23 and Jen

I have always been fascinated by the past. Where I come from and the history of how my family came to be. Being from a Latino descent I know from stories and history I am a mix of cultures, and I love it. It just means that I am an amazing blend of diversity and history.

img_1512

When I was little, my grandmother would tell me the story of my great-grandfather and how his father was Spaniard who fell in love with a Taino women and her native island, Puerto Rico. He stayed and raised a family there on a bit of farmland. I never knew how accurate the story was and honestly, I still don’t know all the details. But on my journey of finding out a little bit more about my melting pot of DNA, I fell a little bit more in love with myself.

img_1513

When I found 23 and me I knew it would help me piece together so many questions I had regarding my ancestry. How much of me is from where and who? I mean, who doesn’t want to know where they’re descended from? But I actually may have more questions now than before taking the test. I have 2 parents; so who is more of what? Where and when did the Spanish descendant come to Puerto Rico and is there any real truth to the stories I was told as a child?

img_1514

Taking the test was fairly easy; just spit into a test tube, seal it up, and send it in. I chose the Health and Ancestry test because I wanted to know it all. I registered my kit on the site and took a few of the questionnaires they provided – which are totally optional. I filled out a few each day to help ease my desperation while waiting for my results. When I received the results, it was honestly such a rush. Seeing this map light up all over the places that I am from just confirmed my cultural mutt theory.

img_1517

My grandmother, as much of you may know, is in the early stages of dementia. Asking her too many questions about the story that she told me as a child just isn’t possible. So 23 and Me is giving me the opportunity to fill in some of the blanks. Although I am the only one in my home to take the test so far, I think I will eventually purchase the kits for my grandmother and my children, too. 23 and me allows you to link your test with your relatives so you can see your family tree. And they find other relatives that share my ancestry that I’ve never met, never heard of, never known existed. 3rd cousins, 5th cousins – people I am distantly related to who I never would have found otherwise.

Because I can now connect with these people, I have a real chance of finding some more answers. I can find their stories and see how it blends with my own to discover a bit more where I come from. And considering how much of that world is lit with my ancestors, I can tell I have plenty of stories to find.

Anxiety, Depression oh my!

I wrote this post before the holiday season. I am not the same person I was when I originally wrote this post. I feel so much better now and have for a few weeks. But I know I can get back to feeling this way so I always tread lightly with myself. Keeping busy helps me. Why didn’t I post it then? Honestly, I was embarrassed about what my friends or family would think. That is so sad that I cared so much of other peoples opinions I didn’t share something so raw and true. But its here now, please read and be kind. 

The last few weeks I have been struggling with anxiety and some depression. I suffered silently for the first week. Then I realized my thoughts were getting away from me. So I told somebody. I found someone to listen and I vented. All my fears out on the table. It felt great, but I’m still not “better”.

I feel myself zoning in and out of reality. Like the whole day will go by and it’ll feel like a dream. I get a same headache around 3pm. So when it’s time to pick up the kids and start dinner I am frustrated and exhausted at the day I had lost. At night when I finally hit the bed and I toss and turn till I fall asleep till I’m up again at 4am.

I don’t know what’s happening or what’s causing it. I can only hope that it’s a phase and I will get over it.

A friends advice was to make list and that has started to help. Feeling a little more organized helps with my anxiety. Being honest with my significant other also helps. He knows and console’s me when I need it and gives me space when I need that. He is a great hep in pitching in with chores and meal times but sometimes that makes me feel more useless. I feel more inadequate when I can’t do it all on my own and at times I resent his help.

I have faith that these feelings will fade and I will be “better” soon. I thank god that I have people in my life that help me and can tell when I need help. I know it is not so, for many people. So maybe writing this can possibly help someone, pay a little more attention to those who smile through the pain or hide when they need an ear to just listen. I hope this post reaches someone who needs it.

This may be life for me from now one but I will not let it define me. I will work hard to get up and do everything I can to keep the dark thoughts from my head.

If anyone needs to talk I’m here.

Holiday Photos

Over the summer I was blessed with the opportunity to have a family photo shoot, with the amazing Alli Page. The photos taken that day opened my mind and heart to how precious family photos can be, and with Alli, it was actually an enjoyable moment. It wasn’t your typical family shoot where we were faking smiles or fighting when the camera was put down. Alli’s smiles are infectious and it put the whole family in a great mood.

When we had the chance to have another shoot with Alli, we jumped at this chance. This shoot was at Wagners Christmas Tree Farm. And as with the first shoot, it was amazing. Within 20 min we were done. No one cried or fussed and the photos came out amazing. Mini shoots are a new love of mine because of Alli and her great work. Being able to go in take your family photos and leave still in good spirits is always a win.

If you live in the central, PA area I definitely suggest you check out Alli’s Instagram page to see her work and possibly book her for a shoot. She does more than just mini shoots and I promise you won’t regret it.

 

3 Unexpected Challenges Transitioning to Stay-at-Home-Mom

Both my kids are in school, but I’ve been told being home is still considered being a stay-at-home-mom, so I’m taking it. I’ve always worked and neither of my kids can remember a time prior to now that I’ve been unemployed. They have both have had to deal with late nights and Mama working on the weekends. So when the opportunity came for me to be home full-time I jumped at it. I thought this was going to be amazing; I could finally be a “good” mom. Staying home, to me, meant more home-cooked meals, a cleaner house and that I would always be there for my kids. Some of that is true, but I learned pretty quickly,

Being a stay at home mom isn’t all its cracked up to be.

Just as with everything when you become a parent; the idea of something is completely different than what it’s like in actuality. You think you’re going to be an amazing parent with perfect children… Until you have children and realize no one knows wtf they’re doing.

I have three constant battles I fight with being at home I had no idea would be so hard.

Meals

I thought cooking meals for my family every day would be amazing. I’d make healthy, amazing meals the family would love. The first week was great! I had so many meal ideas; some hits, some misses. But by week 2 I had no idea what to make anymore. I was running out of ideas and enthusiasm. Cooking is exhausting!

Cleaning

How do people keep there homes immaculate. I spend one whole day cleaning one room they come home and its like a bomb goes off the room is a mess again. The laundry basket is always full and the dishes are endless. How is it even possible that this doesn’t improve with me staying home? I am constantly doing laundry and dishes. Does my family make more dishes now? Are they sneaking clothes directly from their drawers to the laundry baskets? How did I do this while I worked full-time?

My Sanity

I feel like I am losing myself. I have always wanted to be this strong, independent, working woman and now I’m not. I feel less than equal to my peers when I have to depend on someone to support me and my children. My guy is doing a great job of it, I have to admit and thankfully, he fully supports my staying at home, but I just feel like a mooch.

I’ve been told by other stay-at-home moms that I’ll get used to it. I’ll get in the swing of cooking and cleaning. I will start to realize that there is no his and mine in a family. But the “Give it time” mentality isn’t doing a whole lot for my adjustment period right now.