Snapshot – 2019: Saying Goodbye to one Decade and Welcoming Another!

Wow. Another year come and gone so fast! Not only that, but we’ve said goodbye to one decade and hello a whole new one! Crazy! So much has changed for me over the last 10 years. Where do I even begin!?

This year was an amazing one for, not only myself but my family as a whole. I discovered that I am a woman of many passions, and during that discovery, I realized that if I push myself and really set my mind to it, I can turn those passions into something much bigger than I ever realized they could be. Along the way I have had the love, help, and support of so many friends and family members; I can’t tell you how grateful I feel to have so many people in my corner.

Ten years ago, I was a young hatchling. A junior in high school chasing a whole different set of dreams. I was a cheerleader on my high school varsity squad, and we worked our booties off to Nationals. It was probably one of the best experiences during my high school days. Despite our rankings (which were terrible), I had so much fun! I loved being surrounded by my friends every day and working towards something we all wanted. 10 years later and I still look back at that time and love every moment of it. Those girls and our coach will always have a place in my heart.

My senior year of high school was a whirlwind of fun & crazy! I was young & naive and thought I had it all figured out (geez I feel so old thinking about those days lol). But I was having fun! I had a handful of best friends, my parents were still married, I was working at my first job ever and I had a dream of going to college and getting a nursing degree.

A LOT has changed since then.

Senior Pictures 2011, Lip Sync Contest (We did Mulan Rouge), Varsity Cheer Squad 2010-2011, Varsity Cheer Squad 2009-2010

After my high school graduation, my world as I knew it completely unraveled and fell apart. I had my first real “heartbreak”, my best friends and I lost touch, and on top of that, my parents got divorced. That event was probably the biggest and hardest change for me, especially at that age. Marriage is hard, (not that I’ve ever been married) in watching my parents go through their divorced, I learned that relationships take WORK from BOTH people. It’s a team effort and if both members of your team are not in it, then it’s just not going to work. You’ll both end up walking away realizing that you lost parts of yourself over time and it’s unfair to either of you to make that sacrifice. That’s not to say that you don’t make compromises in a relationship, because you do. But sacrifice and compromise are two very different things.

It’s taken me a long time to understand that.

Christmas 2018 – My mom had just had her Kidney Transplant a couple of weeks before.

In short, I’d say the first half of this decade was pretty challenging for me. I had a lot of growing up to do, and a lot of hard lessons to learn. Through it all, however, I still had my family. It looks a lot different than it did growing up, and my relationship with both of my parents has changed significantly, but I am thankful to say that I still have them with me. My siblings and I have definitely grown closer and we have learned to appreciate each other more. Growing up we did NOT get along so well, but I am so thankful to have them. They are my rocks and I don’t think anyone of us would have managed as well as we have without the other.

my best of the best friends.

That’s not to say I didn’t live life to its fullest. I was, after all, trying to live my best life and just entering my 20’s! I traveled out of the country for the first time, it was an amazing experience and I would do it again! I moved away from my family (for the first time) and did one semester of college at West Texas A & M University. (Best time ever! I did so much traveling during that time!) I met some of the best people ever & created some of the strongest friendships. I also discovered that I had a thyroid problem, which explained SO many things I was experiencing both health-wise and mentally. (Who knew that one tiny little organ could control SO MUCH in your body! It was a HUGE adjustment for me & something I still deal with today.) All-in-all it was a rollercoaster of up’s and down’s – but that’s life for ya!

Leaving home to move to Canyon to attend WTAMU, seeing the Chichén-Itzá up close and in person in Mexico, taking my sister to a Rangers vs. Yankees Baseball game for her birthday!, Rachel’s (BJ’s mom & one of my best friends) bachelorette party, ZTA’s Spring Formal 2012

The second half of this decade has been just as challenging – but in different ways. I still have yet to finish school (that’s a story for another time), I’ve moved away from home AGAIN, bought my first car, nearly DIED in a river, raised 3 fur babies from puppies, and had a baby of my own! Wow, time really does change things.

Friends have come and gone – I realized that sometimes in order to grow and move forward, you have to cut ties with people you love. That doesn’t mean you love them any less, it just means its better to love them from a distance – and that’s okay.  I read somewhere that people may come and go throughout your life. Sometimes they come for a short while to either teach you a lesson or help you through a season. While others become apart of your family and you’ll never feel alone. (Not an exact quote but you get the gist).  I’ve also learned that just because you don’t see or hear from friends/family very often, doesn’t mean your friendship is lost forever. Some of my best and closest friends are people I don’t see or talk to that often. But when we get together it’s like no time has passed and we don’t skip a beat. It’s amazing what growing up does for a person!

Buying my first car, GTG wives @ Christmas Party 2019, Natalie, Isla & Scarlett Halloween 2019, 19 weeks pregnant 2017, South Texas trip with family, Scarlett Rain born at 23+6
my worst best friend, my ZTA sisters, Peanut (who passed away in 2018), my best friends, Valerie <3, my tiny bookshelf when we first moved to Andrews, my besties again (during this time I struggle with my thyroid problem).
My Picon cousins & My Vasquez Cousins I love having such a HUGE family.

Over the years, I’ve met some pretty amazing people and like I said some of them have become my family.

BJ came into my life at the perfect moment. Our love story is an odd one, but to make a long story short – we met through his mom who also happens to be one of my best friends. Since then, I haven’t been able to get rid of him…just kidding 😉  He is one of my favorite people in the world, and I cannot see myself without him. He’s funny, he’s a nerdy just like me but with different interests, he really can talk (don’t let the beard & quietness fool you lol), and he loves me for exactly who/how I am. He is one of my biggest cheerleaders in life. He encourages me to always do what makes me happy and has never once rolled his eyes at any of my crazy ideas (okay, maybe a few times – but he comes around eventually lol). Yes, he drives me crazy, but I’d say that’s pretty normal when you’ve been with someone so long. We’ve had six and half years together and although we aren’t married (yet…) we live together in Andrews, with our two fur babies (Ares & Tyson) and our two-year-old daughter Scarlett.

Which brings me to my next chapter in life.

In this decade, I became a mother. (You can read all about that intro to #parenthood here.)

Life with BJ One of our first dates, GTG meeting, Ares (who was orphaned at 18 days and hand-raised by us), Our first home together, Our 1st Halloween 2013, move-in day, Tyson (who we adopted for Scarlett), the day BJ got his 1st tattoo, hospital stay before Scarlett’s arrival

Never in my wildest dreams did I think that would happen, seriously.  I was 25 when I had Scarlett, and she is my BIGGEST BLESSING EVER! I sometimes, forget what life was like before she came into our lives. She is feisty, spunky, funny like her daddy and sassy like her mama. She is a firecracker! Life with her has been amazing to say the least.

Scarlett 14 months old (10 adjusted), potty training necessities, Scarlett & her cousin Xavier, Scarlett & her best friend Isla, getting into mommy’s make-up, bye-bye oxygen equipment, Library day with Isla, 1st Road trip to South Texas, Mother’s Day 2018

In this last year, she has changed and overcome so much! We started out this year with Scarlett, (1 year and 2 months old [10 months adjusted]) not yet walking and still in diapers! Now, this sweet girl RUNS around our house like a madwoman, says the FUNNIEST things at just the RIGHT time and is almost fully potty-trained! Being her mama and having the privilege to stay home with her has been a true joy. I love watching her grow and I can’t wait to see what the Lord has planned for her next.

causing in the walker Dec. 2017, playing with Tia Sally & cousin Sophia, learning to walk at the park, library day! 1st 100 books read!, 1st day at MDO, family pictures 2019, Thanksgiving 2019, Christmas crafts at the library 2019, Her 1st Christmas Tree in her own room!

As I said, in the beginning, a lot of great things have happened for us this year. Both for me personally and as a family altogether. This year BJ & I moved into our first official house which was something we REALLY needed to do. Though I sometimes miss our little one-bedroom duplex, it’s so nice to have so much ROOM to ourselves!  Scarlett has her own room (that she never sleeps in...) and BJ & I have our own “work rooms”. It is such a blessing to be here. Already we’ve hosted a few parties and a handful of cookouts with friends (it’s Texas what else would you expect? lol), and it’s been so nice to have room for all of our friends and family to come and enjoy time with us.

Our very first house!, Scarlett’s 2nd birthday party, DIY craft by me

This year, I also started a few new “projects”. As I said before BJ has been my biggest supporter and so have countless other people. I can honestly say I would not be as successful as I am without my village.

Last year I gave/sold some handmade earrings to friends and family Christmas and they were a big hit.  Well… that little “craft” has since grown and I now have my own little “shop” of sorts that I run with my sister, Monica. It is named after Scarlett and we have been able to do so many things because of it. We raised money for the March of Dimes in April and Scarlett was able to participate in her first-ever “March for Babies”. AND we won 1st Place in the T-shirt Contest! (So surprising because there were a lot of really great shirts out there!).

I also celebrated 1 year of running this blog! I can’t express how happy it has made me being able to have this little space of mine to share my thoughts, feelings, and ideas on life and “Preemiehood”. I’ve also been able to meet a few of my readers and received great feedback. Hearing your stories and getting to know you and how Scarlett’s story has touched your lives has been such an honor and a blessing. I am so thankful God has given me the ability to share our story in a way that connects with and helps others. Truly, there are no words to describe the way I feel completely. Thank you all for your support and love.

My latest endeavor has been something I didn’t really see coming. Going into this new adventure I honestly didn’t give it a whole lot of thought. One day I woke up with a new idea planted in my brain and after talking with some of my best friends and really thinking about it – I decided to start a YouTube channel. People have often asked me what sparked the idea to create my channel and the truth is I just felt like it. The content I share is pretty similar to what I have shared here on the blog. I’ve created videos based on our NICU experience and while I have yet to share (and not sure if I will) Scarlett’s entire NICU story. I have shared some advice on what I learned as a parent during her stay. My goal has been and always will be to share Scarlett’s story, in hopes that it not only inspires and gives hope to other families – but that the lessons & things I learned along the way help other parents of preemies as well. I also love knowing that in a few years I can look back at these videos and watch Scarlett grow up all over again. I’m constantly documenting her life for my own personal memories but a lot of our family and friends don’t have the privilege of watching her grow up in person. Scarlett is a true gem and a testament of God’s mercy and love and I know that she is loved. It would be selfish of me not to share her story with those who love her too.

blog turned 1 year old in 2019!, March for Babies with Sweet Autumn Rain!, Riaa Isabel YouTube channel!! Such a productive year!

Becoming a mother has changed me in so many ways. I’ve learned to take my time and soak in all of the small moments in life, and appreciate “the little things” that most people often take for granted. I’ve also learned and still am learning, how to be a parent and what it means to care for someone other than myself. My favorite part about becoming a parent is something I find really special. As I’ve watched Scarlett grow into the person God has created her to be, I’ve been able to see my own parents grow into grandparent-hood. Seeing how Scarlett impacts their lives and watching her relationships with each of them develop has been a treasure, and something I will always cherish and be thankful for. We’ve had some scary moments over the years and Scarlett’s entrance into this world has changed my view on life and how short it can be. I can’t express how blessed I feel to be given this life and all of the people in it.

wheel barrow rides with Papa, cuddles with Grandma, Merry Christmas Abu 2019, Thanksgiving with Great-Grandpa Frank, visiting Scarlett’s Gorgeous-Great-Grandma, ice-cream in the park with Xavier, smiles with Tio Jerry, pestering Nana with Xavier, cuddles with Tia Laura

Although I have accomplished so much in the last year there is still one goal I have my heart set on. I haven’t finished school and I don’t have a degree in Nursing. (It’s not for me.)  Instead, I’ve found that I am better suited for teaching. I worked as a Teacher Assistant before having Scarlett and I realized that not only was I good at it but I loved it! In this next decade, my hope for myself is that I am able to take my passion for teaching and turn it into a career. I have no idea if or when it will happen but I do know that it is something I feel called to do. Only time will tell!

My time as a Teacher Assistant for the Head Start program

Until then, I’m still living life One Day at A Time. Enjoying the small moments along with the big ones and just riding the waves as they come.

Thank you all so much for reading today’s blog. If you made it this far – I appreciate you more than you know! I never know who reads these posts or not! lol

You guys stay safe, don’t forget to give thanks to the Lord for all he’s given, and have a blessed and beautiful year!

Bring on 2020!





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