March 25, 2013 I Quit…I’m Back…

RHOC airs one week from today. Each season, I have a smorgasbord of feelings the week before Housewives airs: excitement, nervousness, anticipation, joy, apprehension, regret, relief, yes, no, hurry up, don’t air …all at once!

The number one question I am getting asked lately is why I am returning to RHOC after such a torturous year last year. I have to be honest…sometimes I wonder why too. So I really wanted to use my own blog as a form of therapy for me, to understand exactly why I did decide to return.

I signed up for the world of reality tv four years ago. I opened my life to for the world to see. I became an open book, with boogers and all to show. Fast forward to this year…year four. So much has happened: good, bad, funny and sad. Throughout these four years, I’ve had amazing moments documented, like my daughters birthday party; moments that were hilarious, like my Vegas makeup job; and moments that were embarrassing, like my sinus surgery. Yet, I have no regrets. I feel everything happens for a reason. It’s no secret that last year was one of the toughest years of my life. Watching the season play back, I felt abandoned, confused and blind-sided. In thirty-five years of living on this Earth I have never had women treat me that way. So at the end of the season, I was wrecked. I felt defeated. And I quit. I quit the show. And I was entirely content with my decision. I thought AT THAT TIME that is was the best decision for myself, and my family.

One month after I quit, Evolution (the production company) reached out to me and asked me to reconsider my decision. I realized at that moment I needed to re-think my decision. One thought that kept flashing in front of my eyes in bright neon was “Is this the message you want to send to your children? The message that it is ok to quit when times get tough?” I was disgusted at the thought of that! I won’t let my son skip soccer practice when he doesn’t feel up to going, yet I am quitting my career? No, I did not want to send that message to my children. I wanted my children to know that mommy wouldn’t allow other’s negativity to squash my dreams. Suddenly I got a fire in me. Suddenly I wanted to prove to myself that NOBODY would stand in my way.

This year I am so excited to see the new adventures we’ve experienced! I know there are many surprises to come, good, bad ugly and sad. One thing I know for sure is you will see the REAL relationship between Jim and I. He filmed a lot more this season and I am so grateful because we had some funny, happy, memorable moments. This year you will also see a different side of me. A stronger me.

So here I am, one week before the show airs and I am in that same state- the smorgasbord. All I know after writing this blog is that I am so thankful for one thing. God. He has been my constant. He is the one that gives me my strength. Thank you, Jesus.

February 26, 2013 OFF TO HAWAII!!

What child doesn’t dream to go to the Disney hotel in Hawaii? It was definitely one of our children’s most frequent requests! SO, in February, Jim and I finally gave into their wishes and spent 3 days of our week long Hawaii trip at the Aulani Disney hotel! It was one of the best weeks of my life…spending a full week with the kids and no agendas, bonding late at night in our hotel rooms, seeing perma-smiles on the kids faces,  and traveling the island of Oahu.

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Waiting for the plane James wanted to have a competition to see who could spell “Supercalafragalisticexpialidocious?” I was impressed to say my baby boy only missed FIVE letters total! (I was even more secretly impressed that I only missed three being the over-achiever that I am!) What a way to start the trip! When we boarded the plane, I became a little nervous that the five hour flight may be too long since it was only the second flight my twins had taken. However, it went sooooo smoothly! The girls were absolute angels! I must admit, I came VERY prepared with DVD player, coloring books, mini puzzles, clay, snacks and of course, giant lollipops! I rotated toys and crafts with each of the kids and we had not one problem! But for all you moms out there, the giant lollipops are a must! It kept all the kids busy for 30 minutes and popped their ears for take-off!

When we first arrived to the Aulani, they greeted each of us with leis, fresh flower ones for us girls, and kukui nut leis for the boys! The resort was absolutely breathtaking with an ocean breeze coming through the disappearing doors of the hotel. It was only 7 minutes before we met Mickey Mouse, and another 10 minutes until we met Goofy!

Hawaii arrival

We spent the next three days swimming, splashing and greeting Disney characters! When I started dreaming about Minnie Mouse, I knew I had experienced enough Disney to last me throughout the year. Another bonus to the Aulani is Auntie’s Beach House. This is a home for the kids to go CRAZY and mom and dad can get a break! We signed all three up for Surfs Up with Chip and Dale and Jim and I enjoyed three lovely hours…alone! (It was much needed after 3 days of Goofy, Donald Duck and waterslides!!!)  The only downside to our stay there was the food. Jim and I consider ourselves ‘foodies’, so we were disappointed there wasn’t a meal that we would have rated 5-stars (or even 4-star for that matter). Thank goodness for Monkey Pod Restaurant across the street from the Aulani! They had amazing food and live music and we spent 80% of our meals dining with them!

On day four, we decided to leave the Aulani resort and experience Honolulu. We arrived at the Trump Hotel in Honolulu early on day four and again were greeted with fresh flower leis. Trump hotel is right off the ocean, yet also right amongst many busy shops and restaurants! We were so impressed with their hotel decor and hospitality! They put a Wi-station in the room for James, and stuffed animals for the girls! They brought the kids cake pops and coloring books once we arrived to the room! All of these little touches made our time at Trump SO memorable! We were swimming in their gorgeous, sleek pool within 30 minutes of arriving there, complete with mai-tais in hand for Jim and I!! (YES, four days on vacation with three children under six calls for a mai-tai once in a while!) For the rest of our vacation we went shopping in Honolulu, rented a car to drive to the Sea Life Center to explore stingrays, penguins and ocean life and to watch the dolphin shows!  It was simply INCREDIBLE!

After our day at the Sea Life park, it became apparent that our kids were plum worn out! Mommy and daddy are go-ers…meaning we don’t like to sit still! Our perfect angels were turning into cranky-pants, so after six days of swimming, staying up late and exploring, we were ready to head home.

This trip was a week of many ‘firsts’ for us! To name a few:

Hawaii final day

Jame’s first time snorkeling, the twins first Hawaiin luau, our first breakfast with the Disney characters, our first Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, James and my first time paddleboarding (together on the same board I might add!),  the twins’ first time down a waterslide, and our first family float on a lazy river.  From those memories alone, I don’t think I could have imagined a better vacation. Sometimes I wish we could spend our entire life on vacation…I’m allowed to dream…

NYC February 2012!

NYC has to be one of my FAVORITE places to travel here in the US! I just love the hustle and bustle, the shopping, the way people dress, the people and… the food! I swear I think I gain 5 pounds every time I go there! My trip to NYC in early February was unbelievable! It was short, but so jam-packed that I barely took potty breaks, but it was totally worth it and SO memorable! I got to spend some time with my cousin, who lives there, which was the highlight of the trip! We’ve been best friends since birth, and when she moved to NYC, the furthest possible place from me, it broke my heart!

Leaving my kiddos is always tough. Even for a three-day trip. It takes me a day to prepare notes for leaving them. You should see all the notes and post-its I leave~ I seem to have a control problem when it comes to those little guys!

On Wednesday, I arrived in NYC at 5 am, dropped luggage at hotel, put on my Uggs and headed off to hair and makeup! I had to stop for a piece of Joe’s pizza, OF COURSE! THE best pizza in the world! I kept wanting to stop eating because my tummy was full but I couldn’t stop!! I got to sneak in about an hour of shopping after Joe’s pizza.

Alexis Bellino in New York