Thursday, December 7, 2017

She knows the truth...

Earlier this year Olivia asked me if the Tooth Fairy was real and suggested that I was the one putting money inside the pocket of her little tooth ornament. Despite being faced with the possibility of saving some money on a night I barely had any cash on me, I quickly replied with "why would I give you money for an old tooth?" and she seemed to be content with an answer that CLEARLY made sense... of course the Tooth Fairy is real!!! So she hung her tooth ornament like many previous times and got her well deserved cash reward the next morning....

As Christmas season rolled around, it was only a matter of time for the kids to start talking Santa, gifts, elves and Christmas magic...and so it happened.. all the 5th graders started questioning the existence of Santa, searching the internet for answers that made sense and relying on each other to either keep their belief alive or uncover the "truth" once and for all.
Olivia came home one day and said "all the kids at school are telling me Santa isn't real"... I cried a little.. then she proceeded to tell me that she was starting to doubt it herself and brought up the fact that Santa couldn't possibly deliver gifts for all the kids in the world... she went even further and asked me why the elves are sold in stores if they are magical creatures that Santa sends from the North Pole.  I didn't want to burst her bubble yet or even assume she knew more than she really did so I replied with a witty "what to YOU think?"... and she simply said "I don't know anymore...but I'm pretty sure he's real and kids are just being mean as usual"...ha! Mom win!! She still believes!! Or so I thought...
A few days went by and she brought up the subject again.. (of course she would!).. only this time it didn't catch me so off guard; during previous days I had been talking to friends with older kids and also to some of my internet friends from Olivia's pregnancy forum (yes, we still keep very much in touch after all these years!). All these wonderful mothers had either gone through this already or were in the middle of it like I was... This time Olivia said to me "Mom.. I'm almost convinced Santa isn't real"... I froze for a moment... then she went on to say "the only thing that makes me doubt is that I KNOW you would NEVER lie to me about that stuff"... this time I froze for longer moment... that's when I knew I HAD to tell her. It suddenly dawned on me that my "little lady" has reached the age where if I didn't tell her the truth she'd feel betrayed and I wasn't about to jeopardize her blind trust in me for the guy in the red suit. Sorry, Santa!
So I went on to tell Olivia about the "magic" of Christmas and how parents have the beautiful responsibility of helping to keep that spirit alive and even though there might not be a guy in a red suit that slides down the chimney (wherever there are chimneys..LOL) and flies in a sleigh pulled by reindeers, there IS just something magical and beautiful about the Christmas spirit that is simply undeniable.  She smiled with that sweet face she's always had and hugged me tight; a couple of tears rolled down her cheeks (and mine!) and she said to me "Thank you mom! For giving me so much magic during all these years.. I really enjoyed believing in Santa!"..and she closed the conversation with an unexpectedly amusing remark...."can I move the elves now?  ours are really boring!"... ha ha.. that's Olivia!.. and I love her so much for that...sure, Olivia.. knock yourself out.. those elves were driving me nuts anyways.. ha!
Of course I made sure to also tell her about the HUGE responsibility she now has as a big sister to two little kids that still believe in Santa and the elves and everything else.  She acknowledged her new "job" and went about with her day, excited about the prospect of being an "accomplice" to this magic thing....

I have to say that even though I really dreaded the moment my kids found out the truth about Santa, the conversation went way better than expected.  She knows the truth and I'm surprisingly ok with it and I am even happy that she handled it with her usual grace and maturity, also I figure she's 10 so we had a pretty long run...
We have agreed, however, that we will continue to take Santa pictures for as long as we all shall live...because Santa IS real!
Merry Christmas, everyone!


Thursday, November 30, 2017

Thankful




I didn't want November to end without writing my "Thankful" post because this is the month of Thanksgiving and we should always use it to express gratitude for our every day people and things. I am a very blessed person; my life is filled with wonderful people and things and with a million reasons to smile even on the hardest days. If I sat down and started to count my blessings, I'd probably never finish because there are seriously so many. 
So in the interest of time, I will dedicate my post to my best 4 blessings; they are in no particular order....
1. Olivia:  I am thankful for my smart daughter; a loving girl that knows how to make me proud with everything she does. She has such a good head on her shoulders and I feel so blessed to be her mother. I am thankful for her thoughtfulness, the way she helps me even with the most tedious chores, her dedication, her love, her faith, her sense of respect and honesty. Thank you, God for Olivia. 


2. Gaby: I am thankful for this stubborn little girl that teaches me a new lesson every day. She has such strong morals at such a young age and I am in awe of her generosity and sensibility.  I am thankful for her wittiness, her intellect, her sassiness, her imagination and her strong sense of self. Thank you, God for Gaby.  


3. Oliver: I am thankful for this little boy, who turned our lives around both literally and figuratively.  2 years ago I couldn't picture my life with him and now I can't even imagine my life without him. I am thankful for his playfulness, his energy, his love and endless cuddles. There is never a dull moment with Oliver and he keeps everyone young.  Thank you, God for Oliver. 


4. Iggy: I literally won the husband lottery with this guy; he makes me incredibly happy and I feel so loved by him every single day. He is our leader, our force, the heart of our family and my whole life won't be enough to thank him for everything he does.  I am thankful for his love, his dedication, his work ethic, his faith and for every loving word he utters to lift up my spirits whenever I need him the most. Thank you, God for Iggy. 


I am so thankful for my family, for our health, our faith, our unity, our loyalty to one another and all of the time spent together. 


I am also thankful for my friends, for everyone that is part of our lives whether it's daily or sporadically. I am thankful for every moment spent with the ones we love, for every memory made, every experience lived and every prayer shared!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Movie review: "Coco"

"Coco" is one of those long awaited Disney/Pixar films that gets released right on time for big audiences and with lots of hype.
Sometimes that hype works in the movie's favor, sometimes not so much.. I'm not sure which way it went for "Coco".
While it is a great movie, with a great story line and wonderful characters, it failed to capture my attention from the get-go.  The movie's pace for the first half was incredibly slow and it took way too long for the story to be laid out...it was painfully boring for at least the first 45 minutes. Once the movie took off, all was right in the world but I have to be objective and critique it as a whole and not as a half movie.
The story revolves around the Rivera family, particularly one of its members... Miguel, a kid who has a love for music in a family that has banned it from its existence due to past hurts.
Miguel wants to follow his dream of being a musician and ends up in the world of the "dead" after a failed attempt to steal a guitar on "Dia de los Muertos".  During his time with the dead, he finds out secrets about his family and meets past ancestors who happen to be key in his love for music and who teach him that family always comes first. The movie is big on the message of keeping the memory of the dead alive and how our ancestors play a big role in our present life.
"Coco" is a very colorful movie, the characters are wholesome and fun but I found the storyline to be a bit complex and a little tangled.  Also, I feel like the title is not exactly descriptive of the story and the first half of the movie is somewhat misleading, almost as if the writers weren't sure in which direction to take to movie.
I really enjoyed "Coco" and I know it's a movie that will make a lot of money and will become a classic, but I really wanted it to be perfect and it wasn't. This one gets 3 out of 4 stars from me. Nonetheless I encourage you to go see it and take your kids; it will make for a nice family outing!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

12 years!

I met Ignacio in 2004 when I was going through a personal crisis in which I was looking to find myself. He came unexpectedly and unannounced but definitely determined to stay...
At 22, I wasn't looking for a husband and I certainly wasn't planning on settling down at that moment; but God had other plans and He challenged me by choosing the perfect man and bringing him into my life when the time was *just* right. 
Our courtship lasted a few short months and even though some people thought we were crazy for jumping into marriage in less than a year, we both just *knew* that it felt right!
Life with Ignacio is SO easy and our marriage has been blissful and happy for the past 12 years; we aren't perfect (who is?) but we love each other unconditionally and our main goal is to make each other happy by living our faith and being genuine no matter what.  Iggy is my best friend, he is my confidant, my rock, my "person", the one I want to see every night when I go to bed and every morning when I wake up for the rest of my life and I can only hope I live long enough to show him how much I love him.
There isn't a day that goes by that I don't thank God for this life we live, for our marriage and for our love but anniversaries are always special and our 12th wasn't the exception. 
We celebrated 12 years yesterday (November 18th) by spending time enjoying each other's company and reminiscing of our wedding day.  We went out to dinner at night and talked well into the late hours...it was the perfect day. 
Happy 12th Anniversary, Iggy! You truly are the love of my life!
Cheers to many more! 


Friday, November 17, 2017

Movie review: "Wonder"

My daughters have been wanting to watch this movie since they saw the initial preview.  Olivia even took the time to read the book prior to the movie to get an anticipated idea of the characters and the story so it was only natural that we saw it on opening day.
The movie revolves around the story of Auggie, a boy that was born with a genetic issue that caused a facial deformity, and his struggle to fit in once his mother decides to stop home schooling him and sends him to a regular school.  It is packed with emotions and it paints a clear picture of just how mean kids can be and how unprepared the world is to accept disability as diversity.  The story is captivating and Jacob Tremblay does a great job portraying a sensitive and emotionally mature boy that has a thicker skin than many adults can aspire to.
The way the movie is structured gives way to the viewer to learn about the perspective of each of the main characters and how they all play a role in Auggie's success and ultimate acceptance from his newly found friends.
I really enjoyed the way the story develops,  the depth of each character and the message they try to illustrate. I love Auggie's sensitivity and his characterizations of all the emotions that a disabled person feels when struggling to feel accepted.
From the perspective of a mother, I also appreciate the portrayal of Auggie's parents and the description of their own struggles to make it "easier" on their son. Julia Roberts does a great job illustrating the suffering of a mother when their child is rejected or hurt; she made me shed a lot of tears.
But despite the powerful story, one of the main flaws I found in the movie was the lack of chemistry between Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts; while I believe they are both great actors (each in their own element), I did not feel their love and they did not convince me with their acting in this particular movie.  I think their chemistry was disgruntled and their relationship lacked that powerful love that I needed to see from Auggie's parents. It was very hard to picture Owen Wilson in a role that is less funny than his usual roles and I do not think he was the right person to play Auggie's father.
Also, I think the side story of Auggie's sister was a bit far fetched and I couldn't see a clear connection between her issues in relation to Auggie's disability. Now that I think about it, the chemistry between all family members was lacking, in my opinion... except for the dog, she was a great actress! ha!
All in all Wonder is a great movie, it sends of message of resilience, personal acceptance, character strength and love and it illustrates the triumph of inner beauty over shallowness, ultimately leading the viewer to connect with the main character and love him for who he is.
I give this one 3.5 out of 4 stars. Worth a visit to the theater. 

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Solo Trip Part 2: Spain

After I said good bye to my friends in Ireland, I headed to Spain for a couple of days. 
Spain was the "original" destination when I planned this trip with my mom but since things did not go as planned, my stay in this wonderful country was cut a little short...it was, nonetheless, still wonderful. 
Madrid is one of my all time favorite cities; it is such a regal and grandiose place with incredible buildings, iconic monuments and lots of cute little restaurants and cafes.  Madrid is such a dreamy place, I swear I would move there if given the chance; I love walking the streets of Madrid, I love the people from Madrid, the energy of the city, the food, the vibe, everything!
I had the chance to really relax while I was in Madrid; I walked around taking in the beauty of every street, sat at little cafes and sipped hot chocolate and enjoyed the beautiful and refreshing weather.  Of course the whole time  I was wishing my mom was there enjoying the city with me but I mad the best of it and enjoyed the solitude. 
Here are some pictures of Madrid. 


While in Spain, I decided to take a day trip to Toledo & Segovia, two cities I always wanted to visit and this was the perfect chance. 
Toledo is the original capital of Spain and one of the most beautiful cities I've ever visited; it is built on a hill and it is rich in history and architecture; once called the "city of three cultures", Toledo was built by Muslims and every corner and every building tell a beautiful story of 3 cultures that once co-existed and are part of the great history of Spain. 
Toledo features the "Cathedral of Toledo", one of the most important cathedrals in the world and a very impressive building. The streets of Toledo are simply fascinating, I was in awe the whole time I was there and pictures don't do it justice.  I had a wonderful tour guide (Steffi) who provided the best anecdotes and snippets about the history of this amazing place, an experience I will never forget. 


Segovia was equally amazing and I am glad I had the chance to visit. It features one of the most impressive aqueducts ever built, one that worked up until the last century and which provides a gateway to this beautiful city. 
This region of Spain is famous for the strategic role it played during the monarchy of Isabella and Ferdinand and the solidification of their reign, because I happen to be fan of them and their history I really enjoyed my time in Segovia, particularly my visit to the "Alcazar of Segovia"; seeing the chairs where they sat and the room where she prayed was a dream come true. 
I also enjoyed the beautiful views from the balcony of the Alcazar and all the other picturesque buildings of Segovia. The Segovia Cathedral is also very impressive and it is located in one of the most beautiful and historic plazas in Spain (lots of executions happened there!)


This solo trip was an incredible experience and I am very thankful to my husband for making it possible; he did an amazing job holding down our fort and catering to the kids' every need in a timely and kind fashion.  I was sorry that my mom couldn't make it but I am hopeful that we will get to travel to Europe together in the near future. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Solo Trip Part 1: Ireland

Going alone to Europe was not what I planned for; this actually came up as a failed attempt to bring my mom along as a birthday gift..to make a long story short, her arthritis pain got really bad and she thought it was best if she didn't come, when I tried to postpone our trip I was informed that it would more expensive than what I had paid for the whole trip to begin with so I decided to go solo. 
The idea of traveling alone sounded refreshing, to be honest; even though it wasn't the original plan and I had never been away from the kids for that long, there was something about not having to worry about anyone but myself that sounded very appealing...and it was great!
The first place I visited was Dublin, Ireland. Although Ireland was never on my travel "bucket list", once my mom decided she couldn't travel (our original plan was to travel to Spain), I called one of my best friends and asked her if I could come visit her instead, to which she replied "of course!" and so I went...
Dublin is quite the city, with a contrast of modern buildings and classic architecture it is such an attractive and enchanting place.  I was lucky the weather was beautiful during my visit and despite Ireland's infamous damp and cloudy weather, the sun was shinning and it didn't rain at all while I was there. 
I toured the city like there was no tomorrow, hitting every iconic spot and delighting myself with countless hours browsing souvenir stores and walking around without a care in the world... it was great!
Among the things I noticed about Ireland is that it is a little pricey, public transportation is not stellar, beer is cheaper than water, Irish people are very superstitious and there are A LOT of sheep everywhere; also I learned that native Irish sheep have black faces instead of white and I thought that was a very cool fact. 


While in Ireland I took a tour to the Cliffs of Moher, which is Ireland's most visited natural attraction and I was in awe at the beauty of this natural wonder. It was relaxing to stand at the top of the cliffs and just take in all the energy and breeze coming from the ocean; quite the amazing experience.  Pictures don't do it justice, it is simply a beautiful place.

I enjoyed the picturesque fall landscapes around the city and learned a lot about Irish culture and everything the country has to offer. The Irish people I came across were always kind and welcoming and they really made me feel happy about visiting. The food was great and I enjoyed quite a few desserts that left my mouth watering. (Thank you, Mari)


But of course the most special part of my visit to Ireland was visiting with my friend Marianna.  We have known each other for over 30 years and I treasure any time I am able to spend with her. Marianna and her husband Placido were amazing guests; we spent lots of time catching up, telling stories and laughing, it was such a great time and I am forever grateful for their hospitality. You guys made my visit to Ireland much more memorable! Thank you! I love you guys! 


After Ireland, I headed to Spain and I will write about that on my next blog entry! 

Sunday, October 29, 2017

App Alert: "RoosterMoney"

**Disclaimer**: This is a personal review.  I am not being paid by anyone to write this post. The review is done out of my desire to share my insight about this app with other parents who might find it useful. 

My girls are getting to an age where they NEED to understand the concept of money and learn to be smart about it. I constantly look for practical ways to teach them things and in my quest, I found a wonderful app called "Rooster Money"... actually Iggy found it, but that's beside the point! ;)
While I understand that no parent wants his/her kids to "worry" about money, I wholeheartedly believe that we should raise money-conscious children from an early age since this will be something they'll deal with their whole life, so the earlier they understand basic money concepts, the better...
I want my kids to learn that money doesn't grow on trees but rather that it is a product of hard work and a constant effort; I also want them to understand that money has a value and that they must be smart about it...about how they spend it, how they save it and how they administer it.  At the same time, I don't always feel comfortable with them carrying money around or even touching dirty bills and that's why "Rooster Money" is such a perfect fit for us.
The app has a dashboard where parents can assign an allowance based on their preferences (amount, frequency, etc). Parents can also "boost" their children's account if they choose to give them rewards for an extra chore well done, good grades, birthday gifts or whatever they wish to gift their kids for. In addition to money "boosts", parents can also deduct money from their children's account whenever they decide to spend money on something  or whenever a parents believe money should be taken away.
"Rooster Money" also offers a children's dashboard where kids can set goals, whether it'd be a savings amount or money towards something they'd like to purchase in the future. Children have the option of putting money in their "wallet" or their "safe" and this allows for them to learn the concept of money to be saved vs. pocket money.
My favorite part about this app is that it's all "virtual" money and the kids never really handle "real" money; whenever they want to buy something with their money, it just comes out of my bank account and it's then deducted from their Rooster account. There are monthly statements that allow both parents and kids to see what money has come in our out of any given account.  My girls have taken it a step further and whenever they get cash gifts from friends or family, they immediately hand it to me and ask me to add it to their Rooster account so I get to have cash in my wallet (which is rare!) and they get to add their money to their accounts to save or spend however and whenever they wish without having to worry about losing the actual bills. 
This app has allowed the girls to understand basic money concepts and has also taught them better money management skills by giving them access to somewhat of a "mock" bank account that is theirs to handle without much hassle. I like that it's a way for them to visualize how cash flow is handled and why it's important to be smart about money in general.
Slowly but surely they have become more aware about money and have developed a conscience about spending and saving as healthy habits.
The app is FREE and it is very user friendly.  I strongly recommend it for any parent who is looking to teach their children basic money concepts. Check it out when you can!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My blog is 9 years old!

9 years ago I set out to write a personal blog; I wanted a place where I could tell tales, post pictures and eventually print it out in the form of a book to give out to my kids when they grow up (I still plan on doing this!)
My little blog has seen me through 2 pregnancies (I started it after Olivia was already here), countless vents about personal frustrations, fun trips, movie reviews and a few other posts in many categories.
Through the years, my readership has grown from the tens to the thousands and even though I don't market my blog and haven't turned it into a cash cow (this is easier than people think), I have been contacted on several occasions regarding marketing and product sponsorship opportunities; for many reasons I have decided to keep it simple instead of "going big" because I've always been afraid of this blog losing the "essence" and the "rawness' that I enjoy so much about it.
At times this blog gets unexpectedly controversial and some other times it's just about a "Happy Mom" navigating through life with 3 kids; there's so much more to keeping a blog than it's visible to the eye and I feel blessed and proud to be able to keep it going for this long.  I also feel happy that I get to share my life with so many people I care about and who care about me too.
So today I celebrate another year of blogging and I hope for many more.  Even when I don't post as often, I'm always thinking of the next thing to write about.
If you're a regular visitor, THANK YOU! If you're an occasional lurker, THANK YOU too. Please know that everything I've ever written on here (and anything I'll ever write) comes from my heart.
Happy Birthday, Blog!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

"Penny Spelling Game"

I'm a stickler for spelling and as such I always try to find fun ways to teach my kids how to spell correctly. I think spelling and grammar should be a priority at any age, but the issues gets very serious after 3rd or 4th grade (at least for me!).
I've said it before and I'll say it again.. in our family, Gaby is the "challenging" one so we always have to find ways to "spice it up" for her.
I recently came across a cute spelling game called "Penny Spelling Game" on a great website called education.com which offers a lot of educational resources for all grades up to high school.... it is truly fascinating and such a great way for parents to help their kids learn through games and fun activities.
So the "Penny Spelling Game" is very simple and even though this one in particular might appeal to children younger than mine, I assure you there are tons of resources that could fit everyone's needs. For now, let's just play with some pennies...

What You Need:
50 or more pennies
What You Do:
Have your child arrange the pennies in the shape of letters and spell out words. Practice vocabulary words, spelling words, or (best of all) words related to Presidents like "Abe", "red", “blue", or “USA” with your child.
Turn the spelling game into a quick history lesson by pausing a moment to look at one of the pennies with your child. Show her the president on the face side and the memorial on the other side of the penny. Ask your child what year the penny was made. What else does it say?
You can also expand this activity into an English lesson by discussing phrases and idioms in the English language that use the word “penny". Example phrases include “a pretty penny,” “a penny saved is a penny earned,” “without two pennies to rub together,” “a penny for your thoughts,” “a penny to my name,” and “penny wise and pound foolish.” Has your child heard these phrases before? What do they mean?

Monday, September 25, 2017

This is 2!

Our little buddy is 2 today! What a happy day! He is growing before our eyes and we are loving every minute of it! What a sweet little boy he is!
Oliver is nothing short of amazing; he's the typical "mama's boy" and I am soaking in his cuddles and love as much as I can.  He loves giving kisses and hugs and everyone just loves him!
He stands tall at almost 36 inches and 34 lbs, a chunky buddy that wears size 3T and steals everyone's heart with a simple smile. 
Oliver has got quite the personality; he's self-driven, a fast learner and very observant.  His language skills are pretty amazing as he fends for himself in two languages and definitely makes his voice be heard.  He loves playing with his sisters and his dad is the center of his universe. 
Oliver loves Legos, Mickey and might be slightly obsessed with Sesame Street at the moment; he knows all the characters' names and can sing all the songs; it's so sweet to watch him sing and dance all the time. He also loves going to Disney and going on all the rides!
He also loves dinosaurs and is especially good at imitating roaring sounds.  He has recently moved himself to a full size bed so the crib days might be over soon since he has refused to sleep in it for the past two weeks.  How did this happen so fast?!?
He's not potty trained yet but seems to be more aware and is becoming better at alerting us of poopie diapers and such; I will probably give potty training another go in the beginning of next year...fingers crossed!
Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for sending us this beautiful gift but on the day of his birthday, I thank Him a million times more!

Happy Birthday, little buddy! We love you so much! Enjoy the "terrible twos" that cannot possibly be so "terrible" with your beautiful smile and sweet soul!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Strong Opinions

**Disclaimer: This post isn't directed towards anyone in particular, just a bunch of thoughts that I wanted to get out and right now seems to be the right time to do so**

Today's post is about "Strong Opinions" and the consequences associated with having them. 
When I think of opinions, a classic scene from the movie "Inside Out" comes to mind; in this scene Joy knocks down two boxes containing facts and opinions and while she desperately tries to clean up the mess, she exclaims "Oh no! These facts and opinions look so similar" and Bing Bong replies: "Ah, don't worry. Happens all the time!" I love that scene for so many reasons and every time I talk about opinions I bring it up because it illustrates my point so well. 
Often times I've been called "opinionated" by many people; some have told me nicely and some not so nicely..but I guess calling me opinionated is also an opinion, right?...oh, the irony! The truth is that YES, I have a lot of opinions, but who doesn't? I frequently voice some of those opinions in this blog, which is my personal platform and my safe space.  I am aware that some of my opinions ruffle some feathers and I am also aware that the problem with strong opinions is that they elicit strong reactions and once something is said, it's pretty much out there forever.
The official definition of the word opinions goes as follows: "a view or judgement formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge" so clearly opinions are NOT facts but rather someone's personal beliefs about any given subject. 
I have recently gotten notes from people saying my opinions are "too strong" or that I'm "harsh"; I also know for a fact that some people visit my blog to purposely get annoyed at what I write, a fact that I find incredibly baffling and a bit masochistic but it happens and I can't prevent anyone from reading this blog since it's public.  The point is that I am aware that some of the things I say don't sit well with some people but I am of the believe that "if you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything" so I write, and I opine and I own up to what I say and while stating my opinions is never intended to hurt or offend anyone that's something I can't possible change because I don't have control over people's reactions. 
While many people claim to be "tolerant" and "understanding" the truth is that people can't stand it when others disagree with them and they tend to gravitate towards like-minded people because it's just easier to hang out with people that agree with them. Of course there are exceptions where people enjoy a good, healthy debate and don't mind taking the time to back up their opinions with facts... or at least try.  I personally don't mind being challenged and have actually learned a lot from people with opinions different than mine...debating is good..arguing isn't.
Coincidentally, on my last post I wrote an opinion about a comment a friend made regarding hurricane evacuations; this person reached out to me and we both agreed that our differences in opinions are not stronger than our friendship so we said our peace, apologized and moved on, no harm done! I am thankful for friends like him who take the time to approach me individually and delve deeper into my arguments... it's actually refreshing!
So my advice to anyone who gets annoyed by what I write is very simple "Don't read it!" but if you must then please don't confuse my opinions with facts; they might be facts to ME but I'm ok with them not being so for others.  To me, writing is therapeutic and I don't plan on stopping any time soon so if you've ever been offended by any of my posts... oh well...it is what it is! 
People don't have to agree on everything to be able to love each other... heck, I rarely agree with my own mother and we love each other to death!
So keep on opining and keep on rocking!
Happy Blogging!



Saturday, September 16, 2017

Haters gonna hate!

Unless you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, you've probably heard about Irma, a category 5 hurricane that pummeled the state of Florida and wreaked havoc in a bunch of cities, all while forcing thousands and thousands of people to evacuate...
The predicted path of Irma was as terrifying as they come; some people say that Florida got "lucky" but I'm not sure "luck" is the right word to use in a situation where many people ended up homeless and cities were destroyed. Some Caribbean islands were not as "lucky", with many being completely washed out by the wrath of Irma and the forceful winds and rains that came with it. 
Some of the evacuees (us included) took the chance to make "lemonade out of lemons" by turning the unwelcome evacuation into an unexpected vacation; some people drove as far as Boston in their attempts to escape the hurricane and naturally enjoyed their time away despite the given circumstances. 
In our particular case, we were blessed to spend a few days with some dear friends in their North Carolina cabin, we visited Iggy's alma mater  in Tennessee and caught up with some friends there and also spent a few days in Savannah, which is a wonderful city.  All the while I was worried about my family members that stayed behind, the possible damages to our house and our city and the overall risks this monster hurricane posed for our entire community... this was no joke!
Once the hurricane passed, it was time to assess the damages, both local and worldwide and to get ready to help all the victims however possible.  Many of our friends organized food/supply drives and coordinated ways in which to help through different channels...and the efforts haven't stopped.
It was also time to thank God for keeping us safe and for allowing us to, well, make lemonade out of lemons and enjoy the said "hurrication". 
Now... everything was fine and dandy until I was scrolling through my FB feed and saw this comment by a "friend" (direct quote, copy and past). I suppose I could have responded to him in his own wall, but I'm not up for confrontations with a hater. 

"Amigos y Amigas; if you left Florida because of Hurricane Irma, it was NOT a vacation, or "hurrication". People lost valuables, others died, it was a stressful week. Have some compassion. Ironically the ones doing this also thank God for keeping THEM safe, cause you know, screw everyone else. So go somewhere else with those pictures of your "hurrication". AdiĆ³s ."

(The comment wasn't directed towards ME, but it might as well could have)
While I understand the sentiment behind the comment, I also wonder, why are people such haters? Why can't they see the silver lining within a tragedy, and if they don't, why can't they let others do such, then?  I find it incredibly ridiculous that someone would assume that because people decide to make the best of a bad situation, then they're not concerned about others; or that because people thank God for their safety, they're indirectly saying "screw everyone else".  Are we supposed to sit and cry over how miserable the world is?  Are we supposed to stop living life because there's a natural disaster?  Are we supposed to stay at home during a hurricane because other people decide to "ride out" the storm? 
I am not one to post a million pictures of my "hurrication", or boast about how much "fun" I had while evacuating, but I am for people making the best of things and dealing the cards they've been given. There is nothing wrong with someone saying they "enjoyed" their time away;  in my humble opinion, it doesn't make anyone inconsiderate, insensitive or less empathetic, it just makes them positive and grateful. 
I have many friends that evacuated, many of those also posted pictures of their "hurrication", and many admittedly enjoyed their time away and feel blessed to have been safe during the storm.  These same friends are also some of the most empathetic, sweet and helpful people I know, people that would do anything in their power to help anyone they can, ones that were worried sick about what the hurricane could do, people that spent hours on the road trying to keep their families safe, etc..so assuming they don't care about others is plain stupid. So all my "friend's" comment shows is ignorance and hate on his part...maybe a bit of jealousy too?. 
So people, keep enjoying your "hurrications" with no shame...and if "Maria" makes her way around the Atlantic, get ready for more hate and envy if you do decide to evacuate! Because Haters gonna hate.. and we can't change that! As for me, I will continue to see the silver lining and let hate roll.. 
Happy blogging!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Death is "simple" but a loss is never "easy"

Last Wednesday, in the middle of an ordinary week, we lost a loved one.  I received the awful news that aunt Graciela had suddenly passed very early in the morning of August 23rd... I was shocked, sad, terrified and down in the dumps within a few short seconds when I heard that she had died of a sudden heart attack next to her husband of more than 40 years.. what an awful heartbreak. Iggy happened to be away on business so I know he took it especially hard because his aunt Graciela was very dear to him and he didn't have anyone to hug him through such pain.  
See, death is simple but a loss is never easy and the ones that stay behind are the ones who suffer the most. When a loved one dies we tend to think a lot of things, we reflect on the meaning of life, the purpose of our existence and I particularly spend time evaluating how much of my time is spent doing quality things with my loved ones or questioning how many times I tell them how much they mean to me...the answer is usually not enough times.. and I hate that.. I hate the fact that something tragic has to happen to make me realize that at times I don't give enough of myself to others, but things like this help me understand  that even the sad stuff happens for a reason. 
In the midst of her death, one of our cousins and aunt Graciela's 2nd daughter posted a beautiful picture of her and her mom and she wrote these nice words "I will soon find the words, mom. I promise you. But right now I am speechless; silence comforts me. I love you. And I am happy to have told you so a million times".  I read those words and broke down in tears... how beautiful is the fact that in the middle of such a tragic loss, a daughter can find comfort in the thought that she told her mom she loved her over and over....

Last time I saw aunt Graciela was in April; we attended the wedding of her 2nd to youngest son (she has 6 wonderful children) and she was radiant, looking beautiful and happy as ever, I am happy about that being my last memory of her.  We spent a lot of time with her and she made remarks about how dear her family was to her and how she was soaking in all the love during the time spent with 5 of her children and her 8 grandchildren (a new grandchild was born since so now it's 9 of them). She had this special vibe, a beautiful aura and contagious energy and even though we didn't get to see her often since she lived in Venezuela, she was always so special to me and I will miss her and her Instagram feed and all her happy family updates and such. 

So as "simple" as death is, we must acknowledge that a loss is never "easy" and the void that it leaves cannot be ignored.  It takes time to heal and even more time to accept that those loved ones that die are forever gone in their physical form but always present in their spiritual one. 

I will forever remember aunt Graciela as a kind and faithful woman that always made the world a better place; someone who spent their time loving her family and making a difference in everyone's lives, a woman with strong convictions and a huge heart and one whose memory will never be forgotten. 
To her husband and children, we will pray for you; please know that we feel your pain and we hope you can find comfort on the idea that she went straight to heaven and will always be with you. 

Rest in Peace, aunt Graciela! We love you very much....


Saturday, August 26, 2017

Back to School

Back to school week is always a hectic and eventful one, especially for us parents with multiple children; between finishing up last minute shopping, getting uniforms and school supplies ready and going back to the routine we tend to feel overwhelmed and often exhausted...
Well.. this year wasn't any different and it was especially challenging for us since Iggy was away on business and I was left to tend to three kids alone during a week where their needs seem to be twice as many and my energy is almost non-existent. 
Oliver started back on Monday and cried at drop off for the first 3 days, which wasn't so bad. He slowly remembered his classroom, teachers and school playground. He had a hard time waking up in the mornings and I had an even harder time shortening our morning cuddle sessions. I am confident, however, that Oliver loves his school and is already learning so much from his daily interactions with other kids his age. I really love watching him grow up before my eyes and I enjoy how much he learns on a daily basis.  Such a smart little boy!


Because there was a solar eclipse on Monday, the girls got an extra day off and kicked off the week on Tuesday instead.  They were equally anxious and excited to start 3rd and 5th grade;they were up really early and ready to go way before I was which definitely isn't the norm. 
I am thankful that my girls are mature beyond their years and they are always the ones that calm me down and reassure me whenever I'm feeling sad. 
Surprisingly enough, I was feeling a little "blue" on this back to school week partly because I realize that time is precious and that even though these moments are forever imprinted in my memory, they are definitely ephemeral and intangible.
As Gaby starts 3rd grade I can only see success ahead of her; she is such a strong minded girl who always achieves whatever she envisions.  But just like I see success, I also see many challenges because Gaby can be very lazy at times and I know that this year's expectations are higher than other years. It's hard to let go sometimes, it's hard to let your kids fail so they can learn from their mistakes but I know this year I will be faced with such choices and I'm going to have to push Gaby to give more than she feels comfortable with... God help me be strong for this little one!


Olivia started 5th grade, which is her last year of elementary school. This year she was invited to participate in an advanced math program where she will attend math class with 6th graders; I reluctantly accepted because I know she needs the challenge and she has worked so hard for it but I will admit to being really nervous about the pressure this will put on her.  This school year Olivia will be responsible for carrying an iPad and doing most of her work electronically; she will also have her own school email address and won't be getting constant reminders about tests, homework and projects and instead she will be on her own when it comes to schedules. It will also be the year when most kids get "mean" and "cliquish" (we already saw some of that last year) and the year where she gets to try out for sports despite the fear of being turned down for something she really wants to do. 
She has been very vocal about her anxiety about middle school (next year) and about how she will handle all of her new responsibilities, social pressure and emotional challenges.  She's the kind of kid that wants to do it all and wants to be great at everything (overachiever much?) but she is also very sensitive and that's what makes me really nervous about this year. 
I am praying for wisdom and humbleness for both of us. 


So this year I'm feeling the "blues" and experiencing all kinds of emotions about my kids being back in school. I can't believe Olivia is closer to high school than she is to kindergarten and I also can't believe that all my kids are already in school.  
I feel blessed to be able to send them to Catholic school and I am confident that this year will be a great one despite the challenges ahead!
God please continue to light my children's path as you see fitting!


Happy Back to School week!