Joshua 24:15

...choose you this day whom ye will serve...but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD." Joshua 24:15

Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Reflection

2011 brought us many blessings. Among them, the birth of our son, Juan Andres! He is truly a beautiful, happy little soul. We are thankful for his safe arrival. He is the perfect addition to our crew.

We started the year off in a new church and have made several friends who have truly been a blessing and an encouragent to our family in many ways that they will probably never know. I am thankful for these people because I know, without a doubt, that God placed them in my life with the intent to be a light. It's no coincidence that our church theme this year was "Let Your Light Shine." I have been on a spiritual roller coaster this past year...trying to discern between right and wrong and untangle a web of spiritual oppression that I had been living. I know that Christ is much more, and much bigger than the picture that had once been painted. I know this because I have experienced it first hand. Sometimes, all He wants is to hear our cry. I have learned that it is in our lowest moments that Jesus can truly carry us and teach us!

We were blessed many times over financially. When I look back I realize that there is no way we should have made it sometimes. Yet, the scriptures clearly tell us that our Father owns the cattle on a thousand hills...and He provided EVERY TIME!

Despite many sicknesses that hit us hard this year, we are ending the year in good health. I always count my blessings extra hard in this area because I know it could be a lot worse. I am thankful that God has protected our children from serious health issues.

I've learned a lot of things about myself this year. The most important thing is that I am not alone. Even when my husband is away, I miss my family, illness plagues my family or a "friend" turns out to be yet another foe...Christ is unchanging. Even when loved ones turn their back on me, friends I once believed were genuine, giants I looked up to squash me...Christ is unchanging. When my heart hurts because my children are bullied or because I can't answer the real questions they have for me about faith because...well...I just don't know enough to have all the answers...Christ is unchanging and He has never left my side.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Babies' Room...

According to Ivana she is still the baby because she is the baby girl... can't argue with that!

Ivana's comforter - before.
  
After.



The pillowcase - from a tutorial off of The Cottage Home.
http://thecottagehome.blogspot.com/2010/05/sleepover-pillowcase-tutorial.html

I love the detail on this...
  


Telling her I had a surprise for her...

Yes, those are my PJs - it was bed time. =)
 
She's loving it!
 
She was so excited, but embarassed to smile/laugh.
Love it!


Woohoo! New bedding!

A Sew-Sew Kind of Summer

I love, love, love to sew. The problem? I'm not very good at it - haha!

I can do some very basic straight-line stitching. I know my way around my sewing machine. This past fall I even taught myself to sew sleeves. And thanks to YouTube I learned how to make an awesome pleat! Someone once told me that the hardest part about sewing is reading a pattern. Boy, were they right!!!! Thanks to a very nice lady from our church I learned how to read a pattern and can do an ok job. I usually call her to ask her questions though. =) I recently discovered "tutorials." Basically, people blog about their projects and show you step by step how to do it - and they include PICTURES!!!! So, of course, I'm hooked.

I spent the summer altering clothes for the girls (still have a little bit more of that to do) and a little project for my little Ivana. Since her and the baby will be sharing a room we went with a theme that was "neutral." Water. More specifically, surf. =) Seeing as we just can't seem to get California out of our systems we went with a Southern California Beach/Surf theme. Ivana is still in her toddler bed and probably will be for another year. I was really dreading the thought of buying her a comforter to match the baby's set. A friend of mine suggested I make a comforter cover for her existing comforter. A great idea! Saved me lots of money!!!

Above is my project and a couple of pictures of the nursery. I'll post more when we are completely finished with it.

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...

On June 3rd we took the girls to a Dodgers vs Reds game at the Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. (My second favorite ballpark!) As an added bonus we stayed at the Marriott over night. We played in the pool all afternoon, then headed to the ballpark early so they could watch batting practice and try for some autographs. They had their baseballs autographed by Juan Castro, #3 - our new favorite Dodger. =)

I think he was recently traded. Haha

Of course, we had to have the traditional hot dogs and peanuts! We had a great time and the girls really loved it!!! Unfortunately, the Dodgers lost...the good news is that they won the following two games and ended up winning the series. WOOT! It was even fireworks night so we enjoyed a very long and wonderful show! Then, back to the hotel for a late night of pizza and tv. It was a great way to kick off our summer!

Ready for the pool!

The highlight of staying at a hotel!

Even the little one is all ready to swim...

The gear...

She can't contain herself she was soooo excited!

Ta-da!

Excited about her first Dodger game!


Ivana was worn out... Sofia, on the other hand, still had a lot left in her!
Shocking! I know!
For those of you who don't know her well - she's like the energizer bunny...

Summer at Home

This summer was intentionally a low profile summer. With baby coming at the end of summer (right in time for the first day of school) I thought it would be a great idea to plan to stay close to home, in the air conditioner, under a ceiling fan... set to high. As it turns out - it has been one of the hottest and most humid summers I can remember since moving to Ohio. I haven't complained because we had the worse winter ever. I was sick almost the entire time and had a hard time bouncing back. So the heat is welcomed - the humidity needs to make its way to Florida and stay there... jussayin'

This pregnancy has been very different from my others. I seriously think little man is digging into my bone marrow in search of anything he can take from me. Ok, ok so maybe it's not THAT bad, but it sure has felt like it. I'm glad we decided to stay close to home this year because I don't think I could have gone very far. =)

The following posts (which will actually post ABOVE this one lol) are a glimpse of our summer. Enjoy! (They will be coming little by little but I am working on it!)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You Know You're In your 3rd Trimester When...

Last night I was reading a blog - "You know You're In Your Third Trimester When..." I wanted to add something to the list, especially since the comments were entered into a give away. Alas, I couldn't come up with anything since all the good ones were taken...probably because I'm in my 3rd trimester and 'thinking straight' doesn't come easy these days.

BUT TODAY!!! Today I have some things to add:

1) ...you try to wash your hair with shower gel
2) ...you try to lather with facial soap
3) ...getting off the couch takes mental preparation and a "YOU CAN DO IT" attitude
4) ...you bump into your husband and children and you're still about a foot away from them
5) ...your baby (the one in your belly) and toddler bump heads or was that his bottom???
6) ...you can actually feel limbs, heels and elbows digging into your vital organs
7) ...your belly moves in a wave-like motion and you're the only who cares because by now everyone else has already seen it several times and it's just not as exciting as the first time. hmph!

And then there's my my favorite that happened this morning while preparing breakfast...
8) ...you forget to add the blueberries to the blueberry muffin mix.

My family may or may not be all in one piece by the middle of August!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Camp Cousins ~ Summer 2011

In June we had our family come for a week long visit. My brother wasn't able to make it due to work, but my {very brave} sister-in-law and the kiddos came to visit! She hitched a ride cross-country with her sister and her family in an RV then, rode the bus from Minneapolis to Indiana where I picked them up - that's the very brave part.

After a couple of quick pit stops in Indy ;) {one was to the Speedway} we headed home. The kids never skipped a beat! They picked right up where they left off this past Christmas! We had a very exciting week with many trips like The Air Force Museum - with our own private tour guide... my hubby, who I didn't realize has a vast array of Air Force information stored in his brain, not to mention all kinds of other historical facts. It made for an exciting trip for the kids - especially for the boys who had LOTS of great questions! We visited Carrolin Park in Dayton which gave them a good idea of our local history and many picture opportunities; which, the children enjoyed HA - note the sarcasm. And, of course, the best part, was going through the Wright Brothers' museum and seeing the Wright Flier. We enjoyed the sprayground at one of our local parks and the big wooden playground at another park. They had a "Movie Party" and we took them out for ice cream one night.


We did a lot of driving around getting from place to place so I cashed in on the opportunity to show off some of the quaint and beautiful neighborhoods in our area. We drove through Oakwood and Sugarcreek, which my sister-in-law loved! She was also very enamored with all the GREEN!!! Did I mention they live in the high desert in California?? =D And for those of you who are wondering... YES this was all part of my great plan! I am planting seeds in their hearts so that they will one day move out here!!! mwuahahahahaha!

One of the highlights of their stay was taking them to church with us. It is always a blessing for our family to meet our church family. I think they appreciate getting to know the people who surround us on a weekly basis. We all enjoyed being in church together and there was great conversation and fellowship that I'm SURE was pleasing to the Lord.


A couple of weeks have passed since the visit and we are all glad they came, but miss them a lot. I can't wait for the time when we won't have to say good-bye anymore. Some day the Lord will grant us the desire of our hearts.


Monday, May 16, 2011

A Dozen Years Later...

and you still give me butterflies.
 Hard to believe that twelve years have passed like sands through an hour glass (not meaning to be cliche). At times, when I look back, it seems like such a loooooong time ago. I think of all we have accomplished - individually and together, the children we have and our 4th on his way, the struggles we have had, the challenges we have faced.

I think of all the happy moments, the WONDERFUL memories of our first years together. We had so much fun making that little house on base our own. I remember our first dog and taking him for walks. I think of all the BEAUTIFUL memories we have of our children. Watching them grow up faster than we can keep shoes on their feet and clothes on their backs. I remember buying our first home, car shopping and most of all the spiritual growth we have both experienced. We have grown so much since those first days at Lancaster Baptist. I am AMAZED that God knew we had to be in that church with those wonderful people to give us the foundation we needed as young Christians and as a young couple. We have stood our ground in the way of standards and doctrine and I DO believe that God is pleased with us.

When I think of all that we have lived in twelve years I realize that the years are starting to mesh together. It really has been a long time, but it has passed so quickly. If we blink we may miss the next twelve years.

I remember the night you said to me that your plans had not changed - you were still joining the Air Force. And I remember committing to you that I would go wherever you go! Even though we feel "stuck" in Ohio - I am still willing to go - as long as you're there - I'm right behind beside you! Happy anniversary (a day late but that's ok) ;) I love you - to the moon and back a gazillion times!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We Call Her... "THE WALL, too"

because my little brother is the original "The Wall."

We have always known that Sofia is our most active of our three little girls. We have also known that she needs activity to vent and provide her a more balanced life (in general). So we enrolled the girls in soccer ( a family favorite of course!) this year. Izabella has done very well - but she can live without it. =) Sofia on the other hand has challenged herself from day one! She is determined to be the best she can out on the field! During one of the first few games of the fall season she was put in as goalie. She had NEVER played this position EVER and had never even practiced. They scored something like 6-9 goals on her!!! ='( Needless to say I was VERY vocal with the coach --- good thing the coach is my husband! =D SOOOOO they practiced... a lot! NOW she is the best goalie on the team! She was determined after that game that she would never let that happen again. I thought, for sure, that she would be terrified to play that position again. But, she said, "Mommy, I want to try it again. And this time they're not gonna score!" She is an amazing little girl - and goalie!!! Nothing gets past her (ok ok maybe one or two - but she's learning)! She's not afraid of those little girls running right toward her OR the ball! She lands on top of that ball no matter whose foot is flying in her direction! =) She makes me proud!!! THAT'S MY GIRL!!!

Can you see the ball? Of course NOT she's on it!!!!


She throws with all her might! =)

Here it comes!! No sweat! She got it!!
Actually, she threw herself on it and made an AWESOME block!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

...in sickness and in health

I think this is about the 5th time since December that I have had some kind of chest/throat/sinus infection. That would account for my entire pregnancy! And, of course, it's not just a little infection - it's a zap your last ounce of energy kind of infection.

This last one has finally done me in. Maybe it's just that I have lost focus of all the positive things, or maybe they are just blurred behind the constant coughing, pain (in all kinds of random places) and lack of energy. Literally, I am having trouble typing this entry because I can't hold my arms in this position for too long - not painful, just exhausting (ACHOO - did I mention the sneezing!?) And it's not even the type of infection that hits you one day, throws you down the next and then you spend the next day to day and a half recovering. OH NO it's the sore and achy one day. More sore and achy the next. Fever the day after. More sore and achy. Coughing starts. Sneezing starts. Lack of focus. Fever. Zero energy. And on and on it draaaaggggsssss. I'm on day FOUR and there are no signs of recovery yet.

SO. Last night I lost it. I felt horrible - and that was after an entire day of sleeping, resting and only getting up to cook a meal or two for the family. When I woke up at 9:30 PM I decided I would shower before going to bed (yes you read that correctly). On my way out of the bathroom I started feeling really hot. I thought maybe it was the flannel jammies. And in about 20 minutes time I unraveled. Everything negative or "bad" that we have encountered in the last 9-12 months overwhelmed me. I was in tears and literally sobbing uncontrollably. I was in pain - my head, my face, my ribs (from all the coughing) - EVERYTHING HURT, even my heart. So my husband - probably not sure what in the world had happened to his wife - steps into caretaker mode. He set up the vaporizer, took my temp, got me a cold, wet rag for my forehead since apparently I had a fever, and laid close to me and talked to me to get me to relax and finally fall asleep. This morning I slept like a rock until he came up to tell me they were leaving for church. He had gotten everyone up, dressed and fed! I'm thankful for a man who sticks to his wedding vows. I don't think I tell him that enough!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Lullaby, and good night...

...go to sleep  little babies.

 
What a sweet picture of two sisters who love each other sooooo much they can't stand to be a part - even at bedtime! This would warm any mother's heart... don't you think???

NOT!!!

This was them pretending to be sound asleep so that I would walk out of the room and leave them in there ALONE! Their plan? As soon as I was away from the room they could get up and play or stay up all night talking and giggling. Nevermind that this picture was taken NOT EVEN A MINUTE after they had spoken to their daddy on the phone. They must think I just fell off the tamale truck!

And of course the little one had to join in. Monkey see, monkey do! ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Evidence

I had trouble posting this picture with the previous blog entry... but here it is. What you are viewing is a shot from the bottom looking up. If you can imagine - it's as if you are changing a diaper.

 

Oh boy!

It's a boy!!
I had an ultrasound on April 1st (I KNOW! I KNOW! April Fool's Day!). =) The technician was very fast and very good at what she does!! I was afraid that we wouldn't even be able to tell because she seemed in such a rush. She asked if we wanted to know the sex of the baby and we said YES! LOL She said... and you have two girls? I said, "No, three." She looked over the exam table and said, "Oh, I didn't see the little one. Well this one better be a boy then! OH! It is!" Juan and I: "IT IS??" She said, "Oh yea! See that little spot right there... that's the tip." =( Why do they always ask me that??? SEE THAT? NO!!!! I'm a horrible mother who can never make anything out on those things!!! Ugh! So, of course, I said, "Oh yea, I see it." Lies!! Then she moved toward the bottom of my belly to get a glimpse from the bottom up and said, "OH YEA that's a boy!" Again - I'm looking at it thinking Lady, you better know what you're talking about it cause all I see is black and white blobs. So she showed me the hips and the legs, then the tall tale! I was happy that at least I knew what I was looking at. Of course, Juan made sense of it all right away. =/

But, to be completely honest, I had only made out "part of it." I was happy with that much because at least I knew that I had never seen that in the girls' ultrasounds AND I knew that Juan and, especially, the tech had been very sure of what they saw. UNTIL last week. I took the ultrasound pictures to a Bible Study I have with some friends to show off MY SON! Before they arrived I studied the picture again when it hit me!!!! And I was able to see the whole thing and make sense of it! SOOOOO... It's a boy!!!



Saturday, March 19, 2011

'Fridge' at last...

After a pretty stressful day of looking around for a new refrigerator... maybe I should back track a little...

The repairman came Friday morning. Turns out the part we needed for the fridge was a very expensive part. By the time you add in labor and all the other fun stuff we would have been close to the cost of a new refrigerator.- half the cost of the one we really wanted. SO...

After a pretty stressful day of looking around for a new refrigerator and A LOT of praying (maybe even begging for guidance) we found a refrigerator that was within our budget and fit our family's needs. It is not, by any means, what I wanted - but I realize now that it's not about what I WANT, but it's ALL about what God has for us. So here's the new addition to our family... errr... kitchen...


And true to my Mexican roots - the first thing to find its way in to the new fridge... Jalapenos. =)

Friday, March 18, 2011

Life Happens

This week life happened!! All winter we have been battling flu, colds, sinus infections, strep throat and who knows what else that we never could quite figure out. This week the mother load hit! (Yes, I know - normally, one would hit the mother load. But, trust me - IT HIT US!) This week we battled the stomach flu!! Ugh! Some of us got it worse than others and I'm very thankful it didn't hit me hard. I've had it all week, but yesterday was the worse of it. The stomach flu and pregnancies are not a good combination. When I started feeling well enough to eat I felt like I had starved myself for two days!! Two of the girls didn't get it at all and I'm praying that they won't. With Juan heading out of town next week I really don't want us to get sick. Well - that all started Monday.

Saturday our refrigerator stopped working. Thankfully, we have a freezer in the garage so anything that was in our freezer was salvaged. Condiments and some deli stuff was put in our ice chest. Due to some unforeseen car repair expenses, the usual "first of the month payments" and many health and medicine expenses (since December!!!) we couldn't get our fridge fixed this week. The repairman is FINALLY coming today. My sweet husband - since he was feeling better yesterday - spent most of his day cleaning out the fridge. He took out all the drawers and shelves and, umm... left them on the kitchen table. I'm not sure why he did this, but I think he was trying to air out the fridge. So, this morning we came downstairs to the lovely smell of, well --- refrigerator. So I've spent the morning opening windows (both for the smell and to get the sick germs out), lighting candles, spraying with febreeze and putting the fridge back together. I really think we're at the end of our trials, I have hope that God has allowed these little things to teach us a lesson - one that is good and will make us more faithful in our daily walk with Him. I have definitely had a closer walk with Him this week than I have in the last month.

I feel like we're at the end of the roller coaster ride. Surely - we're at the end of the ride, right?

A friend gave me this verse this week and I have been meditating on it:
Romans 5:3-4 "And not only so,but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Playing at the beach...

Cousins make great friends!
A couple of years ago during a trip back home (Southern California) we took a much needed family portrait. It had been 10 years since our last portrait (at my wedding) and were in need of one badly. We had decided to go out to the beach since it's everyones favorite place to be!! My parents and I drove up and down the coast between Sunset Blvd. and somewhere in Malibu scouting a place. We found a cozy state beach in Malibu, just past Zuma Beach. My favorite memories of the beach growing up are the ones of the Pacific on one side and the canyons on the other. So, Nicholaus State Beach in Malibu it was. We had a very small window of time for our portraits and it was a very chilly day - of course... it was sunset on the Pacific! But we had fun and got some really nice pictures. Afterward, we stopped at McDonald's for dinner to treat the kids for being such troopers!! We also said our good-byes since we were leaving early the next day. =( The above picture was taken on something of a whim. My sister-in-law and I had decided we wanted a picture of the kids all walking on the beach. The kids thought that was a little - well - not so fun. So we got little cooperation. Then someone said, "We're gonna have a race!" We drew a 'starting line' on the sand and off they went! That was my favorite part of the entire session. They loved it!! All that open space to run - nothing like wet sand between your toes. This is my favorite picture of all time!


Building castles in the sand...
This picture says it all. They say "a picture is worth a thousand words." I couldn't agree more! I had always envisioned raising my kids next to my brothers' kids. This is exactly what I had in mind. I have high hopes and aspirations for all these kids. They have so many more opportunities than we ever imagined. For now - I am UBERhappy to see them building castles in the sand, running on the shore, hearing the sounds of their voices and the laughter that makes us all smile and giggle ourselves. Some day they'll be building their dreams and living out whatever it is that God has for them - if all goes as planned - they will remain a part of each other's lives.


Mi Familia

I am blessed to have the most amazing family in the world!
(I know - I know - everyone says that!)

My parents... I have the best parents a girl can ask for. I always tell people that since I'm the only girl I was spoiled - but NOT spoiled rotten. I appreciate everything my parents have ever done for me. They gave me a healthy start in life and I am thankful for the high moral standards they instilled in all us kids growing up.

My brothers... are just plain AWESOME! I looked up to my older brother ALL my life. We fought - often, but I wouldn't have traded him in for any other brother! ;) All my life he was just "cool". What girl doesn't want a cool brother?!?! But he's more than just cool to hang out with - he's kind and tender-hearted. My brother teaches me to be gentle, loving and kind to others - all the time! My little brother is an amazingly smart and talented person. Sometimes, I wonder if he realizes his true potential. He has an admirable appreciation for literature and the arts. He is also my movie go-to-guy. I think the boy has seen every movie made. He's fun to pick on - A LOT, and he absolutely LOVES my cooking!! I love this kid! He's compassionate and pays attention to detail... just ask Ivana, who received a tiger webkins at Christmas from him because she became infatuated with his white tigers (they're not real).

My sister-in-law... God bless her! She has to put up with our crazy family - and I think she may even like us. ;) She is, by far, the sweetest, most selfless, giving person I know! She is the peace maker in our family and I think she fits like a glove (she has a crazy side, too). Most importantly she gave me 3 handsome nephews and a beautiful niece. Those kids are some of the funniest, most loving, easy-going little people ever. I love them - without a doubt - I love them! And I miss them terribly.

My little family! We are blessed with three beautiful little girls (and our 4th little one is on the way). They are all unique and fill their roles to a T.

Izabella is our oldest - 8 years old. She will be celebrating the last of the single digit birthdays TOO SOON! She is the perfect older sister - a mother hen, sometimes a little bossy, but ALWAYS looks out for her little sisters. She is also a good helper to mommy. She does VERY WELL in school and has maintained on the A Honor Roll all year. This is her first year in school, as we homeschooled for three years. She had a tough time transitioning from being with mommy all day to being in school. But she is making friends and adjusting well.

Sofia is our middle child and has ALL the middle child syndromes... poor kid! But with #4 on the way she won't be the middle child anymore!! She wants to be an author and illustrator when she grows up (she watched 'Miss Potter'). She is our social butterfly. Everywhere she goes she makes friends. It breaks her heart if there is something between her and a friend. When she determines to do something she is the most reliable of our three. You can always count on her doing the job right! She had NO problems adjusting to school and made the B Honor Roll, but may get bumped up to the A Honor Roll soon!! (We didn't know that she would be required to know cursive writing in FIRST GRADE.)

Ivana is our "baby" and plays the role well. She is a ham!!! By far, she is the most imaginative of the three. She is also very curious, messy and on her own planet some days. She is very shy around people until she gets to know them. She recently went through a stage where she would shove her whole hand in her mouth when she was too embarrassed around someone. She's also peanut size. She fits anywhere, can climb onto anything and always gets the best hiding places when we play hide and seek - too bad she can't stop from giggling and gets found right away!! =)