Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Cindy {Special Needs Momma} #InspiredSeries

Being a Momma is a lot of work. As you could imagine having to juggle a home, children and life itself is stressful. Some Momma's have an extra role, as care giver to a child with special needs. Today I introduce to you Cindy a 29-years-old Momma, who is married with 3 children; Jasmine (Jassy)-11, Jonathan Jr. (Johnny)-7 and Emma-5. Her family has a special kind of love, for a very beautiful and special little girl...one who is as her Momma would say "differently-able"! 

::Cindy and Jassy:: A Special Kind of Love.... 

My husband, Jonathan, and I have been married for 8 years going on 9, but have known each other since 1st grade! Another fun fact is that we started dating in the 5th grade. We had our first baby, Jassy, when we were both 18 and seniors in high school. :-)

Jasmine has ROP, retinopathy of prematurity. It is a condition where blood vessels grow abnormally behind the retina. The scientific name is retrolental fibroplasia. It happens to premature infants. I had Jassy at 36 weeks.

We learned about her being blind one week after her birth. We were told to see a specialist because they couldn't find the "red reflex" in her eyes that doctors look for when they check babies after birth. The specialist confirmed that our baby was born blind.

My initial reaction was shock and trauma to be honest. No one can prepare you for something like that. It was not something that they could have told us in an ultrasound so it was very unexpected. I say trauma because it is very life changing, and hard to understand while it's happening at first.

My life since having Jassy has been a learning process. The hardest time was definitely the first year. Jassy would cry all night and sleep during the day because her times would get switched so to speak. Because she can't see, she doesn't have the sun letting her body know that it's time to go to sleep. This still happens to her occasionally like when she gets sick. We've since figured out how to regulate it as best as we can. Anything else that comes our way we tend to just go with the flow. I have gained so much patience, and I owe it all to my girl. 

I handle each challenge differently because no two days are ever the same. Jassy also has a speech impairment, and a mental impairment. So communication is a huge issue. She tends to resort to self injurious behaviors that we call "fits". She will bite and pinch herself, and others when she's upset. That can happen randomly. Sometimes we know what sets her off, and sometimes we don't. I mean imagine not being able to communicate your wants and needs. I would be upset too! The fits and communication issues are the biggest challenges that we face daily. 

The biggest blessing of having a child with a disability is the child itself! She is my everything! I consider Jassy my best friend because we are almost always together when she's not at school. I love her so much, and the love that she gives is incomparable. I wouldn't be the mother and person I am today if it wasn't for her. 

Our younger two kids are lucky to have her as a sister too. They learn daily that everyone is different and beautiful in their own way. They love their sister very much, and Jassy loves them too! :-)

Routine is super important for Jassy. She gets up really early, and loves to eat a big breakfast. We can't skip any meals with her because then we'll see an increase in fits. (We try to avoid any triggers to the fits as much as possible.) She has to eat 4 times a day! lol Then, she goes to school. Her school routine is super important too. She has amazing teachers by the way! I trust them completely with her. After school she'll play with us, and then in her room. Finally, dinner then bedtime.

The biggest helps in my life are my husband and my parents. I don't know what I would do without either one of them. Jassy loves them all to pieces too! She has a special bond with each of them. We are truly blessed.

My motivation to keep going are my babies; All 3 of them. Knowing that they all need me helps me to keep on pushing when the times get tough, and believe me they do!

Finding time for myself is extremely important as well. I've always been very active in my life with sports and exercise. Just last year I became an active runner. The funny thing is that I never really liked to run growing up! Lol I try to run everyday if, and when I can. Running not only keeps me healthy and in shape, but it gives me the "me" time that I crave. It's almost like meditation or getting lost in your own thoughts while doing something positive. I recommend it to everyone! 

The advice I have for others going through something similar or just starting on this kind of journey is just be patient. It may all seem very daunting at first, but the blessings always outweigh any negatives that go on. Secondly, be strong even when you feel that you don't have the strength. You are your child's best advocate. You know your child the best. So whether that means speaking up to different doctors or voicing your opinion at their school, make your voice heard! Lastly, enjoy your baby. They truly are miracles! All though my daughter is seen as "different" in society, I see her for who she truly is, perfection. My job in life is not only to take care of her and give her the best life possible, but to also bring awareness to the special needs community. Most people fear the unknown because they don't understand. I try to help them understand as best as I can. 

One of my favorite things to do is get on my Facebook, and go to the special needs parents' community page for Cypress. All of it's members are wonderful parents that share their stories, and experiences about their beautiful kids. That includes the ups and downs. It is also a place to share different events around town that are special needs friendly. I love that page so much and I'm sure there are different ones depending on what area you live in. I definitely wish I would have found this page sooner!

Helpful organizations/resources in Houston are The Lighthouse for the Blind (Houston), DARS, SSI, and Medicaid to name a few. Nationally, I follow the National Federation of the Blind, and the American Foundation for the Blind all of which have websites. There are tons more though! Research is very important. 

I hope I was able to help anyone even if it was just a little! If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email me at CinD427@yahoo.com . 

And always remember, God is good and you were chosen for a reason!!

We love our Jassy girl!!! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

::Vestido Rojo:: #LatinasGoRed

::Momma Disclosure:: {This is a compensated post. I received a special invitation to the Vestido Rojo Luncheon and Fashion Show, in collaboration with American Heart Association. All opinions and statements expressed below are my own and true and honest.}

As Latinas we learn to simply place others needs and wants before our own. I think that naturally as women and Momma's placing others before ourselves, just happens. It isn't something we think about, we just do it. We see it as an example from our own Momma's and so we allow it to happen as the norm. Truth is, while we should care for those around us we should also learn to place our own needs and especially our health first. Not because we are being selfish but because the healthier and stronger we are; the better we can care for our loved ones. 

Last week I was invited by the American Heart Association, to a wonderful event that not only pampers women and makes them feel beautiful but also reminds us of the consequences of not taking care of our health. It was an afternoon of empowerment and encouragement. Where 3 amazing Houston Latina Champions of the Community received special recognition and awards for their work. The always inspiring Dr. Laura G. Murillo, President and CEO Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, told us about her own experiences with Heart disease and the fear of losing her Momma at a young age. 

The afternoon's motto was very fitting:  "Educate, Equip, and Empower" Oh and did I mention the salsa dancing! It was so much fun. As part of the campaign to be more active the afternoon was filled with music and a couple who showed off their moves.

One of the leading causes of death in Latina/Hispanic women is Heart Disease. Not too far behind and walking hand in hand with your heart is Diabetes. As a member of a very large Mexican family I know all too well the grief of both of these illnesses. My Grandmother lost her limbs and life at an early age due to Diabetes and dialysis. And, my Grandfather has had heart surgery due to heart disease and mild heart attacks. Sadly, no matter how much I have tried to avoid it; just this week, I too was diagnosed with Diabetes. I am not one to give in easily so I have already started taking steps to control my disease and regain my health. 

The Houston area American Heart Association has a great website filled with important information for those seeking to better their quality of life or help others get back on track. They have events, resources and way that you too can help contribute or donate. Their site is bilingual and offers recipes, exercise tips and a list of risk factors/symptoms

Here are ::THREE: changes I am  already making in order to live a healthier life! What are you doing to create a healthier lifestyle for yourself?

Monday, April 20, 2015

::Weekend Snapshots::

Tonight, I am joining Ari of 3TwentySix with her ::weekend snapshots:: Visit her blog to see all of her fun weekend pictures! Such a great idea, if you love it let Ari know by showing her some blog or facebook love. 

Weekends are about relaxing, taking in the sun and enjoying your loved ones. In my case... taking LOTS of pictures to show you on Monday. It's my new goal, to join Ari, won't you show us your weekend snapshots too!! 

This weekend was a bizarre one. It went from being rainy & dreary on Friday and Saturday; to an amazing Sunday, until Sunday night. We stayed home rained in on Friday and Saturday but not without trying some local eateries of course. Friday we visited Crawfish N'More on Hwy 6 and Clay. If you are a crawfish fan, it's pretty good here. We went late and it was packed, you can bring your own beer and if you check in with Yelp you get a 10% discount. We took ours to go. The place is small and while it was kid friendly, it's not Wild and Crazy Gomez kid friendly. So, we ate at home.

Saturday morning wasn't too rainy so we met my momma for breakfast/lunch at a small authentic Mexican food restaurant. El Hidalguense. It doesn't look like much on the outside but the barbacoa de borrego with nopales asados and consome, were oh so good. They give you taquitos dorados with salsa roja as an appetizer {first 4 are complimentary}. They also have homemade tortillas and aguas frescas. It was kid friendly and had live music. My child wore her pajamas to breakfast. It was that kind of kid friendly. We then headed home to get rained in, but we rested enough to have a beautiful day filled with sun and family on Sunday. 

On Sunday, we visited yet another Houston park, this time it was in Galveston off of 51st. It's called SeaWolf park. It has a good size playground and is known as a good fishing spot. This Sunday though not much was caught, other than some awesome sun rays! It also has a submarine and USS ship which you can board and explore. It's a great area for picnicking and afternoon cooking.  The kids love it here; first we try our luck at fishing, when that doesn't happen we play and relax. {There is a fee to enter the park and for those fishing, as well as to enter and board the boat and submarine.}

We also stopped off at the always awesome Bucee's in Texas City. Which we love, my kids thought they spotted Barbie and Ken. Yes, they took pictures with the mannequins in the middle of the store. I told you, wild and crazy kids. 

A little secret, my Hubby usually has to drag me out of the house, but we always end up having an awesome time. I am so much more of home body, who would rather sleep in and watch a movie in the comfort of my own home. But, when we let my Hubby lead the day we usually end up with wonderful pictures and great family memories. 

Our day ended with storms. Thankfully it happened after we had our little family adventure.... 

 What about you, what did you do this weekend?? 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

::Explore Houston:: Hiking Trails

Last year we took a couple of  road trips with the kids, we have grown to love these. The adventures are endless and the memories, forever priceless. One of our trips was a camping trip to Gardner State Park and the other was a weekend in San Antonio.

On these adventures we discovered, that my kids loved the outdoors, maps { cause it reminds them of Dora, GRACIAS DORA!} and trails! My Husband and I in an effort to keep this alive and thriving decided that we would find local Houston parks and trails to explore. There.are.so.many.

A couple of months ago the weather was amazing, nothing like this week where the rain just won't leave us alone. In those gorgeous days we ventured out. Today, I will show you a little  from our first Houston trail adventure as well as, share a little information about the park. If you are local or visiting, I highly suggest exploring the nature in our city, it's amazing ya'll.

The peace and family bonding it great too. 

The park is so BIG, it will take you at least 2-3 hours to explore it very well. We took a 4 hour hike that day, the kids slept all the way home. It has trails and interesting areas that will make you forget you live near the city. The park trails do cross under the freeway and intersect with high volume streets, but trust me, you will not even notice it. We went out on a Saturday afternoon. The bikers were in full gear so just stay clear of them and beware of there warnings "ON THE LEFT". Is their usual sign of, here I come, MOVE

While you learn the park lingo, you can enjoy the beautiful scenery. 

We parked at Memorial near Eldridge. And, on this afternoon we had a small picnic when we reached the reservoir at I10 & Eldridge. So, the walk is about 20 minutes out, we then climbed up the edge of the reservoir and collected rocks. Then back down to the trails and into the park area with the playground. Where my daughter randomly yelled out a cuss word and we decided it was time to go. Have I mentioned I have wild children? I do. You would think they grew up on a farm with no humans. 

Usually randomness completes our adventures. The park is filled with great picture op areas, as a Momma who always carries a camera this is an amazing place! 

I highly recommend Terry Hersey, you can explore it and find a new spot every time.  It might take hours, maybe even days, to complete it's trails. We have been back a couple of times since, for pictures and picnics.

You can follow our adventures daily on Instagram. 

Follow our Park series, by coming back next week and looking for a new post! 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

::What I Wore Wednesday:: Momma Style

If you know me then you know; number one..I am not a fancy person. And, number dos {2}, I have become very frugal and rarely like to "splurge" on myself. A couple of months ago, I was given a NYC credit card ::insert gasps here:: Since then, I have gotten a few necessary pieces here and there. 

As needed. 

New York and Company is one of my favorite stores. 

Another favorite store of mine is Target. And, as Taraji mentioned, she too wears Target she just blings it up. I am usually not super "blinged" out but I do love accessories, it's probably the girliest I am. I also love the color black and then dressing it up. I had an important lunch to go to that day {you can read about it here}.  That day I started off with an all black outfit and decided to add some accessories. 

Here is what I had on, it was simple I liked it but I knew something was missing. {Follow me on Instagram

I quickly found myself at the mall before my lunch that day, a rare occurrence for this Momma, and ended up buying the following:

A purse, silver necklace and shimmery stockings from New York and Company.

Winged Faux-Leather Tote Bag- It's such a great size. I placed my camera, wallet and phone in it. It was perfect for a carrying bag that afternoon. 

Silver necklace- They have so many great items in the store! They are usually on sale and you can buy one and get one half off. I love their jewelry. I own a lot of it. 

Shimmery Stockings {Medium Heather Grey}- I usually wear black stockings but this day I wanted to add some shine to my outfit. I was walking to the register and I found the best very light shimmer stockings, on sale! 

I then scooted over to Target, of course. There I found the PERFECT pair of glossy black pumps. Also, very inexpensive. Perfect height for work and outings. The Merona Melanie Heels.  

Final outfit looked a little like this:

Do you want to show off your favorite outfit and Momma finds? Send them my way and I will add you to our next What I Wore Wednesday feature! { email me at: mommaofdos@gmail.com }

Monday, April 13, 2015

::Monday Morning Love:: #motivationalmonday

Monday's are difficult. No doubt. But, unlike most, I don't like to worry myself right back into my bed about it. I embrace Monday's. And, any day for that matter. As a Working Momma with a busy Hubby and Dos, very unstoppable, Toddlers; I remain positive about it all. I have to. 

Here are ::Three:: things I do to make my Monday transition much easier:

How do you keep positive on Monday's? 

{Picture found on Facebook}

Friday, April 10, 2015

::Mujeres Legendarias~Houston Event:: #FordEnEspanol #MujeresLegendarias

::Momma Disclosure:: { This is a compensated post. I received a special invitation to the Ford Mujeres Legendarias Luncheon, in collaboration with Lopez Marketing Group. All opinions and statements expressed below are my own and true and honest.}

There is nothing I enjoy more than meeting new people and connecting with them. I like to think that I am a fairly versatile person and am constantly reaching out to all community leaders regardless of race. But, there is always something very special and different about being in a room filled with other Latinos. Especially a room filled with other Latina Women who are making a difference in my very own community. As I am sure others feel the same about their own community. 

Last year I started a series where I asked a question about Latina {Women} Empowerment. The response was wonderful, you can see that post ::HERE:: This week, thanks to Ford en Español, I want to discuss what we can do to create actions.  Ford invited me to attend their Mujeres Legendarias Luncheon where four Professional Latina Women were honored for their innovative contributions to the Houston Hispanic community. Their passions were evident through their introduction stories. They are hard working, intelligent women who are paving the way for other Latinas in Houston seeking to do more through their work.   

Who are we as Latina women in Houston? Guest Speaker, Martha Kattan, Regional News Director of Univision stated that we are virtuous women. We work hard and continuously try to be a part of our community. We aspire to be great. We work over 8 hours a day. We are business women. Who are Fearless. Organized. Always planning for whats to come. Always looking towards the future. We provide words of wisdom to those in need. "As women we need to be lifted not only as mothers and wives but as faith seekers and brave business women."; she stated. We are encouragers filled with courage. Filled with challenges but never bowing down to them. 

"Latinos in our community are writing their own destinies."
                                                                         ~Martha Kattan of Univision 

I agree when she stated that we should  try not to substitute men in the work place but instead we should be compliments to them and try to work hard alongside them. She then quoted her Abuela, a wise lady for sure, saying to remember to be "Sumisas pero no sus Mensas". Being confident, assertive, smart and positive, uplifting role models.  She also stated that "we have our priorities in order; God, Family & Work." Some how we have succeeded at finding a balance and making it all work. 

It was a wonderful event that honored Houston women who are each legendary in their own way!

Action. It creates motion that we can see and be a part of. In everything that I have done, or continue to do; I always ask myself- “What are we doing as a community to build our strength and empower those around us?”  

::More about Ford Mujeres Legendarias::

Information provided by Lopez Marketing Group. 

Ford reconoce los logros de las mujeres Latinas con su campaña Mujeres Legendarias de Ford.

Ford Motor Company tiene una larga historia de reconocer los logros de las mujeres en nuestra sociedad. Aunque la mayoría de la gente la conoce como la esposa de Henry Ford, Clara Bryant Ford fue una filántropa y líder de la comunidad en su derecho propio y una figura clave en el largo historial de las mujeres influyentes.

Por tercer año, durante el mes Nacional de la Historia de la Mujer, el fabricante de automóviles celebrará Mujeres Legendarias de Ford, una iniciativa con el fin de honrar a las mujeres Hispanas que, como Clara Bryant Ford, personifican los cuatro pilares de la marca Ford: inteligencia, eficiencia, ecológico y seguridad.

Las mujeres homenajeadas representan a las 22 millones de Latinas excepcionales en los EE.UU. que están haciendo una diferencia en el lugar de trabajo, sus hogares, el medio ambiente y la comunidad.

Inteligente (Smart): empresarias, ejecutivas, dueñas de pequeños negocios o directoras de organizaciones sin fines de lucro:
·         Suzanne Batlle (Miami)
·         Carolina Valenti Pinto (New York)
·         Liliana Perez-Nordtvedt (Dallas)
·         Rita Farias (Houston)
·         Madeline Salazar (Los Angeles)
Eficiente (Quality): una modelo de conducta para su familia y la comunidad, que alienta a otros padres en persona o en línea con sus experiencias y conocimientos.
·         Lina Acosta (Miami)
·         Alicia Gibbs (Nueva York)
·         María García (Dallas)
·         Rosanna Gomez Moreno (Houston)
·         Teresa Garza (Los Angeles)
Verde (Green): establece un cambio positivo con relación a los problemas ambientales y trabaja para educar y proteger al público de los peligros ambientales.
·         Irela M. Bagué (Miami)
·         Xiomara Taveras Henríquez (Nueva York)
·         Arcilia C. Acosta (Dallas)
·         Patricia Lugo (Houston)
·         Olivia E. Rios (Los Angeles)
Seguro (Safe): influencia la política pública en temas sociales, económicos y culturales. Organiza grupos en torno a una causa y trabaja para implementar los cambios que tienen efectos positivos y duraderos.
·         Giselle Delgado (Miami)
·         Ximena Hidalgo Ayala (Nueva York)
·         Cynthia Izaguirre (Dallas)
·         Grace Olivares (Houston)
·         Griselda H. Reyes (Los Angeles)
Para ver la galería de fotos y leer todas las biografías de las Mujeres Legendarias de Ford, visite www.facebook.com/fordenespanol.