May 7, 2016

Family time

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When they saw each other, it was absolutely magical and heartwarming!! They love each other so much!!

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The newest addition to the clan!! Sweet little Mateo!!!

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My lil brother (not so little anymore haha!), Missed him so much!!

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Mother’s day came a little early this year and I was so happy to be able to spend a day with my brother, sister-in-law and beautiful nephews in one of the best places : Magic Kingdom. We were so happy to have seen them, especially baby Mateo, who I hadn’t seen since being born and I swear he is the handsomest little thing ever! When Lucas saw his other cousin Gael, it was immediate happiness and joy, they seriously love each other so much and I had missed seeing him. It’s these moments that are so unbelievably precious, even if we see each other for a day, there’s always so much love and support because we are so far away from each other and sometimes a phone call just won’t suffice. Needless to say, it was a hectic day, since Lucas had a couple of meltdowns, due to the fact that he hadn’t had his nap and the boy gets cranky as hell if he doesn’t get his beauty sleep hahaha I can’t even. It’s enough to make a momma stress out but all in all it was such a good day and I am so incredibly grateful to have my family, their love and never ending support.

I hope you all have a great mother’s day!!!

Raquel

 

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May 3, 2016

The day he arrived…

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As I write this, I am tearing up with many emotions running through me right now. Becoming a mother is quite possibly the most beautiful, joyful and overwhelming experience I have ever gone through. Absolutely nothing and no one will ever prepare you for this. The surge of emotions, the feelings, the thoughts, the sensations: they are all over the place at a million miles per hour. Motherhood is beautiful and scary all at the same time.

The day Lucas arrived was filled with so much joy but at the same time it was very bittersweet. I had an emergency c-section performed, which was never in my plans, given the fact that I was absolutely healthy, he was positioned to come vaginally and he was healthy, so all was well with both of us. Never in a million years would I have thought I would have a c-section performed but situations happen and I trusted my doctor to make the right decision for me and my child because the fact was that his life was in danger with rapid heart palpitations. Something that has always bothered me about that procedure was how impersonal it was. In the midst of being so numb from all the pain medication administered I found a way to pray and stay centered and focused for what I was about to go through. I can still see and feel myself lying in the operation table, with the blocking sheet in front of me, hearing everyone murmuring and just calling out for angels to keep me and Lucas safe. I felt my late grandmother’s presence beside me. I felt safe, at peace. Lucas was born at around 9:30 am on a sunny July day. He didn’t cry right away and I immediately asked if everything was okay and I swear as soon as he heard my voice he let out the loudest shriek to which I just started bawling non-stop. I guess I was holding so much inside and we both just let it all out. I remember the doctor saying “he’s a little feisty one!”, to which I thought, “yeah baby, that’s my boy!”. They immediately brought him to me so I could see him but I was so drugged up and weak I could barely speak. This is one thing I regret was not being able to hold him straight away. I felt I lost a big moment of bonding that I will never get back. The days following his birth were just full of emotions. I barely slept thinking about him, watching him sleep, holding him staring at him non-stop. How beautiful were these moments and how privileged can anyone be to be handed such a precious gift? God’s work in my own hands. Everything I prayed for had surpassed my imagination and expectations. He was perfect. He was mine. And I am forever grateful.

A lot of people have asked me, “what have you had done differently?” and I say absolutely be more vocal about your birth plan and to trust your instinct because even though I had a set date to come into the hospital to give birth, I knew deep down Lucas wasn’t ready to be born. He was forced to come early and I feel this has been an indicator of how his personality is. I always remember a line from the movie “Stepmom” when Susan Sarandon tells Julia Roberts that her daughter “will come around on her own time; that’s how she is, she won’t let anybody rush her”. Well this is the same with Lucas. He cannot be rushed. He will arrive on his own time. At his own pace. And he will very much surprise you when he does because it will be loud and pronounced!

To all you mommas, I wish you a very beautiful day alongside your little ones and dear ones and hope you find happiness everyday in this amazing journey called motherhood. We are amazingly blessed to care for and protect these lives so always stay strong and focused because they depend on us to guide them every step of the way. You are everything to them. Don’t ever forget it.

With all my heart,

Raquel

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March 28, 2016

Park days

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Park days are the absolute best. We spent Easter Day strolling around downtown and Lake Eola park, people and animal watching and let me tell you the heat was practically unbearable. Well, it was more humid than anything else (it’s been raining and cloudy down here in Orlando) so it was more sticky hot which is basically the worst kind of heat, in my opinion. We love just walking around and meeting other families and Lucas being able to interact with other lil ones, it’s just the cutest thing.

We woke up pretty early, thanks to lil Lucas and we had set up his little Easter basket for him to find the night before. As soon as he found it, he was so excited. We filled it with fruity candy because if we give him chocolate it literally sends him flying and a super-duper hyper toddler is really not that cute, ha! We decided to gift him a Thomas the Tank engine toy (Toby, to be exact) because he is just obsessed with these toys and he is building his little collection. And yes, as you can see we got him a little backpack harness for walking around and it is the best thing because he doesn’t stray away from me when we walk around which, as you can imagine is not that fun run around a lil toddler all over the place, knocking things everywhere, yeah the whole package. He almost ran into the park lake had he not had this thing strapped on! But all in all, he had the best time just walking around and meeting people, the little social butterfly he is, I can’t even.

Hope you all had a great Easter, guys!

Raquel

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February 15, 2016

Blush pink


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So I had another post scheduled for this week but had to post this one because it was just the best Valentine’s day surprise for me and Lucas from daddy. We went to Disney’s Animal Kingdom and had the best day ever, just the three of us…and a couple thousand other people ha! But that’s beside the point. It was such a lovely day (nice and cool) and I had originally picked out something else to wear that day thinking we’d probably go to dinner like we usually do, but I had gotten this top  from Target in a couple of colors and this blush pink one was just the perfect color for Valentine’s Day.

I decided to use it as a layering shell because I just feel that wearing it by itself was just too plain (I always need to pile on stuff or layer…I can’t help it). So I decided on this Zara top (old, similar below) just because the combo of the colors is so romantic. I’m so into blush, olive and camel it’s cray!  I like this particular shirt because the material feels nice and light so I wasn’t sweating like a hog with all the walking around we did. To offset all the “girliness”, I went with ripped jeans and obviously sneakers because walking around in heels at a theme park is = not cute.

How did you guys spend your Valentine’s Day? Share below!

Xoxo,

Raquel

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December 26, 2015

Perfectly imperfect


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Christmas is over. And let me tell you, it was amazing. As many of you guys know, I am a stepmom. I seriously hate that word but, it is what it is. My first boy came to see us for this holiday and there were so many emotions circling in the air.

Since we had left Puerto Rico, my husband hadn’t seen his son in a year, mainly because of work. Lucas and I were lucky to spend time with him over the summer since I had to go travel home for work purposes but still it wasn’t the same without dad. So this reunion was long overdue. If there is a word I would use to describe these past weeks it would be bittersweet. I have seen my stepson grow right before my eyes and have witnessed what an amazing person he is becoming.

Sure, there are the “rough moments” but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. Those are the moments where you grow, learn how to buckle down and be a parent, what they need right now, rather than a friend. I’ve never set out to be a replacement for anyone. It is not my place. I feel our lives crossed paths for a reason and I am forever grateful that I get to call him my first boy. I am proud that Lucas gets to have him as a brother because the bond between them is so palpable and I would never dare interfere with something so fragile and ultimately important for both of them. We are truly blessed, even when I don’t see it, we are.

On another topic, we spent our Christmas day sightseeing around Orlando. There are so many places for kids to explore and have fun, especially over at International Drive, which is where we spent most of our day sightseeing. Again with the “weather topic” it was ridiculous hot. I was sweating like a hog and was so glad I decided to wear light clothing instead of the chunky knit sweater I had bought for this day.

All in all, it’s been an amazing christmas. The year will soon come to an end. New beginnings are upon us and I cannot wait to start fresh, anew.

I hope you guys have had an awesome holiday next to your loved ones.

Hold them tight and don’t forget to tell them how much you love and need them everyday.

Xoxo,

 

Raquel

 

 

 

 

 

 

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November 23, 2015

Pre-black friday picks

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Seriously, what is better than a good sale. Ok, well I guess a lotta things but that’s beside the point. Christmas is around the corner and it’s time to gear up for all those black friday goodie sales that are going to be EVERYWHERE!! I personally cannot stand going to the stores to score anything on sale at this time. I literally get sick just trying to fight for a damn sweater in a store full of pushy, annoying people or any other item my little heart may set it sights on so I am taking the safe route: Pre- Black friday online sales. I dunno about you but shopping from the comfort of my own bed is just the ultimate thrill for me these days (don’t tell my husband hahaha) *ahem, and don’t even get me started about when I see the Fedex truck pull up. Ahh the joys of online shopping.

So let’s get to it: Here are my picks from this year’s pre-black friday online sales!!

Forever XXI: Pre-friday Friyay sales (50% off select items/ free shipping on orders over $30)

1. Belted trench overcoat Cropped ribbed turtleneck 

8. Cropped ribbed turtleneck

Target (buy one get one 50% off clothing, shoes, and accessories, through Nov. 21)

3. Mossimo concho belt 

5. Merona jewel detail beanie 

Old Navy (30% off everything online, through Nov. 25.)

4. Plaid midi pencil skirt

6. Moto ankle boots

Urban Outfitters (30% off select sweaters, 25% off select bedding, 30% off select outerwear, through Nov. 25)

7. Lucca couture window pane plaid sweater 

Kohl’s (take 20% off with code FFTIME, through Nov. 22)

2. Seiko women’s solar leather watch 

 

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October 23, 2015

Time out…


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Me and my grandma (I was about 17 months)…Them cheeks, tho…

To say I’ve had a difficult week would be an understatement. Have you ever felt as if your life is at a complete standstill? This has been me for the past couple of weeks but this week it just worsened. Professionally, I have been feeling underwhelmed. And it’s taken a toll on me as woman, caregiver and wife. It’s difficult when this aspect of our lives affects us because we start to question our abilities and our worth. I start to think “I know I’m bringing something to the table but is it “feeding” me as well? ”

Add to this the fact that neither family nor friends are near and it has really hit me hard. Being away from the people I love and having a small child who is not having continuous contact with them is one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. Not even having been away from them when I was in college millions of miles away has been as hard. It’s so much more different now because I have a child and am completely on my own, just my husband and I. I will admit, at times, my faith has been put to the test.

I remember finding out I was pregnant. It was so unbelievably bittersweet because we had been married for four years and there came a point where I was told that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. So this became my reality. I would place all my efforts into my profession and career and forget about motherhood. “After all, it’s not in the cards for me”…Or so I thought. 3 months before becoming pregnant, my grandmother had passed and it was a severe blow for my mother and I. I had always had a connection with her that I cannot explain and when she became ill it only strengthened. I remember after she passed away, one night I woke up crying inconsolably and my husband kept asking me what happened. I couldn’t speak. My grandmother had visited me in my dreams and what she showed me made me shiver: a nursery with blue colored baby clothes lying around. To this day, I can still see it and remember it vividly. I kept saying to myself: “it was just a dream, you know you can’t conceive”.

3 months later we learn that we were expecting. I was in the middle of preparing for my psychology license and emotions were just at an all time high. I needed a breather. So many things in my life at once and I was feeling overwhelmed. What I had hoped and longed for for such a long time was here and I remember feeling so unbelievably grateful because before I would ask “why not me?” and I was finding myself saying “I can’t believe you CHOSE me”. I took a time out to put things into perspective. What I was about to do, the changes I was about to face were no longer focused on me but on this little life I had just been entrusted. It was no longer about me. It was about my son. It was about what he needed from me.

Time and again I remind myself of this. It doesn’t matter whatever I may be feeling, going through or experiencing. The fact that another person’s life depends on my actions, reactions, guidance, love, affection, etc. is so much bigger and echoes further than anything else I could ever complain about. I make sure to take a “time out” to put things into perspective, to be thankful, to ask for guidance for myself in order to give the best of me for what he needs, to regain strength and focus on what matters.

Mommas, what we do is amazing. We will achieve so much more than we may ever imagine because we have been granted the greatest of gifts. I say to you: no matter what you are going through, remember to take your time. Time out. Breathe. Look at your little ones, hold their hands and march on, together. You’re gonna go further than you could’ve ever imagined. I promise you.

 

‘Till next time,

Raquel

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July 22, 2015

Baby Lucas’ first birthday weekend

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My baby turned one. I cannot believe I have a one year old. How is this possible? How did time fly by like this? I never would have imagined seeing this boy of mine reaching all these milestones, growing, developing, grasping all the world around him. 5 years ago, never would I have imagined I’d be blessed with so much happiness. It seemed like a distant dream, becoming a mom. I came to believe it would never happen. Yes, there came a point in time where I had lost faith. It would annoy me to see other women being pregnant and I would think “why not me? Am I not good enough? Maybe I’m better off.” The things we women allow ourselves to think regarding motherhood can be hurtful at times. It was never about any of the things I felt or thought. It was about timing. God’s timing. And no one else’s.

Fast forward to today. He is here, in my arms, healthy, happy, ever the little explorer/observer. Moody (like his momma), curious and handsome (like his daddy), strong willed… and I love it. It’s been such a beautiful journey and I know it will only get better as time goes by. I am forever greatful.

 

Thanks for stopping by…xoxo

 

Raquel

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June 14, 2015

Life transitions

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What’s life without a good food with the ones you love…a beer never hurts either…!!!

 


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We’re missing one kiddo in this pic but I know he’ll be with us sooner than soon!!!

 

 

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Becoming a parent was something I had been eager to accomplish for a while. I remember I wanted to have children two weeks after having met my husband. I remember as soon as I met him, he showed me pictures of his son (he has a son from a previous marriage) and the way his face lit up whenever he spoke of his little boy melted my heart. Over the years, I was able to experience first hand the bond he had with this boy. How his world revolved around this little person, how he worked so hard day after day to provide for him. I never considered being a parent before this. My career and my studies were my life. I feel these two people (my husband and my stepson) changed that mind frame for me. I started thinking “what the hell am I working so hard for if not to provide for someone other than myself?” I wanted to feel that connection, the kind everyone always told me “once you have your kids, it changes everything, you’ll see”. It scared me but I wanted it.

Throughout our marriage, we have had many ups and downs. Job losses, inability to conceive, deaths in the family, absent parents, supportive family members, unions, births. The whole she-bang. It wasn’t until about a year ago where we really hit hard times. We were faced with the decision to stay where we were and continue to struggle financially (my husband had lost his employment) or relocate to a place we had only vacationed before. It was hard on both of us but I know it was that much harder for him: he was leaving his first born behind. I don’t know if I would’ve been as empathetic as I have been had I not had my own child. I could never bear the thought of being away from my son. It kills me to even think about it. It saddens me as well the fact that my son and his brother are apart. My stepson gave me the chance to see what I could be as a mom and he fueled my desire to bring life into this world. Even after I was told I wouldn’t be able to.

The thing about all the aforementioned is that transitions are difficult to deal with. It’s difficult to accept that sometimes we have to break away (not forever, mind you) in order to find our own place, to be able to be better, grow, mature, thrive. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t feel the need to fight change. I’ve been afraid of it for too long. And maybe it’s hindered my ability to become something better. Someone happier. I’ve been through many difficult situations in life and I feel like I’ve had to battle my way to get to where I am, personally and professionally. I don’t feel the need to do that anymore. Because of my son. Because of my stepson. Because of my family. I feel that every fear I have ever had about anything I can now use it as fuel to push forward and face whatever’s in my way, head-on. Transitional situations don’t define us: they offer us the opportunity to choose. Will we focus on what’s left behind or what is lying ahead in order to be better for ourselves and the ones we love…?

Until next time, thanks for stopping by and don’t be shy about sharing your thoughts!

 

XOXO,

 

Raquel

Banana Republic tank top 

Forever 21 bag

Here are some other cute options for green skirts and gladiator sandals I just love!

 

 

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May 21, 2015

Little Green


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Our other baby boy, Max, had to make an appearance hehehe…He was getting curious about what we were doing!

 

I’ve always been a product junkie. Anyone who knows me, knows this about me. During my pregnancy, this product obsession basically became more acute. And. now that I am mom, well…you do the math. The thing is, now it’s different. Now, I am much more conscious of the products I purchase because I take into consideration how they can affect my baby and his well being. I’ve been lucky enough that little cub has never shown an allergic reaction to the products I use on him but still I always try to do my research on what’s best for his skincare needs.

I was so excited when Little Green contacted me to review their products. After they contacted me, I looked into their products and all the positive reviews their products have received so far so I couldn’t wait to try them (yes, I am one of those moms who “occasionally” uses her child’s products ;-)) I can honestly tell you, these products are IT. First off, the shampoo/shower gel: heaven. I can’t stand watered down shower gels or shampoos. To me, they don’t speak “quality”. This one is thick (love!), has a faint scent,  and lathers like heaven, so perfect for baby, my son loves it! Next, the body lotion (I swear I’ve been “borrowing” a little everyday after I shower hehehe) and I just love it because it is not greasy and again, the scent is just right, very faint. Finally, one little product we will be using a lot during winter time is their balm. Again it is not super greasy (I hate that) and yes, yes, yes! I have used it (hey I have to review the products, sheesh!) on my lips and I am certain that come cold weather it will be a lifesaver. Little cub gets dry patches in his elbows and knees so this will be thebomb.com to relief his delicate skin. And I can’t boast enough about the packaging: sooooo cute!!!

Honestly, the best thing about these products is the fact that they are paraben free (important to consider when purchasing baby care products), sulfates, gluten free (love…I hate gluten, bleh) and allergens. All their products are dermatologists approved so it makes me feel good about what I am putting on my baby’s skin. Mommas, if you are looking for quality products to care for your little one’s skin (heck and your own and as well) look no further. I guarantee you will not regret including these amazing products to your family’s skincare routine.

 

Until next time, stay classy and fresh,

 

Raquel

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