Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I exist. I matter. My journey back into self awareness.

I'm making it a mission to post more pictures of myself.
I will try to be less critical. This is my blog.
This is my journey.

There's more to me than being a mom.

I think I had forgotten that. Day in, day out I'm consumed by 2 gorgeous, yet quite demanding, little girls. Almost everyday I wake up, put on my yoga pants and baggy shirt in preparation for another day as a full time mom. Now that my girls are a little older and pretty much self sufficient (for the most part) I'm finding windows of opportunity where I can have time for myself. For the first few years of mommy hood taking time to straighten my hair or put makeup on was a luxury and done only if it was really, really necessary. For the first few years I was in survival mode: feed the kids, change the kids, bathe the kids, play with the kids. There were many a times where I showered only once a week because I had no one around during the days and I was too exhausted and fell asleep with my girls at night. This is not a boohoo story. It was just my reality for a time. I willingly gave up myself, literally gave all of me, to and for my babies.  Now, 5 years later, I'm ready to take back some of that time that was once allotted for only them. I make sure to wake up early enough to fix my hair and my face. I'm trying to make it a point to wear more than just yoga pants and sneakers (this is a tough one for me). 

I'm realizing that while this blog was initially intended as a mommy journal of sorts--it has evolved into something so much more. It's been a stepping stone into bringing me out of my mommy shell and back out into reality. I'm no longer looking at the world and everyone in it from inside the comfort of my own personal bubble. I'm slowly stepping out and reconsidering my existence in the world as more than a mom but also as a writer, a creative spirit, a traveler, an adventure junkie, an aspiring blogger, and hundreds of other characteristics and traits that make me who I am.  

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love being a mom-nothing has fulfilled me more in my life! However, there is more to me than that. I think the universe is slowly pulling me, showing me, telling me that it's time to keep moving on my journey. Life doesn't stop at being a mom. My passions haven't evaporated into thin air. I simply pushed them to the side for a while and now I'm ready to bring them back to the forefront. It's going to be a tough adjustment, but I need to practice sharing my time between domestic life and office work.  I have so much to do, to accomplish, to prove to myself. 

At the end of the day, this is my life. This is my blog. This is my journey. It makes sense that this blog is ultimately, the journey of me. I'm ready to put myself back out there.  I will face my fears. I will work towards success, but be equally proud of my failures. I will post more selfies on Instagram, no matter how critical I am of my pictures. I will reactivate my Facebook. I will no longer hide behind my kids.  We will co-exist in the front lines together because I matter, too. This is my journey from self loathing (my teens) to selfless (as a mom) to self aware (right here, right now). Welcome to the journey of me!     


Thursday, March 26, 2015

I'm addicted... reading. That's what my mom said to me the other day. I was sitting at her dining room table, drinking my coffee (another terrible addiction she claims I possess) while casually reading something or other.  The chaos and madness that are my kids twirled and swirled before me but I masterfully tuned it all out and focused on the pages, consumed by words. That's when my mom burst my peaceful bubble with her negative words and disapproving frown. "You're addicted to reading, Ladan!" And then she said those three words that I should be immune to by now. Those intrusive words that she says all too often to me. At me. Words that hurt, when I'm old enough and wise enough to know they shouldn't. "Get a life." I ignored her. Shrugged my shoulders and kept on reading. I pretended she hadn't wounded me, though she had and always did. Sticks and stones...but words, words. Words are everything. I like to think I have a life. A happy one. A good one. Yet my mother always begs to differ. Yet her gaze is always disapproving and her words strike instead of soothe. I know she means well. I know she loves me. I know her life are her kids: my brother and I. However, there is something that lies deep down, something unsaid, something untouched, that I can't put my finger on. Something that no amount of achievement can heal, no level of hard work can cure. Something that stirs within the pit of her soul, enunciating each word through gritted teeth: 'Not. Good. Enough.' And maybe I'll never be good enough. Maybe she loves me so much, believes in me more than I believe in myself, sees my talents and my worth as so much more than I deem even possible, that I'm not meeting her expectations of me. She's on this other level of just how great I can and should be and, why aren't I there yet? Oh. Because I'm addicted to reading. Wasting my life on reading books other people have written when I should be writing my own. Keeping a clean house and tending to my kids when I should be out there getting my doctorate in something or other. My mother is very big on education.  I suppose her perspective on things are understandable. Who doesn't want the best for their kids? Except that I'm proud of who I am and all I've far. I'm hopeful that I'll achieve a lot more before my days in this life are over. In the meantime, I do have a life. One that I'm quite content with and am living the best I know how. I wake up happy. I love my family. And I love indulging in books and coffee, milk duds and sushi. I love tickling my girls until they are laughing so hard that they have swallowed the sound and all you see is their dimpled, wide smiles and the trembling of their body trying to contain themselves as my fingers gently poke and prod their soft, sensitive skin. I am addicted. I'm addicted to my kids, to my husband, to this life I've created for myself. To all the things I do. To all the things I love too much to quit. I guess, with that said, I'm also addicted to my mother.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Time is of the essence. Time heals all wounds. Only time will tell. In due time. Time after time. Time flies by when you're having fun. Time's up!

Time is a tricky, tricky thing. The older we get the faster it seems to slip from our fingers no matter how tight our grasp. I remember when we were young, we'd count down our birthdays, wishing we were already 13, 16, 18 and finally, 21. Once we graduated college and entered the 'real world' of finding real jobs that pay real incomes so we can afford to pay our very real bills, time began to speed up. The years began to pass with a blink of an eye. I remember things like they were yesterday. Meeting my future husband, his Easter sunday proposal, my bachelorette party and bridal shower, our wedding. There was baby #1 then baby #2, a move to Virginia and within that same year our move back. All these things take time, all these things have sped up the process of time. All these things have occupied my time.

It's been over a week since my last blog, although it truly feels like a couple of days ago since I last checked in. It's not that I have a shortage of topics to write about, I just don't seem to be able to find the time!  I've never understood people who lay around bored with nothing to do. I have a list yay high and I just keep adding more things to it. I'm never bored, ever! Even in my younger years I was always running around busy, busy with no time to think.  When I tackle my to do list I feel good, I feel proud. It's like a natural high. It's when I don't have time but the errands and phone calls and that nagging list are at the forefront of my thoughts demanding the attention that I can't seem to give that I'm internally combusting from within.

I need to find the time. Make the time. Organize my time. The months are passing, laying themselves out so quickly that it's folding into years before my very eyes. When did Lily turn 5 when we brought her home from the hospital just the other day?! How am I married with 2 kids when I was just daydreaming about this perfect life, and now here it is, playing itself out.

Will I look back 5 years from now in awe and happiness and pride for all the other things that I've achieved that have changed the course of my life? Or will I look back in frustration that I still haven't done half the things I'd like because time wasn't on my side?

They say to steal time away for yourself. I think that's what I need to start doing. Sometimes maybe we need to be selfish before we can be selfless again.

It's go time!    

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Night Terrors: My First Hand Experience On A Very Scary Situation

It began right when Lily turned 4, like a right of passage welcoming her to the next stage of growing pains.

The first time it happened I was taken aback by fear of the unknown. My face was probably as pale as a ghost, or at the possibility that my daughter was seeing and talking to ghosts! I didn't know what to do and so I had no choice but to ride it out until it ended. Those 10 minutes felt like eternity until, finally, the worst was over, and Lily just went back to sleep.

Here's what happens when your child has night terrors: a look into my first experience.

It was close to 11pm, I was stretched out on the couch watching TV, Lily and Darya had been fast asleep for a few hours by then. I heard a whimpering sound--with my bionic mommy ears--and quickly ran into the girls bedroom. Lily was sitting up, flustered, whimpering and mumbling words I couldn't make out. I went to her. She seemed irritated as she reached for me yet also pushed me away. My attempt to get her to lie back down was only agitating her to a fit of loud tears. I immediately squashed that idea and instead scooped her up into my arms and carried her to the living room to keep from waking her sister Darya up.

I placed Lily on the couch in the living room, yet she was adamant about not wanting to sit. Instead she began to pace around the room, crying and speaking in half sentences, saying: "Mommy, I don't want to...Mommy, can I...Please..." To which she would then proceed to burst into tears.

I didn't know what was going on. She appeared awake and coherent, only a little distant and off. I kept asking her questions! "Lily, honey, what's wrong?" "Did you have a bad dream?" "You don't want to what?"

A few minutes into it and Lily begins looking off into the distance, putting a hand up as she exclaims in terror, "No! No! No!" At this point I am so overwhelmed I innocently believe she is seeing ghosts. My baby girl is being haunted by ghosts! I turn to where she is looking and scream with anger, "Go away!!" I thrash my arms in the air and yell, "Stay away from my baby!!"

At this point Darya is awake and sitting on the edge of the couch, watching in silence while rubbing her eyes and yawning.

"Lily, what do you see? What is it?" I just kept asking questions. After about ten or so minutes, Lily let out a yawn and became overtaken with sleep. I put her and Darya back to bed, went back to the couch and had myself a good cry.  

In the morning Lily was her usual happy self, all smiles as she attacked me with kisses during our routine 'good morning hugs.'  Still traumatized from the events that took place the night before, I began my inquiry. "Honey, did you have a bad dream last night?" She looked at me confused. "You woke up crying...were you having a bad dream?" She was clueless. She did not remember anything that had happened.

It was when it happened again, a few nights later, to the same degree of intensity that I googled it!

Turns out Lily has Night Terrors. Apparently it happens to about 10% of kids and it begins around the time they turn 4. Night Terrors also known as Sleep Terrors happens during deep non REM sleep.

Taken from Night terrors usually occur about 2 or 3 hours after a child falls asleep, when sleep transitions from the deepest stage of non-REM sleep to lighter REM sleep, a stage where dreams occur. Usually this transition is a smooth one. But rarely, a child becomes agitated and frightened — and that fear reaction is a night terror.

It's been just over a year since Lily had her first Night Terror. When the Terrors first began it was almost a bi-weekly thing that slowly transgressed to weekly, then they were happening about every other week. In the last 6 months she probably has had 3 or 4 experiences total, one of them being last night.

The thing is that web-sites tell you to leave the child alone while they are going through their night terror as they are technically still asleep. To let them ride it out on their own but to monitor them closely just so they don't harm themselves. I am not able to do this. Every single time my child has had a night terror she has reached for me, she has cried out "Mommy" in between her mumbles and whimpers.  How can I stand back and watch her cry out in emotional distress--in her sleep or not.

My tactic, which seems to nip the Night Terror in the butt within a few minutes at the most is this:

*Turn the TV and all the lights off to keep it dark, to not overstimulate your child's already emotional state.

*Speak in a low, calm, soothing voice.

*Say only positive things while your child is beginning to fall apart : I love you! You were so good today. I'm so proud of you.  Hold my hand. Give me a hug.

*And finally as you continue nurturing your child invite them to cuddle with you. I always take Lily's hand and lead her to the couch as I say, "Come lay with me. Can I sleep with you?" In her awake state Lily wants nothing more than to fall asleep cuddled up in my arms, so naturally she also wants it in her state of sleep.
As I lay with her I feel her body relaxing as she sighs and even coughs a couple times. I give her space to squirm around as she gets comfortable. Within seconds her breathing is slow and deep and she is fast asleep. With no memory of having awoken in the first place.

And just like that I have successfully avoided a personally traumatizing episode of yet another Night Terror. I saved myself and my daughter from what could have been a good ten or more minutes of gut wrenching tears and incoherent screams!  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


I totally did it!

I snuck in by myself to finally watch Fifty Shades of Grey! Well, not snuck in per se--I did pay for my ticket-but snuck in as in, ignoring my mommy duties for half the day and stealing some much needed alone time for myself. Of course, I wasn't completely naughty! I did call my husband and run it by him first. What? I felt guilty!

Anywhoooo...I loved the movie. I'm so glad I loved the movie. I really, really did love the movie. This is where I do a twirl, raise the roof and shout, "Oh yea! Oh yea!"---Ahem--If I did those type of silly things, that is.

I'm actually super relieved I watched it on my own! Not to mention the theater was practically empty save for one odd couple a good five rows behind me. Yet, there were still a couple of moments where I personally felt embarrassed and uncomfortable. Jeez, I'm such a prude. No but seriously, it's different reading it and PG-13 imagining it in your head and then full on watching it for reals (for reals, for reals) in the Rated R version it's meant to be.

By the way, high five to Dakota Johnson! She made a great Anastasia Steele.

I seriously feel so much better having finally seen this movie. I can continue on with my boring, yet super busy life now. So, if you'll excuse I have to pick my kids up from preschool now.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Another Reason To Hate Mondays!

Of course I have to point out, it's just a random coincidence that today is Monday. Days of the week make no difference for stay at home moms with tiny tots. Every day is the same, pretty much. With that said, let's get on with my rambling today's blog, shall we?

I HAD TO GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. I woke up this morning feeling even worse than the day before and the day before that and I just had to get out of the house-sans kids!

I suppose it's just one of those days. "Those" days that people have every now and again. Those types of days that a lot of people get all too often which is why America is in the midst of a pill popping epidemic! I don't do pills. Except headache medicine (Does that count? It shouldn't, right?) I can't even down my daily vitamins which is why I've finally converted to buying the chewy, tasty, gummy kind.

Now I've gone completely off topic. Which makes sense since my mind has been running a mile a minute since I woke up this morning! Let's just say, I have a lot on my plate. A lot of life decisions to make with fingers crossed and good intentions but who is to say the choices we make are the right ones until it's too late to change them?! And, it's not just decisions on my behalf, or my husband's behalf, but decisions on behalf of our kids as well. I have a lot going on...just as all adults do! A lot I can't ever talk about. A lot I keep to myself. A lot I know will work itself out, just as life always does.

But some days, like today, the simmering deep down in my gut has escalated to a bubbling, boiling and sputtering of nerves splashing and burning my insides.  I find myself suffocating, the thoughts in my head are bouncing off one another and caving in, shutting down. I need release. I need to vent, to write. To take in the sun, soak it in. The warmth is soothing to my bones, thaws my cold, cold heart. I've been called selfish, bossy, bitch-separately or all together in one sentence-so many times in my life, I had to put that last bit in. Plus it sounded good! Ha! 

Anyway, alone time is truly a luxury for me these days.

However, today I had to steal alone time for myself. I left Lily and Darya on the couch: one with a tablet, the other with the remote and told them if they need anything, daddy was in the other room.

To be fair, I did offer to take them along.  "Where are you going?" They both asked in their sweet, curious voices. "To the library," I answered. To which they both, quickly responded, "No" and went back to focusing their attention to the tablet and the TV.  I'm actually a bit offended by the speed of their response! What's wrong with the library? All those books on the shelves, the quiet ambience, everyone there for one reason: to read, to learn, to escape. I was, however, relieved they declined, because my intentions were to be alone, to cure myself of these thoughts and feelings and make myself right again before going home to the question marks, to the chaos and insanity, that makes up my life.

So, without telling my husband--I really couldn't handle any sort of conversation without having a breakdown! I literally had to fight back tears as I gave my order to the barista at Starbucks! Of course she took my sour face and tight lips for just being a total bitch (figures) because she was giving me a death stare and placed my coffee so far from reach once it was ready, I really had to lean in to grab it! Ugh! I'm so misunderstood! Ha! See, my writing and venting is putting me in a better mood already!

Sometimes all we need is to change our perspective: the way we see from our minds eye. Leaving the house, taking a walk, breathing in the fresh air. Writing is therapeutic for me. The thoughts in my head, now on this blog, makes everything seem so achievable, makes my thoughts feel so menial.

Sometimes all we need is to change our perspective and to gift ourselves with (stolen) alone time. Maybe I'll even do something I've NEVER, EVER done before...go watch a movie by myself! A movie I've been trying to see, a movie I've been wanting to see before it even hit theaters. Yet, I didn't have the time, couldn't find the time, found it impossible to make the time.

I think my next blog is going to be about TIME, or lack thereof.

Now if you'll excuse me, the library awaits! Gosh I'm so naughty, my alone time consists of blogging at Starbucks, checking out a book at the library, and the possibility (I feel dirty just pondering the thought!) of seeing a movie by myself!  Mi Vida Loca.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February in Pictures...

February has been a bit crazy, hectic, chaotic and say the least! For almost half the month I had 2 sick, clingy and nagging kids AND the other half was spent celebrating Lily's 5th Birthday! She celebrated with her cousins in Arizona. At her favorite restaurant, Kabuki. With her teachers and classmates. A small party at home. And finally, at Legoland! 5 birthday wishes for my 5 year old!
Renaissance Fair with Cousins

She was so excited to have her birthday with her cousins!
Mia, Lily, Darya, Zoey
Celebrating at home with her cousin Gloria,
sister Darya and Best Friend Sara
With Uncle Toofan 
Cupcakes at Preschool

February, it's been a pleasure...but I'm exhausted, and very ready for MARCH!