Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Our "surprise" baby

How ironic is it to think that my last post was about sadness and loss and the eagerness to find the right words to say when the wrong thing happens... and now I am back to write about a blessing that just came into our lives... a "surprise" baby. 
I know all most of my friends and family members are totally surprised to find that we are expecting again.. believe me.. so are we.. we have gone through every possible emotion in the spectrum... first it was shock, then anger, fear, denial, hesitation, disbelief and after a while came happiness which has slowly turned into gratefulness and anticipation. 

Here's the back story... I had been feeling very sick for 3 weeks and by sick I mean MISERABLY sick.. crazy nausea that would give me chills, unmanageable fatigue, sensitivity to smells, foods, etc. I told myself my body could be "off" from a very rocky start to the year (we had all been sick with strep, bronchitis and such).. time went by and I admitted that "something" was up since feeling so miserable could not be my "status quo". I asked Iggy to drive me to the pharmacy and I bought a two-pack pregnancy test to convince myself that it was probably all in my head; after all, we had the "perfect" little family of four with two kids meticulously spaced in age and already independent enough for my liking..
I peed in a cup (in case I needed some *extra* pee for the 2nd test...sorry TMI) and as soon as I took the test with Iggy by my side...there they were, DARK and BRIGHT.. TWO LINES! I almost fainted, I started to cry and told myself this wasn't possible... How could this happen to ME? The person who counts days and plans everything to the "T", surely this had to be a joke... and a very cruel one too!
I decided that the two-pack test I had bought was defective.. yeah..that was it.. defective tests.. two in a had to be! So off to the pharmacy again to buy two more tests.. I quickly dipped them into my pee cup (yes I saved the pee) and boom..there it was again.. a positive result... TWO additional positive results... Ok.. now it was real.. OMG.. this is REALLY happening.. I felt dizzy.. my first instinct was to call a friend who had a "surprise" baby a few years back when her twin daughters were 10 years old... She answered and I said "I need a friend"; her voice sounded shaky when she said "what's wrong?" and the words just wouldn't come out of my mouth.. to which she quickly reacted by saying "are you pregnant???"... and for the first time I said it out loud.. Yes! I am PREGNANT!
The next few hours were made up of a mix of emotions, most of which were bad. I can't say I was disappointed but I definitely wasn't "happy".. and as much as I hate to admit that happiness was not my initial feeling, I gotta be honest and say that it took me a while to digest the news. As much excitement as a new baby brings, it also brings a lot of fears, responsibilities and trouble (and I say this in the most loving way possible).  I guess I wasn't sure we were ready for this! I know it's not the end of the world, but this was definitely a curve ball!

A few hours later, I told my mom and spoke to Iggy about it.. He seemed strangely happy and calm; he very lovingly told me "We got this!" and just went on with this day.  I kept asking myself why he wasn't freaking out or getting upset about the news, but that's how my husband is....loving, patient and understanding and that's exactly how he reacted... Thank you, my love!
Of course I took another test (a digital this time), just to be EXTRA sure... Iggy just kept laughing and telling me to save the money for diapers instead! ha ha ha!

I spent the next few days working through my emotions; trying to figure out what exactly I was feeling and processing the prospect of a new baby and the impending changes in our family dynamics.  I scheduled a doctor's appointment and bought prenatal vitamins... I was ready to accept it.. I was ready to get excited and happy about it.  
I had a few of the sweetest people approach me and tell me their "surprise" baby stories and they helped me realize that my feelings were completely normal and acceptable.  I wasn't crazy! I wasn't being an ungrateful mother who rejects a blessing from God; I was simply reacting like any person would to this kind of news.. so, to those people who reached out.. thank you... (you know who you are).. your words meant the world to me and you are the reason I was able to jump from shock/denial/anger to happiness and excitement. 
My appointment went on without a hitch, everything looked great and normal; turns out I am 8 weeks along and was given an estimated due date of October 2nd.  I hesitated when making the decision of when to tell the "world" about the news but then I said "hell, I'm ecstatic! and babies should be celebrated for however long we have them!" So here are my news... We're having a baby! and we are excited as heck and we are praying hard for a healthy and successful pregnancy and we can't wait to hold this little one...and whether or not something goes wrong (I am aware many things can happen), THIS is a happy time, which is meant to be celebrated because it is a BIG DEAL!

So thank you, everyone for your kind and congratulatory words.  Thank you for the good vibes and positive energy and most importantly, THANK YOU GOD for blessing our family again and for gifting us with new life and a reason to celebrate! This has been an incredibly humbling experience and it has changed our life already! May our baby grow healthy and strong during the next 32 weeks! :)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Sharing Sadness

There's something about "sharing" sadness that makes me feel so torn. One on hand, I know that understanding someone else's sadness helps that other person so much but on the other hand, I wish I could take that sadness away completely instead of having to "share" it with a loved one. It's so painful to see people suffering around me; not being able to do more than wipe someone's tears or say a few comforting words can be very frustrating...and that's exactly what I felt yesterday after we received the dreaded call informing us that Iggy's grandma had suddenly passed away. 
How sad, how terribly sad that moment was...seeing the tears stream down Iggy's face.  In that instant I wanted to suffer FOR him instead of suffering WITH him; I wanted to take his pain away and come up with something to say that would make him feel better, something that would make him see that if I could take that sadness and feel it alone, I would. 
Death is so incredibly painful, we can't make sense of it and as we start think of the void in our hearts we tend to feel overwhelmed and question our ability to "move on" without that person in our lives. I guess that's what Iggy is feeling right now; he's trying to make sense of her passing, of the idea of her absence and thinking about the memories that she leaves behind. 
I am just here...sharing his sadness, trying to make him feel better and grasping this new reality where there are no more "great-grandmas" in our family (she was the last one alive) and where life must go on with the hope that she is now in heaven resting in peace and watching us all from above. 

Today I pray for Yolanda's soul and for our family's peace and comfort.  I thank God that I was lucky enough to meet her and blessed to have seen her just a couple of months ago.  I am thankful that the girls got to enjoy her and hope that they will always cherish the time they spent together. 
Rest in Peace, abuela! You will be missed!

Iggy's last picture with Yolanda...

A "rare" moment, where all the great-grandkids are pictured together with their grandma and great-grandma! We will forever cherished this moment...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

100 Days of School

The girls celebrated "100 Days of School" today and it was such fun for them. 
They spent the day having fun with their classmates doing all sorts of crafts and activities. 
Gaby had to decorate a t-shirt and she did a gum ball machine, which looked so adorable. 
Olivia had to decorate a cap with a religious motive, and she came up with the idea of writing Bible passages on it, which I thought was so cute. 

Every time these milestones happen, it always hits me... MY KIDS ARE GROWING UP! Wow.. Time flies and I can't seem to make it stop.  As much as I try to capture every moment and freeze it in time, so many things happen so fast that I'm sure I'm failing at keeping all the memories alive. 
I love to see how my kids are thriving in school and in every aspect of their lives... even when the days seem to go wrong and when I feel I am doing a horrible job as a mother, my kids always remind me that there isn't a right or wrong, as long as things are done with love. 

Kids don't get hung up on our mistakes and they certainly don't need to know what feeling like a "failure" is like, but God knows there are days that are harder than others and us in our human capacity cannot possibly control it all as much as we try. I've had a lot of "those days" lately, but somehow my girls always love me through everything..even the not so good days!

I am thankful that my kids remind me of how precious life is and how grateful they are to be living it with me in it!

Happy 100 Days, kids! ;)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Movie Review: "American Sniper"

Most of my movie reviews usually involve a children's film so I almost feel strange to the world of R-rated movies and the complexity of the commentaries they demand, but America Sniper made such an impact on me that I have decided to venture out and review it to the best of my capacity.
First of all, I am a naturalized American City, so some people may argue that I will never experience the love for this country that many natives may come to know; of course, I beg to differ since I LOVE America just as much (and sometimes unequivocally even more!) than anyone who had the privilege of being born here. This movie really showed how much passion is behind someone dedicating their life to service and the inspiration to protect a country you love innately.
American Sniper is based on the life of Navy Seal Chris Kyle, famously dubbed as the "most lethal" sniper in U.S. history.  Credited with more than 160 kills, Christ Kyle made a career with the military and completed 4 tours abroad putting it all on the line to protect America.
Because the movie is a real life story it awakens more passion from the viewer since its start and Bradley Cooper does at incredible job in bringing this character to life.
The movie flows very easily and the story is developed in such a way that the viewer is engaged at all times.  We see both sides of Chris Kyle and get to experience the same passion and anguish he felt when out there in combat as well as the effects that war can have on a soldier.  We also see Chris' wife, portrayed amazingly by Sienna Miller, who supports her husband throughout the hardest period of his life and suffers through his absence and dangerous life choices and feels overjoyed whenever he returns home safely.
During the movie, the viewers get to experience the camaraderie among members of the military and the pain that comes with losing  partners and friends that experience war together.
The movie is not short of some incredibly realistic war scenes, cruel killings and ruthless battles with the enemy which provide a complete perspective on the war and the motives of such bellicose behavior from American soldiers.
I personally enjoyed this story very much and believe it is well executed by all involved. This one gets 4 out 4 stars from me and I recommend it to anyone interested in a part of American history.
Great movie!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

5.5 & 7.5

 Yesterday Gaby turned 5.5 years old and during the past 6 months I have seen the most changes in her personality since she was born.  I could sit here and write exclusively about how wonderful and sassy my daughter is (and she totally is all that!) but OMG is she a complicated little girl! And I promise I say that in the most loving way possible... She has turned out to be the most stubborn and bossy little person and as much as I like to think those are "good" traits that could turn into even better things in her adult life, I have such a hard time dealing with her sometimes. She has a mind of her own and there's just no changing that.  Gaby is the most loving little girl I know, but she can be whiny and demanding when we least expect it and that is the hardest part about having a "5 going on 15" girl for a daughter.
She enjoys movies, music, coloring and pretend play.  She also LOVES fashion and accessories and is super girly..and cats..she LOVES cats. She is reading above grade level and definitely enjoys all kinds of books; I really love it when she reads to me (or the cats!) and she is very proud of her accomplishments in that area.
Gaby loves little dolls, My Little Pony and the Ninja Turtles.  She also claims to be "IN LOVE" with a little boy from her class; she is so infatuated by him and I think *it* could qualify as her "first" love.  It's cute and funny... but mostly cute since I know there will be a time where I know longer think it's funny...she really hates it when I trivialize her "love" for Daniel.. wow!  Gaby also loves singing and dancing and knows pretty much all the lyrics to every Taylor Swift song or anything that plays on the radio, honestly...I've got quite the performer here!
Gaby, I know that one day you will read all this, so please know that we love you so much but you need to get a handle on your "moodiness" and learn to enjoy life for what it is.  You are one amazing little girl and we are so proud of everything you do.  I love how creative and spontaneous you are and you make us laugh every day! Happy "half" birthday, little one! Stay sweet... and bossy! ha

My other little lady turns 7.5 today and of course I have to write about her too!  Let's start with the fact that the "pre-teen" stage came way too early with Olivia, and again, I say that in the most loving way possible.  Boy can girls be complicated!  Olivia is funny and most of the time she's in a good mood, but if her mind is "short fused", please run in the other direction! Olivia can go from happy-go-lucky to cranky pants in a matter of seconds and she sheds tears like there's no tomorrow.  I definitely think she could have a career in acting and could probably audition (and get) any drama role she aspires to! Ha!
She loves singing and playing the piano and her musical abilities are undeniable.  She is also a great dancer, tennis player and writer.  She always asks me to post her stories on my blog and I really should get around to doing so, they are very impressive!
Olivia is the most amazing big sister there is and as much as she bickers with her little sister, she protects her and cares for her about twice the times she bickers so I guess that cancels out the negatives. She is such a faithful little girls and LOVES going to mass; of course that makes me very happy, especially since she will be getting her First Communion soon so her excitement about God and prayer makes me think that we're doing "something" right as far as faith foundation goes.
Olivia, whenever you read this, please know that you are so loved and so admired by us. You have grown into such a special little person and our family is better with you in it.  We love your personality and life can never be dull with your wonderful sense of humor.
Happy "half" birthday, little lady! Stay funny...and whiny! ha!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Welcome 2015

It has taken me over a week to kick off my blog this year and talk about plans, resolutions and all that good stuff. 
As much as I hate to say it, this year started off on an "unhealthy" note for us, with Iggy getting a bad stomach virus on January 1st and then BOTH girls getting Strep within the same week. Then, as much as I tried to remain healthy for the well-being of our family, I ALSO got sick with bronchitis and I'm still getting over it. So needless to say, even with my disposition to blog ever present, it has been a very rough few days!
We spent New Year's Eve/Day in Tampa with some of my in-laws who were visiting from different parts of the world. We stuck to our Venezuelan tradition and had some delicious food and ate 12 grapes at's always fun to see how to girls take to our roots and follow our holiday traditions. 

The girls spent some time with their cousin Isabella who lives in Ohio. It was great to see them playing and having so much fun together! 

Our typical Christmas dish (includes Hallacas, ham bread, roast pork and a salad) was very delicious!

So, because I'm not one to make huge resolutions (I rarely stick to those!),  I will write down my intentions for the year instead.  To me, 2015 will be the year of healthy eating, money saving, spiritual growth and appreciation.  I intend to take better care of my body by eating less sugar/fat; I also plan on learning (and teaching my kids) to appreciate everything I have and everything I am capable of doing. 
I hope this is also a year of traveling (when is it not!? LOL!), family adventures and self improvement.  As cliche as all of these "intentions" sound, they are really all I need to focus on.  I want to be more patient, more caring and definitely more understanding. 

Cheers to a wonderful 2015! 

Happy Blogging! 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014: Year in Review

As this year comes to a close, I will attempt to do a bit of a review of all the wonderful experiences we had.  It will be more of a photo dump than anything else, because..well... pictures are worth a thousands words and they are just more fun than a bunch of writing.... 
So here it is... month with all our family members...
The girls celebrated 100 days of school and did a bunch of crafts.. more than I can count! ;)
February was full of celebrations, including Erika's 7th birthday... wow.. time flies...
This is, ironically, the last picture we took of Grandma before she passed away in March.  She was so happy celebrating that day.  I will forever cherish this picture....
March was a great month! I finally lived my dream of "re-living" our honeymoon with our kids.  We had a great time during our first family trip to San Francisco; undoubtedly one of my favorite cities in the US. 
I even recreated some of the pictures I had taken... with kids this time around! :)
April was AMAZING (and that's a serious understatement) as I lived yet another of my dreams, the one of taking our kids to Europe for the first time.  We visited Paris, Helsinki and Barcelona and introduced the girls to "transatlantic" traveling.  They had such an amazing time and it was one of the greatest family experiences to date... we hope to be able to do it again soon! :)
Here we are with our family in Finland! :)
During our trip, we had the opportunity of spending quality time with some of our favorite family members and the girls will forever remember this trip....
We also moved to a new house and get to enjoy this wonderful view every day! :)
May was full of great memories too.. We celebrated Mother's Day and the blessing of being together!
Olivia received her first official school award, "Wonderful Writer Award"; she makes me so proud and I love reading all her wonderful stories! :)
In June, little Gaby had her first dance recital.  She danced ballet and tap and did such a great job.  I discovered Gaby isn't shy at all and she really loves being on stage!
The kids also finished off another school year.  Olivia finished 1st grade and Gaby did her last year of pre-school.. by the end of the school year they had both learned so many new things...
July was full of summer fun.  They had a great time with friends before we set off to spend 3 weeks in Panama...
We celebrated daddy's and the girls' birthdays in Panama.  What a great opportunity we had to get to know life in a different country.  While in Panama, we reunited with my aunt Laurita after a few years and visited the Panama Canal and other important landmarks in that wonderful country. 
As soon as we came back, it was time of some "summery" fun.  Olivia started her golf camp again and we had some great times at the pool. Summer was almost done so the girls made sure to squeeze in all the fun before going back to school....
August was also the month when we got another kitty, "Stella".  She was a 6 week old tabby who took to our home right away... she has been great!
By the end of August it was back to school time.  Here are the girls on their first day of Kindergarten and Second grade!
September rolled around and it was time to hit the road again.. Disney it was! We purchased annual passes (again!) and enjoyed some amazing times at the happiest place on earth! ;)
Gaby's first time on "Splash Mountain", which she absolutely LOVED even though we sort of "tricked" her into getting on! Way to go, Gaby! :)
October was the time of pumpkin patches and costume parties.  The weather was insanely HOT but we sure had a lot of "fall" fun! :)
During November we went on our second Disney cruise..what fun!
This time we visited Cast Away Cay, Bahamas and had a great time on the ship, which happened to be decorated for Christmas!... we LOVED it...
...and then came December, my favorite month of all.  
We got a visit from grandpa and the girls loved having him around....
It was also  time to celebrate another year of life with friends and family... I had a good 33rd birthday with not one but TWO amazing celebrations....
We also traveled to Charleston, SC, Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, FL.  The weather wasn't always perfect but we had a great time...
This was the first year we celebrated Christmas "alone", meaning just the 4 of us.  We were in a cabin in Hilton Head, SC and even though it felt a little lonely, it was great to have a quiet Christmas for a change....
And with that I finish my review of 2014.  Even though it was the year I lost my beloved Grandma, it was also the year many of my dreams came true and when I experienced, once again, the many blessings of God in my life.  I am forever grateful for all the experiences of 2014 as well as all the people in my life.  Not a day goes by that I don't thank our creator for always looking out for my family and I and for allowing us to live the fulfilling and incredible life that we have!
Here's to another happy year! God bless you all!