Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Mariana's 1st birthday





On Saturday February 10th, we celebrated Mariana's 1st birthday. She's the last baby in our family so we made sure her first birthday didn't go unnoticed.  Mariana is such a cute baby, she seriously looks like a doll and everyone is so in love with her sweet personality and her gorgeous eyes. 
I love seeing my sister interact with her baby and I am so happy she's getting to experience motherhood for the 2nd time after such a long time.
For Mariana's birthday we threw her a "Twinkle Twinkle" themed party, it was all a sea of pink and gold and I am proud to say that the party turned out amazing.  I spent a good month hand making decorations and all kinds of little things for her party so it was great to see the final product and even better to know that my sister loved it and everyone enjoyed it.
Here are some picture of the party... definitely one for the memories...

 
 

 
Mariana enjoying her delicious cake
On Sunday we did a homemade photo shoot and the pictures turned out great.  I have many favorites, but these three are definitely my top ones.. 


Happy 1st birthday, Mariana! May God bless with a long and healthy life! We loved you so much! <3 p="">

Monday, January 29, 2018

Half-ish!

A few days ago my girls had their "half" birthdays and because I blog about their .5 every year, I feel compelled to do it again even if a few days late.  I've said this before and I'll say it again, the purpose of this blog is for them to have a written collection of their memories as told by their mom so here it goes...

8.5
Gaby's half birthday was on the 16th and she actually reminded me of it.  She has this weird fascination with birthdays, especially hers, so I am almost certain that on the 16th of every month she has a little party in her head.. ha ha!
Gaby has quite the personality...not an easy one but definitely charming. She is very set in her ways and doesn't like people opining about her choices. She is skeptical about strangers but oh so loving and giving when it comes to people she knows well. 
She doesn't enjoy chores and will do anything to get away from even picking up her dirty clothes, which is a daily struggle and I'm ready for it to be worse when she's a teenager. 
She loves reading and can eat up a book in less than a day; she does well in school but isn't an overachiever like her sister. I know she's very smart but sometimes she needs that little extra push when it comes to caring for her grades although she gets very disappointed when she doesn't get straight A's.
She likes to wear animal ear headbands, loves to play games on her iPad, adores her baby brother, loves eating pasta and steak and is the most ingenious 8 year old I know. 
Her favorite animal is the cat, her favorite color is purple and her favorite mom is ME! ha!
I really love being around Gaby and I am soaking up her sweetness and cuddles as much as I can for as long as I can. I am so lucky to be her mother! Happy 8.5, Gaby! ;)


10.5
Olivia turned 10.5 on the 17th and even though she's not as fixated on her birthday as Gaby is, I'm sure she'll enjoy reading her .5 post down the road, so here it goes...
Olivia is quite the little lady and although I know raging hormones are inevitable at her age, she really does her best to keep her composure and finesse at all times. Unlike her sister Gaby, Olivia tends to be friendly from the get-go even with strangers; she's quite the social butterfly and such a talker. She enjoys drawing, taking pictures and traveling; she has asked that I please take her to Australia for her 15th birthday and has started to create an itinerary for her dream trip. 
As friendly as Olivia is, her biggest downfall is that she can't take a joke; because she's so incredibly sensitive she loses her cool when someone teases her and that tends to bring her a lot of trouble in some social situations...
She's really smart and gets the best grades in school because she's an overachiever when it comes to studying and I really love that about her...
Olivia loves to fix her hair, she loves music and dancing, is fascinated with her baby brother, loves eating sushi and seafood and is the sweetest 10 year old I know. 
Her favorite animal is the unicorn (she knows they're not real!), her favorite color is teal and her favorite family is her own. 
I really love Olivia's personality and her tenderness. I am enjoying having a 10 year old friend and I am cherishing every minute we spend together. Happy 10.5, Olivia! ;)


Monday, January 8, 2018

Bye 2017...welcome 2018!

I always takes me a week or so to formally welcome a new year.. I'm not sure why it takes so long for it to "sink in" but the beginning of the year always drags on for me. 
I will admit that I try to stay off social media during the last week of the year because I get tired of people posting about how "terrible" their year has been and how the new year will be "THE BEST" year.. I mean, does everyone have progressively bad years as time passes or are my friends really that negative? Of course it's not everyone but a vast majority of the people I'm "connected" with often post things along the lines of "I can't wait for this awful year to end" or things like "Good riddance 2017!". Maybe I'm just lucky or maybe I'm just really, really positive but I tend not to look at a year as a collective thing that defines me but rather as scattered moments (good and bad) that are part of this thing called life...or maybe I haven't really had a totally "awful" year of life yet.. who knows!
I guess the point is that while no year is ever perfect, I try to focus on the good instead of the bad. Yes we had some sadness, some loss, lots of frustration and so on but the good was always more than the bad and for that I am thankful...
With that said, 2017 was a kind year for our family, filled with wonderful moments and even more wonderful people. Here are some highlights. 

January- I got to see my dear friend Marianna...it's always fun being around her!


February- the birth of my niece Mariana was definitely the best thing of the month and the year...and this is my favorite picture of her as a newborn..


March- Olivia's hair donation and seeing my favorite Canadians. I loved March!


April- an unforgettable family trip to Europe where we got to spend time with loved ones and visited 4 countries and several cities.


..and of course Gaby's first communion..


May- wonderful times in Orlando and Mother's day with the family


June-  Mariana's baptism and a Trip to Dominican Republic where we got to see my dear aunt Laurita


July- fun summer memories.. too many to count...and lots of birthdays! ;)


August- more summer fun with fun friends


September- a little more Disney, an unexpected "hurrication" and Oliver's 2nd birthday..


October-  more Disney and lots of Halloween fun...


November- a solo trip to Europe that included a visit to one of my best friends and some of the most amazing experiences to date...


..and Olivia finally being a candidate for Honor Roll..she achieved Principal Honors on her first try! ;)


December- the kids' first time in the snow and a great family road trip


2017 was a wonderful year... it was also the year I failed miserably at many of my goals, including weight loss, decreasing screen time, waking up earlier and many others I didn't accomplish but hope to try again this year.  

We welcomed 2018 in Ohio with our family, experiencing the coldest weather we've ever felt; it was quite an experience.  We spent a few days in Washington DC and drove all the way to Ohio and back, which made for some great bonding time.. ha ha!
I am thankful to God for another year of life and experiences, accomplishments and lessons and I am looking forward to what 2018 has in store for us.  This year we are hoping to move into a bigger house, become better money savers, travel some more, be more organized, deepen our faith and give more of our time and talents to our wonderful community!
Bring it on 2018! We are ready! 

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Life without you...

The day after I turned 17 I lost my sister Erika...she was 20 years old and her death is the most painful experience I have ever been through.
Erika wasn't just "any" sister, she was truly special...literally! Her special needs made her very vulnerable and in turn we protected her and treasured her like a gem..and that she was!
She was the most innocent and gentle soul I have ever met and her whole existence was a blessing to everyone who met her...she had a radiance that could change the world..
The day she died our lives were forever changed; our family was shattered because we lost the most valuable piece and today, 19 years later, I can still feel that unspeakable pain that only someone who has lost a loved one can truly understand.
Despite her limitations, Erika taught everyone a lesson...that you don't need to be "normal" to love and be loved and sometimes the most "abnormal" of people are the ones who touch us the most.
When I think of my sister I try not to be sad because she doesn't represent sadness; her life was full of joy, her laughter was contagious and her presence was so powerful...that's how I like to remember her and that's how I want people to know her....
So today I say "Erika: life without you is not the same and your memory lives in everything I do, in everything our family does. You are my biggest treasure, my angel in heaven, the one that inspires my compassion every day, the one that taught me to love and accept diversity, the one I think of every day and every night. I will never forget your smile and whenever I am sad I think of you and picture you looking at me with that innocence that made you so unique. Life without you is hard and many days it feels empty but it comforts me to know that you are in heaven because that's where angels belong...you bring a smile to my face every day!"
December 23 will always be a sad day for our family because it's the day when God called you home and the day we learned what pain really was...but because we knew you, we are who we are and the time we had you was the best of our lives...
We love you forever!

Movie Review: "Jumanji"

When I first saw the "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" movie trailer, I was intrigued... even though it looked a bit "cheesy" I couldn't help but wonder what kind of sequel the original Jumanji could have and considering the 1995 version is one of my all time favorites, I decided to give it a chance.
My expectations for the new version of Jumanji were not high, I think it was more of a sentimental thing than anything else although the cast did look very promising.
I finally got to see it today and I have to say that I haven't enjoyed a movie that much in a while.. it was great!  Not only was it incredibly funny and entertaining but it was also so well produced in every aspect.
The story was enticing, the pace was perfect, the lines were funny, the scenery was beautiful and the actors and their roles were simply amazing... I could not have asked for a better movie.
The plot revolves around 4 high schoolers that somehow end up in detention together and out of boredom wound up trapped in a video version of the old game Jumanji. Once inside the game they realize they are in the bodies of the characters they chose and they have a big mission of undoing a curse that has afflicted the jungle. In completing their mission, they unveil the strengths and weaknesses each character has and through some serious (and fun!) team work they ultimately accomplish their mission and are able to get out of the game.
I really enjoyed the funny one liners and puns throughout the movie; it is packed with jokes for both kids and adults and it brings out the best in each of the characters. There isn't a dull moment in the movie; the story is really easy to follow and the movie has the perfect pace and the perfect length.
I strongly recommend this one; it gets 4 out of 4 stars in my book!

36...

I remember getting very excited about my birthday when I was little girl; the prospect of getting tons of presents and eating tons of cake always made me happy, especially since my birthday is around Christmas time and everyone just seems happier than usual. 
With the passing of time, my birthday just became "another day" and presents and cake stopped being at the top of my list; it's not that I didn't care but for some reason birthdays just weren't that exciting anymore.
Then more time passed and I realized that birthdays ARE a big deal because they're the ONLY day of the year where you're just a little more special than the rest, it's the day where your loved ones take an extra minute to think of you, a time for everyone to remind you just how much you mean to them and a day to cherish and appreciate all that extra love that everyone throws your way. 
Birthdays are also the best time to count blessings and to reminisce, a time to set new goals and renew hope for a new personal year... I really LOVE my birthday nos, more than I did when I was a little girl but also in a completely differently way....my birthday is always special...
Yesterday was no different! As I turned a year older (yay 36!), I celebrated with my loved ones and soaked in all the love they gave me, enjoyed their company and thanked God for another blessed year in this wonderful life!
Thanks to everyone in my life that makes it special, thanks for all the birthday wishes via calls, text messages, FB posts, IG comments.. I loved it all and I love you all!
Here's to many more birthdays in great company, birthdays where presents and cake still matter but not nearly as much as a warm hug or a sweet message!