Celebrate Children’s Poetry on National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, and I have to confess that before homeschooling, I never thought about reading poetry to the boys. I mean, if it didn’t involve ninjas or mutant turtles, why bother, right?  Um, wrong!

I’ve heard it said before that poetry is the highest form of literature, so why not start exposing our children to it from an early age? I was surprised how positively my boys responded, especially to those verses they could relate to as children. The accompanying hot chocolate and marshmallows didn’t hurt either.

Now, if you can’t envision your children eagerly crowding around your feet, begging, “Mother dear, please, would you read us another poem?,” don’t worry, mine don’t do that either. However, don’t be intimidated. Just follow these two simple steps and you’ll be well on your way to develop an appreciation for this rhythmic art in your kids.

Step 1: Pick a poem.

Step 2: Read said poem.

[Repeat Daily]

Yes, I know. It really is that simple. Lately, we’ve been reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses, and are now delving into A. A. Milne’s When We Were Young.

I’m curious to know, do you or your kids have any favorite children’s poems? Do share!

Posted in Homeschool | 2 Comments

Treasures Under My Pillow

My boys rarely go to sleep without taking with them their latest toy obsession – whichever one they hold dear to their heart at the moment, and is small enough to fit in their hands or next to them in bed. My just-turned-four-year-old does it more than his brothers though. Once, I went to check on him and I found so many trinkets and toys that he could barely fit on the bed! It’s funny now that I think of it, but at the time it was not. What if I’m raising a hoarder?!?

As you can imagine, it can be very distracting for a four-year-old to have toys in bed when he’s supposed to be actually going to sleep. On those nights when he’s especially distracted and I have to remind him two, three, four and five times again and again that it’s bed time, I usually end with the biggest threat in my arsenal of Angry Mom Threats: “Go to sleep or the toys are going on Time Out.” He then finally, and reluctantly, tucks them safely under his pillow and closes his eyes shut, really really tight. After a few seconds, he peeks his eyes open to check if I’m still there, then smiles and quickly shuts them again when he realizes I’m standing there, arms crossed, with my Angry Mom Look.

Sometimes, when he wakes up the next morning, he forgets what he’s done with his precious treasure, and he’ll whine in the way only toddlers do although he’s technically not a toddler anymore, until I ask, “Did you check under your pillow yet?”  He scurries back to his room and proudly yells out, “I found it!”

And then, there are moments like tonight, when I’m exhausted from cleaning all day, and still the house is a mess. When I’ve evicted them from my room because they thought they could camp out in my bed since Daddy’s out of town, and quite frankly, I would like to have some “me” time before the little one wakes up to nurse, again. And, as I sit up on my bed and get comfortable, I lift up my pillow and there it is.

TreasureHis treasured possession.

I smile. Yes, all four are sleeping, which is probably why the moment is particularly heart-warming. Otherwise, I’d be asking him to please put his toys away where they belong, which happens to not be my bed. But, still. I smile. In a split second, these precious little Lego persons complete with menacing weapons, remind me of the special little things that make him him. And that my little treasures are quickly growing. I can already picture him waking me up in the morning, asking me, “Mami, can you move? I need to look under your pillow.”

I suppose one day he’ll outgrow this magical age, of superheroes and bad guys and there will no longer be toys hidden under his pillow. Perhaps, one day I’ll instead find the latest book he’s reading. Or the picture of the pretty girl he likes. Or drugs. Okay, this heart-warming moment is quickly taking a turn for the worse, so let me wrap it up.

Fellow mamas in the daily grind, I hate to be cliché, but like they say, The days are long, and the years are short. So, lift up that post-bedtime-routine glass of wine I know you’re drinking and here’s to treasuring the little things and finding joy in the journey. Here’s to finding Legos under the pillow and not uncontrolled substances.  Salud!

Posted in Becoming Mami | 12 Comments

So… we decided to homeschool!

Homeschool AdventuresIt’s been quiet here on the blog for a few months, but life has not. Part of me can’t believe we’re actually homeschooling because for months we were noncommittally “just looking into it,” researching different methods, curriculum, support groups, and on and on. Another part of me says, “It’s about time!” You see, homeschooling has always appealed to me, and now that I look back, I see how God planted the seeds over the years for it to come to fruition.

About four years ago, when my oldest two were three and one, and I was pregnant with baby #3, I remember praying a lot about work and our expanding family — because when you’re about to have three children three-years-old and under with a full-time job, all you can really do is pray! So one morning, I found a flyer in my son’s folder at preschool inviting parents to learn about a new homeschool group, and for a split second I remember thinking, What if this is God trying to tell me something? But I was busy preparing for a week-long work event in Brazil and dismissed the possibility of God answering my prayers. Plus, there’s no way we could ever survive on one income. Still, I signed up for the email list and for the next two and a half years received almost daily messages about co-ops, spelling bees, curriculum sales, yearbooks, annual conventions and everything in between. I don’t know why I took so long to unsubscribe from the list, but I like to think it helped paint a picture of what homeschooling could be like.

Then, about two years ago I traded in my full-time position at my job for a part-time one because I couldn’t adjust to my son being in Kindergarten, in this big new school without me being able to know and talk to his teacher, his classmates, and the staff. It just seemed so… unnatural. And how would we find time to spend together as a family, between work and homework? So I became a Room Mom and PTA volunteer extraordinaire with my newly acquired free time.

Then, there was the summer I bought a set of homeschool books off eBay to see if I could “do” school with my son. To be honest, I never had a chance to use them, but I got my first taste of how addictive the buying of curriculum can be.

Finally, at the end of last year, while I was on maternity leave with baby número 4, the boys started randomly asking when I was going to homeschool them. Seriously? What kid comes out of nowhere asking to be homeschooled? Well, turns out Daddy told my oldest, in a moment of frustration after spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to figure out his 1st grade math homework (tens frames, anyone?), not to worry because I would be homeschooling him. My son took him at his word, and announced the news to his brothers. And so began the constant requests from my boys to homeschool them.

“You know homeschooling means you ‘learn’ at home, not you ‘play all day long with your toys’ at home?” They said they understood. “And I would be your teacher.” They were fine with that. “And you won’t go back to school again, or be in a class with your friends.” They were okay with that also.

I tried to ignore them for a while, but they continued to ask with that unrelenting persistence only children have. Then, it finally dawned on me, What if this is God trying to tell me something? So after four years, I finally decided to seriously consider the possibility of homeschooling. Since January I’ve been reading everything I can get my hands on. But most of all, I love looking back on the past few years and seeing how God was working in ways I didn’t even know at the time. Reminds me of Ephesians 3:20.

We started our homeschool adventure over the summer to slowly transition into this new lifestyle, and for that I’m grateful. Whenever we tell people, the first question is usually a perplexed “Why?”, but it’s a long answer for another post. For now, enjoy some pics of our home learning adventure.

Have you ever thought about homeschooling or an alternative to traditional schooling? Make sure to leave a comment below!





















































Posted in Adventures, Homeschool | 15 Comments

Happy International Day of the Midwife

Newborn Exam Baby M

My midwife Colleen, doing Baby M’s newborn exam in my bedroom, with my three sons and husband watching along.

I love midwives. I’ve had midwives as my care providers for each of my four pregnancies, and they’ve attended my four births, either at a birth center or at home.

Since today is International Day of the Midwife, I’ve been thinking all day of how my midwives made a difference in my journey throughout pregnancy, labor and those precious first few weeks after birth.

Now, if you know me, you know how I can go on and on (and on) about midwifery care, so I tried really hard to keep this short. I really did!

They taught me what birth is really about. Other than the ins and outs of pregnancy, labor and birth, I learned that pregnancy and birth are a sacred journey, one that should be honored and respected. Not a medical disability to be intervened with and managed. This change in perspective alone made the biggest difference.

They taught me the ins and outs of pregnancy, labor and birth. My husband and I learned so much during our pre-natal visits, and we learned tons during the birth classes offered by our midwives. These ultimately empowered us in our journey to four non-medicated natural births.

My pre-natal appointments were not rushed. During my first pregnancy, I remember my pre-natal visits with my ob-gyn lasting barely five minutes. Being a first-time soon-to-be mom, I had no idea what pregnancy was all about. During one of my appointments, I asked my doctor a question about what I should expect to be normal at that time. His response? He told me to read the book “What to Expect When You’re Expecting.” Maybe he misunderstood and thought I asked for a book recommendation.

At around my fifth month of pregnancy, I switched care to a group of midwives at a birth center. My appointments were the complete opposite. It was almost like sitting down with friends to talk about my pregnancy. The midwives did not rush our appointments, which often lasted between 30 minutes up to even an hour, making sure they addressed any and all concerns I had during my visit, and offering tips and information that could be helpful at the time. For a first-timer who didn’t even know what to ask about, this kind of support was invaluable. Even during my fourth time around, sitting down with my midwife during each visit was still priceless.

Post-partum support. This alone is reason enough to have a midwife. Most providers will see you once, at six weeks after giving birth. Six weeks may not seem like a long time, but after giving birth, your body goes through a million changes and you have just as many questions. Most midwives will have seen you and your newborn five to six times by your six week check-up. And some of those visits, will be at your house. Yes, you heard me right – in the comfort of your home.

Breast-feeding support. As they say, “breast is best,” but I think the majority of new moms (if not all) are shocked by how hard it is. My midwives were invaluable, teaching me about the importance of breastfeeding during pre-natal appointments and birth classes, and employing breastfeeding-friendly birth practices. Right after birth, they ensured plenty of skin to skin between me and my babes, making sure baby latched on. They encouraged me to keep the baby on my breast for even up to an hour or longer, allowing for plenty of bonding with baby, before they even began with the newborn exam, such as weighing and measuring the baby. Their support continued throughout the post-partum visits, checking for any breastfeeding issues or challenges, and always checking to see if I was still doing my latches correctly. In between visits, they made themselves available for questions or concerns that I had.

When in doubt, call the midwife. I remember the fear I felt leaving the birth center after having my first son. I’d never had a baby before and was very nervous about messing things up. I remember as we headed home, wondering if they’d made the right decision in letting me leave with the baby. Ha, those new-mommy jitters! However, as nervous as I was, having them available a phone call away was very reassuring. I remember my husband and I calling the birth center with all sorts of baby and post-partum questions in between our visits. Since that time, I have called, texted and even Facebooked my midwives about so many things, from breastfeeding, to post-partum bleeding, to suggestions on how to treat baby’s cold.

I’m gonna have to stop here, otherwise, I’m never going to publish this post!

My hope is that if you are planning to have a baby, you will consider having a midwife as your care provider. And if you’ve used a midwife before, make sure to share your experience in the comments below!



Posted in Pregnancy | 7 Comments

What I’ve Learned as a SAHM

Life is sometimes about self-discovery and in the month and a half since taking on my new role as a Stay-at-Home Mom, I’ve learned a few things about myself.

I need a new wardrobe. If I’m going to be a SAHM, I need to rock the SAHM uniform. Yoga pants! Unfortunately, my closet is filled with mostly work clothes. Must go shopping.

I don’t like when people talk about their jobs. My husband and I were at a conference a few weeks ago and we all get to talking. They ask my husband, “So, what do you do?” You know, one of these standard small-talk questions. However, as the conversation about work carried on, it really bothered me that nobody asked me what I did. I mean, at least give me a chance to say I’m a SAHM people. This helped me realize that…

My self-identity is, or was, closely tied to my job. I don’t think this is a bad thing, but after investing over a decade into my profession, I realized I needed to mourn the loss of this very big part of my life. Coincidentally, around the same time, I learned that…

If there’s chocolate, I will eat it. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, hot chocolate or Nutella. If it’s in the house, it’s gone. And if I can’t find any, I eat the mini chocolate chips I bought for baking home-made cookies, which by the way I never made.

I should’ve gotten the iPhone with the bigger storage. It’s ridiculous the amount of pictures I take of the baby doing the same pose… all. day. long. I can’t help it though – she’s too cute!! The thing is, once the picture is taken, I can’t bring myself to delete it, even if there are 8 other pictures that look just the same. Case in point: image image image image image                           image





















I like wine. Around 6:30 p.m., after a long day with baby and when the boys are going full out crazy before bed-time, a little Sangria can go a long way. In moderation, of course.

2 a.m. is my favorite time of day. This is about the only time everyone is sleeping and I can get some uninterrupted “me” time. The only catch is I should also be sleeping, and I usually am. Basically, what I’m trying to say is I rarely ever get any “me” time. Must work on that.

Now that I don’t have to be somewhere at a certain time, it’s ridiculously hard to get up in the morning. It’s like my body thinks it’s Saturday, every day. Except I still have to get a few kids ready for school. Needless to say, there have been more tardies these past weeks than usual.

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. My biggest learning is that time flies at home, as opposed to when you’re at work and it seems to drag. Every day I get up, get the kids ready for school (hopefully on time). Nurse the baby. Try to put her down for a nap. Baby wakes up as soon as she feels the bed on her face. Play with baby and read her a book. Keep baby from eating said book. Check Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Oops, baby’s hungry again. Check to see if my builders finished upgrading my clan’s gold storage and Town Hall yet on Clash of Clans. Before you know it, it’s time to pick up the kids from school – already! I had all these high hopes of cleaning and organizing things around the house and so far all I have to show for the last six weeks is a chunkier baby and one organized closet. Actually, just half of it is organized. Sort of. Lesson learned: need to plan out my day.

Being a mom is a journey in which we are constantly learning and re-learning things about ourselves. Now I want to hear from you about things you’ve learned about yourself along the way, or any tips you can share with me to get this SAHM thing down! Make sure to leave a comment below.

Posted in Becoming Mami | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Happy Resurrection Day

For weeks we’ve been bombarded with seemingly endless ads and sales for Easter — “Get the perfect doll/car/book/movie/toy for the Easter Basket!” This year, for some reason, the commercialization of the holiday has gotten to me so much that I think I’m going to start calling today Resurrection Day like many others have done already. It seems a more fitting name to remind myself why we celebrate.

So, as you go to worship services, spend time with family and rejoice on this day, don’t let the gifts, baskets, egg hunts and dinners (as fun as they are!) distract you from the reason we celebrate.

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ”  (Luke 24:1-7 NIV)


Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30, 31 NIV)


From my family to yours, Happy Resurrection Day!












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Five Minute Friday: Glue

This is my first time doing Lisa Jo’s writing prompt, and it was hard. Five minutes just flew by and I barely wrote a thing! Plus, I have to confess, I used a bit more time. But I loved it. Great exercise to write and dig deep inside. Todays word: Glue.


Psalm 127

Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain… I love this scripture. It always bring me back to the basics of life. What am I toiling for? And why?

As life begins to change again, as life tends to do when you think you’ve figure it out, I need to ask myself who is building all of this. God in his wisdom and grace, or me in my pride?

His word to hold this family together, or my word to get through the days?

His word to encourage us and build us up, or my word to get the kids to obey?

His word to love and forgive, or my word to make sure my point of view is understood?

While I get pulled in a million directions, His glue keeps me together. Glue.

The Family.








If you’d like to join, make sure to find out more about Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday writing prompts.

Posted in Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Party over here! UBP14 Style!

I’m really excited about the Ultimate Blog Party 2014. After all, who doesn’t like a party? Especially one you don’t have to spend over an hour getting all primped and ready just to get baby spit up all over the one dress you still fit into as you’re about to walk out the door. This is my first year at #UBP14 and hope you spend a few minutes to take a look around.


My blogging journey has been a short one since I recently got started, even though it’s been something I wanted to do for years. In this space I hope to connect with and encourage other moms and moms-t0-be on the daily ups and downs of motherhood. I like to keep things real – the good and the bad. It’s important to remind each other that life with kids is never perfect but always good. As a parent, I tend to skew to the more holistic/crunchy category. I am Latina, from Puerto Rico, and instilling in my kids the traditions I grew up with is very important. I invested 11 years into my career until I very recently decided to stay home full-time with the kiddos.


I love to babywear!

I have three boys and a baby girl, so you know it’s crazy up in here. I love getting ideas for fun and adventurous things to do with them. My oldest has lots of food allergies, so I’m always looking for recipes and food alternatives for him. I’m a birth junkie and passionate about natural birth and midwifery. My four kids were born outside the traditional hospital setting — either at a birth center or at home. I love God, and seek to grow spiritually as a woman, a wife, a mother and friend. Overall, I love learning and trying out new things.

I hope you join me in this blogging journey, and I’m looking forward to checking everyone out as I blog hop ’till the cows come home. Or, ’till my six month old decides it’s time for her next feeding, in which case I will be the only cow in this home.

See you around!

Ultimate Blog Party 2014

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From Working Mom to Stay-at-Home Mom

Most working moms I know, including myself, can often have those the-grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side moments when they dream of the things they’d do if they could stay home with the kids.

Especially on those long work days, when all you’ve done is go from meeting to meeting and you still have a list of deadlines to finish off before the end of the day. When your kid is beginning to show those pesky cold symptoms but you have a client presentation, so you wipe their nose clean, drop them off at school and pray you don’t get a call from the nurse — at least not until your meeting is over.  When you’re taking conference calls from your bathroom floor on your work-from-home day, which luckily coincided with a No School day, and your youngest is banging on the locked door, crying because his brother snatched his favorite toy. Apparently, he forgot the cardinal rule: don’t bother mommy while she’s on a conference call unless someone is bleeding. Profusely.

Yes, on those days you dream.

Wouldn’t life be much easier if you could just be home, full-time? No more rushing bed-time because of a report you have to review. No more missing well check-up visits with the pediatrician or holiday class parties because you have a new business pitch to attend.

So, when the opportunity came up a few weeks ago to finally after seven years of mami-hood stay home full-time, I was surprised at myself when I wasn’t so ready to jump on the SAHM band-wagon. After all, I’ve been working since I was 15. What would I do with myself all day long? I’ve invested 11 years of my life into my career. How can I just walk away? I work with a great team, and have a very flexible schedule. How can I give that up when some can’t even find a job? And, being honest with myself, do I really have the patience to be home with my little terrorists? All day?

All of a sudden, when it became very real, the pros didn’t outweigh the cons so easily. Yet the more I thought about it, one thing remained true for me: there will always be work, but they won’t always be children. So, after much thought and prayer, I am now a bonafide Stay-at-Home Mom.

Three weeks into my new gig, I’ve learned old habits die hard though. On my first official SAHM day, I found myself wondering aimlessly around the house and decided that what I really needed to do was set up my desk area. Because everyone knows that when you don’t have a job, what you need is an office space at home. So, I cleared up my desk, which had become a repository of all things random, and unofficially declared it the place where all the magic will happen.


You know, the planning of healthy meals, the editing of budgets, the cutting of coupons, the studying of scripture, the scheduling of play dates, the drinking of coffee, the creating of Pinterest boards, the updating of Facebook statuses, the organizing of birthday parties, the editing of family videos and of course, the writing of blog posts. I guess somewhere in between all that the cleaning of the house and the washing of laundry will get done, but that’ll be for some other post.

Back to the fun and magical… It was wonderful watching her face light up when we went to our first baby class this week and the lady started singing songs with her guitar. If you’re local to Broward County, you should definitely check out the free Baby Lapsit classes at the library. We sang, played, learned sign language and met lots of other babies. And did I mention it was free?

Yea, I think I can get used to this. Now, can someone please pass the bon-bons?


I would love to hear from you! Please leave a comment below, even if it’s just to say hello!


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What do you mean Maternity Leave is over?

Maternity Leave is Over v1After giving birth to our third baby, I used to tell my husband if we had any more kids, he’d better be ready to support us because I was definitely going to quit my job and stay home. Sure, I also wasn’t planning on having any more kids when I ranted off, so really I could’ve said anything without it having much weight… “If we have any more kids, we’re going to sell our home, move out to the country and live off the land.”

And here I am with yet another baby, facing one of her biggest milestones. No, not crawling. Not her first tooth. Not walking or even the elusive (or mythological) sleeping through the night. This is even bigger. It’s the end of my maternity leave.

Yes, those sweet 12 weeks you get to rest, heal and bond with your baby. To forget about all else — like deadlines, and clients, and new business pitches, and workshops, and networking, and…

When I got the opportunity to extend my leave a few extra weeks, I jumped on it. Three and a half months of just me and baby. And my husband. And the boys. And my mother-in-law. But you get the point.

Since she was born almost four months ago, I hadn’t spent more than one hour away from her, so this was pretty big, for me at least. Over the weekend, I tried to prepare her for my return to work on Monday. I let her know I wouldn’t be around to nurse her to sleep for her morning nap, or to sing her the silly songs I like to make up because after four kids my lullaby repertoire is still very limited. And sadly, that’s including songs in English and Spanish. I told her I wouldn’t be around for her to spit up on,  but encouraged her to do so on Daddy.

I wondered if she’d miss me. I wondered if she’d notice I was gone. I wondered if she’d even care that someone else would be the one playing with her and feeding her.

As Monday morning rolled in, it was hard getting ready. Mostly because none of my clothes fit me. As I searched through my closet, I regretted giving away my “fat” clothes over a year ago. A sure-fire way to keep myself motivated not to gain any of the weight I’d lost back, I naively told myself at the time.

Once dressed and ready to go, I nursed her one last time. One. long. last. time. I looked carefully at the way her little nose crinkled, at the way she held my fingers, and the way she looked at me with her squinty eyes — taking it all in so it could last me until I’d see her again. Thank God I only work part-time now. How did I do it working full-time with the other three?

Work was uneventful, in a good way. The day’s highlight? Pumping 10 oz. even though I was reminded of all the reasons I hate pumping. Because in case you don’t know, breast pumps were at one point certified instruments of torture during medieval times.

As soon as I got home, I drilled my husband to find out all the details of her day, secretly looking for any indication that she noticed my absence. Turned out her day was pretty uneventful too. She went with Daddy to take her brothers to school. Napped pretty much all day, and drank 4 oz. of mommy’s milk. Wait? Only 4 oz. in almost six hours? On my second day at work, she drank only 1 oz. and slept all day, waking up right as I pulled up to the driveway. A friend said she was being a good baby while I was gone.

Loss of appetite. Excessive sleeping. I say those are classic signs of depression.

Yes. She missed me.

Posted in Mamihood | 4 Comments