Motherhood Healing – Happy Mother’s Day

I found this picture of me and my mother in the glove compartment of her car, in a small photo album filled with old pictures, a long long time ago. I remember thinking she looked so beautiful, like an angel or royalty.
I was separated from my mother at an early age, after my parents’ marriage ended. Young enough that she kind of became this dreamlike person to me, a foggy memory. I remember the day I was reunited with her and how unsure I was of who was standing in front of me. I can picture her now. Young and glowing, asking me if I knew who she was. I remember wanting to tell her that I knew she was my mother, but I was too afraid of possibly being wrong.
I have always loved finding pictures of my mother and I, especially ones where I was really small. They made her feel real to me. They made her love for me feel tangible. I would keep them and hide them like little treasures that were just for me and I didn’t want others getting their hands on them (this fear stemmed from a stepmother I had that constantly threw things away if they had anything to do with my mother).
It wasn’t until I was twelve that I decided I had enough of living in my father’s care and I moved in with my mother. And as an adult now I understand how hard it was for my mother to have to pick up the pieces of my broken life and take in another heart to love, mouth to feed, and child to raise. I walked into her home with two trash bags filled with my clothes and for years after I struggled to cope with the aftermath of my childhood. My mother always thought of me as nothing more than an emotional teenager, but never knew that I was struggling with healing.
My childhood was inconsistent, filled with lies and manipulation, child and sexual abuse, and feelings of abandonment. Knowing that now, I would never expect my mother to be able to successfully support me and redeem me.
But she tried. In all her ways she tried to show me what it looked like to raise three kids on a single paycheck. To be strong and self motivated. To believe in God. At an age where I thought hugs could heal me, she tried to teach me life instead. As I grow older, I appreciate my mother more and more. She was the hero I didn’t know I needed, rescuing me by pushing me to find my own strength.
I have experienced so much truth, and subsequently growth, in these last few years. Motherhood has enlightened me.To the truths of my childhood, to the strength of my mother, to the importance of being present, to the power of love and healing. I have learned to pick up the pieces of my broken life for myself. I am creating a new mosaic, something beautiful and colorful and life-filled, from those broken parts of me. Becoming a mother made me a better person. It made my dreams come true, but it also transformed my heart and my life. I am not who I used to be, and that is the greatest gift motherhood could ever give me.
I have newfound strength, hope, healing, I have truth, and I have love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

The 52 Project

In an effort to force myself to bust out the camera more often, I’ve decided to take part in The 52 Project this year and share a photo of this girl every week for the next 52 weeks. It will be wonderful to see her growth and glimpses of her personality throughout the next year.

β€œA portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

β€œA portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Plopped on the sofa in the dress her father surprised her with for Christmas. Sometimes it’s a princess dress, sometimes it’s fancy attire for a tea party with plush friends. This time it was a magical fairy ballerina, with her crown and wand close by, she watches a cartoon about monster trucks who teach her math and science. She’s a full blown threenager, but sometimes I can still see some baby left in those cheeks.

The Met

While Ivan was on vacation the last two weeks of the year, we made it a point to do things we hadn’t had the chance to. We hit up museums, classic NYC Christmas go-to’s, ate at new places, and just overall enjoyed this city and all the wonderful things it has to offer us. We went for long walks around town and I think we both have a tenderness in our hearts for this city, its magic, and it inhabitants.

We actually went to the museum a few weeks prior because my brother-in-law was in town and was planning a surprise engagement on it’s front steps. After she said yes (yay!) he broke out in hives from the nerves and we ended up actually not going inside. So after a few days of waking up too late and too lazy to make the trip up to the Upper East Side, we set our alarms on New Years Eve day and dragged ourselves out there. Even on the gloomiest days, this area of the UES and Central Park are just stunning! It’s bright and welcoming, and there were still some twinkle lights up from Christmas to make it all look extra special.

Ivan and I took AP Art History in high school and had a darling teacher that left a great impression on us. The Met was breathtaking! I loved walking through the exhibits and pointing out my favorites and feeling nostalgia over works of art I once wrote essays about. I instantly recalled the styles of Roman columns and felt giddy excitement over entering the the hall with Italian High Renaissance paintings. A museum employee scolded me for accidentally touching a sculpture (Oops!).

I will say, it wasn’t the greatest idea taking a 3 year old to The Met. She was bored most of the time since shouldn’t touch anything and the activities they usually have for children were cancelled that day due to the New Years holiday. I’m still really happy that we could share it with her. My heart melted watching Ivan carry Victoria from artwork to artwork and tell her about each piece. She would humor us by picking out a favorite here and there, usually because she found it silly or because there was nudity in it.

This room left me speechless. It made me feel like I was walking through the home of filthy rich character in a Jane Austen novel. White and bright and filled with enviable artwork.

Down to the floors we walked on, just magnificent.

I felt a bit of pride when I came across pieces depicting a scene of the city, or demonstrating some NYC influence.

This one was my favorite.

We only got through the first floor, so chances are we will be back! And possibly on a date night without child so we can have some wine and cheese in the fancy cafe they have there. Ivan will twirl his mustache and I will compliment the room and mind my manners because I’m a proper lady. Haha!

Winter happenings

Happy New Year!
We have high hopes and big dreams for 2016. In fact we have been talking about 2016 for years! I recall Ivan confessing he had a gut feeling this year was going to be the best yet and I’m excited to see if he’s right.

This fall and winter have been so great! In the day to day hustle we tend to forget just how much we do and share and experience over time, and looking back on this photo dump I’m about to do here, I am really blown away by the wonderful little memories we’ve made so far this season.

Ivan has been on vacation and I have to confess that we have been incredibly lazy. Supremely lazy! I’m surprised I’ve had to do any laundry at all since it seems like we are lounging in our pajamas half of the time. We’ve been staying up late to catch up on shows, read new books, learn songs on the ukulele, and these gray and rainy days we’ve been getting have only pushed our wake up time. It’s been nice to wake up to Victoria tickling our faces instead of the alarm clock at 7 every morning (although part of me wishes she would just keep sleeping soundly in her own bed a little while longer).

This year we have big plans for travel. We have an anniversary Europe trip happening this summer and have recently been tempted with the space of the suburbs so there might be some travel to other U.S. cities this year too. We love living in NYC and I would like to be here forever, but with the climbing prices of rent and real estate alike, I think we fear how long we can hold out. With that said, it’s a struggle because as much space as a lovely home can give me, most places don’t offer me the diversity, culture, walkability, and energy that this city does. So hitting up some other cities will be a fun chance to explore possible future homes, or at the very least help us in confirming that NYC is most definitely the place for us. I am convinced, but I think Ivan has his doubts.

Anyway, Here are some photos of the last few weeks!


A trip to the Upper East Side for a surprise engagement. Wreaths and lights and NYC beauty made for a nice little walk over to The Met (we didn’t actually go in, but we did yesterday and thats for a different post!).


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WTC Observatory. I cried when they opened up the view for us. This place just hits you right in the heart sometimes.

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Dyker Heights Christmas lights were amazing! It was unseasonably warm this Christmas, but so glad we took the trip out there. The wow’s and sounds of amazement that came out of Victoria’s mouth made everything that much more wonderful.
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Last minute shopping (exchanges) in Midtown two days before Christmas was not my idea of fun. But i Got caught in the rain and it was foggy and romantic, so it was a win!

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This girl fought waking up on Christmas morning, but eventually her eyes fell upon the surprise gifts from “Santa” and the cookies he gobbled up and it became a magical moment for our family. Her favorite gift was a sparkly and puffy dress her dad gave her, she put it on instantly and ate muffins in her Radio Flyer wagon. By the way, assembling a metal wagon late on christmas even while your child is fast asleep in the other room is a hilarious disaster. I highly recommend!

I am filled with gratitude and warms this season. I love my little family and I am so happy we had our first christmas at home together here in this magical city. Exploring and enjoying all these places and things right at our fingertips. I am flabbergasted. I am calm. I am in love with it all.

Happy and Merry everything!!

four years

I remember when Ivan brought it up. Wanting to move to NYC. We had recently reconciled and I think we both knew we needed some place new to start over, to really give it out all.
I was a nervous wreck. The plan was that he would go ahead of me, find a job, get settled, and I would meet him up there when it was time. I helped him pack his bags, kissed him, and wished him luck as he boarded a plane to NYC on July 19th 2011 (Victoria would be born exactly one year later).
I sold my car, packed all my belongings in boxes and fedex’d them to myself to an address in Queens. Ivan was renting a tiny bedroom in Astoria that fit a mattress and all 6 boxes of belongings and not much else.
My best friend drove me to the airport before the sun came up on October 8th and the rest was history. Actually the rest has been an insane roller coaster ride of events and emotions and growth. I look back over these last four years and I feel so much gratitude. We have been blessed beyond belief. It has been hard work but it has also been four years filled with so much love! I love my life. I LOVE THIS CITY, and I’m so grateful that she has welcomed me home so many times and has loved my daughter and helped me raise her.

I love you, NYC.
Your dirt and your shine, your new and your old, your crowded streets and sirens, your lights and your soul.

Here are a few pictures of my first few weeks in the city πŸ™‚

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You know, back when I still watched Glee and was looking forward to the premier of this show. How “adorkable” of me. NOT!

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Funny story. I was super excited to eat at Katz’s although I had never seen When Harry Met Sally because well, everyone knows about THAT scene. After eating our pastrami sandwiches and washing them down with Dr. Browns, I said to Ivan “I wonder WHERE Harry met Sally, ya know?” and he burst into embarrassing laughter and took my picture and showed me the sign hanging just over my head that read, “WHERE HARRY MET SALLY” with an arrow pointing down. How dumb!

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When I strolled through Columbia and stuffed my face at The Hungarian Bakery.

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My first snow. In October?! Turned out to be our most mild winter to date.

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I found out about a secret halloween night Childish Gambino show at Brooklyn Bowl and stood in line for tickets while Ivan was at work. We had a great time and terrible beer and I was already pregnant and I didn’t know it.

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First trip to Ikea! To furnish our first ever apartment together (sans housemates!) in Brooklyn. We were so poor then and I miss it sometimes. We were all we had and it was beautiful.

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I love you. Thank you for making me come here. Thank you for loving me and loving this city with me.


Please do me a favor and picture Kristen Wiig’s hilarious “WHAT IS HAPPENING?” reaction from Bridesmaids while reading all of the following. Thanks.

We moved to manhattan! That’s as crazy to write as it is to say! Not because we hated Brooklyn, or because we longed for this island, but because we couldn’t make it work. We searched for an apartment for several weeks to no avail. How we went from searching for a 1.5 or 2 bedroom in Park Slope, to living in a 1 bedroom in Stuytown completely baffles me and is absolutely bonkers! I don’t know how it happened. But I think it was God.

The move was fast and smooth and easy. I have unpacked all but one box of shoes and random things. I keep meaning to make a better effort at actually leaving my house for more than a walk to the drug store or taking Victoria to the playground, but I’m not sure why I haven’t.
It’s part foot pain (oh yeah, I have a stress fracture in my left foot from God knows what. Actually, its from hellish amounts of walking and my being overweight but i digress) and part still feeling sad and a little scared. I’m new again. I’m starting over. New place, new neighborhood, time to make friends again. I hate this part of my nomadic life. The part where i have to put myself out there and try to connect or hope and pray someone wants to be friends with me.

Victoria still talks about her “white house in Brooklyn”, but she is coming around to this being her new home. She already knows her building number and what buttons to press on the elevator to get to our door. There’s a girl her age that lives on our floor and I’m really hoping Victoria can stop being bossy for one second enough to play with her.

We did a lot of praying about this move. We were struggling with understanding it. Why would God have us find a church and let us become part of a community only to take us elsewhere? And if that was the case, what work needs to be done in our lives? What does he have in store for us here in this part of town?
We found a church location close to us and were kind of disappointed on sunday when we attended. I was really ashamed because for the first few minutes all I could think about were the dirty seats, the fact that I felt 100 years old surrounded by college kids, my child is 1 of 3 children TOTAL that attend this church location (I guess the East Village isn’t as popular for families? and coming from the super child populated Park Slope, it was a bit of a shock to our system). But it isn’t about any of this. It’s not about the grimy theater its held in, or about the seats which may or may not have bedbugs, it isn’t about the makeshift children’s ministry, it’s about the message. It’s about worshipping God! Shame on you, Triana!
Now we are at the point where, if this is what God wants for us, how can we carry out his will for our lives? Does he want us to get involved and be a part of growing this church up? My passion for children has been awakened over the last few months (THANK YOU, LORD. YOU’RE DOING A MIGHTY WORK IN ME!), does he need me for this ministry?
Or is it just a matter of us finding somewhere else to go? I liked having a full classroom setting for Victoria to learn about God and have some social interaction, but she won’t be getting that here. Do I look elsewhere, do I supplement it with classes and groups outside of church?
Being in the city is magical! At night we can clearly see the Empire State Building and Victoria loves to point out the Chrysler Building and build replicas here at home. But the city can also be very ugly. Several sightings of people doing drugs or on the effects of them on Sunday. At parks, or on the sidewalks. It’s not something i’m shocked by, but it isn’t something I saw very often in our last neighborhood. It wasn’t something my kid saw often in out last neighborhood. It’s not something I feel good about my kid seeing often.

I guess ultimately we are just praying for some insight. For guidance. We have come to believe and accept that this is the place for us, for the time being, and that there is a purpose for it. We just want to make the most of it, the best of it, carry out our purpose.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, β€œplans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Can I tell you why I’m heartbroken?

Can I tell you about the discouragement I have felt before and continue to struggle with?

Can I tell you how I cry? How there are days when the reality of my loneliness chokes me and I cry painful tears. In my bedroom, in the kitchen, anywhere I can hide.

Sometimes when I take Victoria to the playground she has a hard time making friends, making connections. She tends to go after older kids and it doesn’t always work out. “Go away! You’re bothering me!”, I hear a girl tell her. She comes running to me, crying. She doesn’t understand why someone wouldn’t want to play with her, why they wouldn’t want to be her friend and my heart breaks. I feel her hurt in such a real and personal way.

I desire so badly to feel connected to someone. To have a friend who is active in my life. And I am struggling to find that.

My first year living in NYC was mostly spent feeling alienated and alone because I was pregnant, in a new place, in my twenties, and felt like people treated me like some party pooper. “OMG there is a girl who looks like she is about to give birth standing next to me! WTF!”, I saw a girl text her friend at a concert I went to at Bowery because I’m fun even at 8 months pregnant dammit!
People treated me like I was forcing them to sober up and get serious, and all I wanted was a chance to connect with someone and be myself with them. I spent most of my time on a bench in Washington Square Park reading Jane Austen novels (actually I probably spent more time on my couch watching cooking shows and Everybody Loves Raymond). Washington Square Park was my only friend then.
I gave birth to Victoria and shortly after we moved to Boston where I had a breakdown after my first winter stuck indoors. I started reading baby, mom, and lifestyle blogs to try and feel connected to someone, anyone. I also joined a million meet-up groups and although I found a few friends for my kid, I couldn’t connect with anyone for myself.

I had high hopes moving back to NYC and they crashed and burned pretty quickly. Everyone seems to have their own thing going on. Their own jobs and projects, their own rhythm and wonderfully beautiful friends that existed before me. But I have really tried. I joined playgroups, I try to spark up conversations at playgrounds and ice cream shops, I started attending church, and I reach out to friends in the city constantly to no avail.

I used to think it was me, and maybe to a certain degree it is. Not everyone will want to be friends with me. I get that. I also have grown to understand that adult friendships are nothing like the clingy and unhealthy friendships of our teens. There are no more sleep overs and going over each others houses everyday. Adults have shit going on! But I would really like a friend I could grab a coffee with and hang out with regularly. Someone I could connect with and talk to. I spend all of my days with a toddler, I would really just love to speak to an adult sometime (you must be thinking, “What about Ivan?” and let me tell you that guy is the greatest, but I really believe we need friends outside of the one we married).
I know I am an amazing person. I have talents and stories and a laughs to be shared. I would make an amazing friend to anyone. But I haven’t been given a chance.

I am paralyzed by this sadness. I am livid for feeling like I need this validation. I am disappointed in myself for my moments of awkwardness, second guessing, and overthinking. I don’t want to keep trying. I don’t want to be the one making all the noise. I have tired myself out and all I want to do is let the waves wash over me and take me away. I don’t want to care anymore. I feel defeated and my heart hurts.

9 Years

Look at those prom babies!

I first met Ivan in the fall of my 9th grade year, a mutual friend introduced us by the bleachers during PE. He doesn’t remember, but I do. He was serious and uninterested. I met him again at an after school hangout spot a few weeks later. I liked him instantly, which was a very inconvenient feeling since I was kind of dating someone at the time. I don’t know how to say it other than we connected almost instantly. It seemed like in no time at all we were talking and joking and soon enough he was coming over my house every day to hang out. It wasn’t romantic. He actually used to come and eat our food and play video games with my little brothers, but I liked him so much that just having him around was enough. Our friendship was special. We became acquainted with each others’ families, I clipped his nails, he made me a blog (a livejournal that I wouldn’t dare share with anyone today). We grew to love each other without ever realizing it.

In fact, it took us almost two years to realize how much we loved each other and finally come together.Two years after, Ivan and I got married. A week after our high school graduation and I still can’t believe it has been NINE YEARS! I feel like we have lived a thousand different lives since then. The good, the great, the absolutely terrible, and then some. We have built a love together. A life. A story. Almost a decade later and I find myself completely in awe of my luck. Of how much I like this person that stands next to me. Of how much we enjoy each other and how much we are both willing to make it work, forever.

Earlier while I was cooking dinner, Ivan was off hiding with an iPad in his hands trying to look into something special to do for our anniversary later this week. After a while he came into the kitchen trying to get a feel for what I wanted or expected of our special date. Testing the waters because he was second guessing all of his ideas.

“Honestly, I would just like to cram ourselves into a crowded but amazing ramen place, talk, laugh, go for a walk on The Highline or something. Hell, lets get tattoos and pastrami at Katz’s!”, I told him. He had been looking into boat rides and expensive dinners, not that I don’t appreciate it, but I think a night on the town acting like fools can be just as romantic. He replied with relief and excitement, “Yes! thats exactly what I want to do!”. And then I heard him telling Victoria how lucky he is that he married the right girl for him.

Ivan and I have had to grow up fast in our relationship. We married young and over the last 9 years we have had to deal with a lot of things most people our age haven’t, relationship-wise. I feel this deep and present love in the center of my chest for him. This connection that I couldn’t dream of sharing with anyone else.

I think it makes me seem a little crazy to admit that I always knew. That I loved him from the moment I met him and knew I would be happy with him for the rest of my days. It’s totally believable that I would have this thought at the age of 14 when my hormones were insane and my mind wasn’t rational in any way. But, I’m totally crazy! And the great part is that the feeling was real and true and here we are with a 13 year friendship, an 11 year old romance , and celebrating 9 years of marriage. Go us!

Everyone is friggin’ pregnant!

Everywhere I look I see babies and bumps!
For months now actually, I have felt absolutely surrounded by brand new babies and beautiful pregnant ladies. I feel so much excitement and joy for others as they get to experience pregnancy, birth, and a brand new babe. I want to rub on all the pregnant bellies and make foolish faces at little babes that aren’t mine! Honestly, I want another baby so badly that I find I am falling in love with everyone else’s children. I melt. Did they just poop their pants? Ugh, perfection. All the heart eyes.

I feel jealous.
I would love to be feeling the swirls and quick jabs of new life growing inside of me. I see women nursing and I gush and melt and want to be a part of that world. I want to glow, I want to carry life inside of me again, I want to look down because something felt cold and find that i have leaked all over my shirt. I want to feel like I’m eating all these carbs with purpose! I cry over the wanting of a second child almost daily. My instagram is flooding with pregnancy announcements (not including April Fools!) and it’s my fault for following so many gorgeous women and their angelic children! I think about names, how to configure rooms and future apartments with all of us in them. Victoria talks about baby sisters all the time and I want to give that to her. I want to give her a gift she doesn’t even know how to appreciate for years. The gift of a family that grows and multiplies and lives and loves together.

For all the happiness I feel for others, I feel that much more longing for this child.
Here I am, slowly losing weight (woohoo 5 lbs down!) and successfully weened off my anxiety/OCD meds, just waiting. Waiting for my body to be as ready as my heart, waiting on God’s timing for my life. Because I should be honest, I feel really crappy about me in this waiting game.

For now, I am living quite shamelessly through all of these wonderful mothers and mamas to be. I am holding my child much tighter because she is mine, and I love her something fierce. She made my dreams come true. Am I being selfish wanting another?

“And if the snow buries my neighborhood”…

“then I’ll dig a tunnel from my window to yours!”

I don’t hate winter. Not at all. In fact I wrote a nice long post about being SOOOOO OVER winter and all of it’s struggles, but I trashed it because it’s a lie. I get frustrated with winter, the same way I might get frustrated with my husband. Heated in the moment, but a minute later I can’t recall what upset me in the first place. Every time I manage to get close to hating it, flurries fall from the sky and a smile comes to my face. Snow will always make me feel like a child. Happy, hopeful, carefree.
Here is a nice photo dump of some winter from my phone to you!!



Cabin fever anyone? I’ve tried to find fun ways to spend our days indoors for when it’s just too damn cold outside, or for when either one of us is too snotty nosed and sick to venture out into the tundra. We paint, we dance, squish play doh in our hands (i hate the smell of play doh!). We eat lots of junk food. I even felt very brave one day and turned Victoria’s crib into a toddler bed and it has been going amazingly well! I’m so proud of my girl. She loves to be read to and tucked in and demands that I tell her the rules every night before bed, “We don’t get out of bed until we wake up in the morning and we don’t take off our pajamas, those are the rules”.


On one of our many walk to the grocery store or to Lulu’s for new toys, games, tattoos, etc.



My favorite parts of winter, are the days I forget to check the weather and we get caught running errands or walking home in the snow. I can’t be the only one who feels completely inspired and uplifted with a soft blanket of white falls from the sky!

Woke up to this. Sipping my coffee and looking out at what I consider winter’s farewell to us. We’re getting ready to leave for warmer weather to visit some friends who introduced another baby into the world.

I love you, Winter. I don’t hate you one bit.