I Need YOU!!

Heyo!

Haven’t been here in a minute! But what else is new?! Ha! Okay, let’s jump into this post, shall we?

I have been dealing with a personal family issue. I didn’t know if I should bring it to my blogging fam, but I am stressed and need help! Like, seriously, I don’t know what to do. So, here goes nothing. I’ll try to keep this all relatively short, but ummm #longwindedblogger

The short: My (soon to be) 29 yr old nephew and his girlfriend (I use this term loooooooosely) have (an almost) 2 yr old son. They recently moved down to FL near my parents (like 5 mins away). And basically, according to my mom, they are “terrible” parents. ☹☹☹

The details:

  • They barely feed the kid. Yes, you read that right. They apparently were only giving him milk up until a few months ago! The two were staying with my parents when they first moved down there, so my mom was able to spot this issue immediately. They basically said they didn’t know he was supposed to be eating solid food. *sigh* I have SO many comments about that, but let me stay on task. They are feeding him food now, but…barely. They don’t cook, they eat out constantly and buy very little food for the baby. My mom has informed them that they can’t feed the baby fast food, candy, etc, etc that they eat all the time. They understand, but are not consistent.
  • They don’t do anything with the baby at all. My nephew hasn’t been working, so he’s home all day with the baby. But apparently, my nephew plays video games and smokes weed all day, basically ignoring his son. My mom says neither my nephew or his girl really play with or talk to him.
  • The girlfriend apparently told my nephew that the baby “ruined her life”. (Oh. I forgot to mention, she’s 21.) Anyway, this is what my nephew told my mom. So, if she said these exact words, then clearly, that’s extremely sad. But I don’t know if these were indeed her exact words.

Those bullet points are the main issues concerning the baby. I should also mention my sister lives down there as well, and in the same building as my nephew. So she goes over to see them, checks in, etc. She takes the baby for walks and stuff…just to get the baby out and about. But my sis is disabled (her sight is impaired), so she can’t drive or do too much. She and I have talked and she shares the same concerns as me. She told me that she has also had numerous talks with my nephew and his girl about raising the baby.

For now, my parent’s solution is to keep the baby with them as often as they have time. My parents both have part-time jobs, so they aren’t always free. But they do get several days off (7-10 days) at a time, so they’ll keep the baby. However, my parents will both be 74 yrs old this year and while able-bodied, uhhh, they don’t have toddler energy.

There is SO much I’m leaving out because I don’t want to overwhelm y’all. But I wanted to blog about this because it’s been weighing heavily on my mind. I wish we lived closer so I could help. But I DID tell my nephew that I’d be happy to fly down and bring the baby to VA for a while. He said he was fine with it, but he’d have to ask his girl. I haven’t heard from him yet. My mom is supposed to remind him, so we’ll see.

So. *sigh* Have any of you had a relative like this? If yes, what did your family do? If not, what would you do if you did have someone in your family like this?

In the meantime, does anyone know of any resources I can direct them to? They need parenting classes BIG time. I have been searching the area they live in and can only find parents-to-be type classes. I have found free resources for the baby though (ie baby gyms, read-a-long/sing-a-longs, etc) and I’ve passed it on to my mom for them. I also bought them a parenting book, specifically for parents with toddlers. My nephew sent me a text, thanking me for the book and told me he was going to read it. I hope he does! And I bought the baby some books and learning toys, because as I said, they don’t play with him or anything! I sent this stuff to my mom and she kept a few things and sent some to my nephew. She said the baby was SO excited and plays with the blocks and book (it’s a talking book) all the time 😊😊  I’ll be sending him some other things for his birthday next month.

But I’d like to find classes, groups, orgs for them to get help. Also, they are low income, so they would need inexpensive/free resources. My sis (and mom) has shared a lot of info with them for services they can utilize (ie WIC), but she said they don’t seem to want to take advantage of them. It’s so strange and that’s a whole other conversation!

I would appreciate any help you guys can give, even if you’re not a parent. As I said, my mom and sis have been talking to them for months. But…knowing my mom and sis, I’m sure their advice is starting to sound more like nagging than advice, lol! My mom said she had a recent conversation with the girlfriend and it seemed to go well. She opened up to my mom and said she didn’t have a great family, so our family’s “helpful” dynamic is new and different and she’s trying to get used to it. My mom told me that it just seems like she was raised to essentially fend for herself growing up (another whole conversation). I (sorta) feel bad for the girl. Sorta. I understand her upbringing was not like my family’s…but yeah…I stop there. I could write several paragraphs on that situation alone, but I won’t. I just hope though, that the conversation she had with my mom becomes a turning point. Again, we’ll see.

Thanks in advance for your help!! And even if you haven’t the slightest idea of what to do, just send out some good thoughts and prayers for my family. I appreciate the spiritual help, too! BUT….I would SO appreciate any thoughts/ideas on what we can do. I feel like, if we all brainstorm and throw out ideas, maybe we can come up with something that can help them.

One last thing…for me, I can’t say, “Well, hopefully they’ll learn” or “All new parents are like this”. No. No, this is not that type of situation. This is two people that seriously had no business having a kid. Like, NO business (remember, I’m not giving you ALL of the details, especially about my nephew). And I hope I don’t get flack from the parents that are reading this. But… I think as mature adults, we can all agree that there are people out there that DO NOT NEED TO PROCREATE! These two are those people. Especially my nephew…omg…I’ll have to discuss him in another blog one day. Anyway…so now, we (my family) have to help because the baby is here. And of course… of COURSE, he’s a doll! My sis and mom says he’s so sweet. My heart just breaks for this little boy and I pray for him everyday. Ok, I’ll end here and again say thanks for your help!

-t

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Can We Talk About Food?

First, I just wanna say thanks to those of you that reached out after my last post about John. I really, really appreciate it. I’m going to post the link to their GoFund Me account if anyone feels so inclined to donate. They are asking for donations to help with expenses beyond John’s wife medical bills. No pressure to give, but if anyone felt the desire, I wanted to offer it. Again, thank you for your prayers, positive thoughts and vibes. I hope his wife feels them!

https://www.gofundme.com/for-barb

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This is a weird post, I know. Feel free to skip this one if you need to. But I’ve been thinking a lot about food and nutrition lately! *lol*

Mainly, two things:

  1. I want to eat more vegetables.
  2. I’m contemplating becoming a dietitian or nutritionist (!!!)

Vegetables – In the last couple of years, I’ve become fixated on improving my health for a variety of reasons. After starting to follow a lot of healthy Instagram and Youtube accounts, I realized I definitely didn’t consume enough veggies. Honestly, as a society we don’t eat enough of them. What we do love though, is meat! I’m not saying we should give up meat. Not at all. But perhaps consuming less would be better for our overall health. I know for me, when I really focus on eating veggies, I feel SO GOOD! Like, seriously, evaluate whether or not you eat a lot of veggies. Try it for one day. Eat veggies in all of your meals and see how you feel. Trust, you will feel better at the end of the day. And I won’t get into how great all that fiber is for your body. #DigestionIsLife

Water – Do you drink water? How much? If you’re not getting a serious amount of water in your diet, you gotta do better. I know…water is boring. I used to be someone that NEVER drank water. I seriously would go a whole day without drinking even 8oz of water. Most days, I think I got in about 8oz, but I know for sure that when I was in my 20s, I could go almost *days* without drinking water. I KNOW! How horrible is that? #MinuteMaidJuiceWasLife

Now, I drink water all day. I’m still not a huge fan, but after seeing how drinking an adequate amount of water in one day made me feel, I’m definitely an advocate of it. There is all sorts of information about the amount of water you should drink daily. Some articles stick with the old “six to eight, 8 oz glasses a day”. While newer research says we should try to drink half our body weight in ounces. I go for the latter method. I go with this because after thinking about it, I do think someone who weighs more should drink more water. Our bodies are like 60% water, right? So it makes sense that if you’re 200lbs, you should try to drink 100 oz of water. I know that sounds like a ridiculous amount of water. But now that I’m doing it (or trying really hard to), it’s not as hard as you think. Seriously, I drink water from sun up to sun down. And now that I’m limiting my coffee drinking, I pretty much just drink water (with the occasional cup of hot tea). When I drink the appropriate amount of ounces of water for my weight, I feel AMAZING!! Since I drink so much, I can instantly tell when I haven’t had enough water for the day. I feel lethargic and a little…foggy? Also…if you suffer from bloating…WATER IS YOUR FRIEND!! I have made other changes to my diet that contributed to always feeling bloated. But now, if I don’t have enough water, I bloat immediately! Having more water solves that easily. And while I can just drink straight water, I often add lemon to it to make it go down “easier” *lol* Seriously, lemon (or any type of fruit…citrus is great, as are strawberries) really helps you drink it if you’re not into water. #LemonWaterIsLife

In a previous post, I mentioned reducing my carbs. I did more research and tracked my food for a week. So I’m ok with the amount of carbs I get per day. It really isn’t the amount, rather, the type that I needed to change. I eat a lot of starchy carbs (hi, potatoes!), so I’ve started switching out those for more greens and lower carb veggies. I’ve also been trying to focus on my protein intake because I definitely wasn’t getting as much as I needed.

I think I mentioned this before, but 6 months ago, I went to the doc and had some general labs run to see how the ol’ cholesterol, blood sugar and other things were doing. Well, much to my surprise, my blood sugar, cholesterol and thyroid were all a little bit high. Luckily, I didn’t need any meds, but I needed to work on it. My doc recommended I start taking fish oil to help with my cholesterol and he prescribed Vitamin D (that was low as well). He also told me to keep exercising, specifically cardio. (I really wasn’t doing much cardio, just strength training.)

Well, this past Monday, I went to the doc to get an update on new labs I had run. Everything is MUCH better! My blood sugar was high and now it’s normal! My thyroid is fine too. I still have to work on my cholesterol. It did go down, but still needs some work. My doc seemed impressed. He said that whatever I was doing, I need to keep it up. Basically, I shifted my diet to include more veggies, swapping in more greens and lower carb veggies. I’m trying to really watch my sugar intake and have lower sugar fruits. And I’ve stepped up my cardio game to 30 min/3-4 days week. I usually ride the bike (regular, upright bike), jump rope and/or do the stairmaster. For ex: I’ll bike for 20-25 min and then jump rope for 5 mins (trying to work my way up though). Or I’ll do the stairmaster for 15 mins and then bike for 15 mins. My legs are looking GREAT! *lol* If any of you follow me on Insta, then you get a better idea of what I eat. #FoodPicsAreFun. I’m really, really happy that the changes I made actually worked!

Guys, seriously, we’re all getting older! Our bodies aren’t the same as they were back in our 20s where we can eat everything and get away with it. I know, it’s tough to eat well and exercise. I struggled with it too. I love a good burger and fries and I loovvvve dessert! And occasionally, I still have both. But I know I can’t eat like that all the time and expect to be in good physical shape. I am surprised though, that my cholesterol was high, given that I eat pretty damn good. If I’m getting in as many veggies, fruit and overall good stuff in my body, then I can’t imagine what my body was going through when I used to eat fast food twice a day! (Yeah, I did that. No lies. I was living that “Super Size Me” life for like a year. So bad!)

*steps on soapbox* Prevention is everything guys. If you haven’t gotten checked out in a minute, do it. Go see what’s going in your body. I never thought at this point in my life, given how I eat, that some things would be even a little high. I’m glad I know and glad that I can do something about it and not be put on any meds. Not that meds are bad…if you need them, then you need them. But for real, we can heal ourselves with food! #FoodIsLife *steps off soapbox*

Let’s get fit and healthy, guys!! Let’s live forever! *ok, not forever*

-t

p.s. I did a little research about becoming a nutritionist or dietitian and looks like there isn’t an “ACEND-accredited supervised practice program” near us. Well, I could go to Howard, but the tuition is ri-donk-culous. I wanted to do something online, but Howard only has in-person courses. I have to do more research. I don’t mind going to classes, but I’m not driving far and wide to do it. AND, cost would be a big factor. I could take a class at a time though to keep it more affordable. If anyone has a friend that is a nutritionist or dietitian, holla. I could use more insight. Gracias!

Prayer Is Everything

Today, I learned that a dear colleague and friend’s wife was diagnosed with terminal stage 4 pancreatic cancer. I’ve been broken about it all day. I can’t even believe it’s real. I’ve been praying her to be healed all day.

My colleague, John, is the most amazing man. We worked at Michigan together for 6 years (two of those years was when I was an undergrad). I can’t say enough great things about John, but one thing I will say is, he’s the sole reason that I registered to vote. Here’s a little story:

Back when I turned 18, I was not one of those kids that was excited to finally vote. I really didn’t care at all about what happened in this country. I don’t know if you know anyone personally like that, but now you sorta do. I was that person. I didn’t think what the government did affected me. I don’t think I was unlike many 18 year olds though. Maybe some of you were like that. I just felt like, the government is shady and I’m not going to get involved by voting. (We clearly have people like this today and thanks to some of them, we now have the Orange Idiot in power.)

Well, fast forward to when I was working at Michigan. I don’t even know how the conversation came up, but John and I started talking and before I knew it, he was giving me the lecture of my life. Since my memory can be crap at times, I don’t remember word-for-word what he said. All I know is, he spoke to me in such a way that completely changed my mind about voting. I DO remember one thing he said and this is what got me. He said something along the lines of, “Think about your ancestors and how they fought for your right to vote.” He said, I should take every opportunity to continue what they fought for. John is white, by the way.

Now, those words might offend some of you. In fact, these days, if a black person heard that from a white person, I’m pretty sure that someone would be offended. #EveryoneIsOffendedAllTheTimeNow

But I wasn’t offended at all. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I had NEVER thought about it like that. Like I said, I was young (then 22) and just didn’t believe that the government was ever doing anything that would affect me directly. I didn’t care what they did because they always seemed to go back on their promises, etc. I just felt like, “Ugh, why bother?” I’m just being honest. I didn’t give two craps about voting, the government, etc. But I had that talk with John… and he really changed me. I will forever be grateful.

Anyway… John is super great. Like, seriously one of the greatest human beings on this Earth that I know. Not only because of the story I shared, but just in general. I often would go to John to talk about personal things going on in my life. We talked about basketball a lot, too. (He went to Indiana for undergrad and grad.) We also took the same bus into work. 🙂

To hear this news today….I can’t help but think, “Damn, God, why!?” Yeah, I’m gonna say it: John doesn’t deserve this. Him and his wife have a 13 year old son. (I can’t believe he’s 13!) His wife had him later in life because they tried very hard to conceive but couldn’t until…well, until they did! Our office was ecstatic for them. Seriously, you would’ve thought WE were all having the baby! *lol* His wife would come into the office from time to time and she is just the loveliest woman. So cool and down-to-earth. They are just perfect people to me.

I know things happen as they should in life. But damn, I don’t understand why some things have to happen to the nicest, greatest people.

Thankfully, I believe in a wonderful God who can do anything!! I’ve been praying all day that he heals John’s wife. So if any of you pray, please send up one for me today. And if you don’t pray, send up all the love and light.

Thanks 🙂  And sorry this is a blog completely out of left field, but I had to write about them because John is family to me. And family is everything. Prayer is everything.

t