Goodbye 2015!

2015 was an interesting year to say the least.  For us really 2015 was the end of 2012 when our sibling quest started.  As we look back it is beneficial to see all that transpired, to understand why 2016 signals a new beginning for us.

Life forever changed when our daughter arrived – 2011-2012 was a blur for us but a WONDERFUL blur.  Parenthood has been the BEST thing to ever happen to us!  We love our little miracle dearly and I cannot describe how much fun its been to watch her grow – even with all the sleeplessness factored in.

Grieving our loss of a sibling has not been easy for me – and honestly I don’t think it ever will be.  It’s one of those things you don’t get over but you learn to live with it.  When I lost Papi I learned that there are things you never get over – you just learn to live with that absence.  This will be one of them.  And I have no choice but to be ok with it, because my daughter deserves my 100% of a Mom and Alan deserves my 100% of a wife.

But not all is sadness and gloom.  2015 saw Alan defend his Master’s Thesis and graduate with his Master’s degree as well as to commence that road to scholar by starting a PhD.  Yes we will be a PhD household.  We are not sure if he will go the academic or the Research industry route – but the good thing is he will be happy either way.  For the first time in years we finally feel excited about our life and like it is going somewhere and we are giddy about that.  Daughter also started her new school which we love but most importantly SHE loves.  We feel its a good environment for her and will continue to develop her “free spirit” unconstrained.  We certainly want her to be whomever and whatever she wants.

On the job front I had a tough year.  I have research projects in the works but nothing stuck this year.  I am kind of under the gun since I go up for tenure next year, so I will have a busy January.  Teaching wise though things are in an upswing.  We participated in a competition of 45 schools and managed to place top 9.  My students and I are overwhelmingly proud of our achievement and cannot wait to see the presentations of the Top 3 teams!

We also continue to grow as entrepreneurs.  In May I entered the direct sales industry with Chloe and Isabel Jewelry.  It has not been easy, but it has taught me a lot about myself, who I am, and how to step out of my comfort zone. We also launched our own retail business and I became a LuLaRoe Fashion Consultant – arguably the most flattering and comfortable clothes you will ever wear.  It’s been a lot of work, and a lot of space – we carry inventory with LuLaRoe – but again, it teaches me every day that I can do anything I want, it helped me recover my feminine side and my self confidence, and has opened me to a world of strong supportive women.  I have made more friends in these past 6 months than in the past 6 years.  And it teaches daughter that she can do anything she wants.

As we look towards 2016 we have many goals to accomplish: tenure, a successful academic year for both Alan and I, daughters continued development, growing our business, blog more, paying down debt and moving into a house and out of an apartment.  We hope God graces us with the health and determination to accomplish this, and on the personal life get back to us as a marriage and as individuals (weight loss anyone?)

We wish you a wonderful 2016 that gives you many blessings and health, and sees your goals reached or at the very least get closer to attainment.

Happy New Year 2016!

 

 

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Almost there :)

It’s been quite the quiet pregnancy, cannot complain. We are getting closer to our due date of August 25th, but both Alan and I, and my Mom, think I will be early – just not clear on how early. Were you early or late on your first pregnancy?

As you know, we have no clue as to the sex of our baby – we really want it to be a surprise. But my Mom, since she has some special circumstances that warranted her to know – well SHE KNOWS! We had the ultrasound tech write it down on a paper and put it in an envelope that we mailed to her. So she just sent us a box with gender specific clothing labeled DO NOT OPEN. See?

Do Not Open Box

I know, I know. Most of you are wondering how we can even have that box in the house and not rip it apart. To be honest, it is not that difficult. Since we always knew we wanted to wait, we are at peace with not knowing. Our friends and family have been taking bets. So far only three votes for a boy, and an overwhelming majority believe its a girl. Us? we just want a healthy baby! And DONT GET ANY IDEAS ABOUT ASKING MOM!!!! She is NOT telling!!

Obviously not knowing the sex of the baby slows down your gender specific preparations. For example, we don’t yet have a crib, as I like different colors for girl or boy. So we will have baby Lambie in a bassinet for the first three months. We have neutral clothing for about the first week, and we are having a baby shower this coming weekend so we’ll see what we get there. Once baby is born, then we will go on a shopping spree! (great reason don’t you think?)

I always wanted to do a pregnancy shoot – ever since Demi’s infamous yet beautiful Vanity Fair cover. We just believe that a pregnancy belly is beautiful and is to be embraced and not hidden. So we found a great photographer and we had our shoot. I don’t have the proofs yet, but she did post one picture in Facebook for us to share. I have to admit, I never thought they would look THAT GOOD. We are so happy with the one picture, and CANNOT wait for the rest of the proofs. I think we will have more than enough to work with, what do you think?

Alan & Adriana - 33 Weeks

One more thing to accomplish is a Baby Scrapbook – have any of you ever done one? I wanted to do a photobook scrapbook for our baby, but find that all the pages offered are, you guessed it! Gender Specific…..so that makes it hard. And I really don’t want to wait until baby Lambie is born…we will not have much time then. So if anyone knows a way around this, I’m all for suggestions.

So now we sit here at 34 weeks, counting down the days……we really are so excited and cannot wait for this baby to arrive. We are following as natural a birth as possible at the hospital. We have taken our laboring and hipnobirthing classes in an effort to avoid interventions and pain medications, and to keep me calm and relaxed. What’s that? Did I pack a bag? Not yet, but we have all the elements ready and bought.

Just 6 more weeks until we meet our son or daughter, six more weeks. Seems like such a short time!

I’ve been keeping a Secret

I’ve been quiet for a while and there has been a reason.  Well, there have actually been may reasons but mostly I really haven’t been cooking much and I’ve been keeping a secret.  And the secret I’ve been keeping is the main reason why I really haven’t been cooking that much; that together with my work, and Alan finishing up school – he graduates in May yay!!!!

So what is this secret I’ve been keeping? 

 Pregnancy Ticker

Trust me this has been a hard to keep secret.  We’ve wanted kids for a loooooooong time, but we were a bit on the paranoid side and just kept waiting and waiting until we felt we had surpassed most of the risks so that we could share these wonderful news with the rest of you!

What? the sex of the baby? No clue.  We are not finding out, it will be a surprise for ALL of us.  Do you know how hard it is to buy stuff for a baby you have no clue what the gender is?  The baby marketing industry is either team pink or team blue.  There is no neutral anymore – and what you do find is yellow or green.

Names?  Well if it is a girl it will be Hannah Isabel Lambie, if it is a boy it will be Davi Samuel Lambie.

So as of right now we are 21 weeks pregnant and our next u/s will be on the 28th.  We are VERY excited with our pregnancy and really cannot wait to see our baby again (even if it is on a screen).  We hope that you share our joy!

40?? Really??

Today is my 40th birthday and I can hardly belie it.  Where has time gone? I remember so vividly being a Senior in high school and our amazement at the fact we would be 30 when the new millenium arrived….and here we are now at 40.

I gotta admit I don’t feel any different from 30!

So as society dictates that 40 is a milestone, we are on our way to RI to celebrate with friends and family.

Raise a Ketel One Gimlet in my name today!!

Papi’s Anniversary

Papi at Antiguo Bilbao Bakery in PR

It’s hard to believe it will be 4 years.  It just doesn’t seem like it’s been that long and at the same time it feels like it’s been forever.

Four years ago today, Papi was still alive.  And at some point between today and tomorrow (we believe night time) he passed away and forever changed my life and me in the process.  There were times in the beginning were I thought I would never get past this, but I’ve learned to move forward more out of honor for his memory than anything else.

This is just something you just cannot superar.  You deal, every day.  But there are still plenty of times, when I get teary-eyed at his memory or even at the slightest thought.  Papi missed my graduation; Papi will miss being an Abuelo….but he was there for the most important day of my life – the day I married Alan.

Papi‘s death was traumatic for me in many ways, so for this anniversary,  as many of you did not know him,I will leave you with what I wrote when we got back from his funeral.   To this day nothing expresses what I felt then better than this essay:

Paz y Tranquilidad (Peace and Calm)

That was Papi’s longtime wish. “All I want is paz y tranquilidad,” he would always say. He finally got his wish. Death hits you like a ton of bricks, and there is nothing you can do about it.

Papi used to call every other Saturday – the week of the 15th and the week of the 30th. He never missed a day. Never. He never answered the phone either if you were the one calling him; but every once in a while he would, or he would call you back.

He was due to call Saturday September 30th – he didn’t. I was at a conference, so I assumed he had called Mami first, learned I was at a conference and not called. He will call next Saturday I told myself. The grind of the week swallowed me up and it was Saturday again, this time October 7th. No phone call. No one had heard from him. No one. We contacted some friends in PR to go by his apartment. The news were not good.

There in front of his door, newspapers piled up since September 23rd. A concerned neighbor came out and said he was worried; he hadn’t seen him in a while. They called the police – but the police cannot go in unless there is a family member present. So they called me.

At 6:15am my husband and I boarded a plane to San Juan. Before 11am we had called the police, and I was at Papi’s door. I stuck my nose through the hole where the peephole used to be. My heart sank and my eyes started to sting. Tears sprung out uncontrollably, but I recomposed myself.

Papi lived alone. After the divorce, my brother lived with him for a while, but then my brother moved to Miami. I always prayed to God that whatever happened, I would have time to get to PR – I did not want Papi to die alone. I rather he have a heart attack in front of me. If that was not possible, then I also told God, I wanted Papi to go in his sleep. My biggest fear was that he would have a fall, or need help, and die because there was no one around.

Not knowing what I would find, I had told my husband I did not want to go in, and asked if he would – I did not want the last memory I had of my father to be him dead. My husband didn’t even blink, and followed the police in. Papi died in his sleep of a massive heart attack. He looked peaceful, there was no expression of pain in his face. He had been dead two weeks before we found him – or so we estimated by the date of the newspapers. Two weeks there by himself. I cried in my husband’s embrace, and quickly gathered myself. Mami was on her way, and Papi’s closest friends were there. I had to be strong, look strong, always stoic.

Dying alone, in your home and without a doctor is a red tape nightmare in a country whose laws are based on the codigo civil rather than common law. At around 4pm, the funeral home was allowed to come and take him to the morgue. The next morning we were at the morgue by 8am; I cried in front of the interviewer as I pleaded with her to release my father without an autopsy. By some miracle, she complied and the funeral home was able to take back Papi.

His last wish? To be cremated and released at La Bahia de San Juan. It was Monday and we were leaving Wednesday. But the Lord moves in mysterious ways, and so it was that Wednesday morning – after a beautiful mass Tuesday afternoon with his ashes present – my husband got a local fisherman to take us out into the bay where we released his ashes and marked the site with yellow roses. The ocean looked so beautiful with the roses. Papi was finally resting; he finally had paz y tranquilidad.

Papi was an immigrant all his life. Born in Lugo, Galicia Spain he migrated as a child to Cuba where teased by his classmates he quickly dropped his Spanish accent for the Cuban accent. He worked hard all his life. At the age of 14 he worked side by side with his father, while going to school as well. He barely got 3-5 hours of sleep. At the age of 21, he had achieved his dream – to own his own business: a restaurant bar named Wall Street.

In the 60’s he left Cuba as soon as he could and moved back to Spain, where he met my mother who was also fleeing Cuba. They settled in Puerto Rico, where he worked for a while as a salesman for Kimberly Clarke. But Papi was a hard worker, and he liked to own his business. So once he had enough capital, he and three other Spaniards (family and some he befriended in the island), created a partnership of four Panaderias. Papi loved us all very much – but his Panaderia was the love of his life. The picture above was the opening day of said partnership, and that is how I want everyone to remember my father.

He was not perfect, no one really is. He had his faults, but I loved him anyway and he loved me. I was his muñequita because to him I was beautiful; his garrapata because I always clinged to him as a child, and his cacharrita which came from the song cachita. He was very proud of me and had no qualms in telling me that he loved me or in sending me kisses over the phone.

This past Father’s Day I wished him a Happy Father’s Day. His reply?

“You called me so it already is a happy day.”

I will miss you always Papi. Descansa en Paz

Cuban Home Economics

My friend Marta has two great posts on how Cuban girls get groomed to be the Perfect Cuban Wife (PCW) through intense training on Cuban Home Ec.

So, it got me thinking about my own Cuban upbringing, and how I’ve supplemented or added to it, through the years.

I graduated with HONORS from the Cooking course, but unfortunately failed miserable on the Home Management course……much to the avail of Alan, my husband.  We’ve butted heads more than once on cleaning schedule, where things should be stored, how they should be stored until I found the HOME. MANAGEMENT. BIBLE:

The Home Bible

Master Martha, as she is referred to at my home, has come to be the decider on many argument.  Like what you ask?  Ask and you shall receive.

I always keep all the cleaners under the kitchen sink.  Perfect sense right?  Not to my husband who came up with a different scheme – the linen closet.

But honey the cleaners ALWAYS go under the sink. Says who?  You and your Cuban upbringing?  That doesn’t mean it’s right or the ONLY way.  HERESY! How dare he attempt against the Cuban Home Ec.?

Alás!  Martha Stewart to the rescue.  There under Your Kitchen, and Organizing, guess where we are supposed to keep all the cleaners?  UNDER THE KITCHEN SINK!

So now, whenever my wonderful husband gets a new idea of moving something to a different place in the home, I just go ask Martha.  But don’t get smug, Martha has been on Alan’s side sometimes too.  That Martha she is one nit picker when it comes to cleaning – as is Alan – so when I won the cleaner argument, Alan won the DREADED clean as you go argument.  *blushing*

I must admit, I WAS one of those cooks that creates a big mess as she cooks, but always cleaned everything at the end.  Now Martha has me cleaning as I go, and cleaning the kitchen every single night…..with Mrs. Meyer’s All Purpose Cleaner in Basil which now is my favorite cleaner (love, LOVE, how it smells)….  And Alan is a very proud husband, and very grateful to Martha. *sigh*

So what is your Home Ec. upbringing story?

Finally, I graduated

Last Saturday May 22, I was officially conferred my Doctorate by the University of Rhode Island.  Even though it’s been almost a year since I defended my dissertation, I was really looking forward to the graduation ceremony (and also to being back in RI).

Unfortunately no one in my family came.  Well, I lie.  My family did come and his name is Alan J. Lambie (you all know him as my husband!).  He was the biggest supporter I had during this 6-year adventure in RI and even more so after Papi passed.  And yes, Papi was SORELY missed on that May 22 afternoon in the Ryan Center at the University of Rhode Island.  But somehow I have a feeling Papi didn’t miss it at all.

So, with my one man entourage-video-photographer-family-supporter we set out to RI to stomp our old ground and take some much needed vacation.  Did I mention Alan earned a 4.0 average this past quarter.  Yes a 4.0.  Nerds, I know.

Our graduation weekend started with a much awaited Friday dinner with my advisor, Ruby and her husband Nik, and my Rhode Island adoptive parents, Mike and Nancy James.

Nancy, Me and Mike

I met Mike and Nancy during my last year at the PhD program (summer 2008 to be exact) as I worked as a  waitress at a local Italian restaurant called Cucina Twist.  Mike and Nancy would come every Friday for dinner and sit in my section.  Since they were early birds (5pm) they would always inquire of my progress in the PhD, and my job interviews and my dissertation.  For an entire year Mike and Nancy sat in my section and followed my progress like only parents do – to the point of even buying me a going away present.  Therefore it was only natural that they be a part of our celebration.

The Dholakia's, The James' and The Lambies'

Friday night dinner was at Spain’s of Narragansett, a Spanish restaurant where all 5 times that I’ve been I’ve always had the same thing: Paella Valenciana.  We had reservations for 6pm in order to have an enjoyable dinner and a long sobremesa.  We had a wonderful time, and went to bed quite early.  I needed my beauty sleep 😉

Saturday May 22, I rose early to get my hair done, and even still we were sort of against the clock.  I like to arrive early to places and graduates had to be at the Ryan Center by noon, so I wanted to be there half an hour early.  Torture I know, but it relaxes me; otherwise I would be too stressed.  So once I had hair, and makeup, and earrings and everything else ready we left….but not before Alan captured the moment.

The Graduate

So with academic regalia on hand (gown, hood, and tam) we left, parked and were shuttled to the Ryan Center.  While I was in the back on a line for about an hour, Alan was searching for the best spot to take pictures.   Let’s play Where is Adriana?

The Doctoral Candidates

So after very brief speeches by various Deans and the University President (no I’m not kidding they were actually short) we were off on our way to get hooded.  Getting hooded is what makes a PhD graduation special because it is your advisor (or major professor) – the one person you’ve loved and hated at the same time – who hoods you and makes you a bonafide Dr.  So within academia it is a rite of passage.  I don’t have hooding pictures yet, Alan was taking video at the time and I cannot post video here at WordPress. (I mean I can, but I’d have to buy an upgrade and I don’t really paste that many videos).  So I give you a picture of me and my Diploma instead!

My Diploma and Me

After the ceremony, my advisor Ruby had a small cocktail at her house with friends and future PhDers.  Later that night Alan and I went to dinner, with friends – Gema and Daniel (she graduated from her MBA).  But before I took pictures with my family – Alan!

The proud and happy Hubby

Also, the traditional picture with my advisor Ruby!

Ruby and I

And then we were off to our cocktail hour with even more pictures of all of us!

The Graduates

It was a great day and one that will be in my memory forever.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so proud of myself.  Finishing the PhD took every ounce of energy and motivation I had left, in particular after Papi’s passing.  Which is why we celebrated this event every which way we could.  After all that celebrating we were dead tired but we still had to celebrate the RIGHT way.  And what is the right way you ask, well, the Perrier-Jouet way of course!  Cheers!

My favorite Champagne!

Oh and I’m sure you want to know what my graduation gift was right?  Well, stay tuned.  All I can say is he’s from Jersey and has a smile to DIE for.