Up up and away!

18033854_10102469442294784_6634029338421182392_nDid you happen to catch that we are moving???? YES!!! We are moving back to New England our old stomping ground!  You know what is there? THE OCEAN.  THE COAST.  Narragansett, Newport, Friends, Family Friends, and a whole NEW life for us!  We are so excited to move – and so sad to leave so many good friends and places behind.  But we know we will stay in touch and keep those friendships alive!

Our princess is excited as well!  She understands she is moving out of state, go to a new school, and make new friends. She also knows that although she is excited she will be sad.  I tell you, this kid surprises me EVERY day!

Our stint in Rochester, NY has come to an end.  Today is my last day teaching here and the week I close up “my shop”.  Alan is already busy packing boxes and making plans, while I search for our new place via Zillow, Trulia, Trovit, Patch, and Craiglist!  We are quite busy here!

A friend gave me a GoodBye card today and made me cry.  I hate good byes, always have and always will.  And ever since having our girl, I’m a crier.  I never used to cry, now even commercials make me cry.

So stay tuned, because I am BACK and I will be blogging this move to stay sane!

Life After

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It’s been over a year since my last post; and a little bit over a year since our last effort to have a 2nd child failed miserably.  After we were done with that final cycle we both faced 2016 with a bit of expectation of “life after infertility” and excitement about what it would bring.  Damn, little did we know that “life after infertility” is not an immediate healing process but rather a drawn out one.

Infertility destroyed our lives, destroyed us in the process, and destroyed us as individuals.  Our daughter is the shining light in all of this and frankly it is probably the only reason that has gotten us up every morning since her birth.  We lost our way in life and turns out that a year is not enough time to get it back.  2016 provided its own life altering challenges that blindsided us, but it also was barely the start of our new path to ourselves.

2016 destroyed dreams, destroyed egos, and destroyed us again.  We were already vulnerable and in a raw emotional state; 2016 took advantage of that.  For the first time in my life I really felt lost; nothing was fulfilling, nothing was bringing me any kind of excitement, challenge, or happiness.  We just WERE.  We would wake up, run through our day, and go to sleep.  EVERY. DAY. We would put our happy faces on for the princess of the house and keep on going.  Like a train on autopilot – we moved forward; we existed without being.  Then 2016 came to a close as we realized the enormity of the “life after infertility” baggage and damage that we had.

We started 2017 with the faith that the life altering changes 2016 brought would be resolved, and indeed they were but not really in the way we thought they would be.  Again we were blindsided by something we had not considered but that brought strange joy to our lives.  JOY.  What the hell was joy?  It had been so long since we had felt true joy, since we had any dreams, any jitters on expectations.  It was new and refreshing and nerve wracking to be in this state.  It felt the same as the damned 2ww – after embryos are transferred and you wait for 2 weeks to find out if you are pregnant or not.  It made us dream in a way we had not in a VERY long time.

And then alas it wasn’t meant to be.  And just like that, the dream, the joy, the jitters were gone.  “We can’t always get what we want but we get what we need” say The Rolling Stones; or as one dance teacher once told our girl “you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit“.  God has a plan.  Yes he does, but Jesus Christ why does he have to be so dramatic about it?  So here we are heartbroken yet trusting, picking up pieces once again, and moving on once again.  2017 turns out will be more life altering than 2016 ever was, will close chapters I was not ready to close, yet will hopefully put us on the path to get back our lives, ourselves, and us. I have to believe that THIS path is THE path for us – as individuals, as a couple, and as a family.  Trust has never been my forté and neither has letting go.  Yet this time I am faced with the decision of having to do both at the SAME time.  Letting go of that dream that was, letting go things I wasn’t ready to, and trust that it will all work out in the end. See God has a sense of humor when it comes to me; Alan says the same (but he’s mainly just pissed off because the NYGiants beat us twice in the SuperBowl).

We are, broken yet glued together, looking forward with excitement (or trying to) while we let go of what we were sure (ha! get it? we were sure!) was our path and firmly step on to the one HE chose for us.

Some of you know what I am talking about – and while you are welcomed to comment, please do so in abstract form.  You know why.  Others will wonder “what the heck is she talking about?” – don’t worry you will know before 2017 is over, once our storm passes and the sun comes out.  Because tomorrow is another day and that day will bring us back home.  This is definitely the year we leave everything behind and truly MOVE on to our new lives, to be PRESENT and enjoy and live every second of it.

Bring it on 2016!!!!

Happy New Year 2016 from us to you!

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We plan to LIVE more WORRY less and ENJOY the time we have.  In more detail we also plan to eat clean, exercise, be healthier, and have a lot more fun than these past 3 years.  Our life begins anew today, and we are on a quest to get ourselves back.  Those selves that got lost in the battle with infertility; I will not let her claim us.  We are taking us back.

I am also looking forward to my teaching, my research and of course growing and expanding our business.  Last but not least, I am soooooooo looking forward to another year of growth of our miracle child.  I do not get tired of seeing them become a person year after year.

Here is a great way to start the year  courtesy of my co-merchandiser Katrina:

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So, what are your New Year resolutions?

She believed she COULD, so she DID

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You learn so much about yourself in Direct Sales, and you also learn so much about others.

One saying that I have always loved that circulates among #BossBabes is “She believed she could, so she did”.  It’s that simple.  If you believe you can do something, then you will accomplish it.  Think about little kids when they are learning to talk, or walk, or climb.  They BELIEVE they can and they NEVER GIVE UP until the DO IT.  At least that’s my daughter, and more recently that is me.

I got this bracelet from my #LuLaRoe sponsor, and I also get this message daily from my C+I manager – she believed she could, so she did.  I wear it EVERY DAY.  I tell my daughter every day to believe in herself.

I made it through college because my parents knew I could.  But I made it all the way to where I am today because I also believed I could.

In March 1993 I was BORED out of my mind working retail at Nine West. I also needed a higher income.  For some reason  – even though I had never waited on anyone before – T.G.I. Friday’s seemed like a good option.  Back then Friday’s was a hopping place where you could make TONS of money.  I filled an application and got called for an interview.  I WANTED this job.  I needed to get out of my comfort zone and learn to talk to strangers and seem NICE doing it.  I totally bullshitted my way through the interview with the fantastic Lois Quartochi – who later admitted to me that he knew I was lying, but if I wanted it that much he was going to give me a chance.

And he did.  And I EXCELLED as a waitress.  It became my fallback job later in live.  I believed I could and I DID.

Got a Master’s degree, moved to Miami and found a job, got married, got a Ph.D., got an academic job, became a Mom on top of a wife, and got into sales.

Had I never believed I could do all these things, I never would’ve – no matter how much others believed in me.

This will be my mantra moving forward.  This will be the mantra of 2016.

I need to get in shape.  I need to lose about 50lbs.  I need to eat healthier.  I need to organize my life.

I BELIEVE I can so I WILL – Do you believe in yourself?

Hope, Heartbreak and New Beginnings

Monday ended a THREE year journey for us – the quest for a sibling for our daughter.  After three years of needles, hormones, btichiness, hope and ultimately heartbreak our quest came to an agreed upon end.  When 2015 started we vowed this would be the year of our last fertility treatments.  It was three years or a roller coaster I don’t wish on anyone, of great emotional and financial investment.  Three years that took a toll on us personally as we hid our pain and disappointment from our miracle child – our daughter.  Our last attempt failed miserable with a negative pregnancy test.  I have no option but to accept this outcome and move on, and give our miracle child the best life and the most love we can.  As someone who always wanted four kids, this was beyond a kick in the gut.  But then again, blood family comes without insurance so maybe she is better off as an only child.  She would’ve made an excellent big sister.  She so wanted a sibling – and yet she still doesn’t understand fully why she can’t have one.  Infertility is one lonely journey; no one speaks about it but more than 1 in 4 suffer it. IN SILENCE. The friends I have made in this journey are not friends – they are SISTERS.  We were forged in fear, pain, hope and heartbreak.  We each celebrate our successes and suffer our losses as a collective.

As I reflect on these three years of HELL that ended with our dreams shattered and look at my daughter – our miracle child – and smile.  To all those who call us selfish for pursuing IVF to have our children I say FUCK YOU and BULLSHIT.  I want to see you all adopt a child – newborn or foster care – BEFORE having sex to have your own.  Then maybe, *maybe*, you have some standing to call me selfish.  Until then, please look at yourself in the mirror and see what a fucking hypocrite you are.  To the ignorant masses that say or believe that IVF kids – you know good old test tube babies – are “fragile”, “ugly”, or an “aberration” FUCK YOU too.  Read up and learn.  They are the same as any child.  Hannah would be exactly the same had she been conceived the old fashion way – you know SEX.  And to the men in capes and beanies of the Catholic Church – my church – who decided that kids conceived outside the womb are somehow less of a being in God’s eyes because they were not conceived out of LOVE – never mind that Jesus nor God never have said anything about this – an even bigger FUCK YOU.  It takes LOVE for a woman to freaking inject herself with Lupron the drug from hell, shoot herself daily with FSH, undergo an egg retrieval and endure intramuscular progesterone shots in her hips and an unbearable 12 day wait to see if all this bruising, and emotional and hormonal roller coaster paid off.  It takes LOVE for a man to undergo a biopsy to extract his boys, to inject his wife in the hip and to watch her come undone only in the hopes that at the end they will both be parents.  It takes LOVE for an RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) an their nurses to suffer along with us, ultrasound after ultrasound to see how many follicles are developing and do try and calm us down, and to face us when the results are not what we hoped for.  And it takes LOVE from the embryologist to carefully match each egg with a sperm and watch as these little lives develop to be transferred into a womb.  So much LOVE that they even give you a picture of your child.

So many pictures of MY children that never came to be.  So many little angels watching us and our daughter from above.  So many tears in all those embryo pictures that I get to keep and show her someday.

As we close this chapter in our life, I look at my miracle child and understand more than ever that she is a miracle from God and Science.  That both worked together to make her happen.  That there is no time to shed another tear for another hope dashed because I have a husband, a child, students and a home to take care of.  That the next time you see someone with one child don’t be an ass and ask them when they are having a second – because I swear the next person to ask me will get a hell of an answer.  So unless you are willing to be someone’s counselor or provide them with the financial means to pursue their dream of being parents DON’T ASK ANYONE ABOUT HAVING ANY KIDS.  It’s none of your business and it is a world of hurt for those trying.

We were lucky – we made it to the OTHER side.  We became parents.  But for every one of us there are MANY who never make it, who end up with empty arms and a broken heart.

Infertility is a bitch – a mean one.  FUCK YOU IF.

Christina and Nitza

As I’ve told you before, every Cuban kitchen has a bible – Cocina al Minuto de Nitza Villapol.

The Cuban Cookbook

She was the Cuban Betty Crocker, and her cookbook is a staple in every Cuban cook’s home.  It’s not only great as a reference, but also for recipes Abuela never got to teach.  The version of her book available in the states is incomplete compared to her original (and actually considered plagiarism in Cuba).

I was lucky.  Someone in my family got the ORIGINAL book out, and Abuela got photocopies.  Yes photocopies.  With two legal covers and presillas.  That’s how my Cuban bible stays alive – barely.  Or maybe she smuggled the photocopies out of Cuba, who knows!

Fellow blogger Christina, however, has a different experience.  Inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, she decided to hone her Cuban cooking skills – and keep the culture alive in her family –  by following on the same experiment – except this time its Christina and Nitza.  And she even got interviewed by the Today Show!

So for all of you that can’t wait to get your hands on some authentic Cuban cooking, hop on over to her blog and follow her trek through the mother of all Cuban Cookbooks.

Enjoy!

Note: I found this post buried in my drafts – for some reason I thought I had published it – sorry Christina!  However, she is now more famous than before which makes this short post even MORE relevant!

Re-booting

I’ve been off the blog for a very VERY long time.  Who knew raising a child would be so time consuming?  I miss writing and I miss sharing my recipes with all of you as well as my musings.  So I will be making time out of my busy schedule to write again here in Moros con Cristianos.

Apparently there is some housekeeping needed as I see all my posts in italics now!  I will definitely go through and fix that so that all the posts are readable.

In the meantime I am very happy that my Ropa Vieja post (recipe adapted from Marta) is such a huge hit!

Enjoy!