Neighbors who are family

Traditions bring calm, joy and feel like a big hug of love surrounding you. We were lucky to begin a new tradition once Giovanni and Isannah were well enough and at home to be a part of it. Every Christmas Eve, thanks to our beautiful friends/neighbors/family really, they began coming over to our house with their youngest son to exchange presents for the little ones. We got to share hugs and conversation. It was the best having them in our home which allowed me to begin another tradition of taking pictures with the kids together and with the Falcone’s together. That made me so happy to be able to capture those moments. Each year this happened even when they welcomed their daughter who joined the tradition with us. The tradition continued for all the kids up until their son who started it all with us got older. He was 10 years or so and stopped coming but the tradition continued even through COVID. Although not inside our home or by our Christmas tree we still meet outside. The feeling is still the same because we get to share the joy of giving and the love of friends. 

Now my kids are turning 11 years old, about the age that their son was when he stopped joining. I’m hoping that no matter the age or the years that pass this tradition carries on. Maybe not with exchanging gifts but with the love of friendship that has grown stronger as each year passes. The fondness of friends that are now our family. 

Right now they play outside when it’s warm and even when it’s cold. They laugh, they scream, they get out of control but they still play together and I love hearing and knowing they are there. 

Giovanni and Isannah will start middle school next year but I hope the friendship they each developed through the years will be remembered always no matter the years that pass by. Maybe they won’t be playing on the streets all together like they do now but the respect and love will always be there. 

Until the ages start to show, I will enjoy every moment that we have now.  

My heart is so happy that the friend I met in elementary school is still a constant in my life. She gifted all of this to me and my family and I am forever grateful.

Christmas is here

The anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas was all worth it to see their faces come Christmas morning.

It all started when the Elves Clementine and Michael returned for their daily surprises and mischiefs. From hanging on the chandelier to hiding in the rolls of wrapping paper. Then hanging on Santa’s chair in the window display and so much more. They brought some ugly sweater cookies to design on Ugly Sweater Day at school and chocolate lollipops to enjoy. It was all fun and games until the night Giovanni and Isannah had to say their good-byes to Clementine and Michael until the next year.

Then all of the sudden this happened: When the kids woke up on Christmas Day the elves were still here. Hiding in our Christmas tree with a note they wrote. The kids were older now and could take care of their elves so instead of flying back to the North Pole they let their magic go with Santa and stayed behind to enjoy with Giovanni and Isannah. It was time to share their magic with younger kids starting the excitement of the Elf on the Shelf. Although the kids were sad that the elves lost their magic they already created beds and rooms for Clementine and Michael in our home.

It was a magical Christmas but what made it more special is that we got to share it with family. We hope that the magic of Christmas lives on in your home and that the love of this holiday season is able to carry you along into the new year.

Christmas time in the city

This weekend was filled with excitement, laughter, lots of firsts, and the happiness I felt watching my mom and my kids enjoy this time together. Then we made our way to Radio City Music Hall to see the Christmas Spectacular. This was my third time, my mom’s second time, and the kids first time but this time meant so much more to me because I got to see the kids and my mom’s reaction as they watched the show. I saw how they each rushed to whisper things in her ear or hug her arm so tightly as they pulled her near. Giovanni even lost a tooth while eating popcorn. Thinking it was a kernel he dropped it, then realized in sheer panic that it was his tooth. A cell phone flashlight was all Giovanni needed to locate his tooth. 

We got to see the Rockefeller Christmas tree and see the people ice skating below us. We threw coins in the foundation as we made a wish. Before heading back home we went to St. Patrick’s Cathedral just like mom and I always did. Now we are sharing our tradition with Giovanni and Isannah. They each lit their first candle in front of the nativity and said prayers. It was a beautiful ending to our time in the city. 

Back home we finished decorating the Christmas tree and Asher placed the angel on top, as he does each year. 

These memories will live on in our hearts always and carry us through in times when we will need them the most. It was a beautiful weekend with beautiful blessings surrounding us.

Nutcracker Weekend Ends

This weekend is coming to an end and now I can sit back, take it all in and exhale. It was a beautiful weekend that began with Isannah’s rehearsal. Then family and friends came together to watch Isannah light up the stage with all the amazing talent at the Ballet. My husband and I were able to enjoy time in the city in between shows. It was as though we were years back during our dating phase when we were able to just be. Enjoy the city, lunch and each other’s company. It was a little “us” time. 

Then time was passing and another show was getting ready to start. The excitement was real and my eyes began to water once again. I could stare at her all night long. Performing, smiling behind the mask and showing so much emotion and excitement through her eyes. She was in her element and I was the beaming proud mama in the audience. 

When the show was over we saw some more family and a special friend that came out to support her. It was beautiful coming together. Isannah came out all smiles and met with all that were present. Asher, Isannah and I drove back and talked all about the shows. She was tired but excited. Still flying on that performance high but she was slowly coming down. 

We arrived home to find a little Christmas mishap with the dog and our window decorations or lack of them. 

Isannah rested a little before she and I headed out to pick up Giovanni who was with my parents visiting Santa and enjoying some popcorn at my father’s club. Isannah and I pulled up and saw the snow filling the sky from a snow machine for the special event. We could hear the happy live Christmas music from the car and once we opened the door and got out we were surrounded by smiling faces, laughs that you could hear from a mile away, the smells of hot chocolate, buttered popcorn and cotton candy led the way. The sounds and smells of Christmas were hugging us as we walked.

The closer we got the more we could see him. The loud sounds of Santa with the biggest belly laugh and horses moving around towards him. I guess reindeer and a sleigh couldn’t walk the streets of downtown BK. 

I looked past the big red and white suit and saw that sweet boy face in the middle of it all. Giovanni was smiling and skipping around with snowflakes in his hair. He ran over to us with excitement on his face and hands filled with treats to give to his sister. He showed her around while Nonno and Nonna were making their way towards me. It was a beautiful scene like in an old Christmas movie but while looking up it seemed as though someone shook the snowglobe and we were all in it. 

The snow is still filling the air around us. The kids danced with Nonna and Nonno and we all hugged before walking away with jingling Santa scarfs, treat bags and yummy popcorn. 

It was a beautiful weekend which ended as it began with smiles and family.

Nutcracker Ready

Today and leading up today has been a wind whirl of emotions but one emotion that is consistent is joy. Overwhelming joy and awe. I am in awe of Isannah and her dedication. Tonight is the big full cast dress rehearsal of the Nutcracker in the city. She has been dedicated since day one, never missing a rehearsal even when there was a huge and very important family event, she knew she needed to be at rehearsal. She didn’t want to let the cast and teachers down.

She loves ballet but gets truly excited beyond words to be able to dance in the Nutcracker. She practices at home often and she even remembers other dancers’ moves, especially Clara. One of her dreams is to play Clara in the Nutcracker. I’m sure with her hard work and continued love for ballet she will get there.


Tomorrow is the big day and she is in both performances. It’s always emotional when I see her on stage but when I know she is doing what she loves most, my heart beams with joy. There is no holding back the tears. As much as I try not to cry, tears sneak out and it’s a moment like no other.
Isannah will be performing in the city! What a big girl. What an amazing ballerina. What a beautiful heart.

Making dreams come true.

Final Character Day

Today is Character Day at school. This is the last Character Day at their school and the last year of elementary. I’ve been looking back at all the photos throughout the years of Character Day costumes and I can’t help but cry. Tears of joy and sadness. Tears of just all the emotions building up inside screaming to come out. 

We had superheroes, animals, the cast of Frozen, Harry Potter and so many more. Each time they were proud and so excited to show school spirit. They were so happy to take part in such an amazing tradition. Each time we enjoyed putting ideas and thoughts into motion. It’s been such a fun ride celebrating in school with their friends, teachers and staff. This year, today, was no different. They beamed with excitement leading up to the day. They had a few changes in their costume plans but after it all they each chose the best outfits to wear for their personality. It was no more buying of costumes, instead it was putting together what they had to make it work while adding their own flare. 

Today my daughter is a French artist from Paris. A place she can’t wait to visit. While my son is Mets pitcher Jacob DeGrom. After all, he’s been practicing to become a pitcher and perhaps one day he will play for the Mets. 

Maybe this mom is just extremely emotional today or maybe it’s that I look at these two and feel with all of me how much I love them. How very proud I am of them. Maybe it’s because they came into this world fighting so hard to be here and here they are. Stronger than ever. 

They are my beautiful miracles. My growing life. 

I look at them and can’t believe my husband and I made these two beautiful hearts. What a gift.

Giving Thanks

This is about giving thanks and realizing those you need the most are placed in your path at the right times. These past few days I felt God’s presence in the hugs and faces of those that mean so much to me.

We all go through emotionally draining days, both mentally and physically. Sometimes while you are going through those days it’s hard to see things clearly and fear has a tendency of blinding you and making things worse. Having the support of family and friends brings you back to the surface and allows you to see clearer and helps confirm you are doing the right thing.

This is to the very small few that have listened and gone through this with me. For understanding and allowing my heart to speak it’s truth without holding back. From pulling me back and forth and then back again. It’s for helping to pick me up from the floor but allowing me to kneel carefully to pray.

This morning God’s presence was with someone very special. You wake up with so many emotions and crazy thoughts in your head and then suddenly a call comes in and changes things for the better. Sometimes that one thing, big or small, changes your life’s direction. All you can do is say thank you and hope the person on the other end knows just how much you appreciate them.

I want to say thank you for the events leading up to today.

I just want to say, THANK YOU!

School begins, memories, emotions, loss, sadness and hope. All things wrapped up in one day.

Summer is coming to an end and a new school year begins. This year the kids will be in 5th grade. Give me a second to let that sink in… Holy cow, 5th grade! I can’t believe come Monday my two beautiful miracles will be walking the halls of their elementary school for the last year. They will be the oldest kids in the school and the doors will open for new activities and events leading up to their last days of elementary school. How did this happen? 

I remember the days it all started and how many challenges they faced right from the start. Parents would tell me to enjoy every moment of it because the time will pass and you won’t realize how important all those moments were. At the time, exhausted and afraid I thought the time would never pass but boy was I wrong. My 2lb 10oz and 4lb 12oz miracle babies are growing and thriving each day. And those days led us here. Their 5th grade year. 

Leading up to the beginning of the school year teachers send out letters to families introducing themselves to make the teacher “Meet and Greet” not so surprising. It also gives the kids some comfort knowing a little story about each teacher. As the letters were coming, we noticed that a lot of my daughter’s friends were not in her class. Most were in one class and some were spread out. She was really excited to have her friends together for her last year of elementary school but that wasn’t showing to happen. 

At that point she turned to me and said, “it’s ok mommy, I will make more friends in my new class.” What a grown up answer, I thought. I felt more at ease until the Meet and Greet. We got to meet her wonderful teachers. They were amazing and kind. She was happy to see them. It wasn’t until later and after she played with all her friends in the schoolyard that she felt a little down. I guess it hit her that she wouldn’t be in class with any of her close friends for her last school year. 

It will be a little different but so were the last couple of years with Covid. Things are rapidly changing every day and we need to stay positive and keep moving forward. It’s amazing how the kids have been at the same school since pre-k. Growing in a building as they have each year becomes like a second home. They see many familiar faces and welcoming staff and teachers that played a part in their life and create beautiful memories that will be with them always. We have been really fortunate with the amazing teachers we’ve had through the years. Reflecting back on this journey has me both crying and smiling. I will keep the faith that both my kids are right where they need to be to help them grow and explore this new and final year at their school. Maybe I am just a ball of emotions right now. 

So many things are happening all at once and my head and heart are feeling heavy.

In just the past week I have been to two funerals and that is not counting the others before that week. 

Today will be another one. Today is also September 11. Not only are we remembering all those that lost their life 20 years ago on that tragic September day. I am thinking of one very special friend who lost her life in one of the towers. She was kind and beautiful. I had the gift of being her friend and knowing her in elementary and when I moved, I enjoyed the many letters we exchanged through the years. She touched many lives and still does. 

Today I’m also remembering the many lives that are taken by COVID and just the loss that happens every day. Not only because COVID. So many lives are leaving us. Today is a heavy day felt all around the world, not just here. Today is the day for us to all mourn together in our own way. 

I would like to extend comforting healing hugs to all that are mourning a loss today. All those who are dealing with something so great that they are feeling alone. You are never alone. There is always someone there. Thinking of you. Praying for you and just smiling because someone said your name. 

I want to wish teachers, school staff, families and students all starting a new school year safety and good health. I hope this year is better than last and continues to be strong. May we each feel comfort in knowing our kids and families will be safe. 

Sorry. I told you I was all over the place with emotions.

How to say goodbye while still living and moving on

Today I received an update about my friend’s cousin. I’ve been praying for her and her family ever since I found out that her cousin’s two daughters 12 and 9 were hospitalized for COVID. Her cousin (the mother) didn’t think she and her 12 year old needed to get vaccinated right away because her and the girls had healthy immune systems and never got sick so she pushed it off. Now she is regretting that decision watching both her daughters intubated in ICU. For two weeks now things didn’t look good. Yesterday they had to say goodbye to her 12 year old daughter Marisol because she lost her fight and became unresponsive. Her 9 year old is still in the ICU. Please help me in praying for Sonia. Please God give her the strength to keep fighting and get well enough to go home to her family. Please keep the Longoria family in your prayers. They need all the prayers and healing thoughts they can receive.

I’m so sad having to type this. My emotions are all over the place. I am trying so hard to smile and stay positive for my kids. Each day I wake up thankful that my children are safe, healthy and well. That I am able to hold them, see them smile and even get mad. See them grow and experience life good or bad. They are here with me, with us and I am so grateful. Each night I go to bed thanking God and praying for allowing me to have this. All that we experienced that day. 

I am thankful that I have a husband that loves us so much that he researches endlessly, reads so much and keeps us up to date with all that is going on. He pushes me to always do what is right for our family. He gives me the courage and strength I need when I feel depleted. 

I am so thankful that we were able to get vaccinated not only me but my husband, my parents and my sister. All that matters is that we are a little safer and we make it a little safer for those around us. 

I personally have lost a few people because of COVID and I don’t want to lose any more. We’ve witnessed so much loss all around us not only to COVID but the loss felt so greatly because we are in this scary time. Families that are losing people, my friends, can’t celebrate the life of their loved ones and mourn them surrounded by family because everything is limited to help keep the spread of COVID down. In the past year my beautiful and dear friend has lost family members and not to COVID. My dear friend lost her innocent, beautiful and kind daughter. A miracle and now she is not here. My friend lost her brother and just recently another friend lost her father, her best friend. Just a few days ago another friend lost her husband.

This life has brought us so much pain. Heightened our fear and questioned our faith. As hard as it seems, it has also brought us love, joy and happiness. It has made us smile even though we are crying. It has lifted our spirits when they were so low. It has shown us there is still a way. 

Everything around us shows us how much we still have and how tight we need to hold on to it. Life still needs to be lived and continued. Even though pieces of us are breaking and some days the pain seems unbearable, we need to look around us and see those still here and cherish those lives and continue to go on so you are not missing the next steps.

As hard as it is, we go on but that doesn’t mean the ones we lost are no longer with us because we carry them in our hearts. We carry them in the memories we created with them. We hold on to it all and move forward. 

Praying for all my friends and their families. I’m carrying them all with me. May God continue to give us the strength we need to face a new day.

Dedicated to you. To love. To us.

And here we are, year 13. Celebrating all the moments that brought us here.

Through good and bad, happy and sad, we’ve had them all and will continue to grow strong. You are the first person I think of when anything happens to me, good or bad. You are the one that I want by my side and need to keep my head above water. You’re the one that makes me smile and sometimes makes me cry but you are the one that I want and always will. I can’t imagine a day without you with me and I never want to. I can’t do any of this without you.

When you gently place your hand on my knee while we are driving or hold my hand just because you may not see it or know but my body melts and my heart is whole. When I look over and see you there no matter where we are or what craziness is going on in our lives I know I’m safe because you are right there. I wish you could see through my eyes and know just how happy, secure and loved you make me feel. Until then all I can do is remind you every day just how much you are loved. You are needed and you are all of me but most importantly the best part of me.

Thank you for loving me with all my many faults. Thank you for giving of you to me and thank you for not giving up on me, on us.

Happy 13 and to many more of this. All of it, you and me, where we started and where we will end. Our love story. 08.10.2008

Thank you, my love. Happy Anniversary ❤