Unapologetically strong, gracefully appreciative

standard September 13, 2012 1 response

Back when I was in labor with my first child I became somewhat fixated with how field workers in olden times would just squat in the field to deliver their child and just get back up and go back to work. (Too much studying literature clearly addled my brain.) All the high-tech fuss around my hospital delivery seemed so unnatural and the simple fact that I appeared unable to simply push out a baby and get on with my day was rubbing me the wrong way.

I am tough. Ask anyone. That I couldn’t accomplish a simple feat that countless women had easily managed throughout history rankled.

My OB, never one to mince words, after hour 25 or so of me moaning about the women in the field, leaned towards me and quietly, though rather forcefully, told me on no uncertain terms that if I didn’t shut up already about the damn women in the fields she would pack up and leave.

I shut up.

Which is a good thing because had she left I don’t know who would have performed the c-section that finally allowed my daughter, painfully trapped behind a too small pelvis, to be born.

In the field, we would have both died.

Admitting defeat, having to ask for help, isn’t something that comes easily to me. As I mentioned earlier, I am tough. It’s a point of honor for me. I come from a long line of tough, self-sufficient women, and I don’t enjoy being the one who sometimes can’t cut it on her own.

And yet, despite being really proud of the strength which has gotten me through some gnarly times, I’ve had to learn that being unapologetically strong must to go hand in hand with being able to recognize when you need help and with being able to not only accept that help, but to welcome it, and sometimes to even ask for it.

When you are the woman who can always stand on her own two feet, when you’re the one people turn to in a crisis, when you’re the tough one who always pushes through challenges with a smile, the people around you get lulled into feeling like you really are invincible, that you really don’t need help. It’s a catch-22, especially on that day when you do find yourself unable to go on without help.

On that day it’s a blessing to find someone by your side who can see right through your bravado and will offer you the help you might be too proud to ask for. Accepting that help is just another sign of strength, not weakness.

Learning to accept help gracefully isn’t the only way I’m unapologetically strong. Every day I feel like I have to fight for what I believe in all while working, taking care of my family, running my household, volunteering at school, and doing the million things a mom has to do over the course of 24hours. Degree for Women understands that to get it all done we have to be able to rely on our deodorant (oh and do I ever love and rely on my deodorant!) and has just launched Degree Women Clinical Protection with motionSENSE in the yummy smelling Cotton Fresh.

Check out the great Unapologetically Strong Facebook contest that just launched today. You can win $5k to help you reach your goal! (Contest runs from today until September 26th.) You can follow Degree Women on Facebook and on Twitter to see more unapologetically strong testimonials!

Need some help feeling inspired? Check out Erin Andrews’, gorgeous sportscaster, who is blatantly and awesomely unapologetically strong!

“Please note: This is a sponsored post from One2One Nework and Degree Women®. I received product (yay deodorant!) and incentives. As always, all opinions stated and stories shared are my own.”

Starting the Back-to-school with a funny if not so sweet memory

standard August 7, 2012 1 response

C is my independent child. Little L, not so much, she’s more my little barnacle. But that’s not pertinent to this story.

No, this story, is about C’s first day of school. Her very first day as a big 2-year-old, getting ready to head off to preschool by herself for the very first time.

Look how big and ready she looked!

She knew the place well, her school was located where I worked. She knew the teacher, she knew the classrooms. And she couldn’t be more excited to be starting school.

We pulled into the parking lot right on time (a miracle that would not be repeated often that year…) and as soon as I had unbuckled her she was off, little wheely backpack bouncing behind her. I dove into the car to pull Little L’s infant car seat out, but before I was fully out, C had turned back, and, one hand on her hip, was imperiously telling me that she didn’t need me to accompany her to her classroom.

I gaped at her for a moment and then stammered out that yes, yes I did indeed need to accompany her to preschool, if only to sign her in for the morning. She actually rolled her tiny eyes at me and stalked off ahead. I sighed and followed.

Don’t worry, I got my fill of tearful goodbyes when Little L finally started school. In hindsight, the 2-going-on-12 attitude wasn’t as heartbreaking as it felt that day.

Three years later and it was Little L’s turn to start school for the first time!

Since that first day, even though we’ve had quite a few first days of school, our back-to-school routine still isn’t, well, routine. C went to two different preschools before starting Kindergarten, this year she’ll be heading to 2nd grade at yet another school. Little L is more fortunate in that she’s only ever been to the one preschool, but she also gets to start a new school this fall.

But still. New school, new routine.

Luckily a new location doesn’t mean that the basics change. Everyone still needs a new backpack. (Yes, even though I went for the more “expensive” option last year in the hopes that it would last us a few years.) Everyone needs a new, not moldy, lunchbox. And everyone definitely needs shoes and clothes that fit.

Every year I make this big show of dragging the kids to big-box stores to get their opinions on what new things they want. Then, when no one can decide on any of the sub-par options, I go home and order everything online.

Hurray for eBay!

Do you know how many cool lunchboxes you can score on eBay? Or how many backpack options they offer? And let’s not even talk about the clothing that you could find for your little scholars!

When you too are over the whole back-to-school crowds check out the back-to-school offerings on eBay. I guarantee you’ll find something you covet.

eBay is really bring the back-to-school fun! 
Check out these four social events they’ve cooked up to make the season brighter.

1) Join us on August 14th from 12pm-2pm PST for a super fun #eBaySchool Twitter Party where we will discuss lots of fun ways to stay sane during this rather hectic time of year. The Twitter party is being held at www.ebay.com/schoolparty. You must first RSVP at that location and also tweet from that URL to be eligible to win any of the 8 $25 eBay gift cards being awarded during the two hour event.

2) Pinterest Backpack Sweeps – 7/25-8/31 – Is your kid heading back to school? eBay’s Back to School Pinterest Sweepstakes will award daily winners a $100 eBay Gift Card to shop for their back to school essentials on eBay.com.

3) Pinterest Dorm Room Sweeps – 7/25-8/1 – Are you or your child heading to college? eBay is holding a Pinterest sweepstakes where one Grand Prize winner will receive a $5,000 eBay Shopping Spree toward a dorm room makeover. 

4) Facebook Instant Win Game – 8/1-8/31 – Play the eBay What’s In Your Backpack Instant Win Game for a chance to win a $50 eBay Gift Card to do some back to school shopping. Hurry, sweeps ends August 31, 2012!

Please note: eBay is a Splash Creative Media client and this is a compensated post. My endless passion for eBay is all mine and was highlighted by the lovely email they sent me last month congratulating me for celebrating my 8th anniversary of shopping with them. Eight. Years. Who knows how much I’ve managed to spend there over the last 8 years….

The magic of sisters – Disney “Little Character” contest

standard June 11, 2012 1 response
Thank you to Disney Baby for sponsoring this little trip down tender magical memory lane 

She was infatuated with the baby long before the baby came out. She came with me to a few prenatal appointments and listened with captivated attention to the sounds amplified by the Doppler the doctor held against my distended abdomen.

Thumpa-thumpa. That’s what C called Little L while she was still in my belly. We had asked her what she wanted us to call her little sister, and, little pragmatist that she is, she insisted on calling her by the sounds she heard during all the doctor’s visits.

Thumpa-thumpa. The sound of a healthy beating heart.

The moment Little L was born, there was no doubt in C’s mind. This was her baby. A fact that she shared with every living soul who came within a 5 foot radius of the stroller. Many strangers around town, at the grocery store, at preschool, were invited to witness this miracle that was her baby.

Love and pride shone from her face and her eyes and never has there been a more attentive and kind big sister. If Little L cried for any reason at all, C would rush to her rescue, assuring the world that she “had it,” before starting to sing an enthused rendition of ‘Twinkle twinkle little star.’ The best part was that it never failed to work. Little L’s cries would die on her lips as she gazed at her big sister with rapt attention and an equally adoring gaze.

Having a first baby was an unbelievable, life changing event. Having a second was even more momentous if that’s even possible. Gifting my first born with a sister was pure magic. Magic that continues to shine 5 years later… even though Twinkle Twinkle no longer has quite the same impact it had back then.

Do you have a “Little Character?” Enter to win some amazing prizes in the Disney Baby “Little Characters” contest. Hurry though! First round of the contest ends on June 18th!

An Afternoon in Photos

standard April 2, 2012 4 responses

Almost 10 years ago, M and I tied the knot at a winery overlooking the entire Bay Area. Amazingly enough, we’ve only been back there once, around 6 years ago. C wasn’t yet walking and Little L hadn’t been born yet.

Pretty. Yes?

While packing up the house last month, I discovered that two of the bottles of wine that we’d kept after the ceremony had defective corks. So today, in a fit of who knows what, we headed up to the winery.

At best we thought we’d get the bottles exchanged. At worst we’d have a day sharing one of our most memorable days with the girls.

The wine tasting room was packed, so we never even tried to get the bottles exchanged. We did, however, show the girls where we’d gotten married, where we celebrated, where we danced, and where we had our first alone moment as husband and wife.

On the grassy knoll where we tied the knot.

It was all rather sweet and somewhat emotional. I’m glad I had my camera with me. We did a bit of a family photo shoot on the same deck where M and I had our engagement photos taken 10 years ago.

Sisters…

The spot where M got to see me in my wedding dress moments before the ceremony started.

M and his girls.
Me and my girls.
How has she gotten so big?
How has this one gotten so grown up?
These two look a lot wiser than they did 10 years ago…
Good thing they have little people to keep them silly.
And love to keep them strong.

The last ten years haven’t been at all what we expected. We’ve faced more challenges than we thought we’d see this early in our lives. But, frankly, we’ve also received more blessings than we had any right to hope for. Like these two girls… who make every surprising day bright and worthwhile.

My wise, beautiful first born.
My silly, sassy youngest.

C was able to take the photos of M and I and Little L took the one of me and C, sadly, we didn’t get any shots of the four of us. We’ll just have to go back.