22
Mar
2015
0

Pequeña Ella

It was a Friday morning at 7am when I laid in our living room’s couch to see you for the very first time. The ultrasound technician, Tom, plugged in his $60,000 device and set it on a chair. Your sister Mila was wearing her pijamas running around the room offering Tom “tea”. Dad had the camera in his hand and we nervously looked at each other, knowing that in a few minutes our life would once again change completely depending on if you were a boy or a girl. I was 51% sure you were a boy, dad had not even considered the option of you being a boy and Babu knew from day one that you were indeed an Ela. “Congratulations” he said looking at Mila, then me, followed by dad “you are going to have another little girl!”. Papi almost cried, as if a huge weight had been lifted from his shoulders, I smiled trying to let the excitement sink in. You, peacefully threw some kicks, before settling in. Your sister kept bringing her baby dolls to Tom, trying to understand why he was constantly saying baby and not taking one – he must be picky, she probably thought.

I am cruising the sixth month of this pregnancy and yet I have dedicated you very few words on the blog. As you look back don’t ever think that it was because we were not as excited about you as we were with Mila. Truth is that the feeling is rather fulfillment. Before Mila was born, I had no idea how to be a mother and how her presence would spin my life around. I needed to write all my thoughts down so that I could make sense of them. With you baby Ela, I just want to get all my work done so that I can uninterruptedly enjoy you for those first moments of your life. I have no doubt that your presence will completely change our lives and that you will add so much to this family. Late July or early August we will welcome you to our family, most likely at our home. Babu and Bibi will be here to witness your first hours of life, so will papi, Mila, the midwifes and maybe Yaku and Yana. And from there you will officially be part of our family of four.

I can hardly wait to hold you, but I am glad that for now you are inside swimming away, while mami y papi get some stuff done.

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Our friends Chris and Su came to visit with their babies, Artemis and Oberon. Mila and Artemis played like there was no tomorrow and by the end they were inseparable. Delna, Aaron and Adam came over for waffles and then we all went to the zoo!

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17
Mar
2015
0

Insecurities before pitching…

As we prepare to present our startup idea and prototype to merchants, investors and mentors, I have felt the need to fight some of my most deeply kept insecurities. Qualities that define me in other aspects of my life, but that brought into a business setting make me a little hesitant to go out and talk to all the people that we need to mingle with in order to make Keyo work.

My dream…

At heart I am a writer and a caregiver. In my ideal scenario I am sitting in my gorgeous house in some Caribbean Island, writing at dawn in a room surrounded by windows, from where I can feel part of the ocean’s force. My morning would be trailed by breakfast with my beautiful family, on our deck, followed by a jog or a surfing session outside. My children’s education would follow, either them going to a great school or Jaxon and I pouring our hours into teaching them about the world in a fun way. My afternoon would start with lunch with my family, followed by going to a foundation we have stablished aimed at the education and empowerment of local communities, with a focus on women’s rights. In my ideal world, we would provide all kinds of educational resources to local kids, such as internet schooling, programming classes, health related courses, environmental studies and beyond. By having a center in the town we would provide jobs and set a standard of employee etiquette that would be equal for both men and women, acknowledging their individual needs as part of a broader picture.

Our center would not be the only one of its kind in the world. We would be part of a much broader network of community-empowering institutions that work towards helping communities develop in a healthy environment for future generations to flourish, while respecting the environment that surrounds them. My evening would be spent enjoying the warmth of our land, cooking with my girls and hubby, surrounded by endless peace, appreciation for our journey and a glass of good wine. Our land would host a number of incredible little houses, where inspiring people from around the world could join us for a relaxing few weeks, while giving something back to our community, learning about the foundation and potentially opening chapters of the foundation in their local communities. Maybe following McDonalds’ incredible franchisee-school model, but doing a lot more good in the world and frying a lot less food.

Since the day we met, Jax and I have had a clear North and decided to join hands for the journey there. With every new challenge we decide to take on we have had to learn an incredible amount about each other, the world and most of all about our own strengths and weaknesses. It is 5:08 in the morning in our cold Chicago apartment and we have been at work for an hour, trying to gain some control over our life as we approach maybe our biggest challenge yet, the funding of our company. For months Jaxon has been diligently preparing himself for the months to come, by reading the best writing and listening to the best speaking he can find about planning and launching a tech startup and generally being as efficient as you can be in life. For the last month or so, his  days have started at 4:30am with a cold shower, a quick workout session, green tea, meditating, writing and day planning. In the last two weeks I have decided to join him in waking up early, my days start with my workout routine, followed by writing which helps me process thoughts.

Will I be able to…

Walk into a room of investors with a pregnant belly, my accent and my gender. These three qualities of my life are ones that I am generally extremely proud of. I have a belly because I am growing an awesome little being inside of me! My accent comes from one of the biggest joys of my life, being Latina. Finally I am a woman in a male dominated sphere, making me only that much more kick-ass. Yet, for some reason I am a bit intimidated to walk into a room of investors and pitch Keyo to them.Not so much because I care if they judge me or not, more because I really hope that the company gets funding and I don’t know if they might have just too many prejudices about three of my qualities.

I have given this a lot of thought and the easy thing would be to stay backstage, preparing all of the documents we need, making sure the pitchers have lots of support and focus on other parts of the company. But I won’t do that! Because if I do, I will not gain any first hand experience in pitching an early stage in a company, which I am entirely sure over the next years of launching bigger and bigger projects.

On another note…

Since my last post our sleep life has drastically change – life with kids in a nutshell. I’ve come to learn over the last year and some months not to stress out about a certain stage that Mila finds herself in, since it is pretty likely that a week later the habit will be gone. Child brains are working at such a pace, developing and learning in elephant steps, making it hard to fully understand why one week can be so different from the other. Mila now falls asleep by herself in her crib and either joins us in bed at around 3 am and or sleeps in her crib until around 6:30 am.

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Mila and her two little best friends – Rebekah and Lula. These are the best shot I have of them, since they don’t sit still for a second when they are together!

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Mark and Ellen, Jaxon’s parents, came for a quick visit last Saturday. We had lots of fun outside with them!
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26
Feb
2015
1

Being a mom…

After one year, 6 months and 11 days I still cannot fathom what made Mila. I understand the biology behind her, but her spirit, her laughter and her toes mesmerize me. About a year ago we were visiting my family in Ecuador and I asked Mila a question I often ask her, “who made you so awesome?” My sister, who was was sitting next to me, gave me a look and then proceeded to say “what, do you want her to say, “you mom”?” My immediate response was “No way, it was definitely not me!” And it is true, Jax and I had so little (yet so much) to do with her creation. She came into this world with the sweetest hands, a dance move that consists of spinning until everyone in the room panics about her falling over and a thing about personal hygiene. I am so utterly in love with my children, yes the tumbling being inside of me already has a place in my heart.

I do not remember the last time I slept through the night, went until 5pm with a clean shirt or simply sat down and procrastinated. It seems like now our life is composed of, waking up at 5:30 am with a smile, even though we have barely slept, so that Mila starts her morning happy. Making breakfast, making her lunch and packing snacks, getting her dressed, entertaining her, getting to the office, handing her off to her nanny, work, work, work, lunch break (where we talk about how much we miss Mila), work, work, work, by two she wakes up from her nap time and her and I go home to have fun. After letting the dogs out, we completely mess up the entire place, with painting, dancing, baking, tea time, babu calling and games. Jax gets home at 5 pm and I make dinner, followed by bath time,  reading time, brushing teeth time, Mila’s bed time, we clean the house and by 9:00 pm we are exhausted. We lay in bed, sometimes watch Jon Stewart or John Oliver and pass out. At around 11pm Mila wakes up asking for “mami” I go in and comfort her, 1 am Mila wakes up and asks for “mami” I go in and comfort her, 2 am I give up and bring her to bed. 5:30 am she wakes up and our day starts. The night schedule fluctuates, but it is uniformly restless.

Our life used to not be like this. We used to have time for ourselves, energy, time to cook together, Ikea trips, long walks, hold hands and even sex. Yet, I do not think we have ever been this fulfilled, productive and at peace. We know that both our kids will eventually grow up and that in not too long we will once again have movie nights, writing time and the bed to ourselves. But what we will never have again is a family of two and that is exciting to us, we will always have two new, awesome people to share our life with. That’s what being a mother is to me, the best long term investment I could ever be making. It is not easy, but it is so much fun! I could not be more deeply in love with Mila and my love for her only reinforces the love I feel for Jaxon and the deep admiration that I have for him. We decided to have our kids young, partly because I pushed for it. But now that we are on this road, he constantly reminds me that indeed this was the best decision we have ever made.

mimi

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24
Feb
2015
0

What I no longer think about…

My feet are buried in the sand, as I lay back in a surprisingly comfortable beach chair. My belly is growing and now I can feel the baby tumbling inside. Laying there, I watch Mila running up and down the sand chasing waves. In the background there is an assortment of kites that are pulling along some, very strong-looking men in their boards. In between some interrupting cloud banks, the sun is shining strong in this Caribbean Island and I find myself surrounded by family. This unexpected trip to Dominican Republic was booked with less than a month of anticipation and it has brought most of my dad’s family together. Mark and Ellen, Jaxon’s parents, heard about our last minute Caribbean venture and joined in. Making Mila a very fortunate little girl, surrounded by four of her six grandparents.

My adolescent cousins spend most of their day looking at screens, sheltered from the sun, waves and paradisal beauty. My brother, Manuel, who is soon to become a teenager spends his time conflicted between playing with our younger brother Antonio, or hanging out with the big kids doing utterly boring screen watching. Mila and her little peer, my youngest cousin, Andres spend their time learning how this world works and being amused by every little thing. As this multigenerational mingle unfolds, my mind takes me back to my younger years and the more I remember them, the more thankful I am of all that I no longer need to think about.

In a very basic level, I no longer have 18 years of traditional education ahead of me. There is no need to learn simple math, world history or navigate what my parents will or will not allow me to do. I no longer need to ponder on grades, homework or what to wear to school. I could not care less about what my peers think of me, unlike when I was a teenage girl and more importantly, I no longer need to think about boys, suffer through any breakups or worry about what number of guys I could kiss before being labeled a “whore”. I have found my companion for life and no longer need to check out those sexy kite boarders who lay in the ocean by my feet or imagine who I will end up marrying. I no longer need to worry about who I will become “when I grow up” and most importantly I no longer need to answer that question for anyone in an elevator pitch-style.

I have found out I was pregnant and no longer have to think of  “what if we get pregnant”. I have birthed a child and survived a first trimester, twice. I no longer have to worry about how my life will change once I have a kid and no longer wonder if my boobs will hang if I breastfeed my child.

Now life just seems to be unfolding as Jax and I together steer it the directions we want to go. We have grownup problems, such as paying bills, making sure we do not become too boring and a constant minimal fear that we are not succeeding at being awesome parents. It might be a mix of the ocean’s endless rhythm, fresh coconut water and the pregnancy that have my body in a hormonal low, but the questions that linger in my mind seem so much easier to deal with, then the ones I had 10 years ago. These new questions require actions and very little waiting for time-to-tell. For example, Jax and I wonder, will we be able to circumnavigate with our children? The answer is yes, if we make it work. Will we run a kickass women’s empowerment foundation? Yes, if we make it work. Will we end up living the Caribbean in a paradisal beach home? Yes. Will I ever act in a big budget film next to Eddie Redmayne? Yes, if I change the course of my life and dedicate it to acting. Will I ever write a novel? Yes, as soon as my life has less toddlers around.

Life just seems simpler, I’m thankful for that.

Tomorrow we head back to Chicago, leaving paradise and family behind. The departure would be a lot harder if we didn’t have such an exciting time laying ahead of us. We are closing on our pitch deck and soon Aaron, Delna, Jaxon and I (if I grow enough of a bad-ass personality) will head to the streets of Chicago and ask for our first round of funding for our company. It has been almost a year since we left our beach home in Saint Augustine to follow this venture, now we are ready to start showing it to the world. If we can secure some funding by April our next baby will be happily born in Chicago, if not, we are once again packing bags and moving, this time to Ecuador to birth and relax before figuring out our next steps.

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10
Jan
2015
0

Cruising the Caribbean

My body rests in a soft feathery bed as it gets carried up and dropped back down with every passing wave. The swaying motion of the ocean soothes any discomfort from my mind or body. I can for a second imagine that I am laying in my sailboat in some remote anchorage dreaming away. But we are not. Mila, Jax, my mom, Tommy, his mom, my sister, her boyfriend and Tommy’s daughter, her husband, two kids and I are being ferried around the Caribbean, along with the 480 other passengers in a luxury cruise. December 26, we left the port and as the boat rocked with the waves at night, it dawned upon Jax and I that we indeed were in very different type of boat, one that is not guided by “weather windows” and risk assessments, but by a firm, rain or shine, schedule. The first day was spent crossing the Atlantic and Caribbean waters and two nights later we had set anchor in Turks and Caicos – Puerto Rico followed, then St. Maarten, St. Barts, St. Kitts, The British Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Although we stopped in every single one of the Islands I mentioned, we unfortunately were not able to explore the beauty of Grand Turk, St Barts or the Dominican Republic due to the combination of mildly rough water and the average age of our fellow passengers being just a bit too high to allow there safe transference to the tenders that would carry them to shore.

I never thought I would cruise these waters in a suite packed with two TVs, a king size bed and a bathroom that had separate shower and tub. The boat was equipped with unlimited hot water, food, running space, a pool, two jacuzzis, mini golf, three elevators, a casino and so much more. Yet when we docked next to other cruise ships, we looked like we could be one their tenders. I came to learn that there were boats that sailed next to us, that carried more than 6,000 people, rock climbing walls, carousel wheels and an every-night parade.

It would take a sailing vessel at least a month – maybe two – to do the journey we so promptly accomplished in 10 days. It is hard to say if I will ever again cruise these waters in such a boat, but what I can say is that it was a wonderful way to see so many places with a toddler – no need to carry our bags around, or research every hotel on every island, there were no customs forms to fill, nor island hopping flights to take and a very clean, comfy and cool room awaited us every night. It has also been a fantastic way to get to spend time with my family and let Mila get to know and love her cousins, Gaia and Oli.

On another note, the last 80 days are the official worst 80 days of my life. Far worse than I had ever spent when I was carrying tiny Mila inside. Now this baby has topped Mila’s terrible morning sickness, leaving my body in need of IV fluids, extra vitamins and a lot of emotional support. This is indeed my last pregnancy ever! Even if the later months are filled with joy and excitement, no more babies in my tummy – ever. I’m so glad we were only planning for two anyway!

And on a last note happy holidays people! Hope you all had a great time away from work and with family! Much love to all.

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15
Dec
2014
0

+1

I wrote this post about three weeks ago, but I have been feeling so miserable that even pressing the button “Publish” seemed like a chore. After accumulating too many photos in my camera without a proper post, I’ve decided to go ahead and publish it.

Okay, I’m going to let my non-jewish side shine and go ahead and tell you all a piece of news that I should probably wait to announce. I can’t help it,  I am retaliating against the status-quo, because something is generally flawed with the idea that one should wait to 12 weeks to announce a pregnancy. Yes, we are expecting again! We are ecstatic, since everything went according to plan… well not everything. The due date is July 27… Those of you who follow my written thoughts in this blog know that I was dwelling over the importance of having the last member of our family join in another month that wasn’t August, since Jax, Mila and I were all born in August. For the plan to unfold perfectly, we needed to get pregnant in November, like we did with Mila, right? – wrong. Turns out that December was the right month. Anyway, now that that issue has been taken care of, I’m glad I no longer have to ever think about it again.

So, why am I telling y’all about this baby. It’s actually as a sympathetic note to a couple of close friends of mine who have lost their babies during their first trimester. Before the twelve weeks of pregnancy, there is a 50-70% chance that a woman might miscarry. In that time, families are not supposed to get overly excited about this child. For many of us, not having this baby in our minds constantly is a struggle, since we are reminded of its presence every minute of the first twelve weeks with headaches, constant bathroom visits, a turning stomach and unstable floors. As our bodies change, it is hard to hold our minds back from traveling to 9 months in the future where we’ll finally get to meet this little being that has changed us so much.

Unfortunately, not all pregnancies reach term and in the early weeks when no one knows you’ve been pregnant, the mourning period is often faced alone. After hearing stories of how my friends struggled with the unexpected void they felt after losing a baby so early and having no one to talk to about it, since very few people knew. I decided to add a tiny grain of sand towards normalizing miscarriages and celebrating babies at their earliest form of life, since I truly believe that acknowledging the presence of the baby however small, can make it easier to deal with in case of a loss.

So here I am, telling you that there is a baby in our life. We know that there are chances that his/her presence might be brief, but we are celebrating his/her life and hoping that everything goes well with the pregnancy. I don’t think that all women should feel pressured to announce early – but I do think that recognizing both the excitement, sickness and in a worst case scenario, mourning are important to helping women through what can be a trying first trimester.

So I have exactly one month until the 12 week mark, which not only will allow Jax and I to relax a bit about losing this baby, but it also marks the end of morning sickness! Which I could not be more ecstatic about, since I have felt just completely miserable for way too many weeks in a row.

 

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24
Nov
2014
0

Mini update + Photo drop

Between work, Mila and life I have no time to write… So, I’m just going to type the tiniest update ever.

Mila has been weaned for over a month. The transition could not have been smoother for her, I struggled emotionally a bit.

Fridays are spent doing crafts with the most amazing people ever, our great friends Kelly and Rebekah. So far we have done finger painting and Christmas cookies! Hand puppets are to follow and from there the ball will keep rolling. We are having so much fun watching our girls grow and develop. I could not feel more fortunate that Mila and I have these girls in our my life.

Work is busy, very busy, but incredibly good. We now have an official office (in a basement) and five team members. Jax is a mastermind! He is juggling Invento work, which we still have some of and leading Fingo down an amazing path, I am so fortunate to be married to such an incredible human being.

 

Now a photo drop!

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13
Nov
2014
0

Would I give her away?

I hold her hand tight and look at her fingers through watery eyes.
My baby feels warm and her body shakes hard.
How can I fight this confusion inside.

Should I call for help or close the door and cry.
My baby feels warm and her body shakes hard.
I want her to shrink and fit in my insides, so I can protect her from those covered up men.

They come and they take, protecting us they say.
But not my baby and not from me, I hold her hand tight pouring with tears.
My baby feels warm and her body shakes hard.
Please help me, I cry.

I want her to smile and I want her to walk.
I wish I were the one fighting this bug.
My baby feels warm and her body shakes hard.
How can I live if she dies all alone.

How will I know that my baby is being held, when she sighs her goodbye.
I know what she has and it eats me inside.
Ebola they say will take you in days.
How can I tell a fifteen month-old she won’t suffer for long.

I close my eyes and hope there is something I can do.
I open them again and realize it is all not true.
I sit in Chicago typing away, as my baby rests peacefully just meters away.

 

I wrote this post after reading a story of a mother who lost her child to Ebola in Sierra Leone. I cannot imagine a bigger grief in my life. As the mom said goodbye with her heart in her hands, suited doctors took her fifteen month old away. My heart sunk and tears quickly filled my eyes.

Would I give Mila away? I don’t think I could ever have that amount of courage.

 

mila

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4
Nov
2014
0

The book everyone should read…

Do your Sunday evenings look a lot like you Monday mornings? 

No – Then, read this book.

Yes, but I wish they did not – Read this book.

 

Do you wish you could be doing something else, 75% of the time?

No – That’s awesome!

Yes – Read this book.

 

Do you have a huge to-do list of places and things you want to see or do and have yet to mark 5 things off?

No – Start making a list.

I already have a list and have been checking things like a boss – You are awesome!

Yes – Read this book.

 

I am not going to tell you much about this piece of literature, more than you will need a pencil, paper and a calculator (don’t worry the little math you’ll have to do will excite even those of you – like me – who hate numbers). I will also tell you that after reading this book you will need to make a choice between pretending you never read this and changing your life!

Jax and I read this over a year ago, we are still working on applying its theories and although it is not necessarily the path that we have chosen to follow with our current project, it is one that we strongly believe in.

 

tim_ferris

 

Some reviews:

 

“This engaging book makes you ask the most important question that you will ever face: What exactly is it that you want out of work and life, and why? Tim Ferriss is a master of getting more for less, often with the help of people he doesn’t even know, and here he gives away his secrets for fulfilling your dreams.”

—Bo Burlingham – Editor-at-Large, Inc. magazine

“Part scientist and part adventure hunter, Tim Ferriss has created a road map for an entirely new world. I devoured this book in one sitting — I have seen nothing like it.”

—Charles L. Brock
Chairman and CEO, Brock Capital Group
Former CFO, COO, and General Counsel, Scholastic, Inc.
Former President, Harvard Law School Association

“If you want to live life on your own terms, this is your blueprint.”

—Mike Maples
Co-founder of Motive Communications (IPO to $260M market cap), Founding Executive of Tivoli (sold to IBM for $750M)

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