And, She Was Set Free

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       It is safe to say that I had a tumultuous past year and what not. It has caused me to wall myself up, become a little more recluse, and definitely more outspoken. Those all sound like bad things, but I do not necessarily think so. It has made me learn to depend on myself a lot more and to be a stronger person. Maybe some think I have pushed away but I just want to be independent. It has also taught me the value of my relationships with my friends and family. Needless to say, this past year has been an eye opener.

I have found that I need to be happy. No more putting everyone else in front of me. I have to take care of me before I can take care of anyone else. –But none of that will happen unless I speak up…some times YELL to be heard! After all, the way we treat ourselves bounces off of those around us and I do not want my loved ones to feel the way that I some times feel. Nor do I want them to bare the brunt of my negative behavior. This was an a-ha moment, but a constant challenge that I am learning to practice daily.

I have learned how to love differently and that the extent of my love is unreal. I have gained a new perspective for love and in being able to love. It has taken my whole appreciation to a new level and has heightened it. Love absolutely feels more amazing now when I connect with my relationships. I cannot help but to look at my loved ones faces and think, “damn, I just love ’em!” –and truly feel every word.

One of the best things I gained is the value of life. We live it, but most of us do not really LIVE it. We do what needs to be done, but do we bother to understand that we cannot get back that moment our child asked us to read them a story while we were cleaning up? Some things can wait. Life passes by too quickly. I want to savor all that I can and try to remember all of the little things. All too soon my little ones will be grown men and I do not want to look back and feel I could have done more. I want to know I did all that I could do and beyond. No regrets.

In a sense I found qualities in myself I would have never thought that I possessed. I found that I need to strengthen areas, destroy other ways, and evolve. No matter my faults and insecurities, I am worth it all. I will be damned to settle for less.

I have seen the lowest of lows in myself and suffered tremendous heartache. A heartache I wish on no one and one that will never be mended. A permanent hole. Yes, those do exist. Time does not do any thing. At least at this point, it has not for me. To me, it feels like time is taunting me. i hope people are right and that with time it eventually gets easier.  All I know is that I discovered my strength even when I thought I had none because of this tragedy. I seen for myself that I am tougher, more resilient, and one hell of a woman.

I have dived head first into a fire and burned for it, but it was in that fire I was forged, and out of that fire a phoenix was born…I found me.

Get Ready Set, Spring!

Do you ever feel like your calendar consumes you? I have, we have, been so busy lately with events and unplanned things that finding time for just ourselves seems out of view sometimes. I cannot even blame the kids and say it is their friends with all the birthday parties. It is actually our friends and family with the weddings, babies, and birthdays. I enjoy these things for the most part, but I also cannot wait for a break!

Just May alone has some thing planned every weekend. We have a private mini-vacation, just the husband and I, the first weekend of June and we cannot wait! We are so excited, as this is our first vacation alone in some years, and we need the break from every day life. I am fearful that this summer will run past me while I am busy attending all of these events. Yet, I am grateful there is so much to celebrate this year.

I am really starting to get a new meaning for the word “home”. It just takes on a whole new shape when it becomes your absolute sanctuary. As beautiful as the weather gets on some days, these are the days I am more than happy to have a few windows open and just relax indoors with my family. It seems like the winter lull kept us indoors and now the spring freshness has us running the streets. Funny how that works! We crave for better weather and to be able to stay outside, but when it gets here sometimes we need a break from that too! However, this is only the beginning of a wonderful season. It has started off with a bang for my family, and I hope it ends just as well for mine and yours. Image

Muting the Background Noise

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Lately, I have been discovering the importance of taking time to myself. I have three boys, and although it sounds like a lot, it does not seem so most of the time. There are days when it is more than I could have imagined, but nevertheless, it makes things fun and different. I can go day-to-day without ever skipping a beat, but every now and then a wrench is thrown into the spokes and I have to stop to gather myself.

I know some people think “How can you need a break? You do not even work?” A full time mom is a lot of work mentally, physically, and emotionally. You cannot put it down and pick it up the next day. Add to it the daily nuances and the once-in-a-blue-moon drama that occur from one angle or another…some times the pressure builds, and it becomes too much. In order to release the stress in a healthy manner I choose to venture away from home. It helps me clear my mind and not even think about some things without the background noise. It is that breathe of fresh air we all need every-so-often to renew ourselves.

There are some moms that think, “How can you need a break?” and some husbands whose first reactions are, “what is wrong here at home?” It is not the kids, it is not the husband, it is not the home environment. It is the need to step away and recharge, gain clarity, and take the pressure out elsewhere instead of on your loved ones. It is the simple pleasure of not having some one tugging at you, beckoning you, and just simply being able to think in one direction or not at all if you want. Go ahead and think, “Why not exercise or some thing?” I do. Five out of seven days of the week. It is my normal. I need some thing different. Is that too much to ask or do on occasion? And by myself if I choose? I do not think so. It is very important to not forget yourself, your own individual self.

Helping Hands

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I have three little boys sick with colds. Plus one is teething. To say that I am exhausted is an understatement. Today has been filled with an early rise to wash my floors since my four year old decided to “wash” them for me last night with hand soap. I had to start the laundry and clean the bathroom. Let’s not forget I also start my dinner early because my four month old requires a lot of attention right now. Normally, I do all of these things any ways, but when your kids are sick and they keep you on your feet it becomes a day filled with ‘have to’ instead of ‘normals’. 

My nights are currently filled with some ones little foot jarring me in the back or a child crying for mom. It is those moments you do not dare try to get daddy to go instead because they are sick and want mommy. It is important that you respond to them and it is vital that you reassure your own worries that they are fine and sleeping.

I can never fall asleep right away after tending to one of them. It takes my body a while to come down from the initial jump start which makes it even harder to get out of bed come morning. It is these days that I anticipate the quick passing. It hurts me to see my children in pain of any sort and just miserable. Especially my four month old. He is too little to give any thing and some times home remedies are not enough.

Of course, the worst part of having a house full of sick kids is the aftermath. I get to clean every thing all over again and disinfect. Do not forget to air out the house either. The thing I loathe the most, my body completely says, “Okay, now it is your turn to crumble.” -And I do. Despite my efforts to remain healthy. I end up getting wiped out and depending on my husband to man the bases.

Of course, through all of this there is a silver lining. I have heard that it takes a village, but I never really understood until these moments. I call in reinforcement. I know that if I do not get better soon which requires good rest, it will be a disaster. These are the days and weeks I am completely thankful that not only is my husband a great partner, but my mom, my sister, and mother-in-law become life savers. They do not try to over-parent me, but do exactly as I ask, help. When that time comes for me to become a grandma I pray that my kids let me return the many helping hands that I had while raising them. This is one of many things I constantly remind myself I MUST keep in rotation.

Small Helping of Gratitude

I could easily be one of those people that over looks the effort my loved one gives to me. Thank goodness, I am not. Every day I am thankful my husband takes the time to play with the boys, or to help me around the house. Through other social networks, I have noticed that I am lucky to have such a wonderful spouse. It seems he is a rare type of father and husband.

When I first started dating my husband his character was very important. I paid attention to the details. How did he treat his mother? How was he with kids? What was his work ethic like? I do not know why I did this at such a young age, but I am so happy I did. I picked a winner. If ever I have a daughter I most certainly will teach her to do the same.

Yet, I still wonder, how can some people take for granted the small things? I know some have O.C.D. and it can greatly interfere with relationships. I was very picky before about a lot of things. After watching the demise of some relationships close to me I learned…it does not matter. If I needed some thing to be cleaned so what if it was not done my way. So what. It was done. Some times I had to walk away while he cleaned some thing so that it would not irk me, but eventually it did not bother me at all.

I learned: Accept the help and be grateful.

Gratitude! What a word. It holds so much meaning and too many are not familiar with the word. Which leads me to believe this is the sole reason why they take people for granted. They were not taught the simplicity of gratitude. Some thing I will take great strides to instill in my children: be grateful. Even the smallest things count.

My husband does not have to be late for work and take the extra five minutes to play with my sons, but he does. Such a small thing to play for five minutes means the world to my son. Who knows, maybe it creates a memory they will have forever. Either way, I am one lucky and grateful lady.

The Family Bond that Feeds

While growing up, my mom taught us kids many things. Her motto was “never depend on any one for any thing.” Basically, do it yourself. If you do not know how, learn how. She taught me to sew, to quilt, do my own laundry, iron, clean, and on occasion I would learn to do some handy man work. I was surprised at the many people I have come across that never learned to iron, or to even cook basic things. To be honest, I hated when she made me cook. I could not stand the sight of raw meat. I mean come on! Hamburger meat looks like a bunch of maggots mushed together. The smell of the flesh, just yuck! Do not get me started on the slimy feel of it all. –But I did it any ways.

For the longest time I did not eat meat or poultry. It really turned my stomach at the thought of it. Eventually, I met my husband at the ripe young age of sixteen. He is Hispanic just as I am–partly. They loved meat. If you do not eat at a Hispanic event it is like a major sin. Needless to say, I ended up eating meat again. I believe what changed my perspective on cooking in general was watching his mother cook. I saw that the family gathered around her food. I saw the love it brought to the house. I saw the importance of her role as the provider of such wonderful meals. I wanted to have that for my family one day. Not that my mother did not cook, she did. It just took me watching an outsider to teach me this different aspect on cooking.

Now, I cook a lot and I love it! I absolutely adore making food especially from as close to scratch as possible. I get major joy from hearing it was delicious and an even greater pleasure when my picky little eaters love it, too. Whomever said, “the way to a person’s heart is through the stomach” was not lying. I see the way it helps keep my family together around the table. Even some of my fondest memories from growing up are of my family eating together. It makes perfect sense.

I cannot wait until my three boys are old enough and not so picky to enjoy most of my food creations. I am sure they will eat me out of a house and a home, but I hope they understand I do the things I do as a mom, as a wife, with love and intentions to keep our family bond closely knit. After all, as I have said I learned meals do feed the heart and soul of a family.

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