Thursday, February 12, 2015

Waiting to Exhale

So many have thanked me for putting together the Challenger League, but i want you to now that I am forever grateful and thankful to you all!  This has been one of my most rewarding and fulfilling moments in my life.  Being able to meet so many super amazing children and their amazing families is hands down top five in my lifetime experiences.  

When I learned of my son's diagnosis, I was mixed with emotions and felt powerless and confused.  I can't say alone, because I had my husband, but we didn't personally know of anyone else diagnosed with Autism.  As we pushed forward we met others who experienced the same heartache, struggles and overwhelming love for our children. 

This hasn't been an easy journey, as a lot of you know.  But it is a very rewarding one.  I have to say that the rewards outweigh the meltdowns and red tape I get tangled up in at times.  All their milestones and accomplishments  are that much more greater, because we know how much they had to overcome to make it happen! 

Last season, when baseball started, I had no idea what to expect, but I went into with the intention of creating an environment where everyone involved was going to get something out of it!  It was and still is important that parents and family trust me and understand that I had only good intentions.  My goal was to make them feel at home!  And to allow them to be comfortable with letting their most precious possession be themselves.  I wanted them to have the same service that I would want for myself and my children.  It's why I take the time to know each child and get to know the family!  

I love talking to parents who are unsure about signing their children up.  They're always sound so tense, but once I start to explain, I hear that sigh of relief.  That exhale.  I look forward to our second season!!!! 



Thursday, February 5, 2015

Every Little Bit Counts

For a few years, I raised thousands of dollars to donate to an organization that mainly focuses on research of Autism.  Which by the way is a great thing.  But, my child HAS Autism and Needs services now.  I live in the Bronx and most times have to travel out of the borough I live in for activities and/or programs that are tailored to my sons needs. 
 
I began to feel uncomfortable about handing over so much money and never really knowing if the money was going to services and not advertising or incentives to raise more money.  So when my child asked to play baseball, I did all that I could to make it happen!
 
I am so proud to be able to put all my fundraising efforts into a program that benefits children on the spectrum, and that is Free.  I love being able to see just where the funds that we raised are going to. 
Check out our Website to see how successful our last season was!!!! We went from having 65 players and 4 teams to having 145 players and 12 teams for our upcoming season!   Help us to make our 2nd Season even more AMAZING than last year!!!!!
 
Come out on Friday April 3rd, 2015 to sing your hearts or just support at our 5th Annual Autistic Kids Rock Karaoke Fundraiser


 
Can't make it out to our event, but still want to donate?  You can check out our GoFundme Page

 
Want to learn more about our program and see pics of our great 1st season? Click here to Check Out our Website


Sunday, January 25, 2015

My Amazing trip to the South of France

Being a mom makes it difficult to get away.  So when you find a place that can take you away like Calgon close to home, it's definitely a keeper!!!! 

I have found an amazing little spot right in my Hometown of the Bronx!  It's called The South of France.  It's a quaint little spot right on Westchester Avenue!  It's a Restaurant and Bar!!!! The best of both worlds Food and liquor YUM!!!!!! 



The name will fool you!  The only thing French Is the rustic stone facade outside and the huge sign with Red letters that reads South of France.  



The inside looks like a romantic Bistro, with its wood floors, posts and stone walls!  I've never been to France, but I feel like it would be a lot like this!  



But here you won't fine French Cuisine, you will find one of the Best Puerto Rican Cuisines I've ever tasted.  Their Rice and Beans are so flavorful and good, you may pick your plate up and lick it clean!!!.My favorite is the Sirloin Steak!!!! Oh how my mouth waters just thinking about it!!!! 

This morning I went for Brunch!!! 


And it was AWESOME!!!! There was a huge buffet!!!!! And everything was delicious!!!! 


I tried to taste everything!!!! There was mangu, with Salami, queso Frito (fried cheese), home fries, French toast!!!



And There was pancakes, sausage, yuca (cassava), quesadillas, stuffed mushrooms!!!!


 And Mussels, acapurrias, and Pastellios!!!! 


Potato Salad, Chicken tenders and Raw Oysters!!!! Yum!!!!! 

And I almost forgot.... The too die for Rice and Beans, Pernil and Beef!!!!!! 


They even made custom order eggs and omelettes!!! 

Then if you didn't have enough!!!! There was a large selection of fruits, cheese and desserts!!!! Including the freshest flan!!! Soooooo good! 


To wash it down you have Unlimited,  I mean Unlimited mimosas, bellinis and so much more!!!! All served by a beautiful bartender!


But what makes the South of France sooo much more amazing, is the owner Maribel!!! She is what a business owner should be! She cares about her establishment, and takes great pride in it!!! She makes sure everyone is comfortable and enjoying themselves!  Her huge smile and great spirit!  She makes you feel like you are with Family!  

The south of France is a great spot!!! Check them out!!! 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Turning the page

For as long as I can remember diabetes is something I've lived with. I personally didn't have diabetes, but I'd watch my mom nursing my dad and herself because they were both diabetics.  My mom monitored both their diets and their meds.   She'd lay out his pills. Prepare and give them both their insulin injections. She also kept track of their blood glucose levels daily.  They'd be pricking and poking themselves so much I joked that if they drink any liquids that it may start to pour out all their holes like a water fountain.  

I knew right away to get either one of them a glass of Orange juice or something sweet if their sugar dropped and keep an eye on them if they'd get dizzy from their sugar being too high.  It was always a concern that I'd get it too.  Both my parents and my paternal grandmother had it.  The fact that I was overweight worried my parents and doctors.  When I was pregnant with my oldest child I tested positive for gestational diabetes, and i needed insulin to balance my sugar levels.  Once I had my daughter, I showed no signs of diabetes, but I was told I needed to be very careful.  

A few years ago I was introduced to Zumba. I really enjoyed it and I started to lose weight.  I decided that it was time for me to take the concerns seriously.  I had three kids that depend on me and i needed to do whatever was needed to spare me a few more years to my lifetime!   I changed my eating habits and excersized regularly.  I was so into it, I started a Bootcamp workout.  I was loving how I was feeling and even more so how I was looking!  I even joined a gym to be able to work out during the cold weather seasons!  But unfortunately, certain things beyond my control took me away from my path of a healthier me.  

My working out began to slowly come to a stop.  I tried working out at home, but it got complicated and wasn't fun anymore.  I started feeling depressed and my anxiety started getting out of control. I fell back into my bad habit of filling myself with comfort foods in order to fill voids and ease my emotions.  I tried to work out occasionally, but I put on weight.  I began to spiral.  

Recently, I have been feeling pretty crappie! And started experiencing symptoms that were familiar.  Constant urge to urinate, feeling thirsty no matter how much water I would drink.  I thought I had developed a bladder infection, but turned out that wasn't the case.  I was tired ALL the time and I had no energy.  I started to see spots and my vision seemed to be getting worse.  So.... It was time to pay my doctor a visit!  

Today I went back for my follow up.  I was tired and thought about rescheduling my appointment.  It was freezing out, but I had been experiencing dizzy spells.  So bundled up and head out!

I was in good spirits for some reason and was greeted by great company when I arrived.  It made the wait at the doctors office go quicker and way more interesting.  (Thank you Junior)!!! 

My doctor wasn't in so I met with the physicians assistant. She was peppy and nice. She chatted with me and said let me tell you the good stuff.  Cool!!! Now here is the bad stuff we have to talk about.  "Your cholesterol is a bit high, if you work on it now you can avoid having to take meds" I thought I can live with that. Then here it was.  "You have diabetes" I felt relieved initially, because now I had a cause for the dizzy spells, spots and constant peeing! We talked about my future and management of my diabetes.  MY DIABETES!!!!!! Holy Sh!t!!! I have diabetes.  I don't have to take meds , but I have to visit the doctor regularly to monitor my diabetes!  

It hit me as I walked home.  I was suddenly thinking about how this was going to change my life completely.  If I didn't take care of myself, my kids Will have to live with diabetes just like me.  

Today I end another chapter in my life and tomorrow I begin a new one.  I will have diabetes, but I won't let diabetes have me! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

#Deed A Day : 100 Good Deeds

Why should we only give for Christmas? With the season of giving coming to an end and the New Year is quickly approaching, I am proud to say that I have Joined the Deed a Day organization in setting a resolution to do a good deed a day! The 100 Good Deeds bracelet is not only a cause to encourage everyone to do a good deed, but it also a fashion statement.  In a world full of chaos and a bit of crazy, I think that the Deed a Day movement is an amazing thing.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing someone smile because of something you were able to help them with, all while looking good doing it.  Whether it's picking up someone's keys after they have fallen, or helping an overwhelmed parent in a supermarket.  Paying it forward is something that more people should do.  The rewards is the greatest feeling, and the bracelet is motivation and reminder of the good you have done and will continue to do.
 
 
 
The 100 Good Deeds project is made possible by the Abataka Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. As a mother of a 10 year old daughter, I stand behind and appreciate what they are about. Their mission is to transform communities by empowering vulnerable women and spread kindness.  The Abataka Foundation provides economic and educational opportunities to women and girls across Africa and elsewhere. Proceeds from the sale of 1GD bracelets are reinvested in the program, supporting more women and girls with more training in even more countries.
 
 
These beautiful bracelets are made by vulnerable women who have been trained for this work in Uganda, India, Indonesia, Zambia, South Africa, Rwanda, and Inilnand Haiti. This project gives these women a way to support their families through earnings, while empowering them to also contribute to good deeds around the world.  Curious about these women? If you would like to Join the movement or know someone who would, and you'd like to gift them with one these amazing bracelets Check out their website out for more information. 
 
Help me make this a better world, a more giving world, a world we want to live in!!!! A world where our woman feel empowered and encouraged to do good and become great! Join the #DEEDaDay Movement share one of the following images on Facebook, Instagram, twitter or Pinterest using hashtag #DEEDADAY and/or #1GD. Be sure to tag the 100 Good Deeds Bracelet:



Together we can change the world, one deed, one bead, and one act of kindness at a time! The 1GD bracelet gives you 100 changes to be grateful.
 
 If you would like a chance to win a bracelet and learn more about Mary Fisher and her amazing work, be sure to  mark your calendar to join us tomorrow from 9-10 pm ET for the #DeedADay #GNO hosted by the Mom it Forward team. 100 Good Deed Bracelet founder, Mary Fisher, will be joining us for what is sure to be an inspiring conversation! For more information or to RSVP, click here.

I was gifted this 100 Good Deeds bracelet to review and share with my readers. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays!!!!!

 
I have very fond memories of the holiday season as a kid.  I always looked forward to the holidays, because it meant that the family would get together.  We would listen to great music and the house would be full of amazing aromas, from all the delicious dishes. 
 
When I was pregnant I wondered how Christmas would be for my children.  I try to continue the same traditions that my mother practiced with me, with my kids.  We are sure to take the kids to see Santa. 
 
Having a child with Autism, a simple trip to see Santa can be difficult.  We have been truly blessed with all of our experiences with Santa. 
 
 

 
 
This year Donovan insisted that we see Santa!  I felt horrible, because we missed the Quiet Santa offered by Macy's and Autism Speaks.  But, we set out to find a way to meet Santa and Take our family picture! 
 
 
 

We gather together on Christmas eve, we have dinner as a family.  We eat and drink, and reminisce about Christmases past.  The kids get excited about Christmas day and prepare for Santa's delivery.  
 





They leave out cookies and milk and fight to stay up and catch a glimpse of the Happy Fat Guy in Red.  Christmas morning, me and the hubby are usually exhausted from waiting for the kids to fall asleep to put out their presents. But the smile on their faces is so worth it!!!
 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

I'm Still a Winner!!!

I entered a coquito contest called the Coquito Masters on the suggestion of a friend. 


I had been making and selling coquito for Thanksgiving and Christmas season for my family for years.  I decided that I would start selling it to make some extra cash for Christmas presents.  



 I was hesitant to enter, and I never expected to win.  It isn't that I don't believe in my product, but that I put so much pride and love into it, I was afraid to hear that it wasn't any good.  I entered anyway, with no expectations,  and I was one of two who won for my borough of the Bronx!  



I was moving onto the Coquito Masters Finals!!!! Myself along with other winners from other boroughs came out and competed on Saturday December 13, 2014.

  

I was both excited and nervous.  The event was held in the Gym of the Taino Towers. 


I got there early to turn in my bottle of coquito.  It is a blind test.  Your mixture is taken and given a letter.  It is brought out in a pitcher so no one knows which is which.  The gym was huge and there were vendors selling their products.  Most were products that were very rich in the Puerto Rican culture.  The music playing was Latin Christmas tunes.  The salsa rhythms made me want to jump up and dance bomba! So imagine my excitement when they had a troupe come out and perform! 


They were great! And it made reminisce back to Christmas as a little girl.  I remembered a night while I was settled for bed, and was awoken by loud music and singing.  It was a good ole fashion Paranda. My family and friends had come to our apartment and everyone squeezed into our tiny living room.  They played traditional songs, and my parents hurried to get them food and drinks.  It was customary to feed them and give drinks!  Since it was the holidays and Christmas was approaching Coquito was in order.  

My dad loved cooking and he didn't know how to cook small portions.  Everything was done in excess.  So the bottles began to pour, and the night continued.  I loved hearing the music and watching how happy everyone was.  My nerves began to ease, at the memory.  

During the event there were people interviewing the contestants.  They asked why I entered, what Coquito meant to me, and how did I feel being the youngest contestant?  I laughed and asked if I really was! 


While being interviewed, it dawned on me, that our culture is slowly fading away. I realized that just by making Coquito, I was keeping up tradition and teaching my kids about their culture.  I want my children to embrace their culture and keep up traditions.  

Back to the contest, tasting began and all the tasters went out with their pencils and voting sheets.  



I waited nervously as everyone tasted and casted their votes.  


I didn't win the contest, but I am no loser!  I left there with an experience and memories that I will look back at and chuckle about.  I had an amazing bunch in my corner!!!! 





 I was blessed to be honored by some amazing people in my corner!  Time is a very expensive gift, that I treasure more than anything!  Thank you!!!!