Forty and Counting 


So, I’m currently 41 almost 42. Who cares. I remember the empowering feeling of turning 40. That year my best friend and I went away to an awesome spa resort, for 3 days we celebrated being 40!  We had said for so long that was something we were going to do and we did it.

That was the first time I had been away from my family and traveled alone without them. I missed them but the feeling of doing something on my own was liberating. Bucket list style.

 I was Ana again for just a little while.  As a parent, we all know how easy it is to lose who we are because we get so caught up in Parenthood.  It’s a trap! 

I also found strength I never knew I had..physical and inner emotional strength. I turned to prayer more and more as my meditation.  Turning 40 was like turning to a new chapter. I think it’s because we start to realize.. holy hell, I am 40. Am I half way done with life??  So in turn you start to eat healthier and exercise more.. thats not a bad thing at all. You also throw caution to the wind and try not to forget to enjoy life.. have that glass of wine or piece of cake or both! The guilt trips we put ourselves on come to an end.  

Forty is genuinely only a number as they say. Staying young at heart is the key. Not taking life too seriously. Laugh as much as possible. Being stupid silly with the ones you love. Don’t care what others think and most importantly do what you love. Live your life how you see fit.

 Cliché I know, but it really  friggen works.

However, do we actually make time for all of that? Yes, but clearly we don’t do it as often as we’d like too. 

But damn, when I wake up in the morning and my knees hurt and ache from arthritis it’s disheartening to say the least. 

 Arthritis?? When the hell did that happen?  Maybe it’s a fluke, maybe it’s just a sprain? Let me get the ice pack out- but then the next day it’s back again!  Why is it when it rains my knee is even worse!?? 

Now I can tell when it’s going to rain because my knee is acting up. Seriously. I can predict weather.

 Don’t even get me started on hot flashes.. yeah I get them a little!  Suddenly at 3 am I am sweating  just enough to disturb my sleep, so I can wake up feeling like I need a coffee iv drip to start the day. Hence, my love affair with coffee. 

What the F is happening to me?!

Now you got me thinking,  is 40 fabulous? Grey hair, arthritis and throw  a couple of wrinkles into the mix. 

Well, in actuality 40 is fabulous!! It’s freeing in the sense that all the things you once cared too much about don’t matter so much anymore. Your patience level is different and you truly don’t give as much energy to the things that cause unnecessary stress. Why?  Because who has the time for it!!?  Time is ticking away. 

Every second that passes,  every day we wake up – we are given another chance at being the best version of ourselves or at least continuing to be a work in progress.  You realize now how precious time is because well, your 40!!!  How did 40 happen so fast? Didn’t I just graduate high school? 

Embrace yourself.. the more you accept who you are and what you are evolving into, you will find out the best parts of yourself. 

Each day that I wake I give thanks. I also ask to be a better wife, mother, daughter and friend. 

You see, it’s not about the number. Its about reflecting back on your life and seeing what’s been done, what needs work and what is yet to come. 

Plus Sized Heart 

Reflecting on the past  year once again. I had some great accomplishments last year with weight loss. I even wrote a whole blog about it too!  As I hit the one year mark, I started to not feel so good on the program I followed. 

I was getting too many weird symptoms and decided to phase off of the program. I gained 10 pounds back in my first month of eating healthy but normal foods again- not that prepackaged meal plan. 

Each month I gained 10 pounds and it became an absolute embarrassment for me. Here I had worked so hard at following this plan and exercising like a fiend and there was that crushing weight once again.

The yo-yo diet phase came.. let me try Atkins, let me try Palio, one after another that just didn’t suit me in one way or another.  

You get so overwhelmed with the different styles of diets and they either work and then stop working or don’t work at all. Time to throw your hands up in the air!! 

This is what I have come to figure out. Weight loss programs do not work for long term. In my opinion that is. I think you can eat just about anything but in moderation. That’s sort of hard when your a chocoholic like me. 

Chocolate lover or not,  I know the basic rules. Protein, veggies and fruit and lesson up on the carbs. Who doesn’t love bread though?? 

What surprised me the most is what happened to me emotionally. As I gained the weight back that embarrassment slowly overcame me. I’d look in the mirror and say, “oh my God..what is going on!” 

I started to not even want to go out socially. I didn’t want to have to explain what happened. I wanted to hide. I was becoming someone I didn’t even know.

When your someone who has always had a weight issue, going through such a transformation was life changing. Everyone of my friends and family called me an inspiration. Even when I was down the 100 lbs, I still had someone say to me how great I looked but I really needed to work on my stomach.  Even with all that I accomplished, it still wasn’t good enough. I pushed and pushed myself thinking I still wasn’t where I needed to be. 

Now, I looked like an even bigger failure. I started to tell my husband I was going to be forever fat. 

No one understood the health issues I was having, but in today’s society you are considered lazy when overweight. I have never sat on my couch all day eating bon bons.. just sayin!! 

In a way this is me explaining myself, but not because I care what anyone thinks. It took me a really long time to get to that point. I have come to realize that the love in my heart should mean more to someone than how I look. What I do care about is never allowing this to happen to me again. Not closing myself off to the world because of being ashamed of how I look.
My boys tell me all the time I’m their beautiful princess.. they melt me. I’m certainly not going to argue with them! 

Society as a whole has standards that are set so unrealistically high. I am making my own standards. I am setting goals and not worrying about the number on the scale. 

As cliche as it sounds, my weight doesn’t define me anymore.

 Body shaming is a really huge issue for me. It goes as far back to when I was 10 years old. I was far from being overweight but yet told that so often by someone very close to me. It was hurtful and I didn’t know why I was being made to feel so badly about myself. Resentment and cutting words at a young age stays with you forever. 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if everyone focused on kindness, love, living peacefully and being judgement free instead of how plus size I really am?  

My heart will always be plus sized and that’s how The Good Lord made me. 

18 years and counting

Wow! Can it be 18 years we’ve been together?? Sure has!! Best 18 years of my life. I’m not going to lie and say we haven’t been tested because that really wouldn’t be right.
We’ve never once doubted our love or intentions. Others have done that for us and yet we have proven them wrong.
When I met you.. I wasn’t truly enjoying life. I wasn’t  making myself very available as I had endured some hurts in my 20 years of life.
My problem has always been I love too much.. if you can call that a problem.
I give too much of my time to others and then all I expected was friendship in return. By the time I met you, I had been burned too many times.
I just wanted to focus on college and I wasn’t there to make friends.
I remember one of our first conversations was how neither of us had time to date- between both of us working 2 jobs and college, who had time??!!
It didn’t take us long to have a connection.. taking breaks at work together. Me looking forward to working so I could spend time with you!
I know my feelings were there first.
I fought it too.
I didn’t want to ruin our friendship.
God had a plan for us.. regardless He knew we needed one another. I always say God made you especially for me.
You helped mend my broken heart. For far too long I mourned my Father’s death and when you came along my focus shifted on me being happy.
You have no idea how happy you’ve made me. Out of all the things you’ve given me.. our two beautiful sons are my greatest gifts.
We have so many memories and I could never imagine them with anyone else.
You are my calm. You make me a better person.
I have had some serious insecurities over the years and you’ve never given up on me. You have always tried to make me feel better than my fears.
You are definitely my better half..
I am so proud of the person you are.
I am grateful you chose me for so many reasons.
I sit and think of the paths we could have taken and what life would be like? It’s impossible to imagine life any differently.
I love you forever.. I Iove you for always. Amen.

Heaven gained an Angel

July 11, 2015

This day should not have come for many many years. Today the world lost a beautiful human being. He was kind and loving.. generous to a fault.
My tears didn’t  come until much later in the day.  Shock and disbelief took over.
I had hopes all week that we would see improvement in his health which seems to have suddenly just slipped out of sight faster than anyone expected.
I’m thinking about the stages of death. I don’t think I will reach the anger stage this time around.
Michael was a friend from high school. I remember him always with a gigantic smile.. sometimes it was due to something mischievous he had just done but mostly it was because he always had a smile for everyone. Always had something kind or funny to say.
I hadn’t seen Mike in years and then when I caved into social media six years ago and got on Facebook – we then became friends all over again.
Sharing words on pictures or posts like we do.. then one day I messaged him to tell him how I always thought so highly of him. After that our messages were about life.. freindships.. whatever was going on at that time..venting sessions.
My main goal in school was to never be judgemental and I really liked everyone. It didn’t matter what social group you were from.
Michael tended to be the same way.
As an adult and from our numerous daily conversations he became somewhat of a warrior to helping others. He would say,  “Ana – I’ve been so blessed at times in my life,  I have to give back when I have an opportunity to do it”.
He focused on others more than himself. To say he kept himself busy is an understatement. His love of music was great. I remember a few months ago he and I talking about different genres of music… we probably talked about that topic for much longer than we should have but we had fun reminiscing about certain songs that touched our lives.
His love for music and writing is what kept him going. Music is good for the soul as they say.
Mike was one one of those rare people to cross your path.. he was genuine..he was honest.. he was eccentric and mostly he was unique.
He told me so many times how proud he was of me..how he loved me and our conversations. He was grateful for our friendship.
I always returned those same words unto him because I was so proud of him too. I adored my friendship with Mike. I didn’t have any siblings growing up. Certain friends over the years have  become my extended family.
Michael was my extended family. He was like a brother to me.
Losing him yesterday was devastating. There are no words to really describe sudden loss.
I sit here now and I am fighting with my memories trying to grasp and hold onto all of our conversations.
He was far too young to leave this world. I sit here now and wonder what didn’t he get to tell me.
As much as he had smiles and jokes for everyone he too had frustrations and health issues he was working on. He worked and fought so hard to better himself and he was honest about the struggles along the way.
Life is precious.. you blink and it’s gone.
He touched many lives.. mine included. I will be forever changed not having this gentle soul as my friend here on Earth.
I can only hope and pray he knew how important he was to me and to so many others. We always made it a point to say kind words and end our conversations light hearted.
He would say.. “I love you dear”..
I knew that he did and for that my I’m blessed to have been given such a gift.
You are so missed already. There was so much more to say and do.
God had a different plan and needed you more.
I love you dear Michael
Your story isn’t over ;

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Photo credit: picture taken by Patti Phelan Sinclair

Almost there

So my journey has been one year long. My weight loss journey that is.. in this time I have started to find myself again. My confidence and making time for me.
I have been doing a monitored weight loss plan that has changed me forever. I am down about 100 lbs and have a little more to go. 
I have found strength in myself that I never knew I had. Physical and mental.
Will power is amazing!!!!
I have found a love for exercise that before I never knew possible. Now, when I don’t exercise my body craves it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to be a model or a body builder.. I don’t do all kinds of crazy energy drinks to help me. I get off my ass and get it done.
I am almost done with my program..which has phases to it. I’m nervous as ever because it will truly be me being accountable to myself.
Daily I remember the reasons I started. First was for me.. my health was going down hill. I wasn’t technically sick but I felt it. By bedtime I felt as if I had the flu.  My body ached so much from the weight I was carrying around.
My moods were awful because I couldn’t sleep good at night.
I want you to know…I wasn’t sitting here just feeding my face and eating bon bons. I was a mother..a housewife who just couldn’t balance her day well enough.
The kids came first.. then whatever the house needed..laundry or dusting. I was last on my list for the day. Without realizing it.. I was doing more damage.
I wouldn’t eat breakfast or lunch and then I would eat dinner late or once the kids were settled. 
By that point, I would over do it because it would hit me how hungry I was.
What a vicious cycle I created. I wanted to be a good mom and keep up on errands and the house and entertaining the kids but yet I couldn’t see how neglectful I was too myself.
Last year,  I turned 40. That was why in January I started my goal of taking care of me too.
I also had a friend who spoke honestly with me and said..”What are those kids going to do without you someday?”
“Your all they have since Rich works so much”. Having lost my dad early in life it scared me to think what I would do to these two beautiful boys I brought into this world.
Damn the truth hurt. It’s not like I didn’t think of that too.  So besides turing 40 and finally making the decision to better myself..my kids were also another reason I needed to do this.
Plus, if I am being really honest here -my friends words hit me to the core. I was angry that he would say such things but it was the fire I needed. Many times over I have thought of those words.
Now, I am almost done with the program I am on. I am worried I will pick up the same bad habits. Get lazy and do whatever I want too. I know I have the tools I didn’t have before. I also know how wonderful I feel now too.
I have never needed anyone’s acceptance but to hear how I have motivated people to start the same journey is so uplifting! 
I have never  felt like I was a role model to anyone but my children. I have people message me all the time and it feels amazing to encourage someone else.
I was 310 lbs. I would have never told anyone my weight before. It was devastating to look at the scale.
For the first time ever in my life I feel beautiful. I feel strong!!!
In truth, this is not over soon. This is now a lifetime of making better choices and working hard.
First step is realizing how important you are to other people and how important your life is.
Almost there for me means –

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I am almost at my goal weight but I will always be working at being a better version of me daily.

Bittersweet

Today officially marks the last day of summer vacation.
It saddens me that we waited so long and now it’s already over. The next breath I take is like a sigh of relief because the kids will be back to school tomorrow!!
I decided that we should spend it doing what they love most, swimming and fishing. 
I sit here as I watch them play and hope they always realizes one day how I do everything for them.. whatever their needs and wants are..they are mine too.
I aways remember my mother working hard and so much but somehow in her time off we were always out and about. We would spend the day at the beach or take off and have a picnic somewhere. We spent our summers having family bbq’s which as I got older I became the grill master for my aunt since we had all of our functions at her home.
I miss the summers of past.
My family is huge but our gatherings always consisted of just my immediate family.  My grandmother would cook for an army of people and we would bbq enough food for lunch and dinner too.
I miss the closeness we had. I miss feeling that family unit even though I have my own family now and we try to make our own new memories. My aunt is an angel watching over us and my dear grandmother is in a nursing facility only a small version of herself now. It just doesn’t feel the same- I wish my boys could have known what it felt like to have such huge get together and the silliness of our crew!
My aunt would get mad at my uncle’s crazy and deliberately annoying comments and swear at him..which we always waited for with baited breath! 

At a loss

We had our cat for almost 11 years. I remember the first time I had a craving to get a pet with my then boyfriend now husband.  It was my motherly need kicking in.
We adopted Milo aka Tiggie from a local veterinarian. He was just what we wanted…American Tabby short hair with grey stripes and beautiful greenish yellow eyes.  He was only a couple of months old.
He was the best cat ever! He played games and I used to love how he would come running as soon as he heard the can opener! He had his own spot in every room and he was the king of the castle. He was spoiled as he should be.
We went away for short vacation and came home to him looking normal and seemingly acting normal.
Then later in the evening it struck.. something was not right with his breathing. We took him first thing in the morning to a vet who said he had fluid in his chest but not much could be done. We waited another day to see if the antibiotic he was given would work. Things got progressively worse. We then go to the er vet on the next morning my husband also has to attend and be a part of a funeral too.
The er vet was wonderful and kind and really very thorough.  Milo had congestive heart failure. His heart was thinning as mine was breaking.
Devastation hit.
It was a reality that we would need to make a huge decision. A difficult decision but one that needed to be made.
Thankfully my husband made it back in time..I could have never done this alone. We had some alone time with Milo and then the vet came back to explain the situation to my husband.
It was so hard to have him not want to be with us…He was pulling away because he knew what he needed.
I craved him being close as he always was just days before.
Then with much thought I said, I cannot be selfish. He deserves better and to feel better..
I miss him being in all of his usual spots in the house.  I miss how he’d jump on the recliner with me and lay next to my legs or the way he knew how to jump on my lap and bump his head on me when he needed a treat!
At night when the kids were getting ready for bed he would jump on our bed and wait for his time with us.
This has all been so hard to process because we had no warning signs at all.  The kids randomly blurt out how much they miss “Tiggie”. It’s heart breaking really.. He was part of our family.
Now we are missing that piece to our puzzle.
I have been full of grief and trying to be strong for the children all at once.
Until we meet again Milo.. for now I pray he is running free and enjoying the breeze and sunshine each and every moment he gets. I hope he knows how much he is loved and missed and just how much he was a part of our lives as we were a part of his.

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I am a mother first

I have tried blogging before..it’s therapeutic on so many levels. 
My first blog is going to be about my journey I am currently on.
I became a mother for the first time 7 years ago. We then had our second son 4 years ago. My children are the loves of my life.  The reason I breath.
Their joy is my joy.. but somehow I did get a little lost in all of this.
I used to be focused on a very successful career which I was ok stopping- being given the opportunity to be a full time mom.
I have loved being able to stay home and watch all of their firsts.  Next year our Jacob will be full time in kindergarten. 
Now comes the part.. what do I want to do again?? Who am I??
I have so many things I like and love. Which do I choose? I enjoy a challenge.
My newest and biggest challenge of them all is working on losing weight. I have a ways to go but again, my focus and determination is all due to my kids.
They didn’t ask to be here..they didn’t ask to be born. I have put myself off for so long because of always taking care of them first and foremost.
By doing this I have created a vicious circle for myself. Feeling frustrated and tired because there is not enough time in the day to accomplish each and every task I had in mind.
It’s truly about finding the right balance!
Yeah,  that dusty table will be there tomorrow!  It cannot be all work and no play!
I have learned that I am a control freak in a way. I like things organized..but that doesn’t always make things happy.
Now it’s my turn. Everything I do, I have my boys and husband in mind.
I am working on making a better version of me. I always say I am a work in progress each day.
My husband always says.. we hit the reset button each day. I live by that philosophy now.
My journey isn’t just about weight loss, it’s also about finding who I am and to be the best example I can be for my children. Working on having more patience is another huge goal.
I recently read somewhere and in other words…how can we expect perfection from our children when we are far from being perfect? 
That is sooo true!!!
I have many dreams.. I love to write,  I love to bake and would love my own little coffee shop.  I am still trying to figure out what I want to be in this stage of my life!
However,  whatever I choose or whatever chooses me.. I am a mother first.

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