Thursday, April 28, 2011

Love Yourself First

I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. It's not just some cliche saying, it's true, but it's obviously true. Everything in life has a reason, a purpose... whether we understand what it is or not. I'm finally beginning to understand the reason why so many of my relationships have failed. It's called co-dependency and I've had it for a long time, I just never knew it. I always feel like it's my job to "fix" someone when they start to show their true colors after the honeymoon phase of the relationship wears off and reality sets in. With my last relationship, I was so incredibly determined to make it work that I was totally blind to the fact that my son was being abused right under my nose and I didn't see it. I was so incredibly focused on fixing the problems with that relationship that I didn't realize that a much bigger, much worse thing was happening to one of my children. Never again will I allow that to happen. I was so consumed by helping someone that didn't want to help themselves that I didn't realize that my son was the one who really needed my focus and my attention and my help. I will probably never forgive myself for not seeing it earlier on. But after I prayed and prayed for God to give me the answer, he finally helped me to wake up and see that relationship for what it really was and it ended very poorly. I'm still recovering from the shock of it all, but I'm taking it one day at a time. My grieving is not over the loss of the relationship. I actually feel quite relieved and more calm now that it's over. No more worrying or checking up to make sure he's not being dishonest anymore. That in itself is invaluable and has lifted a huge weight off of my shoulders. My grieving is for my children. I'm sad that my son had to endure what he did because of my inability to devote more attention to him. I'm sad that my oldest daughter has no idea why he can't live with us anymore and has had to watch another Dad leave her. I'm sad that my youngest daughter, his own flesh and blood, will also have to grow up with a father who will undoubtedly disappoint her time and time again. And the hardest thing for a mother to do is watch her children suffer and not be able to do anything about it. So I vow to do everything in my power to make sure that they suffer as little as possible from yet another bad relationship decision on my part. Because of this, I've decided to stop dating for at least a year, maybe longer, until I can figure out what I want for myself and how to respect myself enough to not let these kind of men into my life anymore who are just going to use and abuse me for all I'm worth. I have a sincere problem seeing my own self-worth, but I'm working on that one day at a time. I know I cannot fully appreciate and love another person until I can learn to love myself first. And I pretty much hate myself most days, so this is gonna take a lot of work. But I am ready. I'm going to leave that past where it is and where it will stay. Tomorrow is a new day and another chance and I'm not gonna waste it this time.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sweet Baby Alivia Grace ♥

I call her my Sunshine Girl. She's almost too good to be true. She's so happy all of the time, always smiling. She very rarely ever cries. She's the best baby a Mom could ever ask for. I love all of my kids with all of my heart, but today, my sweet Sunshine Girl turns six months old and I'm really missing her, with me being at work today. It's already been half a year. I can't believe how quickly the time is going by. I wish she could stay small enough to cuddle in my arms forever but she seems to be growing up even faster just because she is my last baby.

My Sweet Baby Alivia Grace... I waited for you for what seemed like an eternity at the end of my pregnancy, and now you're already six months old. Where does the time go? I can't wait to see what kind of little lady you're going to grow up to be, but please take your time!

Thank you for making me smile everyday and for picking me to be your Mom.
Happy Half-Birthday!

I love you so much!

Alivia Grace - 6 Months Old

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When The Truth Literally Hurts

I've been reading this book lately called Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood. Wow. I never thought reading a book could be so hard. At the recommendation of my counselor, yes, I'm in therapy... he suggested I read this book. I thought to myself, there's no way this book is going to apply to me. I know exactly what I'm doing. I WAS SO INCREDIBLY WRONG! This book was MADE for me. It was WRITTEN about me. Not about me exactly, but I am identifying with every woman in this book in one way or another. And it's not pretty. I feel as if I have been blinded by so much my whole life and the more I read this book, the more I can see exactly where I am going wrong. It's no secret I haven't been exactly the luckiest in love. I seem to be a dirtbag magnet. Or am I? Or is it that I just allow these men into my life because I have felt like it's been my mission from God to help these men become who they say they want to be? Well, after two failed marriages and several failed relationships, my most recent relationship was by far the most devastating to me when it ended and I started to realize that I have to have some kind of reason or explanation as to why this keeps happening to me. I never in a million years thought I would be one of those women who allowed herself to be physically assaulted by her significant other until it happened to me last weekend. The bruise on my face and the pain from that pales in comparison to the bruise on my heart and on my ego that I failed yet again. That's painful to admit. Now I'm a single Mom with three children all by different fathers, another court case underway, and more drama than I care to admit. My life has become exactly what I never wanted it to be. However, Monday was a new, fresh start for me. No more losers. No more abusers, liars, cheaters, atheists... I am no longer going to compromise my faith, my wants or my needs for someone undeserving. I have so much potential for greatness and I refuse to let anymore of these roadblock relationships get in the way.

I know I am a great mother. I know I am a good friend, a good daughter, a good listener. I help others when I can, even at my own sacrifice and never expect anything in return. And I will NEVER change that about myself. I am going to continue to be the good person that I know I am regardless of what these horrible men in my life have said about me and put me through. I am stronger, smarter and more resilient than I give myself credit for and I need to stop putting myself down. I'm done with that mess. And I'm done being a woman who loves too much, but I will always be a woman who loves with all her heart. It's knowing the difference between the two that has been my biggest challenge. 

I recommend this book to all women struggling with failed relationships. I warn you, it's a hard book to read, but will be the best thing you will ever do for yourself.

Women Who Love Too Much - Click Here to preview the book on Amazon

Sunday, April 10, 2011

My Little Weekly Escape: Warm Flow Yoga

It's no secret that being a mom of three children under 8 is stressful. Aidan does Cub Scouts and has CCD class, not to mention homework and other school related activities. Ava is in dance class and has medical issues a lot of the time. Alivia is only five months old, doesn't sleep through the night a lot of the time and is a lot of work, simply because of her age. I'm also employed full time, so needless to say, I am constantly on the go. My life is semi-chaotic at times and stress levels get to an awfully high level some days. I love my life, I love my kids and I love my family, but every once in a while, it's nice to be able to do something just for me.

A few months ago, I saw a post where my friend Kristina had tried a warm yoga class and liked it a lot. Something told me that it might be something I could try and might possibly like, too. So one Saturday morning, I went to Hot House Yoga with her in Ormond Beach and tried hot yoga for the first time. I had not exercised in probably 5 years when I went to that class. I struggled through it and was amazed at what the people around me were able to do. I thought, there is NO WAY I will ever be able to do that, through several of the poses. But I tried. And the next two days, I could hardly move I was so sore. But it was a good feeling. I felt so relaxed and re-focused after that class. I knew had to go back for more.

A few weeks later, I joined the gym across the street from my work. I wanted to try a few of the cardio classes they offered and was wonderfully surprised when I saw the yoga studio they had inside. My gym has a fantastic kids' room as part of their membership and I am able to drop all three of my kids off there and work out whenever they are open. I started doing just that on Saturday mornings and tried their yoga class. I was so happy that I was able to find a yoga class so close to home, as Hot House is quite a drive for me. Now, three months later, not a Saturday goes by that I don't literally yearn to go to yoga class. They offer it throughout the week as well and I try to get to as many classes as I possibly can. I've already made great progress in my yoga practice and every time I go, I am able to do a little bit more than I was the last time.

After having three children, I struggled with back pain almost daily. My sciatic nerve pain on my right side was so unbearable at times, I would have to lay in bed on a heating pad all day and pop ibuprofen like candy just to be able to move. I would try to stretch out the nerve and the muscles on my own, but it never seemed to last very long before I was all tense and in pain again. Now, three months after starting yoga, my back pain is almost non-existent. I still get tense in my back and have to stretch it out and take some Advil to get it to release, but I fully believe that my yoga practice has helped stretch those muscles to alleviate the pain I was experiencing. The more yoga I do, the less pain I experience in my sciatic. One time in class, I was doing a certain stretch and heard a very loud popping sound coming from my lower back. It startled me, but at the same time, it felt so good. Whatever it was that "popped" that day has given me so much pain relief in my sciatic.

Another benefit I've experienced from yoga is the stress relief. I leave that class more calm and collected than I was just 90 minutes before. All of the stress and worry and anxiety I felt over the week before just seems to melt away and I leave that class feeling ready to take on another week. I suffer from extreme panic attack disorder. I have for most of my adult life. Yoga has also helped me in that I have had a significant reduction in the amount of panic attacks I have during the week. There was a point in my life where I would have up to four major panic attacks in one day. No amount of medication I would take would make them stop. And if you've ever experienced a panic attack, you know that they leave you feeling as if you've run a marathon. They physically exhaust me. Since starting yoga, I sometimes don't have one at all, or will have only a mild one here and there. I have not experienced one debilitating panic attack since I started going to yoga. That in itself is invaluable to me.

Now, let's talk about the other great thing that has happened because of yoga... my strength and flexibility have been dramatically improved, that's a given. But I've also lost about 10lbs. since I started. I know I would lose more weight if I would follow a healthier diet, too and I'm working on that part.Sort of. I have always been and will always be a self-proclaimed foodie. I love to eat and I have the biggest sweet tooth so that will be my ultimate challenge is learning how to change the way I eat. I may never change the way I eat, but I feel that at least I'm exercising now, so it's better than eating like I was and not doing any exercise at all. I'll get there... but I've also quit smoking for over 2 months now. One crutch at a time. First the cigarettes, then the junk food. I'll get there.

Here are some of the poses I am able to do in yoga now... at 225 lbs and 5'9" tall, I can do these poses. Who would have thought? Not me! But I can, and I am proud of how far I have come in my practice already. One day I'll be able to do some more challenging poses, I know I'll get there. But, again, here is just a small sample of what I have been able to accomplish so far. There are others I have been able to do as well, but I am most proud of plow pose at this point. I never thought I could do it and surprised myself when I did for the first time a few weeks ago.

Tree Pose

Shoulder Stand

So there you have it. My little weekly escape. Yoga. And I plan on escaping to it as often as I possibly can!

Saturday, April 2, 2011


I just want to take a minute to write about how thankful I am to have so many wonderful friends in my life who always lift me up when I am in a funk. I feel very grateful to have met so many great people over the years who I've become as close as family with. Tonight, the kids and I went to a barbecue at the Buccini's house. The kids played hard together and had a blast. We ate great food, had a few drinks, and laughed the night away. It was just what I needed to lift my spirits up since I have been a little down lately.  I need to remember to keep surrounding myself with these kind of positive people in my life and I know good things will continue to happen for me. I'm making a decision for myself to snap out of this funk and keep going strong. I'm not just going to drag my feet and go through the motions anymore. I have to put my whole heart into living my life each and every day because I never know when it might be my last one. Life is too short to spend it worrying about something you will never be able to change. You have to move forward, learn from the past, and work hard today for a better tomorrow. No more looking back and missing what could have been or should have been. Instead, I'm going to keep looking forward at what WILL be because I will make it that way. And it will be a piece of cake since I am surrounded by so many supportive friends and family members who are always there to help me along the way. Thanks to all of you for all you do for me and my family. I appreciate your love and support more than you know.