25 days…

Counting days25 days until my due date.

I’ve experienced:
36.3 weeks of pregnancy
8.4 months of pregnancy
253.9 days of pregnancy
6094 hours of pregnancy
365650 minutes of pregnancy

But who’s counting?

My body aches. This kid’s foot seems permanently wedged under my lowest right rib. I struggle to sleep at night. I struggle to wake up in the morning.

I am tired.

And when the baby arrives, it doesn’t get any easier. Constant breastfeeding. Sleepless nights. Crying, wailing, screaming.

I am looking forward to it!

I will miss what I have with Jimmy– this one on one. But I look forward to expanding our family and giving Jimmy a brother.

Please please please let everything be okay. Healthy baby. Healthy me. I only have 25 days left to go!

100 Miles on Bike

elvis bikeIt was a couple weeks ago we visited family in Wildwood. Uncle Kevin’s wife’s brother’s wife was also visiting and was in the midst of training for a triathlon. The one day she said that she would be biking 100 miles.

“That must take a couple days to complete.” I thought.

Well she woke up the next morning and biked the 100 miles. She was back before noon. Once home, she grabbed a bottle of gatorade and headed out the door to run 5 miles.

This totally blew my mind. BLEW MY MIND!

The thought of biking 100 miles… and doing it within a few hours and then taking off and RUNNING 5 miles?!?

It made me think, what else am I underestimating? What else am I convinced is impossible, but isn’t? What am I closed to? What other limiting beliefs do I hold?

Ultimately it comes to mindset– am I abundance-minded or scarcity-minded?

I know I am clinging to limiting thoughts that are keeping me back… but how do I identify them and change?

I have often said to my husband, “I don’t know where they find the time to train for these fitness competitions… it’s not even their fitness level that impresses me as much as they have the time to train! Me? I work my ass off all the time and if I’m not doing that, I’m caring for Jimmy and life. I can barely find the time to shower much less find time to run 25 miles.” Of course, I’m beginning to realize it doesn’t take two days to run 25 miles as I assumed.

Replaying this conversation in my head, I sound like stupid Archie Bunker. Here’s the thing, it’s not about fitness competitions or the time it takes to train. Am I simply convinced that I need to work as much as I do? Is it more in my head than in true workload? Am I choosing to be overly busy? Truthfully, I really do feel as if I take my eye away from the ball my empire will crash to the ground around me.

I don’t know. I feel there is something here… a wall that needs to come down in my brain. A wall that is keeping me from pushing ahead and accomplishing more.

Hey there!

elvis familyI figured I should pop in and post something. I can’t let more than seven months go by without a peep… well I could but I won’t.

I do have some good news… I am pregnant with another son. Yup. My due date is August 25th. I often find myself just wondering how the heck I got here. Never in a million years did I think I would ever get married or have kids.

This video pretty much sums of how I’ve felt the last 4 years:

Married life is awesome. Business is good. Just found out I was quoted in the London Times last week. Funny how things like that can get past you. We hired a nanny to take care of Jimmy. This lets me work but still be there for him. I think we’ve decided on the baby’s name: Joseph Edward. And rather than call him Joe, we’ll call him Jed. My parents’ neighbor’s son had a pug dog named Ted and my dad thought Ted was just the greatest name. Jed is really close to Ted so I figure my dad would approve.

Gosh, this personal blogging thing feels weird to me– I am really rusty! Was there truly a time when I put it all out there? Yeah, there was.

Well, that’s it for now. Perhaps I’ll pop in again. Hopefully with good news about Jed.

New Year’s Resolutions 2015

It’s wonderful to be in a good place. For years I struggled and for years I lived a life that wasn’t anything close to what I wanted to be living. Finally, I am where I always wanted to be. And it’s scary because there’s this lurking feeling that everything could just go away. As wonderful as life is, it feels tethered to me by a very thin thread.

And now I cast my thoughts ahead to the new year before me. What do I want to be? What do I want to do? What do I want to accomplish?

It was 2 years ago, I went through my past resolutions and found to my utter amazement that for the last decade all my resolutions were pretty much the same. I wonder if it was that realization that helped me take control and steer my life onto course? Perhaps. Maybe I was just ready for it.

The last few weeks I’ve been thinking about resolutions for 2015. This is what I came up with:

1. Create Experiences. Have Adventures. Make Memories.
I look back to when I was a little girl and it was the crazy adventures that stick out and make me smile. My father was always taking us on wild goose chases. We didn’t just go out for pizza, we dedicated ourselves to finding the best pizza. It wasn’t just a vacation to Nashville, we went searching for Dolly Parton. And that Christmas I asked for snow? My dad got us in the car and we drove north until we hit snow. I want to create those crazy experiences for Jimmy, Emily and Meghan. I want to be able to forget work, forget business, and have fun as a family. I want to create memories. And it’s not about traveling to exotic locations. We don’t have to go far. We just need to get out and do something different.

2. Stretch and Move
I’m 40. I can’t believe it either. My body doesn’t feel superhuman anymore. I am constantly tired. And I recently purchased the Note 4 and it comes with a pedometer built in… and apparently according to this pedometer, I might as well be an invalid. I simply don’t move enough.

I can’t go to the gym. There’s simply not enough time in the day. The one thing I can do is stretch and take walks. In the morning, get on the floor and stretch out. At noon, go for a quick walk. After dinner, take a walk. It’s possible. I can do it.

3. Drink only on weekends.
I was never a drinker. I could go weeks without having an alcoholic beverage. It didn’t call me. But then my dad died and I found myself alone and I sought solace in episodes of La Femme Nikita and bottles of 3 Buck Chuck. I wasn’t a drunk and I rarely got drunk but I drank for comfort and relaxation and I realize now it wasn’t healthy. Even after life got better for me, I continued to drink a glass of red wine at night. But it wasn’t just a glass. It was a couple glasses. I married an Irishmen and together we finish a bottle of wine a night. I am tired of it. It’s added calories I don’t need. It gets me tired before I really should be tired. It makes me feel swollen. I am done with it. I am not saying I will never drink again but I would like to have days pass by where I don’t drink a thing. I also don’t want our girls to think that drinking is normal and something that all adults do.

I have decided to cut back on my drinking. No more wine or beer during the week and only in moderation on the weekends.

4. Read books, Ditch Facebook
I made this resolution last year but didn’t keep it. Perhaps this year I will do better. I want to read books. I want to stop endlessly scrolling down the newsfeed on Facebook, getting nothing in return for my time and energy. I want to read books about successful people, awesome business concepts, new ways of thinking about the world, personal development, etc… I want to know that at the end of the day, I am a little smarter than I was the day before.

Jeden Tag ein bisschen besser

5. Think like Walter Bond
I feel like I have one more resolution inside of me. It’s somewhat nebulous. Two years ago I saw Walter Bond speak. It was a moving experience.

Here are just a few of his soundbites I recorded:

  • All ‘buts’ stink
  • Get bigger stronger faster. Commit to change. And believe! Change your clients’ perspective.
  • To be successful… Carve out a niche! And own it! What is your niche? Do you own it?
  • Research people! Find inside connections. Make people feel important.
  • Always look like success! Always look like money! People place value on you.
  • Do you brighten up a room when you enter. .. or when you leave?
  • Do people like you? LIKEABILITY is the biggest secret! It’s not your content, it’s your smile
  • Stop selling products, start selling hopes and dreams!
  • Want to make more money? Change your friends. Your salary is the average of your 5 closest friends
  • Making money is easy!
  • To be successful in business, turn off the news!

Ever since I heard him speak, his words ring in my ears and I am trying to commit the concepts into my daily life. It’s not nearly as easy as one would suspect. But I am trying and I suppose that’s what this resolution is about– to stop trying and just do it already.

2015

And that it’s for 2015…. 5 resolutions for change. I can do it.

New Year’s Resolutions 2014 Revisited

I don’t write much these days; it’s hard being wife, mom, stepmom, business owner, and lazy person. With the new year upon us, it’s time to revisit my past New Year’s resolutions— and it’s one thing I won’t put off.

How I did

1. Stop investing so much time into Facebook. Instead, read more books.

FAILURE. I continue to invest entirely too much time into Facebook. It’s lost time because I get very little useful information from it. I liken my usage of Facebook to video games or playing solitaire. It’s a way to pass time in an unproductive manner.

I wanted to replace my Facebook addiction with reading. I purchased a slew of e-books but I didn’t click a single one open. FAILURE. I think the reason I failed is Facebook is so easy to dive in. It requires so very little brainpower. And because I do have friends there, I feel a warm and fuzzy connection when I use it.

2. Get this new house livable OR find a new house to buy

SUCCESS! It was right around the last new year when I realized the house we were living in was never going to work for us and the only thing to do was sell it and buy a new one. I remember Eddie had some friends over and his youngest daughter had a friend over and with the house teeming with an extra 3 people, I found that the only place I could go was our bedroom with little Jimmy.

Sitting there because there was simply no other place for me, I became determined to find a new home. I opened up Trulia and found a listing for a house in the development across from where we were living. The next day we went to the Open House and fell in love with it. The house had everything we wanted: 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, an office, and a basement (with a bar!). The only thing we needed to do was sell my condo.

The very next day I called my Realtor with the intention of firing her. Just as I was about to say, “Lynne, you have failed me for the last time..” she said, “Donna I found a cash buyer for your property!” Lynne still failed me because it was a low ball offer that I was pretty much forced to accept but at least I got rid of it. Lynne was a double agent and collected a huge commission for basically doing nothing and then she came after me to pay her an additional 125.00 for some stilly document printing fee. Unbelievable, right?

So anyway, we put an offer on the new house and by April it was ours and we moved in in May. We replaced the carpets and painted. We love living here. There’s room for all of us.

house

3. In terms of work, I want to spend as much time with Jimmy as possible.

SUCCESS! I wasn’t quite sure what was going to happen after I gave birth. I own a business and have always been the one driving the ship. Luckily, one of my vendors stepped up and kept the ship moving forward as I took a 4 month maternity leave.

Around March I began working again. My mom said she would watch Jimmy. At first it didn’t quite work because my mom couldn’t understand that arriving at my house at 11 and leaving at 3 wasn’t putting in a full day. Eventually I realized that I could work at her house which allowed me to set the schedule. As I work in my dad’s old office, my mom is downstairs with Jimmy. When Jimmy wants to see me, he just drags his g-ma up the stairs. And when I want to see him, I venture down.

It works out really well although I realize that this can’t go on forever and I am going to have to relieve my mom. She’s getting old and I know this is hard on her. I will have to find a babysitter or a daycare facility soon.

4. Get back to my old size.

PARTIAL FAILURE. When I made the resolution to get back to my old size, I was about 40 lbs heavier than my old size. I took 20 lbs off pretty easily. Even though I have another 20 lbs to go, I really doubt I can get back to my old size.

I am beginning to realize that wasn’t a natural or healthy weight. I maintained that weight because all I ate was triscuits, pickles, cottage cheese, and wine. Being a wife and mom, I cook dinner almost every night and I partake in real food.

I believe I can probably get down 10lbs which will get me close to my old weight and into my old wardrobe but without the starvation. The thing is, I don’t think I will be able to hit that goal for at least a year.

And so….?

It was a good year. Hell, it was a GREAT year! 2014 was the year I lived the life I always wanted to live. It was the life that eluded me for years. Wife, mother, business owner. The good news is, it was everything I had hoped and believed it would be. I love being a wife. I love being a mother. I look forward to 2015.

Lullaby, Little Jimmy

Elvis lullabyYou are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

The other night dear, as I lay sleepin’
I dreamed, I held you in my arms
When I awoke dear, I was mistaken
So I hung my head and I cry

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

You told me once dear, you really loved me
And no one else could come between
But now you’ve left me and you love another
And you have shattered all my dreams

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away

I’ll always love you and make you happy
If you will only say the same
But if you leave me to love another
But you’ll regret it all some day

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
You make me happy when skies are grey
You’ll never know dear, how much I love you
Please don’t take my sunshine away
Please don’t take my sunshine away






Pack up all my cares and woe, here I go, singing low
Bye bye blackbird
Where somebody waits for me, sugar is sweet and so is he
Bye bye blackbird

No one here can love and understand me
Oh, what hard-luck stories they all hand me
So make my bed, light the light, I’ll arrive late tonight
Blackbird, bye bye

I’m gonna pack up all my cares and woe, here I go, singing low
Bye bye blackbird
Where somebody waits for me, sugar’s sweet and so is he
Bye bye blackbird

No one here can love and understand me
Oh, what hard-luck stories they all hand me
So make my bed, light the light, I’ll arrive late tonight
Blackbird, bye bye

Bo Bo Black Sheep

Elvis and dogMr. Bo isn’t doing too well. He fell down the stairs the other day and now his knee cap keeps popping out. My sister seems to think that he’s on his way out.

Since Jimmy was born, Bo hasn’t been much in my thoughts. He’s underfoot when I’m at my mom’s house and I ignore him as I dote on Jimmy.

Each time Lisa tells me how Bo is just creeping along, I can’t help think of my dad. It was just a few months prior to his own death my father confided in me that he hated to see Bo get old and eventually die. “Chins live only 10 years on average and Bo is 8 years now. I can’t imagine him not in our lives, that silly dog.”

And then just a few months later, my dad keeled over dead. Bo outlasted him.

Lisa picked Bo. It was between Bo and his lemon colored brother. Bo won because he snuggled into her chest and looked up at her adoringly. It also helped that he had the cutest little snot bubbles protruding from his nose that made Lisa giggle.

Bo sat on my lap as Lisa drove the 3 hours home. Holding that little pup, he fit in the palm of my right hand; I just kept thinking, “I will make sure you are safe and well-cared for… you will live a good life, little puppy.”

I can proudly say that I kept my word.

Bo isn’t gone yet and I absolutely hope he is on the mend and not going anywhere for quite sometime. He is a good, silly dog.

Mr Bo, the best Japanese Chin

7 Months & Life Goes On

Elvis is bored by meMy son is ALMOST 7-months-old. It’s funny how time passes. For so long he seemed stuck in development. Nothing more than a slightly animated face. I think it was around month 4 that things started to change. He began to react more and he sat up on his own. Today, he’s trying his darnedest to crawl and I have no doubt in a few weeks he will definitely be mobile.

He is such a happy baby. He’s always smiling and giggling. I dance around with him in my arms and he throws his head back and laughs. Does he sleep through the night? Sometimes. And when he does it’s a beautiful thing. More often than not he will either wake up at 1:30 or 4:00 am. At 1:30, I try to rock him back to sleep and return him to his crib. At 4am I bring him into bed with me. He snuggles in and falls fast asleep. I don’t sleep but instead I stare at him, feeling grateful. For the longest time I fought bringing him into our bed. But then I remembered how I felt as a little girl, when my mother embraced me. It was so comforting and I felt safe and loved. I want Jimmy to feel all those things. And so, I let him snuggle in.

It was end of April that we moved into our new home. It was beginning of May that I asked our realtor to put Eddie’s old house up for sale. I had such a feeling that it would take months and months before we’d find an interested buyer. Especially since my gorgeous condo languished on the market for months and months. What chance would Eddie’s fixer upper that was never fixed up have? Within 5 days our realtor found a buyer. Twenty days after that we closed the deal and walked away with just one mortgage. Talk about blessed!

I feel like we are finally in the swing of things here. The house is painted and carpeted. Jimmy is baptized. All the things we were trying to get done are done. I think I am ready to start at a gym. I want to do some aerobic exercise to clear my mind and get myself back into some sort of shape. I am only about 15 pounds away from my goal weight. Yes, I do curse all the mint chocolate ice cream I indulged in during pregnancy. Whatever. It is what it is. I’ve lost weight before, I can do it again.

What else? I don’t know. Things are just swell. It’s wonderful. I am living my dream.

Donna Villa Sold

As of March 28, 2014, the Donna Villa is no longer mine. Sold it to a couple who plans on renting it for two years and then giving it to the man’s mother to live out her years.

It was almost exactly 10 years ago that I bought it. I was so proud. I did it totally on my own without anyone’s help. Except the hallway floor. My father thought the parquet floor was so atrocious he told me that he would buy me nice linoleum tile. And he did.

Walking through the house the last time, I remembered walking through it the first time. I loved it. Yes, it was garishly painted and filled with stacks of newspapers and crates of soda but I saw through it. I knew it was my house. I called my father to come and check it out. He looked it over and said it looked like a cottage. He liked it too.

At settlement, the seller told me it was a happy house. It was a happy house and a happy home. My initial plan was to live there for 5 years. I figured that by age 34, I’d have definitely met my husband and would be ready to move out to start a family. That didn’t happen. I was off by 5 years.

I look back and I have to admit, I don’t immediately remember the happy times. I remember turning off the ringer on the phone because of Rob’s insistence and missing all the phone calls through the night from my sister trying to get me to the house to deal with my dad who eventually died the next morning. I remember lying in the fetal position in the bathroom after another breakup, crying. I remember all the nights I watched La Femme Nikita, drinking Three Buck Chuck, feeling hopeless.

And in 1 year, my life changed. I met Eddie. I moved into Eddie’s place. We got married. We had Jimmy.

Then in January I decided to check the real estate listings to see if there was a better home for us. And I found it. We went to the Open House the next day and fell in love with it.

Oddly enough, it looks a lot like the Donna Villa. Just bigger.

The Donna Villa was still on the market after 6 months. We couldn’t put in an offer on the new house. I decided to fire my real estate agent and hire someone who could get it done. I called Lynne and before I could say, “You’re fired!” she said, “I have a cash buyer! You’ll have an offer in the morning!”

Talk about perfect timing.

Next Friday is settlement on the new house. I can’t wait. Can’t wait to make it our home. I look forward to giving Jimmy a good, happy place to live.

Even though I moved out of the Donna Villa months ago, signing the paperwork, finalizing the sale, felt like the end of a chapter in my life. I am happy.