Hello from the other side…

๐ŸŽถ Hello, it’s me… I was wondering if after all these years you’d like to meet. ๐ŸŽถ

A bit dramatic, eh? ๐Ÿ™‚

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… ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. โค๏ธ


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!  ๐Ÿ˜˜ ๐Ÿค—

Athena โค๏ธ

Captain’s Mama

I have now met Captain’s mom and stepfather a few times. They were here last month and met my kids for the second time.

They were wonderful with the kids and great houseguests the couple of days they were in town with us.

We had them over for a big Cuban dinner and then my own mom and stepfather stopped by. We had such a great time! We all talked and laughed and got on incredibly well.

Captain’s mom was so sweet to get us all a cake since she wasnt around for bdays!


Captain looked very proud to show off to his family what he had here. It was as if this was his family, his home… HIS.

Family time with Captain’s mom

And it made me really proud. I had such doubt at the beginning of our relationship about his ability to blend with my family. And yet I’m watching it all with my very own eyes progress in such a natural way. 

At Pinecrest Gardens… I took the photo of the gang!

 

Aren’t these Banyan trees marvelous?!


Pretty damn cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

Captain – One Year Later

Captain and I recently celebrated our one year anniversary. It’s hard to believe that what started as a connection on Match.com has turned into a really wonderful and healthy relationship. 

 
Captain was married once before. His ex-wife suffers from bipolar disorder.  He took care of her and they loved each other a great deal.  At some point, though, she was out of town and had an affair/one-night stand during a manic episode there. She, of course, regretted the indiscretion and hid it for some time.  

Well, we all know the saying: The truth always comes out.  It crushed him when he found out. That was the one and only thing he said he’d never forgive. Captain immediately filed for divorce. The marriage lasted about 3 years and she probably hid her secret for almost a year. He couldn’t forgive her infidelity. He felt as if he’d been played for a fool.

Fidelity, loyalty and trust are important traits for him. The lessons he learned from his divorce have given him a no-nonsense view on what to expect and how to be in a relationship. He’s never played games with me and holds himself to as high of standards as he holds me. I appreciate this and easily follow suit.   

  
Most of you know my story and how my husband, Grayheart, broke my heart.  The separation, albeit tough, was not the most devastating aspect of the whole situation since I’d been unhappy for a long time.  It was the start of the emotional affair with his co-worker whore/later-turned-girlfriend, Raggedy, and the sneakiness that really did me in.  

  
I was pushed out of my comfy, predictable life and all of a sudden thrown into a whirlwind of uncertainties and emotions. I didn’t think I would fall in love again and I, sure as shit, did not think I’d ever trust a man.  I figured I’d casually date for years until one day I’d meet a quality guy I’d like to spend time with. And then the universe knocked me on my ass and connected me with a man that made my heart skip a beat.  

Captain’s past experiences, kindness and love for me really have given me faith.  I believe that there might actually be good and valiant men out there that are capable of cherishing a deserving woman.  I trust this man more with my feelings than I ever have any man.  I grew up hearing that relationships were incredibly hard work.  And so I tolerated so much crap from Grayheart thinking that’s what marriage was. But what if they don’t have to be that hard?  

What if good relationships were meant to navigate the tough times together and keep each other lifted when the outside world threw challenges at you?  

What if you could be two different people but co-exist well together without bringing each other down?

I had moments like that during my marriage but the majority of it was weighed down by Grayheart’s negativity.  But I trucked on… because that’s what marriage was?

I am wiser now, I’d like to think. I value things differently and am a better partner as a result of a failed marriage. I’d like to think that Captain and I work so well together because we both appreciate the things we previously took for granted. I promised myself that I will never put my relationship in cruise control. 

So, if there’s one good thing that’s come out of this experience, it’s not just finding but really appreciating a man like Captain. 

 

How did we celebrate our one year anniversary? We re-did our first date. It was just as magical. This time, though, I took him home with me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  
Thanks for letting me be gushy. Lol! Here’s to love! ๐Ÿพ
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 boyfriendย 

    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… ๐Ÿ˜Š

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

    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. โค๏ธ

    Captain met the kids

    After 8 months of dating, we made it happen. Captain met my kids on Halloween!

    And it went GREAT!

    He brought them each a little gift to butter them up. They played superhero imagination games together. Then we had a nice home cooked meal at my house together. (My kids behaved like angels! I was shocked!)

    He was such a great sport. My son was Batman, my daughter and I Batgirl and he dressed up as the Joker!

    Kids painting Joker face on Captain

    We then went trick or treating together! The kids were so excited to hang out with him, they took turns asking to hold his hand. (They’re 3 & 6.)

     
    The kids gave him huge hugs before he left and asked him to come back the next day. They commented to me afterward how much they enjoyed hanging out with him and how awesome he was. 

    Captain soon after called me to tell me he had a wonderful time and felt like he loved me even more after meeting them. 

    It couldn’t have gone any better. I am so grateful. (And relieved!) ๐Ÿ™‚

    XO – Athena

    My best friend’s weddingย 

    I finished spending the weekend in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, for my best friend’s wedding. And I had a fabulous time! What a change of pace from my recent travel to Europe

    We stayed at an all-inclusive resort on the beach. Wedding took place there, too, so all the action was in one spot.

    We ate like kings, drank like fish, swam like mermaids and partied like rock stars.  Here are a few pictures around the property.   

      
       
     
    Then the wedding! The wedding! It was phenomenal! Let me just break it down for you guys. Lily, the bride, is Colombian, while Frank, the groom, is Dominican. If you know anything about these cultures, you know they know how to party! The two families get along great as do all of their friends. 

    The ceremony was lovely. And I was so happy for their union. As far as how I felt – from a soon to be divorced person – I felt great. I love these two together and felt nothing but pride and happiness for them. I carefully listened to the vows, though, and soaked them in. If I ever take those vows again, they will be words I carefully live and love by. I will never again have anyone tell me I neglected them after I had children. (Yes, I’m still sensitive about that!) 

        

    The wedding had everyone dancing like crazy! Old, young… it didn’t matter! You were going to shake your tail feathers til it hurt. The Colombians felt it their duty to pass out shots of Aguardiente throughout the night. (This stuff gives you hair on your chest. No joke.) And the Domincians were such a hospitable bunch.

      
      
     
    We then went to the disco and casino and didn’t get back to our rooms til 4:30 am. That’s a late night for Mama Athena! (I won $40 playing roulette, yeah!)

    I woke up the next morning with sore feet, neck hurting, legs tight, back all screwed up… you name it! Totally an indication of how serious my salsa, reggaeton and hip hop dancing was! (Translation: I’m rusty these days. Dammit.)

    Wow. What a restorative weekend. Great quality time with a bunch of my best friends. Sun, beach, pool, eating, dancing, sleeping… doesn’t get better than that! 

       

    Oh, and for the record… If anyone ever needs an ego boost, go to Dominican Republic! These guys are lovers by nature and will make you – as well as every other woman there – feel like you are a princess!