Friday, March 27, 2015

Next stop- Middle School & High School

Today I find out where my two children will be going to high school and middle school. Yes, that little girl who I blogged about nine years ago when she was taking the Vanguard test for the first time is about to go to high school. And that little boy who was just born 11 years ago (in April) is going to middle school. We are playing the waiting game today!

Last year at the Rodeo carnival on the death machine that takes you across the park.

This year the application process was all online so all the parents are receiving email notifications starting at 4 p.m. today. I can barely stand it! I have been keeping busy at work and I worked on some lacrosse charity stuff during lunch, but I keep watching the clock. I know the kids are thinking about it at school today too.

Miranda applied to four high schools and I applied to about six schools for Seth. I am praying that Miranda gets her first and second choice schools and I am praying that one of the schools with a great Magnet program accepts Seth. He has made so much progress this year and he needs a good school where he can continue to thrive and grow.

As a mom it's so heart-wrenching when your kids don't get accepted into a program or a school they want. It's the first step in that realization that you can't protect them from everything, from heartache and disappointment. It's a learning experience for me as a mom too. It's part of learning about life for them and about reality. It's also a lesson about how we have to work hard to get what we want in life. I wish my babies the best today. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Embracing 45 with Open Arms

I turned 45 last week and I embraced it like a champion. Turning 45 is not going to be something that I will be sad about. Some people don't get the privilege to grow older. So I made it all about gratitude and for 8 days I posted what I was grateful for. I called my week of celebrating my Big 4-5 VD, because my birthday falls right before Valentine's Day.

So here is a compilation of all of my gratitude posts for the week.

Day 1 of Gratitude: Grateful for this amazing beautiful day & for being alive to see it!

Gratitude Day 2 & Day 3: (I forgot yesterday) I am grateful for great friends/family who really surprised me on Saturday & really warmed my heart. Today I'm grateful for my long & interesting career in newspaper, for my small business, that I'm employed full time & for my new PadreCare column with
 — feeling loved.

Day 4 of Gratitude on the Eve of my Big 4-5 VD: I am grateful for my name and my identity. Forty-five years ago my mother didn't know if she would have a boy or a girl but she had my name picked out. I'm so glad she chose such a unique name. She used to tell me that my sisters chose my middle name, Yvette, so I was named Loida Yvette Casares.

Day 5: Today I am grateful to have lived another year. Some people don't get that privilege. I think of my sister Hilda who only had 42 years on this earth and I am humbled and grateful that I got to wake up today. My children got into bed with me, hugged me & wished me a good day. I am blessed.

The celebration continues this week but so does my commitment to show gratitude. Day 6: Today I am grateful for the setbacks that have formed me and made me stronger. Setbacks teach you a very good lesson and remind you that you should never take things for granted when they are good. They make you see all the good things that you do have in your life and what is truly important. And they also show you what you are capable of accomplishing.
 — feeling grateful.

Day 7 of Gratitude. After having attended this luncheon I must say I am grateful for my health, so far, & the health of my children. I heard stories about experiences children have had with heart disease & damage from chemo. I promise not to take this health for granted any more for the years I have left on this earth.

Happy Valentine's Day to Me! Day 8 of Gratitude: I am grateful for ME! For my strength & my resilience that has seen me through so many things in life. 

Yes, I am humbled and grateful to have lived another year. Every year that I live past 42, the year my sister died, will be a celebration of life and I'll wear a strawberry pin in memory of her. 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Coparenting with an Ex-Husband

I would be lying if I said it was easy. It isn’t. It takes work just like any relationship does. The guiding force in this relationship is your mutual love for the same people- your children. No ifs ands or buts about it, the only way to look past your own feelings of anger, resentment or jealousy is to think about the children and what this means to them. Think about how they feel when they see their parents getting along and think about the example that you’re giving them about being mature adults.

The first year after our divorce was the hardest for many reasons. He had moved on and was in a serious relationship and I started dating. We had a really rough time, including about three full months that I didn’t speak to him. Even then, we didn’t let our differences affect the children as badly as we could have. He still took them every other weekend and spent time with them.

Eventually we got through that tough first year and we were able to move forward. We are now at a very different place from where we were three years ago.

Example. It’s Sunday night after a weekend with the kids and my ex calls me to tell me he’s on his way home after my daughter’s lacrosse practice to pick up all their things to bring them home. He asks me what I’m making them for dinner and I tell him I have some tuna. He says he has some chicken and vegetables and offers to make dinner at his house. I say okay and go over. We eat a great dinner and then the kids pack up their things and we go home.

Another day, my best friend and I are going to go out for drinks. Our boys are best friends too. My son wants to know if he can have a play date with his friend so my ex calls my best friend to tell her that he’ll keep her son while we go out. He picks him up and my best friend picks me up and we go out. He does this quite often because my best friend’s ex lives in another city. This is our village. Are we perfect? No. Do we still fight? Yes. We’re human and things happen, but we are still friends too.

In the end we know that we are working together to raise two very strong and smart kids with a huge personality and sense of humor. When they were younger and I realized how loud they both were I told him, “Why can’t one of them be quiet?” He looked at me and said, “Are you seriously asking me that question?” We are both loud and so are they.

I don’t want do anything to change that about them. I don’t want to do anything to affect their development as adults. I want for them to grow up strong and confident and for them to think about how we worked hard to get along for them. When I’m old and it’s my turn I want for them to remember that I took care of my dad in his old age. (ha ha) More importantly, I want for them to have a good relationship with each other and with their future partners in life.  Because one day we’ll be gone and our example will be all that they have left.

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Fist Day of the Year Thoughts

Last night one of my best friends asked me if I had written down my goals for 2015 yet. She said that she's writing hers down and that she remembers that I always say that we should do that. I told her I was going to do it today and that I have been thinking about my words for 2015. The first word that comes to mind that sums it all up is "Intention." It comes from a great quote/meme that I found on Pinterest a while back.

This is so me! The live from habit part. I get so comfortable in my old habits, being a semi-hoarder, not cleaning thoroughly, just on the surface, procrastinating, not wanting to be bothered with some socially acceptable behaviors and the list goes on. Probably things that many of you who know me didn't know about me. Only those closest to me know what a wreck my house is or about the boxes stacked by the back door that I brought home from my dad's house a year and a half ago. I'm yet to go through them and yes, they are my mother's junk from years and years. I got that terrible habit from her and I cultivated it.

This year I promise to live from INTENTION. I have to intentionally do things in order to get them done. I can't pretend otherwise. Everything I do right takes effort.

Which leads me to this wonderful list of 42 good habits to make me better. I love that this list uses the word "habits" too like the meme about living more from intention. There are bad habits and there are good habits. I know that I can't do them all so I've chosen fifteen of them that I can do. I'll choose my words for 2015 from here.

Now to write down those specific goals and my words.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Another Year Passes Us By

As we get closer to the end of December I think about how this month is always my wake-up call month. It's the end of a year and a reminder that I have a birthday coming up. The thing about this birthday is that I'm turning 45.... FORTY-FIVE.... as in 4 decades and a half. As in 5 years to 50. When did this happen?

Me at 34 in 2004

Me at 44 in 2014

What a difference 10 years makes on a face and hair! I love when kind friends have commented that I can use the 1st picture of me at 34 as a profile picture on Facebook. I laugh because I know they're just being nice. Sure, you can still tell it's me and it looks like me in general but the age difference is obvious when you look at it side by side with this more recent picture of me.

December is always a stark reminder that I'll be having another birthday because it's so close to the beginning of the year- February 11- and also because one of my best friends is only two months older than me. So when she has a birthday, especially a significant one like this one, I know that mine is next.

So New Year's will be a time to review 2014 but also my 44th year of life. I'm at such a different place in my life now from where I was just a few years ago. I'm re-thinking so many things, like my spirituality and what I really want to do with the rest of my life. Reading The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz really got me thinking about life and the choices I make.

I'm also more aware than ever of my mortality. My friends hated to hear me say that I was half way done with my life when I turned 35 but now at 45 they can't deny that all of us are. Very few people live until 90 like my father and I do not have his genes. My sister has those genes and she's built a lot like him. I have my mother's body frame and more than likely won't live very long past 70. Her mom died in her 50s. My mom died in her 60s and I will be doing good if I can hold it together into my 70s.

What does all this mean? That now more than ever life is actually too short. And I have to ask myself what I am doing with these last precious moments... "Live like you are leaving," as my friend Anh Nguyen's friend said. So true!