Monday, April 29, 2013

ReShape Mondays

Enjoy the silence...aahhhh. Anybody remember this video? Yes, this ReShape Monday has me digging back through my childhood. At the time, I didn't get this video. But today driving into work, it came to mind. You see, I have entered into a new stage of my career. At times, this new stage puts me in new circles. Sometimes, in those circles, I am with people who have diarrhea of the mouth. During those times, I recall something my old Pastor used to say when he would be in the company of other prestigious pastors. He would tell about how some of the pastors that wanted to be seen and heard made a lot of noise but very little sense. During those times, he would "practice the art of silence". 

Sometimes talking too much can get you into trouble, make you sound like a fool. Check out what the bible says about that "Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. (Proverbs 17:28)". 

So, today, I knew that I would be surrounded by those who wanted to talk a lot so that it seemed like they knew a lot. Enter Depeche Mode. Not sure the meaning behind the song but just the title alone gave me what I needed. 

Not sure about you but I struggle with clearing my mind so that I can enjoy the silence. I have tried many times to wake up early and just sit, with a clear mind. It sounds so easy to do, sit and imagine yourself walking on beach. Or listen to the rain falling. Or thunder. Or white noise from the t.v. 

Just think about what can happen during that silence. Answers you've been waiting for can finally have the space to come through. We are so bombarded with things that compete for our attention. We've learned to multi-task with the best of them. Practicing silence has become a lost art form. I say we get back to it. Let's not only practice silence but listening as well. Giving others our full attention, not wishing that they would hurry and finish so we can start talking. 

It's a process. As I work to get to that point, I can be quiet when necessary. 

Friday, April 26, 2013


That's how many posts we had linked up from our second blog party!!!

That's right! We are doing the dougie because 128 is an awesome feat! Thank you sooo much for making week two a success for us :). I also want to give a hand to my phenomenal host and my 2 hostesses:

We had A LOT of AWESOME posts last week that it took us some time to decide who we wanted to feature. After going back and forth, playing pin the tail on the donkey, and drawing straws, here are the four choices my host and co-hosts want to SHOW OFF:

Read how being the oldest child has it's benefits! 

Grandma always had your back! 

Marriage is all about teamwork! 

Let's Get Organized! 

Congratulations to all our featured bloggers! Please take our button to "SHOW OFF" that you were featured at the SHOW OFF Blog Party:

Show Of Feature Button photo

Don't forget to win a wrap package to get you swimsuit ready for the summer! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Are you ready to party? Before you begin, remember these simple rules:

  1. Link up your favorite posts. It doesn't matter which one, just make sure it's family friendly! 
  2. Follow our host (Jessica  The Wondering Brain)
  3. Follow all 3 co-hosts: JulesBrittany, and Me 
  4. Leave a comment if you'd like them to follow you too
  5. Visit at least 3 other bloggers 
  6. Show them your blogger love too if you'd like them to follow 
  7. Stay a little longer and mingle with more wonderful bloggers
  8. Take our beautiful badge and proudly display it on your side bar to encourage others to party with us! 

FavePost PartyBadge photo

Interested in co-hosting The SHOW OFF Weekend Blog Party next month? We have a couple more spots available for May and we're also taking reservations for June! $4.00 to reserve your spot for a month and a discounted rate for ad space! We won't disappoint. I promise! Please email for more information: 

Let the party begin! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


What tha?!?!?

Calm down, Gladiator in Heels is undergoing minor construction. I am a newbie blogger and learning new things. One of those new things is dazzlin' up my header. Bear with me, hoping to have this reconstructing over with soon. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

ReShape Mondays

You guessed it, today is Monday...again. Today's ReShape Mondays focus is family collaboration. Here's my story...

Photo from (Michael Tompsett)

Two weeks ago, my manager at work informed me that I would be traveling to San Francisco, California for one week. Uuugghhh, not again. I had already traveled to Los Angeles back in September for a week. Seriously?

Here's a little background info: the department is getting a new system. The new system goes live in September. I am the trainer. We have staff members that need to be trained. You already get the picture, right?

"Man, I wish they were sending me." "Girl, this can be like a vacation for you." "You can get some rest." "Oohh, that is gonna be so much fun." ~ watercooler talk from the peanut gallery, i.e. my coworkers.

I think it's great that an organization sends their employees to receive training. Not only that but reimburses them for their travel expenses. The flipside to this would mean leaving my husband and kids for a week. Yes, Yogli is 16, old enough to take care of himself and Hummingbird. Yes, MonkeyMan is an adult who can handle two kids for a week. Now, factor in my A-type personality. Yes, she reared her ugly head. Upon hearing this travel news, my A-type personality went into overdrive:

Who’s gonna cook dinner?

OMG, when will you sleep?!?!?! (remember, he works 3rd shift!)

You gotta remember Hummingbird spars on Thursdays in karate, so you must put her spar bag in your car on Wednesday so you can drop it off for Thursday.

Morning dropoff is before 7:40 am, anytime after that, she’s late!

Ok, I have ironed her clothes for the week (which I do every week).

Please make sure that Yogli finishes his homework.

Can you tell that I am not used to being away long periods of time? I am so grateful for MonkeyMan, he has a way of talking me down from ledges. Told me to relax, that they would be ok, we would make it work. Aaaahhh....

My flight was on Sunday. We spent the morning at church, had lunch, then grocery shopped. The kids picked out their favorite snacks. I talked with Hummingbird about where I was going, where it was on the map. Told Yogli to please keep his phone charged at all times. I told the kids that I would Skype with them daily.

Everything was in place. It was time to leave. Drop off was fine. I boarded the plane, flew, landed, attended my classes for 5 days, flew back home. In between all of that, I enjoyed my trip, made new connections, learned a ton of stuff, Skyped and FaceTimed with my kids, used this cutesy app called Couple with my husband and relaxed.

A few things made this trip successful:

  • working as a team with my spouse
  • being open and truthful with our kids
  • stop listening to inner negative chatter
  • sometimes there are things we don't want to do, but that's life
  • see the brighter side and glean useful nuggets from the experience
It's funny how when I was told I would be traveling, it seemed to linger. But now that I've been back for two days, the past week seems like a blur. Is that called "making a mountain out of a molehill?"

How about you, what helped to ReShape your Monday?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Time to reset

Why do some people like to put others down? Is it an old past time that brings them pleasure? Are they even aware of what they are doing? Does it make a difference when it's an adult putting down other adults? Here's a different twist, would this qualify as bullying? 

I have a theory: In order to make themselves feel better about themselves, these individuals put others down. I encounter a particular individual (ya like how I worded that?) that I encounter on a daily basis. We are work colleagues and friends. This person and I are the same age but we have taken different paths in life. 

Her: super smart, graduated high school, college and went on to earn her MBA. No serious relationships, no children, has some interesting views on how men should be "trained". Work has been her adult life. 

Of course, there are many others that have taken the same path. Nothing wrong with that. 

Ok, on to me. 

Me: intelligent, graduated high school, some college, first child at 23, long term relationships, married at 28, 2nd child at 33, divorced, enrolled back in college, married to my MonkeyMan, happy (not saying that she is not happy). 

So, you can see, our paths were/are completely different. Does that make one path better than the other? 

She is very career oriented, she's a manager and has a great deal of experience. I have no desire to climb the corporate ladder. My desires lay outside of the work zone. This blog for instance. For so many years, I talked about starting something like this, first in print, thought about a website. It wasn't until about four years ago that I started to realize that there are some things that I am really good at. From there, I went on to start a local single parenting group. At this point in my life, I am enjoying my family and other ventures that God has placed in my heart and life. 

Over the years, this particular individual (there I go again) and I have become close. Close enough for me to hang out with her on the weekends, I invited her to my wedding last year, we've confided in each other. I consider her a friend. But then there is this other mode she goes into, where she makes other people feel inferior. Oh no, I am not the only one, there are many others. I wonder if this has impacted her personal relationships. I know that her work relationships have been influenced by her attitude. 

Let me admit, as I type this, I am coming to some realizations:

  1. You teach people how to treat you. This is an old adage that I heard from Dr. Phil and it's true. I set the stage as to how people treat me. With this particular individual, I have got to push the reset button. 
  2. This is the happiest stage I've ever been in my life. It took a while for me to get here but I am here. 
  3. I have joy, which is different than happiness (my opinion). Joy is that thing on the inside of you that springs out. It's calming, peaceful and soothing. Happiness is dependent on other things or other people. It's conditional. 

I believe that everyone has a low moment or two from time to time. I tend to dwell on the fact that I haven't completed college yet. When those thoughts come, it makes me feel insecure and fearful. When those thoughts of insecurity and fear come, I talk to myself. Here are a few things that I come up with:

I am not perfect, nor do I pretend to be. I love me. I have worked hard to get to where I am today. Just like this particular individual. But I wonder about her self esteem.

So, yeah, I am pushing the reset button on this relationship. 

Why? Why not just sever the relationship? I enjoy having this particular individual as a friend. This also helps me to make sure that I am not putting others down. Keeps me on my toes. 

Ahhhhh...much better. This blog is therapeutic! Where else can I release what I am feeling for free? 

How about you? What do you do to pump yourself up? 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

First off,  we want to thank everyone who participated in last week's SHOW OFF Blog Party!! It was the first one and can I say this? 

Our premiere blog party generated a total of 101 Blog Posts!! I do want to share the kudos with the bestest host and co-hostees ever:

If it weren't for their enthusiasm and positive attitude we wouldn't have accomplished such a number on the very first blog party!! 

Now... this party isn't called a SHOW OFF Party for nothing! We wanted to spread the love and feature our favorite posts so we can show you off some more! Here are our faves from last week:

We all love our husbands, so why not leave them sweet nothings on their voicemails? 

It doesn't matter whether your 1 or 41, when do you ever NOT need mom? 

So, who says 40 is old? Yah right!!! 40 is the NEW 25! That's what I'm saying :)

As moms, we tend to worry more about our family and forget ourselves. Don't forget you're a mom and you're important too! 

Congratulations to all our featured bloggers! Please take our button to "SHOW OFF" that you were featured at the SHOW OFF Blog Party:

Show Of Feature Button photo featuredblogbutton.jpg

Ready to party? Here are a few simple rules:

  1. Link up your favorite posts. It doesn't matter which one, just make sure it's family friendly! 
  2. Follow your host (that's Jessica! The Wondering Brain)
  3. Follow all 3 co-hosts: Jules, Brittany, and me 
  4. Leave a comment if you'd like them to follow you too
  5. Visit at least 3 other bloggers 
  6. Show them your blogger love too if you'd like them to follow 
  7. Take our beautiful badge and proudly display it on your side bar to encourage others to party with us! 
FavePost PartyBadge photo blogbadge.jpg

Interested in co-hosting The SHOW OFF Weekend Blog Party next month? We would LOVE to have you! $4.00 to reserve your spot for a month and a discounted rate for ad space! We won't disappoint. I promise! Please email for more information: 

Let's party!  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

ReShape Mondays

This Monday finds me reflecting on something lingering from vacation a week ago. If you read my Spring Break 2013, you would recall that we spent a few days with MonkeyMan's parents in Pensacola. His parents are wonderful people. They have fully accepted Yogli and Hummingbird as their own grandchildren (which could be good or create grounds for spoiling). My husband's parents aren't able to get out as much as they used to. So, our visits usually consists of hearty meals and watching . They enjoy and the kids do also. On this particular visit, my husband's dad was not feeling well. I figured it would be best if I kept Hummingbird in the back room, so he wouldn't have to hear the chitter chatter of a 7 year old. Of course, doing this gave the impression that I was being antisocial. When returning home, I asked MonkeyMan if he thought that. He said no but ("but", the word that erases everything said prior) "my mom really wants to bond with you". Yikes! How do you bond? I mean, seriously, I have always been disliked by previous moms. Now, to have his mom actually like me. What do I do? How do we bond? MonkeyMan can't always be the focal point of our relationship. Or should he? I've really been thinking about this. Where do I start? His mom is really sweet and means well. In previous in law relationships, I always felt like I had to be in fighting mode, almost like a gladiator. Hey, maybe that was prep work to get me where I am today. So, on this ReShape Monday, I am working on learning how to let my guard down and bond with my in-laws. The guard can come down because its not me battling with the in-laws but me battling myself to care for them as they care for me. Anybody out there got any experience with in law relationships?

Friday, April 12, 2013

Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! 
It's the Premiere of My Favorite Posts Show Off Weekend Blog Party!

This is the newest weekend blog party to hit this side of the blogosphere. Link up your favorite posts and meet bloggers from all walks of life! It's a weekend hop where we can party like it's 1999 (Yes, we're a Prince Fans!)!! This month I am featured as 1 of 3 awesome co-hosts to help spread the party to everyone:

Here are the rules: 

  1. Link up your favorite posts. It doesn't matter which one, just make sure it's family friendly! 
  2. Follow our host (Jessica at The Wondering Brain)
  3. Follow all 3 co-hosts 
  4. Leave a comment if you'd like them to follow you too
  5. Visit at least 3 other bloggers 
  6. Show them your blogger love too if you'd like them to follow 
  7. Take our beautiful badge and proudly display it on your side bar to encourage others to party with us! 

FavePost PartyBadge photo blogbadge.jpg

Each week my co-hosts and I will feature our post "crushes" at the next blog party! There's a reason why it's called Show Off... We want to help show off your pride and joy to everyone too :). 

Ready to party hardy with us? WE ARE! Enjoy and Grow! Grow! Grow!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Oh the places we go...Spring Break 2013

As the oldest of three, my spring breaks consisted of me playing babysitter to my brother and sister while my parents worked. I always vowed that once a parent myself, that I would plan and take my  kids places. I've done pretty well so far, we've taken spring break vacations since 2009.

This year's spring break was a two parter: 1st part of the week we spent in Pine Mountain, Georgia at Callaway Gardens. 2nd part of the week we spent in Pensacola.

I'll bet most of you are like "where the heck is a Pine Mountain, Georgia"? It's a tiny little town about 70 miles south of Atlanta. The major "thing" there is Callaway Gardens. Callaway is a lavish outlay of nature. It's the beautiful outdoors with a variety of blooms. There's wildlife and man made lakes. You can rent or bring your own bikes and ride the different trails. You can canoe or take in the Birds of Prey show. We rented a one bedroom cottage and wow, it was great! Our cute lil cottage came with a full kitchen, stocked with all of the dishware, pots/pans you could ever need. It had a living room, screened in back porch, BBQ grill, a deck that led from the bedroom. The bedroom had two queen sized bed and a TV. 

The kids loved it! We had access to the pool area as well. The weather was kind of weird still, even for early spring. Still too cold to go swimming. But that didn't stop us from getting outside. 

We visited the Butterfly House:

Of course, Hummingbird loved this place. Yogli, on the other hand, not so much. This kid can't stand nature. 

Callaway was still fresh from Easter Sunday, cute huh?


Those were from the Horticulture Center, a giant greenhouse with all types of plants and blooms. This turned out to be an educational spring break as well. 

Our cottage package included a breakfast buffet each morning. We would venture out for dinners and MonkeyMan discovered this cozy lil deli called Bon Vivant:

The food was magnificent! I had the chicken salad sandwich with this wonderful broccoli/cauliflower salad, yum yum. 

So quaint, they serve the sodas in the real bottles!

After dinner, we stumbled upon this wonderful shop in downtown Pine Mountain, Pine Mountain Loft and Gallery. 

The shop owner was a true delight. The shop was so personable, and really took a liking to Hummingbird. Turns out, the shop owner is the mom to a local radio sportscaster that MonkeyMan listens every day. She even went to her office and emailed her daughter, told her that one of her everyday listeners was there in the shop. How about that? 

I could go on an on...we had a great time at Callaway Gardens and in Pine Mountain, Georgia. 

Ok, so, this is gonna sound bad but I don't have any pics from Pensacola! The weather was still kinda cool there, so no beach.  MonkeyMan's parents welcomed us with open arms. Whenever we visit, we stay at their home and that is always a good time. His mom loves to cook so there's always something good to eat. We watch movies and we really enjoy our time there. Education played a key part in Pensacola. I am enrolled in classes this spring and I have an observation paper due April 24. My paper has to be written on archaeological artifacts from a museum and I was able to find such a place in Pensacola for free, the TT Wentworth museum. 

Whew! Needless to say, spring break 2013 was a good one. Wish we could have made it to a beach but the time together made the trip worthwhile. How was your spring break?

Monday, April 8, 2013

ReShape Mondays's Monday....again.

A Monday after a vacation week. It is truly amazing how you can be gone for a week and when you arrive back home, jump right back into your routine. I am very thankful that we have routines, my type A personality would have it no other way.

I have always been a routine type person, having that structure helps me to make sure I am tackling everything that needs to be tackled. I started the kids on routines early on. Routines cut down on anxiety because everyone knows what they should be doing at all times. For instance, Hummingbird knows that when we get home, it's homework. Because I am a working outside the home mom, she attends karate afterschool and she gets a chance to get a jumpstart on homework. By the time I pick her up, we get home, she has a chance to finish any uncompleted homework. MonkeyMan and I work different shifts, he works about 15 minutes away from our home. Hummingbird must have homework completed by 7 pm because that's when MonkeyMan comes home for his lunch, our dinner. When he returns to work at 8 pm, she has an opportunity to watch one of her favorite shows.

Speaking of dinner, that's another routine. It is very important for us to eat dinner together. I believe that provides a great foundation for a family and gives us a chance to talk and find out about each other's day. Now, don't get me wrong, it gets a bit chaotic. Everyone wants to talk at the same time. But I would rather have all that chatter than not have any at all.

So, yeah, routines. They provide structure and security for kids. Kids thrive when there is consistency. There are some things that I need to tighten up on that are affected by the ages and stages of kids. Yogli has the duty of cleaning the kitchen every night. Well, we have just reached the point where he does this without being told. We've both learned some things: he's learned a bit of responsibility, I've learned that he may not clean the kitchen perfectly. Yes, for the longest time, I expected him to clean the kitchen the way I would clean the kitchen. Part of that whole control thing, type A personality. Told you, I am working on this thing! So, MonkeyMan broke it all down for me. I finally realized that other people will not do things the way I would do them. And that's ok. So, Yogli still leaves food in the sink. And that's ok...I think, yeah, it's ok.

Don't forget, it helps to write things down, too! I have an app on my phone and tablet, Cozi, that helps with that. You can access from any phone/tablet/computer (wow, we have way too many gadgets). It's color coded, a color for each family member. You can also share calendars between family members and send text messages about anything on the calendar. And best of all, it's free! I don't believe in buying apps, if it's not free, I don't need it.

My love of routines helped me to have a great "welcome back" Monday from vacation. Now tell me, what great routines have you got going on? 

Friday, April 5, 2013

I coparent, do you?

A recent post, read it for yourself, by Jada Pinkett Smith got me to thinking about being a blended family. I usually tend to not consider the thoughts of some celebrities but Jada hit the nail on the head with this one. She and Will Smith have been married for 17 years and she's a fellow working mom. Her post intrigued me because I am part of a blended family. My ex husband and I both have remarried (I really would like to find a better word for "remarried", if you find one, let me know). He and his wife recently had a new baby, their second. My daughter, Hummingbird, is so excited to have a new sibling. 

Growing up, I never heard of the term "coparent" or "blended" family. Sure, I knew plenty of folks who remarried or who were even just shacking up. One or both of them had kids prior and probably even had some together. A lot of these relationships didn't appear to be healthy because usually the woman/wife did not have a high opinion of the her guy's ex. This would usually result in name calling, fighting, foolishness. 

My son's father and I never married, mostly shacked up. I never envisioned myself marrying him. That relationship ended when my son was two.  Yogli's biological dad died when Yogli turned three and soon after that I married my now ex husband. That was my first taste of a blended family. He didn't have any children and would now be a parent to Yogli. Previously, I heard him talk of his step-father, not in the most flattering words. Seems that no one I knew had a positive blended family relationship. Needless to say, that marriage ended. 

Once again single, I knew that meeting someone new would eventually mean interaction with my two kids. This could also possibly mean me eventually interacting with this man's kids, if he had any. Surprisingly, the guys I would meet didn't have any kids. This, too, could become an issue. When a man or woman who has no kids, meets a woman or man who has kids. This led me to begin to research on this blended family concept. My blended family research led me to something new, coparenting. I always wondered what it would be like once my ex husband and I remarried. Wondered what it would be like to have another woman in my kids lives. My journey from being divorced, single parent, remarried was a great one. Once divorced, I made sure to go through every single phase of grief. I wanted to make sure I was Mrs. Right instead of just looking for Mr. Right. I also made sure that I started living. Seems that I lost myself in that previous marriage. I started living not only for me but for my kids as well. 


So, coparenting...what is that? Wikipedia describes it as "a parenting situation where the parents are not in a marriage, cohabitation or romantic relationship with one another. In the United States the term coparenting is often used to describe the relationship between two separated or divorced parents attempting to parent their shared children". Check out this site for coparenting 101, coparenting 101. Shared parenting, huh? Sounds crazy, right? Well, not really, if ego isn't in the way. See, ex spouses can get along, if they remove pride. Pride says "there is no way I'm letting another woman be around my kids". While humility says "my kids get the opportunity to have even more people love them". After all, the bottom line is making sure the kids are alright. Now, I know what you're saying right now. "Tiffany has lost her mind! She has no clue what I've been through". Sure, it's hard when you think that your child loves another mother type figure. Wondering if it's even possible to love multiple people like that. True, maybe I don't but take a step back, think about the children. Of course, none of this can work if all parties involved aren't willing to put in the work. Can you coparent alone? Kinda sorta. Make sure that you always act in the best interest of the children. Easy, NO WAY!!! This is when you gotta dig deep, see the bigger picture. It is best for children to have both parents involved. 

This is a topic that can go on and on and on. Yep, I feel a coparenting series comin' on! Until then, tell me how you coparent or how you would like to coparent. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

ReShape Mondays - Vacay Edition

Rise and Shine!


Who's all peppy, bright-eyed and bushy tailed this morning? No, not the Easter bunny, he's gone til next year. Your girl is about to hit the road for the week. Well, first, your girl has to take care of some stuff before hitting that road. See, normally, I would let certain things go before a vacation. But I have adapted a new lifestyle. A lifestyle of putting my well-being first. The past year, my health has been in the spotlight. I have a family history of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol. These are things I wish not to bring to my kids. The buck stops here. I have always been a pretty good eater, never really worked out until 2010. My frame is small but that just goes to show you that size doesn't matter. Being borderline diabetic is enough to wake anybody up, well at least it should be. Know your numbers. What are your blood sugar levels (A1c levels), this is the test that measures the average blood glucose for the past 2 to 3 months. Know your numbers

Know your numbers. What about high blood pressure? This one is called the "silent killer" because it shows no symptoms, do you know your blood pressure number?

Sorry to be a Debbi Downer today, but I love you guys and I want us all to keep writing/reading blogs til we are good and ready to stop! And yes, I love you, even though I have never met any of you. 

So, as I type these last few sentences, I am even more pumped to get to the gym before this road trip. That way, I know I've started my week off right. I've got my fruit and veggies to munch on. Don't get me wrong now, I've also got crackers and chips. It is ok to have that stuff depending upon what goals you've set and you can eat those things in moderation. 

Alright, gotta go get my sweatin' on! Have a great Monday, guys!