Love is love is love is love

I cried myself to sleep on Tuesday night for many obvious reasons. I cried because we had lost the election. I cried because we are yet to celebrate having a woman for our president. I cried because a racist, misogynist, pussy grabber was elected to lead our nation. But mostly I cried because I saw tears of fear, disbelief and angst running down my daughter’s cheeks.

My heart shattered into a million pieces.

I woke up Wednesday morning trying to be hopeful, trying to find the silver lining. But I didn’t.  As I was preparing their lunch boxes, my oldest one came into the kitchen and asked me again if Trump had really won. Yes, he had. Those same tears ran down her cheeks again. And my heart, again, shattered into a million pieces.

I reassured her that everything was going to be ok. That this amazing country was going to be ok. That we were going to be ok. That SHE was going to be ok.

“How?” she asked.

I didn’t have an answer then, but just promised her we were.

Little did she know that she had already given me the answer. As I walked into my office, I found a note she had left for me the night before. It read, “Love is what I work for.”

And just like that I had my answer. LOVE.

So that night, while we ate dinner she asked me again:

“So, how are we going to be ok?”

I told them I had a plan. A good one.

 

This is how we are going to be ok:

We are going to love.

We are going to live an amazing life.

We are going to love and respect our friends, no matter where they come from, what religion they practice or what they believe in.

We are going to speak up and not remain silent. We are going to defend our shy friends against bullies. And we are going to show compassion to those bullies that are surely trying to fight their own personal battles.

We are going to celebrate holidays, birthdays, we will make up excuses to have laughter-filled family reunions as often as possible.

We are going to stuff our faces with ice cream and cake.

We are going to go on trips. Lots of them. Disney, Chicago, Detroit, LA, Miami. We’re going to travel all over the country. Because it’s an amazing one.

We are going to go to the beach, the pool,  all of the parks, summer concerts, festivals…

You will go to gymnastics, or ballet, or swimming, or whatever you want to learn this month.

We are going to try to catch Santa this year….and the Leprechaun too.

We are going to cook and eat together (your father’s food, not mine, don’t worry).

We are going to go outside, way past your bedtime to catch fireflies.

I will visit you at school during your lunch time and you can visit me at my office during mine.

We are going to visit all of the Smithsonian museums for the 100th time because it’s one of your favorite things to do.

We are going to have picnics.

We are going to laugh about silly things and cry at sad things.

We are going to build forts out of blankets and make a mess in the living room.

We are going to pray together.

We are going to grow together.

And we will BE together. Because love trumps hate and love is love is love is love.

 

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road trippin’ (writing as I go)

I know I haven’t blogged in a while, but it’s mostly because I’ve been at home for the past three weeks, and let’s be honest, I don’t do anything when I’m home. Also because I usually do all my writing at the office and I’m telling you this because my boss doesn’t read this blog, she thinks I work diligently. It’s been a long three weeks and I’m ready to go back, but not before driving from Virginia to Indiana for my brother’s wedding, who actually eloped and got married in Hawaii (genius) a couple of months ago. I really think they’re throwing this wedding celebration just to get me in a van with my in-laws, my dad, my husband and my kids for 8 hours which I’m sure will turn into 10. What did I do to deserve this? I don’t know, but I’m liking the sound of the word revenge. 

When you get three old friends (in-laws and my dad) together in a car for 8 hours all they’re going to do is talk…and talk…and talk some more. And when they’re done, they’ll talk some more. And here I am in the back of the van because I’m 5 ft and no one else fits in between my daughter’s car seats but me, and I’m about to throw up, maybe because I just swallowed a bag of mini Oreos and writing this on my phone on the back. I’m also watching Frozen for the 68th time so the thought of pulling over and puking actually seems like a fun break. 

We’re driving through Pennsylvania or Maryland. I don’t even know, but I made the huge mistake of asking my dad, a geography enthusiast, because calling him a geography freak would be rude. He pulled out a map because why wouldn’t he. 25 minutes later he was still pointing out roads and stuff.
Now he’s listing ALL the states and asking me if I know their capital, which I obviously don’t because I only memorized them to pass my US History test in middle school like 20 years ago. 

The capital of California is Sacramento, NOT Hollywood. 

I just figured out that we’re in Pittsburgh, I’m sure because we had to stop to buy a blanket because I guess everyone in the car is going through menopause and the AC is blasting. I got a throw at a rest stop for $30. That was THIRTY dollars for a penguin throw which I’m guessing is the pet of their something team. Go Penguins??

The capital of Pennsylvania is Harrisburg, NOT Philadelphia. And apparently Tom Hanks does not live there.

Of course, now it’s scorching hot because there’s no way to cover the sun coming in through the back window, I have 2 huge dolls and a Penguin blanket on my lap and we’re watching Tinkerbell for the 54th time.

The capital of New York is Albany, NOT Times Square.

4 more hours to go. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste. Namaste.

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that one time I had dinner with 35 foodies

I’ve said it a million times, and I’ll say it again: I am a disaster when it comes to anything that involves making food. I love to eat, don’t get me wrong, maybe a little too much actually, the problem is I can’t cook, I get annoyed reading food labels, I don’t know if 500 calories for a bagel is ridiculous or not, I can’t tell the difference between parsley and cilantro and I’m not entirely sure what a Rutabaga is, and I had to Google the correct spelling for it. I’m not proud of this trust me, I’m still working on it.  The fact that I married a chef is a huge deal for me, because I went from eating Ramen Noodles to eating fresh homemade pasta. Score.

After 10 years of being married to this guy, I’ve learned a thing or two in the kitchen, that doesn’t mean I like it now, it just means that I won’t starve to death when he’s not around. So when my husband told me that we were invited to one of his friend’s house for dinner, along with around 35 other chefs and foodies my heart immediately stopped.  Putting aside the fact that I didn’t know ANYONE at this dinner, I knew the only topic of conversation was going to be about food, something I know nothing about, except how to eat it.

I tried binge watching the Food Network Channel a few days before to see if maybe I could learn some of the lingo and not look like a complete idiot, but I couldn’t do it. I got so anxious watching these people trying to make a gourmet entrée using only a tub of peanut butter, an orange peel and a potato.  I also tried reading some of my husband’s books, I fell asleep. I tried getting him to give me a quick crash course, but it wasn’t quick, it involved charts and homework, so I told him I had to do the neighbor’s laundry and ran away.

My only hope was that maybe another lost wife was going to be there too,  maybe we would bond over our culinary ignorance, maybe we would talk about kids, maybe we would talk about shoes, maybe we would become bff’s. I was getting excited about meeting my new imaginary best friend and so was my husband, he had noticed me having all these pretend adult conversations with myself and frankly, I was starting to look like a mental person.

We got there and were received by 30 something people. I knew no one. I clenched my husband’s hand, but of course, he soon exchanged it for a glass of wine.  I looked around and did not see another lost wife like me, everyone knew each other.

After what seemed hours of following my husband around like a lost puppy mingling, we sat down and waited for the first course, in the meantime, everyone was talking about food, and ingredients, and techniques, and foam, and liquid nitrogen*(apparently, the super cool use it to cook) and that chef that was the underdog and now is super famous. All gibberish to me.

I had nothing to say.

First course came out, everyone whipped out their cameras and started snapping pictures, I followed. I don’t even know why, but everyone was doing it. One hour later we were on our fourth course. I kept thinking about my daughters, hoping  the little one would start crying so much that my father in-law would have no other option but to call me. No calls. 5th course…no calls.

Me: “So dessert is next? This is our 5th plate of food, I don’t think I can eat anymore.”

Husband: “It’s fifteen courses, desserts (as in more than one) come after.”

Fifteen courses. FIFTEEN.

I wasn’t sure I was going to make it all the way to the last course, but everything was so good I just kept eating and eating. With so much food around me and my non-stop eating, there was no time to join in the conversation even if I tried. They will ever know how much I don’t know.

I hear ya!

I hear ya!

We made it to the 9th course before my father in-law really called in a panic. The baby had woken up and wouldn’t stop crying. We had to leave early and I asked my husband if it was too tacky to ask for take out. He rolled his eyes and we left.

Next time I’ll be sure to be well prepared, I’ll study the charts and do the homework, learn the lingo and even practice some recipes of my own. I promise.

P.S.  Thank you to all the chefs and cooks out there (specially my hubby and his friends), who dedicate their days cooking AMAZING dishes. Thank you for sharing your passion and art.

* I had actually written dry ice but my husband had a mini heart attack and quickly corrected me.

antique store visit #345

My husband loves to go antique shopping even though he is obviously not a middle-aged woman. I on the other hand start sneezing and find myself short of breath every time he suggests we go to an antique store. You might be wondering why a 35-year-old man loves to go to antiquing, because that’s where he says he finds the best silver spoons. Why spoons? Because he’s the most obsessive perfectionist chef I’ve ever met. The spoons have to be a certain size and have to be made of silver because when he’s tasting the food the material the spoon was made of cannot come in between the flavor of whatever he’s making and his mouth and he can’t buy 2 o 3 he buys 10 or 12 and I don’t understand any of this. So we go antiquing for spoons. The only reason I go with him (besides the fact that I’m his wife and maybe I should) is because he promises we can go for ice-cream after…err take the girls for ice-cream after.

So we drive downtown where there are 4 or 28 antique stores back to back. I panic because I forget to take my allergy pill and I just know something will make me sneeze and cry for no reason, also the drowsy effect helps make the trip a little more bearable. We walk into the first store, yes, we check out more than one place when hunting for spoons. We live a fast paced life, try to keep up. The air is so thick and humid I can’t breathe, oh here comes the first sneeze… followed by 18 more… aaaand my eyes are crying now. This is great. Don’t they open the windows in here?

As my husband slowly patiently scouts for the perfect spoons, I try to keep the girls from shattering the whole place into pieces. “No, you may not pretend you’re having a tea party with this very, very old and probably germ covered tea set”. $30 for a single tea-cup? Unless it was used by Queen Elizabeth and it still has some of her left over tea in it, I don’t think so. Time to go? Yes! Wait, what do you mean you didn’t see any good spoons? How many different kinds can there be?!?! On to the next. Sigh.

“Do you mind if I wait outside with the girls? No? Ok”. Antique store visit #345 wasn’t any better, it was even more crowded than the first one. How do people walk in here without knocking everything down? I pictured myself walking through a maze of lasers, like that French guy breaking into the museum on that Oceans Twelve movie, only I’m not at all flexible, my hands are busy trying to keep the girls from breaking anything breakable and I’m carrying a purse the size of the Grand Canyon.  I managed to sit us down on a sofa so old my great-grandmother would’ve probably bought as a vintage piece.

I can smell the dust

I can smell the dust

While patiently waiting for my husband to find his beloved spoons, my daughters spot a set of old, I mean, vintage jewelry and ask me if they could buy “something fancy”, unfortunately, no one was going to walk out with anything fancy, but I did manage to entertain them with the most elaborate story as to who those jewels used to belong to. All I know is that a very famous queen that had a Pegasus for a pet used to wear them. That led us to talk about pets, which led us to talk about the absence of a pet in our home, which led us to choose a future pet which we’ll name Lily Pink Sunny Sunshine. We’re still not sure if it’s going to be a puppy, a kitten or a Pegasus. Still deciding.

Maybe she'll fit in the balcony

Lily Pink Sunny Sunshine. Maybe she’ll fit in the balcony

We walk around for a couple of minutes and I slowly start discovering some stuff worth looking at, maybe antique shopping deserves a second chance.

ahhhh so this is why this whole antiquing thing is so popular

ahhhh so this is why this whole antiquing thing is so popular

But then I turn around and see this:

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she will haunt you in your dreams

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the soul sucker

What the hell??? All I know is that I ran from that soul-sucking doll as fast as I could, packed my things and fled the country. Screw antique shops, next time we go to the mall.

 

 

surviving spring break

No, I do not have a sunburn from laying out at a Florida beach all day, nor do I have a horrible hangover from partying all night at some loud, neon light filled club. Those days are long gone my friends. I’m actually recovering from spring break with a 6 and a 3-year-old, and let’s be honest, even the strongest person can come out of this feeling battered. Spring break was last week and yet I’m just picking myself up. With my husband working endless hours at the restaurant, it was just me, my willpower and my girls. I had planned on not having a plan, I was just going to wing it and go with the flow, relax, it’s spring break! Actually never mind, scratch that last part, the truth is that  I can’t ‘roll’ with anything, I need plans, schedules, lists, charts, all of that! And that’s why I needed to make a Plan of Action, like my cool uncle G used to say: “you gotta have a PofA”. You just have to listen to the wise. After diligently writing down my week’s PofA, I felt ready to go into this Spring Break full force, forgetting that I was about to attempt to entertain my 2 daughters 24/7 …solo.

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planning like a boss

On day 1 my youngest daughter decided that she was going to take full advantage of me while I was off from work and wake me up at 6:50 am…sharp. This happened every single day for the next 5 days. Wish I could unplug her internal clock.

Itala: Are you ready to play bawbie?

Me: Play what? No, I’m not ready to play whatever that is. I need coffee before I can do anything.

Itala: There’s no time for coffee!!!!

Really? Really? REALLY?

My perfectly coordinated PofA didn’t include playing with bawbies Barbies at 7 am. An hour later we had played Barbies, school and Old Maid, this last one she won three times in a row because she ‘shuffled’ and handed out the cards, clearly making sure that she NEVER got the damn Old Maid. Sneaky, sneaky child.

When I finally felt awake, you know, around noon, I packed the girls and headed out to the happiest place on earth: Target. I needed to get my Target fix if I was going to survive the next week. I had actually just planned on stopping by for a second to return a box of white seashells I had purchased in the middle of the Polar Vortex; I was hoping the sight of seashells on my coffee table would make me feel a little warm, they didn’t help at all, so back to the shelf they went. So one hour and a pair of Convers, a light spring scarf, a much-needed maxi skirt , 2 perfect white T’s and a box of princess band aids later I was a happy mama (that’s the Target effect, it’s really not my fault).

I told the girls I had a whole week of activities planned; they on the other hand, reminded me that it was THEIR spring break NOT mine and that this is what they wanted to do:

  • Go to ALL the parks… all of them
  • Go to Chuck E. Cheese
  • Horseback riding
  • Petting Zoo
  • The pool (even though they know they’re still not open)
  • Decorate the house for Easter
  • Oh, it’s almost Easter, so decorate eggs
  • Go Easter Egg hunting
  • Learn to climb a tree

Me: It’s that all you want to do?

Antonella: Yeah, we’ll think of something else to do for tomorrow.

 

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Say what now?

 

Let’s just say that this mama did all of that…not really, but almost.

Tree climbing + park: check

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more like swinging

 

Horseback riding: check

we even squeezed in a picnic

we even squeezed in a picnic

 

Easter egg hunt: check

the competition was fierce

the competition was fierce

 

All right spring break, you took the best of me, my body is numb and my energy level is non-existent, but my kids had a blast, so no hard feelings ;)

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well hello there 70 degrees!

We finally got a break from this eternal winter and got a nice, sunny day last Saturday, so of course, like any other person suffering from cabin fever here in the Northeast I decided to spend the day outside. I grabbed my girls and headed out. We decided to go to D.C since I had an aunt visiting from Colombia and thought it would be nice to show her around. I told the girls they could finally wear their new spring jackets and you should’ve seen their eyes pop with excitement, their mouths wide open: “You mean spring is finally here?” Oh these poor souls. I packed snacks for the car, because any car ride over 15 minutes long is a road trip for them and snacks MUST be provided.

We stopped for lunch at the most amazing burger joint ever, Shake Shack, and well, well, well, no one told me that this was the place to be on a Saturday afternoon. The line was almost as long as the line outside Georgetown Cupcakes (don’t even get me started on that, that line situation deserves a Post of its own). But it’s ok, trust me, these burgers are worth the wait, I mean, seriously, best burgers ever. I’m so hungry for one right now. Damn.

Heaven on a tray

Heaven on a tray

While I ordered I asked my mom to walk around with Itala sitting on the stroller, maybe someone would feel bad for this lady pushing this huge baby around and not grab the next empty table, because obviously there were none available, people were sitting on the sidewalk eating and I don’t even want to imagine the disaster of doing that with a 6 and a 3-year-old.  After leaving burger heaven we headed to Georgetown because of course every tourist needs to buy a $45 “Channel” bag. I didn’t even try; I would’ve purchased every single purse in the kiosk. Original, fake, big, small, all of them. I’m a recovering purse-aholic. My mom took my aunt purse shopping and I took the girls down to the waterfront.

I forgot that everyone else in DC had been holed up inside for the past 3 months just like us and holy smokes Batman where did all these people come from?!?

Ok, it was not this crowded but you get my point

Ok, it was not this crowded but you get my point

We found an open space and I set the girls free, it was like they’ve never seen sunshine…or freedom. It was a beautiful thing.

Run children, run! Be free!

Run children, run! Be free!

Antonella did some yoga:

Not bad for a first timer

Not bad for a first timer

And Itala did some of what I suppose are karate moves:

Wax on, wax off

Wax on, wax off

 It was an awesome Saturday….and then Tuesday rolled in with this:

Why oh why must you tease us this way Mother Nature?

Why oh why must you tease us this way Mother Nature?

 

And then I remembered what March is all about:

march

Patience my little grasshoppers, patience.