In my last post, I mentioned how my eldest son Raine, came home one day from school, with a copious amount of excitement. His class had created a “summer bucket list,” and he was eager to share it with me. Unsurprisingly, his list was full of activities including Disneyland, Legoland, Knotts Berry Farm, visiting his cousin in Pennsylvania, and a trip to Chicago (to see Jojo Siwa in concert…yep, really.)
Of course, my first instinct was to panic. I knew there was no way we would be able to do all of these things before the summer was over. I also knew, between summer sports, camp, vacation bible school, etc., we would be exhausted. AND I knew, my main goal for summer break was to live at the beach and veg out with netflix marathons (sorry, just being real here!)
So, how would I break this news to my sweet faced mini bff of mine?
I hate letting him down. Then I thought back to my own childhood. I was one of five kids in my home, with a stay at home mother. There was no way we would have done even one of the things on Raine’s bucket list. It just wasn’t even an option. But, summers were always fun. My siblings and I spent most of our summer days playing outside, swimming, and coming home when it got dark, filthy from the carefree adventurous day we’d just had.
I realized it isn’t about WHAT you do, it’s about WHO you do it with. My cousin Raven would choreograph dances for us to learn, all the neighborhood kids would play football in the field together, and my siblings never left my side through each summer, which made those memories that much sweeter. My summers weren’t great because they were jam packed with events, they were great bccause of the people I was fortunate enough to have in my life.
I sat Raine down, discussed his list, and explained we should create a “family bucket list,” so everyone could contribute to the list. He loved the idea. We incorporated items of his list, with the new one, and it turned out great. We still have plans to go to Legoland and Knotts, but added things like beach day, making popsicles, arts and crafts, and water gun fights.
I’m confident this summer will be a great one, because i’m so very blessed with the best family a girl could ask for. I also know that Raine will have a great summer, because he is extremely loved, and all the money in the world couldn’t buy that.
As I near the end of my educational journey (for now) I have thought quite a bit about time. For some reason, time is the one thing, no matter how hard we may try, that we can’t control. Everyone says: “Enjoy the time you have with your kids, because before you know it, it’s over. ” As a mother, you want to soak up every moment, but get caught up in the craziness of everyday life.
For the past five years of my life, that’s been school. I would be up early, gone all day, and studying late. The hours of prepping, reading, and attending classes really adds up. Then adding internship into the equation last year, really took me away from my kids. I was shocked thinking that, for all of the twin’s lives’ and most of Raine’s life: I’ve been in school.
I was so relieved thinking about the evenings I won’t be gone, the late night studying sessions that will be over, and how my life will become much simpler. Then, a friend of mine who is in my program at school and also a mother, opened my eyes to a different situation. She explained she’d be taking the summer off, and not immediately entering the workforce. Her reasoning: this is the last summer she will have before her work career will truly start, and wanted to spend it with her kids, one last time. Instant mom guilt. Though I knew this was not an option for us, as we are in the process of moving, getting another car, and having three children in private school, I felt the mom guilt hard.
As much as we all like to act confident in our choices as parents, that guilt sometimes creeps up on us and there’s no denying it once it’s there. I’d dedicated so much time to my education, and now my career would be the focus. Was I selfish? Would my kids turn out alright? All these questions flooded my brain, and I became overwhelmingly sad.
The mom guilt won’t just go away. Even when speaking with my mother, she recalls moments in my own childhood, and you would think it just happened. Not that it was 20+ years ago! So, no, I don’t think there is some magical formula to give you time back, or even extend the moments you wish you could now. I do think though, that we have to make the most out of every moment. My goal from here on out, is to enjoy all the time I have left with my babies. It’s to forget everything else that is going on around me, and just be present when i’m with them.
Raine made a summer bucket list that he shared with us at his classroom open house, and I decided to create one for our family. Some things on there are big, like amusement parks and day trips, but other things on the list include making popsicles, seeing a drive- in movie, visiting the aquarium, etc. Because, even though I will be employed full- time, I will also have my evenings back, my weekends back, and enjoy holidays with my family as well. Refocusing my energy on being thankful for the memories we will be able to make together is the solution. I want to truly relish the time I do have left with my children, as children. I look forward to this summer, as I will be entering it with a grateful heart and an excitement about sharing these moments with you.
In high school I was a bit of a drifter. I moved around quite a bit, experimented with tons of things, and did my very best to find myself. I failed greatly. I’ve always been someone who has just wanted to make others happy, and never really figured out what that meant for myself. What makes me happy? It’s a question I still have a hard time answering.
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m happy with my life. I have an amazing supportive husband, three happy, healthy, wonderful children, and a family who is always there for me in any situation. I’m well aware of my blessings, but in the same way, I’ve never really thought about who I am without them. What I mean by that is: When my husband is working, my kids are in school, and everyone else around me is busy living life…. Who am I?
It’s a question I’ve been fortunate enough, (until now) to not have to answer. My life since high school, has been filled with: school, babies, and a rollercoaster of changes all around me. This life of mine, consumed any possibility of having to deal with this question. Which brings me to today.
My eldest son is now in school, the twins are starting pre-school in the fall, and I’ll be finished with my own schooling for the time being. I’m absolutely terrified of what this means for me as a person. I can no longer hide behind the tasks of my daily life, and am forced to confront this question.
I told my husband about a week ago, that I was a little envious of him. He asked me why, and I explained that he has so many hobbies, and things he loves to do. A chef, by profession, but an artist in the kitchen in his free time, loves working on cars, etc. He answered back “You like watching those reality tv shows babe.” I was shocked, and a little offended to be honest. Yes, I enjoy the critically acclaimed ABC shows, I mean Grey’s Anatomy, How to Get Away with Murder, they are addicting. But that couldn’t be my only hobby. That couldn’t be the only thing that people see when they look at me. And then I thought, how could I expect others to see something in me, that I couldn’t even see for myself. If I can’t answer the question of “who am I?” Why would anyone else be able to?
So instead of having misdirected anger or disappointment. I’ve decided to do something about it. I’ve given myself a new goal. Now that my children are entering new stages of their own, my husband is all in with his career, and I’ve earned my B.A., my next step is answering that question. It won’t happen overnight, and I fully expect it to be a little uncomfortable. But then again, tell me something worth having that isn’t?
I can’t wait to read, write, meditate, sing, dance, create, and brave as many new things possible, until I figure out who I am in this new stage i’m in. So stay tuned, as I enter into the next chapter of my life, and blog about it each step of the way!
Daniel and I really enjoy “staycations” all around Southern California. We’ve celebrated anniversaries in Laguna Beach, Escondido, Santa Monica, Downtown LA, Hollywood, Malibu, etc. Our bestfriends enjoy exploring different places as well, and the four of us had an amazing time when we embarked on a trip to Oregon. We had the pleasure of touring Salem and Portland, as well as a few surrounding little towns.
One of the first adventures we had was just getting to LAX and boarding our plane. Daniel is a real stickler for being on time, so we arrived at the airport at 4 a.m. He was working very close to LAX at the time, and we were able to park our car there for the duration of our leave. Well, no one seemed to tell Daniel the airport opened at a certain time…. and 4 a.m. was not that time. We sat there for a couple hours waiting.
This was also Daniel’s first flight.
Though he had been on an airplane before, he was very young and had no recollection of it. So his first adult flight was on this day, with me. He was very nervous, and i’m so glad I was right there next to him for it. love this fact, and really cherish this experience together. He ended up really enjoying the flight, and I was pleased to watch his innocent joyfulness. It was one of those mental pictures that I will always have.
A little backstory on our best friends
I met Cedric when I was a hostess at Ruby’s. We became friends while working together, and shortly after, I bonded with his girlfriend Mel. Mel is my bestie, we already had so much in common, but once she became a mom, the bond became stronger. It’s almost like this perfect puzzle piece when looking at our friendship. Daniel and Cedric get along so well, and Mel and I are freakishly alike. That is something, I cannot stress enough, that doesn’t happen often. The four of us just fit, and so we really became close over the years. When they lived in California, we would spend time together at escape rooms, double dating, Disneyland trips, etc. Mel is also the one who provides my family with beautiful photographs we will have forever (Thanks Mel!) So, you can imagine our devastation when they decided to move to Nebraska. We were thrilled for them, as it was just the right thing for their family, but selfishly, we knew we would miss them dearly. We decided to reunite in Oregon and continue the adventure there! The trip to Oregon was that much better, experiencing it with our dear friends.
Everyone in Oregon is so nice.
I am completely serious about this statement. Everyone was friendly from the minute we landed, to the minute we left. They all said hello, with smiles on thier faces and were just so nice. We were upgraded on the car rental, and Mel and Ced had their room upgraded when there was an issue. Just so nice. We stayed at the Red Lion Inn and it was a great experience. I fully recommend it. There was also a cute restaurant inside, and breakfast was included. Not cereal and juice haha, actual breakfast! The staff was also very accommodating!
Salem is just the cutest place.
All the homes are cottage- like, has a small town feel, and yet still had lots to do. We enjoyed a meal at a place called Best Little Roadhouse, the burgers were amazing!
We explored a place called Minto- Brown Island Park our first day and had the sweetest moment.
The greenery was so vibrant, the trees were towering, and it just felt so nice taking in the simplicity of it all. The whole trip we took turns taking pictures of eachother, which was a nice treat, because Daniel and I rarely capture moments together.
The trip was very eventful but I’ll share a few more highlights rather than the whole thing start to finish.
We also visited Tillamook and Oceanside. As most people know, Tillamook is famous for their dairy products. Oceanside had the most breathtaking beach.
It was a cloudy and gloomy day, but it made the overall experience even more enchanting. The waves crashing somehow soothed me, and provided a calming feeling. It was the most relaxed I may have ever been. I would love to come back here someday with the kids.
Neskowin Beach State Recreation Site (Shown above)
Cape Lookout State Park
Boiler Bay State Park
The view overlooking the water was magnificent. It really does give you a great deal of perspective, taking in the simplicity of this place. I think the happiness in our faces says it all.
This photo below was of The Devil’s Punchbowl. Isn’t it amazing? We really thought so!
We enjoyed another great meal in Oceanside and then had drinks before we left! I loved the menu at the Blue Agate Cafe. The mermaid lover inside me was pretty thrilled.
These drinks were enjoyed at The Macadangdangs Reefside Bar overlooking the amazing ocean (shown and above) and were very tasty. I had the “Root Beer Float” which was made with whipped vodka, rootbeer, and cream (Yum!) The rest in the group had the “Maui Wowie,” the “Rum Punch” and “Nookie on the Beach!” All were equally amazing. Put this on your must see list for sure.
The most adventurous part of our trip was towards the end of it:
We walked seven miles to see ten waterfalls. I really wish I could transport the readers to Silver Falls because it’s really the only way to do it justice.
This was Daniel inside the cave behind the waterfall.
We saw exactly what we came there for on this day. One of the best events from this day was when Mel and I spotted a huge tree that had fallen over, and we decided to walk across it to get to the other side. So thrilling. One of the scariest moments, was when Ced slid down a muddy area and caught himself, just in time to avoid falling off the edge. That was terrifying. Some other interesting parts of this day were: Ced and I deciding to take a shortcut, we got lost, it grew dark, and it began to rain heavily, all the while we were still lost in the forest. It was still an amazing experience. It’s actually one of the most talked about parts of the trip haha. I cannot wait to go back and continue adventuring with our dear friends. You will absolutely not regret visiting Oregon.
Recently, I’ve given my readers a glimpse into my life. It’s been scary and exciting, but overall, really satisfying. I’m often skeptical about being too vulnerable. Well, I’ve decided to dig a little deeper, and introduce you to a part of my life I try to focus the least on: My anxiety and depression.
I have a family history of depression.
So, I always knew there was a possibility I would have to face it, at some point in my life. I have had spurts of depression since my teenage years, but it was manageable for the most part. It wasn’t until I’d given birth to Raine, and developed postpartum, that I really began to understand: Shit,I have depression. I lived in a studio apartment in Korea-town when Raine was born. I was alone a lot of the time, and often consumed by sadness. Daniel worked two jobs and my family still had to live their lives’ despite me being a new mom. I think It was both a blessing and a curse having that much time to reflect on things. I overcame my postpartum, but the depression would still come and go over the years, until the twin’s were born.
Depression took on a whole new meaning, once I (shocker) had postpartum again after my second pregnancy. Being a twin mama, as I’ve shared, is not for the faint of heart. Also, as some people may not know, you are at a higher risk of having postpartum depression again, if you’ve dealt with it during a previous pregnancy. This time though, the postpartum was for a shorter period of time. What I didn’t know at the time, was that I would be gaining a new scary partner: Anxiety.
Now my anxiety happened for the first time during my pregnancy with the twins. I remember being in the car with my mom (while I was very pregnant) and not being able to breathe. I freaked out and she pulled over to the side of the road, so I could get out. It was the single most frightening experience of my life. I actually thought I was going to die. Now this was a single occurrence and didn’t creep it’s way back in until after I gave birth. In fact, directly after the postpartum depression ended, I began having frequent anxiety and panic attacks. Which was not easy, to say the least.
I’m anxious constantly now, it’s almost a daily occurrence.
But, it’s just something I’ve had to learn to live with. Little things get me worked up, I start to get anxious, and then depression comes in shortly after. It does affect my ability to see the glass half- full sometimes, which sucks. It’s even harder when you are feeling completely defeated, and still have these little faces looking up at you, needing you to be there. Motherhood, depression, and anxiety are one hell of a combo. Because of this, I like to stay as positive as I can. If anyone knows me, my instagram page is proof of that. I always say though, the positivity, and inspirational quotes, they’re just as much for me, as they are for anyone else reading them. Sometimes that’s all that gets me through the day. Sometimes, I post the exact opposite of my vibe in that moment even. I think we’re always expected to be okay, and it’s just complete bullshit. Life is hard, and we’re only human.
Now on the flip side of that, I do really enjoy the good times. When I have a moment where I feel really good, i soak it up. I let the positivity ooze out, because I know those moments are fleeting. I know it’s hard to always keep pushing, keep holding on, and not giving up. The alternative though? Terrifies me. So there is no other option, than to give it all you’ve got, and then just be okay with that. Like I said, I’m a work in progress, and I will be until I take my final breath. I firmly believe in therapy, spending time with the one’s you love, and finding your self- care activity (and sticking to it!)
It won’t be something that magically goes away for me, or a lot of other people out there. But, it’s something I absolutely refuse to let consume my life. It’s something that I won’t allow to ruin my happiness or break my spirit. To anyone dealing with this, don’t you dare give up, keep fighting with all you’ve got! This was by far, the hardest post to write, but also very cathartic. Thank you so much for being on this blogging journey with me!
“Having a baby is as exhausting as they say it is. Having two babies? That’s just unfair.” – Jim Halpert (The Office)
I laugh every time I hear that line while watching The Office. It really is such a true statement. TWO BABIES. Who ever would have thought that would be our path?
I remember the day we found out we’d be having twins. Daniel and I thought we were ready for anything. I arrived at the same office i’d had all of my previous ultrasound appointments for Raine. I sat in the same lobby until they called my name. Daniel was running late, and I remember being extra nervous at that point for some reason. They set me up in the room and checked everything out. They were very polite, and allowed me to wait for Daniel to find out the gender (which is what our appointment was for that day!) I let out a sigh of relief when he finally made it to the room.
“Okay, so do you see that?” We did. I nodded. “That’s the first baby, and this one over here is baby #2!” My face sunk. First baby? baby #2? What was she talking about? Clearly this lady had it wrong. I sat there in disbelief. “We’re having twins?” Daniel asked excitedly. I began drowning out the conversation between the two of them at this point. I went into complete freakout mode. We had planned for ONE more baby. We had financially prepared for ONE more baby. We wanted Raine to have ONE sibling to bond with. I was completely devastated. When I finally came back to reality Daniel just kept saying over and over “We’re having twins!” I wanted to punch him. How could he be excited? I literally felt like my life was over.
We thanked the Technician and went on our way. We walked down the hallway silently. In the elevator, Daniel started to have a conversation, that same annoyingly pleasant tone, and I started bawling. “Baby, are you excited, or are those upset tears?” I began to explain how everything was going to change, how my life was forever going to be burdened my this, and how I didn’t think we could do it. I never understood how Daniel could be so happy and not upset even a little in that moment. Hindsight, I’m forever grateful for his positive attitude, because it’s what ultimately got me out of my funk, and into an attitude of gratitude.
In the days to follow, we would give the news to our families, friends, and co-workers. I remember crying on more than one of those phone calls. The responses were half excited/surprised and half worried for us, which I completely understand. It was not something we planned. In fact, Daniel and I had a running joke that we only wanted two children, so we wouldn’t be outnumbered. I guess God laughed at that plan.
I was extremely blessed in both of my pregnancies. I wanted a home birth like I had with Raine, but it was no longer legal to have home births for multiples. So I had to mentally prepare for a hospital birth, a foreign concept to me. Everything else went great! I went full term with Raine, and made it to 38 weeks with the twins (I was huge!) I was actually supposed to be induced that morning at 9a.m. and, was pretty freaked out by the induction process they explained the previous week to me. My body must have known, because I went into labor on my own, the same day at 4a.m. I was able to deliver natural and without any medication. My doula, Mikki Bell, was also beyond amazing. So if you’re thinking of having a doula, I can recommend a kickass one! The twins were healthy and beautiful. Jax was 6 pounds 15 1/2 ounces and Rowen was 5 pounds 12 ounces.
So fast forward to the difficult aspects of having twins… right after they were born!!! I hated being in the hospital, and left before my “time was up.” The constant interruptions from nurses and doctors was irritating. I know it’s their job, but I was used to the quiet of my home (with my previous home birth.) When we got home it was a little calmer, but not without it’s complications.
Breastfeeding twins is EXTREMELY difficult. The first few months I would breastfeed, pump, and repeat. Between the two of them, I felt that I was always feeding someone. I set up shop in my room, put Netflix on, and pumped. At one point, I remember feeding both babies at the same time, just to feel more productive. I put Jax on one boob, and Rowen on the other. Daniel was in awe. So yeah, breastfeeding was no easy task.
I had really bad postpartum depression, and it didn’t help that Daniel had a very limited amount of paternity leave. I just cried and cried all day, and waited hopelessly for him to come home at night. Daniel was, and is, a very hands on dad. But even with the maximum amount of help, it still felt unbearable some days. I never thought I would see past the breastfeeding, dirty diapers, crying, or lack of sleep. We moved shortly after to Temecula. Though, Daniel still worked two jobs in LA. Because of this, it made more sense for him to sleep at his mother’s house, (some nights) to avoid the long drive home, and lack of sleep. There were many nights I tackled this parenting thing alone. I juggled sleepless nights with the twins, while also taking care of Raine. Man am I glad those days are over!
It didn’t exactly become easier after this phase either.
Just like all parents, when I thought I’d mastered a stage, they moved on to another one. And just like that, I was clueless again. This was true with them teething, being sick, crawling, walking, talking, fighting, (constantly) and all the other life stages children go through. Only we were experiencing it with two babies at once. Piece of cake, right? HA. Not even close.
I still have frustrated days, where I’m so overwhelmed I don’t know what to do. I still worry, I still feel like I’m carrying the world on my shoulders. I still cry (a lot!) None of that just went away. But it did become more manageable on most days. It has become so much a part of my life, I barely remember the days when there were just three of us. All the hard times are so worth having, if it means having my babies. The experience is so complex, but the good times are SO GOOD. When I see them worry about each other, when they don’t like to be apart, when they play, laugh, and speak to each other (twin language is real!) It makes it all worth it. It’s such a beautiful thing we’ve been chosen to do. I read something once that said “God trusted me so much, he gave me two.” I love that saying and feel it rings so true. I wake up every morning, and go to bed every night, with so much gratitude for this role I get to play in their lives. We are forever a “party of 5” and I wouldn’t change that even for a second!
Ah marriage. Something taught to us as kids growing up, equivalent to the holy grail. Everyone I knew either had it or wanted it. I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into when Daniel and I said “I do.”
I was married at nineteen. Pregnant, and two years into my relationship when we decided to take the plunge. My biggest reasoning was based on religion. I knew it was a sin to live together. Especially having a child on the way, and not being married. Oh yeah, that was a big “no no.” Daniel, bless his heart, just wanted to make me happy. In all honesty though, neither of us knew the responsibility we had given ourselves at such a young age.
I think it was the pressure we put on ourselves that made it so hard in the beginning. It was also the fact that we didn’t give ourselves time to just be together, we missed a huge part of the dating experience. So much of our life together seemed like someone had hit the fast- forward button.
One thing that I learned (and pretty recently) is that the most unfair thing you can do to someone you love, is put them on a pedestal. I had done this to Daniel on many occasions and the resentment built up really quickly.
“We like to put people on a pedestal, give them one character trait, and if they step outside of that shrine-like area that we blocked out for them, then we will punish them.” – Madonna Ciccone
Which is exactly what I did. I was frustrated by these unrealistic expectations I had for him, that I had given him. How shitty is that? He was being human and I was upset by it. But you know what? He loved me anyway. He is the most forgiving, selfless person I’ve ever met and his qualities outweigh, no… surmount his shortcomings. I could not have picked a better father, husband, or best friend to share my life with.
I see now just how immature I was, and how selfish I was too. I wasn’t thinking of our marriage as a partnership, I was looking out for my own ideations of what marriage was, and what everyone else expected it to be for us.
This year we celebrate eight years of marriage and ten years of being together. Quite honestly, there were days I didn’t think we would make it this far. I just thank God that he helped us pull through. Here are a few things I’ve learned so far:
You cannot expect your partner to be perfect, when you aren’t. I’m emotional, moody, needy, very grouchy in the morning, a control freak, the most indecisive person you will ever meet, among other annoying things, and yet Daniel never tries to “fix” me. So to expect him to be perfect is not only unrealistic but very unfair. Don’t do this.
Marriage is teamwork, you are not working against your partner. Sometimes it feels like you are always fighting an uphill battle in your education or in your career, but your marriage is not a part of that battle. Lift each other up, support each other, take turns succeeding, and it will feel like it’s a win for everyone. Which (spoiler alert) it is.
Change is good, don’t fight it. Learn to love it. I fought change for so long, I thought that if we changed, we would do it in opposite directions, and not end up together. That is a possibility, don’t get me wrong. We’ve basically grown up together, and we still have so much growing left to do. But if that happens, it won’t be because I clipped his wings. I refuse to let that happen now. The beautiful thing I realized, is that change is usually part of that growth. Growth can be a painful process, but what we get out of it is so amazing. I feel like with each chapter I love Daniel more, and I learn so much more about him in the process.
Never stop being friends! Beinga parent and being married is not always fun. However, you have to hold on to those things that attracted you to that person to begin with. Daniel is my best friend. I love spending time with him. Going on dates, running errands, or even just hanging out at home folding laundry together. It’s not always glamorous, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s what makes it real! Don’t ever stop laughing together, being silly, and having fun. Life is just way too short.