Archives: Land Travels

Happy one

Happy one

One year ago today, I was climbing to bed feeling your kicks and shifts. In between dreams and pee breaks, I would look at your changing table, that lay right across from the bathroom, wondering what your face looked like and wishing to meet you before my birthday in 5 days.

At around 2:00am I felt my stomach contract and I knew you were coming. We called our midwife to let her know that the contractions had started and she advised that I rest, for the work had just begun. The contractions began every 10 minutes apart, an hour later, 8 minutes apart and by 7:00 am, I felt you coming every 5 minutes. I had no control over what my body was doing and the only thing I could do was to cope with the pain as well as possible. I lay in the warm water being one with evolution, awaiting your arrival with much anticipation.

At 1:13 pm you emerged from the water and within seconds you laid on my chest. You were warm and heavy and mine. My heart stops and my eyes water thinking back to our first 5 minutes together. I looked into your eyes relieved that the birth was over and overjoyed to meet you. Since that very instant you stole my heart. Watching you grow has been the most rewarding experience. There is not one second I would change from the time we have shared, from the very first smile to the sleepless nights.

I consider myself the luckiest woman alive, for I have held you every day. I have been there to witness everything, from the moment you first opened your eyes, to you now running around the house, from just drinking mom’s milk, to chewing corn on the cob, from wondering what you wanted to now having mini conversations of no and yes.

Thank you for your smile and your teeth.
Thank you for the way you sayYaku to everything.
Thank you for your little steps and your nodding dance.
Thank you for your curls and your hugs.
Thank you for your belly and your eyes.
Thank you for your laughter and your toes.
Thank you for filling my days with endless joy.
But most of all, thank you for loving me and calling me mamá.
You are by far my biggest blessing.

Happy first birthday Mila. I will try my hardest to make every year of your life one full of love, stability, adventure and laughter.

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So much love… wedding take 2

So much love… wedding take 2

I have never been to a more beautiful, fun and relaxing wedding, ever. During the weeks leading up to the event, ourselves and a bunch of our friends migrated to central Wisconsin to help with the all the to-dos leading up to Saturday. By Thursday, the list was almost completely clear and the majority of us were hanging out, talking, drinking beer and chasing Mila. Morgan and Jena, the protagonists of the week, were so chill that it was a pleasure for everyone to go the extra mile and make sure that everything turned out perfect – and it did.

Although the groom and bride’s personalities contributed to their state of mind leading up to their wedding, it would not be fair to continue this post without mentioning how beautiful it was to see the Wisconsin’s community and Jena’s close family come together and put long hours, a lot of laughter and skill to make the Peaseblossom farm shine.

The ceremony was held in the middle of the woods. It was quick, extremely touching and overwhelmingly beautiful. Jaxon sobbed from the moment he walked behind his best friend to the natural altar until Morgan and Jena passionately kissed. A tree was planted at the site to remind us all of that day (and also how long it takes for trees to get big.)

The food was perfect, the company was immensely pleasant and the band did an amazing job at making everyone dance. Mila fell asleep in one of the rooms in the house and Jaxon and I got to party until 2:00am – when most were too drunk to dance and stand up at the same time.

As we drove home I meditated on the week, feeling thankful that Mila got to be surrounded by so much peace, love, smiles and peaches. Morgan and Jena’s stability throughout the week was inspiring – so thank you for that.

The photos below are a mix of some taken by me and Jax. There are not too many, for our hands and minds were tight to Mila as she ran around the uneven ground. Soon I’ll post photos from our friend John’s camera – he is a great photographer and an incredible writer and if you would like to read some great stories, head to his blog were he narrates stories of living in the Middle East and Galapgos Islands – among other things.

 

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Wedding take #1

Wedding take #1

We spent this week surrounded by some of our bestests of friends. They arrived from New York, Jordan, Vancouver and all around the Midwest to witness two of our pack-mates hold hands, say their vows and make (at least me) cry.

When Jaxon and I started talking about having kids he was adamant about having either one child or five (knowing I would not go for five) – we settled on two. The reason behind wanting a single child was because he himself is the only inheritor of the Klein/Davis household. Nonetheless, Jax did not grow up as an only child, his entire life he has been surrounded by three best friends, Morgan, Devin and James – who were all born within a couple month of each other and lived only 3 miles or so away (in rural Wisconsin that is considered next door neighbors). As life evolved, the pack added two awesome women, Allison and Norah, and the group keeps on growing.

When I first met Jaxon, all of his close friends were single and since then most of them have found their live partners. At first I was bit worried about meeting Jaxon’s bff’s, for I knew that if I did not like them I was either way stuck with them. Fortunately, they all turned out to be incredibly cool!!! Then they met their significant others and I got really worried, for in theory I would have to spend time with these ladies when Jax and his mates made fart-inducing chillies. First I met Kristy, Devin’s spouse. She is from Mexico, so we immediately knew we were going to be incredible friends. Then I met Jena, Morgan’s now wife. She could not be cooler, I actually have yet to met a nicer, more legit human being in my life. Then I met Samantha, James’ soulmate, and after watching James and her interact I knew she was meant to be in our pack.

Norah also found a fantastic mate, his name is Schuyler, we all instantly bonded with him and he is just one more. I could keep describing all these amazing people, but it would be boring for most of you. So, I wont. I will just leave saying that we have spent our week hanging out with these great friends and our very good friend from college, John, who has come from Jordan to visit the US for a month.

The week has been awesome. Now a photo drop.

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Mastitis in any other situation

Mastitis in any other situation

For the past three days I have held a steady fever of 99 – 100 F, which this afternoon started to fade. Not feeling too awful, yet not quite alive either, I run up and down to our daughter’s desire. I can feel a small bump in my left breast, which hurts and stinging burning sensation when milk rushes through. Thanks to Google I know that what I have is called mastitis and that with some heat, massaging and pumping it will go away. If the fever persists and the pain increases, then I must see a doctor who will probably prescribe antibiotics for a week. If the seven days go by and my symptoms continue, I will painfully go deeper into the american healthcare system and get my boob and wallet drained.

Fortunately, I am already feeling better and none of the latter interventions will be needed. Yet, I know about them because of the internet. As I browse around 20 websites containing valuable information about mastitis, I wonder what do young isolated mothers around the world do when they get this painful, warm lump in their breast and a high fever – out of the blue? How do they know not to panic? How do they know that breastfeeding more often is the answer, regardless of pain intuition?

In many villages I imagine that elder women can aid the new mother. But with the poor job most of the world does at educating women about their own biology and reproductive health, I bet many are at a loss. I often think about women when I am in pain. How do new moms around the world deal with childbirth – I am not thinking of those with access to an epidural, scheduled c-sections, etc. My mind wonders to huts in remote places, where medical assistance is almost none existent. Who briefs those child brides of the pain that they are about to endure as their child cruises through their tiny pelvis? Who helps them get a good latch on those first few days of their baby’s life?

A common statistic on maternal mortality states that a woman dies of childbirth every 20 seconds. I revisited this post three time during the last week, writing whenever I had time. On average I spent about 20 min each time, from the moment I began writing this post to the moment I finished typing about 180 women died and left an orphaned child behind, if the baby survived. That is crazy to me! How can we live in a world where so many mothers die from childbirth?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), each year about 100,000 women are affected by obstetric fistula, a hole in the birth canal that commonly develops when there is obstructed labour. This is commonly seen in women who did not have access to a medical facility to conduct an emergency c-section, it is also found in child-brides whose pelvis are not wide enough for the baby’s head and (on another note) women who have been brutally raped (which is commonly used as a weapon of war an unfortunately endemic in part of the world). That is 274 woman a day that will now most likely experience social segregation, due to their newly constant incontinence and smell. How do they cope with the incredible stinging that, I imagine, arises from having poop drain through your uterus lining?

At the end, these are all statistics. Behind each number lies a woman and for every woman counted there are countless others whose stories have yet been included into yet another annual report.

So there you have it… a stress point in my life… global women’s health and empowerment – my passion.

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Photo Drop

Photo Drop

It is always a pleasure to go back home, speak my native language, savor the flavors I grew up with and admire the mountains. This time around it was very hard to leave, yet I felt content to have found so many of my loved ones smiling about their lives.

My mom and her husband Tommy laugh as they correct each other about insignificant details about je ne sais quoi, no one wins, they laugh, hold hands and move on. Their life just flows, adorned with smiles, orchids, tangerine trees and love.

Manuel and Antonio, my adorable little brothers, spend their summer playing together. Arguments come up and instead of dwelling on insignificant details, like they used to, they move on and continue to play. They are becoming friends and an incredible company to each other.

My dad sits in a gorgeous, two century year-old and recently renovated watermill / guesthouse that he and his wife Caro have been working on for two years. All four of his kids play with his granddaughter on the floor, while he sits back with Caro in his arms. His constant smile tells the whole story.

My beautiful sister, Bernarda, kisses her boyfriend in front of my grandma – she is in love. A ping pong table welcomes you when you enter their apartment, she has obviously found her soulmate.

My friends have started new jobs, most of them love what they are doing. Some wish they could retire in the next month, yet no one seemed to be terribly unhappy with their situation. They have each other, weekends for out-of-town trips and a lot of laughing material that could cheer up even the bitterest of souls.

This trip we also got to see many of my cousins, who I had not seen in ages. They too, seemed to be pretty at peace with their life.

As we travelled around Ecuador, I held in my hand a very precious book that had been in my reading list for over 2 years, but which I had not gotten around to buying – Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn.

This book narrates the stories of victims to some of the biggest gender-related injustices in the world, child prostitution and trafficking, honor killings, child marriage, Female Genital Cutting and infanticide. As I soaked in Kristof and Wudunn’s stories, I looked at my country with different eyes. I smiled as I saw women out and about, working, going to the market, handling money, dressed like they want and although there is much to do in Ecuador towards gender equality, I was glad to reflect on the fact that we are not doing too bad – in relation to many countries.

(Mami, no te tome ninguna foto con Milushkin… :( q tontera! )

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Personal Space – Ecuador +photodrop

Personal Space – Ecuador +photodrop

The hugs, kisses, smiles, the touching and the handholding is what makes me homesick the most. The casual personal conversations, the slang, smell, diversity, the music, mess and the mountains. It is easy to forget, when back in the US, that I indeed come from a different culture, a different part of the world and a contrasting reality to the one I now live in. I am blessed and endlessly thankful that I often get to come back to my country and share this world with Jaxon and Mila, for describing its magic would never do its justice. I am so proud and happy to be Latina.

We step out of our plane and it only takes us 30 steps to encounter an eager Ecuadorean who is ready to stroke Mila’s cheek. Mila turns her face around. We arrive to my mom and Tommy’s home and everyone in the house is ready to hold Mila, I warn them that she might not be happy and not to take it personally, she cries, they smile. My mom looks at me and says, “she must and will get used to it” and my crying baby is taken away. For many, this would be a terrifying story, nonetheless in Latin America this is what we do. Babies, for the most part, are considered a community investment and a happiness provider. So, indeed everyone has valuable advice and all hands must hold the chubby baby and steal a smile. For the first day Mila struggles, for in the US it is not often that her personal space is invaded. I love it. In my country, I must fight to have time with my baby, for if it was up to the people surrounding us she would always be playing somewhere else.

Apart from the invasive love, my mom’s endless hugs and the deep conversations Jax and I hold with our friend Adriana, who works as a maid in the house, we have been soaking in as much of the food, World Cup matches, family and relaxing as we possibly can. This week, we will be spending with my mom, Tommy, Berni, tio Soki, the dentist and Quito friends. Friday, we pack up and head to Zuleta to spend a week with my dad, Caro, my little brothers, wild condors and lots of Zuleta friends. Next Friday we will be coming back to Quito to say our goodbyes, before we fly out Saturday.

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Last Photo – Credit: Dani Perez

16 hours in the car…

16 hours in the car…

It would not be an overstatement to say that I live in a constant emotional panic attack due to how fast my baby is growing. Do not get me wrong, I am terribly excited to see how her personality develops, hear her voice, watch her run and have awesome movie nights and intentional sleepovers. Nonetheless, I’m going to tell you a terrifying story. This weekend we drove a total of 18 hours (no that is not the scary part) and Mila did awesome in the car (this is the cringing moment). What we thought was going to be a trip from hell up to our very good friends’ wedding in Duluth, MN, ended up being an incredibly enjoyable ride, with only a few crying moments.

We divided the trip in two, each day stopping at Jaxon’s parents home for some rest after four hours of driving. In the car Mila ate, slept and most surprisingly watched movies and enjoyed them… Yes, I know… We are those type of parents that fire up a screen in front of our child in the car. A couple of years ago I would have been the first to judge us. Now I don’t judge other parents. If there is one thing I have learned with being a parent is that judging other’s parenting styles is a big mistake. Anyway, after getting over my worries of making my daughter a TV addict, I was for once – in 10 months – able to relax in the car! What a terrifying sign that my daughter is getting older. After each stop we would turn around and clap and congratulate her, Mila clapped back and smiled!

After a somewhat relaxing drive, we arrived to Duluth and witnessed a beautiful wedding of two beautiful people. Partied (somewhat) with our very close friends and got to spend more time with Jax’s parents.

There are no photos of the event, for our only working lens got dropped by Jax a day prior to the event. A new one is on its way and will arrive before we take off for Ecuador on Thursday. Below is a mix of photos, some from previous visits to the Klein/Davis household and some Chicago randomness.

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Saying goodbye to Dragonwing’s tree! It has now moved to an awesome new location.

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Yep, this is how my daughter looks like three times a day!

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The night you spun 360 degrees

The night you spun 360 degrees

The night of father’s day and your 10 month little birthday you took mami and daddy for an emotional ride. The air was hot, Chicago had finally decided to join its citizens in summerland – with very little warning. After a failed attempt to stay cool in your crib without your fan going, mami brought you to join us in our maybe-a-degree-cooler room. Even though the three of us were squeezed into the bed, making it a few degrees warmer, you didn’t mind because you were now sleeping with your favorite “stuffed” animals. We stripped you down and said night-night, but you had other plans – hitting the bar. Mami is here, why wouldn’t I drink milk all night? That’s why I have a mami, right? – wrong. After 30 min, I felt no end to your thirst so I gave you a bottle with water.

Your eyes went wide. You drank and drank and drank, with giggles and babbles in between. We said night-night, you took your bottle, rolled over to daddy and stuck it under his arm – time to drink again, only that with daddy. More giggles, some hugs and bites to daddy later, we said night-night. You grabbed your bottle rolled to the middle of our legs, with your head opposite to ours, looked up, started babbling loud and began drumming your chest, like a little ape, and waving your legs. Both mami and daddy could here all of the water you carried inside. After lots of laughing, we once again said night-night. For two hours and a half you spun between daddy, our legs and every so often me – caring your bottle with you and drinking up. At around 1:00 am , after daddy had gotten a lot of little cuddles and some unpleasant bites, you crawled my way to nurse, snuggle and sleep.

I was finally dazing away, when all of the sudden I here a “aaaah” followed by giggles. My eyes found you covering your face with your pillow and then uncovering it – you discovered how peekaboo works. We laughed and I cried of nostalgic joy. You are not even a year old and soon to be walking!! Soon to be walking!! Are you kidding me!! Mila Klein, you are my baby… babies do not walk. Plus I have not even started to mention the eight little teeth you have and four others that are on their way.

At 2:00 am, you closed your eyes and opened them at 6:30am again, right on time to say bye-bye to Babu, who came to spend the weekend with us. Fortunately, we will be seeing her again soon. An hour after she left you were already looking for your singing, hugging, laughing buddy in our guest room.

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The New Mango Boat…

The New Mango Boat…

I sit in the cockpit of our new boat, Mila is standing in-between my legs trying to balance herself while reaching into a pile of soggy, dirty leaves she would love to taste and Jaxon measures the inside. Beer in one hand, we talk about the very few modifications we want to do to the inside before taking her out to the water.

A big space for Mila to safely play is our biggest priority. We particularly chose this boat for its spacious cabin, which divides the inside space in two. A v-berth for Jax and I and a spacious settee arrangement that will be governed by Mila and her sibling in the years to come. We can imagine doing all kinds of adventures in our little Windrose 18’. As we discuss which type of mango will grant her its name, we realized that as Surkha, this this boat is yet another boat step towards the vessel that one day will take us around the world.

Our Sunday morning was spent in Home Depot gathering everything we needed for our first boat project. Mila was so excited that she refused to take her morning nap, making it incredibly difficult to shop with a miniature person eager to walk right behind daddy. Our hardware shopping was followed by a visit to the fabric store. After an hour of browsing beautiful potential cushion fabric, we were informed that no more than 10 yards of any fabric we were interested in was stocked and the 13 yards we needed must be ordered in. So, we left empty handed and ready for some online shopping.

The photos below are a mix of:

Our weekend up in Wisconsin, where we not only got to see Mark and Ellen, but lots of friends including our Zuleta neighbors, Chris, Su and baby Art.

This weekend we also got to see our friends Willow and Tony.

Ok… not enough photos of the boat… I know! Don’t judge me! Try to balance a wannabe-walker and a camera on a boat, not easy.

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Our new boat

Our new boat

One boat, two boats, three boats, four boats, five boats and a pile of miles later, we have purchased our new sailboat! It is yellow, 18 feet (5.5 meters) long and it fits in our garage.

It does not take long for Jax and I to want to pack up our bags and set off for a new adventure. We have discussed the idea of buying an old camper/bus and setting off to explore the Americas. We have talked about a new sailboat to explore the Caribbean and we have wondered about just buying tickets to a country with a new culture and language and setting off from there. Yet every time we explore these ideas further, we are reminded of why we committed to Chicago for the next number of years. After much discussion about how we need to get our adventure fix while living in metropolis, we concluded that a sailboat must be in our life. It would not only bring ease to our skipper soul, but it would accomplish the double purpose of teaching our baby girl how to sail – for when we do venture out.

There is only one thing that needs to happen to this boat before we can see her sails flapping in the wind. We need to make her some new cushions for the inside. (Which will be my night project these coming weeks)

The photos below are of all the boats we saw. The last two are of our new boat, which now sits in our garage. As the next weeks unfold we will be posting more photos.

 

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The dog beach

The dog beach

Holding tight to Mila’s chunky leg, I breath rapidly as Yana goes to smell yet another dog’s butt hole. Her socializing is not the problem, what I’m hoping does not happen is that Yaku notices it and wants to play too. Which is not a problem until – in a theoretical scenario – the other dog bites one of our dogs too hard, which would cause our dog to react strongly, triggering the best friend 4 ever to go into pack mode and together they butcher the other dog, all while the owner watches as he/she helplessly squeezes their dog’s poop bag. THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED… I am just paranoid.

Nonetheless, I bet that everyone who owns two midsize dogs at the dog beach thinks about their potential killing machines striking a dog. Those with big dogs like Great Danes, Scotttish Deerhounds, San Bernards and Irish Wolfhounds are probably not even worried about their giants taking a dog as a snack, for any dog who is stupid enough to pick a fight with the royalty of the beach deserves a little punishment. Owners of tiny itty bitty dogs are probably not even thinking about what would happen if their pockets-size dog attacks, for it has already been stepped on by a number of dogs and it seems to have survived.

Every Saturday, when nice out, we gather a huge amount of stuff, pile it on our stroller, sit our baby girl in the middle and walk the 8 blocks between us and the the closest dog beach. Today, there were so many dogs excited to sniff each other, chase, bite and sniff some more that I totally thought Yana would have a heart attack from an overload of happiness. Yaku, other than playing with any dog that Yana seemed to be having fun with, swam so much he has not moved from his bed since we arrived home.

The photos below have a weird outline – this is not a trendy effect. It is a perfect example of what happens when you buy a new expensive camera and do not have any money left for the lenses… so for now I’m using the other camera’s lenses.

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Our super good friends Valeria and Mateo, came to visit us about two weeks ago. During their odyssey in Chicago, we got to hangout two nights! I have known Mateo since we were about Mila’s age, maybe younger. Since then we have been pretty close. It was amazing to spend some time with them, getting to know Valeria more and watching how strong and inspiring their relationship is.

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9 months

9 months

18 months ago you were merely a bunch of cells defining and dividing. Now, you love broccoli, think crawling is a complete waste of your time, babble papa all day and mama when sad and consider Yana, our dog, pretty much your best friend – the love is mutual. In those 18 months, mom and dad’s hair has grown some inches, we have put on and shed some pounds and have cut our nails various times. You dear, have gone from measuring nothing, to 30 long inches, from not having any bones to showing 8 1/2 proud teeth and gained 27 healthy pounds. Every day, we are awed by human development and completely terrified by the fact that regardless of how much we wish you stayed a baby forever, you keep growing.

At night, you have daddy’s curls and by day, mom’s wavy hair. Your eyes could be blue, grey or green, no one seems to know. Our best guess baby girl, is that like the mood of the earth, your eyes will change depending on the reflection of the sky. Your skin is light, so light I got in an argument with a Swedish woman at the book store who did not believe me when I assured her that you were not Swedish, but Latina. Every time you wake up rested, you smile – your teeth are so darn cute I cant help but to laugh – even at 3am. I hope you smile every time you wake up, forever.

Mom and dad have been thinking of an addition to our life, for we would love for you to have a buddy for our adventures. But it is hard to imagine any baby that is not you in our life.

I wish my memory stored every second of your life in my brain. How you smear avocado all over your face, how you eat grated cheese by the handful, how you hold your feet and squeak an assortment of sounds or how you patiently stroke mom and dad’s face until we wake up in the morning.

We are often asked what it is like to be parents. Our response always is that no one in their right state of mind would do it, we really believe it, for to love so unconditionally has to be the hardest, but also most rewarding thing we will ever do.

Happy 9 months on this earth chiquitita.

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My first mother’s day

My first mother’s day

My first mother’s day was absolutely perfect! We celebrated a day early, for the forecast was suppose to be much better Saturday than Sunday. It started out with the most incredible surprise ever (actually two)! Mila, while we were sleeping, logged into Amazon and bought me a Canon 5d Mark II (the best camera in the world! And one that I’ve been salivating over for more than 3 years – how she knew that is a mystery). She made sure to get me a used one in good condition so that I would not be totally intimidated to walk out the door with it. Jaxon’s surprise was taking the recycling and trash down to the curb, even before I woke up – crazy talk.

Then we followed our weekend ritual, walking to the beach (8 blocks away). On block two we made our usual stop and got two large Soy Chai Lattes and two ginger and peach scones – to make sure any calorie burned is quickly regained. Jax walked the pups and I pushed princess Mila in her carriage. In about 15 minutes we were faced with the immensity of lake Michigan; runners, bikers, moms, dads, sailboats and A LOT of dogs. As we strolled by, for the first time, we noticed that the end of our street is home to a off-leash dog beach! Yaku and Yana were so ecstatic that they did not even mind all the tiny edible dogs that surrounded them.

After our walk, we joined our very good friends Aaron, Delna and their 1/3 baby for tapas, followed by a trip to the local garden center (Gethsemane Garden Center), where we got tomatoes, lemon verbena and peppers. Our evening was relaxing, Mila hit the pillow around 6:30 and we talked, drank wine and gazed at the stars.

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To my mom

To my mom

In my life my mom, Maria Margarita de todas la más bonita, has taught me -

How to look at any object, wall and space like an open canvas craving to be made beautiful.
How to sit in a table lined up with complex layers of dishware and not get sweaty palms.
How to make orchids survive indoors.

She has shown me -

That any food can be made into an unforgettable meal with just a little tasting and instinct following.
That nothing gets better than a mom’s warm hug.
That what people say sometimes is better off left ignored.

She has prepared me -

To be open about my feelings.
To not feel completely ready to start my day before, making my bed, brushing my teeth and picking up my mess.
To always think about the other person’s feelings before saying too much.

My list could go on, for in my life I see a lot of my mom in me. And as I pull different skills to live life out of the memories and facts my mom bestowed on me, there is one that in this mother’s day is incredibly present.

Mom’s are not born with a manual.

If I could get a penny for every time my mom told me that during my life, I would probably be able to buy a delicious vanilla/chocolate sunday with dripping caramel and chocolate sauce, covered with almonds. It is now that I have my own darling, that I can constantly fall back on that phrase and relax, for there is nothing that could have prepared me for being a mother (other than my own mom).

On this mother’s day, I wish my mom -

A day full of rainbows, unicorns and great food.
A smile from the man she loves, followed by a passionate kiss.
And that your heart stops to feel all the love that Mila and I feel for you.

(On a material side note – your gift will arrive with the mailman shortly)

Thank you for being in our lives.
Thank you for calling every day.
And thank you for being so soft.

Te amamos -

Milushkin (La Reina de la Abuela) & Caye

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Once upon a time

Once upon a time

There is really nothing quite like the smell of summer. The lightness of the air carries away any concerns that occupy my mind, the breeze is so gentle, it embraces my body and for a moment it feels like my skin and the air are one. In this silky world, I can’t help to be swept away into memories of the Dominican Republic when I was a kid. The sound of leaves dancing in the wind, turn into waves splashing in the shore. I look around and my sister holds my hand, while we play in the sand and eat fresh mangoes. My skin is covered with Coopertone Babies sun block, a smell that still make my favorite’s list every time I walk by someone wearing it. In the background my grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles chat while they enjoy fresh oysters with lime and ketchup, brought by a local vendor. We are all in Sosua’s clear waters and long, white, sandy beach.

Life is simple. All I have to ponder on is whether I would like to swim or lay in the sand. At night I’ll be exhausted and after a grilling of seafood for dinner, Coca-Cola ice cubes for dessert and a good shower. I’ll be surrounded by posters of sailboats drifting away into a land of dreams.

It had been a while since I last thought about my childhood in the DR. So many sweet memories, I spent the evening telling Jaxon everything I could think about. My cousins and their beautiful houses, my grandparents old house, their pool, the dog, the ice cream, but most importantly the feeling of being a blend of air, coconut, mango and love.

That’s the feeling I want us to live in, I tell him. While I dream of our beach home, back in the island of love – Dominicana.

Chicago has finally welcomed summer! Below, some life shots -

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