Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Well, it's been a looong time since I blogged. I don't know what happened. My life got insanely busy when Mr. T moved in (pretty much right around the time I posted the last blog) and has been going non-stop ever since. Instead of trying to write about it for pages and pages, I figured a photo tour through my phone's camera would be a nice way to hit the highlights and assure you that I'm still alive and happy.
First, a quick update on the kiddos. They are doing smashingly well and, well...they've gone and grown up a lot since the last time I posted photos. So, for your viewing enjoyment...
Brushed her hair for the first time in years! Haha.
In addition to growing and thriving together, they are thrilled to finally get to spend some good time with Mr. T's boys, A and C.
Everyone just loooooves A.
But they all love each other too. :)
As for Mr. T and I, we had the pleasure of attending a conference for my business in San Diego, CA a few weeks ago. This just so happens to be the city where I grew up and where my two brothers live now. I moved away when I was almost 13 years old and this was my first trip back to the Motherland. Haha.
At the airport
We were lucky to have a couple non-work days to check out the city and spend time with my family. My Dad, who has moved to Cabo San Lucas in Mexico and who I haven't seen for maybe four years, drove up to be with us and we had a nice little family Thanksgiving (not too shabby when both your brothers are chefs)!
Me and Dad
My brother's gorgeous lady, Soleil.
The first night, we hung out at my brother's bar, Tiger!Tiger!
Mr. T and I with my brother, Dan.
Wouldn't you know it....I received a text the moment I walked in that said, "Order the beer called 'A Good Amber'. The hottie to your left at the bar recommends it." You guys...it was SANDIEGOJOHN!!!!! We've been friends on SP for a couple years and he FEELS like my family, but I had never met him face to face before. It was not at all awkward. It's like we have always been family. Amazing!
(Posting this pic of him with great hair, to protect myself b/c later on I'm posting one where we both look AWFUL...but it was the only pic that sort of turned out of us. Drat.)
John was SO hospitable and even let us stay at his place the night before we left. Cancelled the hotel and saved quite a bit of money! When we got to his place, his darling hubby was making homemade guacamole and making chips from scratch. Are you kidding me?! He also showed us (and a couple of my co-workers) a WONDERFUL time our first Sunday there, taking us to an all-you-can-eat Mexican brunch with unlimited sangria and mimosas. THAT was a pretty fun morning. And, well...that's about all I can share about that. Haha. (P.S. This was not a healthy eating trip, for the record. In case you haven't yet figured this out.)
I also got to visit with a friend that I haven't seen since I moved away when I was 12 years old, 24 years ago. That was really nice!
Also had dinner with my friend, Lenore (the one who came to visit and run the half marathon I volunteered for a few months ago). I haven't seen her parents since I was a child and they still live in the SAME house. It was surreal being in her backyard. Do you KNOW how many backbends we did in that yard and how many dances we made up when we were about 8 years old?
And, of course, there was plenty of time amidst my busy work schedule for romance.
Can you hear the soundtrack from the beginning of "Grease" in your head yet? Haha.
And, yes, you've been waiting...here is the only surviving photo I have of myself and SANDIEGOJOHN. (I'm sorry, John!)
Got home and immediately jumped into Thanksgiving Break with my kids. I took the week off of work and had them 24/7. It was just a REALLY great time with them. I was worried about them getting bored or fighting a lot and not having enough to do to entertain them but it was a great family time.
On Thanksgiving Day, it was just me and Mr. T and the kids. Mr. T cooked an entire farm fresh, completely organic Thanksgiving dinner all by himself!!!!
Here's a sneak peek of a butternut squash/kale/white cheddar salad and brussel sprouts with quinoa, almonds and dried cranberries. O.M.G.
As if that doesn't quality him for Perfect Man status, he cooked a ham to eat with our leftovers the next night. THEN, the following morning got up and made us apple cinnamon pancakes, eggs with ham and cheese and cinnamon rolls from scratch.
It's just that...this Thanksgiving and this entire season are so meaningful to us. Just one year ago, both of us were in a whole other life and we were both completely hopeless and miserable. I can hardly believe it's almost been a year since we re-connected as friends on Facebook and helped each other through the hardest time in both of our lives.
This man is everything I've ever hoped for and he's been in front of me for my entire adult life and I just never paid any attention to him. I've said it before, but I can't understand how we've been blessed to be given a second chance. He loves me and my children so well. He treats me like a queen and makes me feel like I have the power to do anything I could ever dream of doing.
To say I am head over heels completely in love with him would be the world's biggest understatement. We both made some mistakes along the way...chose the wrong people. But we got five GORGEOUS little ones out of the deal, which is such a blessing. We have no doubt that we were made for each other. And we will never ever let go again.
Thanking God for family, friends, delicious food and for a second chance at love. Blessings on all of you this holiday season, my sweet Spark friends.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
So, I did get some make-up and haven't quite gotten around to the haircut yet. Haha. Working on getting some finances in order first, but it's at the top of my list! There are just a couple other super important things that need to be taken care of first...you know, like rent and stuff. :)
Moving on to the next item in the article, "23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing" from Huffington Post.
4. Viewing food as the enemy.
"Women often receive the message that our ultimate worth lies in our looks. Our hair should be smoothed or perfectly curled, our makeup on at all times -- but natural-looking -- and our bodies banginí (read: thin). In the quest to achieve these impossible standards, itís easy to see food as something to contend with rather than to enjoy. Be cognizant of what you put in your body -- after all, itís the only one you have -- but try to do away with the guilt. Savor every bite of that gnocchi with gorgonzola or that Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream or those fresh cherry tomatoes. Food should not come with regrets. As Nora Ephron wrote, ďI have made a lot of mistakes falling in love, and regretted most of them, but never the potatoes that went with them.Ē
Oh, how timely. This morning, I finally had the guts to set foot on the scale after months of no activity and eating whatever I want. I am sad to say that I have gained back 30 lbs that I lost last year. That was super depressing to see. But not entirely unexpected. Truth be told, I've felt the changes in my body, in my clothes and how they fit and I've noticed that my current pics don't look a lot different than my "before" pics from last year (before I lost 40 lbs).
The good news is, I'm taking this gain and turning it around. I am, ONCE AGAIN, revamping my eating plan. You know, you'd think that would get so frustrating to start over so often...but, I mean...what other option is there? Keep going the way I am and just get fatter and grosser and feel worse about myself every year? Nah, I deserve more than that. My family deserves more.
My little ones are signed up for swimming at the YMCA starting next week. This is great news because it means I can suit up with them and get a half hour of laps done in the lap pool twice a week while they do their lessons in the teaching pool. I figure, if I'm going to be there anyway, might as well get some fitness in while I wait. I know this is going to make a tremendous difference in my life. And Mr. T and I are also going to begin spending more time active when we don't have the kids. Heck, even if it's just picking up some hand weights or doing some crunches or push-ups while we watch TV at home. It's better than NOTHING, which is what I've been doing.
Overall, it's not the food that is doing this to me. It's my terrible choices in food. And the fact that I can't just have a little bit...I have to devour an entire container or TWO plates full. In addition to cutting my servings, I'll be monitoring and increasing my fiber, so I won't be blowing so many calories on junk that doesn't fill me up.
So, here we go again. If you're still hanging in there with me, I applaud you because I'm not sure I would have stuck around for so long if I were you.
Monday, October 07, 2013
So, I am working through the article, "23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing" for the next few months.
www.huffingtonpost.com/2 013/09/11/23-things-every- woman-should-stop-doing_n_ 3908151.html
Last week, I was working on saying "no" to my children. It was a difficult week, but not as scary as I assumed it would be. Yes, my kids are used to getting what they want. And they weren't happy this week when they didn't get everything they asked for, but surprisingly...they got over it very quickly.
Here is a great story from this past week. An illustration of how saying "no" can be such a powerful tool in teaching true gratitude.
Mr. T was helping me out with my kids last week. And my littlest shares a room with me right now. Mr. T is lucky enough to be delegated to a mattress on the floor. Haha!
Anyway...my 5 yr old has been BEGGGGING for chocolate milk for like 3 days. He drinks when he wakes in the middle of the night. (I know, I know...not the healthiest habit, but whatever.) We keep telling him "no" because we have other drinks in the house and I just didn't want to spend $4 on a gallon of chocolate milk or more on something like Nestle Quik. And I really don't like chocolate syrup in milk...especially when he's drinking it from a sippy cup at night.
However, at 4:00 in the morning Sunday, in an act of sheer kindness, in the middle of a massive thunderstorm, my amazing man got up from a deep sleep, got dressed and went to the gas station to buy my little man some chocolate milk. And that's not even the sweet part.
At 7:30am, a tiny voice next to me:
"Mommy, I'm thirsty."
I go to the kitchen and come back and hand him the cup.
"This is chocolate milk!!!"
*A few seconds of silence*
"I LOVE TODD!"
Awwww!!!! So sweet! I guarantee if we would have just bought it for him the moment he asked for it, he would not have been so thankful. What a cool byproduct of holding out and working to teach him patience.
This week is a slight twist on last week.
3. Saying ďnoĒ to yourself.
A lot of women spend a whole lot of time deciding what we canít do or shouldnít do or arenít good enough to do. Donít allow your insecurities and anxieties to make your decisions for you -- youíll only end up missing out on worthwhile experiences. So go talk to that group of people you think you wonít fit in with, stay out late against your better judgment every once in awhile and treat yourself to that blowout even if you donít really need it.
I was just talking to Mr. T about this! I blogged about a month ago about how I am going to start taking care of myself. Recently, I noticed I am literally to the dregs on all my make-up. Well, it just so happens there is a special on make-up with the company I work for and I could get a great deal. Still, I hate to spend money. Mr. T is encouraging me to order it. I keep resisting. I also realized I DESPERATELY need a haircut. I actually make the time and the room in my budget for a haircut maybe once a year. These are silly things. And, in some senses, they are the basics for me to be able to feel like a well put together, professional woman. I struggle with confidence...and these things could help me with that. I constantly resist buying things like this because I don't want to spend the money. But we aren't talking about Sephora make-up and a $75 haircut here. This is more in the ballpark of Great Clips, you know what I'm saying? I blow more money on a trip to Target every single week than I would on this stuff once a year.
I need to bite the bullet and do this for myself. I work hard and I've struggled to keep this family afloat for the past 9 months and, well, I am not ashamed to say I deserve it. I would never advocate complete carelessness with finances, but every once in awhile, you've just got to allow yourself a couple small things.
So, that's my assignment for this next week. Hold me to it.
Friday, September 27, 2013
So, I am working through the article, "23 Things Every Woman Should Stop Doing" for the next few months.
Started last week with "apologizing all the time". I was so guilty of this and I believed it would be a REALLY tough habit to break. But, honestly, after catching myself a couple of times, it hasn't been that difficult to eradicate "sorry" from my vocabulary.
I've replaced it with "pardon me" or "excuse me" on several occasions and simply being mindful of it has allowed me to think before I say it. I ask myself, "Am I apologizing for being who I am?" If so, I'm not saying it. My boyfriend noticed the first time he saw me that I wasn't saying it as much. So...cool. Success! And will continue to work on this one.
Next up...saying "yes" to everyone else.
From the article:
"Yes, I will meet you for coffee even though Iím exhausted and just want to go home and crawl into bed. Yes, I will edit your resume even though Iím swamped with my own work. Yes, I will go on a double date with you, your almost-boyfriend and his awful friend whoís in town. Stop saying 'yes' when you donít truly mean it. People actually respect you more when you set boundaries."
I believe I learned this lesson quite a long time ago, in terms of activities and volunteering for things. However, it occurs to me that I need to focus this one on my parenting of my children.
Mr. T made a very helpful observation a few weeks ago and noticed that my kids really tend to walk all over me. They are used to getting everything they want when they want it (yes, they are SEVERELY spoiled at the other house). It has made for a difficult transition. And, while we both love my kids tremendously, it is clear that there are times when the way they treat me and order me around is unacceptable.
Up until now, I have just done anything they ask whenever they ask...to keep the peace. It is running me ragged, friends. I absolutely cannot do it any longer.
Obviously, I can't say "no" to my kids' every request. LOL. That would be the opposite extreme of bad parenting. But I CAN be very deliberate in what I ask them to do themselves (because they are capable and responsible enough to do so) and what I actually do FOR them. This one will be tricky and delicate and I will need to call on quite a bit of patience and perseverance.
Sunday, September 22, 2013
Today is a very special day! September 22nd!
On this day 11 years ago, I had my first baby. Looking back, I feel like I was just a baby myself! She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. And even though I knew that most newborns are really ugly, the nurses and doctors told me that SHE was beautiful...and they were right! In my opinion, she was the first newborn ever to be born that didn't look like a weird old alien man. Haha. Strangely, I was able to see the beauty in every newborn I saw from that point forward.
My little A. She has been a diva since the first day she could walk. She has always wanted an audience and never been shy at all. While I admit she is somewhat vain (meaning, she knows how gorgeous she is and she flaunts it), she has developed over the years a heart of compassion toward the "little guy". Her classmates know full well that she will not allow any sort of bullying of any kid because he/she is different. She will always stand up someone being teased and, well, she may be girly, but she is also tough. Already a green belt in tae kwon do, she is not afraid to get in someone's face in defense of a friend in need.
She is growing so quickly and she is changing every day before my very eyes. She loves her younger siblings and is such a great example to them.
Ms. A - happy birthday, you incredible girl!
But, that's not all. Mr. T's little guy, Mr. A, was born exactly two years after my little lady. On the same day! How fun for them!
While I will admit, I have not yet had the blessing of getting to know him extremely well, I have already picked up on the most important pieces of his character. He has these wide eyes full of wonder that see and notice everything. The world is in place specifically for him to learn! He is a sweet soul, with a loving heart and isn't afraid to show his kind and tender side. In this way, he is just like his Daddy. He has been blessed to inherit his Dad's ridiculously high intelligence and he asks questions that a normal 9 yr old kid wouldn't necessarily think of asking. He's a happy boy, despite going through quite a lot this year.
Mr. A, you are a darling. My heart already holds so much love for you and I wish you the happiest birthday of all, sweet boy! I am so glad I met your Dad and that God blessed me with a bonus boy as wonderful as you.
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