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!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Summer...that's a wrap!

It's always bittersweet when summer comes to an end.. One one hand, I get very excited for a new school year and for some "me" time but then I start thinking of how much I'll miss the kids and our fun days and I get a little sad.. 
But such is life and here we are at the end of yet another fun summer, nothing short of great anecdotes and tons of awesome memories!
Let's start with June... it was such a fun month... the kids were so glad to be out of school at last so they made sure to start taking advantage of their time off right away...

The first important event of the summer was Mariana's baptism on June 11th. We had a great gathering with friends and family to celebrate this cutie's special day.  She looked so adorable with her baptism gown and the day was just filled with love and faith.  Iggy is her godfather so the event was extra special.

We spent lots of time at the pool so the kids got extra tanned... including "ghostly" Oliver.. ha!

In mid June we traveled to the Dominican Republic for a couple of weeks.  We spent some time with family including Iggy's uncle Javi and my aunt Laurita who flew in from Venezuela.  It's always great to spend time with loved ones and even better while on vacation.  

We celebrated Father's Day in DR even though they don't celebrate it until's a family picture from our celebration...

My sister also joined us in DR and we all had a great time together...


Right after we came back from Dominican Republic we headed to Ohio to visit my brother in law and his family.  The girls had an amazing time with their cousins and it was great to see our family. 
While in Ohio, I met up with my good friend Jenn, attended a great firework display on the 4th (Red, White and Boom! in Columbus, OH), celebrated Iggy's (and Sebastian's) birthday and just relaxed while soaking in all the family time that was possible.  It was really a great trip.

On the day we got back from Ohio, I took my dad to the Paul McCartney concert and that was definitely one of the highlights of my summer.. What a great show and spending time with my dad was even better! Unforgettable memories!

We spent some time with baby Mariana, who's growing like a weed...

Lots of time in the water, including the beach and pool...

My friend Jenn and her son Maddox came to visit from Ohio (they just couldn't stay away... ha!) and we had an amazing time with them.  I love it when people visit us!

At the end of July, we headed to Orlando to meet up with some of my cyber friends from my pregnancy forum (Oliver's friends). We had such a blast and I was so happy to finally meet some of these wonderful mommies who I've been chatting with for almost 2.5 years! (Only people with cyber friends can really understand how special this was)

Mommy friends!!!!

Iggy took the girls to Universal Studios while I was "mommying" with my friends! <3 p="">

In early August, we went to the GunsNRoses concert with some friends.  Even though I'm not much of a "rocker", I had a blast and it was a great night!

My cousin Ana and her kids came to visit from Colombia.. we had a great time.. 

During our last full week of summer, we went back to Orlando to spend some time at Disney. Everyone who knows us is aware that we are self proclaimed Disney "junkies" so we just HAD to squeeze in one last visit to the mouse.  Of course the kids had a blast and we were happy to spend a few days with our great friends Elle and Lia. Here are some pictures...

The BEST firework show EVER!

When we got back from Orlando, I went to Field of Flowers with some of the school moms for a last minute "back to school" celebration.  We made some cute arrangements and had a great time. 

And we sealed our summer with some shopping. The kids had a great time picking last minute stuff and taking pictures with the #targetdog

All in all, summer 2017 was another one for the books.  I hope that when my kids get a chance to read this blog in their older years they know how lucky they are and how many blessings they are able to enjoy on a daily basis. 
Now to start another wonderful school year!
Happy end of summer, y'all!