Tag Archives: Family

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




The Children’s Discovery Museum

The Children’s Discovery Museum

We took the kids to my favorite museum in San Jose. It’s hands on and educational but you would never guess it by the kids laughing the whole day. I think its safe to say, we have a new favorite spot to visit!
If you enjoy this video please subscribe to our YouTube channel Taking California & hit like! Right now its only my daughter liking our videos because she feels bad.


To my sweet monkey boy

To my sweet monkey boy

I can remember looking at you as a tiny new person in this world thinking, “what will you become … how will you change my life”
It’s only going to be three years and nothing has been the same since I first saw you. Everyday Dad and I say, “he’s so funny and has so much personality” and its true. You make this family complete and my heart is whole.
This last year we have had so many great memories and lots of hardship. You’ve changed so much and have become such a big boy!
This is your year in review …

  • We celebrated you turning 2 with a Dinosaur party that was really awesome! Carlos Bday 2 041
  • Your favorite Dinosaur is a T -Rex & you pretend your a baby T-Rex
  • Favorite cartoons are – Dinosaur Train, Cat In The Hat & Daniel Tiger
  • You also love to pretend your a puppy but more than that you like to pretend you are a monkey and hang on things “hoo hoo ha ha”
  • You & sister love to play “hide out” and make tents in the room
  • You love tablet time with your tablet or watching shows with sister
  • For the first time this year you called Emery by her name! You also called her Ava and sis but you mostly stick with the name you gave her “wee wee” & that’s what mom and dad call her too (because its special).
  • Disneyland is your favorite place ever & you ask to go everyday.
  • You told mommy your favorite ride at Disneyland was the “whale ride” (Story Land). It was mommy’s first time going on it; hard to believe because I’ve been to Disneyland so many times, and even though its by far not one of my favorite rides its special to me because I went on it the first time with my two babies.


    Kids waving to Dad & Mom vlogging

  • You love the Disney characters at the park! Your shyness goes away and hug everyone and take photos. It amazes me to see you so happy and out of your shell.
  • You are so sincere. You care & when you do bad you will come back to say you are sorry for your mistake. I really like that about you, it shows you care and it impacted you.
  • If I ask you, “are you okay?” you wont just say “yes” you tell the truth and always say, “no” haha.
  • You get upset a lot
  • You make the funniest mad face ever
  • You have the best expressions
  • You ooze personality

    Vampire Pirate

    “Let me see your eye Pirate” – Uncovers his eye hiding from the patch haha

  • Loud noises bother you
  • You went to the snow for the first time at Sequoia National Park
  • You haven’t figured out how to use “I” in sentences. Everything is “me want to” “me no like” but our  favorite is “me do me do!”
  • This year you got potty trained!  & pretty fast  🙂
  • Mommy finally weaned you off of ninny. It was bitter sweet and I think we both miss it still.
  •  You and Dad call our bed the monkey nest
  • You like to wet your hair and slick it back. I think you look like Dad when he was a kid.
  • You have a red tricycle that you are very good at riding. You ride it in the house every day and park it out side the room you go to. It’s really cute.
  • You hate water in your face but you are brave enough to lay on your back in the tub
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  • Favorite cereal – Lucky Charms


    Mondays … Am I right?

  • For some reason you think I want all of your boogers … I don’t. Stop giving them to me.
  • “oh. Yeah, silly me”
  • You love vegetables. It’s the first thing you will eat on a plate. Broccoli is your fave.
  • Favorite fruits – strawberries. green apples, tomatoes & oranges
  • “what’s cooking homie”
  • At the check out – “Thank you homie” 😐
  • Monkey hands
    (mittens we bought specifically because you needed more “monkey hands”)
  • & Monkey feet


    Mittens on the feet to look like monkey feet is genius! & Hilarious

  • You love going over to Grandma Yvette’s house & Great Grandma & Papa’s house but you don’t like saying hi but love to say bye.
  • “Lion King your head” is either your insult or a joke.
  • You love the beach but it took you awhile to get into the water. You said you were scared because the whales and sharks lived in the water. Very smart for a 2 year old to recognize!

    Look at that worried face.

    Happy third birthday my son son. We love you so much!! Here’s to many more years of happiness and growth. 

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It finally happened …


After years of talking about it, being frustrated, tired, sore, isolated, teased and “trying”. It finally happened. Carlos has been weaned off of “ninny” and I’m free of breastfeeding! Quick, someone hand me a beer! Not only am I not limited to how many I can have or at what hour I need to stop let’s be honest … this is a victory (for me anyway).

When Carlos turned one, every night during prayers I would tell him soon he wouldn’t have milk and how he really didn’t need it anymore. He was a big boy and how he could have milk or water in a cup. Every night he agreed by shaking his head that he understood. But, when push came to shove he didn’t follow through with our plan. For two years I tried telling him he was a big kid but every afternoon and night he would want “nin” to go to bed. And while breastfeeding is extremely easy, its that easiness that can get you in a deep whole of dependence. Hurt? crying? tired? here have some milk! When the answer is right in front of you (literally) it’s easy to just do it.

After feeding during the night he would wake up and want “nin” right away, and it was even to the point that he would cry about it. It was exhausting to be a prisoner to it. As much as I loved feeding him and bonding it was too much. Luckily my husband was very supportive and we didn’t feel a need to force him to stop but we agreed that he should stop before the age of 3 (which at this point was a month away). I could handle him crying but the real question was could the rest of the family deal with it in the middle of the night?

The Thanksgiving break seemed like my one and only shot and getting this right. Emery was out of school, little Victor wouldn’t be home and maybe we could politely ask dad to leave the room for the week while I learned how to put a baby to bed without milk.

First night was a disaster. I almost gave in. Carlos was screaming his head off … and when I say screaming I don’t mean crying really loud, I mean sitting there full force screaming until he got his way. While I ignore the sound, dad has a harder time letting go of control and I was in between two alpha male personalities howling at each other (wow, that sounds much nicer than it was). Eventually the screaming subsided, he asked for an orange (normally I would not give him food late or in bed but if it was to calm him down, sure take an orange) and he fell a sleep. He woke once asked for it and went back to bed. Hallelujah!
The next few days followed suite, but with less screaming. He hasn’t taken naps unless they are in the car because I don’t know how to give him a nap with out milk and he wont take a nap during the day. Once a day he’ll ask for “ninny” jokingly or just to say it but doesn’t fuss or bother about it. How fast he was weaned has been amazing.

Still nights can be hard and I think if he was breastfeed he would be a sleep right now and I could do my crafting or be out of the bedroom instead of him forcing me to be in  the room with him. That is our newest big struggle, and personally I feel some what useless now; Carlos has made huge strides in the past 3 months, potty trained and weaned … where do I fit in? My baby is now a big boy … something I wanted but now that it has happened I feel kind of empty. I see him tired but I cant help to put him to bed, he’s hurt and I cant comfort him like the way I know how and lately I’ve had a hard time sleeping. I wake up at night and I see everyone sleeping comfortably and all through the night and I’m tossing and turning wanting to feed someone haha. Maybe not that last part but I think I am use to wake up several times at night that I’m finding it weird to just be me again.



Our baby cousin needs some love


Hello readers, today I have a special post for my cousins baby Dominick. He was born at 34 weeks and is staying at the Children’s Hospital in Madera CA. His Mom is 45 minutes away and would love to stay with him at the Ronald McDonald house, but until there is an opening she has to travel everyday. Still, there is an expense to live there plus food and other things baby will need when he can come home. Dominick’s welcome home arrival is expected to be in mid July, once his lungs are more developed and he’s able to breath on his own, eat on his own with out a tube and free from any infections he may have.

Prayers, love & support are appreciated from the family! There is also a Go fund Me page if anyone is feeling generous.
Thank you in advance!


Help baby Dominick

The Calderon’s take San Francisco

The Calderon’s take San Francisco

In mid February we took a day trip to San Francisco to visit the city and The California Academy of Science. Growing up in the bay area, I was able to visit this museum and many more on school field trips and day trips with my Dad. I want to take the children to all the amazing sites I was able to go to in my life. Any time Victor and I are in the city, whether its down south in Los Angeles or up north in San Francisco we try to set aside a day to take the kids some where they have never been and to a explore things that we don’t have where we live  in the central valley.

The last time I went to the San Francisco Academy of Science was in the mid 90’s. Since then the museum had gone through a $488 million dollar renovation in the Golden Gate Park.

It was like an all new adventure for Victor and I. The museum was completely different from anything I remembered growing up. Immediately to the right is a 90′ spiral dome with a living rainforest. walking in it you feel the humidity while thousands of butterflies and free flying birds are fluttering around.

Below you can take an elevator down to the flooded Amazon and walk through a 25′ tunnel with the rainforest above. The kids loved watching the fish all around them and I loved watching their reaction.



We saw taxidermy animals in their natural habitat

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Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

Candid photo/accidently took a picture but Nina Val was sneeking back there

The museum also had a huge coral reef aquarium that offered a show with a reef diver. While we didn’t watch the show, we weren’t disappointed at all of the other things there were to take part in.


Capturing fun

Capturing fun

A whole new world

A whole new world

One of my favorite things doing at the museum when I was a kid, was going on the

earthquake simulator. California is known for earthquakes, but (knock on wood) we really don’t get them as often as people may think. In 1906 San Francisco was hit with a 7.8 earthquake. Any time anyone brings up earthquakes this is the one that al earthquakes are based on. The quake resulted in 3,000 deaths and $524 million dollars in property loss and lasted 1 minute. The city burned for 3 days and destroyed 500 city blocks.

Another major earthquake to hit California was the 1989 Loma Prieta that lasted 15 seconds at a 6.9 on the seismic scale.. This resulted in 60 deaths and wide spread damage. I was nearly 5 years old and it was my first earthquake. It hit in Santa Cruz, 60 miles from San Francisco and was felt in San Jose where I lived. It felt like it lasted much longer than 15 seconds as my mom and I hid under the large dining room table.

Now that I caught you up on a mini earthquake lesson you can only imagine emotion of going through the simulator and having semi experience each earthquake all over again. Instead of having posters to read and standing on a platform that shakes, the  new updated version takes you into a planetarium like room to explain how an earthquake works. After you moved into the self proclaimed infamous Shake House. Hold on to the rail because you will first experience a touch of the1906 quake. The simulator doesn’t last as long as the actual quake did nor can it move up and down like the real one, only side to side. Second up is the 1989 Loma Prieta and as I’m writing just realized how historic it was that 26 years later my daughter was nearly the same age I was experiencing that earthquake. While she’s  never been awake to experience an earth (we’ve had ones while we both have slept) Emery thought it was a fun little ride. A much different reaction I experience living it.

(video in my Instagram GypsyWidow 13 weeks ago from this date)

There was so much to do at the museum but we ran out of time and I didn’t want to run our of daylight before visiting the iconic Golden Gate bridge.

With the mad driving skills of Valerie we made it to Crissy Field at sunset. A little fact that all mothers learn quickly is be prepared with extra everything. I know this unspoken rule, I’m pretty good with it and I know San Francisco is freezing at night. Did I pack warm clothes? DUH. Did I bring them? No I did not. What I failed to mention peed his shorts on the way to S.F. It has never has never happened before but now that we were out I couldn’t have him wet and in shorts. As luck would have it this conductor pants were in the trunk from the day before, and it all worked out.

We got some great shots of the kids enjoying themselves


Their personalities shinning through

Their personalities shinning through

some of me and the husby


I’ve always wanted to go to this part of San Fransisco and take pictures with the bridge in the background. I’m so happy that we made it just in time!

 It was Emery and Carlos’ first time in the city so we went down to the peir to grab sone authentic San Fransisco food at Boudin.

Cookie cheers with my little man

Cookie cheers with my little man

The highlight of my night turned out to not to be those bridge picures i’ve wanted for years but forgetting Emery has no idea about street entertainers and watching what she thought was a statue come life after putting a dollar in  the can. She turned around so fast as soon as he began speaking. The man was nice enough to offer a picture of them two together. The bridge pictures I love but the street performer made a lasting memorie for me.


Help me wean!!!


Its been 752 days of breastfeeding. My Child’s pediatrician thinks I’m a real Hail Mary and while the pats on the back and fist raised in the air by other breastfeeding moms makes me feel good, I really feel defeated and used. I’ve been here before, 3 years ago with Emery. This time it’s different (isn’t it always?). With Emery if you recall or read before – she was 1 1/2 and after many failed attempts we both decided it was time to stop. She’s always been that kind of person, when she wants to do or not to something she does it.  Breastfeeding Emery I was really sick and tired literally. She would barely drink and then she would fall asleep. It was a comfort thing for her. I think it’s a comfort thing for most babies, It’s all they know their whole lives! And that’s what I struggle with, how can I take the only thing they know how to fall asleep and be comforted with away? They scream and cry and beg or milk.

Carlos’ case is different – He drinks milk and he wont let me unlatch. I don’t realize until I wake up mad from my back aching that I’ve been in the same side position for hours (did I mention he’s a co sleeper?). Now that I’m typing this all out loud for the world to read I’m starting to think I’m letting him be too attached. How can I stop this? I don’t want it to be this way!
I tried the cup of warm milk, he drank one drink to humor me and cried. I’ve tried watching a movie to fall asleep with minimal success. I’ve gotten the advice of not offering anything so he doesn’t get attached to a cup for bed or do I just give water?

Do I let him scream it out at 12 am when I have a 11-year-old who needs to go to school and a 4-year-old in the next room who is trying to sleep?

Help! I need mom advice!




A mom who is lost.

Carlos’ Dinosaur birthday


2014 a year in review

2014 a year in review

My youngest baby turned one!

Monster boy!

Monster boy!

My oldest turned four!

Rainbow curtain and a huge Pinky Pie balloon

My Little Emery

We visited the beach

Cambria, Ca.

Cambria, Ca.

We drove to the mountains


Sequoia National Park, Ca. [[Carlos’ first time]]

The kids were asked to be part of a possible ad campaign

We had a family photo shoot for a possible ad with JetKat Photography

JetKat Photography


We surprised Great Grandparents in San Jose

Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Zack & Cousin Daniel

Great Grandma & Great Grandpa Zack & Cousin Daniel

Mommy got to introduce us to some of her San Jose friends from high school finally

Jessica, Stephen & Marcus

Jessica, Stephen & Marcus

We visited The La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles

Us inside a tar bubble

Us inside a tar bubble

Our first time at the Los Angeles Zoo!

We love zoo's

We love zoo’s


We visited Great Grandma Mami Chela in Los Angeles for her birthday




We visited the Natural History Museum for the first time and we loved it!



We went to Apple Hill to get one or two pumpkins

A few of the pumpkins we picked out.

Here’s just a few …


Took our yearly Family photo

Our 2014 Family photo

Our 2014 Family photo


Took the kids to the state capitol

California State Capitol

California State Capitol


Visited Great Grandma Mary . . .



Grandpa Max …


Grandpa Max and the kids

Grandpa Max and the kids

And Grandma Andrea while we were in Sacramento!

Grandma Andrea

Grandma Andrea


Celebrated Halloween and mommy slaved over making Carlos’ Mad Hatter outfit and his hat

Mini costume Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch

Alice In Wonderland photo shoot at a local pumpkin patch


We hosted Thanksgiving at our house this year

What were you thankful for this year?

What were you thankful for this year?

And celebrated Christmas at Great Grandma & Papa Joe’s house

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Santa

It was a busy year with trips to our local zoo and park in between. This is Emery’s last year spending all day with us before school and we’re trying to make it extra fun for her.

2014 was a good year for us, we had our usual ups and downs that come with life but this mommy can’t complain! Everyone is healthy and our loved ones are with us. I’m happy to share my adventures of parenting these two little ones and document our travels around the Golden State of California. A big thank you to all of my readers out there! I wouldn’t be doing these if I didn’t have the support I do.

Hope everyone has a healthy, happy, joyful and blessed new year


2014 Christmas

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.


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. 


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


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


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


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


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.


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.



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.


2014 Christmas 031