Tag Archives: family

Where I’ve been…

21 Aug

In my last post I promised to reveal where I was on vacation so here I am telling you all the big secret… I’ve been to Romania and Italy and soaked my soul in the goodness of my parents, hugged my relatives and laughed with my friends. I had an incredible trip I hope to never forget!

I have so many memories, some tattooed in the folds of my heart, some on my brain’s  “screen” and some in pictures. I decided to write in episodes my entire trip, but for now I leave you with a bunch of photos.

Enjoy!IMG_3691 IMG_4372 IMG_3214 IMG_3266 IMG_3291 IMG_3395 IMG_3634 IMG_3899 IMG_4224

 

Happy 21st birthday, Patty Cakes!

24 Jun

I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited about my own birthdays as I am about Patrick’s (or Patty Cakes as some of you know I call my son).

Today my beautiful son turns 21 and this birthday of his is no exception. I find myself overwhelmed by a mixture of emotions. In other words, I’m a mess. I remember my water breaking middle  of the night and being rushed to the hospital, so so anxious to finally meet him (actually her as the doctor told me throughout my entire pregnancy–that I’ll have a baby girl. Talk about shock and amazement at once seeing that was no baby girl, but a baby boy). For two days my baby had no name since we were prepared for a girl, but eventually we settled on Johann Patrick.

hospital1

And Patrick it was. Years passed by and Patrick grew up to be this incredible, smart, kind, loving, handsome, caring, generous, loyal, friendly, hard worker individual, but above all: my son. I don’t know if you can totally understand how proud I am about this kid; how amazed I am about what he had achieved so far, and how at peace I am knowing everything he’d done in his short life will take him to a bright future, of that I have no doubt.

95-1

I look at Patrick and wonder how did I get so lucky to be his mom? How did I get so lucky to see him draw his first breath, hear his first cry and word, see his first smile, first step, first day at school? How did I get so lucky to hold his hand, and feel his hugs–the kind of hugs that needed me to kneel so he can reach for me, then later leveled until they transformed in bear hugs and required me to stand on my toes and him to bow? How did I get so lucky to share his love, pains and dreams, his quests and goals?

I do not know the answer to any of these questions. But what I do know is that when I held him for the first time I promised him I’ll be there, loving and supporting him to the best of my abilities, that I would do everything in my power to raise him properly and offer him all I could. I hope I’ve kept my promise so far and will continue to for as long as I draw breath.

11-jonnybravo

Happy birthday, Patty Cakes! ❤

Pat’s Run–We did it again!

5 May

When it comes to exercising I would love for the world to accept that eating ice cream is actually working out. Think about all the calories you burn walking into the store, opening the fridge’s door, grabbing the bucket of ice cream, carrying it to the register, putting it in the bag, taking it home and finally spooning it into your mouth. Someone please do some research, then come tell me I’m right!

But until then I have to stick with… exercising, for real. Motivation fails me more than I care to count (sucker), but I do like to trick myself into actually working out at least 4-5 times a week. To do that, I sign up for a certain sporting event every year, for which I must prepare physically.

It’s the Annual Pat’s Run, organized by the Pat Tillman Foundation and in collaboration with ASU. For those of you who don’t know who Pat Tillman was  he was an ASU Alumnus and one of the best football player in the history of the university, whose generous life impacted so many Americans and whose legacy continues to help veterans receive an education. 

pattillman_social1

At this year’s Pat’s Run scheduled for April 25th  I was joined by my son Patrick and his girlfriend Alyssa, my niece Bat-El and her boyfriend Michael. We called ourselves the Sundevil4Ever Team. Bat-El and Michael ran pretty much the entire 4.2 miles while Pat, Alyssa and I took our time. We ran very little, but walked really fast, because we do enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere. I try to take it all in, from the Star Spangled Banner stirring our hearts, to the American flag dancing in the wind, to the military groups running and singing, to the occasional tutu and colorful costumes. There’s no way to describe how I feel every year I attend this event but I promised myself that for as long as I can walk I will participate in Pat’s Run. 

Happy to report that’s one promise kept and counting.

Screen Shot 2015-04-25 at 7.25.03 PM

One a rainy Friday April 13th, waaaay back when…

13 Apr

On a rainy April day way back my mom was born. But make no mistakes, that was no ordinary day; it was Friday and if that wasn’t enough, it was April 13th. Back home in my native Romania, Friday the 13th is a day you hide in your house and the only decisions you make is… what to eat and when to use the bathroom. If you don’t want his highness Bad Luck to find you, that is.

Going back to April 13th, the day my mom was born. I was told it was a gray and cold day, pouring rain starting at sunrise, a rain that didn’t end until the next day. After long hours of labor, through thunders and lightening Grandma said she heard a tiny voice screaming bloody murder coming from this baby, redder than a lobster and beating the air with her tiny arms.

She named the baby Stefania and, after a few days she took her home, but she never really made a connection with the baby and soon, she took her to her parents’s village and left her there for them to raise her. During Mom’s first seven years of her life, my grandma only visited her once when she was about three years old.

When Mom turned seven, Grandma uprooted her once more, this time taking her back to Bucharest. Fall came and Mom started first grade. Soon she was joined by a sister and a brother but for some reason my mom never felt love, never had a real connection with her mother.

Fast forward several years, my mom married my dad. Eventually they had their family, three daughters to be exact. I’m the middle one. Throughout her life my mom had always tried to be the mother her own mother never was: loving, protective, caring, forgiving, generous, supportive. She always was there for her girls, celebrating our successes and suffering along with us during our trials. But above all, she loved us unconditionally, with all she was, with all she had.

I resented my grandma for as long as I’ve known she never loved my mom the way every child should be loved by their parents. In some ways I always felt the need to love Mom that much more, trying in some ways to make up for the love she’d missed as a child. 

Life took me away from my parents, many many miles away. Today, when we celebrate my mom’s birthday I’m an ocean away but my heart and my spirit is right there, next to her wishing her from the bottom of my heart, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM! Blessed to call you my mom and be loved by you! ❤

mama 2

Happy Turkey Day!

27 Nov

As a born and raised Romanian, I didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving until I moved to the US back in 2003. For a few years the entire family went to my in-laws’ house and enjoyed drool-worthy meals, laughter and being together.

Then, one year I felt courageous enough to invite everyone to our house. My in-laws would come the night before and, with my father in-law’s help, Mr. Turkey would be ready by the time guests would arrive.

max

This year I was again courageous (leaning towards crazy) and invited everyone over. 25 guests to be exact. My father-in-law thinks I need to learn on my own how to prep a turkey. Luckily I live near In & Out. If you are one of my guests don’t be surprised if you’ll end up eating a burger. Everything is possible.

From my family to yours,

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

maxine

Mirror, mirror on the wall

6 Jun

“She has big boobs.”

Say what???

Let me backtrack a little here.

The other day I went along with my son and his girlfriend to see the premiere of the last installment of X-Men (which BTW, was outstanding). The kids went earlier (to catch good seats), leaving my ticket at the customer service.

I guess the lady at the register asked them my name and how I look. My son said, “Her name is Cami and she’s short, dark hair,” then stopped.

To which his girlfriend added and I quote, “And she has big boobs.”

I know all of this because they told me when I got inside the theater.

I laughed. Mind you I don’t have big boobs (just awesome bras, and no they’re not Victoria Secrets), but it also got me thinking: how do people perceive you? Is it the same way you perceive yourself? So I did a little research:

I found out that faculty in our school have a nickname for me (The Great Wall), which obviously has nothing to do with my 5”1’ height but with the fact that I guard our director’s office like a  . . . wall. I take it as a compliment 😉

I see myself pretty much the same way as my friends . . .  short, friendly, loyal, creative, caring, sassy, stubborn, grudge holder. Teresa, my BFF calls me her Rottweiler.

My husband sees me  . . . (I did get him this present from one of my trips to New York; it hangs in his garage as a “friendly” reminder).

431660_481066991933256_303064805_n

My son sees me . . .

10247235_764753273564625_7365890403271968090_n

My boss sees me . . .

photo (13)

Bottom line is that each individual I come in contact will perceive me in a certain way. And I’m okay with that.

How do you perceive yourself? How do the people around you perceive you? Do you care about their opinion?

Pat’s Run–Never Stop

28 Apr

Once I year I wake up on a Saturday morning at 5:30am without grunting about it. It’s the day I participate in the annual Pat’s Run organized by the Pat Tillman Foundation here in Tempe, Arizona.

10264191_852953641398205_6745563904220992313_o

I’ve been part of this event for the past 5 years and I don’t plan on stopping. For as long as I’ll walk, I promised myself I’ll keep going. You know why? 

It’s because Pat Tillman’s legacy must be carried on. We owe so much to all men and women in uniform who so selfless give their all, sometimes until the last sacrifice. Donating toward the Pat Tillman scholarships and honoring Pat’s life is the least I can do.

photo 3 (2)

A few years ago my sister Monica and her hubby Rene joined me. The next year my son Patrick joined me. Last year was the first time my cousin Cristina, her husband Tedi and their two children participated. This year my niece Bat-El registered which got our group up to 7 people. We call ourselves Devils4ever, a name that resonates with us not only because we are Devils’ fans, but because we belong heart and soul to the ASU community.

10308309_756853067687979_3606455715210846496_n photo 1 (1)

We always have fun, spending the 4.2 miles either walking, jogging or running. But we don’t stop until the finish line on the Sun Devils Stadium among other 30k participants. 

photo (27)

I’m not going to tell you anything about the training I do for this event. And I’m not going to talk about how hard it is, because it is not, or at least it doesn’t feel hard to me. What I want to tell you about is the emotions that pool inside my heart threatening to spill into tears. The feeling of belonging to what makes our country this incredible place to be, this nation that stand on its feet no matter what comes our way. No matter who or what hurts us, no matter what it takes, we always get up and move on. 

Pat once said, “Passion is kind of an important word for me, whether it’s playing sports or whether it’s just living or whatever you’re going to do.  In my opinion you should be passionate about it or else, why do it?”

This year’s race motto was NEVER STOP. I have every intention on doing just that.

photo (28)