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Thursday, November 7, 2019

I’m trying...I REALLY am!



When a framed 1000+ piece puzzle that had taken 6+ people and 3 days to finish came randomly falling off the wall, I thought to myself “that’s it...my week is officially crappy!”...and then my husband calls to tell me that he is stranded in Colombia because he lost his passport and can’t return as planned...ugh!
The puzzle debacle and the infamous phone call came on the heels of a few difficult days; I recently found out Gaby is being bullied at school yet again and is showing symptoms of anxiety, days after I had to pull Olivia out of cheer because, well, adults don't know how to adult; days after the time change that always messes me up, and unending headaches and back pain that prevent me from consistently sleeping for periods longer than three hours...
Despite the fact that I could barely function because of my headaches and lack of sleep, or that my daughter asked to be picked up early from school 3 days in a row because she couldn't deal with the bullies and I don't know how to help her,  life goes on and we gotta keep trying...
But putting on a face is not always that simple and we've gotta come to accept that sometimes it's ok to crumble; it's ok to want to sleep it off or not want to talk to anyone for a few days...
I'm trying.. I really am.. I'm trying to keep laughing when my kids tell un-funny jokes, I'm trying to stay awake when I have to help my daughter with a math lesson I don't understand, I'm trying to clean up the cat's litter box when I can barely bend over because my back hurts so much, I'm trying not to cry myself to sleep because I'm so exhausted and tired of my husband being gone so often every month...I really am trying...but I'm at my wits' end
And when I get tired of trying and feel overcome by exhaustion and defeat, I think of all the times where I have tried and succeeded, I focus on the moments when my kids are proud of me for simply trying and that makes it all worth it and it makes me want to try again and again!
So in my search for ways to fight the overwhelmingness, I came across this article from Motherly and it was very reassuring, not only because it helped me realize that I am not alone in feeling "done" sometimes, but it also gave me a few good tips on what to do when feeling like life comes out at me harder than I can handle...sometimes it really is all about breathing, moving and slowing down!!
Here's to hoping next week is better than this one! :)

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

I'm a GIVER!

I've been awful at keeping up with my blog lately, partly because I've been really busy and partly because I've been in sort of a funk in my personal life...
The kids' school responsibilities are overwhelming, Iggy's business trips are exhausting and life, in general, has come at me very strongly..I've also had my share of disappointments with people I consider close and I've been dealing with raising a quasi teenager who has more bad days than good ones; I knew the day I'd be called a "mean mother" by my kids would come, but boy did it hit me like a ton of bricks.. so I think I've been a bit down and understandably so!
 I have questioned my parenting more often than not in the past few weeks and I have frequently felt discouraged generally speaking...
I'm not a fun person; I don't drink, I don't party, I don't like staying up late, I don't enjoy the beach and I'm pretty serious in everything I do; I don't generally get invited to social events and even the people who I consider close don't include me in whatever they do. I spend most of my days volunteering at church or school and very rarely do I do anything for me..maybe I'm just.. BORING?...
I'm very critical of myself and also very observant and sometimes I feel like even though I'm a good friend, I'm just not a "desirable" person, maybe I speak my mind too often and too loudly? Who knows...  There are days when I try to analyze those feelings and maybe look at them through a different lense; there are days when I wonder if people just see me as a smart person who gives really good advice (because people do come to me for advice and input) and can solve problems easily but there also days when I think people just take advantage of me for the very same reasons...is either of those things a GOOD thing?  I'm not sure anymore...
When I recently made this blog entry, a very wise friend told me that usually the "givers" are the happiest people and I realize that she's completely right and maybe that is my "problem".. I am a GIVER.. I do everything FOR people, I don't expect anything FROM people and maybe I'm completely fine with the idea of eternally being the person that isn't invited to social events, or the person who sits on the sidelines watching everyone have fun until they need something from me.
I'm not often one to have self-doubt but being a giver is a tough spot to be in.. sometimes I need that social interaction, sometimes I thrive on fostering two-way friendships and I just don't see it happening that often...am I wrong to want that?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

He's 4!


Every time one of my kids' birthdays rolls around, I can't help but get all mushy and sentimental; I like reminiscing about the time they were tiny babies and I also think of my life when they simply were not around!  I never imagined a life with a son, I never thought my third baby (which I never imagined either) would be a sweet and cuddly little boy that would literally turn my world upside down...but God loves me (and trusts me!) so much that he gifted me with OLIVER and for that I will forever be grateful.
Oliver brings so much joy to our lives and our family; he is smart, witty, helpful, caring and incredibly loving.  He tells me he loves me every day and always makes sure that I have a reason to smile.. I don't know what I did to get so lucky!
His birthday was yesterday and I can say this is the first year he actually knew why the day was special for him... he requested cupcakes for school and Chili's for dinner.. and that's exactly what he got! We will also have party with his friends this coming Saturday and he hasn't stopped talking about it since we started planning it.  Oliver is obsessed with PJ Masks, Disney, coloring books (he has become quite the artist!) and funnily enough he loves going shopping with his "own money".  He always offers to pay for me, which I find incredibly hilarious.. not sure where he thinks he can get all this money from! LOL!
Oliver loves spending time with his sisters, sleeping in our bed and playing outside; he also loves cats, Netflix, going to Disney and traveling...he's such a fun little boy!
My dear baby boy, I know one day you will read this and knowing how sweet you've always been will put a smile on your face! Thank you, God, for this wonderful little boy I get to call my son! I am immensely blessed to have him in my life!
Happy 4th Birthday, Oliver!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

The day I stop caring...

It has been a while since I last posted on my blog and I feel sad about it.. there's so much I have to write and so many stories to catch up on, it just seems as though life sometimes happens quicker than we realize and sitting down for a blog entry seems like quite a luxury!
Life has been busy.. the kids started school last month, Iggy's travel schedule has been insane and by the look of my daily agenda, I definitely seem to have too much on my plate.. oh well!
But despite the crazy fact that the days have slipped out of my hands like water, I've had a lot of time to think about myself and the personal relationships that I've invested in throughout the years, especially in recent times and in some particular cases pertaining to family members...
I've always been believer in family and have placed a lot of emphasis in having tight relationships with all my family members...extended family included..
Those who know me are well aware of the fact that I am very passionate and give my all in everything I do.  I pride myself in being rather resourceful and helpful to people around me; I am also extremely loyal and a very reliable friend... My grandma used to say the secret to a happy life was to "never expect anything from anyone" and as much as I agree with her golden rule, sometimes I disappoint myself by doing the exact opposite.. thinking that people will be as invested as me!
I've had many disappointments in life regarding people who I consider my friends or family members that I consider caring and I wonder when will be the day when I stop caring...
I've lived through times when I'm excluded from parent activities, not invited to parties of people I consider close, ignored at public events, disregarded in different ways but I recently had one particular incident with a family member that made me seriously question my persistence to even have a relationship with that person...
I often think people can change, I give the benefit of the doubt, I open my heart and forgive but I'd really like to stop caring for people who don't care for me... I'd love to be more detached and less emotional, more realistic and less naive.. I yearn for the day that I stop caring, the day when people who don't love me can't hurt me anymore...

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

12!

I always end up exhausted (both physically and mentally) once I'm done celebrating the girls' birthdays back to back... it was fun at first.. and even practical...but now it's a bit of a hassle to find ways to make each of them feel unique when their birthdays are literally one after the other..
Today Olivia is turning 12 and for the first time I actually felt some resentment on her part about "almost" having to share the birthday spotlight with her younger sister; it has definitely been a trying year for us because we are all navigating unknown territories that deal with pre-teen mood swings, dominant personalities and a lot of self-discovery. 
Olivia is and always has been a sweet and sensitive girl; she's wise beyond her years and very much in tune with her emotions.  She is a caring daughter and sister and has a clear understanding of respect and dignity.  She's a great student and has a heart of gold, I'm proud of her for so many reasons...but her shiny and grounded personality doesn't make her invulnerable to any of the difficulties of the tween years and we're all definitely learning as we go...I can only hope she continues to be humble and learn from her mistakes.
I feel blessed for having a daughter like Olivia; she supports me in more ways than I can tell and challenges me every day to be the best mother I can be.  She put me in the path of motherhood and has unknowingly set a good precedent for her siblings who look up to her in everything they do. 
Happy 12th birthday Olivia! We love you so much and we'll always be here to support you and cheer you on!
Thank you God, for this wonderful daughter!


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

10!

Well.. I officially have 2 kids in the "double digits"!  ain't that exciting? ha!
I'm in awe of Gaby's personality at the ripe age of 10! She is so strong willed and determined even in her most fragile moments and never ceases to impress me in the most wonderful of ways. 
When Gaby was born, I always doubted my ability to fully love two children; I always questioned myself when she was a baby, always feared she wouldn't shine as bright as her sister did because she came in after...I had so many questions.. all the time..
Being the middle child, I often feel Gaby gets the short end of the stick; she always sacrifices for her older or younger sibling and is rarely ever the protagonist of anything because it's always either Olivia or Oliver stealing the spotlight. But with time she has demonstrated that she needs no spotlight because she shines on her own.  She is the most loving of girls, so authentic and full of life, so witty, analytical, observant, resilient, dedicated, caring and incredibly sensible...she makes me so proud every day and I feel so lucky to be her mother!
I want to wish my sweet Gaby the happiest of birthdays! May you always choose authenticity over anything else and may you always carry that bright light everywhere you go!
We love you so much and can't wait to see you grow into an even more beautiful little lady! 
God Bless You, Gaby!
Happy 10th birthday!!!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Welp!... that was a terrible decision!

Even though I never thought we would be invulnerable to the cell phone addiction, I did think I'd be able to have some control over what my daughter did with the phone, over what kind of content she'd access or even the kind of apps she'd be on.
I made the choice of giving Olivia a phone when she was 10 years old; I happened to be switching to a newer device and she begged me to keep my old one so I agreed.  I had swore I'd never give my kids a phone that young but after many stipulated contingencies and warnings, things didn't seem too bad... after all we do live in a world where technology rules everything and many kids her age already had phones so why not! I did not see any immediate harm to her being exposed to having her own phone especially since I'm a big proponent of technology.
The first few months were all fun and games..literally! All she did was play kid games, take cute photos of her and her siblings and text me random "I love you" messages; she'd occasionally call some of her friends or maybe text some family members but it never went beyond that..things went pretty well for a few months so I was satisfied with my decision..
A few months went by and she asked if she could get an Instagram account; at first I didn't agree considering it's an app targeted to 13 and older but considering I'd be closely monitoring her content and since she had been handling her phone pretty well, I agreed to that too with the condition that she opened a private account that would also be on my phone and I was the sole administrator (meaning only I could approve followers). She added our closest family members and even some of my friends and rarely ever posted any pictures.  I specified from the start that no duck-lip selfies were allowed and that all photos and captions were to be approved by me before she even posted them...she complied without much resistance.
About a year into it, I noticed she was staying up way too late playing with her phone and the texting had gotten more and more frequent; she also didn't follow some of the rules I set out for IG use such as the approval of followers.  At that point more of her friends had phones and there were group chats, SnapChat communities, musical apps and a few other things I didn't agree with...I realized then that I might have been a bit too naive in trusting that my 11 year old child would make smart choices regarding a phone.  In an attempt to regain control over her cell phone use and content, I resorted to parental controls; not only did I set strict limits on screen time but I also uninstalled a lot of apps that shouldn't have been on her phone to begin with.  I set up minor iCloud accounts and now all downloads would have to go through me first; I also set her text messages to be delivered to my phone too so I could be in the loop and follow her conversations (this didn't last very long!).

As time went on, I kept noticing that the phone became the center of everything, also the reason for pretty much every problem...her mood swings, her late wake ups, her not so good grades, her failure to finish daily homework, her issues with friends... all of a sudden Olivia became all too concerned about likes and followers and whatever comments people made on her posts.. social media became the death of me (and her!) and she's definitely too young for that...too young to seek validation through a phone, too young to be withdrawn and distracted from our daily life, too young for disrespect, too young for rudeness...
I slowly became a phone police and my whole life revolved around the constant monitoring of Olivia's phone; who texted her, what kind of pictures she took, what kind of comments she was making/getting, etc... it was all too intense!
Aside from everything I've mentioned, I started noticing the content she was being exposed to was way beyond her years; in her Instagram account she followed a slew of celebrities and so called "influencers" who brought nothing positive to the table.  The vulgar content somehow became inevitable and the negative impact of most of what was coming from her phone use inescapable. We reached a point where no parental control was ever enough because most apps are designed to encourage kids to hide stuff or do things that aren't age appropriate and most celebrities, YouTubers, influencers seem to be dedicated to stealing the innocence of their younger audience and I am NOT ok with that...
Two years later I realize I made a terrible decision by giving Olivia a phone at 10 and I wish I could turn back time and think it through a little more.  Kids DO NOT NEED phones, they don't need to be exposed to so much garbage day in and day out, they don't need the distraction and they definitely don't need a tool that encourages dishonesty and a silly need for validation.
Some people would argue that it's a trust issue or maybe a maturity issue and while I do think that plays a role, I think it has more to do with letting the kids be kids for a while longer.
At this point I have uninstalled all most apps from Olivia's phone and I have set stricter screen time limits; she isn't allowed on Instagram, SnapChat, Tik Tok or any other app that would encourage dishonesty or living beyond her years. 
With all that said, I want to point out that while Olivia didn't do anything terribly wrong or shameful with her phone, I realize she isn't mature enough to handle whatever having a phone entails.  I am glad that even though I made a poor decision, I stuck to my guns and continued to monitor her phone use and possibly avoided potentially compromising situations and will continue to do so.
So.. if you're thinking of giving your child a phone, please take into accounts all necessary considerations and never let your guard down!