Monday, June 2, 2014

A couple, two pups, and a baby on the way

25 days ago I found out I was going to be a mom. Today, Jesse and I will go to the doctor for the first ultrasound. 

Motherhood is something that half the population of the world experiences, yet I can't help but to feel in complete awe, bewilderment, astonishment, happiness beyond boundaries that I'm on the path to experiencing it myself. Right now, I'm nervous, so so nervous. I want to hear that heartbeat so that it can all be confirmed. I'm healthy and have been so incredibly fortunate so far in my life and can't imagine everything not being ok, but still I won't be able to shake the fear until I know that everything's still right on track. 

Being a mother was something I looked up to and admired, but never thought I would want to experience. I always figured that I'd leave that to the ladies that couldn't dream of anything else. Me, well I was content knowing that I could have a career and live a solitary life. 

That all changed when Jesse's love and compassion shook me right to my core. With him I want a marriage, a family, a life of partnership and parenthood. We were engaged last June and talked about having kids as soon as we were married, but I think secretly we knew our impatience could possibly intervene. And that it did. While we weren't actively trying, we found ourselves on a Friday night contemplating whether it could really be possible. Two positive pregnancy tests later, and there we were in complete disbelief. Shock came first, and then joy that could not be measured. 

But, I'd be lying if I said we weren't worried. Still, the fear and worry overwhelms us. Not because we don't feel capable, but because our lives are better than we could ever imagine to the point that it scares us. Could life really be this incredible and giving? Could we really be this fortunate? I need to give more, I need to do more, I need to be more to deserve all the gifts that the universe has laid out for me. Yet, how selfish of me to let self doubt trump the immense joy that I'm feeling. We haven't told anyone but our parents yet, and maybe having to hold in the news is also causing me to hold in my joy. 

Trust that Jesse and I are happy, so insanely happy; so happy that we have names picked, so happy that together we dream of the parents we want to be and of the life we want to provide for our child, so happy that I look in the mirror and cry tears of joy because I know that inside of me a light of love and passion is growing. Still, our nerves and stress and fear are eating us up and they will until 2:10pm today when the sound of our baby's beautiful heartbeat can put all the fears to rest. 

This post was originally written on Tuesday, May 27. Today we're overjoyed, everything's smooth sailing, and we're ready to share the great news!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Ditching the Take-Out

My first 10K! 

I've always been the type of person who thoroughly enjoys exercise. Truly, I do. Getting started, well that's always a bit of a mountain to climb but once I get going, I'm telling you I just love it! Now, I'll be the first to admit that I have my bouts of week long laziness(ahem, maybe more than 1 week), but eventually I always get back into some sort of routine. For the past couple of months, dance class two to three times a week suited my need for physical activity. But now that our recital has come and gone, I am beyond excited to be able to get in some mindless but regimented workouts. By mindless, I mean to say that there is no choreography involved. Y'all, dance is one of my biggest passions and a part of me that I hold so dearly in my heart, but ya girl was struggling to keep up this year with all the incredible choreography that my fellow dancers brilliantly came up with. So, I'm relieved that my mind can take it easy, and I can once again challenge my body to gain strength and endurance at my own pace.

Natarajasana at Glacier Point in Yosemite.
Jesse and I vowed to stay committed to exercising regularly and eating healthier. This time we're not giving up! (we're not the only ones who give up after just three weeks right??) And like I said, the exercise segment of this program will be a snap, but eating healthy.. man oh man, I'll be searching for every ounce of willpower inside of me. Oddly enough, Jesse is quite the opposite which means that we'll be able to really push each other to keep going. Every legit article you read mentions eating 5-6 meals a day including 2-3 snacks along with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And I've got to say, it's a sound method to kick your metabolism into high gear. It seems like after the age of 25, you really have to have a complete and well-rounded food AND exercise plan if you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And that's really what our goal is.

I've always been the girl that was never fat but never ever thin. I've got child bearing hips and thighs that could rival tree stumps. Luckily, my mom raised me to always wear my pants above my hips, suck in my belly always, and wear clothes that fit me properly. That's something that I am so grateful for because despite my size and weight, people have always told me that I hold my weight well. That's always been really hard for me to accept though because even if I don't look gigantic it's a real bummer to skip certain aisles or racks in some of my favorite clothing stores and boutiques. (Umm boutiques, why does your large feel like an extra small?) But alas, these days I choose to focus on living a healthier lifestyle instead of losing weight just to fit into a pretty dress. With health as my main focus, a smaller dress or pants size will just be an added bonus. 

Our meals will look a lot more like this nowadays.
Admittedly, the past four years have not been my healthiest. I gained, what I like to call, happy weight. Jesse and I have enjoyed gatherings with our family and friends never forgetting to include libations and delicious sustenance. But starting now, we're hoping to be more balanced. We want to be examples of health and happiness to our children one day and I'm not sure that six packs (of beer) and take out twice (OK thrice) a week is going to get us there. So, here's to a healthier lifestyle. Wish us luck!

from my heart to yours,


P.S. Tomorrow I'll post some of my favorite exercise routines (mostly running and yoga) and healthy recipes!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

under construction ..

Normally, I'm not the type of girl to jump into something without making sure I've got all my little duckies in a row. Except for this one time when I decided I wanted to become a blogger. Am I in over my head? In other words, am I lost? The answer.. a resounding YEP!

I've been doing my fair share of research and, believe it or not, I'm so glad I took the leap and just did it. So far, my little corner here on the line (The Internship reference; gah, I love that movie!) hasn't gotten much love other than from my sweet sister-in-law. (Love you Jen!) BUT, I'm driven, now more than ever, to make this little vision of mine come alive. So, wish me luck! .. And be sure to keep checking in as the design and content will get a tad bit more interesting. 

For now, a sneak peek at our super fun engagement sessions.. Photo by the super talented South Louisiana photographer Mark Eric and his incredible team at Sweet Lovely Weddings

From my heart to yours,

Ellie :  )

Monday, March 24, 2014

Letting Go of a Legacy

The ladies in my life have always worked. My grandmother first came to the United States from Tampico, Mexico with five children in tow and loaded with an arsenal of work ethic and determination. She and my grandfather worked tirelessly to make a name for themselves. Today they are the proud owners of the first mexican restaurant to stake claim in the Houma/Thibodaux bayou region. As a small girl, I remember watching my mom get dressed for work and waiting for her to get home in the evenings. She worked hard to provide a happy home for my brother and me, and supplied us with an example of what it was to truly earn a living. Growing up, I would imagine myself getting all dressed up in Banana Republic and J.Crew suiting separates with a coffee in hand ready to take on the day. I knew that I wanted to work like my mom and grandmother had. I knew that I wanted to be a woman in the business world. Still today, I have visions of the things I want to do with my career. I must continue to remind myself that all good things come in due time.

I didn't always know what I wanted to do. And having a family business right at your finger tips is exciting and daunting all at the same time. I can remember in high school, people would tell me how great it must be to know that I had a job just waiting for me. My reply : "Oh no way, I never want to work in the restaurants. Work and family don't mix." Instead, I wanted to be an architect, a civil engineer, interior designer, anything.. whatever would keep me away from the restaurants. I vowed that no matter what I would never let anything come between my family and me, and I was just certain that at some point working with them would lead to conflict, disagreements, ill feelings. That was something I did not want to ever experience.

You know, you hear of families being torn apart because they had disagreements over rights or money. Part of me was always scared that I would be a testament to those stories at some point, and that's just not something I could have on my conscience. But then another part of me thought that I needed more of a challenge. That working for the family was too easy. (You should know,  I'm that girl that takes the longest distance from point A to point B because it usually turns out to be the most rewarding path.)

Well, I broke that vow to myself to never work in the restaurants because after submitting my resume and applications to countless OTHER restaurants, as well as retail stores, coffee shops, etc., I was left with very little options and a car note that wasn't going to pay itself. I succumbed to the pressures, I started working at La Casa Del Sol. I was a hostess, cashier, busser, expeditor, server, and eventually worked my way up to management. It worked out quite well, actually. I was able to work as a manager and use my first few months as a management internship that counted as college credits. As always, I worked with an open heart and gave it all I had. By the time I was in my senior year of business school, I was applying everything that I was learning to my job. And here is where my fear became realized. I was doing a good job, I was organizing promotional events on my own, I was reducing our liquor costs, I was doing everything I thought needed to be done. I've learned, however, that sometimes when you do well at your work, you sometimes are faced with envy or disdain. And from your own family, envy and disdain can be hurtful. All I needed was a small taste of it to know that I wasn't up for the repercussions that could follow. At least, not then.

And so, just like that, another opportunity presented itself and I took it. In the two years that followed, I worked on getting my MBA and worked my way up the ladder at my new job. After only a year I was asked to take the position of Training and Warranty Development Administrator for a heavy truck dealership with five different locations throughout Louisiana. During that time, I made every effort to hone in and improve upon the skills I was acquiring in grad school. I was applying everything I was learning in my management, finance, and strategy classes to my daily tasks, and I was making a good impression on those around me. The sense of accomplishment was rewarding, but my lack of passion for the industry was palpable. I wanted to be in the industry that I knew so well. I yearned for a place in the restaurant industry. It's what I love, truly. And it's what I'm good at.

Today, I'm back at La Casa Del Sol! After a little soul searching and planning for my future, I decided to take the leap and ask for a job. I was welcomed back with open arms and the joy that it brought to my heart catapulted me into my work. It's funny how the universe has a way of laying out life it the most wonderful way. In the past  I was afraid to approach questionable issues head on when it had to do with my family. Mostly because I never want to make people upset with me. Today, I realize that sometimes you have to bite the bullet and hope for the best AS LONG AS your intentions are pure and honest.

During that soul searching, I made it a point to consider my future, my cousins' futures, my brothers' and sister's futures, without the restaurants. Well, really, we'd get along just fine. But I thought back to my grandparents and everything they sacrificed to get where they are and it made me angry to think that I could just let it all go. My siblings, cousins and I, we're the next generation. We're so capable, and it would be a shame not to work together to keep this legacy going. That's what brought me back. The hope for a sustainable future and the carrying on of a legacy, that's what brought me back. Hope that, despite the envy and disdain, despite the confrontations, my family and I can get along to move forward and lead the industry in our area and to be an example of what a family can accomplish.

I see so many great things on the horizon. Those visions I have about my career seem to be unfolding quite beautifully, and all is right in the world.

from my heart to yours,



P.S. Currently, La Casa Del Sol is working on developing a new drink menu. My cousin, Sophia, and her team have been working diligently on this project and cannot wait to get it rolling and out to our customers. If you're in the area, be on the lookout! If you don't live around here but plan on making a trip to the area, please join us!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

"One day she stopped letting fear hold her back and chose to live bravely. From then on she flew."

When your life ends up just where you imagined it always would, you begin to question which decision it was that got you there. Because obviously, you want to make sure you keep making decisions like that one ALL THE TIME. Then, it hits you, it's not about one decision, it's not about just one choice, it's about the series of choices you've made your whole life. Turns out, amongst a plethora of very unwise decisions, I must've made a few goods ones, and the combinations worked out just great.

my jesse and me

This year, I'll be 27, living with a wonderful man in my childhood home, mother of two silly pups, and a bride-to-be. I'm so happy it scares me, but then I let go of that fear and realize that life is too short to worry about what could happen. Instead, I choose to live fully and enjoy every glass of wine, every episode of Breaking Bad, every family get together, every new pair of shoes, every cheese plate, taco, and bowl of gumbo. I'll enjoy quiet nights at home, busy days at work, stressful days of wedding planning. I will enjoy and cherish all of it, and I'll share most of this with you.

Ellie : ]