Excited!!

HAPPY FRIDAY EVERYONE!!! Things have been really great lately! I am really looking forward to the weekend! I have big plans! I fully intend on writing my newest blog about my newest hobby! I have found an amazing thing that I simply LOVE doing. I can’t wait to share it with all of you! Also I plan on painting this weekend! I can’t wait and I can’t wait to share my newest piece of art with everyone. Hopefully it turns out so I can share it LOL. I am a perfectionist when it comes to my artwork so if it is not perfect I will toss it! Why can’t I be a perfectionist about the housework? Or the laundry? Man I seriously hate the laundry. I hate the dishes too…I think I just hate anything housework related. ANYWAY, I am so excited to write this weekend!!

“I AM ON THE HUNT FOR WHO I’VE YET TO BECOME”

 

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Shenanigans

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 24

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I have learned a lot about myself over the past couple of months. When I first started this journey, I never dreamed it would help me grow as much as it has. I have shared many personal things on my blog so far. I have really enjoyed being open and honest, but there are still a lot of things I have kept hidden. Hopefully, over the next few weeks I will finally be able to get rid of these skeletons in my closet for good. One thing I have neglected to share with you is I have terrible social anxiety. I have always felt somewhat uncomfortable in crowds of people, but over the past couple of years it has gotten a lot worse. I know it probably sounds a little crazy, but there have been times when I was grocery shopping that as the store would get busy, panic would set in. I have actually left my entire cart of groceries sitting in the middle of an isle all by its lonesome too many times to count.  Shopping at the mall doesn’t always go very well for me, and there are certain restaurants I can’t step foot in on a Friday or Saturday night. As I am confessing these things, I feel so ashamed and embarrassed. To prove just how dedicated I am to this journey of becoming a better person, yesterday I stepped completely out of my comfort zone. I actually attended the St. Patricks Day parade in Newport RI, and I stayed the entire time!

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I have to be completely honest, the thought of going to this event terrified me! The St. Patricks Day parade here is HUGE!! Literally thousands of people attend and over 2000 people march in it.This parade dates all the way back to 1863. So when I say I stepped out of my comfort zone, I am not exaggerating! The parade was set to start at 11 a.m. so we arrived an hour early with the girls in order to find a prime viewing spot. We were extremely lucky and found a bench to sit on. I have never seen so many people in one place in all of my life. The restaurants and bars opened and starting serving people at 8 a.m.! I have never seen so many drunk people in all of my life either! Maybe I am somewhat sheltered, but this parade was a whole new experience for me!

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As people started arriving to watch the parade, I could feel my anxiety brewing. My heart was racing and at times I even felt dizzy. I know I sound like a crazy person, but this was the largest crowd I have ever been in! I actually hid my panic quite well. My girls were having the time of their lives and seeing the smile on their faces made me so happy. My husband walked them up close to the curb so they could have a front row view. I stayed on the bench so I would not be standing in the middle of a huge crowd. Even though I stayed back a little, I am still really proud of myself. This was a huge accomplishment for me. I didn’t have a panic attack. Whenever I started to feel the panic set in, I thought of my kids and how special of a day this was for them. Those thoughts helped me keep calm enough to make it through the entire two hour show! A crazy thing did happen though, about half way through, a woman standing beside the bench fainted! I  helped get her to the bench and gave her a juice box while her husband called the ambulance. That whole experience was so surreal for me because usually I am the one who faints in public. Maybe one day I will go more into detail about that. It felt so good to be able to help her. I have been in her shoes many times before, and I knew exactly how to handle the situation. Even better, I didn’t panic at all!

I accomplished so many things yesterday, and even though I can’t say that my social anxiety is cured, I can say that I am one step closer to having LESS social anxiety, and that is huge. This whole experience has empowered me. It has made me realize so many things. I can be a better person. I can be a happier person. I can be a stronger person. I just have to put forth the effort. Who I am now is not the person I have to be. I can improve myself and I will. Being on this road to self-discovery is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

The Cheesecake Dilemna

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 23

I have been working very hard over the past few weeks at trying to lose weight and get myself back into some kind of  shape worth being proud of. Having been pregnant four times, let me be the first to tell you, my body is certainly not what it used to be. Not at all. Not in any way, shape or form….It’s ok though, I am learning to embrace the sagging. No that’s a complete lie. I am not embracing any of the sagging. Screw the sagging.

I am very happy to announce that I mastered the hula hoop exercise on the Wii Fit. LOL I know I know, my life goals are awesome. Anyway last week I moved on to Zumba on the Wii Fit. Let’s talk about Zumba for a moment. Holy so hard I can’t feel my legs for days. It hurts, so it must be working. Go Zumba.

I have come so far since January. I have lost weight. I eat better. My heart is healthier, and I know this because I can actually do Zumba without fainting. Anyway, because I have accomplished so much, yesterday I wanted to treat myself. What better way to treat yourself for losing weight than a slice of cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory? Vanilla Bean to be exact. Seriously the best idea ever, I know. I put my plan in motion. My mistake? Sending my husband.

I sent my husband on one simple mission, to go purchase me one slice of delicious Vanilla Bean cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory. What does he do? He purchases me an ENTIRE CHEESECAKE!! WHAT THE WORLD!! Hello!! Doesn’t he know the amount of effort it has taken for me to come this far? UGH. I have has this cheesecake not even 24 hours. I had a slice for dessert last night. I had a slice for a late night snack…last night. AND I had a slice for breakfast this morning. They were huge slices…OK OK they weren’t slices at all. I actually just went to town on it with a fork. The stupid thing is now half-eaten. Yes, I ate half of an entire cheesecake in three sittings. I may be in need of some sort of therapy. The sad part is, the cheesecake is still here. It is in my refrigerator as I am typing this. And it is calling my name. I seriously need to throw the stupid thing away. I can’t bring myself to do it. It cost way more than any cheesecake on this planet should EVER cost, and it is the most delicious thing I have eaten in 3 months. I blame my husband.

I hate you Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. Nope, that’s another lie. I love you Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. I love you so much. Damn youuuuuuu.

Down For The Count

This thought of the day will be short and sweet. Just wanted to share this with all of my friends out there. I have just tried the ZUMBA Wii for the first time. The phrase “I can’t feel my face” now has a whole new meaning. I can’t feel my face…my legs…my arms…my feet…. I will certainly be regretting this decision in the morning. That is all.

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Self Reflection is Hard

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 22

The past week has been a tough one. I have really been missing Josie. I have been thinking about her nonstop since we said goodbye. I realized today how selfish I have been, and I feel so awful about it. I always knew that not having her here with us effected everyone, but I never realized how much until now. My little Lily, who is six, has cried for Josie this week many times. Some things are just impossible for her to understand right now. I have tried my best to comfort her, but my words do not matter. She wants her sister, and I understand.

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That is a picture of Josie and I when she was just a couple of months old. I remember being terrified when I was pregnant with her. I was 19 years old. Now that I am older, I can see just how young 19 is. I remember how scared I was of becoming a mother. I wanted her to have the best, and I wasn’t sure if that was me, but something amazing happened the day she was born. I may have only been 19, but I will never forget how naturally being a mother came to me. Everything came so easily. Breastfeeding, soothing her, even the sleepless nights. I knew how to be her mother immediately because I was meant to be her mother. There is not a doubt in my mind, God granted me the wisdom and the patience I needed. And believe me, at 19 I needed both of those things.

I knew once I had Josie that being a mother was the greatest thing I would ever be. A parent has a very special kind of love for their children. It is unconditional and it is undying. I believe that a parents love is the most genuine, most pure form of true love that there is. For a mother, once she begins to grow life in her belly, her life is changed forever. As parents, once you hold your baby in your arms, you know your life will never be the same again, and that is ok because you don’t want it to be. You have never loved anything or anyone in this world so much, and you never will……until you have more children of course. As your family grows, so does your heart and so does your love. I have four daughters now, and I can honestly say that being their mother is my greatest accomplishment in life so far.

I love my children more than life. When they are hurting, I am hurting. There are certain things I can fix, with a Band-Aid or a kiss. Lily wants Josie, and I can’t fix that. Pretty soon, they will all want Josie. They will all have questions, and they will not understand the answers that I give. Even if they can’t understand why things are the way they are, I hope they all understand how much I love them, and why I made the choices I made.

As you all know, I am on a journey of self-discovery. I am searching for myself, among other things. I have vowed to lose weight. I have vowed to explore my artistic abilities, and to write more. Today I am vowing to be the best mother I can possibly be, so my children never have to question my love for them. Don’t get me wrong, I am a pretty awesome mother already. However, I am human so of course there is always room for improvement. It is amazing the things you learn and how much you can grow if you allow yourself to truly self-reflect. This is so hard, but I know that I will come out a better person, mother and wife when I am finished. Thanks for being there guys!

Saying Goodbye

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SELF REFLECTION

DAY 21

For those of you who don’t know, I have joint custody of my oldest daughter, Josie. She lives in Maryland with her father, step mother, and new little brother. I live in Rhode Island with my husband and three other daughters. Please read the entire story here. We have just returned home after spending eight days with her, and it has been quite an emotional roller coaster for me. Our visit was wonderful yet bittersweet. The time we were able to share with Josie went by entirely too fast, as it always does. I am still recovering from having to say goodbye.

My heart is hurting. There is no other way to put it. Saying goodbye to Josie after the summer and after each holiday is always hard. However, saying goodbye after our 8 days together was even harder. We had an amazing time, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the word, but this visit for me was one of the most difficult we have ever shared. I have this sinking feeling that from here on out my visits with her are going to get more difficult for me. I say for “me” because Josie is well adjusted. She is happy, she does great in school, and she has many friends. As she gets older, she seems more and more unphased by our custody arrangement. Joint-custody is all that she has ever known. I have had so many doubts about our situation over the years. So many times I have questioned my decisions, and so many nights I have cried myself to sleep. I feel beyond blessed to be able to say that even though her living situation has not been normal, Josie IS a normal child, and she is happy. I am happy that she is happy, but my heart is still breaking.

My daughter is growing up. She is no longer the four year old little girl that she was when we first had to move. I can not believe she is ten years old. I feel like all I did was blink and six years went by. For those 8 days that we were in Maryland, I was able to be active in a NEW part of Josie’s life, a part that I usually don’t get to experience because I only have her summers and holidays. Our visit was a brutal reminder of all the moments I have missed out on. The little things are the things that hurt the most. Things other parents probably take for granted. Taking her to and from school everyday. Getting up with her in the mornings. Brushing and braiding her hair. Making sure she is completely ready for her school day. Helping her with her homework everyday after school. (except math, “common core” and I are not friends) I was able to meet her friends from school, and let me say, I am so happy with the kind of ladies she has chosen to surround herself with.

On Friday, she was in the talent show. She preformed a dance with two of her friends. I was able to take her shopping to pick out her dance outfit, and I got the pleasure of doing her hair and  getting her ready for the show. You have no idea how much all of this meant to me. Not only being there to support her, but also taking part in preparing her for it. I was an emotional wreck sitting in the audience, but I never let it show. Honestly, I was a wreck before we even left the house. I was so nervous, the talent show was the first school event that I have ever gotten to attend. It was the very first time many parents and teachers got to see “Josies’ mom.” I was so worried of what they would think, and I was scared they would judge me. I spent all day trying to find the perfect thing to wear. Looking back now, getting as worked up as I did seems a little silly. I just wanted to be the best me I could be that night, for her. Does any of this make sense? Please believe me when I say, I was the proudest parent in th crowd that evening. My eyes filled with tears many times, but I did not let them fall. I never wanted that moment to end. I wish I could have stayed there in that moment a little longer, and I wish our week with Josie had gone by a little bit slower. Do you know how much it hurts to have a taste of this wonderful part of her life, then have to walk away? For one week I was finally the mother to her that I have been longing to be. I feel empty now, but I am trying to stay strong because I have to. I don’t have a choice.

 

I’m Back and I Need Your Help!

Hello my friends! I am finally back and I have so much to share with all of you! It feels like I was gone for months! Let me tell you, it was extremely difficult to not blog while I was in Maryland! I was going through a bit of withdrawal! We had a great visit with Josie, but it really flew by. Time with her always goes so fast, and time without her always goes so slow. We will talk later but right now I need some help!

I finally got a computer! That’s right, no more blogging from an Ipad. (thank goodness) I can’t wait to get back to blogging regularly, and on a laptop at that! Now I have to get my site set up and I literally have no idea where to start. I really would like to get my page looking a little better for everyone. I feel like right now it is hard to navigate. Does anyone have any feedback they could give me on the look of my page right now? I need to make some changes, and I would love your input! After all, you my good people are the ones who read my ramblings! Any layout ideas? Anything I need that I don’t have? I don’t have any “plug-ins.” Do any of you use “plug-ins?” Which ones do you like? Do any of you use “grammarly?” I know what you are thinking! I am clueless! Please help!

When You Realize Bloggers Are Amazing People

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 20

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On my last day of self-reflection, I wrote a little bit about having joint custody of my oldest daughter and what that has meant for my family. I opened up about living in a different state than her and some of the effects it has had on me. I would love if you read about it here. It was not an easy story for me to share. I found it very difficult to write.

I suppose self-reflection is not meant to be easy, it involves opening certain doors. Doors that I have kept closed for a long time. The responses I have received from all of you have changed my life. I need you to know that your kindness has made a difference, and in this moment I want to thank each and every one of you. I can not believe how much support and love you have all shown me. I feel so blessed that I am able to take this journey with you by my side. Thanks to you, I do not feel alone. Having this blog has already made a huge difference in my life. I am more confident than I have ever been. I am actually growing and changing as a person, for the better. This “self-acceptance” would not have happened without you. Every kind comment you have left me has made me a happier person. Every piece of honest advice you have given me has helped me better my life. Your words of encouragement have given me strength. You have never been judgmental. You have only been genuine and understanding. You are all such amazing human beings. I know I still have quite a ways to go on this journey of mine, but as long as I have you wonderful people here, I know I will somehow come out on top. I wish I could hug all of you.

Please know, I truly mean every word I have typed here. You have had an enormously positive impact on my life. I feel like I can finally face the world, and I have you to thank. Thank you all.

Valentine’s Day and HUFF Post News!

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY MY FRIENDS!! I HOPE ALL OF YOU HAVE A WONDERFUL DAY! WE ARE IN MARYLAND FOR THE WEEK VISITING OUR JOSIE. I APOLOGIZE FOR MY LACK OF POSTS. I WILL DO MY BEST TO KEEP IN TOUCH. I HOPE YOU ALL WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW MY JOURNEY! 

PLEASE CHECK OUT MY ARTICLE THAT WAS PUBLISHED ON HUFFINGTON POST FRIDAY. I KNOW IT WAS ALREADY SHOWN HERE, SO YOU MAY HAVE ALREADY READ IT. IT WOULD BE GREAT IF YOU WOULD TAKE THE TIME TO CHECK IT OUT, LIKE IT, SHARE IT OR COMMENT! SO FAR ALL OF MY COMMENTS ARE FROM FAMILY LOL. HERE IS THE LINK : 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rachel-malcom/what-i-have-learned-my-fi_b_9214172.html

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I Miss My Daughter

SELF REFLECTION

DAY 19

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This is a very difficult post to write. It leaves me feeling vulnerable. I am sure some of you will read this and disagree with my decisions. That is ok. I am reflecting on my own life. This is my story. These are my memories. I owe myself acceptance and closure.

I do not have full custody of my oldest daughter Josie. Her father and I have joint-custody. We have always shared our time with her. If you are interested, you can read part of that story here. When Josie was little, we split the days of the week evenly, so she would have equal time with both of us. We would alternate weekends, and that worked for us. For a while anyway. When she was three, love found me when I least expected it, and it turned my world upside down.

My husband and I have an amazing love story. I’ll try to keep it short and only explain how we met. My brother introduced us in 2009. I had just reached a point in my life where I thought I would never fall in love again, and I would quite possibly die  alone. At first I was not interested in him at all. I knew he had to move around for work, and having a long distance relationship was not something I wanted. Also, I had a daughter. I was in no position to be traveling any time soon. Four days was all it took. We fell in love immediately. We were crazy about each other, head over heels, inseparable. ( by the way, we still are) We were married three months later, and eight months after that, our daughter Lily was born. Soon after, we got the news that would change everything. Our family was going to have to move from Maryland to Texas. We had three months to prepare and get our things in order.

The news crushed me. In my heart I had always known this day would come, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I had Josie. What was I going to do? I was so angry, and I took my anger out on Josie’s father. I yelled at him. I wanted her to stay with us. I threatened lawyers and court, the whole nine yards. I was in an endless amount of pain, and in no way was I prepared to handle the inevitable. We were going to Texas. We had no choice. I remember praying harder than ever. I remember asking for peace and guidance. I knew I needed to take a step back and assess the situation. I needed to look at the entire picture. I needed to think of Josie and not just myself.

Josie’s entire life was in Maryland. Her father and I had been raising her together since the day she was born. Both of us and our families loved her more than anything.  Everything and everyone she knew reside in Maryland. Including her school, her friends, and her family. Her father was in Maryland, and he really was a great father. Although he was not always my favorite person in the world, there is no denying that he has always been a wonderful father to Josie, and he loves her more than anything. Knowing all of this, what kind of person would I be if I took all of that away from her. My heart was breaking, but I never felt that taking her away from her dad and the only life she knew was the right thing to do. I soon came to the conclusion that I would have to leave my four year old in Md. while I moved to Texas with my husband and newborn. We both decided I would get Josie summers and holidays. My parents would be able to get her on the weekends.

I  cried the entire drive to Texas. The next couple of years were the hardest in my life. I fell into a deep depression. I was riddled with guilt and I felt like a terrible mother for leaving. I blamed my husband, and our marriage suffered. So many days I wanted to run away. I thought of taking Lily and moving back. What was I thinking!? I loved my husband more than anything. He needed us, and we needed him. I was just hurting so bad. It was so hard to function without having Josie. I thought of her every second of everyday. I cried all of the time. I was physically ill. Anxiety took over my life. We skyped a lot, and we saw each other summers and holidays. Eventually, with time, things started to get better. Josie was doing great. She had adjusted so well. She was happy. I told myself that as long as she was happy, I could be happy too.

We moved to Rhode Island a little over a year ago. We are a lot closer now, and we are able to visit MD a lot more. We all miss Josie everyday. I still cry. Being away from her is one of the hardest things I have ever done, or will ever do. I struggle daily. When I look back on things, I know that I made the right decision. I would make it again if I had to. As hard as it was, I believe in my heart that as her mother, I made the right decision. My decision was selfless, and I did what I thought was best for her, not what  was best for me. We are leaving for Maryland this weekend, and seeing Josie will be the best Valentines gift ever.

I feel like whenever I share this story with others, they judge me. Hell, you may be judging me right now. Us relocating was out of our hands. Even though I am her mother, it was not my place to take her away from her father. I believed that then, and I believe it now. It has been six years. We have made it work. It has not been easy at all, but I stand by the sacrifices I have made.