RoseMarie Matassa


I come from a long line of strong Italian women. Women who run the show. These women know how to whip up a feast for a hundred people, not only to feed their bellies, but warm their hearts, pray a direct line to Heaven when we need prayers, give the clothes off their back and the food off their plate, and always, always how to keep their family together. Italian women know the secret to family success is throwing a great party where everyone can laugh together. My Great-Grammy always loved a good party. She would thrive in a crowd. It was just her way. That sweet little grin would light up a room when someone new walked in to say hello to her. 

    I told myself that I would take these next two days and celebrate like Gram. Hug and kiss my family, tell all the old stories, wax poetic about the fact that she had almost 99 years on this earth. But, to tell you the truth, I am not doing so well at it. 

    Another great party it is just what we need after the past few weeks. The loss of our Uncle Sal, Grammy’s brother, and now saying goodbye to her too. To bring us all back together again to laugh (and cry). So we can reminisce.

    But I couldn’t sleep last night, or really at all this week. I woke up today with a heavy heart because throughout all of our celebrating one thing is true. I really do have to say goodbye to my Grammy. A woman so loved that even my friends called her Gram. 

    As practical as I can be, I know she was 99, and lived a beautiful life, but I know it will hurt to not have the chance to hug her, to sit with her, and to see love radiate from her. I will miss her so much. So very, very much.

    I’m going to give myself a minute. Then, in true strong woman fashion, I will brush my tears off, put on a dress, and a fresh coat of lipstick (Thanks, Nana). And celebrate with the best of them. 

    My Gram raised a loving, special, crazy stuck like glue family, one of the best damn families I have ever seen. And I thank you for it, Gammy. We wouldn’t be here without you. 

    Love always,

    Aly

    Advertisements

    Taking a Step


    img_20170215_085814-1Pictured Above: December 2016 (left) and February 2017 (right) post-Whole30

    Hey All,

    I mentioned the other day in my Mom of 2 post that I was doing a round of Whole30. Basically, the premise of a whole30 is to eliminate foods that are triggers for inflammation, digestive issues, pain issues,unhealthy eating habits, and so on. You can read more about it here. I first heard about Whole30 two years ago when my mom mentioned that she would like to try a round. So I agreed.

    At that time I was 9 months postpartum from the birth of my daughter. Completing a round was tough, but rewarding. I did another round 3 months later  because I felt so good. Many of you know or have read on here that I suffered from severe postpartum anxiety after my first pregnancy. The Whole30 really helped calm my anxiety, get my gut health back on track, and lose some extra weight (20 lbs total). Over the last two plus years I have done a few rounds of whole30 or shorter “mini rounds” whenever I felt the need to kick start my healthy habits.

    Fast forward to pregnancy with my son I didn’t suffer from anxiety as much, but I really didn’t practice my healthy eating habits either. (I consumed a milkshake a day which for me was triggering digestive issues and pain). Over the past 9 months since Max was born I have been learning how to be a mom to 2 beautiful kids, getting back into my freelance writing and editing, bought a new house and moved in! With all of those wonderful events, I let my eating habits slide out of control. I went from never drinking soda to choosing that first. I usually avoid bread and cakes, but I would find myself overeating or snacking ALL day instead of just making a decent meal.

    I am not blaming myself or saying “woe is me” because I was busy keeping my babies happy and healthy. The truth is that is not enough. My husband always encourages me to get out of the house, write, and just do things that make me happy. I am happy taking care of my little ones, but I want to show them that Mommy is strong. That I treat my body well by eating right and exercising (okayyy, I’m still working on that part) and treating my mind right by reading, studying, and pursuing my passion to write. I want my children to be happy in mind, body, and spirit. To me, this starts with FEELING good. So, I came back around to another round whole30.

    My mom did the January 2017 whole30 with me and it helped to have a team mate. Together, we learned to cook some wonderful new recipes (Looking at you Chicken Chowder, pg 336 from The Whole30 book by Melissa Hartwig). This is an amazing non-scale victory (NSV) because before Whole30 I would have never, ever tried something like chowder and I LOVED it.

    I struggled with this round emotionally. I didn’t realize how much of a hold that my eating habits had over me. There were times over the 30 day period that I cried and wanted to quit because I felt sad. I did realize though that it wasn’t healthy to be ruled my cravings and sugar like that. I wanted to use food to comfort myself and that is exactly what the Whole30 program wants to help you move away from. So I stuck it out. The sense of accomplishment, the NSV’s including less headaches, shinier hair, more confidence, and losing 10 lbs* was worth it.

    The  successful completion of whole30 led me to signing our family up for the Y (shout out to my husband who has been going to the gym almost every day for 7 weeks), starting a planner, meal planning, continuing with a family budget, and making a promise to myself to write more often. I would use the excuse that the kids “need” me, but right now as I type Max is playing with toys at my feet and Sophia is watching an episode of Daniel Tiger. I have to make the time where I can spare it.

    So here it is, last night I was scrolling Facebook and I saw a picture (Me in the white shirt) from a Christmas party. I laughed because I was wearing the same PJ pants. I had to do a side by side because I knew just looking at that first picture there was a huge change from December. The second picture says so much more to me than weight lost. I am standing up taller, I feel prouder, and I know I am healthier than I was before.

    It is not that every day is easy now. There are some days where I will decide that pretzels are an essential food group and I am not going to get out of my pajama, but I’m going to keep trying to better myself. I’m not saying that the Whole30 is for everybody or that everyone needs to change their lifestyle, but as a self-proclaimed “lazy” girl  I want to show my family that you can still enjoy Gilmore Girl marathons and dessert without giving up a strong, healthy lifestyle.

    xo AT

    *The Whole30 program is NOT  a weight loss program, but for someone with  diplegic cerebral palsy  (read: mostly affects my legs) maintaining a healthy weight is essential. This helps me avoid joint pain, problems with walking, and even breathing. I’ve written more about my life with CP here.

    The Future


    When we are young we always think about the future. What will happen when we grow up? When we go to high school? When we graduate college? When we get a job? Where will our life go? How will things turn out? I always loved imagining how life would be when I was “grown up.” Now, here I am 27 years old and I STILL keep looking for the future!

    I think that I struggle keeping myself in the here and now. Enjoying each beautiful day that God has blessed me with. Is this because of my anxiety? Is it because I worry too much about things that may happen? Yes. A lot of it is. Often I wake up in the morning and think, “Oh what do we have to do today?” I run a list of things that I need to finish and things that are happening next week and next month. I’m always saying, “I can’t wait for….”. The problem with this is that I”m missing the things that are happening right this second.

    Sophia is napping here beside me. I was writing a list of phone calls I needed to make and thinking of when I should get a job and when Sophia turns 2 (hint: it’s not for 5 more months). I just need to STOP! Why not enjoy this quiet time? Use it it to write a little bit, reflect on things that are going on right now, instead of focusing my eyes on the future. I am a thinker and a dreamer. It’s in my blood. Often this causes me to wile away the hours daydreaming or planning or imagining. Instead of really just being in the moment. That’s my goal for today. Just enjoy the day. Maybe go to the pool or take Sophia and Shisha for a walk. Then, in a few hours I’ll make dinner and spend the evening with my family. I won’t focus on tomorrow’s agenda or what needs to be done before we move next month. I’ll just worry about it when it happens.

    Here’s my challenge to you: Enjoy TODAY! Take a moment and do something that is just for you, just for now. Go for a walk, read a book, sit down and eat your lunch without filling in your To-Do list. I’m going to try!