You Are Why

Feb
2015
23

posted by on event, Mommy Blogger, womans day magazine

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The month of February has been an amazing whirlwind of events all to raise awareness for Heart Disease, which remains the number 1 killer of women. In fact, it kills more women than all cancers combined. 

 This month kicked off with a bang, in the form of a Kansas City Star article and Billboard!!! I shared my story of weightloss and how important it is to know your blood pressure numbers. A huge thank you to the Kansas City American Heart Association for featuring me on billboards in the city, it’s been a true honor.

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It was then time for the Red Dress Dash! A fun dash in red and the annual free event to help spread the word and raise money! Most everyone was in a red dress (including some guys)!

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After the dash, I packed my bags and headed for New York for the Woman’s Day Magazine Red Dress Awards – red carpet and all!

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The night was filled of catching up with friends



making new friends (like Andy Cohen from Bravo) 

and amazing performances from music ledgend Elvis Costello.





Most importantly, celebrating women who are making tremendous strides in fighting heart disease

Maybe the story that stuck with me the most at the awards, was of the woman who had a heart attack at a young age. After sharing her story of recovery and survival, she called on all the women in the audience to take time for themselves. To reduce stress and realize how important it is to take care of themselves, so they can take care of everything else. As a Mom, I think we all know what it is to put ourself on the back burner. As much as I am guilty of that, I am realizing how important my health (mental and physical) is not only for me, but for my family.

With that in mind, I have made yoga an everyday part of my life. Not a long, strenuous workout, but a short 10-15minutes in the morning or evening. YouTube has been a great place to find quick workouts. It is not the only thing you can do or the only factor in prevention, but it is my small step to taking better care of myself.

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hile in New York, we stayed at a wonderful hotel ( The Row NYC) that has great views of time square.

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We walked (and walked more) in Time Square.  I don’t think I you can get much more tourist like than a horse and carriage in Central Park or ice skating at Rockefeller Center.

It was such a great time and I was able to relax and take a little break from the my 3 loves. There is definitely something to be said for small vacations and reducing stress. 

 Back in KC, I volunteered for the annual Heart & Stroke Ball. Silent auction, dinner, inspiring stories of survival and dancing! 

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I couldn’t be more proud to be a Go Red for Women Ambassador and to be living in a city that does such for the cause. To learn your risk factors or see how you can get involved, visit The American Heart Association

 Take a second to learn more, because #LifeisWhy and #YouAreWhy 

Love, again.

Jan
2015
13

posted by on Dating, Love, Single mom

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The outpouring of encouragement from family, friends, Instagram followers and complete strangers has been amazing! It seems once most people find out about my divorce, they offer advice. To my surprise, almost all of the advice and words of comfort end with a story of how they found love, again.
After such pain that a divorce brings, it gives me hope to hear such wonderful stories of new love.

Finding love, again, will be a feat. There isn’t a lot of time for dating. The single Mom thing is no joke. Seriously. For real. In a 24 hour period, there is the following: breakfast, school for 2, home with 1, lunch, occasional TV appearance, work (before 2:30pm). School pick up, basketball practice pick up (maybe a team dinner or game), volleyball practice, dinner, a work out if I can manage to fit it in, homework, baths, bedtime routine (we all know takes a while). Which brings us to the weekends that include tournaments, volleyball games, working a second job, birthday parties and I’m sure there’s more I’m leaving out. Yes, there are visits from Dad, but not more than a few hours at a time and never overnight, so it is basically all me and some help from my wonderful parents. That list is not a complaint, because I wouldn’t trade the fleeting time with my kids for anything in the world (a night or two off would be fantastic)!

Anyway, my point is that a new love would have to understand that I am crazy busy. Busier than a “regular person because I run my own business. Crazier than most because I think I can have it all. Along with understanding that my children come first. Always have (which I am sure contributed to the end of my marriage) and they always will. I know, some will tell me that there are flaws in my plan, but I don’t care. My kids first, I’m not changing that.
He will also have to be okay with me blogging about him (us). I mean, I write about teeth whitening and Legoland, so believe me, I’m going to want to blog all about a new love!

I recently read an article that included 18 things to look for in a boyfriend for an alpha female. It pretty much summed up the guy I’m looking for, other than the fact that I’m almost 40 and I think I’m too old for a “boyfriend” (which is a blog for a future date). It got my wheels spinning and thinking that maybe such a man exists.

Love, again. Just may be a real thing.
(I really hope so).

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posted by on holiday

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It. Is. Done. The holiday season is officially behind me and the first as a divorced Mom of 3.
Let’s start with Thanksgiving. The simple truth is that it was different. For 11 years, I was married to a chef, so I was usually in charge table scapes, decorating and cleaning for our guest. Now, I was in charge of the same, but added cooking to that. Ha! Luckily, my Dad made the turkey and my Mom her wonderful dressing and Mac & cheese, which only left me with a few sides and a ham. That, I could do, so cook I did. Never-mind that I was cleaning collard greens on my birthday (which was the least fun thing ever), but all the food turned out great.
My family and friends and truly wonderful and I think with all the fun games and people, the kids didn’t really notice anything was that different.

The next day, we put up the tree and that was a little yucky (no other appropriate word). Lots of questions of why Dad wasn’t coming to help with the lights and to decorate. I could only tell them the truth, which was he just wasn’t. The normal ornament breaking, fighting over space and reminiscing about how little they were in the baby’s first ornaments. The only thing that made me want to cry was packing away his personalized chef ornament to give to him for his own tree and not putting up our anniversary ornament. Not sure what I do with that now…

As the days to Christmas neared, we talked and debated a lot about if we should try to make Christmas as “normal” as possible or deal with our reality. I’m not sure either would be the right choice. The thought of time sharing my children on Christmas made so sad. In fact, typing those words makes my eyes water.
We talked about lists and who would buy what. We realized that we both had a pretty good amount of things for the kids, so it was decided that they would open gifts with me at home (like so many times before) and that he would not join us. We would then head to my parents house (like every year before) and have breakfast. He would then pick them up and take them to his house to open their gifts there. By some amazing Mom feat, I had convinced the children that opening gifts in several places was awesome (and not tragic).
Christmas morning came and they ripped through their gifts in 4 minutes flat, leaving the room covered in a sea a paper. They didn’t seem to notice that their Dad wasn’t there. To be honest, as long as they had gifts, I’m not sure they would’ve noticed if I was there.

The rest of the day went off without a hitch. They opened gifts in all 3 places, they loved them all, they were thrilled to see their Dad when he picked them up and showed him all their toys, they were beyond tired when we got home and all seems fine.
Other than my crazy Mom guilt of this being really my 4 year olds first real Christmas memory, I think they are okay.

We survived (I didn’t shed a tear). The not crying is a blog worthy in it’s self, especially since the voice in my head had to talk me off a ledge on Christmas Eve. Oh, and I cry about everything.

Now that is first season is behind us, it is my hope that it will be easier each year. I hope he finds true happiness and that we will all have very Merry Christmas’ from now on.

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posted by on activities, holiday

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This week the kids will be out of school for 2weeks (or forever) depending on how you plan.
This is a random list of suggestions of free fun/inexpensive activities you can do to keep them entertained. Some of them are KC specific, but I’m sure there are comparable places in your city.
Tops on my list is the enchanted forest at Sar-Ko Park in Lenexa, Kansas. It is beautiful. You can walk the trail around the lake to see the trees up close. There is also a playground, so take a couple of flashlights, because will want to play (even in the dark).

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Crown Center is a must do for the holiday season. Because it is, there are lots of people! Several free things to do: giant play structures in front, Santa pics, kalidescope, concerts in the food court and more. Visit Crown Center site for schedule of events.

Hit the library. Kansas City has really great libraries and each of them have children/teen activities on a weekly basis. You can get new books or check out DVDs. If your child is bored with your neighborhood library, try the plaza branch. They have weekly story time and crafts for all ages (even baby bounce story time). Full schedule of activities for the Plaza Library

Stay in and make salt dough. There are a ton of recipes online for home made play dough that I have failed at making (also see, I don’t have time for that). The easiest: equal parts flour/salt and half that amount in warm water. Easy, non-toxic and you probably have it in the kitchen already. You can treat it like clay and use cookie cutters to make ornaments. Pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds to dry and you can paint or use markers to color your ornaments.

Union Station is a beautiful place this time of year to take photos and walk around to see the decorations. Also coming for free is Thomas the Train! Click on the pic for details.

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I just discovered this fun tiny tot skating class offered by Skate City. It’s $5 for skates and an hour and a half of instruction and skating fun. They even get a snack! The instructor was great and in under an hour my little guy was skating without holding on the me. In Kansas, it’s offered at the Overland Park location at 9:30 Wednesday mornings.

Oak Park Mall has an indoor soft playground and carousel (that got a makeover and is reopening on 12/20/2014). You may spend some time finding a parking space with all the holiday shoppers, but let me tell you a secret- go early in the morning before the mall opens at 10. I have early risers and by 8:30 we are looking for something to do. Panera is open, so grab some coffee and let the kids play before the shopping rush. The only people around are the golden sneaker walkers! Same goes for any fast food play areas. Go for breakfast and connect to wifi while the kids play. You will usually have the place to yourself.

Our visit to Santa is usually at Bass Pro Shop. They have a fun winter wonderland full of free activities: letter wiring to Santa, remote control cars, dart games and trains. You can also see the giant fish tanks and stuffed animals.

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Did I miss one of your favorites? Comment below with your ideas!

posted by on holiday

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I like the idea of giving small(inexpensive) thoughtful gifts for 12 days. It’s a tradition that I do with the kids. They either get a small gift or we do an activity. I love this tradition and will continue it, but as they are growing, it’s important to teach how 1 random act of kindness could change a whole day. In addition to our 12 days of Christmas tradition, we will also do acts of kindness for the 12 days leading to Christmas.
Here’s a short list of things we plan to do:

1. Wrap Christmas gifts at an assisted living community. If you would like to do the same, call the Activity Director to schedule a time. Most are so excited that you are coming, they will supply the paper.

2. Buy and donated new hats, gloves and coats to the school clothing drive.

3. Donate to Harvesters.

4. Bake cookies for the teacher cookie exchange.

5. But walky-talkies to donate to Children’s Mercy Hospital. For the children who are not able to leave their rooms, they are given a walky-talky; which allows them to still play bingo and other games.

6. Write a letter to someone serving our Country.

7. Buy coffee for the person in line behind us. We have done this one several times and it is always fun! Sometimes it even starts a chain of giving.

8. Walk the dogs at the animal shelter.

9. Make bird feeders for the birds that are still around.

10. Make Christmas cards for the neighbors.

11. Shovel (if it snows) or clean off the driveway of our neighbors.

12. Make a build a bear and donate it to a child that has to spend Christmas in the hospital.

What acts of kindness could you do for 12 days?

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posted by on activities, event, holiday, Mommy Blogger, review

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Lego Land Discovery Center is all set for your visit during the holiday season. Including a photo opp with Lego Santa and his elf.

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When you arrive, the host will snap a few group photos and then send you up the elevator to see how Legos are made. You can see how much you weigh in Legos and grab your keepsake holiday lego. Head in and hop on the ride. It’s a slow moving adventure that gives you plenty of time to complete the obstacles and help save the princess.

Noah saving the Princess

Noah saving the Princess

In addition to all of the amazing Kansas City landmark models, there currently a Star Wars display and a winter items scavenger hunt.
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Spend as much time as you like in every area and go back to each as much as want. Be sure to catch the 4D movie (Legends of Chima).
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The newest feature is a Wizard of Oz wind machine that blows 78MPH!

Wind Blown!

Wind Blown!

So many fun things to do and a great way to spend the day over Christmas break. Lego Land is currently having it’s annual $35 pass sale. For more information on the sale or to reserve tickets, visit: Lego Land Discovery Center KC

posted by on event, review, Uncategorized

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I celebrated my birthday this past weekend with an amazing night out at Harrah’s Casino. It was a jammed packed night full of food, music and fun!

We started at 37 Steak. The food was amazing. We started with crab cakes and CANDY.BACON. I’m sure nothing else needs to be said.
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Before dinner was served, I watched the bar tender make a drink with a fire! It didn’t even have a name, she asked if I like orange and whipped up a yummy concoction.
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Dinner was served and by dinner, I mean a giant steak that Fred Flintstone would appreciate. It was delicious! I’ve been dreaming of it ever since. image

No birthday dinner is complete with cake and this was a layered chocolate cake with icing between the layers and then covered in chocolate fudge! It was chocolate heaven!
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As if the amazing dinner wasn’t enough of a celebration, we headed to ‘Stretch Out’ with Bootsy Collins in the Voodo Lounge. Great seats, but there isn’t a bad seat in the house. It’s an awesome venue to hear a live band. Bootsy put on an awesome show and after a few costume changes, he ended in an Alex Smith Chiefs jersey!
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After the most fun night of food and music, we retired to a junior suite and wow! Huge bed (four people could’ve fit), seating area with a pull out couch, swivel TV and a tub deep enough to take a swim. I really could’ve spent a week there and never left the grounds.
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It’s been 20 years since Harrah’s has been in the community and since 1994 and has donated more than $4.1 million to local charitable organizations.

It’s is an amazing place to have a weekend get away. Everything you could possibly want or need in one place. Girl’s weekend would be fun chance to hit the spa and the amazing buffet.

The other cool thing is that Harrah’s is a major supporter of Harvesters – The Community Food Network – and over the past 14 years has provided the equivalent of 206,358 meals for the area’s hungry via gifts of food, money and volunteer hours.

The next time you are thinking of a staycation, you could book a romm or just drop in for an amazing steak dinner at ’37 Steak.

*Disclosure: my dinner,room and concert were comped. All thoughts opinions and photos are mine. No one tells me what to say.*

posted by on review

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November is my birthday month! Yes, I celebrate all month (don’t judge me). The voice in my head says, that’s ridiculous and maybe it is, but then, great companies like a Simply Bridal send me gifts and I go back to my month long celebration!

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This Mesh Zippered Pouch is the perfect gift. $7.95 with free personalization, its black with polka dot trim and turquoise lettering. There are so many color\font options, that you can personalize it for that special person.  The pouch is see through, so makes a great travel bag for toiletries or make up.
Since you may not be celebrating your birthday month, it will be a great stocking stuffer!

Order at website
Connect with them on Facebook , Twitter or Pinterest

posted by on activities, Mommy Blogger, teens

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We have all seen them, coming to the door (usually not in costume) with pillow cases or paper bags. If you are anything like me, you are little annoyed. You say under your breath, they are too old and begrudgingly give them candy anyway.

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What you should know, is that he’s only 15 (even though he’s 6’2 with a size 15 shoe). You should know, that I probably bribed him to take his younger siblings. You should know, that he and his friends are good kids.  You should know, that they do know they’re too old.  Most importantly, you should know, that for 1 night, he decided to be a kid again.

Let Him.

Soon enough the teens will face all the stuff that comes with being an adult and we all know there is no reason in the world to rush to that. Give them a big candy bar, smile and tell them to have fun!

posted by on Mommy Blogger

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I am so excited, I mean, seriously, I feel like I’m having another baby! I have my hands full with the 3 I have, so thank the heavens you are having one. I can’t wait to smell him and kiss his neck and all that yummy stuff you get to do with new babies.

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Me, niece Andrea and niece Jenene

Here is my random unsolicited advice:
1. You are awesome and all the qualities that make you that way, will make you an awesome Mom. There will be plenty of days you question why on earth you thought you could be a parent, we all do. You can do it and you will be great.

2. Don’t worry about “body after baby”. Do not read which celeb got their prebaby body back in 2 weeks. Its bull shit and doesn’t matter. Yes, eat well and go for walks when you are able. Your body completely changes (even if you lose all the weight) and it is fine. The miracle your body performs is an act of God and you may have some stretch marks to remind you of that.

3. Feed your kid however you see fit. Yep, thousands of reasons to breast feed, but if you can’t it is not the end of the world. Don’t let anyone judge you for your choice (coming from a Mom who breastfeed her daughter until until she was 3 and was judged anyway, so do what you want)!

4. Some days will be better than others, the bad days will pass.

5. You are going to be tired. There should really be another word because tired does not do the sleep deprivation justice. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but it never ends. Yes eventually they will sleep through the night,but you will have nights you are up because they are sick or they are teens and you are waiting for them to get home. Tired is forever, learn to function on tired.

6. You are the Mama! No one can tell you what is best or working for you and your baby. Not the husband, not the pediatrician, not the grand ma or the know it all Aunt! Listen to your gut. You will never be wrong going with what is best for your baby.

7. Make an email address for baby A. Anytime you want to remember something or he reaches a milestone, send him an email. Much easier than a baby book.

8. Don’t forget about your husband, hard to do. There will be times the baby will have to come first, but try to keep him in the loop!

Now, go to sleep and sleep as much as you can until your water breaks! I love your face.
Aunt Miki