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5 ways school vacation rocks even for Mom!

As a stay-at-home Mom to two school aged kids, school vacation certainly has its pros and cons. I find my perspective forever changed after being away from the kids for almost a month last year. Now, I love time with my family! Not that I didn’t before…but it’s cherished even more once it’s been taken away. So, vacation arrived with an actual weekend off for my husband (who had been traveling for over two weeks!) and a relatively open schedule. Here’s the best parts:

  1. No early commitments! As a busy family, most mornings include me yelling at (ah, encouraging) the kids to do the routine! I never realized how difficult it is for two kids to get dressed, do their hair and teeth. After six weeks of 8:30 activities on Saturday and Sunday, I was tired of the morning scramble to get out the door on time. It was golden to have slow, stress free mornings throughout vacation.
  2. Wide open days! I admit, as a planner, days without a plan often give me stress…what in the world will I do with a whole day free? I have reshaped these days in my mind as opportunities. I’m actually able to ask the kids what they would like to do and do it! Our adventure this past week was to try skiing. I know they were nervous but they wanted to try so I brought them to their first one hour lesson. Ski weekends, here we come! 😉

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3. Quiet times with the kids…to do whatever they would like. We didn’t have to run to practice, hustle for homework, or squeeze in a shower. We played with playdoh, painted canvases, built lego ships, played Mario Chase as a family and watched movies while cuddling. Real life sometimes doesn’t allow for these precious moments.

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4. Reconnecting with other friends. We have a wonderful community of close friends who make up our everyday life. They are the kids’ best friends and my village of friends who support me and allow for a fun life! However, our busy schedules often prevent us from seeing other friends- my college friends, high school friends and relatives that we often see just for holidays. It was fantastic to catch up with some of these people over the break. It was even better knowing that I did some reaching out- which I haven’t done that much since my surgeries. Things are coming along.

5. Sibling bonding. When my kids have time together, they truly like each other and playing with each other. Vacation gives them this much needed bonding time. They hit the ski slopes together, negotiated watching movies together and had time just to be silly with each other. We often have the usual grind which doesn’t provide for time with each other so seeing them together just warms my heart.

I know vacation is over now but it was a nice break from reality. Now…where’s summer??

A blog without a plan

I will laugh at myself soon. I launched a blog without a plan. This is not what the professionals do. This is not even what I typically do.

Yep, I am Type A and like things organized and planned. However, I ignored all my conventional wisdom and just launched my blog page. I would never have done this a year ago.

Perhaps it’s because I was scared last year. Maybe it was because I used to think I had control (which I don’t!). It could be that I was trying to make everything perfect…now I am just doing it. There is freedom in this – and humor.

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My husband asked me yesterday how often I would be posting. Not sure!

What is my theme? Unknown.

Have you drafted your first few posts? Nope.

But I have been dreaming of writing and sharing for years so I am just winging it. This would have panicked me in the past but now, as a 40-year-old, brain surgery survivor, I’m just writing when I feel like it. I predict a plan in a few months, but until then, I’ll just see what happens. This is bound to be an exhilarating yet terrifying journey!

Go with the flow!

I stopped planning and have just been going along for the ride of life. I sometimes stress about this as I don’t even know what’s on tap for the following day…but lately, it’s just how life has been going. Recovery and transition back to real life has been slow in my head but quick in real life. I’ve tried to slow down to figure out what helps my recovery the most.

I’ve easily found that being with my kids and family time is key. I am also feeling like one-on-one time or small groups seems to work better for me lately. I haven’t been reaching out to some my closest friends like I used to but I am working on that. I’ve found myself avoiding large gatherings and parties as I just haven’t felt comfortable going. I am also working on this.

A fantastic therapy for me is the feeling I get when I help others. This is why I found myself at a charity beer tasting last night with 90 people….and I was one of the hosts!

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Seemingly out of nowhere, I have partnered with two local moms-who are also passionate about heart disease and stroke- to work together as Sisters@Heart. Each with stories of their own, we all want to give back to the American Heart Association. Together we are bonding as we muddle our way through our health challenges.

Honestly, I planned to give myself a year before jumping into any big obligations. I wanted to be well and strong before committing to any new endeavors. But life sometimes has other plans. The idea of Sisters@Heart was born and we have taken off. We are raising awareness and funds for the American Heart Association.

I didn’t want to ask people for anything else after all the help and support I received in the past few months. However, I am not raising money for me but for others who need it- people who need the research and technology that someone else funded years ago to save my life this year.

Back to last night…I was a nervous wreck to put myself out there- literally at the bar and figuratively as a partner of Sisters@Heart. We had received an amazing response of people who purchased tickets and gave us encouraging words. Yet leaving my couch and the comfort of my quiet home scared me, yet also thrilled me.   Nervously, I prepared for the night reminding myself that I needed to be there for my friends- Jamie and Caitlyn who planned the event with me….and all those who were coming to support us.

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I sure am glad that I did! I had a ton of fun and felt the energy and spirit of a group of compassionate, giving and fun people. We tasted beer, chatted with friends, bought raffles and just had a lively night for a good cause on a cold Wednesday. Going with  the flow seems to be working for me right now!

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“Who me, a blogger?!”

“Who me, a blogger?! No way. Who would want to hear what I have to say?”

Over the years, I have had this discussion- about blogging and/or writing a book- so many times with my husband. Who would ever care what I have to say.

As many of you know, I had my first stroke at age 21. One of my primary ways of coping through my four year of treatment and recovery was journaling. I found taking pen to paper was therapeutic and often enlightening. I was so sick at times that even walking was a challenge. I would find joy in simply walking four steps without falling. Yet my journaling was always available to me and a perfect escape from my real life fears and challenges.

Over the years, I have always wished to get back to that mindset of enjoying the simple things in life through slowing down and journaling. Unfortunately, real life tends to strip away the simplicity of sitting in a coffee house journaling. I became a mom with two kids who kept busy volunteering and spending time with family and friends. Along with reality, my perspective and calmness diminished.

Yet, both positively and negatively, I found that simple joy again this year as I confronted my new disease and two brain surgeries. Real life was scary but my journaling brought me peace. Not only did I use my journal (technically a laptop now) as therapy, I also started sharing some of my raw emotions on Facebook. As a National Spokeswomen for the American Heart Association last year, I initially created a community page, ISurvivorLisaDeck, to educate and create awareness about cardiovascular disease and stroke. Upon my new diagnosis of Moyamoya disease, this page quickly became used somewhat as a Caring Bridge site. It wasn’t my intention but it was the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with my family and friends who were worried about me. I used this page to share my messages and to gain confidence and support from my friends.

Now that I am working towards a full recovery, I have decided that a blog is needed. Sharing my real feelings through my experiences helped me tremendously but I’m not ready to stop. I have just realized that Facebook probably isn’t the place for over 300 word posts 😉 So accidentally, I have become a blogger….I’m just now making it official. I hope you’ll come on this ride with me!