"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

From boys to men



Beck had a great post about masculinity, and it made me think a lot about my boys, how I'm raising them, how they will be when they grow up. My Gorgeous Boy is the sweetest boy there is. When he was about 18 months we used to go to  park almost everyday, and everyday he would pick dandelions for me, and put them in my hair. Even now, when he comes back from school he always brings me flowers, sometimes stolen from the neighbors' yards, sometimes common, simple dandelions, but always given with love. You see, my son has the oldest eyes I've ever seen in a kid, except for my nephew Nahuel, who has the same kind of eyes. It goes beyond the color; it's the depth of that gaze, like they've known you forever and want to tell you of things they're not conscious of with their minds, but with their hearts. I always swell with pride and happiness and humility all mixed up and confused when someone compliments me on such a fine son, so obedient, polite, innocent, helpful, and beautiful. Because with that face, those eyes and that smile, I don't know what else you could call him. Beautiful. But even without the face, there is the voice, and every time I hear him speak, and laugh, and sing ever so quietly so nobody can hear him, I can see the beauty of that spirit that Heavenly Father sent me to learn from and admire. yes, sometimes he drives me crazy because he does things too slowly for my taste, and he likes to talk a lot, and he laughs without inhibitions but, hey, too loud! Yes I know, I'm a complete moron sometimes. But he forgives me every time. He likes to be my friend. I worry that some day he won't be so forgiving or patient with me and won't want to be my friend. I know it sounds so silly, but I'm so excited to know him when he becomes a man! He'll be incredible and I want to be able to tell people, "I've known him since he was a baby." I'm not even imagining that I'll flaunt to the world that I'm his mom because for me, it's an honor to know him. I can see him 15 years from now, embarked in some wonderful work, giving this world love, happiness and peace in whatever he chooses to do. Some days he says he'll be a midwife, or a doctor, a tailor (he loves to sew!), a man who cleans houses, a guitar guy, a dad, a man who builds things...his favorite, his big love is cooking. Last year he was so involved in the idea of owning a restaurant that he wrote menus in both English and Spanish and went around the neighborhood inviting whoever wanted to come for toast with dulce de leche. Every afternoon after school, the neighborhood kids would be assembled in my kitchen trying mate, toast, yogurt, and whatever he could provide. After a few days of this, and a little conversation, he agreed to just plan it for when he grows up. He'll serve Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Argentine food. And because last year his brother had a very strict diet, he'd make sure that at his place they served food that everyone could eat, even people with dietary requirements. 
I'm excited to see the kind of man this kid will be.
And my other son, El Cangri...In spite of being a handful, and ultra demanding, that kid can melt your heart. Today we were in my bed watching American Idol, and he heard my stomach rumble. He thought my stomach was hurting, so he reached over to me and pat my stomach saying, "It's alright mami, you'll be OK. Sana, sana, colita de rana. Si no sana hoy, sanara manana..." My sweet Cangri; he's growing so fast, and even though he's only three, I can see so much determination in him, such a power to do what he wants, so much resourcefulness. Like grabbing the broom to reach up to open the garage door to go out and ride his tricycle, yeah...
We call him "Cangri" after the Puerto Rican "Cangri", the "Dandy" who goes out and wins people over with his charm and hard work. That's what both my boys are, hard workers. 
My boys must be spiritual giants, because that's what the world needs today; men who are not afraid, who have a thirst for adventure and at the same time marvel at each miracle that they encounter. I pray that they may always have that innocence, that reality doesn't crush them, that they may remain optimistic and cheerful and grateful. When Gorgeous Boy was a baby I used to hear "I hope you dance" by Lee Ann Womack , and I still hold that prayer in my heart, that whatever life brings them, my boys will still dance. I beg Father to let me still be here to see them and rejoice in such works of art, my sons.       

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Picnic

I have several posts that I'm working out in my mind. In fact, in the last few days I've thought, "I have to write about this or that." But sometimes the days go by so quickly, and the word-pictures I formed in my mind vanish as the sighs of my sleeping babies. 
But tonight, Gorgeous was at a birthday party, Princess was taking a nap on the couch (she has a fever), and my two babies found a breakfast tray some good friends gave me for my bridal shower. It's only been used for birthdays breakfast in bed, and maybe on or two mother's day breakfasts. I was making dinner, and El Cangri and Chubbers got to work right away. They had to clean "their" table.   


Then they ate... with both hands!!!!!




And to the bath!!!!!

They were so excited and, I'm sure, shocked that I let them make such a mess in the kitchen floor. Yes, the younger ones definitely get away with more than the older ones did at that age. I was such a stressed young mom, so worried about having everything so perfect. Oh, wait a sec! I'm still stressed, and hurried, and too serious sometimes, but now I know my babies won't be babies forever. I try to savor them more, to enjoy them. I don't succeed all the time, but I sure try...    


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Beautiful Cangri


Yesterday I went on a wonderful field trip with Swan Princess' kindergarten class. My nephew is in the same class, and I was in charge of looking after both of them and three other little friends. We had an awesome time at the Bean Museum at BYU. But even though watching over only 5 kids shouldn't be that hard for me by now, at the end of the trip I was thoroughly exhausted. I picked up my babies from my SIL's house, and we took a very restless nap; my little Cangri was not feeling well. Bloodshot eyes, fever, earache ... He had been doing so well. He used to get sick every time Gorgeous Boricua left on a business trip. But it's been three weeks since papa left, and El Cangri's just barely getting sick now. At leas his skin looks radiant, with only a little blush where once he had huge eczema patches. 
I asked him where he was hurting, and he pouted a little and replied, "Los pelos mami. Me duelen los pelos." (My 'hairs' mami. My 'hairs' hurt mami)." So last night was the epic battle of getting him to take medicine, particularly tylenol or motrin. Today I bought the ibuprophen tablets, thinking that since he loooooves the colostrum tables and his homeopathics, that he'd take them. Nah ah, no sir. He wouldn't even touch them. I guess in a way it was better because just now the fever broke out on its own, after his own little body defeated the infection wherever he has it (I suspect it's his throat). I'm not a neglectful mother, but I usually wait before I take my babies to the doctor. Of course, if they're too young, too sick, or when I feel it's time to pay the doctor a visit, I take them. I'm waiting it out right now, and I'm hoping that tomorrow he'll be his old little self. Today was cleaning day, but instead of going on my usual routine, I showered, sent my kids to school, and went back to my son who watched The Backyardigans all morning. 
My Chubbers played in my bathroom with my yet unused hair rollers. El Cangri and I dozed on and off. 
Tomorrow I'll clean, and stress about the floors, and the garage being dirty, but today, even though my beautiful Cangri was feeling oh so rotten, was such a relaxed day! I cancelled Gorgeous Boy's soccer practice; Princess' was already cancelled, so I only had her ballet class to worry about. It turned out I shouldn't have worried about it because I had a whole hour to myself in the car to read my brand new Mothering Magazine. 
Tomorrow is a new day, and I pray that my babies will be sound and healthy, to start the weekend in peace and contentment.   

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Going back to normal


On Friday we had a wonderful excursion. We drive by a farm in the middle of our city every day, at least once. We're very lucky that in our city we have the opportunity of seeing diverse animals: Shetland ponies, cows, horses, goats, chickens and sheep. Well, this particular farm has sheep that have the cutest babies every year at around this time. Last year, we saw the little lambs get bigger and bigger, and the children begged me to stop so they could pet them. I always had an excuse, and the lambs got too big to be cute, and the year passed. On Thursday before last, we drove by for guitar lessons and I noticed there were three very black, new baby lambs. the next day they were about fifteen newborns. So on Thursday, after taking Swan Princess to ballet class  and realizing it had been cancelled due to Spring Break, I suddenly found myself with a full free hour, and we stopped by the sheep place. The lady (a young woman, about my age) was very gracious, and invited us to go the next day, so we could feed the animals. My children were so excited they could hardly sleep that  night. We added a few numbers to our already biggish group, and together with my brother's family, the next door neighbors, and neighbors from across the street, we made our trip to the sheep. The kids had a blast. They got in a trailer with hay, and chased the terrified animals to feed them. Chubbers was so intent on feeding the "Dandies" (she thinks that all beings that walk on four legs are our Yorkie) that she didn't realize she wasn't offering them hay but a nasty black rock-like substance that I'm going to pretend it wasn't sheep poop. OK? The day was very windy, and the kids faces were rosy with excitement, the exercise of chasing the terrified wild sheep, and the windburn. Here are some pictures that document our adventure. And that lady, how nice was she! I don't know how I would react if a stranger showed up at my door and asked me to watch me do my daily work for the entertainment of her brood. I don't know I would've been so gracious and accommodating. Another proof we live in a good world after all.

Here's Chubbers with our neighbor's baby. I'm sure my poor friend W. was terrified I'd let Chubbers touch her baby after the "feeding" incident. Of course, I kept her away from other human beings until I could soak her in warm soapy water for one hour.



Petting a baby lamb


The trailer

                                              Riding in the distance

And now, Spring Break's over, and tomorrow we go back to our normal lives. 5 more weeks until we go see Gorgeous Boricua. I'm counting the minutes! 

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pool Day




It snowed again today, but since it's Spring Break, the kids and I decided we just had to do some Spring-y activities. So we went to the pool, and had a GREAT time. The pool was packed; it seems everyone had the same idea of going there to pretend we had warm weather. Why is it that I'm always worn out after the pool? Is it the noise? the steam? the preparations? the fighting with the kids to go home? I don't know. We're very lucky to have that Recreational Center with such an awesome pool. It's totally enclosed, which makes it a wonderful cold weather pool, but the noise... I can't stand i! So when we got home, I made clam-chowder while the babies soaked in the bath tub and got rid of all the pool germs, and after dinner we read, and went to bed. Chubbers keeps waking up; I'm crossing my fingers and hoping she stays healthy--even though the water was pleasantly warm, she was cold...
Well, I really need to go to bed. Tomorrow is cleaning day... Yeppiiiiiiiieeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blessings

I don't know why, but this las few weeks I've found out about a lot of people who are very sick, or have had a tragic event in their lives: a neighbor from our old house had a baby who needed open heart surgery a few days after being born, a girl who writes beautifully just had a miscarriage, an American Idol whose brother is very sick with cancer, a little girl who has leukemia and loves this American Idol... the list could go on forever. There seems to be so much sorrow in this world. At the same time there are so many beautiful, inspiring things around us. Sometimes I look at my life, and I wonder why the Lord blesses me so much, why I have so much and others don't. I don't know the answer. When I first came to the States I tried to adapt to the life here very quickly, and I did the best to take care of myself and be responsible for my own affairs. Oh! I made many mistakes out of ignorance and naivete, but I also learned so much, and I met so many wonderful people who befriended me and helped me. I always tried to receive these blessings humbly, and at the same time face my trials with courage and faith. I can remember not sleeping at night because I didn't know how I would pay for the next semester's tuition, or because the things with my family in Argentina were not going well. But I had so much hope and faith in the Lord! I knew without a doubt that BYU was the place where God wanted me to be, and I wasn't about to waste that opportunity. 
And against all the odds, I, the daughter of a taxi driver and a housekeeper who worked their hearts out to see my dream fulfilled, graduated college in a foreign language, met a wonderful man whom I loved and loved me as well (!!!), and lived happily ever after... Even though today I face different kinds of trials, I think back on that little girl who once came from Argentina full of illusions and hope. If she could do what she did, with the help of the Lord, I can do anything.
Whenever we face difficulties and trials, Gorgeous Boricua and I say that we can face anything the Lord sends us, but we pray to him to please let us have our children be safe, and happy, and innocent.   
When I look at my life, I see the hand of the Lord in each and every thing; I see blessings without end. The material ones come and go, but the ones that really matter, the ones that last forever, those are my treasure, my whole life. 

Monday, April 14, 2008

Spring is here, is it?

So today we had wonderful weather, 80 degrees everyone. But tomorrow it will be in the 50's, and the day after that 60's, then 40's , then 70's. I mean, what's up with this teeter-totter weather? It's Spring in the morning, but winter after 6 o' clock. How crazy! We played a lot outside, I took the car to be washed (after 6 months of dirtiness, salt and yuck from Winter), and I went to Costco. You'd think that with the husband gone, I'd spend less money in groceries, but so far, it's been the same. We do eat a lot of fruits and veggies, and even though I've been trying to buy locally and seasonal appropriate foods, I have to give in... what fruit is in season in Northern Utah in April?                       I thought so, nothing. 
Last week was very crazy because it was our first full week without Gorgeous Boricua. It did go fast, but boy was I exhausted on Friday!!!!! And I also kept losing my sense of time. For example, on Friday I thought it was my turn to drive to get milk. We belong to a fresh (non-pasteurized) milk co-op. We get the milk and other delights (fresh fertile eggs anyone?) from a dairy in Payson, about 40 minutes from our town). It doesn't seem like a very long drive, but when you drive so far every week, for 3 gallons of milk (and 50 gallons of gas), it gets a little tiring. So 4 other families and ours got together and take turns driving. It turns out, after this long exposition, and getting everyone ready, that it wasn't my turn to drive after all. The lady who set everything up called me about my bottles (we leave them at her house every Thursday night), and I deigned myself to look at the schedule, and there it was: April 18th right next to my name. The person who drove was kind enough to bring me 3 bottles. 
Then, on Saturday, I realized I wasn't actually teaching Young Women's on Sunday. I had been fretting about it all week. Not planning the lesson, no, just worrying about it. And when I actually decided to at least look what I was teaching about, I realized with relief and gratitude that I wasn't teaching. So there, I have this phone where I put all of my appointments, I synchronize with my computer, put in on my momagenda, and still get it wrong. 
But a lot of good comes from the mistaken appointments. On Friday, since my SIL was already watching the babies I stayed home and took a long bubble bath, NOT. Just kidding, I went to Gorgeous Boy's school and helped the teacher move books to their new classroom. They have Spring Break this week, and when they go back to school, they'll be in this very nice classroom. The teacher hadn't asked for any help, but hey, she does so much already!!!! And I love to go to the school and have this private parent-teacher conferences. I like the teacher to know that I'm very attentive of my child's school experience, and that I want to hear whatever she has to say about him, and if she has good things, much better. That same week, on Wednesday, I had gone to Swan Princess' classroom for centers, and I loved it. My nephew who's in the same class asked me, "How did you learn how to be a teacher?" That made me very happy. 
And on Saturday, I played with my kids; what better way to enjoy life. My brother and his family came over for dinner, and a friend came for Gorgeous Boricua's car (a company is driving it to GB's area). The kids kissed the car, so the kisses could reach their dad. And after the car driver left, I realized I didn't put the cord for the TV he had asked me to send him. Well, I'm losing my memory because I'm :
a) getting older
b) sleep-deprived (8 years of that!)
c) or plain crazy
or... all of the above!        

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Conference Weekend

What a feast for the spirit, the mind, and the heart!!! Yesterday and today, I had the privilege of watching General Conference, at home in my p.j's!, with my beautiful children. Very early on Saturday morning, Gorgeous Boy had a soccer game. It was bitter cold and windy, but the team did great and had a lot of fun. When we came home, I got everyone ready for our Solemn Assembly, and I explained to the children how we had the opportunity to stand up wherever we were, and together with millions of people, raise our hands to sustain our Prophet Thomas S. Monson. El Cangri and Chubbers had no clue of what was going on, but my Gorgeous and Swan Princess waited patiently for their turn to stand up and raise their hands. They were so reverent, and solemn. They knew that was such an important action. Not the action of just raising one's hand, but the action of pledging to support and follow our Prophet. I got very emotional, watching them; last time we had a Solemn Assembly was 13 years ago, when we sustained our beloved president Gordon B. Hinckley. I thought it would be hard not to see him at conference, and although everyone missed him, and almost all of the speakers made allusion to his passing and his great legacy, once President Monson started speaking, I could actually tell there was a difference in the man. If ever there was a question in my heart about whether or not I would feel him as close as I had felt to President Hinckley, it was erased as soon as I heard him speak of his ancestors, his family, his wife. He said that anyone who attended these sessions of Conference will never forget it for the Spirit that was felt. 
Each and everyone of the messages seemed directed to me, and I enjoyed all of them. Elder Nelson said that salvation is an individual matter, but exaltation is a family matter. Elder Bednar talked about prayer, and invite us not to give Heavenly Father a list of things we want so to speak, but if we ask for something, to accept the commitment to do our part in achieving that blessing we're seeking. Elder Ballard talked to young mothers, and asked them to cherish their little ones and not neglect them for soap-operas (tv in general) and surfing the internet He also urged us not to overburden ourselves, and to strive for a balance 
in our lives. We watched 3 of the five sessions, one we missed on Saturday afternoon (I'm watching it tomorrow), and the other one was the Priesthood Session, which Gorgeous Boricua attended (the broadcast) with his work companions, even though Saturday is their greatest selling day. His faith paid off because he had 5 sales yesterday! I'm so proud of him and so grateful for his willingness to provide a good life for us, and a good example. 
Gorgeous Boy missed attending Priesthood session with his father, even though he technically doesn't have to attend as he's only 7 years old. But he's being baptized this year. My big, little boy who wants to do the right so much, and who's such a great helper. Swan Princess kept asking when we were going to go to church, and I told her today church was at home. I hope we can feel the "church" spirit at home everyday, that I can make my home a safe haven, a house of order and inspiration, so my husband and children (and I) want to come here to spend time together and learn from one another.
   
Here's a picture my Gorgeous made of his baptism: 






Thursday, April 03, 2008

Hser Nay Moo, a little angel

Tonight, after running all day, everywhere, we finally had a few minutes of quiet and peace to eat dinner from Carl's Jr. El Cangri was washing his beautiful, perfect hands, so plump and clean, pure and strong. My eyes filled with tears and wonder that such a perfect angel came from me. He looks so much like his father, and he acts and dresses just like him. El Cangri sleeps with a set of keys with a Puerto Rico keychain, an old cellphone, his puppy dog Coco (how original ha!) and his hat. That's right, he doesn't even take it off to go to bed, but just a few nights ago he started hanging it with Gorgeous Boricua's hats. I look at him, and his brother and two sisters, and I can't understand those who hurt little angels; how a person can do a harm to an innocent child of God. In our own Salt Lake City, which once was a safe place, a haven from harm, in the last two years  two little girls were kidnapped and murdered within minutes of disappering. Last year it was 5 year-old Destiny Norton, and this week it was little Hser Nay Moo, a 7 year-old girl refugee girl from Burma. She disappeared on Monday afternoon, and Tuesday night she was found dead just a couple of doors away from the apartment where she lived with her family. The whole community is devastated by so much evil and darkness. I look at my kids, and I shudder with fear. I won't even let them play in our yard if I'm not there watching their every move. It's so hard trying to teach them to be safe without being afraid of their own shadows. No, I want them to have happy, safe childhoods; I'll be the one to worry and protect them. So they can grow up in peace, and be safe, always. 
Here's to the memory of a little girl who was full of innocence and hope, who came to this country running from violence and fear, and ended her brief life feeling those, violence and fear. 

I'm gonna live my life
Like every day's the last
Without a simple good-bye
It all goes so fast

And now that you're gone
I can't cry hard enough
No I can't cry hard enough 
For you to hear me now

Gonna open my eyes
And see for the first time
I've let go of you like
A child letting go of his kite

There it goes, up in the sky
There it goes, beyond the clouds
For no reason why,
I can't cry hard enough
For you to hear me now

Gonna look back in vain
And see you standing there
When all that remains
Is just an empty chair

So I'm gonna live my life
like every day's the last
Without a simple good-bye
It all went by...
So fast.

Author unknown