All Mixed Up

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, I haven’t written a personal piece in a while. So many life changes have been happening and I was struggling to figure out how to continue.

Quite frankly, I was trying to figure out whether I would continue this venture, this blog.

I haven’t known what to say here for a long time. I don’t like controversy. Although I love my kids, I don’t particularly like spending a lot of time talking about them.

Then there’s work. I consider myself a “jill of all trades”. I know a little about a lot of things. Enough to make an income with any of them. If I took some time, I could make a substantial income from several of them.

I just don’t.

Why?

Because I don’t want to dive into something that I can’t be “known for” in the future.

I really want to create a legacy, a life for me and my children. Not just a job for now.

I’m lucky and blessed. I have a husband who’s willing to support any option I choose.

And you would think that means it would be easy. But for the first time, I truly have a choice.

I’ve worked since I was twelve, paid household bills since 16, paid for multiple adults until I was 28 (until I got married).

Do you know how much pressure that is? The pressure of thinking that if you don’t make enough money, you’ll have a household of adults living off of you?

Most people don’t. Most people don’t understand. Truthfully, most of the people that I assisted were in pure denial that I did anything for them.

Truthfully, most of the people that I assisted were in pure denial that I did anything for them.

All Mixed Up | AprilNoelle.comThat hurt the most. I spent years sacrificing. I’m not saying I needed a pat on the back or accolades, but a pure denial sent me in a whirlwind of depression.

Now that I truly have a choice, it’s like seeing the world for what it is for the first time. I don’t have to conform to what others think I should do. I don’t have to think about making a certain income or how many hours I work.

And I don’t want to talk about any of this. I don’t want to think about any of this. There is a sort of safety and comfort in doing what others expect, especially when you know you can attain THEIR goals.

I feel like I’m falling off a cliff trying to think about what I really want, what goals I really want to set and what I want to do to get there.

This has been a piece for Finish the Sentence Friday, a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts below! Please no “link dumping.” If you include a link, comment on other posts.

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Cruising to a Life Together | #FTSF | AprilNoelle.com

Cruising to a Life Together | #FTSF

The Year 2007 was an eventful year for me.

Jeff and I got married.

We had our second son.

We went on our first vacation as a couple.

And much, much more.

Our first vacation together was a cruise to the Bahamas. I had never been on a cruise and was so excited to go.

At the time, our son spent a significant amount of the summer with his grandparents. Those grandparents are one of the reasons we moved to Florida.

Cruising to a Life Together | #FTSF | AprilNoelle.comWe dropped Bunny off with them and headed for the cruise.

Getting on was a breeze and our cabin was on the water.

We walked the ship quickly, then returned to our clean, kid-free, toy-free cabin.

When we landed in the Bahamas, we went on a whirlwind tour. We raced to the rental car agency. Had I known we were going on a jog, I would’ve opted to wear footwear other than flip flops. Since we had a lot of places to go and just the daylight hours to do it, we were on our way.

As he is a native and spent most of his youth there, he showed me his schools, introduced me to family, and at the local spots. The food was delicious and by the end of the day, he had me driving on the wrong side of the road. At least I didn’t have to drive on the wrong side of the car.

By the end of the night, I was exhausted yet exhilarated. I found out so much about him that day. I fell in love with him all over again – from learning his history to navigating his experiences to understanding who he is.

That evening after dinner, we walked up to the Sun Deck to talk. As we admired the beautiful Bahamian skyline and the sound of celebration below, I looked off into the distance, imagining our future.

As we were talking, he started telling me what I meant to him, what he saw in our future, and all of the feel-goods that I could even imagine.

Then he proposed.

Yep, my husband proposed after we were already married. Why? Because of me.

See, the first time he proposed (many months previously), out of excitement, I cut him off. I didn’t have the opportunity to say anything.

I think I was the girliest girl that I had ever been when I saw the box. And I ruined it. I was so excited, he couldn’t get a word out edgewise. I killed his groove and he wasn’t able to recover.

I was excited but disappointed. Not at him, but at myself that I would completely kill his groove and not shut my mouth long enough for him to tell me about how much he loved me.

So, also in my desire to control everything around me, I asked him to re-propose. I told him that I completely accepted the ring, but “if he would be so kind” to repeat the proposal, in a surprised way and I promised not to cut him off.

It took a while, tons of patience, as he waited until we were actually married to do it again.

But it was worth every minute I waited.

We will be married 10 years in January and I can’t imagine living life without him.

 

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “One of my favorite vacation memories is…”
Host: Kristi from http://www.findingninee.com

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Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.
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Blessings through a Pregnancy Story

April Noelle and Bunny | AprilNoelle.com

One day, over five years ago, my husband and I made a conscious decision for me to become a stay at home mother with the birth of our next child. This was by no means his push, it was completely mine. Being a mom who did the majority of the cooking, cleaning and child-raising were wearing on me and I was just tired.

More than that, I was an awful wife.

And I probably wasn’t that great of a mother.

My husband worked long hours and made it home most nights to put our son to bed.

 

For me, it was too much.

Even before staying home, I knew my life would change.

The day started out just like no other. I woke up, dressed, dressed my son. I was a little off, tired, drained, but chalked it up to a short night of sleep.

Then something new happened.

I walked from my front door to my car and was completely winded. I had to catch my breath before I started the car. A walk no more than 100 feet had completely winded me, a walk without stairs or incline, a walk on a cool winter’s morning.

Blessings | Bee and Butterfly | AprilNoelle.comSomething was off. Something was different.

The next few days, I continued in exhaustion. No more stairs to my office. Out came the rolling suitcase from the high closet shelf. I couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without breaking a sweat, so I stopped trying.

When I finally took the test, it confirmed what I had already suspected. I was pregnant. (SIDE NOTE: Did you know WalMart sells pregnancy tests for 88 cents? Yeah, they do and I got three, just in case.)

They all confirmed my theory. I was pregnant. After trying for less than a month, we were going to become parents again.

The rest of the pregnancy continued poorly, adding nausea, a never ceasing sweet tooth and massive swelling.

My exhaustion didn’t end either. I came home every day, just awake enough to make my son a sandwich for dinner and take a nap on the couch. The nap almost always turned to bedtime. Luckily my son was pretty self-sufficient and homework was minimal.

I made it through the pregnancy without any medical problems, just major discomfort, only to give birth to a beautiful little girl who would still make my life pretty miserable.

She was momma’s girl. Bee did not want to be held by anyone else, refused to take a bottle and wouldn’t sleep more than 20 minutes on her own. She loved cuddling and nuzzling with me and sleeping with me and playing with me.

Close to her first birthday, she finally decided that she would let the others who loved her into her life, into our circle.

Then we found out another little girl was going to be part of my family.

The exhaustion hadn’t wavered and now there would be three!

I worried, I made plans, we made moves. But now, here they are, my gorgeous girls: Bee and Butterfly.

Bee and Butterfly | AprilNoelle.com

Bee and Butterfly | AprilNoelle.com

Butterfly and Bee | AprilNoelle.com

April Noelle and her kids | AprilNoelle.com

Growing up, I never considered being a mother, especially not a mother of three, with one in heaven. I have grown mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.

When I started making purposeful decisions for people who weren’t me, I understood when I was being selfish and when I wasn’t.

These blessings have changed my life for the better and I would never want anything different.

*******

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. The sentence is “When it comes to blessings…” and it’s an extra-special week because we’re linking up with the Blessings Month with Tuesday Ten and #1000Speaks for Compassion. Write about “When it comes to blessings…” or Ten Ways I can bless people… or Ten Ways I am Blessed…

The linkup is available from August 4th to 11th (one week), and you can link up with any of our hosts:
YvonneVidyaand Michelle (the blessings thinker-upper) for #1000Speaks
Rabia and Lisa for their Tuesday Ten
and me,  for Finish the Sentence Friday

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A Long, Long Time Ago

A long, long time ago, I wrote stories. I wrote stories about finding lost jewels, having tons of friends, and starting my own business. I wrote stories about dreaming and happiness and disappearing into a world far away, in alternative dimensions. I dove into a world that I wrote instead of lived.

Now, I don’t really write those stories anymore. I’m not sure if it’s that I don’t have time, or I don’t find the same inspiration as I did before. But the creativity simmers beneath the surface, only wishing that I could figure how to write, raise my children and clean the house all at the same time.

My stories have slowly come out as I’ve raised my children. Sometimes as entertainment, sometimes as a distraction. Now, they’ve become a part of our bedtime routine. Each daughter gets to choose a book to read, then my favorite part: made up story time.

 

Girls Spring 2016 | AprilNoelle.com

Normally Butterfly goes first… Her story typically goes: “Once upon a time, ddest destald cdkale ckeoal ckeale ckeolw.” for about three minutes. I have absolutely no idea what she’s saying even though when it’s not story time, she’s fairly articulate. I’ve asked her “say words” but I’ve given up. Each story is about the same. A lot of gibberish until she trails off and I declare “The End” and she follows along with “The End.”

Bee is a little different. Her stories always include the entire family, there’s always a mommy, daddy, brother and two sisters. Most of the time the girls go out to play (and the family tags along) and then they go home.

Finally, I tell a story, with the two sisters as the main characters. They have adventures in the woods, storm castles, make furry friends and play with princes and princesses.

Recently, my stories have centered around finance and budgeting, teaching the girls about how to have a healthy relationship with money and understanding what a budget is, how to thrift store or find great deals, and learning patience before purchasing.

I’m sure it’s because I’ve spent the last month planning a financial seminar and I’m working on putting on a financial series (coming soon) in my neighborhood. That’s sparked a series of stories in my head.

From there, my creativity has been sparked with a series of stories about these two rambunctious, adventurous little girls. So, anyone know a children’s book publisher? LOL.

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This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “A long, long time ago and very far away, there lived…” (or “There once lived…” or “A long time ago…” or similar – you get the idea).

Your hosts: Kristi, from findingninee.com and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper, Deborah from Life is Like a Hand Grenade.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.

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I’ll Take Confidence for $2000

My soul yearns to have the confidence that I once had. I used to live by my personal motto:

If You Don't Ask, The Answer is Already No | Building Self-Confidence | AprilNoelle.com
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It wasn’t until I wrote this post that I realized I had forgotten this.  I felt like a walking contradiction.

On one hand, I was extremely shy when dealing with personal talents, where I could thrive in front of people, public speaking, self-promotion, and singing. I didn’t. I shied away from any of the opportunities.

On the other, I felt I could conquer the world and get anywhere I wanted to. I would do things that my friends never thought of… like asking to get into a club for free (which I always did) and sending resumes to local law firms for a job that they didn’t know they had (landing a job for $15/hr while going to school full-time).

But here I sit, almost 20 (gulp!) years later and I freeze. Ask me to pitch a company, excuses fall out of my mouth. Ask me to post my blog in a new space, what if they don’t want it there? Ask me to MC, well, that’s still the same.

Here I am, in front of a new place in my life, and I’m too afraid to take that step, and in some places those leaps to get me to my next goal.

A series of questions run through my head:

  • What if they don’t like me?
  • What if I stumble over the words?
  • What if my words upset someone?
  • What if I make a mistake? Like, misuse a word?
  • What if I am dry?
  • What if they fall asleep while I’m trying to talk?
  • What if they talk while I’m trying to talk?

…and on and on.

But where does any of that get me? Living the exact life that I have. Not that it’s a bad life, but it’s not the one I dreamed of.

In my quest to fight this desire to crawl into a ball, I’ve started reading Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. She was an introvert who only appeared through her words, her stories, her imagination. She didn’t show up and always said “no”. Until one year…

I want to say that I have her commitment, her competitive spirit to turn every “no” into a “yes”, but I sure as hell going to try.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Your hosts are, as always, Kristi from Finding Ninee and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper, Deirdre from Deirdre’s Daily Dose.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts below! Also, if you’re just “link dumping,” don’t bother.
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When There Are No More Words Left to Write

This is a rare week when schedules of three bibles studies collide. Three mornings, I’m busy from school drop off to after lunch. By that time, I’m tired and ready to take a nap.

This week, as well, I have been intent on actually taking the time to learn and take a class or two from the various places from which I still receive emails.

This is also the first time since consistently writing that I have messed up my schedule because I didn’t plan.

I missed it.

I missed getting out four posts this week.

But I’m here today because I have too much in my head, too much knowledge, too many opinions and endless stories that I wish to tell.

Boy, do I want to tell you stories. I have them, in my head. But I need them on paper. (Is this paper?)

And I want to improve. I want to be a better writer. I want to be a writer that people love (did I just say that out loud?) I want to be an author of books: children’s books, novels, and educational material. Yes, educational material because I have a lot of knowledge and there are people who need it.

I’ve flexed my writing muscles to write about creating your own career, fitness, motherhood and just to see if could, topics pitched by someone else.

So, I’ll keep writing until it’s all out of my head, until I have no more words left to say, until I cannot write anymore.

Until that happens, I hope to grow, adapt, learn and change.


 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s topic is “Sometimes, I wonder about my writing. I keep on and on because…” Feel free to adapt the sentence to “I write because…” or “I wonder why I write…

Your host is Kristi from Finding Ninee.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts over there and find some new friends!
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My Little Superheroes

Sleep. Productivity. Social life. My career.

What stops me from thriving in all of these? My children.

When we lost Alexander, my life changed. Really it changed my priorities. Before it was work, social life, family. Now, it’s family, work, social life.

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My sleep disruption started with Bee, my third. Ever since her birth, she was a terrible sleeper. I tried “sleep training” her, I tried letting her cry it out, but neither was effective. The only way she would sleep is if I held her; keyword here “I”. Dad couldn’t take her, friends and family couldn’t take her. Even when my husband did manage to get her to sleep, he would lay her across his legs on a pillow, get a fan going and shook her to sleep. On one hand, she would actually go to sleep instead of cry. On the other, all of the extras made it more difficult for me to put her to sleep, who became a stay at home mom after her birth.

Bee continued to sleep most nights in our bed well after Butterfly was born. She would start in her bed and come into our bed every night. We would go back and forth throughout the night. Putting Bee in her bed and her returning. This stopped fairly recently with a bribe of candy the next day for staying in her bed. It’s working.

Somehow, Butterfly has picked up this terrible middle of the night habit. Ultimately, the biggest problem is that I don’t mind them in the bed with us, I just know it’s a bad precedent if we ever want our bed back.

In short, I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in over four years.

 

My productivity overall has dropped drastically with my children around. I used to work a lot. In college, I was working more than 40 hours a week. In law school, while others were partying and studying, I was working about 20 hours a week. After law school, I worked anywhere between 60 and 80 a week and I loved it.

Now, I have to stop and do things like hug, kiss and love on them. We spend a lot of time reading, learning numbers and playing instruments. Peanut butter and jelly sandwich, “Yes Ms. Bee”. Elsa and Anna costume time? “Of course, my dears.” Want to go grab sushi? “Yes, son.” But that last one may be more for me.

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My social life… what happened? This one had a slow disappearance for me. Every week, I make a choice to spend time with my kids over going out. Maybe it’s their age, maybe it’s their personalities, but I actually like them, no matter what I say.

I still like to go out and I’m tied to the community that forces me to get out of the house. Yet, I have to say cuddles, a movie and popcorn beats a lot of the nights out.

Oh, my career. Well, that’s just plainly in the backseat now. I have this (aprilnoelle.com) and ModernishMommas.com and that’s my career for now. This year, my business is expanding, but only around my children.

 

What’s your kryptonite?

 

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Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your finishes here!

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My Reflection

The mirror sits idly in the bathroom taunting me, mocking me. I want to look, I want to see myself, my whole self, but often I can’t bare to look.

What I should see is the woman who graduated near the top of her high school class, to attend an awesome first tier school, to attend a great first tier law school.

What I should see is the woman who found out she was pregnant before her third year of law school, finished law school anyway, then lost my second son a couple years later and didn’t die completely inside.

What I should see is the woman who managed to work multiple jobs throughout most of this time, while managing to stay in school, never skipping a beat.

What I should see is the woman who married her love, gave birth to two more children, both beautiful daughters, and have three happy and healthy children.

What I should see is the woman who has almost made it a decade under her belt as a wife when people are getting married and divorced every day, and has a husband who cares enough about the relationship that he wants to work on it.

What I should see is the beautiful, intelligent woman that people always tell me that I am, and stand in my strengths and positivity.

Instead, when I look in the mirror…

I see a woman who could’ve gone to better schools, worked harder and achieved more by this point in her life.

I see a woman who didn’t pass the bar, thus barely has an income to pay back the mounting debt.

I see a woman who wasn’t smart enough to save or invest appropriately, so all of that extra work meant nothing.

I see a woman who’s body was stretched and deflated, leaving scars, streaks and loose skin, which can only be repaired by intensive surgery and treatments.

I see a woman who’s not good enough for her husband, one who’s undeserving of his love, no matter what she does.

I see a woman who’s inadequate, who goes through bouts of depression and struggles with feeling overwhelmed.

So I don’t look in the mirror…

I avoid it like the plague.

Catching a glimpse is hard, because it doesn’t reflect the picture of myself that I’ve been holding on to in my head. It’s a hard look of who I am today.

The look of all that I have been through and all that I know I can be.

The look of the shortfalls and the possibilities.

The look of the good and the bad.

The look of unfulfilled potential.

But I know it’s there…

Every day, I take steps because I know there’s more.

I know I’m a writer.

I know I’m an author.

I know that I’m a mother.

I know that I’m a wife.

The mirror is always there…

Showing the truth.

The truth is that I’m an ever-evolving, growing woman, who is learning to be a better me every day.

 

What do you see in the mirror?

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I look in a mirror…” Your hosts: Kristi (FindingNinee.com) and me, this week’s sentence thinker-upper, April Noelle.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts below!

 


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The Step that Will Change Our Marriage

Every year, I make goals.

Every year, I’m successful at some and not so successful with others.

This year is a bit different, letting you into my methods to be successful. One such goal is to have a better marriage. Let me give you a little background.

Growing up, I was not surrounded by happily married couples.

My parents seemed happy on the outside, but on the inside, they were distant. My mother content clicking away on the computer keyboard in her office while my dad, well, he was kinda just there. Even at a young age, I realized they weren’t right for each other. I couldn’t say that there was any fundamental flaw with either one of them, just that the other wasn’t a complement. Their quiet bickering in their room only affirmed my belief and so did their eventual divorce.

Most of my extended family never married. Single motherhood was, and still is, the norm. For the few that had taken the plunge, abuse was rampant, the impressions apparent on my generation.

There were a couple of married couples that seemed to survive, but as I aged, I found out they were at best dealing with each other.

When my proposal came, I was excited, but I also had very low expectations. In all honesty, if I could avoid Aggression, Abuse and Adultery, I would be able to make it last forever.

Changing Our Marriage

So we married… and a lot of things occurred: financial ruin, death of a child, strained familial relationships, but none of the three As. We made it to the other side, relatively unscathed.

Or so I thought.

I thought we were happy. I thought we were a great couple.

We are, but we aren’t.

In our desire to keep a peaceful relationship, we skip the argument and turn it into animosity and resentment. We wish the other did things. Occasionally, we’d discuss it, but we rarely resolved it.

What do you do about non-issues? I tried to figure out how it would go in therapy:

Therapist: What brought you in today?

Us: We don’t argue, but somethings wrong.

Therapist: What?

Us: *shoulder shrug*

Sadly, we’d be telling the truth. We didn’t know what was wrong, just that something was.

When our church announced that they started a ministry called Re|Engage for married couples, I was eager to sign up. They introduced it as a ministry that will bring a marriage back from the brink of death and/or improve the best of marriages. Sounds like we couldn’t go wrong.

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I told my husband about it. As usual, he had little reaction to the news.

Until last December, when he heard about it at church. Well, when he processed the announcement from church, he decided it was something we should do together.

We went to our first meeting, of course, right before the winter break. Three weeks went by. But we started right back up again in 2016.

Their format requires that you attend weekly meetings, initially being placed into an Open Group, then eventually Closed Group. In order for this process to work, you have to be comfortable sharing and laying your flaws on the table. Until you are comfortable, you stay in an Open Group. The Open Group changes weekly, as couples come and go. Once you’re ready to really dig deeper, you can request to join a Closed Group.

A Closed Group is several couples who promise to keep the session confidential, so that everyone can freely speak without rejection or judgment. When you reach the Closed Group, you work through the workbook, chapter by chapter, diving deeper into yourself, your heart and your soul.

After four short weeks, we have made it into a Closed Group. Now, I can truly share our journey and what we are getting from the sessions. Please join me through the process.

So, to finish this week’s sentence: “I’m thankful for…”

  • I’m thankful that my husband not only wants a decent marriage, but wants a great one.
  • I’m thankful that he opted to come because I would not have pushed.
  • I’m thankful that our church offered a solution, an alternative to traditional therapy.
  • I’m thankful that he’s excited to go.
  • I’m thankful that we’ve started praying together.
  • I’m thankful that the church offers childcare so that we can go weekly, without the need of a babysitter.
  • I’m thankful that it’s at a time that is convenient.
  • I’m thankful for the couples that we’ve met.
  • I’m thankful for the leaders of the ministry for their time.

Most of all,

  • I’m thankful that we, as a couple, are on the same page, as we embark on 2016 to make our marriage stronger.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts below!

This, dear ones, is a glorious-most-wonderful mash-up of Finish the Sentence Friday and Ten Things of Thankful joining forces for one WONDERFUL weekend.

If you want to join in, the starter sentence is “I’m thankful…”

Feel free to answer it any way you wish.

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A Letter to My Younger Self: Keep Going

Normally, I don’t write a letter to my younger self or consider thinking about “what if” or “regret” posts. Rarely do I feel like the grass is greener. Often, I feel like the other side of the fence is a landfill avalanche, ready to suck you down with all of the bits of crap that’s been tossed inside.

Of course, that’s not always the case and it’s apparent that I’m not an optimist. Yet tonight, I feel like I should write a little note to a previous, younger version of myself.

Dear Law School April,

I’m so proud of you. You are accomplishing your “dream”, working that law school degree. You’ve taken the time to care about those around you, and even though they don’t say “Thank You” or show their appreciation, you’re doing the right thing. This can’t happen any other way, your heart isn’t ready to break quite yet.

A Letter To Me

As you push forward in your degree, you’ll become increasingly sad and distant, trying to find purpose. The lack of appreciation will wear on your spirit, your soul. You’ll join every organization that appeals to you, and when none of them are fulfilling, you’ll start your own. You’ll grow it to the point where the next class jumps in and brings it to a level you never imagined.

You should feel proud. You should feel grateful. You should feel happy.

You don’t. You won’t.

Everything will change when you meet this man. You will inadvertently find him online. He becomes a safe place to talk, letting him know your secret desires and passions, your fears and your anxieties. Even though most will take place on the impersonal computer, you will feel something for him. You will think it’s love. Continue to believe that.

One day, he will no longer be an AIM name and description. One day, he will want to meet you in person. Do it. This man will change your thought on love. A few months later, he will give you a gift that you never thought you wanted.

This gift will change your purpose, given to you 10 months later.

Your son will be the sweetest, kindest, little person you’ll ever meet. Often, he reminds you of a little you, and when he doesn’t, he reminds you of his father.

You will start to question your desire to be a lawyer, but be hesitant to make a move. You’ve invested so much time and money in this venture and you can’t afford to change careers.

I’m writing all of this to tell you that you can’t afford not to. As always, you can be happy being a lawyer, you have been happy in every job you’ve had. But you will miss out on so many things in life.

You’ll miss your son’s first step.

You will miss him reading his first word.

You will miss him laying in your arms at the end of a long day because he’s a great sleeper and already in bed when you get home.

You will flunk the bar exam. But the score will be so close that you think it’s where you were supposed to be. The rational person that you are, you figure with a little more studying you’ll pass, but the second time around, you are commuting four hours a day and working 10-12 hours a day.

I’m here to let you know that it’s ok to give it all up to be a wife and mother. That man, the father of your child, will love you the way no other person on this planet has shown you love.  He will love you through your good decisions and your bad, and he will not fault you for your mistakes.

He will question your choices, but just so that you will think about it.

For once, your desire to put others first will not only be accepted, but appreciated. Your husband will push you to be better, love yourself more and be a better you. Your son will love you unconditionally despite all of your faults. All of this will lead you to have a family of five.

I’m telling you that you don’t have to wait to do you. There’s something in your heart that you want to pursue, but you are too busy being afraid that it’s not the rationale and responsible decision. He won’t care and neither should you.

Focus, love and become the woman you have always dreamed to be. Start when your son is conceived, don’t let the surprise of his arrival sideline you.

With love,

Your future self

 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence, brought to you by Michelle of Crumpets and Bollocks is “Dear Me…”
Hosts: Me (Kristi of Finding Ninee)
and Michelle -above- Crumpets and Bollocks.

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts to “When I was 19…” below!

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Nineteen

Nineteen seems like a lifetime ago, not just because it’s been almost two decades, that I still fit single digit sized clothing or that I was single without a husband or children in my future. The life I envisioned then was one of passion and a hard day at work, an apartment was only a necessity to lay my head. Early mornings consisted of a well balanced breakfast following a rigorous workout. Now, my day is full of sacrifice, working around the clock and I mostly leave my house to drop off my son at school.

I was studious, but only enough to get a B average. My priority was not on partying like many of my classmates, but on working. I worked all of the time. I found part-time jobs and full-time ones, any job that didn’t cut into class time was sufficient. I also thought about working smarter rather than harder, jumping on positions that paid twice the minimum wage, and covered odd hours. My roommates often remarked how they only saw me in passing between sleep and work.

I was a sleeper, no less than eight hours for me. A sleepy April was a cranky, ineffective April. I took sleep at the utmost priority, so all nighters were not in my calendar.

What suffered was my social life. I dated quite a bit, mainly due to the fact that dates tend to occur after most businesses closed. I took this time to cultivate who I liked and what I loved. First dates were a plenty… third dates were rare.

Yet, friendships, those suffered greatly. I had friends, but as others were fraternizing in the platonic sense, I was working. They joined clubs, I worked. They joined sororities and fraternities, I worked more.

I was tired, drained and under appreciated.

My efforts weren’t going back into my pocket, I was sending anything above my living expenses back home to my family. It would be years later when I finally decided that I needed to put myself first.

Looking back, it was all a waste of time. The work, the effort, and the money… I felt like it was thrown down the drain. Not to say that I think my family wasted it, they didn’t. They used it how I anticipated it to be used.

I’m not sure how to explain it. The best I can say is that after all of these years, they are in similar situations as they were all that time ago. I’m no longer working for them, but they are no better off, not excelling, not thriving, just living.

I wish I had spent more time doing things for me, more time investing in my interests, my loves, my passions. I wish I would have used the time to experience college, my youth and my time.

In short, if I were to write a letter to my 19 year old self, I’d say:

Love Yourself First | AprilNoelle.com

 

As I watch my children grow, I try to teach them the lessons of life, but make sure they knows that they are the first in their lives.

My son is extremely empathetic and compassionate, mirroring my feeling of obligation trying to fix everything and make others’ problems my own. I don’t want him to look back on his life and think that he felt like time was wasted or unfulfilled.

Don’t get me wrong, 19 was filled with experiences that I didn’t mention here, but for some reason, this was what was on my heart and on my mind. I’m sure that I’ll share some of the fun at a later date. 🙂

 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post with “When I was 19…”
This week:
Host: Kristi from Finding Ninee at http://findingninee.com, Mimi from Mimi Time at http://mimisager.com/ and Vidya from Coffee with Me at http://mi.vidyasury.com/

Finish the Sentence Friday is a link-up where writers and bloggers come together to share their themselves with a particular sentence. If you’d like to stay ahead of future sentences and participate, join our Facebook group.  Link up your sentence prompts to “When I was 19…” below!

 

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My Little Minions

Evidence surrounds us that school is back in session. My son is gone all day, and is considering which athletic teams he would like to join, I’m homeschooling my daughters and more than anything, my mommy friends don’t have children at home to visit. No more pool trips, alone at the beach and visits to the museum are no longer free. Structure-free days are gone and wake up times are earlier.

My little minions and I conquered a lot of our bucket list. Yet, the best part was that we kept busy… no aches of boredom or readiness to go back to school in this house. My son was ready to see his friends, but would’ve been content being home for a few more weeks. I consider that a successful summer. The memories have been set and hopefully will stay favorable in my kiddos mind.

Now that summer’s over, I’m ready to help my children learn and grow. I’m ready for field trips and coloring lessons, singing the alphabet song and circle time, and videos with counting and sight words.

All of that said, there are many things that I miss about the summer…

 

My Little Minions

Over the summer, I stretched outside of my comfort zone and ventured to the beach. I know a lot of people love the beach, including my children. I can’t stand the sand ending up in crevices that you didn’t know you had. The glee that my little minions showed their excitement anticipation of going was well worth it.

From South Florida Science Museum and Learning Center

Museums tend not to be at the top of my priority list, because as much as I like them, they are often price-restrictive and outside of our budget. With the aid of LAMP, we were able to go to Norton Museum, Flagler Museum, South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (twice), and Schoolhouse Children’s Museum and Learning Center (twice).

We spent hours upon hours in the pool, each improving our swimming techniques. My little daredevil, Bee, was excited to take off her flotation devices and managed to swim at least 20 feet across the pool. I’m imagining that if her brother was in the pool, she would’ve tried hard and swam farther. But alas, I’ll have to do with my “not quite four year old” swimming across the pool. I was so proud of her. She was a trooper and persistent.

Friendships developed and strengthened as the children became close with other families. We visited them and they returned the favor. Water play was a favorite, enjoying in the childhood play of warm weather and water from the sprinklers. Watching them play reminded me of the days long ago. If my only care was to run around letting the water flow though my hair and over my body in the dead of summer.

Family rolled into town. My children had an opportunity to spend time with them. Those days were not wasted, they were important and loved. My babies loved every minute and wished for it to never end.

We hosted our first home party for the Fourth of July, having received our dining room table which seats an additional eight people. I loved the space that each person had. No one searched for a place to sit, as we also acquired a patio table. Twelve seats in a month’s time, makes our home perfect for large family parties. I enjoyed myself, maybe a bit too much, as my husband points out. Labor Day is around the corner. I can make it up then.

At one particular museum trip, my daughter’s received beautiful face painting by Affordable Face Magic in West Palm Beach. The woman did a fantastic job. It dried quickly and didn’t smear until actual water was applied. Their constant desire to bury their face in my chest didn’t faze these designs. By the way, why does it look like we all have a mustache? These photos were taken by the museum itself.

I spent time with my son. My eldest is now a middle schooler. I’m happy and sad all at the same time. This week, he experienced his first real try out. I wanted him to make the flag football team with all of my heart, but knowing he was not someone who spent a lot of time practicing, I wasn’t expecting anything. Unfortunately, he didn’t make it. Broke my heart, but I couldn’t show it. We are taking the opportunity to have him practice so that next year or the next season, he can be a stronger candidate.

Personally, this summer has afforded me the opportunity to begin my novel, learning how to write and get paid, learn that I’m more than and can get paid for my work. I’m learning how to break my fear barriers and reach beyond.

one word blog linkup

This week’s words are Memory and Angry.

Ten Things of Thankful
Finish-the-Sentence-Friday-New-Pin-720-FUN-250-x-250
 

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