Thursday, December 27, 2012

Smiles from the Front Porch

Y feliz cumpleaƱos, abuelo.  Te queremos mucho!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Soccer Organization

The other day, Salvatore tells me that I don't have to do his laundry anymore.  Because he has chosen his clothes for the next week. All soccer outfits. All the time.  He matched them up and had each one ready.  These outfits span the globe of all his favorite international teams.

Too bad it's too cold to wear these. And too bad he wasn't serious about the laundry:)

Friday, December 14, 2012


(As a math teacher, I couldn't resist the irony of the date of Salvatore's birthday equaling his age :)

 Salvatore turned 5 last Friday!  I was especially emotional because he was born on a Friday, and it all felt full circle, ya know?  He is an amazing little guy...
full of smiles and giggles...
full of questions and answers...
full of love and curiosity...
full of language and talent...
full of energy and mischief...
equal parts momma and daddy...
 We got him a soccer cake.  Part of his gift was the figurines and goals, so he plays with them each day and night, setting up scenarios and acting out the parts of coach, goalie and striker.
 His crack at his piƱata.
 The goods.
 With his friends and family in the bouncy house.  We all eventually got in and bounced away.  They delivered it first thing at 8 a.m., so he and Valentina were busy bouncing in their pajamas long before guests arrived. 
 After a full day of partying, we went to the Long Beach Convention Center the next day for the Motorcycle Show 2012.  
Salvatore, we are so proud of you and we love you so so much!

This is Salvatore showing me his latest tricks for the soccer field.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The other night, I went to get gasoline by myself.  As I stepped out and began the routine at the pump, I heard/saw a loud car pull up to the pump next to mine.  I glanced over and saw a sports car full of young men, possibly 16-18 years old, laughing and joking around.  I turned my eyes back to my pump and proceeded.  After a minute or so, one of the guys who went in to pay was walking back out to the car and flashed me a great smile.  I shyly smiled back and then really turned to face my car.  We were the only cars at the gas station as I overheard this conversation:

One guy:  Quit staring at that lady!

Other guy:  Why?  She's pretty hot.

One guy:  Dude, she's like a MOM!!!!

Other guy:  How do you know?

One guy:  DUDE!! She's driving a minivan!!!!!!  What do YOU think?

While I did not turn around again, I was totally laughing.  Quickly, I grabbed my receipt and pretended to be none the wiser.  I jumped into the car, glancing one more time at the car next to me.  "Other guy" flashed me another grin and a "peace sign".  

Sigh...I AM old enough to be his mom.  HA!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Love/Hate Foods

I found this card at Halloween and found it completely appropriate for my current state.

I've had many a funny discussion with friends and family about food and what we love and hate about it.  Some of my friends seem to think I am a bit strange for some of my preferences.  These preferences start off on the "love list", yet can quickly end up on the "hate list".

LOVE bananas.  HATE bananas in anything, including bread, muffins, cake, pie or any other dessert.

LOVE blueberries.  HATE when people bake them into muffins or put them on pancakes.

LOVE strawberries.  HATE strawberry milkshakes and strawberry ice cream. Or on pancakes.

LOVE apples. HATE apple pie.  

LOVE raspberries. HATE raspberries in cookies, cakes or any other desserts.

LOVE carrots. HATE carrot cake.

LOVE cranberries. HATE cranberry sauce or jelly or whatever that stuff is that slithers out of that can.

And raisins.  LOVE raisins. From a box. But good grief, don't put them or bake them in anything.

I LOVE Thanksgiving and HATE when it is over.

What do you LOVE/HATE when it comes to food?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

A Picky Eater

Salvatore and I have some of our best conversations while driving in the car. 
 The other day, we were running errands and he was unusually quiet. 
 I decided to ask him what he was thinking about.  

This was our exact conversation:

Me:  What are you thinking about back there?

Salvatore:  Picky eaters.

Me: (Caught off guard by this subject...)  What about picky eaters?
 (For the record, Sal is picky and not picky, just like most other kids.)

Salvatore:  Well, there is this commercial on TV that says that you should give picky eaters this special chocolate milk to drink when they won't eat their regular food.

Me:  And what made you think about that?

Salvatore:  Well, I don't like how the little boy pushes his plate away and refuses to eat.  (I have never seen the commercial he is speaking of.)  That is very rude. When mommies give you food, you need to eat it. If I was his mommy, I would make him eat his food and THEN give him the chocolate milk.

Me:  Sal, you will make a great parent someday.

Salvatore:  Yes, I know. I do it already with Valentina.  And when we get married, we can take care of daddy and make him eat more vegetables.  

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Halloween 2012

 Captain America and Cinderella took to the streets.  
 Salvatore changed him mind many times before finally settling on Captain America.  He ran through all options of the Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Hulk or Thor.  One night in Toys R Us, we started putting all of the stuff on him and joked that he should just BE the Avengers all by himself. We had the Captain America costume already, an Iron Man mask, those huge Hulk hands, and Thor's hammer in his other hand. He finally chose Captain America because he is really a soldier. Those were Salvatore's words.
 Valentina was easy. She wanted to be a princess. Any princess. She loved every type and color of dress. The hard part was finding her size, but we finally did.  I added her little black choker, tights, black shoes, and a wand. Hair up in a fancy bun, a bit of girly glitter, and Cinderella was created.
This was Salvatore's favorite house. He was amazed at the life size Iron Man and his little Hulk friend. They were constantly giving each other high-fives and Salvatore told them that he would go and find Thor and be back so they could work together for peace. Again, his words. 

We went through our neighborhoods, stopped at a pumpkin patch, and ate a second late dinner with Tio Jorge (also a soldier).  The loot was bountiful and we were (I was) very happy with the large amounts of Reece's and good chocolate this year. Far less licorice and fruity stuff, and only one Tootsie Roll (NOT REAL CHOCOLATE IN MY BOOK). I've been on overdrive, but trying to pace myself to have both bags finished by Thanksgiving. 

How was your Halloween?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mexico City Vacation

 This post will only contain pictures. I will post again that shows all of the videos of Mexico.
This picture above, taken by Brian, is us getting ready to board the plane. At 12:30 a.m. Kids wide awake!  They were great travelers the whole time. We were so proud. It was strange for them to not have their car seats in Mexico.  Sounds weird, I know, but that's how most of the world gets around-the old fashioned way of kids in backseats and on laps.  The traffic is so bad in that city of 22 million people, I don't think we ever drove faster than 30 MPH.  
 A view of David's street. Mexico City is the largest populated capital in the world. It has 16 delegations that serve as basic "counties" throughout the city. David's family is from Delegacion Magdalena Contreras. Way up in the hills of the city.
 Outside the doctor's office. Same doctor that delivered David, Fabiola, Mayda, and Lula. Same doctor that treated Salvatore when his asthma kicked up.  Same doctor removed 4 of my moles from my neck and some of David's from his.  If you have to ask why, it's because it was CHEAP and EASY.
 Lourdes and I on the streets of Coyoacan-another delegation.  Beautiful little section of the city with cobble stone everywhere, street vendors and musicians, lots of shopping and the some of the best food you ever had.  There is a church there where David received his first communion.

 All in Coyoacan.
 This is in front of the family restaurant of Flavio and Daniel.  They live in San Juan Teotihuacan, about 30 minutes outside of Mexico City. We spent much of our time here 6 years ago. 
 Valentina y Tia Mayda.
 Valentina and I walking into the local church that is now a cathedral.
 Us walking to see the pyramids of Teotihuacan.  I studied this place in college, as Mexican-American History was my major. I first walked this Avenue of the Dead and climbed the Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon back in 2005. To be here with my family now was just surreal.  

 Salvatore climbed to the very top of the Pyramid of the Sun with no hesitation.  He loved it and would shout and wave to me and the bottom with Valentina.  It is as sketchy as it looks, so I didn't want to try and hold Val and attempt the climb at the same time.

 We visited the Papalote Children's Museum! So fun!  This is Salvatore and I with the giant pins. I love how his face turned out...looks just like it did when I first saw his 3-D ultrasound.  If I was a millionaire, I would totally buy one of these and play with it all day.
 Maura (the bride), me, and Mayda.  The wedding took place in Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos.  Beautiful, warm, sunny place to be. She was the most beautiful bride. I did not take one single pic of the wedding or any of us going to or from the wedding or reception. I relied on others for camera duty. When I tucked my camera in my bag, I never went back for it.  I will get some pics soon from Brian to post.
The neatest thing was that at the beginning of the ceremony, after we all walked down the aisle and took our places, we saw this huge dragonfly flying all around Maura and Balam.  It was Lula. The family has often seen representations of her as a dragonfly and it was unmistakable to see this one hang around the entire ceremony. It made us all cry.

 Some of the cousins. We had a huge dinner each night at a different house. The hospitality was amazing. So nice to see everyone so devoted to making a nice meal and evening for us. 
 The kids sitting on David's patio. 
 Lourdes and Armando's beautiful home. David grew up here.
There are little shrines and places to stop and pray and place flowers all throughout the city. Tons and tons of little places with statues of Jesus and crosses and the Virgin Mary.  Everywhere.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


Words and their context and meaning swirl around in my head often as a result of being a reading teacher. 

 Lately, I've been thinking a lot about one word...little.

As an adjective, it is defined as small in size, amount or degree.  And we can use it for just about anything:

You are too little to do this or that.

I have a little headache, backache, toothache, scratchy throat.

If only I had a little more time, money, space, room.

I wish I was just a little thinner, taller, bigger, faster.

You have a little hand, please reach deep down this drain, hole, burrow.

Just eat a little more.

Please sleep a little longer.

Those little personality quirks really annoy me.

It's just a little leak.

Needs a little more salt, pepper, spice, flavor.

Give me just a little kiss.

Stay a little longer.

It's just a little confusing when you hear Don't sweat the little things and It's the little things that count.

My kids are little and I am loving it. People tell me all the time to savor these moments, for they pass too quickly.  Don't I know it.  

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Salvatore's First Soccer Game

We had his first game this morning.  He was so great!  It was so hot, we could barely stand it.  But to see him in his element was all worth it.  They gathered and practiced for 40 minutes, then played two 10 minute games.  He scored 5 goals!  And the sportsmanship was abundant.  Lots of cheering, hi-fives, taking turns, and running through the tunnel of family hands at the end was the best.  We are looking forward to more Saturdays on the field.
His team name is Transformers.  About 60 boys total, so you can imagine the logistics of setting everyone up.  They all have the same number, 12.  They are all the same age, height, and weight.  If you were more than 25 feet away, you seriously could not tell which kid was yours!
(Sal is the one who scores at the end of this video, in case you couldn't pick him out either :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Cute is Valentina?

I'll tell you how cute...

1.  She walks better in heels than some women my age.

2. When she wants you to hush, she puts her finger up to her nose instead of her mouth.

3.  She still puts herself in timeouts.

4.  She wants her toenails painted all of the time now.

5.  She always wants to brush Salvatore's hair when he gets out of the shower.

6.  She tries to dress herself and always puts both legs in one hole.

7.  The way she shouts "PIZZA" if we are remotely close to a CostCo.

8.  She will sit through almost an entire movie in a theater now, but I must let her feed me candy just to keep her quiet for the last few minutes.

9.  She gets really happy when she sees babies, puppies, and cats in public.

10.  She is learning to recite the Our Father, Padre Nuestro in Spanish so she can say her prayers with Daddy and Salvatore each night.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Neil Diamond's Youngest Fan

For Dad's 71st birthday, Brian, Salvatore and I took him to see Neil Diamond at the Honda Center.  We got all dressed up, ate at The Spaghetti Factory, and took off to see The Legend.  Salvatore got lots of stares and adoring smiles from other fans in the crowd, as he was BY FAR, the youngest fan in attendance. I think Brian was the next youngest at 34.  Needing no opening act, Mr. Diamond put on a wonderful show and had us all captivated as he played through the hits.  Dad has been playing Neil Diamond songs for the kids for a long time, so Sal knew some of the words to some of the songs. His favorite is "Sweet Caroline", and to see Sal's face when the song started was just priceless.  Even better was the fact that he did like 5 encores of the song which kept Sal believing he was singing it just for him.  Around 10:30 p.m., my youngest (and oldest) were more tired than Neil himself, so we headed out to the parking lot to beat the traffic and crowd.  
You never forget your first real concert. I am happy to have us all remember this moment with Salvatore and Lolo. SO GOOD, SO GOOD, SO GOOD!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Summer of Love

 Another summer has come and gone.  We stayed close to home all summer and welcomed our favorite visitors like my mom back in June and then my sister, Beth, and her boyfriend, Bobby, in August.  (Beth, please send me some pics from your camera, as I have none to post here from mine.)
 We entertained ourselves mostly with water, using the slip and slide, the little kiddie pool in the backyard, or during swimming lessons at the high school down the street.  Both kids got really tan and hardly wore shoes for two months.  
 We spent an entire weekend at the annual Corn Festival again. Much to our dismay, there were no ponies for them to ride again, so we couldn't do our annual photo.  But, Salvatore fell in love with the Bungee Jump and we stuffed ourselves silly with fresh corn.
The boys saw a few soccer games and we all got to tour the Home Depot Center.

 We caught a few local concerts in the park.  
The highlight of our summer was seeing Neil Diamond in concert for Lolo's birthday.  I will post those pics after I download them. 

School has started once again, and we are getting back into a routine.  Salvatore has soccer games each Saturday morning and we are excited to cheer him on.  The kids are changing their minds every minute about Halloween costumes.  My mom might visit again for Thanksgiving.  
The highlight of autumn will be our visit to Mexico for Tia Maura's wedding this October!  Gotta shop for my bridesmaid dress and shoes!