“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!

 

 

 

 

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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.

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.

 

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.

Do True Friends Even Exist Anymore?

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 18

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I envy my mother. She is beautiful and successful. She has an amazing career that she loves.  Those things are great, but do you want to know what I envy the most? My mother is still friends with the same group of women she surrounded herself with in high school. They are the best of friends. My mom knows the meaning of “life long friends,” and that is a true gift. I often wonder what her secret is. How do you form those special bonds? Why is it so hard for me? What am I doing wrong? I really don’t want to sound pathetic here, but I want a genuine friend more than anything. One thing I am starting to realize as I reflect on my own life is, I NEED a friend. image

I am starting to see things a lot clearer than I ever have. For so long I have used all the wrong reasons as excuses for why I have little to no friends. Here is the deal : I am a great friend. Maybe one of the issues I am having is, I want whoever I am friends with to be a great friend to me in return. Is this asking too much? Am I expecting too much? It seems like every time I let someone new into my life, it only leads to disappointment. I feel as though so many of my friendships have been one-sided. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have experienced “true” friendship, and even those relationships were lost.

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I have lost so many friendships and I have been let down so many times, it has changed me as a person. I have built a wall around my heart in order to keep others out. I rarely ever allow myself the opportunity to meet new people. When I do meet someone new, I never let them in. I keep them close enough to talk to, but far away enough that I won’t get hurt. I know this is not healthy. I just don’t want to be let down anymore. I want friends and I need friends, but I am afraid.

I want to be a different person, a better person. I feel like we all need friends. We need those special people that we can count on. We need people to laugh with, cry with, and make memories with. I know in my heart that I would be a happier person if I had a real friend. As I continue down this path of self-discovery, I will not only be searching for myself, I will also be searching for a friend. A true friend. A best friend. I will also start trying to break down this wall that I have held up for so long. Does anyone have any advice for me?

What Do You Do

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 17

What do you do

When you don’t know what to do

When you don’t know what to say

And you don’t know what to think

What do you do

When there is nothing left to do

Nothing left to say

Nothing left to think

What do you do

When there is nothing you can do

Nothing you can say

To stop the pain

Or make it go away

What do you do

When you know exactly what to do

Exactly what to think

Yet you can’t do any of it

Something holds you back

You can see everything happening around you

You watch as it all falls to pieces

And you do nothing

What do you do

An Open Letter to My Past Self

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 16

One thing about this life, it NEVER goes according to plan. There are so many unexpected turns, and it is all around one bumpy ride! My life was so bumpy, I wish there was a way for me to go back in time just so I could tell myself to wear a helmet! There are actually a lot of things that I would tell my past self. Since I happen to be self-reflecting, why not do just that? Perhaps it is time to open up some and really begin cleaning out my closet. I am on a journey and healing is a part of it. This letter is meant to help heal. An open letter to the person I once was seems rather fitting. When my 30 days of self-reflection comes to a close, I will be sure to include a letter to my future self as well. How exciting. Let the healing begin….

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Dear Rachel,

           I thought this letter would be easy to write. Turns out, I was wrong about that. I am finding myself at a loss for words, and my emotions are quite displaced. Still, my mind is full of words. Words that I know you need to hear, so I will say them to you as best I can.

Lets start with High School. I know that can be a difficult time for many. Remember to be yourself. Love who you are. Your individuality sets you apart from the rest. Own that. Understand that it is ok to have dreams, and start doing the things that you love. Let the artist inside of you break free. Stop being afraid of failure and rejection. When you fall,(because you will) pick yourself up and continue to move forward. We all fall. Trust your instincts when it comes to friendships, and stay out of drama. It is better to have a couple of friends who love you, than to have twenty friends who would deceive you. Don’t sweat the small things, and hold on to your yearbooks. Your kids will want to see them one day.

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Do not be so hard on your parents. Trust me, they are learning as they go. There is no instruction booklet when it comes to raising children. Please believe, they are doing the best that they know how. They do love you. I promise. Your father has caused you the most pain. There is no denying that. Start forgiving him now. Allow forgiveness to be a part of your life, no matter how hard it may be. You are broken. The key to putting yourself back together is forgiving the ones who broke you. Start with your father.

Face your problems. If you continue to be bound by fear, you will forget what it means to live. Do not run and hide. Do not brush your issues under the rug. If you push them down deep, they will always resurface. ALWAYS.

This next bit of advice is important. Heed my words. Enjoy as much time with your family as you possibly can. Family vacations, dinners, beach days and game nights are numbered. Time goes by a lot faster than you realize. Stay a home a few extra times instead of going to that boyfriends’ house. Stick around a little more and spend some time with your brother and sisters. You may feel grown, but they are young, and they miss having you around. You will miss these memories one day. Your family will not always be together. Your siblings will grow, and your parents will go their separate ways. Not everything can last forever.

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Pay extra attention to your youngest sister. Shower her with love, and continually show her that you care. She is so much like you. She carries the weight of the world on her shoulders, and she wears her heart on her sleeve. She will need you. Cherish every moment with your Pop Pop. His time on this Earth is short. Show him your love and make him proud. He may seem like a hard man, and I know he is a bit intimidating, but I assure you his love runs deeper than most. Give him that letter sitting in your “special box” before it is too late. He will leave this life quickly, and once he is gone, your world will never be the same. Hold the ones you love tightly, and show them your heart while you can.

Dont be so hard on yourself. Being a single mother is O.K. It is alright that you didn’t finish college. It is alright that you are a waitress. Be proud of who you are. You had your heart broken into a million pieces, and you prevailed. You are much stronger than you give yourself credit for. Stop pushing everyone away. Not everyone will hurt you. Don’t give up on love. True love is real, and it will find you. Stop searching so hard for it. I know you yearn for a “complete” family, but don’t rush it. You are a great mother and you can make it on your own. Do not settle for the first man that comes along and offers you happiness. Your happiness lies within yourself. Don’t every rely on a companion to make you happy. Stay away from the men who lie and belittle you. They are not worth your time or your love. Do not confuse lust for love. True love is much deeper rooted than you could ever imagine.

Finally, stop standing in front of that mirror. Stop criticizing every part of you. Society’s version of beauty is twisted and a bit deranged. Learn to love your body. Embrace every ounce of beauty that lies within you. Wear that little black dress and go out on the town, Learn to live a little, and have some fun. Go on that road trip! Take that cruise! Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. This life passes by us fast enough. LIVE!

                                                 See you soon,

                                                          Me

Two Days Sick Is Too Long

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 14

I was sick as a dog for two entire days

Confined to a bed, much to my dismay

I laid there and tried so hard to get rest

I listened as my husband did his very best

It seemed like there was a war zone downstairs, there were all kinds of sounds

Perhaps two days is too long, to not have Mom around

I could tell my husband was in over his head

Slowly but surely, I crept out of bed

I stepped into the hallway, and tripped over a doll

Luckily, a giant stuffed bear broke my fall

Once downstairs, I realized this was a code RED

If I had known sooner, I would not have stayed in bed

I saw my house in complete disarray

It was enough of a disaster to turn anyone’s hair gray

The walls were scribbled with blue and green

The amount of toys was just obscene

There were sippy cups galore

And dirty clothes all over the floor

The dishes in the sink were piled high

My kitchen literally looked like a pigsty

There was so much laundry that had to be done

I even considered buying new clothes for everyone 

Finally, our eyes met and I could tell he was tired

But that didn’t matter, both toddlers were wired

Izabelle had colored herself from head to toe

Using every single color of the rainbow

Chloe wore dress up clothes and was very proud

She was dancing, singing, and being loud

In the midst of it all, I couldn’t help but laugh

I imagined the chaos he had endured on my behalf

I assured him, I would take over from here

He said “thank you” and was very sincere

My husband is strong, but he is only a man

No one can tackle this house quite like MOM can

YOU ARE MY LIGHT

Recycling an old post since I am sick. This poem is one of my favorites that I have written.

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 7

Reflecting on myself and my life has been a lot harder than I ever imagined it would be.  As I take these walks down memory lane, a lot of emotions fill my soul.  My artistic side is really beginning to shine through.  I suppose it is meant to happen this way.  I feel like I am blossoming into a new person. Or perhaps, this person was always here, I just needed to dig deep so I could find her. This poem is for my husband, who has never given up on me.

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YOU ARE MY LIGHT

My heart has been broken many times before

It shattered like glass, and now it is no more.

I carry the pieces with me everywhere I go

Holding onto them tightly, never letting go

These parts that I have so preciously saved

Are reminders of a storm, once braved

I want to move on but they are weighing me down

There is darkness around me, I’m going to drown

I’m fading fast, I’m slipping away

You know I’m broken, and yet you stay

You wipe my tears, and you kiss my cheek

I feel your breath, and then you speak

You say “It doesn’t matter what happened in the past.”

“Our love is real and it is going to last.”

You hold each piece of my heart so gently with care

You mend what you can, with a love so rare

You were the sun, in the middle of endless rain

You gave me life, and took away my pain

You show me the meaning of love everyday

In everything you do, and everything you say

You were my light, when the dark closed in

I am as lucky now, as I was back then

Life Can Be Taken In An Instant

SELF-REFLECTION

DAY 12

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I am not an overly religious person. You will not find me sitting in church every Sunday, and you will not catch me at any type of Bible study either. Although I may not be praying in a church on Sunday’s, I will most definitely be praying in my home EVERYDAY. I may not go to church, but I guarantee you, I am a woman of faith. I have strong convictions. I believe in God. I believe in God’s miracles because I have witnessed them many times in my own life. A few days ago, I wrote about coming close to death. ( you can read it if you like, just click the link)  I believe with all of my heart that God put an angel in my life at just the right time in order to save me. Not only has God saved my life, he has saved my daughter’s life THREE times. Not once, not twice, THREE times. 

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I have four children. They are each amazing, and they mean everything to me. Lily is going to be six on Monday. Lily is a miracle. As most of you already know, when I was pregnant with Lily, I was violently ill. I was hospitalized at six weeks, and I remember th Doctor telling me it was ok to consider having an abortion. My HCG levels were through the roof and my sickness was only going to get worse. And did it ever! I prayed everyday and I never lost hope. Eventually they sent me home with a feeding tube, a zofran pump, and a special nurse to care for me at home. I was five months along when it happened. We were on our way to a routine doctors visit. I was driving, and my husband was in the passenger seat. It started to rain. Within seconds after the rain first hit the pavement, we hydroplaned. I lost complete control of my vehicle. We spun three times, and flipped into a ditch. My side of the car smashed into a large streetlight so hard that it came crashing to the ground. Glass was everywhere. Every single window in my tiny car was shattered. The smell of gasoline lingered in the air. My husband was yelling at me, but I couldn’t hear him. My ears were ringing, and I was hyperventilating. Eventually I heard the words, “We need to get out NOW!” I was frozen. He forced his door open and yanked me out. I couldn’t walk. My legs were so weak, they felt like Jello. I fell to the ground crying, “My baby,” as my husband flagged down the first vehicle heading our direction. I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t think, at least not about anything except my daughter growing inside of my belly. It was pouring down rain. We were soaking wet, water was dripping down my cheeks, masking my tears. The stranger who stopped to help us lifted me into his truck, where I stayed until paramedics arrived. I was a wreck. All I could think was “Will my baby live through this?”

At the hospital, all we kept hearing was how lucky we were. My car was totaled and we both walked away with only bruises and sore bodies. I just wanted everyone to shut up and tell me if my baby was ok. Yet no one could give us any answers. The best they could do was inform us that we would know within the next 12 hours if she would make it or not. At five months gestation if something traumatic happens, they cannot save the baby. What!? This was not good enough! I wanted answers! I needed to know NOW! Still we had to wait, and the next 12 hours were the longest, scariest of my life. I prayed the entire time. I held my belly, I sobbed, and I prayed. My Lily is a fighter. She made it. She was born premature at 34 weeks. She initially had trouble breathing on her own, and she spent two days in the NICU. She weighed a mere 4 pounds when we left the hospital. Her middle name is Faith, and with good reason. God had his hands on me the entire time I carried her. He watched over our baby and kept her safe. Little did we know, this miracle involving Lily would not be the last.

I have much more to write. I have a story to tell. I can’t wait to share with you the second and third time Gid saved my Lily’s life. I feel like I should stop here for now. This is getting a bit emotional for me, and it is getting a bit long for you. I will continue this miraculous post tomorrow. I hope you will come back and read the rest of my testimony.