Archive for Personal

25 Jun 2017

No, I Don’t Want More.

No Comments Everyday, Personal, Published, Raising Children, Raising Girls

This post has also been published on the Today Show Parenting Blog

More and more often these, I’m realizing that I don’t want more. I don’t want my kid to spend more time at the baseball field. I don’t want my kid to spend more time at gymnastics.

And no, I do not think that MORE is always better. Let me explain why I don’t want more.

Read more

09 Jun 2017

A Room With A View

No Comments Personal

It’s not the view I would have asked for. But maybe that is why we don’t always get what we ask for.

It wasn’t the day that I had so perfectly planned out. But maybe there is a reason that nothing ever goes as planned.

It wasn’t the start to an epic summer that I had so desired. But maybe that was ok too. Maybe this would really be the summer we truly remembered.

The room with the view that we have today, might be what we think could be the worst view ever. But maybe one day we will look back into this room with this view, and wish we could have it again.

Abby, Shelby and our new puppy, Buddy, headed to the puppy park this morning. It was a first full day of summer for us. But in one quick second, it turned my perfect sunshiny day into a day of heartbreak . And here I sit. In the dark.  Now 15 hours later, with my sweet little fearless 4-year-old girl, in a hot pink cast, and a handed down sentence for 4 weeks of rest and no swimming, thanks to the her poor ninja warrior skills. Still in the clothes I threw on this morning to take the dog for a walk, my hair uncombed, and my eyes sore and tired from all the tears today, the morning still playing out in my head.

We should have gone to another playground. I should have just taken the puppy on a walk around the block. I should have been there to catch her when she fell. But we didn’t. And I wasn’t. When the Mom guilt sets in, it goes deep and straight to the heart. My friend reminded me, it happens to the best of us. I know this. But it is a hard pill to swallow.

The room we have has a different view of what maybe I thought I should be seeing, as my dreams of a “room with a view” are always lively and bright. My room with a view in my dreams has me seeing white sandy beaches, the sounds of waves crashing in the distance, my kids playing in the sand and the sun setting in the distance while my family enjoys our time together.

But instead, my view is of my sleeping baby, her little body tired from a day of surgery, not play, the monitor beeping constantly with her vitals and the illuminating florescent light from the sterile hallway peeking into our room through the small window while every tick of the clock is heard and time and life seem to stand still while we are held captive in this room.

What you want isn’t what you always get, but there’s a reason for everything. You can always look at things from a new perspective. And that new perspective might be just what you need to see that your room with a view is exactly everything you ever wanted.

My sweet baby is healthy. A little bruised, but healthy. She’ll make a full recovery and will be back in action in no time.

My friends and family are among the best people in the world. From balloons, flowers, calls, texts, dinners and well wished, I couldn’t ask for a better village to raise my family with.

My sweet husband has dropped everything to be with us. We are one lucky family to have him be the cornerstone of us.

And the time!  Don’t we want it to stand still? Isn’t that what we are always saying. Did I need to be held captive for someone to remind me that the best room with a view is the one we wake up to each morning, no matter where we are? And maybe if we finally stop to hear the clicking of each second that goes by, we will realize that there is still time. Time to do whatever we want with those we love.

We don’t have to stay in the hospital for 3 months. We don’t have a 10 month recovery time. We know that we will have tomorrow to do the things we wanted to do today. This will be but only a blip on our time line of life. And our little room with a view will change again, and again, and again. And we might one day look back one day and wish…wish with all our might…that we could have that view again.

10 Jun 2016

The Balance. The Chaos. The Circus. – Walking the Tightrope of Life {More on Mom.Me}

No Comments Featured, Lifestyle, Personal, Published, Raising Children

“My life is a circus. No, really, it is a circus! A full-blown three-ring circus, complete with four clowns, a strongman and a ringmaster! I attempt plate-spinning and magic acts during dinner (making broccoli disappear is a good trick of mine) and the kids love it when the strongman (aka Dad) shows off his skills in the pool, as the kids become human cannon balls flying happily through the air.”

Club Mom Dot Me

Click through and read about how I balance life, happiness and health over at Mom.me,  while juggling the kids, a career, kids activities and my sanity.

04 Jan 2016

5 New Year Organizing Tips: How to Get Yourself (& Your Family) Off to an Organized Start

No Comments Lifestyle, Monday Motto, Personal, Professional, Studio 10 TV Segment, Tampa, Tampa Bay

  
(Click above to watch the show!) 

Jump start your January and get 2016 off to the best start ever! It’s a brand new year which means a clean slate for turning over a new leaf and getting organized in order to function at optimum speed! I talked with Studio 10 Live host, Stephanie Webb on the first episode of the year about 5 ways to jumpstart your organized year! 

Let’s first start with a few rules: 

The biggest part of organizing is having things you love and use, getting rid of the rest, and then organizing what’s left. 

Two best words: Clutter free. Don’t let clutter weigh you down! Clutter is a constant reminder of how scattered and unorganized you are being. Decluttering your space will lower your level of stress. A tidy space is zen like and can help you and your family relax.

  
Supplies needed to start!

  • Same color file folders
  • A label maker
  • Sharpies
  • Bins
  • Notepads 
  • Garbage bags
  • Clorox Wipes
  • An “I can do this!” Attitude

5 Ways to Start Getting Organized

  
1. Get it together. Make a plan. 

Write it down. Do you have written goals? Make a vision board! If you are reading this at your desk can you put your finger on them right now? If you answered no to these questions, you are not alone. A total of 90 percent of people do not have written goals. Writing down your goals does a number of things for you:

• It reinforces your commitment to them

• It helps you remember them

• It makes you accountable

• It gives you focus

2. PURGE! 

The time is now. I find that I don’t need more space, I really need less stuff. So how do you purge? Simple. Set aside some time. Tackle one small space at a time (before you organize). Make bins or piles for TDRNR (Trash, Donate, Recycle, Not Sure, Return). Ask yourself questions: Do I need this? When did I last use this? Can I borrow or rent? Do I love this? Once complete, remove bibs immediately!

3. Start somewhere!

Anywhere! Do the thing that is most distasteful to you first. Where are you starting!?

Kitchen-

Get that kitchen under control! Reclaim your refrigerator! Wipe it down. Purge all the crazy storage containers. Go through your pantry! Buy one brand of containers so it all fits together. Do you need 15 coffee mugs? Clean out the plastic kid cups. But one per child and that is THEIR cup. Dishes. One set of 8 or 12. 

Example shown: Tervis tumblers are our new cups in the house. One per person and the rest are history!

Organizational Flow- 

A place for everything and everything in its place. Is your routine ready for action? Have kids? How is your morning flow or after school flow? Routines work! A few routines that I do to keep me organized and zen like:

1. Make me bed everyday. It immediately will declutter your space. In seconds. And can instantly set your mood to get ready to tackle the day. 

2. Wipe down my sinks and bathroom each night. 

3. Keep the clutter away before I go to bed. 

It’s a good reset for the morning and your family will thrive in that balance too.

Clean Your Car-

A really good, deep clean. Stay on top of your car maintenance. My rule for my car is “No garbage left behind.” Every day we clean it out. All of it. I keep my necessary items in the glove box along with a smal box in the back that has jumper cables, my AAA card, my kids medical conditions, insurance, registration. 

Office-

New year means new files! Organize by switching over to newly tabbed folders with a brand new color! It makes sorting through the mail piles and organizing super easy when it comes to tracking paper that can easily pile up! Online? Mint for those personal finances. 

Schedule Organizing- 

Writing it down, adding it in to your main source of organization will have you feeling so organized when new things pop up. Stay one step ahead of the game! Is your afternoon schedule organized? How can you make your morning more efficient? 

Kids’ Stuff-

  

  

It’s everywhere! But clear bins or properly labeled boxes will help keep a place for everything and everything in its place.

4. Taking time for you! 

Have you carved out some time for you? Made any New Years resolutions? Or what about time for you and the spouse to reconnect? Set a date night and remember it. Book a sitter (in advance) or have a plan worked out to kid swap so you and your best friend can get some quality time relaxing! Is there a class you might like to take? 

It’s a new year and that can mean a clean slate. Look forward and get excited about what the future holds.

Example shown: FitBook

5. Realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day.

If you have the time to tackle everything at once. It gets overwhelming. And overwhelming can lead to discouragement. Try a weekly house cleaning schedule. Make a list with that ties into bigger fix items and then prioritize! What needs to be done first vs. what can wait. 

Printable Shown: Weekly Chore Chart

Thank you to Studio 10 Live for having me on!  

Make sure to follow Tampa Mama on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

25 Dec 2015

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas 

No Comments Adventures, Holidays, Personal

Our sweet little family had a most wonderful Christmas. Just us. And what a merry little Christmas we had. Wishing you and yours all the best this holiday!

xo,

Marisa

   
    
    
 

03 Dec 2015

Dreaming About Tomorrow

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Holidays, Personal, Uncategorized

Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. But I’m already dreaming about tomorrow.
  

It’s 10pm. I watch her sleep. I watch every move she makes. Is she ok? Is she too hot? When did she have her last does of meds? Did she keep it down? Should we go? Who will stay? 
My mind races at 100 mph and can’t stop thinking. It doesn’t. Not when it’s the well being of your child. 
This is our normal when anyone with CAH gets sick in our home. We have a window and at the 5 hour mark, if we can’t handle it at home, we go. We take no chances. It’s 3am and we haven’t slept all night. 
She will be fine. She’s starting to understand. She was ok with going to the hospital. I stay strong. She braves up. And so do I. We are in this together. 
Dad and I divide and conquer. One stays with the kids. The other goes. I usually go. We are in this together too. When we get to the hospital, it’s go time. Know your shit and get ready to speak to those that are trained to help. I’m only trained to help my little ones, but I’ve studied my heart out to know what I’m talking about. All for them. 

  
So here she sleeps. It’s safe to sleep here. They will take care of her here. She gets up…we watch movies. The 5am choice is Annie. Appropriate. 

  

Today began like any other day. Just any ordinary day. It can change in an instant. And lucky for us, the sun will come out tomorrow and it will be a bright new day for us to be thankful that we have another day. We will stick out our chins and grin because we know that this was just a gray day. But right now, I’m dreaming about tomorrow. Hoping for more days like this… Maybe tomorrow, right?! 

  

08 Nov 2015

Instructions for Grandma: How to Take Care of 4 kids for 3 days

No Comments Adventures, Kids, Lifestyle, Personal, Random, Travel

Dear Grandma (and Aunt Gina):

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for volunteering for the best three days of your life! Not only have you awesomely given me and Chance the opportunity to sit on a beach and do nothing for THREE FULL DAYS IN ANOTHER COUNTRY, you have volunteered to lovingly take care of our not one, not two, not three but four beautiful children! Honestly, we can’t thank you enough and hope that you have an amazing time with the kiddos! (Could you please sign appendex 4 and return it with a notary stamp so that the contact is bound and we know that you won’t back out last minute? Thanks!)

I have put together a manual for you so that you’ll have a brief run down of events and schedules, important numbers, medical information, the children’s likes and dislikes, etc. so that way you are prepared for the three days you’ll be here! (It was all my pleasure and the least I could do!) I know you have a college education, two masters degrees and will retire this year from education, but things have changed since you raised me, and I just want to make sure you are properly trained to manage four kids…the right way.

It’s not too long (456 pages, single spaced with 10 appendices) and should be read prior to boarding the plane to visit! I have also taken the liberty to brief you here with some of the more top of mind things you should be aware of. I’ve made a brief outline of what is going on for the day, what your responsibilities are, the processes and procedures that take place so we won’t have many “Mr. Mom” moments…i.e “You’re doing it wrong.” Pretty straight forward really.

I’ve also included the links to instructional videos that you can reference if you have any questuons about how it actually should be done (what goes in each kids’ lunch, how to cut tomatoes, how to make an “Abby Grilled Cheese” or how to read “Pete The Cat” correctly (because if you don’t do it exactly right, Abby might just melt down and possibly explode!

If you remember correctly, I wrote you a four page letter abut 10 years ago when you had first offered to watch our first born child. I think we went to Vegas and I gave you an instruction manual for our then 9 month old. If I remember correctly, you told me you followed everything to a tee, so this should be like riding a bike!

So here it goes! Please make sure to print this out, take notes in the columns and have sticky notes readily available to be able to reference the items in the complete instruction maual that I have Fed Ex’d to you yesterday.

Wednesday

8am Arrival – Marisa to pick you up at airport

9:00am– Short breakfast meeting to go over any questions that may have arisen after reading manual. All notarized paperwork should be turned in.

10:00am– Short “how to go to the park” session with Abby to go over all playground rules and safety procedures when at said park. We will be going to one of the approved parks on the list (See appendix C for complete list of approved outdoor play spaces in Tampa)

11:00am-Return home to begin training. “How to Fix Abby Lunch” will be first on the schedule.

12:00pm– Training continues with “How to Put Abby to Sleep”. It is important to follow proper steps (on left side with blanket tag in hand) or the sleep process might not happen if not followed completely. We advise you take notes, pictures or video to remember.

12:15pm-Training continues with a house tour to guide you through where everything is.

12:30pm-Training continues with a “How to Cook Dinner” Tutorial. Approved menu options can be found on Appendix D in the Instruction Manual.

12:45pm- 12:55pm Lunch or Rest (one or the other)

1pm-Training continues as you prepare to get ready for afterschool pick up, homework, sport practices and afternoon chores.

1:15pm-Training continues with chore list expalniation. Please refernce appendex E for what chores are to be done daily.

1:30pm-Abby should wake up

2:00pm– Get ready to leave. Pack cooler with snacks for after school. Bring pencils to do homework in car.

2:10pm– Leave to start pick up routine

2:30pm–  Pick up #1: Shelby. Have a snack and do homework in car.

2:50pm-Pick up #2: Mia.

3:15pm– Pick up #3: Jake.

3:30pm– Arrive home.

3:45pm-Training continues with homework, dinner prep and after school activities.

5:00pm– After school activities begin. Please see appendix C for schedule of after school activities by day. Home work will need to be completed with each child individually. We find that the “new” homework takes twice as long and you might need to pour yourself a cocktail while assisting the children with their common core math homework. Should you need assistance in finding an answer (because you cannot understand the problem) we suggest you ask your Facebook friends for assistance. There is no other alternative.

  
7:00pm-Meal training. Please see list of organic, free-range and approved meal options. Dinner must be a 4-course meal, chosen from the approved list of meals and must be served at 7:00pm.

7:10pm– Training continues for clean up and bedtime routine.

7:30pm-Watch an approved show from the list of approved television shows (see appendix D).

8:00pm– Read books. The children may choose a book from the approved list (see appendix E). 

8:30pm-Bedtime. 

8:35pm-Laundry (washing, folding putting away), next day preparation-back packs, lunch prep, breakfast/ morning prep & house cleaning. Please see the checklists for each activity and follow accordingly.

11pm-Take Abby to the bathroom. Should you miss this step, there might be consequences as she is still potty training.

11:15pm-Sleep. But be aware that there might be middle of the night training as nightmares or accidents might occur.

11:30pm-Set alarm for 5am. Sleep

5am-Wake. Begin morning routine training. Coffee is mandatory. Please be showered and ready at this time and meet in the kitchen.

5:15am-Begin to finalize lunches and backpacks.

5:30am- Begin to prepare the children’s breakfast or homemade organic waffles, fruit, freshly squeezed juice and grass-fed bacon. 

6:15am- Wake the kids. 

6:30am– Make sure everyone is up and getting ready.

7:00am-Hair. You’ll have had to complete beauty school training in order to complete the desired French braids and fishtail braids that the three girls will need preformed on their hair. (This training should have been completed prior to arrival.)

7:30am-Final check.

7:35pm-Leave for school. 

8am-Drop off. Begin day with Abby.

REPEAT

———————

But in all honesty, none of this really matters.

  
 As long as my kids are in your care, you have my blessings to do things your way. You raised me just fine and I know you’ll have the most amazing time with these kids doing whatever it is you want to do.

I Hope you throw this list away. I hope you make memories with your Grandkids and that you have a most amazing time just hanging out. Take them out of school. Give them donuts for breakfast. Let them sleep in your arms. Let them know that you love them and make memories that they will cherish forever. I cannot thank you enough for watching over them. I love you to the moon and back, Mom. Have a great time with the kids.

Love, 

Marisa

16 Apr 2015

A Vision of Hope: The CARES Foundation Gala

No Comments Adventures, CAH, Personal, Raising Children

I’m actually living my dream. Right now. I’m in a state of euphoria that seems somewhat surreal because all my wishes came true and are happening before my eyes. The ones I prayed and prayed and prayed for that I wished so hard on every star and promised God the world if he would make them come true.

IMG_7052.JPG

I get to see my son play baseball. I get to watch my daughters in a recital. My children excel in school. They are kind. They are happy. They aren’t sick. I get to put my children to bed each night in their own bed. They are healthy happy and living a normal life. THIS is the life I dreamed of that I wasn’t sure would be a reality.
Read more

11 Apr 2015

Mama Loves: To Look Good- Blo Blow Dry Bar Tampa

No Comments Lifestyle, Personal, Review, Tampa, Tampa Bay

IMG_7601.JPG

Am I right?! I know. It’s hard. Trust me taking a shower, wrangling kids while attempting to curl your hair, cook dinner and apply make-up is always fun ( I know) but come on… WHEN, was the last time you looked REALLY good? I mean the last time you took an uninterrupted shower, dried your hair and spruced up to do something fabulous?! I know my navy blue yoga pants are my tried and true, but I’m beginning to think people might think that’s all I own. Going to the grocery store, running errands, chasing a toddler might not be the most glamorous job (and she doesn’t mind my yoga pants) but I will say, I do feel better about my whole day if I’m put together, ready to conquer the day.

Read more

24 Sep 2014

Blindsided

No Comments CAH, Everyday, Personal, Wordless Wednesday

The definition of the word ‘blindsided’ is to catch (someone) unprepared.

Ummm … that word ‘unprepared’ is not in my vocabulary if you know me, yet that’s how this life with CAH works.

This was yesterday. Y E S T E R D A Y.

IMG_1613.JPG
Read more