Change

People say the only constant in life is change. Change is normal. Accept it. Embrace it. It’s a cycle of life, but sometimes it knocks you off your feet and carries you into a life you would never have imagined for yourself. That is what happened to me. Now a little over three years after this change I speak of–I’m finally putting my fingers to the keypad and writing. Funny that I say ‘me’ like I was the only one involved in this big life change. In reality it was myself, my ex and our children–not to mention the family who supports us even to this day. This post is definitely long over due. I have wanted to begin writing again, but I’ve felt that my experiences were to painful for me to be able to share openly. I was only inspired to write this after I heard a commercial on the radio speaking about domestic violence month. Realizing that maybe writing this post could help someone else as much as it could help me is the reason I’m typing these words. I still can’t write the details publicly, but if you feel compelled to email me you are more than welcome to.

Three years and three months ago my family was residing in a disguised nightmare. Everything seemed ok. I tried to pretend that everything was ok, but in reality it was all falling apart. The only real peace I get from thinking back on it all is that Journey and Faith were seemingly unaffected by it all. They were fed, nurtured and thrived in a situation that wasn’t ideal. Not a fairy tale at all.

Three years and three months ago the girls and I flew back to Colorado in a flurry of tears, hugs, and heartbreak. I packed three suitcases; one big one full of clothes (for 2 weeks), one small one with some of the girls favorite toys, and one more with miscellaneous items. Without any identification except a black-eye, I boarded us on a Southwest flight back to my native state. Arriving was bitter-sweet. I was happy to be home, but the prideful side of me felt like a failure. Like a dog with its tail between its legs. I had left with so much potential–I was starting a family with a man I loved, we were living in a beautiful house, I was a stay-at-home Mom  enjoying the gorgeous California weather and then in a flash it was gone.

With the help of my best friend I made the decision to stay in Colorado and to not rush back into a life that was not there. I chose to do what was right for me. It’s still hard for me to do that because so much of my early twenties I spent thinking about what was right for everyone else. I pushed my wants and needs to the back burner. Now that I’m in the forefront life is much more confusing. What is it that I wanted? Love, family, stability, happiness? How can I get those things? Will they ever come? I still have trouble realizing that all of those things still have a place, but not in the mold that I have imagined. Coping with this change, I’m not the same young woman who began this blog with her best friend so many years ago. I look back at past posts and feel tears come to my eyes. I’m even more sad that I let this blog suffer in the process. Sharing my journey through motherhood was therapeutic, fun and the perfect way to chronicle the lives of my two daughters.

They are the real reason that I made the decision to leave and not go back. Rebuilding our lives here, alone, has been so very hard. We have had support from a variety of community resources, friends and family.  Unfortunately, we have experienced homelessness and have lived in a domestic violence shelter for two months and in transitional housing for 10 months until we were able to attain an apartment.

Transitioning from a stay-at-home mom to a single working mother has been hard. I have had to play double duty when it comes to household duties and raising the girls. I find myself becoming envious of mothers who can stay home with their children, but don’t want to. It is a dream to be able to spend time with your children. I’m at least lucky enough to work in the same school that the girls attend, but our nights are busy and I feel stretched thin at times. I worry that I’m not giving Journey and Faith all that I could. I feel guilty for wanting time for myself. I feel like a failure (again) for not being able to provide the family I envisioned for my children. They don’t deserve to live in a single parent home. They don’t deserve to only see their Dad 3 months out of the year.

What keeps me moving forward is knowing that they do deserve a healthy loving life.

I deserve a healthy loving life.

This is only the tip of the iceberg! I have so many more thoughts, but I will save them for another time (and this time I won’t wait three years to share them). I welcome comments and I look forward to putting the Mommy back in Mommy Lounge.

Bucket List

Written by: Kalisha

It has been so dead around here that Mommy Lounge probably seems like we are on our way to kickin’ the bucket! I had just finished writing the Wordless/Word-full Wednesday post over at UV Skinz when I decided to blog surf a little and I found this bucket list at I’m Just Beachy. BTW, UV Skinz is offering a 15% coupon code off of all online orders during the month of June!!

(Man! I hate it when I write and don’t hit save and then when I try to publish the dang WordPress tries to act like I wasn’t signed in and then some of my work doesn’t get saved and then I end up rambling in a huge run on sentence because I don’t have the time or the patience to re-write what had been wrongfully erased and it’s kind of fun, but probably really annoying to someone out there so I will stop.  Wheew! Ok, let’s just move on–to the Bucket List!)

Here we go!…

1. Started your own blog

2. Slept under the stars

3. Played in a band (if Junior High counts)

4. Visited Hawaii

5. Watched a meteor shower (I’ve seen shooting stars, though!)

6. Given more than you can afford to charity

7. Been to Disneyworld-On my list since I live in FLA!

8. Climbed a mountain

9. Held a praying mantis

10. Sang a solo

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris

13. Watched a lightning storm at sea

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch

15. Adopted a child

16. Had food poisoning

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty

18. Grown your own vegetables

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train

21. Had a pillow fight

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill

24. Built a snow fort

25. Held a lamb

26. Gone skinny dipping

27. Run a Marathon

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset

31. Hit a home run

32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors

35. Seen an Amish community

36. Taught yourself a new language (I took French in High School. Does that count?)

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing- (On my short list)

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling (Short listed)

52. Kissed in the rain

53. Played in the mud

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie (Only on the set).

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching

63. Got flowers for no reason

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasman

65. Gone sky diving

66. Visited a Nazi concentration camp

67. Bounced a check

68. Flown in a helicopter

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial

71. Eaten caviar

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square

74. Toured the Everglades-short listed

75. Been fired from a job

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London

77. Broken a bone

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life

90. Sat on a jury

91. Met someone famous

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one

94. Had a baby

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee

100. Read an entire book in one day

National Work At Home Week

Did you know that this week is National Work at Home Week? Recently I partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger. Author, Speaker Mary Byer’s created this program after the release of her book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof,  to help other Work at Home Moms (WAHM) conquer some of the struggles that she herself has been through. Mary says, “I feel really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!” I would like to encourage you to explore their website for some great advice and some much-needed encouragement. If you would like to become a Making Work at Home Work blogger, go here.

Why are you working?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Others work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.

There’s a big difference between working to put food on the table vs. working for the “extras” such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it’s essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you’re working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you’re working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you’ll adhere to.

My biggest priority is my children and family. I have been so blessed to be able to stay-at-home and to learn to take care of my household. At times it seemed that it would be easier to just go to work than have to change diapers, smell like puke, wipe butts, diffuse tantrums and still have all meals made nutritiously and served hot! Despite all of that I really wouldn’t have traded the time I have had to nurture, laugh, and learn with my children.

If you would have asked me a few months ago if I was a WAHM or SAHM I probably would’ve said just SAHM, even though I have a  blogging job. I work blog because it’s fun to me. I enjoy reading other blogs, connecting with other Mother’s and educating and influencing other people’s lives.
My husband has given me “the talk” to make me really understand the kind of reach a Mom blogger can have and that it is a business. I have a hard time calling myself a WAHM because I don’t put work or blogging first. I don’t blog in a business suit, I don’t have a cell phone with Internet access. I am only on the computer at certain times and usually no longer than an hour or two. I write when I feel I have something to say and when the inspiration strikes me, usually during nap time.  Blogging for UV Skinz ha allowed me to really learn the blogging in an entirely different way than what Reneca and I envisioned it to be like.
It’s fun for me, but it is definitely a business. I’m on the road to acceptance. I am a WAHM, but I know that title won’t change the most precious title to me. Mommy.  I love giving my girl’s my undivided attention; playing Lego’s on the floor, dressing Barbie for the ball, or drawing silly faces with markers. It’s really amazing to have the freedom to maintain my family lifestyle, flexibility in my daily schedule and still bring home some of the bacon.

Disturbing Satisfaction!

A special treat from Daddy…

dsc08624 The other day Brett brought a couple of those lollipops with the bug inside for Journey and Faith. Gross! I protested, but he said it was harmless and lucky for Journey she was awake when he brought them home. Faith wasn’t awake and doesn’t know she even got one of these nasty things! (BTW, nobody mention it!)

As you can see in the picture the sucker has a baby scorpion inside (minus the stinger)!

I let Journey have the rest of her lollipop while Faith was napping. She got some kind of disturbing satisfaction from trying to get me to take a lick, and then an even “bigger lick”  and  she basically tried to shove the lollipop down my throat! YUCK! It even has the nerve to taste like sweet strawberries too.

dsc08622Yes. That is the look of disturbing satisfaction. And the exact look she had when she ruthlessly forced the lollipop into my mouth!

Luckily, I wasn’t scarred by the incident, but I have this great black mail picture! HA! Mommy loves you, Journey!

Changes…

Hi Everyone! This is Kalisha writing you from my new home in the Valley! So much has been happening and Reneca and I never meant to fall off the bloggy map. So, I guess I will fill you in…

It isn’t as bad as I thought it would be…I guess I became kind of a beach snob (and now I really miss just how close we were to the ocean!), but things are definitely making a change–for the better! Now that we have moved the burden of paying over-priced rent for a house that didn’t feel like a home is gone. We are settling in very nicely; we have an amazing bike path behind our house dsc08431and lots of our own private space within our very own backyard. I know I sound a little crazy right now, but I haven’t had a backyard in over 4 years! We have been spending our time getting to know where everything is, taking walks to the park (which is huge!) and spending more time together as a family.

That is the most important thing–time together as a family.

dsc08363Journey and Faith have handled the changes quite well since the “egg incident.” It is amazing how children take change like a breeze in the wind–they just go with it–never fighting it. I know I have fought change before and it has never ended nicely. Motherhood kind of changes you to really accept the changes and go with the flow. At least that is how it has affected me.  There is really no way that any Mom could survive the first year of their babies life if they didn’t give in to the many changes that happen.  Part of my mothering philosophy is to go with the flow, but there does have to be some action to go along with it.

Action requires a bit of Faith and a lot of confidence in yourself. That is the biggest milestone that Reneca and I have come to face. And I can speak for her because we just had this conversation yesterday.We both don’t just want things to happen to us–we want to make it happen! This goes a little deeper than just making changes, but realizing that the changes we make are what we want–not what anyone else wants for us. Sometimes we depend so much on what other people might think or how they will accept us for the changes we make or the action we take. (Am I talking in circles?) I just don’t want to name names–so let me just say this. All people want is for someone to be proud of them. We just need to accept that the most important person that should be proud of us is ourselves.

Having that confidence in ourselves is what can make change manageable. Taking every opportunity or hardship and turning it into a positive to benefit myself is what I am changing.  Sometimes I find myself being sucked into the Mother role and losing sight of who Kalisha really is. And I’m not the same person I was 5 or 10 years ago, but I know I am much smarter and stronger. I mean come on! I’m a Mother! There is no other greater force out there! LOL

I just want to know how you deal with changes? Do you find it harder to accept or make a change since becoming a Mom?

I would love to hear your thoughts…

Double + Trouble = Stress

Written by: Kalisha

For the time being I’m changing Journey’s name to Double and Faith’s name to Trouble. Because lately they have been getting into a whole lot of trouble together. I’m not quite sure who is the mastermind, but they have both been taking advantage of the fact that I have been really preoccupied with a lot of household matters. I have a feeling it is my wild-haired 22 mo. old. She came out sweet, but has become a little bit sneaky.  And I’ve noticed that Journey plays the helpful-big-sister-role to a T.  Journey will gladly help Faith unroll the toilet paper from the roll, or help her to climb up on the table to get on the laptop and “update our blog” (well, I guess if we aren’t–someone has to!) So, amidst all of this I have learned my lesson. NEVER ever leave Double and Trouble alone when they are armed with paint brushes and paints! (And it is a whole other story on the reason Journey is naked. Seems to be an everyday thing. Kind of like the dress-up-like-a-princess phase she went through–except now she’s moved on to just taking her clothes completely off. I was worried, but the doctor said it is normal three-year-old behavior. To each his own.)

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I usually keep a close eye on them, but life has been so crazy around here…I have been on the phone, computer or filling out paper work non-stop. Which is something I’m not used to because my main role is to take care of Journey and Faith, play with them, clean up after them, take care of the pets, and clean and maintain the house. Doing extra things makes it all so complicated. I’m beating myself up over it because I feel so out of control. I know that this won’t last forever and by this I mean the mess that we are calling “the move.” I hope you don’t feel like I’m exaggerating, but moving happens to be one of the most stressful situations that a person can go through. I think it is just below a death in the family.  Moving has brought me to tears once in my life and not because I was sad to move, but just so over-whelmed. This time I will not cry and I know it will all pass with no problem.

I know the reason why I am upset with myself. I am a very hands-on-type-of-mom. I enjoy just being with Journey and Faith, but lately I haven’t been fully there, in the moment with them (reason they have been named Double and Trouble). I feel like my mind is always someplace else, worrying about everything. We do have times when I feel in the moment with them–like when we go to the park, read books, tell stories, dance, and just play silly…(sigh) It’s hard managing stress and caring for children. I don’t think I’m handling it very well right now and maybe I’m being too hard on myself. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels the stress of motherhood on top of daily stress, but the very act of being-too-hard-on-yourself actually creates more stress. Geez!

Well, I suppose I will have to add that to the top of the list on how to cope with Motherhood and Stress:

  1. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
  2. Ask for help if you feel overwhelmed
  3. Take time out for yourself on a daily basis
  4. Talk with someone who will listen and provide the support you need
  5. Laugh at any chance you get
  6. Eat more chocolate (wink)
  7. Find peace in your Faith

I will stop there because 7 is my favorite and lucky number. I can also end this post on a high note. Today we found out that we were accepted into the house that we wanted. I will let you know more once we are all moved in! It is about half an hour from where we live now and we will all have to meet new people and learn a new neighborhood, but this will a good move for us and I won’t let the latest adventure of Double and Trouble get me stressed out…where’s the chocolate?!dsc08324

Happy 3rd Birthday!

 Written By: Kalisha

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From the first moment she looked into our eyes…we were in love!

Bringing her home was the most exciting and very scary. I had to reattach the carseat because poor Brett didn’t get it right and I’m the type that doesn’t think anything is done right unless I do it anyway. Once we were home I put Journey on the bed in her room and just waited. Paced…checked to make sure she wasn’t cold and I really wasn’t sure what to do next with my newborn baby who was sleeping so peacefully.

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 Journey at two months old was used to me taking at least 30-50 pictures of her (a day!).  In this one she really looks like Brett. I have always been amazed at how strong she was–she could hold her head up for almost a full minute!journey-2-month-0122

 During her first summer we enjoyed the sunny California weather by playing in our bikini’s and splashing around in her baby pool!

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 Journey at one year old. She has lived up to her name; no matter what she is always on the go. Journey learned to walk at about 11 months and hasn’t slowed down since. So fiesty, busy, and happy!

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I feel so lucky that she was able to grow up a little beach baby. There is so much peace at the beach. Here is Journey at two years old playing in the “winter sand”; she loved digging, jumping and squishing in the wet sand!

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 Always exploring…Journey has brought home numerous creatures. This one is her littly buddy slug. The spring Faith was born was Journey’s favorite time to catch catepillars, snails and collect many rocks.

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 Not only does Journey love animals, but has learned to love trees too! On the way home from the library every tree we passed she hugged and kissed, saying, “I love you!” I am so proud that she has it in her heart to love all things!

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 From a busy little baby to a pretty little Princess–Journey shows her love of style and all things glittery whenever she dresses up!

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 Journey always knows how to cut loose, be silly and put a smile on our faces! I feel so lucky to have such a playful little girl in my life.

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Welcoming a little sister was a smooth transition. Since Journey was 14 months when Faith was born she really didn’t have any jealousy issues because having Faith around is all she can remember. Journey is a great big sister–always loving and helpful. Faith and Journey have their sister quarrels, but I know that they will be close forever no matter what.

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 So, I know I won’t win the good mom award for being so late with this birthday post. My originial plan was to post this after her Princess party this past Saturday, but I was so busy with the party that I didn’t even take pictures! I know. I’m so mad with myself. But I do have some pictures to share of Journey’s birthday morning on Jan. 22, 2009. Here is how I decorated her table…

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Happy 3rd Birthday Journey!

(Hopefully, people will email me the pics they took so I can add some of the party.)