Back to school…?

I really need to manage my time better and post more regularly! It’s so hard figuring out how to balance my work life, mom life, and personal life…

So lately, as I previously expressed, I’ve been feeling like I’m in a rut. I wouldn’t say I’m absolutely disappointed with how my career is going, but I’m definitely discontent. Anyone who is close to me knows that my original plan was to make it big as a novelist, but I decided to study to become a professor, which I figured would give me a bit more job security. I was all for it. On my way. Graduated with my B.A. in English, then close to completion with my M.A. in English Literature and Language… so close. You see, I had an epiphany while nearing the end of my graduate coursework: tenure-tracked professors are becoming increasingly rare.

I remember seeing a mini-documentary (I WISH I could remember the name, but check out this insightful article: https://www.agb.org/trusteeship/2013/5/changing-academic-workforce ) about college professors living off welfare and struggling to make ends meet… AFTER accumulating tens of thousands in student debt. That killed me. Killed my dream of teaching at a collegiate level. I read into it, and, of course, found that there was an upward trend to hire adjunct. I think that was the exact moment my career path changed. I didn’t want to pursue it anymore; if I decided to stay and work through it, I’d still have to get my PhD to have a shot at landing a good job at a four-year university. But even then, who knew if I’d land a job?

So here I am, trying to figure out what I want to do with my life… what do I want to be when I grow up? 😂 I need something that can challenge me but also provide a good creative outlet. It’s hard figuring out exactly what that is… even harder getting past the thought that I’m wasting time and getting older every day that I’m not getting ahead. How do you ignore that voice in your head, saying “it’s too late?” The answer is: you don’t. Use that voice to propel yourself further ahead. Use that possibility for failure to push you to succeed. Sure, it’s easier said that done (I, for one, know this is going to be the challenge of my life), but nothing good in life is easily obtained. Sometimes we have to fight, struggle, maybe shed some blood, sweat, and tears… that’s what makes life interesting, after all.

So as I figure out what I’m going to do, where I am going to go, I encourage you to take that risk you’ve been dwelling on, go on that once-in-a-lifetime excursion that you’ve been dreaming of, or, shit! just buy the damn boat that you’ve been working toward! We only get to do this once… so do it!

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Moving day

~ this post may contain affiliate links.

Despite my greatest efforts to avoid moving, we have been told by our landlord that we have to move out. We had requested an extension on our lease, but he is selling the home. Since we are not in a position to buy, we have to move on… So, after a laborious search through various rental properties, we finally signed a contract for a two-story home for the next two years. While I am glad and grateful that our soon-to-be landlord allowed us to extend the lease much longer then the original contract offered, let me just say…I hate moving!

Since I started living on my own, I have moved probably once a year because of the consistent hike in rent in apartment homes. Last year, my husband and I decided to try a rental home with the hope that we would not have to move for a couple of years. Unfortunately, the circumstances weren’t so, and here we are: moving again. So I’m spending the bulk of my week and weekend packing box after box after box of crap that we mostly don’t use but can’t seem to give up, and I’m realizing that moving was hard before but now, with a baby, it’s near impossible. I have enlisted my parents to watch baby G while I try to finish packing everything in this house over the next several days… hoping it goes smoothly and quickly.

There’s something about moving that makes me feel like I’m closing a chapter in my book, hoping for a better subsequent one. It’s like starting fresh, a new beginning… Sifting through the old and worthless junk, putting aside the things you are uncertain about, safely packing away the things that are most valuable to you. It’s a long and tedious process, but it helps you to better define what your future expectations are and how you can obtain new goals. Moving sucks, but sometimes, no matter how hard, you can see the beauty in it. It’s time to embrace a fresh start! Keep my mind open to the latest chapter in my book with grace and positivity. Or, at least, fake it until I make it haha cheers!

Mother and Recover… the hardest feat so far

~this post may contain affiliate links.

Y’all, being a parent is hard!

I mean, I knew it wouldn’t be an easy role to fulfill. I knew there’d be sleepless nights and nasty blowouts, but I didn’t think about how hard it would be to be sick and dealing with the every day occurrences of parenthood. I spent the last couple of weeks sick because of a couple of different health issues. Trying to take care of myself and Baby G was difficult! I was trying to keep him entertained while trying to keep myself afloat. It was not fun. Probably the worse part of it all was not being able to smother my baby in kisses 🙁 you don’t realize just how much you love on your baby until you can’t. It’s the hardest thing in the world! Well, actually, trying not to cough all over him when he’s sleeping right next to me is probably the hardest thing in the world…

Anyway, one thing I realized is no matter how hard I try, I’m going to get sick. Im going to have some days where I just feel like crap and don’t want to get out of bed. No matter what, I’m going to have to suck it up, and be a mom. I don’t get to sleep off my headaches or soak in a hot bath to soothe an achy body. I don’t get to lay in bed all day, resting and recovering. Nope! Just down some Tylenol and coat myself in Vick’s! Try to get through the day without a meltdown. Being a mom is by far the hardest thing I have ever done, but at the end of the day, that little boy just makes my heart explode with joy and love… and those are the best types of medicines, after all.

How do you mother and recover? Any tips on bouncing back quickly from a cold? Here are my favorite remedies:

Vicks VapoRub Ointment, 1.76 Ounces

Twinings of London Organic and Fair Trade Certified Peppermint Tea Bags, 20 Count

Twinings of London Organic and Fair Trade Certified Camomile with Mint & Lemon Herbal Tea Bags, 20 Count

Round Rock Honey – 1 lb. bottle – Fresh, Raw & Local

Ricola Cough Drop Extra Strength, Glacier Mint, 19 Drops (Pack of 2)

I’m not built for this anymore!

After a very difficult week of health-related issues, my husband and I decided to go out Friday evening with some friends. Before I had my son, we were out all the time, going for a few drinks but coming home like a couple of borrachos. It usually ended up with one of us passed out as soon as we hit the bed, sleeping until 11 a.m., waking up as hungover as can be, and feeling fine after eating lunch.

Let me just say this: I CANNOT HANG ANYMORE!

The “mom life” really squashed my inner party animal! Lol! It didn’t just affect me, either. Hubs was just as out of it as I was. We went to a few bars, ended up only drinking one beer per place (which is uncharacteristic of both of us… we’d usually be shooting liquors and downing a couple of beers per place!), and decided to call it a night at about 1:30 a.m. We both kept yawning like viejos and admitted that we just kept thinking about baby, sleeping the night away at home.

Y’all, parenthood hit us hard! Yes, I realized it wasn’t going to be the same, but we were both so excited to be out and have fun without worries. Our bodies just weren’t up for that, I suppose, and that’s ok. One of the greatest things that I have learned after becoming a mother is that I can’t stop time; I have to let things go, no matter how difficult it is; I have to accept that my life has changed for the better, which means that I won’t be able to make decisions the same way as before. My son will always be at the forefront, influencing every decision I make. Becoming a mom really felt like becoming a real adult for me, if that makes sense? There is more to think about beside myself now.

So, our night ended earlier than we thought and with less excitement that in the old days, but coming home to my sleeping angel made the night 100 percent better. Guess we will just stick to bumming around at home to drink a few, if we find ourselves craving a cold one again! Cheers 🍻

The life of a mother artist… mortist? 🤔

Me with some of my work several years ago.
~This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

So I haven’t painted consistently in years. I’ve previously sold a couple of pieces, but mostly paint as an outlet for my stress, worries, and frustrations. I had this blank canvas sitting around for probably two years, but never had the time (or maybe the inspiration?) to paint. After giving birth to my son, I felt a ton of stress and anxiety. Normal, everyone says, but I couldn’t just let it go without getting it out.

So, I got out the blank canvas, my Winsor and Newton oils (like this great set and medium: Winsor & Newton Artisan Water-Mixable Oil Colors, Assorted Colors, Set of 6,1.25 oz. andWinsor & Newton 75ml Artisan Water Mixable Linseed Oil Medium) and started painting… a brown base underneath, no plan, no idea of what would become of this canvas. That’s the best part! I love seeing my paintings take shape slowly. I rarely have a specific idea in mind. I just let the paints do the talking, so to speak. I usually start with some kind of base color, which just lays out a general shape or feel for the painting, then I build over that. Here is what my base looked like for this work-in-progress (excuse the bad lighting; it was already baby’s bedtime when this was taken!):

Doesn’t look like a whole lotta anything at that phase but after adding some color in a second layer, I started seeing something:

You’ll notice my charcoal outline on the base layer…

Now, here I am, a whole three months down the road and starting it back up again! Haha! Here is what I have now:

It’s definitely shaping up, but still a long way out. Hopefully not another three months, though! 😂

So, what are your muses? What is your favorite artsy weapon of choice? Leave a comment and don’t forget to follow for more art, family, food, and other musings!

My tripod easel is this exact one but in a lighter color. The reviews say the instructions to put it together suck, which they did, but I’m no rocket scientist and still got it done! It’s sturdy enough and does the job!

I use disposable pallete paper, which makes cleaning so easy! just toss it when you’re done!

Getting my ass back to the gym…

~This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

After giving birth, I was told by tias, friends, and my suegra, that I needed a good faja (basically, a post-partum waist trainer, like this one: Hourglass Waist Trainer Trimmer Slimming Belt – Hot Neoprene Sauna Sweat Belly Band Body Shaper for Weight Loss Back Support Sport Girdle (White with Black, 2XL (Waistline 38.6”-41.7”))) to help my tummy bounce back and prevent the dreaded mommy “pooch.” After many women in my life suggested it, I ended up purchasing the one I linked above. I wore the damn thing day and night, hours at a time. I didn’t really see much of a difference in my physical appearance. It did, however, help me with some back pains that I was experiencing after baby. Thankfully, because of that, it wasn’t a complete waste of my money. I also have a different use for it now (more about this in a bit). Anyway, I felt, and still feel, this pressure to get back to my former physique as quickly as possible. It felt unfair and unrealistic for everyone to expect me to get back to the “old me” that fast. I was dealing with sleepless nights, the struggles of breastfeeding, post-partum anxiety, and all the learning experiences of newfound motherhood. The last thing on my mind was looking good. I made a firm decision to just take my time and hit the gym when I felt secure in my new role as “mom.”

My current and former shapes:

So, recently, I made the ever so difficult decision to get a gym membership again after months of being kinda huevona with my 7 month old baby. Pre-baby me was in the gym an average of five times a week, getting toned and building muscle. I didn’t have any goals really, just wanted to look better. Well, that isn’t the goal now. Now, I just want to feel better. I’ve been so sluggish and tired since baby was born (ok, actually, since a few months before he was born!). I’m trying to lose the baby fat and get back into my healthy lifestyle.

I was never a slave to the scale. My approach to fitness was simply eat right and work-out often, minimal cardio and mostly weight-lifting. Now that I weigh more (post-pregnancy) than I ever have in my life, I find that my methodology has changed. I have to think about losing fat and seeing the pounds come off. It’s a very different perspective for me. Now, I do weekly weigh-ins, trying to see my progress in numbers. I do 20-30 minutes of cardio, whereas I used to do only 10. My focus is weigh less! I hate it, but I know that needs to be my goal in order to be healthier. So, I amped up my cardio and am doing light weight lifting to get myself going. I use the post-partum belt as a workout aid. I put it on before my sauna session and wear it throughout my workout to help maximize how much I sweat. I’m not a fitness expert by any means, but I’ve read that sweating can help control water retention (aka, water weight). This is especially helpful for me when I’m in that time of the month as I retain a lot of water! It’s also helpful for use during my weight-lifting sessions as it provides additional back support, which helps me prevent injuries. While it didn’t do much to help my pancita, it can help in that respect.

Anyway, while I am seeing health and fitness in a different light now, I still try to keep a positive image of myself. Yes, it’s hard seeing past the stretch marks and extra softness all over my body. Yes, I have my downer moments. Yes, I’ve cried over my mommy tummy, but I’ve made the decision to try to better myself. Slowly, but surely, I’ll get back to my healthier self!

Here are some of my favorite healthy snacks! Try them out! You won’t be disappointed 👌🏽

Oatmega Nutrition Bars Variety 12 Pack, 6 Different Flavors ,Pack of 12 ( 2 bars of each )

Power Crunch Original Protein Bars, 1.4-Ounce Bars (Total of 10 bars), Variety Pack of all 10 Flavors

SKINNYPOP Original Popped Popcorn, Individual Bags, Gluten Free Popcorn, Non-GMO, No Artificial Ingredients, A Delicious Source of Fiber, 1 Ounce (Pack of 12)

I want to remember this forever…

The story of my baby’s birth… I don’t want to forget the details. All the glorious (sometimes gorey 😣) details! It was probably one of the longest labors ever… in history!

Ok, I’m probably exaggerating a bit, but there is a good chance you don’t know someone who was in labor as long as I was…

41 HOURS! Not even joking, people! It was brutal. It didn’t go as planned (when do they really ever, though). No, my plan was to have a quick, 12 hour labor like my mom and my sister. I read and was told that my birthing experience would likely parallel those of my female family members. So I hoped for quick, no meds, minimal tearing (if any). That’s definitely not what I got! Ha! Nope, I got 41 hours, two nights of no sleep, too exhausted to work through contractions, folded and got an epidural, and tearing like nobody’s business! That’s the complete opposite of my plan.

Amazon Affiliate link: These were seriously life-saving!

So I was already past my due date when I started contracting at 3:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. I was confused because of Braxton Hicks contractions, but they definitely felt different. It was like a really bad back ache for me that kinda worked it’s way around to the front of my belly.

Me at 9 months 😱

The timing was too weird, though, the contractions coming randomly. I had a scheduled doctor appointment at 8:00 am so I decided to wait it out. I tried to sleep… man, did I try, but it was not happening at all! The contractions would subside for an hour and surprise me, waking me from my light sleep. By the time it was time to get up, I had barely gotten any sleep. I knew something was changing. When we arrived at my OB/GYN, she performed her manual exam, which, much to my disappointment, revealed that I was only slightly effaced and hardly dilated. She then strapped me up to monitor my blood pressure in an effort to see if the baby was in distress. Well, this is when I realized that I was right… things were definitely changing! My blood pressure was higher than usual. So, my doctor called the hospital and scheduled me an induction right that second, as a precaution for the baby.

I wasn’t stupid. I knew this was gonna be a long day. So, I did probably the smartest thing I could do- TACOS! Y’all, I’m from San Antonio, TX… we do tacos for everything (including my baby shower 😝). So before heading out to Labor and Delivery, we ate tacos. The contractions were still there, still super random. We eventually waddled our way… my way, because hubs wasn’t waddling… to the Labor and Delivery unit.

There were several other women there waiting to be admitted. I remember thinking, “This is happening! In a matter of hours, I will finally have my precious boy in my arms!” I was wrong. By the time I was checked on for a L&D room, I apparently started dilating naturally and my blood pressure had stabilized. My nurse called my doctor, who decided to just forego induction and monitor my natural labor. I was admitted around 11:00 a.m. the contractions were mild but becoming more frequent. I thought, “I can definitely go no meds! You got this, champ!” Hours passed; I was placed on a liquid diet in case I went into active labor; more hours passed… each time they checked me, I was only a centimeter or two dilated, slightly effaced. It was disappointing.

Exactly 24 hours before my little guy was born! Peep the clock in the background! We were so shocked to notice that!

Wednesday night came, and I was offered a sleep aid and oral pain relief. I swore I’d go without but I figured it would help me get some rest in preparation for delivery. It didn’t. I slept maybe 15 minutes at a time, giving up around 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, browsing Facebook and Instagram and watching Guardians of the Galaxy II. Nurses were in and out, making sure my blood pressure was normal. It was. Checked to see if I dilated more; I hadn’t… I was tired and getting frustrated. It had already been over 24 hours already.

I was stuck at about 4 centimeters, so my doctor talked to me about sweeping my membranes and breaking my water. We had it done to see if that would jump start anything. By about 11:00 a.m., I was exhausted from breathing through the contractions and a lack of sleep for two nights in a row. My family was there now, waiting with me and hoping for a quick delivery. My husband, Beto, and I discussed an epidural and pitocin. We decided I needed it. I was too tired and wouldn’t have the energy to push when I needed to unless I got some rest. I was upset and disappointed in myself, but my husband reminded me that as long as baby G got here and was healthy, then I did the best thing.

It still took hours for my contractions to progress enough. I didn’t go into active labor until about 7:30 p.m… about 40 hours after I started contracting Wednesday morning. When the doctor finally said it was go-time, I was excited and nervous and still exhausted. The nurse coached me through the contractions, the breathing techniques from my birthing class resonating in my head. I pushed and pushed, watching myself in a mirror (oh yes, I did!) to see my own progress. Finally at 8:10 p.m. Thursday evening, my little Baby G arrived. His little wrinkly body on my chest; I bawled, exhausted but in such a state of bliss and disbelief.

We immediately started to attempt breastfeeding; he did so good. Breastfeeding was the thing I looked forward to most, being able to nourish my baby directly. It was painful at first, but I knew it was best for him. The feeling of his little cheeks against my chest was so comforting and reassuring… all the difficulties made it worth it.

It was the most joyful moment of my life. I never want to forget it, no matter how hard and tiresome it was. I don’t want to forget the journey that brought my little boy to me. My first baby. My littlest love. It may not have gone as planned, but it was still the best day of my life.

The BEST product for breastfeeding! SAVE YOUR NIPPLES! Amazon Affiliate link