A rush to the end

This was a long Harry Potter journey that started several years ago when Giovanni and Isannah were about 5 or 6. Their dad began reading Harry Potter books at night while the kids were in bed.They formed a bond like no other and a love for Harry Potter. The rule was no movie could be watched until the book was completed. It seemed like the books were getting longer and longer. Some days we ran late and the kids needed to get in bed so there was no time for reading. Sometimes many days passed before the book was opened again but they always came back to it. 

They are now both 10 and still absolutely love Harry Potter books. This helped make the decision to sign them up for one week of Camp Hogwarts during summer break. The camp week was almost here but the last book was not complete. In fear that the camp would have spoilers or camp friends would discuss details of the last book, they made it their mission to complete the last book before camp started. They were reading longer and more frequently. Sometimes my husband read to them during the day and then again at night. There were still too many pages to read but that didn’t stop them. At one point my husband realized he needed a little help since he’s been working so hard, that he turned to Jim Dale. Jim Dale is the audible voice of Harry Potter books. Although my husband had read almost every page of those books to the kids, time was running out and he needed a little help to get to the finish line quicker.

Today was that day. The three of them got together as they always do to finish the book. He read and read until there were no words left in the book. The excitement was real! They completed the last book and camp was the very next day. It was the perfect end to an amazing Harry Potter journey.   

We will be watching the last movie on Tuesday for family movie night. I can’t wait to see the expressions on their faces and hear all about what’s missing in the movie. They really love the books so much more but the movie is such a treat. 

Off to Camp Hogwarts they go…

What a weekend!

Big things happened this weekend. Saturday was a really special and important day. It was recital time. Isannah worked so hard on her ballet dance. It was the first in person, on a stage platform performance since COVID began. This was HUGE especially because the Nutcracker was cancelled and so was the summer in person recital she’s done every year. Due to COVID families were limited to one guest per show. Isannah was torn as she really wanted her dad to see her dance too. There was a little conflict since it was also Giovanni’s baseball game and Asher is assistant coach. The timing was tough but since we were limited to one guest, I confirmed a spot to be there. 

Just a couple of days before her recital strict restrictions were lifted slightly and another guest was allowed to come to her recital. Isannah was beaming with joy as this meant her dad could be there too. 

Here’s the little hiccup, Giovanni’s game was still at the same time and he needed to get there. We spoke to Giovanni to see if he felt comfortable walking through the park from the baseball fields to the entrance without us. He said he was. We had amazing baseball parents look over him during the game but he would walk to meet my parents outside the park on his own. 

This allowed Asher time to get to the recital, which he did, with plenty of time to see Isannah before she went in to get ready. Although, I was confident Giovanni could do it, as a parent so many scenarios run through your mind. 

It was recital time and the parents were allowed to enter the venue. Asher and I found our seats and I couldn’t help but just stare at Isannah. She was in position and she looked so beautiful. I can see her nerves behind her smile even through the mask she had on but that made her even more stunning. I got chills as the music began to play and her confidence was back. Her face changed and her moves were graceful. Her arms and legs carried her like an angel floating through the air. The way she moved her hands and arms was mesmerizing. I have always loved and will always love to watch her perform in ballet. 

From the twinkle twos where she began at the same ballet school until now at age 10. To see her grow and blossom through the years is an experience like no other. Watching her perform now brought images of her from 2 years leading up to this moment. I saw pictures flashing before me as you do in a movie flashback montage. The photos were so crisp and clear but in between them all I was brought back to the current recital. I was glad they did the dance twice because I didn’t want to miss a moment of it. But I was so happy to see all the images in my head as I did. The music carried me and allowed me to reminisce on all the stages of her ballet classes. It was a beautiful moment but what made it complete was looking to my left and seeing the priceless expression on my husband’s face as he watched his daughter float through the room. Once the dances were over and we were able to go up to Isannah she reached out to hug us. She was proud and so excited and we were proud and so excited for her. Pictures were taken of her, us and her ballet bestfriend. The journey they are both experiencing together will be with them wherever they go. Friendships and moments like this last a lifetime. 

As we were saying our good-byes to friends and the amazing Cobble Hill Ballet staff my mind was racing back to Giovanni. How was his game? Did he notice I wasn’t cheering at the top of my lungs and did it bother him? Did he make it across the fields and through the park to meet my parents at the entrance? How did it go and how is he feeling?

I text my mom and kept in close communication until Isannah, Asher and I arrived home. Not shortly after Giovanni walked in smiling with my parents trailing in behind him. He was so excited and told us all about being at the game on his own (without us for the first time) and how easy it was to get to where Nonna was waiting. He spoke about the game and all that happened. It was his very first time walking through the park alone. What an experience for him!

It was a Saturday filled with many things, many emotions and accomplishments. I was so proud of both. 

Let’s get to Sunday. We had to all rise bright and early for Giovanni’s make up baseball game that was initially cancelled due to rain. We had to be at the ballpark at 8:30am and on a Sunday. The sun was already bursting with heat. The heat was coming down on the players hard but they kept on going. The Imposters were losing 1-0 until Giovanni was up at bat. First swing was a strike, second a ball, the third went to him and he swung with all his might. Contact and a hit to first base driving home a run. Although Giovanni was out at first he tied the game. A runner came in and it was 1-1. The excitement and cheers filled the park. We have a great team, coaches and parents. The energy is always so alive and supportive. 

Giovanni’s next at bat was a strong hit. He got to first and I can see his face was lighting up even through his mask. He was ready to go. After stealing second and third he was waiting for his team to bring him home which they did. I believe this was one of Giovanni’s best at bats. 

It was a beautiful weekend. The weather was great. The people we encountered and met along the way were comforting and the kids were motivating, inspiring, happy and supportive which made us proud. 

Special thanks to the family and friends that made this weekend possible so we didn’t miss moments that will be carried and lift us in memories throughout our journey.

Where to begin…

I’m not sure where to begin so I guess I’ll start with the happy news about our March for Babies walk. It was a bit different this year as the walk was virtually going on all over. This year I decided to have our team walk around Prospect Park rather than go to the city. We were asked to film live, take pictures and then send it all in so it would stream live on the Experience page during the walk. I invited family and friends who wanted to come out and enjoy a fun walk with us. Really I just wanted to be surrounded by so much love on this special day which I definitely felt. 

My dad was even there in a Gio and Isa’s Miracles shirt. As tight as it may have looked on him, he still wore it for us which was special to see in photos. I didn’t make this year’s individual t-shirts for our team like I do every year because I wanted everyone in a t-shirt from years past. I wanted each shirt worn that day to represent a year we walked leading up to our 10th anniversary. I still can’t believe we have been walking in honor of Giovanni and Isannah for 10 years. Team Gio and Isa’s Miracles is 10! It is a day of hope, faith, reflection, love, kindness and family. It’s a day filled with many emotions and this year didn’t fail. 

Although my dad showed up, he didn’t walk. He stayed behind until we were done. He felt tired and it seemed like he was having trouble breathing. From a day of such love, joy and life the night turned a little different. 

By the next day, my father was having problems with his breathing again and his oxygen levels were decreasing. It was a quick trip to his doctor’s, followed by an emergency chest x-ray. He was back home waiting on results while monitoring his oxygen level. Even on his oxygen machine his levels were struggling to stay above 88. Something was definitely wrong. Early in the morning his levels dropped to 64 and the machine was no longer helping him. Back to the ER he went. More tests and scans taking place. They heard fluid in his lungs and began treating him for pneumonia. My mom, who is Wonder Woman, got him to the hospital just in time against all his fussing. He was admitted and put on Bi-PAP. This has sadly become a common routine due to his COPD. This was all adding to the many emotions that were already floating around.

All this was going on when we were in the middle of preparing for Isannah’s return to in school learning. It was an exciting and sad time. She was finally ready to go to school and meet her new teachers but sad she would be leaving her remote teacher, whom she loves behind. The first day was a success and the smile on her face during pick up said it all. She was happy to be back in the building seeing friends and staff members faces. This motivated Giovanni even more and he became super excited to join his new teacher. 

Day 2 for Isannah went well. During pick up Giovanni saw his new teacher and they spoke about his work, procedures and how excited they both were to see him in school on Thursday but that didn’t happen.
A late email from Isannah’s ballet school shook all the plans we had. Someone in her school possibly tested positive for Covid. We had to explain to a very excited boy that he would not be going to school after all. He was heartbroken and literally dropped to his knees and cried. He didn’t even start and already he was not able to attend. We promised to make it up to him and do something special. At the time, it didn’t seem like that would work but things changed a little in the morning when they rejoined their remote classes. Familiar faces and voices kept their spirits up. 

During all of this and the possibility that Covid was close once again, my father was still in the hospital. The days were getting longer and I was becoming more tired but we all just kept going. Drives to and from the hospital. Calls to the nurses and doctors. Communication with insurance and social workers. My mind was all over and about to explode but there was no time to crumble and fall back, all I could do was keep moving ahead. 

Remember when I mentioned doing something extra special for the kids? Well, on my way back from another appointment I stopped by It’s Sugar. Giovanni’s most favorite thing is a 3.5 ft long sour power strip. He only had it once and he absolutely LOVED it. I knew this would lift his spirits so I brought home two. One for him and one for his sister. He was so unbelievably excited. All I wanted was to see him smiling like that and it worked. They were both happy. 

I watched them as they enjoyed and giggled at the length of this sour strip. It wasn’t until I looked over at Isannah and saw her spitting something out. She said there was something hard in that bite and apologized for spitting it in her napkin at the table. When I looked over at her, I noticed that the cap of her front tooth was missing. We looked in the bite she discarded and noticed right in the center was her cap. 

I did something to put a smile on their face but now I took away Isannah’s smile. Her tooth was missing from a few years back but a cap fixed it until now. At this moment. It started all over again. This was turning into another one of those days. 

We spoke to her and made her understand we were going to get it capped again and she shouldn’t worry but I could feel her fear just by looking at her. She was missing part of her front tooth. Her adult tooth was missing once again and she had to deal with it all over until it was repaired. 

I immediately called the dentist who won’t be in the office for weeks. I know she couldn’t wait that long. I had to make an appointment with someone she’s never seen before. I’m staying hopeful that all goes well. In the meantime, masks need to be worn at all times in school unless she’s eating so it won’t be so bad. 

Right now I’m sitting back thinking about how so many things could go wrong, and seem lately to do just that, but that one thing that goes right at just the right time can change the outcome of it all. This is when you have to search within yourself to find a better way to see it all. Try your hardest even at your weakest, or at times when you are most afraid, you need to reach deep within and let the love that fills you, carry you to the next moment. 

Before I end my rambling thoughts here, let me say that daddy is back home. Healing slowly with the help of oxygen and machines and a wife that tirelessly gives of herself.

Isannah is smiling again despite the missing piece of her tooth. Giovanni found his excitement again for his new first day back to school and the sun was shining all day. 

We are going to continue to reach within and find the positives and hope they outweigh all the negatives that keep coming our way.

ELA Dedication

I want to give the biggest shout out to all the kids taking the ELA state test today. I know it’s been a hard couple of years because of COVID and all that’s going on in the world but each of you woke up today and bravely walked to school ready for your test.

I am so proud of Giovanni and Isannah. I couldn’t believe they asked us to sign them up. With being fully remote since March of last year, these two still wanted to take the test. One day after a morning class with their remote teacher they ran downstairs asking if we signed them up. At the time we hadn’t but did at their request.

Leading up to this day, Isannah began feeling nervous but that didn’t change her stance. I asked them again if this is what they wanted. Although Isannah was feeling stressed, she said yes. Giovanni turned to me and said, “I want to take the test so my teacher can see what I know and what I need to work on.” I thought that was a grown up response and a fresh way of looking at testing.

Now, let’s rewind a bit to 2:00am this morning. Giovanni woke up with the worst bloody nose. I was up with him trying to control it for over an hour. He was tired but couldn’t sleep because it just wouldn’t stop. Every Spring his nose bleeds get worse and his eyes swell shut. Yesterday he was outside playing and his eyes began to swell.

This morning I didn’t want to wake him as I knew he didn’t sleep well but it was test morning and so I had to.

He slowly got up and said, “I’m so tired. This is the day I don’t want to be tired or worried that my nose will bleed again in school but I am going to get up because I want to be there.”

I really felt his pain as I was dragging too but didn’t suffer most of the night like he did. I was just up by him and comforting him.

Praying that all goes well.

Whatever happens, I know they will do their best given the circumstances. I hope they know I am already proud of them.

Thank you to the school staff that are all helping make this possible for both remote and blended students.

Gio and Isa’s Miracles – March for Babies 2021

It’s the time of year when I ask family and friends to join us on our journey through March for Babies. It’s a personal, touch my heart pull at my strings kind of time. It’s meaningful and very emotional. It’s about strength, hope, faith and love. It’s about sharing losses with so many mom’s and families. While also sharing and honoring those that are growing and thriving each day.
This year like last is very difficult for many of us. Last year with Covid increasingly growing and taking beautiful lives with it, I halted my fundraising efforts to allow people to grieve and grab onto all they could and needed to get by. I know we are still in this craziness of Covid, and I understand that you are limited in donating but I need to fulfill my duty in spreading the word and love to all that can hear me.
I am sharing our story with you as I do every year. Most of you have taken the journey right along with us. Sometimes walking side by side with us or by your words of support, your donations and your outpouring of love. We thank you. This year we are going to try and walk that walk proudly and very far apart, if allowed. If this year continues to be done virtually we will be there as we did last year.
We are honoring our sweet twins Giovanni and Isannah during this special time. Even though we are thankful for every moment of the day, even when they make me want to jump out the window, we support them. We honor them for their strength and determination to be here. To be present and live in this crazy world.

During this journey we remember infant lives taken too soon and we walk for them. We walk for friends and family who went through similar experiences as we did. We walk for the angels that are watching over us. We walk for friends and many others that go through it every day. We walk for hope that one day all babies win this fight.

Please read our story at https://www.marchforbabies.org/caramia626 and donate if you can. As little as a $1.00 helps. Share our page and believe in your heart that hope, LOVE and faith will bring us together.

Thank you for listening and taking the time to be with us. For those of you who have donated in the past, we appreciate you and thank you. If you have a company or work for a business that would like to sponsor our team, Gio and Isa’s Miracles, please let me know.
Stay safe, healthy and well. Thank you!

Sometimes it’s too much

Lately there has been so much pain in this world. We are surrounded by death, hate, heartbreak, uncertainty and fear. I can think of a few others but I will leave it here. The past few days have been especially hard. Losing someone you love dearly is devastating but losing a child, well, there are no words that can possibly describe that horrible pain.

We’ve been learning as each day passes how heavy this life is and how fragile. It leaves you to question why these things are happening? Why can an innocent child be taking away from her parents so suddenly? Why is this world so angry and hateful? Why do people still believe that COVID is a hoax or not as bad as it seems? Why, why, why? Where are the answers? How can we achieve them or make sense of anything that is going on? Where is God?

I always do my best to stay positive. I try to understand that if there was no evil we could never truly understand and appreciate the good. There always needs to be a comparison to balance things out but we all have experienced it before. Why do things have to continue to hurt?

Am I naive to think that love will conquer all? That if we all love each other the world can be better. If we can love thy neighbor as we love thy self, then this world will be a better place?
I want my kids to grow in a world of peace, love, hope, and faith. I want them to open their eyes to the beauty that surrounds them and take in all of the possibilities that are out there. Be strong, confident, healthy but be humble, kind and respectful. I want so much for my kids but am I shooting too high? At this point, is it even possible? So much doubt and so much fear turns in to anger and then hate.

Life is scary but can be beautiful. Sometimes it’s not about opening your eyes to see all the beauty that is out there. Sometimes you just need to close your eyes, breathe in and imagine all the beauty that you can see. With eyes closed you can see the beautiful memories you’ve made. You can even feel a touch, or smell that smell that brings you comfort. Although it’s hard, especially now, you need to search for that space that is good. Look for that glimmer of hope that’s been pushed way back in there and bring it to light.

After returning home from a funeral the other day, I felt like something blew out that tiny light that shines within me. My body felt heavy and my stomach began hurting. I felt nauseated and sick. I couldn’t shake that feeling but I knew what it was about. I also knew it was doing something to my heart. My heart has been broken and pieces have been breaking off little by little but I always manage to bandage it. I have so many cracks where the light shines through but there’s no way to close it tightly as it once was. But I keep going on knowing that somehow my heart will help someone else. Knowing that the care that pours out of me will help someone in need.

That night as I was washing dishes my daughter kept asking me to do ballet with her. I told her to wait until I was done cleaning. Not shortly after, she asked me again. It wasn’t until that moment that I remembered all that happened earlier, and just stopped what I was doing. I turned off the water, put the dishes down and said, “yes, let’s do ballet.” I looked at her and was so thankful that she was mine and she was standing in front of me just wanting me to share this time with her. I kept staring at her and I couldn’t stop. At one point she asked me, “why do you keep staring at me today?” I told her it’s because I love her so much and I hope she will always know that. Then I said, let’s do ballet. And we did.

I need to really think about how I react when the kids want to do something with me. It shouldn’t matter that the house is a mess and dishes are piling up. I need to just stop what I am doing and give them my time. They are small for just a little while and they are here now asking for me. I don’t know how long we have together or when things will just stop so I need to enjoy them every chance I get. Listen to the laughter and the giggles that fill the room. Those giggles are contagious. Be in that moment with them. The dishes can wait.