Heat Ain’t Stop the Show

So Philly is experiencing a heat wave. We are in a Red alert. So with that being said hydration is our friend. Staying cool and protected is the name of the game.

There are several events happening this weekend. I took the liberty of researching the options for the month and have linked my husband and I’s calendar to be in sync with the activities. This doesn’t mean that we will attend them all but at least we are aware. Today we decided to attend #phillyscoopfest. It is an ice-cream festival that has many vendors, some samples, music from all diversity, and it was located this year inside the Reading Terminal.

Little secret, I have never been to the Reading Terminal before. I know, I know why?! I’m not sure. But that is a thing of a past. I was there which is super surprising as much as I love my hometown market and one would think I would have ran to the Reading Terminal but nope! I finally made my presence known.

My family and I walked around and our first stop I tried a pineapple basil from Mom Pops. I loved it. They were dairy free, gluten free, everything free but what wasn’t free? Taste. I loved it. Since taking dairy out of my diet I’ve always on the hunt for non dairy dessert. The gentleman gave me a lot of coupons that I’ll be using going forward.

My kids all had a strawberry banana popsicle and I doubt they heard everything that was taken out of them and finished it before we made it to Bassett’s and we had such great ice-cream. I elected to have sorbet for the reasons already stated. It was good. The kids enjoyed their cups and my husband his cone. The staff was super organized and treated us well.

We made our way to enjoy our icecream and listen to music which was my personal highlight of the event! They also had prizes, a kid spot, tables to enjoy your icecream and food and it was great to see the diversity and fun without drama!!

Also if you purchase something at a vendor for at least 10 dollars they validate your parking for a discount. So all together it costs us 5 dollars for parking, for almost 30 of ice-cream, and memories were made for a family of 5 that is a win!!

After going to a friends house warming we decided to give the kids a break and recoup before heading to the Fireworks at Penn’s Landing. Naps went over and we missed the Army Band’s performance. Listen parking in Philadelphia is no joke and definitely during a holiday weekend. It took about 20 or so minutes to find a non paying spot but we found one.

The crowd was plentiful. From Spruce Street Harbor to the actual fireworks it was a great night!

So here’s to more events, family time, and not letting anxiety hold me into the house!

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Ask Toi: How do I handle my best friend who needed to stay with me but complains about my home?!

Welp if you are best friends people always assume that you should be able to freely speak on anything. To a certain degree that makes perfect sense but there are times that close friends will have to have difficult conversations. This is one of them.

If you’re not about that put your girl out life, you will need to take your friend out of the home and have a conversation. What I mean is find an environment outside of the home to talk to your girl about her insults. One thing you can’t or I’ll say is shouldn’t do is come into someone home and insult them. Insults can come from how that person does things, to what you may feel needs to be in or outside of the home, etc. Even if your friend is the keeping it real type we have to understand that mutual respect should always be your main goal. Keeping it real can go real wrong and we have to stop this narrative to allow people to be loud and cruel at your expense! Keeping it real means you won’t sugar coat it but even non sugar things can be good to you. Delivery is everything and it sounds like this real friend is being a real jerk!

I find that besties lose sight of what it means to never take respect out of the relationship and in your case she has disrespected you and your home. Speak candidly with examples about what is being said and how it made you feel. Be prepared for a few rebuttals:

  • It’s not that deep I was just telling you
  • I should be able to say whatever to you at this point
  • If you can’t handle my realness that’s not my problem
  • I can leave but don’t forget what I did for you….
  • You making a big deal over nothing

All of which are wrong because it doesn’t change the disrespect. Don’t back down when speaking. Let your friend and the rebuttals know that you gave your bestie the courtesy by not addressing her right away giving her time to adjust but since she won’t she needs to and that going forward that type of behavior will not be tolerated!

You have every right to be in your home without someone telling you what you should do or how you should be doing it. You simply saying that this has been going on for a little while let’s me know that the tension has been there long before she came to visit or stay!

Talk it out and depending on her responses will let you know if bestie needs to find new living arrangements or a hotel. Never let anyone in your home disrupt the flow of peace not even for a visit! Hotel chains are open 24 hours a day and you don’t deserve an hour of inconvenience.

Good luck!

Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!

Monday Inspiration: The Protection of No

Happy Monday to you.  Today I want to talk about the pain that comes along with NO.  Like children when we hear no we may experience a plethora of feelings.  From being disappointed, to hurt, to anger.  What you wanted and where you are in that journey makes your NO levels different.

If you were in what you thought was a loving relationship and you felt the next step was marriage only to find out that the person you held so dear to you is a fake, that NO that he failed you and the pain of starting all over again can be devastating. What about the pain in the NO when you are job searching?  Job searching is a numbers game at times.  You may hear several NOs in your lifetime where that is concerned.  Trust me.  When I got laid off of my job in 2010 right after having my premature daughter I was devastated.  I was thinking what in the world am I going to do?  I moved to Philadelphia and found out I was pregnant again.  Out of my element and new to a city I decided to take some time off and do the stay at home mom thing.  It was harder than I anticipated.  The time I decided to go back to work, I heard so many NOs my heart actually hurt.  I felt like I would be at home forever.  No after NO after NO began to chip at my spirit.  I am human I thought I have a college degree and experience why is this happening.  But it did.

During those difficult times of hearing NO and the mix emotions I felt, I got stronger.  I felt like I was taken a thousand steps back but I got stronger. I got a job and then began to progress to where I am now but the story wasn’t an easy one.  I have had moments where I second guessed myself. I cried.  I cursed from being so angry. I was miserable. I had to get it together.  So if you woke up and all you can do is hold onto the pain of NO, I get that.  Hear me clearly, when you let it go and walk with the sting of the pain and move forward you may not get that YES the same day, but you will if you don’t quit. At the very moment of quitting you will get a YES.  Put the work in.  Take moments along the journey of NO to renew your mind.  You may have to do this daily.  Whatever it takes, don’t faint and don’t quit.  There is protection in NO.  NO means something else is out there for you.  No means that the journey you paved for yourself wasn’t the journey YOU needed to be your best self.  Shocking how we think we know everything we need until life throws something our way to prove that we don’t.  Strive for excellence.  You can walk through the pain without the pain knocking your will to live out of you.  The protection is making sure you don’t walk further in pain.  There are people in places God never intended because instead of listening to the NO and letting it protect them, they let their personal desires walk them willingly into some mess and now they are miserable.  They shouldn’t be in that place and they know it.  Sometimes that stubborn will have you walking in circles.  When things don’t work out there is a reason.  If you are running late to a place, there is reason.  It’s protection.  Yes its frustrating but you don’t know what you are about to walk in.  Trust the process.  Have faith and walk in the sting of the pain don’t let the pain of NO overtake you.

Crushed the Broad Street Run

So I am going to break down my personal run. This run attracts over 40,000 runners and is the biggest thus far. 10 miles all the way down Broad Street! However the same way I trained which is my pace, my race is how I finished!

Weekend of the Race

I wouldn’t recommend it but we ended up needing to attend a family emergency thus having to take an emergency flight out of town. I wouldn’t have it any other way for the ones we needed to travel for but catching a flight that got us back in Philadelphia around 1am on the day of the race is not how you rest up to run. I believe the night before the race you should really rest up to be up for early prepping. You should also make sure you set your gear and any essentials out the night before. This will eliminate the morning forgetfulness that creeps up as you rush around!!

Nonetheless I got up at 530 made myself some scrambled eggs and got ready! Shout out to my husband who got up with me and in his own way stayed with me during the race. More on him later!

Transportation

Broad street was totally blocked off so we rode the Broad Street line to get to the race. It was my first time! I was super excited just for that to be honest. I am grateful for having a car and the only time I’ve rode the bus was as a teenager in Lancaster. To me their bus lines are amazingly easy compared to Septa!! But we got there in just enough time to hop on! The train was full to capacity and yet in still folks were squeezing on! The energy was amazing. Some folks were eating. Others quiet trying to get their minds right. Others just holding on so they wouldn’t fall! Either way after 25 minutes we were at Broad and Olney.

Black Girls Run

Let me say again this is not a Black only group. It was made to make black women aware of the health issues that prevail us more than any other group. However they were essential to race day. I had the worst panic attack at work on Friday when I finally need to think about logistics. I sent them a message and immediately they swarmed me with so much love and support. When I speak to others about running issues to a non runner it’s different than when I tell a runner who is going through the same anxiety how I’m feeling. They got it and they helped me through that panic attack. Soon as I got off the train my BGR Girls were right there to hug and let me know it was okay. We also had an amazing stretch before we went to our respective corridors for race time!

Race Time Jitters

So as we finally pushed through the crowd I ran into my health manager from my previous job. She has been weighing me every week throughout this process. With the thousands of folks out there I had no anticipation of running or bumping into anyone I knew. It was refreshing to see her. As we made our way to our corridors which was color coordinated according to the time we were expected to finish, doubt crept in. Was I was able to finish? Was this race too much too soon?! Remember in 2017 I did my first 5K and this was a 10 mile run which is light years in comparison. However with my Husband by my side, when it was time I cranked up my music and was ready to go!

Music is how I trained. I knew by an end of a song where I was and this day was no different!! Each song added a certain level of “lets get this!” I felt inspired. There were many bands that played out in the street too! However their were background noise for me to keep on going!

Check Points

Running this race you’re able to see the city in one lump sum. So I had to go by my personal check points!! Let me say Temple is super big! That almost made me irritated. I wanted to be able to get through it but it took a little longer than I anticipated. My husband rode up on me twice. It was sweet hearing my name but it also pushed me. My husband doesn’t run so at the two times I saw him it made me think I was running slow. I told him this after the race. So after that he said when he thought I was going to be at a certain spot, I wasn’t cause I had beat him to spots and beyond! He had been riding the train to get to where he thought I would be. He was using the same tracker Racejoy that I was using so he knew where I was!

Mindset

Throughout the whole race I had to keep talking to myself. I never got comfortable. It wasn’t a matter of if I get through x amount of miles I’m good. I will say that the race provided a tracker and it tells you how far you have come. I didn’t hear when I got to mile 6 so I was relieved when I saw the 7 mile tracker! Like girl, you really did it. I never looked back outside of when my husband called my name. I didn’t want to see the crowds of folks coming toward me. It helped me to focus on going forward only. Different miles I had to say who are you running this mile for?! What would they say if they saw you right now?! Let’s move!

Completion

With any race you want to finish and finish well. I definitely did that! My goal was 2.5 hours I got done at 1.59 and I wanted to do the Tootsie Roll! Everything that I had fought for in those moments on the ground had finally come to an end. I have to shout out to the angel who saw me struggling at the last minutes and grabbed my hand. It was just like one of those race movies where someone comes and helps you to the end! That man said to me, “Sis, we got this let’s finish this!” He grabbed my hand and we sprinted them last minutes to the finish. Thank you angel for that! I looked to find him but couldn’t locate him but he was amazing in assisting me at the end when my mind was all over the place and my body was so worn!! Seeing the end when you’re tired didn’t make me feel like yay you’re almost done. My whole body hurt too much but I knew all of the miles I had ran, finishing was a definite.

What I learned

One of the first things that came to mind was Girl, you did that! I will be 37 on Thursday and I conquered this race before it. I can do anything like run a long ass road in Philadelphia! I ran 10 miles today and that in itself is worthy of a dance!

Two is that it will soon be a year since my hysterectomy and I’ve hit so many personal and health goals since then! I think I’ve had more ups than downs and it feels good!

Three what can’t I do?! I had folks like ok you’re racing and?! My response is lace up and let’s see what you can do?! This is not an easy task! It’s not easy at all! Not everyone can just run it! So it’s an accomplishment to say the least!

Four, where is the next race?! Weirdly enough I am currently Googling another one. My goal is to do a half marathon and then off to a full marathon!! Being in great shape is a continual journey and races for me keep me accountable!

Shout outs

Let me shout out my amazing family who have had to deal with me refusing to abbreviate from my schedule of training. Yes even in the Winter months when I would hear you can miss a day and I didn’t listen to it! Also for putting up with my eating which won’t change because for me it’s a lifestyle change and not a diet! For reminding me to focus on me and no one else!!

For me 3 little people who call me Mom! You guys have no idea of how I thought of each of you. I will be using this against your “I can’t” moments! There’s nothing you can do and you will achieve anything you desire!

To my amazing friends! From the start of this morning, I was flooded with messages of good will today! To everybody Facebook and other social media messages too thanks! During my last few miles since they were tracking me too, although I didn’t open my phone during the actual race, hearing the notifications knowing it was y’all made me feel like a badass!

To my husband, Marques: your pop ups today were amazing! For you tracking me thank you! For getting me anything I thought I needed thank you! For fulfilling my post race requests you are the real MVP! Also for making sure my bath was drawn and even helping me out of my sweaty clothes thank you. It’s these moments that are real relationship goals that can’t be documented or photographed. Being my number one supporter and fan today, thank you!

To my trainer! You are the real MVP! Pushing me past myself and telling me to shut that crying up thank you! You saw that I could do it you didn’t accept my excuses! And for reminding me that the body does what the mind wills! You pushed me through my mental setbacks!!

To my BGR family thank you for the weekend runs to get ready as well as the continual all year runs that keep us race ready all the time!

To my doctors at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine for making sure that I was healthy before and during this race. Every test done to ensure I was race ready thank you!

To every volunteer at the Broad Street Run, super thanks. Y’all were out there on the scene making sure every racer felt supported all weekend long!

To my readers, thank you for allowing me a few moments into your lives! I hope regardless of how you may struggle with any health issues or weight issues that you see someone who pushed through it and proved to herself first that she was important enough to be her own priority!

All pictures were taken by my husband Marques! I refused to be on my social media during this race! He had the sideline view and sometimes a runner’s view since he was on the scene with me!!

Keep it Together….

You never know who sees you or is watching you. Listen I am the one who can literally go off on anybody. I’m my own professional hype woman. However there are times when you have to be able to learn that not everything is worth a response.

Today was one of those days where I literally would have been in all my legal and mental rights to raise the stakes and really stick it to people. I usually look forward to these types of situations. I know I’m a work in progress. I would be lying if I didn’t admit that. I can tolerate the most but once I feel like you earned that back talk I’m more than willing to dish it out! However as I get older I find it much better to exercise restraint and remember that I am responsible for my actions regardless! So with that in mind, I have a way of mentally and emotionally, and some times physically deciding which road I am willing to take.

Here is me little list of knowing if I should engage or back down:

  • If I find myself making then deleting an email-this means my mind isn’t in sync and I may need to let it rest and consider coming back to an issue at another time
  • If I find myself so mad that I’m cursing it’s time to retreat. I try my best to watch my language but I’m not perfect. If I find that my mouth and word choice have gone left it’s time to disengage
  • If it’s going to mess up with my coins-Disengage. This includes online and offline. Be aware that our words have consequences so I’m not willing to jeopardize my money for any reason
  • If my kids are with me most times I am going to automatically disengage and if that doesn’t work it has to be something where their lives are in jeopardy before I allow myself to engage
  • If I feel that I will not be able to live with my decision later on to withhold I may speak up as long as the above reasons aren’t in jeopardy

People and things are constantly pulling on us. I think that it’s important to be able to be a bit quick witted or be able to quickly retreat to develop a plan. Some things that take place in our lives are well outside of our control. Remember the power we have stops at the top of your nose.

However how you react to things matter! It’s about using some form of restraint even in dark moments. A response is lasting so don’t give them away so freely!!

My Birthday/Mother’s Day Wish List

So as you should know especially if you are a follower of mine is that my birthday I call it Toibration.  First of all I love my name, hence the blog name.  Two I love to celebrate things and let me tell you why.  I used to be a bona-fide Debbie Downer.  I am talking about the kind of woman where you could say something so super simple and I would find a way to make it into a bad thing.  Who wants to me around that negative energy?  NOT ME! So I had to grow.  I had to change but I had to change not because of the people around me wanted me to but because I saw value in changing for myself

So now that I have adjusted my inner being, I find the good in a lot.  Let’s not get it twisted I still don’t like some stuff and am vocal when necessary but for the most part everyday is a real blessing and I try to focus on that. I am a twin which means I have a birthday partner for life.  However another thing about sharing is learning to also make space for yourself.  So with that being said Toibration was made when I turned 30.  Everyone makes it like this huge celebration for your 30s but by then I was on baby number 2, engaged, and just overwhelmed.  HOWEVER I realized how blessed I was to be one above ground, and two surrounded by so much love.

During Toibration I indulge in the things that make me happy.  It could be as simple as a few hours at a book store which sounds boring but for me it’s not.  I can get lost in my own world and prior to having my kids I would escape there often.  Now I do it but in way smaller doses.  It could be a trip to a local coffee shop.  I may indulge in a few treats well a lot of treats but I may have to curtail that until the latter part of the celebration as I am still training and getting ready for the Broad Street Run.

Also my birthday runs into Mother’s Day.  I was actually born on Mothers day in 1981 and ever so often it falls on it.  Yay but I do like separate items for each.  I do not like it pushed together.  Thankfully my husband has been super great since the time we met in 1999 not to forget that.

Here are a few of the things I would love or would like to have or do during Toibration/Mother’s Day:

  • Day to myself to do my own thing
  • Uninterrupted time at Target-those who shop there know what I mean
  • Go to the Movies
  • Good non dairy ice cream
  • Moscato-I love my wines usually white or sparkling of any kind will do
  • New wine glasses-I said I love my wines
  • Facial
  • Shopping at Sephora, Mac, or even just at the local mall to get whatever I want
  • Balloons-I think they are super fun
  • Flowers
  • In lieu of cake, a great fruit salad or a super decadent cupcake
  • A nap
  • A good meal at a restaurant
  • Gummi Bears-Haribo are my favorite brand judge me
  • Mani/Pedi
  • New Journal-you can never have two many I carry one on me at ALL times trust me
  • Statement t-shirts
  • Cards/Affirmations
  • Scents-whether candles, bubbles bath, soaps, etc

So as you can see my list is about things that either feed back into my spirit a lot of the items are already a part of my self-care regiment or things that make me smile to no end.  So I hope you have your own way of celebrating yourself.  I know that some people dread getting another year older but I will be 37 Lord’s will and I embrace it in the most fun and laid back way!