"What we do in this life, echoes in eternity."
Maximus, Gladiator
"Our creator would never have made such lovely days, and given us the deep hearts to enjoy them, above all thought, unless we were meant to be immortal."
Nathaniel Hawthorne

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Feliz Navidad!!!

We had such a wonderful Christmas!!!! It was wonderful, and I was really excited that actually Christmas just started because we'll keep on celebrating until Three Kings on January 6th. We spent Christmas Eve with our wonderful neighbors and friends, and Jeff's parents. I was such a good wife!!!! I made empanadas, alcapurrias, tembleque, and arroz dulce. Barbara brought a delicious ham and arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas). One day I'll post the recipes--I'm exhausted tonight. This morning the opening of presents was magical...Juli got his skateboard and playmobil castle; Joax got a car service station and a doll boy whom he loved as soon as he saw him; Areli got her dolly, and Maga got...Dandelion!!!! The Yorkie puppy she has wanted for ever, and whom she wasn't suppossed to get until Areli was at least three years old...but oh well! Santa had other plans. She's thrilled with joy, and currently sleeping on the floor to be closer to her puppy sleeping in a kennel.

Christmas truly is the most wonderful time of the year. I love the snow we got last night, and the peace we feel at home. My family is the greatest present I have. I feel so blessed I could cry with joy.

I'm so thankful to Heavenly Father for sending his son to Earth. I gave Jeff a book called "Father and Son: A Nativity Story;" a Christmas story told from Joseph's point of view. Joseph wonders how to teach his newborn "son" when He is I Am, the Creator; how to comfort, teach Him. My children aren't The Savior, but I often wonder how I can teach, inspire, protect, discipline these spirits sent to me. These giants who are more loving, wise, and smart that I could ever aspire to become. But when I see them sleeping, so fragile and innocent in bed, all I can pledge them is my life, my love, to guide them back Home.

Merry Christmas everybody. Our Savior was born in Bethlehem!!!!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

St Lucia Day!!!

Today is Santa Lucia and since my chubbers cried all night (not normal AT ALL for her), I slept in, and didn't make my bread in the morning...But today, after Gorgeous Boy comes back from school, we'll make Saffron Bread together, and if turns out well, I'll even post the recipe! Today is Gorgeous Boy's Ginger Bread Kid Caper Play at school. He's so excited! He's practiced so much! Swan Girl had her first field trip today; they went to sing at a home for elderly people. I told her to sing her out for those grandpas and grandmas.
Panda Boy is such a sweetie. He gives the yummiest kisses.
I know this isn't the greatest post in the world, but I just wanted the world to know I'm here, and that the kids and I are having such a wonderful Advent Season. I know, I'm not a Catholic anymore; I haven't been for 15 years, half of my life, but I love the rituals of the faith of my childhood...Advent candles, Guadalupe's Day on the 12th, repetition and mystery...To compensate we'll also celebrate Joseph Smith's Birthday on the 23rd, but I won't call it St Joseph's Day, and I'll combine it with Ricky Martin's birthday on the same day. He'll be St Beautiful Boricua. My own Boricua is Gorgeous Divine Boricua. He's out selling alarms. We miss him. And for those of you who only know the Ricky from Living la Vida Loca, remember I grew up with the guy's songs, and he's such an amazing person. Visit his foundation and you'll see...

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Birthday, Thanksgiving, Birthday

I've been trying to post more often, so that my posts make more sense, and are more organized, but I haven't really had the time.
I'll start at the beginning: my big boy turned seven-years-old. I can't believe it. He had a wonderful Pirate themed birthday party. I hadn't really organized myself very well for it because we were on the cruise just the week before, but I printed some pirate invitations from Family Fun and ignoring the school requests not to send invitations to school, I did. Only 3 kids from school came to the party anyway, but he had invited neighbors, cousins and friends from church (English and Spanish Wards). Keep in mind that the Latins I know at least send the whole family when you invite a kid to a birthday party, so I ended up with 22 kids. It was a lot of fun because for the first time EVER, I got smart and implemented a technique from elementary school: Centers... So I divided them into three teams; one group decorated bandannas with me, one group played musical chairs with my father-in-law, and the other played "pin the heart on the octopus" and had their face painted with Adriana. We were so well organized and we could contain chaos sooooooo much better than in the past. After everybody had a turn at each center, we served my mom's home-made pizza which was delishhhhhh! Then it was time for cake. The cake was an adventure in itself. I made the pirate ship from family fun, but instead of making one big ship I made two smaller ones. I also made a sheet cake to be the sea. Five minutes before the party the ships collapsed. It didn't help that Julian wanted to re-decorate the cake. But you know what? Even with the collapsed ships the kids thought the cake was great. While I was cutting the cake, Julian told a story he made up about how the ships attacked each other. I loved it that he was so happy. After cake we went outside for a pinata, which for once broke after only a couple of kids could have a go at hitting it. Later the children played on the trampoline and when everybody was gone, Julian opened the presents. We never do presents during the party, and I know some of the kids were disappointed, but we feel that by doing that we shift the attention from gift-getting to having fun at the party.
That night, I told Julian the story of his birth, and his big eyes were shiny and innocent and pure. And my throat choked with emotion--my boy is at the end of his rainbow journey now, more on this earth, more ready to try his wings on his own. When I asked him if he had liked his party he said, "Me encanto", which in English is not exactly "I loved it" but more like "I was enchanted."
Right after his birthday it was time to get ready for Thanksgiving. I was in charge of making the turkey which by the way was a total success. I actually made two small ones because I thought they would cook faster than the big ones. I also made mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, apple and pumpkin pies...My brother in law brought delicious arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), and my sister in law made her delicious raspberry jello salad. Pat made the sweet potato casserole which everyone loved. We all had a great time. It was very emotional for my mother in law not to have her oldest daughter here. Of course, it's nearly impossible for them to make the trip from NC with eight children. All in all, it was a wonderful day with wonderful weather. It's wonderful that Wednesday was 85 degrees in Highland, but it also is a bit scary. It's not supposed to be so warm in November.
On the last note, Areli turned one today. Last night was such a bittersweet time for me because I felt that was the last hour I would have an infant. Now she's a toddler, and that babyhood is gone forever. How I have enjoyed this baby!!!!! She's always happy and content, patient, beautiful and peaceful. I'm so blessed to have her! Her birth was such a healing experience that I will cherish it forever. If I could have her naturally, and have such a peaceful, beautiful birth, I can do ANYTHING I want. My baby is gone, but my little girl is here to learn and to teach me what she remembers from Our Father. I'm so blessed to have my children, who are healthy, smart, happy. Yes, I have much to be thankful for.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So much to blog, so little time ...

I have been literally buried by laundry this week. I complained and complained about it, until a couple of days ago, my beautiful SIL Vicci (who was on the same cruise we were, but just the week earlier) said, " I know, the laundry is so bad...but there's sand in it. You been to the beach!!!!" So I kinda woke up, "Sheesh!!! How come I have so much laundry when we've been on a cruise all week, not cooking, cleaning, entertaining, we've swam with dolphins, took 3 naps a day, etc, etc..." Yes, I know. What a hard life... But yes, the cruise was fantastic. The children had a lot of fun at the kids club. We had three days at sea, so I rested a lot, went to the spa, ate chocolate covered strawberries everyday...Jealous? I could continue with the details, but I'll spare you.
Today I've been avoiding housework all day. I'm so overwhelmed by all I have to do, that I don't do anything. I realized Monday that the love of life, my firstborn, Julian, is having a birthday this Sunday. So we have a party planned for Saturday morning. Then we have a birthday party for some friend's son, and then we have the High School Musical on Ice thing. I haven't told the kids I got tickets for that. They'll be oh, so excited!!!! I can't believe I'm doing this, but I'm actually keeping a secret. My brothers and sister would have been happy about it--twenty years ago...
Thanksgiving is next week, and Jeff's sister, brother (with their respective families) and parents are coming over. I'm terrified that I'll burn or ruin the turkey (which I've never done before, ruined that is. I have made turkey before, you know), so I bought two, just in case...
Next Sunday is ...ARELI'S 1st BIRTHDAY!!!!! AND I KNOW I'M YELLING! BUT WHERE, OH WHERE'S MY BABY? I had planned these little souvenirs for her party, lavender filled star little pillows. But when am I gonna make them? And of course, the day after her birthday is my birthday. The big 3-0. I can't believe it. I feel the same as always, more tired, crankier, but the same...Sigh...
Joax allergies are coming back I'm afraid. His cheeks are all warm and rosy, but not in the healthy sort of way. He also has the infamous runny nose, and his temper, his temper was a lot better thank you very much. I'm debating whether he's sensitive to something at home, or if all the hustle of traveling is too much for him. On the trip he was very good.
Yesterday he pushed Areli's high chair, which went crashing on the floor with her strapped in it, he flung his rice with sardines all over the place, he scratched Maga's face again, and he got into the bath tub again with his clean pajamas (I had just changed him for the night). Yes, Joaquin is so high maintenance, but he's also my panda bear boy, so sweet and loving. He kisses me all the time, and he says "Te quiero" with such sweet chocolate eyes. I love him so tenderly, that my heart melts away when I look at him. Those are the times I remember when he's being terrible.

On another subject, my dear friend just had a baby girl, after three boys, including a false girl ultrasound. Send good vibes their way. Her little one had brain hemorrhage and seizures after birth. We're praying very fervently that all will be well with her. Her EEG (electro scan) will be in a couple of weeks. I'm praying that everything will be well.

I'll go play with my children now. The weather has been very warm for November, and that way I won't have to cook. Again!!!!!

PS: I did have my feet done on the cruise.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Leaving for Mexico!!!!!

We're leaving for sunny Mexican Riviera in just 7 hours and Jeff hasn't packed a thing. I have a dilemma here; on one hand, I promised him I wouldn't pack his stuff at the last minute. He was to give me his things earlier today so that I could fold them and pack them for him. On the other hand, I know he's totally exhausted; he's sleeping in the couch. But I don't know if he decided to go to sleep because he knows I'll pack for him anyway, or because he really IS tired. So I think I'll turn in a few minutes to be up on time for the packing marathon that awaits me. I really can't do a thing more tonight.
I just wanted to relate a couple of episodes from today:
Since I was so totally exhausted from packing, nursing Areli, taking Joax to the bathroom, nursing Areli, reorganizing things, nursing Areli, I decided I wasn't making dinner. We went to Rumbi's, Island Grill, and Juli was so engrossed in his Magic Tree House book that he took it to the restaurant, and read while he ate, not paying attention to his squabbling siblings. I know, it's not good manners to read while eating, but he was concentrating so hard that I couldn't bring myself to correct him. He reminded me so much of myself at that age, that I got a little teary. I love it that my son loves to read already. I can't wait for him to discuss books with me.
The other thing is, I think I have like a phobia to pedicures. I know, it's weird. I have been planning to go get a pedicure for weeks now; I ask Iris or Adriana to please watch the kids, I tell Jeff I'll be gone in for a couple of hours...and when it's time to leave I just don't go. There are excuses galore not to go, (I need a nap, I need to nurse Areli, Jeff's parents are over for a visit after being gone on a mission for 2 years, etc), so I just pick one and I don't go. I seriously needed something done to my feet though , so I just trimmed my toenails and polished them...red, of all colors, but it was the newest shade I have, just a couple of years old...I really hope nobody looks at my toes on the trip. Maybe I can arrange to have my feet done there...yes! That's what I'll do. See ya when I get back!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, November 01, 2007

All Souls Day

I love November 1st. I've always been very proud of having a birthday in November. I don't know why, but it's my favorite month of the year :) This day also has a special connotation for me, since it's the day I joined the LDS church 15 years ago. So it's my second quinceanera in a kind of way. My niece was also baptized on Nov 1st, but 4 years ago...

Well, here are the Halloween pictures. I hadn't realized how scary Juli looks in some of them. Or maybe I feel this way because I'm a little freaked out after reading some chapters of Eclipse in the Twilight trilogy. Never mind the invitation to Edward, handsome and charming or not. Hahahaha!!!!

We're going on our annual cruise on Saturday morning and I haven't packed a thing!!!! I really want to go, but since Jeff has been working like a mule lately, we haven't worked much in decorating the basement. I'm ready to have everything finished and ready; this remodeling has lasted all year it seems.

In a fabulous blog that I read, and that you can find here, Beck was reminiscing on her great-grandmother, and that made me think of my paternal grandmother, Elena, who was Abuela China for me and my cousins. She wasn't grandmotherly at all, but I loved her nevertheless--she was the only gandmother I knew. When I left Rosario to come to BYU, she cried. That was the first and only time I ever saw her get emotional, and it's an image I'll always carry in my heart. So, I think that today, All Souls day, (el Dia de los Santos), it's fitting that I think of her and say a prayer on her behalf (that's the Catholic education tugging at me) :)

Enjoy the pics!

Yes, that's me. With short hair...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween 2007!!!!!

Today is Halloween, my favorite holiday of the year; I mean, I love Christmas, but Halloween is SOOOOOOOO MUCH FUN!!!!!!!!!!!! Today we started the day very early. Julian is a vampire (his first scary costume), and he wanted me to do his hair. I'll post pictures tomorrow, when I have time to upload the pics to my computer. I "painted" his face with a thick zinc oxide based sunscreen, and luckily I have the fabulous Lyra face make-up pencils. I painted his lips black, and I put violet eyeshadow under his eyes. I also had to put a ton of gel on his hair so that it'd stay combed back. He had a black cape and , of course, vampire teeth, grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
He looked like "Edward," the gorgeous mouth watering vampire from Twilight, a book series I'm hooked on. The author is LDS, BYU alumnus Stephenie Meyer. She's so talented! I'm reading number three now, "Eclipse," and I'll miss Edward when I'm all done with the book. He's an extraordinary character.....

Going back to Halloween costumes, Maga is a monarch butterfly. She has a gorgeous outfit from Pottery Barn Kids. Everybody at the school asked me if I had made it, hahaha! I remember when I made her the Hedwig (Harry Potter's owl) her first Halloween ever. Janette and I almost collapsed from laughing when I showed her the owl hat--it looked like a Furby!!!!! hahaha!

Joaquin is the cutest skunk ever. He has such a mischievous look, that I want to eat him up. Leli is a pumpkin. She's our roundest baby, so a pumpkin is very fitting for her.

Jeff will be a mad doctor (if I can make him dress up). Yesterday Juli wanted to buy a spandex Transformer's outfit for Jeff. I told him," Juli, I PROMISE you he won't put it on." I could picture Jeff in my mind, dressed up as a muscled Transformer and that really made me laugh.
Well, I better go finish the preparations for tonight. Julian planned a haunted house that will be a haunted entrance, since our garage is so full of stuff from Jeff's office, more on that later...

Well, Happy Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Careful with the vampires, and if you see Edward around send him over, sigh...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Beautiful Fall

I just LOVE this time of the year! The crisp air, colorful leaves, the smell of apple pie, cold little hands on my face... We came back yesterday from North Carolina, where Julian and Magali were born, and where we went to welcome Jeff's parents who just returned from their mission at the Guatemala Temple. We had a wonderful time, visiting with friends and cousins. They had so much fun with their cousins! It's just so sad we live so far away from Jeff's sister, his parents and my brother and sister--our kids don't know each other.

Today we went to Cornbellys in Thanksgiving Point. Adriana and Isa went with us. It was a lot of fun! We went through a mini maze, on a hay ride, to a haunted creature (it looked like a dinosaur), the children played on the slides and trampolines...Julian paid for snacks; he feels like a man when he treats us. We didn't get pumpkins today because we couldn't carry all of our staff (diaper bag, coats, stroller, etc), so tomorrow when I go to Mitchell's to get more apples for apple sauce, I'll get the pumpkins. In Wondertime, the talented Catherine Newman shared some wonderful recipes that I want to try.

Oh my, I'm sooooo tired, but I'm making Areli's stocking while I listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It's amazing how I notice the differences between the English and the American versions of the book when I listen to it. The cds are of the American Version, and I've read the English one three times already. And yes, I know that I read it too many times, but like JK Rowling said, "How can you NOT find time to read?" I couldn't agree with her more. So many books, so little time...

Here's some pics from today. Enjoy.

PS: Now that Pat and Rafa are home, I hope someone reads this blog...

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

I know! I haven't posted for such a long time! I still have pictures from Maga's 5th birthday party, Juli and Maga's 1st day at school, Areli crawling, Joax going to the potty...! Yes, Joax is completely potty trained! Isn't he amazing? A few days ago Jeff and I were saying it was about time we taught him how to go, and I did it. It took us about 3 days of accidents and constant reminders, but today, 2 weeks after we actively started taking him to the bathroom, he's completely trained! Today at church I was a little worried, but he went when I asked him if he needed to go, and he was clean all day. Such a big boy that Joaquin. He's talking so much now, and he's the first kid in our family to be hooked to Mickey Mouse. He gets up every morning at 6:20 (like a little clock), and while I shower and get ready for the day he watches House of Mouse. He's also learning his alphabet with some foam letters we've had in their bathtub forever. The other day he surprised Jeff by spelling "ROXY" from my t-shirt. His favorite letters are Y, X and W (which he calls B for some reason...)
Areli is getting just sooooooo big! I can't believe it! She's in love with Julian and Jeff. It's funny how bashful she gets when they're close to her. She and Joax hold scgreaming contests, which are VERY cute in spite of the loudness.
Maga was sent to time out on her third day of school. She cried when she told me about it. She only wanted to keep playing hopscotch, but it was carpet time...My free-spirited daughter...She's like a fairy in every sense of the word, feisty, sweet, graceful, playful, stubborn...
I've had a HORRIBLE cough for about a week. I finally got brave and started the process for two molar implants I've needed for too long. I had to have a bone grafting, which wasn't that bad...The kids stayed all day with my two wonderful friends Iris and Adriana, and then at night the three older ones went to my mom's for delicious pizza, and chubby Areli stayed with Barbara. Jeff had a dinner at work, so I was all by myself. At first I slept as long as the anesthesia lasted, but after it wore out I was bored, until I remembered I COULD actually watch TV. From all the shows I could watch I chose an oldish movie called "Ladies in Lavender" about two spinster sisters who fall in love with a young man whose ship was wrecked by their cottage. Very sweet movie.
Well, I just wanted to pay a little tribute to talented Mary Schunemann who sadly passed away last September 9th. I was shocked to learn the news from Mothering Forum. Such a wonderful, talented, good person. I just pray that her two little angels may find comfort without their wonderful mother. I just love all of her CD's, which we use at home every day. I've learned the lullabies for night time, work songs for cooking and cleaning, season songs, even songs is Spanish. She will always be remembered.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm officially a homeschool mama

Yes, we took the big plung we had been planning ever since Juli was born, and today, 4 days after Juli started first grade, I got an exemption to homeschool! I did it! Julian is loving school, but he is gone from 9:00 am to almost 4:00 pm (that's because of the bus ride. They get done at 3:30). Tuesday without him was endless! When he and Isa got off the bus, Isa said, "I thought we were going to come home at night!" Yes, they were gone all day...and he told me Wednesday they watched cartoons! (Franklin's 1st day at school). He didn't want to go Thursday because he wanted to play with his brother and sister and Coco (bless his heart!). We had planned on sending him on Fridays, but today when I talked to the principal, he said no. his reason? "No one has ever done it before". Oh well! His teacher was VERY supportive, and even sent his books home, so we could use them. We agreed on switching him to the morning class, and having him stay at school until 11. I'm very excited because I just read this book called "The Well Trained Mind" , by Susan Wise bauer and Jessie Wise. We're going to follow their advise as fas as curriculum is concerned. I got the books today.
Magali had her kindergarten assessment, and she knew everything. She only needs to practice reading.
We are remodeling the two rooms on the main floor. The boys will go downstairs (the basement is almost finished), and the girls will be here on the main floor. So we're painting and putting hardwood floors. Everything should be ready by next week. Right now the house is a mess, things everywhere, but it's at least clean. We just have all the kids clothes on a chair in our room, and dust from the carpet that was removed. I'm trying to be patient with the construction. I know I'll love the rooms, the floors, the bathrooms after they are finished. Now we all have very bad allergies; that is, all except for Joax! That's a proof his naet treatment worked. I guess we'll all be getting it this year. The treatment that is.
I just can't believe we were in England a month ago. It's like a dream. Waht a beautiful place!
Well, tomorrow we have two soccer games, and we're coaching Juli's. You should see Maga. She looks so healthy and full of life when she plays. She fills my heart with love. All four of them do. My gorda is just gorgeous. I can't get enough of her.
One of the highlights of my day? When Juli's teracher told me how bright he is. It's something else when a stranger confims your feelings. Yes, he's beautiful and smart, and tender and sweet.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The trip part II

I know; it's been forever since I started the trip summary, and I only made it to Oxford. It's so sad, but when I was on the actual trip, and visit all this gorgeous places, I'd think, "I'll write this in my blog..." and compose these stylish and poetic sentences in my mind. A month later they're all gone. But here are the pics, which Jeff says are the most important of all.

Also, I wanted to post pictures from the Highland Parade. Joaquin was voted Highland King in

their baby contest, so he and Jeff got to ride a train in the parade. The kids were ecstatic their baby brother had won the contest. Last year they were very bummed he hadn't won. "How come they don't see how beautiful he is!" Juli kept asking. Areli won the Baby Gerber award. I heard a little girl tell her mom, "Did you see that baby? If he (their baby boy) is competing agaisnt her, we don't have a chance. She's gorgeous!" I guess a winner in the family is enough.

Summer is coming to a close so very fast; and the kids start school next Monday!

Oh well...Actually, I'm very excited Halloween is only 6 weeks away!