Author Archives: rbcortez

About rbcortez

I'm Rachel. Wife of Chip. Momma of Morgan. Teacher of many.

One Thousand Eight Hundred Twenty-Six

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It’s extremely difficult to use past tense words when writing about someone you love. It’s not easy to say “she was…….” or “he used to……….” because, in reality, you wish that they were still alive and you could say that “she is” or “he does.”

I’ve struggled with feeling like my aunt’s death was not fair. I’ve selfishly thought to myself that I wished it was someone else, someone not nearly as kind and loving as my aunt. A horrible thought, but I’ve had it nonetheless.

When my aunt died, I was dating Tony. My mom called me minutes after her sister died and while I was trying to wrap my mind around my mother’s words, I felt like I would throw up because my mind was spinning in one thousand directions. My mom had to be lying to me. That’s all I could tell myself. I couldn’t stand to be at my house, left alone with my thoughts, so I drove in the middle of the night to Tony’s house, crawled in bed next to him, and cried. I cried the entire night. I didn’t go to work the next day. I was numb. I was angry actually. Part of me thought that my aunt must feel so much better since her body was no longer suffering, but mostly I was mad that she couldn’t have been cured on this side of eternity. Tony played a huge role in helping me navigate those lonely days after Roxanne died. He was patient and loved me tenderly through a sad, confusing time. I’ll always be grateful for him in those moments.

So here we are, 1,826 days since my aunt slipped into Heaven. Five years. I can honestly say that I’ve missed her every single one of those days. I’ve missed her on good days and bad. I’ve missed her when I had exciting news and when I needed advice. In fact, last month I picked up my phone, and without thinking, I started to type her name in my phone so I could send her a text message. When I realized what I was doing, tears came to my eyes and I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine posted on Facebook about missing her mom who passed away several  years ago. She wrote that “still being sad is so special. How sad it would be for today to just be another day.” This is true for me as another year passes without my aunt. How sad it would be for me to no longer miss her. That would mean that she hadn’t left a legacy in my heart, one that I want to continue on with my nieces and nephews.

Aunt Roxanne, I love you and I miss you. See you in my dreams.

Day Twenty-Two

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Day Twenty-Two: put your music on shuffle and post the first ten songs.

  1. 19 You+Me by Dan + Shay
  2. Neon by Chris Young
  3. In the City by The Eagles
  4. It’s Me by Out of Eden
  5. Let it Go by Pentatonix (Christmas Album)
  6. Angel of the Night by the SteelDrivers
  7. Outskirts of Heaven by Craig Campbell
  8. When We Were Young by Adele
  9. How He Loves by David Crowder Band
  10. The Only Night  by James Morrison

Day Twenty-One

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Day Twenty-One: What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

I’m going to start out by saying that most days, I’m really just winging this whole parenting thing. When Chip and I became parents, we received all kinds of advice on how to or how not to do things. What we’ve learned over the last year and a half of Morgan’s life is that basically it’s a lot of trial and error and finding out what works for us. So what three lessons would I want my daughter to learn from me by the time she spreads her wings and leaves the nest?

  1. Put God first. Morgan, my sweet baby girl, if you will put God first in every single thing you do, EVERYTHING will fall into place. Put God first in your relationships (and I’m not just talking about dating relationships), put Him first in all your hobbies, put him first in your academics – just put him first. Make him a priority.
  2. Believe in yourself. Your dad and I will always be your biggest fans and supporters. We won’t miss a ball game or a rodeo or recital. We will be there cheering you on. Don’t ever doubt yourself. You were made for greatness. Don’t shy away from opportunities. Take life by the horns and accept challenges that grow you! Don’t be afraid to be silly and to laugh or have fun. Put yourself out there and do your best! You’ve got this!
  3. Be kind. There is absolutely no sense in not being nice to others. Trust me, you will come across people in your life that are extremely hard to be kind to. Just do it. Smile at people. Your dad is one of the kindest people on earth and I hope that you see kindness in him and learn from his example. Momma struggles some days, but I do my best. 🙂 Don’t ever think you are better than anyone, because you are not. Love the way Jesus loves you. Spread kindness like confetti. Don’t judge people based on looks, gender, the way they love, who they love, religion, or politics. Just love and be kind.

I love you, Baby Girl. How on earth can you be a year and a half already? Slow down, sweetie.

I love you big. XOXO – Momma

My Weight Watchers Journey

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I’m venturing off the writing prompt path this morning. I don’t care for Day Twenty so I’m skipping it completely. This is my writing challenge and I can do whatever I want, right?!

When I met Chip in 2013, I weighed around 140. Honestly, for my height and build, 140 is not the ideal weight, but it fell in the normal BMI range and I was in pretty good shape. I ran daily and worked out several times a week. I thought I was overweight! HA.

When Chip and I got married, I had let myself gain to about 160. I had started birth control and was pretty much just happy with life.

When I got pregnant with Morgan, I weighed 170. I could tell that the pattern was continuing and if I wasn’t careful, I’d end up gaining way too much pregnancy weight.

Well, I wasn’t careful. I ate bean burritos almost every day. It was the only thing that sounded good. I paid no mind to what I was feeding my body and the number on the scale kept rising and rising and rising. And I didn’t really care.

The day I went in to have Morgan, I weight 245 pounds. A week later, when I left the hospital, I weighed 215. I told myself I’d start eating better and I’d lose a pound a week. That didn’t happen. Habits are hard to break and I’d spent the last couple years mindlessly eating whatever I wanted and putting forth very little physical activity.

When Morgan turned one, I had lost only 11 pounds. I weighed 204 pounds! What had happened to one pound a week?!?!?!?!?! I’d been watching my mom lose weight successfully with Weight Watchers for a few months so I decided to give it a try in November of 2016. I didn’t have very high hopes because I’d tried several other shakes, pills, wraps, and plans the first year of Morgan’s life and hadn’t been successful. All I can say it that in the first couple weeks I lost six pounds and I was hooked. I was eating healthy, not starving, and the weight was falling off. I didn’t have to remember to take a pill at a certain time, I didn’t have to make those nasty shakes every morning – all I had to do was eat healthy.

I have now been following the WW plan for four and half months and I’ve lost 35 pounds and KEPT IT OFF. I have totally changed the way I eat. My husband has even lost quite a bit of weight!! I changed the way I make dinner, my grocery lists look different now, and I never feel deprived.

I have a long, long way to go yet. According to the BMI chart, I’m still in the obese range, but I know that I’ve come a long way since November of last year and that if I continue to live this healthy lifestyle, the pounds will continue to come off and eventually I’ll be in that normal BMI range again. OH – and hopefully I’ll get back to only having ONE chin. HAHA

I can’t believe I’m actually putting my weight out here for everyone to read, but I’m doing it because I want people to know that WW is the best thing that ever happened to me and that if it works for me, it can work for anyone!!!!!

XOXO – Rachel

Day Nineteen

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Day Nineteen: write about your first love.

I haven’t written in several weeks. Being a high school special education teacher during the months of March, April, and May mean that I have very limited time to write for fun. Most of my spare time is consumed with writing transition plans or updating progress reports, grades, and percentages. All the fun stuff that persuades people to become teachers. HA.

Today’s prompt is actually one I’ve avoided as well. On top of not having much extra time, I haven’t really been sure what I would even say about my “first love.” I mean, who was my first love, anyway? I could say that my parents were the first people I truly loved as a small child. I could even say that my dog named Bonnie was the first pet I ever really loved. Or I could write about the boy who swept me off my feet at age 16 when I thought puppy love was all we needed.

Instead I want to write about my daughter. My girl. My tiny, sassy, energetic, funny, baby girl. When Morgan was born, my husband started referring to her as Baby Girl and it has just kind of stuck. She’s not much of a baby anymore, more of a toddler really, but Baby Girl is what she is called a lot of the time. My parents call her Mo and her friend, Finley, calls her Morgy. Jaden and Karlee call her Baby Morgan, and I’m sure that when Morgan is 10 years old, they will still call her Baby Morgan.

I’ve been fortunate in that I was raised by parents who loved me immensely and I never wondered for a second if they didn’t. I’ve always wanted to a be a mother myself, but had no idea the love that I would feel when I held her in my arms for the first time. When I found out that I was pregnant, I instantly had this feeling of love for the tiny human growing inside me. I remember the doctor asking if I wanted to do any testing to see if the baby had Down’s syndrome and I said no. She asked me why and I told her that it didn’t matter to me; I loved this baby no matter what. I can’t describe how it felt to find out I was pregnant other than it felt like I had loved this little person my entire life. I already knew that no matter what, there was nothing that would make me not love him or her.

When I went in to have Morgan, I pushed for several hours before having an emergency C-section. I was totally out for the entire surgery and I don’t remember any of the moments right after her delivery. This makes me sad to think of, but I know that the doctors were doing whatever it took to keep me and Morgan alive and healthy. When I got back to the room and was finally waking up, the nurse handed Morgan to me. She laid her on my bare chest so that both our skin was touching. There will never be adequate words to describe how I felt in that moment. Maybe it was the drugs; maybe it was a natural high that comes only from a maternal bond. Either way, I had never felt that way in my entire life. I loved this baby girl so much. She was mine. My little girl. The girl that would grow up to be my best friend. The girl that might be super annoyed by me in high school, but would know that I was her biggest fan and supporter. My girl.

As this year and five months have flown by, my love for has only grown deeper. Sometimes I look at her and think how could I be so lucky to be her momma. When she wakes up in the morning, she yells “MOMMA MOMMA MOMMA MOMMA” from her room until I go in to get her. And she’s always smiling. I think about how much I love her and how I never knew love like this until I became a mom. I think about how there is literally nothing in this world that would make me not love her. NOTHING. Then I think about how God loves me in that same way. I mean, that right there is love beyond measure. There’s nothing I could do that would make him turn his back on me.

I love you, Baby Girl. You are my whole world. You are my first love. Forever.

Love, Momma

Day Eighteen

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Day Eighteen: post 30 facts about yourself.

THIRTY? Really? This could take a couple days to write.

  1. I was born in Neosho, MO.
  2. I am 30 years old.
  3. I have two brothers, both younger.
  4. I am a special education teacher and I love my job.
  5. I love fresh picked flowers.
  6. I love summer.
  7. I hate winter.
  8. I’m insecure.
  9. I overthink everything.
  10. I lived in Dallas for two years.
  11. I’ve traveled to the Philippines.
  12. I’ve traveled to Mexico a lot.
  13. I’ve traveled to West Africa.
  14. I’ve traveled to Jamaica.
  15. I’ve traveled to the Cayman Islands.
  16. I can’t go a day without coffee.
  17. I don’t want anyone to talk to me until I’ve been awake for at least an hour.
  18. I love to shop online.
  19. I just love to shop.
  20. Camping is one of my favorite hobbies, but is a lot harder with a one year old.
  21. I almost always have a garden, but as stated above, everything is harder with a one year old.
  22. I’ve been married almost three years.
  23. I’m named after my great-grandmother Rachel Cantwell.
  24. I am a quarter American Indian.
  25. I have played the piano since I was five.
  26. My favorite food is sushi.
  27. I’m only 5’1″, but I wish I was about four inches taller.
  28. I love to give.
  29. I am horrible at responding to texts. HORRIBLE.
  30. I’m glad this is done.

XOXO

Day Seventeen

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Day Seventeen: post about your zodiac sign, and whether or not it fits you.

Born October 22, I fall under the sign of Libra. For the most part, I think most of the Libra characteristics define me with the exception of a few.

Some of the positive traits of a Libra are that they tend to be tactful, romantic, charming, diplomatic, and balanced. Most Libras are driven by their feelings of love. They are easy to talk to and are really good at talking. This also brings up the point that Libras are willing to listen to differing points of view. Most of the time, Libras will choose the middle path in order to please everyone. We are most definitely striving to please people. This can be good and bad at the same time. Libras find it hard to say no which can lead to feeling overwhelmed at times. Learning to say no has been one of my biggest personal struggles.Life sometimes feels like a juggling act and I’m learning how to find a healthy balance. But the good in this trait is that I do love to help people.

For every positive characteristic of a Libra, there is a negative trait to go with it. Libras are sometimes extremely superficial. I find myself focusing on outer beauty and this is why I often times have an unhealthy opinion of my own body. A lot of times, Libras are detached, unreliable, and extremely indecisive. YES, YES, and YES. I hate to admit those things about myself, but they are true. I am the world’s worst at backing out last minute. If you and I make plans, there is a huge chance I will back out. It’s not because I don’t want to hang out with people. I just really like to be home in my pajamas. And please, don’t ever ask me to make a quick decision. This drives my husband crazy. We were at a store this weekend and I couldn’t ever make up my mind about buying a hat that I liked. I actually went to the store three times and never bought the hat because I just couldn’t decide if I loved it enough to buy it. That’s a small decision. If it’s a decision that could be potentially life changing, I will probably die before the decision is ever made. I hate making decisions.Libras are very laid back, though. My theory is that most Libras are emotionally lazy – or laid back – so that they can avoid stress. We are often comforted by material things. This is why I always have Amazon boxes waiting for me on the porch when I get home from work.

When I read this, I think to myself – gosh, Libras kind of suck. HAHA. Self-indulgent people who are driven by materialistic wants. Indecisive, superficial, and unreliable members of society. WOW. But we love with a deep, deep love. We are passionate. We love to make people happy. It’s a fine line.

To all the Libras out there – here’s to another day of not wanting to make decisions, not being able to say no, and to overthinking everything. 🙂 XOXO