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.


2015-09-21 14.39.11-1

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.


camera ruffles 09.27 (82)

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.

2015-04-26 12.01.3611040883_10154020823274460_4695751763567956655_n



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.



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.

naked boy

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!

All it takes is a moment

Making my way to the car through the frigid layer that was burning my cheeks as I walked was making it pretty hard to keep my spirits up. I was feeling run down and a bit weak from a cold I’ve been fighting and this piercing chill was making me feel even worse. I finally made it to my car and quickly jumped in. Unable to move and get things started I just sat there and collected my thoughts. I took a deep breath and finally started the car. As I was driving I was making a mental note of all the things that needed to get done today. Feeling a little heavy, mind and body, I decided to turn on the radio. It was then that I heard a song that just cleared me. It wasn’t a meaningful song to me or one that related to memories it was just a song I knew, a song that I needed and wanted to hear at that time. I turned up the radio louder than it’s been in a long time and it lifted everything off my shoulders. At that moment all I could think of were the words and singing them as loud as I could. For a moment it was just me, not my thoughts, not my worries, not what I had to do or who I had to please. Just me. I was the only one in that car, in that moment, in MY life. It was strange how just being there cleared my mind of everything. I was weightless. I was fearless. I was unconditionally detached. If that even makes sense.

In that moment I wasn’t afraid and for me that is truly hard to do. I felt as though I was floating and a pure soft white light was shining around me like a silhouette. I wanted to stay here forever. I didn’t want to lose me again.

At that moment my phone rang, I didn’t want to look down at the number. I fought myself to look because I was afraid to leave this moment behind. It was too soon. But I did, it was a number of a long ago friend that sadly only calls when she is in trouble. I knew that if I picked up that call this moment would be lost for good. It took everything in me to try to hold on but that tiny space in my heart won over everything else. I answered that phone call and was taken back to a place that was all too familiar. As I listened to the voice on the other end of the phone I could feel the moment fade away. My shoulders began to slowly tense up again and my body felt heavy. After we said our good byes, I realized I experienced all of that wonder to better prepare me for this.

We experience things in the order we do because that is where we are supposed to be at that moment. No matter good or bad, light and love. It’s part of a bigger picture. It’s a path along the way. We just need to trust that we are right where we need to be and things will come again as they should.

Tonight’s joy

There’s nothing better than hearing your daughter singing at the top of her lungs with excitement during a performance of Frozen on Ice but to turn to your left to see your husband holding your son who is nestled in his arms with tears in his eyes looking over at his daughter. That was the best moment of the entire night for me. When he caught my eyes staring the smile on his face said it all. I knew that he was taking quickly back to the time in the NICU where it all started and then back to how amazingly beautiful, healthy and happy she was right at that moment. At least that was the look I received. That was how I felt and his smile confirmed this miraculous moment was even possible.

Frozen on Ice will mean different things for different people but for me it will be a constant reminder of the joy and pure excitement on my children’s face. It will remind me of the appreciation we felt watching a show that can lift a persons spirits and bring hope in the eyes of so many.

The memory of this evening and that moment is etched in my heart permanently. I have another happiness that I can turn to when a day just isn’t going right.

May you always have a saved happiness you can remember.

We rocked Flu Shots!

It’s finally here. The day we go to the pediatrician to get our flu shots. I’ve been prepping Giovanni and Isannah for a couple of days now. Going over which doctor we will see and explaining the shot process. I made sure to play flu shot/shots episodes from Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood (best one for shots) and Dora the Explorer. Then I would talk to both kids about the reactions that each made on the show and how they described the feeling. Gio and Isa knew they were ready and it would only pinch and then it would be done.

We began our day with another discussion to make sure we were comfortable and understood the process. Once we were dressed and ready to conquer the day we headed for some live kid jams while enjoying some lunch. By that time, the rain let up and the sun and breeze filled the air. It was the perfect opportunity to head to the park to laugh, skip and play. I knew the park was a block away from the pediatrician so I hoped the transition would be an easy one.

I announced the “10 minute” countdown and just sat and watched every move they made.

They were both in their own little world filled with laughter and creativity. It was the sweetest thing to observe.

Finally, 10 minutes was up and I called them each over. They listened and immediately took my hands. They continued talking and throwing in a question now and then about the doctor and who would be going first. They were in good spirits. It was the first time in a while that they didn’t cry as soon as they walked in the office.

Gio and Isa greeted everyone and took their seats while I completed some paperwork. As we were called in they rushed by me to their usual room, sat down and began playing. No less than five minutes our pediatrician came in. The kids paused for a moment. I was worried the flow of tears would suddenly begin but instead the greetings and smiles continued. Wow, these two were prepared and getting so big right before my eyes.

The pediatrician asked who was going first. Gio immediately said Isa and Isa immediately said mommy so I popped up and took the first round. Isannah kept her eyes on me the entire time. It was less than a minute before he was putting a band-aid on my arm. Isannah popped up and was ready. Dr talked to her sweetly and before you knew it she was done. Her face was serious for about a second and then she giggled and said it pinched just like Daniel Tiger said. She popped up and started dancing. Now it was Giovanni’s turn. He bravely walked over sat on the bench and tried so hard not to look but kept turning to look at his doctor. At that moment Isannah stopped playing looked at Giovanni and said remember to think of someone you really love and it will only pinch.

Giovanni looked straight at me and that’s when the doctor gave him his shot. It was over but not before Giovanni’s lips began to quiver and he let out the saddest cry. He jumped right into my arms and softly cried some more. I let them both know how proud I was and what a great job they both did. At that moment, Giovanni stopped crying and Isannah looked straight at him and said, why didn’t you think of daddy? You were supposed to think of someone you love so much and I thought of daddy and that’s why I didn’t cry. My heart just melted.

They were both bouncing around again with excitement once the doctor told them to ask for the special lollipops behind the counter on the way out. Of course, they did and all was good in the world.

We rocked Flu Shots!

Last day of school

Big day for Giovanni and Isannah today. Who am I kidding, mommy too;-) Last day of school. Time to say goodbye to teachers and friends they met during this school year before starting a new school in September. As I began packing things in my bags from their school during drop off I felt my stomach turn. I stopped and said I would continue the rest during pick up. Isannah’s face said it all and I had to walk out. 

Fast forward to final pick up at school. It was almost time to walk in but for some reason my feet were cemented to the sidewalk a few feet away. My body felt heavy and so did my heart. I finally pushed myself to walk in. More like mad dash to the bathroom because the nerves got to me. As I opened the door I saw kids hugging each other and that’s when my eyes found Giovanni and Isannah all smiles and asking for hugs. They were all so adorable. Asking for hugs and giving group hugs as well. My eyes started to fill with tears but I was still controlling. I gathered the rest of the kids things together while saying good-bye to the teachers. As I turned back Giovanni was back in the classroom trying to get his last good-bye hugs from his friends. It was over. The emotions were taking over and I was thankful to have my mirrored sunglasses to hide the rapidly flowing tears from my eyes so the kids wouldn’t see.

Sadly, the sunglasses couldn’t hide my cracking voice as I was trying to get the kids out of school. The final good-byes were said and my two beautifully kind, loving, empathetic kids were leading me to the door. What an emotionally joy filled day.

Next was ice-cream which we all enjoyed to celebrate another milestone. Here’s to new beginnings!