I got my MBA from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign back in 1998. It doesn´t seem to be that long ago, but once you say 1998 you realize it was really last century. This is one of the reasons I wanted to go with the family to Chicago, and so we finally did! A lot has changed since I was last there, or maybe the fact that this time I was going with Gabriel and the girls made it all so different and super amazing!
Traveling with kids to big cities is not always easy, but is always fun and doable. When the girls were 3 and 5, and Ari wasn´t even in our imagination, we went to Paris and spent 5 days looking for the Aristocats! It might sound dumb but it made our time there with them a lot of fun, it fueled their imagination and allowed us to walk every inch of Paris without a major meltdown. after that we´ve made it all the way to Istambul with them, and have always managed to mix culture with fun!
Chicago was a super easy city to visit with kids, there are many museums, an aquarium, planetarium, about a million parks, gardens, walk ways, mini water parks everywhere, boats, zoo, and even though it can get crowded there is a lot of space fro everyone to feel comfortable.
So here are the things we did:
This was definitely our favorite place in Chicago, you can either go and spend there one whole day, or go everyday at any time of the day for a little while to cool off and let the kids be for a while! There is The Bean, the Pavilion, The Water Walls, The Art Institute of Chicago, different parks for kids of all ages, and the Buckingham Fountain. I always carried Ari´s bathing suit and a change of clothe with me just in case we bumped into some kind of water... which by the way was always freezing because it comes directly from the lake, the cool thing is that I never saw a child complaining about it!
If you ask Ari, am sure this was her favorite place in the city! The water, the splashing, the kids, the laughing, the faces..... everything was fun!
One of our favorite moments was a concert we enjoyed at the Pavilion. I don´t really know what orchestra was playing or what it was playing... but the whole experience of sitting there with my family, surrounded by people all just enjoying life at its best was sublime!
Lakefront Trail, Grant Park and Museums
Be sure to rent a bike and sit on every piece of grass you find along the way to enjoy the skyline.... amazing really, we loved it!
If you want to amaze your children, you can as simple as try different forms of transportation and you are guaranteed a good time... if this includes a boat, well even better!
I think we chose the perfect time to come to the Pier.... it wasn´t hot, it wasn´t crowded and we got to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets!
,Willis Tower and Financial District
Cool... fun and exciting! The fun starts when you get on the elevator to go up more than 100 floors.... and then standing on that glass cube above the city was thrilling! In this picture we look like a regular and well behaved family... well.... let me remind you that we are latin, and we tend to be a little loud, so getting all of us to sit there still, as if it was completely normal were we were, was not an easy task.. am sure it probably made some one else´s day!
Lincoln Park and Chicago ZOO
Children and animals, there is this special bond that they have that I love to see, and in this Zoo the experience is up close and personal! This was the most amazing zoo ever, it was free, beautiful, and I had never seen Gorillas so close to me before!
And then of course.... of the week that we spent in Chicago, my fondest memories are the good times that this 4 gave us each and every day! So yes, as I always say family is hard work, sometimes even exhausting.... but once you have a second to look into your children´s smiles... the world turns into the most perfect place, and there is no place you would rather be!
After a month of traveling what feels like around the world.... am back at my desk, maybe I even have a flower in my hair, a pretty messy house, a spoiled rotten tod who now won´t let go of her paci and refuses to go potty... but most of all, I am back here with another treasure of family memories, full hearts, and as a stronger family!
Am a dreamer, I think I was born one, and will die one. That is one of the reasons I love traveling so much, because vacations are like double the fun when you count the time you spend planning and dreaming of the good times we are going to have plus your actual vacation! Then of course, because life is real,,,vacations are pretty real too, and not everything is picture perfect as pictures look! Regular things like finding a place to eat when you realize you are starving can turn out to be a real nightmare, thinking that you can still potty train your baby while on the go was as optimistic as it gets, and then suddenly we are in a hotel bathroom taking the stroller apart so we can wash it down... or tired kids whining because that day it made no sense to walk and walk without really having a place to go. And then there are the days that you are sooo tired that you get angry at how in the world could the girls possibly still be laughing at anything and everything... to then find yourself laughing with them because they tell you.... ¨mom... you really look exhausted today!¨
We made many good memories that as I start to see the pictures, know that they will feed my dreamer self for years to come, they will put a smile on my face every time I remember them, my pick me ups when I need picking up...and will make me long for vacation because for the time we are together nothing else matters in the whole wide world.
This year we made it to Panama, Orlando, Chicago and NYC. I will write a post on each city later on this week and next, but here are some random pictures, the ones that while I downloaded them stood out to me... the ones that make me smile!
About this picture... well I guess that if you see her red cheeks, you can also imagine that it was about 100 degrees... but with that smile there is only one possible place she could be!
Once in Chicago, and me being an architect, we just had to run to the Bean and take as many pictures and selfies as we possibly could! it was fuuun!
Love watching them without them seeing me.... I just go into this far away world...
This park was more fun than any water park we´ve been too.... I might be exaggerating a bit but right now it just feels that way!
They ran on every inch of grass Chicago had to offer!
A concert in the park!!! I can´t tell you we listen to every note of the symphony... but it was a the best of time!
A selfie after mass at St Patrick NYC!
At the time I saw this painting on a building... everybody was hot an whining.... It magically all turned good right there!
The best of this trip.. my children, blended but embedded in me...all mine!!!
We are in the last two week of school here and I am feeling a little overwhelmed.... or maybe very overwhelmed! The girls are tired, I am exhausted, mornings are shorter, uniforms seem to disappear every morning, there are a trillion things to do in the house, out of the house, during the week and on the weekends... so many things that I think my writing muse decided to go on a hunger strike and I haven´t seen her lately! Oh and add to that that am potty training Ari, which went so smoothly that now she won´t do number two and am having the worst time as she will not go to the bathroom, she is so strong willed that she will hold it in for days until she can no more and then it hurts so bad that the cycle starts again... it´s pretty scary for me, and I get really nervous, but hopefully this too will pass soon, I hope!
It´s a good thing that somehow, in the middle of the chaos God always finds his way of saying ¨stop.. breath... go on!!!¨
We are officially done with any type of competition and called it a wrap this weekend with Emi´s Flamenco show which was amazing!!! She danced beautifully, she danced with her soul and her imagination.... and oh my just looking at her eyes sparkle was a show in its own! It was a good thing that this time I decided to leave the camera behind and trust the academy´s photographer... I enjoyed the show, was able to concentrate on every move Emi made, and once I got home I took pictures more relaxed!
Here are some of the moments that in between all the rush in our lives, I was able to stop, breath, look... open my eyes and take in all the gloriousness of the ordinary in our lives. Because waking up with a baby in my bed is magic, is love... is life...
And seeing my Dad celebrate his day with all his grandchildren, even though there was one that didn´t want to smile, is a blessing!!!
Seeing my oldest lead the way for her baby sister makes my heart rejoice!
And giving the girls one extra lap around our block once we get home just to hear their laugh is priceless and worth all the traffic I had just endured minutes before!
And then again... God´s present at the end of the day... magnificent!
Have a great rest of the week... and stop and look around! Don´t forget to share what you are up to at your corner of the world, and make some new friends.. life is better when shared!
Yesterday I came across a quote that said: ¨life whispers... listen closely¨. I loved it so much that I put it up on instagram. Life whispers... so true, we just have to listen closely which is not really easy with all the noise coming from every single thing in our lives. Yesterday for instance was a pretty loud day, there is the usual stress of living in Venezuela, beautiful yes, but lately so complicated and stressful. People get trapped in useless conversations about how we are constantly hitting rock bottom and how we could turn our lives and country around, the constant question of how are we supposed to keep on living here, and still not wanting to ever leave the country that we love so much... On top of all this taking up a lot of space in my mind, it finally rained, which is good, but traffic in Caracas goes wild with a single drop of rain, so we didn´t make it in time to Ale´s gymnastics and had to turn around pick Emi up from track and field training and head home to arrive almost at the same time as if we had made it to the gym. When I got home, I found Ari unaware of the world around her, in her own little birthday party for her toy friends....
That was all I needed to stop and listen closely.... because I know that it doesn´t get any better than this. Life is sweet, it is a constant celebration of love, it is the smile on your child´s face celebrating a birthday party for her toys, and then is your turn to blow the candle and suddenly you are also two and nothing else matters... and all you had to do was listen closely! Isn´t it wonderful?
And then there are times when life speaks ouy loud and so very clear just in case that when it whispered you were not listening. This morning... My stepson got his first job offer, and he immediately sent me and his dad a picture via whattsapp. I was sooo happy to hear this, but what made my day was what he told me afterwards...(I took a screen shot of our little conversation, hope he doesn´t mind)
For those of you who don´t speak Spanish, the important part says that he is super thankful for everything that I have done for him, that he listens to me more than I could ever imagine... and that also I should know that he loves me like if I was his mom! ... Then of course I cried tears of happiness!
Raising a child that is not yours is not easy, it has its ups and downs.... the downs can be very low, but when you get rewarded like this... oh my, I think I cannot put into words the goodness of it all! Today I was reassured that this little part of this family´s puzzle, is good, it was hard earned.... because family, is not given just like that, is hard work. Maybe so that every reward we get from it can be heartfelt and celebrated, and so that when life whispers.... we´ll be able to listen to it!
Have a great week you guys! And if you liked this post, please vote for me! And don´t forget to visit me also at Communal GLobal today!
Ale´s been our little artist since she was about one year old, and thankfully she still amazes us with how good she is at capturing life through her eyes! And for me as a mom is so rewarding when I see her just fly away in one of her paintings, and just see how she is able to stop the world around her and just be happy. And so my tween wholately isn´t very willing to get in front of my camera, proudly let me take a picture of her latest painting... while I just took a picture of her beautiful smile!
I wasn´t planning on giving Ari a haircut, but I just walked past a children´s hair salon and decided to go in! This time she didn´t cry! So I would say that was random.. and cute!
Ale´s English teacher at school is having her birthday today, so yesterday we made this beautiful cake to surprise her at school today! I think they should get an A after this!!! haha
Hope you have a great week! and don´t forget to click here if you like my blog!
Am joining my friend Tamar at
I usually write what´s in my mind... there are moments that bring up feelings within me that I just need to put into words, they just pour out of me and as they come out I post them, I don´t rewrite my feelings, I like them raw, as I feel them, no over thinking them... but this week I´ve been giving it a lot of thought on what I want to write for mothers day.
Two things come to mind when I think about motherhood... my mom and my girls... and in the middle, me as a mom. When I think about my mom is when I get like an overload of good feelings that I cant seem to untangle. My mom is the best mom in the whole world, she is smart. intelligent, funny, optimistic to a fault, wise, kind, selfless, maybe too generous. strong, courageous, patient. She has taught me everything I am and everything I am not. When I think about my childhood the one feeling that always comes to me is being loved. I never ever wondered if I was loved for I knew I was adored. and I know today that I am still adored. I know that I only have to pick up the phone for my mom to drop anything or everything for me. If I need a word of wisdom there she is, if I need to laugh well there she is, if I need to be listened, oh my there she is.... If I don´t know what to say to Ale or Emi in any given situation I just need to ask her and like magic any issue is resolved. But the most important thing I think my mom taught my sisters and I is the meaning of ¨home¨... of ´our home¨, she taught us every day with every action that love in our family is unconditional and endless.
The door to our home had little bells hanging on it so that when you opened it, it had this magical sound... it was this little twinkly peaceful sound that alerted everyone that somebody had arrived! And before coming in there was always someone at the door to greet you with a smile, whether it was my mom, my dad or one of my sisters.... there was always someone there. Once you got in, this awesome feeling of ¨am home¨ and feeling ¨am loved¨ took over you, and this was valid not only for us but for anyone that came home with us. At home there was no competition, no comparisons, no striving for first places, no pretending needed to fit in, it was or it is a place to be the best, and be loud about it or just be silent. It´s a place where forgiveness is real, and mistakes happen. There we have disagreed maybe more than we have agreed... because we know that no matter what, we are loved, and treated with respect. Chaos did happen sometimes, fights did too.... tears, and some hard years, but there was always my mom, strong as a rock, in the middle, never tired, always there, forever loving... and we worked out every single thing together as a family... no one ever felt alone, never were we alone to feel alone. Our most basic and maybe unspoken rule was Love without questioning...
So now that I have my own little home, with three beautiful souls in it, I can only hope that my girls feel the same way about their home, and if they feel the same way about me as I feel about my mom, well... I would be the luckiest mom ever. That´s why no matter how many times I´ve lost it, or yelled or cried, I´ll always serve another bowl of ice cream to get a smile out of any of my girls, I´ll watch Peppa Pig over Criminal Minds, I´ll drive across Caracas as many times a day as I have too, I´ll dance to whatever song they are playing, I´ll pick up one thousand pairs of shoes a day without getting really mad, I´ll do fourth grade and sixth all over again, I´ll happily never eat a meal without someone on my lap, I´ll put make up in the car after everyone is beautiful and ready.... Because my heart is full, complete, and the days are long but the years are so short.
Remember, our children´s smile is on us! Hope you all had a great mother´s day, embrace your family and children, and smile.... because we have been blessed!
and today.. the absolute without question best grandma in the whole wide world!
Te amo mami! eres la mejor del mundo... espero que no hayas llorado este post!
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My girls.... they are always the good, the great, the amazing in my life! Whatever it is they are doing, well that will surely be the good in my week, in my life!
Being able to spend some time with Ari at the park is always good!
Being attacked by a super kiss is always good too!
Seeing Emi smile, always warms my heart...
Friday Ale had an open gymnastics class in preparation for upcoming competitions, I was not able to go but Daniel, my stepson and the best brother a girl could ask for, went with her and sent me this picture....
It was also random to see Ari and Gabriel Ignacio (her nephew... haha) enjoy each other´s company and play for hours without fighting!
We have not started yet potty training, but every night before taking her bath Ari demands to sit on the toilet! It´s all make pretend but is so much fun to see how she enjoys being an adult! I might as well start potty training soon!
Have a great week, full of good, random fun!
Today am joining my friend Tamar at:
Here in Venezuela we have the Holy Week off, kind of like US¨s spring break, with the difference that is a religious holiday. But then of course, we also take advantage of the break and usually go to Margarita Island to my parents´ beach house.
Because blogging doesn´t happen in bubble, nor does life... or vacations, this one had a rough start... The week had been pretty messy, Ari got sick, with a very high fever, I could tell she had a throat infection and an ear ache... to make matters worse, she would not by any means take any type of medicine. Took her to the doctor Tuesday morning, and she had what I thought she had, the problem was that we couldn´t get her to take her antibiotics, the solution was to inject her three days in a row. It might sound like a drastic solution... but trust me, this two year old has the will of a gladiator! So with Ari being sick, plus real life, I had no time preparing in peace for our trip. That led me to not printing the plane tickets until the taxi was waiting outside... It was 1 pm, and according to my wonderful memory, our flight was at 4 pm, I really thought I had checked online our plane tickets several times and our departure time was 4:00 pm... when we got in the cab to drive to the airport I looked down at the tickets once again and realized our flight was at 14:00 hrs... which meant I had really messed up here and we were never going to get on time to the airport. Real life. Luckily for me, Gabriel maintained his cool (am still wandering how he did it!), and even though we missed our original flight and all the planes to the Island were overbooked, we were able to pull some strings and boarded at 7pm. It was a very stressful afternoon, the girls wanted to kill me, I am sure Gabriel did too, but as it turns out, luck was on our side and we made it to the Margarita!
Margarita Island, and my parents beach house ¨Miel y Papelon¨ is a tropical paradise for me! Here I promise you that I spend the days just breathing in God’s majestic views, and breathing in life. The sounds of the waves, of the cool breeze, the continuous laughter of the kids muffled by the sound of the ocean is all the fuel I need to realize once again that I am living the dream!
And trust me, as beautiful as this island is, is not paradise because of that, is paradise because here my girls grow as sisters, they become sisters to their cousins, they become friends for life, I find my sister again, and my mom and dad aside from really being the greatest grandparents in the whole world, are able to be the very best for ¨25¨ hours a day! So as you can see.... yes, this is paradise!
Here as my dad said.... ¨Ari found herself a new slave¨!!!
Memories at the beach.. many... but then there are the memories at the beach house, and those might not make as pretty pictures, but am sure they might make for prettier memories.
Every morning we wake up to the voice of many excited kids .... sometimes of an excited grandpa waiting for company. And even though I am not much of a morning person, waking up to this sounds and the smell of fresh made arepas in the outside kitchen, and a table full of my loves just makes for a perfect morning!
This last picture is not of this vacation but I didn´t take one of all of us sitting at the table this time.
Evenings at Miel y Papelon...
fancy dinners with not so fancy plastic plates!
Waiting for Abeyo to get home from buying the day´s catch for dinner... this is so cute!
These little two.... there are many types of love... their love... well it just makes your heart bigger! Pali is the only boy in the house, and he has our hearts with his kindness, sweetness and love, and then because I think he looks a lot like me, well.... I tend to play mom to a boy whenever he is with me, and while on vacation that happens for the whole time!
On Palm Sunday we went to Church and then went for some ice cream at the mall
This is our stop for Cocada everyday after the beach... Cocada is a very typical drink, kind of a coconut smoothy made of coconut and coconut milk! It is soooo good! We also have hand made coconut ice cream sold at the beach in its very own shell, and you can also buy coconut water straight from the coconut, right on the sand!
For some sightseeing I exchanged my tween for the sweestest nephew you could ask for!!!
and of course the best of the best.... real life love, in front of the camera or behind, perfect smiles, real hugs, sun kissed girls who couldn´t love each other a little bit more!
To me, the smiles of these 6 children is what makes this vacation and the captured memories from it even more special. I'll look back at all these moments where kids are smiling and waves are breaking and cheeks are sun kissed red, hair is beautifully messy and salty, and I'll know that this little part of this puzzle, is good, it was easy but also it was hard earned.... because family, although it looks easy and beautiful in pictures, is hard work. And every memory, every smiling moment, every great picture, every vacation, every beach trip to Margarita, is hard work... with the best reward ever, a heart full of love and memories to piece all of us together!
Have a great week!!!!
I have never seen a baby jump like Ari!
In Venezuela Sundays are almost sacred... is a day to spend with family. When I was little we would ¨dress up¨ for Sundays, first we would go to Church and then to grandma´s. Any other plans were forbidden and really I don´t think nobody planned anything different. Sundays were pretty quite too since nothing was open, and when I say nothing I really mean nothing.
One of the things about living in Venezuela, and I would think in many latin countries, is that the city were you are born is the city were you will live your entire life. Families stick together, and grow up together, that´s why we are so close to our cousins, and aunts and uncles and also friends. Family is not limited to your mom, dad and siblings... family involves everyone! It can get complicated at times, but we have learned to master the art of family throughout our history. Everybody you have met since childhood is probably still living in Caracas, I for example got my architecture degree here and then went to the US to get my MBA at U of I.... and then returned home, and like me, Gabriel, my sisters, cousins and many friends. In fact I learned to speak English while my parents were doing their masters at University of Florida, which by the way will was one of the best parts of my childhood. This has changed radically with all the political and economical situation happening in our country, and a lot of young people are leaving... Fortunately for our family, we are still all here (except my little sis) and so in this chaotic times, we still have kept our sense of normalcy, and our family Sundays!
Anyways, life has change in the city, there are many things to do on Sundays, everything is open, sometimes we plan eating out or going to the beach, or to the mountain... but still families gather at least twice a month for lunch! We rotate between my mom´s, my sister´s and our home, and usually try to make it special. The good thing about this is that I know that when our children grow they will not remember how Mondays felt like, or Tuesdays or Wednesdays... but they will surely remember how family felt like on Sundays!
Ari... give me some moves for the camera!
or laugh like her!
Have a great week!!
I often find myself rushing through the day... and I mean rushing and hurrying everybody up since 6:00 am. ¨Hurry up we got to leave.. brush your teeth, I´ll wait for you in the car, grab your bags, move...¨ this phrases are repeated several more times a day before Flamenco, Gymnastics, a play date, a trip to the grocery store... or whatever it is that we have to do whether is fun or not, we are always rushing through the day. We are usually home before 6pm, and then is like a count down to bed time. At night I find myself usually not really paying attention to what they are saying, and my mind is in other places thinking about what I am going to do after the girls are sleep, which a lot of the times is really just falling asleep myself or binge watching tv with Gabriel.
All my three girls are happy, cute, and bubbly girls, all in different ways, but bubbly! Emi is always always dancing and tapping her feet away, Ale is always in a hand stand, or hopping her way around the house, and little Ari is deciding which of her two big sisters to imitate! And then suddenly I ¨see¨ them and want to freeze my girls in this moment in time, so they never get older. It makes me so sad to know they won’t always fight for space on my lap or climb on the bed, or just compete for a kiss.
Yesterday was one of those moments of clarity when I ¨saw¨ I needed to stop, as I was heading out to take Ale to gymnastics.... I decided to pause the day, to stop the clock for two hours, so instead of leaving Ari with the nanny at home and running errands while Ale was training, I brought her with me and stopped the clock for two hours at the park. My baby and me, no phone, no chats, no interruptions. I picked Ale up and also enjoyed her company and held her hand in traffic, and then I got home and had a little time to watch Emi ride her bike around the block!
So yes, life has it´s very real timelines that we have to meet everyday, but we can also pause for a while, and the world will still be there at its own pace, and the only thing that can happen is that we are more fit to tackle it with a lighter head, and maybe, just maybe a little bit late!
This park is very 70´s Show style! but then.... it also brings me back to my childhood!
this weekend we also celebrated Ale´s 12th birthday with a slumber party! The girls had the time of their lives... and let´s say we didn´t have the night of our lives... haha. But I guess it was all worth it, I had never heard as much giggle and laughter in my entire life!
Hi! my name is Carolina Perisse de Rico, I am a stay at home architect with the biggest project ever... my girls! The oldest is 16, then I have an 14 year old, and my miracle baby who is 6. Glad you are here, hope you stay a while!
Am now a member of Communal Global!!!