coco channel, i think you may have a point

i did something quite dramatic in december. then early this month, my husband received a long-awaited job offer. it’s official….
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our little family of three is moving to sunny florida by the end of this month! i hope to blog about our decision, my bittersweet feelings and plans to begin a new chapter.

>> that’s all for now. please excuse the very short post. time to get back to the never-ending packing process.

wish me luck!

raquel

struck by cupid’s arrow

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as a hopeless romantic at heart, valentine’s day has always been one of my favorite holidays. even in grade school, i looked forward in receiving sweet cards and candy from classmates. then as i got older, the “will you be my valentine?” question became the new big deal. i remember my very first rose from a secret admirer in high school. it was one of those moments which made a shy girl feel like miss popular.

then as a single college student, i would fantasize about v day in it’s fullest glory. i’m talking about the mushiest, over-the-top, celebratory “must-haves”. four dozen roses, godiva chocolate covered strawberries, doves flying out of a gold cage while i’m serenaded with a personalized love song. can you say, obsessed? yes, i’ll admit it. i blame it on all those disney fairytales, like cinderella. (while i think she may have a point with shoes being life changing and all). then there’s romantic unrealistic movies. take for example, the notebook which makes any good man feel completely inadequate.

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look ma, no sippy cup! only grown-up drinks :)

when i fell in love with my husband, i was head over-heels-in-love. it was like nothing else i’d ever experienced. amazingly enough, we met online and three months later we were talking marriage and babies. some people would argue it’s much too soon. my parents for one, were concerned. while i agree to a certain extent, i would also beg to differ. when you know you’ve found “the one”, you just know. i believe different people get struck by cupid’s arrow at different points in their lives. i’m grateful to say we’ve shared seven valentine’s together. there’s nothing quite like having your sweetheart for the other 364 days out of the year.

before izzie came along, valentine’s day felt…well, more passionate. heck, any other day did too. long were the days of backseat make out sessions. (don’t worry, i’m keeping this PG). for the past nineteen months, the only thing in the back seat is our romance. it’s a given, when most of our focus is on this little human being. not so beautiful, is the stress of real struggles. dates have seriously become a luxury for us. while i enjoy snuggling and watching a movie at home, there’s something special about being wined and dined. which is exactly what my honey did for me this past thursday.

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rare moment right here. makeup…check! hair done…check! no pajamas…check! heels on…nope, but i’ll be asking the hubs to take me dancing next time.

we were enjoying our strawberry basil cocktail and savoring the best steakhouse food. (two thumbs up for ruth chris!). the steaks were literally sizzling (at 500 degrees, to be exact), and so was our intimacy. we were flirting! smooching, holding hands and looking deep into each other’s eyes. spark! …just like that, we found it again. we created a romantic bucket list. it had me blushing at one point and i thought to myself “wow! mama still has it going on!”

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“mmmm”…”so good”…”oh my God”….”this is amazing”…”you have to try this” <<< just a sampling of what could be the voice over for these food shots

we may have lost a bit of our love life, but we have never ever fallen out of love. if anything, our love for each other has gotten stronger, as times got tougher. our “honeymoon stage” was short, but the rock-solid stuff which real marriages are made is ever-present. by the time we got to the third course, i realized our relationship has definitely evolved through the years. it’s aged for sure. that may seem odd, for a young early thirties couple. experiencing challenging times has made us feel much older. i’m proud to share that when we said “for better or for worse”, we truly meant it.

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we were really milking this dinner date, by the way. we might have given the impression it was our first time out in a really long time. no wait—that’s actually true.

i have a record of getting carried away in my expectations of valentine’s day. nope, scratch that. i get carried away in mostly everything. i’m an artist with a vivid imagination. an art director who’s always perfecting this or the other. i want my home to look magazine-worthy. i want to feel pretty. i want my meals to look and taste gourmet. i want to be kissed under the full moon. while none of the above is wrong, i think there’s also more to life than the superficial.

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^^^ this is what i mean. see this handsome man? he’s all mine. my valentine, my friend, lover, husband and daddy to our sweet baby girl. having him in my life is more important than my nitpicky desires. waking up to the smell of fresh brewed coffee and breakfast he made, watching him brush his teeth is the messiest, most ridiculous way, hearing him blowing raspberries on izzie’s belly, feeling his hand caress my face isn’t glamourous, but more real than any sappy, girly, chick-flick. this is our love story. the happenings of everyday life. the simple pleasures of pure joy, even though it’s often overshadowed by the “blood, sweat and tears”. this valentine’s day, i really toke it all in. the meal, the experience of our dinner date, the romance of the occasion, but most of all—my husband.

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berries and cream? don’t mind if i do! (fyi: it probably has like two thousand calories, but so worth it)

hey, mr. molczan! stop scrolling just in order to get to the pictures. you’re skimming through the writing aren’t you?

okay fine ;-) so the previous babbling is really quite simple. it can be summarized it three words: i-love-you!

with each passing day, i adore you more and more. i just can’t imagine my life without you.

xoxo

raquel

entering a new decade

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my twenties consisted of college, graduation, marriage, and having our baby girl, izabella. that decade will always be special for those reasons. alot happened in those ten years–mostly sweet memories but also some bitter moments too. growing pains, struggles and  heartbreak just to name a few. there were big milestones but also big disappointments. sometimes it felt like i was taking five steps forward and two steps back [gasp]. nonetheless, i’m here. i made it to the big 3-0, thanks to my loved ones and God’s mercy. you know that saying “you live and you learn”?  i’d like to think the learning part, is what you do while transitioning into your thirties. don’t get me wrong, my troubles are far from over and my flaws are a sight for sore eyes. despite my weaknesses, i’ve matured through the years.

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her kisses melt my heart. it’s exactly what i needed on such a cold, snowy day. i wish i could keep them in my back pocket whenever we’re apart. which i hope is never, but surely she’ll need to fly out of the nest. someday ;-)

i recently embarked on a journey of self-discovery. it’s been liberating but also quite scary. losing sight of that shore can be intimating. yet when i explored beyond the horizon, i expanded my perspective. i become more informed about myself, the people in and out of life and those things which float somewhere in between. it hasn’t been smooth sailing, if you know what i mean. not everything i discovered was lovely. i’m still working on accepting those realities–those things which i can’t change. the ugly truth is still ugly, even with the rosiest colored-glasses. it’s a part of the risk of exploring unknown territory. it’s probably why some people may never leave their comfort zone. yes, i’d agree…ignorance is bliss, but you can’t disagree that knowledge is power. when you know better, you do better. i’m feeling wiser and more confident about my decisions. a little more book smart and hopefully, more street smart too.

goodbye twenty-nine! it was nice knowing you.

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^^^ these two kids over here. they love to play. all the time. supergirl izzie pretends she has super-duper strength and can defeat even the world’s strongest man. they also enjoying “rarr-ing” at each other while playing catch and hide-and-go-seek. the latest is the over-dramatic, fake cough to get daddy’s attention.

hello thirty!

you came to me with a bang blizzard, a northeastern snow storm on the exact date of my birthday. what are the odds of that?! even weirder, was the name. ‘nemo’, as in the clown fish from the disney animated movie, ‘ finding nemo’ (at least that’s what comes to my mind). i couldn’t help but ponder of the symbolism of this, because that’s what i do–think and over-think things. i blame my anxiety and attention to detail [big sigh]. so anyway…before getting carried away into another direction, (i may also have slight ADD <—- the downfall of being a creative) i wanted to share the words of dory:

“when life gets you down, you know whatcha got do? just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming swimming swimming.”

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if only you could hear that laugh. it’s the type of laugh, a parent would do anything for. even the most embarrassing things. this is not one of them. thankfully!

even though dory was the fun, forgetful, care-free fish in the film, her sayings were meaningful. i know this is a silly kid’s movie, but there’s something more substantial and identifiable, especially for me. it’s hard! life, that is. it’s really, really hard sometimes. like unbearable-knock-you-off-your-feet, sort of hard. there’s loss and life threatening situations. like the kind Marlin had when his son, nemo was taken away from him. the majority of the movie is a loving father overcoming obstacles, conquering the sea and his fears in order to rescue his child. which he does, by the way (sorry–spoiler alert!) but not without feeling hopeless and defeated in the process. a caring friend (dory) reminds him to continue forward and have faith. she even gives (the above quote) a catchy, slightly annoying ring to it (almost a song), as she swims by his side. that is the same tune which played in my head, every time i heard about the storm. i also added my own words, “i must keep moving. i must push forward. i have to. i need to”.

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if it seems like my locks got (even) shorter, that’s because it did! i figured my big birthday storm should be paired with an extreme haircut to match.

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^^^ this is how you spell L-O-V-E <3

 i’ve been telling myself this for a really long time actually. these past ten months (especially) have been a grueling boot camp. it wasn’t about finishing first, but about raw, hard-core survival. i gave it all i had and stayed focused, even when i had my moments of despair. i had that initial adrenaline rush, but then it wore off. perhaps, my pace slowed down. maybe i had to take breaks every now and then. perhaps i needed extra support when i did fall. i’m human. i’m not a robot and i’m surely not superwoman (although that would be fantastic). i may have trouble catching up with others, mostly because i’ve been injured and i’m still recovering. i have my limitations and perhaps that’s due to the muddy paths and dangerous terrain i’ve encountered. i’m not as fast or feeling as strong as i used to, but i still have determination. slow and steady…slow and steady wins the race.

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note to self: baby should have a snow suit on, even if it’s just for a couple minutes. i’m paying dearly for this mommy fail. poor izzie has been sick since then :(

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i was told that “noo” is a delicious, refreshing snack.

so there i was, snowed-in and reminiscing on my special day. i’d gotten this far with a massive blizzard to mark the entrance into my thirties. to tell you the truth, i was feeling a little down in the morning. i’m not a fan of cold weather or the snow. what can i say– i’m a winter baby stuck in a summer baby’s birth date. there i was, sipping coffee watching the snow fall. i was thinking back to the whirlwind of my twenties, while also going seventy-five miles ahead. my poor brain was hurting! my heart was hurting too, because i was getting emotional. i saw a parallel with the unexpected, unpleasant times of my life with this storm. it reminded me of the hardships. when it snows, it snows….or something along those lines, right?

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izabella is a july baby who loves the snow! …and i’m a february baby who isn’t the biggest fan :-/

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^^^ that’s a film camera my hubby is using. yes, you read correctly….film! it’s a vintage 1981 canon. we can’t wait to see the developed prints!

it also made me think about the big production of this day. it wasn’t a regular ‘ol friday. no, it was news-worthy and memorable. it was nothing short of  dramatic and eventful. it made me think even harder and deeper. sometimes storms push us forward, if we dare to go with the current. sometimes we go off course, because we try to avoid it all together. i’m no surfer (or swimmer for that matter), but i know one basic rule: if you don’t want to be swallowed and spit out by a gigantic wave, you need to surrender to it. i hope this birthday storm of mine is a sign. a foreshadowing of this new chapter of my life: it will be big and bold in the most positive way. i can’t say “adieu” to my umbrella or my snow boots. i know storms come and go with each passing season. what i am hoping, believing and praying, is that better days are in the forecast.

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my sweethearts. i love them to the moon and back!

so what’s a beach lovin’ girl to do a very wintry day? why, she cuddles with her husband and daughter and plays with the fluffy white stuff. “if you can’t beat them, join them”…is what i say.

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okay, so i had a little fun too :)

despite it all, boy–i’m a lucky girl! i really do count my blessings and seeing these pictures, makes me all the more thankful. watching the wonder in my daughter’s eyes, the love she shared with us and the extra hugs and kisses made my day special. birthday calls from family, facebook wishes, yummy cake and beautiful roses were the perfect ending to the beginning of a new and exciting decade.

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these were the most cheery, orange-hued flowers for such a wintery occasion. just gorgeous!

how did you spend winter storm memo? hopefully it was safe and warm surrounded by the ones you love.

raquel