Graduating Class of 2022

06.17.2022

It’s taking me a little time to try to put into words my many emotions about a day filled with love and imagining the many new things that lie ahead. 


Graduation day. There was so much excitement, butterflies and nerves leading up to this day and just like that it was here. 

As I helped Giovanni with his tie I could feel the tears filling my eyes that I had to focus even harder to see what I was doing. Looking up at his face, his suit and reaching for his cap and gown, it was so hard to hold back the many tears I knew would be falling not before too long. 

He was so ready and excited to put on his cap and gown. Once he was dressed he looked in the mirror and saw the complete set. I watched him as he smiled with approval. His eyes lit up and he stood proudly. I stared at him and watched every move, listened to him breathe and grow as I did while he was laying in the NICU. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. Looking at him I knew soon it would be the end of his time in Elementary. I didn’t cry. Even as he walked away knowing his sister was next. 

Isannah walked in the room with her flowing dress standing tall and waiting for her cap and gown. As I adjusted her gown and helped her with the cap, I held back my tears still. She looked up at me and knew just how I was feeling. As if she gave me a look of understanding. I didn’t cry. 

We made our way to the school seeing so many familiar faces. The kids left me and families waited in line to enter the yard. Everyone was talking and smiling but I felt their hidden emotions. It was time to take our seats and suddenly playing through the speakers was the graduation song. We all patiently waited as we looked around wondering where our graduates would be walking towards us. People looked in different directions and suddenly all the talking stopped and the cheering began as they walked around us. I was overcome with emotions. Isannah was leading the grade while holding the American flag. We made it here. We all made it here, 5th grade graduation. Both sets of grandparents were here making another beautiful memory for us. One that we will take with us always. 

The speeches began. Sweet, encouraging, funny and passionate. Names were called and graduates accepted their diplomas. It was a feeling like no other. The tears I was holding in up until that moment escaped me and the endless emotions grew stronger. 

This was it. This was the moment they worked so hard for. They were graduates. I kept repeating in my head, they are graduates. It’s all unfolding around me. The many faces filled with love. The love swirling all around us. A truly joyous and humbling occasion. 

Hugs were given. Teachers and staff were appreciated and photos were captured. 

This was it. They are saying goodbye to a home that kept them safe, learning and growing for the past several years. Remembering that first day, only 4 years old and now 11. 

I couldn’t have imagined a better day. 

Here’s to the 5th grade graduating class of 2022! We did! 

Totally 80s Auction

From ponytails to fluorescent bands. Neon colors, Pac-Man, and Adidas gear everywhere. Surrounded by music blasting, bodies moving and I Want to Dance with Somebody filling the night sky. Laughter and smells of alcohol on the breaths of friends you just met and those you have known since the beginning of when it all started. Joy, laughter, everyone coming together for one beautiful cause, to raise money for a school, a community that has been our second home for several years. 

Welcome back to the 80s Auction. A bittersweet event. Seeing the many faces that fill the halls of our elementary school. Teachers and staff, past teachers that have grown into beautiful friendships, staff that make it all happen, volunteers bringing families together for a night out after two years. 

There are many things to take in through this experience. Many positive, loving and knowledgeable moments, and a very few not so pleasant but the quick resolve and support helps keep the positive flowing. The genuine love and care from teachers we’ve had can never be put into words just how appreciative we are. 

Little moments of growth between friends, not friends, and then friends again all come together. 

This night here, looking around, all I can do is smile, and maybe quietly shed a few tears because I know this school year is coming to an end. Soon Graduation, Senior week and all the beautiful festivities that follow. 

What a night! What a few years. 

Natural Colors of our Planet

Last Sunday was Isannah’s ballet performance in the city. She performed in Natural Colors of our Planet. 

I was filled with so many emotions that it’s been so hard finding the words to express all that I’m feeling. She has been in many ballet recitals, shows each year. She also performs every year in the Nutcracker. We just watched her perform in the Nutcracker this past year and she blew my mind then. Each year I watch her I can see her growth and love for all that she does. But this performance left me speechless and in awe of her grace. Her arms flowed effortlessly and each movement was so captivating. I felt like I was in a trance just watching her. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She looked taller and more agile. As if she was being pulled by a string carrying her through every move. Her hand positions and arms flowed with each movement she took. Her face expressed each move she was embracing. Then that smile. Oh that smile, of pure joy, happiness and belonging. 

The progression in her movements showed her growth. I felt like I was no longer looking for that looking girl on stage. She was one of the big girls. I didn’t want the song to end because it meant the dance was over. 

I watched all the girls as they moved around the stage making their way to their final position. Then I saw her, my beautiful daughter, and I took one deep inhale and held it as long as I could before releasing it as she flew off the stage. 

It was a Mother’s Day I will remember for all my years until my memory fades and then my heart will remember.

Year 11 for Gio and Isa’s Miracles

It’s almost here! March for Babies: A Mother of a Movement 2022

We have 4 more days until our walk. We would love for you to help us reach our goal. Every bit counts and brings us closer to our team goal.

The emotions are already sneaking up and beginning. The day of will bring back flooding memories of when it all began. The tears of joy, fear, love and happiness will be present. Listening to the words being spoken, the stories being told, the love and common goal surrounding us. Then I see my twins. I stare at them maybe too much for them to understand but I stare and watch how beautiful, strong and kind they are. I stare and see two miracles before me growing and fighting to be here and live a life they were given. We were given. And I cry. Inside I cry, outside I cry and I am so humbled for where I am and who I have standing with me.

Please share our story. Our journey and how it all started. Thank you to all those who have already taken the time to be present in our journey for donating and supporting us and for all the families your donations will help. Let’s go Gio and Isa’s Miracles!

https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626

2020 Gio and Isa’s Miracles
2016 Gio and Isa’s Miracles

The Day the Tooth Fairy Died

And just like that, the Tooth Fairy is no more. At least for my daughter. 

Join me through the events that lead up to this moment. 

Isannah was brushing her teeth right before bedtime when she began screaming our names. After the panic wave passed, I yelled out to her to make sure she was fine. Her tooth had fallen out as she was brushing and she was excited for the Tooth Fairy to arrive that night. 

Let me say this first, Isannah has a loft bed. Desk underneath and bed up top. Now that you’ve pictured it, I will continue. She was already under the covers when she asked for her tooth. Each time one of the kids loses their tooth I place it in a Ziploc bag with the date and details. This way it’s easier for me to locate under the pillow in the dark. While I was making my way to her I was pretending to help clean her room by moving objects along the path to her bed. I also situated the piano bench in the best position for me to step on for the money and tooth exchange that night.

I finally stood up on the bench to kiss her goodnight. Before I placed the tooth under her pillow she looked up at me and asked if she could place it there herself. I was beginning to worry that the positioning would be hard for me to get to later that night. That didn’t stop me from allowing her to do it. After she did, I lifted the pillow and moved it slightly to help with my reach later. 

She immediately looked under the pillow as if to see if I took it. Then she placed the pillow back down and looked at me suspiciously. I gave her a hug and turned off the light. 

That night I was more anxious about the tooth and money exchange that I set alarms as reminders. Each time the alarm went off I quietly went upstairs to listen at the door. There was still a lot of movement so I tiptoed back downstairs and knew that just wasn’t the time. 

I pushed off going to her room long enough as it was already after midnight. As I was making my way upstairs I stopped on the main floor to remove my earrings, FitBit (in case the light went on) and any other jewelry that could possibly make any noise. Because my nerves were getting the best of me I yanked one of my bracelets which got caught and busted. Beads were rolling loudly all over the table and some landed on the floor. In sheer panic I layed on the table to prevent them from rolling and falling as they were scattering all over the place. Once I collected them all and took a breath I sat down at the table to regain composure and build up my courage once again. 

I quietly opened the door and followed the path that I made leading to the piano bench earlier. The loudest noise came from the popping of my knees as I extended my leg to the bench. There was immediate rustling in the bed. I had to balance while in a squatting position on the bench until Isannah stopped moving. My legs were beginning to shake and I was trying really hard not to panic. I extended my arm and tried to feel for the bag while letting the money fall wherever it wanted. I didn’t notice at the time that the bench wasn’t stable. As it wobbled to one side I had to grip the top of her bed frame. I felt Isannah move above me. She seemed so close as if she was staring right at me but I couldn’t see a damn thing. I found it. I got the bag and pulled my arms down with the bag in hand. I was about to get down when I heard more movement. Back to the squatting position on the bench. I felt like I held that position for over an hour because my legs could not stop shaking. Finally everything was quiet again and out the door I went. At that point, I was so nervous I couldn’t shut the door completely as I was really afraid to make any other noises. 

I quietly ran downstairs to share my experience with my husband. I thought I did it. I was done for the night but could no longer fall asleep. The adrenaline rush was keeping my mind and heart racing but I had to get some sleep. 

The sound of George Jones’ He stopped loving her today was playing as my alarm. I slowly got to my feet and walked to Isannah’s room. The lights are usually still off and she’s still sleeping but not this morning. I noticed the light beneath the door. When I opened her door I saw her laying on her bean bag chair reading a bit. Before I could wish her a good morning she said, “I saw you.” At first I didn’t know what she was talking about. I looked at her with confusion. She repeated herself adding I saw you take my tooth. I didn’t know what to say. I felt like someone kicked me in the stomach. 

I just stared at her and watched as a tear slowly rolled down her cheek. She was crying because I let her believe there was a Tooth Fairy all this time. She couldn’t believe how stupid she felt. I tried to explain about the magic of it all and it was fun to believe in something special and to share it with her brother. I hugged her and with a sigh of relief I said, this was getting harder and harder to do because of that bed. She started to giggle a little and we spoke some more before she mentioned her brother. She wasn’t sure if she would tell him or not. I told her it was up to her but it may be nice if he continues to believe until it’s his time. 

As we made our way downstairs, Isannah pulled me aside and said she wasn’t going to tell her brother. 

February 2, 2022 the day the Tooth Fairy died. 

Before school mornings

Why do some mornings have to be so hard? 

I don’t like waking up in the mornings. Heck, I get up before my alarm to check my clock only to see how much more time I have left to sleep. That drives me nuts. I wish I had cute little birds fly in and grab my clothing and help me dress as I make my way out the bedroom door. Feeling the soft breeze of their feathers flying happily all around me bringing me hope for a new day to begin.I smile as I make my way to the kids room and thank God for allowing me another day.

I wake the kids with little morning kisses and make my way downstairs to begin breakfast. I’m already preparing myself for the day that lies ahead. Kids come down and everything is going smoothly until that one sarcastic remark or the bickering over foolish reasons at the breakfast table begins. I’m thankful that the birds are not really circling around me singing their songs because I probably would have wacked them out of my way while trying to stay calm.  

See my problem is I never learned a technique to calm myself and if I am in that moment and you are trying to calm me, that just aggravates the situation further and has the opposite effect of calming me. So, let’s just say I’m still learning to find “my zen.” 

Now back to the morning, the explanations about who said what, and who started or who is really at fault begins. It goes on and on and my mood gets worse and worse. It’s no longer fun, happy and calm. It’s the discussions, possibly raised voices, and explanations of how we got here. When all I want to do is calm myself and tell them how much I love them and just solve it all but I can’t. As I am reaching in the opposite way that I would like, I see it all going down and although in the back of my mind, like way way back, I see the other scenario and how well it plays out, that’s not what is currently happening. Instead it’s like adding fuel to the fire. My raised voice and warnings, taking away electronics or anything I could think of at that moment. 

Then after it all blows up and I step back in the kitchen to begin preparing their school lunch, my mind is still rolling. I need to step out of myself for a moment and just think about other ways to quiet the emotions that are surrounding us. I can feel another lesson coming out  but at the same time hope the responses are good because I don’t want to start these feelings all over again. 

I begin to talk about better ways we could say things. How we need to think about what we are going to say, how we say it and how it will affect the person we are saying it to. Did we need to say that even though we knew it would be hurtful? If we are just saying things because we know it will hurt someone then it shouldn’t be said at all. 

We need to look around at all we have and all we are able to share. We are sitting at a table with food to nourish our body and we are doing it all in a home with family. A place of love and warmth no matter our moods.

Food is finished, dishes are put away and kids are getting dressed to head out the door. As we are walking my mind keeps going back to the morning events getting us here. How I should’ve responded? How can I let things get me so upset when all I want to do is hold them? 

I look at the kids walking in front of me and my mind plays tricks on me. I see them as they are toddlers looking back at me smiling to make sure I’m still here. I hear their giggles and see their missing teeth smile and all I can do is smile. 

How can these two kids in front of me be this tall? How are they 11 already? This is all happening too quickly and I don’t want to waste a single moment being mad. I feel like Giovanni felt what I was feeling because at that moment he turned around and said, “mommy, I’m sorry about this morning.” I just melted. Funny, he didn’t have anything to apologize for and yet he was the one that did. 

He rushed ahead because he never wants to be late. While Isannah and I walked together in silence. That’s how it goes sometimes and that’s ok. 

I wished them a wonderful day at school and went on my way home. This moment will affect everything I do up until I pick them up from school hoping for a redo.

COVID found our home

You try to keep your family safe and healthy the best way you know how. You do all you can to avoid crowds, not staying indoors for too long, always wearing a mask and just praying that you can do it. After all you follow all COVID-19 protocols and you isolate for half a year and then some. You stop doing all the things that brought you comfort and made you feel alive. It just stops and you remain in a bubble. A bubble you call home surrounded by the family you made and love.

You get your vaccine’s, first and second, and when the booster comes out you are first in line to show your arm once again. You await the announcement for the kids age group you need. Once that announcement came in I immediately scheduled my kids. Not everyone feels the same but for my family and our children it will always be the best thing. 

Through it all and no matter how careful we were COVID entered our home. I have friends that left us too soon because of COVID. Dear friend’s mothers, sisters or brothers that left too soon because of COVID and of course, all that your mind has been absorbing just watching the world each day during the pandemic. The many questions. The uncertainty. Learning each day as the pandemic continues. You try to prepare yourself the best you can. 

Now it was here and in our home. 

The night my daughter said her head and throat hurt. I immediately checked her temperature and although it was a mild fever it was enough to grab four at home tests. I tested my daughter, then proceeded with my son, husband and I. My daughter’s test began showing positive so we began her isolation process and she stayed in her room until we received our results. The three of us were negative. How could this be? We are always so close in contact. 

It was hard to feel grateful knowing my daughter was upstairs but I was relieved just a little for the rest of us. 

Panic mode sets in and you start going back to who we were with or where we were and each time my heart sank knowing my parents were with us for some of those times. Filled with worry my finger shook as I made the call to my mom explaining what had happened. I needed to make sure they were all ok. My heart was beating so fast and was about to come out of my chest until I heard her say they were all fine. With this darn thing, it’s a wait and see a game. 

I returned the focus to Isannah and made sure she was comfortable and had everything she needed in her room. Man, it really sucks and is so unfair knowing you can’t go to your kid, stay with her and hold her until she feels better as you normally would do. This time I couldn’t kiss the booboo and make it all better. The first two days were the worst of it. Sore throat, slight fever and headache but after that she was getting better. But that didn’t mean she could join us or the world. She needed to stay isolated. Thank goodness for technology as we were able to chat and FaceTime. When it was dinner time she would join us by FaceTime. We brought food upstairs to her room and we would set up the laptop at the table and make sure she was with us. While all this was going on I couldn’t stop worrying about her asthma and fearing another hospital visit because of it. But thankfully she was strong and getting stronger each day. A little asthmatic cough began but Albuterol nebulizer treatments helped greatly. 

Isolating time is over and she has joined the living once again. Thankful we were all vaccinated because this could’ve been a lot worse. Either way, all that matters is she is better and just in time for their birthday. 

This will make 11 love filled, memory making years. Happy 11th birthday my sweet miracles, twin A and twin B!

Neighbors who are family

Traditions bring calm, joy and feel like a big hug of love surrounding you. We were lucky to begin a new tradition once Giovanni and Isannah were well enough and at home to be a part of it. Every Christmas Eve, thanks to our beautiful friends/neighbors/family really, they began coming over to our house with their youngest son to exchange presents for the little ones. We got to share hugs and conversation. It was the best having them in our home which allowed me to begin another tradition of taking pictures with the kids together and with the Falcone’s together. That made me so happy to be able to capture those moments. Each year this happened even when they welcomed their daughter who joined the tradition with us. The tradition continued for all the kids up until their son who started it all with us got older. He was 10 years or so and stopped coming but the tradition continued even through COVID. Although not inside our home or by our Christmas tree we still meet outside. The feeling is still the same because we get to share the joy of giving and the love of friends. 

Now my kids are turning 11 years old, about the age that their son was when he stopped joining. I’m hoping that no matter the age or the years that pass this tradition carries on. Maybe not with exchanging gifts but with the love of friendship that has grown stronger as each year passes. The fondness of friends that are now our family. 

Right now they play outside when it’s warm and even when it’s cold. They laugh, they scream, they get out of control but they still play together and I love hearing and knowing they are there. 

Giovanni and Isannah will start middle school next year but I hope the friendship they each developed through the years will be remembered always no matter the years that pass by. Maybe they won’t be playing on the streets all together like they do now but the respect and love will always be there. 

Until the ages start to show, I will enjoy every moment that we have now.  

My heart is so happy that the friend I met in elementary school is still a constant in my life. She gifted all of this to me and my family and I am forever grateful.

Christmas is here

The anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas was all worth it to see their faces come Christmas morning.

It all started when the Elves Clementine and Michael returned for their daily surprises and mischiefs. From hanging on the chandelier to hiding in the rolls of wrapping paper. Then hanging on Santa’s chair in the window display and so much more. They brought some ugly sweater cookies to design on Ugly Sweater Day at school and chocolate lollipops to enjoy. It was all fun and games until the night Giovanni and Isannah had to say their good-byes to Clementine and Michael until the next year.

Then all of the sudden this happened: When the kids woke up on Christmas Day the elves were still here. Hiding in our Christmas tree with a note they wrote. The kids were older now and could take care of their elves so instead of flying back to the North Pole they let their magic go with Santa and stayed behind to enjoy with Giovanni and Isannah. It was time to share their magic with younger kids starting the excitement of the Elf on the Shelf. Although the kids were sad that the elves lost their magic they already created beds and rooms for Clementine and Michael in our home.

It was a magical Christmas but what made it more special is that we got to share it with family. We hope that the magic of Christmas lives on in your home and that the love of this holiday season is able to carry you along into the new year.

Christmas time in the city

This weekend was filled with excitement, laughter, lots of firsts, and the happiness I felt watching my mom and my kids enjoy this time together. Then we made our way to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular. This was my third time, my mom’s second time, and the kids first time but this time meant so much more to me because I got to see the kids and my mom’s reaction as they watched the show. I saw how they each rushed to whisper things in her ear or hug her arm so tightly as they pulled her near. Giovanni even lost a tooth while eating popcorn. Thinking it was a kernel he dropped it, then realized in sheer panic that it was his tooth. A cell phone flashlight was all Giovanni needed to locate his tooth. 

We got to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and see the people ice skating below us. We threw coins in the foundation as we made a wish. Before heading back home we went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral just like mom and I always did. Now we are sharing our tradition with Giovanni and Isannah. They each lit their first candle in front of the nativity and said prayers. It was a beautiful ending to our time in the city. 

Back home we finished decorating the Christmas tree and Asher placed the angel on top, as he does each year. 

These memories will live on in our hearts always and carry us through in times when we will need them the most. It was a beautiful weekend with beautiful blessings surrounding us.