Saturday, March 25, 2017

1.5

If somebody had asked me a year and a half ago if I could be a "boy mom" I probably would have said "no way", I still remember the moment I found out I was pregnant and how terrified I was...then a few months later when we found out it was boy, that fear just grew..I was so used to pink and bows and there I was getting ready to raise a little boy that showed up unexpectedly! I figure it sounds silly sometimes, but I was genuinely shocked and scared...

Fast forward to today and our little boy is turning 18 months! These 18 months have been undoubtedly among the most exciting of our lives and this little person, this God sent, gives us so much joy that I can't possibly put it into words...I knew God was good but He really outdid himself with Oliver...
He is the most energetic little guy but such a calm presence at the same time; somehow he relays such peace and manages to give out the most positive energy. He loves music and can bust the funniest moves...it's really funny to see him "shake his booty" whenever he hears any kind of music. 
He eats like a maniac and loves snacking throughout the day. Surprisingly enough he's still breastfeeding, which I never thought was possible but here he is, a boob-a-holic and proud of it; he usually goes around yelling "teta, teta" and pulling on my shirt demanding to be fed. I always thought I'd never be THAT mom who would "allow" that, but life happens and I just roll with it...

Oliver loves Mickey Mouse and he's already turning into a Disney fan like the rest of his family.  We have taken him to Disney a few times and by now he's a pro at the rides and thoroughly enjoys the action. 
He loves iPad, cell phones, remote controls, computers, keyboards and whatever is a NON toy; it's almost comical to see him walk past his gazillion toys and grab my cell phone instead; I've been tempted to give away all of his toys instead of piling them up in a corner but I still hold out hope that he'll get "into them" at some point!... a mother can only hope, right? He does like bouncing balls and an old tool box toy that we have...
He has recently gotten into a stage where he loves wearing hats, sunglasses and lanyards around his neck, he also gives this serious look that makes everyone laugh...the best "poker face" out there belongs to him!
As far as talking goes, he say a lot of words but still doesn't talk major sentences nor does he formulate clear ideas. I think he has some vocab down but still has a hard time making language associations or figuring out how to get his point across. 
I haven't started potty training yet, but it's next on my list. I have plans to start watching for signs of readiness and I already bought a little potty and a toilet seat...we'll see how that goes...
Oliver weighs around 30lbs and is about 33in tall, no exact measurements yet since his 18-month appointment isn't until next week but I'm sure my approximations are pretty accurate. 
Oliver loves his mom, dad and sisters and we all love him back.  We are so lucky to have been chosen to be his family and I can't wait to see what else is in store for us. 
I could write so much more about Oliver, but I'll just leave it at this..he is the MOST AMAZING little guy and I can't thank God enough for sending him to us at just the "right" time, when we didn't "want it" but we most "needed it". 

Happy 1.5 Oliver! We LOVE YOU!!!!



3 years without you..

They say time heals all wounds, but does it really?  It has been 3 years since I lost my Grandma and it's still difficult to see that light; I see her in everything I do and I miss her more and more every day.
I think of how much she'd love Oliver and how happy she'd be to see him grow into a charming little man; she loved her grandchildren and great grandchildren so much and she felt so proud of our growing family.
My Grandma always had something nice to say, a smile to give, a hug to share, a story with a great lesson...she had such a big heart and I feel so lucky to have been able to enjoy her as much as I did.
When a loved one dies, we try to hold on to their memory, we cherish the good and try to forget the bad, we start honoring them in everything we do and we hope with all our hearts that the pain of their absence will slowly lessen so we can move on without them...but it takes so much time and it is so hard!  Three whole years have passed since I last saw my Grandma and my wounds just aren't healing, the pain is not lessening and my love for her just grows...there isn't a day that I don't think of her and I spend every waking hour making sure my children know how important she was to me, I never want them to forget her and I want them to love her as much as I do.
I wish we could have just one last Scrabble match, one more afternoon of telling stories, one more phone call, take one more picture together but in the meantime, I can only carry on her legacy and keep her in my heart..
Grandma, I miss you SO MUCH.. these have been the longest 3 years of my life, without you nothing is the same and I hope we can meet again...thank you for leaving your footprints on my heart...

Friday, March 17, 2017

Movie review: "Beauty and The Beast"

Ever since "Cinderella" came out 2 years ago, my girls and I (along with many many people) have been waiting for "Beauty and The Beast" to hit theaters, so of course we were there on opening night...
But because this movie is a classic and everyone knows the story, I will focus my review on answering some of the questions I had prior to watching the movie...feel free to ask whatever I don't answer with my own questions....

1. Did they stick to the original cartoon version?
Yes and no! As ambiguous as this answer sounds, it's the truth. While this version does tell the same story and relays the same message, there were several scenes (and songs) that were added to the storyline.  Additionally, there were some minor changes that even though didn't affect the plot, they are noticeable to a true fan. In the end, it's still the same Belle and the same Beast who fall in love but the story isn't "identical"

2. How is Emma Watson as Belle?
I will admit to the fact that I wasn't totally sold on Emma Watson playing Belle.  First off, for some reason I couldn't picture her playing anything other than Hermione and second, I seriously doubted her singing skills. But...everyone is allowed to be wrong in their perception and in this case I was.. because not only is Emma Watson the perfect embodiment of Belle but her singing voice is actually quite impressive! (and yes.. she really sings the songs)

3. What about Beast?
Well...I think Beast as a character is completely adorable; the whole audience gets to fall in love with him and I really like the fact that the movie shows us a few glimpses of his life before he was an arrogant prince who cursed himself and all of his castle. The whole message of "don't judge a person by his looks" is clearly delivered by Beast but I still hate the oversized horns and I think they took away from the physical appearance of Beast.. and I realize this is a totally biased opinion since this isn't the Beast I had pictured in my mind.. but oh well...

4. How is the music?
There's A LOT of music and singing in this movie...much more than there is in the cartoon version. Like I stated above, the movie features some of the original/favorite songs, but it also includes new songs that may or may not "fit" right. I would say this movie definitely falls into the "musical feature" category and I really enjoyed Watson's rendition of "Belle" and "Something There"; both brought back really fond memories of my childhood.

5. And how is the rest of the cast?
Well.. casting was on point for most characters especially LeFou, interpreted by Josh Gad (hello Olaf!)..he did an amazing job copying the mannerisms of the cartoon version of his character and I really loved seeing him in such dynamic role.  I wasn't too big a fan of Gaston because in my mind he is much more  muscular and self conceited, but I appreciate Luke Evan's efforts to be despised by everyone...he's really handsome so I'll take it!
Even though the rest of the cast doesn't do much (since they're  enchanted and all), once the objects turn human I really loved the actors they chose, such huge personalities and iconic people.. definite great choices...

6. How's the animation?
Undoubtedly, one of my favorite scenes from Beauty and The Beast is the "Be Our Guest" song so naturally I wondered how on earth would that scene be brought to life without ruining the animation "magic"... Well.. let me say... that scene could not have been any more perfect if they tried.. I was in awe of the animation and creativity that was put into play to bring "Be Our Guest" to life. The objects were perfectly created and the whole thing was just fascinating.. I want to re-watch the movie just for that scene.. wow!

7. How about the talking objects?
The talking objects were to die for! They carried half the movie on their shoulders and I was really enamored by how much life they portrayed and even though their looks weren't as "warm and fuzzy" as the ones in the animated version, it was really fun to see how our lovely Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Chip were made into a live action film.  Props to all the animators and creative staff, they really did amazing.

8. And the scenery?
Belle's village was simply perfect, it looked like a replica of the animated version; I particularly enjoyed the opening scene as well as the part where she sings on the prairie.. I felt like I was inside the movie...
Beast's castle seemed a little big bigger and more ornate than the one in the cartoon but it was still fitting for the grandiose nature of the live action version. The gargoyles were different and so was the shape of the main garden but nothing that would ruin the experience.. I'm just being really picky now..

9. Are there "inappropriate" scenes?
This is a question that was brought up by recent internet rumors that sparked some outrage within some groups.  Rumor has it that some "inappropriate" scenes were included in the film; it was said that an "exclusively gay moment" would be featured and some groups were even calling for the boycott of the film. While I understand that these are very sensitive subjects, my personal opinion is that there is NOTHING inappropriate about this movie or any of its scenes.  The movie doesn't glorify homosexuality nor does it intend to carry out an "agenda" like some have called it. There are a couple of scenes in which two men look at each other intensely but in no way does this film focus on "inappropriate" material.  It is a film that is tastefully done and I would strongly recommend it to anyone with younger children, both girls and boys.  It is an amazing reprise of a classic fairytale that will go down in history as one of the greatest of all times.

10. Bottom line?
My bottom line is that "Beauty and The Beast" live action film is a dream come true for any Disney fan. The idea of sharing part of my childhood with my children is simply incredible and the fact that this movie is just as popular (or even more) than when it came out 26 years ago is an amazing thing that is worthy of praise. The live action film was carried out to perfection and I encourage everyone to see it without reservations.  It gets 4 out of 4 stars in my book and I can't wait to buy it on DVD when it comes out.

Thank you, Disney for yet another perfect movie!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Behind Olivia's hair donation...

About a year and a half ago I donated 12 inches of hair; after letting my hair grow out for a number of months and it getting annoyingly long, "the cut" finally happened and I felt free.. I also crossed off an item on my bucket list and all was right in my world..

But this post isn't about me, it's about a little girl that is ALWAYS watching and has a heart of gold!
She set out to let HER hair grow out to donate it. Olivia is known for loving short hair so I will admit to the fact that I almost didn't believe she would put up with months and months of hair growth when she probably didn't even know the real purpose of a hair donation...

But as usual, it is always the kids that end up teaching their parents wonderful lessons of resilience and humility because not only did she take the time to learn about what donating hair means, but she also took care of her hair for almost 2 years (20 months to be exact!) just to make the donation. 
When she felt her hair was long enough, she asked me to measure it and said to me "I'm ready!". In the months leading up to this she had been getting attached to her long hair and even made up a "hairdo" schedule with her teacher and some of her friends at school; she spent hours on end brushing and styling her hair so when she told me she was ready to "make the cut" I almost didn't believe it. 
She cut off almost 9 inches of hair, which will be donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths and I couldn't be happier about it..because even though "it's only hair", Olivia's gesture means so much more to me. It means that my little girl is giving, loving, considerate, kind and so much more; it means she was able to put vanity aside to be able to help someone else and my heart feels warm by knowing that my kid is trying to make a difference in the world at such a young age.. the world needs more Olivias and I'm so proud to be her mom! 

Here are some pictures of the process.  


You look so beautiful with your new haircut Olivia and you just became prettier on the inside which is what REALLY matters! We love you so much!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love day...and a new baby!

Valentine's Day is always a good excuse to take sweet pictures and write sappy posts so I won't be the exception...here are my sweet pictures and sappy words... I love that my kids are still excited to dress in red and pose for "love" pictures and even though it's very difficult to get all three to look at the same time, here's my best effort since Oliver is just starting to say "cheese" a smile funny when I pull out my cell phone.. Gosh I love these kids so much!
And even though I don't have a recent picture of Iggy and I, he's my forever Valentine and I love him SO MUCH.... 


...and what better day than Valentine's Day to write about my newborn niece Mariana Cecilia born this past Friday 02/10 at 8:01pm. I was able to witness her birth and had the immense blessing and privilege of coaching my sister through her second labor; there are no words to describe the amazing joy that moment brought...being able to help my sister get through the pain of labor and seeing my niece come into this world was simply incredible..wow..just wow!
This picture is one of the many I took...it captures a little bit of that joy we all felt the moment Mariana cried for the first time...


...and here she is at 4 days old.. celebrating Valentine's Day with a homemade photoshoot by yours truly...she's such a doll.. I took a million pictures but these two are my absolute favorite!


Happy Valentine's Day, all!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A lesson on heartache

 It seems a bit ironic that I haven't blogged in almost a month and I come back to write a post about "heartache" during the month of LOVE! Ha!
I promise this isn't about a romantic type of heartache, though, or some failed relationship that will make everyone depressed...
Instead this post is about a maternal type of heartache, a pain that all most parents go through at one point or another and it happened to me not too long ago...part of my kids growing up, I guess, but painful nonetheless.
I found this meme (on the left) and it seemed to be so fitting for what I (my daughter) was going through and it got me thinking a lot about those moments when our kids suffer and we simply cannot do much (or anything) to make it all better...

Here's what happened... a couple of weeks ago it was announced that every kid in the school would be able to participate in an "Elocution" contest, an activity that is traditionally part of "Catholic Schools Week" and one that, in all honesty, hasn't been that big of a deal for the girls.  But this year was different as Olivia came home one day determined to learn the 4th grade poem and fixated on the idea of getting "somewhere" in this contest. For days and days she practiced this poem and "I have a friend named Jesus" (that was the title of the poem) became part of our daily routine; she would recite this poem every second of the day, she'd sing it in the shower, tell it in the car, she memorized this thing like she would her favorite song or prayer. One day she came home saying that instead of reciting the poem she was going to sing it for the class and even added a melody she created to go with the lines of this elocution piece. She put all fears aside and stood in front of her class and sang the poem. That afternoon when I picked her up from school, she ran to the car and started screaming "I made it to the finals, I made it to the finals!", this kid couldn't hide her joy and I swear I almost cried just watching the gigantic smile on her face..
...and then the next day happened...I guess Olivia was under the impression that her spot in the finals was a done deal..but it turns out it wasn't.. other kids were participating and her class representatives hadn't been chosen officially...
When I picked her up the next day she didn't say much, which is very unusual for her since she's the definition of a chatter box.. the contest was coming up and I noticed she was keeping quiet about it so naturally I asked and that's when the flood gates opened...the same girl that couldn't stop smiling the day before was now bawling because she hadn't been picked after all and there was NOTHING I could do to make her feel better.  She started saying things like "I suck at poems", "It was probably my singing that ruined everything", "I'm going to quit the choir", "I never win anything", "when will I ever get picked?", etc.. you get the point, I'm sure..and I just can't tell you how painful it was to see my baby girl so disappointed...
And then it hit me.. I said to myself "let's turn this into a life lesson", "let's make this a teachable moment"...there I was, speechless and heart broken but with the huge responsibility of building my child up instead of encouraging her to wobble in her sadness. I needed to come up with the right words, I needed to say something that would make her feel better without trivializing her feelings.
I grabbed her gently by the shoulders, looked her in the eye while wiping off her tears and said to her "Olivia, you are SO MUCH MORE than an elocution poem and life isn't about winning or starring in everything, it's about giving it your all and being the best version of yourself you can possibly be and that's exactly what you did, so you're already a winner!". I went on to tell her about Paul McCartney and how he became one of the greatest singers in history (according to me, anyways!) after being told repeatedly that he couldn't even hold a guitar right....she was fascinated, by the way! And all of a sudden all was right in her world...and mine! My beautiful daughter seemed genuinely satisfied with my answer to her suffering and I had unknowingly "fixed" everything, she was happy again and she had no idea how much my heart was hurting just a few minutes before she graced me with a somewhat forced smile that was still accompanied by her slightly less watery eyes...and all of a sudden I realized that we had both learned something out of this experience and that made it all worth it...<3 ..="" nbsp="" p="">And to end on a positive note, I will also share this other meme I found (see below) that seemed to be fitting for the lesson learned... Thank you God for blessing me with such wonderful children, I only ask that you please help me get through those heartbreaking moments so that my kids suffer as little as possible!

                                         

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Resolutions...

We're half way through January and I'm still not set on my annual resolutions... I mean.. do I really HAVE to? Sometimes I feel like I owe it to myself to have SOME goals for the year.. a few plans maybe.. or just a road map of where I want to go in 2017...
This year, however, I'm drawing a blank.. I feel like I want to do SO much but then I sit to write it down and I can't come up with anything.. am I weird? or is this an "old age" syndrome?
I mean...don't get me wrong, there's the usual save money, lose weight, eat healthier, be friendlier kind of resolutions... don't we all have those? But when it comes to the meaningful stuff I just can't come up with anything...
There's so many things I want to change; I want to be less confrontational, more politically correct, a little more frugal, more patient with my kids, more organized at home, better at time management. I'd also like to read more and get a little better at enjoying nature since I tend to be one of those people who spends way too much time indoors (South Florida weather doesn't help the case!)...
But there's ONE thing I'm REALLY going to focus on and that is reducing my cell phone addiction...I think it's really killing my potential to have more lively relationships with the people I know; I'm on my phone (whether it's playing a game or checking some social media app) more often than I'd like to admit and the repercussions that this behavior have in my life are HUGE! It's a price too high to pay and I really want to change that...
I'm writing this post to make myself accountable to the proposed change.. I've started turning off my data when I'm out so I don't get any messages while I'm hanging out with my family or friends and pretty soon I'll start self-imposing a cell phone curfew because it's THAT bad!
So yeah... there goes my 2017 resolution... let's hope I make it!
Happy Blogging!