A Week With My Jersey Loves

South Florida SkyI had about a month to prepare for our family’s arrival. It was going to be a wonderful time. Despite minor setbacks, it really was. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and it was nice to see my parents having a little fun at the beach.

Jeff and I had our own mini getaway before everyone came. It was a great way to just breathe before the madness began. A reminder that everything was going to be just fine.

A little drama did arise after we announced we would be putting the wedding on hold for now. Trying to explain that to my parents was not easy, which caused some friction between Jeff and I. But, the most important part of it all was being surrounded with family and friends as we celebrated our son’s first birthday!

Here he is with the cutest smile. Such a great shot! Photo courtesy of his godmother’s Instagram page.
Sebastian's First Birthday
We went to the beach a few times during our family’s stay, and we even witnessed them film Ride Along 2 at South Beach. It was a wonderful family (and mommy!) vacation. It is nice to be able to put your feet up from time to time. ;)

Additional photos from Sebastian’s first birthday week:

Super Daddy!
Super DadHappy Mommy!

Mommy and sonExcited Godmother!
Godmother and godson
We also had Jeff’s little brother and sister stay with us before they left. It was nice to chat and spend time with them before their trip back North.

Now that everything is back to normal, I will admit that I miss everyone. It was nice to see friends and family come together to help us celebrate our son’s first birthday. I have a feeling I will be seeing my parents at least once a year until they finally decide to more down south. ;)

 

I hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

‘Til tomorrow, loves…

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The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

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The Rules:
1. Thank and link the amazing person who nominated you.
2. List the rules and display the award.
3. Share seven facts about yourself.
4. Nominate other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.

I have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award by the lovely Elba Valverde, designer and creator of Live Colorful. 

7 Random Things About Me:

1. I have a soft spot for happy, positive people.
2.I melt whenever my husband kisses me.
3. There are few things in life that don’t make me laugh.
4. I avoid “forced” interactions.
5. Early mornings at the beach are one of my favorite things in the world.
6. I believe simplicity makes the world go round.
7. I grew up tomboy — big pants and all.

My Friend Betty Says | A Love Affair With Fashion | Epic Mommy Adventures | A Conquered Mess

Value Your Customers And Your Work

Backyard Pool
Customers know what they want, and they are not afraid to ask for it.

Jeff and I experienced an issue last month with our pool. It was down for two weeks due to leakage. We never owned a pool before and did not know how to deal with it. We had a pool guy at the time that came every week to clean it. He did not know what to do, but would continue to clean it every Saturday.

Our family was coming in less than a week, so I knew I had to find someone to fix the issue. I just did not know where I would go to find “the best” without hurting my pocket at such short notice. I asked our pool guy if he knew or had heard of someone in the area that serviced pools. He was from a town or two over and “was not familiar with anyone in this area.” Jeff had previously asked him, but I asked again in case he had done his research to try to help us. It had been a week since he notified us that there was a leakage that was causing us to lose water in the pool. Something inside me needed to hear him say it just so I can confirm we needed a new guy who knows more about pools rather than, “There’s a leak. Pool is down.”

I had been at the dry cleaners when I noticed a pool supplies store fairly close to our home. I went in, asked about the leakage and if they did repairs. The guy had run out of business cards and sounded like he could not be bothered to deal with me. So I nodded my head, wrote down the estimate he was trying to give me and I discussed it with Jeff when I went home.

The pool supplies guy said he would charge about $100 just for him to come over and $100 for each hour he was here. This is $200 without the guy even doing the work or even buying the pieces he would need. I had to search online to see if this guy was credible. Every review was a nightmare; the customers said the person took extra time doing the work just to charge more. YIKES! I was already not too thrilled about the place after meeting the guy at the counter, imagine having someone come over and waste their time and our money. No thank you.

My search was not over, and I was determined to find someone who was knowledgable about the issue and solve it just in time.

Where there is a will, there is a way, right?

I called another local pool supply store who gave me a three numbers after I told them the issue I was having with the pool. The guy suggested one specific company that was the best with leaks. I called, and a lady said they would need run a diagnostics test that was $295, and then they could solve the issue. If I booked an appointment for them to repair it within 7 days, they would use $100 of the $295 towards the repair bill. This was pricier than the pool supplies guy! 

Getting Customer Reviews At Costco
I needed to get my mind off of the issue, so I went food shopping early one morning. Costco was still closed when I arrived, but I was not the only one waiting for the store to open. I took advantage of situation and asked around about local pool repair companies. Two people waiting mentioned the last pool supplies store I called. They both agreed that they were the cheapest in town and they knew how to work. That last part was critical to me.

Although we were short on time, I knew I needed someone who not only knew what they were doing but would charge a reasonable price. I called the pool supplies store and asked for a pool guy they recommend. When they mentioned the guy’s name I remembered hearing about him during our initial call. I took down his number, made the call and we scheduled a time for that same day.

When he arrived he let me know about the issue. One look at the pipes and he knew the repairs Jeff had down were causing the issue. He mentioned that the pipes were causing the pool to leak and they were letting air into the suction pipe. He also let me know that those were not the right pipes to use. He told me the cost for labor ( $85 ) and fixing of the pipes, $30 each, the pieces, etc. all a total of $350. I agreed to the price and we scheduled a date and time that same week. He came and did the work. Jeff and I were both home so he showed us everything he was doing, even gave us tips on how to prevent this type of leak in the future.

After the job was done, he ended up charging us just $340. We gave him the extra $10 just because he was very helpful and knowledgable. We then found out he has his own pool service company, complete with a cleaning crew. Although he charges $5 more a month than our original pool guy, we have made the switch to use his pool cleaning services.

A day later, I received a phone call from a company who had took down my information  and said they would give me a call back. They called three days after I reached out to them. The lady sounded so excited to finally get back to me only to hang up on me once I told her the issue was solved. No “goodbye,” just Call Ended. The smart thing to do would have been to offer her services for the future or say something like, “Happy to hear, have a great day!” Good thing I did not have to deal with her or her company!

As for our previous pool guy, Jeff and I both agreed he could have tried harder to keep us. All he said was he was willing to charge us $20 less a month to clean the pool once we said we were going with someone else. I was upset because while our pool was down for two weeks (and not being used by anyone!), he still cleaned it and charged us for the month. To me, this was like a slap in the face because he did not offer to help us find someone  and continued to say “he was not from the area and did not know anyone who could do the work.” In our eyes, this guy did not care enough about what he was doing to actually get the job done. He could have charged us those $20 less that month our pool was down for two weeks and gone online or called a few pool buddies and tried to help us. But, the good news is all this is passed us now.

 

View the Slideshare presentation that was inspired by this post, Value Your Customers And Your Work: 6 Ways To Keep Customers Satisfied.

Hope you are having a wonderful Saturday, loves…

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I Heart ShuGar Love

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The All You Need is Love Project is a movement to inspire more love on this planet. The more we come together, the more love we can share. Join the revolution here!


TODAY’S TOPIC:
Let’s give the universe some blog love by sharing with your readers a blog you enjoy. It may be a very popular blog or simply a blog just getting started. Whatever the blog is, share with us why you love it. What makes this blog special?

I try to do my best to keep up with everyone’s blog, but some times I just cannot seem to find time in a day to read them all. A personal favorite is Carmen ShuGar’s ShuGar Love blog. Carmen makes it so easy to keep up to date with her latest posts through social channels, such as Google Plus. I love receiving a notification that says she has shared a photo of her adorable little Camdie, etc.

ShuGar’s blog is an inspiration, not only because of her current All You Need Is Love Project, but also on the beauty of motherhood. I always look forward to her posts, and keep an eye on the latest topic for Thursday.

Your turn.

Want to join in? Cool! You don’t need a blog, you can just take photos and use the hashtag #allyouneedisloveproject — it’s that simple. But, if you have a blog and want to join us each Thursday, you’re more than welcome to do so.

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MomViews: How A SAHM Keeps Sane

MomViews Motherhood Through My Eyes

Stay-at-home parents have a tough job. From sun up to sun down, they are doing their best to care for their family. One stay-at-home mom (SAHM), Marisela Morales, blogs about her experience at Everything SAHM. Marisela also offers tips for other stay-at-home moms and how to cope with many of the issues SAHMs face.

MomViews: You’re my go-to gal whenever I need a little encouragement in this stay-at-home world, and I’m so thankful for your blog. Are there any other blogs or people you turn to for inspiration?

Marisela Morales: Thank you!  I am so flattered ;)  Well, I definitely love your blog!  I have also been fortunate to connect with a large group of Christian bloggers on Facebook.  I get lots of encouragement and inspiration from them.

MV: Although you and I have expressed the pains of other’s thoughts on SAHMs, it’s great to hear something nice for a change. What are some of the nice things people have told you about staying home with your child? 

MM: The biggest compliment I can get from staying home with my child is my daughter’s love and demonstration of the things I’ve shown her.  It is so rewarding to see her go up to a crying baby and try to comfort them and show empathy.  It is rewarding to hear her politely ask for things and say thank you.  I love that she says “God bless you” to people when they sneeze or to greet people at church.  That, to me, is the biggest compliment.  These things can be taught regardless of whether one stays home or not, but for me, staying home has enabled me to focus on the little things such as these even more than I did when I was a working mom.  My husband also will tell me he is so happy with all I do for our family.  He brags about me to his co-workers, which is always nice.  It is also nice to have another mom call me a great mom.  My neighbor just did that the other day, and it was really nice to hear.  I find the greatest support comes from other stay at home moms just validating how truly hard but rewarding staying home can be.
MV: You recently wrote a piece on how giving mom free time for Mother’s Day is the best gift she can receive, and I couldn’t agree more! In what ways do you use mommy time? 

MM: I use a lot of my mommy time to blog and do social media, quite honestly.  I need to often kick myself in the behind to get myself to do something relaxing and just for me.  I like to get pedicures every now and then and massages.  Evenings out with other moms to go watch a movie, have dinner, or even cook together makes for nice mommy time as well.  

MV: As a SAHM myself, I find it can put a dent on your relationship, more so when your significant other is well-established in their career. How do you keep yourself in love with that “tall, dark, and handsome hottie?”

MM: To be totally honest, the first year as a stay at home mom was REALLY hard.  I didn’t have myself together, most days I still don’t.  But I felt I needed to make money from home and got distracted from taking care of my family.  That proved to be a little hard on my marriage.  Finally, my husband told me all he wanted was for me to enjoy my time at home with my daughter, even if our budget was a little tight.  Long story short, he helped me prioritize.  His support and encouragement grows my love for him.  He has his bad days, like everyone else . . . but I try to just think of staying at home as my job and focus on that despite any power trips he may occasionally have.  My job is no less of a job than his.  My position is to enable him to do well at his job.  That may be by cooking healthy, providing encouragement, not complaining when he works long hours, or letting him nap when he’s had a long day.  He recently got a promotion.  Quite honestly, I don’t think he would have been able to accomplish that if we were both still working because he’d have to dedicate more time to doing things at home and less time to work.  His free time and all his money, is for the family.  Just seeing where his heart is and knowing we are his priority makes me love him that much more.  We don’t have consistent date nights, but we do try to have a little bit of time together here and there to reconnect.

MV: Having been through ups and downs of being a SAHM, what advice would you give a new SAHM?

MM: My advice to a new SAHM would be:
1.  Talk to your husband or partner and decide on your family’s priorities and each person’s “job descriptions”.  Knowing the family’s priorities, will help you determine where to focus your time and energy.  Knowing what is expected from each individual, will avoid conflict and misunderstandings down the road.
2.  Own your SAHM job full heartedly.  If you can afford to be a SAHM, then make that your job.  Everything else passes on to be a hobby.  For example, I have a home business, a blog, and a podcast.  They were each eating up too much of my time.  As much as I love each of those projects, they absolutely have to pass on to be a hobby.  Something that is done when I have the time.
3.  Don’t forget about yourself.  You are still an individual with skills, talents, dreams, and goals.  You still have needs and interests of your own.  Explore the things you would otherwise not get to explore if you were busy working for an employer and taking care of a family.  Being a SAHM is definitely a 24 hr job, but you have the freedom to take a half hour here or an hour there to read a book, start a blog, take a class, . . . whatever floats your boat.  Just do it!  Keep your mind going and growing.  Connect or reconnect with people.  You can do this by joining mommy groups, taking your child to public activities, or even as simple as using social media.  Staying home can be lonely if you isolate yourself to your home.

Teachings Tuesday: Your Family Can Drive You Mad

Cranky Mom

 

Now that everything is back to normal — aka my family is back up North — I have a sigh of relief. Not only was I somewhat dreading their visit because I wanted everything to be perfect, but there is my mother.

Most daughters have a wonderful relationship with their moms, and I have always wished that was my case. You see, my mom has a habit of jumping to conclusions and making assumptions about things instead of asking. I, on the other hand, would rather ask or find the truth before opening my mouth about anything. Because of this, we bump heads quite often. Some people think I am being disrespectful, but if they listened to the way my mom talked to me or anyone else in our family, they would be a lot more understanding. Either way, it is a new week and everyone is back home.

My parents had not seen Sebastian since he was six months. Occasional FaceTime sessions do not really count. So, it was interesting to see my son’s reaction when he saw his grandparents. Since we FaceTime Jeff’s family more often, Sebastian was more likely to open his arms up to Jeff’s mom and dad. Although he did not want to be with my parents at first, with time he got comfortable again.

There were days I just did not want to be bothered with my mom, and those days were usually when I would have to remind myself that it was only temporary and that she would be returning back to NJ once her time here was up. Having someone tell me I was not doing “the best for my son” drove me up the wall because Jeff and I have been trying our best to raise our son without anyone else’s help.

Last night, Jeff told me that his was very pleased with the way we have been raising Sebastian and he thinks we are doing a fantastic job. It is always nice to hear someone’s positive feedback. It reassures you that you are doing the best you can. If only some people would be a little less judgmental. ;)

I hope you are having an awesome Tuesday!

‘Til tomorrow, loves…

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Life After The Big Day

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You often hear about the perks of motherhood, but there is nothing like witnessing your child’s first breath, or holding them close after hours of labor. I know because I experienced every possible emotion on the big day.

After 18 hours of labor, I was told my dreams of natural birth (and that means no epidural either) were shattered. As my doctor and the anesthesiologist prepared me for surgery, I had to prepare myself mentally. I was sad and scared of what was to come.

“Going under the knife” is a phrase many people use when they have surgery, and it was the best way to describe my experience. I even wrote a post on my blog about it addressed to my son. Regardless of how I had imagined my birth should have been, seeing a healthy little guy was all I needed to reassure me that everything was going to be okay.

The healing process was interesting. Pain meds and a lot of Google searches were part of my morning routine. I did my best to not use the meds. I knew my body would heal on its own. Caring for my son during the days that followed my C-section required help. I did not want it, but I knew I needed my husband and my parents more than ever. Just getting in and out of bed was a hassle.

Below are 4 lessons I have learned from my C-section that applies to being a first-time mom:

1. Help is critical.
Whether you like it or not, you will need help. It might be emotional (someone to talk to) or physical (while caring for the baby).

2. Things will not always go as planned.
No matter how many times you try to convince yourself that everything will go according to plan, you must prepare yourself for when things go the opposite.

3. How you feel is mental.
You can really scare the heck out of yourself by thinking about all the things that can go wrong. Stay positive!

4. Keep smiling.
I have a permanent smile where my son was born thanks to my C-section, and another in my heart. So, I try my best to keep smiling even when things get tough.

‘Til tomorrow, loves…Motherhood Through My Eyes Signature