Thursday, October 30, 2014

I wanted to tell my birth story on this special day. Even though it was only a year ago I feel like if I don't get it down now, I will forget. I never want to forget.

I went to a routine checkup on October 29th, 2013. During the checkup the nurse looked at me strange and asked if I felt anything? No. Are you sure? She said. I was confused and scared, I said yes why? She explained that I was already 3 cm dilated and was super surprised I hadn't felt not a thing. She let me know the baby was coming very soon and sent me home with pads to wear in the car incase my water broke.

That night I couldn't sleep. There was a constant ache that I didn't feel was strong enough to be a contraction, but strong enough to keep me awake. Around 1:30am I finally started to feel something that was a constant. I knew I was in labor, but I remember the midwife telling us to wait as long as possible at home. So I quietly slipped into the bathroom letting Ornan sleep and sat in the bathtub for another hour. When I got out, I woke him up and told him I was in labor. From that time to about 11:00am he and I walked back and forth down the hallway until I felt it was time to go in.

Before they let you in to Labor and Delivery they check you to make sure your really ready. The nurses left us in the room for a long period of time because I didn't look like I was in any visible pain. Finally she came and asked a bunch of questions and looked like she was ready to tell me I needed to wait longer before I could be admitted. She decided to use the machine to measure my contractions to double check. Her eyes opened in surprise and she said "Honey! Your five centimeters you need to go in now!"

When we did get admitted that staff ask me if I was sure I wanted to do a natural delivery. That I couldn't change my mind once I reached 6 cm. I said I was sure. I wanted to be able to eat, I wanted no drugs involved with the birth and I wasn't in much pain anyway. They looked at me like I was an alien and said "Okkkayyyyy". I progressed pretty quickly from that point to 8cm. During that time I was eating sandwiches, hospital meals, ice-cream, talking to Ornan, my sister and my mom. My water still hadn't broken. I remember they all called me an alien because I was still kicking back having normal conversations with them while I was 8cm dilated. I felt proud that I was really going through with the planned natural delivery.

At 8cm the nurses came in and told me that my water still hadn't broken and that was a problem. In order for Penelope to come my water needed to break. Did I want them to break it? I asked if there could be any harm done to her if they did. They said they didn't think so, but me and Ornan went online and checked. The information mostly said there could be harm done to the baby by manual breaking so I called the nurses in and said no. They told me I would for sure be dealing with these contraction for hours, well into the next day probably, it had already been 7 hours at this point. I said I didn't care, I read the information I'll wait it out.

Two more hours went by and I barely dilated any more. The nurses pleaded with me to consider letting them do it. By now it was close to 8pm and I was determined not to have Penelope on Halloween. She would NOT have to share a day. We called our class instructor who was a very experienced midwife. She let us know that if she was already positioned with her head down it would be fine. I asked the staff to get me a machine to check. In the meantime I walked around to get her positioned correctly. It was so painful, the pressure of walking was intense.

When they came back, they checked and said her head was where it should be. I let them break my water, and right before the nurse asked me..."You can still get the epidural are you SURE you don't want it". I said absolutely not. She told me to get ready. When they broke my water, I experienced pain like nothing I've ever felt or can describe. The only way I felt I could manage it was by sitting at the end of the bed. I felt like scratching my skin off, it was excruciating. The only thing that got me through it was the kind nurse who's voice kept me in the world of sanity. My mind was black and all I felt was pain, all I could hear was her voice.

What seemed like an eternity but apparently shortly after, I was ready to push. The nurse left me and I looked wildly around because I didn't know how I was going to be able to deal with these contractions myself. She came back with the lady to deliver Penelope and after a few good pushes she was already coming out. I was squatted holding a bar and Penelope's head was already crowning, I screamed to push. The nurse was trying to tell me to stop but I didn't hear her, she screamed at me and said "ELIZABETH DARK, LISTEN TO ME NOW!!"  I immediately came to at which she told me I had to stop pushing and sit on her head. I refused to sit on her head so I held myself up backwards on my hands and feet and watched nurses run frantically in to deliver her. It was so tiring to push and one nurse said, doesn't this feel better? I said hell no. 

Then Penelope came and all the pain vanished. They laid her on my chest and I was flabbergasted that she belong to me. This was a part of me, a beautiful being that was all mine. But then I heard "She's hemorrhaging, I need this and I need this!" I couldn't focus and I started crying. I was being poked with needles and prodded inside and people were running around. I thought to myself, God please don't let me die now. Not now that I have her. I asked if I was going to be ok. The nurse said yes. And I was. Only minor complications but totally worth it to have this beauty I get to call my daughter.

Penelope really is the light at the end of the tunnel. She is beautiful inside and out. She is loving, she is caring, so intelligent, so joyful, so curious. She is life and the beauty that God blesses you with. She is the smile that's on my face and the bags that are under my eyes. I wouldn't trade it for anything. All of the stretch marks, the complications, the hard days, the exhaustion is an incredibly small price to pay for this incredible human being. Baby girl I love you to the moon and back. Happy day peanut.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake. You can't learn anything from being perfect."
Adam Osbourne

You Can't Have It All
I remember I watched an interview of Kim Kardashian saying that she thinks it's ridiculous that women feel they can't have it all. A family, a job they love, a husband, a social life, a hot body...your sanity. I see where she's going with this. But the truth of the matter is, in order to be present in anything you need to be there 100%. In that moment, that hour, that day, you will not be able to give your attention to anything else. Something always suffers.

You Can Be Pro-Active About Your Calendar Though
Write down the roles that are important to you in life. For me one week might be: Mother, Wife, Self, Business Owner, Fitness Freak, College Student. Now write down what needs to be accomplished in a week for each role. For example: Mother | Pickup ingredients for Penelope's party, schedule doctor appointment, go to park twice, cut her nails, figure out and order Halloween costume. Do this for each role and look at the week ahead, start scheduling your week accordingly. HUGE people, huge.

Business Success Is Directly Related To Perseverance
If you are an NFL fan, after you read this please don't send me hate mail. Many people who have made it professionally aren't more talented, they just persevered. Business is the same. Doors will shut. People will say no. You'll make horrendous mistakes. You'll hate certain aspects of what you do. But if you know in your hearts of hearts this is where you need to be at and what you need to be doing, then quitters never prosper.

Know When To Cut Ties
If your subconscious is screaming at you daily "I do not like any aspect of what I'm doing!!!". Listen. 

Passion Is Overrated 
I feel a little robbed here. After reading all of this material on how you need to be passionate about what you do. There's so much pressure on this word passion, that I don't think anyone pauses to tell you that it's ok to not be passionate about every aspect of what you do. Like I don't think the guy who opened up BP Oil passionately loves oil. I don't believe he wants to make out with it. But he loves business, he loves and is passionate about certain aspects. And that's realistic. It's realistic to say I love, love, love giving people beautiful things but I absolutely hate designing graphics and doing photo shoots. The success lies in knowing that is simply part of the job. Not passion.

A Goal And A Plan Are Essential
You wouldn't go on a trip without mapping your goal destination and the details of how you will get there. The same goes for business.

Take Time, Details Make Or Break You
When you have an idea that's obviously going to be successful because it's your idea and it's awesome (cue insanely biased arrogant emoji here). Pause. Check the market. Is there a need? Do you have a niche? If so, great. Now be prepared to take as much time as you need to perfect your craft. First impressions are everything. People notice things like pretty signatures, nice paper, great graphics and photography.

You Will Never Get Anywhere By Yourself
You need people. To inspire, to motivate, to broadcast, to team up with. Our planet was built on the premises of teamwork. It doesn't matter how skilled and awesome you are, other people are essential to success. Cultivate true friendships and mentorship, people know when your in it for the wrong reasons. Being interpersonal is an absolute necessity. If you don't work well with people, seriously reconsider being an entrepreneur. 

I've ran Indulgera for a little over two years now completely by myself. With my own funds and hours and hours of Googling and Youtubing. Teaching myself how to create graphics, run marketing campaigns, photography, editing, bookkeeping, name it, I learned it. I'm really proud of how much I accomplished with knowing zilch. The time has come to close because simply my entire heart is not in it and it's not profitable. Nothing lures me out of bed each day to do the work. I think when I realized I was dreading the things I enjoyed doing a year ago I had to look at the situation. But what valuable things this business has taught me not just about the business world, but about myself? I will be forever grateful for the people I met and the things I learned. And this is definitely not the last of me in the entrepreneur world, but I'll keep you posted on that. :)

I hope these lessons helped you and before Indulgera closes, I'm running a 50% off sale the entire store. Stock up quick, inventory is getting low!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

I think any stay at home parent (S.A.M.) can attest to the fact that it seems our lives can become one big blur of cleaning. And yet somehow, our home seems to never be clean. We can blame our little buggers for this, especially when they are at the Penelope's age of rampaging every nook in our home. Add to that the dirty dishes, the messy bedrooms, the never ending loads of laundry.

I've developed a routine that works really well for me. It's quick, it's easy and it's not OCD. This means that my house isn't spotless and that's because people actually live here and enjoy ourselves. But it will be clean and visually appealing with no strange smells permeating our furniture. Cue the nose pinching emoji.

  • After breakfast, keep an empty kitchen sink (load the dishwasher and wash your pots)
  • Wipe down counters and stove
  • Throw a load of laundry in the washer
  • Take a minute and clear out the dining table. Loose clutter is not allowed here!
  • Make the bed
  • Throw clothes that need to be folded/put away on your bed
  • Spend 15 minutes only picking up everything your child rampaged.
  • Load any more dishes into dishwasher
  • Throw washed clothes into dryer
  • Load remaining dishes and run dishwasher
  • Wipe down counters
  • Put away clothes on bed
  • Do a 15 minute only pick up of whatever you can get to
Pick one major chore to do each day. For example:

Monday - Vacuum
Tuesday - Sweep and mop all rooms
Wednesday - Clean bathroom #1
Thursday - Organize and wipe down desk
Friday - Dust
Saturday - Wipe down microwave
Sunday - Off

The key to the 15 minute pickup is that I don't think anyone realizes how much you can actually accomplish in 15 minutes. When you are only picking up/organizing. Another great thing about this is it puts into perspective how little time you actually have to spend cleaning.

It's important for me to keep a tidy home since this is my "workplace". It's where I raise my daughter and it's also where I run my business. A messy home starts leaking into every other area of your life. With these tips you will always keep a tidy home, but still make sure that you are living and enjoying rather then constantly running around picking up after everyone.

Let me know if you tried it and how it worked for you!


Friday, October 17, 2014

Fitness is really important to me for obvious reasons but also because it just makes me feel better. It gives me more energy, I feel more confident, I'm doing something for myself and I can be alone in my thought for 1.5 hours.

I am currently on my second month of consistently working out. The first month I started with three days a week. This month I upped it to four. And I switch up from core and leg/butt days  to core/back/arm days. I also do 12 minutes of cardio before my workout and 12 minutes of cardio when I'm finished.

Since today was an arm day I wanted to share with you a typical workout for me and some pictures to help you out.

12 Minutes Cardio: 1 minute warm-up, 11 minute jog
Arm/Back: 10 reps and 3 sets of opposite arm superman
image via ourbodybook

Arm/Back: 10 reps and 3 sets of opposite arm extensions
image via popsugar

Core/Back/Arm: 1 minute, 3 sets of plank rows
image via popsugar

Core/Arm/Legs: 10 Reps 3 sets of 5lbs of bosu ball shoulder press
Core/Arms/Legs: 10 reps 3 sets of 5lbs of bicep curl on bosu ball
image via women's fitness

Core/Arms/Back: 10 reps 3 sets of seated row
image via womens fitness

12 minutes cardio: 11 minute elliptical, 1 minute cooldown

And that my friends is one of my arm workouts that I do. But always make sure to switch up your exercises to keep your body guessing. The reason you plateau is due to doing the same things repeatedly. Switch up your cardio workouts and also your strength training.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Glitter Frame DIY

With Penelope's first birthday party being right around the corner, I think back and I'm really glad I did things to prepare throughout previous months. This was the first project I took on and my plan is to use these frames for the sweets and hot dog table.

I am a huge fan of gold and I'm not going to lie when I say my inner five year old gleefully sprinkled glitter all over these frames. This project is super simple and super cheap.

Step 1. Doing one side at a time, paint the frame with glitter glue.
Step 2. Sprinkle loose glitter over wet glue and let sit for a minute.
Step 3. Shake it off and repeat!

In the middle of the glitter process, I used a trash bag to catch all the access.

After the frame is all dried and finished


Friday, October 3, 2014

Every Mom says over and over..."I just can't believe how fast this year has gone!" I am no different people, no different. 

This past month she's really started to show signs of new emerging personality traits. I've noticed instead of running off to go play at a daycare, now she'll cling on to me for a bit and she likes me to drop her off in the midst of all the children.

She's babbling. Full on grabbing a book and sitting content for 15 minutes pointing at pictures and "reading" her bookie. She has her three favorite books that we read to her every night before bed. She has just recently started learning again how to fall asleep on her own in her crib.

She loooves to play hide and seek. Disappear behind something and pop up with a massive smile on her face. In the morning when she wakes up I throw her on my bed and we chat and play for awhile before breakfast. Then we eat our scrambled eggs with feta and fruit together. Who am I kidding, she is obsessed with eggs and will take that over pretty much anything now. 

She has started waving hello and bye bye and giving kisses freely. Just like momma, when she gives a kiss she makes the loud mmmmm...MAH noise. The cutest. She throws away her own diapers and as it turns out is trained so well she throws away other kids diapers. *Head smack* 

She knows what turn the page of her books is and she is a dancing queen. Like no kidding. Turn on the music and instantly she's bobbing her head in her highchair. And if she's free of her highchair. She's doing something that looks like a painfully low squat and jumping back up...then falling over.

Her laughter is unreal. It's angelic and it's often. Such a blessing to hear it as much as I do. She got these adorable little nugget teeth. A whopping eight right now and she feels very responsible when I say "brush your teeth". Her look immediately turns serious and she brushes. 

Penelope has been dubbed as the bottle bandit. She believes that all baby bottles are communal and should be shared upon request. If the unfortunate baby does not want to share their bottle, she is confused and then frustrated. Hence carrying around a ridiculous back breaking amount of bottles in the diaper bag is necessary.

She's not into toys. She likes cabinets. And people and books pulling things out of drawers. When you put her on grass she immediately jets off into nowhere land. Did I mention she is jumping? Like feet leave the floor jumping. 

11 months is just one away from 12 and though it's bittersweet, I am so thankful I payed mind to all the advice I got to cherish it. I have so many beautiful memories and pictures with her. And I'm looking forward to seeing this little human she develops into.