Wednesday, January 18, 2017

January 18th.

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(Picture taken a day after my actual birthday)

When you’re born you are hit with a date that becomes the most important date in your life. The day you were born. As you get older other dates become imprinted in your mind; your parent’s and sibling's birth dates. Soon your friends and significant others birth dates become important to you. You get older and soon it's anniversary dates, wedding dates, birth dates of your children that become important as well. Then the date of when someone you love passed on. Dates become important aspects of our lives and today is one of those dates for me. January 18. I remember the day so clearly and can’t believe that a year has already passed. It was the first time that I would spend more than a few hours in a hospital.

The date is also scary to me because it could have also been the date I passed on but that wasn’t the way my story was to end.

January 18th shaped me more than any date to date and re-directed a path that I thought I would be heading.

I hope that soon January 18th won’t be the day that marks the day a dream of mine ended but a day that marks a beginning of something greater than I ever could have imagined.

In a way, January 18th is a new birth date to me. The date I was given a second chance. And every day I have to ensure that this second chance was not wasted on me. I have a responsibility that I may not even know about right now, but I’m working towards it and when it all becomes clear I’ll know that what began January 18th was not all for nothing.

Because we all know the saying, everything happens for a reason.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Just what the doctor ordered.

The weekend before Christmas, I made the 3 ½ hour drive to see Colleen. Not the most fun of a car ride but completely worth it. Although, having Beyonce, Sia and Bruno Mars to belt along to almost made the car ride bearable.

Now that Joey is in the picture, our days of drinking and dancing til crazy hours in the morning is not part of the plan and if I’m to be honest my body just can’t handle what we use to do in our 20s.

I took a ½ day that Friday in order to get to Albany by 2pm to ensure that we would have pretty much the entire weekend together.

We did not have major plans but we knew we were talking each other's ears off. We caught up while she did her chores and ran errands (including a quick trip to the mall that just had me so nostalgic). I danced along during their family dance party, watched Joey have his first experience with snow and had one on one time with Colleen when we went out to dinner and then painted.

That weekend was so necessary. I’ve missed having my best friend just a few minutes away. I miss our trips to the gym that ended with us making dinner (usually pasta dishes, oh the irony) at either her apartment or mine. So many things I took for granted that I see were such important factors in building the relationship we have. I can’t believe how much our conversations have changed over the years. They have become more real and are filled with so much more substance.

Also being able to interact with Joey in person was perfect. When I first arrived Colleen would continue to ask him, “Where’s Aunt Faithy?” and he would put up his hands and shrug. Seriously the cutest gesture! A few hours before I left, Colleen asked the same question and he pointed at me! Be still my heart. He knew who I was and that was probably all I needed my entire trip. She told me that when I left she asked him the same question and he looked around for me for several minutes and then did the shrug.

When I drove back home to PA I felt so refreshed and happy.
Truly any time spent with her is good for my soul.

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His first experience in the snow ♥
It was going great until he took his mittens off.
He liked it until he didn't.

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Before our paint and sip session we had dinner at Milanos. I had (no joke) the best pizza of my life. The food we had was just so incredibly good!

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After our delicious meals we walked over to Saratoga Paint & Sip and took out our inner Picassos.
OK, maybe Colleen did but I gave it my best shot.

And although I made SO many mistakes it was so nice to just paint. The last time I painted I was about eleven years old. My mom would get us all paper, paint and paint brushes and she would have us copy Bob Ross. I remember so clearly how great my sister, Emma, was at it and me just being plain awful, haha. My mom would actually hang up Emma's paintings because they were so good. Regardless of the lacked skill, I remember loving it so much. Amazing how some things never change. But yes, I am doing this again. I have one walking distance from my house so I'm going to have to gear some friends up to make a fun night out of it.

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Before I left the following day we had a late breakfast at a small restaurant called "Baking You Crazy".

They do not have a website, unfortunately, but I made sure to pick up some desserts for Sean and I. Let's just say that I'm happy I do not live as close to them as Colleen does.

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Yup, just what the doctor ordered ♥

Friday, January 6, 2017

Currently.

feeling that I completely slacked on the blog this week. I want to get better about that but I'm feeling this need to rejuvenate myself which is why I've chosen not to be behind the computer much this week except for while at work.

loving that my niece turned 4 yesterday. How in the world is she four already? Time is moving by way too quickly.

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craving wings. I think that's what I'll have for lunch today!

needing to pack for Vegas! We leave Monday night and I'm so excited. We were scheduled to go last year on January 26th but well, we all know what happened!

thankful that I made it to 2017!

excited that I was promoted on Wednesday. It was such a surprise and I'm grateful that the new year has started off on a great foot.

reading nothing right now but I did order "I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual" and intend to start it on the plane ride to Vegas and hopefully finish it on our way back home.

wanting it to be lunch time. I really, really want those wings.

missing my sisters. And of course my mom, every day.

wearing a black maxi dress, blue cardigan and black booties.

hoping that you all have amazing weekends! You guys are truly the best. I read every single comment left on this blog and often wonder how did I get the best blog friends. THANK YOU! ♥

Monday, January 2, 2017

7 Years of Blogging.

When I began this blog on January 2nd 2010, I was a newlywed. We weren't even at the two month stage of marriage.

When I think of that person, I smile because I was free of heartache, true pain and my motivation was to be able to stay at my wedding weight. Life was really good and I had not yet experienced many bumps or hiccups along the road.

In 2013, my worries were having to relocate from NY to PA. I did not like unemployment. I missed my friends. I missed our little home. That is what my worries were. At the time, they were valid worries because like I said, I had not yet experienced much bumps or hiccups along the road.

2014 whipped me right into shape. It was the year I learned of my mom's diagnosis and it was the first time in my life that I knew of true confusion, denial, anger, pain and so many other emotions that I had never felt before. I was a walking zombie and my thoughts were consumed with all the things that I could not control.

It led to many sleepless nights and for the first time in my life I was truly not OK. Knowing that my mom was in pain and possibly dying and being able to do nothing but pray was too much to handle. I still had hope that she would beat it. That the treatment she was receiving was going to do what it needed to do. That God was going to perform a miracle on my mom.

2015 took my mother. And well all the emotions before that were just an appetizer. I still did not know how it felt to have your heart squeezed so tight that you felt you would pass out until she passed away. The hyperventilating tears that would come at any time. I wonder how I got out of bed sometimes. How I was able to keep it together. But with a strong support system it's amazing all that you can do. Knowing that you're not in pain by yourself helps you keep it together.

The first day of 2016, Sean and I sat in our kitchen and wrote down goals that we would like to accomplish. Life had truly been put on a backburner with both of our mothers fighting stage 4 cancers. Our lives revolved around road trips every weekend to either see my mom or his mom. It was a lot.

For the first time in two years I felt like things could not get any worst. That the worst was behind us. That I could have hope that life would get better. It was also that day that we decided that 2016 was the year we would try for children.

We were finally stable. We were now in PA for a few years. We had jobs, a new home and our emotions more in check. Everything pointed that 2016 would be the year.

17 days later that changed. And when I think of that time, tears well in my eyes because how, how did this happen? Life wasn't done with me yet. The pain I had felt before this was all emotional. I had never felt real physical pain in my life. I had not known what it was like to almost die. What it was like to spend 12 days in a hospital, one week of it in intensive care.

And when I was told that my uterus needed to go for me to live, I had never felt so betrayed in my life. Like, what the fuck! What had I done to deserve all this shit?! Sorry for the language.

It was all too much. For the first time I really knew what that meant. But that wasn't the worst part when I think of it now, it was the recovery that rocked me. It was going home and knowing that a significant part of me had been taken. It was going home and not being able to do for myself that allowed the thoughts to control me. The thoughts that caused me to have a full fledged panic attack that I was forced to call 911 because I thought I was having a stroke. Only to be told that I wasn't having a stroke but a panic attack.

A panic attack? I don't do panic attacks. But I did. Several more after that. I soon had no choice but to pay attention to when they would begin that way I could control my breathing and take my thoughts to a positive place. One verse that I would frequently say out loud was, God has not given me the spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

Once I was able to walk again and my physical therapist discharged me I begin to see flickers of light again. I still was in bad shape but I could walk now. It took a few more months before my doctor felt that I was good enough to return to work at 4 hour days. Soon I was back at the gym and although I could not do what I use to do, I was back and I could do for myself.

But once my body began to heal my thoughts were now free to roam to other places. Dark places. I was no longer worried about learning how to walk again. About not being able to climb the stairs or shower on my own. And with that came blame. And how I blamed myself. I was unkind to myself. And it was strange because sometimes I was so proud of myself. How far I had come and then a second later I was disgusted with myself.

I had never been an emotional eater but in 2016 I was. Bad thought? Have a cupcake. Bad thought? Order Chinese food. Not the best as I'm now going to have to work on losing this weight that I put on and now control a bad habit that I want no part of. I now have to figure out how to control the bad thoughts without allowing food to fix it.

Yesterday, I did not tell myself that 2017 could not get any worst. In fact, I told myself to be prepared for it to possibly get worst. I told myself that you have no choice but to go with all the bumps and to ride any and all waves with as much strength as you can muster. I can't tell you that 2017 is going to be my year. Not that I'm being negative and don't want to claim all the best for myself. I do. But now I know that you could do everything right and sometimes be handed the short stick. And it's OK. You are not to blame. It's something called life. You'll have to deal with pain and suffering one day, you have no choice. But it's how you come out of the pain that your character begins to build. That you realize that you are stronger than you've ever given yourself credit for.

I'm not the person I was when I started this blog 7 years ago. What I thought would break me then, only made me stronger.

I don't know where 2017 will go. I have no expectations. But I have a feeling that no matter what I'll be OK.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Scenes from Christmas Eve & Christmas Day.

I shared in the previous post that I wasn't feeling the joy that the Christmas season usually brings. That changed on Christmas Eve.

Usually, Sean and I do our Christmas Eve together. We order Chinese takeout and get a nice bottle of wine. We open stocking gifts and give the fur-babies their Christmas gifts as well. Then we watch "Love Actually" my favorite Christmas movie. Sean usually falls asleep but I watch it as though it is my first time. If we both are up to it we watch a classic like Home Alone (the first one, always!) and when I know that Sean is really done for the night I'll pop in other Christmas movies like "The Holiday".

When Sean said that he wanted us to drive to Upstate NY the day before Christmas Eve, I'll admit that I was bummed but I went along with it. It's a 4+ hour drive to my in-laws and unfortunately we could not start the trip until 6pm so we didn't reach our hotel until 10:30pm. We checked in, situated the dogs in our tiny hotel room and went to bed.

On Christmas Eve, we got up early and headed to my in-laws where a delicious breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and bagels with cream cheese was being prepared for us. Our dogs and their dogs went crazy seeing each other and that just got me in the Christmas spirit because I could swear that Walker had the biggest smile on his face. I could tell how happy my dogs were to be reunited not just with their doggy friends but with Sean's parents.

Sean's mom decorated beautifully and when you entered it just was cozy and warm and the smell of bacon cooking (which I don't usually prepare but love the smell of) just felt like home and Mrs. Grinch was replaced with how I normally feel this time of year.

Our niece and nephew were there shortly and soon I was wrapped up in all things Christmas. My niece, Nadiyah, was stuck to me the rest of the day and I showed her how to fix settings when taking pictures with my camera. She's a fast learner and I was a model for the rest of the day which reminded me that I much prefer to be behind the camera vs. in front. I was a trooper though because I had to remember how others might feel when I'm all up in their face with my camera, ha.

Sean knowing that I really love our Christmas Eve tradition made sure that in the evening we ordered Chinese food for dinner with his family which was really nice. He brought my favorite wine and knew that "Love Actually" was playing on Netflix and we all sat down and watched together. When we got back to our hotel room, Sean took out our stocking gifts and the dog's gifts (which I did not even know he brought) and it was almost like being at home.

Here's some pictures of our Christmas Eve:

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The ornament on the left, Sean made in kindergarten ♥
Sean's mom's Christmas tree is full of ornaments, many over 40 years old!

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She is seriously the sweetest dog I've ever met ♥
I'm not just saying that because she's mine. She truly is.

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The following day we headed to my in-laws where we exchanged and opened gifts. The kids were so excited with their gifts and it really just made the day feel so happy. This year, Sean's mom wanted us to do dinner at a restaurant for the first time in over seven years and although it was different, it was pretty special too. I don't know if this will be a new tradition or if it was just something different this year but I know that no matter what we do, as long as we're together that's all that really matters.

When we drove back I couldn't help but feel grateful. Yes, I was sad. With my mom gone the holidays are really no longer the same. A time when so many are celebrating a lot of people are also grieving. I miss my mom and I cried when I thought of her. But when Sean's mom hugs me, I get to feel the warmth that only a mother's hug can bring.

She treats me like a daughter and loves me like one too. And I'm so incredibly grateful that during a time when all I can think about is my mom, there's a person who still makes me feel like I am hers.

It's crazy how much life has changed. How much I was not expecting to be in this stage, at this point in my life.
But I'm blessed that I can still feel God's grace and love by people I married into.

Here's some pictures from Christmas Day:

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The only picture I was able to catch of him all weekend.

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Watching "Home Alone" again!
It was his first time last weekend and he loved it!

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Oh and when she realized we had somewhat matching hoods she was thrilled.
Makes me laugh thinking about it.

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I hope that you all had a wonderful time celebrating with your loved ones.
Happy Holidays and wishing you the Happiest of New Years! ♥