I do not always have it together

9 Apr

470179_400075410013790_284055658282433_1313376_679222801_oNo, I do not always have it together. Most of the time I do not. It may come across as if I do, cute photos on social media, outings with friends, dinners etc. Friends say; you are doing so well or ask, how do you do it? My thoughts,  you have no idea! If you only knew!!!

There are weeks when I feel like I do have it all together but there are weeks like this week when I don’t. I feel lost, over whelmed, and a bit angry. At times I feel really dumb because I wish I knew how to do things better. I wish I knew how to fix things. How to fix me. Balancing work and being a mom is not easy. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You want to be good at everything yet you always feel like you are lacking in one area.  It is hard. It is exhausting. If you are good at your job, manage long hours, attend important events you feel guilty because you feel as if you are lacking as a mother. If you work late you feel guilty for not being there for your kid. And yet when you are there all the time you feel like your career isn’t moving. It is so hard to be good at both and so easy to feel as a failure. Not only a failure to yourself but a failure to your child. It’s really not that easy and I’m not always doing so well. And I know many women who feel the same.

Earlier this week, I read a blog post by a mother who described her feelings about being a mother. The title drew me to it, “I don’t like being a Mother.” It was raw, honest and emotional. She shared feelings so many women are afraid to even think. Afraid to share with anyone. Afraid to allow those words to come out of their mouths. I am sure most women can relate to some of her feelings but will never admit it. I think there’s so much pressure on women to do it all. We must do it all, do it well and don’t complaint about it. If you do, you feel guilty. If you do, you are a bad mother.

The mother who wrote this post said she felt as if she was missing “some chain of DNA all mothers are supposed possess.” She shouldn’t feel this way but this is what society says to women. This is what you are supposed to do. You are supposed to be good. It will come naturally. You are less of a woman if you don’t. Motherhood isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. It is not okay to judge anyone for making the choice to not have children. And it is okay if you don’t want any. Believe me,  it really is! That does not make any woman worth less. So can we please stop asking married couples without children, “so, when are you guys having children?” Stop asking single women, when are you getting married? Don’t you want any children? Stop asking first time mothers, “are you ready for a second?

Motherhood isn’t always a magical journey. It’s not always filled with happy feelings or thoughts. It’s not always nice. I too have some of those feelings. I’m not always happy. I get sad. I cry. I watch Gael and wonder if I’m good enough for him as I struggle to keep a career. It is hard. Sometimes I get angry at myself for having these feelings and then I remind myself I am human. There were so many things that have been going wrong this week, moments of weakness and defeat, moments of failure and disappointment, moments of anger and hopelessness, moments of mourning and sorrow. Moments when you feel broken all over again. Yet, there’s always a glare of hope at the end of the day when Gael smiles. He is my clutch. He brings me back to balance. I know I may not be the best mom but I do know I am good enough for him. He has no choice; he is stuck with me J

I thank that anonymous mother for writing her feelings like she did. She is amazingly brave. I hope life gifts her with a glare of hope. Hope and happiness. She deserves it.

Girl Rising: I am Change

28 Mar

mujer13 girls under 18 were married in the last 30 seconds.
38 thousand will be married today.
14 million will be married this year.
These are just some of the statistics I heard during the screening of “Girl Rising” yesterday. The screening is part of the Houston Library’s World Café forum aimed at highlighting global issues and raise awareness of their impact in our community.
Girl Rising is a powerful film everyone should watch. The film tells the stories of 9 girls from different part of the world that faces challenges and overcome heart breaking injustices. After you watch the film you become aware about issues like child arranged marriages, child slavery, and other unspeakable acts these girls survive. All of their stories were touching, beautifully presented and narrated by renowned actresses like Meryl Streep, Salma Hayek and Anne Hathaway.  Each story is beautifully written by renowned writers from each girl’s country. They are all powerful but the writing in the last story of the film was particularly memorable to me. 
It is the story of Amina a 9 year old Afghan girl who is forced to marry a man who is much older than her. More than 50% of Afghan girls are married or engaged by 10. Women activists say up to 80 percent of marriages in poor rural areas are either forced or arranged. Like Amina, most girls marry far older men — some in their 60s — whom they meet for the first time at their wedding. Amina is one of the lucky girls in Afghanistan who survived child birth. More women die giving birth in Afghanistan than any other place in the world. Amina is just one of the many girls who want change.

There are so many girls in the world who are not wanted and are treated poorly. The violence girl’s face around the world is unthinkable. One of the girls in this film is sold and the money was used to buy her brother a pickup truck. The goal of this film is not only to create awareness but a call to action. It is important we invest on girls. Girls can break the cycles of poverty by being educated. Educated girls stand up for their rights, marry and have children later, educate their own children. Girls are the future and we have to stop treating them less than boys.
The last half of the story I believe summarizes the struggle of all the 9 girls in the film. They simply want to prevail. They want more. They want change. If you have a chance, please watch the film and show it to the girls and boys in your life. You can watch a short version of the stories here. I think the film gives a great opportunity to discuss with our children their own privileges and the limitations other children around the world face. I look forward to the day I’m able to speak to Gael about these kinds of issues and make him aware of what happens in other parts of the word.
The following it is beautifully written. It is powerful and hopeful.
(Amina after giving birth to her son)
As I suckled his innocence on my breast, cupped his tiny feet in my hands
I vowed that night not only to find a way to endure but to prevail.

All I felt was impatience. Impatience because we are poor.
Because we are silenced.
Disenfranchised. Beaten. Cut. Married as children. Sold. Raped
When we seek freedom we are burned
When we speak the truth we are stoned
When we go to school we are bombed, poisoned, shot
Don’t tell me it simply has been so
I can’t believe in your resignation
I refused ignorance long ago
Don’t tell me you are on my side
Your silence has already spoken for you
Do not tell me blame lies within my religion. In my culture. In my tradition.
I have not forgotten my vow
Change is coming
I will read. I will learn. I will study. I will return to school
I dare you to tell me it is a waste of time
If you try to stop me I will just try harder
Put me in a pit, I will climb out
If you kill me there will be other girls who will rise up and take my place.
I will find a way to endure. To prevail
The future of men lies in me
And this is the future I see
I am the beginning of a different story in Afghanistan
Do you see it now? Look into my eyes. I AM CHANGE

My semi anti-Valentines Day post

14 Feb

IMG_1451Today I couldn’t help but to be annoyed by overwhelming Valentine’s Day social media posts, balloons and the impromptu flower shops outside grocery stores. I had to ask myself why? Do I really hate it this much? I don’t think I do but I dislike the idea that as human beings we are programmed to be told when to celebrate certain things. I’ve always been a cheerleader of spontaneity, just because gestures on ordinary days. Yes, I’m sure it is very nice to get flowers on Valentine’s Day but wouldn’t be nicer to get them when they are not expected? When everyone is else isn’t doing the same thing? Maybe it’s just me being a Grinch but I think V-Day lacks originality and romance. I also think it brings more pressure to relationships and at times unrealistic expectations. It is great for business though!  Keep in mind this is coming from someone who cannot remember the last time she received flowers for Valentine’s Day. I think the most memorable and meaningful flowers I’ve received were when Gael was born, those were special!

I think showing love on Valentine’s Day is nice but I think showing love every other day is nice too.  I like the idea of having one day to celebrate love, not with things but with gestures, smiles and kindness. I think love should be celebrated every chance we get, every chance we receive it and every change we give it. I don’t think there’s one thing anyone can give to show how much they love someone but I do think they can show it in many different ways. We can show it in the way we treat people. We can show it by simply sharing a smile with someone. We can show it by simply checking on a good friend. We can show it by sharing a meal with our family and friends. We show it in the way we care for our kids. We = by simply being there for someone who needs us. We can show it with one kiss, one simple kiss can say what we can’t say with words. I hope you are celebrating love in an out of the ordinary kind of way. I wish you love, kindness and a really good kiss.

My reaction when I found out I was pregnant was not what you would expect

29 Jan


The day I found out I was pregnant wasn’t at all how I would have imagined it. I didn’t feel how I thought I would feel. I cried so much but not because I was happy, I was terrified. The circumstances were not ideal for a baby, the relationship wasn’t what a relationship should be when a child is conceived. I wasn’t in a good place. We were not in a good place. I was disappointed in myself. How could I have gotten myself in that situation? What about my career? What about all the things I still needed to do? What about my family? What would they say? My friends. Society. The world felt like too much for me in that moment. Life felt like too much. I didn’t feel warm and fuzzy like in the novelas. I was devastated because I was not going to be able to give the family I wanted to give to my baby. It was all too much. This is how I felt and I’m not ashamed to admit it because I know I’m not the only one who has ever felt this way. And you are not allowed to judge if you’ve never been in the same situation. You are not allowed to judge if you have never fallen in love with wrong person. You are not allowed to judge because you do not know the story. 

Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Fast-forward more than 8 months to January 28th, the night I drove myself to the hospital. I was so nervous and excited because I was finally going to be able to meet my little guy. The little guy I learned to love and embraced with all my heart. I wanted to be alone for night because I knew the birth wouldn’t happen until the next day. I didn’t want anyone to have to spend the night at the hospital. I wanted to be alone because I didn’t one anyone to see me once the contractions kicked in. By anyone I mean my family or Gael’s father.  I didn’t them to hear me screaming or see my in pain. I wanted to experience that alone like most of the important milestones in my pregnancy. I needed to do it alone because that’s just how it was going to be- it was going to be just me and my little guy most of the time. I needed to know I was okay in that room alone. But I was never alone- Gael’s heart beat was with me in the entire time. He helped me through from the beginning and still helps me today. 

Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Photo by Carlos Avila Gonzalez

Today Gael and I celebrated his first birthday. We are celebrating 22 months together because I cannot forget about 10 months he spent in my belly. Those 10 months changed my life, and the next 12 changed my world. The last 2 years have been the most stressful yet the happiest of my life. Yes, that is possible! It has been stressful because I’m a new mom and most of the time I have no clue about what I’m doing. It’s not easy doing this thing alone. Gael’s father is present and a good father. I have been pleasantly surprised with his support and constant presence. Having said that, Gael and I are on our own most of the time. I’m thankful for family and friends I can count on when I have to work late or I need a night out. It is a blessing to have good people in my life.

Gael and I celebrated by going out for mac and cheese. The kid recently discovered mac and cheese and loves it! I had a beer to celebrate my motherly efforts. When we got home I attempted to bake a cake from scratch and make some whipped topping. I’m not a baker so this was not an easy task for me but I figured what the hell. The cake didn’t turn out too bad and the topping after several failed attempts I finally got to thicken. I seriously have no clue how people do this stuff. I told myself I would bake Gael a cake every year so I better practice some more. In all, it was a good night for the both us. I think Gael could have cared less about the cake; all he really wanted was mommy time.

Today I kept thinking back at that day when I found out I was pregnant and how overwhelmed I felt. I would have never imagined the feelings I have today, the happiness I feel being a mom and the joy my little guy has brought me. I’m in a good place. A great place! I’m not disappointed anymore. I’m actually pretty proud of everything I have been able to do with my little guy. My career will continue. I can still do all those things I wanted to do but now with my little guy beside me. My family and friends have never been more supportive. And society can kiss my ass with their traditional idea of what a family should look like.

Life happens when we least expected. Beautiful things come into our lives in different shapes and forms. At first, we may reject the idea of change because it scares the crap out of us; it shakes us to the core and creates unbalance. I realize today life is not supposed to always be balanced. Life isn’t always supposed to feel nice or pretty, warm or fuzzy. Life it’s supposed to overwhelm us from time to time. Shake us. Scare us. Life isn’t meant to be perfect or always planned. Life can be hard but it can also be easy. Life can be ugly but it can also be so beautiful. We make life what ever we want it to be.

Gael has brought so much beauty and joy to my life. I cannot imagine how my life would be without him, I just can’t. I don’t want to. He loves for who I am. The imperfect woman I am. He makes me laugh like a kid. He makes me cry for joy. He makes me want to be better. He gives me hope. He makes my world a better place.  And oh my God when he hugs and kisses me my world stops- and everything, I mean everything is okay. 

Here are few collages of photos from Gael’s first year. 




A lil rehab from Facebook

25 Jan

 a=]ceSeveral online dictionaries define an addict as a person who is addicted to an activity, habit or substance. The definition on Merriam Webster includes, a person who likes or enjoys something very much and spends a large amount of time doing it, watching it, etc.

I think we all have become addicts of something at some point in our lives.  I know a lot of us are addicts of social media one way or another. I know I am. How many times have been on a red light and you check your Facebook or Instagram? What about while having dinner with friends or family? What about in the mornings? Is this one of the first (maybe the first) things you do when you wake up? Maybe while seating on the toilet? I think we have become addicted not only to social media but our smart phones. The other day some shared on the elevator they forgot their phone at home and the first thing someone said, “how did you survive?” how did this happen to us? Do you remember the days before text messages? Before any social media took over our lives? Do you remember how it used to be? How you interacted with your friends and family? Seems like so long ago, doesn’t it?

I shut down my Facebook page about two weeks ago because I realized it was taking too much of my time. I was becoming the person I described above and it made me feel pathetic. I felt pathetic because I realized I was wasting precious time. I felt pathetic because I was starting to lose connection with those closest to me. I felt pathetic because I was taking time and attention away from my little guy. This last part is probably the main reason I decided to take a break.

I re-opened the page because there are a few major events coming up that I would like to share with some of my friends I don’t get to see too often. This and my blog is probably the only reason I will keep the page open. Most of my blog visits are thanks to Facebook, which keeps this blog alive.  Don’t get me wrong, I do like Facebook and enjoy seeing what others are doing. Facebook is not the problem, I am!! I’m the one who makes the choice to constantly check it and take time away from the important things.

I will say I didn’t miss it one bit! It wasn’t hard at all to take it out of my daily routine. It was actually refreshing. I began paying more attention to my surroundings. I called people and even did face time with a few of them. I paid more attention to Gael during playtime. I didn’t have the urge to check it.

I encourage you to try it. Give yourself a social media rehab. Don’t try it all once maybe just one- Facebook, Intagram, Twitter, or Pinterest etc?? Disconnect from it and connect with people. Call friends instead of “face booking” or texting. I know we are all busy and we like to convenience of a text message or quickly scanning our friend’s walls but once in a while call your friends. If we have time to text or surf our feeds we have time for a call, a visit and even a lunch. Keep social media around but don’t let the connection you have with people depend on it. Just try.

The power of hugs and kisses from a tiny human

10 Jan

photo (3)33Earlier this week I felt something I don’t remember ever feeling before—the pure innocence of love. I was seating on the floor with Gael like we usually do when we get home from work. He was playing on his corner and I was seating there just watching him when out of nowhere he turns, sees me and begins to crawl as fast as he could towards me. He stretched his little arms, hugged and kissed me then went back to his toys. He did the same thing a few times again and just sat there taking it all in, loving every second of it. I never felt THAT love before.  I thought that love was just a product of my imagination. His gestures said so much more than words.  It was as if he was telling me, “Mommy I love you.” This tiny human being of mine who doesn’t even know the word “love” took it upon him-self to show me how much he loves me, just because.

photo3I’ve never been the kind of person that likes to show affection in public. It makes me uncomfortable when others do. I used to think I hated it but I realize this is something I always wished I had. I remember the first time I saw my father I was really excited. It was right after the civil war ended. I wore the only dress I had, my aunt put my hair in a ponytail and I even wore shoes. I remember all I wanted was for him to hug me instead he handed me a yellow envelope with money and that was it. I didn’t even touch his hand. I couldn’t understand why. I felt no love. No love at all.

photoI think at some point when I was a teenager I told myself showing affection in public was weird and stupid. It was something only the “fresas” did. Fresas is a nickname for the rich kids. I was always amazed when my friends showed so much love and affection to their parents and their parents did the same. They were not afraid to say things like, “I love you,” or give hugs and kisses just because. I didn’t understand why I was afraid to do those things. Now I know it’s simply because it wasn’t something I was used too. I still struggle with it ‘til this day. I’ve always had a hard time saying things like “I love you,” to certain people in my life and showing affection in public still makes me a bit uncomfortable.

photo2I never want Gael to experience this. I don’t ever want him to afraid to show how he feels. I do not want him to think twice before hugging or kissing me. I don’t ever want him feel like he needs to hide his emotions. I want him to show all that love because that’s okay. It is okay to show love. I don’t ever want him to be afraid of showing any of his feelings because he is a boy- let me make a quick pause- can we stop telling boys to stop crying like girls?!! (That’s a different post for later)

photo (2)Gael makes me loving. He makes me unafraid of showing love and affection. He makes it okay. He makes me not give a shit about it. He makes me want to change. To realize he loves me just because makes my heart skip a beat; it makes me feel incredibly lucky and blessed. It makes me believe in love again, believe love can bring beauty, hope, peace and joy.  This kind of love used to be a childhood dream, something I wished it existed, and something I wished I felt. Something I wish my father would have been able to show me that day when I visited him. Gael’s innocence and unconditional love is making my childhood dream a reality. This love is real, it does exist, I feel it and Gael is making use I don’t forget about it—his tiny hands wrapped around me every single day remind me of it. Every time his beautiful face touches mine reminds me of it. Every time he crawls towards me or gets excited when he sees me walk in the door remind of it. Remind me that he loves me and my world is okay.

13 Things We All Need To Start Doing Immediately

10 Jan

a great post!!

Thought Catalog

It’s easy to get stuck in a monotonous routine without realizing it. Most people think that being in a rut means you’re miserable and that’s not necessarily true. You can find yourself being happy enough, which is scary because you aren’t quite sad, but you’ll never push yourself to be a better person because you’re good enough. Here are 13 things we should all start doing to, not only make ourselves better, but to improve the lives of those around us.

1. Watch a movie with your phone completely turned off. I don’t mean on silent either. Let yourself get lost in the movie and stop checking the amount of likes your Facebook status got for 90 minutes.

2. Go buy a new pillow. You’ve been sleeping on that old one for years and it’s falling apart. You’ll improve your quality of sleep as well as how you feel in…

View original post 389 more words


1 Jan

It was maybe about 5 years ago birthdays began to feel a bit awkward for me. The idea of celebrating “me” feels a bit uncomfortable. I used to get really excited about celebrating and turning one year older. I’m not sure when or why that changed for me. Maybe the idea of getting older doesn’t seem so cool anymore. I’m not sure because I don’t mind saying how old I am and I don’t mind getting older either. I think the fact my birthday falls on New Year’s Day doesn’t help either. It sounds cool but it really isn’t. The celebration of the New Year always wins over the birthday. The only thing I do enjoy about is that it becomes a great excuse to get good friends together in one room- that I do love!

Last year was one for the books, I became a mother and life changed. My world changed. Sometimes I feel I’ve lost a little bit of me in the process and it scares me. Now, my life revolves around a very active 11 month old and making sure he is okay. Most days I’m okay with it but there are days I do miss some of the old me. I miss my voice and sense of adventure. I miss being able to sit quietly at my favorite coffee shop to process feelings and issues through my writing. I love each moment I spend with my son but I do miss some of my old moments and there’s no shame in that. 
I haven’t made a list of unrealistic resolutions that will stay written in a piece of paper but there are 2 things I would like to commit to for the next 364 days:

1. Finding myself
I want to find the sense of self I lost while becoming a mother. I would like to focus not just on my life as mother but also as a woman. I would like to regain some of my independence and voice.
2. A happy baby
I know I’m not the best mother of the world but I do know I make my baby happy. I know this because the way he smiles, the way he looks at me and the way he cuddles with me in the mornings. I want to continue doing this and find new ways to make him happy.

That’s it. These are my two big ideas for this year. I hope you have a fantastic year and may 2014 bring you beauty, joy and smiles. Cheers!


Our not so perfect Christmas Photos

25 Dec

I had vision of the perfect Christmas photos with Gael. I wanted them to be in our home and as natural as possible. Well, they are in our home and very natural alright! Our photos are the opposite of the perfect holiday photos I’ve seen posted on social media lately and I’m okay with that. My original vision was to have Gael give his picture perfect smile while I hug him or do something along those lines but it didn’t quite work out that way. The night my friend Rafa came by take some of these Gael wanted to do exactly what babies his age do- crawl every where! He did not want to hugged or kissed and certainly not be on Mommy’s lap. He wanted to eat the ornaments, play with the lights, play with my hair and crawl outside our homemade studio area.  At the end of it all Rafa and I said, “this was a total FAIL, how the heck do professional photog’s do this??” I’m not quite sure but I give them lots of credit because photographing babies takes a lot of work and requires MUCHA paciencia.

The following are some of the photos Rafa took as well as a few I attempted to take another night. After going through these I realized this is exactly what I want Gael to see when he grows up. I want him to see the reality of a moment, his curiosity, his funny faces, tantrums and the bit of chaos in our life. This is our perfect!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday with your loved ones. Thank you so much for taking time to stop by.

Texas Posadas: Making new traditions with my little man

18 Dec

IMG_9519My family doesn’t really follow any traditions during the holidays. We just get together in someone’s home, eat and watch the kids be kids. I guess this is a kind of tradition, no? Some of the traditions I grew up with in El Salvador were lost when I came to United States.  Christmas felt different there, it felt nicer maybe less complicated.  The focus was never on gift giving but more on the birth of el niño Jesus. It was a celebration of his birthday. I realized now the gift thing wasn’t such a big deal because most didn’t have much to give. Some waited for the 3 Reyes Magos (3 kings) celebration in January. I think this gave parents a little extra time to get gifts for the kiddos.

IMG_2726Things changed when I came to the United States. The feeling of Christmas was never the same and this is one of those things I missed about my country. I used to count down the days until December 24th because I could wear my new clothes and eat traditional food we wouldn’t normally eat everyday like chicken or tamales.  I missed that feeling. I remember some of my friends believed Santa couldn’t make it to El Salvador every year because he lived too far (this is what their parent’s used to say when they couldn’t get gifts on time and used the 3 Reyes holiday to buy some time). I missed that innocence.  I our Christmas tree wasn’t a big pine tree but a tree branch we picked out with grandma and decorated with lights, and colorful ornaments. I missed the simplicity. These memories are very dear to my heart and I’m so thankful I was able to experience that kind of Christmas as a child. I want Gael to know what that feels like.IMG_2709

For the first time in a long while I am excited about the holiday and this is all thanks to my little guy. This is Gael’s first Christmas and it brings me so much joy to be able to share this with him. He is too young to understand the meaning behind all of it but one day I would love for him to feel excited about more than just gifts. Here are a few of my hopeful traditions I would love to share with him.

  • Thanksgiving meal together- Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and this year I cooked a meal for just the two of us. I want to be able to do this every year. I want to teach him the importance of gratitude and make it a daily practice in our lives.
  • Christmas Décor until the day after Thanksgiving- We will not put up Christmas decorations until the day after thanksgiving. I would love for us choose the colors together and make it a tradition the day after thanksgiving.
  • Ornaments: I would love to for us to make our own ornaments. This year I made a simple ornament with his photo inside of it. I’m not crafty but I want us to be able to make things together.
  • Nativity Scene: I want him to understand the meaning of the nativity scene and when he is older, if he chooses, celebrate the birth of el niños Jesus at midnight Dec. 25th.
  • Posadas with friends- This year we hosted friends for dinners in our casita and also visited some in their homes. I would love for us to continue doing this every year. I want him to learn about the importance of friendships and appreciate the special people in our life.
  • Making Gifts- I love personal, meaningful gifts. I would love for Gael to make simple gifts for certain people in his life like his father or grandma. I don’t want him to ever feel pressured to buy expensive gifts for anyone. I want him to understand the real value and meaning of gifting.
  • Hot coco, cookies and presents- This is a tradition I always admired from some families. I would love it if we could wake up on Christmas morning to open presents from Santa while zipping on hot coco with homemade cookies.
  • End of the year dinner- I want us to sit down to have dinner before the end of year.  One day I’ll be able to talk to him about everything we did during the year and share what we want to do in the New Year.  I want us to set goals and talk about how he will accomplish them during the year.

IMG_2770Gael has changed my world in ways I could have never imagined.  Reading through this list makes my heart warm and makes me excited about the future ahead with my little guy. He has brought so much joy into my life and I couldn’t be more thankful. He is making the season feel different- much nicer, less complicated and much more joyful.

I wish you nothing but joy and may the new year be a great adventure full of smiles, goodness and mucho amor.



I’m participating in a Texas Posadas Blog Hop as part of the Texas Social Media Network (#TXSocial). You can visit these other blogs for more on Posadas: food, traditions, etc. We’ll be celebrating our Posada Blogs for the next nine days. Join us!

12/16 – My Tots Travel

12/17 – Sweet Life

12/18 – Expecting The Unexpected

12/19 – Frida’s Cafe and Juan of Words

12/20 – Tejana Made

12/21 – Monica Wants It

12/22 – Sybilline

12/23 – Your Sassy Self

12/24 – ¿Qué Means What?

#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Last Day: Look for the light

1 Dec


#Naphopomo is officially over and although I started a little late I’m proud of myself for posting 27 straight days. I really enjoyed the practice because it got me back into photography and on a regular routine of writing.  I have to thank the wonderful Karen Walrond for introducing me to Naphopomo and encouraging me to put my camera to good use. 

This came at a perfect time because I was feeling a bit lost with my blog. I wasn’t dedicating much time because I was always second guessing myself and what I was writing. I decided to make a practice to simply post a photo a day and not worry about writing a long post. This gave me so much room to breathe and helped me realized I do not have to write a long post in order to keep this space up to date. I can do so much with an image or a simple thought. 

This last photo is the perfect ending to a great month. Karen always always encourages to Look for the light and so I did in different ways.  

I found light in my camera. I found light in unexpected moments. I found light in an unexpected someone. I found light in a ordinary day. I found light while watching my sweet boy sleep. I found light in good friends.  I found light in my home. I found light even in dark moments that tend to creep up once in a while. I found light within me I hadn’t seen in a good while.

Thank you for following along, liking and sharing my posts. I really do appreciate your time and support. This practice should help me keep Frida’s Cafe current. I won’t bore you with my thoughts every day but will do it at least once a week. I hope you have a wonderful December and remember to look for the light. 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

Check out other photos

#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Day 25: 10 months

29 Nov


It is hard to believe today he is 10 months, just 2 months shy away from being 1 year. I remember the days when I could take a photo with that zebra to show his growth from month to month. Now it is hard to get him to stay still. He crawls non-stop, stands on his own and wants to explore everything insight. He is a social butterfly who doesn’t mind new people and will give you a nice big smile if he really likes you. He is the light of my days.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Day 24: Life changes

28 Nov


Last year life didn’t look or feel like this. I’m thankful for the changes Gael has brought into my life and all the little things he helps me value. He brings a different perspective, humility, hope and love I’ve never experienced. I’m thankful for this every single day.

The photo above is a tradition I want to continue with him- A mini-thanksgiving meal just by ourselves.

I hope you had a wonderful thanksgiving!

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Day 23: Lunch alone

27 Nov

imageToday I had lunch by myself.  This is a rarity for me nowadays. I used to do this all the time. Times have changed.  When you are a parent eating becomes a rushed activity even more so when you are doing the single parent thing.  I love eating with my little guy but I also love eating alone. It felt nice to sit back and observe my surroundings while listening to music, and slowly chewing my food. The last part becomes a luxury when you have an active 10 month old.   It felt nice to write somewhere else other than in my bed. It felt nice to do it during normal hours, with daylight. It felt nice to look up at the pretty lamps in the ceiling, the décor around in the restaurant and the couple across the room having a glass of wine. It all felt nice. 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Day 22: Beautiful Green

27 Nov


A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to take photos at the Neighborhood Centers (NCI) grand opening of their Leonel Castillo Community Center  located near downtown. I hadn’t posted any of the photos because I was waiting to give them to NCI. This is one of my favorite photos of the day.  I noticed this kid before the ceremony started and fell in love with the way he looked into my camera. His beautiful green eyes captured me. 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#NaPhoPoMo 2013 Day 21: A gloomy day

25 Nov


Today was one of those days the weather fits the mood- cold, rainy and gloomy. There have been a few clouds that have made the last few days a bit of a struggle for me. Do you ever have days when things don’t seem to go right? You try so hard to make things better but you make it worse instead. Things begin to pile up, anxiety kicks in and it gets the best of you. When it rain it pours and thunder happens soon after. The problem when this happens is that people around us are effected by it and have the potential of being hurt. We tend to hurt those who are closest to us and we end up making matters worse. We go out in the rain and do not take an umbrella.  I’m learning that these moments tend to trigger negative energy and have a painful domino effect. When thunder strikes in certain areas no good can come from it.  I’m learning these are the worst moments to try to fix things or make them better. As vulnerable humans we go into defense mode and everything becomes threat. I’m learning that when these moments happen it is best to sit still and disconnect from those who may be easy targets. It is best to let the thunder pass and then process.  It is best to use our own umbrella on gloomy days… learn to Be still. Be peaceful. Be mindful.



This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#NaPhoPoMo 2013, Day 20: My kid has the best smile

24 Nov

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My kid does have a great smile and I cannot get enough of it. I love how he giggles at random sounds and silly faces. I love that he thinks I’m funny and gets super excited when he sees me dance like a crazy person. I love how his eyes light up as soon as I walk into the door to pick him up after work. I love that he is not afraid to smile at other people. I love that he is just the most loving being in my life. I love the way he dances when he hears music and I say, “Gael baila.” I love that he is the happiest baby I know and I like to think I have a little bit to do with it. I love how he lights up my mornings, days and nights like no one can. I love that it is so easy for him to make me feel better. I love that he loves me just because I’m his Mama.



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This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 18: Perfect trio

22 Nov


I love watching the Houston skyline after the sun sets. The Sabine bridge is one of my favorite spots to admire our beautiful city lights. There’s something magical, almost poetic about the way these illuminate the sky. The buildings, lights and sky make a perfect trio on a winter night.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 17: Dinner en nuestro hogar

21 Nov

imageTonight Gael and I hosted a dinner for a small group of friends at home. This was a first for me. I’ve never really had more than one friend come over for dinner. It was really nice. It’s was our usual sunday breakfast bunch- Rafa, Pau and Ale. I managed to cook a pretty decent meal without burning the place down.  No body got sick as of yet so I think that’s a good sign.

I never really had friends come over prior to Gael because I was hardly ever there. I was always on the go and my apartment didn’t look anything like it does today. One of the things I did while pregnant was transform my apartment into a home. I knew I would have to spend more time at home once Gael arrived so my goal was to make it as cozy as possible. I’ve always wanted a place that felt like home- a place that is welcoming and comfortable.  My apartment is not just an apartment anymore, it has become a home thanks to my little guy.This is probably why I feel more comfortable inviting friends. So much has changed with Gael arrival and I’m really thankful for it.  It never ceases to amaze me how this kid has managed to transform so much about my life in such a wonderful way. He has brought me back to the basics and makes me cherish what’s really important in life.

Our friends felt at home tonight and that makes me happy. For the the first time in my life I can say I have a place I can call home– nuestro hogar (our home). 


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This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 16: Meet Mike

21 Nov


I met Mike Segal this morning during a visit at Ben Taub Hospital with my Mom. He came into the waiting area and said, “at 11am I’m going to have a support group in this room. I would like to tell you my story.” My initial thought was, “oh great, what’s this guy going to talk about.”  

Mike came back at 11am and shared that in 1981 he was shot in the head execution style during a robbery at a convenience story in Austin. Mike stopped by the convenience store to get $2 of gas with his girlfriend Sharon who stayed in the car while he went inside the store to pay. They were both students at UT and just finished a long night of studying. Mike survived but his doctors didn’t give him much hope to his quality of life. One of his doctors told him it was best not to focus on returning to college and to set “more realistic goals.” In 1986, Mike graduated with the highest honors from UT. He says he is a very determined and stubborn person.

Mike’s story is remarkable and truly inspiring. One of my favorite things he said during his talk is that in order to see the beauty in life you have to experience some unpleasantness. I couldn’t agree more. This week I’ve been reminded of this several times. Mike is inspiring because he survived against all odds and never gave up. I’m sure it wasn’t easy for him to complete his degree while still going through therapy three to five days a week but he did it. He didn’t make any excuses for himself and was determined. Listening to his story was a breathe of fresh air on a day that didn’t turned out the way I expected.  He brought different things into perspective and reminded me how important it is living each day to it’s fullest. I was humbled to hear story and can only wish others take the time to really listen to him. 

At the end of the talk he asked he we had any questions and of course I did. I wanted to know what happened with Sharon. Mike shared Sharon never left his side and have been married for more than 20 years. They have one daughter who recently graduated from College. Mike says Sharon taught him the definition of true love. Mike describes Sharon as his Miracle, a diamond in a world filled with problems, hurt and pain. 

Thank you Mike for sharing your story every wednesday in that hospital room. Thank you for sharing your wonderful spirit and positive outlook in life. Thank you for reminding me beauty can be found in the most unexpected places, and that we should always keep faith and hope alive.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 15: Out of the ordinary

19 Nov


Today I decided to do something out of the ordinary  while Gael spent time with Dad. I took a dance class for the first time in a very long time. If you know me well, you know I love to dance. I wanted to be a dancer when I grew up… I still do! The class was not only a great workout but also a reminder of how much I love moving and expressing myself through dancing. I haven’t moved like that in a good while and it made me feel so alive.  I’m trying to make this a self care activity a weekly practice. I think it’s important for Mom’s to do something on their own every chance they get. It is healthy and necessary. This is also one of my personal goals to get out of the routine and do something different. Lately, I’ve doing a lot of this!  I encourage you to try it. Try doing something out of the ordinary every chance you get, even if it’s just taking a different route to work. Get out of your comfort zone and explore something new. Life can become much more interesting when we get out of our box!

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 14: The art of design

18 Nov


I’m always impressed with people that are able to create beauty with their hands. Tonight I attended the Taste of the Texans event where HCC had a booth displaying design work by one of the professors along with delicious sweets. The photos below show you a before and after.  It was great watching the designer create the display from beginning to end. The display was voted BEST display of the night.

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This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 13: Domingos con Tota

17 Nov



Gael gets excited when we visit Tota on sundays. She tries to sing to him and he just stares. I love watching them interact because I never thought she would get to see one of my kids. She used to say, “You need to hurry up and have a baby before I die.” She got her wish!! My wish is that Gael gets to have some memories of her. I hope he remembers moments like the one above- when she caresses his big cheeks and calls him, “mi gordito.” I hope!

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 12: Dinner with friends

17 Nov


A dinner with a great group of friends will always be a win on a Saturday night. Gael and I did just that last night. Gatherings like this are great reminders of how great are good ol’ hangouts, and conversations with friends. I mean, LIVE hangouts!! We don’t do this enough in the age of social media and we shouldn’t. I dare you to try doing more social activities off line rather than online- it is pretty awesome! Thank you Anjelica and Juan for having us. 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 11: Friday night light

15 Nov



Give a kid a flash light and this is what happens! Tonight Gael and I did our usual Friday date night. I took advantage of the nice weather and took out to Market Square in downtown. I think it’s pretty amazing how kids love the simplest things. There’s no need to buy the most expensive toys, just give a kid simple things like a flash light and he will love it! The photos below show Gael’s curiosity, discovery, crankiness, and happy smiles! Happy Friday. 


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This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 10: Morning smiles

14 Nov

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This is the smile I got to enjoy this morning.  Actually, this is the smile I get to see every single morning. I said it on my first #naphopomo post and I don’t mind saying again and again! 

One of my favorite things about Gael is the fact that he wakes up with that same smile every morning. He’s managed to have a smile even on those days when he is not feeling too well.  Watching him wake up in such a great mood fills my heart and makes me so happy. His killer smile and positive energy are the best and only way to kick off the mornings. It’s what I look forward to.  I thank God for him and for all the light he has brought into my life. I thank God because he is a very happy and loving baby. I thank God because he chose me to be his Mama. I thank God because he loves me. He loves ME!

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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Day 9: Community Table #naphopomo

13 Nov


Tonight I got some much needed adult time with my lady friends April and Ericka. We have made it a habit to meet every 2 to 3 weeks for a nice dinner out. It is our version of “ladies night out “minus the heavy drinking and clubbing. Gael is usually the 4th guest but tonight he was spending time with dad. It is kind of funny because Gael has become almost a requirement to hangout with some of my friends. He is usually pretty good in social settings, which I think it’s a result of dragging him along to almost everything I do. 

Tonight’s meal was even more enjoyable because we sat in the community table at Underbelly. It was great seating at this table because we got a chance to chat with a couple from Colorado seating next to us. The woman initiated the conversation and asked us about the food. She shared they visit Houston every 3 months because she is part of a case study at MD Anderson Cancer Center. She said proudly, “I just celebrated my first year in remission… I’ve been clean and feeling great!”

It was a breathe of fresh air to have a conversation with two complete strangers and even shared our food with them. I don’t think we do this enough now a days. We get so caught up in the social media world we don’t make time to talk to each other in person. If you get a chance to visit a restaurant where you can share the table with others I encourage you to try it. Always keep in mind everyone has a story and you have yours to share. Oh and if you are an avid smart phone user try putting it away during the meal. I put mine away for most of the meal but neglected to take a photo of the actual community table!! This was the most decent photo of the night, which is sad but proves I was busier enjoying the meal and conversation.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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Day 8: Captured #naphopomo

12 Nov IMG_6406


My favorite subjects to photograph are children and the elderly. I always something pure, innocent and beautiful when taking their photographs. This is why I was so excited to be able to photograph my friend’s parents earlier this month. I finished editing and delivered photos yesterday which means I can finally share some of them with you.

I must say this was one of my favorite photo shoots I’ve ever done not just because they are such a cute couple but also because they are not afraid to show their love in front of the camera- it was like nothing else mattered. I usually don’t like to take much time reviewing photos during the shoots. I tend to take advantage of the moment, shoot and review later. I’ve had a lot of great “accidents” happen this way. Accidents are those photos that find you, no planning or staging. At times I don’t realize I’ve taken them until the editing process. What makes these photos great is the emotion they evoke. 

The photo above is one of my favorite accidents. I was not expecting to get that look from him when I took this photo. There’s something so beautiful and touching about the way he is looking at the camera, the way he is holding her and her smile. I see this photo and it just makes me smile. It also make me hope one day someone will hold me this way. The bond between these two is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. They captured me. I was also intrigued by their marriage of more than 50 years. I asked them, “What’s your secret?” and they both just laughed. They thought it was a joke but I was dead serious. I wanted to know how they made it work. I’m sure they had their challenges along the way but somehow they survived them all and made it work which I found truly inspiring. 

I hope you enjoy seeing their photos as much I enjoyed taking them. 

Here’s a few more

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, day 7: Twenty minutes

11 Nov


Today I ran on my own for the first time in a long time. I think last time I ran alone was when I was a few months pregnant. It was only for 20 minutes and not at all the pace I used to have but it felt great. 20 minutes was all I could give myself before picking up baby after work but they were the best gift I could have given myself. It felt liberating.

Running like this is one of the activities I’ve had to pause post baby. I do it with the baby all the time but doing it alone it’s different. I felt like myself and it was empowering. I think there are times we lose ourselves while we are trying to be Mommy’s. We are so focused on baby or the kids we forget we also need to focus on ourselves.  It only took 20 minutes for me to regain some of that self. My body isn’t where it needs to be but running those 20 minutes made me feel strong and not so out of shape. I ran without stopping (well except to take the photo above) and it felt so good to be able to do that on my own. Don’t get me wrong, I love jogging with my baby but running is one those things I really miss doing on my own. It always gave me an opportunity to decompress and disconnect from the world. Running always made me feel free and alive.

I need to give myself more 20 minutes like these. It is healthy not only for the body but for the heart and mind. You should try it too. Give yourself the gift of 20 minutes. It doesn’t have to be running, do something you enjoy and make it a daily practice. If daily seems too much, try it weekly but be sure to at least try. I promise your “self” will thank you for it.  

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, day 6: A walk in the park + some cuteness

10 Nov


I decided to take advantage of the perfect weather on Sunday and take a walk in the park with Gael. My favorite sight from the walk was the photo above. A couple brought their hammock and took a nap by the bayou. I must say I was a little jealous of their awesome idea and wished I had a hammock myself! It was the perfect day for it!

Here our a few more photos from our walk.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 5: Helen and the kids

9 Nov



Helen Guerra is one of the most caring individuals I’ve ever met. She cares for my Gael during the day while I’m at work. Helen is not just Gael’s babysitter but she also has become a part of our little family. Her care for Gael goes beyond the 8+ hours she keeps him, it never stops and it’s always genuine. She is also pretty sneaky. She sneaks cute little gifts for Gael in his bag and I usually don’t notice them until I get home. She always seems to find something for him when she goes shopping. Her excuse, “It was on clearance, I had to get it!!!.” She has a kind heart and cannot help it.

Helen has been caring for little ones for more than 30 years, and she is good at it. She says it comes to her easy because she always wanted to be a teacher. I love Helen’s spirit and joyful personality. She is the kind of person that will always have a smile for you even on not the best of days. Her fighting spirit is an inspiration; she is a 10-year cancer survivor and counting. I’m thankful for her and this is why I wanted to include her on this month’s photo challenge.

This photo above captures Helen’s daily routine with the usual subjects- Gael, Jaden and her grandson Emerson. Gael is usually on her lap or crawling on the floor, Jaden is always lying down and Emerson is the one who is always running around dancing. playing or calling me Hola. Oh yeah, Emerson thinks my name is “Hola” because every time I pick up Gael I say, “Hola mi amor.” It was hard to choose just one so I added a few more on this link. 

#naphopomo 2013, Day 4: Pan Dulce

7 Nov

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With the weather change comes pan dulce for me. I find comfort and much needed warmth in eating a piece of pan dulce with a cup of Cafe or hot chocolate.  I don’t think I’m alone on this because the Panaderia was pretty busy when I visited last night.

what about you? what brings you comfort during chilly weather?

P.S. Photos are from panaderia El Bolillo. They were really nice about me photographing the bread. 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 3: A beautiful reflection

6 Nov

IMG_6859This was my view on the way to my car this evening afterwork. There’s something magical about sunsets that can make any day so much better. The reflection against the building was a great reminder that beauty can be found in the most unexpected places.

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) – a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 2: Paying attention

6 Nov


It is amazing what happens when we begin to pay attention. My eyes and mind were much more aware of the surroundings today because I knew I needed a photo for this post. Both were more open. I noticed the shift when I walked out the door with my camera (and baby) on hands just in case I saw something on my way down the stairs!!  I took time to see not just look at everything around me. This is just one of the few photos I took today and although it’s not the best it does capture the shift as a result of this exercise. I don’t think I would have noticed the guy in the tricycle had I not being paying attention to what was around me. He is just strolling on Montrose during the busy lunch time. I found this refreshing, daring and brave!

Open your eyes a little more, you may be surprised at what your missing. I dare you to try! 

This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) — a shot a day for the month of November.

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#naphopomo 2013, Day 1: Better late than never

5 Nov

Lately, I’ve been paying a bit more attention to posts online, especially those that offer tools for struggling bloggers like me! One of my friend’s posted a link to Blogher.com NaBloPoMo post on Friday. Her headline caught my eye: Today is the first day of NaBloPoMo, “National Blog Posting Month. Bloggers commit to posting once a day every day for the month.” I also noticed one of my favorite bloggers, Karen Walrond’s post about National Photo Posting Month (naphopomo). I made a mental note to check both of these.

I was supposed to check on this earlier tonight but failed miserably when I fell asleep with the baby (this happens almost every night). The plan is to put him to sleep and then get stuff done– but man he is way too comfy for my own good which makes it very difficult to stay awake. Plus, watching him fall asleep is one of those things I look forward to every day. It relaxes me so much and I just love to watch him toss and turn until he finds his comfy spot. Of course, his mama needs to be nearby in order to do this!!

Today I got up (after taking a nice 2 hour nap!) and told myself to check Karen’s post and blogher.com and I’m so happy I did!! The Challenge is simple, blog once a day every day for the month of November. I know I’m more than a few days late but it’s better late than never! I want it try it because I think it’s a great exercise to get my creative juices flowing again and to develop discipline. Learn more below and maybe you too can join me!

Learn more about #NaBloPoMo and how to participate

Learn more about #naphopomo from the wonderful Karen

My personal goal, one post a day for the next 30 days! I will stick to what I already do every day- take photos! This will not only improve my photo skills but also help me click the “publish” button more often. I have to thank Sandra Fernandez for the blogher.com post and Karen for inspiring to do more with my photos!

The first has to be a photo of my handsome little mister- my 9  month old son Gael. I took this yesterday morning. One of my favorite things about Gael is that he always wakes up in a great mood. I love staying in a bed watching him smile trying to find ways to make his Mama play. This is him enjoying morning playtime under the blanket with Mama. A bit blurry but this captures the moment! 


This photograph was taken as part of #NaPhoPoMo (National Photo Posting Month) — a shot a day for the month of November.

My childhood memory of el Dia de Los Muertos

1 Nov

73624_454790278007_1942831_nOne of my favorite childhood memories may sound a bit morbid to some but very normal to others. I  loved the time of the year when Tota would take me to the cemetery to spend the day at my great grandmother Mamita’s grave. November 1st in El Salvador, like in many other Latin American countries, is a celebration and a day of remembrance. For me, this was an excuse to get out of the house with Tota, eat and play! We cleaned the grave, decorated with colorful flowers and socialize with others who were doing the same. I got to eat comida del mercado, elotes locos (corn on the cob with all kinds of crazy yummy stuff) and run wild in the cemetery. Tota loved to walk from grave to grave to see the colorful decorations, photos and talk to other families. I really enjoyed listening to them speak about their loved ones. Some even shared their food with us. It was a picnic at the cemetery!!!  It was fun! It was okay. It wasn’t morbid or scary. It was supposed to be a happy time. It was a celebration amongst families, friends and even strangers. This is how I remember el Dia de Los Muertos in El Salvador- a day to celebrate.

I love the way Frances Ann Day summarizes the tradition on her book “Latina and Latino Voices in Literature”,


“On October 31, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the angelitos [little angels] (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1 is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2 is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead; muertos (the bread of the dead); sugar skulls; cardboard skeletons; tissue paper decorations; fruit and nuts; incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.”


M-Reception2My baby shower’s theme last year was El Dia de los Muertos and it was pretty awesome. I wanted to do something different, non-traditional and meaningful.  El Dia de los muertos for me is a celebration of life. It is a celebration of those who are no longer with us, their spirit, legacy and our own life. I wanted my baby shower to be a celebration of the life in my womb. I wanted to celebrate Gael coming into this world, and changing my life!

Courtesy of the Houston Symphony

Courtesy of the Houston Symphony

I was reminded about this earlier this week when I attended the Houston Symphony’s preview of La Triste Historia- a multimedia concert and film that celebrates this tradition. The beautifully produced animated film is the tragic and dreamlike tale of two young lovers set against the backdrop of the Mexican Revolution, which culminates in the celebration of the Day of the Dead. The details at the reception highlighted the care and commitment by the Symphony to get it right.

cempasc3bachil-2As soon I walked into the room I noticed the flores the muerto or Cempasuchil which are traditionally used during Day of the Dead celebrations. I really appreciated this. I’m also impressed with the talent making this this production a reality.  Juan Trigos is a renowned Mexican composer; director Ben Young Mason and executive producer Duncan Copp have paired an original orchestral work with a fantastical animated film.

Baby shower decor

Baby shower decor

The preview of La Triste Historía captured me not only for it’s beauty but also for the message behind it. I truly believe the spirit never dies and this is what El Dia de los Muertos is about- remembering those spirits and keeping them alive. It is about honoring our past and celebrating the future.  Our bodies may leave this earth but I truly believe our spirit remains. Our spirit lives on in the hearts of those lives we touched, and difference we made.

If you are interested, the world premiere of La Triste Historia is this Friday with shows Saturday and Sunday. This would be a great way to introduce and/or teach the kiddos about this tradition. And just in case you need resources, click here for some great books that will help you introduce this important part of our heritage.

I’m curious, what does el Dia de Los Muertos mean to you? Do you have any childhood memories of the celebration?

I’m participating in a Día de los Muertos Blog Hop with Houston Latinas. Check out the other bloggers participating in the blog hop below:

More blog posts about Día de los Muertos, from Houston Latina Bloggers:

It doesn’t just happen in October

31 Oct

IMG_5820Last week I attended the Domestic Violence awareness program at the Houston Area Women’s Center shelter and it was powerful to be back and be surrounded by survivors. It felt like home and it reminded me of the important work advocates at the Women’s center do. I also realized that although I may have left, my heart is still there.

I’ve been working for HCC for nearly two months and it has been a great learning experience. Like with every new experience, there have been challenges but I’m slowly getting the hang of it. My mind is slowly shifting more attention to issues of education but my heart is still with Women’s issues. I say this because for the first few weeks all I could think about was the opportunity to partner with the Women’s center and how HCC could support its mission (I actually still think about this every day).  

Being at back at the shelter was touching because I was able to listen and watch survivors share some of their struggles. During a powerful presentation survivors were asked to connect their palms with a partner, look into each others eyes and listen to a song. It was such a powerful exercise because some of them connected and were able to feel each other’s pain. Some cried as they held each other, others had to step out of the room because it was too much. It was a privilege to be in that room and feel the energy. It was powerful.

420942_10151085631148008_1764056116_nAs some of you may know October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. This is the first time in more than 5 years I’m not as involved for obvious reasons (new job and all). I wanted to wait until the last day of the month to write something because although I feel very strongly about this month, I also believe it is important to create awareness about this issue 365 days of the year. This doesn’t just happen in October. Last year, 114 Texas women were killed by their partner, 30 of them in Harris County. Domestic violence can be prevented; it is not a disease without a cure or prevention. It doesn’t have to happen yet it does. Prevention starts early, with the youngest members of our family and it has to become a practice in our daily lives. Prevention means doing something about it when we see someone being abused. Prevention means not only talking to our children about what a healthy relationship looks like but also setting an example. Prevention means speaking up when we don’t agree with something and challenging the norms. Prevention means involving men and encouraging them to be part of the solution.

You can be a part of the solution. I encourage you to search the answers to the following questions:

  1. What is domestic violence?
  2. How can I help someone who is being abused?
  3. How can I prevent it?
  4. How can I get involved?

If you read the answers to any of these questions consider yourself “aware” and my job here is done. Now it is your turn to do something. What will you do?

Me salio lo cursi con la maternidad // Motherhood made me a lil’ corny

22 Oct

English Version- Motherhood made me a lil’ corny

GaelEsto de la maternidad no me lo esperaba, por lo menos no ahora. Confieso que cuando me di cuenta de mi embarazo fue muy aterrador- nunca llore tanto. Ahora que tengo a mi Gael entre mis brazos es lo  mejor que me pudo haber pasado. Este amor que siento por el se me sale por los poros y no me da pena demostrarlo al aire libre. Los que me conocen se admiran un poco de esta nueva Frida que ven. Me dicen, “nunca pensé verte así.” Creo que porque no soy el tipo de persona que demuestra mucho afecto en publico, al contrario creo que hay veces que puedo ser un poco fría.  En privado es otra historia pero con Gael se me sale lo cursi sin querer ni pensarlo! Lo digo de broma pero es muy cierto. Hay momentos que me escucho y veo a mi misma y yo misma me sorprendo.  No me importa quien me vea ni quien me escuche hablándole locuras a mi bebe y comiéndomelo a besos. No me canso de decirle que lo amo y que es el amor de mi vida. Me paso de cursi y me vale. Gael me a quitado lo ruda y hablando un montón. Quien iba decir que una personita tan pequeñita tendría tanto poder sobre mi. Antes, solo me lo imaginaba pero ahora los estoy viviendo y me llena de felicidad.

papaNo, no tengo una pareja a mi lado las 24 horas del dia ni mucho menos pienso en “juntarme” con nadie por mi bebe.  No me lo imagina de esta manera pero tampoco significa que su padre no esta involucrado. Gael nos tendrá a los dos de una manera distinta y no tradicional. Y no, no se me acaba la vida por como pasaron las cosas al contrario mi vida ahora tiene un sentido diferente. Tampoco significa que me la estoy viendo difícil como madre soltera. Mi vida ahora se siente mas llena y menos complicada. La maternidad te da humildad. No diré que las cosas son fáciles pero este reto me hace una mujer mas fuerte y capaz. También aprecio mucho todo lo que me rodea, mi mama, mi familia y amigos.

securedownload-2Cuando uno se da cuenta que va tener un hijo piensa en tantas cosas. Al principio yo pensaba mucho en lo que me falto hacer, en los viajes y todos aquellos planes que tenia en mente. Ahora espero con ansias hacer todo lo que no hice con Gael a mi lado. Quiero hacer muchísimo mas ahora que lo tengo!! Quiero viajar con el a los lugares que no he viajado, quiero que conozca mis lugares favoritos, quiero que sea tan o mas aventurero que yo, quiero que conozca rincones del mundo que yo nunca conocí y quiero sea feliz haciendo lo que mas le gusta.

securedownload-3Esta felicidad que ahora siento no se compara con nada y no me canso de agradecerle a Dios por este sentir tan bonito.  Nunca pensé que diría esto pero me gusta ser cursi con mi hijo. Me gusta comérmelo a besos mientras le repito lo mucho que lo adoro. Me encanta despertarme a su lado y que me sonría cada vez que le digo algo absurdo. Me encanta bailar con el por las mañanas y escuchar música a todo volumen en el coche. Me encanta cuando me busca con su mirada y sus ojitos me dicen que me conocen. Me encanta cuando su manita aprieta con fuerzas mis dedos y no me quieren soltar. Me encanta sentir su respiración cuando esta dormido en mi pecho. Me encanta verlo convivir con su padre porque es algo que yo nunca tuve con el mio.  Me encanta cuando lo escucho gritar porque es señal que es un niño fuerte y saludable. Me encanta sentirme así- toda cursi, cariñosa y amorosa. Todo es culpa de mi hermoso Gael! 

Aqui les comparto algunas fotos que nos tomo mi gran amigo Carlos! 

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A beautiful struggle

21 Oct

424159_10150618085593008_967857862_nDo you ever have days when you have so much to do it is hard to get anything done? You feel like your mind is racing faster than a race car and there’s only so much you can do to hold still.  Things begin to happen so fast and your only wish is to stop for just a few minutes to find a little peace. And that never ending “To Do” list becomes a sad reminder that peace is nowhere near and all you can do is hold on as well as you can. I know I’m not the only one that has these moments. At least I like to think I’m not the only one!!! These are the moments that make us feel less capable and a bit lost. Moments we question everything around us, the decisions we make and the direction our life is going.  We struggle to keep up and at times not everything works out. We fall, we cry, get angry. These are the moments that challenge us as individuals and have the potential to break us down but also make us stronger. It is during these moments when we realize how much strength, courage, and fight we have in us.

I think it is okay to feel a bit (or a lot) lost once in a while. Personally, it shakes me up and helps me regain perspective I may have lost along the way. It brings me back to where I need to be and most importantly, it reminds me I am human. A human who makes mistakes, gets lost and not always holds it all together. I’m also a new Mom, a single new mom, who is trying to do the best that she can with her baby boy as well as maintain a professional career. It is okay for me to have these moments, right?

So if these moments ever creep up on you, because they can and they will, don’t forget to be compassionate and never lose sight of what’s truly important. If you fall, get up and don’t give up. If you cry, it’s okay but also remember to smile (there will always be something to smile about). If you get angry, find your “happy” (there’s always a bit of happiness all around us).  Struggles are never easy but most are worth it and always have something to teach us. Remember you are human…. A beautiful-imperfect human riding this crazy ride call life.  Just hold on because at some point it will does slow down and get better.  At the end of it all it is a beautiful struggle.

My last week at the Women’s Center

14 Sep


“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in you life.” This has become one of my rules in life—to do what I love, and do work that makes me feel alive and passionate.  This defines my job at the Women’s Center for the last 5 years.

And then life and change happened!!!

IMG_6704This was my last week at the Houston Area Women’s Center.  I waited a while to publicly announce it because it didn’t feel real. It became real when I walked out of my office on Thursday with a cart full of junk—my personal collection of memories of the last five years!

I remember the day I was introduced to the Women’s Center. I met a woman at an event at the Mexican Consulate who would not shut up about the Women’s Center, it’s mission and how I could get involved.  Her name was Concepcion Miranda. Her passion poured out of her like sweat. I remember thinking, “I want some of that.” I went to a volunteer orientation and I was intrigued. I did the volunteer training and I was hooked. I began to volunteer at the Hotline and I fell in love.

IMG_3377I’m an adrenaline junkie. I love doing exciting things that get my blood pumping. Volunteering at the Women’s center Hotline did this for me in a new way. It wasn’t easy listening to the stories of distress, pain and suffering but I felt privileged to be on the other end. Some of the callers had never talked to anyone about their pain. I felt privileged because making that call was probably one of the hardest things that person had to do. I felt privileged because some how some way destiny had chosen me to listen. And no, I wasn’t the greatest hotline advocate but I tried my best. I did everything I could to comfort and to not say the wrong thing. I tried to remember wise words from those who trained me and asked many questions along the way. It was a different kind of adrenaline and I wanted more.


I joined the troop!

April of 2008, the TV station I was working for filed for bankruptcy and I lost my job. I remember leaving my office angry and going to the Women’s center to volunteer.  I figured might as well volunteer as much as I can while I find a new job. Luckily, one of the hotline advocates, Frances, asked for my resume and shared it with the manager of communications. A month later I was hired on as the communications specialist. The decision to take the job came with a significant salary cut. I was broke for a good while but it was the best decision I could have made. I couldn’t let the opportunity to get more adrenaline pass me by. This is how non-profits get you–They don’t directly dig into your pockets but do a damn good job digging into your heart J


Women’s center staff

After 5 years- 3 ½ months, working with some of the most impactful individuals I will ever know, a number of successful projects and lots of media interviews I decided to let go of some of that adrenaline.  There’s a time in life when change is necessary and that time has come for me.  The agreement with myself after making the decision was to only give up part of the adrenaline. Like a good junkie, I could never give it all up!!! I’m going back to where it all began, volunteering!  When I first started this job I became part of a movement, and in the end the movement became part of me.


The past 5 years have been the most rewarding and humbling of my personal and professional life. I’ve grown not only as a communications professional but also a woman. I will always look back with pride and satisfaction at our accomplishments in the communications department. The projects that hang on the walls, the newspaper covers, the photos, videos, the social media and so much more I cherish. I feel privileged to have worked with committed and selfless individuals who truly make a difference in our community.  I was also lucky to work with amazing journalists who made my job more interesting and who took the time to really understand the issues. I’m also thankful for the many friends who supported the cause and got involved one way or another. I’m sure some got sick of my posts in social media but I’m thankful for those who didn’t, decided to take action and supported me.


Children’s activity art

Survivors of domestic and sexual violence were the fuel that kept the adrenaline alive. Every interaction I had with a survivor inspired me to do more and kept me motivated.   Listening to survivor stories was one of the hardest parts of the job but also my favorite. It is always humbling to listen to their struggles, and extraordinary ways of survival. I feel privileged to know Amelia, a 65-year-old woman from Honduras whose only daughter was stabbed to death by her ex in February of 2008.  Amelia has been caring for her daughter’s two young boys since. Amelia speaks no English, has no car but yet the boys have never missed a doctor’s appointment or been late to school. She is one of the most caring individuals I’ve ever met- so brave, so human, so beautiful. She always says, “I pray for you because you are like one of my angels.”  She has no idea she is my angel!

Survivor poetry

Survivor poetry

During my time at the Women’s Center I also had the opportunity to visit survivors at the Hospital. Most survivors I visited had been raped. Most knew the person who raped them. Most were in the hospital room alone. Most were women ranging from 13 years old to 74. Some cried. Others didn’t. Some didn’t want to see me. Others didn’t want me to leave. Some reached out for a hug. Others said they couldn’t stand to be touched. Some couldn’t remember what happened.  Others wished they could forget.  All kept me grounded, connected and reminded me why the work is important. They will always be my inspiration.  For this, I’m thankful

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My next adventure begins this Monday at Houston Community College. I will be supporting special projects and communications efforts. Why HCC? Because education is something I love.

Mas Gracias/More thanks


There are individuals that touched my life in a very special way while at the Women’s Center and I will always consider them part of my family

They are extraordinary

Concepcion – I’m so happy I met you at the Mexican Consulate! The passion I saw in you that day continues to inspire me today.  I began to truly understand feminism because of you. Thank you for your friendship, honesty and unwavering support.

Frances – thank you for sharing my resume and for saying really nice things about me. I will never forget you were the first person at the Women’s Center who believed I could!

Kelly B- Thank you for giving me a chance, for not keeping me in a box and for saying yes to some of my crazy ideas! You will always be a role model—not only for your greatness as a manager but also for your awesomeness as a Mom! Thank you for your friendship, honest advice and your witty humor!

Mamta- you are one of the most compassionate and beautiful human beings I’ve ever met. Your friendship came into my life in the perfect moment. I thank the universe for your presence and for allowing me to be part of your life. You are my light.

Pam– you are the MOST fabulous woman I know.  I remember thinking after listening to your presentation during my volunteer training, “I want to be her friend.” Your spirit fills any room you walked into and I will miss that terribly. Thank you for your guidance, brutal honesty and friendship.

Sonia– you are walking diplomacy!!! I’ve learned the importance of diplomacy by observing you. I learned so much from you and appreciate your listening ear. Thank you for your support, saying no and then yes to my constant media requests and for always knowing what to say!

Cely– you are one super woman! I admire you not only as a professional but also as mother. Thank you for being the greatest listening ear and a good friend.  I appreciate all your support, guidance and friendship. 

Cristina– I feel so lucky my first supervising experience was with you. Thank you for being one of the most professional individuals I know and for being such a great teammate during the ups and downs. I’m so happy about the new chapter in your life and I cannot wait to see what’s ahead for you.

Letty– you are one of my favorite media reps ever!! Thank you for never being afraid to saying yes to my unexpected media requests and for always rocking the interviews. You are an amazing counselor, feminist and a hella twitterer! Café very soon!

Isabel– the work you do with children and youth is admirable. Thank you for always being supportive and being one of the best social media advocates! I admire your spirit and genuine personality. Thank you for being you!!

Estela– you were one of my favorite hotline advocate trainers when I became a volunteer. I really appreciate your willingness to always listen and provide feedback. You are one of the sweetest women I know. Thank you for always being interested in what was “new” with my little man and me. 

Francisco– You are the shit and I mean that in the best way possible! Thank you for always being real. I admire your work as a counselor and hope you continue touching lives like you did at the Women’s Center. Thank you for your awesome friendship!

David– I will miss your dry sense of humor, funny messages during long meetings and IT expertise. Thank your for understanding not everyone (me) is a techie and for having tolerance for my ignorance :) 

Luke– I will always consider you HAWC family even if you left a few years ago!! You were my first introduction to male feminism. It was refreshing to talk to male who understood the movement and the importance of males being part of it. Thank you for not being afraid of showing a different kind of man and for speaking up. 

My inspiration

15 Aug

DSC_1454I’ve had major blogger’s block for the last 6 months. For me, blogger’s block is when you cannot get yourself to click the publish button. My blogger’s block is not due to lack of inspiration or motivation. I’ve actually written quite a bit and even started journaling again. This blog was inspired by a journal. I used to write everything on a journal since I was in middle school. My journals were my Frida’s Café.

389466_10150464080873008_615179952_nToday I’m inspired to continue journaling- not only on a piece of paper but also in this space.  My inspiration to blog comes from different sources. Women and their awesomeness are a main source of inspiration.  I’ve always been inspired by women, their voices and struggles. There is so much to say and share about a woman’s life, journey and the way she survives it.  I’m continuously at awe by the courage and bravery to face the worse situations. I admire their power overcome obstacles and the ease to create beauty in so many different forms. I feel fortunate to know pretty darn amazing women– amazons who thrive, empower and truly make a difference.

181226_10151437653983008_837096931_nAnother source of inspiration is love. Yes, it sounds very cursi but love drives so much of what I write on here. The sea of emotions love brings drives some of the best blog posts on Frida’s café.  Love makes me passionate, brings me happiness and at times confuses the crap out of me. My search for love can also be found on some of my posts– the search for the right kind of love. The kind we only hear about in movies and in the fantasy world we are trained to believe it exists. Love is so much more than an idea or a fantasy. Love makes us vibrate and has the power to give us the best adrenaline rush. Love is not only what we feel for our significant other- it is all around us, in every single person we allow into our lives. Love is within us and should never cause us pain or makes us angry. People cause pain and anger- not love. Love inspires me to continue to write and to hope one day the right kind of love will find me.

IMG_5389Life has changed quite a bit for me since I gave birth to my beautiful baby boy. His arrival revolutionized my life in the most unexpected and beautiful way. He has become my biggest inspiration. He inspires me to live life in a different way. He inspires me to enjoy the simple things in life like silence, the sounds of rain, the beautiful green in trees, the peacefulness in daytime naps, music and the comfort of doing absolutely nothing on a Saturday afternoon. He smiles and my world is okay. I could have the worse of days  but when that kid smiles everything is alright and that is the best feeling in the world. He has become my soul mate– my little soul mate that keeps me grounded, humble and very very happy.  I thank God every day for bringing him into my life, I thank him for choosing me be his Mama and for being such a wonderful baby. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world because the RIGHT kind of love finally found me!

Your turn, what inspires you?


I have been too quiet for too long

30 Jul

DSC_1497Today someone reminded me of something I wrote a while back and encouraged me to read some of my posts from a few years ago. Some were very powerful and inspiring. I was transported and wondered what happened to that voice– my voice. A voice that dared and encouraged me to embrace my different.

I have been too quiet for too long and it is time to change that. In the last few months I’ve attempted to write many posts but never got around to finishing any of them.

The voice is there, aching to be loud and tired to be held back.  The truth is, I’ve been making excuses for myself and possibly even using this wild thing called motherhood as a way out.  Being a mom has actually inspired me to go beyond my personal expectations. It has made me stronger but also not afraid to show vulnerability.  I have my son to blame for this!! He forces me out of my comfort zone and has woken up a dormant side of me.  A baby shouldn’t be used as excuse for not doing what I love and what helps me stay sane.  For me, writing is a processing tool—it keeps me grounded and helps me organize thoughts that would otherwise just float around my head which can get exhausting.

I won’t make this long because I’m getting sleepy and I don’t want it to become another post I don’t ever finish. I also need to remember not to over analyze every thing I write. It is okay to share simple, short but meaningful thoughts. It is okay to just want write about my baby. It is okay to not write about him too. It is okay to be human, at times be ashamed, make mistakes, forgive, learn and move on.

I’m a new mom but this shouldn’t mean losing my voice, my person or my different. This doesn’t mean everything about me has completely changed. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to socialize. This doesn’t’ mean I’m clueless or lost. This doesn’t mean I’m not getting enough sleep, always tired or busy.  This doesn’t mean I cannot have an occasional beer or cocktail of my damn choice. This doesn’t mean I’m having a “rough” time. This doesn’t mean all I want to talk about is my beautiful Gael. This doesn’t mean all I can talk about is Gael. This doesn’t mean I do not know what’s going on. I am still Frida—with a little more love and in love.


P.S. Thank you for coming back and reading Frida’s Cafe. My goal is to re-design and post more frequently. I have to much to share!!!! I hope you continue to visit and enjoy all the new stuff🙂

Carta al hombre que no quiso ser mi padre

16 Jun

Frida's Cafe

In English!

Un padre es alguien que esta constantemente presente, demuestra amor e inspira- yo no recuerdo a mi padre así. El para mi es un tanto extraño y al que mi corazón se reusa llamar padre. Es por esto que nunca escribí sobre el hasta hoy.  Tal vez sea mi eterna curiosidad sobre lo que nunca supe, o simplemente búsqueda de un perdón y paz interna que aun no encuentro. Esta es la carta que nunca le escribí pero que ha vivido en mi corazón por muchos años, una carta que espero un dia el lea.

La Carta

Mi primera memoria de usted es la visita que le hice poco después de que la guerra civil en el salvador terminara. Recuerdo que me pusieron el mejor y tal vez el único buen vestido y zapatos que tenia en ese tiempo.  Cuando las cosas empeoraron en el Zamoran mi abuela…

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Thoughts from a new Mamá: don’t freak and have compassion

25 May momentos con gael

Friday May 24th, 2013

Today was one of those days I thought about over and over again when I was pregnant. The day Gael would be a little sick and I would be clueless. 

momentos con gaelMi Gael got a fever overnight and it freaked me out. I kept telling myself to do one thing but kept second-guessing every thought. I told myself to take off his little onesie to make him more comfortable then told myself not to do it- what if he gets cold? I knew he had a low fever but convinced myself he was fine since he was his normal cheery self in the morning- I didn’t want to be that first time mom who freaks out. I told myself to take his medicine to his sitter and forgot it about it- but of course, that’s what first time moms do, right? Oh and then there was that feeling of guilt when I got to my office- what was I doing there? Shouldn’t I be with him instead? Add more to the guilty pot when I thought about how I was feeling earlier during the week but dismissed it as an allergy attack- I got Gael sick!! I should have taken something stronger or gone to the doctor.

momentos con gaelAnd then I hit the moment of sanity when I tell myself, “STOP, it is not your fault and you are doing the best you can. He is okay.”

And he is. His temperature was normal when we got to the doctor (yes, I called the doctor and she asked me to bring him in) and he was okay.

Moments like this are not fun but certainly have something to teach this new mama.

It is okay if I do not know. It is okay to ask others. It is okay to follow your gut feeling. It is okay to question every thought, decision or fear. It is okay if sometimes I feel inadequate. It is okay if I forget things. It is okay to worry, freak out or even cry. It is okay if some of these feelings never go away. It is okay.

Momentos con Gael

Babies get sick. They get fevers, colds, rashes and many other things I have no clue about. I just need to remember to do the best I can and learn from it. Today I learned so much about what to do and not do next time he has temperature- because there will be a next time! It was also a reminder to take care of me, to listen to my body and do something about it. I cannot do what I used to and just dismiss it. Now, I have a kid that needs my care and my good health.

So if you have a kid, will soon have one or thinking of having one remember to have compassion for yourself in every moment.

Remember you are human and not perfect.

Remember there is no perfect parent.

Remember you are doing the best that you can.

Remember you are also important.

Remember to forgive yourself. Forgive and move on.

Remember you will always learn- new parent or not.

Remember to validate your feelings- always.

Remember to be humble.

momentos con gaelRemember you are the best parent that kid will ever have- the one he/she adores, the one he/she longs for, the one he/she gets excited for, the one who will always do everything to protect, nurture and above all love. Remember to enjoy every single living moment- every day. And never forget to be thankful. 

I leave you with a quote from a friend on facebook and in part what inspired this post.

“…be compassionate to yourself. All of us parents are not perfect and, in fact, I think one reason why we have kids is to teach us that we are imperfect and to learn how to humble ourselves to that and be at peace with our imperfect journeys. Be joyful instead and have fun with your lil’ man!” Ignacio

Motherhood Moments: Now I understand my Mother

12 May

Español para La Voz

Gael con abueIt’s true. The best thing that can happen to a mother is that her children have children.

Now that I’ve become a Mom I understand and admire my mother so much more.

My story with my mother is like that of many other families who come to this country seeking a better life. She had to leave my older brother and me with our grandmother to follow the American dream. I was 2 years old. My mother had to make this difficult decision during the civil war in El Salvador. It was not until 10 years later when she managed to get my residency and reunite.

Since childhood I understood the logic of why she had to leave me behind, my mind processed it but my heart didn’t get it. My heart was resentful for a while.

There were too many moments we missed together– birthdays, graduations, dances, falls, fears and nights.

Coming to this country was a culture shock–a new family, siblings a never met, new language and the mother I always wanted to know.  The only comfort I knew and grew up with was no longer there—my grandmother.  Like any kid at that age going through what i was going through I felt rejected. This was a product of my imagination result of the sudden change and lack of maturity on my part.

At first, I cried every night and all I wanted to do was to run to my grandmother’s arms I missed so much. But I was determined and always reminded myself that this was the best for me and I had to take advantage of the opportunity to live in this country. I kept reminding myself that my mother had made a sacrifice and it was time for me to show her it was worth it. 

Now I’m a Mom

Mi GaelNow that I’m a Mom it breaks my heart to think of how difficult it must have been for my mother to have to separate from her two children. I cannot even imagine her pain the day she hugged us goodbye not knowing if she will ever see us again. It saddens me to think of her suffering during her journey to the United States. She always kept in touch, wrote letters, visited and when she was able brought us to her.

Now that I’m fortunate to be a mom I cannot bare the thought of being far away from my Gael. My life, my world and everything around it have changed. Everything revolves around him. The joy I feel every morning I see his beautiful eyes watching me with excitement it’s like no other.

The transition from a professional independent woman to a single mother has not been easy but I thank God for the support of so many.

She is my fort

My mother has been my greatest support. I remember the panic I felt when I had to tell her about my pregnancy. I did not want to disappoint her. I cried so much but she said, “but why are you crying? You are going to be a mom!”

I think back at that moment and see myself now– all I can do is smile! 

Being a Mother has opened my eyes to so many things. Now I understand her sacrifice of having to separate from her children to provide a better future for them. I understand why she will always defend her children no matter what. I understand her pain when her kids suffer. I understand why her love will always be unconditional. I understand why a mother will always do what is best for her kids.

I admire my mother for having the strength and guts to make one of the most difficult decisions of her life. The course of my life changed thanks her strength and courage.

Now, Gael has changed to course of my life once again and I could not be happier. He is the light of my eyes and the reason I want to be a better woman. 

Month 1 with Gael: in a different country learning a new language

3 Mar

It has been a month since I met the lil guy that would change everything in my life! It is truly amazing how such a small being could revolutionize everything I’ve ever known. I’m in a new country learning a different language!

Life changed quite a bit during pregnancy but not quite as much as when Gael finally arrived. Things have really changed since! He has become my all and makes me feel emotions I’ve never felt before. It seems unreal to think back at the morning when he was born. I remember being so cold when I was on the surgery table. I was surrounded by strangers and about to be cut open. I admit I was nervous. This was my first time in hospital as a patient- first major surgery. I felt so relieved when I heard his first cry and asked the doctors if he was okay. He was and is perfect.

Gael is perfect and I wouldn’t change a thing. I wouldn’t change the circumstances either because everything, good or bad, led me to him, and his beautiful presence. I cannot say it has been an easy transition from the life I used to know but I’m learning how to adjust to all the changes. I’m so thankful for an amazing mother who took care of us for the first two weeks. It all became a reality when I brought him home with me. It was just him and I. I was scared. Sometimes it feels as if I’m learning a new language all over again. I remember when I first came to this country I felt lost and overwhelmed by everything around me. It was so scary to be in a different country and learning a different culture. Gael is my foreign language, new country and culture. Although it is scary it is also fascinating. I’m learn something new every single day and I’m smitten by everything about him (well, maybe not all the poops).

My friends used say, “You will forget the pain after you see and hold him.” I’m not sure if I can forget it but it definitely makes it soo much better and well worth it. Everything seems okay when he looks into my eyes and all I can do is smile. I like to think he I recognizes me when I talk to him, hold him or simply look at him.

He is my son, I am his mother and together we will be a team for a long while. I will forever be grateful for the miracle of life I’ve been able to experience and I’m looking forward to learning as much as I can about this new language and country. I may never speak it fluently or perfectly but will try my best. I know I won’t be the perfect mother but I know I can be a good enough mother for him.

I’m grateful to everyone who came to visit, called me, texted me, facebook me, tweeted, or instagramed. You made Gael and me feel loved! Here are some photos of my favorite moments this first month.

No, I’m not married but yes I have a kid!

27 Feb

The following is a post I began writing back in October of last year. I’ve never edited any of my posts more than this one. I’ve waited a while to post for several reasons.

The original post was angry and emotional. I was reacting at some of the questions people kept asking when I first made my pregnancy public. I wrote it and saved it in my files. There is a process I follow for every single post: write it, put it away, and come back to it to edit and publish.  The main the reason for this it’s because I write out my emotions and this is my way to release/process stress. Some will never make the blog for this reason. I kept coming back to this post because I didn’t want it to stay in my unpublished files.

So here’s it goes…

I was asked so many questions and heard a lot of comments when I was pregnant. After a while I got used to most of them but there are some I wish people had kept to themselves.

For example:

Are you married?

Are you getting married?

Are you moving in?

Is he is going to be involved?

I didn’t know you were dating!

I’m so sorry!


People also ask me why I do not talk about Gael’s father— some make the assumption he doesn’t want to be involved but that’s not the case. He exists; cares and will always be a part of his life. The fact I do not talk to everyone about him doesn’t mean he is absent or non-existent.  He is very present and completely in love with our little guy.

The marriage question would get under my skin at the beginning, not because I was embarrassed but because I don’t think that’s a question people should ask. I mean it is 2013 and the fact a single, professional, independent woman is having a child shouldn’t be a big deal or surprise to anyone. Oh and let me remind people this doesn’t make me less capable either. It doesn’t mean you should have pity or feel bad for me. Or say things like, “oh I’m sorry, are you going to be okay?”  Yes, I am and will be fine. Women have been doing this for a very long time and I’m not the first or last in our society who will have a child without a man by her side 24/7. My mother did it and did a hell of a job.

No, this isn’t the way I planned it or would have wanted it but just how it happened. I’ve learned that life will take us only where we need to go and place us exactly where we need to be.

I’ve also realized people make assumptions if you are a feminist or come close to believing in feminism. The title or association must mean you do not want kids, do not want or believe in marriage or you must be a lesbian. Yes, I have been asked if I’m a lesbian!!! We are placed out of a box to be put into another. I know feminist women and men who are happily married, have or want children. I also know some that choose to never have children, never marry or simply choose to live their union without having to sign a piece of paper or make promises they may not be able to keep.

I will be honest, marriage is not something I’ve dreamed of or looked forward to in life but it doesn’t mean I do not believe in it. I certainly do not believe a child should be the reason for it. My hopes have never been placed on a white dress, or big ring but rather in the union between two people who love, respect and try to understand each other. I do not believe in perfect relationships, a perfect husband or a wife- those are fantasies.

I did look forward to motherhood but I never thought it would happen like this or at this point in my life. I looked forward to feeling the love mother’s around me would speak about- that amazing, unlike any other kind of love. It is true; this love surpasses anything I’ve ever felt.

Being pregnant challenged so many of my beliefs and also thought me so much about myself.  I became conflicted with the feminist/liberal in me.  I realized I was giving in to the traditional idea of what a family “should” look like: A woman, a man and kid(s). There was a moment I felt bad because I wasn’t going to be able to give this to my child but I realized I didn’t have to feel bad at all. No, I will not have a traditional family but this doesn’t mean my kid will be loved any less. It just means my family may look a little different than what society says it should look like.

I didn’t grow up in a traditional family but there were times I did wondered how it would be to have one. I wondered how different my life would have been if my father was a part of it. I never felt like I was missing anything though— I guess you cannot miss what you never had. My idea of family has changed with my little guy. Now I see beyond what some in society deem as normal.  Family shouldn’t be incomplete if a man, a woman or child is missing, a couple is not together or married or if a same-sex couple raises a child. Family is much more than the “perfect” house with a white picket fence and much more than the establishment it has become. We create family. We design how it should look and feel like. Traditional or non-traditional. We should be able decide who gets to be a part of it and who doesn’t without feeling guilty or being pressured to do otherwise.  

My kid will grow up in a non-traditional family and that’s okay. He will be loved and taken care of not only by me but also by his father. Gael is the soul of my modern family and I couldn’t be happier!

So the answer to that original question so many asked at the beginning of this process is NO, I’m not married and do not intend to any time soon. 

modern fam IMG_0619

Amor que no conocía

14 Feb

IMG_0715Amor que no conocía

Amor que no espera nada

Amor sin restricciones

Amor sin complicaciones

Amor que te llena de aire

Te cobija con ternura

Te abraza con cariño

Amor que borra tristezas

Te consuela cuando mas lo necesitas

Te sonreí cuando te hace falta

Amor como este no hay ninguno

No te ahoga

No te duele

No te amarga

No te hiere

Amor que sale por los poros

Imposible ocultarlo

Imposible no mostrarlo

Amor que controla tus sentidos

Tus anhelos

Tus sueños

Tu futuro

Amor… tan bello amor que no te conocía

Tan extraño

Tan inmenso




Amor… nunca tuve el placer de conocerte hasta ahora

Ahora te respiro

Te siento

Te amo

Amor… Mi amor nunca te conocí y ahora que te conozco mi mundo ya no es el mismo

Meet Gael: The greatest love of all!

1 Feb

“One day that boy will be your reason for living. It is the greatest love of all.”

My good friend Camile could not have been more right—my little boy is the greatest love I have ever felt and I am so thankful to finally have him in my arms. He is perfect, beautiful and the greatest happiness my heart has ever felt.  

My little Gael was born Tuesday January 29th at 10:47am. He was 7 pounds 15 ounces, just one ounce shy away from 8!!

I feel so relieved he is here and healthy. I was so scared and stressed out the night before he was born I drove myself to the hospital and refused any company. I needed time alone to process. I knew he would come the next day and needed to get my mind together for what was coming. Thankfully all went well. He was delivered via c-section because of his size; my size and the kid just didn’t like meds!

He is a healthy, handsome and charming boy! I’m completely in love with him and cannot take my eyes off him. He revolutionized my life 9 months ago and continues to do so. Yes, he cries and doesn’t let me sleep but it’s okay. Picking him up, seeing his eyes move every time I call his name and feeling his little hands on me make the universe perfectly okay.

Here’s where it gets interesting!! Here are a few photos from his first few days in this world


Carta al hombre que no quiso ser mi padre

19 Jun

In English!

Un padre es alguien que esta constantemente presente, demuestra amor e inspira- yo no recuerdo a mi padre así. El para mi es un tanto extraño y al que mi corazón se reusa llamar padre. Es por esto que nunca escribí sobre el hasta hoy.  Tal vez sea mi eterna curiosidad sobre lo que nunca supe, o simplemente búsqueda de un perdón y paz interna que aun no encuentro. Esta es la carta que nunca le escribí pero que ha vivido en mi corazón por muchos años, una carta que espero un dia el lea.

La Carta

Mi primera memoria de usted es la visita que le hice poco después de que la guerra civil en el salvador terminara. Recuerdo que me pusieron el mejor y tal vez el único buen vestido y zapatos que tenia en ese tiempo.  Cuando las cosas empeoraron en el Zamoran mi abuela y yo tuvimos que dejar la casa sin poder llevarnos mucho. El vestido era  color rosa con cuadritos negros, mi pelo estaba recogido. Me acuerdo que entre a su mueblería y mi tía pidió que me dejaran pasar a verlo. Yo la verdad no entendía pero si sabia que el señor que iba ver era mi padre.

Entre a su oficina, usted tenia puesta una camisa blanca y unos jeans recuerdo haberme visto en sus ojos. En ese momento pensé que tal vez, solo tal vez se levantaría de su escritorio y me daria un abrazo.  Pero no, no paso. Lo que recibí fue un sobre amarillo con dinero.  Tome el sobre y salí de su oficina. Yo tenia 9 años.

No hace mucho mi Mami me dijo que usted había pedido mi teléfono a alguien en El Salvador. ¿Porque ahora? ¿Porque hoy y no ayer? ¿Porque no antes?

No lo conozco y la verdad no se si quisiera. Nunca lo extrañe porque nunca estuvo. Existía pero al mismo tiempo no. Un hombre extraño, según la gente importante, conocido y de dinero. Mi conocimiento suyo se limita a esto pero por una extraña razón levanta tantos sentimientos, confusiones y preguntas.

¿De donde viene? ¿Como es? ¿De donde eran mis abuelos? ¿Cómo se llaman? ¿Como son los hijos que si crío? Quiero saber si por cosas del destino o genéticas me parezco a usted o a ellos ya sea de carácter o aspecto físico. Bueno, el parecido físico no queda en cuestión ya que soy su vivo retrato. El carácter no creo, ese si se lo hederé completito a mi madre.

Mi madre, la mujer y razón por la cual estoy donde estoy.  Mi madre y abuela han sido madre y padre. Padre que usted nunca quiso ser.

Nunca he celebrado el dia del padre. El sentimiento es tan extraño a mi que hasta me incomoda.  Siempre evite imaginar como hubiese sido tener un padre hasta hoy. El corazón evita muchas cosas cuando tiene miedo que le lastimen.

Un padre para mi seria un hombre que existe, es constante y se interesa en la vida de sus hijos, en las buenas y en las malas. Un hombre que demuestra amo e inspira. Así me lo imagino.

Doy gracias por la fortuna de tener grandes hombres en mi vida como el que acabo de describir. Hombres que han sido mis mentores y modelos. Tengo esperanza que si tengo hijos en un futuro tengan un buen padre.

La verdad no entiendo porque nunca me quiso, y si me quiso, ¿porque nunca lo demostró?. No entiendo porque nunca quiso ser parte de mi vida, porque nunca quiso saber que paso con migo después que mi madre tuvo que dejarme. Me pregunto el porque nunca me visito, nunca recordó mi cumpleaños, ni graduaciones.

No le debo nada mas que la esperma que deposito en el vientre de mi madre ya que gracias a eso pude nacer. Y tal vez, deba agradecerles los pesos que me daba de ves en cuando. Mi sobrevivencia no tiene nada que ver con usted y todo que ver con mi madre y abuela. Nací en parte gracias a usted pero sobreviví y sigo viva gracias a ellas.

No le tengo rencor. La verdad no se que le tengo. No siento amor por que nunca se lo mereció. Tampoco tengo coraje porque no vale la pena. No le debo respeto porque nunca se lo gano. Si me decepciono porque decidió nunca estar.

No me conoce y no se si algún dia se interese en hacerlo. Pero déjeme decirle que usted se perdió a una buena hija. Perdió la oportunidad de compartir momentos con aquella niña morenita, alocada y curiosa. Se perdió que esa misma niña lo amara incondicionalmente. Perdió la oportunidad de ver como esa niña se convertía en una mujer fuerte, independiente, realizada y por veces alocada.

Señor Alejandro Díaz, a pesar de mi, del pasado, de lo que no paso y pudo haber pasado le deseo lo mejor.

Frida Villalobos

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