A rush to the end

This was a long Harry Potter journey that started several years ago when Giovanni and Isannah were about 5 or 6. Their dad began reading Harry Potter books at night while the kids were in bed.They formed a bond like no other and a love for Harry Potter. The rule was no movie could be watched until the book was completed. It seemed like the books were getting longer and longer. Some days we ran late and the kids needed to get in bed so there was no time for reading. Sometimes many days passed before the book was opened again but they always came back to it. 

They are now both 10 and still absolutely love Harry Potter books. This helped make the decision to sign them up for one week of Camp Hogwarts during summer break. The camp week was almost here but the last book was not complete. In fear that the camp would have spoilers or camp friends would discuss details of the last book, they made it their mission to complete the last book before camp started. They were reading longer and more frequently. Sometimes my husband read to them during the day and then again at night. There were still too many pages to read but that didn’t stop them. At one point my husband realized he needed a little help since he’s been working so hard, that he turned to Jim Dale. Jim Dale is the audible voice of Harry Potter books. Although my husband had read almost every page of those books to the kids, time was running out and he needed a little help to get to the finish line quicker.

Today was that day. The three of them got together as they always do to finish the book. He read and read until there were no words left in the book. The excitement was real! They completed the last book and camp was the very next day. It was the perfect end to an amazing Harry Potter journey.   

We will be watching the last movie on Tuesday for family movie night. I can’t wait to see the expressions on their faces and hear all about what’s missing in the movie. They really love the books so much more but the movie is such a treat. 

Off to Camp Hogwarts they go…

What a weekend!

Big things happened this weekend. Saturday was a really special and important day. It was recital time. Isannah worked so hard on her ballet dance. It was the first in person, on a stage platform performance since COVID began. This was HUGE especially because the Nutcracker was cancelled and so was the summer in person recital she’s done every year. Due to COVID families were limited to one guest per show. Isannah was torn as she really wanted her dad to see her dance too. There was a little conflict since it was also Giovanni’s baseball game and Asher is assistant coach. The timing was tough but since we were limited to one guest, I confirmed a spot to be there. 

Just a couple of days before her recital strict restrictions were lifted slightly and another guest was allowed to come to her recital. Isannah was beaming with joy as this meant her dad could be there too. 

Here’s the little hiccup, Giovanni’s game was still at the same time and he needed to get there. We spoke to Giovanni to see if he felt comfortable walking through the park from the baseball fields to the entrance without us. He said he was. We had amazing baseball parents look over him during the game but he would walk to meet my parents outside the park on his own. 

This allowed Asher time to get to the recital, which he did, with plenty of time to see Isannah before she went in to get ready. Although, I was confident Giovanni could do it, as a parent so many scenarios run through your mind. 

It was recital time and the parents were allowed to enter the venue. Asher and I found our seats and I couldn’t help but just stare at Isannah. She was in position and she looked so beautiful. I can see her nerves behind her smile even through the mask she had on but that made her even more stunning. I got chills as the music began to play and her confidence was back. Her face changed and her moves were graceful. Her arms and legs carried her like an angel floating through the air. The way she moved her hands and arms was mesmerizing. I have always loved and will always love to watch her perform in ballet. 

From the twinkle twos where she began at the same ballet school until now at age 10. To see her grow and blossom through the years is an experience like no other. Watching her perform now brought images of her from 2 years leading up to this moment. I saw pictures flashing before me as you do in a movie flashback montage. The photos were so crisp and clear but in between them all I was brought back to the current recital. I was glad they did the dance twice because I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. But I was so happy to see all the images in my head as I did. The music carried me and allowed me to reminisce on all the stages of her ballet classes. It was a beautiful moment but what made it complete was looking to my left and seeing the priceless expression on my husband’s face as he watched his daughter float through the room. Once the dances were over and we were able to go up to Isannah she reached out to hug us. She was proud and so excited and we were proud and so excited for her. Pictures were taken of her, us and her ballet bestfriend. The journey they are both experiencing together will be with them wherever they go. Friendships and moments like this last a lifetime. 

As we were saying our good-byes to friends and the amazing Cobble Hill Ballet staff my mind was racing back to Giovanni. How was his game? Did he notice I wasn’t cheering at the top of my lungs and did it bother him? Did he make it across the fields and through the park to meet my parents at the entrance? How did it go and how is he feeling?

I text my mom and kept in close communication until Isannah, Asher and I arrived home. Not shortly after Giovanni walked in smiling with my parents trailing in behind him. He was so excited and told us all about being at the game on his own (without us for the first time) and how easy it was to get to where Nonna was waiting. He spoke about the game and all that happened. It was his very first time walking through the park alone. What an experience for him!

It was a Saturday filled with many things, many emotions and accomplishments. I was so proud of both. 

Let’s get to Sunday. We had to all rise bright and early for Giovanni’s make up baseball game that was initially cancelled due to rain. We had to be at the ballpark at 8:30am and on a Sunday. The sun was already bursting with heat. The heat was coming down on the players hard but they kept on going. The Imposters were losing 1-0 until Giovanni was up at bat. First swing was a strike, second a ball, the third went to him and he swung with all his might. Contact and a hit to first base driving home a run. Although Giovanni was out at first he tied the game. A runner came in and it was 1-1. The excitement and cheers filled the park. We have a great team, coaches and parents. The energy is always so alive and supportive. 

Giovanni’s next at bat was a strong hit. He got to first and I can see his face was lighting up even through his mask. He was ready to go. After stealing second and third he was waiting for his team to bring him home which they did. I believe this was one of Giovanni’s best at bats. 

It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was great. The people we encountered and met along the way were comforting and the kids were motivating, inspiring, happy and supportive which made us proud. 

Special thanks to the family and friends that made this weekend possible so we didn’t miss moments that will be carried and lift us in memories throughout our journey.

Gio and Isa’s Miracles 10th Anniversary

There are no words that can possibly express the happiness, love, support and all the emotions I felt today. This was Gio and Isa’s Miracles 10th year anniversary. This was the first time since Walk for Babies 2019 that we were able to come together with family and walk as we did every year since our miracles were born.

Today we laughed and cried.

Today was another year of gratitude, love and acceptance.

Today was about two truly amazing people, Giovanni and Isannah, who came into this world fighting and continued to fight to be here.

Today was to help the fight carry on so that one day it will be won.

Today and leading up to today, and thereafter, is to raise awareness and show generosity. To donate and help so many families like us going through some scary times to find hope as we did.

Today is about growth and finding strength even at your weakest. It’s about love. This is all about love. I am humbled by you.

Thank you to those who, no matter what, are there. Those who through all the uncertainty show up. Thank you for always being by our side, whether to the left or right you are there. This year wasn’t like the many years in the past but we made it happen and we did it our way.

Thank you to all our supporters. We couldn’t have done it without you. Please remember although we completed the walk today, you can still visit our page and donate. Thank you for putting up with me during this time of year and allowing me to take you on our journey.


ELA Dedication

I want to give the biggest shout out to all the kids taking the ELA state test today. I know it’s been a hard couple of years because of COVID and all that’s going on in the world but each of you woke up today and bravely walked to school ready for your test.

I am so proud of Giovanni and Isannah. I couldn’t believe they asked us to sign them up. With being fully remote since March of last year, these two still wanted to take the test. One day after a morning class with their remote teacher they ran downstairs asking if we signed them up. At the time we hadn’t but did at their request.

Leading up to this day, Isannah began feeling nervous but that didn’t change her stance. I asked them again if this is what they wanted. Although Isannah was feeling stressed, she said yes. Giovanni turned to me and said, “I want to take the test so my teacher can see what I know and what I need to work on.” I thought that was a grown up response and a fresh way of looking at testing.

Now, let’s rewind a bit to 2:00am this morning. Giovanni woke up with the worst bloody nose. I was up with him trying to control it for over an hour. He was tired but couldn’t sleep because it just wouldn’t stop. Every Spring his nose bleeds get worse and his eyes swell shut. Yesterday he was outside playing and his eyes began to swell.

This morning I didn’t want to wake him as I knew he didn’t sleep well but it was test morning and so I had to.

He slowly got up and said, “I’m so tired. This is the day I don’t want to be tired or worried that my nose will bleed again in school but I am going to get up because I want to be there.”

I really felt his pain as I was dragging too but didn’t suffer most of the night like he did. I was just up by him and comforting him.

Praying that all goes well.

Whatever happens, I know they will do their best given the circumstances. I hope they know I am already proud of them.

Thank you to the school staff that are all helping make this possible for both remote and blended students.

Gio and Isa’s Miracles – March for Babies 2021

It’s the time of year when I ask family and friends to join us on our journey through March for Babies. It’s a personal, touch my heart pull at my strings kind of time. It’s meaningful and very emotional. It’s about strength, hope, faith and love. It’s about sharing losses with so many mom’s and families. While also sharing and honoring those that are growing and thriving each day.
This year like last is very difficult for many of us. Last year with Covid increasingly growing and taking beautiful lives with it, I halted my fundraising efforts to allow people to grieve and grab onto all they could and needed to get by. I know we are still in this craziness of Covid, and I understand that you are limited in donating but I need to fulfill my duty in spreading the word and love to all that can hear me.
I am sharing our story with you as I do every year. Most of you have taken the journey right along with us. Sometimes walking side by side with us or by your words of support, your donations and your outpouring of love. We thank you. This year we are going to try and walk that walk proudly and very far apart, if allowed. If this year continues to be done virtually we will be there as we did last year.
We are honoring our sweet twins Giovanni and Isannah during this special time. Even though we are thankful for every moment of the day, even when they make me want to jump out the window, we support them. We honor them for their strength and determination to be here. To be present and live in this crazy world.

During this journey we remember infant lives taken too soon and we walk for them. We walk for friends and family who went through similar experiences as we did. We walk for the angels that are watching over us. We walk for friends and many others that go through it every day. We walk for hope that one day all babies win this fight.

Please read our story at https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626 and donate if you can. As little as a $1.00 helps. Share our page and believe in your heart that hope, LOVE and faith will bring us together.

Thank you for listening and taking the time to be with us. For those of you who have donated in the past, we appreciate you and thank you. If you have a company or work for a business that would like to sponsor our team, Gio and Isa’s Miracles, please let me know.
Stay safe, healthy and well. Thank you!

The Spanish Dance

Every year around this time Isannah performs in the Nutcracker for Cobble Hill Ballet. Leading up to this time she gets so excited and begins talking about what part she will play when she auditions. Every year she tells me how much closer she is to auditioning for the part of Clara. In her ballet school you have to be a certain age to audition for Clara. And boy has she been counting the years. 

This year with all that is going on with COVID they are unable to perform the Nutcracker at the theater. Isannah was really sad about it but still happy that her ballet school was coming up with a plan to bring the Nutcracker to their students. Classes were given a dance to work on and Isannah’s class was doing the Spanish Dance.

She would sneak in her room and practice in private so she wouldn’t ruin the surprise for us. She was pretty giddy and the smiles were real as she left her room. Those smiles are definitely needed right now. Anything that can keep her smiling makes me happy. Her love for ballet is definitely one of them. 

This year the costumes weren’t distributed. The girls in her class were able to create or use something they had that was red. They could make it all up as long as the costume made them feel comfortable and happy to perform. 

It took Isannah quite a while to figure out what she was wearing and how she wanted to style her hair. It all finally came together and she was happy with her selection. 

On the day of her performance, her nerves set in. She was nervous but in an excited happy way. She quickly got dressed and was ready for me to apply some make up. She had been looking forward to wearing red lipstick. Sadly, there was no point in wearing lipstick when her lips would be hiding behind a face mask. 

The time had come to make our way to ballet. As we were walking out the door Isannah turned to me and said, “everyone usually comes to see me in the Nutcracker. Bubbe and Bubba come to visit all the way from Chicago. Nonna, Nonno and everyone else is excited to see me. This time no one will be there to take pictures, to cheer or to wave to me from the audience. It will just be me and my friends in class.” I could tell she was beginning to feel a little down. I quickly changed the subject to something that could bring her joy again. After all, her ballet school was recording the performance to be able to share it with family members and friends. We are all very much looking forward to watching her performance together.  

This year we were missing a lot of family. The excitement of the audience cheering. The waves and screams of support and love. The rushing around to get her to all her shows on time and the many flowers she would be presented with. 

We missed a lot but we still had a happy ballerina working hard to perform her heart out which she did. 

This is my beautiful ballerina.

Sometimes it’s too much

Lately there has been so much pain in this world. We are surrounded by death, hate, heartbreak, uncertainty and fear. I can think of a few others but I will leave it here. The past few days have been especially hard. Losing someone you love dearly is devastating but losing a child, well, there are no words that can possibly describe that horrible pain.

We’ve been learning as each day passes how heavy this life is and how fragile. It leaves you to question why these things are happening? Why can an innocent child be taking away from her parents so suddenly? Why is this world so angry and hateful? Why do people still believe that COVID is a hoax or not as bad as it seems? Why, why, why? Where are the answers? How can we achieve them or make sense of anything that is going on? Where is God?

I always do my best to stay positive. I try to understand that if there was no evil we could never truly understand and appreciate the good. There always needs to be a comparison to balance things out but we all have experienced it before. Why do things have to continue to hurt?

Am I naive to think that love will conquer all? That if we all love each other the world can be better. If we can love thy neighbor as we love thy self, then this world will be a better place?
I want my kids to grow in a world of peace, love, hope, and faith. I want them to open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them and take in all of the possibilities that are out there. Be strong, confident, healthy but be humble, kind and respectful. I want so much for my kids but am I shooting too high? At this point, is it even possible? So much doubt and so much fear turns in to anger and then hate.

Life is scary but can be beautiful. Sometimes it’s not about opening your eyes to see all the beauty that is out there. Sometimes you just need to close your eyes, breathe in and imagine all the beauty that you can see. With eyes closed you can see the beautiful memories you’ve made. You can even feel a touch, or smell that smell that brings you comfort. Although it’s hard, especially now, you need to search for that space that is good. Look for that glimmer of hope that’s been pushed way back in there and bring it to light.

After returning home from a funeral the other day, I felt like something blew out that tiny light that shines within me. My body felt heavy and my stomach began hurting. I felt nauseated and sick. I couldn’t shake that feeling but I knew what it was about. I also knew it was doing something to my heart. My heart has been broken and pieces have been breaking off little by little but I always manage to bandage it. I have so many cracks where the light shines through but there’s no way to close it tightly as it once was. But I keep going on knowing that somehow my heart will help someone else. Knowing that the care that pours out of me will help someone in need.

That night as I was washing dishes my daughter kept asking me to do ballet with her. I told her to wait until I was done cleaning. Not shortly after, she asked me again. It wasn’t until that moment that I remembered all that happened earlier, and just stopped what I was doing. I turned off the water, put the dishes down and said, “yes, let’s do ballet.” I looked at her and was so thankful that she was mine and she was standing in front of me just wanting me to share this time with her. I kept staring at her and I couldn’t stop. At one point she asked me, “why do you keep staring at me today?” I told her it’s because I love her so much and I hope she will always know that. Then I said, let’s do ballet. And we did.

I need to really think about how I react when the kids want to do something with me. It shouldn’t matter that the house is a mess and dishes are piling up. I need to just stop what I am doing and give them my time. They are small for just a little while and they are here now asking for me. I don’t know how long we have together or when things will just stop so I need to enjoy them every chance I get. Listen to the laughter and the giggles that fill the room. Those giggles are contagious. Be in that moment with them. The dishes can wait.

Goodbye COVID-19 3rd grade!

I let a couple of days go because I couldn’t put into words all the emotions I was feeling. I still don’t think I can but I will try. 

I knew the day was coming. It was time to say goodbye to 3rd grade and welcome 4th grade into our life. The days leading up to the last day of school were changing. The kids seemed a little quieter. They spoke more about their teachers and what they felt the last day would be like. How it would make them feel?

I’m going to bounce around here a bit. I’m going to take you back to the first day of 3rd grade. The kids were so excited. We all were. It was a big step for the kids. It was the beginning of all new firsts and that meant state testing. We never put strain and any stress on the kids about the test. It was treated as just another day in our home. However, my kids knew what being in the 3rd meant. 

The years before when it was time for the older kids to take their state test, the school would have the younger kids cheer and support them the night before. The excitement filled the halls. The happy cheers were met with high fives and lots of laughter. This motivated the test takers and let them know they have a big support system. It was a kind gesture from the school but this also prepared the ones cheering them on for what lied ahead. 

I knew it was going to be a great year when I picked up my twins from school on that first day. The smiles on their faces and all the wonderful things they said about their new teachers confirmed my immediate thoughts. Giovanni loved his teacher and enjoyed very much going to school. He loves structure and interaction that being in a classroom setting provides.

Isannah also loved her teachers and felt comfortable knowing she could go to them with anything. They created a bond like no other and that made my heart smile. 

The year was going well until the beginning of March hit. The fear of a virus was spreading and the uncertainty of it weighed heavy on all of us. A lot of changes had to be made for the safety of our children and adjustments quickly followed. It was a situation none of us prepared for or believed could happen. 

The scare of COVID-19 closed schools and many other things. Kids, teachers and staff had to jump in to virtual teaching and learning. Giovanni and Isannah were scared but they were trying to understand what was going on. Virtual teaching had glitches, programs weren’t downloading, teachers were frozen and classrooms had too quickly shut dow, just to reopen again. A lot of trial and error and right when everyone was adjusted to Zoom platform, something happened to cause the teachers, as well as the children learn a new platform for virtual teaching. Things were getting confusing and my kids were feeling a bit discouraged. I’m sure we weren’t the only one’s feeling this way. It was a difficult situation and everyone was trying hard not to make it as such. 

There was a bunch of jumping around throughout the house trying to make sure each child was on the right Zoom/Google meets classroom link. Making sure after they completed their assignments the “turn in” button had been pressed and the work was actually submitted and not just hanging out on the computer screen. That happened a few times.

Through it all, I couldn’t begin to imagine all that was going on behind the scenes that the kids didn’t see. The dedication to our classes and students speaks volumes about the wonderful teachers we had this school year. 

As a parent, being so far away from home and struggling to make sure our kids have all they need to get through the school year, has been a challenge but with the teacher’s help it managed to work. Their support not only to our kids but to their families has made all the difference to what could have been a break down for all.

This year was the first for many things. It was a test of even more patience. It was the realization that anything, including school can be taken away in a blink of an eye. Things that we took for granted in our daily routine has become even more appreciated in the adjustments we needed to make each day. Parents became teachers, at least tried too, during the day when gaps were forming. 

We did this together. I am so unbelievably proud of the way Giovanni and Isannah handled all that was thorn at them. They had their moments of breakdowns but I know we all did. They felt overwhelmed and scared but talked it through and rose above it. They were teaching me all about Zoom meetings and functions. I listened and watched them navigate through subject classrooms and assignments on the computer with my jaw hitting the ground. They grew up so quickly in the three months this was all happening then they would in a years time. 

They grew emotionally, mentally and physically. I think I aged quite a bit myself. 

June 26 was the last day of school. It was a day of many emotions. Parents were invited to the morning meeting to join the kids as we all reflected on the school year. Some teachers shared photos from the beginning of the year to the end. Some expressed the best parts of 3rd grade and some about plans for the summer. Teachers said their final goodbyes and tears were forming in my eyes. Quite a few managed to escape and at that moment, it hit me, I now have two 4th graders. 

What a ride! What a year!  

Wear a mask!

Please just wear a damn mask. What is the harm? I don’t want to hear “fake news” or that news is just reporting more deaths than they really are. It doesn’t matter. What matters is one death is too many and people are in fact dying. Please if you don’t care about yourself and your family, please respect mine. I love my parents dearly and I want them to live long enough to see their grandchildren learn more, explore, become the sweet older people they are meant to be. I want them to be present for birthdays and more milestones. I want them to live the best life they can. That means you will have to respect us as we respect you. I want my parents and all my family and friends that are more compromised because of age or health problems to be able and enjoy the life they have instead of watching all those carelessly outside in bars drinking and living their life because they are too selfish to believe that there is a problem.

We really are doing our best to be extremely quarantined so that we too can enjoy life again. Why can’t you understand that?
To all my friends that lost their family members, I’m sorry. I think about you often and can’t even imagine losing someone because of this stupid virus.

My very good friend that lost her mom, I’m sorry. To my friend who lost her son, I’m sorry. To my friend that lost her daughter, I am sorry.
To my many friend’s that I met while working at the hospital, I’m sorry for your families that won’t be with you any more. The nurses I grew to know and love will no longer be at the work place because they were helping the many they didn’t know, even those that were selfish and doing their own thing. They helped YOU without judgement and now they are no longer here. They gave their life to try and save yours. I will truly miss their presence in my life.
To all the many that still work every day, out there trying to help all of you. We thank you!

I am tired of seeing the selfishness, the hate, the ignorance because you feel you are better. It really is such a sad time and you are making it so much worse.
My friends, you know who you are, I love you. I pray for you and know that your loved ones are looking down at you, at all of us, trying to watch over us and bring love into all our hearts. I love you with all of my heart and extend my arms to give you all the biggest fucking hugs. You know I love hugs. I miss you. I miss my family. I miss the normalcy of life.
All we can do is respect each other. Stay kind. Stay safe and healthy and know you are not alone. We are all trying to get through this.
Just imagine all you are going through and then think of how your children are trying to get through this too. We don’t understand it all. Can you imagine what they are going through especially because they don’t always know how to express it.

Praying that all the beautiful memories we’ve made along the way can bring comfort and carry us as far as we need to go.

Please stay safe and healthy!

Until we aren’t

I needed to get away from everything today. Just needed to clear my mind and try to fight this lingering migraine that keeps wanting to attack me. I try my remedies and everything that’s worked in the past minus the medication for my migraines which I was unable to get refilled. So I decided to take a walk along the main roads this morning thinking I could hear some form of life other than what we’ve been experiencing on the inside.

Each step I took, each car that passed helped me take in everything that’s going on today and is going on in this world. Each time a car passed I felt like it’s lifting or helping me move past another obstacle that I’ve been putting myself through. I’m hoping this walk will not only release the tension in my head but will also help me feel a little bit lighter.

As I make my way back home, well, actually not my home which is in Brooklyn where I really want to be, but to a home or to a place I’ve called home for the last few weeks. A place that is usually filled with many different family members, many different voices and many different activities, laughter and screams. However, now it’s just the same sounds. The same voices. The same life and that’s all okay because that’s what is keeping us safe. Being surrounded by some family not just my own has  been really helping each day pass.

Sometimes you just need to get away from it all even the ones you love and just take a moment for yourself especially when you feel yourself going in a direction you don’t want to take. It’s not like everything that’s going on with everyone else is less than what I’m feeling but this is just how I’m feeling right now and I needed to take that breath. You need to take that moment. As I feel myself getting closer to the location where I’ve been staying, I feel a little bit of tension still building up. What I felt I was leaving behind while I was walking away from the place is coming back and I don’t know why.

So I just kept walking and didn’t want to turn back. I got pretty far when I realized the nausea was kicking in from my migraine that’s been trying to attack me. It’s kind of embarrassing that I had to step off the side of the road to throw up a little. Thankfully it wasn’t on anyone’s property because I had no way of cleaning it up. At least it helped relieve some more strain on my head.

It was a long walk and I’m heading back now. There’s so much beauty so many blessings that surround us. But when you go through times like this even as short as it’s been, it clouds the views of the many beautiful blessings that are out there.

All I can do is try and clear my eyes and kind of get back to where I need to be. Just embrace all of this and continue doing what I’ve been doing. These are all just my emotions, my feelings. I’m not putting them on anyone. I’m not trying to say that mine are more important than yours. I’m just saying I need to get back to where I need to be. I should feel very blessed that I have a place that we can call home right now. Be with family we wanted to be with for so long. The kids have room to play and explore. They are able to experience growth with their cousins. Create bonds and grow together which doesn’t happen often.

I’m taking all of this in and focusing on the positive and all the good. But I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss my home, my Brooklyn, my neighborhood, my other family, my parents. Knowing that even though we’re 12 hours away it makes the biggest difference. Sometimes when you’re inside and you see the walls that are surrounding you it makes it easier knowing that those are your walls, your home that you built with your family.

I could see it in the kids face. We’ve had discussion times because things get really hard for them. Then they are fine just kids playing and enjoying their time again. Within a few moments I can see it again. In their face, the sadness. I could hear them and when they come to me and say how much longer will this be? When can we go back home? I miss our house. I miss our rooms. I feel a little more pain in my heart. I don’t know how much longer this will be but I try to always keep an open communication with my children let them understand we are all in this together. We’re not the only ones experiencing this. There are so many people around the world that are going through the same thing, if not worse. We have our health. We have a home, shelter and food. We just need to keep focusing on the positive. Know that as scary as it is, we are right where we are supposed to be until we aren’t.