Sunday, December 22, 2013

Feliz Navidad from the Licona Kids

Feliz Navidad is Salvatore's favorite Christmas song this year!

Breakfast with Santa at the YMCA

We took the kids to our new favorite family place, the YMCA, and with a few wrapped toys for donation, we got to meet and eat with Santa.  Pictures were free. No lines.  We ate stacks of pancakes, fruit, granola bars, juice and water.  Kids were so excited.  We stayed on and let them participate in their classes while we worked out, then we finished with an hour in their heated pool.  
I remember taking gymnastics classes at this same YMCA when I was young and we first moved to Fullerton.  Going back as an adult was memorable and I fully support any organization that puts family and health care first.  

Monday, December 9, 2013

Salvatore is 6

Salvatore turned 6 on Saturday and we have been blessed.  

 Here he is with his classmates, pretending to be soccer champions and holding up the trophy ball.  
 Salvatore got to wear his present, this Mexico uniform, to his party on Sunday.  6 for turning 6!
 We had a soccer party for him and we got to play soccer in the arena for 2 hours.
 Salvatore and Molly, after receiving awards at school.
 The soccer arena at the YMCA where we had his soccer party.  His team joined us and we had a great time.

We wish you the best of everything as you turn 6, my son.  We love you very much!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

P.S. We love you

 With so much to be thankful for, we spent five days in Palm Springs with family, enjoying early celebrations with lots of food, shopping and hanging out.
Salvatore in front of his namesake store.
 After an amazing Mexican Buffet at Casino Morongo.
 Our own Thanksgiving meal before the real one.
 Kids playing in the park.
 Lots of shopping before the major crowds.  We also visited the Palm Springs Aquatic Center and will definitely go back when it warms up.
What is your favorite thing to do in Palm Springs?

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Licona life and Licona time spent...
 At the beach. An amusing pelican from Huntington Beach Pier.  He would walk around the pier and try to blend right in with the crowds. It literally looked like he thought he was one of the people!
 At school. Sal is joining clubs, making friends, and continuing to enjoy his first exposure to school.
 With family.  We watched our Godson, Fernando, this 3 day weekend and his energy and love added much to our own. We have so much fun when we are all together.
 On the pier.  Fernando took our picture while waiting to eat at Ruby's on the pier.  Soccer took us back down to San Juan Capistrano and we first went to Dana Point and walked all along the jetty and collected tons of beach rocks and shells. Driving up PCH, we got hungry and David suggested this place.  Yum!
 Learning. My son is now writing sentences with joy and he reads or tries to read everything.  Valentina also loves to pen her ideas down and has scribbled on everything we own.  Sal was never interested in writing before school, so we dodged that phase of scribbles with him. Not Val. She loves to express herself that way, and while it is all just scribbles and lines, she shows great fine motor skills with her precision in her drawings.
 On Halloween. Valentina was a princess and Salvatore was a knight.  They had a blast again both collecting candy and passing it out at home.  
Loving little moments. Like when you spot TWO rainbows (look closely) the moment your grandparents arrive to say hello.  

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

On a Mission

Salvatore's soccer schedule had us all the way down in San Juan Capistrano for the afternoon.  With the extreme heat, a lost game, bad moods and bickering between all of us, I suggested we take a walk over to the Mission, and it was just what we all needed.

Kids got to feed the Koi.  One pebble at a time, so we were there for a good 20 minutes.  Comparing the swarming of the Koi to the swarm of ducks when you drop bread crumbs, the kids were in heaven with the attention from the fish.  Valentina was naming them based on their colors and sizes and we recorded the feeding frenzy to watch again later.

We all thought that we were pretty cool when we could toss a pellet of food directly into an open mouth!

We relaxed, reconnected, and found inspiration with every turn. 

The last time I was at this mission, I was 8 months pregnant with Valentina. 

When was your last visit?

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Life in the Fast Lane

I've been so busy that blogging no longer seems like an option, or a joy.  But then I post and I do love seeing and sharing my family, thoughts and life, and I know the greatest joy is looking back on all of this, as I often do.  Like everyone else, we have been busy... 
Aunt Beth came to visit while attending a workshop and we got to have dinner with her every night for almost a week.  It was so good to see her again.  Everyone came out to watch Salvatore play soccer.  The kids asked about her the entire following week, thinking that she would come over at anytime.  

Valentina got her first haircut, at 3.4 years old.  A four inch trim straight off the bottom. Sylvia styled her hair afterward and Valentina acted and moved like a true princess the whole day.

Sal and Molly, enjoying every bit of school, together.

Family time. We have had lots of that lately and we make it a priority over anything else.  We hardly use our technology anymore and we don't like to when we are all together, and it's made a big difference in the way we interact and connect.

The jewelry business is doing well.  David loves to make these Shamballa bracelets and he can use any color bead.  The kids each wear one and both have even helped him make some for our family.

Salvatore and Molly both received awards at school for doing their personal best.  I thought that I would cry each time I saw him go up to receive an award, and I almost did...but what really got me were the strong, hard, excited claps he gave to every other name called.  

Lolo, Sita, Fred, Papá, Valentina and I got to watch the whole ceremony of awards.

Valentina is enjoying her days spend with Papá while he works.  She also keeps Lolo company while he continues to recover. Another surgery is scheduled for next week.  We've got him covered with attention, help and love.  

More Beth and Sal.  

The princess in her chair.  She even wanted to read a magazine while getting her hair cut.  She looked younger to me when it was finished.  But she also looked taller.  Anyways, it is slightly easier to brush out but it looks like it already grew a whole inch in the two weeks since getting cut.  There are moments when she looks exactly like my mom and there are other moments where she looks exactly like David's mom.  

*Also, my little brother is engaged!!!  I don't have a picture of them, but we are so so happy!!!  More to come with this new story soon....

What has been keeping YOU so busy?

Friday, September 6, 2013

Hard Work on Labor Day

 Salvatore is really into his school work. He practices each day, just like he does with soccer, knowing that that is the best way to grow and improve.  He got a pen and wanted to do his math journal.
 His writing from his school journal.  He is loving being able to read some high-frequency words around town, on packages, labels, in books and on signs.  

He loves to practice writing his name.  And Valentina's name.  She gets into with him also. I have journals for both of them and we spend some weekend mornings on the front porch, practicing.  Valentina makes dozens of wavy lines across the paper and squeals that she is writing her name like her brother.  The momentum of him being in school and loving it has brought much peace to me.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Salvatore started Kindergarten

 Salvatore started Kindergarten yesterday.  He was ready.  We are so proud.  Here he is with his good friend Molly.  Same class.  Great teacher.  So exciting!!
 New haircut for school and soccer.
 David and Valentina joined us on our first day back.  Kinder had a nice orientation and an hour's worth of play and information.  Then David got to take him back home one last time.  It was emotional for us as parents, but we are so encouraged by this new stage of our lives, especially his.  
I finally feel like the stay at home mom I wanted to be when he was very young.  Now I cook him breakfast each morning, drive with him to school, catch his eye and get big waves from across campus, and ride home with him as he begins the social, emotional and developmental journey of education outside of the home.  Do your best, my son.  We love you very much.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My baseball ring

My talented husband loves to make jewelry.  Our baseball rings are a big hit with everyone, and I couldn't wait to wear one on my finger.  David made me my special ring, so we now not only have matching wedding rings, but matching baseball rings.  He told me to wear it in good faith and good health, and I do!

Check out our rings and more on our blog here.

Sunday, July 14, 2013


(Disclaimer:  I am not endorsing anything with this post, only sharing my continuous journey, and would encourage anyone to simply research any idea on their own for better health.)

When we were in Mexico, we took Salvatore to a local cancha where there was an old, rusty see-saw.  His curiosity was sparked and he really wanted to try it, despite my pleas and warnings about the oldness and rustiness of it.  I did still work, and he had pants on, so I let him try.  Upon sitting on it, he realized he needed a partner to make it work.  I gave him a little push and tilt.  He loved it and commented that he needed his whole body to make his side work while I only needed to use my hand to push the other seat up and down.  As a person, my mind finds connections to life in these situations all the time, and as a parent, now I speak them aloud.    Well, talking to Salvatore is like talking to my soulmate, he understands and can practically finish my sentences with wisdom way beyond his years.  

The lesson that day was that sometimes you don't need a big thing to push or change you, all you need is a little tilt.  For when you start to tilt, you automatically tilt a little more.  Sometimes just tilting or leaning towards what you want helps you get to what you want.  This reminded me of my healthy journey that I started a few months ago. It started with the desire to clear up my skin and relieve my allergies naturally.  I started searching the internet for remedies and diet suggestions, and found out too much info, too much to process and deal with, so after many steps in all crazy directions, I started to tilt to one thing and that thing led to another and another.

Here are the changes that I continue to make:

1.  Hardly any soda. I drink it rarely now, and hardly crave it, making water my #1 choice.  

2.  No more dairy in the form of milk, yogurt or cheese.  While I have cut out milk and yogurt completely, I do still eat cheese on pizza and some feta if it's on a salad.  No soy milk either.  The majority of the stuff I read about soy from the U.S. anyways is enough to prove to me that I don't need it and relying on the extra protein from yogurt, especially Greek, is also not good for most.  They mention high levels of casein in yogurt being harmful to your body.  I was hoping that eliminating dairy would clear up my skin and allergies, but it didn't.  What it DID do was totally alleviate the cramps and heavy menstruation that I suffered with.  That's enough for me.

3.  Blending and drinking more green leafy veggies. Most mornings, I blend kale, watercress and spinach in my blender with two tablespoons of Flax Seed and Chia Seed. I add one fruit and water to make it smooth and delicious.  Really, it's delicious.  I wouldn't TOUCH kale before this, but mixed with all this, it is really really good.  Why blend them up?  I eat salads each day, but learned that plants have thick cell walls, thicker than animal cell walls. Thicker means it's harder to rupture. In order to get the most nutrients from plants, it is best to rupture as many of the cell walls as possible, and chewing alone doesn't do it as well as blending.  Plus, drinking it in the morning is really fast and easy.  The flax and chia seeds give it the protein that we need.  

4.  Quinoa instead of white rice or pasta.  I do still make rice and pasta, but with quinoa in the mix, I still add peas, carrots, corn and broccoli to it, and we are eating it more and more.  

5.  More exercise. I read a long time ago that the pounding motion from jogging, running, dancing and such continue to build strong bones.  So I am more concerned about my bones now, versus my physical outside appearance of muscle and cellulite, of which I have both.

These changes have been gradual and all but disappeared when we went on vacation. That's ok, though, I just need to tilt towards what I want and it will happen.  

I've read some of the information listed above here. I wish I could have documented more of what I read, but as you all know, when you search for one thing on the internet, it can lead to a huge web of other searches, and then you forget where you started!  But it's easy to find things on a healthier lifestyle. I do not wish to be extreme, and I'm not looking to lose weight. And despite all the proof, I won't ever completely give up sugar.  I do want to work on cancer prevention, heart disease prevention, and to be a great role model for my children and students on what healthy and happy look like in all packages.  

What makes you tilt in a better direction?

Friday, July 5, 2013

Mexico City 2013

On June 1st, Valentina and I said good-bye to our men as they embarked on a month long trip to Mexico to see the family.  When school let out, she and I followed and rounded out the month trip, returning just in time to greet my own mother for her vacation here.
Valentina and I filled our time alone wisely, and enjoyed our girl days and nights, but we missed them dearly. Being reunited was the best moment.  
We had another amazing time in Mexico.  Excellent time with family, soccer practice and games, traveling, fantastic food, and a trip back to Acapulco.  
There is SO much that I could tell you about this country....
 This is Salvatore's indoor soccer school.  It was amazing. Dedicated coaches and tons of organized drills and games for the boys and girls.  All indoors, so the rain didn't keep us away. He played 4 nights a week, all four weeks.  
 Little picture of Maura, David's sister, when she was maybe 4 or 5.  Looks just like Valentina.  
 A view of our pool and countryside in Acapulco.  We rented a little three story condo, right across the street from the Acapulco Princess Hotel, in Puerto Marquez.  Kids swam day and night here.
 Our first day at the beach in Puerto Marquez. This was the beach that we enjoyed when I visited back in 2005.
 Things are so different here. When you exit your car, you are bombarded by young men who want to help you carry your things and find a place for you to sit. All for a small fee, of course.  There are cabanas everywhere, and you have to rent one, you can't just plop down like you do here.  About a thousand people pass you and try to sell you clothes, jewelry, food, trinkets, and such.  Annoying at first, but eventually they pass you by.  
 Armando and Lourdes enjoying the warm sun and seeing their family run around and play. 
 We bought the kids a pony ride on the beach and David and I followed them for almost a mile up and down the beach. They loved it, especially when the pony kept stopping to poop or pee right on the sand.  David and Sal also struck up a soccer game with another father/son duo and soon, about 12 other  guys joined in. They played for hours.
 Turtles in the lagoon of our second day at the beach, a different beach this time. More private. Had an awesome pool, tons of hammocks, a full service restaurant, big screen TVs for every soccer match, and the cleanest restrooms we saw in the whole state.

 My favorite part, after an incredible meal of fresh fish, french fries, salad, and Coke.

 The waves were stronger here, so Salvatore either spent his time with us in the pool or with Tio Balam playing soccer in the sand.

 A view of one of the bays in Acapulco, from a lookout on the side of the road.
 With his sisters, Maura on the left, and Mayda on the right.
 Maura and her husband Balam with the kids.
 The girls.
 Valentina spotting a little butterfly...
 Valentina catching that little butterfly...
 Valentina showing off her little yellow butterflies were harmed by her tiny fingers, she eventually let it go and off it went.
 I took a pic of this sign because the country is obsessed with Coke. I saw more advertisements for Coke than I did for anything else.  It was in everyone's hand if they were walking around or at a table.  
 This place, Recorcholis (an old expression of excitment in Spanish) is the equivalent of a Chuck E. Cheese.  Full of games, rides, food and even bowling, Sal was in heaven here. Valentina was a bit upset that it wasn't Chuck E.Cheese, and she even went on to recognize the building in other parts of the city and would shout to us angrily that it was NOT Chuck E. Cheese.  Sigh...
 Valentina and her sweet cousin at Salvatore's practice.  Valentina gave us all a run for our money there.  She potty trained herself in about two days right when David left, so I just went with it. Seemed too easy, until she regressed big time in Mexico and drove me to brink of insanity with her fussiness of the whole thing.  If I had a dollar, a PESO, for every time she told me that she had to go potty and didn't...
 We took Salvatore ice skating one day after his game.  Same place we went with Lula 8 years ago.  I got very emotional as I whipped him around and around that rink, remembering how I did the same for her such a long time ago.  
 He did very well.  He was fascinated by watching the others with such skill.  And of course he made a friend. Some cute little 6 or 7 year old boy who had finished his lesson, but wanted to talk to and hang out with us while we circled around. 

 Sal with two of his many soccer coaches. They were sad to see him go.  He did so well, and the other kids loved him and he fit right in.
 This bull statue was outside in front of a taco restaurant next to his practice.  We took a picture with it almost everyday.  Funny thing was, I assumed it would be so heavy, but when I rested my hand on it to help myself up, it almost tipped over!  I bet it weighed 30 pounds total. 
 When Armando took David and I into downtown Mexico City, we went into some museums and shops.  I loved the history, art and decor of everything we saw.  

 The streets in the heart of downtown. 

 Old church.
 The kids sleeping together each night.
 We went to this incredible restaurant called Juan Saldado to watch the final soccer game.  Amazing food. Amazing decor.  Great service. Huge TVs everywhere.  And a kids section with painting, puzzles and games.

David worked with and helped his dad with his many jobs, and learned some new techniques.  The girls and I cooked, played with the kids and traveled all over the city for fun times, movies, dog parks for Duke and Hanito, and restaurants.

I will post some of the videos and other pictures later.  We miss our family there so much and we thank you for a wonderful time.  Los queremos mucho!