Irmageddon

My family and I weathered our first hurricane together on the night of September 10th and into the morning of September 11, 2017. While the storm has moved on and dissipated, my internal climate has taken more time to calm down. The entire event was surreal, and the second major disaster I’ve experienced since turning 30.

Around September 3rd, I began paying attention to a new major hurricane in the Atlantic, but my main fears mostly went out to the people of the Caribbean. Hot on the heels of Harvey, Irma formed and gained intensity quickly as she menacingly traversed the Atlantic.

The news outlets of this area were quick to whip the people into a frenzy over Irma’s approach, and I wasn’t interested in jumping on the wagon. Hurricane Hermine swept through north Florida last year as did Hurricane Matthew, and in both cases, I saw folks either freaking the eff out or being nonchalant. No in-between. Given that this wasn’t our first rodeo with disaster preparation, we remained calm and did what we needed to. Ahead of the crowds, we bought a couple backup cases of water, gassed up our cars using fuel rewards offered to us by Shell, ordered in a crank powered emergency radio, and started going over the “plan.” It could be a real emergency or just Governor Scott trying to scare us all again (note: last year, he told us all that Matthew would KILL us and our children, so we don’t place much stock in the things he says) but we would be prepared either way. For the sake of our babies, we would be prepared.

As the days went by, the storm tracks released by the various models used by television meteorologists and The Weather Channel all placed Irma in differing vicinities of Florida. The earliest predictions showed her devastating the Islands and then turning sharply northward, missing Florida. Then later, they showed her grazing the east coast of the Sunshine State. By about September 6th or so, I got fed up trying to decipher what weather man Bob was trying to tell me, and just started studying Irma, hurricane patterns, wind patterns, and weather on my own.

I told myself the only reason to really be concerned was if Irma decided to swing west. Being that we are only about 45 miles inland from the Gulf Coast, as opposed to 90 miles inland from the Atlantic Coast, a western impact would cause us to feel things more. She had also strengthened to a Category 5 by this point, and my prayers were that she did not enter the Gulf and shift upward. Such a track would’ve put our family, as well as a lot of others that I know, in lots of danger.

As we crept closer to the weekend, it became clear that we would indeed experience this one. As I looked around me, I noticed things I haven’t ever since we moved down here. The stores began running out of basic needs items. Shelves were empty. Gas stations began running out of gas. Main Street here in my town became uncharacteristically crowded as South Floridians began their mass exodus of The Keys and cities like Miami, Naples, and Ft. Lauderdale. They were using any route to escape, and since the I-75 freeway literally turned into a slow moving snake of traffic (at times, a parking lot even) they were using the state routes to travel north. I wasn’t mad, just astonished…

Church marquees even displayed ominous messages such “Peace Be with You in the Storm,” and this one:

image1

I contacted our nanny to ask about her mother who lives in Miami, and she informed me that her family wasn’t going to make it out ahead of the storm. She asked if she could come ride it out with us, and we agreed it’d be best for her. It’d be nice for the kids to have another familiar face around, too. Kennedy’s school canceled preschool for Friday and Monday, and many businesses began boarding up.

Then came the weekend. Hurricane warning alerts were sent to our phones, along with tornado watches and severe weather warnings. I’d never seen anything like it. My father scoffed at the notion of it being that serious, but mandatory evacuation orders were issued for our county for all those in unsafe structures such as trailers and RV’s.

 

image2

 

I didn’t really start feeling nervous until I saw that.

I began cleaning the house from top to bottom. I figured that if we were stranded at home for a few days, I at least wanted the environment to be a clean one (clean is where I’m most comfortable). I cooked up a giant pot of chili that could easily be put on ice and heated bit by bit over the gas range in the event of power loss, and I started listening more closely to the weather radio to hear updates on the warnings. Sunday would be the day, but nobody knew just when.

It was midnight, actually.

image1

I was grateful it was at night when the kids were asleep. Mentally, I think that was easier on Kennedy. Adrian was awake as we had him sleeping in our bed and K was on the floor. The sounds were frightening – big limbs falling off of the trees and hitting our house; loud, swirling winds that made the doors and windows creak and crack; buckets and buckets of rain being dumped on us all at once. It went on this way for about four hours. Then total darkness as the power went out.

In pitch black, I kept myself calm as I quietly wrapped my hand in Fabian’s behind his pillow. Adrian was still cooing and making baby sounds, the dogs were stirring, K was sleeping. It was pretty perfect, because there was no panic, but I did dread the morning when we would have the light of day to inspect our home and property.

When morning came, we found tons of tree branches and limbs scattered everywhere, but nothing serious to our structure. The fence, the windows, our cars, all were intact. I was so grateful…

So many folks were not this lucky. There’s been widespread power outages, flooding, structural damage, and irreversible destruction in some places. Our babies were safe, as were our pets, and so were we.

The official report states Irma entered our county as a Category 1 and weakened to a tropical storm. If that’s what Cat 1 feels like, my heart goes even further out to the people who weathered storms like Katrina, Wilma, Rita, Harvey, and any other catastrophic storm. Cat 1 was scary enough.

But the experience is not lost on me. I’ve had to toughen up a lot since moving down to this crazy state, and Irma certainly aided me on that journey. She was a major trigger for my anxiety, but with the tools I’ve gained, I’m managing that okay. Kennedy’s school reopened today and she was excited to get back to her normal routine. We’ve all been happy to get back to doing what resembles normal in the wake of Irma. Here’s hoping we don’t have to tango with any more hurricanes for the remainder of our time as Floridians. Supposedly, Irma’s landfall in Florida was the first major one since Wilma in 2005.

 

 

My Son, the Game Changer

So much of who I am has been shaped by my kids, but the most profound changes I have made have been the result of my son’s presence in my life. Long before I even laid eyes on him, he began changing my soul’s trajectory, and as a result, my attitude is different, my outlook is different, the way I love others is different, and the way I love myself is different.

I suppose I can start this off at the space and time at which I found out I was expecting. Though I didn’t know he was a “he” yet, I viewed his message of incoming (that’s my made up term for positive pregnancy test) as a nod from God that we were doing right. My husband and I had been working through incredibly rough and painful obstacles in an effort to fight for our marriage. Though I won’t say this was the first time we’d done so, I will term it as the most real time. I had faith and high hopes, but I also had uncertainty. When we conceived quickly after reconciling, I took it as a sign that I was exactly where I needed to be – with him – and our relationship only seemed to flourish just as our new baby did.

But I also had to wrestle with some other, more personal issues upon conception. I had to start making some serious, more long-term decisions about just exactly what my life would be moving forward. I’ve referenced my Life Reset plenty of times on this blog, and that’s because it truly was one of the most defining moments of my thirties thus far. Like an artist in her own gallery, I took every painting down and scrutinized it to decide if it really represented my work. In this case, the gallery was a metaphor for my life, and the art was representation of the stuff my life was made of – social media accounts, a few close friends and family, an unnecessarily large circle of simple acquaintances that I was putting more effort into maintaining than I needed to, a foggy sense of self, and a disappointing relationship with anxiety. By the time I finished in my metaphorical gallery, it had almost no art left on the walls, representative of all the relationships I stopped making time for, the commitments I walked away from, the fluffy stuff in my life that I had been convinced I needed to care about that really didn’t matter at all – I threw it all in a dumpster. With more space on the walls of my life, I had a chance to start reinventing myself as an artist, and indeed, as a woman.

My aspirations are largely visionary; I cannot achieve something unless I am able to picture myself in the role realistically. As a woman in her early 30s expecting her second child, I had ideas for what I wanted to be, but I was not her. Hell, I’m STILL not her. I probably never will fully realize “dream wife and mom Antoinette,” but where I was before was really far off from what I am striving for, and I wanted to be closer. I wanted to resemble her more. For starters, I wanted to be stronger. I had claimed to be strong for quite some time now and it wasn’t an untrue statement. However, I knew I could do more. And do more I did as I sank into a valley of new medical impediments I had never faced before. Coupled with the other “fun” hoops pregnancy can throw you through, I was pretty much either in pain or nauseous or both from the moment I opened my eyes each morning, until I closed them again from exhaustion that evening. This happened consistently for the entirety of the pregnancy. Every day in pain. Every day sick. Sometimes both in the same day. I’d been sick before, but that was as a child when someone could take care of me. This time was different – this time there was no crutch or safe place to sit until I felt better. Life had to continue and I was still mom to a growing, walking, talking child while incubating another one. I was still a lead at work, and there were still projects to be done. I was still Antoinette, therefore had responsibilities that will not ever pause just because I have a sick day. I had to deal. That can take a mental toll after a while.

Outside of my physical ailments, I was eager, as well as forced, to confront my mental ailment of anxiety. I want to believe that I would’ve been proactive about making headway on this regardless of being pregnant or not, but I remember feeling on multiple occasions during my first trimester that I didn’t want to be home to a beautiful, growing baby and also house crippling thoughts in my brain. It seemed toxic. I didn’t want to be a slave to anxiety anymore – I was ready to gain the upper hand on it once and for all. I wanted my children to have a strong mom, in body, mind, and spirit. So I sought counseling and began studying meditation and hypnosis as a means for using my own soul’s power to meet the nastiness of my anxiety and reduce it to dust. It was not easy at first, but with practice, I got better.

I also began looking at my relationships with people critically, as relationships, boundaries, and trust have all been sources and triggers for my anxiety a lot in the past. I decided to ditch the relationships that I felt weren’t necessary anymore. It’s okay to have seasonal friends – some people are sent to us at just the right time to help us with what we’re going through, but not all of them are meant to stick around forever. I’ve learned this and accepted it, and through that have experienced healing from the wounds I had from past relationships broke up before I was ready or wanted them to. Trimming the landscape on my friendship front also meant I would no longer be letting anybody in who truly wasn’t worthy, thus protecting my family more. So many people who have claimed to value me and my friendship have in fact used my friendship and then very easily discarded me afterward. The difference now though is that 1) I no longer say a sentence like that sadly. I say it honestly and peacefully. 2) I am able to say that sentence peacefully because I am no longer tied to the validation of having a certain number of friends. Quantity is irrelevant, and while friends are nice to have, they should never shape who you are entirely.  3) While I do have friends and care for my family and those in my inner circle, my perspective now places much less weight on issues like those, favoring my faith and spirituality, my marriage, my children, and my personal development much, much more. Journeying to this peaceful place internally wasn’t easy either, but it was important that I reach this place before my son arrived so that I could teach him (and his sister, too) how to find it.

IMG_7487

Six days old

I dove deeper into my faith in order to become a more gracious, patient, focused, and honest person. The result has been better performance at work, a better relationship with my work, and a better regard for my work. In my personal life, my relationships with the people who mattered to me were given the much-needed TLC I was neglecting to give because I was so caught up in my digital self that I wasn’t giving much of my real self. I had to find my real self, dust her off, and start getting to know her again. I do not feel that I was walking around a liar – but I was much more a product of social engineering than I ever realized, and that wasn’t me.

(I’ll cover that topic in a different blog later)

It was important that I get clear on my own identity because that essence of me is being passed on to my children, and I want to do it justice. As a black girl with dark skin, I had to reacquaint myself with just exactly what makes me a unique person with value, outside of what the grand narrative may tell. I had to do this so that my own daughter will recognize the same of herself and love herself. I had to do this so that I’d be in a position to prepare both of my children, but especially my son, for the chaos that might follow them because of their skin tone. Racism isn’t going away, and when my babies come to me devastated because they’ve been greeted by it, I had to know how to respond. I had to be able to show them how to shine even in the face of negativity, which the world has in droves. That negativity doesn’t have to stop them, though. It’s only stopped me when I have allowed it to. I have seen many triumphs despite what others may have been hoping, plotting, or wickedly scheming up for me, and I want to be the kind of mom who gets her babies prepared for that. I knew I wanted to raise a smart, confident, self-loving black girl and an intelligent, savvy, self-loving black boy. I wanted them both to have the internal strength to topple mountains. But I knew couldn’t make them strong without being strong myself. It wouldn’t have been fair for me to expect them to be resilient against race-based criticism if I was not the same. I was almost there before, but I’m much closer now.

Becoming a mom to my son has forced me to grow stronger. Giving birth to him the way that I did was a symbolic crossing over for me from what I was to what I am now, and what better method of crossover than to have to muster mental and physical strength in order to triumph in a place where I had once failed? Even after the birth was over, I’ve successfully kept postpartum depression at bay, also with a med-free approach, which was another important personal choice I made for myself. Overall, I’m tackling much more and succeeding in the process and these are accomplishments that make the 2013 version of myself look quite watered down compared to who I’ve been in 2017. Maybe my son didn’t “make” me stronger, but he certainly prompted me to become so. He was my lighthouse in the midst of the perfect, dark storm. He IS my reason for not only wanting, but having to do better. He has forever altered the way I see and play the game (of life), and I am so grateful he is here.

Black in America

I have kept my mouth shut on a lot of issues pertaining to black people, who are in turn my people. There’s been a plethora of these issues that have risen to the surface over the past few years. Some of it has been heinous – innocent black women, men, and children have been slain in their homes, cars, and public streets, and in the wakes of their deaths the media has smeared the reputations of these people to paint a landscape that we blacks are the enemy, the nuisance, and we deserve whatever mistreatment we receive.

Why have I been so quiet? Because it’s pretty hard to speak up about any of this without being brutally criticized, bastardized, othered, or shut down. This is doubly true if you dare to speak on black issues and you are black. Many white folks figure that if they don’t see the racism, it doesn’t exist – “Why can’t you just get over it/let it go?” is what I often hear from folks who claim to have compassion for all people, but can’t seem to be compassionate when the mistreatment of a group of people with darker skin is brought to light. Meanwhile, in the black community, many are so busy trying to tally you up on a mental scorecard to determine your level of blackness that they get distracted by trivial, ancillary details instead of listening to your message. If you’re married to someone who is not black, as I am, then you’re a traitor, a bedwench, a poisonous snake, and “you ain’t down.” If you are a black male, you are constantly under criticism from black females as not doing enough, not stepping up, not having their/our backs. And then there’s some of us who are very misled, who act in obnoxious ways because it’s what’s been shown to us on television, and this often draws the wrong kind of attention, and these show boaters aren’t even really sure what it is they’re fighting for or why, thus contributing to the uphill plight we – blacks everywhere – are fighting to just find justice, be treated fairly, and be taken seriously.

Catching heat from other blacks is nothing new to me; I grew up middle class, I got good grades, and I wasn’t into rap/hip hop culture much. Growing up, I listened to Pac and Biggie, but I also listened to Depeche Mode and No Doubt. I could dance and sing, but I also participated in poetry slams and speech and debate events. I wasn’t, am not, and probably never will be hood. I can speak two sentences and most people catch that. I have not ever been black enough to most blacks, I’m often a token to whites, and none of it is ever good enough.

It’s okay. I’ve stopped being sad or angry about these things.

I’m not even mad at anybody…

I used to be. I used to feel hatred for myself for being the way that I am. I used to reflect on my childhood with resentment because of how my parents raised me. I used to distance myself from other blacks because I saw them as the problem. I used to hate white people because I thought it was all their fault.

But not anymore. If there are any other blacks out there reading this who have experienced similar emotions, please know that it really is okay, and you are fine. If you have conflicting feelings about your identity, understand that there isn’t anything wrong with you. It’s not necessarily the fault of our people, either, because most blacks have been led astray by consuming messages that were meant to tear the black community apart. Images of what we are supposed to be are splashed all over the media, and these images are poor.  In the 1990s, it was talk shows like Jerry Springer, Jenny Jones, Ricki Lake, etc. that portrayed black women as promiscuous, and black men as irresponsible. Music videos didn’t do many other favors in objectifying black women and making black men seem like thugs. In the new millennium, reality television shows have replaced talk shows as the express vehicle of poisonous delivery. At the same time, social media has roared in existence, just providing more ways for this negative imagery to become accessible. Trying to be an individual, be yourself, and figure out who you are amidst a sea of this propaganda is enough to take anyone in a variety of directions. It’s enough to make anyone question who they are. You are not to blame if you stumbled a few times while navigating through all of this. You cannot achieve any progress as long as you’re punishing yourself over mistakes you’ve made. We all make mistakes.

But here are some mistakes you shouldn’t make (and if you’ve made them before, strive not to make them again): Do not ever make apologies for your blackness. Do not let anyone tell you what your blackness has to be – YOU define that – not the establishment, not whites, not other blacks. Do not expect others who are non-black to understand – they can’t. If they’ve never faced injustice because of something about them that they were born with and cannot change (and I will hear no comments from LGBTQ folks, because regardless of the teary speeches you gave in pursuit of marriage equality, you are NOT like us) they have no capacity to identify with you, and that’s okay too. It doesn’t give anyone a pass, but it’s what you need to understand in order to not go crazy. Non-blacks can empathize, they can stand beside you in your fight, but they will not ever know what you face, so don’t expect them to understand.

I had to get clear on these items, too, before I could feel comfortable enough speaking from my place in society. Black people, my people, have been torn apart savagely, often at the hands of others who look like us but choose to act in ways that serve the interests of other groups. This is the reason a black man like Michael Vick – who not long ago was demonized, blackballed, and humiliated out of a job in the NFL for participation in a dog fighting operation – can state on Fox Sports that Colin Kaepernick can’t get a job in the NFL because of his afro, advising him to cut his hair off, and in essence, cut his blackness off. Why do I use Vick as an example? Because 1) most white people still want him dead for that dog fighting mess, but those same folks couldn’t care less about innocent black HUMANS being killed or abused, 2) Vick knows Kaepernick’s free agent status has nothing to do with his hair, but more to do with his political views, 3) once again we have black men in the media criticizing each other, even though the arena through which Vick is dissing Kap is the same one that dehumanized, emasculated, and shunned Vick years ago. This sets a precedent to white viewers that says it’s okay to attack these men, and that only perpetuates more of this vicious cycle I mentioned before.

As blacks, we say and do awful things to each other that make my stomach turn. We turn on each other, we call each other out for everything that’s wrong, and we can’t seem to unite as a race of people to look out for one another. Before anyone jumps to the comment section to speak out against black people uniting, please keep in mind that many other demographics do this beautifully: Asians stick up for other Asians, as was seen after that Asian man was bludgeoned on a United Airlines flight. He was in the wrong, ultimately, but his people had his back. Jewish people stick up for other Jews, Mexicans stick up for other Mexicans, and whites look out for other whites. Is this wrong? Hell no! Looking out for your own is a GOOD thing…but too often, that doesn’t seem to be the case in the black community. We can’t seem to defend Bill Cosby, a man whose contributions have paved the way for blacks in television and cinema. A man whose major lasting impression should be reshaping the image of the black household and family through the 1980s and 1990s. A man whose charitable contributions have benefitted black schools and colleges. A man WHO HAS STILL NOT BEEN FOUND GUILTY OF ANYTHING in a court of law in a case built on a blatant lack of evidence, propped up by faulty, shaky testimony, recounting events of over 30 years ago by opportunist people who can barely even remember what happened to them last week, and want to reset their clocks for 15 more minutes of fame at the expense of one man’s legacy. However, we certainly do love us some R. Kelly – a documented sexual predator who married a 15 year old girl by encouraging her to lie about her age on court documents, who was videotaped and positively identified as performing lewd sexual acts on a minor, and who is now denying that a cult of underage women stayed with him against their will. He’s our hero, and Cosby is a villain. It’s disgusting.

And with bass ackwardness such as this, is it any surprise our communities are in disarray? We fork over our money hand over fist for wigs, weaves, nails, gold chains, alcohol, and expensive cars, but often can’t keep the lights on at our low-income housing establishments, won’t demand better funding for the schools we send our children to, and won’t dare lend our dollars to help black entrepreneurs get off the ground. We hail the filth of women such as Amber Rose or Angela White (aka Blac Chyna) as heroes but pay no attention to the immoral standards these women perpetuate with their slut walks, side chick glorification, distasteful social media tirades, and trashy images. And if it’s not overconsumption of the trash that’s put in front of our faces that’s the problem, it’s infighting that is doing us in. Many of us are so quick to snatch away another person’s blackness because of who they date, where they work, how they speak, etc. and this is probably the angle I’m most tired of. At the end of the day, I can behave as “whitewashed” as black activists want to claim, but I promise you the cops don’t see me as white, the CEO on my job doesn’t see me as white, and even our 45th president doesn’t want to give me any passes. More importantly: I do not see myself as white. All that this criticism is successfully accomplishing is a disconnect within our community when we need more connection.

But all of this is stupid stuff. Get over it, Antoinette. Stop crying about race related issues when they don’t exist. You’re not black enough to speak on black issues, so just go back to your instructional designing and plucking the strings of your guitar. –Sincerely, America.

 

 

Learned Behavior

Around 7ish every morning, my freshly awoken daughter usually makes her way to my office upstairs, wiping sleep from her eyes and carrying a plush toy. She always asks if we can spend some time together, and while I’m usually an hour or so into my work day, I try to pause and give her some time. Breaks are healthy. :)I noticed after about a week of this routine, she’s started showing up at my office more often. Truth be told, she’s always itching for reasons to go in there, and I can’t blame her for that. My office is chocked full of stuff a toddler would like to get into – markers, a glass angel figurine, paper, pens, a stapler, a turquoise file cabinet, a vase full of brightly colored artificial flowers, etc. (my office is my own personal paradise). But lately, when she shows up at my office, it’s with one of her wooden chairs, her play “computer” and a dolly that she’s lovingly referring to as her baby that day. 
She will plug away on her pretend laptop, scribble pretend notes on scratch paper, pick up her “baby” and sing to it, then gently tell it that she has a meeting to go to, and talk to her friends on her toy cell phone. 
She said to me, “I’m doing work just like you, mommy!” and I must say, my heart was touched. 

From last year. We like to sing along to the Frozen soundtrack when we do…just about everything.😏


First and foremost, our children learn how to act based on observing our behaviors, and it seems that I’ve been able to pass on some behaviors I was hoping my children would pick up, specifically, my daughter. I want her to see her mom as a working woman. 

I want her to see that it’s possible to be a career woman, and be a family woman, and be happy maintaining both. Now, don’t get me wrong – this is not my attempt to control her destiny in any way. She is free to choose what her adulthood will look like when the time comes. If she wants to be a stay at home mommy, she’s free to. She could marry a rich man and spend her days shopping and lounging (how nice, right?!). She could decide to work full time while attending night school to become a doctor or lawyer. She could also put herself through grad school while taking care of children of her own. I will support all of that as long as it’s what she wants because I love her. I also feel a sense of pride in getting to show her one version of womanhood that I’ve found to be respectable and commendable. 

While I was out grocery shopping with Adrian this week, another mom approached me as I was piling my selected goods onto the checkout conveyor belt with my 3-month old strapped onto my chest. “I’m impressed that you’re out shopping with your baby!” she told me. I thanked her for that compliment, and we chitchatted about diaper deals and managing outings with kiddos. Later that same day, as I was talking to my husband about future plans for our family, he reiterated his appreciation for the energy I bring to our home.

I think all moms can list at least 50 tasks that are just everyday responsibilities that have to be maintained in order for life to go on at home. What we don’t always do is step back to take in the scope of all these tasks. We chauffeur, we cook, we comfort and cuddle, we wake up in the middle of the night, we wipe noses, we wash and fold, and many of us do these things while also working jobs full time. Some of us even work those full time jobs out of the same homes we work so hard to keep clean and inviting (like me!).

Make no mistake, our children see us doing these things. They may not always express their gratitude (just two days ago, Kennedy told me to go away while I was dropping her off with her grandmother 🙄) but they do take notice of us tucking them in at night, waking them up in the morning, and always being there. My daughter sees me working and deems it cool and important, which I take as a positive step in building her identity. When she gets older, I can let her know about the time I spent in school to be able to work the job I have, and hopefully that will inspire her, too. 

I like this version of motherhood on me. It’s been a crazy ride to adjust to the growth of our family while also returning to work, but I feel like myself doing this. I also feel like I’m putting my best foot forward in setting an example for my children, who will hopefully come to conceptualize womanhood as including lots of things beyond just beauty or homemaking – it’s also intelligence, multitasking, and serving. 

Treat Yo Self

About a month ago, I decided, after a tiresome day of non-stop parenting, to add some dates to my calendar. I can schedule work calls, appointments with the pediatrician, and kids’ parties my daughter is invited to, which means I can schedule time to go sip a drink and eat appetizers with a friend, nap, and get my kid-free relaxation on. 

And this past Saturday was just such an occasion; it was my very first “Mama, Treat Yo Self.” 

Treat yo selfie! Dangly earrings, waxed eyebrows, and a cute top – my foray into mommy-of-two land has robbed me of opportunities to wear such accessories.


It’s probably apparent by the fact that I have only written in this blog three times since my son’s arrival that I have virtually no free time now. The time I do have free is usually spent with my family, unplugged from practically everything.

Speaking of family…

Airport Ussie


We just enjoyed a great vacation to Oregon to watch my cousin graduate from college. Oregon sure is a beaufitul place! I can see why people who are from there love it. 

Though I don’t always chronicle my journey on here anymore, I promise I’m still living life wholly and fully. Having Adrian has taught me so much, specifically, his presence in my life has forced me to grow up, grow stronger, and become more resilient. I’m a better woman through being mom to both of my kids, and I’m grateful God chose me for them. 

Now, I am off to make dinner! #ThatMomLife