Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Early Christmas Morning

Just in time for Christmas, my husband and I got very sick with colds. Any plans for celebration were cancelled. But that didn't stop Saint Nick from showing up and delivering gifts. So when Rafael walked into the living room this morning, there were packages tucked under the tree with care. I thought, it's a good thing he's still too young to care whether Christmas is a big deal or not, because Ramon and I are too sick to do anything special. But isn't every day we have each other special?

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas....I hope you are healthy, happy, and enjoying the festivities!


Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Only Corner of the Universe

"The only corner of the universe you can be certain of improving is yourself."

It's funny how, just after writing about not having time to think, I have to admit to my mind being full of thoughts these past couple of days. So much so that I at times feel disconnected to what is going on at home, with Rafael. Winter has always been a time of deep self-reflection for me, and I suppose that is the case even now with a busy toddler. I find myself staring into space, while Raffi chirps and runs around with his toys and plastic containers and books, thinking about the year ahead, about a sibling for Rafael, about how the dogs don't get enough exercise, about how I want to cook better dinners for my husband, about my sister who is expecting her first baby in March, and about how I feel a bit disconnected to my friends at the moment because we all switch off having sick husbands and babies and don't see one another regularly. 

I also think about how it has become increasingly difficult for me to express myself here in the written word. There are so many things I would like to share, but when I am tired at the end of the day, and my brain is scattered, I sit and wonder, What part of my life should I write about, and how can I write it? How will it be received? I never want to sound like I am complaining, but I know that I do. I am living the life of my dreams....all of you who have been reading this blog for a long time know that. So I am letting you know now: I am truly blessed, and know that I have been showered with good fortune. Is it still ok for me to be honest about exhaustion and worries? I always hope you understand.

The snow and ice are so beautiful. We are usually alone in the woods these days. Not many people appreciate the raw beauty of winter. As we walked this morning, me being extra careful not to slip on the icy way, I thought about the salamanders, curled up in the dark underground, and the squirrels, in their balls of leaves and moss up in the tree tops. Animals all around us, but invisible and sleeping. I found deer tracks in the snow, and made a note to bring apple cores and oats tomorrow.

'Til next time....


Monday, December 10, 2012

Life With Rafael Right Now

Words I can think of to describe life with Rafael right now are exhausting, funny, and affectionate. As we grow closer and get to know one another more and more, this boy becomes such a solid chunk of my existence and I can't imagine life without him. He rambles up to me multiple times a day to give me kisses or to plant his little face into my lap or chest or, if I'm standing, between my legs. He is more loving than I ever expected or hoped for!

I've always been a person who contemplates life, who constantly explores the meaning of what is going on in her life, and who weighs pros and cons again and again. But lately, days pass by so quickly, and moments are so full of responsibility and just trying my best to keep this little guy entertained, fed, clean, happy, and out of the bathroom cabinets, that I find myself incapable of doing much soul searching. Life is just action and doing at this point, without much of a chance for thinking about how I feel about what I am doing. Maybe it's a good thing...I'm not sure. I just know that it's still unfamiliar terrain for me.

Even in moments like this, sitting on the couch with a blanket draped around my shoulders, I find I can't fully relax or let my mind wander. Everything I do must have purpose; there's no room for day dreaming and deep contemplation. 

Actually that's not entirely true. When there are quiet moments on our walks in the forest....when Rafael is sitting calmly in the stroller and isn't demanding I sing to him, or stumbling along the icy path in his big snowsuit....then I look up at the lace of the naked tree branches, and the lemony winter sky, take deep breaths, and my mind wanders, and I day dream, and I even have some epiphanies or fresh ideas or answers to questions that have been plaguing my subconscious. So those walks in the cold mornings can be very fruitful and important to my well-being.

Rafael is learning at least one new word a day. He repeats so many words that we say, and is adamant about knowing what things are called, either in books or around the house. He recognizes people, his friends and family. If someone gives him a gift, he remembers, and tells me who gave him a toy when he hold it up. He gives the dogs their treats in the morning. He adores books that have little windows you can open. He hates having his teeth brushed and has four new choppers poking out of his gums. His favorite meal is basmati rice with steamed buttered broccoli and fish. He thinks bath time is awesome. And he still nurses at least once a day.

How am I doing as a mother? Oh gosh, who knows. Can any mother answer that? I have moments of intense impatience and frustration, especially when Rafael is whining while the dogs are barking, all while simultaneously tracking mud into the house. In those moments, I want to scream and disappear. But I keep cool. Sometimes I think mothers should get awards for the way they can act calm and loving, while inside they are ready to explode. 

It sounds so cheesy, but it's true: the kisses, hugs, funny faces and laughter this boy shares with me totally make up for the difficult aspects. At the end of the day, there is nothing I would rather be than his mother.


Sunday, December 9, 2012

Friday, December 7, 2012


Yesterday my friend Daniela came and visited with her little daughter. She said, "Nikolo stopped by our home and brought this for you." She handed me a package in brown paper. Inside, tucked in a can, was a glowing apple, a fragrant tangerine, a heart-shaped lebkuchen cookie, and some peanuts. Something about the simplicity of this gift touched me deeply. Many people these days give other gifts on Nikolo...toys, books, candy. But my friend filled that can with the things that Saint Nikolaus originally gave, and I promised myself then and there that Rafael will also receive this traditional mix each year on December sixth...in his little boot placed in front of the door the night before. 

Rafael ate that mandarin happily with sticky juice running down his chin and fingers. 

And I ate the cookie.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Winter's Approach

Our walk this morning began looking like a frosty autumn day, and ended with fluffy snow flakes. Rafael couldn't stop laughing as the snow fell on his face, hands, and apple. I was overcome with a feeling of childlike wonder, and I took a deep breath, savoring the first moment of light-heartedness that I have had in what feels like a very long time.

We've been having some dark days here in our home, but I am finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. And walking with my laughing child through that magical curtain of snow lifted a ton of burden and worry from my shoulders.

As you may have noticed, this blog, which started out as a way of sharing my daily life with my mother who lives very far away, was placed in the Top 100 list of Mom Blogs on Babble.com. It came as such a pleasant surprise, and refreshed my purpose here, motivating me to keep sharing photos, thoughts, and the things I love. I know that lately I don't post as often as I should, so I just want thank you, my loyal readers, and any new ones who may just be discovering this place now, for being so forgiving, and for leaving such lovely notes. It feels incredibly good to have been blessed with recognition for something that comes from the heart!



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