Thursday, August 7, 2014

Mid-Summer Blues

It's weird. I don't know how many times I've looked at the sky this past year announcing how I couldn't WAIT to ship my kids off to dad's house in Florida for the summer. Ya'll may think that sounds mean but really... they can't WAIT to go. Dad is the fun one, you see... hard as that may be to imagine.

The month before summer my head is filled with ideas of things to do during my almost childless summer. By "almost" I mean, this is the littlest ones time with just mommy and daddy. And as much as I love that I have this time to devote just to her without having to rush off for someone else...

 I miss my kids.

I miss waking up in the morning and having somewhere to rush off too. I miss having my attention pulled in a gazillion directions and their energy. I miss the run around, the laughs, the conversations on the car rides home, the noise and even the sassiness and complaining. (Well... maybe, just a little.) As crazy as all of this makes me, it keeps me going. It keeps me from hiding out too long in my little mental bubble where depression is usually lurking.

Today is just one of those days. That son-ova-bitch, Depression, got a hold of me again. I've been trying dodge him... tried running past him as fast as I can hoping he won't trip me and drag me back in... I tried ignoring him...

Maybe if I pretend he's not there, he'll go away. 

It's beautiful outside, but I can't find the energy to go out. I miss my family. I miss my kids. The baby momma decided to have another psychotic episode this past weekend resulting in yet another denied visitation for the babe with his first 3 kids. At this stage it's pointless fighting it. Dragging it to court would only result into a slap on the wrist for her and more drama outside of the courtroom for us. The kids already know the deal and quite frankly, we're all over it. But I miss them too.

And I feel terrible for the little one.

I throw myself on top of my bed where she's sitting quietly playing. She's the best kind of company a girl can have these days, minus the temper tantrums that is. Those are occurring less and less with her ever expanding vocabulary. She's tucking away her daddy doll to nap for what seems like the 20th time today. She's peaceful, content and the little smirk on her face tells me she's happy in her own little world.

I find it a little funny how I always loved how she learned to entertain herself since she was an itty bitty baby. It was important to me that she learn to deal and appreciate the quiet. I'd lay her down in her crib wide awake to watch the butterflies floating above her crib and to learn to enjoy time with herself because that's where creativity lives... in the quiet moments with yourself. At least it did for me as a kid.

Yet, here I am wrestling with my demons wishing I could tap into something nearly as great as what she's experiencing.

I picked up my camera and started snapping photos. She lit up and posed for my camera... "Mommy, what are you doing?!" followed by happy squeals and giggles and "CHEESE!"

Lo and behold... Depression starts to loosen his grip on me with every snapshot. All it took was immersing myself into something, or in this case, someone, that truly makes me happy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Mayah's Little Adventure in the Big City

One of my best memories I have as a kid growing up in Massachusetts were our frequent trips to aquariums and museums. I especially loved when they'd bring in the dinosaur exhibits. So one of the things on my summer-do list was to visit The American Museum of Natural History in New York. I figured this would be the perfect timing for the little one, since now she's SO curious about EVERYTHING. Her thing at this age is to point at everything and ask "What's this?" and she'll repeat it absorbing everything we say like a sponge. (I've always hated that little analogy cause it's like, sooo... typical- but she IS.) In a way I wanted to take advantage of this little stage she's in to expose her to something cooler than "zip-lock bags" and "batteries" in hopes that it'll all stick and contribute to her GENIUS {thunder strikes} *fingers curled in the air as I let out my best evil genius laugh*

*e-hem* Anyways.

Here are some of my fave shots of our day at the museum...

 Mayah's first train ride! She did really well and was mostly excited to be out of the confines of her car seat...

And now to catch the B train... (Or was it D???)

We're here!

 These guys preferred to hang in the main lobby.

We ran with the elephants...

And witnessed how other mommies protect their young.

We made new with some lively creatures...

Some, not as lively as others.

We learned about different cultures and people from distant times and distant places...

And shook hands with the natives.

We got up close and personal with the dinosaurs...

All of them. 

Later on we stopped in a popular spot for some dinner...

Took a stroll and snagged a little dessert.

We couldn't leave without soaking in a little bit of the city lights...

and admiring the architecture and GRANDNESS of Grand Central Station...

Before hurrying off to catch our train home like the New Yorkers do.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Connecticut Summer Lovin'

Since my move to Connecticut in August 2011, it's safe to say I've spent the majority of my time wishing I was back in Florida. Between the long bouts of the winter blues each year, missing my family as well as clean roads full of perfectly landscaped lawns, thriving new neighborhoods and just all aroundlively atmosphere. (Can't forget to mention Florida's much less crazy & more courteous drivers.) Who could blame me?

But I would be lying if I said that Connecticut isn't growing on me. While the bustle of Orlando kept me busy and always looking for something to do... What I wished to find more of was quiet and tranquility. I needed it. Away from the crowds of tourists, heat, noise and traffic! I found myself more often than not, hiding inside in central AC and away from the thick humidity just outside my door.

It could just be that this summer so far has consisted of temps in the mid to low 80's with cool, breezy nights. Perfection. But this year, I think I've decided... I kinda like this place. While I'll always be a Floridian at heart, nothing beats driving 10 minutes away from home and walking along the shore line. I could let the little one run off and soak her feet and not worry that she'll be dragged away by monster waves and rip tides if I'm not there to hover over her. As the babe explained, Long Island blocks us from getting any real big waves. (Least I think that's what he said.) And while I missed the real sight and sound of massive FL waves and beaches- I was informed there's no great white sharks in this water so... it's a trade off I'm happy with. 

Our neck of the woods on the East end of Bridgeport is finally getting some attention. A beach was just reopened to the public, construction on a new pier is underway, and a lot of our roads and neighborhoods are undergoing a much needed face-lift. In the meantime, I love knowing that on any day, without preparation or planning, we can drive off and soak in an eye full of BEAUTIFUL not too far from home be it spring, summer, fall... err... and I'm HOPING this appreciation follows through into this winter. 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Introvert's Way...

A couple weeks ago, I made an escape to Homegoods and Barnes and Noble for a little "me" time. Yes. You heard me... Home decor and book stores are FUN to me. Homegoods with their neat, colorful and beautifully displayed knick-knacks for the home. Sifting through their clearance shelves is much like digging for treasure to me. Barnes and Noble, a quiet little haven far, far away from whiners, criers, tattle talers and temper tantrum-ers.

During one of my trips to Barnes and Noble for some free quiet, I came across, The Introverts Way: Living A Quiet Life In A Noisy World by Sophia Dembling. In other words, this sounds like it could be the manual to me. But since this trip was strictly for some free quiet, I swore I'd come back for it during the summer while the kids are away and I'm less distracted.

And I'm so glad I did.

For anyone who's ever felt down on themselves for instinctively searching for the quiet corner at every party & was called the "party pooper"... for those of us who got stuck with the labels "SHY", "ANTI SOCIAL", "SNOB", "NEGATIVE", "SOCIALLY INEPT" or the one I heard most often  "BITCH" because we didn't walk around smiling like a dufuss and starting conversations with people simply because we have that we're breathing the same air in common... this book is for YOU.


Like the author charmingly puts it... "Introverts are not failed extroverts."For as long as I could remember, I felt there was something wrong with me because I wasn't like everyone else. (At least it seemed like everyone else.)

I spent (and still do) at least 80% of my day living in my own head. I was labeled the "daydreamer" by almost every teacher I had from 1st grade through high school. I wasn't as loud and rambunctious as the funny kids in class, but I sure as hell have a sense of humor. I was told I was wrong for wanting to sit alone on the swings rather than run around with the other kids. Watching the rest of the kids running around all blue in the face was fun for me, and besides... I was always a shitty runner.

I was never a social butterfly, but I had friends. I didn't smile as much as the others or laugh as loudly but it didn't mean I was always unhappy. I preferred to read, write and draw over sports, plays, and socializing. I was overly cautious. Quiet. Painfully shy (not so much anymore). Observant.

"Negative Nelly."


"Slow." (Yes. This term, slow... or as it's said in Spanish boba, or medía boba, has haunted me the most, even as an adult. I was SO quiet that apparently my mental health was in question. I forgive the people who apparently confused medía boba for being deaf or sorda as well but... anyway... let's move on.)

I'm not fucking slow. Pendejos.

I like to be alone. A lot. I don't always like people. Not many people understand how important it is for me to have my space without taking it personally, even if I really DO like them. This makes it really hard to connect with people... But not impossible. For the few who do understand... I treasure them deeply. 

This book reiterated what I've been telling myself for a few years now- There's nothing wrong with ME. Let me tell ya... it's one thing to say it to yourself. It's AMAZING when the people you hold near and dear accept and understand you. But to read someone else's candid take and experience with being an introvert is LIBERATING. (In a very quiet, private and personal way, that is.) 

We don't need to be fixed. This statement is geared towards the extroverts of the world who have made it their duty to fix in us what doesn't need fixin'. Some of those extroverts try to "correct" us out of love and concern that our quietness, our solitary nature, and our sensitivity is something to be cured with a prescription. (Or prayer like my grandmother tried to do when I was a teenager.)

Introversion isn't a disease of the mind, much less a problem to be fixed or something to overcome. It's not a negative characteristic or a lack thereof. If there was ever a time I wished to be an extrovert, (not gonna lie, there's been many) it's only because I've gotten tired of hearing I need to be less of me in order to be more like her. The overly peppy, extremely talkative, ridiculously annoying her because that's what society deemed normal behavior for a young girl. I don't WANNA be like her... I like being me. In my bubble. I like my bubble. 

Our silence being misconstrued into something negative isn't our problem. (Yeah-hu... this book says so.) It's the judgemental loud folks with the problem. It's about time we start standing up for our right to NOT want to party like a rock star, cause quite frankly, it's exhausting! Why should we be forced to mingle among strangers when all we really want is to sit next to the table with the cocktail weenies- or better yet... go home and rip off our bra!? It's tight, it's binding and it sucks! I don't wanna be friends with ANYONE who thinks it's fun to be tight and binded! And who made extroverts the BOSS of what's  considered socially acceptable behavior in the first place?! Who invented BRAS anyway?!

**Flips table**

There's nothing wrong with choosing not to pour into people who don't pour into you.

There's nothing wrong with wanting to be alone in order to preserve your sanity.

There's nothing wrong with having just a handful (or less) of friends and feeling like they're more than enough because they're all you need to feel FULL. Especially, when every interaction outside of them leaves you feeling empty.

There's nothing wrong with being quiet. Maybe I'm just thinking. Maybe I'm observing... or listening... or daydreaming. Maybe you're boring the s@!% out of me and I'm just waiting for you to shut up OR I'm hoping someone else changes the subject.

There's nothing wrong with preferring a movie night in sweats to the club scene or hanging out in groups.

There's nothing wrong with not wanting to pick up the phone for just anyone, for just anything.

There's nothing wrong with not smiling all the time or being slow to warm up to people- especially those who seem to have made up their minds at first glance about you judging by their sideways glance and forced smile.

There's nothing wrong with preserving the best of me for the people who know what naturally makes me want to shine for them.

Screw what society says... there's nothing wrong with you either, my introverted friend.

P.S. There's nothing wrong with extroverts. I love y'all! Seriously! I do!

Just leave me alone.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Birthday Photo Do-Over

When the littlest one turned a year old, one thing I was super excited about were getting her first birthday portraits done. What I learned from my older kids was that time really does fly and they'll never be as little again as they are today. This would be my last chance at getting these memorable first birthday photos done and I was ecstatic. 

I ordered her the sweetest little grey lace romper and accessorized it with pearls and a beautiful nagorie tiffany blue feather. Snazzy little thing. This was going to be perfect!

And they were.

The photographer was super nice, energetic and patient. He managed to catch all her little features and bent over backwards to get the slightest expression out of my strong-willed child. But something about the experience and the little ones demeanor seemed so... unnatural. So... not... her. She seemed confused by both the atmosphere and the extremely almost TOO happy stranger with the unusual interest in getting her to smile. I understood. Excessively happy people scare the shit outta me too.

We picked out a few of our favorite poses, thanked the overwhelmingly, energetic photographer and went on our way. And while dad wiped the sweat off his forehead after spending a small fortune on these photos... I decided I wanted a re-shoot. 

It wasn't until a few months after her 2nd birthday that I found the perfect Tiffany blue petti skirt that I just HAD to have for this imaginary up and coming photo shoot. I say imaginary because while I had the whole thing planned in my head... I didn't have the equipment to do my vision any justice. 

Like that guy from that movie said... "Build it... and they will come." Or SOMETHING like that... I prepared for it... and it came. My birthday that is. (Well... a couple days before my birthday.) And after months and months of dropping subtle hints (orrrr not so subtle hints)...[I just want a good camera... *sigh* I wish I had the right camera... Sure, you can get the 60 inch TV... long as I get my camera first!]

 I got my camera. Let's do this birthday do-over thingy...

I spent my birthday kneeling in moist dirt... Sweat dripping in my eyes... Bugs caught in my hair... Walking through a stream in my long jeans and squatting as low as I could behind trees in very uncomfortable positions for long stretches of time in order to get thee shot. I caught what looked like a look of confusion/disgust from the babe for the very first time in our relationship, I was THAT determined. 

After coming home and uploading the photos... The results were SO worth the boob sweat and running mascara.