Monday, December 31, 2012

End of year reflections....

2012 was a great year.. it brought joy and an abundant amount of happy moments and achievements...it is time to reflect on the year that ends and think about what the new year will bring...
At the personal level, this was the year where I achieved some of my academic goals; I finished my MS degree and for that I feel wealthier and more knowledgeable.. it was indeed a great thing...
This was also the year my kids started to go to a "real" school. Olivia has successfully finished the first third of Kindergarten and Gaby has done a phenomenal job in pre-school... there was some anxiety in the beginning and I'm sure there will be more anxiety towards the end, but we have been able to adjust to the routine and to learn from whatever bump in the road....
Our marriage also had a successful year; we have continued to grow as a couple by loving ourselves more and always working towards improved communication, which comes from increased patience and tolerance with us and everyone around...God has remained the central part in our marriage and that has allowed us to live a more positive life by having a better understanding of the covenant we made with Him and with each other...
I continue to strive to be a better friend, a better daughter, a better mother, a better employee, a better teacher, a better Catholic, a better wife and just a better person overall...
This year I have also learned that life is about giving and that success isn't measured by what we do for ourselves but by what we can do for others... I have learned that love is what makes the world go around and that our happiness is a decision, defined only by our attitude and our approach to any problem that comes our way...
Positivism is the way to live and faith guides our fate...nothing can ever replace the love of family and friends and God is always in control....
So, with that.. I want to wish all my family and friends and fellow bloggers a wonderful new year!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Together at last!!

On Thursday I finally got to meet and hold my niece Isabella, who was born in Venezuela this past June!
It was so great to see her for the first time.. I held her, I squeezed her, I kissed her and I still can't get enough of her!  She's the most adorable thing...
She turned 6 months yesterday; she is such a big and healthy baby.. weighing a whooping 18.5 lbs...
The girls are in love with her and Olivia calls her "the little doll".. it's really cute to see them interact...
Isabella and her parents will be here until Jan 4th, so I'm sure they'll be a lot more posts and photos of her!
We love you, Isa!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Movie review: "Silver Linings Playbook"

I realize that because this film isn't considered "main stream", it is not one that is widely watched; however, I tend to review all of the movies I watch and this is one of those....so here it goes...
"Silver Linings Playbook" is an indie film that tells the story of Pat Solitano (Bradley Cooper), a former high school teacher recently released from a mental institution after an 8-month stint following an "incident" with his ex-wife...
The story develops as he tries to readjust to life and learns how to handle his bipolar disorder, which had gone undiagnosed prior to his admission... As he comes out of the institution, Pat's new motto is to find the "silver lining" in everything that happens to him...
While he's doing that, he meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who's a strange girl with her own set of issues....Pat grows close to Tiffany as he tries to make amends to fix his marriage and his life...
The story takes a turn and he grows close to Tiffany and then they fall in love... very predictable... right?
This movie had its good moments and the acting was phenomenal; however I think it lacked a little detail in regards to Pat's past as well as the incident that initially landed him in the mental institution (they do as some point insert a flashback of the moment Pat found his wife cheating on him with a fellow teacher, however not enough info is given).. I also think the love story was cut short and the chemistry between Pat and Tiffany wasn't all that great...even though they do kiss and look at each other with a romantic intent...
Robert De Niro does a great supporting role playing Pat's OCD father and he adds a little something to the story, but I think the movie sequence was a bit disjointed and all over the place at times...
The story was engaging and the lesson of the movie was very clear: "everything has a SILVER LINING", but I still think the movie lacked something; the climax of the story didn't get quite as high as I expected, so this one gets 3 out of 5 stars in my book... entertaining but not a "must see"...

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Movie review: "This is 40"

I generally enjoy comedies and even understand the dark humor that characterizes Apatow's movies (40 Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Bridesmaids) but "This is 40" was TERRIBLE!! What a waste of time and money....
First off let me say that the previews are very deceiving as they portray a light hearted, funny movie when in reality the movie is a total mess... it is no sequel to "Knocked Up" and definitely not nearly as funny...
It focuses on the totally dysfunctional marriage of Debbie and Pete and their screwed up family values...it is a lame attempt at describing a messed up situation and making it funny...
There's a bunch of scenes of them yelling at each other, their kids yelling at them, their kids yelling at each other and everyone yelling overall.. (yes.. lots of yelling in this movie!)
The movie is filled with distasteful jokes and excessive cursing, which in my opinion is never necessary..I couldn't get past the "F" bomb being dropped every 10 seconds when it didn't even make sense to do so (when does it ever make sense, anyways?)
The sequence of events is also all over the place and there isn't any closure to the movie at all.. The acting is really awkward and there was no chemistry between the characters.. it was a total disaster!  Stay away from this one! Ahhhhh!!!
You know a movie is bad when half of the audience walks out and the other half claps and yells "finally" as soon as the movie is over.. (yes.. it was THAT bad!)...
I give this one 1 out of 5 starts, only because there was some humor (probably about 10 minutes worth) and because the actors are overall good looking.. LOL.. otherwise it would have gotten a 0!

..and this was my THOUSANDTH POST!! Go me!  I can't believe I've written 1000 posts in 4+ years! ;)

Christmas Eve+Christmas Day!

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day are always so much fun...it's such a joyful time and we always find a million ways to make it even more joyful...
This year, of course, wasn't the exception...
First we baked some cookies for Santa, which were super yummy...Olivia had a blast making these cookies and eating them too..

At night the girls got all dolled up to celebrate Christmas Eve... We went to friends' house and ate some delicious Venezuelan Christmas food.. we also had a Secret Santa exchange and everyone had a lot of fun...Olivia wore heels for the first time and she looked like a real diva.. it was quite entertaining...


After dinner we came home and put out the cookies and milk for Santa.. Olivia wrote him a note and off to bed she was.. she was so excited!!


...of course Santa wrote her a note too and all the cookies were gone within seconds...


The morning was such as exciting.. the girls opened their gifts and were overjoyed with Santa's generosity.. it's quite awesome to see them smile so much... Santa was proud for sure!


...later we went to church and just enjoyed each other's company.. it was a very merry Christmas....

MERRY CHRISTMAS fellow bloggers.. I hope your day was as good as ours! ;)

Monday, December 24, 2012

With all my heart...for my sister Erika!

My sister Erika- 1986
My sister Erika died 14 years ago...she was 20 years old and full of life and love...she was the sweetest and purest being I've ever met and she will always be alive in my heart...
Erika had mental retardation; she was seemingly "normal" when she was born, but my mom later noticed seizures and other issues stemming from untreated hypoglycemia at the time of birth... Even though we always wondered what would have been of her life if she had indeed been treated in time, I am sure that God had a plan for her and that's why He made her the way she was...
Erika had a very happy life.. within her limitations she always knew how to make it work, always with a smile on her face, spreading her love and joy to everyone around her..she was truly an angel that touched our lives in more ways than one... We were always very close when growing up and she had an overabundance of love around her... Every family member, every friend, every person that ever met her just loved her and admired her for being who she was... She was gracious, loving, pure, angelic and every positive adjective that exists in the dictionary... Erika was unique and truly a gift from above... God let us have her and enjoy her for 20 years... I wish it would have been more..but I'm sure she's in a much better place now... along with the angels where she belongs...
The day she died (December 23rd, 1998), my whole world was shattered... a piece of my heart was ripped apart as I felt the deepest and most terrible pain I have ever experienced... I never thought the pain would end..but today, 14 years later, even though I'm not over it (I probably never will be), I have been able to turn that pain into the energy I need to keep her memory alive... Not a day goes by that I don't think of her...everything reminds of her...there's always a little thing every day that makes me think of her sweet smile and happy self... she is truly unforgettable....
Now I realize that we were blessed to have had Erika in our lives and her presence didn't go unnoticed...she wrote our story...she made our family...she taught us pure love and innocence and we will never forget her....
I love you, Erika... you're my angel sister and I thank God for you...for you life...for your love and for your endless memory!  I will forever miss you and make sure you're always a part of me!
Please know that I feel your presence... I feel your love...and I know that you're always by my side!

Playing "catch up"...

It feels like I haven't blogged in forever, so this post is definitely loaded with all the good stuff and super eventful days we've had...
There was my work's Holiday party, which I attended with my hubby.. I must say the party was lame but it's always fun to spend time with my love and my good friends...


...then there was Martyna's "Sushi Party", which was very entertaining despite the fact that I despise sushi...it was fun, however, to see Kevin (one of Martyna's friends) prepare loads of sushi from scratch...


...the girls of course, have been having so much fun getting ready for Christmas and enjoying all the yummy foods and cute treats this season brings...


I took the girls to their yearly dentist appointment and they did great.. We're currently exploring the possibility of putting a "reminder appliance" on the roof of Olivia's mouth to end the thumb sucking habit once and for all.. that's one of the new things to come in 2013...we'll see how that goes considering Olivia freaked out just hearing about it.. ahhhh..fun times!


On Dec 19th the girls had their Christmas party at school.. Gaby's class performed "Frosty the Snowman" and I must say that seeing 18 preschoolers sing and dance  this Christmas classic is up there with the cutest stuff I've ever seen.. way too adorable!


...then there was Olivia's show.. The Kindergarten class sang Christmas songs and did a little play about the Nativity.. it was great and Olivia was so proud of herself...


...this is one of my cute Catechism students with a ginger bread house he made..he's adorable so I had to post his picture! ;)


On Dec 22nd, I celebrated my 31st birthday.. I had a wonderful day, filled with all the joy and laughter I could ask for..
This is a picture of my birthday cake, which is probably the ugliest cake I've ever had.. BUT it was delicious so the looks weren't that important!


On the same day, we attended Stephanie's baptism.. we ate paella and enjoyed some time with our good friends... It was a great way to celebrate my birthday..and the weather was amazing, which made that day that much better!


I also took the girls to the new "American Girl" store, which recently opened in Miami...I will say that as adorable as those dolls are, I cannot bring myself to spend that much money on a silly doll.. I mean, how many kids are starving in this world??  Why does a doll cost $105 and why do people buy it?  I'm not sure.. I just don't get it.. Thankfully the girls aren't into dolls so I don't have that kind of pressure...(I will say that if you have bought an American Girl doll, I respect your choice...it's just not something I would do...but I'm sure little girls love them)...the store WAS adorable though, but it was more like a museum experience for us... a well worth one!


We enjoyed some family time and walked around "The Falls"...


..at night I celebrated some more with the rest of the family...it was indeed a memorable birthday!


....and to end this post.. this is a picture of Olivia...clearly ready for Christmas.. These kids are such a joy!!


...and last but not least.. a picture of the girls with their uncle Luis, who visited us for a couple of days... it was great having him around....


I hope everyone enjoys their Christmas.. and that we all remember the real meaning of this wonderful holiday!
Merry Christmas!!!

...tragedy strikes....

I took a little bit of a break from blogging (10+ days)....
After what happened last week in Newtown, CT I honestly couldn't find the inspiration to write or post anything positive...all I could think about were the little kids that were killed by this devil!
I'm still in shock with what happened, as I am sure we all are...
My prayers have been and will continue to be with all the families affected by this tragedy.  I pray that God gives us the courage to understand this evil thing and that we get our sense of tranquility and safety back!
I mourn the losses and I will never forget!
This post is dedicated to all the innocent lives that were lost on that dreaded Dec. 14th!
I'll play "catch up" on my next post!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Happy Birthday, dad!

Have I mentioned how much I love December and the holiday season???.. LOL...
Well.. to add to the Christmas fun, my family also has several birthdays in December (including my own!)...
Today we celebrated my dad's 61st birthday and he was so happy to "make it another year" like he usually says...
We celebrated by eating typical Venezuelan food and eating a delicious fudge cake...it was great!
My dad blew his pink candle and made a wish... and all is right in our world!...My dad is pretty amazing so it's such a blessing to have him in our lives...
Happy birthday, daddy! Many more to come!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Melissa!

Happy Birthday, Melissa!
Today, our dear Meli turns 5 years old.. and we celebrated with a small get together at her house..
Melissa is the daughter of one of my best friends and she happens to be one of Olivia's best friends... 
It's great to see all these kids grow up and share the happy moments with my friends...
Here are a couple of pics...

Weekend in review...

This was a busy weekend for sure.. no time to blog at all..and definitely no time to rest or relax..but I guess that's expected during the holiday months...
Friday we went to Sabrina's 3rd birthday party.. it was so much fun and the cake and desserts were amazing!!! The kids had a blast, of course...


Gaby and Sabrina..they're super buddies!


On Saturday, my beautiful sister turned 29 and we celebrated at Macaroni Grill.. she was glowing and definitely ready to enjoy the last of her 20's..Happy Birthday, sis.. I know you had an awesome day!


We also attend the Rojas kids birthday party.. Giuliana turned 8 and Adrian turned 4...they had a great party with bounce houses, games and lots of food.. Fun as usual...


..the rest of the weekend was filled with Christmas fun..the girls are SO ready for Santa to drop by.. they've never been this excited before!


..we also had the opportunity to meet up with our cousin Andres and his wife Alejandra, who were visiting from Venezuela.. it's always great to see family....


...and it all went downhill when my poor Gaby was sick.. She currently has bronchitis and is taking A LOT of meds.. Hopefully she'll feel better soon...she has missed 2 days of school already so hopefully she'll be back to normal in no time!


Happy Blogging! I hope everyone is having an amazing December!