// the gift of giving //

i grew up in poverty. it's okay, i mean it. it taught my sisters and i to have a very strong work-ethic and be appreciative for every penny earned, as well as the value of material possessions vs. the things in life that money could never buy. because we knew what it was like to be cold and hungry at times (but always clean and respectful, as my mami taught us), it enabled us to mature a lot sooner than our peers and unfortunately for me, my natural state of putting the weight of the world on my shoulders and wanting to help everyone around me, in a way, robbed my from my childhood. that and the effects of the culture of poverty. anyway, we really, truly, honestly, would not have gotten by without the help of others. whether it was shelters, churches, food donations, toy donations, i mean, my goodness. we were helped SO much. we wouldn't be where we are today unless we had received help from others. and ever since i could remember, even what we got, we were taught to share it with others in need.

i specifically remember taking a shopping cart to a mission in new york. i must have been about four or five years old. it was frigid and snow was melting on the streets as we stepped on it. i remember the cold on my fingertips...and then i recall that shopping cart getting filled with lots of food. lots of food that fed us for days.

i remember living in a tiny studio apartment and it having the tiniest hallway of a kitchen. and the cupboards were filled with teeny tiny ants. and we were eating top ramen and it had ants in it...but too many to pick out, so we ate it that way. haha, i know it sounds gruesome but it really wasn't. it simply was life. please don't wince.

i remember one christmas my mom and dad (the amazing man who decided to take us all as his own when i was in 6th grade), making arrangements to get us christmas presents. they both left in the middle of the night and my mom came back for us at 4-5am. then we rode the mta bus to downtown l.a. and stood in the cold, chill of dawn for hours in a long line of people, where my dad was holding our spot. eventually, everyone started cheering- arnold schwarzenegger drove by waving, dressed as santa. we stood in line to meet this particular santa and have him give us a gift. it was one of the most memorable christmases for me. so yes, when we ran for governator, i had a small piece of my heart skip a beat because of his kindness and generosity.

i could go on and on about this but the point of this is that i love giving. now as an educated professional, giving back is such a huge part of my life. whether it's to my own family, my friends (and their babies), to volunteering. i am a huge believer of paying it forward. always.

now that i have my own son, it is so important that he learns the importance of giving back and not relying on material possessions for happiness. i pray he will never experience the hardships my family and i did, and yes, i probably overcompensate as a result of it. nevertheless, it is our tradition to always give back. & the holiday season lends itself to such a beautiful time to do it.

we love volunteering at the local food bank & mission, donating, and going to the christmas trees at the fire department to shop for another child. we did all these things last year, and this year, since it is his first year with toys already in his possession, we are going to incorporate donating toys he already has.

what are your favorite charities or places to donate?
give me ideas!
let's get together and give time + things together!


// infertility //

i should preface this with this:

to all my loves who haven't known what to say, haven't asked, or have asked and haven't known how to pursue the following topic of conversation, please do not worry. shoot, i still have no idea what i would say to someone else nor what i think, myself. 
but hey, i'm not pregnant so let's have a glass of wine together, yeah?

it's been almost a month since we had our impromptu yet long awaited fertility specialist appointment and i still haven't been able to gather my thoughts on it.

i do know i silently feel like i am grieving a loss that was never there to begin with. and i do not know that i am strong enough to actually go through with a 40-90% loss. sure, i've handled plenty of hardships in my life. poverty, abuse, my husband going through cancer twice, being already told we couldn't have babies, then getting miraculously pregnant and then being told that perhaps something was wrong with our tiny miracle. but god, oh, his mysterious ways have always been on my side. throughout everything that has happened in my life, he has made sure i survive.

& i fight tediously to do so. every day is a struggle. every day presents me with two routes: one where i could fall victim to all the hardships i have faced, and the other where i could choose happiness. and as much as i try to choose happiness, some days, happiness does not choose me. i stopped working out for two weeks- which is a passion of mine, my therapy...i haven't taken a break of consistent working out in two years. that's when i, myself, realized i was avoiding feeling anything about this.

& so this last month has been a tug-o-war with my emotions. drowning out negative self-talk, becoming numb, and then realizing i'm a step closer to exploding. i'm not sure what i think. do i really want another baby? the first few months were the hardest ever with oliver and nursing. like really, really bad. and my child still fights going to sleep at night. can i add another to that mix? i never yearned for babies...but then oliver came and turned my world upside down in the most chaotic yet beautiful way. he is my world, my everything. along with his daddy. and i am so perfectly content with my two miracle men.... but now i see how much oliver thrives being around babies and other children. could i try to give him a sibling- a ride or die- someone who will undoubtedly fight with him but love him unconditionally? the person who will stand at his wedding and gather everyone for a toast? the person who will share secrets for life with him and only understand what it's like to have g & i as their parents? what if geoff and i leave this earth? sure, oliver will be loved, but who will love him just as much back? who will understand him? oh mamahood, what you do to me...

so here we are. unsure with what step to take next and when to take it. the process is long and tedious for ivf. we could attempt iui but our chances are a mere 10%. ivf makes much more sense to the specialists. the cost does not make sense to me. there's this tiny part of me that almost doesn't want to face the reality because i fear i will fall victim to the woe-me pity party. why should we have to time and pay for a baby? why can't we just have one like the majority of people around us? & then get consumed by everyone's big(ger) families and the relationships on tv shows amongst siblings and parents. but i can't think that way. i refuse to truly allow myself to. i know god will only give me as much as i can handle. i know that if it's meant to be it will. i know that if there's a will there's a way. i get it...but i don't. the uncertainty of going through so many fertility treatments and soo much money and then it literally being a 50/50 toss up on whether or not we would have a successful pregnancy. ahhh. too much for my little heart to handle. and as i sit here avoiding feeling all of this, time is just ticking us by. it's incessantly moving at a rapid pace that robs us from today and already has us preparing for tomorrow.

if i could naturally have babies would i?
would i do it now?
if money was no option would i go for ivf?

shit. i think i just realized my own answer...

p.s. can i quickly state that i am forever grateful for the miracles that are my husband and son!!! if god's plan is for us to be a family of three then i am forever happy and settled. it's the uncertainty of a possibility of extending our family. when i heard we had a 10-60% chance of conceiving through fertility treatments, i felt like someone punched me hard in the stomach. i much rather had a 0% chance or a 90% chance than a toss up. but yes, forever and ever and even more grateful for my boys. seriously!
also, thank god for our little frozen sperm that maybe one day will be older siblings to O.... ;)
also, f you, cancer.


// 22 months //

22 months, although I don't count O's age by months, and won't keep track of this once he turns two, it helps me remember what he is up to. Which I never ever want to forget. But I already do. #mamahood
I'll switch over to monthly highlights after two. Wah, stop typing two, J.
I guess I should start planning the big II.

31 lbs. whoa, baby!
This baby boy is obsessed with trains, trucks and automobiles! & tractors, and airplanes and anything with an engine. He grabs his little cars and makes them go vroom and our hearts melt like no other. Seeing him play independently is amazing.
If we sit him on the potty, he'll go each time but he won't ask to go on his own. He tells us when he pees and thinks when he toots is hilarious (typical). If we ask him if he pooped, the answer is ALWAYS "nnnnooooooo."

This baby boy is a happy little dude. Yet boy, oh, boy he loves to test our patience. He is extremely playful, and likes to push the envelope to see what he can get away with. Oh, no hitting Honey (our dog)...well, what about if I put my leg on her and push ever-so-gently but just strong enough to be on her? Oh, no hitting, what if I just tap you, instead? Oh, no touching this, what if I just put one finger on it? Oh man, I have said it since he was in the womb, we are IN for it!

So this month, O has acquired this new thing of begging to come to bed with us. He wants to read his books in our bed and then begs to lay with mama. Which then becomes a "sit down" command to us, instead of laying down. Then I have to literally hold him down on me until he falls asleep. As much as it is a bad habit and I am still setting myself up for failure, my boy is not a cuddler....so when he wants to cuddle with me each night, and tuck his little chubby hands at my sides, how can I resist? Last week, he woke up several times screaming and not wanting to stay in his room. Needless to say, we ended up with near black eyes by morning by chubby strong feet.

  New Words: 
EVERYTHING! Seriously, it is the cutest things! Simple sentences (of 3-4 words) are being formed too. His little voice is the bestest. I remember us wondering what it would sound like and it really is perfection to us. I love that recently he has remembered some of his sign language (that we started at about 8 months old) and has been using simultaneous to his words. 

Favorite Foods: 
cheese sticks
macaroni and cheese
This boy eats SO much BUT mainly only during the day. Dinner has become hit or miss. We have become "airplane" and "choo choo train" experts with tiny silverware. 

Favorite Things: 
Reminding us of things he did earlier that day
playing with Honey
Nana + Grandma
Watching anything with an engine
Animals (specifically cows, dogs and cats)
gardening with Nana
Going for walks with Nana
Going to the park 
chasing the cats
Signature Moves: 
Throwing a ball at someone and THEN saying "Catch!"
Waiting for the mailman every day, and then delivering mail with him at Nana's. 
Not wanting to sit in his high chair anymore. Ahhh!
Skipping naps- heck no kid!
Giving bear hugs.
Giving massages.
He says sorry by going up to us, putting his head down, rubbing it on us, hugging and then saying "oh-ee" with a huge smile. 
Stopping mid-cry to laugh at something. Oh boy. 

Mommy's Proudest Moment: 
I spanked him ( i know, new low) and he laughed. Touche, O, touche. 
Oh and saying shit and him repeating it. Nope, not cool. My sailor mouth is bad. 

Daddy's Proudest Moment:
Telling O to eat his poop, jokingly of course, and O actually trying to. 
& of course, the more we tell him not to, the more he pretends to. 

This Month's Highlights:
-Mama and Daddy went to Austin, TX to visit Titi Squirrel and you got to stay with your grandparents for the weekend! You were SO happy and I expected for you to ignore me when you saw us. But you did the opposite. You were grinning and flung yourself into my arms. Gave me a kiss, hit me and ran away. My mama heart exploded. 
-We celebrated Halloween and you went trick-or-treating for the first time. We made you a trash truck costume that you loved. It was a great hit! Everyone complimented you! We also passed out candy and you liked putting it in all the kids' baskets. 
-We crafted a lot this month! Lots of messy times with paints, food, chalk, etc!
-You got to hang out with Asher one day and another with Natalia and her friends. 
-You ate a whole slice of cake by yourself. 
-Of course, you worked out a lot!
-we spent 4 days in L.A. and our daily Facetime sessions with your grandparents and titi really helped out because you knew them immediately. We had a great time and celebrated Titi Anita and Titi Lonnie's graduations. 
-We also got to visit Titi Isa and Tio Jake. 
-Lots of park fun!
-You modeled for mama's clothing co.
-You ate cookies. Lots!
-Mama and you got matching pj's.
-You fell in love with playing with baby dolls
-We went to a very early air balloon launch and an evening air balloon glow + fireworks
-We made Thanksgiving turkey cinnamon rolls that you thought were funny. So did Dad.
-You helped mama ship out orders by making a huge mess each time and making it take double the amount of time!
-You were blessed by Nana's church via Great Uncle Troy! Great, great Aunt Leona and Troy's wife Robin came from New Mexico. It was such a beautiful little event. 

// happy thanksgiving //

today starts the first holiday of giving, loving + thanking. things we do on the regular but how amazing is it to have a season that emphasizes the things that make us go mush and connected to each other?

happy thanksgiving from my little family to yours. i'm so thankful for the man who stands by my side no matter how many mistakes i make...the baby he helped me create...our happiness...our families on both sides and the friends that are family...for health...for our careers and pursuing our dreams...hope the beginning of your season is just lovely.


Cinnamon Clothing Co.

Cinnamon Clothing Co.

I did it! I relaunched my clothing company this weekend (Friday, November 21st, 2014- I mean, these things should be documented right?!)
Ah, what a rollercoaster! I have been working on this for months and months! I was reminded that I first officially launched almost ten years ago! How insane is that?! Prior to that, I was making clothes in college- I would go thrift shopping and run whatever I found home, pull out my sewing machine, recreate it (pattern-less), and post ot on fotki! haha! I need to find my old account. My girlfriends would come over to my dorm and I would dress them and enter my clothes into local fashion shows. haha! My entire college career, on my desk, stood a sewing machine in lieu of a computer (thank you Jess for my first sewing machine when I was 16-17 years old)! & thank you to my Allysona and Lucy for always loaning me your computers to get through UCLA, haha!
Cinnamon stems from my maiden last name: Canela, which means Cinnamon in Spanish. A name I grew up detesting- it set me apart from others because it was uncommon, and opened up questions from my peers that I could never answer. I would lie and say my father was a cinnamon farmer (what?! haha). The truth being that I had never met anyone with the same last name as me, including my biological father. Every time I moved to a new school, I would beg my teachers to call me by my mom's last name so I felt like I belonged to someone...Yet, as I grew older, I began to create my own identity for Canela. I embraced it and made it my own. & eventually, named my little dream after it. Because there are not many things in life that are solely mine.
Cinnamon has grown with me as I have grown through the stages in my life. From patternless sewing, re-creations, to photography into heat-pressed shirts, to baby clothes when my close girlfriends started having babies, to painting on vans and purses.  And now, to my new little collection of Mamahood: the biggest challenge of my life! Celebrating everything mamas go through day and day out, and the littles that make our world go round and upside down!
I have SO many ideas that I am dying to put into action. But for now, I am starting very slow.
This weekend was full of emotions. Lots of self-doubt, lots of gratitude, lots of thinking I'm not good enough, yet so grateful. Not meeting goals vs. wanting to give everything away because that's what I've always done in the past. Then feeling guilty for letting my friends support me. A true rollercoaster. I have no idea where this little venture will take me, nor do I have any expectations. I am not looking to become famous, I am not looking for followers in social media, I am looking to create and represent the unity & support that we need for each other.
I am looking to believe in each other. To raise each other and know that we all have in common way more than is portrayed on the surface. 
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