Tag Archives: parenting

What Am I Thankful For? Me.

I’ve seen so much hate, contempt and disrespect lately. Over the last two weeks I’ve cried and questioned everything and everyone. What I’ve come to realize (what i think I’ve always known) is that I can and will do more. I’m demanding that the high standards I have for myself will have to be upheld by those around me and I’m positive that love and kindness is the greatest way overcome hate and indifference. While I could spend the rest of my life reciting what I’m thankful for, right now, in these times it’s who I am and what I believe in that I’m truly thankful for. I’m blessed to have these traits…

  • I am thankful that I know in my heart that I do not judge or have prejudices against other people.
  • I am thankful that I see good in others until they show me otherwise.
  • I am thankful to be a lifelong learner. Not too proud to improve my knowledge and understanding of the things I don’t know.   
  • I am thankful that I can give to others without hesitation. 
  • I am thankful I am empathetic and compassionate. 
  • I am thankful for my dedication to manners and proper etiquette. 
  • I am thankful that I can see pain through the behavior of others and treat them accordingly.
  • I am thankful that I want to hear the stories of others, expanding my understanding of the people throughout the world.
  • I am thankful that I can work hard. For myself, for my family and for others. 
  • I am thankful I can see greatest in others.
  • I am thankful that I feel best being kind, generous and supportive.
  • I am thankful for my dedication to children and young people, understanding that they are the most important.
  • I am thankful for my sense of pride for who I am and where I’m from.
  • I am thankful that I have an overwhelming need to give, receive and surround myself with love.
  • I am thankful that I know how blessed I am. Especially to have my family, my husband David and my daughters. 

It’s moments like these that we see how strong we are and the impact we can have. We are powerful. And in the words of my favorite Marvel Superheroe’s Uncle…”with great power comes great responsibility”
Happy Thanksgiving!

Back to School

What happened to summer?! My oldest daughter started school last week. My younger two started school today. Back to school this year was quite bitter sweet for so many reasons. Although summers for me as a mother and entrepreneur are rough to say the least. A constant juggle between taking good care of my girls, having fun and getting my work done. The constant scheduling and focus on time management is truly worth it because our family time is precious. Not just to me and my husband, but to our my girls too. We truly love to be together. I thank God everyday and will do everything I can do make it happen and ensure that lasts. 

However school time is great too! Stella, entering third grade was the most excited of all of my girls to go back. Sofia, who is a gift of a child, also happens to be teenager, so there’s that. And my little Cece who seemed excited to go back and see her friends, held my leg for a few seconds too long this morning. Long enough to indicate she was scared and long enough for tears to produce…in my eyes, not hers. She was okay a few minutes later, giving me a big hug and a tap on the nose and cheeks (that’s what I do to her) before I left. 

For the most part I’m happy to start the school year. I know, well I hope, I’m sending my girls with the tools they need to succeed and I’m excited for all of the new experiences they’re going to have. 

This summer we talked a lot about being kind and working hard. Empathy and Motivation. I think you’ll go very far in life if you have those characteristics. 

I try to set a good example for my children not just tell them, but show them. I think that’s the best way to teach. They see me setting goals and accomplishing them. This summer even my youngest mentioned that I had set goals like new clients for Straightforward Consulting and pan camp for Barrels to Beethoven and accomplished both. There’s nothing like hearing “I’m proud of you mommy” from your kids. That alone is a great motivator. #FanClub

They also see me constantly helping others. I tell them even if you have nothing at all, you can still give someone your time. When I see them excited to do something kind for a family member, friend, or stranger, it really warms my heart. It’s such a blessing to see your child being kind and helping others. I hope that quality stays with them, always.

So I’m sending my girls back to school with with confidence, empathy, determination to do well and pride. I’m praying they do their best, are treated well, treat others well and truly enjoy themselves. And, I’m taking a moment (literally just a moment) to change course, adjust to my new daily routine and make a plan to achieve my new goals. 

Here’s to a great school year! 

My Father’s Day Weekend…Planned


Today has already been a hectic day, early morning emails, getting Sofia to her last day of  school (finally), vacuuming and washing the car and folding laundry. Yes, all before 9:30am ( actually 9:21am) and with a 4 year old in deep tantrum mode. Mornings like today, I am not only reminded of how much I do, but also how much I can handle. 
This afternoon has to be all about Sofia. It’s finally her last day of school. The last day of 7th grade! It’s been a long school year. Especially the last few weeks while her little sisters have already been enjoying summer vacation. Sofia has worked hard and we are extremely proud of her, not only for her great grades but for her spirit and amazing disposition. I can’t believe she’ll be going into the 8th grade!

Tonight, if we can gather ourselves together the girls and I will attend a fashion show produced by one of my friends, while david heads off to DJ.


Tomorrow morning we start our newest activity. Stella would like to learn about all of the historic landmarks in Pittsburgh (I know, this child is pure magic) so every Saturday morning we will head off to visit and learn about a different landmark. This is Stella’s plan and I’m going with it. I told her maybe we could go another day during the week, but she specifically selected Saturday morning so that Sofia and Daddy could be there and I wouldn’t have any gigs. Again, this child. 

Saturday afternoon we’ll head to the Art Institute student fashion show. Luckily I ran into the fabulous Dept. Chair and she told me about the show. I’m excited to see what these amazing students have created!

Saturday evening we’re heading to another family graduation party. Many of the people there are family members we don’t see very often so it will be nice to see them and for the girls to see how big their fathers family really is! They love family gatherings!


Sunday is Father’s Day and we can’t wait to celebrate! David will DJ in the morning for brunch at Meat and Potatoes so we’ll have to wait until the afternoon to shower him with love and appreciation. We’ll miss him but we get extra time to prepare an amazing afternoon for him. 

All in All

Love and family. What more do you need? According to my husband and father, David Pugliano…nothing. It’s Fathers Day weekend so we get to give him even more love and show our gratitude, only slightly  different from our regular family time. 

We love him so much. He loves us so much. I can not only feel it, I can see it in his eyes when he looks at me. When he looks at our girls there’s no hiding the love and they have the same sparkle when they look at him. I am blessed to feel the kind of love he has for me but watching him as a father is the greatest joy. David and his girls have a beautiful relationship. It’s somewhat magical, and kind of unbelievable. I love that. As our girls get older I am even more grateful that David is my partner, and the father of my children. He gives them the kind of love and support that almost seems impossible. He has their back, and they certainly have his. Growing up with that kind of comfort, support and love is so important for all children and I am beyond thankful for the father my girls have. 

Special shoutout to my father and father in-law. ❤️

Happy Fathers Day to all!

My Weekend…Planned

This week, although a day shorter, brought a workload twice as long. This weeks to do list has already been added onto next week list!


This morning we’re cleaning and preparing for summer. In the afternoon the girls and I will head to my office for a few hours. 

Friday the girls will go to their grandparents house for the night. David and I both have gigs. First up? “WhatsUp” by artists Sarah Zeffiro. A collab with another artist Tom Mosser opening at Irma Freeman Center for Imagination in conjunction with Unblurred on Penn. What’s great about this gig? Not only do I get to perform for a great friend but with great friends. My bandmate Brett Staggs and I will be mixing it up and doing something a little different. Joining us during night, my husband David (yes on Steelpan) and another one of my incredibly talented friends, Ayesha Scott will sing. Join us for a jam session at 10, bring your instrument!


In the morning we’re meeting with another talented friend, artist John Eastman. David, John and I are collaborating on a project that am I completely moved and excited about. 

Saturday evening we’re heading to “Full Bloom” the Kelly Strayhorn Theatre’s annual fundraiser. We’ve supported KST and this event every year since my sister took the position of Executive Director somewhere around 8 years ago.  This is always a fun event. 


Sunday morning we’re heading to the Carnegie Library Extravaganza with our girls. Not only is this a fun event but Stella will be recognized during a ceremony for the “I Do What I Can” Awards presented by WQED, which she received earlier this year for being smart, kind and helpful. I’m so proud of her. In addition to recording a radio interview with SLB Se also gets to take part in this ceremony.?Stella is a wonderful girl; talented, intelligent, inquisitive, kind and so much more. She’s impressive. We’re proud of her and happy to see her recognized at such a young age. 

Sunday evening we’ll gather once again with family to celebrate a high school graduation. One of many family gathering this summer!

All in All

I’ve been thinking a lot about the people that get a lot of praise in our society and what they’re praised and recognized for. I don’t want my children to get caught up in thinking that celebrity, fame, money and materials things lead to happiness or relate to importance or self worth. I’ve never been impressed by those things I’m not sure why others are. 

Who impresses me? Stella impresses me.  Beyoncé impressed me (probably for really different reasons than the screaming fans in the from row.) Entrepreneurs that are great parents and family centered, impress me. Musicians and artists that show exceptional talent, live from their art and share their art with the next generation, impress me. People who work hard, have confidence, achieve but are still kind and dedicate time to others. That really impresses me.

I’m not impressed by people that have accomplished a lot but failed to be there for their children. Or people who are seen as great outside of the home but struggle with relationships within their family. I’m not impressed by those who give a lot to strangers over their family. Or people that aren’t loyal to the people who have been there for them. I am not impressed by ignorance and selfishishness and false praise. 

I am impressed by people who understand recognition means nothing if you’re miserable behind closed doors. And those that realize that pedestals and praise are insignificant if you don’t have real relationships. I’m impressed by mothers and fathers that work extremely hard and raise great kids. By families that support one another. By couples that accomplish separately but achieve together. By families fighting illnesses with conviction. Strong relationships, unbreakable bonds, family first, exceptional achievements, giving hearts…That impresses me. I hope these things continue to impress my children. 

Current Status: Nailed It!

What a week…

I have to write about my girls and motherhood while I’m flying high. As many mothers out there know, that feeling could be gone in an instant by a tantrum, bad grade or much worse. Today however, I feel good. I actually feel great. If I had time to share all of the turmoil currently swirling in the outskirts of my life, it may surprise you that I’m doing well, it actually surprises me. God is good.

At a very young age I began to pray for strength. Not new clothes or a new toy, just strength. And still today, when I sit with God, I pray for my family and for continued strength. Again and again, my prayers have been answered. 

Being a mother of three young girls (insert any number of children and gender) is difficult. My experience isn’t different than most other mothers. You want the best for your children, you do the best you can for your children. 

I used to think that I would have this large village, as they say, of people that would help me raise my girls into exceptional young women. I thought they would have role models at every corner, aunts to teach them this, uncles to teach them that, grandparents, great aunts, cousins and friends. I thought they would be surrounded by love and support and knowledge and wisdom. The truth is not everyone believes in that village mentality. While they do have family that love them, encouraging people to take an active role in their growth and development isn’t easy. People are busy with their own lives and priorities. 

My solution; be the village, pray for the strength and be grateful for the help of a few others. 

Within the last year my girls have all had exceptional teachers. We are so grateful for them. They have taught them above and beyond the classroom. These women have shown actually care and concern and we are blessed to have such wonderful women in their lives. 

Another blessings, friends with time. I’ve had a friend take the time to teach my girls through art. My girls are smart but also creative. It meant the world to me to have someone spend time with them, especially Sofia. 

Then there’s my husband and myself. We are the village. 

I have structured my life in a way that although difficult, allows me to be the type of mother I want to be. After such a busy but successful week, I had to celebrate. 

Disclaimer: I celebrate after a successful day!

My week consisted of 2 consulting proposals, a university  workshop, performance with my band, work due for a new client and a planning meeting for my organization. My husbands consisted of working 40 hours+ of construction, partnering with me with the workshop and performance and 2 DJ gigs of his own. Despite the workload, by weeks end, we were a family accomplished. My oldest daughter and I have been working together for the past few weeks to bring her lower grades up. By Friday? Straight A’s. My middle daughter has been working for weeks getting ready for her class musical. She struggles with her speech and gets a little shy on stage. We worked together, she’s worked very hard. The result? A Stellar performance! My youngest daughter is living the life but my two goals for her are to become a little more mature (less breakdowns) and to learn to read by the end of summer. We have been working very hard on both of those. This week? Minimal breakdowns, more talking through issues and…she read a sentence we made with her new fancy flash cards! We did it! Lo hicimos! 

How can we not celebrate?  I feel so good. In addition to their own accomplishments, my daughters also see me succeeding and helping others. I know I am a great example for them, I work really hard to be. 

I feel so proud. Proud of my girls, proud of my husband and proud of myself. Current status is indeed, Winning!

A Little Thanks…

As soon as November rolls around you start seeing stories of thanks. And rightly so. The Thanksgiving holiday gets us all thinking about family, friends and the blessings we have. Although my husband and I give thanks daily for our family more specifically, our girls, we know there’s an abundance of things we are grateful for in our lives. The small moments of joy and other little things that together create this wonderful life that we’re living. Being grateful is a blessing, it allows you to be happy, content, do for others, and spread joy, all while continuing to work towards improving yourself and fulfilling your dreams.

Sunday morning as the girls, one by one filtered into our bed and we sat there as a family, just chatting and laughing, I thought to myself “it’s special moments like this that make life great.” And what’s even greater? Those moments, for my family, are not an exception, they occur all of the time, and for that, I could not be more grateful. This year, during the month of November, we’re sharing those “little things” day by day, that make our lives great. So, what are we grateful for today?

November 25th

Sofia: CCD because even though we don’t go to a catholic school anymore we can still get our religious education.

Stella: Thanksgiving break. Because daddy’s off for four days! 
Cecelia: My teachers. Because they’re smart and they play with us.
David: A house full of hugs. Because there is nothing better than coming home to so much love and affection from my beautiful girls. Especially after a difficult day. 
ProperLeigh: My work ethic. Because working smart and working hard has brought me the greatest moments of joy, happiness and success. I wouldn’t be a mother of three, wife, businesswoman and musician, all that I have always wanted, if I was afraid of the work it would take. 

November 24th

We’ve been away for a while. We’ve had fun over the last few days but we’ve had some really busy days. The best part about this exercise of gratitude was sitting together and talking about our blessings as a family. Since we couldn’t do that I didn’t post a list. It’s Thanksgiving week! I can’t believe it. We are facing some challenges but as always counting our blessings and feeling a lot of joy. Here’s what we’re grateful for today.

Sofia: For the times when we go out to eat as a family. I enjoy eating together at home but we go out we always have a lot of fun together.
Stella: The weekend. Because I get to spend time with my family.
Cecelia: For Dora. Because she is smart and cute and I’ve always wanted a puppy.
David: For my sense of humor. Because I enjoy making people laugh especially when I can tell they’ve been having a rough day.
ProperLeigh: The support I receive from my friends. I have always had trouble asking for help. I have friends now that just do without me asking, it makes it so much easier.

November 16th

Sofia: My mom created Barrels to Beethoven. Because there are many people in the world that don’t know about the Steelpan and I’m so glad we can teach it to people.

Stella: My two awesome sisters. Because they’re both very nice and very silly.

Cecelia: My pony dolls. Because I like to play with them and Stella likes them too.

David: For my health and physical well being. Because I enjoy physical work and can contribute to all of the amazing things that we do.

ProperLeigh: All the beautiful pieces of art work my girls have brought home over the years. Because it shows me their creativity and the things they care about.

November 15th

Sofia: To my parents for giving me such an interesting and unique life. We get to do so many different things.

Stella: That we go to brunch sometimes after church. We always have fun at the table. I love the restaurant we went to today, Paris 66, I hope we an go back.

Cecelia: That daddy piled up the leaves and we got to jump and play in them. It was so much fun!

David: That we love to do things together as a family, even chores and tasks. It’s make things so much easier and it’s also more fun.

ProperLeigh: Time to rest. I don’t take time to rest and recharge, almost never. This weekend, with the exception of a few hours of work and chores. I took time to rest and really have fun with my family! What I learned? I could probably use a few more days of rest!

November 14th

Sofia: My sewing machine. I can’t wait to get better and better! Soon I’ll start tailoring adult clothes to fit me!

Stella: For my big sister. She hangs out with me and I like having fun with her.

Cecelia: Family day. I like being with my whole family and when mommy say in the back with us it was fun.

David and ProperLeigh: We created opportunities to work together. We don’t spend much time together so we’re grateful to not only support each other creatively, but work on special projects as a team.


November 12/13 (I took a sick day)

Sofia: My mom helped me start a company. I’ve always wanted to have a clothing business. It’s going to be a great experience and hopefully very successful.

Stella: For art my teacher. Because she’s helping us create art to showcase.

Cecelia: My daddy. Because he’s smart and her rubs my back at bedtime when mommy doesn’t rub my back.

David: That I am still a DJ. I love music and djing is my form of creativity. I’m thankful I get the opportunity to entertain and connect with people through music.

ProperLeigh: That the sickness that has consumed our household the last two weeks ended with me. I think I had it worst (partly because I refused to slow down) but at least I was able to care for my family last week.


November 11th

Sofia: I get to do so many cool things with my parents. Like go to cool events and shows. Because it’s fun and I feel really happy.

Stella: Our house. Because I have a place my bed and all of my things and my family there. I love all of that.

Cecelia: Mommy. Because she’s smart.

David: For being a father to three girls. Because they’re caring, considerate and their love makes me feel like a rockstar!

ProperLeigh: For the the pride and self esteem that me, my girls and husband possess. We like who we are. I am so grateful to raise girls that love who they are. I hope that never goes away! Having good self- esteem greatly effects how you act and interact with others.

November 10th

Sofia: Being a big sister. Because I love helping my little sisters teaching them right from wrong and showing them that I’ll always be there for them.

Stella: My school. Because I get to see my friends and learn new things like, multiplication.

Cecelia: My books. Because I love to read (she can’t read yet) and they’re so fun (again, she can’t read yet)

David: The night time wind down with my wife. Because the girls are in bed, the house is quiet and it’s time to regroup.

ProperLeigh: Children that are very caring. I hit my elbow, yelled “ouch” and they all ran into the room to see if I was okay. It’s a great feeling. I know that they will help others in need.

November 9th (Cecelia edition for her birthday)

Sofia: I’m grateful for Cece because there’s never a dull moment.

Stella: Cecelia’s love. Whether I’m happy or sad she always gives me hugs.

Cecelia: The microphone I got from my mommy and daddy for my birthday! Because I love to sing.

David: To have Cece by my side when I’m doing a task. She always wants to help and willing to learn something new.

ProperLeigh: The strength Cece has given me. Because of her, I chose to focus on my dreams.


November 8th

Sofia: I got to see one of my best friends perform this weekend. Because she’s very talented and I want to support her.

Stella: My stuffed animals. Because when I’m scared at night they help me to be brave.

Cecelia: Mommy’s stories that she’s tells me at night. Because they’re good and I love them.

David: I’m grateful for the weekends. That’s when I get to spend time with my family. Even if we’re busy, at least we can be together.

ProperLeigh: To have kids with a great sense of humor. They make us laugh with great humor and wit.


November 7th

Sofia: I’m grateful I got to help my mom with Barrels to Beethoven today. Because I like to help her with her work.

Stella: My mom gives me second chances. Because everybody makes mistakes.

Cecelia: I got to go to my first classmate birthday party today. Because birthday parties are fun!

David: For time with my best friend. Because she also happens to be my wife

ProperLeigh: All of our friends that help us with our girls. Especially those that have helped us during performances or workshops. Taking them for ice cream or to play. Or sitting and chatting with them. It means so much to us. Because being a parent is so difficult, it’s nice to have some help


November 6th

Sofia: My Mom. Today she took care of me when I was sick. I like spending time with her even if I don’t feel well.

Stella: Nonni’s new puppy, Dora. Because I always wanted a dog. I get to help take care of her and she is soooo cute!

Cecelia: My Nonni. Because she takes care of me and I like to be with her.

David: Our children are being raised with two cultures that are rich in tradition, they’re growing up knowing they’re a part of something. Knowing your roots and culture of where you come from helps to build a sense of pride.

ProperLeigh: My strength. I know my girls are watching me. They recognize that I work hard and I don’t give up when facing adversity. They are the same.


November 5th

Sofia: My 6th grade teacher, Mrs.Rawlings, because she taught the students and I many life lessons and she helped me get through math. I got all A’s last year because of her.

Stella: My books. I love reading especially mystery books. I like to solve them.

Cecelia: My new car seat. Because it makes me feel like a big girl.

David: My faith. Because it keeps me grounded and I know that everything and everyone has its purpose.

ProperLeigh: My organization skills. I would not be able to do all that I do and still ensure my girls get everything they need without thIs blessing. Tonight Cece told me that I was really smart because I know everything that everybody has to do. She was really impressed by that.

November 4th

Sofia: That my mom taught me to play the Steelpan, and its in our family.

Stella: My friends . Because I can have a lot of friends. Today my best friend made me laugh so much! She’s really funny.

Cecelia: Painting. Because I like art and I like to create things. I painted a rainbow today.

David: I have an open mind. Because  that allows me to appreciate the differences in people.

ProperLeigh: Moments like tonight. My mother in law made us dinner! I’m so grateful! A delicious meal. No cooking or cleaning and the girls had a marvelous time with their grandparents and the new puppy Dora!


November 3rd

Sofia: My school. There are many girls in the world that can’t go to school

Stella: My school. I like my teachers and my friends and I like to learn new things.

Cecelia: My toys because I like to play with them.

David: A wife that loves and supports me despite my faults.

ProperLeigh: The laughter in my home. I love to laugh. Everybody is funny. My husband is the funniest man I’ve ever known and has been making me laugh from the moment we met. My kids have great comedic timing and a great sense or humor

November 2nd

Sofia: My wardrobe. I have nice clothes and I bought them with my mom. I like spending time with my mom.

Stella: I get to hangout with my family. Because we love spending time together and we have fun.

Cecelia: My School. Because I like my teachers and playing with my friends.

David: To be surrounded by creativity. It’s inspiring.

ProperLeigh: My girls like the Steelpan and music in general. While we were practicing we literally broke into a jam session. My girls are cool. They will be great musicians someday.

November 1st

Sofia: Our home. It’s nice and there are so many children in the world without a home.

Stella: That I’m me. I have a good life. I’m nice. And I’m pretty.

Cecelia: I get to play with Stella. Because I like to be with her.

David: A family that is close. We enjoy spending time together and love to make one another smile

ProperLeigh: A Sunday morning that begins with my family talking and laughing in my bed. Because it’s moments like this that warm my heart.

My Weekend…Planned


Today is busy all day. From dentist appointments to parent teacher conferences to lots of work to finish for me. The evening will be a little sad. We’ll be saying goodbye to my aunt and grandmother visiting from Guyana. It’s been nice to walk into my parents house and see them. I love the conversations I had especially with my aunt and the wisdom of from grandmothers. Although I wish we could have done more with them, it was so nice to have more family around. 


In the morning we’ll be babysitting my in- laws new puppy, Dora. I know…me babysitting a puppy? Sounds crazy, especially since my fear of dogs is FOR REAL like some people fear heights. I try to be brave. Of course I’ll do anything for my in-laws and not only because they’re the ONLY people who watch our children. #NobodyBabysitsThreeKids

Saturday afternoon I’ll be working. We are literally up to our necks in work right now. Between Straightforward Consulting, Barrels to Beethoven, DJ illeso and Rhythm ‘n’ Steel and of course our children and home. We have a “to do” list that would bring some to tears. So spending a few hours checking off the list on Saturday afternoon is a must. The highlight? At least we’ll be together! 
Saturday evening will be unique and fun. At my daughters school the parents of each grade spend some time together (without the children) to get to know one another. So we’ll be spending the evening at the home of one of Cece’s classmates. A nice idea and a chance for us to get to know other families at our school. 


Sunday morning is back to our usual routine. The crazy summer had us really out of whack, but we’re back! Sunday morning will consist of church and brunch. Sunday evening will be another unique and fun event were headed to Monster Mash, Family Bash! A family friendly Halloween party at La Tavola, a great restaurant owned by a great friend. I helped a little with planning and David will DJ. The girls are beyond excited!!

All in All

I would say it’s all about my family, work and fun this weekend but that’s every weekend, that’s actually my focus everyday. After a great morning of conferences I’m proud of myself, my husband and especially our girls. Many years ago I made a decision to do it all. My all, my version of doing and having it all. Being an entrepreneur, a professional musician and starting an organization that engages and inspires people, are goals I’ve had since I was a child. However, seeing my girls growing so well, hearing what their teachers, principles and others say about them, fills me with pride and joy. Above everything else my greatest goal has always been to be a good mother, I’d say great mother but I don’t want to place too much pressure on myself😊. To raise children, ultimately  women, that are confident, kind and hardworking would be my greatest achievement and the biggest impact  I could make in this world. My girls are those things and I will continue to encourage and inspire them as they grow. Being a parent is not easy and we know some of the paths we’ve chosen make things a bit harder, but it’s worth some hard days to ensure positive growth and diverse experiences for our girls.  All of their teachers describe them as; well spoken, smart and kind, that is our reward. I feel overjoyed and extremely blessed with our journey thus far.