Friday, December 30, 2011

Monday, December 26, 2011

Pilot and co-pilot

Merry Christmas to all of our family and friends! How wonderful to celebrate our Savior's birth with another year of growth, commitment and love.
Look what fit down the chimney again this year! We wanted something that they could enjoy together and with friends for a few years. With the 75 degree weather today, we took it for a real spin around the backyard.
Captain and co-captain. Pilot and co-pilot. No, mom, it doesn't have seat belts. No, Sita, Valentina never fell out. The kids LOVED it and rode it all over the backyard.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Serious Bed Head

Valentina woke up the other morning with some serious bed head. This picture does NOT do it any justice. We all laughed out loud as she emerged from their bedroom. Completing the insane hairdo was fuzz from their freshly washed white fuzzy blanket, hence the speck on her forehead. We laughed at her expense, for she was not a happy camper and must have tossed and turned all night just working on that crazy 'do!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Two. More. Winter. Hats.

They love them!
As winter approaches, I am learning to welcome it more. It brings nice holidays and a much needed break from work, but also brings terrible weather. I honestly just wait for it to run its course so we can get closer and closer to summer.
But I get more house cleaning done in the winter. Time to reorganize and rearrange. Move things around. Out with the old and in with the new...
As I was cleaning out the closets, I found a bag of Valentina's first shoes. Tiny little sandals and Pumas tennis shoes. Sizes 0 and 1. I remember buying them, dressing her, enjoying them, and putting them away.

It. is. all. going. too. fast.

We aren't having any more kids. And I feel complete. Honestly, I would've felt complete with any number of children, one or 5. When new life comes in and joins yours...COMPLETE!

There is something uniquely special about each size of family.
I smile when I see one parent and child. How intimate. How personal, special and fun! I imagine all of the things they get to do together, all of the places they can go. The deep conversations. How that parent gets a special ticket to know everything about that child and share many memories.
I smile when I see 4 or 5 kids. How fun and loud. Lots of giggly voices and pitter patters. Big cars, big meals. Lots of laundry. Hand-me-downs and sharing.

Funny thing is, families with 4 or 5 still have special times and go lots of places. And families with one still have tons of giggles, big meals, loads of laundry and sharing.

As I held on to Valentina's shoes, I closed my eyes and knew exactly what I wanted. Not another baby. I wanted THEM. To be babies, again. Or for longer. If I could do it again with them or just stretch time out with them, I would. More. Longer. Again.
As we were ready to rest and the bedtime story was over, I held each one in my arms.
One for my right and one for my left.
I could give each one of them an eye, a kidney, one limb. Even one nostril.
I have one for each half of my heart.
Lots of intimacy and places to go. Lots of giggles, big meals, pitter patter and sharing.

Why can't my babies stay babies for just a bit more?
Because there is.
And I wouldn't be typing this right now if we all stayed babies. Ha!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Salvatore is 4

You were born on a Friday night. The Simpsons were on TV. You came a week early.
I went to work and was expecting another weekend to rest. While giving my 3rd graders a math test after lunch, I started to feel tired. I tried to sit it out. By the time the kids were turning in their tests and I didn't have anything lined up for them to work on next, I knew I needed to call David and the doctor. One call to the office and Estella came in looking anxious and Alma walked in looking confident. I followed her lead. Sat on the broken couch and practiced my labored breathing while many teachers stared and smiled. Called Daddy many times-no answer. He was painting your room with Tia Mayda. Reached the doc and they said to come right in. Called my dad and he drove down with Daddy so they could follow us to St. Jude. Checked in. Got a room and a robe. 4 pm. 5 centimeters. 6 pm and 8 centimeters. Epidural.
You entered the world at 7:39 p.m. and my life was given to God all over again. I said to the doctor that I loved that experience and wanted to have 10 more kids. Seriously.
Did you know that you didn't give the doctor "a good enough cry" so she kept you under the incubator and the NICU team came in to help clear your lungs? For 45 minutes. I hadn't held you yet. One nurse told me not to worry if they were letting Daddy touch you so much. I NEVER took my eyes off of you for the entire 45 minutes. Then they gave you to me and I will never forget how it felt to meet you for the first time.
I couldn't believe how good I felt. I was ready to get right up and walk. Tia Mayda and Lolo were the first to meet you. So many visitors came.
On Sunday morning, Daddy and I had our first experience as a parenting team-your carseat. It had to be perfect in order to be discharged, and it wasn't, so we struggled with no instructions or idea of how to fix it. But we did it.
On the drive home, we stopped at Babies R Us and I was amazed and how it felt to be out in public with a two day old and to see you in your seat and not feel you inside anymore.
Benny was so happy to meet you when we got home. He has adored you ever since.
I have no "awful birth story to remind you about when you are older"...I loved every single minute. You are the greatest son and brother and we love you now and forever more, sweet Salvatore.
4 is gonna rock!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Salvatore's First Christmas Program

Tonight was Salvatore's first Christmas program at his preschool. We got him and Valentina dressed up. They were watching Rio before we left.
His sweet face in the crowd. His teacher painted all of their noses red for "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." They sang three songs for the families. He was so cute...happy and waving from the back row.
Picture with his neat teacher, Miss Mary.

His group of 2 and 3 year olds did such a great job. The 4 year old class was something that should be sent in to America's Funniest Home Video. We only clapped so loudly for the 4 year olds because they were done.

Salvatore is in the middle. He told me afterwards that people in the rows were giving him the "thumbs up" and he was so proud. We were too!

Notice Valentina approaching the singers. I had to bolt quickly because she was ready to interrupt.

P.S. Dear Santa,
Some homemade cake bites if you bring me a new camera. I fall somewhere between the naughty and nice list, but my kids deserve better, clearer memories.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good Times

Valentina is 18 months! She is so full of love and mischief. I can't get enough of her and miss her deeply when I go to work. She runs to me when I arrive. Can't beat that!
She loves Spiderman, brushing her teeth, eating raisins, and the Geico gecko. Yes, really. I don't know why. But she will run from another room if she hears a Geico commercial on.
She is starting to sound just like Salvatore with her talking and singing. Sometimes I can't tell them apart. She keeps up well with him and gets right back up when she falls down. And she gives the cutest dirty looks you've ever seen. Won't be so cute when she is 13, but right now it cracks us up.
Salvatore continues to amaze and surprise us with his wit and charm. The other day, he calmed Valentina down by gently starting to sing, "This little piggy..." with her toes. But this is how he sang it:
"This little piggy played soccer,
this little piggy went to the store,
this little piggy had a sandwich,
this little piggy went home,
and this little piggy wants to play with Spiderman."
He doesn't miss a beat and will pick up on ANYTHING that we are talking about. And he offers his opinions and suggestions constantly. He loves to think about and pray for other people. He is so kind to his classmates. Sometimes, in conversation, I forget that he is a child. Can't believe that he will be 4 soon. The other day when I got home from work, I told him that 10 hours had passed since I had kissed him and that we needed to make up for lost time. He suggested 81 kisses and let me hold him and counted for me while I administered every one. Can't beat that either!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Priceless Portraits

My boss's daughter, Erika, is in high school and she is a fantastic artist. Her mother brags about her all the time. Erika is multi-talented, exploring many styles and techniques. Her oil paintings just happen to be one of my favorites. I gave her these photos of the kids and asked if she would be interested in painting their portraits. She said yes and what she gave me was WAY MORE than I ever could have imagined. She just nailed it with how beautiful they turned out. I had no preference or opinion on anything she would do and when I saw her great work, I was blown away. These portraits adorn our family room walls for all to see. Thank you, Erika, for these priceless gifts of love!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Dinner on a Stick

We went hog wild with shrimp, chicken and steak in the fridge. A bin full of veggies, some skewers, and you've got yourself a feast!
We were going to BBQ them, but the rains came. We used the oven and they were just as good.
They were almost too pretty to eat, but we ate them anyways.
Valentina waiting...

Salvatore digging in.

Want some? :)

Friday, November 11, 2011

Preschool Picture

His first school picture. Practically looks grown-up already.
His class picture is hilarious because half of the group is not looking at the camera.
I love this shot and could look at his smile all day.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Little Package

Valentina crawled into David's soccer bag, so he started carrying her around that way.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Griffith and Albert

We went back to visit the Griffith Observatory again.
David has always admired and felt a special connection to Albert Einstein.
Turns out they share the same birthday. March 14.
Sal and Al
David and Salvatore also saw Center of the Universe at the planetarium. You need to be 5 years old, so we lied. Salvatore was a pro and loved the show. I entertained Valentina downstairs in the snack shop for over 30 minutes and fed her everything small and bite-sized that I could buy. We then toured the streets of L. A. and Hollywood before eating dinner and returning home.
The Griffith is beautiful and free. Who wouldn't love that?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

This Sweet Face...

got a hold of my iPhone and set up 17 (yes, I counted) different alarms! An alarm that went off at 2:15 a.m. sat me straight up in my bed. Another at 3:45. Then every 15 minutes or so. And they all had different sounds and tones, so I was really confused. I was so tired and disillusioned that I didn't catch that she had set so many. She also set them at different times and on different days. Thanks, sweet girl.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Costumes and Candy

Pumpkin carving

Little pumpkin heads
Sara and Salvatore had a blast together

Bumble bee and Spider Man
Showing off his favorite candy
Sleepy bumble bee
Sleepy Spidey

Friday, October 28, 2011

Random Thoughts and Kindness

After coming home from my school's Fall Festival, Salvatore commented, "There sure were a lot of kids there tonight."
"Yes, there were. Mommy will have a job as long as there are children."
"Does everybody have children?"
"Why not?"
"Some people don't want children, some don't have enough money, some are still waiting for the right time, and still some others just can't."
"That's O.K. I know that Jesus has all children with Him. He watches them all. He will give some to people now and others will get them in Heaven."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pills or Vitamins?

Living up to his name, Salvatore really is his sister's savior. He is always looking out for her and seeing the bright side of her actions and antics. The other morning, after what I can best describe as "surviving Hurricane Valentina", we were finally on our way out the door. I was exhausted and it was 10 a.m. I was talking to Suzanne and vented that Valentina was "being a pill" which Salvatore interrupted, "No, mama...she is more like a vitamin."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Lula would be 21 today.

Remember the chocolate filled churros we loved from Coyocan?
San Juan Teotihuacan.
My husband's great family.
You kissing Chac Mool.
Remember when you convinced me to sit on these steps for a picture and the second my butt touched the stair, that crazy alarm went off and I had to explain myself in Spanish because you were laughing too hard to even help me?

Pumas!!!!! Goya goya!!
Remember how we pulled each other around that ice skating rink a million times? Knowing now, I would have never let go.

Walking around in downtown DF.
Inside the palace.
That week we spent in Acapulco. You and I sharing a jet ski. Searching for a birthday cake for mama in the pouring rain. Swimming all day and dancing all night.
When you wore all of my clothes and you styled my hair and make-up.
You took this picture that first night in Acapulco.
Your childhood home. Door always open for you...we love you and miss you very very much.