Milwaukee is in my bloodline.
I’m a proud product of a hardworking family dedicated to serving the city of Milwaukee and one of seven valedictorians in my class at my Milwaukee public school. I’ve only left for a semester of college, only to realize that my family is my home and my home is Milwaukee. Numerous major and campus changes later, I got my two-year degree from – you guessed it – Milwaukee Area Technical College.
My father “proposed” to my mother by saying that they were going to have a baby girl and that her name would be Amanda Nicole. Though I prefer to go by Mandy now, Amanda is still reserved for important documents and is used by my parents when they’re less than thrilled with me.
If you would have asked 7-year-old Mandy what life would be like, she’d without a doubt mention a pet dolphin. If you asked 14-year-old Mandy how life would be, she’d tell you that she’d be married to a Backstreet Boy. Even the 19-year-old me would tell you that twelve years later I’d be a newlywed teacher planning for my family of two children, two years apart.
I then received a “Christmas card” that changed my life. You see, the card was from a young man named Blake I’d befriended on LiveJournal and was accompanied by a bracelet, mixed CD and the promise to come visit me all the way from this foreign land called New Jersey. Within a year we met, had first and second dates at funerals, got engaged, turned Milwaukee into his home and got married in a whirlwind that we’re still recovering from. It hasn’t always been easy or fun and though we’ve been through more loops and twists and turns on this roller coaster called marriage, there’s no one else that I could see myself running through the turnstiles of life with.
On June 27, 2008, our world changed forever as our yodeling mohawked baby boy was born. Cristian (CJ) is our handsome handful of an 8-year-old. If his blistering blue eyes and crater-like dimples don’t stop you in your tracks, his belly laugh will. He has ADHD and autism but through medication, therapies, school changes and unconditional love from the village we’ve created together, he’s out to show the world that actions speak louder than labels. He never stops amazing me and I’m so proud to be his momma. After much thought and debate (and an assist from PCOS), he is our only.
I work full-time outside of the home by choice and necessity. I can also be found volunteering at our church, Cristian’s school or for one of the causes I’m passionate about. In the middle of my own slow and steady weight-loss journey, I make an appointment with myself each morning that I can’t cancel (because it’s written in my planner and my planner is my bible). Diet Coke might as well run through my veins and you will rarely see my nails without polish on them. I have this crafty/creative side that loves going into craft stores and coming out with new projects that would have been cheaper to just buy.
I could always use a margarita and a nap and my life’s goal is to figure out how to have both simultaneously.
I am blessed beyond belief to put my boy to bed every night in the very room I grew up in. We live with my parents, brother and two dogs in a three-generational Mexican/Sicilian version of Parenthood. Having been born and raised in Milwaukee, I am proud to raise my child in the city that shaped me into the woman I am today. I am also excited to write for MKE Moms Blog and join this incredible group of women who have also made Milwaukee home.