Happy Birthday!

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.

I got an awesome mom key chain. I officially feel like a mom. It’s good to be 41!

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A christmas tradition

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 Mench

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.

So glad you are here Liam

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.

Big Sisters

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.

Happy 8th birthday Lia

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.

Happy father’s Day!

Couldn’t have said it better myself.Happy Father’s Day to one of the best dads I know. Thank you for your never ending efforts in turning our house into a home and for your unconditional love, support and guidance. We love you.

Melinas class

Today I was talking to a friend and was expressing to her how easy it was when the kids were younger as far as planning activities to do with them. As they are getting older, they know what they want to play and do. They love playing barbies and school together and they have their own ideas of how things are going to go. I dont need to set up and plan activities for them anymore. The foundation has been set and they’ve taken off. It’s nice, but then again I miss planning and prepping crafts/activities for them. If they want to create something, they go and find what they need and they go off and make it. They’re so creative. Always cutting and pasting and making things. Melina loves to play school and is constantly coming up with daily plans and activities for her students to do. She amazes me with how serious she is about her class. She puts in 100%, preparing lessons for the week, searching for dittos and fun activities for whoever is willing to participate in her class. She even gives out the best prizes. I showed her a site called teacherspayteachers.com and she found this cute little spring bingo game. She had my younger daughter and I color and cut out the bingo pieces and then paste it onto a bingo board. We played bingo for over an hour. Each winner got a sticker and we got to pick out of a prize box. I had so much fun. I told her how I used to be the one coming up with fun things to do and now she was the one doing it. It made me realize that they’re growing up and are capable of so much more. It was nice to be on the other end of the activity. I wasn’t the one who planned it and prepped it but I definitely had a blast playing it. You’re going to make an incredible mom and teacher some day! 

Goodbye Sweet Hen

A month ago, our sweet Minnie was attacked by what we believe was a racoon. I went out as I did every morning, to let the three girls out of their coop to free range in our yard. But this time something was very different. Usually  as I’m walking towards the coop, I can hear them ruffling with excitement as I come to open the coop door. This time though, I didnt hear a sound. I didnt think anything of it, maybe I was just a little earlier than usual. It was about 6am, but maybe they had a late night and were still sleeping. I open the door and no sight of them flying down the ramp. Hmmm, I thought to myself. They usually fly out of the door, with Minnie leading the way. I hope they didnt freeze to death. It had been cold a few nights in a row but they’ve made it through colder nights I thought to myself. Well, I gathered up courage and said let me open their nesting coop and see what happened to them. I walk over and notice the top of the nesting box was thrown on the floor. I knew then something had gotten to them. My heart dropped. I wanted to cry but didnt want to upset my daughters, I calmly made my way through the yard hoping that maybe they couldn’t wait to get out and pushed the nesting box door onto the floor with their little heads. These girls have gone missing before and they’ve always come back to us so I was holding on to that same hope. Suddenly I hear rustling in the woods, I see Nutella coming out of the woods, I think to myself phew, they’re ok but then I notice the other two were not with her and that’s not typical. They’re always together. She came out squawking her chicken talk like she was trying to tell me something. She was all alone. My heart broke as I watched her. She seemed lost and lonely. Now I felt for sure that something happened. I didnt want my daughters to let on that something was wrong so I went upstairs to shower and told God that I was leaving it in his hands as I always do. About 20 minutes later, my older daughter calls out to me and says “mom, the chickens are making a lot of noise, what’s wrong with them?”. “Chickens?” I ask her. Wondering if she actually saw more than one chicken. “Stella and Nutella are near our back door making noise but I dont see Minnie”. I was relieved to hear that another chicken was safe. “Phew” I thought to myself again. Ok, so the other chicken might just need sometime before she reappears. Believing that Minnie would make her way home soon, I tell my inquisitive daughter what happened. But soon turned into hours and still no sign of her. All three of my daughters are now aware of what happened and they start to become hysterical, fearing that something happened to her. Nothing I say comforts them. They didnt want to hear any of it. They just wanted Minnie home and so did I. She was the life of the coop. Big and strong. Beautiful and sweet. She was a fighter. Everytime I went out there with scraps she’d make her way through, running as fast as she could past the other two to make sure the scraps were hers and only hers. It made me laugh everytime. I’d have to throw her scraps first and then quickly throw to the other two. The day finally was coming to an end, and there was no sign of Minnie. But I still remained hopeful, I had read several blog posts and online forums saying that sometimes a chicken goes into hiding after they’ve been attacked and they come out when they feel safe. I told the girls of this possibility and we all remained hopeful. The next morning brought no sign of minne. My husband walked through our yard again with melina. A few minutes later she comes running through the back door crying, “we found minnie and she is not alive”, my heart sank. The news was awful. It’s not going to be the three of them anymore I thought to myself, and no other hen will be able to replace her. How senseless it all felt, she was attacked and barely nibbled on. I would have felt better if at least she was the predators meal, but he didnt even eat her. Just took her life from us and left her there all alone. Made me think of all of the things that go on around the world, that you ask yourself “why, what was the point of this”. It’s amazing how much you can love a hen. How bad it hurts to know how frightened she must have been. The kids were devastated, they loved her so much. They raised her, held her, cared for her and made sure she knew she was loved, and now it almost felt like we let her down. As a mother I just wanted to protect their little hearts, telling them “it’s ok, this is nature”, but they didnt want to hear any of it. It wasn’t ok, nothing about it was ok and they were right.We miss her lots. Sometimes I feel like I’m going to see her running out in the yard. I miss the large eggs we used to find in the coop from her. We will definitely get more chickens but no one will ever replace minnie. We gave her a proper burial and we visit her every day. Shes out on the land she loved and shes with us every day. Goodbye Minnie, we love you. 

Portrait of Martin

My seven year old daughter, Lia, wants to change the world just as Dr. Martin Luther King jr. did. But she said she’s afraid that if she tries to do something good that something bad will happen to her. Like so many other people in history, Martin Luther king died doing something he believed in. I told lia that in his short life, he did more and lived more than most people who live to be 100 years old. He made a contribution to this world, and left his foot prints for others to follow. He was a soldier fighting a war and he won. I dont think he would have changed a thing about his fight. Lia, never let fear stop you from doing good in this world.