I unexpectedly (and reluctantly) moved back to my hometown. I unexpectedly fell for an old high school classmate, and he unexpectedly proposed to me. We unexpectedly found out I was pregnant, and we got married sooner than expected. Now, we're experiencing the unexpected daily...the good, the bad, the funny, the frustrating. Read all about it...

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Unexpected "Bump"

Wondering where the heck I've been?? No? I'll tell ya anyway...

Having no laptop for the past few months and slow internet connection on the desktop could be a little detrimental for the freelance writer...or at least for the freelance writer/procrastinator who  uses the "no laptop/slow connection" excuse to slack on looking for assignments and creating her own.

Anyway...whoever actually follows this blog knows that a while ago I kinda was on the fence about people with two kids under the age of 2 or 3. I wrote about it in the post "Pregnancy Round Two!!" And honestly, the title was meant to be an eye catcher to lure my Facebook friends to check my blog out. It worked, as it is the post with the second most views on this otherwise "eh" blog. 

As you know because you can obviously read, my blog is all about the unexpected. Well, I think I jinxed myself...Okay, I wouldn't say jinxed because it isn't a bad thing, but I definitely did plant a seed of some sort when I brought the idea of second pregnancies into my life. God had this plan all along to make me look like a hypocrite! Because, if you haven't guessed by now...yep, PREGNANCY ROUND TWO IS FOR REAL!!! 

About the time my son Jamari turned 10 months, I went to the gyno who confirmed that Baby #2 had in fact been floating around in my belly for about 7 or 8 weeks. This was right around the time friends and family kept asking us if we were going to have another kid eventually because we were throwing around the idea of selling or donating our son's old clothing and toys. We were adamant about making sure everyone knew that we were going to wait at least two or three years before we even entertained the thought of having a second child. 

But, as is usually the case, God had other plans. 

Come January 2012, our second son will be in this world! We are ecstatic...well now, we are, whereas a few months ago I cried at the gyno because my son was barely 10 months old! The two boys are going to be about less than a year and a half apart, but from what I hear from friends and acquaintances, even though this was so not planned, it was the best thing to happen to us. Having kids so close in age, especially of the same sex, means they grow up with a friend with whom they can share things in common. 

It'll be hard, it'll be crazy, but I won't ever be able to complain about boredom again. We feel blessed, and words cannot explain how excited my husband and I are. Whether we are financially ready or not, mentally ready or not, physically ready or not, we are going to prove to those who doubt us that we will be one happy family despite anything and anyone that might try to knock us down! 

I've learned a lot so far about being a wife and mother, but these are the two lessons I cherish the most:

1.  Everyone is in their own place in life right now, and even though on the surface we might look the same (be married, have a kid or two, etc.), everyone's situation is very different. You cannot compare your life to someone else's. Just know, in due time, you will eventually get to where you want and are supposed to be.
2. We are going to be doubted and put down, and there are going to be people in our lives who are going to make things harder than they need to be. However, we have to keep a positive attitude no matter what kind of negativity people toss our way. When you let the negativity eat away at you, you find yourself unnecessarily stressed out.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Time Flies When You're Married

Easter Weekend is here!! Not only is it the weekend we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord who came to save us and prove that we can be redeemed, but it is also...


On April 24, 2010, I married my best friend...the only person who can put up with me, and the only person I know I can put up with until I die! And trust, we put up with A LOT!!

Throughout this year we've watched our friends get married and have kids of their own. We have witnessed before our very eyes how much life is changing as we are growing up. I am still not used to calling myself by a different last name, and it is even weirder hearing people use my new name rather than my maiden name. Saying "my husband" when referring to Sirron is sooo strange to me still. Will I EVER get used to it?!

IT'S BEEN ONE HELL OF A YEAR (take that as a good and bad thing)!!!

I've learned:
  • When you marry young, there are more sacrifices. You might still have a world of opportunity, but you have to center it around your spouse and/or kids. You might have to put off grad school. You might not be able to move into your dream Manhattan loft. Perhaps all of your aspirations have to be postponed or reconsidered. But, if you really love someone and are willing to make changes in order to be married/stay married, then trust and believe it is 100% worth it. Don't think that all your dreams are shot to sh*t just because you chose to marry at the typical age when most people are discovering the world and seizing opportunities. I am not saying that... but what I mean is, you might have to shift things around and reorder the way you originally planned your life. Never let ANYONE take away your dreams. Make a way for your dreams to work with your marriage so you do not come across selfish or inconsiderate.
  • You really do marry the family. I think my husband experiences this moreso than I do because I come from an opinionated (to say it lightly) family. If a decision is made that my parents are not comfortable or totally in agreement with, we notice it even if they don't tell us outright. More times than not they tell us outright! The advice, the criticism, the invasion of privacy, etc., comes from both sides of our families. It affects us. But we know it's "for our own good," as the saying goes. The concept of marrying the family is something we gotta get used to quickly because family won't be going away any time soon...or any time ever! However, above all, we really are only married to each other, so our decision is final.
  • Marriage is a love/hate, give/take union. It's not always rainbows and butterflies, it's compromise that moves us along (thanks Maroon 5!!). Seriously, though, that sentence just about sums up the definition of marriage. Whether times are good or bad, happy or sad...I gotta stop with the lyrics! Bottom line - nothing in life is perfect. Nothing in this world will bring you pure joy; everything seems to be tinged with even just the slightest doubt, slightest uneasiness, slightest sadness...whatever negative word you could put after the word "slightest." BUT focusing on that negativity instead of the positivity will make you want to hate and take, and it will make you forget about the words in front of the "/," which are what balances marriage, and life in general.
Overall, marriage is the best decision I have made. If you ever get the chance, think hard about it. Don't just jump into it. Know the pros, learn the cons, and seriously consider if you want to deal with it all, forever and forever...with the same damn person! Oh, and throw a kid or two or three in there, and your life really won't be just all about you anymore! Can you handle it? There's a reason why engagement cards that say "Congratulations!" are usually followed by the words: "GOOD LUCK!" (possibly in all caps like that for emphasis).

Luck, logic, love. The three "L" words of marriage. That just came to me - how cool is that?! No, but really, it does make sense. Take my word for it.

If you've already decided to get married, or if you are already married...I know I've only been a wife for a year (technically like 11 months plus a few days - math is not my strong point!), and so my advice is probably meaningless, but I just want to say: remember why you chose to get married in the first place. When you feel like slashing his tires or shaving her eyebrows...in the midst of the anger, just slow down and remember what made you decide to be with him or her forever in the first place.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Tiny is my Hero!

As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

But the challenge is not the only reason why I am writing this post. In fact, I didn't want my next post to be about a book I've read because I feel like the challenge is the only thing I have been writing about (in other words, I be slackin big time!). However, I have to write about this book! Will Grayson, Will Grayson is hysterical, and I did not want it to come to an end but the end was what made it so sweet and so truthful.

Tiny is one of the main characters of the book, and even though the lives revolve around the title characters, I think Tiny is what the story is actually about. Tiny pulls the plot together, and he is the one who embodies the theme of the story the most. I have never read anything so real and so true...it's one of those things you don't want to face because it is honest and forces you (or just me) to realize the truth about your life.

The truth is...life sucks, but you're not the only one with a sucky life. But life doesn't suck 100% percent of the time.

When it does suck, you might have a Tiny who seems to have head full of rainbows and butterflies who will not freakin shut up until he finds some way to make you see things even slightly positively.

And guess what? All the Tiny's in the world who try to make everyone else happy are also unhappy inside. They just don't want to bring you down with them. Or kick you while you're down. They might be annoying, but they've got a point: just make everyone else's day better even if yours is kinda down the toilet.

Tiny helped me to realize life is not about me. It is about the bigger picture of family and friends, and making sure I'm not the cause of their pain, but the cause of their happiness. So what if I have financial issues, a bad hair day, or if I missed my morning coffee? What good am I doing by dumping my problems onto someone else? Yes, I can (and will) vent, but dwelling and moping and constantly bringing up the bad stuff is not going to erase the bad stuff.

Basically, I have learned a big lesson: Stop talking about myself. Start listening to others. And no matter how dumb or annoying or naive I sound -- make them see the brighter side. I also learned that I've got to look more at the brighter side too.

Friday, February 25, 2011

What Morrie Schwartz Taught Me

As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom.

I've read The Five People You Meet in Heaven and For One More Day, and for a third time, Mitch Albom did not let me put a book down without finishing the entire thing!

Through Albom's story, Morrie Schwartz has taught me:

  • Life is not about counting DOWN the days. It is about looking UP at what life has left to offer us.
  • Materialism and what's "in" at the moment is incomparable to the relationships we foster and keep.
  • It is better to dance to your own beat than to follow the steps of others.
  • "Love each other or perish." - Probably my favorite quote out of the whole book, but there are countless quotes from Morrie that I absolutely loved.
His life was so full of love, laughter, and...LIVING. If more people were like Morrie, I think we would have a much more peaceful world. I feel like I met him in person just by reading this book. He helped me to realize that our lives are not supposed to be surrounded by what our culture thinks is right or trendy. It is about how we affect people, and what we get out of our relationships with each other. 

Tuesdays With Morrie is the reason why everyone should read.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Esparanza Rising

As part of My Overstuffed Bookshelf's 100+ Reading Challenge, I read Esparanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.

Although I've heard about it years ago, I was interested in reading this Young Adult book after I read a review from a teacher who said that, by the end of the book, the entire class was in tears. I had to find out how a high school class could have gotten that emotional. 

The story is about a young girl named Esparanza, who comes from a wealthy family in Mexico. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother, along with their servants, move to California in search of a better life. Esparanza and her mother are now second-class citizens, and she must adjust to being considered equal to the people who were formerly her help. Attempting to get their piece of the American dream, they find themselves in the midst of Mexican repatriation horrors as they work in a camp with other Mexicans out in the fields and anywhere else work is offered.

It has been quite some time since a book has held my attention so much that I finished reading it within 24 hours. This book taught me the importance of keeping faith, never giving up, and always having hope (the English word for "esparanza"). Ryan's story is based on her grandmother Esparanza's life and reflects on the real crises Mexicans faced in the 1930s during America's Great Depression. 

No matter what happens to Esparanza, her family, and her close friends, they remain diligent in working and praying.  Through the many obstacles that they encounter, they realize all they could do after every time they fall is rise.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More of What I Don't Think I Deserve

One morning a few weeks ago, I was walking into work when it was super freezing. A woman noticed all I had on was a pea coat. Given the horrific winter weather the East Coast's been enduring, she felt bad that I didn't have a scarf, hat, or gloves to keep me warmer. The lady promised that the next time I saw her, she would have a heavier coat, boots, and gloves to give me. I didn't think anything of it because we hardly know each other...we pass each other and say hello on occasion, probably only really see each other while we enter the building in the morning.

This morning, I saw a bag on my desk and thought someone had left their stuff in my cubicle. Then, I found a Post-It in the bag that said something along the lines of, "I'm sorry I didn't get this to you sooner," and at the bottom was the woman's name. Inside the bag was a coat much longer and heavier than mine. I immediately e-mailed her, thanking her for such a thoughtful act. She e-mailed me back just as quickly, offering even more clothing she wanted to give me. 

I definitely sound like a downer right now...but have you ever felt like you've been blessed with so many things that you just feel like you don't deserve?

I don't want to come across ungrateful, but what have I done to be blessed with everything I have, to be treated so kindly by friends, family, even strangers? It's kinda like Lil Wayne's line: "What the hell am I doin right?"

The wonderful woman who God placed in my life taught me a valuable lesson today: Stop being so self-consumed, take a second to think of others, and figure out a way to brighten their day. By self-consumed, I don't mean self-absorbed...I mean, do something for someone other than yourself. In the midst of preparing breakfast, driving to work, actually doing work, going home to do laundry and clean...stop and realize there is so much more to do, like empty your closet of things you don't need and give it to someone who could use those items. Or find some spare office supplies and bring them in for someone at work who seems to always lose his or her pens or paper clips. Put others first, or at least find a kind yet simple way to include them in your daily grind.

I don't know what I'm doing right to deserve anything from anyone, let alone someone I don't know on a personal level at all. But, perhaps God put her in my world to remind me that I'm not the only one I need to be thinking about. Through her, God definitely helped me realize that, even though we don't think we deserve to be treated kindly...we do. Because it helps us think a lot more positively, and it reminds us that overall, life, this world, and God is good...all the time...no matter what.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Book Review: The Power-Based Life by Mike Flynt

Author Mike Flynt is inspiration himself. At 59 years old, he became the oldest member of any US college football team, never allowing anyone to use his age as an excuse to treat him differently on the field.

In The Power-Based Life, Flynt challenges readers to answer the question: Who do you think you are? He teaches 12 power bases that could help readers fully succeed in whatever they choose to do with their lives. Flynt’s personal experiences, sports-related anecdotes, and biblical references prove how his power bases could strengthen anyone’s body, mind, and spirit if they are applied. The idea behind The Power Based Life is to help people focus on what they believe they were born to do -- to utilize their God-given talent to their maximum ability.

It could not have been better timing for me to read this book. I honestly believe that I was meant to read this book for a reason. I highly recommend it for people like me -- those who are at a crossroads in life, those who are just setting out into the real world, those who are trying to figure out their life purpose. This is also a great book for those who feel like they have more to contribute to their career, their family, and their community.

Although Flynt references the Bible quite often, the stories he shares relate to Christians and non-believers alike. If you are struggling to find your place in this world and your reason for living in it, read this book regardless of your religious background, or lack thereof. The Power-Based Life is full of highlighter-worthy, thought-provoking, inspirational ideas that move readers to do more with their lives.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Don't Doubt Me

I copied this from my old blog because it is relevant to how I am feeling now.

I've been beaten, scraped, thrown around. I've failed miserably and committed costly mistakes. I've triumphed and succeeded, been the one who did the beatings. I have been on my knees more than I've been held up on a giant's shoulders. I have cried and frowned as equally as I have laughed and smiled. But don't dare doubt me. Life is trials and tribulations, but it isn't worth a damn thing if you don't fulfill your dreams despite all of the failure and filth.

When I say I can handle it, don't tell me I can't. And if you're right and I'm wrong, don't sweat it. I'll let it go.

When I say I want to go for it, don't tell me it's out of my reach. If you're right and I'm wrong, don't sweat it. I'll step back on my own accord.

If there was something that I could not do or would not be good for me, I wouldn't even try. So don't tell me what I can and cannot handle. And if I happen to be wrong, and you happen to be right, I'll deal with it. Move on with your life.

I would never refuse your advice. I will never disregard your opinion. I will, however, always stand by what I think is right, what I think would make my life worth living, and what I believe would do me good. I will always appreciate your care, love, support, faith, worries, criticism, and fears.

If I fail more than I succeed (and I know I will because that's life), and if the same mistake happens twice, put it all on me. There is nobody else who could be at fault for the things of which I try and fail. I'll take the blame, I'll own up, be responsible for my actions, and I'll still be living happily ever after. I'd hope you would do the same. After all, everything I do for myself and to myself affects me more than it could ever affect you.

In addition to what I've copied...

Life is about taking risks, otherwise we would never know what our true abilities are, or what is our maximum potential!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pregnancy Round Two!!

What if you have a child less than a year old, and then find out that a pregnancy test has a plus sign yet again?!

I think having an unplanned second child is bittersweet, specifically when you're not yet financially sound and just got the gist of taking care of one baby.

Oh, and by the way, I'm not pregnant again. However, I know a lot of people who are pregnant for a second time, whether unplanned or not, and pretty much all of their firstborns are two years old or younger. All I can say is: God bless them!

My husband and I really need to get back on our own before we can have another mouth to feed. If our situation is better in three to four years than it is now, we'll discuss having a second baby then. That way, we have time to really decide on having a second child, and to be more prepared financially and mentally if we do choose to go for round two. That's the glory of being young...we've got time!

Another big reason is because we cannot fathom the idea of having an infant or toddler plus a newborn! I admire everyone who has kids less than two years apart in age. It's double the energy, double the sleep deprivation, double the diapers...possibly double the breastfeeding? Spending is doubled, especially as they get older when cars and college come into play.

It is also divided care and divided attention. By having two kids, one naturally feels less loved, and it's often the older child. How do parents of two very young kids deal with jealousy? How do they make sure that both of the children feel equal in their parents' eyes? 

On the brighter side...

It's double the love, double the laughter, double the memories. You have a second chance at caring for a newborn, and you get to experience the feelings of being like a new parent all over again. Your firstborn has the opportunity to be a big brother or sister, which could make them feel special and important. You would have two kids who could grow up to potentially be best friends, or at least value the importance of family and relying on each other through thick and thin.

You can see how I am on the fence about having another kid. It is mainly because at this moment, I am not at all ready to be pregnant again. I am still fighting to shake off this baby weight; I don't need to add on any more pounds! I am enjoying being a mother to one adorable infant and spoiling him (in a healthy way) with all of my love and attention without having to worry about another baby feeling deprived. Oh yeah, and our parents would definitely kill us.

Not everyone plans to have a child, let alone more than one. I cannot imagine being ill-prepared a second time. If it is God's plan for us to have another child, we can only hope that we are in a better place than where we are now.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A Year of Pleasant Surprises!!

2010 exceeded my expectations!

It actually all started on October 23, 2009, when my live-in boyfriend became my fiance after he proposed during my birthday celebration in Atlantic City.

The proposal was too good to be true, and completely threw me off. I knew we were eventually going to be engaged, but not that soon; we had only been together seven months! I had to call his mother immediately after he had asked me to find out if this was really happening.

About a month after that, right before we moved to our new apartment, I missed my period. I was experiencing the typical symptoms of pregnancy...and three home tests and one visit to Planned Parenthood later, I was finally convinced that I was expecting! I was in denial for a long time, and I did not tell my parents until I was almost two months pregnant in mid-January. I told them over the phone, and this is how the conversation went:

"We have to move up the wedding."
"To when?"
"No, this year."
"Why do you want it so soon?"
"Because I'm pregnant."

Much to my surprise, they were more concerned with how they were going to plan a wedding in three and a half short months. Somehow, we pulled it off. It was a dream come true. I ordered my dress online from David's Bridal, but since I was pregnant, I was unsure of how big my belly was going to be by April 24th. I guessed on the size, and when it was delivered,  I felt like Cinderella because it was a perfect fit!

Four months later, this happened:

We officially became a family on August 8, 2010!

A lot of negative things happened during and after these events, but now is not the time to dwell on the bad part of life. New Year's is about thinking positively, moving forward, and making the new year better than the old one. 

The positive definitely outweighed the negative, and life's (un)expectations stormed through in the most exciting way this past year. I can only look ahead and pray that 2011 brings more fortune, more pleasant surprises, and a deeper purpose for living.

God (or whoever/whatever you believe) has granted us with another year to affect others and improve ourselves. I don't know how much better my life could possibly get, but I cannot wait to find out what it has in store for me!