Saturday, December 31, 2011

GOALS of 2012

So I'm one of those people that don't ever fulfill my New Year's Resolutions. I might make one or two and just like your typical person, I do well for the first quarter of the year and then life gets to busy or I make unrealistic goals that I can never fulfill in a year.

I had the opportunity to learn a new method of creating goals in class one night and wanted to share it! This is what I plan on doing from here out until I come up with something else.

This exercise is only an excerpt of a life planning and career exercise for those that are struggling with career and life changes. The first part of it is to list one goal in each of the following areas: health, career, leisure, spirituality, and relationships. Below are mine for 2012.

HEALTH: Have our third child and begin to lose the baby weight.

CAREER: Graduate with honors with the dual Master's and obtain approval from the licensing boards to practice counseling.


SPIRITUALITY: Meditate 5 days out of the week.

RELATIONSHIPS:  Nurture my neglected friendships.

Ok, so after you've written down the goals, pick ONE and create an action plan to make the goal happen. For myself, I need an action plan for the relationships goal. I also seriously need the social interaction that friends bring. Lately my relationships have been with text books, colleagues and family. I long for the ability to cut loose, be silly, and share life with someone my age. So here's the plan....

1. Write to my pen pal at least once a month. If I can get more in, YAY!
2. Set up play dates for my kids and the moms I know.
3. Invite a couple over once a month for dinner.
4. Do something nice for a friend once a month because the giving is what nourishs my heart.
5. Contact old friends and catch up!
6. If I sense a connection with someone new, reach out to them.

I'm sure I'll come up with some others but that's a good start. Now, the new year's resolutions don't seem so overwhelming.

The next part of the exercise is a meditation exercise. The idea is to close your eyes, take a few deep breaths and find that place that is calm. For some of us it takes a few minutes to shut off the thoughts in our brains...the ones that consist of what you have to do in an hour, a week, a year, how you're feeling about something, etc.

Now, think of a day 3 years from now that is the PERFECT day. Don't put any stipulations into the exercise. Allow yourself to be free of all the obligations you put on yourself and imagine if you could have the most perfect day. If the three years puts restrictions on you, take it out. Imagine where you would wake up. What is around you? Where are you? Who are you with? Feel your feet hit the floor as you get up from the bed and start your morning routine. What are you having for breakfast? Are you at a restaurant? You're eating your most favorite food; you're with your most favorite company, you're surrounded by what is perfect to you. Imagine the rest of your day in this manner...leading yourself into the afternoon, the evening and into your bed.

What does your perfect day consist of? What is that something that you love that you are not putting into daily practice? What are you longing for.

After reflecting on your perfect day, pick one thing about it and make a commitment to do it for yourself. This is how we create what brings joy to us in our lives. I found that sharing your experience with someone is helpful and can make you accountable for it. This is something Jeff and I done together and help each other by making sure we do our task that we picked.

For myself, I woke up in a charming little house on the beach. I could hear the waves, see the ocean and smell the salt in the air. The bedroom was wide open with french doors and windows that made the bedroom transparent. The bed I was in was filled with my children and my husband and I got up before them, giving them each a kiss, close enough to smell them because I adore how all three of them smell. I looked out across from me and there sat my beloved white desk with paper and pen and a Ken Follet book. I got up and went to the desk...somehow coffee had magically appeared and I got the urge to walk so I took my coffee cup and did something I haven't done since 2001 in Pensacola, Florida. I sat on that beach and looked out in the ocean soaking up what the ocean does for me.

My goal this year is to do just that....take my three (now four loves) to a beach and while they are peacefully sleeping, go out and sit on that beach with coffee cup in hand.

That's IT! Two goals for 2012....

Nurture my friendships and take a trip to the beach!

Lessons of 2011

I haven't visited my blog in quite some time but for me it has been like that precious thing in a box tucked of those things you think about all the time and long to do but keep putting on the back burner, well, because of life.

Here I am again, (YAY!) with a list of things to write about as 2011 comes to a close. 2011 was a year that was full of lessons learned ,not by the thousands of dollars I paid to get several degrees, but by life experiences. I truly believe life experiences is where the basis of our knowledge stems from.

In the first half of the year, I learned what unconditional love through being reunited with my mom after being separated for 25 years. This of course is on the list to write about. :).  The experience and the lesson has brought peace and serenity into my life that is indescribable with words.

I also learned how to take care of myself, how to love myself, all of me, my flaws included. Learning to do this carries on through the people I come into contact with. A dear friend of mine once told me "There's no reason to reach out to teach people the "love" concept. Just live, Amanda, just be and it'll exude from you." It definitely does from her...she's like a BIG, TALL SUNFLOWER, waving in the wind.

Our lives can be filled with responsibility, obligations and the desire to fulfill all of those obligations before taking care of ourselves but I have chosen to take care of myself first. I see in my children and in my husband how important that is. I'm sure my friends are not very happy because I've done a really good job of neglecting them with this but I'll get to that in another blog.

In November, I had another life changing event that was the complete opposite, one that ripped my own security from me and left me hanging in the wind lost, desolate and confused. It was an experience that I had experienced before but this time I saw it with more clarity. The ugliness and the pain from this experience taught me how to use what I have learned through life to embrace the emotions that came with it and that healing through painful experiences is a process. There's never a quick fix and the way that life rolls, we can't always experience sunshine and roses.

I feel lucky to have gone through this year and to have experienced the roller coaster of life as it comes and am looking forward to 2012. I am excited about what I know is coming and even more so about what I don't know, good or bad. I feel STRONG this year and can't wait to share....just LIFE.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sisterly Love

The other day, my little girl did something so sweet, it made both Jeff and I tear up. Zach's birthday was May 2nd, so Jessica watched her big brother get a birthday cake, open presents and have the light shine on him for a minute. Every so often, she would pipe in with her plans for her birthday, describing a kitty birthday cake, who SHE wanted to invite to her party and what presents she wanted. Jeff and I both thought this all was very typical for a sister and was really surprised that she didn't get upset at the fact that the attention wasn't on her. She has her little ways of showing us what is going on in that innocent head of hers.

Jessica's favorite song has always been Happy Birthday. At bedtime, we have a ritual where we sing at the most three songs. When she was little, it was the only way I could get her to sleep. Jeff had other ways, like having to take her for a ride in the car, holding her and walking around until she fell asleep, letting her cry it out. I swear that man almost lost his mind over trying to put her down. I've always been a little more gentle, singing, sleeping, petting her hair, things that would soothe me. So, "Happy Birthday" is where we would start and we'd end up singing "Rock A Bye Baby", "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", and the endless list of lullabies.

Just recently, she's gotten to the point to where she'll sing the songs with me and after we leave from giving her kisses and hugs goodnight, she continues to sing. It was surprising and so very sweet to hear her take the lead and sing those wonderful songs.

So the day after Zach's birthday, Jeff, Zach and Jessie were playing in the playroom, each doing their own thing. My boys love video games, so I'm sure Jeff was playing on his phone and Zach was playing Mario Cart on his Nintendo DS. Jessica was playing with her dolls in her doll house. I was at work or school and missed the moment but can not get it out of my head. Jeff told me that all of a sudden Jessica took the table, a single chair and the birthday cake in her doll house and put it right next to Zachery. She whispered his name and he answered her with "Yeah?". She sang "Happy Birthday" to him all the way through and even said "dear Zachery" at the end. Jeff ended up leaving the scene up for me so I can see it when I got home.

Jess and Zach have always been really close, but usually Zach is the sweetheart. This time Jessie surprised us and showed us how beautiful she really is. Life through a child's eyes is absolutely precious and OH MAN am I so very glad to be a witness to it!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Rolling with the punches of life

My last blog post was about New Year's Resolutions. I've actually shied away from my blog wondering how to answer myself and everyone around me about my March 4, 2011 date of losing 20 pounds. Well, it's May 7th and I still haven't lost 20 pounds. I've lost 5. Wow! Is it May already? I've also changed my resolutions and created new goals for myself. It got me to thinking about resolutions and how superficial they can be or a test of control to see what you're really capable of putting yourself through to accomplish your goals. I don't think that's healthy,by the way...that test of control.

My goals of losing weight and running a marathon, a full one at that, are important to me. However, life is not predictable and sometimes life just flat out gets in the way. I was extremely lucky to have my mom, who I have not been in contact with in 25 years, message me one day out of the blue in February. She wanted to get to know me and start a relationship. That in itself is a show stopper, a one in a lifetime moment, an Oprah show right in my own world. Being the kind of girl I am, anxiety plagues me and unhealthy habits come with that anxiety so the weight stayed on in February. When I had the honor of having my mom with me for a week (later turning into 10 days) running, eating salads, and drinking water was NOT at the top of the priority list. I had to show Mom how wonderful the Arizona cuisine is, and we're both in love with Coke like it's going out of style and two women on an anxiety train equals a party with chocolate at least every night!

This year I also have been preparing to start an internship which means the hubby becomes Mr. Mom (a fantastic one at that) half the day for four days a week, my children lose their mom, and healthy eating goes out the window. It takes A LOT of planning to eat healthy while on the go so much and to do it without eating out and not spending an arm and a leg. Working 20 hours a week, school, being a mom and being a wife doesn't leave much time for a "me" thing. I could be very selfish and train for a full marathon but I wouldn't see my kids much and my poor husband would seriously turn into a woman for all the hours he'd have to watch the kids and I, nor his mom, would really appreciate that.

Oh, and then there are the injuries of my dear sport of running. After I ran a half marathon in March I cut back on my running and cutting back means starting over again. So after a few weeks, I geared up  and started again because I hadn't lost any weight. How discouraging. You train your ass off for this huge accomplishment, you would at least expect to lose some weight but not I. Diet is a huge part for me when it comes to weight loss and I figured that out the hard way. So training for a 5K, I thought I was dealing with shin splints. So I ran the first 5K. I did ok with time, not fast and not slow but I was ready for the next race in May. This was the race I was gonna shave off some minutes off of my pace. One morning, I ran to the gym, hopped on the treadmill and started doing some hill work. 45 minutes into it, POP! Blinding pain!!!! I couldn't even place my foot down on the treadmill. Not sure what the diagnosis is yet, will find out on Monday, but the ER doc believes I have torn a tendon. If that's the case no running for this girl for at least 4 weeks. Not cool. I got angry, sad, disappointed, all the emotions that runs through your head when something gets taken away from you. It took me back to my bad habits of not giving a shit on how I ate and pretty much sulking for a week.

Change does something to us. For a lot of us, it's uncomfortable and fearful. Fear can be paralyzing for some people. For me, change isn't difficult; I just don't like it. I used to fear it and fear used to grab a hold of me and put me in a very miserable place. With a little bit of head training though, fear is now just an emotion just like being bored is. You recognize it, talk to yourself about it, making sure to throw some love in there, and move on. I get uncomfortable and unsure of how to create balance in my life when a wrench is thrown into what my normal routine is; even if it is a happy change, like getting to know my mom. I've been a control freak for so long that letting go of what seems perfect is a challenge for me. I let go of my healthy eating habits and my exercise beause my bad habits are so much more fun when anxiety, fear and change come a long. I can only stand that unhealthy business for about a week or two and then I gotta get back to being healthy in my body, my mind and my spirit because healthy in all three of those aspects create pure joy for me.

So, I'm on the hunt for some upper body exercises to keep my core and upper body strong while this leg heals. My relationship with my mom is untouchable and something I crave on a daily basis and working is going really well. Treading the waters of life is what the journey is all about. The attitude and behavior I choose to exude while I'm around others and in my own head is nothing but a choice. I'm not upset about not making my goals of losing weight by March 4, 2011. I'm not upset that I will not be running a marathon this year. My life got in my way and taught me a few lessons. Goals are awesome but time is just a variable that should always be fluid; being hard on yourself only makes YOUR life miserable, and if you just sit back, enjoy the ride of life, your goals will happen, just in their own time.

The goal of 20 pounds is still there. Will it happen this year, I don't know, I sure hope so and am working at it. I will not be running a full marathon but I may run a half depending on how life is. Too much chaos and too much control is not a healthy thing for me. We'll see what happens. :)

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


One of my great girlfriends who always has the right words for every situation it seems, sent me a picture of a bunch of scrabble pieces and the word "CHOICE" in it. I looked at it and at first was annoyed by it. I was annoyed because what I'm dealing with right now is a choice that I made. I made the choice to go through and battle "the ugly". I didn't expect the wave of emotions that would flow in and out of m life during this process. I wanted someone to make those emotions easier to bear, I wanted someone to take care of me like I was sick; hell I even contemplated taking meds to lift my spirit. Thank goodness for friends and those that love me to talk me out of that one. I know her intent of sending this to me was to show me not to wallow in the dark but to climb through the dirt of the hole that I had created and bask with her in the sunshine.

So, I'm doing that. Right now, it's WAY too easy to stay in bed and pull the covers over my head, eat shit food, be angry at the world, not walk outside, and be ugly to everyone I see. That's not who I am though. So with some help, I am making the choice to drudge through this mess.

I made the choice to get up today and run 4 miles.

I made the choice to be sweet to my little girl and my little man instead of being critical.

I made the choice to find patience with this process and to treat it as an adult should; process emotions the way you should process them and LET THEM GO.

I made the choice to buy a total stranger a cup of coffee because someone did this for me a while back.

I made the choice to be present and interact with my husband instead of sulking like a teenager when I awoke this morning.

I am making the choice to not let his consume me but to allow it to be a part of me.

I am making the choice to find some joy in the day and to laugh EVERY DAY until I'm back to normal.

"You have the power to move forward no matter what setback or obstacles block your path. You have the power to live true to your highest vision of how your life can be. You have the power to follow and reach your dreams. You have all this power because you have the CHOICE. In each moment you can choose, independent of all other factors. What you think, what to say, and WHO YOU WANT TO BE!!!!" - from Positively Positive fan Dale Womack of Houston, Texas

Monday, February 7, 2011

The Ugly

You know, I told myself when I started this blog that I was going to use it to help others and to share my thoughts about life as a woman, however, I have been avoiding it like the plague lately out of fear...fear of being judged for what is my thoughts lately. I'm taking a leap here because I think it will help others but also think it will help me too.

Not everyone knows that I am on a journey to become a therapist and I've kept it that way for a while for fear of being judged. I am a year away from being a licensed therapist with concentrations in substance abuse and trauma, abuse, and deprivation. My past is definitely a colorful one and one of the main reasons I am taking this journey to help others is because I can share some of their experiences. I can relate to people who have substance abuse issues, who have experienced trauma, and who have struggled to get out of some pretty deep holes. I have some big goals when it comes to helping others. I'm lucky to say that I will be working with veterans starting in May. I get to lead some of the men who have fought for us through group therapy and individual therapy for their substance abuse issues. I also want to eventually help women and children who have been abused and if I had my way I would work with the incarcerated, the lowest of the low.

In order to be a successful therapist, a person should be comfortable in their own skin so that when a person sits down and shares their most intimate secrets with them, they can not judge them and also should look at them with empathy, even if they tell you that they beat the shit out of their kids every day. I mean you could judge them but never to their face. You wouldn't make any money as a therapist. The model therapist would not judge and try to find a solution that works for the client.

I decided if I was going to go to school to become a therapist, I had better get some therapy of my own to battle my own demons. The reason being because understanding the therapy process will make you a better therapist. You can actually see what works for yourself and share that with people if need be. I feel like going off on a tangent here about how counseling is so taboo, but I'm going to save my audience from the ranting and the raving about therapy and just say that it is very nice to see our society turning towards individualism and the problems that come with searching for that.  A few weeks into it I was absolutely amazed at what I learned about myself and my relationship with my husband. I've changed so many habits that were almost ritualistic that it's hard to believe I ever did them. Now, I'm kicking my self because I've come to the hard stuff, the stuff people push away and never speak about.

While going through all of this, I wonder how many people I share this with, how many people have things that they never talk about again after it happens. I think about how many people I come across every day, how many women I look in the eye and ask "Hey, how are you?" and we all respond with  "Good. How are you?" I now look at people wondering what they are really struggling with that day, how their lives have been before the moment I see them, and where they really want to be. It also makes me think about how we humans do not trust and are so scared to take a risk. It's allowed me to look at the dynamic of how people become friends with each other. For myself, it's taking a risk by sharing something intimate with someone I think I like and I think I get a long with, hoping to create a foundation for a solid friendship.For others its about sharing something they have in common, sometimes as shallow as what status they are in society to having children to seeing how many people they actually know.

During this journey, I have also learned something very important. I do not have to be perfect. Because of my experiences I've always strived to be perfect and to be what society and some other unnamed people deem successful. I've tripped along the stones in life's path a few times; hell, I've fallen flat on my face more than once. I'm a stubborn one though and will pick myself up, brush myself off and keep on walking because I do have the hunger for life. It took me about 25 years of my life to make a drastic change and to live for myself. That is a different story for another day, how I came to that point.

Today, this article is about admitting to not being good...breaking that barrier of "I'm good, how are you?" People don't share that they are not doing well out of fear of being judged and out of everyone finding out their problems. What I think is amazing is that we all struggle; all of us have our own demons, yet we hide them and put on that everyday mask to hide from those issues out of fear. Facing your demons is not easy work, it's hard and it sucks. I'm not asking people to just share their feelings with everyone. I think it's important to have healthy boundaries for yourself and walking around sharing your issues with everyone is not a good practice. It creates vulnerability and vulnerable people get hurt very quickly. All I'm sharing is the realization of it being ok to be intimate with someone and to share with them that you're not doing ok. Being intimate doesn't mean to have sex with someone but to share something personal about yourself to someone you trust.

If you see me tomorrow or in a week or two, I'll tell you, "I've had better days." Because lately, I have not been fine. Yep, I said it, I am not good right now. Nope, I'm not "fine", I'm not "ok", and I'm definitely not "alright". I'm struggling with some very hard, intimate things about myself right now that has nothing to do with my husband or my children, just me.  I promise you I won't give you this long, drawn out story about what I'm going through so you're not burdened with it. To heal and to meet my goals of helping people, it's a neccesity to face the ugly.

So if you're struggling, if you're hurting, if you're having a bad day, own it, tell someone you trust. Take a risk, ask for a hug, grab a hand, take a bath, do something for yourself because more than likely, you need it.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Healthy Snacks for the Kiddos

I LOVE to cook and make things and bake. I think it's some of that southern tradition that is ingrained in me along with the whole being a woman thing.

In my hunt for new healthy recipes to match my 2011 goals of eating more healthily ( don't know if that's a word but  I like it) I found a few things that my kids actually love to eat that are really good for them.

Peanut Butter and Honey Toast aka PBH Muffin

Whole Wheat Toast or English Muffin
1 Tbsp Peanut butter (The purest you can get to it's natrual form is always good)
1 Tbsp Raw honey

I usually spread the peanut butter on the toast and top it with the honey and slice it in fours so little fingers can handle it. I usually do this for a quick breakfast or a snack and serve it to them with an apple or a banana.

Another one that they love is

Yogurt - healthy style

1/2 cup nonfat plain  Greek yogurt
1 Tbsp of raw honey
1 or 2 Tbsp of granola
1 handful of berries (blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc.)

I found these two out while making my own snacks, breakfasts, lunches and dinners and they wanted to have a bite. I'm sure there are more to come!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A precious memory for a mommy and her little girl

My role as a mother is one of my favorite roles. There are times I don't like being a mom, like when my kid smarts off of me and what he says makes complete sense and I'm left with no argument and no wise advise to toss to him. There are also those times for me when a child wants to sit on me, hug my leg, wants me to lay with them, or needs something RIGHT that VERY second, and all I want is to be alone in my dream home office writing away.

Then there are some times where your child grabs your heart and forever imprints an image and a story into it. I had one of those times when I had the opportunity to take my little girl to a Christmas party and then to a spontaneous trip to visit Santa.

The day was a dark, cloudy day. Both of my boys were sick together and I had been taking care of both of them all day long, making soup, saying sweet nothings to them, and entertaining Jessica because her play mate was down and out. It was the long awaited day for my mom's group's Christmas party that myself and a few other moms had spent weeks planning. I was already a little down because the boys were sick and I knew Zachery was going to miss out on some fun stuff just because he was sick. I spent an hour trying to figure out what to wear, or more so trying to squeeze into pants my ass would not go into and finally figured out something that would do. Jessica had been a crab pot all day long for whatever reason, so getting her dressed was just like getting me dressed, it TOOK forever. She wanted to wear these fluffy boots so I put her in a pair of jeans and a cute t-shirt. Well, three minutes after having the fluffy boots on she wanted them on and her princess dress on. This dress is a hand-me-down from her cousin and she has been infatuated with it for DAYS. She wanted to wear it every time she saw it. So, we put the "princess" dress on with her "princess" shoes and headed out to the party.

The party was a great time. I had the opportunity to enjoy some great one-on-one time with Jessica. I learned how advanced she is and how much curiosity she has to learn and to do new things. I also learned she is shy like me but if she finds someone or something she likes to do, it puts her at ease. Her knack is doing something with her hands, so we made our way to the craft stations after chatting it up with a few mamas. I got to watch her decorate a cookie and SAVOR every bite of that cookie covered in sprinkles and white frosting. Next, we headed to paint some ornaments that a few of us mamas made from scratch. Jessica picked an snowman ornament and decided she needed to have every color offered to her from red, to blue, to gold, to green, to white on her little snowman, TWICE. I watched her meticulously paint her snowman and make it her own. Finally, we went to the last craft station where there were outlines of snowmen to make out of cotton balls, buttons, pipe cleaners and glitter. She wanted to put every little detailed cotton ball, button, googly eye on herself, where she wanted it. It came out really well and she asked me to write her name at the top. Her requests and her attention to detail just amazed me.

At the end of the party, we had a book exchange and had asked the mamas to wrap each book so the child would think it was a gift. When it was time for the book exchange, Jessie went to the basket and picked out a book wrapped in Santa paper. I thought this was especially cute because all during the day she had been saying, "Mama, I gotta go see Santa." The party ended and Jessica and I walked out with all of her little crafts she made, an experience where she had to be her sole little self because her brother was not there, and her new gift.

When I in the car, I got the bright idea of taking Jessica to see Santa. Some people may think, "What? You didn't take both kids at the same time?" Not this go round. I did later, but for I wanted to share her first Santa experience with her so I could watch her. I wanted to see how she handled a stranger who holds the magic of Christmas in his hands. We went to the outlet malls in Anthem where Santa has a house and right beside the house is the tallest Christmas tree at least in the state and maybe in the country. Jessica immediately saw the Christmas tree as we pulled up to the mall and gasped in her little voice and said "Mama, look, a Christmas tree...the tallest one like Dora's tallest mountain." I said "Yeah, isn't it pretty. Right next to it is Santa's house, see?"

We got out of the car and while I was unbuckling her seat belt, she said "Mama, I want to take Santa's present." I said OK, thinking that Jessica was thinking that she wanted to take "Santa's present" because it was a present wrapped in Santa paper. We got in the line with only two people ahead of us and waited. She already looked so cute with her princess dress, her present and she was contently waiting to see this man who was gong to give her a present that she SO wanted.

The person ahead of us got finished with sitting on Santa's lap and taking pictures and it was finally Jessie's turn. Prior to her turn I talked to her and told her she had to walk up to him and say hi, then I would put her on his lap and she could tell him what she wanted for Christmas. After that we would take a picture so we could remember her first time seeing Santa. She nodded her little head while I talked to her and after I finished talking to her I said "OK, you ready?" She said "Mama, can I give him my present?" My heart just swelled up and I was so curious as to why she wanted to give her present to Santa. I told her "Jessica, that present was given to you, baby, it's yours to open when ever you want. You can even open it now if you want to." She said "No, mama, it's Santa's present." It popped into my head that maybe she saying this because of the paper. That has to be it because there is no way this girl who drives me up the wall is this sweet. So I tried again to convince myself she wasn't so sweet. I said "Baby, do you want to give it to Santa because it's wrapped in Santa paper? Because it has Santa on it?" She held strong and said "No mama, it's Santa's present."

Ok, determination wins! I told her it was her turn and she could go see Santa now. She walked up to the man dressed in red, with black boots and a fantastic looking beard and sweet, kind, blue eyes, just the way you've envisioned him over the years. She held the present out the whole way during her little walk to him and said, "Here, Santa." Of course, Santa looked at me questionably, and I shook my head and smiled, telling him, it was fine. He asked her "Do you want me to open this now?" She shook her little head yes, so he unwrapped the gift and the book was A Letter To Santa. He flipped through the book and told her thank you. He then scooped her up, put her on his lap and asked her, "So what do you want for Christmas?" I was SO curious what she was going to say because I had been explaining the Christmas concept for days to the kids, how it worked, who Santa was and what he did. We watched Santa movies, read Santa books, made Santa crafts, and talked about what each child wanted for Christmas. Jessica had been naming off a variety of things she wanted but there was one thing that was consistent and I wanted to hear if it was going to be the consistent thing she had been talking about. i wanted to see if she had grasped what Santa was and what he did. Sure enough, she whispered, "Jessie, the cowgirl."

Jessie loves Jessie the cowgirl from Toy Story because, well, she thinks she is her. Every time she saw Jessie, she would say, "Mama, that's Jessie, like me?!" She wanted the doll and she also told him she wanted a Jessie outfit so she could dress up like her.

When she told Santa she wanted "Jessie, the cowgirl" and "Jessie, the Halloween cowgirl" (the Halloween cowgirl is Jessie's way of saying a Jessie outfit) Santa said, "I think we can do that."

Of course, the girls that were taking pictures of Jessica hemmed and hawed about how cute she was and how sweet she was. She made such an impression on them, they gave us two free pictures. I was speechless throughout the whole experience because I was beaming and grinning ear to ear, because I was so proud of her and so very happy for her.

It was a joy to see her first experience with Santa and to watch her make the connection between her imagination and reality. Of course, I was stunned by her innocence and sweetness of giving Santa her gift and hope to goodness she hangs on to both her innoncence and sweetness when she gets older.

I love that little girl with all my heart and consider myself lucky to be her mother. Writing this makes me want to go upstairs and cuddle with her, then I remember how horrible of a sleeper she is. If I wake her, she will be up like I am now, unable to sleep.

Afterwards, we walked out, went to see the Christmas tree and looked at her pictures. She was so curious to see the picture and to remeber Santa. She also wanted a picture with the Christmas tree. So we took a picture, with me still beaming, lost in a trance of sweetness.

Then my phone rings. It's Jeff on the other end.

Jeff: "Baby, what are you doing?"
Me: "Taking Jessie to see Santa."
Jeff: "Oh. (Pause) Are you going to be home soon?"
I can just see this pitiful man with his lip poked out just a little.
Me: "Yeah, I'm coming home right now, why? Are you guys ok?"
Jeff: "Yeah. (Pause) We're hungry."
I visualized my husband in pj pants, a hoodie and my son sitting next to him with his thumb in his mouth in comfy pants and a hoodie too, playing video games the whole time I was gone, not paying attention to anything because they were so miserable. 
Me: "Why didn't you guys eat?"
Jeff: "I don't know."
Me: "You guys are sitting in the dark too huh?"
Jeff: starts laughing "Yeah."
Me: laughing "You guys are pitiful! Sick, hungry, sitting in the dark, poor thing. What in the world would you do without me babe?"
Jeff: laughing "I don't know.I didn't even know it was dark."

Back to reality! Duty calls! Jessie and I went home that night both of us changed. She saw Santa for the first time and I was more in love with my daughter than I have ever been.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


I didn't really want to make any resolutions for 2011 because it's just so cliche but I feel sometimes doing cliche things can really improve your life, especially if you make them your own. Creating goals for me keep me active and healthy in my mind and in my heart. Here are a few things I plan on doing in 2011.

1. Run a full marathon! Some people call  me crazy but I know what my body is capable; so much more than what we put it through. Last year I had the goal to run a half marathon and am still working on it due to my illness that struck me in August, but I'm not dwelling on not meeting that goal. My body needed that time and I look at it as a curve ball that I didn't expect...isn't that what life is about?

2. Do something to better my children's life and my husband's life EVERY DAY! My children and my husband are my top priority and I want them to feel loved by me, every day. If that means making them laugh, taking a risk, and not getting something done that I FEEL needs to be done, then so be it.

3. To be present in life and to better myself. I often find myself in my mind way too much and this distracts me from my own life. There are also some changes that I need to make to be a happier person that are simple and very do-able, including becoming an early riser again, meditating and finding out what spirituality is for me, and not isolating myself from people and the world because of my own insecurities. I also need to be healthier and not do things for convenience. It is important that my children have a positive role model in their life and I feel the way to do this is to live it by being healthy mentally, physically and emotionally.

4. Get that body back in shape girl! I fell off the bandwagon during the holidays with going to Disneyland and having a tendon flare up because of running too much. Yeah, running too much. So I rested for the past two weeks and still didn't eat so well, so my goal of losing 22 pounds is going to be delayed just a touch but it starts today!!

5. STOP PROCRASTINATING!!! I am the QUEEN of procrastinating and seriously need to change that habit. I read something the other day that was profound to me when it came to procrastination. I read it in The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. He feels that when you live in a negative state of procrastination, greed, hatred and laziness, that people are actually dwelling on  a period in the their past or dwelling on their future, hindering people to actually act on the action they need to act on. We often think about how painful facing that certain situation was or how painful it can be for us and do not want to face it so we procrastinate, are lazy and feel hate, greed, and anger. Rather than dwell on those emotions and allow those emotional states to hinder your actions, change your frame of mind and recognize what your doing and how you allow your mind to control your thoughts rather than facing those fears of doing something that's uncomfortable. That's what I plan on doing. It definitely will take some practice but I think it's definitely do-able!

6.  To see the world. I love to travel and have not done much of that in a few years. I want to do more of it!

7.  To use my voice more! I often hold my tongue in certain situations where I should voice my opinion, my thoughts, or ideas; sometimes out of fear and sometimes out of a self imposed respect I have put on a person. My goal in this life is to help people to live a better life by sharing experiences, thoughts and ideas. If I can't voice them, how can I help people? So, I commit to write to my audience more, talk to my friends and my family more, and to be more confident...period.

8. Work on my top priorities. I currently am not working on my top priorities. I find myself getting distracted so I can stay in my mind by cleaning the house, organizing something and doing something to keep my hands busy so I'm not focusing on what is important to me. I look at it as a lot of time wasted. I don't want to waste my time in my life. My house might go to shit and and it may be cluttered but if my kids are taught, my husband is happy, my friends are loved, and people are helped, I feel success. I get nothing out of my house being clean except for two minutes of satisfaction because let's face it, I have two toddlers, and twenty years down the road when they are living their lives, I can enjoy a clean house if that's what I need.

My intention of writing this is to make myself accountable and to share it with others in hopes to give whomever permission to live their life the way they want to, to create, to accomplish, and to dream so that we become better in 2011! CHEERS!