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.

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/



Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting


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!