Sometimes with all of the hustle and bustle of life, we just need to stop and breathe and be still.
This week is MS Awareness Week (March 2-8) and I’ve been trying to figure out what to say about this disease that I haven’t said here before. Last year, I shared with you the story of my initial episode and diagnosis with multiple sclerosis.
A year later, much of what I wrote about how MS is affecting me is still true. No relapses for me (yay!) and my MRI last month showed no changes in my brain (double yay!)
But even with that great news, MS still manages to take a toll. My fatigue these past few months has been the worst since my diagnosis. There are just some days that getting dressed and getting to work feels like the equivalent of scaling Mount Everest. And that just sucks.
Those are the days I don’t feel like a Lucky Mama. Those are the days where I want to curl up and cry and mourn the life I used to have. Those are the days I feel like a failure because I don’t have the energy to play with my daughter. Those are the days I allow myself a little pity party.
But then I remember that I am a Lucky Mama. I can still walk; I can still work; I can still see; I can still muster enough energy to take my child to the zoo on good days. I think of my friend Dawn who suffered a terrible MS relapse last summer, followed by a stroke. Those two events put her in a wheelchair and made it terribly difficult for her to speak. But she hasn’t given up — she is fighting to walk again and be able to again speak publicly about life with MS. And I believe that she will.
I think of other friends who fight MS every day — and never give up.
I remember that I have an incredible support system. My husband, my daughter, my parents and sisters and their families, my husband’s family and my friends — all have encouraged me every step of this journey. Thanks to a Facebook support group, I have met people who have no support from their family and friends. They are navigating MS on their own — I can’t imagine how difficult that must be.
I also remember that I have my faith — and that no matter how cruddy I feel, God is always there to listen to me and help pick me up.
So on those pity party days, I have to remind myself that I am one Lucky Mama. And I want to thank everyone who plays a part in reminding me of that.
Congratulations to Patre Williams, you are the winner of two ticket books to the Women’s SEC Basketball Tournament! Check your inbox, an email from Little Rock Mamas should be waiting on you!
The Women’s SEC Basketball Tournament kicks off Wednesday, March 4, at 6 p.m. at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock — and here at Little Rock Mamas, we have tickets.
In fact, we have tickets to all of the games, thanks to the Angela Rogers Group, which has provided us with 2 ticket books, worth $100 each, to give away to a very lucky basketball fan.
According to the tournament’s website, a ticket book contains seven tickets, one for each session, which allows 1 person to attend all 13 games. Sessions on Wednesday and Thursday will be all general admission seating. Each ticket book will include a general admission ticket for the Wednesday evening, Thursday afternoon and Thursday evening sessions and a reserved seat ticket for Friday, Saturday and Sunday sessions.
Can you beat 5 days of Women’s SEC basketball?!?! This promises to be some great basketball — South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky and Mississippi State are all in the Top 25!
The tournament kicks off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with two games. (The second game in each of these sessions starts 25 minutes after the first game concludes.) On Thursday and Friday, four games will be played each day. The first session on both days will start at noon, while the second batch will start at 6 p.m. On Saturday, two games will be played, starting at 4 p.m. On Sunday, March 8, the championship game starts at 2:30 p.m.
Are you excited yet?
To enter to win, leave me a comment on this post (not our Facebook page) by MONDAY at NOON about why you’d like to attend the tournament and who you’d take with you. A winner will be randomly drawn Monday afternoon. You must be able to pick up the ticket books from downtown Little Rock.
Even if you aren’t our lucky winner, you can still go watch some great Women’s SEC basketball. Check out the info below on where to get tickets.
Today is a MOMENTOUS birthday for my sister Sonda! I won’t reveal her age, but I will point out that this is a BIG birthday! A black balloon sort of birthday, even!
And in one of those twists of fate that I have always loved, yesterday was her husband’s birthday! He is exactly one day older than Sonda. And they are both much, much older than me. *teehee*
So HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Sonda and Kevin! Love you guys!
Alaina’s kindergarten class studied about the Statue of Liberty the other day. She was so proud to show off her crown and torch. I think she makes a pretty good Lady Liberty.
NOTE: This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine and all items featured in this gift guide were chosen by Little Rock Mamas.
It is almost Valentine’s Day — the holiday that sends us all into a tizzy trying to find a gift that screams, “I love you!” Whew, that is a lot of pressure. But have no fear, the Little Rock Mamas’ gift guide is here. I have scouted the stores at The Promenade at Chenal to offer a few suggestions for awesome gifts for the man and the kids in your life.
The Kids and Valentine’s
For many younger children, dressing up for the holidays is fun. There is just something about a festive T-shirt that just brings out the smiles. That is why this outfit from The Children’s Place would make such a great gift. You can purchase the entire look OR select a piece or two. I can tell you that the T-shirt has a stamp of approval from my 5 year old. She looked at this picture and asked where hers was.
And Valentine’s Day attire isn’t just for the girls. Check out this great outfit from Crazy 8 for the little man who stole your heart — that Pirate T-shirt is just too cute.
Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about the tweens. Justice has young girls in this age range covered. I thought the black cowboy boots and the white fringe purse were both great gift options for any mini-fashionista.
We have one last suggestion for your kiddos — what about a special treat? Maggie Moo’s combines two of the best things in the whole world — ice cream and cake — into one delicious cupcake. Yum!
The Guys and Valentine’s
Guys think that we women are hard to shop for, but we ladies know that they’re just as difficult. So here are some ideas to help you find something great for your Valentine.
Gearhead Outfitters has great items for the outdoorsman (serious or casual) in your life. Would he like a new hat? No problem, Gearhead has tons to choose from. Does he complain that his travel mug never keeps his beverage hot or cold for long? If so, check out a Yeti rambler. It promises to keep hot beverages hot for hours and that it won’t sweat with cold drinks. And Gearhead always has plenty of Patagonia sweaters, vests and other gear to choose from. I’m loving this orange sweater they just got in.
Is the man in your life a runner or otherwise fitness buff? Maybe he could use a new pair of running shoes — or a new pair of sneakers in general. Nike has tons of shoes (and other workout gear) to choose from. I thought these Nike Free 5.0+ runners in charcoal gray were the prettiest men’s sneakers I have seen in a while.
Did you know that GNC has moved into the Promenade? Wouldn’t a gift card from there make a great gift for your health-conscious sweetie?
The last stop on our shopping guide is J. Crew. The great thing about J. Crew is the variety of men’s clothing it offers. Whether you are wanting to get your husband a new dress shirt or tie or would prefer to go more casual with a polo-style top or cargo shorts, they’ve got you covered. They also sell some really cool (and sometimes quirky) accessories that might put a smile on your Valentine’s face.
The Contest and Valentine’s
There is one more thing to know before you head out to The Promenade at Chenal to start your shopping. They’re sponsoring a photo contest on Instagram. So go take a picture with your Valentine in front of The Promenade’s LOVE sign (it is located by lululemon athletica) and then post your photo on Instagram for a chance to win dinner for two, Chenal 9 IMAX movie tickets, a rose bouquet and $100 Promenade Gift Card. Go here for all of the details!
“I hate you,” came out of Alaina’s mouth for the first time today. Unfortunately for Matt, he was on the receiving end of those hurtful words.
Words that Matt and I not even sure our usually kindhearted child knew the meaning of.
You see, we’ve been watching a lot of Finding Nemo at our house lately. Alaina is fascinated with marine life, so the movie is an obvious favorite of hers. Do you remember the scene where Nemo gets angry with Marlin and yells out, “I hate you,” just before being taken away by divers?
We think that is where Alaina picked up the phrase — a phrase I barely even noticed in the movie.
Matt’s theory is that Alaina didn’t know what the words meant — she just knew that Nemo said them to his father when he was mad. Well, she was mad, so she said the words to Matt. (Needless to say, she was sent to her room and now knows what those words mean and why we shouldn’t say them.)
The whole incident brought back memories of my childhood. To outsiders, I was a perfect angel. I was polite to adults, I played nicely with other kids, I was a good student — just as sweet as I could be.
At home, I was less so. I had a smart mouth, which unfortunately, my mom found herself on the receiving end of far too often. I also had a temper — a wicked, nasty temper. And to my shame now, it wasn’t unusual for me to tell my mother in a fit of rage, “I hate you!” In fact, by the time I was 12 or so, it was probably my weapon of choice. (I was a really bratty preteen.)
Somehow my saint of a mother never strangled me and buried my body in the backyard, for which I am eternally grateful. I know I frustrated the heck of out of my parents — but they never stopped loving me. I think they knew that someday I would grow into a decent human being. Here’s hoping I succeeded on that front.
Now the tables are turned. I am the mom of a child whose moods can shift on a dime and at her angriest can lash out. Sigh, like mother, like daughter. Although, thankfully, my child is still mostly sweet and good-natured — I would just really like to keep her that way forever and ever.
So any suggestions on how to handle such tantrums? It seems odd to discipline my child for something I did so often as a child, but I know it must be done. I also know that if she is truly like me, the harder I push, the harder she will push back.
Have any of you ran into this issue? How did you manage to squelch the phrase, “I hate you”?
A few friends of mine, plus a whole slew of people I only know from the resulting Facebook group, and I have banded together to read more and take on the 2015 Reading Challenge.
Put together by the website PopSugar, it challenges you to read books in specific categories — and not just romances, mysteries and graphic novels. Those categories are included, but you’re also asked to read a book your mom loves (Gone With the Wind is my mom’s fav); a Pulitzer Prize-winning book (working on The Age of Innocence); a play; a book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit; a book at the bottom of your to-read list; a book turned into a movie; a book with bad reviews (you’d be surprised at some of the classics that got horrible reviews back in their day!); and a book written by an author with your initials (this is the impossible category for me — I’m pretty sure I’ll have to turn to the middle initial since YC or even YF are coming up empty).
In all, there are 50 categories. It has been so much fun looking at the categories and trying to decide which book to tackle. I’ve also been trying to read books that aren’t necessarily in my comfort zone. For instance, I probably would have never tackled The Age of Innocence if it wasn’t for this challenge. Literature set in high society in the late 1800s has never exactly been my cup of tea. But Edith Wharton won the Pulitzer Prize for the book in 1921, making her the first woman to win that prize. So I’m giving it a shot!
The book worm in me is so very excited about how much this challenge will give me an excuse to read!
As part of this challenge, I will be writing about some of my favorite (and maybe some of my least favorite) books that I read this year. I hope that you’ll be inspired to pick up a book and join me. And if you’re intrigued by the whole challenge — well it isn’t too late to start!
If you haven’t already, you can see the full list of categories here– which one would you most like to tackle?
I celebrated my birthday on Saturday — Happy Birthday to me. Nope, there is no way I’m telling you how old I am. I will say that I had managed to subtract a year until my husband set me straight. *sigh*
As always, Matt and Alaina know just what to do to make me feel special. They sent me a beautiful flower arrangement at work on Friday and then baked me a very delicious carrot cake FROM SCRATCH! I’m a box mix kind of baker myself, so it blew my mind that they went to the extra effort for me. *sniff, sniff*
Wonderful women who are part of the Arkansas Women Bloggers community have been talking in recent weeks about choosing a word — one word — for 2015 that will help guide them for the year.
I believe I first heard about this one word concept a couple of years ago from Jacqueline Wolven, a fantastic woman and blogger from Eureka Springs who really lives deliberately. She talked about how powerful choosing one word and then incorporating it into your life could be. To be perfectly honest, I dismissed the idea at first. I couldn’t see how committing to a word, to a concept, for an entire year would benefit me. Life changes too much and too quickly for such a thing to be valuable, right?
But then the next year at AWBU, a yearly blogging conference, bloggers who had listened to Jacqueline and found their word were talking about the benefits they saw from their one word experiment.
I was intrigued. But I still wasn’t ready to commit.
Then last month, members of the group started talking again about choosing a word. I started mentally thinking about WHAT word I would choose IF I decided to choose one word.
One word kept coming to mind — priorities.
Like many people, I struggle with my priorities. Oh, I think I have a pretty good idea of what they are — my family, my faith, my friends, my job, my volunteer work with the National MS Society and my blog — but so often I get those priorities out of order. Or I let something that isn’t on the list at all eat up far too much valuable time or effort.
So this year I’m going to work on my priorities — or to be more accurate, I’m going to work on prioritizing my priorities. It will likely mean saying no to more things that just aren’t a priority for me. And I hope it will mean saying yes to the things that are.
So to kick things off, I’ve deleted a number of games off of my phone. I’m ashamed to admit how many times I’ve put off things that are important, like spending quality time with my husband and daughter, to play a stupid game. Oh I was just decompressing after a stressful day, I told myself. And maybe that was part of it. But ultimately, I was letting the trivial edge out the essential.
So Goodbye Farm Story 2, so long Treasure Run — my time is valuable and you simply don’t rate.
What about you? Are you choosing a word for 2015? If so, what did you pick?