregnant.....to putting my oldest in kindergarten in the wink of an eye.  

The month of September was a big month for me in coming into who I am.  

After my 5 year old was born I went from major market radio personality to an ordinary mom.  I fought so hard and hurt so badly on the inside trying to really find my identity that it took its toll on me.  And those around me as well.  I hated the town my husband 'made' me move to, I was hateful towards everything that came my way.  I was a miserable person and couldn't for the life of me figure out why.  

I had always been this fun, outgoing, loving, jovial person.  And here I was with so much going on in my head that it was affecting my life.

Here I am, another gorgeous baby and 5 years later and gratefully I'm a completely different person than I was then.

I battled myself so badly that it left me bruised and torn for years.  I struggled with my identity and in 2012 I knocked the socks off myself and everything I'd ever done.

I was on the Today Show, Good Morning America... Heck, I was even voted as one of Philadelphia Life Magazine's Superwomen of 2012.

I was at the top of my game last year.  And it all rolled into this year.  My company nailed it out of the park. I was able to do more than ever before with my new 'identity' that I created for myself.  Everything that I had set out to achieve-I did it.  And more.  And it all started from this little old blog I have right here.  My conversations of the heart....with you.

But as I sit here, I have a confession to make. 

After battling postpartum depression that wasn't accurately diagnosed until my oldest was almost 2 years old....I knew that I had to be very aware and honest with myself when I found out I was pregnant again.  The first person I told wasn't my husband.  It was my therapist!  I was over the moon about having another baby.  But I was also scared out of my mind about what happened to me after Boston.  

You see, PPD is more than just the 'baby blues'.  It's a chemical imbalance in a womans brain that fogs their thinking.  And for me..when my brain was 'broken' ~ my heart was too.  I did things that I wouldn't have normally done in my 'right mind'.  I had more self hatred than any one person should ever have for themself.  I had all these amazing things in my life that I just couldn't find the good in them.  It was so puzzling to me how I could go from this happy person to deep sadness that physically made my body ache.  I was great at hiding it.  Mainly because I didn't want anyone to think I was 'nuts'.  You know-that pathetic stigma that is put out there about depression and mental illness.

I did amazing when I was pregnant this time around.  Everything was euphoric!  I was on a pink cloud the whole time even when things happened to me that was out of my control...I was able to shrug it off. 

Fast forward to baby born #2.  I was answering emails within the hour of having a C-Section. Who does that insanity??? Me.  A woman determined to not get tagged by PPD again.  I had to keep pushing forward.  Hard and fierce.

But slowly the reality came creeping up on me.  Right after I came home from the hospital - i stopped taking pain meds and stopped nursing both in the same day.  Yikes.  NOTE TO ANY woman after having a baby...wean yourself slowly on both medicine and nursing.  Cold turkey was not good for my chemistry and I tanked.  

But no one on the outside knew it but my husband.  I kept saying give me some time...just let me grab ahold of this.  I knew exactly what was happening.  And once again, I beat myself up over it.  

I remember one day this past spring, right after I had Hudson thinking to myself 'I would never talk to any other person the way I talk to myself.  This has to stop.'

So I of course did what I've done my whole entire life.  Put my focus into something other than myself. 

And well...it didn't work as good as I had hoped.  I had some slips along the way and a few busted eyes and egos...but in the end, my biggest life lesson was confirmed to me again.

Slow down.  Focus on what is really the most important.  

I can't tell you countless times I've gotten tweets or facebook messages saying 'you always are having so much fun' or 'you have the best job' or 'you have the luckiest life' and so on.

What wasn't really known was the aching going on in my heart.  I came across as a light in so many lives - when all I wanted was to see the light at the end of the tunnel....

I beat myself up everyday about my weight.  I have had to take down wedding pictures on the walls because when I'd see them they would make me cry.  I even had to switch out pictures from when Boston (my oldest) was a baby cause when I'd see them they would trigger this guilt inside of me that was crippling.  

For YEARS I had to do this.  Getting healthy after Boston was rough.  (Hence, why we waited so long to have another...)

Now?  Those images are back on the walls.  Back in plain sight.  In my heart with a different feeling.

I guess what I'm saying is - after doing everything for prevention when I fould out I was pregnant with Hudson a year ago - I still managed to stumble.  It wasn't even 1/10th of what I battled when my oldest was born...but I'm human.  And as a human we aren't perfect.  We do things that may or may not be healthy or helpful to ourselves and those around us sometimes.

But what is great about all this.... I struggled really bad for 4 months after Hudson was born.  And this past July i NAILED it.  I put everything I had into 'getting well' and loving myself without judgement.  I started taking a DBT course - which has been amazing and so awesome for my sabotaging self habits that I've had my entire life.  The past 3 months I've been able to look at a situation with my WISE MIND and not react from my emotional mind.  

It doesn't matter what you may think about a person.  They may look like they've got it all figured out on the outside...but we have no clue what is really going on in their hearts. 

Since I've had to 'be in this mom moment' more often since mid August - I've had the opportunity to enjoy more time with Boston.  (We hit the beach and Hersheypark all before kindergarten started and it was FABULOUS!) I am able to take him to the bus in the morning and pick him up in the afternoon.  I got closer to him and love every second of it.

And with baby Hudson.  Isn't he the sweetest thing?  My husband and I were convinced that since Boston was the best baby on the planet we were in for a doozy.  But we were both wrong.  Hudson, dare I say, is even BETTER than Boston was as a baby!

The blessings in my life are beyond apparent.  I just wanted to rush by them for so long that I never allowed myself to really feel the moments.  I was off to the next thing.

Well, not anymore. 

After this past week with my adorable baby in the best little town in the whole world...I am recommitted to what is most important.  And that is being present in my kids' lives.  It's great to have 27,000 facebook 'likes' ~ over 20,000 twitter followers ~ a business bank account that is positive cash flow and not negative...it's all amazing to know that it all started RIGHT HERE.  From this 'little old blog' and a 'big leap of faith'.

But - i got here from being me.  Living life & sharing my truths.  And that is where I need to be.

I've slowed down so much...that I can actually take my dog for a walk.  Clean my BATHROOMS even!  

Life is good.  And the memories I made last week with not a soul on the beach in Cape May but me and my little human is priceless.  Words can't express how awesome it was to see his smiles.  To feel his heart beat while snuggled under an umbrella in my lap watching dolphins swim by.

What is most important in your life?  Can you honestly say I'm glad I did this or that?  

I can assure you - when we go - we won't be saying 'I wish I would have tweeted more' or 'I'm bummed I missed that event or conference call.'  I know I won't be. 

I worked my tail off to find a purpose when all along that purpose was right in front of my face.  I just needed to feel the feelings and live in the moment long enough to see it.

Happy week to you, friends.  xoxoxo ~ Joey

Remember Me?

Hi.  

My name is JOEY. 

I use to frequent this site and drop down some words...ahem... OFTEN.  

But this 'mom thing'?  Yeah.  Took ahold of my freetime 100%.  It's kind of a bummer really.  I mean, I have this gorgeous now FIVE MONTH OLD human that I have hardly shared with you!!  If we're friends on Facebook (ahem @JoeyFortman) then you likely have heard my whimpering on there.  

But sadly, I've let this 'blog thing' slip to the side.  A LOT this summer.

I've been busy.  REALLY busy.  

I spent two weeks in Illinois visiting my family.  That was an interesting, yet educational and rewarding experience.  I also cleaned out my house and had a MEGA yardsale to get rid of STUFF.  That turned out well.  Still a garage filled with 'stuff' that needs to find a home. 

I then spent 10 days at the shore at the most beautiful place ever!  Cape May, NJ is my 'love nest'.  I just LOVE it there.  I was there working with Cape Resorts Group (the best company EVER!!).  I have soo much to share with you about them.  So many great things they do year round.  So come back here for that one.

And then this past week I was in Chicago because I produced and co-hosted 2 parties with The Big Toy Book with over 1,000 people coming in the doors!!

Yeah.  My eyes are crossed too.

Now?  I have about 4 minutes before I have to pick up my #2 at the sitters.  

How about you?  What has your summer been like?

PS, i put a pic of my little family up top.  Just in case you forgot about us.  =)

Slow Down Life

Slow Down Life

Somedays I often wonder why does it have to go so fast?

Here I am.  ONE DAY before my sons 5th birthday.

Eh.  Anyone know where the time has gone???

I mean. Really. It was JUST YESTERDAY that Boston turned ONE.  Then TWO.  Then THREE.  Then FOUR.

I now have a 3 month old named Hudson.  

2nd BirthdayAnd an almost 5 year old named Boston. (Within about 24 hours to be exact.)

I break out in hives thinking about the past 5 years.  Sooooo much has happened.  Both good...and really bad.

But whats best of all is that I have this precious ALMOST 5 year old. Who is going to KINDERGARTEN in the fall!?!?!

Dear Lord.  Someone bring me my walker.

That picture was the day we brought Boston home from the hospital.  Look at my eyes.

I had tears in them.  Tears of pain (hello c-section) and tears of joy (OMG-THEY LET ME KEEP THIS THING).

I look at those eyes and that baby face now?

And I have tears of sadness.

And Joy.  And Pain.  Guilt.  Happiness.  So many tears of everything.

3rd BirthdayI look in those eyes.  And wish I knew then what I know now. 

There are so many things in the past 5 years I would change.  

Yet I don't know if I'd be who I am today if some of those things didn't happen.

If I had a chance to talk to my old self...then...this 30 year old new mom.... you know what I'd tell her?

Take the meds.  Look into that babies eyes often.  Don't cry when he cries.  Believe the people that tell you time goes so quickly.  Don't drink so much.  Don't be so angry at your husband...he's only trying to work hard to provide for his family.  Don't freak out when you aren't working.  Embrace the time and opportunity....so many would die to be in your shoes and get to be home with their babies.  Don't spend so much money on stupid things because you're bored.  Don't doubt your ability to be a mother so much.  Don't cry so much.  Take the meds.  See a therapist when you aren't feeling right.  Postpartum depression is real.  Kiss that baby.  Read to him.  Play with him in the bathtub.  Cry when he cries.  Sing when he sings.  Love when he loves.

4th BirthdayAnd always stop when you're in a moment.  Breathe.  Embrace.  Love.  Slow Down Life.

I'm so glad I figured it out this time around and loving every second of Hudson.

The good news?  This blog has the great moments all captured in time.  I can't wait till my grandkids get to see them someday.

Time to take grab my dentures and drink my metamucil. I'm so old now ya know.

PARTY TIME TOMORROW!   I can't wait to capture the fun and share with you here.

Slow Down Life.