Sunday, January 31, 2016

Movie review: "Kung Fu Panda 3"

It has been a while since I've written a movie review and not for lack of movie attendance but rather lack of time to blog about it. But what better than a well known franchise to come back to my review writing days?
This past Friday we watched "Kung Fu Panda 3", and even though I've never considered this franchise to be GREAT...I think this 3rd installment was!
The movie has a much "lighter" and "upbeat" storyline compared to the previous two; it is also loaded with wonderful messages about life and learning.. my favorite being "If you don't do more than you know, you won't be more than you are!"; it is such a "feel good" movie and the kids really enjoyed it... Oliver included! ;)
The story revolves around Po and his ever important role as the "Dragon Warrior"; he is given a huge responsibility when he is asked to teach his fellow kung fu fighting friends.  In the process, he is reunited with his real father who takes him up to visit a beautiful panda village.
Po's challenges get even more difficult when evil Kai returns from the spirit realm and wants to steal all the pandas' chi (energy force) to be the most powerful being in the mortal realm.  Po is faced with having to create his own panda army to help him defeat the evil Kai.  He finds himself creating the strongest and most powerful army out of the most unlikely characters and that's where the message of the movie gets really good... "it's not about teaching people to be someone they're not...it's about teaching them to be their best selves"  I really like how to movie capitalizes on the value of each person and on the skill that each person has; every individual skill can make all the difference... "be the best version of YOU that you can possibly be".
As predicted, Po (and his friends and family) end up being the ultimate winners and come out triumphant and happy.
I really like that the movie is colorful, upbeat, features great music, amazing animation and the same warm and joyful humor that every character owns.  I really enjoyed this one and give it 4 out of 4 stars.  Great for all families!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Oliver: 4 months

Our baby boy is 4 months today! To say that time is flying is an understatement, I can't believe how fast everything is having this time around!
Oliver is such a HIGH MAINTENANCE baby.. as cute and adorable as he is, he is also extremely demanding and exhausting!
At 4 months he STILL doesn't sleep longer than 4 hours at at time and wants to eat every 2 hours during the day. He cries inconsolably when he's not being held and I always joke around and say that he has 3 modes: Sleeping, Crying and Eating.  I never imagined having such a needy baby, let alone succumbing to his every need and whimper; there are nights I wish God had given me a different baby and then I feel awful for feeling that way and I just keep on loving the one I got, which is perfect in every way...even when he drives me insane!
Oliver currently weights 16lbs 13oz and is 26 1/4 in long.. he grew over 3 inches in less than 2 months and the doctor was very impressed about this...what can I say, we make them big! LOL!
When Oliver isn't crying, he is such a pleasant baby...he smiles ALL THE TIME (even when he cries..LOL!) and LOVES attention and company.  He already started to grab stuff and shake toys and can roll from back to tummy and tummy to back...he's quite the active little guy. 
We are still exclusively breastfeeding and going strong..this little guy loves the boob so much and I am in absolute awe about the bonding we have, so unique and wonderful.  I almost feel guilty for not having breastfed my 2 girls exclusively, but that's in the past and all I can do is enjoy this last chance I got!
I won't lie... I'm really hoping Oliver starts some sort of pattern/schedule because I live in zombie mode most times and I know I can't keep this up much longer! 
I won't introduce solids yet so food isn't going to help for a while; we'll just have to wait and see what this little guy has in store for us!
Here's a couple of pics! Happy 4 months, baby boy! :)

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Oliver's Baptism

Our sweet boy was baptized this past Sunday and I just can't get over how much joy that moment brought to us. He looked absolutely angelical with his beautiful outfit and the ceremony was very touching. 
We chose to have 4 godparents; my two good friends Pechy and Maria Isabel, my uncle Daniel and my brother in law Luis were the "chosen" ones for this event and I am so thankful for all of them giving us such honor. I know Oliver is lucky to have such wonderful people in his life for spiritual guidance and overwhelming love. 
Oliver threatened to be the disruptive baby at the start of the ceremony, but somehow he was able to settle down and fell asleep; he slept through the blessings, the water, the oil, the candle..he basically missed his own baptism! 
After the ceremony, we had an intimate family lunch at a local restaurant and ate some delicious baptism cake. 
It was such a beautiful day for our baby! Thank you God for this wonderful blessing.
Here are some pictures. 


Sunday, January 17, 2016

8.5

My "little lady" is 8 and a HALF today!..this also means I've been a mom for that long and that simple fact fills me so much joy...
Olivia is the epitome of a wonderful daughter and one of the biggest blessings we have received as a family. She is smart, sassy, funny, beautiful, caring...and every possible (positive) adjective there is to say.
Olivia LOVES to read, she is my little book worm and really enjoys the Dork Diaries and Wimpy Kids series; I've already lost count of how many books she has made me buy her and I love that about her.
She is an amazing big sister to both Gaby and Oliver and has slowly turned into a little mommy to her little brother. She loves singing, dancing and everything art and has the best personality out of everyone in the family.
She has her own sense of fashion, which is a hippie-like style; loves long skirts, dresses, flower prints, etc.. and I love to see her loving herself the way she does.
She is also a bit of a drama queen and is currently in an awkward "pre-teen" stage (that's right..8 going on 12..or 15!), where she gets involved in silly girl arguments at school, which preoccupy her more than they should...I'm sure (*I hope*) this stage will end soon but it can be very exhausting.. teaching her to "pick her battles" can be so challenging sometimes.
Olivia does great in school and is really loving 3rd grade; she does hate homework (who doesn't?!?) but is an incredibly responsible student with perfect attendance so far! (yay Olivia!)
I'm so proud to be Olivia's mom and pretty much everything she does makes me happy (except for the night time battles!) and I can only hope that she continues to be the sweet person she is and can share her happiness with the world!
Happy *half* birthday Olivia! You're amazing!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

6.5

My little Gaby is halfway through her 6th year of life and I can't help but get emotional when I start thinking of how much (and how fast!) she has grown..
I know it's hard for all mothers to see their kids turn into little people; but I also know it is very rewarding to see them thriving and learning new things every day.
Gaby is incredibly smart and astonishingly mature; she navigates through tough situations with such ease that I'm often appalled (in a good way, if that's even possible) at her reasonings and reactions.  She does so well in school and is well above average in both reading and math. She has recently taken an interest in reading very complex chapter books but math continues to be her strong subject.
She is bossy, stubborn, unpersuadable and completely loving...all at the same time and I simply love the broad range of feelings and emotions that she demonstrates at such young age.
Gaby is the typical free-spirited kind of girl that follows no fashion trends and basically lives life that way she wants, within a child's world and limitations, of course.  Her happiness and sense of humor are contagious and that's why she has so many friends.
She enjoyes playing with Legos, Barbies and Shopkins...oh yeah.. those Shopkins are a HUGE part of her life at the moment and she spends a great part of her day trying to convince me to buy her more of those little things because for some reason she HAS to collect them all!
She is a great little sister to Olivia and an even better big sister to Oliver; I just love to see her interact with her siblings and enjoy her role in this family.
I am so proud to be Gaby's mom and I thank God every day for this little person he entrusted me with; I couldn't ask for a better daughter (better daughters!) and I know that she will continue to bring so much joy to our family and our life....
Happy *half* birthday, Gaby! We love you so much!!! 

Thursday, December 31, 2015

2015: Year in review

As 2015 comes to a close, I will attempt to do a photo dump to document our year and reminisce of the wonderful memories we made. 
This was an amazing year for our family and we can only hope that 2016 is at least half as good as this one. 
Again, I thank God for every blessing we received and pray that we can continue to share our happiness with friends and family. 
So here's 2015 in review.

We kicked off January in Tampa with family; the girls spent some time with their cousin Isabella and Gaby got sick on the first day of the year..quite the start!


At school, the girls celebrated 100 days of school with the usual crafts and fun activities. 


In early February, Iggy lost his beloved grandma Yolanda; it was such a sad time for our family and we are thankful for all the love we received from our friends during this terrible time.


Shortly after losing Yolanda, our family was blessed with the birth of Eduardo Ignacio, born on February 6th to Iggy's cousin Gustavo and his wife Alexandra. He was such a cute baby and came to brighten our family during difficult times.


A few days after the birth of Eduardo Ignacio, we found out we were expecting our 3rd blessing. I was about 10 weeks along by the time we found out and even though we were VERY shocked, we were incredibly happy with the news...


In February, we also celebrated Erika's 8th birthday and had a blast in Orlando with the whole family.


In March, Gaby got her debut as a lector at church. She read the 1st reading during her class' mass and did a wonderful job. I was so proud of my little Gaby and her wonderful reading skills. 

We went strawberry picking for the first time and the girls had so much fun with their little friends.

The long awaited movie Cinderella came out and the girls dressed up as princesses for the premiere. It was so much fun to see all those cute girls in costumes!


At the end of March, Olivia completed her First Reconciliation in preparation for her First Communion. It was a great experience for her and all of her classmates and I was happy to witness such a memorable moment. 

In April we traveled to Europe and visited Barcelona, London and Lisbon; three amazing cities with beautiful scenery and incredible foods, buildings, etc. It was a great family trip and we hope to do it again this year (or next!)


During our trip we met up with my cousin Renato and his wife Anastasia and spent a few great days with them.
London
Lisbon, Portugal
On April 25th, Olivia had her First Communion; she looked so beautiful in her white dress and was so radiant during the whole day.  We were so proud and happy! :)

The girls also had their Flamenco recital in April and they did wonderfully

We were also happy to see some of our good friends that were visiting from Connecticut! That was a blast! :)

In May, our niece Erika had her First Communion and that was also a happy day for our family!

We traveled to Disney with some friends and this would be the last time I visited the parks before the arrival of baby Oliver

At the end of May we spent a few day at Ft Myers Beach with some friends.  We rented a big house and had the time of our lives; so much so that we are planning to make it a yearly tradition!

In June, Gaby completed Kindergarten and had a great graduation ceremony; she looked so cute in her little cap and gown; it was so emotional to see her all "grown up"


The girls finished Kindergarten and 2nd grade and here they are on their last day of school

When school was over, Olivia got braces; it took me a while to get used to her new look, but I think she looks adorable and hopefully her teeth will be perfect after this round of orthodontics.


In June we also got to finally meet Eduardo Ignacio, he was almost 5 months by the time we met him but it was such a wonderful feeling to finally be able to hold him. 


We celebrated Father's Day (Iggy's last as a father of 2!)

I got to see my friend Susan who was visiting from Atlanta and even though we were only able to have one quick lunch, it was great to catch up!

At the end of June, we traveled to Ohio to visit my brother in law and his family. We got to celebrate Isabella's 3rd birthday and the girls had a wonderful time with her. 

I also met up with my friend Jenn and her son Maddox, whom I hadn't seen in years. They live in Ohio about an hour from my brother in law so it was a no brainer! 

We visited the Columbus Zoo during our trip to Ohio

After spending a few days in Ohio, we drove up to Canada to visit our friends the Feggi family (most awesome Canadians we know!). We spent about a week there and got to celebrate the 4th of July Canadian style. We also celebrated Iggy's birthday while in Canada, met up with family and visited the Niagara Falls... it was such a fun summer trip!


In July, we celebrated Gaby's 6th and Olivia's 8th birthdays. No big party this year but they made sure to have a blast with their little friends...

At the end of July, we said good bye to our friend Claudia who moved back to Peru; I was so sad to say good bye and miss her so much every day!

The day Gaby said bye to her friend Lucienne (Claudia's daughter) was probably the saddest day of the summer.  These two little girls LOVE each other and they were heart broken when they had to say good bye. We hope to see them again this year!

In August, the girls completed their annual golf/tennis summer camp; they always have a great time with sports and this year was no exception.


I celebrated my baby shower with friends and family and was so grateful for such a great time with my loved ones. Thank you, mom and sister for such a beautiful shower.

By the end of August it was back to school time! The girls started 1st and 3rd grade and were so happy to be back with their friends and starting a new year. 

By the end of August I was feeling incredibly sick and was experiencing the worst sciatica pain in the world; I spent a lot of days and nights cuddled up with my cat in bed

In September, my friend Jenni came to visit from Venezuela and we were so happy to spend some time with her. 

We also spent a lot o f time with family as we got ready for the arrival of baby Oliver. 

The girls painted my belly just a few weeks before Olivier was born, this is their finished product.

This is my last belly picture, taken just a week before the baby was born

A picture from one of my many visits to Labor & Delivery triage!

Balloon release on Grandma's birthday (this is now a family tradition, which I really love!)

On September 25th, our baby boy arrived; it was the happiest day of the year and I will never forget the joy I felt when I held him for the first time! Here's one of his first pictures...


First stroll around the neighborhood...

In early October my friend Lori and her family came to visit from Louisiana; such a fun time!

High school reunion! I love you girls! 

We visited the pumpkin patch and spent some time with friends.  This is our first picture as a family of 5 since we totally forgot to take one at the hospital!

By the end of October, I had lost almost 30lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight so that's an accomplishment worth documenting! ;)


Oliver turned a month on October 25th! ;)

All Saints day at school

At the end of October, we met up with friends in Orlando.  I hadn't seen my friend Kim and her kids in over 4 years so it was great to see them again even if it was just for one night!


Oliver's First Halloween! The cutest Minion ever!


I took the girls to the Taylor Swift concert in Tampa.. their first ever! They LOVED it!

Oliver met some of his cousins while we were in Tampa...

On November 1st it was Oliver's first time at Disney; such a fun time! He loved all the colors, music and characters and he met Mickey for the first time but he was more interested in breastfeeding than we was on meeting the mouse! oh well!


We celebrated my sister's bridal shower in early November...

On November 8th, I cut off 12 inches of hair and donated to Pantene Beautiful Lengths.. one item off my bucket list! :)


On November 18th, Iggy and I celebrated 10 years of marriage..what a happy day!


Gaby's Thanksgiving luncheon at school..

Oliver turned 2 months on November 25th...

...and he celebrated his first Thanksgiving!

We bought our Christmas tree!

Our first Christmas as a family of 5! :)

Oliver turned 3 months on Christmas day...

..and the month of December has been all about family.  We are lucky to have some family visiting so our days have been filled with lots of gatherings and fun stuff. 

And just like that, another year came and went and we made sure to make amazing memories for our collection.  I am so happy the way this year turned out and I can only thank God for such wonderful blessings. Here's to another wonderful year! 
Happy blogging!