I set up a little art studio in our dining room knowing this would become one of our favorite spots in the house. I have yet to sit and create something but I feel like it’s the best gift I can give to the family right now. It’s been a great outlet for the kids. While Amir works night and day to sustain us, I’m trying to find ways to keep us all mentally healthy and happy.
Painting by Lia Weiss
The girls have been keeping super busy creating beautiful artwork. In these uncertain times I have realized a couple of things, one is that I always wanted to homeschool the girls and well, here’s my opportunity! Two, I always wanted to have an art studio for kids, well here is another opportunity and three, I always wanted the family home together for more than just on the weekends, well here’s my opportunity and I’m embracing each and everyone. Praying we all get through this unaffected by the negative and effected by the positive.
Today I turned 41, however for the past 2 years I’ve told my kids to tell everyone that Im 38. They’re so good about doing that. Isabel said to me yesterday ” mom, I told everyone you turned 38 last year, what do I tell them this year”. I told her tell them I’m 37!
last night I came home to a mini surprise party. I left for two hours and came home to blowing horns and balloons and banners. I was so confused, it felt like new years. My favorite pie (pumpkin) was topped with candles number 29! It made me laugh. Those numbers look great, But I’ve been on this earth for 41 years. It’s a blessing to celebrate this beautiful number. I’ve got so much to celebrate and to be thankful for. My favorite gifts are the cards my kids write to me. They always make me cry. I always wondered why my mom cried and now I know why. It’s because you’re always surprised at how much you are loved.
One of my favorite holiday tradition that our family has, is going into New York City to see the tree at rockefeller center. It’s not seeing the actual tree that’s my favorite part, but the journey of getting there with my family. Every year now for the past several years, we, along with my brother and sisters family and sometimes my father in law, hop on a train from long island and head into the big city.The girls absolutely love this tradition of heading into the city with their cousins. They especially love missing a day of school. They exhaust their excitement the night before by preparing activities and snacks for the train ride and what they’ll wear to keep them warm. The girls always feel a little anxious about getting to the train on time so we always make sure to be there at least a half hour before the train arrives. Once their cousins begin to arrive, every care in the world dissolves. Our first stop after we arrive into the city is finding a good dirty dog! It’s been a disappointment every year. No one sells them anymore. They taste like mushy gelatin with no flavor. You dont even burp up that aftertaste that comes along with a true snap in your mouth sabrette hotdog. It’s so disappointing for my sibling and I especially since we emember eating them as children when our parents took us into the city. Most of the time that was the highlight of our trip. Our next stop is santa land at Macy’s. Every year we wait over an hour on a line to go thru Santa’s land filled with elves and all sorts of Christmas cheer. I found out this year that there is an express line that takes you straight to santa claus. How did I not know that? My brother knew all along but he says “you have to have the whole experience.” I guess hes right.This year santa had two extra little ones on his lap. Our little Liam and my sweet little nephew Salvatore Matthew. Liam had a little sented package in his diaper and was not happy at all. Lia was missing from Santa’s lap because the wait to see him was so long and hot and overall overwhelming for her so she waited with her dad on the 9th floor.she got to watch Netflix on daddy’s phone while he took a little winter’s nap. The holidays could be overwhelming for little ones aswell as big ones and although I wished them both with us as we visited santa I understood that their happiness meant more to me than a picture with Mr. Claus. My next favorite stop is Bryant park. You would think I would have taken more pictures. I’m usually in my zone when I’m there. I love the little shops and the people hustling and bustling all around us. The tall buildings surrounding me, all lit up as the early night sky approaches. I just sit and dream about having a tiny spot this little piece of the world.
The kids always ask if they can ice skate here, but it’s always so crowded when we come that it’s best to just sit and watch everyone else skate. Before we hit our final stop, which is the tree, we always make sure to stop at the American girls doll store! With six girls on this trip it’s a must! I absolutely love this store, it’s such a magical place to be. The kids never care to get anything but they do enjoy walking around and seeing all of the set up dolls and accessories. They go around collecting all of the little papers with the product details which they cut up and use to make barbie things when they get home. Every year we stop in this store, this is the first time I felt that our little girls are growing up. I was kinda hoping they’d ask me for something, buy they didn’t. Its bitter sweat watching them all grow up. Finally we hit our final destination. The big New York city tree. By this point everyone is cranky and tired and wants to go home. The crowd is overwhelming not only for the kids but for the adults. We take our famous picture by the tree and call it a night. The walk back to the train station always seems so long. But we all race back and do our best to get the next train home. It’s always exciting and a little nerve wracking waiting to see which track our train will depart from. It’s always funny to watch us all run in a hurry to make sure we get a comfortable seat on the long ride home. This is Lias favorite part of the day. She has the biggest smile once we get on that train back home.
Holly and the Mench arrived today in our house. They were found mingling around our liquor cart with a note that said…I never look forward to these guys arriving, but the kids love them. I was hoping they’d come a little later in the season, the kids, on the other hand couldn’t wait to see them, wondering why they hadn’t arrived yet. Can’t wait to see what they do. Let the holiday season begin.
For 9 months I walked around pregnant. I watched my belly grow from looking like I was eating too much cake to looking like I swallowed a basketball. Layers of muscle and fat and skin kept me away from seeing what was between me and the baby growing inside of me. For 9 months all I had was wonder. I wondered, is this baby going to make it? Will I ever meet it? Are we adding another girl to the group or will this one be a boy. Are these boy symptoms I’m feeling or girl symptoms? I wasn’t sure. One thing I did know was that this baby was very active. I remember feeling flutters super early, way before 12 weeks. After three pregancy I knew the familiar feeling of flutters. As the baby continued to grow, the movements continued to increase, reassuring me throughout the day that it was there and it was ok. I loved that feeling. I remember at work, when we had the pre-schoolers rehearsing for graduation, this little one would flip and move with excitement as the kids sang there songs. I noticed the same thing while sitting in the auditorium, listening to my daughters holiday concerts. The response to music continued as we’d sit in our entry room listening to the girls playing their flutes. I’d think to myself “this kid really likes music”. This kid also made me very nauseous! I was nauseous for the whole pregnancy. It was awful. I was hungry but nothing delighted me. Well, except for cake! I had no cravings just hunger and naseau. Towards the end of the 2nd trimester I started experiencing numbness and pain in my right arm. The pain was so bad that I couldnt cut or write anything with my right arm. I couldnt even get thru stirring chopped meat for taco night! The nights were even worse. I had to ice my shoulders and hands to relieve pain in my arms. I’d never experienced such a thing in my other pregnancies. I cried alot, not cause of hormones but because I was in so much pain. I was so worried that it would never go away. How would I function? I couldnt drive or push the cart at the supermarket without my hand going dumb and pain striking my arms. At times I’d think to myself, what have I done. What if I put myself self through all of this and something goes wrong and it was all for nothing. But one little kick and a smile would appear on my face. The pain, the unknown, the naseau, the sleepless nights, they would prove to be worth it! One thing I did notice in this pregnancy was my hormones. I wasnt emotional or sensitive like I had been with the prior pregnancies. No one really got on my nerves and if they did I didnt meow about it like a cat, I roared like a lion. Almost like I had testosterone inside of me. Most of the time it was the kind that caused me to chase my husband morning, noon and night! Otherwise I was as cool as a cucumber or picante like a spicey pepper. Amir believed that the cause of all of this was a little boy. An energetic, high testosterone little boy. And he was right. I dont know how Liam entered the world, did he come out screaming and crying or was he silent. Due to an emergency c- section, that is a question we will never know the answer to. But I do know that Liam loves to cuddle. He doesnt like a soiled diaper, not even a barely soiled diaper. But he hates to be changed, go figure! You feel like your in a battle, the way he moves his legs and arms all over the place, desitin ends up all over the place, sometimes the diaper rips cause I’m trying to go as fast as I can so I dont have to hear the angry, high pitched scream he makes and to top it off he pees and has been known to poop all over me. Thats completely new to me. My little girls never did that to their mama. He frets if hes hungry, like hes been starving for days. Hes delighted by the hugs of his big sisters and absolutely loves to be in his daddy’s strong arms. He does not like to be alone, loves to be ooed and cooed at. He loves being outdoors and looking up at the trees. He loves to sleep. Thank you for those 5 to 6 hour stretches in the early evening! Hes not a big fan of the car seat, luckily the car ride always puts him to sleep. Theres so many things we are learning about him every day and so much hes learning about each and everyone of us. So thankful for him. Two months ago we didnt know if he would be Liam or Natalia and now I cant imagine this life without him. So glad you are here Liam.
You’ll often hear my girls say to eachother B.I.T.B? This is what they say to one another when one of them wants to play Barbies In The Basement. It’s become one of their go to activity together. My girls have a love for barbie. I love that they are all into it and that it’s something they love to play together. Since we moved two years ago, their barbie collection has grown immensely. They have free range of our entire unfinished basement and have used almost every square inch of space to build an entire barbie community. They have scenerios they come up with and then they play it out. For instance, one day they plan a birthday party, or a baby shower or a family is playing a soccer tournament and all of the girls play based on this event. The barbies have real families and stories. They have jobs and responsibilities. Some of the families have foster and adopted children. They all have names and the girls can name each and every one of them. They can get lost in playing for hours, but the play sometimes comes to an abrupt ending due to a disagreement between what the barbies should and should not be doing. I love how their imagination sparks. It’s not just playing but theres alot of creativity going on too. They built bunk beds out of card board, book cases, and other household furnishings. They’ve made bounce and play areas, and mini books using magazine cut outs. They’ve built laundry rooms, custom made beds, closets, garages. Theres so much thought and detail involved. I tell them when they get older the three of them should open a real Barbie Land where little girls and boys can go and play everything and anything barbie. I wish I was their sister! We would have had so much fun together and fights too, but the fun definatley outweighs the fights. I hope they remember these days forever. They are so blessed to be here on this earth together as sisters and have the opportunity to play together.
Back in April, while playing a hangman game with the girls, we announced that in september of 2019 they would all, god willing become big sisters!I’m always amazed when I see gods plan unravel. We were so heart broken 4 years ago when our plan to have another child ended at 18 weeks. Not only did we loose the dream of having another child, but when we were told it was a boy, we also lost the dream of having a son. We continued graciously, knowing we were so fortunate to have 3 beautiful, healthy daughters and trusted that god knew what was best for us and our family at the time. After dealing with the loss we were both faced with losing a parent. Amir, lost his mother and 8 months later I lost my father. Life was uncertain and unpredictable. God new that this was not a good time to welcome a new baby.
The desire to have another child remained in our hearts. As our hearts healed and life went on, i didn’t focus on the desire but instead kept it there and waited for god to tell me what to do. TRUST him was all that repeated in my head. And that’s what I did. And hear we are 4 years later and i can see and understand now that god had a way of healing us and bringing closure into our hearts. On September 20th we welcomed with great excitement a beautiful healthy little boy we named Liam Gabriel. His name represents his entire family who waited patiently for his presence here on earth. L is for Lia, I is for Isabel, A represents both Amir and myself – Anna and M is for Melina. His middle name is in honor of the son who we lost before him. Our family is complete.
I brought Lia home on fathers day 8 years ago. I remember the days leading up to her birth were so busy with a part time job, shopping for fathers day, getting ready for my oldest daughters’ pre school graduation tending to my almost 2 year old and of course the everyday chores and meal preps. The busyness has not stopped and has only gotten busier. I always thought being a December baby was tough but I think June babies also get shuffled into the June madness! As shes grown so has the busyness of life especially with 3 school aged children. June has just become a month of check lists and more check lists. Other then the typical work and end of school days, June is also filled with Fathers day, Shared birthdays, graduations, recitals, bbqs and many things in between. Theres been times where we’ve had to celebrate her birthday a month later, and yes that’s not such a big deal to me, it’s a big deal to a little one who’d waited all year for her birthday party to come. This year, I wanted to intentionally make her actual birthday very special. In the past, her birthday has fallen on other occasions, making it challenging to just focus on her. This year it fell on a Monday, with absolutely nothing else going on other than school and work. I planned ahead and took the afternoon off from work, ( I am forever grateful for having a job that works with me and my family) I ordered a variety of sun catchers from oriental trading along with paint markers and hanging accessories. We prepared everything ahead of time and when her special day arrived I signed out the two older girls from school and together we headed to her class room and shared the craft with her classmates. She also got to share her All About Me poster. At the end of her celebration, along with each child taking home a suncatcher she also gave each child a pack of chalk. The big girls were so helpful in giving out all of the supplies, I didnt have to do anything. I spent most of the time chatting with the lovely teachers and classmates. We had fun and it was a great way to kick off lias birth day!
Our next event was to head over to Build -A-Bear. We had never experienced making one and the girls and I agreed that this would not only be a fun experience for Lia but for all of us as well. Even daddy!
I myself was looking forward to this all week so I cant imagine how excited lia was about it. After the experience, I realized you are never to old or young to build a bear! We had a great experience and although you can walk out of there spending a fortune, the girls were at an age where they understood how to keep the price low and still have a great time. Our experience included picking a special friend each (just the kids of course, although I wouldn’t have had any difficulty picking one out for myself!). Then we gave the girls the option of including a scent, a heart beat or a push button to play a special song. Lia chose to add a heart beat and the other two picked a special scent to include in their bears. Next, as a lovely young lady operated a stuffing machine, the girls each participated in a heart ceremony in which they picked a little heart to include inside of their little friend. After bears and rabbit were stuffed and hearts were sealed the girls got to hit the floor and shop for outfits and one accessory. They got to pick out lots of outfits and try everything on their little friend in the provided dressing rooms. They had so much fun doing this! And so did Amir and I! The experience ends with the kids picking a name for their special friend and printing out a birth certificate. Each friend shares a birthday with lia – June 17th 2019!
Lia named her rabbit Pauline, Melina named her bear Nina and Isabel named her bear Autumn. Each girl recieved a special home (box) to take their special friend home in. We ended the evening with each of us picking something different to eat at the food court. It was definatley a day that continues to put a smile on my face. A few weeks have now past, we found a day to have a party to celebrate with family but I’m so glad we carved out that day to truly celebrate lia on her real birthday. I totally would recommend giving this experience as a gift to anyone. Not only do you leave with a new special friend but the experience remains with you forever.