Traveling into the New Year

Happy New Year!!!

As I’m sitting enjoying a cup of coffee, I find myself reflecting on the past year and ultimately the past week. We’ve certainly ended 2019 in a frenzy, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We decided to do two trips about 3 days apart. We went to New Orleans from December 22-24 and Dallas from December 27-29. Throw in Christmas between all this and it was a little crazy.

New Orleans was fantastic. A great recharge before the holidays and family celebrations. We did everything we could in a span of a two days. We toured the park, had beignets, rode a trolly, went to the children’s museum (side note: always find the children’s museum in any city you travel; well worth the time and memories watching your little ones explore), ate good Cajun delicacies, and maybe enjoyed a drink or two. It is New Orleans after all.

Needless to say our day ended very early. As many folks know, the party in New Orleans truly starts when the sun goes down. Well, that’s when our party ended. we reminisced of past trips to the ‘Big Easy’ and concluded that this was our favorite. Until next time NOLA.

Christmas was amazing and relaxing. We hosted and enjoyed my husbands family coming over for the day. Needless to say, we were more than ready for a long winters nap when everything was said and done.

We took the next two days to regroup and prepare for Dallas. We were exhausted and excited for our next adventure.

Dallas was awesome as well. We toured the stockyards in Fort Worth and saw the cattle run (a favorite of Magnolias), then went to the Dallas Cowboys game. I am not a Dallas fan by any means (NE Patriots all the way), but I had fun cheering on my husbands team and watch his face light up just to be there. Well worth everything in my book.

Magnolia needed to let off some steam and as nap time approached and went, I had to find an alternative to keep her busy during the game. Bring on the ramps. For about 30 minutes, her and I just ran up and down those ramps and trying to stay out of trouble.

During our little marathon, I was stopped by a couple who asked me to take their picture. As I did, they marveled at my daughter and how well behaved she appeared (meltdown was imminent but I was avoiding it at all costs). They told me they were hoping to start a family soon and if I had any advice. I found myself telling them words that my husband and I live by everyday.

Don’t be afraid to stop living your lives. To take those weekend trips with your young ones. They will adapt as long as you adapt with them. Hence why I’m running up and down these ramps. Having a child shouldn’t change your lives completely. Just remember everyone has limits and at the end, you’ll be glad you took them along.

The women starting crying and thanked me for the best advice anyone has given her. It made me think of the advice I had received when I announced I was pregnant. I was told that I was at the mercy of my child. Doing what fit in their schedule. I quickly learned this was not the case. I was a walking milk supply for a year, as long as she was with me, she could eat. We brought the pack n plays along with her portable music night thing and she would sleep with no issues. Why were we afraid to travel? Yes our nights ended earlier than normal, but that was ok. It reminded us to stop and relax.

We made so many memories on the multiple trips we’ve taken with her. So many laughs and tears from the stress of traveling, but ultimately we only recall those happy ones and learned from the tears.

Don’t be afraid to live a life with your children. It will create moments that you will cherish for a lifetime to come. It will make you stronger parents and teach you to go with the flow. Life should never be planned and regimented. Love isn’t measured. Our love for family evolves through experiences and memories. Learn to love life and our families through these unplanned moments.

This is Motherhood

This is motherhood. It’s not perfect. It never will be.

I will make poor decisions every minute of every day. I will also make the right decisions every minute of every day.

Will my child take a bath every night? Nope, and that’s ok.

Will my child always be in bed at the same time EVERY night? Nope and that’s ok.

Will my child ever question my love and support to her? Nope, NEVER!!

The past 19 months have allowed many demons to surface at full force. With my own family and support so far away, I found it very difficult to tackle motherhood while still being an effective teacher and wife. Instead of helping, I was told to just either suck it up or adapt to someone else’s routine that works.

I hate to break it to people, but that doesn’t always work. As a society, we expect to place everyone under the same standards and expectations. If we do that, where’s the individuality? Where’s the piece that allows us to be human and express our own opinions and thoughts. Why, as woman, do we need to constantly appear as if we have it all under control? It isn’t fair to anyone.

Tonight I had to go for a run. I’ve decided to run a half Marathon on March 1. This is something for me and me alone. This is my thing. My escape. My therapy. I already feel better emotionally and physically. More stable in every area of my life.

Tonight I got home from work a lot later than I anticipated. My husband had a prior commitment. He dropped off our daughter to me at work and we went home as he ran off to what he needed to do. I got and prepped to go for a run. I knew if I didn’t go now, I’d find every excuse. So into the stroller and to the gym at our complex.

Things went great until they didn’t. Right at the end of the run she dropped the iPad. (Yes I gave my daughter an iPad to entertain herself in the stroller while I ran, it’s life). All I have to say is thank goodness for ‘Beat Bugs’! They have been a savior.

Was my daughter in the stroller, at the gym, with the iPad an idealistic situation? NO.

Was pushing her dinner back by an hour smart? What do you think?

But, guess what? She survived. I survived. She was OK. We made dinner together. We sat and talked while she ate and I started dinner. We laughed in the bath. We talked some more getting ready for bed. I kept getting hugs and sweet looks.

She didn’t care! She still ate and played and spent time with mommy. Her night was complete.

She constantly teaches me there are no rules and expectations. My health and happiness are what matter. Her happiness and well being are what matter.

This is how I tackle motherhood.

Halloween Hangover

Happy Halloween! (Couple of days late but o well)

Halloween was a great night when I was a child. Getting into a costume you’ve waited all month to wear. Running around your neighborhood while people handed out candy. It was like being loose in Willy Wonka’s factory, just minus the judge mental Oompa Loompas and deadly river of chocolate.

Halloween has now become a fun, stressful night. I never remember my parents looking frazzled at all. Any parent tells you how hard it is to get home and get your child ready for a night of candy hoarding.

This year we sent our daughter as Beetlejuice. When we picked her costume, we underestimated the struggle of placing makeup on a 17 month old. We imagined an easy 10 minutes of pure parent bliss. I know you are all laughing at how naive we were. I’m laughing just typing this. After 30 minutes of screaming, crying (from both me and my daughter), and always fun flailing, the makeup was complete!! Just an FYI, goldfish make everything better.

The night went as smooth as it could after that. It was memorable and pictures were taken to show her just how awesome her parents really are!!! I mean Beetlejuice!!

Here’s hoping the rest of the holiday season goes just as smooth. Hahaha I’m laughing again.

Time to be honest

Motherhood is a selfless act. The minute we hold our babies, we promise to always protect and provide until the day we die. The love we have for that little bundle immediately consumes and overwhelms us. It becomes our reason to be alive everyday. Some will argue it’s the hormones and drugs. I call it unconditional love.

The minute I held my daughter, I just remember crying. Here she was. After years of hoping, praying, and waiting, she was in my arms. Looking at me with the most beautiful eyes I’d ever seen. I didn’t want to put her down. Nothing else mattered. I experienced no other feeling except love.

Fast forward 17 months and that love has grown exponentially from that day. I’ve provided and protected her but at a great cost. I’ve forgotten to protect and provide myself. I’ve put her well being and the well being of my husband before my own.

I’ve often gone without and kept my feelings and emotions hidden. Trying to let the world see that I’m great. Everything was fantastic. In truth, everything is not.

Lately I’ve been neglecting my personal mental health. I’ve stopped caring about things I once enjoyed. I no longer want to be around my daughter or husband. I just want to run away and cry. Cry for no reason. It’s starting to affect my marriage, my work, and my daughter.

I’m seeing the warning signs. It’s time to stop putting everyone before me and worry about me. The house doesn’t work when one person is down. If I’m always down, it doesn’t help anyone.

As woman, we need to stop trying to be like everyone else. It’s ok to not always be on. There’s no rule book on how a child should be raised or how fast they should develop. Moms can’t do it all and as women, we know this. There’s no shame in asking for help. Asking for help means we can recognize when it’s tough and it makes us better.

I’ve taken the first step in talking to my doctor on what to do. I’m done competing with other woman who appear to have it all. I already have it all. I have the best version, to me. No one else matters. What works in my world, works for me and me alone!

It’s time to speak up and stand. I can’t do it alone. I need help!

Tough One

Mommy rant coming to a computer near you…………NOW!

For me this has been a week! All I have to say is thank goodness for weekends!

Last weekend was a wash as all three of us were sick. Nothing major, just the common cold. Cue the tissues, cough drops, sinus meds, tea, and all the extra snuggles. By Sunday night, I thought I had this thing beat. Boy was I wrong.

Monday morning, I woke with a raspy, weak voice. I could talk, but it was a strain and you couldn’t really hear me. Awesome! My 17-month old took full advantage. She knew she had me. Not only could mommy barely say no, now mommy was inaudible. The day was just downhill from there. Side note. I’m a high school science teacher. My day was already next to impossible. Let’s just say, the struggle was real.

That night we decided on take out as neither of us had energy. My husband was also down and out for the day. We were definitely winning. After putting our daughter to bed, I started to feel less than awesome. Within hours, I was camped out in the bathroom sick to no end. After two hours of feeling like an exorcism was being performed on my body to rid it of all the evil, I was finally able to get some sleep in bed.

A normal person at this point would’ve called in sick. No voice. Food poisoning. Just spend the day in bed watching bad day time TV or catching up binging my favorite shows. But then, I would’t be stubborn, old me. I decided to muster up what little energy I had and head to work. Why you may ask? It is because it is literally more work to call out. I had to find my own sub, than come up with lesson plans for my students to do that day and make copies at school anyway. My answer was just to go in.

The day went smoothly. Yes I am lying! I taught to the best of my ability. I am extremely grateful no one decided to do a surprise observation at all this week. This kids saw my weakness and pounced. I felt surrounded by a pride of lions with just a fly swatter. I was so grateful when the bell rang signaling the end of the day.

By the evening, I was starting to get an appetite back. I was weaker than ever but I felt like I was turning around.

Wednesday morning rolled around and my voice was finally coming back. Nobody was more relieved than me. My kids still thought I sounded horrible but I was easier to understand. However, by the end of the day, I was running on ‘E’. I hadn’t eaten much all day and was going between thinking I was going to be sick to ravenous.

During dinner, I took a few bites and thought I was going to loose everything. My muscles still hurt from the other night. Every bend, move, breathe was just painful. Once my daughter was down and all the toys were picked up, onto the couch I went.

Not only was this past week a struggle personally, my husband and I have been trying to navigate our daughters new attitude. We knew she wasn’t feeling well, but the crying and tantrums seem to be pretty frequent. The minute she doesn’t get her way, the theatrics start. Eventually she stops and seems to forget what she was crying about in the first place. If this is a hint of what the teenage years are looking like, I’m going to need a lot more ice cream.

Thursday was another long day of teaching and tantrums.

Friday rolled and I had a professional development day. This meant I could sit and relax while someone else taught. I was in teacher heaven all day. We got out early and I went home and relaxed on the couch. I asked my husband to pick up our daughter and took advantage of the peaceful house.

There were many times this week I wished I wasn’t a mommy. I wished I didn’t have to pick up toys every night or make an extra lunch every morning. I could come home from school and just unwind without having to worry about dinner or the nighttime routine.

I love my daughter beyond words and emotions but sometimes mommy needs a break. I miss summer when we just got up and relaxed and saw were the day took us. I am extremely lucky to have married a man who is a true partner. He always has my back and picks up the pieces where I am faltering without even being asked or told. We end every day now with a high five and kiss. We survived.

It will and has gotten better. Being sick is no fun, but being sick when people depend on you adds a whole new level of stress. Parenting is not easy and is the biggest learning curve in the world. I am learning to take each day slowly and worry about the now and not the future. Sometimes you miss amazing sweet moments sprinkled into the chaos.



Imelda……….

Here we go again.

My husband, daughter, and I recently returned from a trip to Rhode Island on Monday afternoon, after visiting family and attending my friends wedding. As we were planning to board the plan, we starting hearing reports of a storm forming off the coast of Texas. It was most likely be nothing and possible dump a little bit of rain. My husband and I shrugged and reminded ourselves we survived Harvey relatively unscathed. This would be nothing.

Fast forward…….

Here it is on Thursday morning and I am looking at the surrounding area flood. I am immediately reminded of those long days watching the golf course behind our apartment complex flood and water levels rise. The radar shows small patches of a break, but there are more storm cells forming and coming. The main concern is after the raining has stopped, what about the surrounding rivers and bayous that are now currently saturated.

After watching the lights flicker a few times, I started packing an emergency bag for our daughter in case we needed to leave. I ran around making sure I had all her comforts in case we were displaced for any reason.

This time its different. This time I am a nervous wreck. I am shaking on the inside. I just want to curl up and cry. I want to get in my car and drive North as far as I can go. This is scary. Every second there is a new development. You have to stay on your toes. For the first time, I don’t know what to do.

They just started shutting down highways. When Harvey hit South East Texas, I had literally just found out I was pregnant with our daughter two days prior. I knew she was safe because I was protecting her. Now, shes a 16 month old. Her safety and well being are our top priority. Not knowing is the worst.

Compared to others, we are fortunate. Many have already evacuated their homes due to flooding. Many just reentered their homes within the past months after they completed Harvey renovations. Many are still displaced. As a community, the fear and anxiety felt two years ago is still strong as we are seeing mother nature, once again, making her presence felt.

We are not out of the woods yet and are expected to experience more storm cells and heavy rain. Please keep the city of Houston and South East Texas in your thoughts as we tackle yet another tropical storm.

Summer of Renewal

It has been a while since my last post. I decided to spend the summer relaxing and bonding with my daughter and husband. I wanted to find out who I really was.

Last school year was the toughest teaching year I have ever encountered. I found myself in full on survival mode every day. I would wake up to feed my daughter before I got myself ready for the day. It became a marathon just to leave the house every day. The school day was filled with so many ups and down that I would leave there drained both physically and emotionally. Not to mention I had to pump on my lunch so I would have milk for my daughter. I would then arrive home to a very hungry little girl. She would cluster feed from the moment I walked through the door until she went to bed. In between would be dinner, taking care of our dogs, and night time routines. I felt like I was living in my own Groundhog Day. Every day was the same, no breaks or change-ups.

The older my daughter got, the harder and more exhausting everyday became. By the end of the year, I had had it and was welcoming summer with open arms. One of the silver linings was the passing rate of my students on their state biology test. I had a 97% passing rate. My students performed phenomenally, and it just showed that all the hard work we all put in was worth it.

Our first summer trip was a weekend in June in Austin. It was a work trip for my husband but a bonding trip for my daughter and me. The two of us spent the entire time revisiting my favorite areas of Austin while discovering new ones. The Hill Country in Texas is my favorite place in the world. My husband and I were married there in 2017 among the blue bonnets and spent a romantic evening hiking up Enchanted Rock in 2015. It was on that hike that I realized without a shred of doubt that he was the man I was going to marry. This summer was our first time bringing our daughter and I just enjoyed exploring the city and surrounding area. As we were touring The Wildflower Center, I found myself becoming relaxed and just enjoying the moment. I was seeing my daughter in a whole new light. Here she was at 13 months, walking around and just taking in every moment.

It was in this moment that I remembered how I felt that day on Enchanted Rock, dancing under the pecan trees in the Texas rain, and standing in a field of wildflowers staring at the man I just married. I was always in the moment with the most important person in my life: my husband and now my daughter. The stresses of everyday life are not important. My job does not define me, and it never will.

I recently started a new job at a new district. With it comes a lot more responsibilities and expectations. I am working hard to live every day in the moment. Experience the joy through my daughter and the love I have for my husband. The grades and lesson plans can wait. My daughter won’t. She is going to keep growing and become this amazing little girl. I am never going to make these memories again with her.

Summer Sun

Friday, May 31, was my last day of school. The 2018/2019 academic school year is behind me. This past year, I have become a better teacher and person due to the countless battles and fires that I faced in the last nine months. This year has forced me to reevaluate what’s important in my life.

Before my daughter, I would place work above all else. I would stay until the early hours of the morning grading, prepping, or copying, making sure I had everything ready for the following day/week/month. I would often come home and continue working. The day before I had my daughter, I stayed at work until 7:30 double checking everything was prepped for my sub. My husband had to drag me out of the building. I continued grading and prepping during my maternity leave. Looking back, I should’ve focused on my daughter and myself post delivery.

I went back to work determined to be as successful as I could be once I walked through the doors every morning. I would leave all issues in my car to be picked up once it was the end of the day. Once I was home, it was all about my family until my daughter went to sleep. I put my family first and tried to accomplish all grading and planning during the school day. In my perfect post partum world, everything was going smoothly. Reality soon set in, and my world came crashing around me.

It felt that the minute I had to focus on my family or personal health, a volcano exploded at work with a parent or student issue. No matter how many meetings and changes I made to my curriculum and daily lessons, it never seemed to make a difference to anybody involved. It almost cost me my job. During all this turmoil, I forgot about one important person. Me. I became lost in Caitlin the teacher. Caitlin the wife. Caitlin the mother. I started questioning, at 31, who I was without all these titles.

The moment I was told the news my contract would possibly not get renewed, I reevaluated my personal health and the health of my family. I know my worth as a teacher. I know I am a great teacher who holds students accountable for their learning. My success as a teacher is determined by my students’ success every year, and this year my students exceeded even their own expectations. I was beyond proud of them. The things I was accused of I know are not true. I can always find another job; I cannot have another amazing family that I currently have.

I started reflecting on what I needed to do this summer to help me prevent a repeat this upcoming school year. I need to worry more about my personal health and the health of my husband and daughter. I have devised a few goals to accomplish in the next two months. 1. I want to organize all my materials and lessons as best I can this summer to make next year easier. 2. I would love to read and actually finish a few books on my reading list for pleasure. 3. I want to remember to take time for myself as often as I can – I do not need to be here 110% of the time. 4. I need to focus on what makes me happy; if I am unhappy make a change for the better. 5. I won’t stress over things I can’t control. 6. Finally, I will lose the baby weight and this annoying gut I’ve acquired and cannot seem to lose.

This summer is just beginning and will be over before I know it. It is the beginning of our journey as a family of three. Last summer was spent enjoying cuddles and starting a schedule with a newborn, but this year we have a toddler. I want to enjoy every second I can making memories and focusing on my family. Struggles are unavoidable in parenthood, but we can prepare for the hard times while enjoying the fun and easy times. Maybe that’s what balancing parenthood is all about?

Tubes and Breastfeeding

Everyone gains strength from someone, whether it be a parent, friend, lover, or coworker. I gain my strength from my daughter. She has taught me lessons that have made me a better person, wife, teacher, friend, and mother. She constantly amazes me with her affinity for enjoying all of life’s moments, no matter how upset or sick she is. She has shown my husband and I forgiveness, even after we have made her cry because she did not like the medicine or because it was bedtime. Give her a few seconds, and she turns to you with the biggest smile and asks for a big hug. I guess that’s the key to everything, cry it out and then smile and hug the people you love the most. She has become independent and approaches everything with such certainty. I was astonished when she weaned herself, cold turkey, one morning. I was not ready for the transition, but she was and she let me know. I appreciate her forthrightness in taking the reins and letting me know she was ready to approach toddlerhood head on. She is truly going to be a force to be reckoned with.

For the past four months, our daughter has had constant ear infections. Four months of a runny nose, crusty and irritated eyes, followed by a continuous round of antibiotics and steroids to help the ears drain. We all felt like we were living in a ground hog day that was 14 days long. Within day of finishing one round of antibiotics, there would be the symptoms creeping in again. It was like clockwork. We would come to expect it and patiently wait to see the doctor.

On her first birthday, she was diagnosed with her fourth infection. As a mother, I was done watching my daughter suffer. I was done with constantly giving her medication every day for either her eyes, the ears, or sometimes the diaper rash that followed. The poor thing had just turned one the day before and she was once again sick. To look at her, you would no suspect it. She was always running around, playing, talking, and enjoying her day with everyone she met.

FINALLY our doctor said she qualified for tubes. The parameters were at least four ear infections in the a short span of time. We were set up for a consultation with a local Ears, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor. A week later, we were scheduled for the procedure. Finally we would all get some relief!

During the consultation and the procedure date, my daughter was done breastfeeding. She just wanted plain, whole milk. It was as if she knew she was going in for her procedure and was no longer a baby. She was a big girl. That was it. The first snip in the umbilical that held us together was starting to separate. I rode into work crying my eyes out. I cried all day. They were a combination of joy and sorrow. On one hand, I had my body back and NO MORE PUMPING!!!! On the other hand, she really wasn’t a baby anymore.

The day of the procedure was a nerve wracking one to start. Our daughter decided to wake up a WHOLE hour earlier than normal. YAY!!!! Normally, not a big deal but on a day were we had to withhold food and drink – yea ok! We tried everything to soothe her and try to distract her from the fact she couldn’t eat. The only thing that seemed to help was the Beatles. Those four smashing brits sang our girl into a dancing frenzy. Finally, some down time and we could get ready to leave.

We get to the hospital and it becomes a waiting game. Wait to check in. Wait to be called to go in the back. Wait for surgery. We spent more time waiting than the actual time she spent in the OR. We handed her off to the nurse, 10 minutes later, the doctor came to inform us the procedure went great but she also had a double ear infection. Great! We get to recovery and immediately hug our girl. A drink of water and bottle of milk later, she was happy as a clam and we were discharged.

We were told to expect some fluid discharge from the ears but she should be back to normal on Friday. Great, this was easier than we thought! However, things would not be that easy. Poor thing kept spiking fevers around 101 degrees for the next 24-48 hours. To make matters worse, my husband and I were both under the weather all weekend. Finally we had enough of the fevers and called the doctor for some antibiotics. Fast forward to Monday, and our girl was back to her old self. Fever free and causing trouble. We were relieved that finally her ear problems seem to be behind us.

A lot happened to our little family in a short five days. Our daughter was growing up before our very eyes. She had become a spunky, independent, goofy individual that loves to open cabinets and take everything out and then laugh at us as we pick it up. A year ago, I was cuddling a little smoosh who stole my heart everytime she looked me. Now I get smiles, laughs, mamas, and my constant little shadow. I would not trade a single moment for the world.

Sunshine Blogger

This is my first time answering something like this but I am so excited to do it. Sorry for the delay in response, life manages to always keep you on your toes.

Thank you to minimalistmama22019 for the nomination!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and provide a link back to their blogging site.
  2. List the Sunshine Blogger Award rules and display the logo on your site.
  3. Answer the Sunshine Blogger Award questions.
  4. Nominate 11 other bloggers and ask them 11 new questions.
  5. Notify the nominees about their nominations.

My nominations are:

This Is Motherhood 
Megan @ Ginger Mom and Company
tracyvende 
PoojaG 
The Godly Chic Diaries 
Mommy Me 
kristianw84 
Nova 
Cooking Mom’s 
Laleh Chini 
Riyyayy 

Here Are My answers:

  1. When did you start your blog? I started my blog in March 2019.
  2. Why did you start your blog? I started my blog to help me connect with other mothers.
  3. Do you do your blogging on a computer, your phone, or a combination of both? I try and do a lot on my computer but will occasionally use my phone or tablet to just get some thoughts out of my head.
  4. If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? I would love to work with Orca Whales off the Puget Sound and study their behaviors and family dynamics.
  5. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be? I would love to live in Denmark or another Scandinavian country. I just love their culture and sceneries. They have some of the most breathtaking vistas and unique environmental conditions.
  6. Do you have any pets? Yes. We have two dogs, a siberian husky and a chesapeake bay retriever.
  7. Do you call it”pop” or “soda” or something else? I call it soda.
  8. If you could change your name, would you? To what? I do not think so. I really like my name and think it fits me perfectly.
  9. What’s one thing about you that is super unique? my perspective
  10. How did you pick your blog/domain name? I picked it because since I became pregnant, I feel like I am just attacking every minute/every day head first. More often than not, I was tackled to the ground by the pressure and stress.
  11. Any advice for new bloggers? Write about something that you are passionate about. It helps you connect with others in a world where we sometimes feel isolated.

My Questions are

  1. Besides your blog topic, what else are you passionate about?
  2. If you had the option to travel back in time, where would you go and why?
  3. What is your favourite holiday?
  4. Are there any family traditions that you have kept while celebrating with your own families?
  5. What is the one thing you are most deeply proud of in your life?
  6. When was the last time you completely lost yourself in something? What was it?
  7. Have you ever danced in the rain? If so, where?
  8. What are you looking forward to doing most this summer?
  9. Is it a milkshake or a cabinet?
  10. Do you regret anything?
  11. What advice would you give 21 year old you?

Can’t wait to read everyone’s answers!!!!