Book Worming it to the end, and over again…

Born and raised a book worm. Groomed early by my father who took my sister and I on wondrous treks to the local library when we were little and on Saturdays took us to our most coveted spot of all – the main Library in Center City. The building was old and had a huge marble stair case. The children’s section was tucked away in a beautiful basement nook. Much more than a nook because the space was immense and the options for reading seemed endless to me at that time. It’s weird, I can almost picture my dad, the young professional dad wearing his fro shaped low holding my sister and my hand’s. Both of us wearing long pig tailed braids, with a straight part in the middle, just the way my mom liked to do our hair. striped shirts, shorts and sneakers. Skipping along side my dad as he made up some fantastical game to play on the way to the library. He was always great at that. At taking nothing and making it something amazing and fun. A walk that could have been long and hot was one of the best things we did with him.

I didn’t know it then but my dad was planting seeds in us. Seeds of a love of reading and learning. And since then I’ve loved books always being able to escape whatever surroundings I was in to immerse myself in worlds far away and detached from my own. As a young child I devoured books easily reading probably about 150 books per year. As I got older, my trips to the library became less frequent as the books became longer that I read and held me over longer. But there have been plenty a night that I’ve stayed awake until 3 or 4am, unable to go to sleep until I finished the current amazing page turner that I had in my hands.

With motherhood came change, diapers and potty training and work and school was so hard for me to juggle the necessary requirements to my life that reading became a luxury I could no longer afford. My time being too precious and reserved for so many others. But that was then and now today, we’re past the pampers, past the potty training and none of my children are actively trying to pry electrical outlet coverings to stick little pudgy fingers into. They just don’t. So time has come again.

And with that time has come books! But the books that I read now are different. No longer seeking to escape from reality, but choosing to embrace reality. I have this amazing love and passion for God who has healed me from so much in my life. And I seek him even in books! So every year long, every day there is one book that you will find me reading — the Bible. I’ve actually never read anything like it. Every single time that I sit down to read it I find out something new about God and about myself. About how much He loves me, about the depths that He will go to, about how much He waits for us, how He longs for us! It’s life, heart and spirit changing stuff!

So as I sat thinking about how many books I read per year, I thought wow, born a book worm, I never thought I would ever find a book that I couldn’t devour in under a week or two. But I’ve found one that I can devour for the rest of my life over and over again! And what joy!

thats all for now,
I’ll be where I’m at reading to the day I die,
yours In His eternal love,
Aimee (LatinaBella)

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Words

Did you ever realize that there can be SO much in a word? I mean really a lot… Wanted to drop one here to turn over in your mouths, minds, and hearts for a minute

Heredity

There’s so much that can be passed down to us and that we can pass down to our own children.  Most often people think of illness or body shapes, size, appearance when they think of heredity.  But there is so much more that we can pass down to our children than has been captured by science…

  • blessings
  • gifts
  • love
  • disposition
  • sense of humor
  • intelligence
  • traits
  • curses
  • bad habits
  • fears
It’s almost like this invisible supernatural chain that links us to one another, genetically intertwining us.  Just let that word sit in your mouth for a moment.  Say it out loud, let your breath free around it.  What mysteries/ plans are in it for you?  What has been passed down to you?  What have you passed down to your children or what do you stand to pass down to them?
Heredity

Thanksgiving lessons from my 6 year old

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

Cranberry sauce from a can, sliced.

Today is the last day of the Thanksgiving can drive he said

His eyes stared up at mine questioning and hopeful, expecting

I had 6 cans of the stuff we never eat ready to go. 

Cranberry sauce, gelatinous glop, I had never liked the stuff and I never serve it.  But somehow about 6 cans of it had made its way into my cabinets.

But Cranberry sauce wasn’t enough he said.   He didn’t want to take the same thing. He wanted some different stuff, some good stuff. 

He opened the cabinet and pulled out green beans, corn and raviolis.  And inside I panicked.  But that’s our food.  That’s for us. 

Times have been really tight and with 3 kids I don’t want to give away cans of food we can eat to anonymous families.  We can use that food.  We can eat that stuff.

But he’s only 6, so he doesn’t understand the food math that Mami is quickly calculating in her brain.  And he drops them into his bag.

I swallowed my fear and let it go.

It’s thanksgiving after all.  Isn’t that what it’s all about, giving? And being thankful that you have been blessed to receive and to give?

We walked to the bus stop this morning, me carrying hot cocoa in one hand for my darling and his bag of 6 cans in my other hand.

Dark night about to be broken by day filled the sky.

Soft mist swirled about the grass on the park.

Chris looked at the sky and pointed at something he saw “what’s that white light Mami?”

“It’s a star honey.”  The only star that you could see through the smog of the city.  Cause there really aren’t stars in the night sky in Philly anymore. 

Star light star bright

First star I see tonight

I wish I may I wish I might…

There’s not much wishing on stars in Philly anymore.  Not much at all.

But this morning, we saw the one and only, the star of hope.  And I just felt blessed.

And suddenly the anonymous family became a real family in my mind.  A single mother that had less food in her cabinets then me.  And would be so happy for the cans of real food that Chris gave with such an open heart.  I could picture the mother feeling peace come into her heart as she knew her babies wouldn’t go hungry that day.

The bus came and picked up my little bundle of love.  And I walked home with prayers of thanks on my lips, that I would never want to keep my pantry overfilled at the expense of someone else.

Give us today our daily bread. 

And let me not try to store food like a squirrel, but give openly and in my giving have faith that I will receive, that God will provide, just as He provided what was on my shelves to begin with.

 

Halloween Hesitations…

To dress up or not to dress up? That is the question…

Happy Hoosier Halloween

Halloween has always been one of, if not my favorite holiday of the year. A time to get dressed up and be different even if it’s only for a few hours and get candy. What could ever be wrong with that? I’d heard some people tell me that they didn’t celebrate Halloween and I thought it oddly fanatical and strange. I mean we didn’t actually turn into real witches, or ghouls or monsters, or whatever we were dressed as on Halloween … we just pretended to be whatever it was for a few hours. I never liked the idea of having my children dress up as devils, so we had never taken it that far… but then this year something changed…

This year in fact, has been a year of tremendous change for me. It’s the year that I found God really. Well, I shouldn’t say found Him, as if He had been lost for all of my life and I just completed a maze and received a God prize. No, it’s almost like for the first time in my life, I’ve taken my blindfold off and I can see Him so clearly now. Even when I look back on my life, I can see Him and how He’s always been here for me. Where before I felt so lost and alone and confused and aimless, now I see He’s been here all along, guiding my steps, holding my hand, picking me up when I fell, even dropping blessings on me that I didn’t even deserve.

And now that film has been lifted from my eyes, everything looks different, everything sounds different even. Music that I used to listen to, doesn’t sound the same. Shows that I used to watch on tv, disturb me. And now Halloween just makes me think… what really are we celebrating?? What is the purpose of celebrating the dark things of this world? The things that cause destruction and turmoil in the lives of so many?? Why should I and my family essentially glorify them?? I’m here to glorify God now.

So I decided this year would be different. We will not stop celebrating Halloween, my kids could never understand that. We will still give out candy, and go trick-or-treating. We will dress up. But this year will be a “positive” Halloween. We will not dress up as any scary ghouls or monsters or goblins. I wanted us to only dress as positive things for Halloween. And decorations, just never really happened this year. I have decorations in the basement but I just didn’t pull them out.

But all in all, I feel much better about embracing the holiday in the manner that we are. Next year, when I have even more time to really think about this topic, I’m going to come up with different ways for us to really celebrate Halloween while continuing to stay true to our beliefs. This year, it’s just the beginning of bigger and brighter Halloween celebrations to come…
 

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An artist is born…

Donated by the artist when he joined the Acade...

Image via Wikipedia

Yesterday, Christopher said “Mami, can I talk to you? I want to ask you a question.”  I said “sure of course we can talk”.  And he asked me… “Mami, do you know that feeling you get when you feel like you want to make something but you don’t know what it is?” And I thought wow, I had never actually talked about that feeling, but I did know it.  The stirring feeling that I get in my chest when something is brewing on the inside yearning to come out and even I don’t know what it is.  I told him “yes, Chris I do know that feeling.  When you feel like there is something that you want to make but you don’t know.  Sometimes I’ll start writing when that happens, and then it will be a poem.   Or I’ll start to draw and whatever it is just takes shape slowly”.  He was so excited that I knew that feeling that he was referring to.  But I thought it was amazing that he had that feeling and wanted to discuss it.  Christopher looks like he’s going to be a little artist.  I’m not sure what it is he will make, maybe art, maybe poetry, maybe even music.  But something is simmering inside of him to come out… He sang me a short song that he had made up too… I want to record it and post it here, although I’m not really sure how. ..

Purpose…

I never realized how much my kids need me, I mean really need me when I was working full time.  I still remember those crazy harried days.  Morning madness to get everyone dressed and out to before-care, which was followed by a long day at school, a few hours at after-care, after which most days they would be the last children picked up from their school/ babysitter.  I’d come home and make dinner of chicken nuggets, or just buy them on the way home, bathe them and send them to bed.  While I’d run around washing clothes, or trying my best to do some home cleaning so that my neglected husband wouldn’t feel what he was, neglected. 

When I was laid off, my purpose for existence was gone.  My job being the #1 priority in my life had left me feeling useless and like a loser.  Cause I hadn’t given up, I was going to go the distance at work.  I was like a pitbull there once I sunk my teeth in I wasn’t going to let go. 

But now my purpose for existence is God and my family.  Yeah I know there was a big jump in there… how did all of that happen? Well, little by little really.  God had been calling me for so long.  He missed me.  But I had been too busy with my job to answer his call.  But once I did, the change in me was unbelievable.  I became a devoted wife and mother.  And I actually became good at those things too.

And I love doing those things… being with my husband, being with my children.  And I began to notice that throughout the day, my kids will NEED me. I mean really need me.  Even for something so little (or so big depending on how you look at it) as a hug.  And those little things, those little bits of rejuvenation are so important.  I love being able to be here for them to give them those things now.  Reassurance, words of encouragement, to teach them things… now for the first time in a long time I have no guilt associated with being a mother.  And I’m not saying that full time working mothers should have guilt.  When I worked I always believed, and I still do, that good child care was critical to enabling me to work with an easy mind.  Staying at home is not an option for everyone.  But it just speaks to how much I have grown as an individual that I am happy doing this, being that mom that stays home, because I never thought I could.  But I’m here doing this and I’m so happy.

Love on a Plane

So what would life be like if all parents could put their children on a plane somewhere when they got tired?  An American woman recently took her adopted Russian 7 year old son and did just that.  She had enough of his violence and his threats and I guess his unwillingness to love and be loved.  I don’t know why, but I really can’t understand how someone could take on years of adoption forms, visits, processes, clearances, passports, visas… I mean really how could you do all of that, and then just decide one day that this family that you’ve created through your own blood, sweat and tears — that it’s not a family? 

This society has begun to believe that things that are meant to be forever, no longer are or have to be.  Marriages can now be ended in a few short months with divorces.  And most aren’t even really marrying anymore, just moving in together to make inevitable breakups easier and less complicated.  But now parents can just stop being parents?  They can essentially divorce their children?  Where does it end really?  Where will it all end?  What kind of children will we be raising that won’t even know the security of a family? The one place you are supposed to be able to always feel that unconditional love and security. 

Do you know what it would take for me to put my own child on a plane and just give them away?  I could never do that.  Granted, I gave birth to all of my children, we bonded at birth. But I wouldn’t even send my adopted cat back to the shelter where I got her on a bus.  I couldn’t even treat her like that.  How can you do that an innocent child?  I wonder where the adoption agency was during the whole time that he’s been here.  Did they step in?  Did they offer support?  Did the family get counseling?  It just seems to me that Americans are falling “in like” with adopting foreign children.  It’s the new thing now.  Everyone’s doing it.  Made popular by Angelina Jolie and Madonna and other celebrities.  It looks great in pictures.  But in reality, it’s a child.  Not a purse.  Not an accessory.  Not a prop.  Its a CHILD. 

And children come with issues, with problems, with the unexpected… bad dreams, wet beds, stomach viruses that leave you sopping up vomit at 3am.  But as a parent you have to be willing to LOVE and LOVE and LOVE.  Get a counselor, see a therapist, seek a  professional.  Just don’t give up.  They are our future, this world.  And if you aren’t ready for that committment, that forever committment, then you’re better off going to animal shelter to adopt a pet.

Mami’s secret weapon for sleep!

So a couple of weeks ago I promised to take you all step by step, day by day through our struggles as we moved Carina back into her own bed in her own room and reclaimed our bed as our own.  But there actually hasn’t been much to document.  There hasn’t been much of a struggle at all.

On the first day, I decided to try using Johnson’s Baby Bedtime Bubble Bath & Wash to start off our bedtime routine.  I was hoping that the calming scent would help in relaxing her and making bedtime easier.  And to my surprise it did!  Carina splashed and played in the bubbles.  She was so excited to get into the tub because of the bubble bath.  Now that was definitely a first.  Typically transitioning into the bedtime routine was very difficult for her and she tried her hardest to stay up all night until my husband and I eventually knocked out.  But with the bubble bath, it made it much easier.  The bubbles stayed in the tub for a while, well I haven’t timed it, but long enough for her to play and tire herself out. 

Carina also tends to have sensitive skin.  Her skin will react to any harsh lotions and also switches in diapers brands in the past has caused issues as well.  So this was very much a concern for me before I used the product.  But according to Johnson’s the bubble bath was “hypo-allergenic” and had been dermatologist approved.  So for the past couple of weeks, since we’ve been using it, I’ve watched her skin closely and she’s had no reactions of any kind to the bubble bath. 

After she comes out of the tub, I massage her lotion onto her body to get her a little more relaxed and then we read my favorite bedtime story, Good Night Moon.  I tuck her in, kiss her goodnight, turn off the light and then off she goes to dream world.  And off I go to enjoy a nice quiet night with my husband.  My husband and I have both been a LOT happier since gaining our privacy back at night, and Carina is sleeping a whole lot better too!    

Laughter Bursts like bubbles and feeds my soul

Yesterday Carina came over to me and told me “PeePee Mami! PeePee!”  Exclamations like that cause the drop of EVERYTHING your doing and mad scrambles to get to the bathroom.  So off we took like rockets up the stairs.  She in front and me following closely behind.  For some reason, this sprint caused some glee inside of her and she started to laugh.  Her cute little tiny girl contagious laugh that makes you want to laugh too just because something is making HER laugh.  I began to laugh and felt myself for that instant transported back to the innocence of my own childhood.  When everything was sweeter.  The air.  The swings went higher.  The slides pushed me down faster.  The ice cream truck popsicles were so much more delicious and I never counted their calories… Jokes were funnier and there was always something in the air.  Something not tainted I guess, magical.  Those are the moments I love to be a mom.  No matter what mundane things I was doing (probably folding laundry) we stop and just are in that moment.  And my heart grows and my soul is rejuvenated in some way by the short laughter we shared.   I am Mami.  I am Love. 

Making Love Work…

So, for a while now, as long as I can remember anyhow, Carina has been sleeping in the bed with my husband and I.  It started out when she was sick months ago, we brought her into bed with us in the middle of the night.  The next night the same thing happened, and then the following night she went straight to sleep in our bed.  So for months on end now, Carina has wedged a gap between my husband and I at night.  At times I wake up to find her caressing my hair, or her foot in my face, arms tangled around me and pushing me off of the bed.  Its the mornings that I love the most.  I wake up to see her little face sleeping calmly next to me, deep in a world of dreams.  Sometimes I just lay there and watch her.  She laughs and even talks sometimes.  I love that little girl to pieces, let me tell you! 

But there’s someone else that I love to pieces, my husband Kike.  I love him so much!  Even though there are times, like today, when I feel like I could strangle him.  Coming home late to a dirty kitchen will do that to you though!  But all things considered he is truly the love of my life.  He knows me like the back of his hand!  He’s the only person that knows me, how I think, how my mind works, the things I don’t like, he knows it all.  And I miss him!  He’s been working 2 jobs for over a year now and the time that we have to share together is just not what it once was.  I miss late night cuddles and waking up in his arms.  With him tangled around me, pushing me off of the bed. 

So, I’ve decided that we need to take a step and get Carina back to sleeping in her big girl bed.  The transition will definitely be a hard one as we’re just transitioning her off of the bottle as well.  But we’re both committed to it this time (I think!).  So tomorrow, we’re going to take the plunge of getting her back into her own room.  Trials and tribulations, crying jags, photos all to be posted here.  Comments and advice from those experienced with transitioning toddlers back into their own beds, and everyone else will be truly appreciated!

P.S. to all my twitter friends – gosh it feels great to release some thoughts without 140 character limits! lol

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