Reading Harry Potter

My husband reads pages from Harry Potter right before bedtime to G and I. If we are running late with our bedtime routine we skip the night but tonight everything was right on schedule. The kids both snuggled in their beds while he began reading where they left off. I love the silence and just the sound of my husband’s voice very animated and alive. He changes his voice and tone with every character he reads. I just sit back in my room and listen with a smile.

After they were done reading, it was time to go in each room and say goodnight. When I walked into Isannah’s room she immediately told me she wishes she was a girl witch like in Harry Potter. I asked her why and she responded by saying, “If I were a girl witch then I would be able to have powers and go back in time to where Nonna’s mom was alive so I could meet her. I think it would be a nice idea to meet Nonna’s mom. I never met her but I think about her a lot. I think that would make Nonna happy.” I just smiled and agreed with her. I said it would make a lot of people happy and she would be so happy to meet you too.
Just then she said, “I’m just happy Nonna’s mom, the white butterfly, always comes by us.”
I gave Isannah a hug with tear filled eyes. That was so sweet and tender and I truly was happy to hear that from her.
If reading Harry Potter brings out this kindness even more, I hope the books last forever.

Thank a teacher

We have been truly blessed every year with some amazing teachers. From the very beginning when the kids began their educational journey and I was frantic to let them go and worried about how their teachers would treat them, I saw the love and kindness in the eyes of every teacher I met. They reassured me every day that G and I are fine. It’s a beautiful bond to experience and a comforting hand that is very much needed. This year is no different. Not only are they present, available, kind and supportive they are also friends. My family and I have gone through some tough times throughout the years especially this past week and even though my mind was filled with fear and just all over the place those teachers have been present and went out of their way to make me understand that their thoughts were with us all. From the inspiring texts, to the hugs along the way, it’s been a blessing to us all. When people ask me about our current school I simply smile without hesitation just thinking of the wonderful teachers we have had and the staff that has become apart of our life. It’s friendships like these that see no boundaries, no color and no religion. It sees love, kindness and care. We are truly blessed with our kid’s teachers and in return, I would like to say thank you once again.

To all the teachers out there that take care of our children, we thank you. To those who put the needs of their students before their’s, thank you. During this time of year and every day, take time to thank a teacher.

Tinker Bell and a Policeman

The kids woke up so excited this morning. It was fairytale day at summer camp and they were ready to celebrate with their friends. The laughter and the silly giggles between G & I had me smiling all the way to camp. It wasn’t until we got to the corner and a lady walked up the stairs at the subway station that my smile sadly turned in to a bit of anger and sadness. As my giggling holding hands twins were walking by this lady, she looked directly at them with this horrible disapproving expression while mustering the words “it’s not a good time for him to be wearing that costume.” Shaking her head disapprovingly while continuing her rant. It took all that I had in me not to lose my temper. I immediately looked at my children still walking ahead of me but now slowly to try and make out what she was saying to me but at the same time still trying to continue the happiness they had been enjoying all morning. I stared at them to make sure they turned away from us and I looked at this lady and as much as I wanted to protect my kids by saying something I would regret or could possibly turn into something that I did not want to teach my kids, I swallowed and said I am so proud of my kids and the costumes they selected to wear. I followed that by saying, it’s with a pure heart of love and kindness for my children that I will continue walking along without letting your ugliness affect my day. She said something about mother’s like me…at that point I could no longer hear her because all I could see in front of me was a beautiful tinker bell and a handsome sweet police officer who said he would protect all the fairies at camp and that is why he chose that costume for today’s event.

We finally got to the front of the school when G stopped us and asked me why I looked sad. He then said was it because the lady was sad? I smiled realizing that he was just worried that maybe she was unhappy and couldn’t see how mean she was being. Instead he chose to believe maybe she wasn’t happy and that was why she was saying things to me. At that moment, I realized how kind and innocent their hearts truly are. How much love they are surrounded by and how we strive to teach them every day what love is and how to treat others with that same love and respect. We walked into the camp and were surrounded by different religions; different race, different colors and all they saw were friends. They greeted each counselor Black, White, Spanish, Italian with smiles and hugs. It was then that I realized this is how we should be. Why can’t we just see this? Why can’t we lift each other with happiness?

With all the sadness going on in this world why do you want to take away children’s happiness?

Before I left the camp I looked back one more time to see how everyone despite the color of skin were getting along, smiling and just appreciating all the costumes and the bonds they were making. My smile came back and I walked out knowing that today was going to be a good day!

 

Policeman and Tinker Bell

A dance in your heart

When there’s so much sadness, heartache and confusion in the world sometimes all that’s needed is a dance to bring you back to a place of happiness and love.

Seeing the kids excitement as they danced to freestyle in the living room brought me to a place of calm and joy. I just stared as they giggled, moved and wiggled with these smiles that would light up any moment. They were having too much fun and with all that’s surrounding us, I decided to get up and join them. Feeling the music and letting my body go while giggling with the two miracles dancing before me was just what I needed. It wasn’t long until we pulled my sister Mary and mother to their feet so they too could enjoy the music and life that was taking place in our home.

The laughter, dance moves and constant giggles continued for what felt like a lifetime. It’s been way too long since this happened last and I couldn’t understand why.

In the middle of all the death, hatred and sadness, we lived, laughed and loved. We just enjoyed being here. I couldn’t stop laughing watching my mom and sister keep up with Giovanni and Isannah. There was no holding back. We were dancing like we were at the biggest club party. It was a great feeling and it was being felt all around.

It’s times like these you remember what’s important in life and how grateful we are to be surrounded by family.

Remember there is always a dance in your heart.

A new school year begins

Another school year begins and that means the nerves, the tension and the hope that your kids will transition painlessly. It also means letting go. It is another year where you need to trust your blessings to someone else for several hours a day. No matter if it’s preschool, elementary or higher all the feelings are the same.

It is also the time that moms feel most judged. Whether it’s by the looks you receive at drop off or pick up or just the quiet whispers as you pass. It’s felt immediately.

We should lift each other up and remember at that moment we are all going through the same thing, instead of that look of comparison and judgment.

It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing or what my kids are wearing that needs to be the focus. What matters is that we are all here encouraging our children to be happy, polite, courteous, respectful and empathetic. To walk in to the classroom (that can be scary) confidently knowing they can be whatever they want to be and know that we are here supporting and loving them dearly. Then as the door closes and you know your children are safely in class that is when you just drop your shoulders turn slowly and walk away. At that moment, some of us walk away with our heads down and begin to second-guess every decision we made from the time we woke up. That weight is too heavy and continues to drag us down. We need to try and focus on the job we did getting our children fed, dressed and in school on time rather than reflect on the in between that may not have gone so well.

This is a problem that I struggle with daily and I know I’m not alone.

I’m learning as each day passes that I need to concentrate on the good things that we do throughout the day to better our children and that will better ourselves.

This mother thing is not easy and takes many falls but with falls comes a greater climb. Because when you get that one good feeling tug at your heart with a happiness feeling that tickles your toes and runs up your nose, you have to sit back smile and say, this is what it’s all about. It can be something as small as your kid’s smile that changes that very moment for you. It can be the unexpected trip that causes you to go flying smashing your knee but when you look down to curse yourself you see a tiny baby clip from when your daughter was a newborn laying right in front of you that little thing changes your reaction from horribly upset to releasing all the tension and just putting it out through a smile. It’s little things that sometimes we overlook in anger and frustration that we should try to see.

This year I wish all the mothers (parents) strength in knowing you are doing the best that you can. It may not seem like it while you are in the moment but it is. Instead of focusing on the yelling you did and hating yourself for it, focus on what made your kids laugh and laugh right along with them. We are all learning together, parents and children.

Remember you are never alone. There is always someone trying to figure it out right along with you.

 

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Separating twins in PreK

You know your a tad bit emotional when you are at a pre k meet and greet and one of the teachers comes up to you to ask you the question you mentally prepared for and you can’t talk. You can’t get the words out, “yes, please separate them.” Instead you look silently at her and immediately search the room for your husband. He comes over looks at me and knows what’s going on. With tears filling my eyes he tells her “we” feel it is best to separate them. I lost it. When a teacher feels the need to give you two hugs in a 30 minute period you know it’s going to be an emotional day.

 

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My March for Babies Story. Why I walk!

Right when you couldn’t be happier about being pregnant and feeling the most amazing feelings going on in your body something flies in your direction to shake things up a bit. It was a doctor’s visit that changed everything in a blink of an eye. I went from being on bed rest to hospital bed rest from morning to night. Everything began happening so quickly including the fear that swept over and all the what if’s came flooding in. The blame took over the space that was once sunny. I thought that being on hospital bed rest was going to change everything. Give our daughter Isannah all the help she needed to continue to grow inside me like Giovanni was but that didn’t happen.

That morning during my routine sonogram everyone was quiet. I didn’t hear the friendly conversations. The smiles had faded and only fear filled the room. The words, your doctor is on the way and will answer all your questions, made my chest cave in. Isannah was being monitored carefully because she was not receiving absent end-diastolic blood flow and she wasn’t growing. It was time to take her out.

This is when everything changed.

A diagnosis of preeclampsia led to an emergency c-section at 32 weeks, and both babies were taken to the NICU. From that moment on all I felt was guilt and shame that I couldn’t provide both my babies with all they needed to be born on their time rather than being forced out early to experience stress and pain. Having my babies in the NICU is the toughest thing I ever had to experience. I felt my heart breaking off piece by piece and with each crack a pain so intense went through my body. Once both my babies were out it was Giovanni “baby A” that became weaker on the outside.

I remember my husband waking me up that night with the look of panic and concern. We rushed to the NICU and were quickly escorted to a private room where the doctors prepared us for the worst. We needed to be prepared that Giovanni would not make it through the night. He had pulmonary hypertension. How does anyone react to that? Our sweet babies were fighting to stay alive. Giovanni 4lbs 12oz and Isannah 2lbs 10oz.

I wanted to cry and scream out loud but knew I had to keep it in and be strong for Isannah and Giovanni. Although I was crying inside I couldn’t let it show, not there. I am a mom now, I kept telling myself. Be strong for your babies but it was hard to convince myself not to cry. I know crying wastes too much energy and energy is what I needed to provide for my babies. Each time I sat by Isannah and Giovanni I focused on the rhythm of their breathing, memorized every inch of their little bodies and carefully watched each movement they made. I took them in with each breath I made. I wanted so much to be able to provide them with all the care that they needed but it wasn’t me that could help them. It was the machines, doctors and a nursing staff that provided the care they needed. All we could do was be at their side, gently hold their head and calm them down with our voice.

After time passed we were able to finally hold our babies by using the kangaroo method. The first time I got to hold Giovanni and kangaroo with him was the sweetest gift. My boy was able to lay skin to skin with me and we shared a connection. The first bond of many to come. Feeling him breathing on my chest, listening to the sounds he makes and feeling the little tapping of his tiny little fingers on my chest brought a smile that I’ve been missing to my face. Kangarooing is an amazing feeling. Then it was time to hold my little angel Isannah and enjoy the bond Kangarooing allowed. She was so tiny like a feather gently laying on my chest. Feeling Isannah become calm on me made me smile some more. The little joys you are able to experience in what you feel is a scary place with beeping alarms, dangling tubes and a dark environment is priceless. The pain, the exhaustion, the anxiety and the many tears of gratitude shown throughout the NICU was in every parents eyes. This was a time of strength being tested. Bonds being made and hope that kept us going.

Giovanni was released from the NICU first and although I was happy that he was much better I was still torn between my baby girl who was still fighting and feelings of gratitude that Giovanni was home. Instead of getting easier it was harder going back and forth because you never wanted to leave anyone’s side but you couldn’t physically be in two places at once. I was thankful for the staff in the NICU and the love of family they showed us.

Giovanni and Isannah turned 4 years old in January. They continue to grow healthy and strong every day.

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Missing words

The March for Babies banner hangs outside our house along the fence every year during this time. I decorate it and always write our family team name so everyone can donate to Gio and Isa’s Miracles. It’s been raining on and off here so the decorations and my writing washed away. The banner is still holding up along with the March for Babies logo but not what I wrote.

Now Gio saw it the other day and in a voice of panic turned to me and said, mommy it doesn’t say donate and help Gio and Isa’s Miracles. Our team information is gone. They won’t know to help us. You need to write it again. This kid has a heart of gold. He is so truly concerned that no one will know about their walk and team. I just hugged him, smiled and said, don’t you worry they know. Mommy makes sure to let everyone know as much as possible. He then hugged Isannah and said mommy is helping us. We are ok.

 My heart just smiles.

 

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Bathroom talk

It was a beautiful evening in BK so the kids and I decided to walk around. Asher joined so we could all go out to eat. When dinner was about over I took Giovanni to the bathroom. In the bathroom hung a 20×24 (around that size) photo of a naked boy. All you could see was his back side. He was standing as if he was peeing. You couldn’t see his face at all just the back side. Giovanni flushes and looks up to see this photo. He did a double take and with the most serious face asked me if that was him. Looked at it again and then back at me and questioned me one more time while adding, you know that’s me. Why did you give them my picture. I just about peed myself. I had to look at it again and then understood how he could think that. As I reassured him it was not him and mommy would never do that to him. He hugged me and said that’s ok mommy, I’m not mad. I couldn’t hold it any more. I had to chuckle a bit out loud.

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Big boy morning

Every morning since we switched from cribs to toddler beds Gio comes into my room and looks at me from my side of the bed to make sure I am up and tell me that he is WIDE awake. It’s been the same routine since the very first day. I give him a smile and a hug and ask if he’s gone to the bathroom. He says no and then quietly runs to the bathroom while I get ready. We then meet and both walk downstairs together.

Something was different this morning. I was up in bed waiting to see his smile at my bedside but it didn’t happen, instead I hard movement and the sounds of tiny baby steps moving about. I got ready and slowly stood by my door and just watched Giovanni. His curtains were pulled back and his chin was resting on his hands while looking out his bedroom window. It was the sweetest most big boy thing I’ve seen. I watched him with tears filling my eyes. I tried not to cry as I walked over to him and gave him the biggest hug. He turned and looked at me and said he did everything by himself. I asked him what he did and he took my hand and showed me. He walked me to the bathroom to let me see the tissue filled with blood from his nose that he had thrown out in the garbage. He gets bloody noses sometimes but we always help him take care of them. This time he did it all by himself. With the sweetest kindest smile he told me that he didn’t want to wake me up. He knew I was tired and was being quiet. Although, I knew something was going on by the dry blood on his face and dry blood on his bed board I didn’t want to worry him and I knew he had something to say. I picked him up in my arms and held him so tight while telling him what a big boy I had and how so very proud of him I was. As I cleaned his face and bed, he continued to tell me how he thought it was too early and that is why he wanted to take care of everything without waking me up. He also said that he wasn’t scared and everything was ok. He was growing up right before my eyes. My eyes started to fill with tears again so I had to keep moving.

He walked downstairs in front of me rather than behind me and led the way to the kitchen. Once I got everything ready for him and he began eating his breakfast, I had a feeling to walk over to the window. It was there when I tried to see all that his eyes were seeing. I smiled so big and finally let the forming tears fall from my eyes.

It was my moment of life. My time to just breathe, take it all in and simply say thank you. And that I did!