For the Ones That Judge

Hello my friends. I have not written in quite a while. I apologize for that. I have been SO busy. We actually just got back from visiting Josie. We were in Maryland for almost two weeks again and although it was wonderful it was also hard saying goodbye once again. I took a short break from my “lifebeyondmommy blog”  but probably not for the right reasons. I am not very proud to admit this, but I stopped blogging because I have received a lot of scrutiny and judgment regarding my one post “I miss my daughter.”  It was uploaded to a site called Stumbleupon and it has been viewed almost 2300 times. I am glad it is receiving views, because I am sure there are other people going through what I am going through, but by the same token, it has been quite a large pill to swallow. I have received a couple nasty comments and a few nasty emails from people who don’t agree with my decisions and think I am “a terrible mother.”  At first I tried to just delete the nasty comments and move on about my day. But then the emails came so now I am writing this post. I have never shared the reason WHY I had to move away from Josie. I never felt it was truly necessary. I mean most of you have been amazing friends and supportive and just wonderful. Most of you didn’t need to know WHY I had to leave all you needed to know was that I was hurting and that was enough for you to show me compassion and support. This post it not directed towards you. This post is for those of you who have judged me. The ones who need to know the WHOLE story, the ones who think no reason in this world is a good reason to move away from your child. I am sure my reason will still not be a good enough one in your eyes but for my sanity I just want to share my reason with everyone. Perhaps I should have shared it earlier? It is not easy sharing your stories with the world. I started blogging for personal growth and in the hopes that my struggles would help others. I wanted to inspire other women, and for the most part I think I have done that. I want to continue my blogging journey. I want to keep searching for a “life beyond mommy,” and in order for me to move on I just need to get this out. Bare with me guys.

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I love my husband and my kids more than anything in this world. Let me clarify something, I would have NEVER left Josie if it wasn’t absolutely necessary. NEVER. My husband is in the MILITARY. He serves our country everyday. He is an amazing father and a wonderful husband. Yes, I knew he was in the military when I married him, but I also knew that he was my soulmate. He was the one I had been waiting for and I couldn’t live this life with any other being knowing they were not him. We married so fast because we loved each other so much. We never planned on getting pregnant right away. In fact, I was on birth control when it happened. Soon enough we found ourselves married with a newborn and Military orders for another state. My husband, who serves our country was being transferred to another unit, and no there was NOTHING any of us could do about it.

I had to make a decision. The hardest decision I have ever had to make. Yes, I could have stayed in Maryland by myself with our newborn while my husband moved away in order to continue seeing Josie on the regular. But what sense did that make? Who was I to keep my newborn away from her father and vice versa? Yes, I could have fought Josie’s father and drug them both through the court system so maybe I could take Josie with us. But who was I to keep Josie away from her father and vice versa? Josie has so many people in Maryland who love her. Her father and his family, and my family as well. It was not my place to take her away from everything she knew and everyone who loved her so dearly. Josies’ father is a GREAT father. He loves her more than anything, and he would do anything to ensure her health and happiness. Knowing this, I could never even attempt to rip her away from him. I feel so blessed to be able to say that my daughter is in wonderful hands. Most of you have absolutely no idea how hard this situation was and still is for me and my family. I have worried many times about whether or not Josie will be well adjusted. I have worried constantly about whether or not she will blame me for not being there or if later in life she will not understand why I had to leave. All I can do is try to make her understand as much as possible why things are the way they are. Josie knows that if as she gets older she wants to come live with us she can. Her father and I both want to make sure she is old enough to make that decision before she makes it. As of now though, she has never questioned anything. She has never demanded to live with us. She is happy in MD. She is happy surrounded by family and friends who love her. I am sure there will be times where she questions things, but her dad is there to answer any concerns she has, and we are only a phone call or skype call away. We ALL love Josie. All of us. Not just me, not just her dad. Her life is not trypical. It has never been typical. Her father and I have had joint custody since she was 2 weeks old. Joint custody is all she has ever known.

It is important to note that we have tried and continue to try to get stationed as close as possible to Maryland. We travel there as much as physically possible to see her and she comes her as much as possible as well. I know this is not the ideal situation, but it is OUR situation so we have to handle it as gracefully as possible. I have tried to make the best of this for everyone even though it literally kills me inside everyday. In my heart I believe that the decisions I have made for Josie have been the best decisions for her. Do I want to see her everyday? YES. Do I wish we lived in Maryland? EVERYDAY. Do I miss her? Do I cry for her? ALL OF THE TIME. Just because some decisions seem like they may be the best for ME, that doesn’t mean they are the best decisions for her. I had to do what was best for her even if it killed me. Trust me when I say ripping her away from her father, her friends, and her family that loves her so she could move to another state with her new stepdad and I would NOT have been best for her. I pray everyday, and I have faith that she does and will always understand why her situation is the way that it is.

I know that I do not owe anyone an explanation for why my life is the way that it is. I know I do not have to explain to the world WHY I have made the decisions I have made. I am a person and I do have feelings. There are many things that I struggle with on a daily basis and being away from Josie is one of them. I knew when I wrote that post that there would be many people who judged me. Perhaps I should have prepared myself better mentally for the negativity. I have missed blogging and I don’t want something as small as this to effect me or keep me from doing something I love to do.  I guess I needed to write this post in order to move forward. Thanks for reading!

My Heart Stopped so I Could LIVE

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 27

There are two posts that I have been dreading. This is one of them. I have been putting it off, can you tell? I have not reflected on myself in a while. If procrastination was a career, I would be very successful. As most of you already know, at the beginning of this year, I vowed to change my life. I set goals for myself, and I started following my dreams. Since then , I have been very high strung and actually quite productive. I have lost weight and I am now the proud owner of not one but two Etsy shops! I know I know, most of you already know all of this, but what you don’t know is there was a huge turning point in my life that led me down this road. There was an incident that changed my life forever. Last year, my heart stopped.

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Before I can tell you about the day that changed it all, I must first take you back to the beginning. I will try to keep this brief and to the point as this is not a subject that is easy for me to discuss. When I was in the 11th grade, I began fainting. At first, it would happen randomly and every so often. Eventually, it got worse and started happening a couple of times a week. By the time I was a senior in high school, I was fainting almost everyday. I had every test done that you can imagine. I was missing so much school that eventually after I would faint, would make a quick visit to the nurse then return to class. I was the talk of the school, and not in a good way. I was not normal. I was literally passing out all of the time. Soon I fell into a deep depression. I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t enjoy life anymore. I couldn’t even get my driver’s license. I tried to be strong and remain positive, but this was devastating to me. I felt like everyone knew me as “the girl who faints.” Since I had no prior medical problems and I was for the most part healthy, my heart was the last thing they checked. My senior year, my cardiologist found what he thought to be the problem. There was a piece off skin that had wrapped itself around one of the nodes in my heart. Right away, I was scheduled for a cardiac ablation. I got better. I graduated in 2003. The procedure worked for a while, but unfortunately it was not a permanent fix.

I started fainting again in 2008. I was a single mom working part time as a waitress. The other part of the time I was playing poker for extra income. (a story for another day) Just like before, when the fainting first started it wasn’t happening very much. By 2009, it was happening much more. I had enough of a nest egg saved from poker that I decided to quit waitressing and play cards full time. Then I met my husband. We fell in love fast, we married fast, and we started a family even faster. The first year of our marriage was the hardest. In 2010 we moved out of state and soon I was fainting all of the time. We had a newborn, and my health issues really took a toll on our marriage. I was severely depressed and I missed Josie. I missed her more than anything. There were days I found it hard to function. How much longer could I live like this? My husband was missing an obscene amount of work for ER visits and DR appointments. I started seeing a cardiologist who believed I had SVT. (supraventricular tachycardia) He wanted to be sure so they implanted a Reveal Monitor in my chest. This device recorded everything my heart was doing. They were hoping to catch the SVT, and they did. In fact, it didn’t take long at all. They watched the recordings and saw episodes of my heart rate reaching above 240 beats per minute for minutes at a time. I needed another ablation. They went in and thought they had fixed it. I was still fainting after and I eventually had two more ablations. Keep in mind that while all of this was happening, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, was pregnant and gave birth two more times. I had a lot on my plate, but after the final surgery I was fixed temporarily.

We arrived in Rhode Island July 2014. I had started fainting again by September. I went to the ER but the battery in my monitor was dead, and without that, no one could give me any real answers. I knew it was SVT because I could feel it, but the DR’s needed proof. Then one day I had an episode unlike any other. I woke up early in the morning with sharp chest pains. (this had never happened before) As the day went on, my chest pain grew. The pain got so unbearable I screamed to my husband, “Call 911.” Thank GOD my husband was home. He is a certified EMT. I do not remember what happened next, I only know what my husband has told me. I fell to the ground. He called 911. He shoved aspirin down my throat then reached for a pulse. There was no pulse. He gave me CPR. He brought me back. He saved my life. My girls saw EVERYTHING. I woke up in the ER in so much pain and with bruises from the chest compressions. I was admitted to the local hospital immediately, but I was shipped to Boston right away where I could be monitored by some of the best cardiologists. I was there for almost a week. They had me hooked up to monitors and caught SVT a couple of times, but they had no answers as to why my heart stopped. They removed my Reveal Monitor and sent me home. I was back at square one. I was confused and scared, and I knew that there was no way I could physically or emotionally handle fainting everyday again. One person can only take so much. My life needed to change. I knew if I allowed it I would fall deep into that hole again. Depression would consume me, it was only a matter of time. I needed to be strong for my girls. My girls….what they saw that day, no child should ever have to witness. They were terrified. The teachers’ at Lily’s school started counseling her and taught her everyday how to dial 911.

My heart stopped that day. What if I had never come back? What if it happens again? What if I faint and don’t wake up? Would my kids know how much I love them? Would my husband? Was I the best mother I could be? Did I live my life the way I wanted? Did I accomplish anything during my life? Was I the happiest person I could be? Did I teach my kids the important things? Did I follow my dreams? Did I even take the time to have a dream? These are some of the questions that I asked myself, and I didn’t like the answers. I spent the rest of last year changing my lifestyle. I began eating better and slowly got back into exercising. I am not exaggerating when I say, I literally fainted everytime I tried to work out. I didn’t give up. I looked inside of myself and found my dreams. I found all of the things that I needed in my life in order for it to be fulfilled. Then I made a plan for myself.

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And that my friends is how and why LIFEBEYONDMOMMY was born. I began my adventure at the beginning of this year. I now have all of you wonderful human beings along side of me. Last year, I weighed over 200 pounds. (not kidding) I had two pregnancies back to back and they really took a toll on my body. Also, I was not exercising because I lived in fear of fainting. I am so happy to say that today I weigh 147 pounds! By changing my outlook, I have opened so many doors for myself. I guess that is why I got so carried away with Etsy. Haha. I just have so many plans and so many dreams. I want to spend the rest of my life doing whatever I can to make them come true. That is what makes me happy, and I want to be a happy person. NONE of us are guaranteed tomorrow. Believe me, I have lost enough friends in my life to feel the full truth behind those words. Don’t you want to know that you have lived this life to the fullest? I know I do and that is why I am on this journey. I don’t want to have any regrets. If you have any dreams for your life, making them come true starts right now, with you. Only you can make a difference in your life.

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New Facebook Page

Hello my lovely friends! Wonderful things are happening in my life! I have opened one Etsy store and I am in the process of opening another!!  Today I made my very own Facebook page to represent my first store! I would really love and appreciate it if you could just take the time to make a quick visit and “like” it. Just click here if you want to check it out! You have all been so supportive of me and my dreams! I seriously could never thank you enough! Going to get my art shop up and running hopefully by the start of next week! I will keep everyone posted! I can’t wait to share it with all of you! Take care my friends!!

This is Why I am Crazy

Last week, I decided to open Etsy shop that was ART based. Somehow between last week and today I have managed to begin opening not one but TWO ETSY shops. I just got carried away! I have so many different passions and apparently I have a lot more free time than I thought… I still have a ways to go before my ART shop is together, but I have managed to set up my VintagelaceBoutique. I only have ten listings right now, but I would love if you guys went and checked it out! I plan on adding some more inventory as soon as I finish getting my art shop up and running. When I started this journey in January, I would have never thought I would be here today with an Etsy shop, let alone TWO Etsy shops! I can’t believe how much I have already grown as a person. I have more confidence in myself now than I have had my whole life. I have you guys to thank for this. So thank you. I don’t know why it took me so long to realize the things I am capable of. My life has changed so much already. I am filling a void by following my dreams and it is an amazing feeling.

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“4 Secrets Post” About ME

I was tagged by Katie Ruiz to participate in this fun “4 Secrets” post. I don’t usually do things like this but I thought it would be a cute way for me to tell you a little more about myself. Here it goes!

Four names people call me other than my real name:

  1. Mommy (my favorite)
  2. Baby (my husband)
  3. Bug (my mom when I was little)
  4. Rachel Rooster (ugh my Dad..not too sure about this one lol)

Four Jobs I have had:

  1. I played poker for a living when I was a single mother (True story..I’ll tell you about it someday)
  2. Substitute teacher (high school hell)
  3. Waitress
  4. Cake decorator (Loved that one)

Four movies I have watched more than once:

  1. Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro (one of my favorites..so beautiful)
  2. Green Street Hooligans (another all time favorite)
  3. The entire Harry Potter series
  4. The Boondock Saints
If you haven’t seen any of these movies I suggest you watch them ASAP..you are missing out my friends!
Four books or authors I recommend:
1. The Harry Potter series -J.K. Rowling
2. The Pact-Jodi Picoult
3. Nineteen Minute -Jodi Picoult
4. Running with Scissors -Augusten Burroughs
Four places I have lived:
1. Germany
2. Maryland
3. Texas
4. Rhode Island
Four places I have visited:
1. Honolulu, Hawaii
2. San Diego, California
3. Las Vega, Nevada
4. Dominican Republic
Four things I would rather be doing right now:
1. Visiting with my daughter Josie
2. Painting
3. Talking with my sister Grace
4. Searching for seaglass
Four foods I prefer not to eat:
1. Olives EWWW
2…..Ummmm…I like a lot of foods LOL
Four of my favorite foods:
1. Ribs made by my husband
2. Anything CHOCOLATE
3. Mashed potatoes  I.LOVE.mashed.potatoes.
4. Mint chocolate chip ice cream
Four T.V. shows that I watch:
1. Empire (yessssss)
2. Criminal Minds
3. Workaholics (LOVE)
4. Law and Order SVU
Four things that I am looking forward to this year:
1. Having summer with all four of my kids together. (my family will be complete for 3 consecutive months)
2. Finding myself and following my dreams
3. My sister Annies’ wedding
4. Trying to sell some Artwork
Four things I am always saying:
1. What the world!!
2. Are you serious??
3. Shut up!
4. Yessssss
Four bloggers I would love to do this:
If I tagged you in this post and you want to participate, copy the questions and fill them in with your answers. Then you can tag 4 bloggers that you would like to see do this! Hope you all can join in, I would love to read your answers!

 

 

 

 

Living My Dreams

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 26

Hello beautiful dreamers! All of you probably think I dropped off of the planet because I have not written in over a week but I assure I am still here and I have been VERY productive lately! I am very proud to announce that my three year old is FINALLY potty trained! It took a little longer to train her than my first two girls but we did it! If anyone needs any tips just ask, I am full of information! Also, I have really taken a step back and reevaluated my life. I have been painting and creating, and I think I finally know what having a life beyond mommy means for me.

When I began this journey almost three months ago, I had no idea where I was going or what to expect. I didn’t even really know how I was going to accomplish my goal or how I was going to get the things I wanted in my life. All I knew was I wanted more LIFE in my life. I wanted to do more than just be a mother and a housewife. There was something missing, and I needed to find what that something was. Well my friends. I think I may have found what I have been looking for.

At the beginning, I intended on using Art as my therapy. I have been painting more than I ever have and it has become so much more than just therapy. By painting the way that I have been , I have pushed myself farther than I have ever gone before. I have realized things about my talent that I have never known. I never even knew I had artistic ability until I was in the 7th grade. I went with a friend to her art class one weekend and as soon as I entered the building I felt at home. It was the strangest thing that has ever happened to me. The paints, the canvases and the brushes all so new to me yet very familiar as well. I picked up my first brush and as soon as I began to paint I knew I was meant to be an artist. Here I am years later and I am wondering why I haven’t applied my talents to my life before now?  I have really tried to stretch my comfort zone over the past week. I have gone new places with these recent paintings and I have reached new heights. I have never shown my work before, and in no way have I ever tried to sell them or make anything of my art. However, I feel I have finally identified what needs to change in my life in order for me to feel fulfilled and satisfied. I know it is not going to be easy, but I would rather try and fail than not try at all and always wonder “what if.” The clock is not going to stop. Time is going to keep passing. If I want to make a change and if I want to make something of the person I am other than mommy, the time is NOW. No more procrastinating, no more excuses. I want to do what I love. I want to create and I want to paint and I want to show the world what I can do. I am not just a mother, I am an artist as well. I want my voice to be heard.

I am considering opening a shop on ETSY. Do any of you guys have Etsy shops? How is it? Do you enjoy what you do? Do you think Etsy is a good fit for me? I would love any feedback you can give me. I am excited to start this new part of my journey, and a little nervous too. Also I wanted to let everyone know I am on Twitter now. I would love if you followed me @lifebeyondmommy.

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almost three months ago, I had no idea where I was going or what to expect. All I knew was I wanted more LIFE in my life. I wanted a purpose other than being a mother and a housewife.