Monthly Archives: December 2013

2013 Recap

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2013 was a year to remember. It brought happiness, joy, love, and many memories. Overall, I think it was an amazing year and it will be very hard to top it next year. To start off, our baby boy Carlos Martin was born just 17 days after the year began! What a way to kick-start a new year! He grew so fast we couldn’t believe it! Every few months he had a new wardrobe to fit into, was making us laugh, and keeping us on our toes. Our chubby little boy grew right in front of us, and in some ways I haven’t realized his major changes until I look back on photos from just a few months back.

Meeting Carlos for the first time

Meeting Carlos for the first time

My husband and I celebrated our fourth year of being married.

Another year bites the dust

Another year bites the dust

Emery Ava turned 3 years old in addition to being a big sis. She was given a birthday to remember with pony rides, rabbits, goats, chickens, and a mini horse all in the front yard. She learned how to write her name and spell it out. She has excelled in her home school studies with me and I couldn’t be more proud of her.

3rd birthday!

3rd birthday!

We took our annual beach trip! Carlos did amazing! I was worried that a three-hour car ride would be too much for a little baby but he proved me wrong. Emery loved making sand castles and Victor found a sea-snail that we all held. On this trip Emery also got her first bee sting. Luckily she is not allergic (what a way to find out if she was) and she handled it like a troop! In no time she was back out there enjoying herself.

Beach bum baby

Beach bum baby

Sea snail anyone?

Sea snail anyone?

Victor turned double digits and is nearly in his pre teens (God help us all).

In October our dear friends Valerie and Bryan became Carlos’ Godparents and will forever be apart of our lives.

Nino Luda & Nina Val

Nino Luda & Nina Val

For Thanksgiving Carlos was old enough and had plenty of teeth to dig in to some celebratory turkey.

In December the two little kids and I took a surprise trip to Disneyland! Carlos turned 11 months on our trip.

Photo op!

Photo op!

A few days later Christmas came and more than anything I have the most fun watching the kids open up their presents.
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This year seemed to go by so fast! Every month brought new and wonderful things.
And while I don’t personally put pressure on my self to inevitably fail committing to a new years resolution I did feel the urge to do something different with myself this year, and for the first time I ordered out of my comfort zone and tried all new things I normally wouldn’t have. Instead of my regular and safe choice of a burger, I tried fish tacos for the first time. Apparently I had eel (still a sick idea to me), I’ve tried a few things I didn’t like, Boba drinks are not for me but over all it was a success!
I expect 2014 will be just as amazing with my family by my side. I only pray for continued health for all my friends and family (everyone really) and wealth (enough) to get us by and a few things for what we wish. I want to have more patience, because all of my patience this year has been used up with learning how to deal with three kids. I want to get back on track with learning and reading and continue to make my children’s life fun.
May everyone’s year be fruitful for them in more ways than they can fathom, be safe out there always and read on into this new year!

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Baby’s first Christmas

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The last Holiday of the 2013 year has arrived. While it wasn’t a white Christmas for us like my three year wished it to be it was still a memorable one for this mama. Carlos had just turned 11 months a few days ago, he’s in his last true days of being a baby before turning the big one. This Christmas he’s too little to enjoy all of the fun and lights like his big sister and brother but I tried to make it as special for him as possible.
His father came home with a big Christmas tree and we placed his “First Christmas” ornament on it. The two older children put ornaments on the tree, it’s easy to tell where Emery has placed her ornaments as they are all bunched together.
A few days before the Christmas, Carlos had a mild fever and all the goodies that go along with a sick baby. Luckily for Christmas his fever was gone and I had a happy baby ready to enjoy the day.
Christmas Eve is spent at his Great Grandma Mary’s & Great Grandpa “Papa” Joe’s house. Their house is one of the first to be decorated every year and its done up head to toe inside and out. The house is full of life, with the whole family laughing, playing games and eating tamales made from Grandma and sweets baked the day before. At nine o’clock the presents start to get opened as everyone gets ready to leave or is too tired to wait any longer. Surprisingly Carlos dove right into the idea of ripping up the paper and grabbed hand fulls at a time. When we got home we hurried to make Santa’s cookies before the kids went to bed. They only took 10 minutes but it was getting late and the kids were tired so before the timer was up the children were in bed. I took a picture and gladly ate the chocolate chip cookies and took one for the team and had a large glass of milk (I’m not a milk fan).
Christmas Day is usually reserved for my Husband and his family as it’s his birthday. We spent the day at his sister’s house and ate delicious ham, green bean casserole, home-made drop biscuits, chocolate chip cookies and brownies for a birthday dessert.

Carlos' first Christmas  (little blurry but its one of my favorites)

Carlos’ first Christmas
(little blurry but its one of my favorites)

Christmas Eve opening gifts

Christmas Eve opening gifts

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11 months old

11 months old

Disneyland 2013

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Something wonderful came up in a sort of Christmas miracle. Last week I got a phone call from my Dad, who lives about four hours away in the heart of California. At first he tells me he received our Christmas card and how he loves it, and then he tells me he has an extra adult ticket for Disneyland and he’s leaving in three days! I was literally jumping up and down at first and wanted to scream my little head off, except I was holding the baby and wasn’t 100% sure if they answer was yes. The dilemma was, me leaving behind my husband and ten-year old son who hadn’t been yet. Earlier this year my husband and I planned a to go with my father but as life happens, many things came up and we had to pull out pretty early on our trip. Now this opportunity fell into my lap and I really wanted to take the little ones. It took a whole day of really thinking about it but finally I decided I really couldn’t pass up the opportunity! I packed up and a few days later we were off! My Dad, his fiance Andrea, my two little brothers Braden (10 yrs old), Parker (4 yrs old) and my little troop – Emery, Carlos and myself.
Day 1. First stop – Lizette’s house!
Lizette and I have been friends since the good ol’ days of Myspace. For about 9 years now we have chatted over the internet and watch each other go through some pretty crazy life experiences. Boyfriends, marriage, kids; we’ve seen it all! Just this year we finally met for the first time!
Saturday I needed a place to stay while my Dad and his Fiance stayed with her cousin in the L.a. area. The kids and I stayed with Liz and I was finally able to meet her little boy Aiden who is 6 months older than Emery. Those two kids were so cute together! I wish they lived closer so the children could spend more time together. Right away they started playing and became friends. Liz and I caught up on things going on in our lives and before we knew it, it was bed time. The first night was the roughest. Emery had never been away from home, let alone her father. The only other time we haven’t all been together is when he was deployed for 8 months but she was Carlos age, and too small to really remember. That whole night she cried for him and begged to go home. I kept telling her about the fun she would have and promised in a few days we would see him again. As soon as she would fall asleep she would wake up crying for him again. That started nearly a week-long of no sleep for this mama.

Emery & Aiden 2014

Emery & Aiden
2014

Day 2. Rest day – In the morning my family came to pick us up and we headed out to breakfast. After that we went on a mini tour around the Disneyland park in the car and walking around in Downtown Disney. We were all very ready to start our vacation at the park!
We rested up in the Hotel room and waited for my Uncle and his family to show up. He knocked on the door waiting for my Dad’s finance to open, when she didn’t he peeked in and saw me. Immediately he said, “oh sorry” and was closing the door thinking he had the wrong room, then he saw Andrea and said, “Krystal?”, in which I replied, “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!”. Its a long-standing joke of ours, it seems we only see each other during Christmas so when ever we see each other even when it isn’t Christmas we still say, “Merry Christmas!”. Emery was asleep on the bed, she crashed out playing on her tablet, but when she woke up she was so happy to see her cousins, Allison (10 yrs old but looks around 13) and Mia (6 yrs old). and it was our first time meeting Isabella (2 yrs old) and Amelia (4 months) his two youngest daughters. Emery is usually the only girl around with a bunch or uncles and boy cousins, so being surrounded with four other girls was awesome.

Sunday, a day of rest before three days of Disneyland

Sunday, a day of rest before three days of Disneyland

Day 3. California Adventures – At 8 o’clock in the morning we stood in line waiting for the gates to open, I hadn’t been to the Disney Parks in 8 years and was very excited to be there with my kids. We were equipped with walkie-talkies so we could break up in groups and communicate and we had charged cameras and phones for many photos! We stopped to get our Fast Passes (a MUST at Disneyland for any long ride, you’ll jump to the front instead of waiting an hour or more in line). The first ride we went on was a Car’s ride in the kids section with Mater driving around all crazy. Emery went on with my Dad (which is totally cute because she use to be shy with him) and I went on with my four-year old brother. It was a total blast! Emery went on again while I rocked the baby to sleep.
We stopped by A Bug’s Life but missed out on the Toy Story area. We tried to go on as many rides as we could and when I couldn’t go on a ride with her my Dad or her Grandma Andrea stepped in and took her while I waited with the baby. They were the biggest help ever! Especially since I went alone with out their Dad.

Emery & Grandpa First ride!

Emery & Grandpa
First ride!

Em didn't really want to take the picture but I convinced her to bare with it ... this is that result ...

Em didn’t really want to take the picture but I convinced her to bare with it … this is that result …

Day 4. Disneyland – Emery borrowed her best friends Belle dress from Beauty And The Beast for our trip. We had breakfast at Disneyland with the Characters, and bought an autograph book for her to get the Princess’ signatures and everyone else we might see at the breakfast and around the park. The breakfast itself was pretty awesome. First we got our photo taken and then sat down and ate buffet style. As we ate characters would come around the tables, sign our autograph books we bought and took pictures. Emery was excited to see them and have each character sign her book but for the first 5 she didn’t want to take a picture with them. It wasn’t until they were around for a long time and she saw how they interacted that she let her guard down. We were all in shock when she got off her chair to take a group photo with Winnie The Pooh. Carlos, was unsure of them but was brave, took photos, didn’t cry and even touched them to see how they felt. He’s in that phase where he doesn’t like strangers or anything besides me really, so for him to go out of his way to feel comfortable and touch this new big fuzzy thing standing right next to us was surprising. I’m planning to write a letter to a Disney character and get the Princess autographs that we missed! I pinned it, just in case we ever went on a Disney trip.  That night we watched the fireworks, they do every night (weather permitting) and afterward Disneyland had areas of the park that were “snowing”.

Breakfast with the characters

Breakfast with the characters

 

The Magic Kingdom!! 2014

The Magic Kingdom!!
2014

 
Day 5. California Adventure/Disneyland – On the third day of being in the Disney park we usually hop around from park to park. We started off the day at California adventure, where I rode The Tower of Terror and some what concurred my fear of falling elevators. I went on with Andrea and grabbed her arm to hold on to when the ride when the ride fell from the top. When all was said and done I had tears at the corner of my eyes and I was most definitely screaming at the top of my lungs. After wards My Dad took the kids back to, A Bugs Life, where Emery and the younger ones rode around one last time before we headed back to Disneyland for the rest of the night. By this time Carlos was cranky. For being in a stroller and in my arms for more of the 5 days he did a pretty good job. I’m sure he was missing crawling around his sis’s room and being able to stretch out at will.

Tower of Terror {that's right I'm holding on for dear life, screaming at the top of my lungs}

Tower of Terror
{that’s right I’m holding on for dear life, screaming at the top of my lungs}

Our last night at Disneyland was spent in Fantasy Land (where all the fairy tale stories are) and trying to get on last-minute rides. We weren’t able to ride Peter Pan because it was breaking down and Frozen was closed but just being in the park as late as we could stand it before heading home the next day was good enough for us.
Day 5. Goodbye – The morning we headed out was supposed to be our sleep in day. We had woke up at 6 am for the past few days to get to the Park as early as possible. Like clock work Carlos woke up a little before 8 and soon everyone was up. After being in the wonder Southern California warm weather we were leaving Anaheim with rain. Winter in California (depending where you are at) is usually warm or not the winter wonderland as depicted in the movies (which Emery doesn’t understand why is doesn’t snow for Christmas here). Where we live (the Valley, Hanford CA) is was cold jacket weather. In Anaheim we didn’t think (and we should know better) it was a hot 80 degrees up until the day we left. Perfect timing for us.
We all had breakfast together and talked about the fun we had and the long travel ahead of all of us. I filmed the cousins one last time (and regrettably did not take any photo like I planed).
We all did pretty good on our rainy drive home. The half way point for me, is going over the Grapevine, and then I know not too much longer until me and the kids would be home. Emery was the one to get fussy on the way back, she just wanted to be home and Carlos was surprisingly good. Minimal fussing and would stop when I started playing Peek-A-Boo with him.
When we finally turned the corner to my house I saw Victor’s car in the drive way. I was completely surprised (very rare and hard thing to do to me) because it was 3 p.m. on a Thursday and he was supposed to be at work. He came home to welcome the kids and I home! It was so sweet, I guess he really did miss us all!
As we said stretched our legs and said goodbye and thank you to my Dad and family as they headed home for another 3/4 hour drive we were all ready to be with each other. Even though it was a little less than a week away from home, I sure was happy to be back and to be with my husband again! 

{{ As always, follow us on Instagram! Gypsywidow to see more of our adventures }}

Getting in the Christmas cheer

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It seems like Christmas has come early this year. Before the turkey had even been cooked, lights around the block were going up for the next holiday. The Monday after Christmas I took down the Fall/Thanksgiving decorations and started getting Christmas ready. It’s always a bit of a surprise to see what kind of decorations we have stored away. As I went through the box I had forgotten about the little souvenirs stowed away. The clay hand prints, Emery’s first Christmas picture and first Christmas picture ornament, Victor’s kindergarten drawings and our 2011 family ornament photo. This is the first year we are participating in the, Elf On The Shelf craze. We got our elf at Costco, I didn’t realize until we got home that he didn’t come with the book that tells his story. However, I did find an Elf On The Shelf website to register our little guy. I walked outside at night and “found” the little elf right by our door, sitting on the pumpkins left over from Fall. Victor had just bought a Christmas tree that night so we were cleaning up and walking in and out of the house. Little Vic thought we had put the elf outside but didn’t see anyone setting him up. The kids ran to the door when I asked, “Who did this?!”. We brought the elf into the warm house and Emery named him Snowy, everyone agreed to keep the name. That next morning the kids found Snowy cuddled up next to the Christmas tree with a mini pillow and blanket. It’s going to be a fun new tradition here, to wake up and find the little guy and see what he has been up to when we were all sleeping.

Follow us on Instagram Gypsywidow for my Snowy pictures

Follow us on Instagram Gypsywidow for my Snowy pictures

Every year during this time, we take our annual family photo and send it off in a Christmas card. This year is extra special because it’s Carlos’ first time joining us in our family tradition. While every year the photo comes out beautiful, behind the scenes it’s a struggle to get everyone to smile without looking like they have to poop or to have the kids looking into the camera. Over the years Emery has always done something that wasn’t “as planned”. We’ve learned that’s just part of her quirky self. My husband and I are usually the ones taking our own family photo, so it becomes a mad dash to the camera and back to the setting before the timer goes off. This year we had Carlos’ Nina, Valerie, take our photo. Shes somewhat of an accomplished photographer, with her own calender of Sacramento and her blog about her love of film. I thought this years pictures would be a piece of cake! All we really had to worry about was the baby looking at the camera and not facing away or looking down. Well, I was wrong! Emery decided she just didn’t want to participate this year and that sent me and my husband into a panic. Another year of going crazy to get the right picture of our expanding family. While the baby was completely fine and smiled here in there, Emery was in a mood. She just wanted to go see the Christmas trees. Nothing will work when she doesn’t want to do anything, we begged, pleaded, bribed her with candy (how awful I know) and offered to pay her in gold (I maybe exaggerating a little now)  but that little smile of hers wasn’t budging. Emery’s latest thing for the past few weeks has been her collecting walking-sticks. She usually finds the shortest ones and walks around hunched back with her stick. As we posed for the photos in group pictures, Emery walked the orchards and found a walking stick to her liking. We let her take a picture with it, because as we said before, Emery will be Emery and her silliness is what makes her so special. THAT and because she looked like a cave women in her faux fur vest, little fox shoes and her warding club.

The walking-stick that will live on in pictures.

The walking-stick that will live on in pictures.

However, when it was all said and done with we got the photo we wanted! Valerie messaged me the best of’s and believe it or not, the last picture she took with her phone as a fast quicky so we could see how they looked, right before it died was the winning picture!  It captured Emery in her funk but with a slight smile, the baby looking up with a slight silly face, the 10-year-old messing with grass and the two parents who survived another year of our favorite yet hectic tradition in a perfect (if i do say so myself, and I will) pose. It’s classically us.

2013 Family Photo

2013
Family Photo

Before it gets too late into the month I sat the kids down after dinner and had them write their Christmas list. I played Christmas music via Pandora, made them hot coco and gave them each a Christmas cookie I had bought them the day before. Cooking is not my forte, I can’t cook or bake. I had to make the hot coco three times before it came out. The first attempt I just put the powder on top of the milk, apparently this was a big mistake, as it did not mix at all. The second time I read the back of the packet and it stated that I needed to pour warm/hot milk into the cup. I put milk into a saucer and waiter for a slight boil. Then I smelt burnt milk and realized that the milk on the bottom was burning away. Third time was a charm! I put the milk back in the saucer stirred it the whole time and put it on real low. After telling my cooking story to my Sister-in-law, she asked me “why didn’t you just nuke it in the microwave”. Yesterday while driving around Emery started to question Santa. She asked, “Why is Santa magic?”. Why is he magic? I don’t know why he’s magic really, so I said I wasn’t sure, he just is. She  responded, “Well, he doesn’t have a wand”. Haha how can I argue with that logic! She’s always been impossible to trick, by the time she’s in Kindergarten she’s going to hand out pamphlets to the kids, telling them to question “big brother” and think for themselves.

The Santa paper can be found on my Pinterest Mommylaughs

The Santa paper can be found on my Pinterest Mommylaughs

Emery's Christmas list. Written by her this year, with guidance from me. This will be something I will save .

Emery’s Christmas list. Written by her this year, with guidance from me. This will be something I will save .

And as I do with each Holiday I printed out some pictures for the kids to color. I found some religious coloring pages with scripture, so that especially the little ones can grow up remembering Christmas is religious time and not just about elves and gifts.
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Every night or when there’s time I’ve been reading a story or two from Emery’s children’s bible. Her favorite is Adam & Eve, so I have to read that at least once. There’s sure to be more memories made this year and crafts to be put away, and found again next year.

As I’m about publish this to the world-wide-web I realized it’s a very special day! Emery is now 3 1/2 today! Every 6 months I cry when the kids get a year and a half older. It’s always bitter-sweet to see them growing up.

Happy 3 1/2 Birthday to my crazy Angel!

Happy 3 1/2 Birthday to my crazy Angel!