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.

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.

Good-bye 2nd Grade

I’m sitting in my front room just listening to the kids each play their instruments on different levels in our home and it hits me. Another school year has come and gone. How did that happen? How could my 2nd graders become 3rd graders?

I remember the first day of 2nd grade. I was so nervous for them. I was worried about the new teachers, new classmates and experiences they would have. I was nervous about the transition from 1st to 2nd grade and the curriculum that would take them through the year. As a mom, you hope teachers that will be in their life five days a week are teachers that will nurture, help their minds grow and help them with the tools they need to carry them along their school journey. It is a moms dream to see the happiness on their child’s face when walking out of school. See their interaction with teachers as they say goodbye and are dismissed. These are things plus many more that run through my head. As a parent, you always want the best experiences for your kids but also the experiences that they learn from. Even bad experiences and how they are able to handle them is a learning moment.

Now these two growing twins filling my house with crazy sounds, enjoying their summer and figuring out things on their own. Telling stories about their teachers and things they miss about 2nd grade and yet, it hasn’t been a week.  I couldn’t be prouder of them for being the little people they are today. I can’t believe they are going to 3rd grade. I can’t believe these two premature little peanuts at 4lbs 12oz and 2lbs 10oz are blooming and growing right before my eyes.

I am humbled by the experiences. The kindness the teachers and staff not only showed my two miracles but showed me as well. It was a wonderful 2rd grade at PS32. I’m hoping the new school year will follow the beautiful experiences we’ve had.

He we come 3rd grade. I mean here they come!

Schools of hope

I wrote a passage in 2015 when the kids were starting a new school. I was all nerves not only for them, their experiences but for me and knowing if we made the right decision to put them in PS32. You hear so many different stories about schools and from what you remembered growing up it wasn’t always the best but the principal changed and so did some of the staff. No matter what the stories were or what was being told you knew you were starting your own story. I am thankful that I did. We have been very fortunate with the teachers we’ve had. Some of them were the gems I still hold dear. When you carry a teacher in your heart for years after your child has had them it truly says a lot about that teacher and the impact they made on your family. A principal of a school carries the heart of a school. Her arms extend and covers each student with compassion, love and strength. She is supposed to lift the staff up as they lift her up in harmony for all the students attending the school. I’m thankful and truly feel blessed that my kids are thriving. They enjoy going to school every day. They are sad when they are sick and have to miss a day or two. That shows me that we made the right decision to keep them right where they are. You will always hear stories that will persuade you in a different direction but before you let the stories of others determine what needs to be done for your family, talk to the staff, visit the school and see if a school is right for you.
I can only say from my experience and the story we are creating. It’s been an amazing year. I can’t believe it will all be over soon and we will have to start again with new teachers and hope that the light of teachers in the past continue to light the way for the future. Thank you to all those amazing teachers that hold places in our hearts. You know who you are. Thank you for taking care of our kids and for always making them feel safe and pushing them to strive. May the weeks leading up to summer break be beautiful, blossoming and loving weeks. 
Here’s to all the amazing teachers out there that keep getting up every morning and being present. Thank you!

Back in the NICU

I began working in the NICU in November of 2018. At first I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do it and I was worried all the emotions I had years ago would come flooding back but I knew I had to try. The first day was a tough one. After my shift was done, I walked out of the building and began crying. I cried so much that my body began aching. I realized at that moment all the emotions I had stored inside me completely resurfaced and I was finally able to let it all go and heal. I didn’t know that I still had that all inside me especially because my twins are 8 years old and flourishing into amazing empathetic, kind, fun loving kids. I couldn’t believe there was something so fragile inside me still.

After I was done crying and began wiping my tears the biggest smile came over my face. I could feel the ache my body was experiencing lift and I was able to stand tall again. It was as though a heavy weight that I had buried way down inside was gone and I was able to breathe freely once again. This confirmed what I was doing was the right thing.

I wanted to be there for mothers that needed to talk or just needed a silent shoulder. I wanted to be there for families that couldn’t be there because they had other children or had to work. I wanted to be that person to hold their crying babies to comfort and cuddle them when they couldn’t be there to do it themselves. Being in the NICU is hard with all the monitors, beeping sounds and flashing lights. Not to mention having your child/children there and feeling hopeless but it’s also finding that hope again. Knowing that they are surrounded by all the amazing staff who are also there fighting to keep your child/children strong.

I get to experience all over again the miracles of life. I get to experience the love and strength of family and staff. I witness the beautiful babies who are fighting to go home and be in the loving arms of family.

I see all of them and feel blessed that I can be a part of something so beautiful. This is why I needed to be back in the NICU. 

Beautiful harmony

Today I got to see the most amazing team in action. When I start my shift in the NICU beautiful miracles are all around me. They are already there and set up comfortably to begin the healing and strengthening process or they are well enough to be heading home with their family. Today was different. Today I saw two arrivals, twins, and I was mesmerized by the amazing team working before my eyes. They immediately swung into action. Each knowing what their position was. Each working together while completing their individual tasks. It was a beautiful symphony being played in harmony before me. They were moving like beautifully played instruments. I stood and watched them. Wide-eyed filled with hope. I could not take my eyes off them.

They were making lives strong. They were giving those two miracles all the tools they needed to grow stronger.

There are many reasons why I am here. Why I volunteer in the NICU every week. Two main reasons are because my twin miracles and of all the help and support we received during our time in the NICU. The others are to witness hope, life, caring and kindness. To see strength like no other and to see this, today, this team working beautifully together.

What a beautiful day!