Monday, April 16, 2018

It's "just" hair...

One of our friend's amazing daughter recently decided to shave her head and donate all her hair for kids with cancer. I was in awe of her courage and felt a rush of admiration for her strong character at such young age.  Olivia happened to hear me talk about it with Iggy and asked to see the pictures; she said "wow, she's brave" but I didn't think she really understood the meaning behind such selfless act. 
A while later she brought up the subject again and we started talking about childhood cancer and all the struggles sick kids go through; Gaby joined her and they both seemed genuinely moved by the conversation, it warmed my heart to see how caring these girls are and how compassionate they can be...
But to much of my surprise their compassion didn't end there and I was shocked when they came back to my room and said "we both want to shave our heads and donate all our hair"... I won't lie, I immediately said "you guys are NUTS!"... I also added "there's no way in hell I will EVER let you do that"... they looked at me and said "but mom... it's JUST hair".. and I said something like "Yes.. and it's your beautiful hair that I won't let you cut"... I immediately noticed the disappointment on their faces as they struggled to understand why letting them cut their hair was such a big deal to me... 
Gaby said "I will still be the same person, with short or long hair"...and Olivia said "What is so wrong with wanting to give my hair to a sick child?... my hair will grow back but theirs might never grow!" 
I was so choked up about the whole situation and completely torn between my admiration for them even considering such selfless act and my selfish need to make them keep their long and beautiful hair intact. 
Their arguments turned my resounding "NO!" into a "Maybe... let's talk about it tomorrow". I secretly hoped they would "come to their senses" and change their minds so I asked them to sleep on it and take it from there. I don't know why the idea of shaving their heads bothered me so much...but it did!
The new day went on without a hitch but when I picked them up from school they brought up the issue again and begged me to take them to a hair salon to shave their heads. I will be honest and say that I mentioned a million things to scare them out of chopping off their hair including being bullied at school, not being able to style their hair, looking "boyish" during upcoming "girly" events, regretting their decision, their hair taking forever to grow back, etc.  I basically used every phrase in the book and then some to try to talk them out of this "craziness".  The last card I could play was to actually take them to the hair salon so they could feel the "finality" of their decision and back out but instead of being scared they were excited... I knew then I had lost the battle and I had no choice but to go on with their wishes and respect their decision. 

I cried (literally!) as their heads were being shaved and they keep telling me "mom, it's JUST hair.. it will grow back... plus, we're doing this for a good cause!". My tears of sadness quickly turned into tears of pride and joy as I said to myself "how could I possibly be sad when I am witnessing one of the most selfless and genuine acts of kindness coming from my children?".  It dawned on me that instead of discourage them, I should celebrate them and I should love them more for putting their vanity aside and making a decision that is far beyond their years. 

So I say to my kids, it's not "JUST" hair!, it's so much more than that... it's love, it's compassion, it's care, it's courage, it's humility and it's one of the most beautiful lessons I have learned from my you.  I want them to know that I am incredibly proud of them for giving the phrase "it's just hair" a whole new meaning for me.  I love you both more than you will ever know and although I think your physical beauty is great, your spiritual beauty is what will always remain!
Here's a couple of pictures:


Hair has been donated to "Wigs 4 Kids". Olivia donated over 12 inches of hair and Gaby over 10 inches.  All hair was healthy, untreated and clean and we hope it can be used to make a wig for a kid in need. 
"Wigs 4 Kids" requires a minimum hair donation of 10 inches, however they do accept 7"-9" donation to make boy wigs or shorter wigs for girls. If interested in donating hair, please visit their hair donation tab for more information. 
Thanks for all the words of encouragement and support! We can only hope that God continues to show us the way to raise loving and caring kids! Thank you, Daniela, for inspiring our girls to engage in such amazing act! You are a true hero!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Blog. Revived!

Some of my friends have asked me what happened with my blog; many suspected I had grown tired of writing about our antics or that I have been too busy with life in general...well.. I am here to tell you that none of you were right as I have missed blogging and I'm ready to get back to it.  The truth is I decided to make a Lent sacrifice and stayed away from Facebook, blogging and most social media for 40 days.. I did stay on Instagram because pictures are LIFE! right??  
But I am here and my blog is being "revived" after a long 2 month hiatus...
We did A LOT during my blog absence, including a couple of Disney trips and a nice trip to Spain during Spring Break.. 


Here are some pictures of St. Patrick's day and our family sporting green outfits... I happen to love the color green and that's why I'm posting these! ;)


Here's Oliver and I at his Easter egg hunt. These events are so adorable and I cherish all the time that I get to spend with my kids at their school functions. 


On March 25th, Oliver turned 2.5. I feel like I somehow cheated him out of a special post about his half birthday but I will say that Oliver is pretty awesome. He talks up a storm and his vocabulary is quite impressive. He loves dinosaurs, cars, play-doh, books and balls. He also loves lollipops, chocolate and all things candy; he's a great eater and particularly enjoys pasta and chicken. 
Oliver is such a sweet child and definitely a mama's boy, I am thoroughly enjoying his "baby" years and I have learned so much from him. 
I took him to the movies for the first time about a month ago and he did incredibly well; I had taken him as a baby but toddlers are a whole new thing when it comes to this kind of stuff. I am proud to say we survived an almost 2 hour movie almost unhinged so there is potential for a repeat!
Oliver is still nowhere near potty training which I will admit to being a huge stressor for me considering I am hoping to enroll him in the girls' school next year and being fully potty trained is one of the requirements.. oops! I will remain hopeful for a summer potty training miracle so please send all your good vibes my way! ;)


March 25th was also the day I reached a HUGE milestone.. 2 and a half years of breastfeeding! If somebody had asked me 2.5 years ago if I thought this was possible, I would have answered with a resounding "NO WAY!" but here I am.. STILL at it! Breastfeeding has been such a fun ride and while I know that it must end soon (my plan is to hit 3 years and stop for good!), I am happy and proud to have made it this far and I will forever be an advocate and encourager of breastfeeding.  This topic warrants a post of its own and I will do that in due time.. for now I will just say that I feel blessed for having overcome my past fears and frustrations regarding breastfeeding! ;)


I am happy to be back to blogging and in the coming days I hope to take the time to write about our experience in Spain and a few other things that I may have neglected in this post.. including a movie review and a mom vent session!

Happy Blogging!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mariana's 1st birthday





On Saturday February 10th, we celebrated Mariana's 1st birthday. She's the last baby in our family so we made sure her first birthday didn't go unnoticed.  Mariana is such a cute baby, she seriously looks like a doll and everyone is so in love with her sweet personality and her gorgeous eyes. 
I love seeing my sister interact with her baby and I am so happy she's getting to experience motherhood for the 2nd time after such a long time.
For Mariana's birthday we threw her a "Twinkle Twinkle" themed party, it was all a sea of pink and gold and I am proud to say that the party turned out amazing.  I spent a good month hand making decorations and all kinds of little things for her party so it was great to see the final product and even better to know that my sister loved it and everyone enjoyed it.
Here are some picture of the party... definitely one for the memories...

 
 

 
Mariana enjoying her delicious cake
On Sunday we did a homemade photo shoot and the pictures turned out great.  I have many favorites, but these three are definitely my top ones.. 


Happy 1st birthday, Mariana! May God bless with a long and healthy life! We loved you so much! <3 p="">

Monday, January 29, 2018

Half-ish!

A few days ago my girls had their "half" birthdays and because I blog about their .5 every year, I feel compelled to do it again even if a few days late.  I've said this before and I'll say it again, the purpose of this blog is for them to have a written collection of their memories as told by their mom so here it goes...

8.5
Gaby's half birthday was on the 16th and she actually reminded me of it.  She has this weird fascination with birthdays, especially hers, so I am almost certain that on the 16th of every month she has a little party in her head.. ha ha!
Gaby has quite the personality...not an easy one but definitely charming. She is very set in her ways and doesn't like people opining about her choices. She is skeptical about strangers but oh so loving and giving when it comes to people she knows well. 
She doesn't enjoy chores and will do anything to get away from even picking up her dirty clothes, which is a daily struggle and I'm ready for it to be worse when she's a teenager. 
She loves reading and can eat up a book in less than a day; she does well in school but isn't an overachiever like her sister. I know she's very smart but sometimes she needs that little extra push when it comes to caring for her grades although she gets very disappointed when she doesn't get straight A's.
She likes to wear animal ear headbands, loves to play games on her iPad, adores her baby brother, loves eating pasta and steak and is the most ingenious 8 year old I know. 
Her favorite animal is the cat, her favorite color is purple and her favorite mom is ME! ha!
I really love being around Gaby and I am soaking up her sweetness and cuddles as much as I can for as long as I can. I am so lucky to be her mother! Happy 8.5, Gaby! ;)


10.5
Olivia turned 10.5 on the 17th and even though she's not as fixated on her birthday as Gaby is, I'm sure she'll enjoy reading her .5 post down the road, so here it goes...
Olivia is quite the little lady and although I know raging hormones are inevitable at her age, she really does her best to keep her composure and finesse at all times. Unlike her sister Gaby, Olivia tends to be friendly from the get-go even with strangers; she's quite the social butterfly and such a talker. She enjoys drawing, taking pictures and traveling; she has asked that I please take her to Australia for her 15th birthday and has started to create an itinerary for her dream trip. 
As friendly as Olivia is, her biggest downfall is that she can't take a joke; because she's so incredibly sensitive she loses her cool when someone teases her and that tends to bring her a lot of trouble in some social situations...
She's really smart and gets the best grades in school because she's an overachiever when it comes to studying and I really love that about her...
Olivia loves to fix her hair, she loves music and dancing, is fascinated with her baby brother, loves eating sushi and seafood and is the sweetest 10 year old I know. 
Her favorite animal is the unicorn (she knows they're not real!), her favorite color is teal and her favorite family is her own. 
I really love Olivia's personality and her tenderness. I am enjoying having a 10 year old friend and I am cherishing every minute we spend together. Happy 10.5, Olivia! ;)


Monday, January 8, 2018

Bye 2017...welcome 2018!

I always takes me a week or so to formally welcome a new year.. I'm not sure why it takes so long for it to "sink in" but the beginning of the year always drags on for me. 
I will admit that I try to stay off social media during the last week of the year because I get tired of people posting about how "terrible" their year has been and how the new year will be "THE BEST" year.. I mean, does everyone have progressively bad years as time passes or are my friends really that negative? Of course it's not everyone but a vast majority of the people I'm "connected" with often post things along the lines of "I can't wait for this awful year to end" or things like "Good riddance 2017!". Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe I'm just really, really positive but I tend not to look at a year as a collective thing that defines me but rather as scattered moments (good and bad) that are part of this thing called life...or maybe I haven't really had a totally "awful" year of life yet.. who knows!
I guess the point is that while no year is ever perfect, I try to focus on the good instead of the bad. Yes we had some sadness, some loss, lots of frustration and so on but the good was always more than the bad and for that I am thankful...
With that said, 2017 was a kind year for our family, filled with wonderful moments and even more wonderful people. Here are some highlights. 

January- I got to see my dear friend Marianna...it's always fun being around her!


February- the birth of my niece Mariana was definitely the best thing of the month and the year...and this is my favorite picture of her as a newborn..


March- Olivia's hair donation and seeing my favorite Canadians. I loved March!


April- an unforgettable family trip to Europe where we got to spend time with loved ones and visited 4 countries and several cities.


..and of course Gaby's first communion..


May- wonderful times in Orlando and Mother's day with the family


June-  Mariana's baptism and a Trip to Dominican Republic where we got to see my dear aunt Laurita


July- fun summer memories.. too many to count...and lots of birthdays! ;)


August- more summer fun with fun friends


September- a little more Disney, an unexpected "hurrication" and Oliver's 2nd birthday..


October-  more Disney and lots of Halloween fun...


November- a solo trip to Europe that included a visit to one of my best friends and some of the most amazing experiences to date...


..and Olivia finally being a candidate for Honor Roll..she achieved Principal Honors on her first try! ;)


December- the kids' first time in the snow and a great family road trip


2017 was a wonderful year... it was also the year I failed miserably at many of my goals, including weight loss, decreasing screen time, waking up earlier and many others I didn't accomplish but hope to try again this year.  

We welcomed 2018 in Ohio with our family, experiencing the coldest weather we've ever felt; it was quite an experience.  We spent a few days in Washington DC and drove all the way to Ohio and back, which made for some great bonding time.. ha ha!
I am thankful to God for another year of life and experiences, accomplishments and lessons and I am looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us.  This year we are hoping to move into a bigger house, become better money savers, travel some more, be more organized, deepen our faith and give more of our time and talents to our wonderful community!
Bring it on 2018! We are ready!