Making teacher friends

It’s very rare when you find people you connect with and when that person(s) are teachers in your children’s school says so much about the school they attend. When your children start a new school it’s always scary but when it’s time for the parent to research and get them there, that’s another story. It always seems so overwhelming in the beginning but it doesn’t end there. Each new year is another set of worry. Worrying about their new teachers, classmates and overall structure of the classroom. As a parent, the worrying never ends. With the help of teachers and staff the weight lessons. Beautiful bonds are formed and the reassurance that your children are safe helps get you through another school day.

It’s very rare when a true bond of friendship forms with a teacher. You think that when the year ends you move on and a new teacher comes in. Knowing no matter where your children go. No matter how old your children are or what class they are in a friend you made along the way continues and your children never forget them either.
Your heart smiles when you see your child still run up to their past teachers. You know at that moment they touched their lives in a way they hold dear, and for that I am grateful.

I got to enjoy the company of a few of those teachers and that made me smile. Thank you for the laughs.

Rock 101

After months of Friday band rehearsals the day was here and it was Rock 101’s first concert. I knew bits and pieces to what might be performed. I heard Isannah and Giovanni practicing in their rooms from time to time but never would I have imagined what I saw and heard on that stage today. It was amazing. We walked into the venue and through the doors was the stage. When I looked up I saw my sweet girl seated at the keyboard. Then I looked just slightly to the right and saw my handsome boy on the drums. I had to do a triple take and a WHAT? I didn’t know he would be playing drums as he plays the electric guitar. It was such a surprise and I couldn’t contain the excitement I felt. The kids knew just by looking at me how proud I am of them. We exchanged smiles and I held back and just watched them. 
The count down began and instruments and singing started. My eyes filled with tears and I couldn’t help but shed a few. They were tears of happiness and love. It was a feeling that hugged my body. There before me were my twin 9 year olds doing their thing and shining brightly on that stage. I was beaming with pride and joy. All their hard work was for this moment. A moment I have now placed in my heart and tucked away to enjoy through the years to come. They rocked each song and instrument. They sang in a group.They sang solo and they played. Giovanni started off on the drums and then as the song ended and another began he switched to his guitar. Isannah held her ground on the keys and also started up a song on her own. I felt like I was at a live show in an arena with thousands of fans chatting their name. It was great. 
I couldn’t be prouder of my two miracles. I see them grow every day. I see them blossoming into the young beautiful children before me but tonight I saw them shine. I saw their heart and dedication on that stage. The crowd cheered and asked for one more song. Encore, encore, encore and they played.What an exciting night! 
It was a beautiful moment but what made me smile so much more was knowing my parents and friends were in the crowd enjoying this moment right along with us. 
Way to go, Rock 101! 

Almost 9

January 14 is slowly creeping up on me and that means it will be 9 years for two of the most amazing miracles I experienced in my life. Known as twin A and B in the NICU where they started life outside my womb. We watched these two little beings fighting for their life with wires attached to them and breathing machines to help them. As small as they were, fighters they became from day one. Never giving up on life. Determined to live this life and officially meet their parents and family. They were here and they were going to stay. I am thankful everyday that they continued to fight. Every day was a challenge but together we all grew and experienced God’s love.

Now we are here just days before their 9th birthday and I can’t help but go back to that time and those emotions. My insides feel achy and warm, if that even makes sense. I try to focus on the life we have in front of us. All the amazing milestones they continue to reach and climb. I focus on the light they shine in my life. They have been lighting the way as they light their own paths. It’s been beautiful to see them blossom and become the kind, empathetic, talented and courageous young people they are today. 

That doesn’t mean it’s been smooth sailing with rainbows and sparkles. There’s been tears and plenty of them. Stress like no other and rain so windy and strong that knocks you over but these only help you see the vibrate beautiful colors of the rainbow that will always come after.  

We all go through many things in our lives. This is my journey. Our journey and we continue to fumble, trip, fall and then climb all together. We may each do it at different times but we always manage to get back to where we need to be together. 

9 years strong. 9 years of beating hearts and smiling faces. 9 years and counting. My world changed drastically 9 years ago but I wouldn’t change it for anything in this world. All we can do is be, live and let this life take us to where we will always be meant to be.

Open room soon to be 2020

All I hear, as I lay alone in the open room is the sound of waves crashing, birds singing and the calm of the breeze surrounding me. I look out into the open water and my mind drifts back to the first time we came here with the kids and how tiny they were. Sporting their onesies with pampers slightly sticking out of each leg hole while running excitedly in and out of each room. The panic that passed while they ran across the marble floor mixed with the excitement that they are running at all. If I close my eyes, I can still hear their little voices and giggles. I can see Giovanni’s flowing curls as he bounced about and Isannah’s full-face smile. When I open my eyes those memories feel so long ago but at the same time just like it was yesterday.

Now they are running around soon to be 9 years olds and holding conversations with one another. Playing together and just being who they are supposed to be. One is an avid reader with a heart for baking, making music, dancing and acting. The other is a puzzle hungry solver, a creator at heart, a singer and guitar playing rock star. They have many more strong talents, interests and they are learning more as time passes.

Being a mom has changed a lot in my life. It changed how I react and has taught me how my words and reactions affect others especially two small humans. It’s shown me how much more love I had inside. Love that is endless and unconditional. A love that hurts so much more when your little one is sad no matter what the reason. It’s a feeling within you that aches at every corner of your heart with both pain and joy. It also brings to surface the breakdowns, fear, confusion and lack of confidence when questioning yourself about everything you are doing. You learn and grow as your children learn and grow. Although, we do it in different ways, we grow all the same.

Parenting is not easy and comes with so many mixed emotions but those difficulties and emotions are worth all of it when you look at the miracles you made before you. Words will never fully reflect all that is but once you feel that feeling you will know.

Now back to the open room I am laying in while listening to the amazing sounds of life around me. The wind that blows through each open door and wraps around each corner while making it’s final swirl around my body as if to hug me before blowing out of another open door, reminds me that life is strong.

I hear the sounds of my children’s voices coming up from the elevator. I know they are near. My heart begins to beat a little faster and my body feels the warmth of their love. I carry them with me wherever I go and will take me into the New Year.

Soon it will be time to say goodbye to 2019. Leaving the year behind us but not the love, the knowledge, family and friends. Those things will always come with us into the New Year. Here’s to many love filled experiences, challenges that will test you, faith that will carry you and hope that all things are possible in 2020.

My Cuddler Interview

I had the honor of talking about what I do in the NICU as a cuddler and why I decided to do it. I was so nervous leading up to this moment and my body was shaking but I tried to focus on the babies and it helped me stay strong. Years ago I would never be able to talk in front of someone but this day I spoke from my heart and then when the question was asked about my kids my voice began to shake and my eyes filled with tears.
The day I received this I couldn’t hear it. It took a day to sit there with my husband and listen. I was so nervous and my cheeks were tingling and I felt I was turning red.
As we were listening by husband’s eyes began to fill with tears. I’m not sure if you saw the segment or heard it but I’m finally able to share it with you. Don’t make fun of all my singing throughout the segment, I was nervous.


abcaudio.com/aw_nicucuddler090919/



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Plane rides, wedding and more

12.4.2019

It’s been an interesting few weeks filled with airports, airplanes, family and friends. It all began with a quick but not really quick flight to LA for a love filled wedding. Although, there was a little delay and the flights would be many hours long coming from one end of the US to the other, it was all worth it to see the happiness on the children’s faces. It was amazing to watch love grow. To see the growth between families come together within a short period of time. God works his wonders in many areas but I saw the beauty of his love that day. Big steps were made not only within our family but walking along side too.

Even with a three-hour difference when it was time to return and goodbyes were being said it was then that I realized even more how resilient our children are. We returned home past midnight on Sunday and although dragging, they were up and ready for school the next day.

We had a couple catch up, preparing days before our next plane ride and adventure. This time it was not as far but still as tiring. The kids were ready to begin another family, love filled adventure so off we went.

Once off the plane in Chicago my arms began to tingle with excitement from all the hugs I so much love to give. Thanksgiving indeed is a day of thanks but it’s the greatness of family and friends that come together to share in that thanks that fills your bucket to the very top. The love that over pours when you are with family you don’t see as often and the sounds of cousins filling every room is what it’s all about.

Even with the four plane rides and time changes in two weekends, the kids never once complained and allowed the love they felt carry them on each trip.

It’s those moments we make that we remember and cherish. Those memories that will carry us until the next time or be present when things don’t feel as happy. Those moments will lift us until the next time.

I can’t deny I am tired not only my mind but my body but I can say all of the joys I experienced in such a short period of time gives me the strength I need and I was lacking.

Remember while you are planning your next adventures, even at the time you get a little frustrated, focus on the end result and the memories you will take with you. Live the life you are meant to have. Enjoy the love that is around you. Sometimes you don’t see it all but you will feel it if you allow yourself to.

What are you carrying?

I’m sitting on my stood thinking about the many memories that lead me to where I am now. Contemplating on life the way it was and how it is today. I feel like I’ve lived worlds within worlds. If that even makes sense.

Sometimes I get confused and my memories are clouded. I wonder with all that I went through as a child and what I continued to go through in each stage of my life brought me here.

Sometimes I remember things differently then what really happened. Is it because I’ve blocked some memories out of my mind or put them away so they wouldn’t hurt so much? Maybe it was to help me become stronger and prepare me for what is going on in my life today. 

When memories come to surface in full force they can be very scary and make you pull back into a shell you worked so hard to come out of.

We find ways to deal with different emotions. Even though you are unaware of what is happening to those emotions your mind does. Now comes the tricky part, when those memories resurface it is attached to feelings you weren’t able to fully feel because your mind found a way to hide them.  At that moment you are caught off guard. You ask yourself if you are strong enough now to deal with it. After all, you are older and wiser. You have gone through lifetimes and are still standing. So why does it still hurt? Why does your mind play tricks on you?

I have to stop for a moment and pull back. Think about all that has passed and what is right in front of me.

I’m a mom of two amazing kids. I have a family and a home.

There are some eye-opening kids books that I have read with my family. One particular one comes to mind. It is about an invisible bucket we all have. When that invisible bucket is full, we feel great. When it’s empty we are sad. If you do something to fill a person’s bucket you are both happy. It’s a beautiful book with a wonderful message to help kids be kind to one another. Help when it’s needed and to understand feelings not only their own but others as well.

As you grow, you feel the weight of that bucket on you in a different way. The weight you are carrying around is the pain of others that you collected to help them feel better. Combined with the hurt you are carrying makes it so heavy it brings you to your knees. This is when God takes that weight and helps you move again. Sometimes you don’t realize just how much you are carrying until it’s too late. You don’t realize that you have tucked away some really heavy things that you were afraid to carry without even knowing it was breaking pieces and making holes inside of you. It’s like your inside is struggling with the outside. You form protective barriers but what’s already inside continues to grow making it harder to heal. The barrier doesn’t allow others to get close or try to help. It’s a never-ending battle you are losing. The only way to stop the cycle is to understand it is there. Confront those feelings that have been tucked away. Let others in even though you are afraid of getting hurt again. You need to trust in yourself that you are where you need to be and that you are amazing. You need to know that only you are the person you are and there is no one more suited for your heart, you body and your soul then you. You are your own protected shell. We break. We crumble. We pick up the pieces and start bandaging the pieces back together. Some pieces will no longer fit together as it did before. You may see some light shining through those spaces but that’s ok. You are allowing the light to shine through you. That light will help lighten the load and help you bring light to the darkness you experience at times.

We are never completely healed and we will feel hurt sometimes like no other but we are here. We have the gift of life. There are no exchanges or returns. We just need to know how to see the beauty that surrounds us including the beauty inside of you. When you look into the mirror the reflection you see is your gift. Smile you will receive the most perfect smile in return.

Sometimes…

Sometimes you just need to smile through it all to make sure your children don’t see the fear or sadness. Sometimes you smile even when you are hurting because you want to always make those you love smile too. Sometimes it seems like you have it all together but you are holding on to a thin rope that feels like it will break at any moment. Sometimes you try so much for so many and can’t see that you are only good to them when they are receiving something they need from you. The calls stop for a while until something is needed and then you hear a hello. 

Sometimes you just want people to know you are tired not only physically but mentally too. Sometimes people see riches and material rather than your struggle and dedication to get what you’ve work so hard for. The riches I have is not money it’s the children I am blessed with. The husband that loves all of me. Not when it’s convenient for him or when I look the prettiest. He loves me and all my faults which are many. I’m rich in the life I live through faith, love, hope, honesty and being humble. I am rich for the family that reaches out to me just to say hello. For my friends that no matter the distance or days that go by I know they will always be there for me.

I am blessed that no matter what I do or the failure I feel I’ve done, God will never give up on me and for that I am rich.  

Goodbye summer camp

Today was Giovanni and Isannah’s last day at camp. It was also silly day which they were super excited about. They created the outfits they would wear and I did their hair and make up.  Walking to camp they were all smiles, giggling at each others outfits and laughing at their hair. Once we got there we were greeted with the most joyous greeting. Everyone was so happy.

Now fast forward to pick up. The kids each just received their medals. Isannah received selfless and Giovanni received kindness. I watched as Giovanni’s eyes were becoming tear filled. I knew it was going to happen. Tears and gasping breaths began from that boy as he was holding his counselors. Each counselor he hugged made him cry even harder. I then turned to Isannah and a group of new friends that she made ran to her and surrounded her with hugs. Two girls began crying so much because she was leaving. Then Gio’s friends came over to him and gave him hugs as he was still clenching one of his counselors. Other counselors from different groups came over to see them and hug them good bye. This lasted quite a while. I couldn’t pull them from their group. When I turned to look at a few counselors they were crying too. One turned to me and said, it’s hard to see them go. They are really good kids and everyone really loves them. It shows a lot when you see the groups of people surrounding them along with the counselors that began crying too. I was doing well until then. Hearing those words from someone that were with them for only three weeks filled my eyes with tears. It wasn’t long before I joined in the tear fest. What a beautifully sweet moment. What a great bunch of workers and friends at Park Slope Day Camp. They really did have the best experiences there with kind people that really care. I’m so proud of Giovanni and Isannah. Seeing the tears in others eyes, the hugs that they freely gave and the kindness they showed to them had me beaming with pride. It’s things like this that really help you get through another day.

Goodbyes are hard

Sometimes it’s just unbearable to say goodbye even when you know it’s the right thing to do. There’s a pain that fills not only your heart, which is already breaking, but also your body and causes an ache in your soul. You feel it. It’s there. You know the time is coming but the closer it draws near the harder it becomes. You know it’s the right thing to do. You know it will help someone feel better and no longer feel pain but the burning pain inside isn’t going away. Do you continue to be selfish because it makes you feel better or do you say goodbye so there’s no more pain on the other side? 
The thing is love is stronger than you can imagine. Love is what will always grow. The memories you shared through love every step of the way will help you be stronger than you think you are. Sometimes saying goodbye will always be hard.