Category Archives: Religion

2014 Christmas

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2014 Christmas

We welcomed December’s cold crisp air and cold nights with hot chocolate. Emery and Carlos decorated the Christmas tree this year while I stood back and watched. Carlos grabbed the ornaments and handed them off to his big sis. The clusters of ornaments together was a signature look that my babies were doing the tree all by themselves.

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Later that night when Carlos was a sleep, Emery helped me make a popcorn garland; I had never made one before and I was excited. We made fresh popped popcorn and I sat on the couch starting to thread. Emery handed me popcorn with puffy tops … and then slowly her hand ended up going from the bowl to her mouth. I didn’t mind, I know she enjoys popcorn and I was just happy to have her company. The garland didn’t take very long and soon we had our very first popcorn master piece, a tribute to my two popcorn monsters.

Emery capturing my hard work

Emery capturing my hard work

The next day we made our wish list for Santa. Emery needed help putting words together, we talked about what she wanted and then I helped her spell it out. Dad was near by on the computer and ordered a few more gifts that were on her list. For Carlos I put down things that he likes-  trains, cars, animals and Diego movies. When the kids were done with their list, I made copies for Santa (so I could keep the original list). We stamped the envelopes and mailed them off to the North Pole!

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I hope Snowie put in an extra good word for us!

I hope Snowie our North Pole elf put in an extra good word for us!

 

In December our special friend Snowie the elf comes back to visit us and watch the kids during the morning as Santa’s little spy. At night he gets into things and the kids wake up in a hurry to find what he got into or where in the house he is. Emery was especially excited to see him! His antics were a hit with the kids and when Carlos was cranky Emery would give him Snowie to sleep with and Carlos snuggled him safe. 

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A few of Snowie’s tricks at night were admiring Em’s drawing of him

 

I agree! Great job Emery!

I agree! Great job Emery!

Snowie made Emery and Carlos into little tree elves

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Snowie was leader of his own sleigh, thanks to the help of a few dinosaurs, animals and a My Little Pony.

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He got into the kids underwear and decorated the tree with them.

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And one night he bothered the kids while they were sleeping . . .

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Last minute I had the idea of making an ugly Christmas sweater for Carlos. I spent nights sowing little trinkets like small plastic ornaments, ball puffs, garland, gift bow and we topped it off with a Christmas light necklace.

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Every year for holidays I like to make something using the kids foot print or hand print as a size reminder of how much smaller the kids were the year before. The kids dipped their foot and hand in some flour and placed it on felt. I use flour to make a print of the hands and feet instead of tracing an outline. I find the kids are more willing to get dirty and stamp their hand on something rather than holding their hand down and trying to trace around it. The flour is also more accurate, to the actual size.

flour

flour

outlining the flour print

outlining the flour print

Emery's little reindeer hand

Emery’s little reindeer hand

Emery & Carlos' feet. Little penguins hand sown by mommy

Emery & Carlos’ feet. Little penguins hand sown by mommy

The week of Christmas we did a mini photo shoot in front of the Christmas tree and fireplace. Taking photos of the kids was kind of difficult, things don’t always go as planned but its even harder when I’m shooting at night with no flash, every little movement from me or the kids turned the photo into a blur. I tend to shoot fast and I often neglect the background whether its straight or crooked. I think even when I shoot slow I have that problem.

Looking for Santa

Looking for Santa

Drinking Santa's milk

Drinking Santa’s milk

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

We spent Christmas Eve and Christmas day at Great Grandma Mary’s and Papa Joe’s house. We had traditional tamales with pork and olives. Christmas day we went back to celebrate their Dad’s birthday and enjoy some homemade menudo amongst lots of delicious sweets.

Great Papa joe & Great Grandma Mary

Great Papa Joe & Great Grandma Mary

Papa giving a piggy back ride & getting a kiss from the great grandkids

Papa giving a piggy back ride & getting a kiss from the great grandkids

Carlos had a very “train-y” Christmas and made out with lots of Thomas the Train toys. And Emery got a karaoke machine and lots of songs and movies.

Carlos the conductor

Carlos the conductor

choo choo

choo choo

Disney karaoke!

Disney karaoke!

Opening gifts at Grandma & Papa's

Opening gifts at Grandma & Papa’s

 

I’m blessed and thankful it was another year with all of our family in our lives and the kids were able to share traditions that I grew up with and to have so much love in the house.

 

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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!

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

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!

Carlos’ Baptismal

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This Saturday was a special day for my son, Carlos. It was the day he was accepted into the Church and Baptized as a Roman Catholic. Though the people I know and love are all special to me in my tight-knit circle, I chose two wonderful people to become his Godparents.

Valerie, has been a close friend of mine since Junior year of High School when I moved to Elk Grove, California. It’s been ten years with her in my life. I love her family as much as I love my own, they are loving and connected to the Church. Valerie will be able to guide Carlos in his journey in finding himself and connecting with the Church.
The Godfather, Bryan, is someone my husband and I have known for about 8 years. He was introduced to us at separate times by my late cousin Martin. He’s a trust worthy friend, another person with great morals and understands in hard work and how to give direction in a child’s life. He’s an amazing father, and can be another strong male role model to my son.
These two people have been part of my life for the past 10 years and I want them to officially never be out of me and my children’s life.
The ceremony took place Saturday, October 5th. There were about 30 families, with each to their own pew. The children all did well, but it was evident nap time was upon us. Around the end the children began to fuss. A little boy in front of us fell asleep on his Dads shoulder. At the end Carlos fell asleep on me. I guess 11 o clock is the golden hour for naps.
Afterwards we had a mini celebration at our house with a Nacho Bar and drinks. It was a great way to spend time with our friends. We don’t get to see Bryan and Valerie very often. Bryan now lives in Kentucky with his family and Valerie is 3 hours away in Sacramento California. I didn’t want the weekend to end and have to say goodbye to my friends. The house felt alive with laughter and stories. These are the best things in life.
Soon we will have to make some trips to visit Carlos’ Nino and Nina. Thank you two for everything this weekend and all you have always done for us. Here’s to more years to come!

Officially Nina Valerie & Nino Bryan [on the right side]

Officially Nina Valerie & Nino Bryan [on the right side]

A photo before everyone goes back home. We will miss you both!

A photo before everyone goes back home. We will miss you both!

Nino & Nina

Nino & Nina

Mini photo shoot to capture his Baptismal outfit

Mini photo shoot to capture his Baptismal outfit

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