17
Dec
2015
0

a bit of love, a bit of sadness

Sometimes I wish I could wrap my hands around some sort of life line and keep time still for just a bit. Just hold on tight to these moments of so much perfection.

Ella I could hold you forever. The roundness of your head, the uniqueness of your laughter and your big brown eyes are my devotion. It is hard to describe how much love can fit in my heart. I feel full, yet everyday it gets tighter. Your tiny hands and the way you grip mine, your struggles with tummy time and how you sooth yourself into a deep sleep that lasts for hours at night. The way you put everything into your mouth and look at me reminding me that this world is worth my every effort to keep making better.

Mila your sassy looks, your smile, your words and the way you say Mami make my life. The way you understand things and explain them back, your eagerness to learn and your soft skin make me melt with love. Your eyes are ocean green, so deep yet so shallow. You remind me that nothing matters more than the present and to live each moment having fun, laughing and exploring. I will forever remember your sweet kisses and your tiny warm hugs that make my life fall into place whenever in doubt.

I could have never asked for more perfect beings to enter my life. I am forever in debt to your father and the world for giving me you two. I promise you to give you my best shot at being your mom. Likely I won’t always succeed, but know that it is coming from a heart that is yours.

Jax you are making robots! You are crazy and inspiring. When I met you, you were all like “I’m into robots that’s what I’ll do in my life whenever I have more time”. I was all like “suuuureeee”. And now here you are once again teaching me that dreams can just be actions, they might take time, nonetheless they are just part of a to-do list waiting to come to life. Thank you for following your passions and keeping busy in that crazy brain of yours. It inspires me and against all odds my heart grows a bit more.

Thank you for being in my life.

As for me, I am a little bit sad. I haven’t been back to my country in over two years, I haven’t seen most of my family and friends in that time. I often find myself at work listening to Latin hits thinking of my days as a teenager, when dancing a mad merengue with the guy I liked was the highlight of my month! I smile quietly, wondering when will I dance with such passion again? I miss my culture, I miss my language and I miss the mountains. Ella hasn’t met my dad yet, nor my stepmom, nor brothers, nor grandma, nor best friends. Mila has never experienced the sensation of hopelessness that rushes into ones heart when seeing a child begging, an experience that is weaved in my core. She does not know where I come from and how indeed I am not a crazy Spanish speaking Mami, but that indeed there are more like me. My girls are so mine and so not at the same time. I hold back the tears knowing that this is just a stage… trying to own my decisions – but it’s hard.

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6
Dec
2015
0

In autopilot for now…

Today I need to think, hence I need to write, since this is how I unfold my thoughts. As my mind holds origamis of repressed thinking, my body is in auto pilot. These days I only have time for one type of thinking, the one that allows me to give unconditional love to my daughters, that helps me breath when the minutes are rough, that complies with my business’s to-do list, hugs and loves my husband, cleans the house, cooks, holds conversations and pets our pups. I can do this type of thinking well, it is what my routine requires and I get it done. But what I haven’t done lately is challenge my brain.

Questions such as these make me ponder:

Is it ok that I am sitting typing away when I know that children are being sold into modern day slavery?

Should I be doing more for all the young girls that get pregnant before they are ready?

How am I going to have a positive impact in this world?

Am I being truthful to myself?

Am I raising my daughters to be thoughtful of their privilege in this world and to do something about it?

How can I be more efficient at what I do in order to get there quicker?

Am I enjoying the present enough?

Am I being as good of a human as I can possibly be?

When Jax and I met, worlds collided. My desire to help people and his passion for technology. Since that day we have been building our life together trying to stay true to those desires that brought us together. After plus 8 years we are working on our biggest projects yet, raising our daughters and on our second technology company. Time is the most expensive asset in our household right now, since we barely have any. Our “auto pilot” day starts at around 5:30 and ends at around 9:30 after the house has been cleaned, both girls are tucked in and dreaming away and we have worked for an hour. The time between 9:30 and 11:00pm is our time, but often exhausted we sit watch a movie or show that makes us laugh, drink wine and share any thoughts. So there is very little time for harder questions. Questions I need to keep in mind so that I do not get lost in the process.

As busy as our life is, I can truly say I am enjoying it. I love what the girls have brought into our life. Mila is so sweet and interactive. Things she says:

  • When Jax and I have any sort of disagreement: “Hey guys, ok what’s going on” While holding her arms apart as if to separate fighting futbol players.
  • “Time for little hugs” when she wants us to lay down next to her in bed, she lays her face so close to ours noses touch, and falls asleep.
  • “I need a dress, I need to be a princess now”
  • Jax broke a branch from our banana tree and he said “oh no, I broke it”, Mila walked up to the tree and says “Don’t worry, you’re okay tree, we’ll fix you.”
  • “Estoy chisisiqui” – Deriving from chirisiqui, Quetchua word for being naked.
  • My mom asked her if I was the best mom in the world, Mila looks at her and says “No, she is not! She is a princess like Cindewawa”
  • One morning Mila looks at me and says “Mami, in my dreams I have big chichis too!” (chichis are boobs)

Mila adores Ella and they spend almost all of their time together. Mila now asks me to leave Ella while she is playing by herself, I’ll ask her if she’ll take care of her, she says yes and does exactly that. I often come back and Ella has one of Mila’s doll’s bottles in her mouth, Mila looks at me and says “Ella was hungry, now she is eating”.

Ella is a bliss in our life, she is currently getting everything she can into her mouth, she rocks tummy time and falls asleep by herself like a champ! Her laughter is unbelievably corky and cute and although she is not the chuncker her sister was, her thighs are the best!

Our startup is going so well, we are working towards our pilot launch for February and if we are successful at getting the traction we need, this will be a rocket! Jax and I have the pleasure to work with our cofounder Delna everyday, plus two pretty cool programmers. Life in our little office is pretty awesome.

So life is good… soon our daughters will be a bit older and we will have more time to think, but for now auto-piloting does the job.

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The crib you see in this picture was 100% made by Mark and Ellen, Jaxon’s parents. They made it for Mila when she was born. Taking every measure of what makes a good crib into account they came up with this design! It swings in every direction, it can be adjusted so the head is slightly higher than the feet, plus it doesn’t have one screw!! It is truly a remarkable piece of art. I have been meaning to post a public thank you and a photo for years now! But we finally got the right camera lense to give it justice. Thank you very much guys for such a wonderful and unique gift!

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2
Nov
2015
0

A week with my mom…

My mom came to stay with Mila, Ella and I for a week while Jax was away in a business trip. Knowing how hectic our life is, I was not sure how my mom would react to the amount of work, sometimes chaos and constant cleaning that is involved in keeping our life going. But my mom left me mesmerized! Not only did she have all the energy in the world for us, she also quickly developed systems to keep the house so neat that any new visitor would have had trouble believing that a toddler also resides here. She managed to do a small load of laundry every day, help me transition Mila’s room into a big girl’s bedroom and even go for a daily walk. Other than being an incredible help to me, my mom also sustained the longest and most frequent conversations with Ella till this day and left Mila with a long lasting sense that she is in charge of cleaning the kitchen. Both girls fell in love with their Babu. It’s an understatement to say that I miss her! And having her around only made me miss my sister even more and my entire family! It has been way too long…

On the other hand Jax is here! His trip went great! Delna and him went to Money 20/20 in Las Vegas, a conference of extreme importance to our startup and they both came back feeling good, with lots of input and great connections. Jax also went to Colorado to visit his mentor Michael, there he hung out with lots of other dudes, talked about life, established dreams and had a tarantula walk on his face. He came back recharged and as awesome as always.

The girls are my fav! Mila is terrible, she has me in complete domination. She can be vicious as she can be sweet and has me questioning my parenting on a daily basis! But what can I say – I am madly in love. I might be spoiling her, but yet again hopefully all of this patience and love pays off. Wow is the word that better describes Ella! She is just so chill, so fun, so beautiful! There is not one hair that I would change about her, she is perfect. She is starting to babble, chews anything that she can get her hands on and is completely in love with Jaxon. The girls now play together (in as much as they can) Mila is so sweet with Ella and she is so patient with her. They make me want to have more kids!!! (yes! I’m crazy) But Jax and I have decided that the factory is closed, so I just need to focus on enjoying them!

Below some photos of the last few weeks!

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Mila actually enjoyed Halloween lol!

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6
Oct
2015
0

Amores mios – in time of chaos

It is hard to describe how hectic our last few months have been, as when we sailed down the backbone of the United States, the intensity and challenges of this moment will forever be erased from our memories, only to be replaced with a “how did we manage to do that? “we certainly could not do that again!”. Trying to explain everything that we have going on gives me mental laziness, for I am not here to list our accomplishments and endless tasks but rather, I am here to write a few lines to my girls and hubs before too much time goes by.

Endless appreciation for you three is what I have.

Ella, I haven’t written you a personal letter yet. One that describes how crazy in love I am with you. How your toothless smile makes every muscle in my body tense and relax with love! How I absolutely adore cuddling with you. Your endless patience with your sister is astonishing to me. You get excited every time you hear her voice, even if you never know how gentle she will be, or not – she tries her best, I promise. I love the way you yell when you need something before resorting to crying. You currently find kisses on your neck offensive, hats a violations of your rights and pacifiers, an insult. You love laying flat on your back anywhere.

I consider myself very lucky to have had the chance to start my motherhood journey with your ñaña and end it with you. As you grow, chapters of my life close behind, while new horizons open. Your papi and I could not be more excited about having you and Mila in our lives, we are going to have so many incredible adventures together!

Mila, you are the sweetest ever. I am so impressed by how much you love Ella and how gentle you are with her. You are not only the best sister ever, but I predict you two are going to be great friends! Thank you so much for all the love you give papi, Ella and me. You are also so funny right now! I wish I could have a video camera recording your every second, just in case my memory fails – and it will. Some of the things you say:

  • “Mami, your face is so dry!” – Mila “Do I need lotion” – Me “Yep” – Mila (Where did she learn that lotion hydrates skin is a mystery)
  • Jax and I where having an intense conversation in the car, nothing major but she noticed that we were not agreeing so she said, “Okay guys, okay guys, that’s enough” while holding her arms out.
  • After going to HomeDepot and seeing Halloween decorations she concluded that “Hitting is not nice, Bitting is not nice and HALLOWEEN IS NOT NICE”
  • Jax broke a part of a little project him and Mila where working on and he says “that was so silly Mimi, I broke it” and Mila looks at him, pats him on the back and says, “It’s okay Mopi, it’s not broken, you’re just tired”

(Yep she now calls us both Mopi.. why not, much easier! right? No : |)

You currently love to paint your nails, I truly don’t know where this obsession is coming from. It is probably just related to your love for painting, anyway you have me doing your nails every week and you always “suggest” that I too do mine. You recently started to cry out of empathy. When you are watching a movie and something sad happens you let out silent tears of sadness. It breaks my heart to see you sad but it makes me happy to know that you are capable of such compassion.

You are surrounded by little best friends who you love, here are the top names that always make you smile, Hayden, Rebekah, Connolly, Lula, Samar, Adam and Nevin. You are always up for everything and are the best companion we could have wish for. Almost every night you ask to go to the beach, which makes Papi and I smile thinking that our love for the water made its way to you. Soon baby girl we will all have our feet buried in the sand and a surf board at our side.

Jax, I’m going to keep this one short and corny. You are just too much to handle. Thank you for your endless patience, hard work and drive. You make my every day an absolute pleasure and even though I am not always on top of giving you lots of kisses and thank yous. Know that every kiss I give to Mila and Ella is for you too! Because with each one, an endless amount of gratefulness is attached, and they would not exist without you.

Thank you three for an endless source of inspiration!

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17
Sep
2015
0

New House!!

We moved out of our tiny apartment to a full house! It’s a move we had been wanting to do for some time. Finally, after months of waiting, the right house came into the renting market. It took us a week and a lot of grandparent energy from Mark and Ellen to do the whole transition. Now we are here! We have a big yard, two stories, a tiny kitchen, three bedrooms, two bathrooms and most importantly a fantastic neighborhood. We are surrounded by little kids and new families and from our bed we can only see trees that embrace a beautiful converted railroad bike trail that could take us far away. The area is so low-key and safe that Mila is now officially Yana’s dog walker!

The girls love each other. Mila is constantly kissing Ella and letting me know when she is crying or asleep or awake. Ella is starting to interact more! She smiles whenever my love for her is so overwhelming that I talk to her in the silliest voice. She also loves kisses in her tummy and hearing Mila’s voice. Her favorite activity is bath time, a close second contender is bouncing on a yoga ball and sleeping in my arms. She looks A LOT like me as a baby, sometimes I glance over to look at her and an image of me as a baby overwhelms my senses, it feels strange.

Mila started going to pre-pre-school from 8:30 to 11:15 at an incredible Montessori school. She is absolutely loving her classmates and teachers and we love her miniature classroom, all the activities she does and the energy that the school has!

Work is busy! We are preparing ourselves for our first private pilot! We are looking into offices and officially have all of our paperwork in order! We are a legit startup and life could not be busier and more exciting!

Now I must sleep!!! Below, some photos…

 

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Our old apartment… babies2 babies3 babies4 babies5 babies6 babies7 babies8 babies9

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21
Aug
2015
0

Life…

So much! So much! So much has happened in the last week, but nothing worth writing about. Not because it was not a copilation of great memories, but rather because life is just hectic right now and I barely have time to type some lines. We had to take a last minute week-off from work after Valy, our nanny and good friend, told us that she had an unexpected family emergency and had to take off to Texas. So, we packed our daughters into the car and took them on a journey to visit great friends and their grandparents. We had lots of fun.

Things that are happening in our life right now:

– 7 year anniversary – passed without even a celebratory toast and passionate kiss.

– All of our birthdays, Mila turned 2, I turned 26 and Jax turns 29 in a couple of days.

– We are moving to a house, a bit farther from Chicago’s gorgeous downtown and a bit closer to some pretty awesome natural reserve.

– We are exhausted.

– Ella is not too sure that sleeping is her thing.

– Ella is sure that being awake is not her thing.

– Ella is pretty sure that bouncing all day long is most definitely her thing.

– Ella is certainly our last newborn.

– Mila is fluent in Spanish, English and Spanglish.

– Mila is 97% potty trained.

– Mila adores Ella so much that she bit her twice trying to give her a “bigger” kiss – not a pleasant way to start two mornings in a row.

– Jax is a trooper.

– I need an extra energy shot, so that I can do everything that I need to. Sometimes I wish I could encapsulate my mental and physical tiredness so that I could give it to my daughters as part of their “use protection” talk when they are older.

Now some photos! Good night people!

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12
Aug
2015
0

The Results

The results are in! Ella is healthy! We were so happy to hear that bit of news! On the other hand it looks like I have the same deficiency they thought she had… so I’ll be taking the L-Carnitine supplement for about 9 months and then getting tested again. Luckily if I do have it, it is not too concerning since the treatment is pretty simple for adults – keep taking L-Carnitine supplements and get tested every couple years. 

So that’s out of the way!! Yeii!! 

Life has been pretty exciting and to be honest a bit exhausting as Jax and I learn how to manage all of our to-dos while still taking care of our babies. We are constantly awed by how sweet Mila is with Ella, how much she loves her and how understanding she has been of this whole transition. Nights are the toughest, Ella does not fall asleep easily and between putting her and Mila to sleep we are often done at around 9:30pm, then it is time to clean the house, make some sort of dinner, have sometime for ourselves and before we know it it is 11:00pm. I rush to bed, while Jax gets more work done in his computer. Around 1am Ella is up until around 3am and at 6am Mila is all smiles and our day starts.

Luckily, I now know not to panic since it is probably a stage. From here things could go uphill or down. Mila might have a growth spurt that might have her waking up at night again or Ella might finally realize that this world is just not THAT exciting and give in to sleep.  Another bit of news, Mila turns two this Friday!!! And to honor her birthday (and the fact that we don’t have childcare that week), we are taking a week off and doing cool trip, visiting people and taking her to cool places! Ella is 3 weeks old today!! 

Ok, here are a few photos… Not so good but, trust me the selection was limited! But you get to see part of Mila’s climbing wall! and her swimming classes!

I’m going to bed. Goodnight beautiful people, sleep well.

 

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6
Aug
2015
0

1 in 40,000 – Ella’s possible condition

For a brief weekend, we were told that Ella had a genetic condition that affects 1 in 40,000 babies and would mean that she could not process fatty acids into energy. Carnitine Uptake Disorder it is called. Below I have included a graph that explains it pretty well.

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Luckily the condition is very treatable. Unluckily, it can be lethal. If Ella had the condition, she would have to to take supplemental Carnitine and make sure she is ate very often. An episode of hypoglycemia is what we would be trying to avoid at all cost, because it could have disastrous consequences.

Tuesday morning at 8:30 am Ella, our very good friend Allison and I drove to Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital so that Ella and I could have our blood drawn for further exams. After walking into the beautiful underwater scene that decorated the walls of the main floor of the hospital and going through two check-ins, where we had to give Ella’s date of birth as it it were a secret code, we arrived to the genetics department.

The chairs where filled with parents and kids, most of which had noticeable genetic disorders, my heart sunk. There I was holding in my arms a ‘possibly’ almost completely healthy child. What a privilege to know that even if the results came out positive my worries would be mild compared to those of so many people in the room. After giving Ella’s name and date of birth one more time, we were given a room. Naked Ella was weighed and measured in a bunch of ways and we were given the great news that she has gained a pound and an inch since birth.

A geneticist walked in the room shortly after and Allison and I were thrown back into college biochemistry. After a 20 minute speech about how cells and the cell wall works, we were told that Ella could also have had an irregular result due to the fact that I could barely eat during the last trimester of my pregnancy. With Jaxon now in the room, the four of us went to the lab. After tears from all of the girls in the room and a painstakingly careful insertion of a needle into Ella’s tiny vein, we strollered to a farmers market that pleasantly surprised us right in front of the hospital.

We will know the results on Monday.

Below some photos… they do not do much justice to the last weeks of seeing so many wonderful people. Nonetheless they are the few that we have managed to capture with our lens.

 

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27
Jul
2015
0

Ella’s Birth

I am sitting in bed typing one-handed once again. My left arm holds my new baby while my right one tries to describe this feeling that I once felt before, infinite unconditional love. I smell her head and kiss her frown. I am so lucky, I live among two sources of endless inspiration – my two daughters.

Ella’s birth was not easy, yet it was fun – or partially at least – all thanks to my three companions, my mom, sister and Jaxon. In total it lasted 39 hours. I did 29 hours of early labor, meaning I would get a contraction every time I stood up or did something active. The last 10 were of a minute-long contractions, every 3-5 minutes. Of those 10 hours, the last 20 min were very intense. My water broke, I rushed to the birthing tub and 10 minutes later Ella was born.

I was so fortunate to have my mom and sister here for the whole ride. During early labor they sat with me at home, ordered food and made sure I was having a great time relaxing. Once labor got more intense, my sister’s sense of humor kicked in, as she played (and sang) YouTube songs from our teenage years. We had a great time remembering how much each boyfriend had made us cry and singing many songs that do no favor to humanity. We all laughed between contractions and during them Jax was a champ. He remembered from last time not to talk to me during those incredibly long 60 seconds of pain and was an incredible support in every way.

As the early morning progressed, I got more and more tired and probably a lot less pleasant to be around, but my mom, sister and Jax made me feel so loved. There were three midwives (two were assistants/in-training) with us in the room. They too were very supportive, patient and helpful. At 3:26 am Ella was born – this time we have it on tape! My mom recorded it as it was happening!

Mila miraculously stayed asleep through most the commotion and at 5:30am, she woke up and joined us in the living room, as Jax, her and I observed the midwives do their newborn exams. She absolutely loves Ella and we are crazy for both of them.

My family is complete and I could not be more at peace.

 

Below a mix of photos, some from before the birth, some from the birth (taken by my mom) and after.

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