Welcome To Miami

Well as promised here is my recap of an amazing girls trip.  I have been to Miami several times and not once have I ever had a bad time.  Let ms say that fun was had by all.  We went to celebrate my friend Cheryl’s 37th birthday. I think she had a good birthday.  Shout out to the friends who weren’t able to make it this time, I am sure there will be other opportunities.  You were missed!

So I wont detail every moment but I will hit you with the highlights.  One this was my first time traveling on Jet Blue Airways.  They have the best snacks.  Southwest used to be my go to for flights with their snack boxes but as you know they switched out the snacks for free luggage.  Now yes I paid the 25 for the luggage on Jet Blue but the flight attendants were awesome and the snacks were even better.  So it was a win-win for me. The airlines are rolling a new program that for the folks that want to fly budget, it will cost you.  For one you have to pay for your luggage to be checked and you are ONLY allowed one carry on that must fit under the seat.  Which means like a handbag or one small bag not a suitcase of any sort.  Do not be fooled when I tell you they mean business.  If you show up trying to go through with a bag larger than a handbag or more than one they will immediately check it at a price to you.  So either get that above budget seat because the use of overhead compartments for budget seating is not happening.

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Once off our flight, the humidity hit us so super hard.  It was a bit overwhelming.  It’s been years since I have had to use an asthma pump but I thought I might need it.  No stopping team no sleep was in full effect. We were all over the South beach strip eating, drinking and laughing.  Later that night we ventured off to Liv Miami.  The guest of the night was none other than Dj Khaled.  We were in the front of the action.  Let me say, he really is his own hype man.  It’s not just something he does on television.  He believes in his brand and makes others believe in it too.  I also had the pleasure of meeting @Lalasizahands89.  She was super nice.  If you don’t know her follow her on Instragam at that handle and you won’t be disappointed.  Word to the wise she ain’t for the stuffy so head over at your own risk.

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The next day after we got in at 6am, yes 6am we got some rest and started up for another adventure. It’s been years definitely prekid days of coming in before the sun came up.  I had a blast.  We decided to do one of those double-decker bus tours of Miami Beach area. It was great.  We zoomed past Usher and Diddy’s house. I did my little “take that” dance as we rolled past.  It was good to see the city so high up off the ground. It definitely gave a better perspective than just walking.  The tour guide was super awesome.  We had to rush home because after stopping at Bubba Gumps restaurant, shopped and did some more walking and drinking we had to hurry to get to our reservation for Drinkhouse Fire and Ice Lounge.  This was probably the highlight of my trip.  It was hella cold in there.  Of course we had the fur coats, socks, and fur boots because let’s face it, frost bite is not of the Lord but the dancing, drinks and fun was super amazing.  However the entire room is full of ice.  It was magical with the lights changing colors and the drinks out of you guessed it, ice cups.

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Overall the trip was fun. It was good to get away.  It’s always good to celebrate daily and why not take a trip to celebrate a birthday if you can.  I definitely would recommend going to Miami. The culture is amazing.  I learned a lot more on this trip than in previous years.  You could see minimal damage from the Hurricane but they are making it better. We had nothing but great hospitality, great food, even better drinks, and a renewed sense of friendship.  To the next girl’s trip!!!!

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Ask Toi: Is it Right that my Boyfriend of 3 years Family Didn’t Invite me to His Birthday Dinner?

Yes this is wrong.  You are not a random girl that he has been dating.  3 years is more than enough time for them to have included you in a birthday dinner.  I would talk with your boyfriend as he knows his family more than you would as to the snub.  Was it assumed you would be there therefore no formal invite took place?  When I was dating my husband they just told me where it was going to be since I was a fixture in his life it wasn’t a discussion of if but when.

How is the relationship with the family?  What underlying issues are happening that you are aware of?  Sometimes we not there is salt in a wound and if given an oppportunity would snub them just the same.  If that is the case and you want to be included than you have to sit down and have a talk with whomever is the matriarch or patriarch of the family and iron out some differences.  However if your boyfriend has any sense than he has already spoken on your behalf. My personal rule is to always allow the person whose family it is to talk it out at first.  I am hoping it was just an assumption.  How did you hear about the party?  This is key too.  If his mom told you but sent no formal invite by mail then its safe to say you just need to go and celebrate your man.  Is it a surprise? Then speak again to whomever is throwing the party and go from there.  Sometimes taking the first step in communication will be beneficial.

Birthday Message: Toibration 36 Years Young!

So finally today is the day.  It is my birthday.  Anytime you can wake up on the side of the living is a blessing.  Older people look forward to seeing a new birthday while younger people act as if it is a dread.  Perspective tells you to be grateful for any time you have as it is borrowed.  Today I am grateful for my 36 years.  I have had many times in my life where I have been close to death.  I am grateful for the time I can spend making my dreams come true and being with loved ones.

I am truly blessed that this year has me pushing the limits a bit.  I set out on a journey of self-love this year and I am reaping the benefits.  If I can’t love myself than the love I have for others isn’t pure.  Loving on me more has allowed me to block out distraction.  I am no longer in competition with anyone else but me.  I wake up and speak positivity over myself daily.  I am not a love guru I just got tired of speaking negative thoughts of not being enough, being overweight, not cute enough, all of the things I tell my girls not to do to themselves.  I know that some people have the do as I say mentality but I am my children’s mirror.  What I show them by example is important.  I can’t be trying on clothes and talking bad about myself but tell my daughter to be strong and confident and I wasn’t.  I started addressing my issues.

I first looked on the inside. I was unhappy.  I could fix my weight any day but if I can’t work on being happy what is the point.  I would seemingly just find something else to be an issue.  So I began to journal hard.  When I felt unhappy what was the reason?  I noticed the pattern wasn’t in any event but how I processed how I thought about the event.  How much I allowed my anxiety take over.  These are not easy tasks.  I set out to find a way to turn each thought around.  I am not saying I am totally fixed and I walk around with happiness juice pouring off of me in an annoying way, but I can get through the day and have a better outlook.

When I look in the mirror I love what I see.  I just don’t tolerate myself.  I don’t speak negatively about myself.  I am not looking at my thighs and having issues.  Not just because I lost weight but because I realize that whatever shape I am in, can change and I am fine in my own skin. This year will definitely be better than last year in the sense that I am ready to continue in this love walk.  I encourage others to do the same.  Let me also warn you that once you begin your journey you may not lose friends or family but your relationships with them will change.  It’s then that you will see how people really view you.  Remember there are some who benefit to see you all sad, down, and miserable. Once you change that they won’t be receptive to the “new” you.  It will hurt.  You will be disappointed but grateful that it happened. Shine on anyway…No one can stop your shine but you!!

As always let me end by shouting out my twin sister, Tierra.  I had the honor of coming into the world with my own womb partner, sister, and friend by choice!! Love you and happy birthday!!

And as promised I am about 5 pounds to goal so the featured photo to this blog both at the top were taken at various points of my weight.  My highest weight in December was 190.  I am currently at 155.  So that is a good dip and I am very proud of it! I didn’t want to be the same size as I was after the birth of my youngest who by the way is 3.  You know how women say it’s baby weight but the kids is like 12, that is what I was doing. However with hard work, and dedication I have definitely improved the outside as much as I have improved the inside. I can definitely now give my kids a run for their money. My energy is definitely up.  I can handle going to the gym 3 days a week.  I am eating better.  I have made a lifestyle change instead of only a summer time fine change.  I want to be life time fine.  I have people who depend on me and most importantly I depend on myself.

Huge shout out to all of my friends and family. I really am touched by the special and unique gifts that have all been super personal.  Thanks for the emails, texts, calls, time spent-all of it.  I am smiling hard today.  Thank you to my ToiTime followers as well!!

So I will be on all of my social media spots today.  I will be enjoying this day to the fullest. If you can’t celebrate you no one will right?  Toibration continues….

 

 

 

My littlest almost killed me…

So not really.  She actually had nothing to do with it.  I am ready to share my birth story of my youngest.  She will be 3 tomorrow.  I and my husband was not planning on having another one.  It depends on who you ask but I wanted to get my tubes tied and once I made the appointment what I didn’t do was protect myself until the tube tying process took place.  None of our kids were planned.  Not one. With that being said, not one came in with this beautiful story of love and acceptance from the beginning.  Let me explain what I mean by that before all the moms of the world come at me.  When you have the notion to plan your children, it’s an expecting welcoming.  When you don’t you have to get to a place of acceptance.  For me legitimately it wasn’t as easy as the text books make it sound. I love and had love for them, how could I not, but it took a hot minute for me to accept that the baby was coming and to embrace what I was mentally and emotionally dealing with.  I know my moms understand what I mean.  Having kids is no easy task.  Thinking about the pain, the stress, and just being protective over this baby from the time you find out until your life or theirs end is a LOT.

So as I began to accept that a new baby was on its way, my stress level went up.  I started having migraines.  They were debilitating.  I went to work everyday in spite of being in the worst possible pain.  Then one day my boss was talking to me and I stopped him and walked away.  I was saying to myself what in the holy world did you do?  I was smart with it when I said it but I didn’t mean any harm by it.  I went to the bathroom and I am in there crying hysterically.  No one knew I was in there so I had to get myself up and get back to the office. I got back and I looked dark, I felt dark and I called my husband and told him please take me straight to the hospital.  I get there and they hook me up to the monitors.  I fell asleep after monitoring my baby and finding out she was okay.  I woke up it was 735pm and I had been in the hospital since 11am. I don’t remember what doctors or nurses had been in their to check on me.  When I woke up and realized what time it was I knew they were going to keep me.  If they thought I could have medication and go home surely I would be home by then. The doctor came in and her face was flushed.  So I started crying off the bat. Here I had a blood clot in my left lower brain.  I was devastated.  My husband came as I heard the news and I couldn’t even think.

As I was admitted and several neurologist came in, my life changed at that moment.  I would have to take Lovenox via injections two times a day. I hate needles.  Like me and needles could never go together.  I thought, I would have to stop working,  but I didn’t. After a few days and some rest at home I was back at work.  The issue now is that I have to get my blood drawn every 2 days to make sure I am in the levels I need to be to be safe. This was the most irritating thing in the world.  I had to keep going back to the pharmacy getting new shots every time the range was wrong.  I did this a few tines a week.  All the while, my little bit was perfectly fine and baking.  Back and forth I was in the hospital.  I made up in my mind this was the last child.  I made the decision for me.  Even if my husband had disagreed and he didn’t I wasn’t having a child by any man, science, or immaculate conception. Team NO MORE BABIES was in full effect.  It wasn’t my babies fault but my pregnancies haven’t been easy and I personally am done with being pregnant.

As we got close to full term, I had to meet with a specialized team of surgeons.  All 3 of my kids were C-section births.  I couldn’t just plop into the hospital to have her with a blood clot in my brain.  No ma’am.  We set the date for February 17th.  I knew when and what time.  The day before I had to stop my Lovenox at the right time.  They ran extra tests but then there was an emergency that came ahead of me and I could pushed back. So as my husband and parents there we had to wait.  They wheeled me in and surgery went well.  I had to have blood on stand by.  Shout out to my special donor.  He drove from Lebanon PA to Philadelphia to make sure I would be okay.  Right after her birth everything seemed fine, until after recovery.  I get to my room, my husband, kids, and mother in law are there and they check me to make sure all was well.  Well, it wasn’t.  They made everyone leave my room, the doctor stabbed me in my leg with drugs, and reached her hand in and pulled out this almost baby sized blood clot.  The worst of what we feared had happened.  They got me stable and I went on with all the newborn baby stuff.  A day later I went to take a shower and I felt this pain like labor.  I pull on the cord, staff came in running, another baby sized blood clot and they repeat what they did the day before.  So back on my Lovenox to make sure I was safe.

Discharge day was great.  I thought the worst had passed.  I get home and I am getting comfortable. Some family came over to visit.  My son is super excited to see me, he’s about 2 at this point.  He jumps on top of my belly before we could catch him, I said I had a C-section.  I scream out in pain.  I tell my husband please take me and the new baby upstairs. I get in the bed and I felt a pop.  It was the worst thing I could have ever felt.  I blacked out. I blacked out several times.  My husband called the ambulance although I asked him not to.  Had he not I wouldn’t even be here writing this.  I wake up to see this tall, strong, sexy man holding me who is not my husband.  I am like hi, who are you?  It was a fire fighter.  I am like lord I am in pain, you ain’t got time to admire this man but hey I am human right? So enough of looking at this stranger and its off to the hospital.

Back to blacking out I get to the hospital and they already know about me.  I was the most riskiest patient on the floor.  I was the whitest black woman they had ever seen and my doctor told me.  I had lost a lot of blood and had internal bleeding but the issue is they can’t do surgery because with this blood clot I could bleed out and die.  I had to wait.  So they made me comfortable and after a few hours I began blood transfusions.  My husband had to take care of all 3 kids including a breastfed newborn on his own.  I am going through the worst pain in life, holding onto life, and worrying about feeding my daughter.  I had the best nurses, they would actually pump my breast for me so my child could get what she needed.  I was in the hospital for over a week.  I am just super glad to be alive.

I was still under a doctor’s watchful eye for about 6 months following that encounter.  I still get migraines and when I do it’s an immediate call to my doctor.  The blood clot hasn’t gotten bigger or disappeared so its something I have to always be aware.  I breastfed this little girl and took her to work everyday for 6 months.  Yes to work with me.  I handled an office, clients, and nursed a newborn without missing a beat.  Then at 6 months we put her in daycare with her brother and she won’t drink from a bottle.  I had made enough milk for her but she wouldn’t drink.  It got bad that we had to give her diluted apple juice until I got home.  When it began apparent with no matter what we did, I had to temporarily work from home.  She kept nursing until a little after 2.  I prayed and asked God to help me wean her.  On tv, it always looks so easy but in real life it wasn’t at all. She has progressed well.  The only issue is that after my husband had been home with her right after birth when we came home she wouldn’t go to him or anyone else.  I mean no one.  You could hold her for tops 5 minutes.  She was a mommy’s girl.  Now a days, she’s a daddy’s girl and I am still struggling with that.  I wanted her and still want her to be more independent and trust and believe shes’ getting there but I do miss the snuggle days.

Noelle is a ball of fire.  She gives the best side eyes.  She has attitude and if she doesn’t like she doesn’t act fake.  She just walks off like she didn’t hear you but she does.  She is lovable.  She has the sweetest face in the world and knows you know she is cute.  She is our little love bug and we are happy that we have gotten through these challenges.  The best thing I got out of the whole thing was a feisty, beautiful, and intelligent little girl.  She is the last thing our family needed and we didn’t know we did.  I love that little munchkin and I almost gave my life for her.  So happy 3rd birthday to my little noodle, Noelle.

Get Your Ass Home

So recently my husband celebrated his birthday with a birthday trip with some of his closest friends.  Now I am team enjoy your birthday and before we married we took trips separately etc.  So him going away wasn’t a big deal.  I am usually with the kids not because he isn’t a hands on dad but our schedules and how our life is set up that’s just how the cookie crumbles.  I think every parent needs time apart from their kids.  I think every couple needs some alone time as well to renew their mind. I think it makes the relationship and familyship healthier as well.

This particular trip took me for a whirlwind.  I enjoy my kids. However in the midst of his trip we are in the process of moving as well.  By the way we are still packing and prepping for that move.  So between my work schedule, my kids social schedule, and packing boxes to say that I was a bit overwhelmed is an understatement.  It was natural and normal for me to feel but I learned  few things about myself during his absence.

My anxiety was the most increased at night.  I don’t know if it was because I am used to him being there or not but it was.  I found that I went to bed with the kids for a few good reasons other than just being tired.  However I couldn’t sleep and that bothered me.  I get missing your significant other but I really do not want to get into a pattern where I can not do the things I would normally do at night or in the day because he is not in the home.  To me and this is MY opinion I do not want to get to the point in my relationship where I become co-dependent.  To others this could be nearly a temporary feeling and one would just move on but when we were in college I used to wait for him to do the least bit of things.  So I am super aware of getting into these ruts where I literally will wait for him to suggest a move.  So the first night I was uptight.  By the second night I found myself forcing myself to get past my temporary feeling and simply exist and be okay with that.

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The second thing I noticed was that my patience meter was low.  Now for someone who has their kids all the time one would think this trip would be no big deal but this time it wasn’t.  I had to find ways to go into my bathroom and shut my door to gather my thoughts.  It may be that their level of missing their dad and some anxiety I had been rubbing them and me the wrong way.  I have never in all of my almost 8 years had to shut myself in a closet to stop from hearing my little people’s request.  They were truly making up stuff. Asking if they could take a boat trip, wanting food we don’t even normally eat, and wanting to go everywhere.  Whew.  I am grateful for being in control of my emotions but I swear I had dip mentally to another place.  Everyone who knows me knows I am the queen of ideas and my kids are never bored but truth moment I was exhausted, overworked, and overwhelmed.  I am okay with admitting to that it was what it was.

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What I did to get through it other than take a few more time outs that I usually don’t have to take was dance parties.  I turned the music up and me and the kidlets let loose.  We had a blast and it allowed them to get their sillies out making it much easier to deal with them. We ate great food and I didn’t cook much.  I cook just about everyday and this time during his trip we went on a mini vacation.  So bring on all the bad good food.  Why? Because we could.  We enjoyed every bit of it.  I also played a lot of games.  Yes, games and keeping the kids and me distracted instead of hearing the words, “when is daddy coming home” saved us.  I also watched a lot of good movies that I had been wanting to see.

So when the day came for my husband to come back the grin on my face was super wide.  It wasn’t that I just missed him but knowing that even if I am doing a super lot for my family. There is huge comfort in knowing he’s around.  Even for the nights he works super late and misses bedtime with the kids etc he’s always there as a comfort in our home.  I am super happy he is home.  I am super glad until the next trip he may take that I am well prepared for my emotions and my anxiety will be a lot better.  I am not attempting to be super mom.  Every super woman and super woman can and will experience what I felt during his trip.  I am tuning into those feelings, acknowledging it and making more of a better and clear path for next time and until the tables turn for my birthday trip….

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Ask Toi: Do I have to give someone a thank you card for a thank you card?

No you don’t ever need to give a thank you card for a thank you card. If you want to acknowledge that you received it than do that.  You can do that with a call that is brief or a text or email is fine too.  Thank you once sent is understood so do not put too much energy into it at all.

With the holidays if you receive a gift from someone it’s always best to make sure that you call first and say thank you.  Honor the person with a thank you for taking time and money and energy to gift you.  Times are hard so any gift big or small should be simply acknowledged.

Keep in mind that when you say your thank you that you keep it light and simple.  If you are dealing with someone who feels that you need to do a grand gesture for a thank you, you may need to re-evaluate your friendship with them in its entirety to be honest with you.  I had someone I used to be friends with get upset because she wanted a thank you card, a call, a shout out on Facebook, and Instagam.  I do not live my life to those standards.  I send friends cards of love and check ups all the time. I also send small gifts to if I know it will cheer them up.  I do not need shout out on all social media for that.  The other clear case that I had to take into consideration was often times I was being gifted for a purpose. It wasn’t to make my day or bring a smile in my face it was a back up for a favor. I would hear, well I got you A, B, or C a few weeks ago.  I simply am not the one to barter with.  I ended that friendship rather quickly. I love to do for others but at no time would I be okay with someone doing anything for me to hold over my head.

So happy gifting and receiving.  Make sure you say thank you and be light.  Do not make thank you into anything more than an acknowledgement of appreciation.  Thank yous are not life support.

Ask Toi: If you wanted to throw a party for a friend that is married or in a relationship, do you have to ask their mate first?

I would say out of respect you would.  How do you know that the mate or significant other would want to be the one that plans it?  Or what if they were taking your friend out-of-town? Back in the days when your friend was single, planning surprises was easier but it doesn’t mean the element of surprise still can’t exist.  You just have to be creative.

I know in our house my husband usually is really good at planning great birthdays.  Now I do celebrate from May 1st until the actual day of May 10th.  So that leads plenty of time for friends to do their own thing. He however is always the one on my day with the major of surprises.  He welcomes others to do as they please but if its dinner, etc. he’s the one that makes that day special.  If others contacted him he would be willing to make things happen.

It’s about respecting your friend’s relationship.  You can still be spontaneous towards your friend.  I have had friends who send me things to my house or work place and it catches me totally off guard.  The ideal is to honor your friend and celebrate their Earth day.  You can do that and still give space for the special man or woman in their life to be able to do the same.  Who doesn’t like multiple celebrations?  Dinners, luncheons, happy hours, brunches these are a few ideals that still can be done to honor your friend.  You can do one day or in conjunction with the friend’s boo or separate and have a great time.  Now if you don’t like your friend’s significant other, well there’s not much that can be done with that.  However it cost you nothing to ask questions and clear the schedule.  The significant other can even assist you in getting your friend to the location of your choice for a great guy’s catch up or girl’s night or day out.

Now I have heard some vindictive signficant others who say they have no plans and then when you do, they make them for the same day that you set aside.  Keep in mind that your friend will in time see through this.  Do not sweat the small stuff.  Let your friend know way after their birthday what transpired.