It’s OK to Complain

I get annoyed by people who complain. 

Why complain if you can do something about it? 

I always felt this way.

I recently looked in the mirror and looked deep into my hazel eyes, I’ve had a lot of alone time lately, and realized I am a complainer. 

And complaining can actually be healthy and will get you a free hotel upgrade. 

My family moved to central PA about six weeks ago, four of those weeks I’ve been in Pittsburgh training for my new job. In Pitt I’ve been pampered with all expenses paid and classy five-star hotel rooms. I feel like the modern day Eloise at The Plaza, except I’m in my mid-to-late twenties raising havoc in Pittsburgh. 

After the initial shock of grand entrances, city views and ten crystal chandeliers in the lobby wore off, I started to notice my actual hotel room.. which was filled with white towels dirty with someone else’s makeup, someone else’s hair in the shower and someone else’s makeup all over the bathroom counter.

Gross.  

My normal self would have been disgusted but cleaned it up and go on with my life. But through my recent learning experiences, I decided to say something. 
So I complained. And I felt bad doing it. Then the room wasn’t cleaned,  so I complained again, and no lie, I had to complain four different times before someone at this hotel actually assisted me and put me in a new room. Which just happened to be an upgrade. ?

The moral of this story isn’t to complain to get things for free, but to make your complaints matter. 
I learned if something is an actual issue it is best to let someone know ASAP so they can actually fix it for you. 

Complaining about his dirty hotel room left me feeling empowered and strong, not annoying and greedy, which is how I initially viewed compulsive complainers. 

Once I got into this mindset, I started complaining about everything. Most pominate complaint, being away from my family for so long. 

I feel so helpless and lonely in Pittsburgh. I miss my husband, I miss my family and helping with homework. I even complain about not being home to clean the house. C’mon that’s a terrible complaint. 

After complaining to someone about being away from home for the gazillionth time, I stoped myself mid-sentence. How ungrateful am I? I was given a great opportunity and handed amazing resources to succeed with a company that actually values their employees, which shows through their rigorous training schedule. 

I get to play Eloise, eat a hot meal, stare at a beautiful city’s skyline and take a hot shower without interruption, all while learning out to excel at my new career. 

There’s a place and time for complaints, big and small. 

So the next time you want to complain, take a step back. Could you shift your perspective to be grateful? Can you do something to fix what you’re complaining about? 

Social media is filled with constant complaints – everything from politics to food at a restaurant to jobs, how many of your own complaints could you alter with actions instead of a status or tweet? 

Make an impact, not just another post to scroll by. 

But if you have a dirty hotel room, go ahead and complain. That’s just gross. 

Cheers from a classy hotel in the 412 ?

SOLD!

Well folks, we’ve got some big news coming out of the Amspacker household!

WE BOUGHT A HOUSE!

Not just any house, but a beautiful, big, mid-century home with a white picket fence and a big oak tree out front.

It’s pretty much our dream home.

Catch? Does there always have to be a catch? Well, yes.

This wonderful, beautiful home is located in central Pennsylvania.

Like three-and-a-half hours away from good ol’ Sayre, PA central Pennsylvania.

Now, let me start off by saying, it was never a goal or dream in my lifetime to move to another middle-of-no-where small town, or even a town with close ties to Penn State, because well, I went to Temple University and my blood runs cherry and white, not white and blue. T for Temple U.

But there are two things in this three-and-half-hour, middle-of-no-where small town with close ties to Penn State University that make this move worth it.

Their names are Gabriel and Owen, my amazing stepsons.


Now, instead of being far away from them, we will now just be a short drive away.

A short drive away from their mom’s house, a short drive away from their school, a short drive away from baseball, basketball and any other sports, or anything, they decide to do.

We can now be the crazy, overbearing, cheering-too-loud parents we’ve always wanted to be and not just there for activities on every other weekend.

After going through a brutal custody battle in the beginning of the summer, and losing. Aaron and I were left with some choices, but really only one option. If we wanted to have the best environment and family for the boys, we needed to relocate to Mifflin County.

And so the house hunt began.

Well sort of, upon seeing a few houses online, we got together with a wonderful realtor (thanks again Kim!!) and we ended up putting an offer in on the first house we saw!

After a grueling mortgage process (seriously, I’m in banking and I don’t understand why it is always so tough), we finally closed on this beauty last week!!


It’s real now.

It was hard to wrap my mind around this all happening when everything was a hypothetical. Now, it’s real. We own a home. We are painting, we are moving, we are unpacking. It is ours.

Ours.

While I may be moving from my home town, and Aaron moving away from his home for the past eight years, we are making our own home in Lewistown.

Because home is where the heart is, and our hearts are with our boys. There’s no running from us now!


So I may be a little MIA for the next few weeks while I try to wrap up the last few days at work, packing and unpacking and starting a job in t-14 days.

But don’t worry, this process has already inspired many blog posts, and ways to further embarrass my stepsons when I pick them up from the bus stop.

Cheers family. ? ? ?

Another year older, another year wiser?

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me, I smell like baby poo, happy birthday to me!

Welp, one year older.. one year wiser? Maybe.

Looking back on the past year it has been heartbreaking, challenging, and absolutely incredible. Our family has become older, stronger and closer than we ever have before. My darling daughter turned one, and my husband and I celebrated our first anniversary.

So what has being 26 taught me? In a nutshell.. life goes on.

26 was filled with amazing memories of taking Charlie to Philadelphia, watching friends get married, growing with my husband and watching my amazing step-kids grow up, etc.

But it was also a difficult year. I mourned my grandmother and close friends taken too soon. I watched a custody battle breakdown two boys and my husband. Friends moved away and friendships drifted apart. Divorce drew lines in the sand.

My point? I am still here talking about the last year.

I am still here watching my daughter turn into a vivacious toddler. I am still here snuggling with my husband after a long day at work. I am still here FaceTiming with my stepchildren every chance we get.

Life doesn’t stop when bad or tough things happen. So, we can either let these challenges hinder us from succeeding, or let them fuel the fire pushing us to go better, faster, stronger into our futures.

Recently I have been studying the Bible. Obviously I was not a good Catholic girl growing up because this has been the first time I have cracked the good book open to see what God’s message says to me.

From 1 Corinthians 10:13 :

“Any temptation you face will be nothing new. But God is faithful, and He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can handle. But He always provides a way of escape so that you will be able to endure and keep moving forward.”

I can’t lie, I am still so new with the Bible that I did google search what part of the Bible that quote was from and even how to spell it, don’t judge.. it’s a sin. 😉

But the meaning behind this quote has kept be motivated to get up every morning and put a smile on my face. God only gives us what we can handle. We all have tough times, difficult days, heartbreaking situations.. so God must think we are all so incredibly tough.

It’s true. We are given this life full of challenges and obstacles that turn into beautiful life changing events and build the character of the person we are today.

Fifty years from now when I turn 77, I am going to look back on my life and ask was I a good person? Did I make a difference in this world?

I won’t remember the stress of trying to make ends meet. Or the nauseating feeling watching people lie in a court of law. Or the sting of losing friendships.

I’ll remember the joy in my children’s eyes. The motivation behind decisions for our family, and how we chose to stay happy.

I will also have one of my great-grandkids make me a stiff margarita while riding shotgun in one of their fancy flying cars and tell them all about what the internet was.

I will remember how this was the year I finally started to believe in myself. I stopped second-guessing and underestimating myself before I even tried. I started to build confidence and fierceness, cue Beyoncé music.

So happy birthday to me, one year older and yes, one year wiser. It’s a new, fresh start.

The moral of the story here, people, is treat everyday like it’s your birthday. Wake up fresh, be nice to people, and don’t let the small stuff, or big stuff, keep you down and keep you from doing you, dawg.

First and last time I’ll say dawg as a late-twenties woman, whoops I said it again. Look at this 27-year-old tryin’ to be hip like she know somethin’

Cheers to another trip around the sun.

Why my kids watch the Olympics

Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, it’s been hard to miss the Olympics are going on. Surprise!

The 31st Olympiad kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on Friday, August 5.

I have to admit, I’ve always been a sucker for the Olympics. Don’t get me wrong, I like watching sports year round, but there’s something about cheering on the United States of America and these amazing athletes.

This is my daughters first Olympics, and let’s be real, she’s only sixteen months old (almost a year and a half for those who hate the month age thing), so she doesn’t cheer the athletes on or really sit still at all while we watch the competitions for an hour before she goes to bed.

She’s not be biting her nails when USA is only one spike away from winning it’s beach volleyball match, and she doesn’t cringe when the gymnasts don’t stick their landings, but for the first time in a long time I am showing her a program on a national news channel that is bringing the country together instead of dividing it.

The Olympic Games are competitions, obviously. But it’s also so much more. It teaches it’s athletes, spectators and the world so many valuable lessons. And for me, passing those along to my kids are the true gold medal.

The Games unite the world, while embracing all of the different cultures, religions and views.

Via FirstPost.com
2016 Rio Olympics – Beach Volleyball – Women’s Preliminary – Beach Volleyball Arena – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – 07/08/2016. Doaa Elghobashy (EGY) of Egypt and Kira Walkenhorst (GER) of Germany compete. Via FirstPost.com

They also prove that you can make your dreams come true with dedication, hard work, sacrifice and lots of muscle.

It’s not just about being the best. Except it kind of is, but it’s also teaching how to be humble and a fantastic teammate.

The ‘Final Five’ is a perfect example. The USA’s women’s gymnastic team earned the gold medal Tuesday night. Two of the athletes faced the battle of coming back from the London games, and are now overshadowed by a fantastic, Olympic-rookie athlete named Simone Biles.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 09: (L to R) Gold medalists Alexandra Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Gabrielle Douglas and Simone Biles of the United States pose for photographs with their medals after the medal ceremony for the Artistic Gymnastics Women's Team on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – AUGUST 09: (L to R) Gold medalists Alexandra Raisman, Madison Kocian, Lauren Hernandez, Gabrielle Douglas and Simone Biles of the United States pose for photographs with their medals after the medal ceremony for the Artistic Gymnastics Women’s Team on Day 4 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Rio Olympic Arena on August 9, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Gabby Douglas, 2012’s All-Around Gold Medal winner, was knocked out of the running for this year’s all-around by Biles. But instead of pouting and cowering down, Douglas came back strong to compete in and help USA win the team competition and to cheer on Biles and the rest of her teammates. Proving sportsmanship is not lost.

I get sucked in to each of the athlete’s stories that play before, during or after their events. They give an in depth look into their lives, and it shows their accomplishments and struggles.  We can succumb to our problems, or beat them. How we react to our obstacles shape who we become in the future.

For these three weeks, it’s not about dividing our country by race, sex, sexual orientation, or political views. These three weeks we all wear red, white and blue.

So do yourself and your family a favor and turn on the tube together. Watch some of the amazing things our fellow Americans are doin’ and doin’ and doin’ it well.

Go for the gold, cheers.

 

Walking off the baby weight

Everyone says it takes one step at a time, right?

One step to a healthier lifestyle, one step to a new you, how about one step  to get back into your jeans?

Everything requires you to take just that one step, including losing the baby weight.

And taking that one step is exactly how I got back into my pre-baby clothes, with a little help from my good friend Spanx. Of course.

I started with a slow, mile walk with a friend or my mom a few days a week and then increased it to every day, each day pushing the stroller a little faster, taking the uphill route, or going and extra mile or two.

To help make each exercise count, I really had to push myself.

It helped that the walks helped soothe Charlie, and would usually put her right to sleep!

That’s when Bike2Power’s new Stroller Smartphone Mounting Kit became a necessity on my walks! The mount easily clips to anywhere on the stroller handles with a one-size-fits-all rubber band. The band is securely strapped and locked before the phone is even attached.

The kit also comes with a phone cover/screen protector, this keeps your phone safe if anything should happen or fall.

DSC_0591

Once the phone is in the case, the black back of the case securely locks into the rubber band on the handle. While the stroller was empty, I tried to shake off the mount, bounced the stroller up and down and shook it from side to side, though the phone did wobble, it never detached and stayed on the stroller.

DSC_0592

The first time I went for a walk with Bike2Power’s Mounting Kit, I was underwhelmed because I couldn’t access the screen on my iPhone 6. So, I used my phone to play music off of my phone, which was nice.

I really enjoyed not holding my phone or having it flop around in my pocket while I was trying to power walk to some 90’s jams.

After using the mount a few times, I found that while I did have to push hard on my phone to access my apps or type a text message, it became easier and easier.

If you have/are having a baby, stroller and an iPhone, I would highly recommend this product. My phone was safe and secure, and I was able to enjoy a walk with music or even on the phone without having to steer the stroller with one hand and hold my phone in the other.

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The kit is waterproof and not only works on strollers, but really anything you can wrap the rubber band on like: bicycle handles, wagons, four wheelers, golf bags, etc.

These kits are available for iPhone 5/5s, 6/6s, 6/6s Plus, Galaxy S5, S6 and S6 Edge, and there is an universal stroller mount which is compatible with any smartphone or case.

Bike2Power also has great customer service. When I initially signed up to test this product, I was shipped the wrong phone case size. Within a matter of days I had the correct kit in my mailbox with postage paid for the returned kit.

Want to try it out? These kits are available on Amazon or click  —–> here.

Cheers to getting back into those jeans!

Pull your stroller backward on the beach

I was filled with hope, anticipation, excitement and stress as we packed up and made the hike for our first family vacation all together – including the kids’ Maw-Maw.

 We filled our SUV to the brim with three adults, two car seats and two preteens.

I couldn’t wait to finally get some sand between my toes after four long years landlocked and, even more, I couldn’t wait for Charlie to see the beach for the first time and fall in love with it.

I stressed for weeks about this trip – having everything we needed so we didn’t have to do any last-minute runs to the store, and really, I wanted to make sure everyone had a fantastic time all together since it’s something we rarely get to do.

Side note – my six-year-old step-daughter lives in Tennessee and we get to see her about four times a year, mostly around holidays. This summer we had her for three fantastic weeks, including this beach trip.

We also had a custody hearing for my step-sons a few weeks ago and got pretty much the opposite verdict of what we were all – including the boys – hoping for. And we were all, and still are, pretty bummed about it. So I was hoping this trip would turn around all of our moods and get us back to our fun-loving, happy selves.

And with all the pressure I put on our ‘Amspacker Beach Takeover’ obviously it would not go as I planned.

Charlie did not like the beach. She hated it.

She hated the sound. She hated the smell. She hated the sunblock, the sand and the fact she had to wear an enormous hat to block the sunshine from her beautiful, super iridescent baby skin.

I was that mom with the screaming baby at the beach who was throwing off her sun hat, getting sunblock in her eye and refusing to put her feet in the sand.

Stress level: high.

After she fell into her milk coma, I sat back in the beach chair, took a deep breath, closed my eyes and sank back in defeat into the chair.

“Waaaaaaaa.”

I sat straight up to check Charlie and try to get her back to sleep. But when I opened my eyes it wasn’t Charlie’s cries I was hearing. It was the little boy two umbrellas over who was crying because he couldn’t eat sand.

And as I listened more, in the other direction a mom was yelling at her son for knocking over her toddler’s sand castle. And the tent in front of us had two kids crying because they had to put on more sunblock.

I stood up and looked around and finally realized that it wasn’t just Charlie, and this was what going to the beach was: sad tears, suntans, salty hair, smiles and family together.

I already knew having children meant pretty much everything is unpredictable and as a parent you have to adapt to every situation, and I didn’t know why I thought going to the beach would be different.

 As the salty air hit my face, it was a slap in the face for me to wake up and enjoy this time with my family. I felt the crashing waves on my legs and the pull of the tide and as the water rushed back into the massive Atlantic, it took all my stress and anxiety with it.

I used the rest of our trip coming up with ways to make our trip to the beach and around the sandy towns easier.

Family Beach Trip Tricks and Tips with Toddler and Kids

1.     Bring a stroller to the beach. Use it to help carry all the towels, bags and shovels on the sand and use it as a make shift crib for naps. PULL THE STROLLER BACKWARDS ON THE BEACH, it makes all the difference, and works out your calves.

2.     Buy a baby sun hat with straps. Under my husband’s recommendation, we bought one with no strap and that hat spent more time in the sand and making Charlie mad because we kept putting it on her head and she wanted it off.

3.     Put sunblock on before you get to the beach. It’s less crowded at the beach house/hotel/car than at the beach, there will be no complaints about having sand in the lotion and it usually takes some time for the effects of the sunblock to actually kick in. Spray sunblock is amazing.

4.     Bring baby powder. It will help with wet, sandy hands and feet. It will take away the wetness and the dry sand will just brush right off.

5.     Have drinks handy. From swimming in the salt water to playing in the hot sun, your family needs to stay hydrated. Have a cooler packed with water, juice packs and a sippy cup ready to go.

6.     Use an umbrella, or any other sun-shielding device, like a tent. You will want somewhere to put your babes in the shade and keep cool. We like to rent ours at the beach to help save room in the car.

7.     Swim diapers – pack them but don’t put them on unless your babe is getting in the water. These diapers are great, but they are only made to catch #2 not soak in #1. So if they are in the stroller, car seat, on a towel, etc. and have a swim diaper on it will not stop the flow and everything will get all wet. No bueno.

8.     Create a baby pool – it’s an easy way to get your babe adjusted to the beach and enjoy some of the water. Either bring your own baby pool or create your own with a deep hole and a shower curtain.

9.     Ziploc baggies – are a God send. Perfect for everything you don’t want sandy or wet – cell phones, cameras, binkies, baby blankets, jewelry, etc.

10.  Alcohol. This is your vacation too, mom and dad. Kick back with a cold one and relax!

 Cheers beach bums.

Frustratingly Frustrated

Emotions have been ringing high in my house the last few weeks. There is an underlaying tenseness in the air. And I am too stubborn to let it fade away.

Let me start over by saying MY emotions have been ringing high for the last few weeks. There’s no doubt. I’ve been cranky, grumpy, tired (i.e. welcome to motherhood), but I, especially, have been on an emotional roller coaster that has apparently gone 90 m.p.h. downhill, crashing into my house.

My grandmother passed away a few weeks ago, my daughter is cutting molars, she and I are weaning from breastfeeding, and we are just days away from a custody hearing for my stepsons. Easy peasy.

My husband and I seem to be nipping at each other’s heels for the sake of, well nothing. Oh that lovely nine-month-plateau, that’s real, right?

And as I have learned through this nipping, I can really only 100% touch base with myself. So, here I am. I’ve realized I’m too stubborn. Too stubborn to give in. Too stubborn to let my guard down. And I’ve gotten to the point where I am too stubborn to fight.

I get extremely frustrated with dealing with all of the emotions in my house. I’ve baked three loaves of banana bread in five days, I ate them all. By myself.

I’ve tried exercising. I’ve tried cleaning. I’ve tried blaming the dog, but she just gives me her big, saggy, sad eyes and my heart melts all over and I’m back to being frustrated.

Until I realized, I haven’t written a post in a while because my emotions were numb. I have plenty of post ideas, rough drafts, brainstorms, ven diagrams, you name it, but I didn’t have the emotion – or understanding of my emotions – behind the words.

I finally found my muse – frustration.

Typing, the finger strokes on a key board, the sound of keys making thoughts come alive – it keeps me steady, its consistent. 

I hope you didn’t come to this post in hopes of finding ways to deal with your emotions or frustrations, because frankly I have no clue. 

Like I said earlier, I can only really check in with my emotions so here it goes.

I am frustrated because I feel like my voice is not heard. I am frustrated because I think I have plateaued. I am frustrated I can’t help with my daughter’s pain. I am frustrated because I can’t help with my husband’s pain. I am frustrated with how people treat other people and think it’s ok. I am frustrated that my dog has suddenly stopped listening. I am frustrated that good people are taken from this earth. I am frustrated with politics. I am frustrated because so many people put their own feelings and bitterness before their children’s well-being.

And though I may feel lonely at times, I know I am not alone with these feelings.

But it’s how we handle these feelings that make us who we are. And set us a part from the rest of the herd.

Don’t dwell on things you cannot change, on rude attitudes, or poisonous people. I am a firm believer in karma, and whenever she comes around it won’t be pretty.

What’s the point in always being angry? Nit-picking? Fighting? Bitterness? Holding grudges?

That doesn’t sound like a fun, light, healthy life to me. Sounds heavy and quite frankly, agonizing.

Now I’m not saying lets sweep everything under the rug until it all piles up and explodes all over the crazy emotional rollercoaster that crashed in my living room. (Psh, I’ve never done that before).

So let’s all take a breath – in through the nose, out through the mouth – sit back and really check in with what fights are worth fighting. And are you arguing for the sake of conversation?

Still frustrated? Talk to the main man upstairs. He always points me in the right direction.

After all these late night ramblings, I’ll cheers you with my three cups of coffee in the morning.