Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Eat. Pray. Love

I just finished reading this incredible book. I was not expecting it, but it turned into being one of the best books I've ever read. Definitely in my top 10 favorites. Don't you just love it when you connect with an author or story or character on a deeper, more personal level? That's what this book did for me. I really could relate to this woman as I accompanied her in my mind on her incredible journey. I found myself glued to her story and captivated, eagerly anticipating what I would find in the following chapter. This woman set out on a journey of self-discovery seeking peace, balance and healing for herself and I find myself longing for the first two desperately. With no plan, she heads to Italy, India and then Bali on her personal quest. I so admire this adventurous spirit of hers with much respect in throwing caution to the wind and challenging herself and taking a risk for the sake of peace and happiness in her life. I mean, although I find the idea tremendously exciting, I am a plan-every-move-I-make kind of person and would be overwhelmed with worry of the unknown too much to enjoy and appreciate such a unique opportunity. As I read her story, I learned about the culture and history of each place she went. She pursued her passions and mastered them as best she could. I secretly desire a self-discovery voyage of my own. A personal quest. Some days I feel I am just living my life going through the motions that I'm programmed to do as a housewife and mother. That somewhere deep inside is a part of me I know nothing about because it has not been explored or developed. We, as humans, are the most complex beings that I would think take a lifetime to figure out our complete depth. There are times I feel incomplete, like something is missing from my life. There is more to me than this I just know it. It's funny, ever since I accepted Jesus Christ into my life I always thought I had a greater purpose. God was going to use me to do something great. I always wanted to make a difference, even in some sort of small way. To help someone, to show someone kindness or compassion in a unique way. I have found myself recently praying for God to reveal His path for me and I am excited to say I am starting to narrow it down. I am getting closer. I have a lot of myself to give and I want to do that. Anyway, reading this book made me look within myself. I would definitely recommend it, this is a great read. :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

NY Trip - Day 8 - Driving Home (last day of trip)

Time to go home. I'm ready. I miss Eric and I actually miss my boring old mundane daily routine. It is familiar and comforting. But I had a great trip and staying a few extra days was definitely worth it.
I got up early and packed the car up. Went out to breakfast with Larry (my mom's boyfriend), my mom and my brother Joey before I had to get on the road. The route I took to get home was awesome! Simple and easy to follow. I didn't get lost and made decent time. Although Rebecca was a handful to say the least. She was a gem the first three hours, but that was it. After that, she had decided she was fed up with sitting in the carseat for so long and just had a complete meltdown for two hours straight-screaming and crying. This of course made it very difficult to focus on driving. I even pulled over and took her out of the car seat and held her but it did no good, she continued to meltdown. I was getting very overwhelmed and then I, myself, had a small meltdown of my own. I sat next to her and just cried. I put her back in the car seat and continued to drive, not long after that she fell asleep...finally. We arrived home a little after dinner time. I was so happy to see Eric. He helped me unpack. I could've kissed the floor I was so glad to be home. :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

NY Trip - Day 7 - Good Friends

I was supposed to leave this morning to go back home, but there were a few more people I really wanted to see while I was here but didn't have enough time, so I decided to stay one more day, and I'm so glad I did. I talked it over with Eric beforehand, of course, and he was fine with it. My close friend, Erin, and her daughter came over for lunch to visit. Her daughter is 6 months older than Becca. We had a great time together. Later on after my friends left, my mom watched Becca while I had a girl's night out with my best friend from high school, Vanessa. It was one of the best times I've had all year. It was nice for both of us to get away and have time to ourselves minus kids and husbands :) We have a very special friendship, in that, I probably only see her once a year, but when we do finally get together, it's as if we've been hanging out every day since high school. It's so comfortable and natural. It's wonderful spending time with her. It's a friendship I always wanted and hoped for. I just wish we lived closer so we could do these times of things more often. We went to dinner and then we got starbucks and walked along the canal and just talked. It was so relaxing and peaceful and we just enjoyed the moment and weren't worried about our kids or housework or anything else but the here and now :)
I came home in time to put Becca down for bed and then I did some packing before going to bed myself :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

NY Trip - Day 6 - Family Time

This morning Becca and I visited my best friend, Christy, and her kids. They are family to us and we try to make time for them every time we come to New York. It's always great to see them. They have three young girls, who I call my nieces. Christy's sister, who I am also good friends with, Traci, also came over with her two young kids. Unfortunately I don't get many opportunities to see her, so I called her and asked her to come over for a visit. It was great to see them as well :) We had lunch together and then Traci had to go home with her kids and soon after that, all the kids were down for a nap at the same time. It was nice because it gave Christy and I some one-on-one alone time. We had a great talk. She's like a sister to me. After the kids woke up we let them play a bit longer then me and Becca had to leave. We went back to my mom's house where my stepsister and my two nephews were waiting to see us. We don't get to see them much either. Kids change so much so fast. It makes me sad that I am missing out on so much of their lives :( Anyway, we had a nice quick visit and then me, Becca, mom, Larry (my mom's boyfriend) and my brother Joey took off to my Aunt's house for a big family gathering. About 1/4 of our extended family was there. They met Larry for the first time and I think he fit in quite nicely. I found out later that everyone approves :) It was nice to visit with family I don't normally get to see and have Becca warm up to them. We were there way past Becca's bedtime so she went right to sleep when we got back to my mom's house. :) It did make me miss Eric though, having everyone ask where he was and then seemed disappointed that they didn't get a chance to visit with him because he left so early. It's really hard traveling without Eric and having to do everything myself. It can be done, but it's much more exhausting and not as easygoing.

Friday, July 23, 2010

NY Trip - Day 5 - Visiting Friends

This morning my mom made us a delicious breakfast...eggs, sausage, toast. There is something comforting being back in my mom's house with her cooking. When Becca woke up, me, my mom and Becca went in the pool again. It's been beautiful weather here. I was on the phone all morning making plans for the remainder of my visits, filling as much time as I could with friends and family. After lunch I put Becca down for her nap and my cousin came over shortly after. It was nice to visit with her and catch up. You know, when you live far away from the people who mean the most to you, you make the best of it. You talk on the phone, you send emails, maybe even an occasional letter. But nothing can come close to sitting with them face to face in person. There's nothing like it. We had a lovely chat and it meant a lot that she made the time to visit with me. Becca woke up and my cousin left. Becca and I had plans to have dinner with some high school friends of mine that I am still very close to. They had moved since I last visited, so it was nice to see their new place and for Becca to get to know their two young kids. We stayed late and we left right at Becca's bedtime. We headed home to my mom's and went right to sleep.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

NY Trip - Day 4 - Relax and Leisure

Today was a much-needed relaxation day. We all slept in this morning, which was really nice. I got some great sleep finally. Eric left early this morning to head back home because he had a class to teach later tonight. He didn't complain though; he never does. Becca and I and my mom went in the pool this morning. It was so nice and peaceful and quiet and just beautiful out. My mom's boyfriend, Larry, came out and sat by the pool with us and chatted. He's really nice, and easy to talk to. We went inside for lunch and then Becca took her nap. Larry and I watched the finals of the soccer world cup. What an intense game that was. Later on around dinner time my friend Shannon came over after work to visit. We had dinner together....my mom's homemade sauce and meatballs....yummy! Then my brother joined us and we all went to the nearby canal so Becca could feed the ducks. She loved it! It was a real nice time. Then we came back and put Becca to bed at my mom's and all of us watched the movie The Proposal, which I've never seen. It was a cute movie :) Then it was bedtime. So nice to have a relaxing, low-key day :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NY Trip - Day 3 - Becca's Party

Today was a great day. It turned out like I had hoped it would. Eric arrived at my mom's at about 6am after driving 8 hours straight. He went straight to bed to get some sleep before the party. Becca and I headed over to my MIL's (mother-in-law's) house to start setting up. My mom came over at 11am to watch Becca so my MIL and I could run some errands. We picked up the balloons at Party City...there were 3 Dora balloons, 2 pink star balloons, and 4 different colored latex balloons with the number 2 on them. Then we went to Wegmans to pick up the cake...chocolate and vanilla with custard filling with a picture of Dora and Boots on the top with multi-colored flowers. They did a beautiful job, as usual :) We got back to the house and Eric had arrived and then soon left with my FIL (father-in-law) to get the tables, chairs and tent we were borrowing from family members. Becca went down for her nap at 1pm and we began to set up. We put up the balloons, streamers and banners. We had 2 canopies with toys and games for the kids to play with...bat and balls, coloring books, dolls, bubbles, etc. Since Dora is Spanish, we did a Dora the Explorer fiesta theme. So there was chips and salsa on all the tables as well as animal crackers for little ones. We also had jello and a big fresh fruit platter. My cousin had to work during the party so she came early to help set up and see us. And my friend Shannon came early after work to help as well. I was grateful for their help. Becca woke up from her nap at 4:30pm and the party was set to start at 5pm. We had a lot of people turn up. I was so glad.
 Me and Eric

Becca and her Nana (my mom) 

We had a taco bar for dinner and hot dogs for the kids who didn't want tacos.
 Becca and Daddy
 After dinner, we opened presents. 
Becca got lots of great gifts...most of them Dora-themed, which she loved.
After presents we had cake.
People started to head home after cake. There were several small kids who needed to go to bed. My mom showed up with her new boyfriend from Florida. She just picked him up from the airport. We all met him for the first time. I was very appreciative to the fact that he went through so much trouble to get there for the party. I didn't get a chance to talk to him much because I was busy cleaning up after the party, but so far so good :) Eric packed up the truck to take home all the presents which wouldn't fit into my car. He had to head home early tomorrow morning to get back to work. But I'm glad he was there for the party, even though it was inconvenient with his work schedule. He always makes time for our daughter. It was a great party and I am thankful for everyone who played a part in it :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

NY Trip - Day 2 - Preparations for the party

Terrible day yesterday, followed by a terrible night of non-sleep. Went to bed at 11:30pm and didn't sleep well at all. The room I'm staying in has hardwood floors so I kept hearing Max's nails tapping the floor and his chain collar against the floor every time he laid down. (Why I didn't just take the collar off of him is beyond me). But Max slept the entire 13 hour drive in the car, which is why he was awake all night walking around the room, sniffing all the new smells. Then I heard his tongue lapping while he gave himself a bath...very distracting. Becca was up at 5am. I brought her into bed with me and when she started nodding off I put her back in the pack n' play and I left the room so she could get some more sleep. Later that morning Becca and I went to my MIL's (mother-in-law's) house to get ready for tomorrow's party. We chopped onions and tomatoes and, for the most part, visited and talked about plans for tomorrow. Becca and I went back to my mom's for dinner and later that night my aunt and uncle came over to visit. They were unable to come to the party tomorrow so they came tonight to see us. It was a real nice visit and I was happy they made time for us. Every time I come to NY I always go to bed much later. My mom's a night owl. I'm used to going to bed around 10pm at home, but when visiting in NY it's usually closer to midnight. That's okay though, I try to visit and spend time with family as much as possible. That's what vacations are all about right?

Monday, July 19, 2010

NY Trip - Day 1 - A Long Drive

Okay, time to rewind and finally tell you about my trip. I will spend the next week filling you in on each day of my trip...so today we begin at Day 1. Are you wondering how I did my first time traveling with Max and Becca minus Eric? I would give myself a big, fat F. I failed miserably. The trip started out as one of the worst traveling days in my life.  Failure #1- I had to leave late because I didn't know how to put air in my tires so I waited for Eric to come home to do it.  Failure #2- Eric gave me the easiest route that I couldn't even follow. I left at 7am and 10:30am I realized I was 45 minutes from my house in the opposite direction I started from. Now, imagine one of the worst places to be lost...well I was in the equivalent of wherever you're thinking. I was shaking and nervous and immediately realized I just added 3 1/2 hours to an 8 hour trip. I called Eric in tears who rescued me with a new route and I made it out of there. I stopped for lunch, which took an hour. We sat outside in close to 100 degree weather because I was afraid to leave the dog in the car if we went inside. Fed and walked Max. Becca is beet red and not drinking or eating well, which leads me to think I am not taking care of her well. Failure #3- My poor daughter had to sit confined in her car seat for 5 extra hours because of my mistake. I took a wrong turn which tacked on a lot of extra time. Not to mention all the construction the whole way which took me on two detours, which added even more time. Failure #4- I asked for a simple route, knowing it would take longer, with an energetic two year old. I should've known better and just took the quickest route. This back-road route put me on 40mph roads behind slow trucks and lots of lights...not helping the situation. I cried several times in the car all the while feeling as if steam was coming out of my ears I was so mad at myself for putting us in this situation. Finally I got to my mom's house. It took me 13 hours which normally only takes 8. I was exhausted, but why? All I did was sit in a car all day. But the emotional and mental bruises from beating myself up in my head took its toll. My mom took Becca in her pool and entertained her while I unpacked. My energy was depleted. I was so weak and felt my legs and feet were as heavy as rocks. I had been up since 5am and didn't have nearly enough to eat and drink...I was so concerned about Becca and Max and taking care of them I forgot about myself. My cousin surprised me by stopping over after work. It was so great to see her and visit with her. Definitely the best part of my day. We watched the movie Grease together and just chatted. It meant so much to me that she took the time to come see me. Every time I come into town she tries to see me as much as possible....unlike some people...anyway...I was so glad to get to bed so I can end this stressful day and begin a fresh new one.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Becca

My beautiful baby girl turns 2 years old today. She has graduated to toddler hood, but she's still my baby, I don't care what anybody says. I can't imagine my life without her. She brings so much joy to my life and she just lights up my little corner of the world. I never thought I would be so lucky to have a daughter. I always assumed I would have kids when I got older, but when I married a man who has all boys in his family, I assumed I would only have boys as well. But, in my heart I always wanted a girl. The day we found out she was a girl we were stunned. There was silence in the room for a few minutes and it continued for a short period of time because we were so surprised. But that surprise turned into excitement after the shock wore off. It's been fun dressing her in frilly, girly clothes and brushing her curly blond hair. Her sparkling blue eyes are captivating, her nose is as cute as a button, and her smile warms the chilliest day. Though entering toddler hood is challenging and stressful at times, it is also a fun, new experience. She is becoming more interactive and talking with more words; and it thrills me as she learns the basics....her ABC's, animal names and sounds, counting numbers, etc. She is playful and energetic, yet sensitive and loving. She is a perfect blend of my husband and I. Being a mother is the most rewarding job, even though it is tough. In the end, she is worth it. She makes me want to be the best mother I can be. She has changed my life and I look forward to the next year and all the wonderful things it will bring. Happy Birthday Rebecca, My Angel. Mommy loves you.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I'm Back

I had a wonderful time in New York, but it is so good to be back home. I'm glad to get back into my boring daily routine. There is something comforting about it. I am very busy these days. Becca's birthday is tomorrow so hopefully today we will be buying her birthday presents and doing some last minute running around. I will still fill you in on my NY trip when I can find the time. Things are always crazy the first couple days home from a long trip. So, please be patient with me my wonderful followers. I missed you all and missed reading your blogs while I was away, so I am eager to see how you all have been. I will fill you in soon; there is much to tell :) Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for sending lovely wishes my way while I was gone :)

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Headed for NY

Tomorrow morning I am leaving for New York. Becca's 2nd birthday party is on saturday. Her actual birthday isn't til next week, but we are doing a lot of traveling this summer and are trying to space it out a little bit so it's not too overwhelming for Becca. I am really excited for her birthday party. It should be a good turn out and the forecast is looking promising. It's going to be a Dora the Explorer theme...that's her favorite show. :) So, I have much to do. I need to make lists for everyone, and then pack everything on the lists. Then I need to clean out the car, which is still a mess from our last trip to NY in May. This trip is going to be a first. The will be my first driving trip alone with Becca and Max (our dog). Usually Eric (my husband) is always with us but he couldn't get the time off. So, he will be coming up separately on Friday and then he has to leave Sunday to be back to work Monday. I wanted to take the opportunity and spend a little extra time in town visiting family and friends I rarely get to see. Every time we go to NY we can only stay the weekend and there are so many people we don't get to see. So, this time I am coming up early and then staying in town 3 extra days without my husband. But, it'll be good. :) I probably won't have much computer access so I will post about my trip when I return next week. Hope you all have a great time while I'm gone and I'll catch you up when I get back :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Thoughts in the Car - Part 2

I was able to have several hours to myself today, and because it is such a rare occurrence, I try to savor and appreciate every moment. I needed to go to Party City to get supplies and decorations for Becca's Dora-themed birthday party next week.
So, those of you that have read my previous posts know that going into town is a 40-minute drive one way. I tend to do a lot of reflecting when I'm in the car by myself. Anyway, on my way to the store I popped in a CD to listen to. Which one? My faithful readers know...yup, that's right, again...my favorite CD..."Fearless" by Taylor Swift. The song "Fifteen" comes on...the music starts...the first word is spoken, and I am taken back to my high school years. I am fifteen again. The memories flood my mind as Taylor Swift perfectly describes being a high school freshman. The awkwardness and uncertainty. Walking down the halls on your first day of school, getting lost in what feels like a hollow museum. Gazing around at your new schoolmates, looking for familiar faces but avoiding eye contact with strangers. And of course...there was that one boy. You know the one. When he smiles at you or even makes eye contact with you, it makes your entire day. I had a crush on a boy for 5 years, beginning in 7th grade. This boy was completely wrong for me, and I knew it. He was a slacker, had a wandering eye, used me, and ended up in jail, yet knowing all this, he still had the ability to give me butterflies. (No, I didn't marry this frog...we never even dated, I just admired him from afar and later found my prince).
The song continues..."you sit in class next to red-headed Abigail and soon enough you're best friends...laughin' at the other girls, who think they're so cool, we'll be outta here as soon as we can." Immediately high school best friend, Vanessa, comes to mind and I smile. :) I remember we had the same classes and we always sat next to each other...with one look we would smirk as we read each others thoughts. Chorus class we would giggle at our oddball teacher who marched to a different beat. We dragged our matching sandals, wearing our unintentional matching outfits to English class 5 minutes late and get scowled at by our teacher who was awaiting retirement that year. Study Hall we sat at "our table" at the library, not studying, but commenting on the fashion magazines we looked at together. Before class we would meet up at the cafeteria and each get a bagel and cream cheese and sit and eat together. People thought we looked like sisters; we were always together. Maybe not sisters by blood, but definitely by heart. There are no other years like your high school years. Seems like a former lifetime; forever frozen in time. Yet, with all the drama that high school comes with, I can now look back on it with a smile :) I graduated 10 years ago. Would I want to go back and re-live high school? Not a chance.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Birthday Wishes

Yesterday was my 28th birthday. Do I feel older? Yes. But not in a bad way. I am truly happy about where I am in my life right now. Last year was actually a terrible year for me, personally. I was very lonely and sad and unhappy with myself. Avoiding mirrors and hating what I saw in the reflection. The past six months I have been doing some soul-searching. Looking deep within and asking myself the hard questions. The big questions. I have been living my life day by day just to get by. Not really enjoying the life I have. I truly believe there is a lot more within me to explore. I want to be the best person I can be and not settle for mediocre. I want to challenge myself, learn new things and explore new opportunities. I am a quiet person and afraid of change, yet I complain that there is no excitement in my life. I want to be happy and confident in who I am and feel whole as a person. I am not there yet, but I am getting closer. My life is a good one, but what am I doing with it? My life could be taken away from me at any moment, so how come I'm not living to the fullest? I hope this next year brings new changes to me. I don't wish for things, I wish for personal growth. I am learning just how wonderful being a wife and mother truly is. Looking beyond the housework, and the sleep deprivation, and the responsibilities, to what really matters. Having a spouse who sees all the good in me, who loves me with all my flaws and out of all the women he has or hasn't met, has chosen me to spend the rest of his life with. Having a daughter who lights up my world and can melt my heart with a single smile, who depends on me to teach her how to live her life. I am blessed with wonderful family and friends who have very good lives. I want to embrace what is good in my life instead of focusing so much on what is not. Because there is so much more good than bad. Our attitude and our choices are what makes up our lives. I am focusing on my strengths and good qualities and trying to find opportunities to put them to good use. And my weaknesses I can choose to try to improve on but realize that I am not perfect, no one is. Another thing I am learning is to stop worrying so much about what everyone thinks of me. Sometimes I feel I live my life according to how everyone I know lives or how they expect me to live instead of making my own choices and finding out what I want out of my life. And most of all, the important thing that exceeds everything I've been learning on my path to self-discovery, is that I need God to direct my life because I suck at it. The older I get, the more I try to control everything, but I find that it only leads to dead-ends. Nothing but God can bring the satisfaction and fulfillment and inner peace and joy that is lacking in my life. He knows exactly all the things I am searching for, and He can lead me to the answers, He is just waiting for me to let go and ask Him for direction. Thank goodness He never gives up on me and is always there. Continues to love me even when I turn my back on Him out of selfishness and laziness. I look ahead to the next year with open-mindedness. Thankful for the struggles I've been through that has led me to who I am today. To become a complete puzzle, you need every single one of those pieces, both smooth and rough. I choose to believe my best days are still ahead of me and I have much to look forward to :)