Hello from the other side…

🎶 Hello, it’s me… I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. 🎶

A bit dramatic, eh? 🙂

Hello, friends! I’m alive. And well.

I’ve missed my buds here. I hope you all have been wonderful. I have given you guys much thought during my absence. I just have been avoiding blogging much in the same way I’ve been avoiding any additional responsibility in my life.

Let me apologize in advance. This will be a longish post. I’ll try to be considerate of your time… 😉

I am officially a 2nd grade teacher! And, boy, was that an overwhelming change in my life! There wasn’t much training so it was more trial by fire than anything. But I’ve been rocking it. I love it. I love the students and where I’m at. I am by no means the perfect teacher but it’s an incredibly refreshing change from property management. It’s a job that allows me to be a parent and have a life. It’s been a challenge, of course, adapting  to such a busy schedule after having been a part-time worker bee the last 3 years. But it’s nice to feel like my mind is being exercised and I’m earning a real paycheck. (I’m much poorer than ever, though! Man, teachers get paid squat! Lol!)

My kids are great. They’ve handled the transition well. They complain I’m not around as much but everyone in the family steps in when I can’t. 

Halloween 2016 Power Ranger style!

 Grayheart and I have had some serious heart to heart conversations… he’s apologized and cleared up some things from the past. He and Raggedy Ann have been on and off plenty and are currently off. He did try to make his way back “home” but I rejected those attempts. He is my past and will never be my future. Clearing the air has helped, however, and we get along better. He still annoys me, of course, but it’s less tense. Win for everyone.

I’m not divorced yet but we are filing very soon. Paperwork is done, agreements are in place, and I’m insured with my full time job so that’s no longer a worry. =)

As for my love life… Captain is still the most incredible boyfriend ever and never ceases to amaze me with his love. We’re about 3 months shy of hitting 2 years together and it just continues to get better with him. I don’t want to jinx the relationship, but I do think he’s my happily-ever-after. ❤️


As for my personal hobbies… I’ve not been running as much but I have been exercising regularly. I’ve had great out of town trips since I last checked in here. Disney trips with the kids and friends, New Orleans and Virgin Islands with Captain, and a trip to Cuba and Barcelona scheduled for this winter. (Yes, I will get to see where my family is from and am thrilled at the thought!) I’ve also been reading a book a month, I’m proud to report! 



Now, it’s not always sunshine and rainbows. I’m giving the Cliffs Notes version of my life the last several months. I had quite a cry last night and can get overwhelmed with life and parental responsibilities. But I’m wise enough to know how much I have to be grateful for.

I hope you guys had a beautiful Thanksgiving. I look forward to catching up and hearing how you each are! I’m trying my best to catch up on your posts…


Besos y abrazos!  😘 🤗

Athena ❤️

Spontaneity

What do you do when your city is hot as Hades but the sky is bright and the most gorgeous shade of blue?

You grab a cooler, pack sandwiches and take the kiddos to la playa

It was my weekend with the kids and I wanted to do something fun so I took the hour drive to Islamorada! There’s a little beach there that’s really family friendly and quiet. 

  


 

We met Captain after work at the marina. (How nice to have that as his “office”, right?) And then decided to have a pizza dinner at his house. The kids were thrilled as they had never been to his place before. It was fun seeing him entertaining my brood on his turf.

(And it was especially fun hearing the tinge of jealousy in Grayheart’s voice as the kids relayed their day to him.)

It was a wonderful weekend for a number of reasons but the beach was the highlight! I have to remember to be more spontaneous with the kids!

☀️❤️🏖

Collateral Damage

When your kids are sad – and I don’t mean mad or annoyed – but downright sad, it breaks your heart in a way you can’t even explain. You feel like your whole body is lead. Just heavy and dull and blah. Your brain kinda fogs up and you can’t think straight.

I’ve been in a bit of a funk since my little She-ra (7 yr old) had a difficult time the other night when I dropped her off at Daddy’s (aka Grayheart’s) house. She didn’t want to be there, didn’t want to leave me, etc. She does this frequently. Not as much lately but I figure that coming off of the weekend with me was certainly not going to have her want to leave her cozy home to start the weekend with him. (My almost 4 yr old son, though, has no issues.)

So I always leave feeling crummy. She clings to me and cries and begs. And it sucks. 

She usually gets over it soon thereafter and Grayheart normally texts me to let me know all is good. 

But this time she took a bit longer to recover. She wailed to him how unfair this whole set up is. She wanted to be at her home. Not his

So he patiently listened to her as she complained that the divorce is the cause of him not being at home. And that she doesn’t understand it, doesn’t like it and wishes he’d just move back in. 

What do you say to that?! I mean, honestly, you respond with the typical explanation: how it’s this way for a reason, blah, blah, blah… but she’s right. Divorce sucks. She’s been put in a position where she has to split her time between the two adults she loves the absolute most. And since she’s 7, she remembers having an intact household. (Whereas my son doesn’t.)

So he talked her through it – and did a nice job, I must admit – and she recovered. But it’s moments like this that just pop out of nowhere – even a year and a half later – that throw you off. That even though they’re “ok” and “doing well”, kids are collateral damage. And that is depressing.

My friend, TheEuphoricIraqiSingleMom, brought up recently the topic of staying in a loveless marriage in regards to a friend of hers. I’ve thought about it before. How much would I be willing to sacrifice to make sure my kids had an intact, whole family? Could I ever get back with Grayheart just for the kids? Could I ever forgive what he’s done to me? Could I pretend I love him just to make sure I could be with my kids all the time? 

And the answer is, I can’t. I don’t see him the same. I don’t love him like I once did. He actually repulses me, in a way. I know I’d never get back with him but sometimes I’m disappointed in myself because it seems selfish. I know from a logical standpoint that I’m being silly, but that little voice loves to taunt me at times. Especially when I have a setback with my kids.

Anyway, darling daughter is fine now and hasn’t brought up any concerns…and seemed to have a lovely weekend with her father. So, I’m guessing this is normal.

Nonetheless, divorce sucks. 

xo

Athena

Spring has Sprung!

March was a busy month and April is proving to be just as exciting! I love Spring! Lots of birthdays this time of year for us and all kinds of celebrations. 

Here’s a bit of why I have been missing (besides my phone-in-toilet situation)!

My darling daughter turned 7!

  

I’m certainly no cake decorator but we did a home celebration for her!

Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen! Aptly called Brain Freeze!

Took the kids to the Dade County Youth Fair!

 
 

Visit to the ballet! My first time!

  

Bravo! Midsummer’s Night Dream cast

Coffee at Books & Books

 
 

Discovered a restaurant in Key Largo that we love called “Lucy’s”!

 
 

Third row seats to the Miami Heat vs Cavs game! Kindly gifted to us by a friend!

   

Outside the arena with my love ❤️

 

These seats were incredible! Such an exciting game!

 
 

Attended a Cancer Survivor Walk with my family 💜

 
 

My mom, my hero and favorite woman in the world! 4 years cancer free now!

 
   

Happy St Paddy’s Day!

 

Easter Egg Race

  

Tons of goodies found by Spiderman!

 

Easter sack race!

And finally we start April… I turned 36 and had a ton of fun with all the birthday festivities! Captain made it very special for me. We had an incredible weekend complete with mini golf, driving range, laser tag, games at Dave & Busters, a tennis match, wonderful dinners, movies and shopping! Whew! 

Mini Golf!

Laser Tag with my besties!

  

Awesome seats at the Miami Open!

  

   

Women’s Finals match! Victoria Azarenka serving!


   

 

Mens’ Doubles Finals Match

       

Bday dinner at the Rusty Pelican in Key Biscayne

  

Night of dancing!

  

Gaming!

 

 

Paint Nite & dinner with my Mom

  

Final product! I’m obviously no artist but boy is it fun!

  

Nature walk at Pinecrest Gardens & Farmers Market time!

 

It’s been a fun filled few weeks and I feel very loved and blessed. I have an incredible family, boyfriend and group of friends. Never imagined I’d be here. A year ago I was grappling with uncertainty, pain, bouts of sadness, unsure of a new relationship, tons of concern for my kids, anger and confusion. I can’t say it’s all 100% gone but I can certainly say I’m a good 80% better. And I’ll take that. I’m looking straight ahead and welcoming what’s in store for me and my kids.
Thank you all for checking in on me and always supporting my progress. ❤️💜❤️

Besos,

Athena

Bizarre evening 

*This is a longer than usual post, sorry!*

Last week, Grayheart had the kids all day for Presidents’ Day.  He took them to a museum and then ran errands.

By the time he got them back to me that evening, he looked like he’d been through the battle of his life. His eyes were red and sunken, his face aged 10 years and his posture looked deflated. This was a man that looked defeated.  

I asked how the kids had behaved with him.

His response as he plopped into the dining room seat? 

“They were awful. They don’t listen. They fight constantly. It was overwhelming.”

Then he started to tear up! Literally tears springing to his eyes and trickling down his cheeks. 

I was shocked. This is not a man that shows emotion easily. 

I stood there frozen facing him as I had absolutely no idea what to do. He seemed so broken and sad. Here is a man I once loved, my former best friend, the father of my kids crying in front of me. My first inclination was to hug and console him. But I couldn’t move.

I was worried the moment would’ve turned into an attempt on his part to kiss me or have too heartfelt of an embrace.

I have absolutely no interest in that for a number of reasons.

So I was relieved when my son called for me and I ran into the other room to tend to him. Grayheart escaped to the bathroom to gather himself.

When he returned, he announced his departure and I walked him out.

“What is wrong, Grayheart?”

“This is hard. I try to make the most of my time with them. I don’t have them as often as you do. I’ve spent my whole day yelling at them or separating them from fighting. Then, I’m cleaning after them a bunch… It’s hard to spend quality time.”

I almost laughed out loud at this. These were many of my concerns when we first separated. Although it’s tough being outnumbered, I’ve managed well. 

He continues, while still crying, “I guess this is what happens when you have a split household.” Followed by a big sigh and him looking sideways at me.

I’m still uncomfortably awkward and feeling bad for him and confused. So I end with, “Yup. Yeah. I guess so…Well, let me know what I can do to help make it better with the kids.”

  

———————————

I know exactly what’s happened here. I hadn’t written about it because, frankly, I didn’t care enough. But him and Raggedy Ann broke up last month. He didn’t tell me but I could sense it. He has been different. 

So he’s a bit down about the whole thing. He sees himself alone and having possibly made a bad decision.

Then, Valentine’s Day rolls around and Grayheart drops by to give the kids their cards and chocolates. What does he pop in on? My lovey little brood having a blast playing kickball with me and Captain in my backyard of what used to be “our” home. We are nice to him but it’s definitely an awkward moment. (Kids were pleased as punch. They had no clue.)

Captain & my son playing ball

All of a sudden, he’s an outsider to his own family. He not only sees his family having a great time with another man but at that moment he realized his role as man of the house was backfilled with my boyfriend. He gets the kids the next day and nothing goes right. The family unit feels lopsided and missing something… me!

Now, let me just say that Grayheart is a great dad. He will never be “replaced” as Daddy by any man. I don’t play games with my kids or him about it. A partner on either side is a bonus.

Let me also clarify that I didn’t get the impression he was trying to hit on me. But I do think he was feeling me out since he was incredibly sad. And I’m not falling for it. 

Grayheart will never change. The grass will always be greener on the other side. He’ll always want someone to feed his ego. And he’ll always be a dick. And moody. And selfish. 

I wouldn’t have chosen this life for my kids. My ideal situation would have been us as a strong/functioning/happy intact family without all this hurt.

But I’m better and happier than I’ve been in a verrrrrry long time. And I don’t think it’s a superficial type of happiness. I’ve worked really hard on healing from the inside out. The last year and a half has taught me a lot: I’m better without him as a partner. 

Stay tuned. I don’t think this is over. 

xo

  

2015 wrap up

I know everyone has been inundated with posts about some blogger’s year in review. This one will be no different. But this post is more for me than anything or anyone else. I felt the need to go back and see how far I’d come from 2014 to help me set new goals for 2016. 

I’d worked on a vision board in 2014 and 2015. 

2015 Vision Board

 
So here’s what I’m proud of in 2015:

  • I survived separation from my husband of 9 years. (I’d like to be divorced by February 2016.)
  • Not only did I survive but I’m better than before.
  • I reached my goal weight of 137 lbs, beat it by 4 lbs at the peak of my fitness routine and then roughly stayed at it the majority of the year (until the holidays hit!) I’d lost almost 30 lbs since I started in August 2014. (My goal is to lose again those darn stubborn 5 lbs!)
  • I blogged on a regular basis and have gained a number of great friends, garnered outstanding support from said friends and allowed myself to use it as a therapeutic and positive outlet.
  • I saw my therapist, DD, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis. Don’t know what I would’ve done without her. Her advice has been golden.
  • I online dated. I spoke to a number of guys, enjoyed the flattering not attention and went on dates with two different men. Both were wonderful but one particularly stood out. My Captain.
  • I found amazing love with Captain. Go figure. Sounds so incredibly sappy. If you’d asked me if it was possible after being with the same man since I was 21 yrs old (I’m now 35), I would’ve laughed at you. But Captain was too incredible to ignore and was everything I could ask for. I didn’t think it was possible to find someone so good hearted and fall so deeply for that person. 
  • I ran a half marathon and just completed another one January 2016. 

    Miami half marathon

     
  • I did my 10 mile race in Paris!
  • I did two mud races! The Rugged Maniac and just recently did a  Spartan (sprint) race!
  • I traveled a good bit. This has always been my passion. I just kind of let it flounder once I had kids. I went to Disney three times, Austin, TX, Key West, Paris, Amsterdam, Munich and the Romantic Road in Germany, Steamboat Springs, CO
  • I went snorkeling and fishing!
  • We sold our house in Virginia and did well. I put that money towards paying off all my debt. I’m broke now but am debt free.
  • I began budgeting myself and am in control of my own money. (Grayheart handled all finances when I became a stay at home mom.)
  • I did laser hair removal for my legs, bikini and underarms. I figured that was my treat to myself rather than going the typical get-your-boobs-done route. 
  • I re-arranged furniture and changed decor in my house. Out with Grayheart and in with things that represent me. 
  • I started substitute teaching and really enjoy it. I might consider teaching as a new profession. (I’ve been offered a few jobs since I’ve been here but I’m waiting til next fall to start anything serious.)

My 2015 focus was about finding myself because I really felt lost when my husband left me. I made it a goal to figure out what made me happy – besides motherhood – and make more time for myself.  

 I don’t know who exactly I am yet but I know that I’ve determined I’m stronger than I ever thought. There are sad moments but I think I am overall a happier person. I don’t feel as if I’m being weighed down by another person. 

As a result of this me time and healthier living and a more interesting life, I think I’ve become a better mother. I have more energy and appreciation for my time with my kids. I cherish every second with them since I’m not with them 24/7.

   

My journey will continue since I feel like the investment is paying off. I hope to have an even better 2016 and am excited about completing my next vision board!

Thank you all again for helping me through this year. There aren’t enough words to describe how instrumental the WordPress community has been to my healing.

In peace and love,

Athena 

XO

  

    I have a boyfriend 

    I’m late on this…

    Captain spent New Year’s Eve and day with me and the kids. 

    We had dinner together, lit sparklers and watched a movie together. The kids had a great time and it was a nice, easy evening. It was one of the first times Captain had spent a lot of time with my children. (We usually keep it at a couple or few hours at a time to not overwhelm anyone.)

       
     

    The kids really like him. He’s sweet and playful with them and he’s their shiny, new toy. Spending a couple of days for long periods of time really went over well with them.

    A couple of days later, my daughter (6 yr old) – out of nowhere – walked into the bathroom and expressed concern about me being divorced from her dad. She lamented that she was worried for me, that I’d be alone, etc. 

     
    So I tried to reason with her and explain that even if I was single, I’d never be “alone” because I always had them and my other family and friends.  That didn’t work. She couldn’t put into words that she meant in a romantic way. 

    So then I tried a different tactic. That one day I’d have a boyfriend and maybe even in the very distant future I’d get married.

    I literally saw a lightbulb go off in her head! 

      
    “What about Mr. Captain?!” she asked with a sneaky smile.

    I was semi prepared for this. 

    So I explained that Captain recently asked me to be his girlfriend but that I wanted their input before I responded to him.

    We gathered my 3 year old son – this is all in the bathroom, by the way – and I rehashed what I discussed with her.

      
    They were delighted to give their opinion. They excitedly supported the idea and wanted to call him right away to say “yes!”

    So once we were done and ready, we piled into the car and called Captain on Bluetooth. (I’d already text him to prepare him for the call.)

    The kids practically yelled it out before I did but we were all happy to share with him that I accepted. I would now be his girlfriend

    Smiles all around… 😊

    *********************************

    It’s nice now to be able to hold hands and show affection in front of the kids. Maybe this time ’round they’ll actually see what a healthy and loving relationship looks like. ❤️