The formal introductions of my family Feed

Our Family Tree

This is my family tree as it has grafted and grown together as one!

And soon there will be more branches as my grand-babies start to arrive.

Just remember it does not matter where you are today, tomorrow can always be the day you turn it all around!!

Enjoy the stories of my family's adventures as much as I enjoyed living them and writing about them!!

Ordinary Woman


And, finally, there is, me!

My whole life whenever it came to talking or writing about me it was always very difficult. I guess trying to express to others what I had done or accomplished was very hard for me, because I never thought of these deeds as a big deal.

I was born in San Jose, Costa Rica. My birth mother had me when she was barely 22 years old and I never really formally met my father. Fifteen months after my birth she had my little sister with a different man. My mother left me with my godmother's family when I was barely two years old; she left my sister with our Uncle's family. Her game plan was to come to the United States, work, save money and then send for us.

She must have forgotten that part once she got here and just decided to start her life over without the burden of two small girls. She went on to get married and have another two kids, a boy and a girl.

My life with my adopted family was hard and lonely. My adopted mother was in her later forties when I came to live with them and she was not a young "forties". She was a cold, distant woman, who was not very loving or supportive of me. Later on she lavished plenty of love on my boys, some good, some not so good, which made up for how she treated me.

My adoptive mother came to the United States herself when I was seven years old and being so young I had no choice but to come with her. I was grateful for this move just because it got me away from her husband who was abusive.

Once in the United States she went through a sort of mid-life crisis and started dating a guy young enough to be her son. Once he left, she moved on to someone else who had a drinking problem and she went along with it.

I finally left home at 16 years old to get away from this by getting married. Unfortunately my new husband was a drinker too, who had serious insecurity issues.

We had four boys together and even though he did have his good qualities, we were polar opposites. Luckily years after our divorce we have become friends.

I always wanted to better my life and further my education. In between having my boys I earned my GED, my Medical Assisting certification, and graduated from the Metropolitan police academy. A year after becoming a police officer I signed up to training to be a member of our department's tactical operations unit. I, being the only female, along with one hundred and ten men started a grueling twelve week training program.

the end of the training there was 60 of us left and only 44 openings, I earned one of the spots. While on the Metro Police I worked as an Intel officer,Drill instructor, court officer, patrol duty, public relations, entry team member, among others. While pregnant with my fourth son I started college, majoring in criminal justice.

After six years on the Tactical unit our state government decided to merge all the state run police agencies into one and we all became State troopers. With the merger the tactical unit was disbanded and I was placed as an alternate on the State Police S.T.O.P team.

I was transferred into the Weed and Seed program. We were responsible for helping to eradicate street level crime, like prostitution and drug sales. I went on to be in the homicide unit, work undercover, work with various federal agencies and other duties.

After my divorce I was planning on fast tracking my career to ensure the financial picture for my family. That was until I met Mel. Once we got married and realized the challenges his kids were facing, someone needed to be home. I had the seniority so I took an early retirement to be home with the kids.

I got offered a part time job as a community organizer for the city I moved into and I loved it. My kids got to go to most of the events I organized and it was a growing experience for all of us.

This is when I started by first business as a motivational speaker. I got to travel and it was a blast from all the great people I met.

Once the contract as a community organizer was over I went back to being a homemaker, with the occasional speaking engagement, and this is when I started writing my book.

Jess and Chris wanted to go to Italy with their high school class so I took a "Temporary" job as a security officer in a secure site. In less than a year I was promoted to shift supervisor and assistant project manager.
Unfortunately I was being sucked back into the career track and that is not what I was looking for at that time; after almost three years there I realized I either had to keep rising through the ranks or become stagnant in my growth.

I learned so much while there, the people I worked with were amazing and I really got to grow as a person. It was very hard to leave my co-workers, but I knew I was not ready to share my family time with my career.

I took a short term position as a job developer for people who needed assistance in finding work. I learned real quick that I was not a fit for the time commitment required, but I met the best clients, some of which are still my friends now.

Now I have found the perfect fit for me! I teach Criminal justice to some of the most amazing students! The hours are tailor made to my life right now and I look forward to going into the classroom everyday!!

While doing this I help my sons run their company, while still running my own business. I also, finally, with only Alexi at home, have the time to go back to school for my Master's degree and beyond.

I maintain four, well two different blogs and I help Buddie the dog and Vita the pampered diva type out their two blogs.

I love my life right now! But if you had asked me that a few years ago, I would have thought you were nuts!!

So Here I am to share my book after completing the introductions of our family! If you want to be introduced to Buddie and Vita you can read their blog at www.ordinarywmn.com/dawgsworld (Shameless promotional plug here)

I hope that my story can motivate you to strive to be what you really want to be, no matter how long or how many tries it takes!!!

So come along with me and enjoy my story~

The extraordinary life of an ordinary woman!

 

 

 

 


Finally, his, hers and mine, James made nine!,

 

Life is funny with the tests it will throw at you when you least expect it or need it!

Shortly after Mel and I got engaged we were in the process of moving back to my hubby's home town to be closer to his kids.

When I say my life was hectic I am putting it mildly. My two oldest boys were getting in and out of trouble with the police and their involvement with a local gang was the main reason for it. I was trying everything I could to pull them away from that lifestyle while trying to heal my own wounds from the financial strain I was still going through as a result of my own divorce. My ex had basically fallen of the face of the planet and I was being chased around by every bill collector who was looking for him. We had lost our home that I had worked so hard to buy. Luckily I was able to find a nice 2 family to rent with an option to buy for a reasonable price. The bad news was that the upper floors had been occupied for twenty years by a tenant with a severe drinking problem and the whole place was in horrible disarray.

I had to pay for all the repairs out of my own pocket as that was part of the deal for the low rent. The boys helped me clean-up, rip out rugs, wallpaper and paint. I had to pay to have the hardwood floors finished and to have new rugs installed. I had planned to make this my new permanent home.

Well, life had different plans. When Mel and I got engaged we were going to live here. His Kids would come and stay every weekend and holiday with us. But they were having some issues and we needed to be closer during the rest of the week, so that was why we decided to move back to his hometown. For me I thought the move would help me get the boys away from the bad influences.

In the middle of all this, is when James came into the picture, he was from Georgia and Derek met him one summer when James was here visiting family.

Out of the blue Derek told us that James was being kicked out of his Uncle's house because since he turned 18 years old the welfare benefits ran out and his Uncle told him he was not going to support him unless he got paid! James still had a year left in school and other he was a decent kid.

I have no clue why but Mel talked to him over the phone, sight unseen and agreed to have him move in with us!

All these years later we have not regretted it. He is a loving caring person, who has struggled to overcome trust issues. He also has a hard time letting people in emotionally, but he keeps working on trying to form real family ties.

He has had disagreements with the older boys but somehow they have worked it out. He was a gifted football player, field and track star, artist and now is working on his music career. I am sure he is going to accomplish what ever goals he sets for himself.

 

 


“To round it all out, Alexi made 8”

 

 

 

Alexi is 15 years old now. When my husband and I started dating, Alexi was less than two years old. The first time I met Alexi my future mother in law was holding him in her arms. I walked over with Mel so he could introduce me to his mom when suddenly Alexi flopped over into my arms! It was so unexpected that I almost toppled over trying not to drop him! Mel's mom was speechless! Mel was pretty shocked too as Alexi was very shy around strangers. The rest of the week Alexi was attached at the hip to me. Well whatever hip was left after Jess and Chris got done fighting over it!

I honestly do not remember Alexi not ever being in my life; his sweet spirit, shy smile and loving nature. When Mel and I got married Alexi was surrounded by older brothers who catered to his every whim. They played with him, read to him and loved him unconditionally. With so much pampering you would think he would have gotten a little spoiled. Yet his mellow disposition was always the norm.

After Jess moved in to live with us, Alexi started having challenges in school. Eventually he came to live with us as well when he was in the fifth grade. Once he got into a routine at our house he quickly became his old mellow self.

Alexi has an amazing way of analyzing things at times. I think he gets that from his dad. From a very young age he could take deep worldly concepts and explain them in the simplest, child-like ways. The funny thing is I do not think he realized how big of a deal what he was doing was!

Alexi is a gifted athlete as well. When he was small I would take him to the soccer field with me while I helped coach the girls soccer team at Lowell Catholic. They made him the official team mascot/ball boy. The reason I mention this is because a couple of years later he decided he wanted to try to play soccer on his school's team. I encouraged him but by the same token told him not to get frustrated if the other boys were better since they had been playing longer. When I tell you, I almost had to get picked up off the floor when he scored in his first game, is to put it mildly. It was almost like he had absorbed everything he had seen all those years, "Matrix-Style".

By the time he graduated middle school he was tied for the most goals scored in the season. This was amazing on its own, but he did this while only playing offense for half of the game! The other half he either played defense or goal. During his middle school years he was on championship soccer, baseball and basketball teams. He got various awards including the outstanding player of the year award. Academically he was not straight A's but he held his own as well as having perfect attendance. He also received a technology award because the kid is a computer Whiz!

Alexi has been struggling lately to overcome some emotional burdens from his past that he is now trying to work through. It is painful to see him have to deal with these issues at such a young age. Luckily we have a great line of communication so he has someone to help him work thorough it.

Alexi is a freshman in high school now. He played soccer, basketball and is hoping to play baseball this spring.

He has not decided what he wants to be but he does know he wants to go to Arizona for college.

I cannot begin to express how blessed I feel to have the opportunity to have this great kid in my life. I also know that he is another one that will do awesome in whatever he decided to do!

And no matter how old he gets, he will always be my cute little Alexi!

 

 


Lucky seven, piece of Heaven, Ms. Jess

 

 

Jessica is 19 years old now and a freshman in college. It is funny sometimes how we receive things that we pray for or desire. I had always wanted to have a baby girl of my own.

Do not get me wrong, I adore my boys. The sports, the roughness, the silliness and just plain fun that being around boys can be most of the times! But at times, even though I was kind of rough since my biggest influence was my older adoptive brother, I wanted to get girly! I wanted to make the frilly dresses, bake cookies together, you basic mother daughter stuff.

After the birth of Chris my ex-husband made it quite clear that he did not want any more children. I guess I kind of hoped that maybe someday he would change his mind and we could adopt a little girl of our own.

I never imagined in a million years that when I married Mel I would gain a daughter out of it! When I saw Jess for the first time, she walked over to me, grabbed my hand and told the whole world, "I'm sleeping with her!"

(We were going on a camping trip with Mel's family)

From that moment on Jess had me hook, line and sinker! She is as girly as I am, not!

I did make her some dresses, that she covered in mud playing with her brothers. We baked cookies. She became known as "the cupcake queen"! Any time someone needed baked goods there was Jess and her cupcakes!

Jess went through some rough times because of some decisions that were made by her mother; as a result of these, Jess moved in to live with us when she was in 8th grade.

All I have to say is that Jess is one of the most amazing human beings I know. The way she handled herself through it all, I have to give her credit, any other kid would have gone hog wild and self destructed. She made some mistakes, struggled to find her true self. To understand who she really was and what she was about.  But for the most part she refused to follow the norm or get cohered into doing anything she did not feel was right.

Over the years Jess and I have become carbon copies of each other. People always compare us and never once question whether we are "real" family or not.

Jess has a beautiful voice that moves your spirit when she sings. She was a star athlete in high school in soccer, softball and basketball. She has the distinction of being the first girl to play on a championship boys' baseball team in one of our city leagues. She was a finalist in a beauty pageant, on a winning cheer leading team, has a brown belt in Tang-So-Doo and various trophies and medals to prove it.  She has won medals in gymnastics, awards in athletics and academically. She had perfect attendance since sixth grade; now she is on a competitive ballroom dancing team in college!

Am I bragging? Maybe a little, but mostly it's to show how truly amazing this young lady is!

As I have said earlier, I got blessed with two wonderful daughters when I married Mel. The thing that amazes me is how God went through so much trouble to bring this precious child into my life.

When Jess went so far away to college, I was sad, to put it mildly. I missed the strains of her beautiful voice while she sang in the shower; the heart-felt laughter at our silliness, the walk-by hugs and snuggle bunnies in the back seat of the "Burban". Deep down inside though, I was proud of her for always being true to her beliefs.

She loves her school and plans on being a dance education major with a minor in music. Her brothers are already scheming to make her a world class singing sensation! Honestly whatever she decided to go after, she is going to kick butt!

Thank heavens for cell phones, text messages, e-mails and web-cams; otherwise I would be one big mess!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Without Jose there would not have been 6”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 








Jose Jr. is 21 years old. We just call him Jose or by his nickname "Situ". He uses his nickname as his artist name when he performs with his brothers.

Jose was six years old when his parents got divorced. At that tender age he was led to believe that he was now the man of the house! He took it to heart! For years my husband and Jose would butt heads over this. He had a hard time understanding that the only person he was responsible for was himself. In actuality, not even, after all he was just a small child!

When Jose came into my life he was only seven years old. He tried really hard not to like me. You know, the future step-mother and all, but it did not work! He was sweet, loving and had a heart as big as the White Mountains!

At times I guess Jose thought I was weird. Well he was right about that, I am weird! But the reason he thought I was weird was because I would babied him! I would help him get his clothes ready, cook his favorite foods or massage his legs and arms after his baseball games. I treated him as the little boy he was! We used to tickle each other silly or he would join the piggy pile on my lap as I read "Winnie-the-Pooh" for the hundredth time!

Jose and Chris are less than two years apart. At times Jose would get involved in the imagination games that Chris, Jess and Alexi would play. At other times he thought they were "babyish" and he would rather hang with the older boys.  The challenge was his other brothers were between four and nine years older than him! He would get so mad because he wanted to go to the movies with them! Hard for us to let him go, since teenagers love to go to the late show! He swore we never let him do anything fun with his brothers!

For all the emotional conflicts Jose had to endure in his young life, there is one thing that has never changed; the fact that he still has a heart as big as the White Mountains. He is a true friend that would do anything for the legion of friends he has made over the years. He is a dedicated athlete and a loving son.

He too was a standout athlete in football, basketball and baseball in high school. He still holds a few records there as well, which at five feet, seven inches, is quite a feat!

He attended Salem State College and then transferred to Barry University.

His one desire was to play baseball at the college level. For reasons unknown to us, the coach at Barry University decided not to put him on the team.

What the coach does not know is that he did our son a huge favor! Jose knows he is talented, dedicated and a true team player. So he could not understand why the coach did not select him. But this rejection fired him up, motivated him and inspirited him to not give up! As a result of his determination and hard work he is now playing at Suffolk University.

I always told him, sometimes the answer is not "no", it is simply "not yet!" This experience has bumped him up to a whole new caliber as a player and as a human being.

He hopes to someday play professional baseball or as a sports commentator. Then again he can also develop his musical career with his brothers!

There is one thing I have to say about my son; actually three. One thing is he knows his sports. Second thing, he has the gift of gab and he is funny when he is gabbing! The last thing; when Jose sets his mind on something, you might as well cash the check, because it's a done deal!

Batter up, boys!


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Better late than never, Cristina made 5!,

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My husband also had four children, two boys, two girls.

Cristina, the oldest, is 23. Talk about two universes colliding! The day Cristina was born was the exact day and time I got married to my first husband. The irony of that always got me, because those two events were the ones that set Mel and me on the path of our destiny together. You will see how later in my story~

Cristina was born with severe jaundice and was in the hospital longer because of it. Mel told me that it was the only time his ex-wife saw him cry. Mel also told me that the moment Cristina was born was when he understood the meaning of unconditional love.

Times were hard for Cristina during her parents were divorce. She was a big Daddy's little girl and by the same token she adored her mom. She felt torn thinking she had to pick sides. She self appointed herself the mommy of her three younger siblings in an attempt to protect them. Unfortunately because of this she can butt heads with some of them at times. She keeps mothering them, telling what to do, when all they really want is a big sister to hang out with and love.

When I came into the picture Cristina was just shy of her tenth birthday. Around this time I found out from her school that she had been corralled into a special education class without my husband's knowledge or consent. She was an extremely shy little girl and somehow the teachers took this to mean she had learning disabilities! This class gave her a false sense of security. She thought she was an honor roll student, as did my husband, when in reality she was falling behind more and more each day.

I finally put my two cents in and insisted to have her evaluated. The school did so, but refused any major changes in her curriculum so we moved her to the same private school Chris was attending. This of course made me the bad guy. She went from being a so called "honor roll" student to barely getting "D"'s. Cristina was heartbroken as she was a very hard working student. Luckily with the dedicated teachers at Saint Margaret's and a paid tutor she was able to catch up.

Cristina went on to become a standout basketball and softball player at the same high school as her brother. Alex encouraged her to try soccer her sophomore year. The funny thing was she had never played! Cristina not only did well, but she still holds several records at the school! Her team was the first girls' soccer team from LCHS to make it to States!  Cristina became a good student in a school that has high academic rigors as well as active in student activities.

Cristina attended Salem State College and played softball there. She later transferred to Barry University in Florida where she is a business major. Cristina has gotten a job with a major retail company and is on the fast track to upper management. She hopes to someday run her own business. Whatever this little dynamo with the smile of an angel but a will of iron decided to do, she will no doubt be very successful at it! Watch out Wall Street little business giant coming through!


“And Chris made the Fab Four”

 

 

My youngest son is Chris is 19 years old now. Chris was born at a time that was great financially but not so great emotionally. He came as my first marriage was gasping its final breaths. I think his father and I hung in there a bit longer because we both loved the boys so much. Alex, my youngest at the time, was almost seven years old, so Chris was surrounded by older brothers who catered to his every wish. My ex-sister-in-law had rented an apartment from us, so add to the mix two older cousins and a doting aunt. Chris definitely did not lack for love and attention! 

When Chris was two months old he came down with a severe urinary infection that quickly started to spread into his blood system. They discovered he had a defect with the valve that went into his bladder, causing backwashing. He would require surgery and a tube implant to repair the damage. Chris was required to be on antibiotics for almost eight months until he was old enough, or rather big enough to have the procedure. I know that doctors are required to tell you all the bad news as well as the good, but the prospect that he might die wasn't something, we as a family wanted to hear. We were truly blessed by the fact that God's hand was in everything that happened during this phase of his life. I will explain more on that later, but for now let's just say everything went extremely well! To this day he hasn't suffered from any side effects or required any further medical intervention for his condition.

Chris' sweet nature and loving spirit saw me through some of the roughest times in my personal life. The one ray of hope, next to his older brothers, was that little nymph, with the big puppy eyes and the shy smile. No matter how bad the day went one tiny grin and a soft, lispy, "I love you Mommy" made it all better!

Chris wasn't very talkative but he was a deep thinker even at a young age. He wanted to read "Rainbow Six" instead of books closer to his age! As crazy as people said having Chris at that time was, I will never regret it for one moment!

He played football, baseball and even tried basketball for a year while in high school. He loved playing football but baseball was his favorite, especially pitching. It isn't that Chris wasn't good at sports; it was just that he was constantly overshadowed by some of his other siblings who excelled in that area. With determination and some work he became a decent athlete. Chris was a gifted student who carried a full load of honor classes and he took his church responsibilities seriously. Seriously that was, until his senior year, when that dreaded ailment called "Senioritis" went rampant throughout a few of his friends. He was one of its poor victims.

His down fall at times is that he relies too much on his God given intelligence, instead of actually doing all the required work, which can cause his grades to look like the White Mountains at times, all up and down! Chris also encountered some personal issues that he still needs to sort out during this time, but I know he will continue to do the right thing.

He had been saying he wants to go to Harvard or the University of Miami ever since he was little. As he got closer he realized a few things, Harvard was hard to get into and not that far from home and Miami was muggy! He finally set his heart on UNLV. He got accepted to the University of Hartford and Barry University. Yet we hadn't heard from UNLV. Life is funny; two days after he paid the deposit to Barry University he got an acceptance letter from UNLV! There went my deposit and there went Chris!

He is majoring in Film and aspires to be a screen writer/director. He has already written several screenplays. He is one of my leading suppliers of short stories for my webpage!

As is typical at times with young men, he is questioning his place in God's plan and the meaning of religion in general. But as he embarks on the next phase of his life I am sure he will find the answers he seeks! I also have no doubt I am going to get the opportunity to get all decked for a trip to the Oscars! And the winner is………………

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“Then there were three,….Alex”

 

Alex is 26 years old now. Alex was born two weeks before Derek turned three. I was lucky enough to be able to spend more time with him that his two older brothers. I had gotten laid off because the company I worked for closed down so I was home. I had always wanted to become a nurse, so while I was pregnant with him I looked into becoming a medical assistant. When he was two months old I started school. Classes were only three hours a day, so I got to spend the rest of the day with him.

 

When Alex was nine months old he had a massive seizure. If it hadn't been for his Uncle Wayne checking in on him when Alex was at my mother's, he would have died right there in his crib. He spent almost two weeks in the hospital recovering. The doctors said it was a miracle that he didn't have any long term effects from the seizure.

 

My ex-husband at times didn't exhibit the most common sense, most likely this was where Derek got it from! When Alex was three years old I became a police officer. Being a medical assistant at the time didn't pay as well as it did now, so I changed careers.

 

One Sunday I was working and his his dad took him to the soccer field with him. I told Alex to make sure he wore his hooded jacket because it was chilly. Thank Goodness he listened! While my ex was playing soccer, the nine year old boy of the person watching Alex and, I use the word "watching" loosely, knocked him off the bleachers onto the cement floor. He fell about ten feet! My ex, this is where the lack of common sense comes in, instead of calling for an ambulance picked him up and drove home! I just happen to have gotten home from my shift early as he arrived with him. Alex couldn't even stand up. I jumped into my car and took him to the emergency room. I was so livid at my ex that I forgot I was still in full uniform. The nurses thought I was on duty bringing in an accident victim! Another two weeks in the hospital and once again the doctors told me that the only reason he was alive was because the bunched-up hood from his jacket cushioned the blow.

 

I was grateful that my son had been spared twice and he was spoiled to say the least. Throughout grade school he was a hell child, but he gradually mellowed out in high school. He was successful in high school and a stand out goalkeeper in soccer. He was student body president, student ambassador and won several awards in drama, sports and for his community activism. He even got a scholarship to play soccer in college.

He felt overwhelmed and decided college wasn't for him. He went through a few career changes until he wound up in the private security field. It was kind of ironic that we even ended up working together. I was his supervisor! It was funny to tell him what to do and he was unable to argue back!

He moved to Florida to start over after he broke up with the girl he thought would become his wife. Thank Heavens she didn't! He resumed his career in security and recently got promoted to Lieutenant at his work site.

When he was here he was known as his older brothers' "Hype man" in the act. He's the one that gets the crowd going during the performances.

 

Funny thing is years later he finally decided to go back to college to get his degree. He would love to work as a criminal psychologist or a profiler. Although He still plans on managing his brothers as their publicist. No matter what he decided to do, when he is ready, I know that Alex is going to be very successful at whatever he decided to pursue in his life.

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Presenting Honorable son number 2, Eric

 

Eric is 27 years old now and he is married and living outside of New England. He and his wife Sarah are expecting their first child, a boy, in May.

Eric has the distinct honor of being the only one of my boys that was actually planned. Derek was six months old when my ex-husband finally decided to accept responsibility for his son. Houdini "returneth".

My mother and sister went overboard insisting on a big wedding, etc. I honestly just wanted to get away from my family, so I left with my soon to be husband. We decided to have another child so that he would be close in age to Derek. I was eighteen years old when I had Eric. He was the most amazing child! Sweet and kind, always the peacemaker, he was a mother's dream. He had big chunky cheeks, thick, golden, brown curls and the biggest, most beautiful eyes. The only things bigger were his smile and his heart.

Eric was in the background a lot because Derek's asthma was so severe. There were a lot of late night trips to the emergency room and long hospital stays. I would stay in the hospital with Derek, so this meant Eric would be with his grandmother for days at a time. Even through all of this he still was a sweet, well adjusted boy.

My main regret with Eric is that we didn't do right by him. His life could have been so much easier had he had the right amount of attention and encouragement. Eric was a gifted basketball player. My ex-husband did not let him shine in that sport. His father was a semi-professional soccer player in his youth and wanted his sons to do the same. The irony was that my ex-husband's sister went to college on a basketball scholarship in the early seventies! Eric inherited his skills from her. Eric tried to accommodate his father for a long time, but eventually he got tired of trying to please him and rebelled. The divorce was more difficult for Eric because he felt totally abandoned. His father up and left and his favorite uncle Wayne passed away suddenly. I was totally shell-shocked and over-whelmed and wasn't much help either. Following the only person left around, he wound up in the same troubles as his older brother Derek. When Mel came into the picture he tried to connect with the boys, but he just didn't know how and the rebellion continued.

I decided to divide and conquer and sent him to Costa Rica Academy his freshman year of high school. He did very well there and even played on the varsity basketball team.

I let my adoptive family talk me into bringing him back way too soon. This resulted in him getting caught up with the wrong crowd again. He eventually took the rap for something his brother did and got kicked out of the house. He dropped out of high school, since finding a place to live became his main priority. I am ashamed to say that my son struggled, even being homeless at times because of this decision. I am just grateful that after all this, we were able to mend our bridges and become close again. He even lived with us for a year when he was in his early twenties, which helped us grow even closer as a family.

He has come full circle and has done wonderfully in his life. He tested for his GED and passed without taking any classes. Another Brainiac, he can recite the answers on "Jeopardy" like a computer!

Now as he awaits the arrival of his first child, he works very hard in his "real job" to pay the bills. But he still continues to keep working towards his dream of making it in the music industry with his brother. He has become a great mentor and role model to his younger brothers and sisters. The main thing is that he still continues to be a mother's dream and I know he will be an incredible dad.

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“Introducing, most honorable son number 1, Derek”

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My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!

 

I have four sons from my first marriage, which lasted fifteen years. I will explain more on that at a later time. I know the suspense is killing you!

The summer between my freshman and sophomore year of high school, I got pregnant with my first son Derek. When you are only sixteen years old and have a living hell for a home life, adding a baby to the equation, isn't exactly going to make it better. To remind you, this was the late 70's, abortions were legal and minors could get them with little difficulty for the bargain basement price of 280.00 dollars. This could have been an easy out for me. My mother could have cared less about what time I went to bed, even on school nights. As long as I was not interfering with her life, I could watch TV to all hours of the night. Well one night I saw a "Gerardo Rivera" show based on abortions. I was only nine, so I have no clue if it was in favor of legal abortions or not. The one thing that stuck with me, even today, were the haunting images of aborted fetuses and the heart-wrenching stories shared by some of the women in the show. As a result of that, I had been dead set against abortions, even when in reality I had no clue of the bigger picture behind all of this. I thought it was cruel and just plain unimaginable that a mother could do that to her own baby. My best friend, who was the only person I had confided in, kept insisting that I should get "rid of it"! Again in those days there were free clinics where you could get the procedure done at no cost. My friend, who had obviously been around the block a few times more than I, knew all about them. In my head, everything she said made sense. I was sixteen, dysfunctional home; roach-infested tenement building, no education, no money and the baby's father had done a Houdini. What kind of life would that be for a child?

I finally put an end to the whole abortion scenario by simply waiting too long and that way it would be too late to get one. Once again my best friend told me I could go to New York, because they had clinics there that would perform the procedure up to the second trimester! I was horrified! I had had enough of her advice! In my naïve mind I decided that I would leave home, have the baby somewhere else and give him or her up for adoption to a loving home. Well the best laid plans and all that! My adoptive mother took a spill down the stairs and wound up bedridden for months. What little money she had in her savings was eaten up quickly. So, I almost seven months pregnant had to take a job as a waitress to make ends meet. The kicker was no one in my family knew I was pregnant! I had always been tiny, weight-wise, and for some bizarre reason my pregnancy weight gain wasn't like a pregnant woman. I just in a matter of five months went from a size 4 to a size 14. The crazy thing is it was everywhere! I looked like a chunky teen-ager. All the women in my adoptive family were obese, so in their minds, my weight gain was normal!

I wasn't due until the end of April, I figured, okay, I'll work, save some money and then leave shortly before the baby is due. Well my son had other plans. Almost four weeks before my due date he decided to make an unannounced appearance! Not only that, it was such a fast labor and delivery, that with no car or home phone, I never made it to the hospital!

Now that I am a mother, I cannot phantom finding out your daughter is pregnant the minute she delivers the baby!

My mother had been a midwife in Costa Rica, so she did her thing, to ensure that my baby and I wouldn't die. For all the rotten things she did to me, this act alone, made up for them. To say I was naïve and stupid is to put it mildly. That experience was the beginning of my endless search for knowledge. I never wanted to be that naïve, or caught off guard ever again.

Since I was unable to work, my mother applied for welfare assistance and started collecting benefits. We qualified because I was still under age and because of Derek. I was beginning to feel maybe she wasn't so bad after all, except for the fact that she kept collecting the checks for three more years, while I was back at work 10 days after I delivered the baby! It wasn't until the social worker saw me in my uniform, that she told me my mother had been ripping me off for years! Luckily that put end to her free train ride at my son's expense.

Derek, who is 28 years old now, continues to struggle to find his purpose in life. He is one of the smartest people I know, and I don't say that because he is my son. When he was 4 and ½ years old, he was tested and found to be borderline genius. His IQ was through the roof. Unfortunately, what he had in smarts, he lacked in common sense. He was a great, loving kid growing up. But he struggled in school because of his debilitating asthma and severe, undiagnosed, ADD. Somehow he managed to still do fairly well with the guidance of the right teachers. It wasn't until after my divorce that he started acting out. He got involved in a gang, got arrested over stupid, bone-headed things and finally got kicked out of high school when he was 16 years old. When this happened, we helped him find a program to get his GED. A testament to his intelligence was the fact that he passed all five tests, without having to take any additional classes. Mel helped him get accepted into the AID program at Salem State College. At the end of the eight week program he was accepted as a full time student in college! In a matter of three months he went from being a high school sophomore to a college freshman. After two semesters he felt overwhelmed and withdrew from college. He bummed around for a few years from job to job, trying to find something he could be passionate about. He joined and served in the Army National Guard for awhile. Urrrahhh, Black Hawks! Yet somehow, there was that deep underlying desire to become bigger than where he was at the time.

He had always wanted to be an entertainer. One thing that was very obvious about him was that he was an incredible writer. He has written some of the most thought-provoking short stories I have ever read. I will share some of them with you at a later time.

His true passion is music and rapping. Under the Stage name, KardiaK, with his younger brother, Sacrafyc, they make up the duo CPR. They have created some edgy, urban-vibe, yet deep lyrics with some creative beats. I wasn't into rap at first but through his music I have learned to appreciate his generation's form of expression. Through all of Derek's struggles there is one constant and that is his deep desire to reach for a dream. Even during the times that he has hit what seemed like rock bottom, his music, his dream, still has continued to flourish. I know, as is true with all humans that can hold on to hope, that my son, will one day become the person he really wants to be. I know this because no matter, what happens or what his critics say, he continues to work towards that goal.


Introducing...the Dad!,

  Ladies and gentlemen I introduce you to the main “characters” in this saga I call my life! I will start with my hubby Jose Sr., who we call "Mel". He got this nickname from a buddy of his from the days when he worked under cover, in the drug unit of the Massachusetts State Police.

Why Mel, we have no clue, But it stuck at work, mainly because it protected him from someone accidentally calling him by his real name during an operation! We used it because his family has like a million "Joses"! This way when we call him, we get him!

Mel, is my second husband and I truly believe I got it right! After almost 15 years we are still going strong and have beat the odds of failed second marriages!


Mel was an awesome athlete in high school who played varsity basketball and baseball, in a big urban school. You know he had to be good, this school plays favorites and politics in its athletics, especially in the early 80's. The rule was if your parents were someone's buddy you got to play. Mel's dad was a factory worker and his mom a homemaker, not too much clout there! It was so bad his basketball coach tried to bench him his senior year so he could play his buddy's kid! The rest of the players put an end to that real quick, they told the coach that if my hubby didn't play they would all quit! They did the same thing to him in baseball, he got benched so the coach's buddy's kid could play! Karma got the coach on that one though. A routine pop up to deep field which Mel routinely could catch in his sleep, this kid dropped and cost them the championship bid that year! Karma is a bear I say! Mel made it on pure talent and determination.


Mel could have moved on to a profession in sports but life and an unplanned baby put an end to that prospect. He put his dream of a major league baseball career away forever.

More determined now, but focusing it all on providing a better way of life for his daughter, than the one his parents gave him, he attended college full time. He also worked full-time nights and weekends to support his family.


My husband had learned from a young age to be very self-reliant. His dad was a hard working man who worked two full-time jobs. You would think that would have meant Mel and his brothers were well provided for, but it didn't. What his dad did with his earnings Mel doesn't know, but it definitely did not come into their home. They lived in various low income housing projects and his mom struggled to make ends meet with public assistance and selling various home made treats. He had the most amazing mom, caring and loving. His dad on the other hand was and still is a distant, cool and selfish person.


Mel's freshman year of college he decided to walk on and try out for the basketball team. Now I know that Salem state college isn't exactly in the PAC-10, but at the time my hubby was five foot, nothing and a hundred and ten pounds soaking wet! Thank goodness he has grown a lot since those days! I would have paid to be a fly on the wall that day in the gym!  Can you imagine the looks he must have gotten from the other players and the coaches! Never under estimate this man, he made the team! Unfortunately my husband's self reliance and pride can be a challenge at times.  He needed the small fortune of one hundred and forty seven dollars to pay for medical insurance policy required by the school. When you're raising a baby and paying your own way through college, money is tight to say the least. He didn't have the money and rather than ask his father for a loan, he quietly put away another one of his dreams forever.


What amazes me about him is how he managed to go to college without taking out any loans while supporting his first wife and daughter. I guess this is why I have a hard time when young, single teens, with no kids give me the excuse that they can’t go to school “Cause, I “ain’t” got the money!” Please! I have learned that if you want something bad enough, you find a way.


The other thing I admired about Mel is that he made the Dean's list while attending college. No biggie you say? This man was considered borderline illiterate.  He wasn’t stupid, what he was, was raised by a father who moved the family around so much he attended 11 schools in 13 years! It’s really hard to really get a quality education that way. His first year in college he spent it catching up on all the stuff he missed in Junior high and High school.


Mel as you might have guessed is a Massachusetts State trooper. He has been on the “job” twenty plus years and is eligible for retirement any time now. He has mostly done undercover work, work that he is very good at, but after a while he felt burnt out. Coming from someone who has done undercover work, it’s the hardest, most, dangerous, under -appreciated assignment a cop can do. Its’ no wonder people b2034_02_19masspikeinterstate90bostourn out after just a few years, never mind after as long as he did it. He decided to transfer back to uniform and spent some time doing road tests before going to the Pike (for those non-Bostonians, its specialty highway patrol). My husband also works in the financial service field off and on part time. Go wolf pack!

He has also been helping the boys with their music promotion and has talked about doing that full time or just running his own business, what he really hasn't decided yet. Due to the influence of his father growing up, my husband has struggled with being openly affectionate with the boys. He also has struggled with anger issues that have also interfered with getting closer to the boys. Luckily he has continued to work on it every day and as a result of it he has come a long way to overcome it. He has a great relationship with our kids and the lines of communication are always open. He also continues to work on getting closer to my boys. Mel really loves my boys as his own, but the challenge of knowing how to express it at times has come across as he not caring. Now that my son Eric and Sarah are expecting a son, it really surprised me to see how excited he really is! He won't admit it in public, but he is already thinking of all the ways he can spoil his grandchild! The funny thing is he wants to do it so when the kids say what a grump he is, the grandchildren will think their parents are crazy! If only they knew!

 

My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!


The birth of a nation...eh, I mean a notion!

My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!

A long time ago, no this isn't Star Wars, sorry George and Steve, I started putting together a collection of my journal entries into some type of book form.

My project was put on hiatus due to the technical difficulty of selling our home and moving in December of 2003. As with life when it rains, break out the ark cause its pouring, our “Franken-puter” of a PC decided to make a hasty exit to computer Heaven! Luckily I had copied my stories onto a floppy disk, wow, I so just dated myself!

The entire contents of our house was placed in storage for several weeks until our new home was ready and our entire family was stuck in an extend a stay for all that time,(I'll explain later!)

Needless to say the floppy disk was MIA. Once we finally moved into our new place, no matter how hard I looked for the floppy it was nowhere to be found.

In August of 2005 we were cleaning out our garage for the annual inspection from our landlady when lo and behold we located a long lost box with misc. written on it and you guessed it, the missing floppy was found! Amazing what happens when you clean!

A lot had passed in the almost two years since the floppy was missing, so I decided to go back and update some of the information. In some cases I decided to leave it as it was. I figured even thought it might have been dated or out of place, it still made a good point!

Another two years lapsed before I got anywhere to the stage that it even resembled a book, as you will notice by the different stages our children have gone through within the contents of its entries.

I guess I felt that this made it more like real life. You know, we are just puttering along with babies and diapers when all of a sudden we look up and our kids are grown and on their own. This is where the “what happened?” factor kicks in!

Finally with all technicalities settled, including my own insecurities at finishing this project, I got a book done! But then a funny thing happen on the way to the publisher's! I thought wait, who would really want to read this, never mind publish it? Well I found the perfect person! ME!

I figured in today's age of the world wide web, why not do just that? Web it baby! Can you tell I spent way too much time with my kids? So I searched around, well actually the truth is..life is truly funny!

I was born with my left leg shorter than my right and I guess as a result of this somehow I had an extra bone in my left foot. I know bear with me here, I swear I am actually making a point! Anyway, I got diagnosed ten years ago with the extra bone condition, not the short leg thing, yeah I know. At the time my life was way too crazy to have surgery that would have required me to be on bed rest for a month. (I'll fill you in later to the craziness!) After all this time it was really beginning to get painful, so I finally broke down and got the surgery.

About two weeks into the total bed rest thing and when the thoughts of chewing my leg off so I could be free wouldn't go away, my hubby, we call him Mel, (I'll explain that later too!). Notice how I keep the cliffhangers coming? Got you don't I?

Anyway back to Mel, he asked me if I had been working on my book. Like yeah, totally dude, going for the home stretch as we speak! Yeah right, all I had been doing was discovering how really cool my space was and why do those girls all have the need to show me their butts? As I was surfing the net, I can across a blog called "Empty nest, full life". Well I had been thinking of actually doing a blog but wasn't quite sure how. This blog answered my questions! It introduced me to Typepad!(Not a paid endorsement!) I always wanted to say that! So my thanks go out to Hummingbird mind and your great blog! You showed me the way!

I decided that no publisher needed here! A blog a day will spread my story! Sorry I really stink at rhyming but you get the gist. So welcome one and all and stay tuned as I introduce you to my crazy..I mean amazing family! SJA

1-800-FLOWERS.COM


The best place to start is... the beginning!

My site was nominated for The Blogitzer!

My site was nominated for Best Blog About Stuff!

A lot of times when things are written there are a lot of ulterior motives as to why they are being created.

In my case it was simply the healing process associated with putting one’s thoughts down on paper. This way if we choose to, we can revisit them at a later time when we are truly ready to hear our heart’s sincerest message.

It wasn’t until I had been doing this for years that I realized that there was a common thread throughout all my entries. That correlation was that every time I put something in my journal it had to do with a lesson I had learned that day. The irony was that I didn’t realize a lesson had been learned until I returned later on to re-read a thought or a certain entry. The main lesson that I did learn, and it’s the one that I hope to pass on to anyone that deems this worth reading, is that life is worth living!

Every life no matter how desolate it might seem, has some form of joy hidden within it. I say hidden because at times we need to be willing to look for it. To dig through the muck, and day to day dirt to unearth that most precious possession, self-value.

We go through life wanting to be great, to make an earth shaking difference in our lifetime. We longingly look at the “Oprahs” of the world wishing we too, could do such good deeds to change people’s lives. Yet we forget the most essential of facts, that we as co-inhabitants on this earth are all interconnected. Whether we realize it or not we impact all those around us. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes not so good. Our thoughts, deeds, actions and intentions can affect people for years, sometimes generations to come. Yet we get caught up in thinking that our lives don’t matter, couldn’t, didn’t or won’t make a difference.

How sad it is to shortchange ourselves with these thoughts! I should know, because I lived like that for years. I constantly questioned my worth or value on this earth. Once I looked around me and realized how much we give, day in and day out, without even thinking about it, I came to the conclusion that every life is important and valuable. I also realized that I wasn’t the only one that thought this way. That is when this idea was conceived. the discovery that if I, someone not on a red carpet or Forbes 500 list (yet!) could share my life story with others to inspire them. By sharing my story of everyday life, of simple accomplishments and joys, I could awaken a reality. This reality is that we all have extraordinary lives!

I hope that people will realize that their lives are also a great, marvelous journey worth savoring and enjoying every step of the way. I am not pretending to be a self-help guru, as I can’t even help myself at times! But I do come as a neighbor in this great planet of ours, wanting to share the joy that we can find if we look beyond the material. If we strive to find the things that truly matter at heart.

So I welcome you to this crazy journey I call my life! With all its up and downs, high and lows. Welcome my fellow traveler. My hope is that at the end of your own personal travels, you too discover that you are an ordinary human being living one extraordinary life! SJA

1-800-FLOWERS.COM

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