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.
Parenting is about lots of things, but it’s mostly about love. People always say becoming a mother changes you, “There is nothing like it.” or “Your life will never be the same.” Which is not false information, but man do they leave out a lot of crucial information.
I was eighteen when I found out I was going to be a mother and scared beyond belief. Daniel and I had been dating about a year and I was nowhere near ready to have a child. (I mean is anyone really though?) I remember confiding in my closest friends and them being very supportive of whatever I decided to do. I never believed in abortion, but boy do you consider it once you are faced with the decision. My level of empathy on that topic and so many others’ has grown tremendously. Which brings me to topic #1.
Don’t judge another parent, period.
We’ve all said it. It’s okay. I’ve done it, though I’m not proud. The famous line “When I have a child, I will never…” “My child won’t ever…” Yeah sure. I’ve had to eat so much humble pie on this subject, you would not even believe it. Here’s the thing though, you will NEVER know just what that parent is going though, until you become one and even then, every child is different! It all makes sense now that I’m a mother.
Life is tough, and kids are hard work, It is a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week gig. No holidays off, no sick days, no pay, and almost no appreciation. I truly cannot picture life without these little Rugrats but seriously, the hardest job I’ve ever had is being a mother. When I see that mom or dad now, doing something I wouldn’t, I chalk it up to difference of parenting and keep It moving.
I always hear people say the first child is the sweetest, or the easiest and I have to laugh to myself. I can’t help but think God truly has a plan for us all, because I met my match with Mr. Raine. He was preparing me for having twins, because after Raine, and situation was a walk in the park! I had this idea of the kind of mom I would be, and that all went out the window when he was born. It could be the age I was, or the naivety, but whatever it was, I learned this:
2. There is always an “exception to the rule” child.
I wish I could say things always go smoothly but that’s a crock of shit. I’ve dealt with so much by being Raine’s mom. He is the child that I’ve read books about, created charts for, did all the possible things they recommend and still, sometimes it just doesn’t work. My patience had grown exponentially, and I’ve learned to let lots of things roll off my back. Not everything is going to be solved right away and sometimes you just need to put a pin in it, and figure it out later. Raine is my guinea pig, my little best friend, a pain in my butt, and my absolute whole heart. Parenting is about lots of things, but it’s mostly about love. When I don’t know what to do, sometimes I just give him a hug and kiss and say “let’s do better tomorrow.” Because honestly, none of us are perfect and how can we expect our little one’s to be something that we aren’t? (Yeah, I can be deep!) You have to learn to laugh about it sometimes and definitely have a bottle of wine handy for after bedtime! Which leads me to my final topic:
3. You can’t take things too seriously!
I cannot even count the amount of times I’ve been so angry or so upset as a parent. The chaos, the noise, (children are so loud!) the neediness, attitudes, messes, lack of sleep etc. But life is too short to be so serious all the time. Between the tantrums, puke, melt- downs at Target, and poopy- diapers, one could lose their mind. Try to laugh it off, and just remember that these crazy years go by so quickly. Once they are teenagers and ignoring us, we’ll be begging for those cuddles during nap time (when they just won’t fall asleep) or the theme song to the show they watch five million time a day! Those are the things we will remember most and the things we miss. So laugh, cry, and hold onto the moments with everything you have, (even the frustrating ones!) Because once it’s gone, we won’t have it back.
For as long as I can remember I’ve identified myself as a “Gypsy at heart!” I craved adventure, the unknown, creating my own path, and making my own rules. Fast forward to today, a full- time student, wife, mother of three (with twins!) and many other responsibilities in my life, things have leveled out and become “safe.”
Though I love the idea of stability and sustainability in one’s life, the aspect of myself I respect most, is that of freedom. I see my glass as half full when I want nothing more than for that glass to overflow. This past year especially, I’ve been very upset at where life is.
A month ago, I stumbled across an Instagram page of a person who was doing exactly what I wanted to be doing. Writing, traveling, and enjoying the company of their loved ones on their own terms. I was amazed. How could this be?
Then it hit me…
I was calling myself one thing, but being someone completely different. I was wanting to live freely and make my own schedule, but doing things exactly like everyone else because it was the “safe way” to live. All the while, feeling so empty inside. No longer. I vowed to create my own way.
Which brings me to today; Being brave and living my truth. I have just three short months of school left, and the hope of a promise I made myself: Remember to enjoy the journey. Because of this, I’m no longer interested in being the gypsy girl I once knew and loved. I’m evolving into the gypsy mama and that’s okay. My life won’t look the way I once thought it would.
It’s something even more beautiful.
It’s a work in program, it’s not going to happen overnight but I refuse to settle. My children deserve to see their mother living out her dream! I’m going back to my passion and risking it all to be happy.
Writing is my therapy, it’s my expression, it’s my art. This will be the year I focus on molding into the person I can be proud of for myself. It will be messy, it will be uncomfortable, but it will also be freeing, cathartic, and real. I promise to put my happiness first and never give up on what I want in life. Being a mother and wife doesn’t mean settling, it means working harder for the things I am determined to have and the life I am destined to live. So I hope this blog finds someone out there and you enjoy the posts to come! Thanks for taking this journey with me.