Gratitude

I’m grateful for the time I spent with my family today – we walked to the nearby shops, picked up a refreshing drink, and ate a delicious homemade steak and egg salad dinner together at home (also named ‘Aly’s Favorite Salad’). I am also grateful that my 5 year old is interested in cooking – she helped me assemble the salads with great enthusiasm and even ate the greens! :)

I am also grateful that I had the strength to deal with some very stressful situations the last three days – so many times I just wanted to throw in the towel, but I have managed to stay strong, hopeful, move forward and be present for the people I love. Not always an easy thing for me to do. The quote below sums up how I feel – I’ve learned a lot and have been hurt too much, and this is why I am making changes.

“People change for two reasons: Either they’ve learned a lot or they’ve been hurt too much.”

Gratitude

Today, I am thankful that these days when I come into work, I do not feel anxiety or stress. Although it is super-busy at times, I am grateful that I have a flexible schedule, an awesome boss, great co-workers and that my work is valued and appreciated. I have to say that a lot of my stress these days is not work-related.

36 Things to Do Before I Turn 37

So…I started compiling this list and before posting, was able to cross off one thing. :) Some of these items are ‘rollovers’ from past lists but as you can see, if they make it to the next one, it’s obvious that it’s something I really want to do. Here it is!

  1. Take my parents on a vacation.
  2. Do a run/walk.
  3. Get down to wedding weight.
  4. Go to a concert. (watched Maoli and Katchafire on 5/24)
  5. Try a new, complicated or a copycat recipe.
  6. Keep a gratitude journal – post at least one positive thing on my blog as frequently as I can.
  7. Teach my kids how to cook a favorite dish.
  8. Visit the museums…or a museum.
  9. Watch a musical.
  10. Paint a utility box with friends and family.
  11. Take family pictures with Phoebe :)
  12. Take a day off from work and do whatever I want.
  13. Be a tourist in our own city (San Diego).
  14. Go on a food adventure.
  15. Go strawberry or apple picking.
  16. Travel to a new place with the Hubby.
  17. Take my kids to a live show.
  18. Go to church more often.
  19. Exercise regularly…I.CAN.DO.IT.
  20. Pamper myself more.
  21. Be more honest about who I want to be a part of my life and give my time to them.
  22. Splurge on something I usually don’t splurge on even if it’s ridiculous!
  23. Have afternoon tea with the older girls and perhaps make it a tradition.
  24. Watch the sunset with my Hubby and have a romantic picnic.
  25. Go on a hike with the family.
  26. Plan a vow renewal for our 7 year anniversary.
  27. Have a picnic in the park with all of the kids and the hubby.
  28. Host a fun themed party.
  29. De-clutter regularly.
  30. Do a 1:1 with each kid.
  31. So what if it didn’t get done – work on not being so hard on myself.
  32. Be better at ‘leaving work at work’ and just being present for my family when I get home.
  33. Start photo books for the littles.
  34. Get involved with Ella’s school.
  35. Exhale more and let it go…especially if you had nothing to do with it and aren’t in a position to change ‘it’.
  36. Start that children’s book.

Here are some notes on why I chose some of the things on this year’s list:

31. So what if it didn’t get done…
I think it’s completely true what they say – “you are your own worst critic”. Yep, that can be me. But lately, I’ve been giving myself a pass…sometimes several passes. I’m a creature of habit, lists and routine. I’m kind of addicted to order. So imagine me when I can’t get things done when they’re ‘supposed’ to get done. Nowadays, I’m working on giving myself some extra time to breathe and ‘getting to it when I can’. I’ve realized that I am doing my very best every day, and sometimes I need to realize that my best is good enough.

34. Get involved with Ella’s school.
This was something I missed out on when I was a kid. My Mom and Dad weren’t involved really – yeah, it’s a bummer. But I want to give my kids what I missed growing up. I think it’s very important that kids see their parents involved and interested in their school activities. Every opportunity I had to volunteer for Ella’s pre-k class, I was there! This coming school year, I have ‘unofficially’ been named the Family Nights Coordinator for the PTA, a position that is so fitting for me. :)

35. Exhale more and let it go…
If anyone has walked a day – even a few hours – in my shoes, then maybe they’d understand the level of stress, pressure and anxiety I can feel at times. I have been better, however, at letting things that are out of my hands, just go. This is a challenge in my life. By nature, I am a worry-wart and can be emotional, even outspoken if I feel passionate about it. Guess that means I just care too much and am extremely protective of people I love. But what I learned about myself last year was that I need to show myself some love and take care of myself more. Unnecessary stress is just that. Unnecessary. I’m trying to spend more time focusing on things that make me happy and finding ways to just relax.

One Lucky Mom

Hubby asked me what I wanted to do this year for Mother’s Day…after almost 10 years, a once bittersweet day is finally one that I can celebrate and feel celebrated. Not many people are in my shoes and understand the emotions that I feel the days leading to and the actual day itself. I would feel sad, forgotten about, unappreciated…after all, I am only the stepmother. Why would the kids want to spend any part of their day with their stepmom? In my heart, I would hurt as I did and gave everything I could for those kids like a mother would, but it broke my heart that I did not get to spend time with them on this day.  Thanks to my kids, who are older now, it has been easier to get through Mother’s Day. When they were younger, they didn’t have much of a say as to how they wanted to spend the holiday – the parenting plan dictated that one. But now that they’re older, by choice, they have extended their gratitude and love to me on their own, which means the world to me.

My response to the Hubby was that I didn’t want to do anything that would be stressful like dining at a crowded restaurant. I wanted to just be with the kids who were with me and spend quality time with them. I wanted to be in the moment with Ella and Phoebe. I said perhaps a picnic in the park. Check. Maybe we could try out a new place for dessert. Check. I’d like to go to church. Check. And have breakfast somewhere. Check. Hubby also surprised me with my favorite dark chocolate and a delicious steak dinner at home – yum! And our one and only son came over to make me a Sushi Dinner – I felt like a Queen!

I feel like the luckiest Mom in the world to have five amazing kids. I felt so much love from the messages I received, the beautiful memories made, and the time my family spent thinking of me and showing me in their own ways how much they love and appreciate me. Truly the best Mother’s Day yet!

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

Messages my two older girls wrote to and about me <3

 

Picnic in the park

Picnic in the park

 

On our way to Azucar

On our way to Azucar

 

Azucar sweets

Azucar sweets

Foodie in training

Foodie in training

Breakfast after church

Breakfast after church

 

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

Impromptu photos of Mommy with her two littles

 

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

Spoiled by my oldest and only boy

 

Delicious!

Delicious!