A Trio of Poetic Light

There was a girl who thought 
of a life she once had-
the darkest of moons,
a vertical coast drifting
along a scattered memory.
Where does she belong?
Does she stay or go?
The light that answered
her turned into a guessing game.
Playing on a whim to only
move three ahead and be
knocked back down to zero.
Starting from the beginning
is the only way to be on top.
We must become
warriors of the
sanctioned stars
that seek fire
of the unknown-
A light warning
enemies to free
the innocent.
We can only fight
with the knowledge
that is here
and relish the
time we have.
We will conquer
what cannot be
conquered and we
will love until
our souls run
through the
silent battlefield.
There’s a storm in her eyes
that no one can see but her-
Lightning that strikes
brighter each time
she blinks.

How to be Pawsitive in a Pandemic

I was watching the news one morning in the height of the pandemic amidst other violent happenings around the world. Death was pouring from the TV screen. So much heartache. My daughter starts to giggle loudly and when I look at her I see my pug Finn licking her on the cheek. Laughter. Smiles. It seems that during the pandemic everyone has started to catch on to one of the most positive things in life: dogs! According to the MSPCA back in April, there was a 20% adoption rate increase and almost 350 animals were placed with forever homes. I couldn’t find any statistics from the last five months but I can only guess that it has gone up even more, especially during the summer months. Even then, that’s a huge percentage increase and one of the best things to come from this horrible pandemic.

I think if everyone in the world realized how a dog can give them as much love as they need ALL the time, the world would be a much better place. It is proven that your mood increases and you even sleep better with a dog in your bed! Having one around brings comfort and security. I know with my dogs, if I step outside for just one minute and come back inside, they act like I was gone for hours. The pure excitement and unconditional love they give me is priceless and the fact that they also give that love to my daughter is beyond words to describe. What if we all treated one another the way dogs treat us? With loyalty, kindness, respect, and love. If we cared about strangers the way our dogs care about us, things would be so beautiful. We have seen people come together during this unprecedented time but it could always be better.

So, if you’re looking for something to be positive about, adopt a dog (or a cat, or a parrot, or a rabbit, or any animal that you fall in love with at the shelter). I have had a dog in my life before I was even born. We always had all kinds of fluffy critters in our household. Having animals in your home also helps with your baby’s allergies. The more pet dander, the more immunity your baby has and allergies are less likely to be developed.

There are so many positive outcomes for adopting a dog. I would recommend doing some research on the breed you are adopting so you know how to properly take care of them. Dogs who have herding backgrounds tend to need more exercise and stimulation in their daily routine. Taking care of a dog isn’t easy though. They can become expensive real fast and they need nurturing and love like every living thing. If you don’t have the money (times are tough right now) or the love to give, then save it all for a time in your life when you do. It is unknown when things will begin to improve, but if you do one great thing and adopt an animal in need, then that is one of the most positive things you can do! Here is the MSPCA link for adoptable animals at their Cape Cod facility: https://www.mspca.org/adoption-search/.

Child CPR: It might save your baby’s life (or someone else’s)

I turned my eyes away for that one second. I heard that awful noise. What could she have gotten into in a room we baby proofed before she was even born? Paper. A piece of an instruction pamphlet from one of her toys. She ate the corner of it and it was stuck on the roof of her mouth and throat. This could go horribly wrong. I managed to put her over my arm and firmly pat into between her shoulder blades. This loosened what was in her throat and I pulled it all out. She was crying. I was crying. I held her and kissed her. Two days earlier I took the CPR and AED course at Cape Cod CPR in Yarmouth. I became certified in CPR and AED. THANK GOODNESS.

They say when something like what I experienced with my daughter happens, you panic and forget everything. Not at all. Your instincts rush through you like a waterfall. Your brain flows with all the knowledge you have learned to save a life. The first and most important reason to become certified in CPR is for your child(ren). I don’t know about other new moms and dads, but I am on the edge of my seat every time my daughter eats real food now. I’m afraid she will choke. She’s just learning to chew and that world is so new to her. I already had one scary moment and I’m not going to let anything happen to her if I can prevent it.

The second prominent reason to be certified is the value of another’s life. Imagine you are walking along the beach and you go by an outdoor restaurant. You can see that someone is struggling at their table. They clasps their hands over their throat. You know what must be wrong but you can only stop and call 911 because you never took that CPR certification course. What if you did take that course? Would this person be saved faster? Since we now live in a Covid world, having one of these with you is a must: Emergency-One-way-Breathing-Barrier-Training. It is small, so you can carry it with you anywhere and it protects you when having to perform direct contact mouth to mouth. I hope I never have to, but I am confident with knowing what has be done in case an emergency occurs.

Now, the first two reasons may seem completely obvious. Yet, I know so many people who aren’t certified and they have children! I think it’s the doubt, the intimidation, and of course the time it takes. The course was only two hours long. You can schedule ahead in advance so you can plan to have a babysitter or each parent can go separately.

Lastly, taking the certification is a way of gaining the knowledge to successfully become a potential hero. The course is packed with all sorts of educational videos and hands on work with practicing CPR. Everyone is six feet apart and the room is disinfected before and after each class. The teacher that I had was very informative and gave me the confidence to perform CPR and use the AED (Automated External Defibrillator) machine. To stay up to date with all the current protocols, you must take the CPR certification class every two years. We can all feel a little more safe by becoming CPR certified. Our hearts won’t be able to deal with the what if’s.

Self-Improvement During a Pandemic

Isolated. Withdrawn. Lonely. Afraid. Hopeless. Almost everyone has felt one of these or all of these feelings in the past six months. What’s funny is that I felt some of these same feelings when I became a mom. The new mom (& dad) anxiety is real and living through it during a pandemic can be tragically devastating. Yet, we can take this time to self-improve ourselves.

Meditation. I can’t say it enough how important it is for your mind, body, and soul (sorry for the cliche) . I swear meditation even got me pregnant! Yet, it can be easily overwhelming to try and make time for it, especially with children. I first recommend reading Stress Less Accomplish More by Emily Fletcher. This will give you the foundation and understanding of mindfulness, meditation, and manifestation. When I started meditating, I become more aware of my surroundings and being in the present moment. These days, it is all about living in the present because the future is seemingly unknown and the unknown is scary. Not only is it worrisome to think about the future for yourself and loved ones, but also the tiny little human(s) that call you mom and dad! Stress can be deadly and we all need a lot less of it.

Exercise. Whether it is going out for walks everyday or taking a workout class in your home, staying active is crucial. Even though it might not be something we look forward to doing everyday, our bodies look forward to it. We are meant to move. Turning on the tunes while you cook breakfast can be a workout! Find time throughout the day to do your dance, whatever it may be.

Gratitude. Keep a small notebook by your bed and write down three things you were grateful for that day before you go to bed. You can go as simple as the roof over your head. Or, go into more detail with being grateful of your daughter for making that weird noise that made you both laugh. I know life can throw some curve balls at us but there is always at least three things to be thankful for.

Now, some of you may feel the reasoning for bettering yourself is pointless. Who even wants to make themself better when 2020 has seemed to completely go down the toilet? Who cares to be “our better selves”? What’s the point of doing all of this when it may get even worse? Our children. We do it for our babies. Maybe we don’t want to take care of ourselves, as most parents seem to differ from, but we need to do it. We need to choose waking up each day better than the day before even if we don’t feel it. Some of our dreams may be on hold because of the pandemic and that is okay. We can become who we are meant to be anytime. We will conquer our dreams one day and be grateful for the path we took to lead us there. There will be clarity, hope, wisdom, and love throughout our journey.

Dog Friendly Eats on The Cape

I don’t know about you, but I feel like my dogs have also felt the isolation anxiety during the pandemic. We were mostly inside for three months until things started getting back to the new normal. We only did shorts walks around the neighborhood and the backyard. So, when it was finally safe to be out and about, I knew they needed to go on some adventures too. These are my personal top five favorite dog friendly restaurants.

  1. Truro Winery in Truro- I have been here a few times this summer and the wait is never that long. The tables are socially distanced and everyone is wearing a mask when they are not at their table! You need to order from their food truck in order to get a seat. Bring your fluffy friend and enjoy some wine and food!
  2. Cape Cod Coffee- For breakfast or lunch, there are three locations! Mashpee, Mashpee Commons, and Hyannis. The coffee is great but on the pricier side of the spectrum. If you go to the Mashpee Commons location, you can also enjoy some shopping. There are plenty of great stores to visit.
  3. Pepe’s Wharf Restaurant in P-Town – Great lunch or dinner spot with a beautiful waterfront view. If you are a fan of coconut, try their homemade cake.
  4. Hog Island Beer Company in Orleans- They are doing a fantastic job with social distancing by having all of the tables spread out and wearing masks. The cauliflower balls and garden salad are awesome and they have a great cocktail menu, which is great for non beer drinkers. A fun place to go with your family and furry friends.
  5. WayDownTown Restaurant in P-Town- Another right-on-the-beach spot! Can’t go wrong here! All of the menus are disposable and tables are respectably six feet apart. The burgers are a popular menu choice here.

Please make sure your doggies are well behaved and know their basic commands before taking them to any public restaurant. It won’t be enjoyable for you or other customers if your dog is constantly barking! I have been the person with the barking dog, so I know the “Oh no they’re giving me the your dog is ruining my meal look.” Most dogs do enjoy sharing a meal or two with you, so you may get lucky with the good behavior. If you have a puppy, it is so important for their development to be socialized, even at a distance. It is never too early to start training puppies to have good table manners!

Living the New Normal on Cape Cod

My daughter is in line with me at Target and smiles at all the masked faces she sees. This is the new normal and she is accustomed to it at only 9 months old. She waves gently and admires the brighter colored masks. Even though everyone’s smiles are covered, I can still see them and I think Alyda can too.

I am confident to say that I have felt safe this Summer living the new normal on the Cape. Everyone has been respectful with socially distancing and wearing masks. Yet, it is hard to find safe activities to do with your family. One of the more fun things we have done is mini golf! We have been to both Pirate’s Cove and Skull Island, which are in Yarmouth. They take the appropriate measures to sanitizing all the clubs and balls. The line may look long when you drive by but it goes by quickly.

I recently went to Tony Andrew’s Farm in Falmouth. Sunflower season is almost over but it was still a great time. With that being said, apple picking season is right around the corner! Crow Farm in Sandwich is where we are planning on going. They already have COVID-19 guidelines that state no tractor rides are available this year but it’s an easy walk to the orchard. They are encouraging people to bring a wagon to help with children and to carry their apples. All guests and workers are required to wear a face mask and to keep a social distance of six feet between groups.   There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the walk and orchard.  No tasting of apples are permitted due to the MDAR regulations. 

A past time that has become extremely popular this summer is drive-in movie theaters! The Yarmouth Drive-In just opened here a couple of months ago and offers movies, concerts, and comedy shows! Something for everyone to enjoy. They have food trucks that you can order from and bring back to your car. They have all safety regulations and prices per car on their website here: https://yarmouthdrivein.com/collections/events.

If you want to get out and enjoy nature with your furry four legged friends, I would highly recommend stopping by on any of the Cranberry Bog trails on West Yarmouth Road in Yarmouth . We also love to walk on the Cape Cod Rail Trail in Dennis. There are trails that go off the bike trail and into the woods and if you walk far enough , you’ll go over the Bass River. My favorite walk though is in Falmouth on the Shining Sea Bikeway. The views are gorgeous and it’s such a perfect Cape Cod scenic walk.

Riddle Cape Cod in Mashpee is fun to go with your family and they are only allowing reservations ahead of time online for private bookings. They offer five escape rooms. You can book your escape room here: https://www.riddlecapecod.com. My favorite is the game of pirates!

Speaking of pirates, one last adventure I recommend is going to the Whydah Pirate Museum in Yarmouth. This is a great place to go with your kids to learn some history and see amazing pirate artifacts. The Whydah Pirate Museum has new procedures in place that include online ticketing and reservations, timed visitation, extensive new cleaning protocols, and reduced capacity to allow for safe social distancing. Masks are required for the safety of all visitors. You can get your tickets here: https://www.discoverpirates.com.

Even Majestic Creatures Have Sensitive Skin

I carried my daughter Alyda to bed and gently stroked her hair. I instantly felt a scaley patch of skin on the top of her head. “What the heck is this?”, I thought. Do babies shed skin? Why is it a pale yellow? All of these new mom thoughts went racing through my head. I did the most logical thing a new mom would do: I googled it. It was cradle cap. Now, google of course showed the worst photos. Photos of baby’s heads and faces completely covered with this stuff! Her pediatrician told me it would go away on its own. Well, it didn’t. It got worse( just that one spot!). After prescription dandruff shampoo, Vaseline, hydrocortisone, washing and trying to comb it out, I decided to put some Baby Aquaphor on it before her bedtime. WOAH. Game changer. When she woke up the next morning, her cradle cap was all flaked off. Baby Aquaphor is our main source of skin irritation relief in this household. The two other top skin products we have used are:

  1. Aveeno Baby Eczema Lotion
  2. and for bath time, soothing Honest Baby Wash

There’s no better feeling than knowing you’re doing the best that you can for your child. It broke my heart seeing her uncomfortable with her itchy skin. Yet, in a world that feels more hopeless than hopeful some days, I just look at her and everything else doesn’t matter. The sky turns the brightest sunset pink and I breathe in joy. Pure joy. My baby unicorn Alyda is magical.

She’s so magical that it seemed like nothing would work, but these products did! I hope I can ease the heartache of just one parent by sharing my experiences. Follow your instincts and do what you feel is right for your baby. Even when someone is telling you that it’s wrong, you always know what is best for your child. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. It can be a cruel judgmental world and we all need to be on the same team.

How to Prepare Your Furbabies for Your Baby

There was no doubt in my mind that my dogs would absolutely LOVE my daughter. They follow her around now like they used to do to me. If she cries, they are concerned for her well being. They lick her tears away. They let her experiment with patting and grabbing their fur. They wait by her bedroom door in the morning and sniff to make sure she’s in there. They can’t wait for me to wake her up so they can wiggle and parade around for her. They have become more territorial on our walks and warn any other dog that she is “their baby.” Yet, there are a few things I did before my daughter was born and continue to do now to make sure this special bond will last:

1). Have someone from the hospital bring home a blanket with your baby’s scent so they can smell it before you come home! I know this can be tough to do now because of Covid 19.  If you are able to have someone watch your dog(s) the first couple of days you are home with your newborn and give them a blanket instead. That way, they can adjust to the new baby smell before coming home to their new favorite tiny human!

2). Play youtube videos of babies crying so they are familiar with the sound.

3). Have a baby scented candle around the house (yes, these do exist).

Baby Scented Candle

4). Baby toys squeak! Just like dog toys. Try to have a few baby toys around before your baby is born. Throw them on the ground, hold them and make them squeak! When your dog shows interest, tell him to leave it and direct him towards one of his own toys.

5). Once she/he is here, try and include your dog in daily activities. Going on walks together is a BIG deal. They were the only ones in your life before the baby! So let them know that your new bundle of joy is now a part of the pack.

All of these suggestions will make your dog(s) more comfortable with your baby but the most important thing to always do is be patient and kind. Their whole world has instantly changed and it may take them some time to adjust. Not all dogs are happy like mine about having a new baby in their life. They may rebel and act out to get your attention. I have seen dogs go backwards in training and act like they aren’t housebroken anymore. When this happens, it can be extremely frustrating for you. Just remember how they must feel and try to work through these set backs. Usually they aren’t getting much attention when they rebel, so try taking them on a special adventure! Bring them to their favorite walking trail or get them their favorite treat. Of course, don’t do this after they do the unwanted behavior because it will confuse them in thinking they are being rewarded for it.

I hope these tips will help you feel a bit more confident welcoming your newborn into the life of your pets. Feel free to e-mail me with anymore questions and I will be more than happy to help!

Cape Cod Key Lime Pie

One of my other passions that I will share with you from time to time is baking. I love to bake! I decided to share a twist on a beach pie. It’s the perfect amount of everything for your tastebuds. From the sweet, tart, and salty. If the sky opened up and decided to rain a perfect Summer pie (or any season!), this would be it. I experimented with this and luckily it turned out just as great as I thought it would.

Prep Time: 20 mins

Cook Time: 45 mins

Total Time: 1 Hour and 5 mins

Ingredients for filling:

  • 14 oz organic sweetened mcondensed milk
  • 4 eggs yolks
  • 3/4 cup Italian lime juice
  • zest from 1 lime and 1 lemon

Ingredients for crust:

  • 1 1/2 sleeves of saltine crackers
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons of sugar

Instructions:

1. Preheat your over to 350 degrees F.

2. Make the crust first. Using your hands or a food processor crush the saltines finely. This gets messy so I would suggest a food processor if you have it! Add sugar and then the butter(room temperature). Mix well. Place the crust in a 9 inch pie pan and place in the freezer for 15 minutes. Then, cook the crust for about 30 minutes until slightly brown.

3. While the crust is baking, make the filling. Take a medium bowl and whisk the zest and egg yolks together. Then, add the sweetened condensed milk. Lastly, add the Italian lime juice. Mix well and then set aside so it can thicken.

4. Take the pie crust out of the oven and slowly put in the Key Lime filling. Bake for 16-18 minutes.

5. After the pie has cooled off, place in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight. Add some lemon and lime zest on top and serve with homemade whipped cream! Enjoy!

The Stray: Part I

When I woke up this morning I could sense that something was going to go horribly wrong. The earth felt off balance. I put two different sneakers on, forgot one of my client’s keys, and didn’t have time to get coffee. My schedule is so tight that I needed to get right to work. At least the company I have is adorably fluffy.

I opened the door and Darwin greeted me with her usual spins and insisted belly rubs. Her canine grin making me feel welcome. I grabbed her leash and placed it on her collar. Our walk around the Arlington neighborhood was consistently the same but also ever changing with the seasons. The smell of Spring and nearby coffee shops lingered in the air as we made our way down the street. I could see Darwin’s hackles rise as we turned a corner and I knew it was her usual feline nemesis. The cat always hid in the bushes, waiting to pounce and I was always a step ahead, crossing the street to avoid the fight. We were heading back to Darwin’s house when I noticed a flip phone in the grass next to the sidewalk. I’m not sure what made me pick up that phone, but it changed my life forever.

I glanced at the phone and could see that it was a young girl’s phone by her most recent contacts of “Mom” & “Bff.” I put the phone in my pocket and continued my walk with Darwin. When we got back, I left a note for her owners that she did her usual Number 1 & Number 2. I finished my dog walks for the day and decided to call the contact listed “Mom” from my phone.

“Hello?”answered a cautious motherly voice.

“Hi, I think I found your daughter’s phone,” I said.

“Who is this? Where did you find it?”(a bit more anxiety this time in her voice).

“I was walking a dog and found it near the Dunkin Donuts on Broadway,” I explained.

“Can you meet to give me it at the Walgreens parking lot on Comm Ave. in an hour? I will be in the red minivan” she muttered.

“Sure , no problem!” I said.

I was waiting in the parking lot for about 15 minutes when I saw the minivan pull in a few spots next to me. I went over and gave her her daughter’s phone and didn’t think twice about it.

Later that evening, I received a phone call from my client. She asked me if I had found a phone that afternoon. When I said yes, she told me that the teenager that owned the phone was missing and the police wanted to talk to me.

My heart sank so low I couldn’t breathe. I began to sob uncontrollably because I thought the worst. I thought she was picked up by some creep and taken away to be murdered. Maybe I watched too much CSI lately but that terrifying feeling haunted me. Where could she be? I wanted to go and look for her but I had no idea where to begin. I turned on the news and heard them referring to me as “a stranger” who found her phone.

It was around midnight when they found her at the Boston Public Library. Who runs away to a library? Something didn’t seem right and I had to find out…