Thursday, November 29, 2012

11 years ago this day...

hi everyone i do this almost every year, my 'ode to ladybyug', and at least for me, it never gets old, only better. 
on this day eleven years ago, juan and i were blessed with a wonderfully precious creature, a gift really - lauren camille 'ladybug'. 
today is ladybug's 11th birthday. at 5:39pm and 17 seconds to be exact. wow. double digits. i'm actually, unexpectedly, having a hard time with it. ok parents of older, multiple kids... how do you handle your children growing up? how do you cope with the fear and anxiety of it all? so far, i've just focused on the positive and deal with whatever else comes up, as it comes. i guess that's all i can do.
many of you know that we've changed her schools and it's definitely paying off, she'd thriving, but still having a tough time of it. you know, new school, and it's a new middle school, that's a tough time for anything, let alone this kind of change. new people, new rules, new teachers, new everything to get accustomed to after being at her old school her whole life, it's all she's known. now she has to get up earlier because we are no longer just down the street from school. it's a harder, more academic school, so there's more work and it's harder. plus the girls. they're just different. and she's not used to this 'kind of different'. yes, it's been hard for her. but... she's such a trooper! she never complains, never whines. she almost always has a smile and a 'let's do this!' attitude. what courage! my God i love her so.

she's a true miracle. i was told i couldn't conceive, let alone actually carry a child to term. i had already lost 2 before her, and once since (as recently as 3 years ago at 5 months pregnant). i was sick for most of my pregnancy. really sick. and amazingly she was just fine. it got to the point where my body couldn't go on any longer, and ladybug was delivered at 32 weeks. a tiny tiny thing who needed no medical support at all. my OB/GYN still marvels at that. and my was she tiny. too tiny for me to touch - even the preemie clothing was too big for her! i was afraid of her. to look at her now, 11 years later, you'd never know she was a preemie. nothing but God. 

 I Have A Confession To Make:
i love ladybug. lauren camille. i love her. no, I LOVE HER. still no. that's not enough. those words just aren't enough. ok, i just looked up some synonyms for love: adoration, tenderness, affection, devotion, on and on.... nope, still not enough. not enough to truly capture and express what i feel about her. for her.

she makes me feel so many other things as well, that to me  all seem to be related to the love and pure adoration i have for her : frustration, passion, fear, frustration, anger, giddiness, fascination, and amazement. and the need to protect her with my life.

i find that all i want to do is touch her, hold her, kiss her. be near her. smell her, well.... not smell her all the time, she's now 11 after all, lol!. but you get what i'm saying, right? i love her nose, the way she pouches out her lips. i love just watching her. how she 'zones out' when she's totally into a movie. how her eyes truly light up when she's excited. the sounds she makes, hearing her make up a song about birds. watching her play by herself. i love her curly hair (most of the time), and i love it when she asks me questions and is really listening to my answer as if life itself depended on it. i love how she touches me. oh, to watch her sleep. especially that. how many of you check on your kids in the middle of the night while they're sleep? i do. i wake up and creep into her room, and listen for her breathing, a light snore if she's had a full day. if i can't hear her, then i creep closer, carefully though, not to wake her up. and touch her, to make sure, you know? yeah, you do. 

and the absolute best thing ever?? when she calls me 'mommy'. there's a particular way she says it that just makes my heart soar. and then there's the way she says it when she's up to no doggone good, lol. and yes, that one brings me joy too. 

it's not often that she's up to no good. really. juan and i are constantly wondering if and when the 'other shoe is gonna drop'. she was an easy baby. and easy toddler. and an easy kid. really. she's openly compassionate, caring, thoughtful, and empathetic. if anything, these things get her into trouble at times, because she's so busy thinking of everyone else that she forgets to handle her own business! she's not a whiner. she comes home and gets right to her homework without much ado, doesn't complain about taking a bath, and is always looking for ways to help around the house. again - she'd rather help me unload the dishwasher and sweep the kitchen than clean her own room! 

now don't get me wrong, i'm not one of those parents who puts their kid on a pedestal, and feels they can do no wrong. ladybug is no angel and can be a real 'pill' if you know what i mean. she's notorious for telling it like it is, and will throw you under the bus in a new york second all in the name of truth and 'the right thing to do'. but a truly sweet and gentle soul she is. my God i love her.

i just pray that she doesn't wake up one day and all has changed!

my favorite part of the day is the beginning and the end. in the morning, she gets up and gets in our bed just after juan has gone to work, and we talk, laugh, cuddle, giggle, chat, and play before it's time to get ready for school. what a wonderful way for me to start my day! she, for me, is pure joy. it's a love that for me is total, complete, and all consuming for her.  she is my joy.
 my ladybug. mmmmm.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

end of a season

hello friends!
yes i'm still around, have just had a lot on my plate this summer. no worries, i'm still here! yes, i've had a few health crisis, but all is well! now on to the main event.

what do you say to someone you've considered to be your dearest, closest friend, a friend of more than 20 years, someone you've been through quite a bit with, someone you respect and truly look up to because of what they've survived and how they've managed to put their life together - when they tell you that they no longer know how to be your friend now that you're sick?


i was stunned.

now, they didn't actually use those words, but that's exactly what they were saying. now, we'd never been the kind of friends who hung on each others every word, had to be in each others presence constantly, or chat daily. first, i'm not that kind of chick, but mainly, we had trust. and we were the kind of friends where we've always told each other the truth, kept it real, called each other on our 'stuff'. and like many great friendships, a lot has been shared - in good times and bad. i had always felt we had the ideal kind of friendship really. we called when we needed each other, needed support, a break from reality, or a good laugh. my God could we laugh!! especially at ourselves with each other.

we had lost each other for a little while - college, marriage, jobs, and babies happened - we grew up a bit and we somehow managed to find our way back, and it still felt the same, good... at least for me. i was mistaken.

now i really understand the old adage about friendship... something about a season and a reason.

as we were sitting there in the restaurant playing 'what's new with you', the words just rolled off their tongue. it's still a bit fuzzy, but i don't even think there was a moment of awkwardness as they spoke them. i just took it in, as my heart broke.

so what did i say? nothing.

i continued chatting like everything was everything. well, i did ask them a few follow up questions, like what did they mean exactly, when they said what they said. but honestly, the answer just doesn't matter now. it didn't matter then because in that moment i saw the truth - that the friendship was not what i had always thought it to be, and that, for the most part, it was over.
it's been about 2 years now, and i often wonder if there was something i did/didn't do. say/didn't say.  or if it was as simple as they just didn't want to be my friend anymore. (maybe because i just don't fit in to their life now? maybe it's just too difficult for them to be a sick persons friend? maybe i'm not who they want/need me to be anymore? maybe i'm not enough/too much?) and if that's the case, then how do you say that to someone who thinks you're the greatest thing since sliced bread and potato chips? poor thing.

i'm blessed to have some amazing people in my life. true friends really, that will walk through fire for me and my family. this is a blessing because i do know that it's rare to get such true friends like the ones i have. and this has been difficult for me, because it's clear to me that this person has left an unfillable space in my life, that i thought would be filled with all these wonderful people. i'm not sure if that came out right, so i hope you get what i'm trying to express.

so what do you say or do in a situation like this? i've said nothing still, after two years. i just continue to bless them and their family, always wishing them well and cheering for them from afar. 

life goes on. as it should. a reason and a season, right?

be well friends

Sunday, June 17, 2012

hot fun part deux

hey everyone! still in atlanta so i'm sending lots of father's day love from here. i hope all you dads, grand dads, god fathers, uncles and all father figures are enjoying this day meant to celebrate you. as you all know, ladybug has a great dad. an amazing dad. sometimes a little too hands on... "that outfit looks too small to me" or " are those panty lines i see", but we wouldn't trade him in for the world because he is our world.

we normally don't make a big fuss for him because he doesn't like it at all, so it's always been low key, no big deal. but this year, he had to head home early to handle some things at the office, so we're not together, and interestingly enough, lauren camille and i feel it. even though we don't woop it up, we miss his presence. i love him.

anyway, back to vacation!! so as i was saying in the previous post, we surprised ladybug by heading down to disney world in orlando with all of juans family - it was great! but all the kids really wanted to do was hang out at the resort pools! so here are more pics...

first the sheer mass of people there was overwhelming at times! at the entrance there were people landing from almost every possible form of transportation sans air - trains, buses, ferry boats, cars, you name it!

i'll post the last round of disney pics tomorrow of all the fun at the pool. stay tunned!

this picture doesn't do justice the sheer mass of people swarming the entrance!

bodies everywhere!
here's the 'kid' gang

break time! that's me in the scooter

you know what this is, right?

Saturday, June 16, 2012

hot fun in the summer time!

hope all is well with you and yours. i'm on vacation with the family, a much needed one at that. no track this season so we don't know what to do with yourselves... no getting up before the crack of dawn to drive 100 miles in any given direction, sit in the heat, wind, cold, rain for on average 10-12 hours, just to see my baby run 3-4 races for a total of 10 minutes. geez, we really don't know what to do with ourselves every weekend til august.... just kidding!

we are at the tail end of a two week jaunt in atlanta with disneyworld in the middle. i had a quick side trip to the emergency room and overnight stay at emery university hospital, but all is well! ladybug got to enjoy her cousins - 2 boys that she's in the middle of in age, and an older girl cousin who she admires because she's a high schooler. she's so cute with them. all they cared about was getting in the pool at the resort, which is a whole nother story - it was AMAZING! i don't remember the name of it, wilderness something i think, i'm not sure, but it was amazing. it had a beach and several pools, some with waterfalls and slides. i kinda didn't blame them. the resort was so relaxing. we were in the vacation club section which is separate from the hotel, but still on property.

we flew into atlanta at sunrise

as we pull up to the resort
here are some pictures of our first few days and i'll post more tomorrow. after this trip, i'll be putting together a list of things for us to to this summer. please let me know what you all are doing with your time off - any fun stay-cations? anything to do at home? please let me know

this is heading to the timeshare area of the resort

be well :)

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


hello friends

this is by far my favorite month, with august and december coming in close seconds. as always, a lot but not has transpired in the last month. it's been a busy 2 months for me actually - ladybug was in a play and talent show; i hosted our family's Easter dinner and threw it together at the LAST minute; and then had a few rounds of chemo, of which i'm just finishing up, and now getting ready for vacation which we leave for in exactly one week. whew!

so where do i begin? i'll start with ladybug since so many have been looking for pictures. so here they are. and ladybug was AMAZING! she had a major part in her schools production of "Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe as Fenris Ulf the queens (witch) trusty captain. she practically stole the show and i'm not being prejudice (i promise, lol!). we had a small party for her between shows on saturday where the whole family and tons of friends came; juans family even flew out from atlanta - it was just a wonderful day full of love, laughter, and food.... and i was exhausted. then i started chemo the following week, but not before her solo performance in the schools talent show! i can't wait til the school year's over!

** as i go to upload ladybug's pictures, i see that i don't actually have any of her!! juan only took video!! stay tuned i will update this with her pics tomorrow ** 

next up is our vacation. heading to atlanta for a nice break. will be surprising ladybug with a quick trip to disneyworld. i can't wait, we need a vacay so bad. it was around the holidays when i realized that we've never taken a family vacation before - ever! we've done tons of trips all related to track, and yes, we go to atlanta every year, but that's our second home - literally. that's not a vacation.
i'm so glad the valley is so close

i just adore him.
so pretty
the day my chemo quarantine ended (last saturday), juan was thoughtful enough to whisk me off to the napa valley (yountville/oakville/st. helena) for lunch and to hang out while ladybug was of on a play date. the weather was nice so we grabbed some sandwiches from Dean & DeLucca then headed to one of my favorite wineries, V. Sattui , and had an impromptu picnic. we had a grand time flirting, eating, and kidding around. then headed down to yountville, home of the famous The French Laundry, and grabbed some dessert at Bouchon Bakery then he took me shopping. it's a wonderful thing when you have a someone in your life who enjoys food as much as you do, but also enjoys you enjoying it, AND actually wants you to shop! jealous?

this is what all the fuss is about!

beautiful 6ft foxglove
yes, i'm still gardening and it's going well. i'm off to a late start though due to the wet cold spring we've had. i'm just now pulling out my cabbage and broccoli! i'm at the tail end of my last patch of carrots, and am about to put in my zucchini and sweet pepper starts (all from seed). my green beans (haricort verts) are coming up now, and i'll be putting in my tomatoes this weekend - roma's, sweet 100's for sure, and maybe early girls, not sure yet. i've got lots of flowers going this spring/summer too - dahlias, gladiola's, and lillies from bulbs (my first time!), and hostas, gardenias, and more bouganvillea are waiting to go in. i'm excited!

under miscellaneous is that i'm finally getting back into photography. i used to develop my own film 'back in the day', and have put up my SLR (Cannon EOS) for a bit to play with my Nikon D5100. so i'll be posting even more pics, so definitely stay tuned!

be well my friends

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

standing in my truth

as i've mentioned before, i am in the midst of some serious revelations, 'aha' moments.

a few years into being 'sick, after struggling with and against the realization of my new situation, i was just plain worn out. so i decided to just be open to wherever the journey would take me. although i thought that was quite big of myself, i really didn't know what that meant, or what it would mean, would require of me. i didn't always recognize the lessons, the blessings. at times i'd struggle against and resist them. i'd hear God speaking to me and i'd ignore Him. everyday i'd have epic emotional battles over embracing what was happening to me (and the unknown), running from it and hiding, and just plain immobility - to just sit on my comfy blue sofa and stare at my cherry blossom tree through the window. i just didn't know what to do or where to turn. i was afraid.

and yet i continued to live my life, but through a hazy facade and in a half assed way. i'm sure some of it was due to a shitload of medication - enough to take down a small herd of elephants. i feel i had lost myself for a little while, paralyzed by fear and anger, allowing those emotions and the diseases to be in control, all while allowing people to think i was stubbornly resisting it's constraints. yes, i was being stubborn, but just for stubbornness' sake. i didn't see it then...funny how hindsight is always 20/20, right?

but when i realized what was going on, i was too afraid, hurt, ashamed, angry, embarrassed to do anything about it. paralyzed. so i dove into my lifes work - the calling i feel God has placed on my life to help others through my story, experiences, struggles, and revelations - as a life coach. in my work, through my work, i was convicted by God and realized that i was a liar and using my work to hide from myself and my truths.

one of my truths, which will no longer be true for me after this moment, is that i had allowed how others saw me to define me, and i wanted to live up to others expectations and views of me. and why not? they were all mostly good, positive, virtuous - i was smart, i was everyone's friend, i was a great athlete, great employee, good/smart business woman, etc... but it was all someone else' definitions of me. they confined and restricted me, and the moment i stepped outside of them, something was wrong with ME. plus, i just didn't want to disappoint anyone, especially those i love, respect, and look up to.

no more. all done. i'm no longer caring about what you think of me for it is none of my business. yes, i'd like to be loved, respected, admired - blah, blah, know all that amazing stuff... but i have no real control over that now do i? none of us do. i can no longer be responsible for your feelings, especially if it means denying my own truth.

i also realize now, that a big part of why i hid. i've lied about the hurt, the pain, the mistreatment and abuse that i've suffered/endured at the hands of those who were suppose to love me, and protect me. that 'me' was really just a shell that i had created, because as a child pieces of me, my spirit, had been chipped away, taken, every time i wasn't believed, every time i wasn't heard or trusted, every time i was shown just how much i didn't matter, and made to feel i was in the way, that i was a burden, a responsibility to be endured, then trotted out to be put on display and to perform on cue. thank God that i learned early (late 20's)  that i needed to heal, but wasn't clear what to heal from exactly.
i knew it wasn't the obvious childhood molestations (and not being believed the first time them not speaking up after happening again), or surviving troubled self absorbed parents, even though that's enough, right? no, i felt it was deeper. there's always been something about me that allows people to trust me and share the most amazingly personal things in quick order. i've always had sharp cutting insight and could get everyone else to stand in their truths, but i couldn't even reach mine, let alone share them - i instinctively knew that wasn't ok for me.

a heaviness because of this had stayed with me til recently. i just got tired of feeling like a hypocrite and after my most recent health crisis, i have decided to just stop it. this is who and what i am. i have an amazing story, i have survived some amazing things/situations, and am still surviving (THANK YOU GOD!), and thriving. so why should i be afraid of my own damn truth!

be well :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

family fun & revelation on easter

hey everyone!

i truly hope you all had are having (greek orthodox) a great Easter and passover. i had a great time with family and friends when i decided at the last minute to have everyone over for dinner. i say last minute because i FORGOT it was Easter! yes, really. but we had a BLAST!! lots of great company, and great food - if i must say so myself, lol! (yes, i cooked every last bit - right down to the chocolate cake!)

Easter is about resurrection, rebirth, renewal. and i have been going through so much in the last year, so many revelations and moments of clarity. this Easter season has meant more to me than previous ones, especially because i'm still here able to celebrate, but mostly because of what's been going on with me.

i've always thought, felt that i've been pretty good at being honest with myself (therefore honest with others), but as i said in my last post, one of the revelations i recently came to was that i really hadn't been. that was scary! what do you mean i'm a liar?! i know that's a bit extreme, but it's the truth. i can be truthful with everyone else, get everyone (clients and close friends) to face their truths, but not be truthful to/with myself.

i'm also realizing that i actually DID/DO give a damn about what other people think. i had always thought i really didn't care that much, not in the way other people did/do. but yes, i did and still do to a degree. i didn't realize til recently that like so many other women, i allowed what I THOUGHT others thought of me, to influence me. how did i NOT notice this??! the good thing about life is that it's never too late. EVERY SINGLE MOMENT IS AN OPPORTUNITY for change, for revelation, for perspective, for love, for so much!

how LIBERATING is that?!


part of the table

one of my 'lil sister/girlfriends' kind enough to join us with her boyfriend

here's my big little nephew jordin (6yrs) posing for the camera
be well friends :)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

hiding no longer...

well hello there

i have been hiding from my blog. 

at first i didn't realize it, but then i became aware that that's what i was doing. and why would i ever hide from my blog, of all things, you ask? well, because this is where, if no where else, i insist on being myself AND telling the truth. that's not to say i don't tell the truth or am not myself everywhere else in my life. oh no. any and everyone who knows me, knows that truth and being oneself is so very important to me. so no, i'm not one of those chicks who wouldn't know the truth if it knocked her in the head then tripped over it. 

but i have been hiding from 'me' lately, because i just didn't want to deal with the truth - my truth. which is that i am sick. no, i'm not just now realizing that i'm sick, but i see that i am still struggling to get my head around the fact i have limitations because of my health (and i don't like limitations!). but also hiding from the truth of what, to me, i was turning into - someone who was so busy lying about and covering up how i was really feeling (in terms of my health - not disclosing symptoms, pain, side effects, etc.), that i began to loose my sense of self and how i really felt about everything else. i think i didn't want to deal with things in general because i didn't want to deal with things related to my health. i just wanted to curl up on my comfy blue sofa and stare off into space while the foodnetwork played in the background (still do!). and whenever i would or do just that... avoiding things i feel i should be doing, or avoiding things that needed my attention, like - working on the foundation i started for the one (of many) disease i have that gets little to no attention (The Butterfly Project for Lupus); i'm in the process of re-launching my life coaching practice (Coach Angela), which i'm thankful is doing well, but i'm being 'called' to take it to another level; i run a thriving financial and small business management consulting firm with my father (i'm the CEO, he's the CFO) - i feel tremendous guilt. i hate using my health as an excuse or reason for not getting done what i feel i should have been able to. i know, don't say it....i'm working on that. 

anyway, i feel like i'm all over the place. but the bottom line is that i have not been truthful with myself nor those around me on so many levels, which is part of why i'm feeling 'stuck', and have avoided my blog because i promised myself that i would only tell the truth here. and i'm tired of feeling, being stuck. 

so no more hiding. no more lies.

be well :)