I'm Baaaacccckkk! Sorry I've been MIA for a bit, I needed to take some time to reflect and couldn't return to this space until I could get this post done. It's really hard to sum up a year of happenings in one post without boring you all to death.
We're officially almost a month into the New Year and I'm honestly having a hard time letting go of 2014, which I know seems silly but with all the events and milestones that happened this year I'm actually kind of nervous about what the future has in store. It actually didn't sink in until I started collaging the photos for this post, just how monumental this year actually was in various ways. I get goose-bumps thinking about the amazing people my boys and I have been fortunate enough to meet, and when I play back inspiring conversations I have had, I get freaking excited thinking about how to bring those words to fruition in 2015.
Now don't get me wrong, by no means was 2014 perfect! I shed tears, I got angry, I doubted myself, but oh boy did we have some great laughs & good times! And it took a low moment during the beginning of the year for me to realize we needed to celebrate life despite our circumstances because as cliche as it sounds, tomorrow just isn't promised.
January 23, 2014: after 26 days in the hospital and an emergency surgery due to strictures and fistulas in my intestines (I couldn't eat anything thicker than the consistency of applesauce and the photo taken is the next morning after 2ft. of intestines were removed) due to Crohns disease, I vowed that 2014 would be my year of New Beginnings. After dealing with such a roller-coaster ride of flare-ups and pain killers and then facing an unnerving experience like that hospitalization, I decided to only focus on the things that were in my control and that would make me and my family happy. We needed to just live in the moment!
Living in the Moment in NYC: Creating Memories
So as a family, we did what we do best: despite any health issues or financial woes we hit the streets and enjoyed experiencing our crazy, fast paced city and discovered new places and connected with people unexpectedly.
Thanks to Facebook, relationships were re-established as my hubby reconnected with his father and that side of our family after 16 years!!! Our lil' monsters met their Grand-pops, theor daddy's brother and sister (the trio of bald headed guys is my hubby on the left, his dad in the middle and brother on the right) their great-grandmother and a ton of aunts, uncles and cousins over the summer. So, crazy right?
From my baby Tristan starting preschool and having his first school birthday party, to my oldest experiencing Alvin Ailey and getting excepted to a prestigious ballet program in the city, I was one proud & emotional mama that year. Their daddy and I couldn't be more lucky, to have been chosen as parents to, two monsters who are beyond amazing little boys and it makes me sorta sad that the time is just speeding by before our eyes.
NYC is nothing short of things to do and we made our best attempts to see as much of it as we could while not hurting the wallets too much. We rounded up family for a trip to Flushing Zoo and the adults reminisced and while riding the carousel & as Marvel lovers we had so much fun checking out the incredible, stunt-filled live show at the IZOD center. Some of the coolest things we got to do as a family for the first time was to visit Madame Toussand wax museum, discovered a secret water feature at The American Museum of Natural History and explored midtown on The RIDE, a one-of-a-kind tour bus experience which featured the boys picture in a local newspaper for a few days before the year ended.
Our metrocard took us everywhere from the New York Public library for a unique exhibit on children's books, to an off Broadway shadow puppet performance of The Old Man and The Old Moon at the New Victory theater and then got us to Brooklyn to check out the dopest street art in the boroughs and to the Bronx Zoo to explore with our nature club for hours once a month.
Although we make sure to prioritize our free time to our kids, we find it equally important to carve in moments for ourselves and with friends, which ensures we don't lose our sanity & sense of self. I'm always looking forward to celebrating any occasion whether with my three long time friends from high school while dolled up in sequins over dinner or with my hubby who cooked up the sweetest surprise rooftop brunch right above our apartment for our 6 year wedding anniversary in August.
It's really kind of crazy how in just a year, my little blog that started off focusing on the fun we had been having in NYC as a family, has allowed us to meet so many awe-inspiring people and how it's been a platform to help us form great relationships and to create some pretty-freaking awesome memories!
I've sort of just been learning as I go along & fortunately I have met some fantastic and supportive bloggers & digital influencers along the way at events like: Well Rounded NY's Tips by Trimester, Girls Night Out at the car show and at conferences like Blogger Bash (my first conference) and Fashion Forward who have given sound advice, have been my cheering squad and many of whom I call my blogger babes. In all honesty, we probably see each other more than we see our closest friends and family and even our kids look forward to the next event & hanging out with their blogger buddies.
I love that blogging is something that allows me to spend time with my family and gives us something to look forward to from month to month. My two boys even discovered they love making videos and started recently creating reviews for their series Must Haves for Lil Monsters and started another with their dad, Lil' Monsters in the Kitchen , which we are hoping to do more of this year.
The Amazing Things Crossed of our Bucket List:
1. Attended the NYC Wine and Food Festival which was probably my hubby's fave event.
2. Watched celebrities walk the red carpet of The Amazing Spiderman 2 premier.
3. Saw the Lion King on Broadway, which was phenomenal.
4. Saw not 1, but 2 shows for NYFW and one was under the tents at Lincoln Center.
5. Got the closest I ever dreamed of getting to Oprah at the Live Your Life tour.
Becoming WWE Ambassadors
If my maternal grandma was alive today, I know hands down she would have loved to share in the amazing experiences we had thanks to the WWE, their Superstars and Divas. I grew up watching the greats like the Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker, Hulk Hogan and Brett the Hitman Hart with her and my dad and it brings back so many great memories. Now that I have two boys who are die hard fans I'm so beyond grateful that blogging has allowed us the chance to experience such exciting moments as a family.
When we took pics with Triple H at the Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery event I literally got teary eyed because he was one of my gramps's favorites and I knew she was smiling from heaven. From attending Extreme Rules and seeing Evolution get back together to fight the Shield, to my oldest son CJ singing & dancing with Darren Young at the KidzVuz BTS party and meeting his crush Natalya........ to bringing my dad to his first live event, creating a WWE tribute video and becoming WWE Brand Ambassadors, we are so thankful for the fun that has brought us closer together. And let's not get it twisted, my boys are huge fans and can name all the signature moves but i'm the true fanatic!
A lot of people I know just aren't moved much by meeting celebrities because honestly, they are human just like us. And well, although that's very true, excuse me while I say " I took a freaking selfie with Boo (Lea Delaria) from Orange is the New Black at a Kiehls party, haha!" and she has some pretty awesome moves on the dance floor.
I love meeting celebrities, especially ones who have impacted my way of thinking in a huge way. Meeting GMA anchor Robin Roberts was probably one of the most moving moments for me last year, her book "Everybody's Got Something" although it was her testimony on how she handled beating breast cancer and a rare blood disorder, her journey resonated so deeply with my heart. From page to page I found myself scribbling in the margins my own reflections and crying at how easily I could relate to her story.
1O More Fave Celeb Encounters by Far Were:
1. Winning an Instagram contest to meet celeb stylist June Ambrose a few days after my release from the hospital and the day after my birthday. Also in attendance was the Glow Maven Latham Thomas, owner of Carols Daughter Lisa Price and NJ Housewife reality star Dina Manzo, who I all admire as mom-preneurs.
2. Attending the Henry and Me Premier with my hubby and meeting Yankee Coach Joe Girardi and his daughter and making my sister seriously jealous when I told her we met Chazz Palminteri from the movie A Bronx Tale who joked with us about opening car doors.
3. Getting complimented on my color blocked outfit & advise from Amber Sabathia at a NYFW event hosted by The Moms Network.
4. Channeling my inner DIY'er and getting crafty with Sabrina Soto who was named Velcro Brand Amabassador.
5. Enjoying a summer day in Brooklyn at an Essence Magazine Festival and meeting two of my fave bloggers Gorgeous in Grey and Rae Holliday and Project Runway star Korto Momolu who said she was love'n my statement necklace.
6. Listening to tips on how to capture the best family moments from photographer Anne Geddes who was a keynote speaker at Bloggerbash.
who is hilarious.
8. By Far Robin Williams was one of my all time favorite actors and I wish he could've been in the room the day I had the chance to interview the cast of Night at The Museum: Secret of the Tomb, you could see how hard it was for Ben Stiller to discuss their final moments together.
9. My high energy kids enjoyed an afternoon away from all the gadgets and gizmos and headed to a Nickelodeon Day of Play event and had a blast meeting Nick Stars like Jack Griffo.
10. I wrapped up my year by attending a luncheon where I got to sit next to Marlo Thomas
as she shared the inspiring mission of St. Jude's Children Hospital & the Thanks and Giving campaign.
So, What Now?
For me, 2014 proved that after darkness there is light, I can't even wrap my head around the idea that I might not have been alive to experience all of this. I'm not sure how 2015 can top my year of New Beginnings but my boys and I say bring it on! We are looking forward to a year of good health, growth and happiness and wish the very same to you and yours!
What was the highlight of 2014 for you & what are you most excited for this year?