2017 year in review


As another year ends and a new one begins, it’s natural to reflect on the triumphs and struggles that lead us to the point where we are now. Fortunately 2017 has left our family with many blessings. In no particular order I would like to share our traditional year in review blog.

  1. Carlos started off the year with a rough start. We found out the hard way he is allergic to a medicine, that caused blood poisoning. His body hurt so bad, and he spent many weeks in his “wheel-chair”, which was Emery’s old stroller.
  2. Carlos celebrates his 4th birthday at Disneyland!
  3. Mom celebrates her birthday at Disneyland, with Dad & B.F. Brandi!
  4. We celebrate April Fools Day at Disneyland! Actually it just happened that way, but we did get to go with Grandma Yvette & the kids aunts!! We had such a great time and made lots of memories together.
  5. Mom & Emery went to Santa Barbra for the first time with Aunty Brandi to check out her wedding venue


    & Em got her first tattoo there lol

  6. Emery fed Ostriches and Emu’s in a little Swedish town.
  7. Emery turned 7 and had a shrimp pool party.
  8. Oh yeah, and Emery learned how to swim!!
  9. Victor started High School, Emery went to second grade and Carlos entered pre-school.
  10. Dad started his Masters degree and earned a well deserved promotion
  11. We went to Disneyland’s California Adventure (that makes 4 times mom & dad went to Disneyland & 3 times for the kids – It was a very Disney year)
  12. Mom & Brandi started a podcast. My kids are my biggest fans
  13. Carlos got two snakes (and mom still doesn’t know how she agreed to that)
  14. Mom became PTC (formally PTA) President (woot woot!)
  15. Mom & Dad went to a few concerts this year : Tool, AFI, Circa Survive & The Foo Fighters. all amazing!
  16. Mom & Brandi went to a haunted museum & did a podcast in the basement
  17. Mom loss 65 lbs! and its worth mentioning but that’s a lot of hard work that went into that!
  18. Emery got Student on the Month in first grade!
  19. Mom is on her second year on the schools SSC board & the districts Measure Z oversight council
  20. Carlos started and completed his first round of speech therapy. He is doing great!
  21. Emery graduated from speech therapy with Mrs. Horesly at her school
  22. The kids all stretched this year!
  23. Mom & Carlos got into a car crash – Don’t worry, all is well! Thankfully!
  24. Mom was asked to be her sister Jessica’s Matron of Honor at her wedding & gladly accepted
  25. Dad went hunting & came back with Doves. Everyone enjoyed them
  26. We went to LA to help celebrate Mami Chela turning 80!

    We end 2017 together at home enjoying each others company  &  if I could make a wish for 2018, it would be to for everyone to have another healthy year, lots of laughter, lots of love & safe travels.
    From our family to yours – Happy New Year! 


Happy 7th my little angel

Happy 7th my little angel

All year Iv’e thought you were 7, you act mature and are so intelligent that it’s no wonder I  constantly said you were my 7 years old. Of course you were always quick to tell me I’m not 7! Not that I want you to ever grow up, but, it just seemed impossible my little smarty was only 6.

Emery, you brighten everyone’s day, whether its your beautiful smile, your intelligence shinning through with all the knowledge you know or willing to always help everyone.

You just finished 1st grade really strong! We couldn’t be more proud of you!! Your third trimester was absolutely perfect & you ended 1st grade at a second grade reading level. Of course, I cant the reading level is much of a surprise, this year you have become a regular book worm. From finishing your first “big kids book”, The Baby Sitters Club (comic) in a matter of a 2 weeks! And starting another Baby Sitters book & having dad lending you Niel Gaiman’s, Coraline book.

Emery it’s not just mommy & daddy who are proud of you, but everyone. I want you to know how special you are and never forget it. Dont think for one second you are second place to anyone ever. You are a very unique, amazing, talented, brave, very sweet, caring, intelligent, driven, hard-worker & so much more! You are unstoppable force and will do so much with your life.

Now on to my favorite part, here is some of the more memorable things you did when you were 6 years old.

  • “well thats your opinion, Carlos” – Emery
    You got into a kick about saying things were your opinion & vis-versa
  • You joined the school’s Choir to be in the talent show, other than just the class’ song
  • “Dad guess what? I was riding my scooter and jumped over the cat”.
  • You have a deep love for shrimp. You are a shrimp head. I have a funny video Aunty Brandi took of you on Snap Chat that wont play on here. But, Aunty Bullah knows you love shrimp too and got you some for your birthday
  • You celebrated another birthday at Disneyland! Pretty cool if you ask me
  • You got asked this year to be flower girl at Aunty Brandi’s wedding!
  • You have your heart set on becoming a Scientist. A Mad Scientist lol
  • Other careers you would like to pursue after you become a scientist are Artist, Engineer & a Veterinarian. You have a lot of schooling ahead, and don’t seem to mind the challenge.
  • We had a girls day with Aunty Brandi and went to Santa Barbra for the first time & saw her wedding venue. We had lots of laughs together
  • You fed Ostriches at an Ostrich Farm
  • You talk about adopting lots of kids & adopting pets, so that each kid gets a pet
  • You have your heart set on College. You have big goals already in life and we are proud of you and your spirit
  • You went bowling at the bowling alley for the first time on your field trip
  • Another year getting Student Of The Month! Great job Emery!
  • “Shes scary” – Great Grandma Mary said that after you said something and walked away. G.Grandma said, “the way she speaks and tells a story makes her seem so much older than she is”.
  • To go along with the top sentence, I am proud of your vocabulary. It’s amazing! You say things and words I would never say or even think of saying. You do have a sense about you that makes you come of intelligent and mature. Keep reading and gaining knowledge!
  • “It’s Fa-ti-MA, not Fatima” Apparently I’m not pronouncing her name right because I’m not over exaggerating the “MA” part.
  • Showing Uncle Eddie your end of the year grades (that were absolutely perfect) & saying, “now bow down to me!!” & he got down on his knees and did haha
  • “Mom, is Carlos wearing a Speedo”. That had me and Aunty Bullah Bullah laughing for awhile. We thought, how the heck do you know what a speedo is and why would Carlos be wearing one lol. But it turns out the life jacket for the pool was a Speedo  brand and that’s what you were talking about.
  • We went to Disneyland with Grandma Yvette, Serenity & Aunty Destiny!
  • Best friends at school: Kaylee, Fatima & Makayla
  • Favorite colors: pink, purple & turquoise
  • Favorite cartoon: Ruff Ruffman ( A PBS show you found on Kids Youtube. Its a dog and kids who quizes kids)
  • Favorite Vloggers – FG TeeV(ers) & Shannon & Paul
  • You always ask if you can have candy or do something you know you typically can not do without permission. You are extremely good about it! whether its being at school and having the teach message me if you can have gum with the rest of your class because you know you arn’t allowed to have any or being at a birthday party with all of your cousins and friends and someone wants to give you candy. I saw you talking to a adult and you came to me asking if you can have candy  before excepting it from a stranger. Of course I allowed it, but don’t think for one second I don’t recognize little good things you do like this. Then the candy ran out so with the last lollipop, you bit half and gave your little brother the rest because he had a sad face for not getting anything. You, Emery, are so sweet and amazing. Such a loving caring person and an amazing big sister.
  • You love coffee.
    You & Papa have this sweet connection. I can always get such a great natural loving photo from the both of you bonding.
  • I call you my closer, because you say the funniest things and when we are vlogging its perfect.
  • “I’m practically an adult, I’m almost in second grade”
  • While you were 6 you went to Arizona & Nevada
  • You saw the Hoover Dam
  • You visited the Grand Canyon
  • You write such sweet poetry with metaphors. Mommy told you to start writing stories. I think you have a real talent for it.
  • “Cawos!”
  • You learned how to snap your fingers this year
  • You love to watch, Skin Wars on TV (a show about body painting)
  • But you also love to watch anything I’m watching.
  • Me: (talking to Victor on our way home from L.A) What’s Chuy a nickname for?
    Emery: (in the back seat) Chewbacca. Out of know where with that answer. It had us laughing for awhile.
  • “My Barbies hands are in the air, and she just doesnt care”

    & last but not lease

  • “I love to watch Ellen. I watch her show at night on my tablet when I’m suppose to be sleeping”. Me and G. Grandma Mary looked at each other wanting to laugh so hard. What a little stinker you are! No wonder your so tired in the morning.

First time pin trading!

First time pin trading!

This year we have made it to Disneyland a bunch of times! While we feel blessed to be able to take our kids, I’m overly excited when it’s for one of their birthdays.
We celebrated Emery turning 5 at Disneyland, but unfortunately it was a few months before I started vlogging! So I had no video of our experience. This year we decided to take her again and have an early happy birthday, at the ” Happiest Place On Earth “.

It was also the first time I got to pin trade with someone!
If you enjoy it please don’t forget to like and subscribe!!

Disneyland’s California Adventure

Happy 4th birthday Carlos

Happy 4th birthday Carlos

To my sweet boy,

I can’t believe you are already turning 4! Time has flown by! I feel like every year will feel that way, especially since you are the baby in the family. We have shared many morning snuggles and late night leg rubs. If I could keep you & Emery as three-year olds I would. It has been such a fun year. Three is a time where you grow & gain just enough independence to make your mark.
You have been my little buddy while everyone was at school and at work. From car rides, library trips, park days to zoo days! We’ve had snuggle days where we cuddled in the blankets watching cartoons until one of us got hungry & days where an arm around each other made us feel better.
You’ve had your own bumps in the road to concur already, this up and coming year you will begin speech therapy at Emery’s school & at the Dr.’s. You are ready and excited! You don’t get upset when mommy teaches you, you just try harder. It’s the best attitude I could ask for.
You make me laugh everyday & let me kiss you a  million times everyday. I know each kiss is special because your only going to be 3 & my little baby for a tiny glimpse in our life before you are a grown person.

Thank you for this wonderful year.
We all love you Carlos

Year in review

  1. You single-handedly started Sunday Doughnut Day (thank you)
  2. One time Dad was showing me a sticker and before I said anything you said, “That’s clean”. Dad & I just looked at each other and started laughing.
  3. You love giving yourself “tiger stripes”
  4. You have a big wind up when you run
  5. You learned how to draw faces this year. I was in disbelief that you drew the photo but everyone said you did it. Then you drew a face right in front of me. I couldn’t believe how great it was!
  6. Everyone who meets you loves you. You are a sweet & quiet little guy who loves to help
  7. For Halloween you wanted to be a “Tiger to scare your friends”.


    You at gym daycare

  8. This year you have really come out of your shell and hug everyone. At great grandma and papa’s house you sit with them when they watch t.v.
  9. You are my Disney boy. Luckily Mommy & Daddy have been able to take you many times already. You love to go where your friends live 🙂

    this is us missing Disneyland

  10. When your hungry you say, “I’m honey” & one of us will respond with, “hi honey“.
  11. “Dad stop. Stop Dad”. / “dop Dad”
  12. You started gymnastics this year!
  13. “Ladies first!” what a gentleman I have.
  14. You can spell your name and recognize letters in your name
  15. Papa has convinced you that Grandma bit his finger off. You have fallen victim to an old myth
  16. You & mommy have a joke that this otter is poop.
  17. You have a thing about lining things up. I love it.


    I know who’s been here

  18. This year you got your very own big boy room! You did awesome sleeping in it and then not so awesome. Every night you sleep with mom and dad, but when you turn 4 the deal is you have to sleep in your room again. (I will sincerely miss you next to me).
  19. You had your first major road trip, 6 hours in the car! & you (&everyone else) were amazing!
  20. When we go to the park we play “Peoples” It’s like house. Your name is Dinosaur King (you made it up but it’s from a cartoon you watch called Dinosaur King) & I am always Suzzy Q. Sometimes you want to be a girl so we switch names.
  21. You went to The Grand Canyon in Arizona this year

    Any time you see images of the Grand Canyon you always say you’ve been there. It makes me really happy that you remember going at such a little age and really enjoyed it!

  22. You visited The Hoover Dam in Nevada & Arizona (we crossed the border while we were there)
  23. & we visited the Route 66 Museumdscn3260
    You fell in love with a race car there
  24. You are so loving and sweet, you melt my heart daily
  25. If its time to leave somewhere you will go into a panic if Emery isn’t right next to you ready to go. No one left behind!
  26. “Mean yes”. If someone says “yeah” you are grammar control and quickly respond with, “mean yes”.
  27. EVER!!! (you mean NEVER!)
  28. When the cat meows you think he’s saying he wants to go back to Pet Smart to be with his friends
  29. Gerd. “I’m gerd mom”
  30. You love going over to Grandma Yvette’s house and playing with Serenity.
  31. You kept asking for waffles so Dad bought you a waffle maker special for you. Now mom is forced to make waffles at your will.
  32. Your newest thing is going slow motion. Sometimes it’s so slow I can barely see you moving!
  33. you hate naps. You despise naps. you LOATH naps. To mention the word is a sin.
  34. If you ever become a coffee addict blame your father.
  35. Favorite movie – Land Before Time 16 (no exaggeration)  The Journey Of The Brave
  36. You still love Dinosaurs, Trains & Cars
  37. Favorite colors are – Red, blue & orange
  38. Favorite ice cream – strawberry & chocolate chip
  39. When you grow up – You want to be a cop
  40. Favorite animal – The bear at the Zoo
  41. favorite Food – Ice Cream. Cold Ice Cream to be exact.
  42. Best Friend – Mom (his words, I did not coerce him)
  43. Watching X Files with mama & saying, “dun, dun, duuuuun!” at the perfect time
  44. You are very good with  your colors & putting colors together to make new colors. You love making purple.
  45. You told you Em, “watch & learn”. It made mommy laugh
  46. Your thing is fake spitting into each hand, rubbing hands together then blowing on your hands. Such a tough guy thing to do.
  47. You love going to the Library with Momma & you love to be read to
  48. Speaking of tough guy, you really wanting to punch a guy in the face, punch everyone and anyone if they do wrong to you! I told you to hide your tablet under the seat so the bad guys wouldn’t break into the car and get it, and ever since then you’ve talked about how if a bad man gets your tablet you’ll punch them!
  49. We call you the hype man. You always have a quick response.
  50. New favorite song is – HandClap
  51. Around August you decided you wanted to grow your hair out. You don’t want to cut it until your birthday, but as the day approaches I think you will keep it.
    update – Two days before your birthday you got your first big boy hair cut at a salon. You were perfect! No more long hair for you! Mommy ran her fingers through your hair one last time before you got it chopped off. Now you look like such a big kid!


    Handsome as ever

  52. You love fruit! Apples, bananas (bo-nanas!), blackberries, oranges & strawberries (strawbeddies)!
  53. The way you look at me. You give me this look sometimes & you’ve done it since you were a baby. It’s like you are looking at me and admiring me. It’s a look of love.

2016 A Year In Review

2016 A Year In Review

As with every year 2016 gave us many surprises and much growth.


January Carlos turned 3 & we celebrated in San Jose at the Children’s Museum with an old friend of mine & Carlos’ Nina.


February I celebrated turning 31 at Disneyland with Victor. Thank you Victor for the fun & the memories & thank you Mom for watching the kids!


Victor started a new job for the county in March & we are all very proud of him

After my birthday trip I decided to change my life and have been on a weight loss / healthy life plan that will continue into the new year.


Carlos started gymnastics in March


Emery had a Disney themed birthday party at home, with her kinder friends from school


Emery & Carlos loved being over at Grandma Yvette’s this summer for swimming. Carlos got braved this year and learned to jump in, sometimes before mommy could get to the side to grab him, but that brave boy jumped in with his life jacket (in the shallow end) & would pop up out of the water so happy. & I would panic about it every time.

Victor celebrated his 13th birthday with a family road trip. It was the longest we have went on & we traveled 3 states. All the kids were 100% perfect! Not one complaint from Mommy or Daddy. Now we are looking into more road trips in the future.



The Hoover Dam



The Grand Canyon



Historic Route 66


Victor started 8th grade & Emery started 1st grade

I continued volunteering at Emery’s school


Emery has decided not to further her gymnastics & wants to try Ballet or Hip Hop Dancing in 2017


Carlos has decided to grow his hair out. He says he wants it cut on his birthday but as that day approaches it doesn’t seem likely. Mommy & Daddy love his long hair.




After trick – or – treating so not everyone is in full costume. Aunty Serenity & Aunty Destiny stopped by to have some treats with us.





Spent the day at Great Grandma Mary & Great Papa Joe’s house 

2016 Family photo


Meet Diego our newest pet. Not featured is our wonderful rabbit who doesn’t like to be held.

Christmas Eve was spent at Great Grandma & Grandpa’s house playing family board games and karaoke.

Christmas Day is of course and extra special event in our house hold with Victor’s birthday being the same day. We had lots of goodies and hung out with the family.

We have many wishes and goals for the up coming year!
Goodbye 2016 & hello to another year! See you all in the New Year.

Don’t forget to watch some of these adventures & many more on our YouTube




Get your kicks …


I think my 6 year old finally realizes how is she has it after this museum.

How we survived 3 states in one day


Our longest road trip has always been 4 hours in the car, anything beyond that terrifies me. Emery use to be horrible in the car up into a year ago, she would flip out about her back itching & when she was younger she would cry because it was dark. Her first major car trip was when she was 9 months old, we traveled 3 hours to Los Angeles and it was traumatizing. I screamed inconsolably for hours, no wait, I’m getting what I wanted to do with what actually happened confused. Emery, was the one who lost it nothing worked to calm her, I tried feeding her while she was strapped in her car seat as I hovered over, I tried showing her light from my phone and having it vibrate. Of course the last 5 minutes of the trip she fell a sleep. All of this is just to set you up on how terrified I am of road trips. It’s completely justified and avoidable if I have anything to say about it.

Two weeks ago my husband & I through ideas of where or what to do for our son’s 13th birthday. Idea’s bounced back and forth and finally The Grand Canyon came to mind. It was totally epic and a great way to end our summer vacation.

We would spend 6 hours in the car just to get into Nevada, our first stop The Hoover Dam. We wanted to get up at 4 a.m. so the kids would sleep most of the way and get to the Dam before the heat came. The day of we left at 6, much later than expected, but hitting that snooze button felt so good. When we did leave the children stayed up for most of the trip.

After naps and packed crustable peanut butter and jelly snacks I decided it was a good time to hand out some fun they didn’t know they had. A few days before I bought some clip boards, stickers, goodies & printed out lots of road trip activities.


Grabbed some twistable crayons & case for each kid, some emoji & alphabet stickers, chap stick & glow in the dark lights at the local dollar store


You can find all the travel kids pages I used here at my Pinterest. Having a printer really saved me on this trip, each day the kids had something to finish or complete a mini report on what they learned. Since Carlos is three, I added more coloring pages he would be interested in (Carlos is really into tigers, so he had a tiger page to color & Diego) along with coloring pages of where we were going such as The Hoover Dam & The Grand Canyon. A simple google search of your next major destination under coloring pages should pop up some fun for the kids. Along with this we also brought their tablets, chargers & head phones (so I didn’t have to hear so much noise).

Speaking of sound, it was a lucky thing I brought my ipod because we used it all three days. The desert didn’t offer much and the mountains have no reception.


Emery filling out her form for the day on what she learned at The Grand Canyon in the hotel room


Because I have awesome friends that send me post cards when they traveled, I thought of them & bought some to send back! I really wanted this to be a writing exercise for Emery but the postcards were too small for her large print; so I ended up using them for myself





Carlos LOVED the coloring pages and crayons! He spent hours quietly working with them


TIP: I hot glued twine (yarn would also work) to the top of a pen and tied a knot to the metal part of the clip board. This way the kids had a pen to play their car sheet games with out it getting lost.


I remember what was happening here but I love the expression on Carlos’ face

Now that you have a behind the scene peek into our road trip the rest you can watch starting with, The Hoover Dam! Please don’t forget to like and subscribe to our YouTube channel, Taking California  & our Facebook page Taking California.