Painting with a Twist; Anxiety Buster! 

So tonight I pushed past my anxiety. Yes I deal with social anxiety at times and it’s annoying but it’s apart of my life for right now. I never went through this in college weird enough but a lot of that had to do with being a freshman and trying to do it all. You know that wild college student that would be on a table that was me.


Fast forward to after college Toi and now at times I find that meeting up with others is a chore. The kind of chore where I back out quickly and because I have kids sometimes it’s real and other times my kids are my get out of jail free card. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s always been super outgoing and still is. It’s crazy when we go to places. It seems that he’s more inclined to be in the front and I’m content with disappearing. So although I am not the wild child that I once was when I was trying to find myself in college, I’m still just as easy-going as I remember and I am finding that instead of allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, I’m pushing past it and getting out. Maybe not the type of college crazy but the essence of who I am is still there.


A bigger issue with getting out was adjusting to motherhood. My first daughter was a preemie and with asthma too. There were more hospital trips than anything. I kept to myself because no one seemed to understand how I balanced working full-time, being at the hospital all night and with literally no sleep pushing through. I learned how to keep my circle tight. Moving to Philadelphia like I’ve blogged about many times was overwhelming. I relied on my husband for everything. I didn’t even drive for the first months even though I had my own car.


Fast forward to my life now I’m pushing through. Losing weight, being a good mom, working full-time, blogging, and meeting new friends. Slowly but surely I’m getting out and enjoying life. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up at Painting with a Twist with Mocha Moms. Mocha Moms is an organization that is a support for women of color who are mostly stay at home moms. Now you know that I work full-time and there are other moms who work as well. When I first moved to Philadelphia I wanted to join. I was a stay at home mom then but my anxiety kept me from being apart. Tonight I crushed that fear that I had almost 5 years ago.



Tonight’s meet and great while painting and sipping of course was everything. These women are like-minded, warm and I was myself from the beginning and didn’t feel the need to put on airs.  I’ve been in group situations and you find yourself in the back and connect with maybe one another person, but not this group of women.  Plus who can’t have a good time painting and sipping on wine?!

I am truly grateful for not backing out tonight. I’m super happy to have met these great women. As I drove him thinking of the night, a huge smile came on my face. I turned on my adult music, maybe I could let pre mom Toi out every now and again!! Just maybe!! Oh and who won a gift certificate for the next visit to Painting with a Twist?! Oh yeah!!

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Sunday Message: Get What You Need 

So it’s no secret that I don’t always make it to church. I would love to be there every week and do make an effort, but life happens and sometimes we miss the mark. Today I was able to get into the building. Today was the 100 year celebration of the church and school. It was a lot of people today.  Standing room only type of crowd.

What I noticed most was this woman to my left who inspite of what everyone else was doing was tapping in for what she needed. Growing up I was always taught that if you can’t hear from the preacher, then maybe the choir will move you. If the choir won’t move you then maybe a greeting or hug will. I’ve been that woman in church today where life is going on but with tears streaming down my face I needed something more.  I don’t pretend to know what that woman was praying, crying, or seeking for what I do know is I get it.

In the world of wants there will come a time where you will have a need.  We all have had those times. You are no longer worried about the things that don’t matter as your mind and heart is bogged down that you shift your thoughts to only what you need. While you are in this mindset, you could care less who’s talking and why, who don’t like you or agree with you-you just have a need. Life has a way of humbling everyone to this place.  Like that woman, you get quiet, and the issues of your heart start to overflow.

Learn to tap into what you need more often. We are taught to be not be selfish but you will have to learn to have selfish moments. This is why women and mothers struggle with the balance of giving and pulling back. The struggle of the word no is important. Doing more for others who need to do for themselves, being a support to someone when you need support, giving your last and never being able to receive in your time of need are all examples of times when we have to learn to not always give in but find what we actually need.

Today you need a nap-take it. Today you need a break-take it. You need a bill paid and no money in sight but you can shift some things around and be a better steward of your finances. You need companionship but you really need to find out who you are, what you need and that will guide what you want. 

Like that woman who tuned the service out; tune out negative vibes, negative folks, even negativity that you bring to the table and focus!! This is why self-care and self-love is super important. Practicing this daily helps for when life knocks you down. You’re better equipped to be able to tap into your needs. When you’re off balance you have to be reminded of what’s important than if you had actually only focusing on the necessary things in life. 

Blackish Postpartum Episode

This is a trigger episode if you ever had or have currently postpartum depression.  I am going to be super blunt today, I cried throughout the episode and let me tell you why:

  1. I dealt with postpartum after the birth of my son.  I remember feeling like the biggest punk and failure because I couldn’t navigate through it.
  2. I felt isolated and therefore didn’t speak up to others not even my fiance at points throughout
  3. I had no support because especially in the black community black folks always talk that you gon be aight, go pray talk when real life ish is happening that takes prayer and action.
  4. I remember my mother in law being a huge trigger for me not because of her being mean but because of her personality and me not being strong enough to handle life at that time.
  5. Postpartum is real.  It should be discussed without shame
  6. I still reach out to moms and new moms in my circle because suffering in silence is unacceptable
  7. Please show love to a mom and be understanding.
  8. Phrases of get over it, you need to go somewhere and rest, it ain’t that deep, or you just need to get it together will NOT help a mom going through postpartum
  9. Sometimes medicine is necessary
  10. Postpartum is not a weakness.  Our bodies go through it during pregnancy and birth and its going to take some time to get through this new life.
  11. I do NOT allow people to make jokes of it.  It’s not funny.

 

Blackish did their thing on that episode capturing what its like.  I cursed almost exactly the same time I felt like Rainbow should have-watch it and you will see why.  Blackish definitely made sure all of the pure emotion of what it’s like to go through postpartum was like.  When I went through it, I felt like I couldn’t connect to my son.  I felt like because I had more support with my oldest that when it came to my son I was doomed.  I cried all the time. I blew up all the time.  I was in rage a lot of the time. I threatened to call the police on my fiance many times.  I had friends who saw me going through and talked about me like a dog instead of offering help.  I had family who gave me the eye when they found out, BUT I got through it all.  This very blog was created after I healed from that experience. It made me more aware of what I was capable of going through at the birth of my last daughter.  It made me stronger in the end.  It also is a good look for dads too.  They need support. They need to know how to approach the conversation and how to support themselves, their families and their ladies as they navigate through all of the emotions good and bad that pregnancy and childbirth brings.

 

Here is more information about Postpartum

This episode regardless of the title of the show (I know it offends some right off the bat) is a MUST see for all!

Kevin Hart: The Pull Up Chronicles

Every woman is different.  What one woman will put up with doesn’t apply to all.  You never know what you will do until you are in it.  Let me explain why I would be ready to do a pull up edition on Kevin Hart.

The cheating or the act of having sex outside your marriage isn’t the full issue for me. Maybe it should be, but it’s not.  My issue is that Kevin wanted to prove so much to the world that he was the poster boy for changed behavior and KNEW he had been slipping and tipping around with another woman.  For me that is cause for a pull up.  I would be ready to get him on that alone.  He wanted to act as if this new wife was so much better than his last.  He wanted us all to believe he had changed his mind-set so much yet in reality he was doing the cheating in plain view.  Cheating in plain view is when you have a conversation with your mate and denounce people who would do the same. They stay visible.  They are on social media talking about you being the light of their world.  Then without warning the light must have dimmed because they get caught with another person.  Nothing irks a woman more than being embarrassed.  I can say the same for men too.  It’s the type of hurt that won’t go away with flowers and jewelry.  It’s the type of hurt that burns your soul.  You go all out telling others how wonderful your mate is and then you are blindsided.

Listen what Kevin doesn’t understand is his kids are older.  When he cheated his kids may have been unable to read or know what is going on.  However they are in private school.  One thing about private schools is they are usually smaller in attendance and everyone knows everything about each other.  They have to walk around where other kids ask them if its true.  They may feel the need to defend their dad even in his wrong doing.  Once you involve kids in your messy affairs that’s when the gloves comes off as a mother for me. I feel bad for Eniko that she is being embarrassed.  I feel bad that she thought the same way you got em, wasn’t going to be the same way she would lose him. That is a principle in life that doesn’t care about your economic status.

So to Eniko who is pregnant and doesn’t need this stress, have your baby and work in your own mind what you want to do.  We all have opinions but YOU have to live with his cheating and that will always overshadow your relationship.  To other women who are going through this or will, know that cheating is horrible but make your next steps a decision you can live with daily.  Don’t do what others think you should do as they will forget the cheating you can’t!

Fall Frenzy 

So today’s weather was amazing. The sun was shinning and to put it lightly it was hella hot. So other than watching my son’s soccer game, the Storr family headed to the Fall Fest.  


Fall Fest has turned into a yearly indulgence. This year the whole family attended as I have been known to take the kids and have a great time.  My husband is not a fan of outdoor events. I used to get super upset but nope I will pack the kids and continue with my plans. He came along and from the looks of it he may have had a good time.  There are a lot of activities for the whole family. From oversized games such as Connect Four, to Chess to singing for the kids and of course Fall favorites such as Fall beer flavors and all the comfort food you can have.  I elected to make a Whole Foods stop before attending to cut down on eating too many comfort foods. Plus I wanted to see how low the prices had actually dropped there.  I know you know Whole Foods has merged with Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised.  

However there is always room for a little beer and I made sure I had at least one and I enjoyed the hell out of it. My goal was to just get out, enjoy the weather, and spend some time with my family and the goal definitely achieved. 


As Fall approaches it’s going to be important and find free events in your city to attend. This event was free besides the food and drinks. For me all it cost was less than 30 for a full day of fun. Well worth it if you ask me. 

Enjoy all of the Fall activities you can!! 

Sunday Message: Happy National Grandparents Day!

So it’s national grandparents day. A day to say thank you to all of the grandparents for the things they have done. Salute to all awesome grandparents. Being a grandparent from my perspective of watching my own can be a very great ordeal. As a parent you work hard to establish boundaries and spend so much time raising kids but grandparents have already done it so often times they can be a wealth of knowledge, love, support, and fun times.

I want to send a message to heaven to my mother in law who was an awesome grandmother to my 3 kids. She always had their best intentions in mind. She loved on them as their own. She gave them all she could.  So today in her absence we honor her. My kids adore her and her not being here is still affecting them. However with the crazy times she and I had the one thing I am super glad that although not ideal living with her gave my kids the best time with her. Love you Mom Mom.

Grandparents are such a stepping stone to life. However let’s talk about relationships that aren’t so glittery with grandparents. Sometimes it’s an extension of torn relationships with parents. I know of parental issues that trickle down to kids causing generational struggles. Not every grandparent has memories with their grand kids where cookies are being made or sweaters knitted. Sometimes there are constant fights and struggles that keep relationships stagnant. These fights can put a hamper on a relationship and make them non existent. Both kid and grandchild loses!

Listen there are grandparents that are in their 30s who still club and go out and don’t even see themselves as a grandparent. Thus the term glammom is now a thing. Grandparents don’t look like big momma anymore. It’s not my place to judge.  However coming from someone who had that big momma spirit in her life it’s important. Grandparents should teach you by example. They don’t usually have to yell and act as a parent.  You usually want to glean from their wisdom. Big momma was the foundation of a family even when grandfather was there. 

I do want to shout out my great grandparents who were the ones who gave me extra cake. They took me fishing and showed me how to plant a garden.  They let me stay up late to watch tv just as long as I was up and ready for church on Sunday.  I’ve never met more genuine people like my great grand grandparents. They prayed for me and loved me and on me as long as I could remember. I can still hear their voices calling me their sweet baby. I don’t even know how many of us there were but trust me it’s a lot of us and the number is still growing. They gave us collective and individual love. Thank you Mom and dad who allowed us the Summer to spend with them. Those memeories I cherish in their earthly absence. 

I also want to shout out my grandparents as well. Let’s start with my mom’s Mom who helped raise us. She is one of the people I can call who will not judge me. Her love is unconditional. If I called her and said I had a body she wouldn’t even blink and would know what to do. Her conversations are rough and to the point and she doesn’t sugar coat.  This is most likely why my Mom is to the point like I am. However I remember having the best spaghetti this world has ever had. I have great memories with her.  I’m glad she’s still here to continue making more. My kids call her GG!!

Also to my dad’s parents who are great too. I was in a car accident in 2001 where I dislocated my left shoulder. I had to stay with my grandparents who lived a mere few houses away from my parents so I can sleep in their reclining chair.  My grandfather woke up all through the night to get me medicine and we would eat black cherry vanilla icecream just he and I with his famous homemade cake. This was nightly. I was feeling some type of way when I knew my icecream runs would stop and I had to go back to Penn State.  Oh and my grandma makes the best rice. They both have had their times when they went out of their way to make sure something I needed was taken care of.

To my parents who I love. They are grandparents to 5 and I hold my breath on that number. However Hanmom (my oldest couldn’t say grandma when she was a baby and now the name has stuck with the rest) and dad dad as they are called do great things with all of the kids. Just the summer they turned their yard into a slip and slide and all summer long there wasn’t a cookout that wasn’t had.  Christmas is super fun with all of the kids ripping presents, eating food, and having the best cousin time. Memories are being made.  I hope when they look back at their child hood that they too will have great memories especially now that my parents are the only grandparents they have between my husband and I. I am only speaking on them as grandparents as my kids still have their set of great grandparents from my dad and mom’s side still here as well. 

My hope is that for the estranged grandparents and there are many, to make it right with your kids or attempt. As much as I hear that things should be in the past the real reality is that you have to deal with the past to move forward. You can’t simply throw it under the rug or act like it’s not a big deal just because you don’t want to deal. There are grandkids who have never met their grandparents because of that reason.  

To the surrogate grandparents aka the honary grandparents who has shown extreme love to someone that they have invited you into their heart, salut!! You have no idea what that says about your character as a person. I am not one who takes in people often but when I do they have to be so dope of a person that I feel I would be losing not to take them in as my own. I have been fortunate to meet some of those awesome people.  Their value is amazing. If someone calls you grandma or grandfather especially if not by birth walk in that beautiful calling. 

To all grandparents near and far even the ones in heaven ToiTime salutes you!!  Enjoy your day!!

Camp is Over, Lessons were learned

Yay I do apologize for all of the parents who weren’t able to get your children into camp. This blog is not meant to stir up any ill feelings you had having to scramble for your little people.  I feel your pain in that would have led me into pure anxiety.  However I just want to do a dance that camp is over.  Trust and believe it’s not just that the start of school is literally around the corner, it has everything to do with what camp has meant for the Storr household.

My son was in another daycare and with that daycare they have a built-in camp.  He didn’t make it quite to his first full year.  The issue is simple, he was having issues adjusting. He was having issues with some of the kids and that’s all I will say to protect the innocent. However as a parent it was hard having to find alternatives for him.  I had to take him to counseling at some point which worked out since towards the end he was adjusting to life without his grandmother since her passing.  With all that was going on, I personally have to admit, I didn’t remove him in enough time.  Shocker I know. I battled taking him from the daycare because it was convenient for me to take him and his sibling to school and me to work.  The agony of having to start the process of locating another new school made my head hurt.  So I feel that my husband who took my lead and I just didn’t pull the trigger.  That is the one thing to date I regret.

Let me remind you that the very first daycare he was in since he was a baby discharged him and his siblings because they had contracted hand, foot and mouth virus which is a super common virus usually contracted in daycare go figure.  He never got over being in his mind thrown in the second daycare to be honest.  I don’t even ride past that old daycare anymore to avoid the why did she let us go questions.

In the turn of events, since not being enrolled in either daycare, my son has bounced back.  So in my mom heart, it has given me such a calm.  I went from getting calls daily because of my son’s responses to what was happening to none.  Not like a call but it wasn’t bad nope, to NONE.  Let me tell you how happy that has made me feel within itself.  He is back to enjoying going back to camp or as he calls it school since he starts kindergarten next week.  He smiles when you pick him up.  He is excited about all of the trips.  But it’s now coming to an end today.  It was great for him to have this positive experience before he starts school next week.

Let me say and make clear, I do not place blame at the previous daycare at all.  The first one I simply do not have anything positive to say on their behalf.  However the second one just wasn’t a good fit and if I be honest it wasn’t a good full fit for our family in the long run.  The reason is simple the second my son after a few months hadn’t adjusted I should have pulled him.  As a mom I should have set myself to the side on it and followed his cue.  It would have saved time and energy but we all live and learn.

Camp has done both he and his oldest sibling super well.  One its been a great peace not having to pay for field trips in addition to his tuition weekly.  Lawd, trying to keep straight who goes where and spending money for all is a lot in itself.  This camp provided all of that with the tuition and all the kids had the same things except if there was an allergy issue.  Do you know how much of a mom win that is?  A huge one.  So they won me over right from the start. Was it more money?  Absolutely.  But like my husband and I say you get what you pay for.  So we adjusted.  the kids had a blast.  Some of their trips I was kind of jelly over.  They really had a good time and not one provider did I have an issue with. That is a blessing.  Camps and daycare cost too much to deal with bad attitudes and bad vibes.  I tell people all the time, the ones who keep our children so we can work have hard jobs.  However this is something that you choose.  If you get to a point as a daycare worker or teacher and you heart isn’t in it, its time to renew your mind or find a new career.  This coming in and out snubbing parents, acting passive aggressive, or just altogether rude, will not cut in this field.  This goes for administrators too. You have to either love what you do, take a break, or keep it moving.  Nobody should have to come into your place of business and especially if they are paying for their kids to attend to deal with your nasty attitude either.

Here are a few things I want to highlight as we end camp and go into the school year:

  1. Know your money has power.  Although in daycare kids come and go, never forget that you are still paying for a service.  If you don’t like it, give notice and find somewhere else to go.  It’s simple.  You don’t have to argue.  Know your own money power and do what you have to do.
  2. Along with money power know the background and this is really for other camps and daycare.  A lot of camps have parents and families who run off of government assistance.  I am not knocking it, but never treat others better than or worst because of it.  Just because of a subsidy they have the same buying power.  Keep in mind that to the ones who pay cash can sometimes keep your daycare afloat if the government furloughs. Government has and will furlough again and if that happens it’s sometimes the cash paying clients are the ones that take the sting off behind the scenes.  How do I know this, my twin has been in the field since we were 18, we are now 36 I know a lot more than I let people believe.
  3. You can make a grievance with the daycare and if they don’t hear you, they are governed by laws that they have to uphold.  In Pa there is a star system and anything done that doesn’t align to that system that the daycare is on can be reported and you don’t have to simply take what they give you.  They can’t retaliate against you or withdraw your child.  Always check with the department of welfare or the state to see if the daycare has had any violations.  This is your duty as a parent and your right to do so.
  4. Find a daycare that has everything in writing especially for how they will handle instances of bullying or behavioral.  If you do not you will be battling air.  The reason is without these practices in writing daycare and camps can do as they please and you will only be able to complain or make static if they don’t abide by the laws.  Most daycares will abide by the law but not by a moral and human standard if they don’t feel as if things weren’t an issue.  Trust me.
  5. Never sign a non disclosure agreement if you leave.  Don’t sign it.  Get a copy if they ask you to and take it to an attorney.  I can’t even think why they would have one but trust and believe I keep an attorney on stand by and I will sign Donald Duck before I sign my name to some trash like that.  Daycares and camps run off a word of mouth for the most part.  Sorry not sorry.  We are talking about human lives. How the facility acts when things are less than stellar speaks about how they truly run.  I for one think others need to be cautious and asking those who was there if you have the ability to do so is key.
  6. If you are ever in a position where you don’t get along with administration even if its one or more of the persons in charge, made the decision if you are willing to stay with all things the same.  In other words, if the person (s) you do not get along can you deal with that for the sake of your child.  Sometimes you can and other times you can’t.  You should never feel like you are stuck.  IF you do, your child will pick up on that resentment.  If I am honest I know my kids have done so and looking at the situation I may or may not be sorry about that. I wrote about vibes and for me vibes matter.  I have had bad vibes with a person and how that person continues to act may suggest if I should correct the issue or let it go and move on.
  7. Do not allow your child to do something that you didn’t sign for.  For instance the Summer has been filled with drowning deaths.  One event comes to mine with the daycare from the South who was supposed to hike but then took the kids swimming and the child drowned and died.  This type of stuff infuriates me.  Do not send home a permission slip, get permission from the parent to do that activity and change without notifying and getting permission from the parent.  That was a free nugget for any daycare or camp.  This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Even more there is a family that is experiencing life without the life of a child who could still be here had they followed the laws and rules.
  8. Do not be afraid to find another camp, daycare or school.  Listen as we go into the school year, my kids have the privilege to go to private school, with that we literally mean business when it comes to their education, and how much we spend and what we expect.  We do over and beyond on all fundraisers, attend all meetings, engage all year without a parent teacher conference, attend all parties, come to all functions, and pay our fees during the year as asked I literally will put up with ZERO foolishness from administration.  We mean zero.  No one has to chase us to be involved with our kids lives and with that in mind I demand that the school hold up their end of the bargain at all times.  There is no pat on the back for what we do and neither will it be for those who teach them.  So we all have to be held accountable.

I want to shout out the second and last daycare/camp for the time they have had with my children.  As we transition into the next phase of our children’s journey, there is no hard feelings whatsoever but its time to continue down the path of excellence.  The kids have been super happy and that makes us super happy as parents.  This blog was not a means to air out any grievances.  This blog is to empower parents to never forget your power when dealing with daycare, daycare providers, camps, or schools.  Just because for those who work, and having someone to keep our kids is a must, doesn’t mean you have to take junk just to get through.  You were in control the minute you signed the contract and you are in control until you discontinue the relationship.  I hope that this blog gets you engaged on what some providers will do, what you don’t have to tolerate, and why you need to be on the lookout for in the future.  If you are fortunate to have someone who you trust keep your kids, do not let your guard down just because they are family or friends either.  Be vigilant in what you need, what importantly your kids needs, and realize that business is business and the business of healthy, happy, and engaged kids is most important.  Lastly trust your gut, and listen to your child.  Do not do what I did and air on caution for yourself.  Trust yourself.  Goodbye to Summer Camp but come through 2017/2018 school year!!