My Favorite Things: Audio Books

Hey Loves!

So, in my mothering journey, I surrendered. Well, that’s putting it very nicely. Truthfully, I gave up. I gave up on things I loved and adored, like reading. My entire pre-kids life I looked forward to losing myself in a story. Post kids, I really believed I just couldn’t read anymore. I was honestly quite baffled at those who did still read with kids my age. I mean, granted they had typical kids, but still, how? 

Also, if I am being honest, I didn’t want to be stimulated. I didn’t want to learn new things and grow. This should’ve been a red flag, but as you have read, I didn’t pay attention to those. Anyway, after I discovered podcasts, I discovered audiobooks. Again I say, game changer. Audiobooks are a game changer friends. 

Get this- I got them from my local library through apps for FREE (The apps I use are Overdrive and Libby). If this is not the definition of winning, I honestly have no idea what is. So here I am, just sponging up knowledge from my fingertips, any time of day. I’m learning, laughing, crying, pondering, talking… all the things! It is amazing!

There are a few audiobook subscription services that I have heard great things about, I just haven’t gotten to where I can pull that trigger.

I’m really into inspirational, self-improvement and autobiographies at the moment but the sky is limit. I just finished my first fiction book since the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. I see your judgment of me. Stop it. I’m growing. Sheesh.

Lastly, audiobooks were a gateway drug. Now, via my kindle, I am actually taking the time to read actual words. Y’all, I am on the comeback! Lookout for quotes because they are coming.

What are you reading? How do you read it? I want all the deets!

Love you. Mean it.

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My Favorite Things: Podcast

Hey Loves!

It is series time! Woooooooooohooooooo! I am very excited about this series (if you can’t tell.) I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I am taking me back! A year ago, I couldn’t even compose this list. Not only did I not have the headspace for it but I literally did not have favorite things. Yes, that is sad and if you are there, I am extending my hand to you. We will get there together. No, I am not Oprah, but if there is anything Oprah does it is share. So, I am receiving this from her and running with it.

Now, this series, it requires a disclaimer. These are my favorite things. Said things have not paid me or given me free products to be added to this list. Yay! Let’s get started on with the list!

Podcast

Let’s be honest, I am late to the game and that happens often. Any time someone or the world is like, “you should try this!” or, “this is so great!”, I respond with, “eh, I’m not sure that’s for me.” Nonsense. Just…nonsense.

Anyway, in very late March or early April, I was literally taking the first steps of fixing me and I didn’t feel safe with my own voice. (Just go with me on this.) I’d emptied out everything I’ve felt and said to myself for years and all of these new feeling and thoughts were coming from my mind. They were very unfamiliar. So, honestly, I just wanted a familiar voice. A voice that was true, unwavering and a voice I trusted.

So, I put my younger kid in the stroller and grabbed my phone. Hand to God, I have no idea how the podcast app opened. I do remember saying, “Oh! This! This could work. I can do this.”

So, I turned on “For The Love” Podcast with Jen Hatmaker solely because I trusted her voice, rather, I trusted her heart. Y’all, I didn’t even know how podcasts were organized. Somehow, I found one from September 2017 with Glennon Doyle. Oh. My. Word. I referenced her and her greatness in an earlier post but man, oh man, did I need the two of them that day. Then, the floodgates opened. 

I mean, I wasn’t sure about these new voices in my head but I did know I needed a supporting argument for or against what was happening. Enter Podcasts. 

I personally love ones that build all facets of me in any way. I also enjoy ones that are just plain funny. This is also a part of my me-time and I can do them just about everywhere! They have helped me use my headphones. Who knew???

In short, podcasts are amazing. I love them. Do you? If so, which ones? Spill. Now.

Love you. Mean It.

What’s On My Christmas List

Hey Loves!

For those of you who know me, this is not a shock. For those new here: Hi! I LOOOOOOOOOOOVE to plan. Love it. It makes my heart happy and quells my anxiety, so win-win. So, yes, I start planning for Christmas in June. To be fair, I’ve done the whole, “it’s Black Friday? What? Is Christmas coming? Who gets what? Why is this so hard? I’ve spent so much money!” thing before and it ain’t pretty. Also, ugly crying under the tree on Christmas morning because you are pregnant and sad that all that was under the tree for you were pajamas. Albeit, very nice pajamas, but pajamas. That’s it.  

Let’s also talk about not putting ourselves last and #selfcare. You have needs. You have wants. Recognize them and be aware of them. Now, there is nothing wrong with a social media research question proposed in a friendly post. There is certainly not one thing weird about asking Pinterest what you need in your life. If that is what you need, do it!

If you are looking for just a little inspiration, here is what is on my list.

  1. Make-up: Ok, go with me. I still struggle with spending money on myself. That includes good, nice makeup. I will buy elf products that all under $6. I will not buy the vegan black-owned lip gloss that I really really want and desire from my heart for $12. So, that goes on my list. Also, makeup helps me do something nice for myself. I put on some concealer, or foundation, a good lippie, fix my brows and go about my life feeling a bit more esteemed.
  1. Booties: These are so freaking cute and functional. They literally take an outfit from drab to fab. I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed these. Ok, maybe not need but… no, I need them. They can be pricey unless you score a target clearance WHICH I ALWAYS MISS. So, on my list they go.
  2. Airport Hat: Y’all this is surely a want but a hat can save your life. It just can. These new airport hats are all the rave and I can see myself rocking a low bun or old twist-out under it and changing the look of my athleisure or causal attire. Basically, I will wear this hat to death.
  3. Hair products: See number 1. Also, I have a tendency to be a #productjunkie so this saves us all. I research, make a list and send links to prospective buyers.
  4. Amazon Books Gift Card: This is biggie, friends! So, with all of this “finding me”, I have re-discovered books and sis, they some sort of amazing. However, my library doesn’t have everything and I can’t get it immediately. Of course, the homie Amazon has it and I can have it right now. Simple enough right? Nope. This gift is a challenge. I have never had a gift card that some portion of it didn’t go to something for my kids. This card will not. I am stating this you with both feet planted firmly on the ground. I commit this pledge with my whole heart and a sound mind. God be with me.

 

That’s it! Is that everything I want. Uh, no. I’m an American so I want all the things but these are reasonable gifts that will keep on giving. What do you think? What is something you really want? Is there something I forgot? Please tell me.

 

Love you. Mean it.

Self-Care: What That Really Looks Like

Hey Loves!

So, let’s talk about #selfcare. No, really, we need to because everyone needs it. For so very long, I thought that wasn’t for me. You know, I didn’t have time for an hour-long bath, weekly mani-pedis were not an option. So, I couldn’t participate, right? WRONG. Very VERY wrong!

 

If you ask me, self-care is a fluid movement in which certain practices enable you to be the best you and/or improve yourself. I should copyright that. That was a taste of the awesomeness that comes straight from my head that no one gets to hear because I am in negotiations in tiny dictators 90 percent of the time.

I digress. (this is becoming a theme…) My apologies.

So, self-care, what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks different for most. It may be keeping your A/C temps very low. It could also be being around people who hold you accountable so you don’t do that harming activity.

For me, it is making time to do my nails. It is also investing in me. So, if that is spending $1.99 on a book I want but also carving out the time to read and reflect on said book. It is sometimes making my plate first to ensure I eat. (*see tiny dictators reference above). Being aware of my water intake-oh my word! How dehydrated I was! I also make sure I have time with friends and time to myself in the evenings-very small but extremely achievable and effective things that I can do regularly that improve my mood, my health, and my self-esteem. Things that expand my knowledge and encourage me to be more self-aware. 

Also, I tried baths. I like them but I can’t every week. It is a lot of water and a lot of cleaning after.

What does self-care look like for you? I’m dying to know.

Love you. Mean it.

My Morning Me-Time

Hey Loves!

So, we talked about why I get up at 5:30 a.m. What do I do with that time?

Well, getting up at 5:30 gives me 1.5-2 hours before Jude wakes up and, according to him, he only wants me… I’m not joking. Sometimes I can hear him scream, “No! MOMMY!” When my husband goes to get him. I digress-. My bad.

So, I get up, get dressed, brush my teeth and head downstairs. I grab my Snuggie (don’t judge me), do a devotional, meditate, pray, do a journal entry, listen to a podcast, book, or both, sometimes work out and write.

I made that sound really easy, right? Sounds are deceiving!!!!

Let’s start from the top…

  1. Devotional: Since my crisis of faith, (I’m not ready to discuss it but I promise when I am, you will know), I’ve tried to come back to the word. You know, be filled with what is true. I’m no theologian but in the dark with no distractions, somehow words are much easier to absorb. I have no idea why. I will also say, I have to read, re-read and sometimes read again. It helps me. This may not be for you and that is ok.
  2. Meditation: The mind is so powerful. Hone it. Train it properly. Before mediation, my mind would not stop. It did not know how to. It is why I couldn’t sleep. Why I forgot so much. Why I lost so many things and thoughts. Mediation has helped train my brain to become mindful. Mindfulness is probably the only reason why I am able to sit still long enough to write. I can also be aware of the crazy anxiety. Read that again- I said, “be aware” not “my anxiety is gone.” Being aware is a GAME CHANGER. It is only when you are aware that you can but coping mechanisms into effect and they actually help you cope.
  3. Journaling: Let’s just say I avoided this for years. I didn’t see the point because I already knew all my problems, writing them down was going to do what? I now know I was approaching journaling in the wrong manner. To be honest, the only reason I started was to help a friend who began her self-healing work and her counselor wanted her to complete one journal entry before their next session. So, we made a pact and you know me and commitments- I’m all in. I didn’t expect it to benefit me though. When I journal, my problems aren’t plastered on a page, my feelings and thoughts about the problems are. They center around the working solution. Thus, making me mindful of not he problems but the work I need to do to reach the solutions.
  4. Podcast/Audiobooks: These are definitely a couple of my most favorite things. I know I am late to the craze but podcast and audiobooks are amazing. It is like having an inspirational, motivational super smart friend with you all the time! I honestly can’t say enough good things about them. Both vary greatly and can be found on many platforms. Find what works for you and stick to it. If you have never like murder-mystery stories, please don’t try an audiobook in that genre before you go to bed. I will suggest checking your local library for audiobooks though.
  1. Workout: Please note the, ‘sometimes’ above. I don’t always do this. My mornings are for peace and there are times when a great yoga flow and/or muscle building will lend itself to that. Other times it won’t. Now, just because I don’t work out in the morning does not mean I do not work out that day. 9 times out of 10 it happens and the workout is more effective because I didn’t do it in the morning.
  2. Writing: This blog is probably more for me than you. No offense. I love you and really hope in some way this is helpful or entertaining but I need this. I need to write. Hopefully, I can start business planning and business building too, just have to work on me more.

Now, that you know what I do in the mornings. Let me tell you what I most certainly don’t do. 

  1. Laundry
  2. Clean anything
  3. Cook for other people
  4. Plan for other people
  5. Talk to other people
  6. Compare me to other people

That morning time is mine and it is sacred. It is crucial to my evolution and I will not sacrifice it. It took a very long time to get here, physically and mentally. If you are up 2-8 times a night with a child, this may not be your season. If you are working 3 jobs to eat, again, this may not be your season. To that say, seize the moment. If there is a second or 2 of peace-TAKE IT! I hope you find your time and don’t sacrifice it either.

Love you. Mean it. 

Self-Care: What That Really Looks Like

Hey Loves!

So, let’s talk about #selfcare. No, really-we need to-because everyone needs it. For so very long, I thought that wasn’t for me. You know, I didn’t have time for an hour-long bath, weekly mani-pedis were not an option. So, I couldn’t participate, right? WRONG. Very very wrong! 

If you ask me, self-care is a fluid movement in which certain practices enable you to be the best you and/or improve yourself. I should copyright that. That was a taste of the awesomeness that comes straight from my head that no one gets to hear because I am in negotiations in tiny dictators 90 percent of the time.

I digress. My apologies.

So, self-care, what does that look like? Well, for starters, it looks different for most. It may be keeping your A/C temps very low because a hot sweaty you is very far from your best you. It could also be being around people who hold you accountable so you don’t do that harming activity.

For me, it is making time to do my nails. It is also investing in me. So, if that is spending $1.99 on a book I want but also carving out the time to read and reflect on said book. It is sometimes making my plate first to ensure I eat. (*see tiny dictators reference above). It is also being aware of my water intake-oh my word! How dehydrated I was! I also make sure I have time with friends and time to myself in the evenings-very small but extremely achievable and effective things that I can do regularly that improve my mood, my health, and my self-esteem. Things that expand my knowledge and encourage me to be more self-aware. 

Also, I tried baths. I even bought a candle. I like them but I can’t every week. It is a lot of water and a lot of cleaning after.

What does self-care look like for you? I’m dying to know.

Love you. Mean it.

What You Can Expect

Hey Loves!

Ok, so maybe my last post was a little too much. Like, full-frontal too much. So, let’s take a step back and discuss what you can expect from me here at hitswiththemrs.

Things that will stay the same:

You guys, yes, a lot of me is changing but so much is the same. I’m still a wife. I’m still a mom. I still homeschool. I still have crafty moments. I still plan. Those things will not change. You will still get tips, tricks, thoughts and ideas that have helped me or possibly improved my life in the slightest.

Things that will change:

For starters, we are going deeper. No more BS. Marriage is hard. Parenting special needs kids is hard, very hard. Exercising and not always putting me last is a new concept that proves difficult at times. My desire to get back to happy may not be an easy walk in the park. Thus, you will probably hear about all of those things. Why? Because facades don’t help anyone. They don’t help me. They certainly don’t help you. Also, I don’t have time for that anymore. You may read more about what I am loving or things that I am trying. Basically, you will get me authentically. That means, my new experiences, should I choose to share, will be new. Also, and this a hard one, I’m putting my guard up more. It is not that I don’t want to share with you it is just that things are so new to me, I am worth it to figure it out and decide how I feel about it and decide if I want to share. Also, you are worth more than some words in your email because I wanted to put up a blog post.

So, I hope you will stick along for this ride and maybe even invite a friend or two to share all my hits and misses.

Love you. Mean it.

Welcome Back

That was more for me than you. Stating the obvious, it has been quite some time since I put pen to paper and released my thoughts to you. It was intentional. Most certainly not because I didn’t want to or that I’d moved on to bigger and better things, it was simply because I couldn’t.

I had a baby…I had 2 boys under 2. I was engulfed with postpartum depression and anxiety and in a grungy survival mode. Everything I did was simply to make it to the next hour. Hours, days and months passed and I was still just surviving. Barely, at that.

Then, my youngest wouldn’t talk and although I’d noticed and documented my sensory concerns and he started OT at 10 months, him literally not saying one word freaked me out. So, suddenly I had 2 special needs kids. You should know I had no idea the toll that would take on me. Somehow, I made up that since I had one, I was a pro and knew the ropes. You know, the “I got this” mentality. You should also know what I made up was very incorrect. I also didn’t involve my heart in these matters. I didn’t have time to feel and, if I didn’t feel anything, then there wasn’t anything to work through and definitely no need to cope. Again, I made up that I didn’t have time for it anyway so, why bother. Head down and get to work.

Somehow, that worked, until it didn’t. Without feeling or really thinking I was managing 4 different therapy appointments, continuing exercises from therapies at home, homeschooling, not sleeping, not exercising, barely eating, forcing myself to get out of bed every day, and hating so so much of this so-called life. It sounds so cliché but I honestly had no idea was who this empty person was staring back at me in the mirror. I lived on coffee, Malbec, and Xanax. Now, I’m sure you’re reading this and expecting a big ‘Aha Moment’ to come next. Spoiler Alert: It does not.

I kept going. Full speed ahead with no gas. Or oil. At this point, I was out of windshield wiper fluid, but I kept going. Then, the breakdown happened. You have to know that for the entirety of my mothering, so 3 years and 1.5 months at this point, my anxiety was a like a purse. Sometimes I left it at home or in the car. Forgot I had it. Other times it was a small crossbody-there but not in the way. At this point, it was a huge tote bag filled to the brim, spilling out everywhere and so so heavy. Again, I kept going. *insert face-palm emoji*

Back to the breakdown, I’m not sure how it happened…what sparked it… how I got to that point of allowing myself to feel but I remember laying on our sofa talking to my husband and then all of a sudden thinking the roof was leaking. (You should know that it is late March and in 6 months we had a leak, our heat broke, I put a hole in the garage wall, our fridge went out and our microwave broke so, a roof leak was par for the course.) I looked up, no leak that I could see. “Why is my face wet?” I asked myself. Then, the scene from “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” happened in my living room and I said to myself, “I’m leaking!” Not crying because I don’t have time for that. I truly believed I was leaking. Sad, I know. Anyway, my heart came out of hibernation and reminded that I was, in fact, crying. Now everything from that moment to my husband carrying me upstairs shaking is a blur. I have no idea what took place but I know I emptied everything I’d been carrying in that anxiety bag. I also unloaded the depression suitcase that was way past any airline weight limit.

I remember feeling physically lighter the next day but started my day like I did any day before that. Very soon I knew that didn’t work. No one just drops 300 pounds and puts on their old clothes. So, when my oldest was in speech therapy, I threw my youngest in the stroller and did something I didn’t have time for before. I listened to “For The Love” podcast with Jen Hatmaker and her guest Glennon Doyle. You guys-those 2 changed the course of me finding me in a short 1ish hour. Glennon said, “When your done being perfect you can be good. And when you’re done being good, you can be free.”

*insert ‘Aha Moment’*

What a word that was??? Anyway, that was 3 months ago and I’ve been slowly finding my way to freedom since then. For me, freedom is:

  1. Not letting anxiety and depression win
  2. Finding my way back to happy, whatever that means
  3. Releasing the anger
  4. Accepting all the grace
  5. Giving myself and others grace
  6. Being the mom I want to be
  7. Getting to know the person looking back at me the mirror

I don’t have my list of what makes me happy complete. I know I like to exercise and I like to write. I love to read. So, I started reading again and I loved being filled with good things. I started exercising again and I love giving to me. I just started writing again and it felt good. I missed this and I missed you.

My Birth Story, squared. 

Alright Kiddos, settle in. 
Some of you remember my birth story with my oldest son, James. After reading this, you will truly understand how every birth is different. 

Let start from the top, shall we? My pregnancies were the same until 30 weeks and then this one went left. I had pain galore that, of course, I couldn’t do much about as it was intestinal (in opposition to the back pain and nausea I had with James). I was also way over pregnancy. Way. Over. 

Stupidly, I believed lies and utter deceit like “all second babies comes faster and have a shorter labor.” Lies and deceit I tell you. At 39 weeks, I hadn’t even dropped. No dilation was taking place and this kid was literally hugging my placenta with no intent to vacate. So, instead of being passive I did everything I could… everything…

-Massaging and diffusing Clary Sage Oil

-Walking

-Sex

-Squats

-Bouncing on that stupid ball

-Eggplant Parmesan 

-Pineapple (an entire produce lot)

-Spicy Food

-Castor Oil (3 disgusting doses)

And guess what I got? Nothing. A bunch of nothing…until…

Contractions!!!! Hard, fast and regular contractions. #babyontheway They lasted for an hour or two.  Then they went away…after I called my husband and called a sitter…just great. 

Then, much later that night, could it be? Would it be? Yes!!!! Sweet Lord, YES! More contractions. Consistent, close together (4 mins a part) contractions and I lost my mucus plug! Woohooo! My contractions were never that close with James so off to triage we went with hope and expectation in our hearts only to find out I was only 1.5 cm dilated. We walked like our lives depended on it for 2 hours. I even beared down and pushed with contractions and then… nothing. “No change unfortunately” according to the nurse. I’ve never felt defeat like that. I cried a quiet, whole-body-shake sob while my husband held me and told me it was going to be ok. I did get one victory out of that night-muscle relaxers because ain’t nobody got time for meaningless contractions. 

So, basically any time I moved contractions would ramp up in intensity and in quantity. If I laid on my side I could keep them 10-20 minutes apart. For 2 days this was my life. It was miserable. I was miserable. Fast forward to Christmas morning-a contraction woke me up at 6 a.m. that made me wake up my husband. Laying down couldn’t stop the contractions or keep them as far apart. Moving made them way more intense and close together. I laid down as much as I could. Around 7 p.m., they had a mind of their own. They just kept coming, anywhere from 4 to 15 minutes apart. Then, just one hour later, a contraction came that I couldn’t just breathe through and had to moan. Then, another one, same thing, except a gush of fluid I wasn’t familiar with came and kept coming. My water broke. 

My gut told me I need to leave now. With James, my water broke about 20 minutes before I was crowning and I live about 20 minutes from the hospital. My mind, always one for tricks, said “it’s ok. You’ve got time. You’ve got this.” I listened to my mind. 

10 minutes later when I couldn’t even walk because the contractions were so close together and I felt all the pressure, I listened to my gut. In the same 10 minutes, my husband somehow got James ready for bed and asleep as well himself dressed. Then, he got me dressed, gave the neighbors watching James (on the monitor) the run down and we were off. I couldn’t sit in the seat. I said to my husband, “Babe, turn on the hazards. This is your NASCAR moment.” I still don’t know how many lights he ran. 

As if that wasn’t enough, now, let’s cue in some drama. Again, contractions on contractions on contractions, y’all. I couldn’t walk so a nurse had to come get me in a wheel chair. I couldn’t talk. Just screams. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t focus. Then, she checked me and I was only 3.5 cm. Then, I could talk. “Give me IV drugs. I want the drugs!” 

Some minutes later, I’m in a room in L&D and get checked again, I’m 7.5-8 cm and wouldn’t ya know it, moving too fast to get drugs. Now, I move too fast??? 3 days of labor and now we move fast. So, naturally, I assume this is the end and I’m going to die. No one can make it through this. Something is gravely wrong the medical staff just hasn’t discovered it yet, I think. I felt like this was moving so quick to save it’s own life. Knowing my fate, I then throw up. Bless Nurse Chelsi who caught it just in the nick of time. 

PAUSE: Let’s talk about how I wanted this birth to be so freaking zen. I had my essential oils and diffuser packed, a wonderful playlist and my affirmations ready to go. I was going to be a happy patient the nurses delighted with. The one they didn’t have to worry about. Y’all…

PLAY: The nurse checks me again…”She’s at 9.5. Do you feel pressure, Tenikca?” That question was posed at the start of another 4-5 minute contraction. I wanted to say something really smart like “You can’t tell that I feel a lot of things right now with a freaking freight train moving at full speed through me?” but all I could get out was “WHY WONT IT STOP?” 
PAUSE: Can y’all imagine contractions lasting 4-5 minutes?? I can’t and I went through it. Also, they were literally off the charts. I knew death was chasing me and closing the gap. 

PLAY: Then I felt a different pressure. I’d already pushed 3 times without permission. The nurses said I could push with the next contraction, that, of course, was on the heels of the last one so I did and then HOLY RING OF FIRE!!! Somehow, because this contraction won’t stop neither do I and I keep pushing. Then, I push again. I feel like everyone is telling me to stop. They keep calling my name and trying to get me to look at them-the nurses, my husband, they are all trying to tell me to stop but there was no way. If I’m gonna die it needs to happen sooner rather than later, I thought. My husband gets my attention and says very clearly, “Pull him out!” Ohhhhhhh. That’s why everyone was calling my name. 

On Christmas night, at 9:54 p.m., less than 1 hour after we got to the hospital, less than 2 hours after my water broke, with ‘Make You Feel My Love’ playing, I delivered Jude Lawrence. 

Then, I engaged in casual banter with the nurses. I apologized. They were full of grace. The doctor doesn’t know it but we are homies. He was super cool and calm and was real “whatevs” but super professional and efficient at the same time. I saw him out of the corner of my eye during one of those “contractions” (we can all agree that what I endured should be called something else) and yelled, “I want to pull him out.” I’m pretty sure his response was “cool”. 

In case you were wondering, I didn’t die. Didn’t even come close. My health was actually stellar. We had another intimate birth-just me and The Mr. No one else’s opinions or interjections. We didn’t have as many tender moments as we did the first time around but there was a tether-an unearthly connection driving us to be far greater and endure far more than we ever imagined. It was almost visible it was so strong. Again, my birth coach surpassed all expectations and was a fabulous punching bag, literally. #clutch

That, my friends, was a merry Christmas night indeed.