We’re moving soon, and my stress level is threatening my sanity. Writing is one of my coping mechanism, read more on Moving and Losing your Village. It doesn’t take much to see that my ability to “roll with the punches” is starting to wear out. We’re about half way into my spouse’s military career and I’m about ready to call it quits.
I don’t want to move.
I don’t want to deal with deployments.
I don’t want to continue to be a unemployed because of constant change of situation.
I don’t want to live across the globe from friends and family and support.
I don’t want my kids to grow up without a steady home.
I don’t want to investigate into every public school, private school, homeschooling option because we’re moving and our house location depends on this.
I don’t want to say goodbye to my best friends.
I don’t want to move into a new house only to hate it 6 months down the road.
I don’t want to move into a new neighborhood to hate it 6 months down the road.
I don’t want my kids to forget their first language because we’re stranded in a country that doesn’t speak it.
I don’t want apply for jobs I have no idea if I will be able to keep if a sudden change comes our way.
I don’t want to start new projects that need a lot of time and energy because I know I will have to eventually pack them up and leave them unfinished.
I don’t want to be a house wife that sucks at keeping up with her house.
I don’t want to have a pity party because holy shit how fucking entitled am I.
I have a lovely home, filled with crap I can afford to buy.
My children are beautiful and healthy.
My husband is incredibly patient and loving.
I have friends.
I have family.
They might not be close all the time, but they are there, cheering me on.
My fridge is full.
I have access to medicine and care if I seek it.
My children are safe, my home is safe.
Who the fuck said that I could “have it all” or that I deserve to have it all.
I’m sitting here having an identity crisis because the world is telling me that being some mediocre stay at home mom isn’t enough to be happy, it isn’t enough to feel accomplished, it isn’t enough to feel proud.
Well fuck that.
I have accomplished plenty. I have plenty.
I have more than most. MUCH more than most.
Fuck off with your ridiculous WANT IT ALL bullshit. I don’t need to stress about that garbage because it’s not even real.
DO YOU HEAR ME, BRAIN?!
IT IS NOT REAL!
I AM enough.
I HAVE enough.
And sure, there is plenty of stress on my plate, but good lord, OPEN YOUR DAMN EYES, so much to be grateful for.
I’m getting sucked into this culture of more more MORE and forgetting I ALREADY HAVE MORE.
This is all a bunch of bullshit stress caused by some culture built on greed and entitlement, a culture that promotes individuality to the point of isolation, that promotes hate to the point of self loathing, that promotes monetary success to the point of degrading service and self sacrifice.
FUCK THAT NOISE.
You know what’s happening this weekend? Memorial Day.
Sitting here stressing over the little things when I have brothers and sisters crying over a grave.
I will pick myself up, take my military spouse shit sandwich and eat it. And I will be fucking grateful for my shit sandwich, which is a hell of a lot better shit sandwich than a whole lot of other folks around the globe, near and far.
It’s called PERSPECTIVE. Wake up. Stop crying. Put on your big girl panties on and move the fuck along, Lili.
Glad I got that off my chest. PEACE.
Clarification, in the case that any is needed… I wrote this piece to myself, for myself. Please don’t assume that *I* assume that a change in perspective is going to alleviate depression, anxiety, or any other mental health disorder, that’s just stupid. Take your fucked up notions of “just stop thinking about it” as appropriate advice for anyone suffering through mental health issues somewhere else. We good? Ok. Bye.
Before this year started I was inspired by Diane Bleck to create a Vision Board. It felt like a really powerful exercise and I really enjoyed creating it despite not really knowing if anything would come of it. It just felt good, and it seemed like a nice positive thing to do.
This is my Vision Board, I talk about it a little on this Video.
Despite how playful this exercise was, it’s been quite strange how those Positive Intensions have really started to manifest. You know that thing those people talk about? How you can mold the Universe with your mind and how you can bring things into your life by simply asking the Universe for what you want? (If this is new to you, check out this talk by Jim Carrey, I love him and I love this. Beautiful words here.) Well… The Universe is vast, and mysterious, and full of magic… I believe it. And the more I give into that thought, the more I accept the mystery and magic… Well, I’m starting to see it everywhere. This week, I felt it. The Universe molding, the manifestation, the Universe quietly winking at me, daring me to take what it so graciously put in front of me for me. Because I’m starting to see the Universe as a Mysterious Cosmic Mother. And how do mothers are, they give, give, give, give. It’s an endless gift giving, an endless love, an endless surrender. And not simply because mothers are selfless creatures, but because our children are part of us, they are us, living breathing outside of ourselves in a completely independent and unique way. Each and everyone connected by that line of mother and child, and the cycle continues when two meet and love together. It’s pretty mind blowing when you think about it really. Too deep? Ok let’s beck back to the Universe manifest thing (way less deep right? ha!) Well… The more I think about it, the more I’m realizing that… that is it! This is exactly what is starting to happen in my life. I am opening up to the possibility of the universe answering my call, and I’m starting to connect those dots, that bread crumb trail, and seeing the connections. After making My Vision Board, I saw many of the things starting to manifest immediately. But I also knew I had some form of control over the these things. I could see my creative mussel starting to flexing and exploding new venues. I could see my inner efforts to connecting with others. I was pursuing ways to grow and learn knew techniques. I started pursing different sources of knowledge spiritually and mentally. All of these things were on my board. And even as I pulled these things towards me, I was starting to feel the universe responding, I could feel the response, the welcoming arms giving freely of what was being asked. But there was one element that I left open to suggestion. My “surprise” if you will. And that was my little compass symbol, which I drew to symbolize adventure… Something “new” something “unexpected” and making myself open to such changes, challenges, and discoveries. Guess who came knocking to my door and calling me to a new adventure?
You see, to most people, yoga is just a bunch of pretzel like poses not accessible to the general populous. I would challenge those people to go to a yoga class. Yoga is so much more than the poses (Asanas) it is a way a of life. It is not a religion, it’s a philosophy, a way to view the world, to understand the world, a way of living. My practice never really left me, I was simply not focusing on the physical and instead subconsiously focusing on the Yamas and Niyamas like self-education (Swadhyaya) and devotion (Ishwara-Pranidhana). And while I lamented my lack of sun salutations in the mornings or evenings, the knowledge of the Sutras was cementing itself in my heart. (I love this book and recommended it to anyone interested in Yoga. It’s pretty magical.)
And it was no surprise to me that my heart would jump with joy when one morning this past week I woke up to find a post on FB regarding a new yoga class in a location less than 5 miles from my home, at the very time my lovely husband is regularly home. The first class was that very evening. Perfect.
As I excitedly rolled out my mat and took in the lovely music playing it was like time traveling back to my first yoga experiences at Gretchen’s beautiful studio in Key West. I could feel the joy and relaxation. I could feel my mind coming back to the now and putting away the worries of yesterday and tomorrow. I will be honest and say that I didn’t quite enjoy the class as much as I had hoped, but as I sat there on my mat, one thought suddenly came back to me.
“Yoga Teacher Training”
This is something I had considered pursuing a little over a year ago, but the timing was simply off and I had put that thought away. I had thought, maybe some other time, but not now.
And as I walked out the door I made it up in my head that I would ask if there was any local training happening this year… I stepped out that door and I didn’t have to ask. Because as I walked out, there was a large poster for a Yoga Teacher Training, happening that month, in less than 2 weeks, within a 30 minute drive of my home. As I stared at this poster I started to feel it, the magic. I felt the pricking in the back of the neck, the energy pulling me towards this idea. It should so happen that the director of the studio was there that evening (not a usual occurrence I’m told). She was an older woman, very gentle but obviously an experienced yogi. And I asked her about the training, and you know what she said to me?
Maybe this is the reason why you came tonight? Maybe it was so you could find out about this training?
And she smiled warmly and wished my a lovely evening.
I can’t explain the type of excitement I felt as I drove home. It was as if I had just shaken hands with the universe and made a deal. Because this was it. This was exactly it. A moment where you look at an opportunity and you feel like it’s meant for you. But what do we do when we see these things? Sometimes we ignore them. Sometimes we shake our heads and say “No, I can’t.” We listen to our self-doubts and fears and we give in. But not tonight. Because like every good relationship, there has to be a give and take. If you are going to ask for something from the Universe, you better be ready to pick it up when it is handed to you.
Let me explain. You can’t just ask for an iPad for Christmas and then when you get it at your birthday several months past Christmas say “Oh sorry, wrong time, never mind.” and expect more gifts to be offered up over and over again. That’s not how gift giving works. There has to be gratitude, and gracefulness, and acceptance of what is provided when it’s provided.
So here it was, the Universe saying “Hey! Remember when you were looking for Yoga Training and you were so frustrated because you were pregnant and it didn’t work with your schedule, and you couldn’t figure out how to make it happen? Well I remembered! And you wanted adventure this year right? Tada!!!”
What was I supposed to do? Say no thanks?
“Oh, I’m too scared today.” Or “I don’t know, what if I don’t like it?” Or “But I’m too busy right now!” Or “I’m not sure it’s the right time.”
Are you kidding me?! YOU WERE JUST THINKING ABOUT YOGA TRAINING 5 MINUTES AGO!
Come on guys, you can’t be any more obvious here.
So I shook hands with the Universe. I see You and You see Me. Thank you for acknowledging my thoughts and responding. Your response is not waisted, not tonight.
So I drove home and excitedly announced my discovery of the yoga training to my husband. Who seemed quite pleased with the idea of having a yogi in the family.
Two weeks later, here I am! Yogafit Trainee, finished with my Level 1 & 2 and looking forward to the next upcoming trainings in May and already visualizing finishing my RYT-200 within the coming year or so. I can do this!
So cheers to this new adventure. I am extremely excited to start teaching and equally terrified. Looking forward to putting all this new knowledge to work and starting something incredibly different and fresh in my life.
I am even MORE excited to have found so much magic in this year already. Seriously, I get chills just thinking about it. I felt it, guys. I felt that super strange, I can’t explain it, but this is where I am meant to be feeling. And that’s pretty damn cool.
Oh boy… It looks like the shaming and negative breastfeeding commentary is only just beginning this 2016. Does no one care about the crying, hungry, cranky infants who simply need a boob? Must we all suffer through the infernal screaming? Why can’t I nurse my child/ren in peace, whenever, however? Why? Is it really so difficult to avert your eyes and move along without wagging your toungue?
*deep frustrated sigh*
Read / watch the unfortunate comments by Wendy Williams towards Alyssa Milano here:
Even Milano’s attempts at explaining the biological purpose of breasts were lost on the daytime personality: “They’re more sexual than a feeding thing,” Williams said. “I’m a mom also, but breastfeeding is only a particular amount of time. The rest of your life, your breasts are sexual things . . . They’re fun bags!”
Enjoy my Cartoon Reply
Did you miss my previous breastfeeding commentary cartoon? This one is for NH Representative Josh Moore, read the blog post and get the coloring page HERE.
There’s this weird thing called women’s intuition.
In my experience, women’s intuition makes you… curious… stubborn… unreasonable… but it leads you to magic. I’m talking about real magic. Encountering things that can’t be explained or reasoned. Magical wonderful things that bring joy and mystery into your life. I’m talking about following your inner gut, falling down a rabbit hole, and emerging into some land of magical fairy unicorns and talking flowers. Because that’s what happens when you’re tuned into your inner voice. That’s what happens when you hear it loud and clear and without a beat you march straight ahead right where you are being lead. That’s what happens when you completely ignore doubt, and reason, and logic, and you reply to your fears “My voice is telling me to go this way, my heart is leading me, and I am following.”
The more you listen, the easier it becomes to follow this voice. The more you let yourself go into the realm of your inner curiosities the greater the discoveries. The more obvious the benefits and the bigger the magic.
I can only imagine what it must have been like for women who followed their voices and they were called mad, they were made witches, and their magic… called witchcraft. Women have been taught that they are overly emotional. That they are irrational. Women are told they are too sensitive. We feel too deeply. But that is because we are connected to this earth in different ways. In tune with a certain magic that comes and flows like the cycle of the moon, like the rhythm of the oceans. We are the instrument of the endless cycle of birth, death and regeneration. Our energy swirls high and low with the dance of the cosmos. Our very bodies mirroring these earthly cycles with our moon blood, our pregnancies, our wombs. Our wombs the very mirror image of the cosmic womb of the universe which we inhabit. Many myths talk about people coming forth to existence from deep caves in the earth, I can’t think of a better metaphor for our earthly womb than that of the incredible caverns scattered across this Earth, our Mother Nature.
Women are naturally supernatural beings. Our bodies often defy logic and reason. Our physical and emotional limits are pushed far beyond our comprehension. Lean into that magic. Let that inner voice flourish and guide you. Let that voice call out to you and lead you down your unique path.
Today I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the people who have inspired me this past year to take up an old and quite neglected hobby of mine, drawing. Including Diane Bleck, and her incredible Doodle Institute.
A Girl Who Loved to Draw
You see, I’ve always drawn, and painted. It was my first creative outlet. It was my first talent. The thing I knew growing up that I could do, and could do it well.
But as those middle school years press into childhood and you become riddled with insecurities, I quickly realized I was not the “best” at drawing. I learned that others drew quite well too. Others were in fancy art classes developing their skills. Others where involved in local programs, their art displayed. So I quietly stopped drawing, I settled into the myth most of us fall into. If you aren’t the best at it, you might as well stop. So I stopped.
A Skill That Never Left
It wasn’t until a fateful encounter with art class during my high school years that I once again realized I did posses a talent for art. I would not only create paintings that were well liked and admired, I also created them quickly and with ease. I would finish projects that were intended to take up weeks in a few dedicated hours. But again, I certainly didn’t think I was the “best” artist, nor particularly talented, but it was certainly a “thing” for me.
Somewhere around this time I met the man that would later become my husband. I even gifted him a giant canvas of ourselves. And I believe that it was at that moment that he learned something about myself that maybe have been obvious to everyone else but me, I was an artist. I made art. If you leave me be, to toil alone, I make art. I will always make art.
Too Busy To Doodle
But as I got immerse in my college education, in finding a “career”, in nourishing my new marriage, in adjusting to a military lifestyle, in becoming a mother. Well, it’s easy to see how drawing took a bit of a back seat. But I never stopped creating. I learned to sew and quilt and make dresses. I learned photography and shot weddings and families. I learned to blog and started writing. And for a long time this is what I did. I kept joyfully busy.
A Little Black Cloud And A Journal
And then… one day… feeling exhausted from adjusting to being a new mother of 2 living in a country a million miles from family and support, I stopped. A dark little cloud made it’s way into my home and it made rain. Lots and lots of rain. I didn’t want to do anything. Feeding and clothing my children was about the most I could get done. I stopped making. I stopped sewing. I stopped blogging. I stopped shooting. I stopped.
It took a long time to realize what was happening, what I was becoming. But as 2015 rolled into existence I tried my hardest to shake off that negative energy and start again. the first thing I did was pick up that camera again and start taking photos of my family, my loved ones. The second thing I did was journal. Journal. Journal. Journal. I wrote every single bad feeling into a lovely leather journal. And then one day, I didn’t have anymore bad feelings, I didn’t need my journal any longer. Instead ideas started to flow and I needed my journal to keep track of them all. My journal was no longer a blood bath, it was a garden of ideas.
I was once again blogging, and shooting, and writing funny pieces. I even began to work on a project far beyond my imagination, Divine-Mothering.com. I even wrote and published a book!
Opening Up My Heart Channel
And then, as the energy from my photography project started to slow from the downpour, out of the blue, my mother gifted me something odd. Oh, how mothers know.
My mom excitedly told me about this woman she had found on Periscope called Diane Bleck. She told me how she had started drawing with her and how much fun she was having. She told me of the cool markers and books Diane used and promoted. And when my mom visited me, she brought me new pens and markers and doodling books.
At first I thought, “What am I supposed to do with all this?”
But for whatever reason, curiosity got the better of me. So I took those markers and I started to draw. I looked up Diane and I wondered what it was that my mother loved so much about her. It didn’t take long for me to see the enchantment.
Diane wasn’t just teaching people how to Doodle, she was connecting people with their creative energy. She was using her Doodle Institute to promote a love for creativity and drawing and coloring for EVERYONE. It’s not about being the most talented artist, or the most skilled, it is about, in her own words, “opening the heart channel” and developing a new skill that can help you with your home, work and school by using the power of visual learning. Again, in her own words, “Practice makes PROGRESS not perfect.”
And feeling inspired I followed her, I drew with her, and in that process I stumbled upon my old love for drawing. Something I had not explored in years. And yet here I was, filling notebooks with drawings and designs and sharing my work with friends and family. Soon I realized that my creative energy was spilling over to my friends. Just as Diane’s enthusiasm had gotten me to put pen to paper, so did mine infect my friends. Among all the excitement, 3 Girls Doodle was created. My website got a complete new make over. I am now dedicating myself to some old hidden talents that had been put away for far too long. And the most incredible part? The connections I’m making. Somehow this energy is spilling over all across my life. Creative collaborations of all kinds are coming into my life and I am so incredibly pleased and excited to see where it all leads to.
Do You Want to Open Your Heart Channel, Too?
Happening RIGHT NOW to Help You Unlock YOUR Creativity
I believe so much in Diane’s Message that I became one of her Affiliates. I am an official promoter of the Doodle Institute and will I start to offer local Doodle 101 Lessons with her supporting materials. Please go check out all the AMAZING free material she provides and consider taking her course (which am a part of) to start learning a new, transformative skill.
Disclosure: As an affiliate I do get incentives to promote the Doodle Institute, but you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out these student testimonials that helped me decide if the Doodle Institute was right for me!
Should I post… *deep breath* …phone pics on Camera Latte?
Because here’s the truth, once you get into all the baby gear: the diapers, wipes, extra clothes… and the toddler gear: lunch box, toys, extra clothes (yes, were in that dreadful place again as Little Lue started having accidents again), jacket, and the occasional scooter. Oh and lets throw in baby wearing or a giant stroller into the mix, the last thing I want to jam into my already ginormous and oddly heavy bag is a massive DSLR.
***A little camera talk, feel free to skip lol***
Because of this dilemma, I have set my sights on a the new mirrorless cameras… Many in the photography world are sure that they are the “future” of photography. It’s hard to say wether that is true or not, but right now, for me, those thinner, lighter, and fantastic little cameras are calling my name. I will probably be jumping on the mirrorless bandwagon soon, but until then, I need to figure something out. Anyone around here shoot mirrorless? I’m thinking of going with the Fujifilm xT1 and getting her a small pancake lens (the 27mm), thoughts?
The set up looks quite lovely if you ask me 😉
Image from fujivsfuji.com
Until I figure out a more compact camera system, or the Littlest Princess and Little Lue require less stuff (never?) I probably wont be dragging around my D90 very many places, much less so the D700. And the lenses, forget it… So lately, all I’ve had in my hands for capturing our little adventures is this contraption… The Samsung Galaxy s4 Zoom
Image from gsmarena.com
And while it’s proven to be quite the conversation starter… truth is, it’s nothing more than little point and shoot attached to a cel phone. Nifty and a fun little gadget, but momma still misses her big cameras… so so very much…
So back to the original question… Should my beautiful blog, created with images lovingly taken and edited with my DSLRs and Lightroom also be a place for my every day phone pics……..
Absolutely! Why? Because it’s not the tool, it’s the vision 😉 No matter how fancy a camera I could purchase, or the lenses, or set up, or anything else. Art isn’t about the tools, it’s about the artist and their message. It’s about taking what you have in your hands and creating something that draws you in, something that tells a story, conveys feelings, and shares a message.
If I had more time, or more sleep, or an extra arm, or maybe a nanny, a cook, and a maid, I might have a tiny bit more sanity left to figure out how to drag around one of my cameras. But for now, I will longly stare at it on my desk and look back at it with despair as I gather up jackets, and blankets, and keys, and snacks, and toys. Holding tiny toddler hands and bundling up baby in some kind of carrier, wrap or sling (boy do I have to post about THAT lol), heading out of the house in my totally misfitting clothes and forgetting to tie up my unbrushed hair into a messy bun. Away we go as I try to make it out of the house alive, with some sanity, to the oasis of motherhood, playdates.
So stay tuned my friends… Camera Latte lives… New posts coming soon, straight from my cellphone LOL!!
Hi! Remember me? Camera Latte? That super fun blog with tons of cute photos of Little Lue and random ramblings about my mommy days? Yeah… Hi…
Somewhere mid pregnancy I cracked. Totally cracked.
I’m going to be honest, this move has been hard on me, us. The wonderful sunny days in Key West still call my name. Lucy still asks to “Go home” most days when we are about to get in the car, deep down I know where she means. Lately she’s been asking about the ocean and how she can’t wait to see it. I have no idea where she gets it from it’s obvious to me she misses her old home too.
On top of that the past 6 months have been riddled with uncertainty and confusion as we explored a change in our lives that never materialized. And in the mist of all that, TDYs and deployments have been scheduled, and all you Significant Others know how that goes…
So somewhere between getting ready for a new baby, still getting used to living in a new place, random life stress, and then actually giving birth, I set my camera down and stopped taking pictures.
I stopped running. I stopped writing. I stopped reading. Just stopped.
And in the chaos of meeting our new daughter, Princess P, I just felt lost. With her amazing loving gaze the only thing keeping me together.
It’s been over 2 months since she was born and the smoke is starting to clear. I’ve laced up my running shoes a few times, dusted off my camera longingly, and tried several times to write something half way coherent. But I’m still not quite there yet, I still don’t feel like myself.
I’ve been blaming hormones for my emotional roller coaster, but the truth is that this year has been packed full of stress, and it’s still just the tip of the iceberg for us.
So no, I haven’t taken very many photos. And no, I haven’t quite been my cheerful self. But I’m here, chugging along, waking up every day looking for that change in the winds.
Little Lue is amazing, she’s changing so much and so quickly. She’s 3 years old now?! Can you believe it?! And my littlest Princess P is incredible, just perfect. They both truly are my little rainbows over these past stormy months.
So… A tad melancholy today, and no photos… But that’s ok. Sometimes this is all I’ve got.
Happy New Year!!! Wow, is it already 2014?! Craziness!
I want to start blogging on some different topics this year. So what better time to start than now? So here’s it goes. No photos, just words
To start with I want to address something that I’ve noticed to be quite trendy in the mommy blogging world that is sometimes needed… but starting to get a little old…
So yeah… am I the only one who is pretty much done with the “complaining mom bloggers” fad? Here’s my take on this.
Motherhood is hard… Super draining… Life sucking… But for even those horrid days, those days where the house is destroyed, you ate total garbage, you vegged on the TV, and couch surfed for hours because you are so flipping exhausted of the same thing day in day out, your child(rend) decided to scream for what seems like most of the day, they tick, throw, bite, you cry in a conner wondering what you are doing wrong… Even on THOSE days, no mother will say they will trade that for anything else (well… not say it and mean it! LOL).
Why? Because the love we feel for our children is so immensely powerful that it becomes the air we breathe, the light in our day, the reason to get up and keep going. Because that love alone can sustain us. Because that love alone, is simply ENOUGH to make it all worth it. Because that love, and those small moments of bliss when you look at them sleeping, or playing nicely, or doing something new for themselves, those moment when your heart could explode with pride and aw and love, make even those bad days worth it.
Now mommies, lets rally together. Find friends, find family, find support! We are all in this together trying to survive the hard days. And we are all looking for a shoulder to lean on. I suspect that our worse days are days where we feel alone in this land of toys, dirty diapers, and messy faces. But let’s try and look at those faces we love and remember WHY every day we make the choice to get up and keep going.
And let’s go ahead and try to keep the complaining in check, yeah? It’s just unflattering. I hate doing it myself, even if we do HAVE to get it out. How about we get it out between friends over a cup of coffee instead of blasting the internet with so much negative energy that gets passed around over and over and over. I promise you, talking with a couple of close friends feels a WHOLE lot better than ranting on a blog (been there done both!). Let’s spread some positive mojo on the internet! Spread the stories about the moments that keep us going, the things that make us feel good about the work we have been given.
All of you, us, moms are so incredibly strong. Whether you stay at home all day with little ones and diapers and puke, or have to wrangle up kids to daycare and school and gymnastics and then yourself to work, you are an INCREDIBLY STRONG AND WONDERFUL MOTHER. Your children LOVE YOU and think you are FLIPPIN AMAZING and you ARE. Not only that, their innocent eyes that only see who you TRULY are see the most BEAUTIFUL, GORGEOUS, MOST PERFECT FEMALE FIGURE ON THIS PLANET. They do! So not only are you the BEST mother ever, the most AMAZING human ever, you are also the most BEAUTIFUL creature they could lay their young eyes on.
So keep on trucking through, momma… You got this. You are amazing. You are working SO hard to do what you do with little thanks or appreciation (heck, sometimes it feels like all we hear is how we are doing it wrong!). But I am a fellow mom. And I KNOW how hard you are working. Hats off to you. I support you, I think you are amazing, and I give you a HUGE thank you! Thank you for doing what is best for you and your family. Thank you for raising the children that will be my daughter’s coworkers, teammates, friends, lovers, family. Thank you for doing the best you can every single day. And if you need a shoulder to lean on, I am here for you, close friend or total stranger.
Now, ladies, let’s act like moms. And not like any mom, but like super moms. Because that’s what we all are, supper moms. Don’t get me started on the mommy wars. It’s not about HOW you do it, it’s about getting it DONE. You, we, are ALL amazing and doing the best we can for the children we are raising. No divisions! Just connections, support and understanding.
So let’s do it! Let’s fill the cyber space with some positive mommy vibes. Let’s talk about the things that connect us, make us strong and give us hope. Let’s gather and celebrate our strengths and not linger on our weaknesses. Yeah? Who’s with me?
So among the things opened by my enthusiastic daughter, one box sent by my mom had an old dictionary from when I was a child. It was a picture dictionary in Spanish. I had asked my mom to send a few books as gifts, and among the ones she sent, she included this old one that was laying around in my old bedroom.
It was pretty neat to see it, and I was surprised that this looks practically new! I can’t believe it’s been sitting around for like 20 years!
The amazing part? When I was browsing through the pages I came up on the middle section that had some old papers saved. When I saw what they were I was floored.
They were keepsakes from 1993-94 the year I was a Daisy Girl Scout! I was part of Troop 121 until it split up in 2000 or 2001. So a very large portion of my childhood is filled with memories of this wonderful group of friends.
Our amazing troop leader, Sandra, who we called “Lilly”, just recently passed away battling cancer. And it was quite emotional to see her signature on my little Daisy certificate. I feel like she pops up in my life every now and again, like she’s still thinking of me and all of us in the old Troop. She made it such an amazing experience.
This is the book. I believe my mom told me it was a gift from my grandmother from my father’s side. She has since passed also.
Daisies beginning… 1993
Crossing the bridge over to Brownies… 1994
Our little “program” for the ceremony.
And this little treasure I wrote presumably 20 years ago. Talks about 3 girls in the troop, Marinelly, Anjanet, and Priscila. Anjanet is still one of my best friends and has been all these years.
Porque somos iguales. Marinelly a ella le gusta los animles y ami.
Diferente Anjanet le gusta el arozz con abichuelas y amino.
When you’re a military wife, you sometimes get in the mentality that you will never have life-long friends. You know, the one who’s your next door neighbor for 30 years and you have coffee every Sunday morning with, and your kids are the same age and go to the same schools and your husbands are good buddies and you just hang out. And then one day you will live together in a house and be just like the Golden Girls and it will be epically awesome.
Well… you know… In my imagination, it would totally be like that.
But the reality of moving every 3 years kind of puts a kink into my friendship fantasy. And it’s a kind of a total downer when you’re the type of person that enjoys hanging out with other humans with common interests.
But for all you military wives out there, I’ve got some news for you, you really CAN have some good long time lasting friends. The magic of the internet and facebook has seriously facilitated keeping up with friends at a distance in a creepy sort of stalkerish way. But every now and then, you realize that the friend you have been so oddly attentive to you over the internet, has also been attentive to you. Why? Because, perhaps, somehow even if they are a billion miles away, they connect with you and want to actually still keep in touch, and hope you will meet again on a faithful day. They really ARE a friend. Awesome!
More good news for military wives, turns out there are only a hand full of bases for people to go to. And chances are, that faithful day really does come!
So when it came time for our big move to Germany, was delighted to know that one of the friends I had made over 4 years ago in Oklahoma was happily waiting to meet up with me again in Germany. Despite being over an hour away from where we were, Lucie made no hesitation to welcome us to Germany the first week we were there! Even took us house hunting to our now new home. Thank you, Lucie, for making this transition feeling like coming back home. At least a little!
This past weekend was her younger son’s 1st birthday! Our families have obviously changed since the last time we met. We now have a 2 year old daughter, and their own daughter is now 3, we met her as just a tiny little infant. Now she is a big sister! It’s just really neat to see how we have both grown. I loved seeing her new home and family. It all feels so new and so familiar all at once. It was also great to see our husbands meet again.
Anyhow… CASSIAN! This post was supposed to be all about you… LOL!!
Cassian is such a little man! OMG he’s so big, just like Little Lue was. Extra chunky and just a doll. He’s still not walking, but watch out, it’s coming up. He’s going to be chasing after Lexie pretty soon! I love his little foe hauk, by the way.
Of course we had lots of fun at the party. Little Lue surprised me by being a tad shy at first, but it wasn’t long before she was asking for cupcakes and trying to steal the birthday boy’s gifts.
And I think this is probably enough rambling, you’re totally ready for the photos. Right?
It’s been a couple of weeks since we left our home in Key West. It was definitely very difficult to say goodbye to a place that has been so good to us. We all grew so much there.
The husband rediscovered his interest in bicycling. He would do a little mountain biking here and there in OK, but living in a small town where bicycle commuting was practically a given, he really got into cycling. Which lead him to meeting up with a bunch of triathletes and really getting into all this workout stuff.
Which in turn inspired me to start running. Go me! Did my first 5K and a few others and then somehow pushed my butt across the 7 Mile Bridge Run. You can read about that on THIS blog post.
We both turned a new leaf and switched to a vegetarian diet. We’ve been eating a less processed, mostly organic diet for well over a year now and there are no signs of us looking back. We both feel pretty proud of those changes.
Of course it goes without saying that our family has grown too! Little Lue is 100% Conch. She was born a little over a year after we moved to Key West. It’s pretty amazing how having a little human to take care of really shakes you and makes you examine how you are living your life. The process of child proofing my home had a lot less to do with hiding knives and outlets, and a lot more cleansing of a different type. We wanted less TV, more family time. Less junk food, more fruits. More coloring, more reading, more quiet time, more home cooked meals, more time spent in parks, more singing, more dancing, more smiling… You get my drift. 😉
We also adopted Luna, our wacky little husky! Life with 2 dogs has been full of new challenges and new adventures. I definitely don’t see myself adding anymore pets to the family any time soon, but with Luna I definitely feel like my fur-mommy heart is full. I love the way Bongo and Luna have bonded, they are such a great team. It just seems right.
So yeah! That’s a WHOLE lot of growing! And of course I started getting more into photography the last few months too. Hoping to keep that ball rolling once we arrive in Germany and restart my business there. Excited and terrified all at once about that. I loved working with Say Yes to Key West and shooting weddings. It really opened my eyes to a profession that is really calling my name. We will see what happens…
With all this going on you can imagine there’s been a lot of soul searching and even some spiritual growth. I got a lot more interested in Yoga and finding ways to re-connect with The Powers that Be in this universe. It’s kind of amazing to me how this awesome life force (or should I say Love Force?) that we tend to refer to as God is literally hollering at you every which way you turn screaming I’M HERE FOR YOU. And we just go on our merry way thinking “Oh my, what a lovely sunset.” I think I know better now and that’s a good thing I’m truing to wave back a little now…
I feel so incredibly blessed to have found such a wonderful family on this Earth. I’ve met such great friends along the way in Key West. It will be really difficult being away and knowing that this part of my life is part of my past instead of my present. But I hope the friendships we’ve made and the lessons we’ve learned will continue to grow in the years to come. It’s like my heart keeps getting bigger and bigger every time we move. Each home we’ve had is a like a new family and by the time we have to move; our family has double in size.
Now I can say that we have family in Puerto Rico, Oklahoma, and Key West! And it’s only going to keep getting bigger!!
So I will try and leave this on a happy note. I’m not very good at goodbyes… I’d rather just run out the door with a quick hug and try and focus on what’s to come. We will keep growing. We will keep learning. We will keep bouncing from one place to another. But we will most definitely miss every single part of Key West and every home we have to leave behind… That’s just part of our life.
So sending out some hugs and kisses to Key West. To the amazing mommies and kids that turned into amazing friendships for both me and Little Lue. For the incredible athletes out there running in the sun every day that inspired both Duvi and I to get off the couch and out the door. For the amazing foods and restaurants we found that inspired new diets and new blogs! For the incredible artists and small business owners that captured our imagination and dreams and reminded us of how important it is to do what you love each and every day.
Yup, you will be missed. Until next time, you rocky little island you…
Finishing up with a single image from our last day at the house.
So last week was our last class of the Music Together semester. This would be the last semester we would be participating as our move to Germany is fast (too fast) approaching. We had started going before Little Lue’s first birthday and it had quickly turned into our Tuesday ritual. On the few weeks that the class was not going on I felt utterly lost… Little Lue and I (and daddy and Nana on the occasional class) really enjoyed our time there. The teachers, Miss Sandra and Miss Molly, were awesome, the company (mostly our closest friends) was exceptional. And music class was often followed by coffee dates and park visits.
Ok… so I just teared up a little…
Seriously… I can’t believe we are leaving our amazing Key West family. Going to our last class was kind of the first real marker that our time here is almost over.
I tried to take a few photos… but evidently my heart wasn’t in it. As they are all blurry and gloomy looking. I don’t want to say good bye. Don’t let the lackluster photos deter you. Music Together is AWESOME and worth it. I enjoy the music, the singing, dancing, and all their fun props and instruments. Little Lue loves it and I got to really see her grow in it as she started to learn how to talk, sing, follow directions, and just everything. It has been really great… I wish we could stay and enjoy it a little longer…
Sorry for being such a downer today. On a more positive note, I’ve been really busy with the photography business! Lots of weddings to edit and a few fun events as well! Go check that out over on my Photography Services page. 😀 All the action over there has been cutting my personal blogging time a bit short. But I promise Camera Latte is here to stay and I can’t wait to share all of the adventures that await us in Europe!
It’s hard to explain how important this race was for me. And while this post was meant to be about “race day” it’s slowly turned into my “running story”. So sit back, relax, and make yourself comfortable if you’re going to read through this one.
Maybe it was my total lack of physical activity during my youth… I had something to prove to myself.
Maybe it was the voice in my head… Repeating comments from others that I had come to accept as truth. “You don’t run.” “You’re a couch potato.” “You’re not athletic.” “You’re so tiny, why work out?” “Don’t work out, you will disappear.”
My brain was wired to say “I can’t.”
But among many things I have learned this past year, one of them was the game changer for me. I learned that I could change ANYTHING in my life if I believed in myself. This cliché mumbo jumbo had finally clicked, and it was true. The only person keeping me from a healthier lifestyle, was myself.
Eating better, was my choice. Switching to a vegetarian diet, was my choice. Using the car less and walking/biking more, was my choice. Getting out the door for a work out, was my choice. Anything other than “I don’t want to…” was simply an excuse. Plain and simple, if I wanted to get in better shape and live a healthier life, I had to stop making excuses and just get out there.
All I had to do, was make that choice.
I was lucky to meet a few moms who served as inspiration. And while I didn’t know it then, my first few “Mommy and Me” work outs with Amy at Stay Fit Studio would plant a seed in my head. An idea that maybe I could be more athletic. That maybe if I wanted it, if I worked towards it, if I tried enough, maybe I could do these things that my brain was so convinced I could not.
And then Luna came along… Ah Luna… My little nut. Luna is an almost 2 year old Siberian Husky whom we adopted about 6 months ago. And from day 1 in our home, she had way too much energy. She would pace in the hall. Harass Bongo to play with her constantly. Howl and cry for attention and playtime. And with no yard (at least not a fenced in one) her only outlet was a walk. A long, long walk. Every morning and evening.
After a couple of months of walking, I was starting to feel a difference in how I felt about myself. It wasn’t much, but 30-45 minute walks once or twice a day started to make me feel more… well… fit. I was less tired during the day, felt more comfortable being outside walking for longer periods of time without wanting to sit or needing a break.
And then I had this crazy thought… Why don’t I just run… Just a tiny little jog from here to that stop sign over there, just a few yards away… And so I did, and it felt good. So good, I did it again the next day… Only, I went a little further the next time, and the next, and the next.
And that’s how it all started.
Soon, I set my eyes on a 5K to prove my progress. I ran it and shocked myself by making a faster time than expected. Not only that, but my goal had been to finish, so I wasn’t exactly killing myself either. So you can imagine that I felt like a super woman. I ran a 5k and it wasn’t even that hard.
If I could do this much in a few months, how much further could I take this? Could I lower my times even further? Could I run even further?
The answer to both those questions were YES!
YES, you can improve your times with practice.
YES, you can run further with practice.
And so I set my eyes on something a bit more substantial. A half marathon seemed like reaching too far, so I found my race, the 7 Mile Bridge Run. A race just a little longer than a 10K.
From the day I signed up, it was ON. I was not just running for fun/fitness, I was training. Running anywhere from 3-5 times a week.
Slowly my short 1.5 mile runs faded away and morphed into 3 mile runs. My longer 2-3 mile runs turned into 4-5 mile runs.
And then… race day… I knew I could do it, but I hadn’t actually DONE it yet. My longest practice run had only been 6 miles. But I was ready to prove myself, ready to show myself that I could do whatever I set my mind to do. And that that voice in my head that always creeped in during practice runs “I’m too tired”, “it’s too hot” ,”I can’t finish” was lying.
Because that’s all this all is. A mind game. A struggle for control. Do I control this body, or does this body control me. I was determined to prove the first.
You can imagine the how my heart sank and the tears flowed when I arrived to the race start point, 1.5 hours away from my house, and I had left my ID at home. I couldn’t pick up my race number. That’s right, my big race day, and I had forgotten the one thing I actually needed to be able to race.
My husband, who was also running, suggested we simply go home and that “it was just a race” and “not a big deal”. But he didn’t understand that this was a big deal. This was my race. My moment to prove that I could do this thing that I had been training and working for… for months.
So with a heavy heart filled with disappointment and anger (for being so careless!) I picked myself up and told him I was still running the race. No number. No medal. No nothing. I would run it for my self, for my pride.
My wonderful husband offered to run by my side, so we could at least symbolically share his number. Somehow this calmed my nerves. I was still going to do it. I was still going to run. And I was not going to let some random mistake keep me from saying “I did it!”.
As the registration area emptied, my husband decided to try one last time to see if he could sway some soft hearted volunteer into giving us my number.
And somehow, he did. As he huddled with a few volunteers… I could see them all nodding their heads. I approached them and they just smiled and winked and told me not to tell anyone (whoops?). I don’t think I could have ever expressed how grateful I was to those volunteers. I knew they broke the rules and made an exception, but it meant the world to me. Thank goodness for compassion!
And so… that’s it!
I happily stood at the start line with my friends who had also been working hard to participate in this race. I ran smoothly for the first couple of miles feeling amazing. Ran up and down the big hill wondering when that 4th mile marker would ever come around. I dragged myself through mile 5 and 6 knowing that I was more than half way done. And just when that voice started to get louder “You’re too tired”, “You might be dehydrated”, “What if you faint?”, “You can’t”, “Walk”… I knew I had to take back that control.
Keep going, just a bit further, you’re almost done, you CAN do this.
And I did.
That voice inside my head, has been lying all these years.