23 May 2012

Colorful Supermarket

As one of our field trips, we went to a local supermarket, that kind of specializes in fancy and organic food, almost like a delicatessen market. They say it's the 'freshest and finest' in town, and they take pride in preparing and cooking most of their stuff on location. Which means, their bakery runs 24/7 - something I didn't know. They run a restaurant as well, with foods that is cooked right there. The fish is being flown in, and so really fresh, and expensive accordingly.

The kids were split into two groups, so navigating through a supermarket would be easier. Our guide was very nice, used a very child-friendly language, and made the tour very interactive. So I think, the kids enjoyed and learned at the same time. 
We went through all the departments, got to taste quite a number of different foods, like apples and oranges, cheese, bread, and so on. It was even interesting for the adults.
There is not much more to say, so I am going to let my picture speak for themselves.


Apparently, they have close to a thousand cheeses in the store - wow!

A local artist sculpted this out of a real cheese.


21 May 2012

Native American Indian Week

Before our school year started, I had all these plans. But then a pregnancy happened and out went my plans. I made up a curriculum week by week. If there was a busy week, well, we got a little behind with school. And caught back up during a time when things were less exciting.

So after our Knights Week, I thought an Indian Week would be nice. After all, Coqui is a boy and he needs to know about those Indians. Or maybe, it is because we Europeans are so fascinated by them, and I had way too much fun preparing for this week!!! I don't know, but I think we all liked it.

So we made our first lapbook. If you don't know what that is, it's a book created by the child with everything collected and taught about that specific theme, in our case the Indians, or as they call it here, Native Americans. Here is a link to a 'How Do I Make A Lapbbok' by Charlotte Mason. So we had bought feathers to use for our headband and the lapbook. I printed lots of stuff, pictures and little games off the internet. For example, Coqui had to write a story with only signs.  We learned about the different tribes - I had gotten a few books from the library about tribes like the Comanches, the Sioux, and the Cheyenne. I could tell him that I have personally met people from the Navajo Indians - which was such an event for me (as European)!

Here are the kids cutting and gluing away with their headbands. 

They also each made their own tipi. (I had printed this template off the internet as well.) He created his own totem pole, and decorated it. I did not have him make an Indian vest - but alot of sites suggested that. I figured it would just land in the recycling eventually, and Coqui didn't really want to make it. 

But instead, we also made homemade clay in order to make our own pottery. It was super easy, only three ingredients needed: water, baking soda and corn starch. Mix and cook, let it cool down to room temperature, and mold away.... Oh yes, there was food coloring involved as well, that's why ours has a greenish tint to it. That's what he wanted (and what we had in the house).

Coqui really liked this one. We made two baskets, a plate (in form of a smiley face), a fork and a spoon. He had so much fun.
There was barely a mess, and this stuff washed off very easily from his hands. So I would do this again any time.
It is still drying in the kitchen - it's been four full days and it is still not completely dry. The plate has broken, too, but everything else looks great.

This has been a tough week, but so much fun. And by tough, I mean Coqui's willingness to cooperate, and also the long hours we spend on this book. The book has eight pages, so it was alot of work for both of us to finish. But I am so looking forward to another themed week soon.....

20 May 2012

Beth's Celebrations! Post

Beth wrote a post about all the celebrations that took place lately, our photo contest, the Relay for Life, and our Baby shower. If you would like to read it, please click below: 

C. Beth Blog.: Celebrations!

19 May 2012

Baby shower Celebration

Today, Beth and I were the honor guests of a special celebration, a 'little shower of love'.

It was a shower for her ...and for me ...and for the baby. The ladies keep saying how blessed they are to watch us go through this 'joyous journey' together. So they planned for months to make this event a celebration of this shared adventure. An adventure that has not only blessed Beth and me, and our families, but also the many witnesses around us. Those two ladies did a fantastic job.

The house, where the shower took place, was beautifully decorated, with many little touches - banners and balloons in our favorite colors (green and purple), flowers, and food, even Vegan food. It was a beautiful atmosphere of love and support and joy.

Many of our friends came. Friends that have supported us through tough days, and the joyous days. That had encouraging words for us, cried with us, and laughed with us. Friends that continuously prayed for us. Friends that prayed for us today. I am in awe of the words that people pray over us, over Beth and me, and over the baby. It truly blesses me. And the baby.
We wore our shirts again, the ones from the Relay for Life that Beth's friend designed for us. If you don't want to go read that post, the shirts say: "My Bun. Her Oven." and "Her Bun. My Oven."

This shower was never about the gifts, though we both appreciate them so much - I know I was abundantly blessed by the cards and gifts that I received. The baby will not lack of anything due to my friends. Thank you all so much. The shower was about the celebration of new life, hope, and joy, it was about a journey together that reflected God's love, and about the testimony of turning things around for good. I know I have a big testimony and I will share it in the future.

Also I loved to see the showers of gifts that Beth received. I am happy that we both have friends that are willing to go out of their way to pour love over us, generously. It was a fabulous morning.

I love the joy we have found in this pregnancy. I love that we are celebrating this wonderful miracle of God. I love to see the 'effect' it has on others. And I am totally excited to meet this little one in a few weeks.

As a party favor, we all got bookmarks - because you know, Beth and I are vivid readers. So here are our two book marks, as a ribbon - because this is where the journey started.
And it ended in a heart.
I received God's love, and through Him, I got my family's love, Beth's love, and my friends' love. I LOVE to be on this journey.

Relay For Life 2012

Relay for Life is great.

On the American Cancer Society website, it says this about the relay:
"Relay For Life is a life-changing event that helps communities across the globe celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease."
And really, there is not much more I can add to that.

Last year's post was about my reason for walking and how we spent the night making memories.
This year, it was about that, too, but something had changed. Something was added to MY equation. My outcome was changed. Because this year, I was not alone. My best friend Beth was with me and my unborn baby.

I am a survivor. I am HOPE (as some of the t-shirts say). But I am also a witness to God's love, mercy and grace. I was so blessed to have Beth there, right next to me, because this year, i KNOW that if that stupid cancer would ever come back, I would be prepared (as much as one can be prepared for such a tragedy), and I would NOT be alone.

And I know - I was not alone last time, I had my wonderful husband and my family as support. What I didn't have was a best friend or a tight church family that was close to me and that supported me. And not because they didn't want to, it was because I was not close to them, and I was 'hiding'. Big time. Cancer is funny that way! It can break the strongest person, or it can break the weakest one out of their shells. For me, it was the latter. I broke out, finally. I became more open. I started talking about it. And you know what happened? I got hugs. I got encouraging words. I got prayers every time I went back for an appointment. And I got a best friend, who loves me and holds my hand when a bad day sweeps over me.

I AM NOT ALONE anymore. And that is what made yesterday so special.

The event starts at around 7 pm with the survivors lap - and this year, I did not walk it alone. Beth and Baby came with me, as a sea of purple shirts walked very slowly around the track one time. It was a wonderful moment shared together.
By the way, we had special shirts made for this event, that were designed by a friend of Beth. My t-shirt says: "My Bun. Her Oven." and Beth t-shirt says: "Her Bun. My Oven." Thank you to a very kind lady.

After that, the opening ceremony started, where the survivors sit on benches as the people on stage make their speeches. Last year, I sat alone; this year, we were standing up front together.
After the speeches, the survivors took a picture for the newspapers, and signed a huge banner - that I believe was hung up later - but we didn't get to see that anymore, as we left early. Miss Beth needs her beauty sleep.

Last year, I walked 19 miles throughout that night; this year, I made it a total of 4 laps, that is pretty much one mile. Wow. Talk about a crazy workout! While waiting, we were also busy decorating a cake. Which again, I had to do by myself last year, and just recruited Beth this year to help. Someone donated the cake to our team, and the survivor of that team has to decorate it, and this way, it is put up for the auction, and the winner of that cake will take it home.

We waited for the Luminarias that started at 9pm. They are to remember loved ones that lost the battle, loved ones that are fighting right now, and in honor of all the survivors, that hopefully never again have to fight that specific battle. It is very touching. Our team leader had put up two for me, one in the circle that goes around the entire track, and one in the ribbon that was next to the stage. (If you want to see pictures of them at night, I would kindly refer you to the post from last year.) 

And there is one picture of the ribbon that was a new addition to the ceremony.

It was a night to remember, at least for me. And I am looking forward to doing this again next year. One day, I would love to bring the entire family....

I want to shout out a big thank you to all my friends, new and old, who donated to the team. The money will be used for good. For example, it will be used to buy wigs for those that are going through chemo therapy. It will also provide rides for people who do not have a support team that can take them to the oncologies, hence to their doctor appointments or treatments.And it will do much more than that. THANK YOU.

15 May 2012

A pregnancy update on 33 weeks

It has been some time since my last update on the pregnancy - so what has happened since my last post back in late March? By the way, we are now 33 weeks and 2 days along.

Well, the belly grew some more, and so did the baby. Carrier, Baby and Mami are doing great. Daddies and the other kids are doing fine, too. There is some excitement in the air, especially in our family, as the kids have really gotten the message of another member joining us soon. I am very impressed on how much Peanut gets about this entire process - maybe because she is a girl and naturally seems more drawn to babies in general, or maybe because she feels spiritually connected to this baby because they both enter this world the same way - through two amazing women that selflessly were willing to give this beautiful gift.

The other day, Beth was coming to our house with her son, and Peanut 'corrected' me that Miss Beth is not only bringing her own son but also bringing the baby! Well, yes, she is right! We talk about it constantly, we pray with the kids for the baby, and we are celebrating in many ways. Not a day goes by that this baby is not mentioned. So we are really ready to welcome it into our family!

As of this weekend, the baby was over four pounds heavy, and reached the 17 inch mark (in length). The bones are getting stronger - YES, we can feel that! And it is a m-o-v-e-r! I can feel it, many times, swooshing around the belly, kicking me with hands and feet, showing off it's buttocks, and yes, it doesn't like to be poked too much. It is very active at night, so when I DO get to see Beth in the evening, it is like a party in her belly...... it's really cool to watch and to feel.

Things have been going great. We are truly able to enjoy the pregnancy together and are celebrating the whole process. We made the effort to 'make it work for us' and it has helped me heal SO much. We are taking full advantage of every aspect of this pregnancy - knowing that this is (probably) the last one for both of us. We share the ups and downs, of which there are many ups (and so few downs these days!), we go to the medical appointments together, and we take many pictures, we celebrate the many countdowns and are now on the home stretch. We are looking forward to the shared birth of this precious little one, and to a new 'normal' of our friendship that was forever changed.

I am truly treated as a mother-to-be, and it is awesome to be recognized this way - it's like being pampered without being pregnant. And I am very thankful to all our family and friends who have supported us throughout this process. I am thankful for the many people that have prayed with us, over us, and are still praying for a continuous smooth ride. I have learned alot about myself, about Beth, and about our friends around us. When I was vulnerable, I was greeted with love and understanding, with support and care. It was a learning experience for so many involved and it is awesome to see God work in all of us. It's amazing, rewarding, and God truly deserves all the glory for this.

Holidays can be tricky - at least for me, and only regarding the fact that our family is 'missing' a member. I don't want to dwell in that place, and really, I have been blessed that Christmas was the only holiday that I was not able to be around the baby. We did get to spend Thanksgiving, Easter, and now Mother's day with and around Beth and the baby. So yesterday, I could take a picture with ALL my children.....
It was a happy day, and I felt so blessed by what God has given me.

Happy Mother's Day to all moms and mommies-to-be!

11 May 2012

Update on the potty training

This seems to be a huge issue in our house in the last year or so. Let me summarize where I left off...... I had a girl that refused to use the potty, even though she very well knew how to use it. Also she didn't want to go number two at all (see here!). Well, we all know that it DID come out eventually, but what a fight! Frustrating and painful at the same time.

Well, pretty much after finishing the post and posting it, things changed around here. She wanted to keep wearing her undies, so she stopped peeing in them. Yes, she still has some accidents, but mostly, we are in underwear ALL day, EVERY day! Yippy!!!

For a while, she would ask for a diaper in order to go number two, and that was okay with me. I just wanted to send her the message, that the poopies need to come out, one way or another! And I think she got it......

For the past week, we had even more success! She went number two on the potty for four days in a row! I am so proud of her!!! She was so happy to see how little it hurt and how easy it was to just get it out on the potty instead of having a red butt all day long. She got her reward and was happy all day! She did sit for a little while, and I did have to encourage her to stay on the toilet, but.... eventually, she got the job done.

AND, the story is not over yet - if she does wear a diaper, she holds her pee. She really doesn't want to use it anymore! Yeah. AND she is dry most nights! I can actually finally see an end to this.....

I don't want to jump the gun yet, but maybe, just maybe I have a fully potty trained child on my hands! That would be so awesome, before I have to go right back to diapering around the clock with a newborn! Wow. And I am soooo happy!

10 May 2012

Lifelist Accomplishment #20

Lifelist #20 - "Been in a Rain Forest"

At first, I was not sure what to think of a rainforest. I mean where I come from, there is just none nowhere near my town, region, or actually country! I am not a big fan of rain, so a rainforest doesn't sound that inviting to me. Also, I don't like bugs or little critters, and my image was a crawling floor with birds flying all around.

Reality was not quite like that at all. It was in Puerto Rico in 2010, when we went to El Yunque for a day trip. It was inviting, clean and no bugs at all. Almost disappointing 'normal'.  One of the magazines quoted it as an excellent first encounter because it is a 'very gentle forest'. Yes, it was!
It was a beautiful experience. We saw many, many waterfalls, took a hike down and up a trail, and saw lots of magnificent flowers of all colors, trees that I had never seen before, and a few frogs present along the trail.
I will return and maybe climb one the summits.

09 May 2012


The other day, I was thinking about ALL the things that I am thankful for and that enrich my life so tremendously.  There are moments when I try to wrap my head around it all and I feel like I can't because it is so overwhelming.

Then I asked myself if I am happy? And what makes me so happy? What is happiness anyways?

Now, the world teaches us to look at those material things that are suppose to determine how happy we are. And sometimes, I have to admit, it is hard NOT to compare and see all the things that I don't have. Not driving the newest car, or having the latest phone model.  And hey, I haven't bought a pair of new shoes for myself in almost two years! Wall unit? My last two children ARE my wall unit and everything else that we don't have in our house! It's all about priorities, right?

Well, the bible tells us to be happy with whatever God has blessed us - as written in Hebrews 13:5:
"Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, Never will I leave you; Never will I forsake you." 

I can tell that you are thinking the same thing as I do.... "yeah, right? How is that working for you?"

It doesn't always work. Sometimes it is hard to accept life's circumstances - especially when you are dealing with a serious illness - that is not only scary but also cost alot of money, yearly. God's will can be so hard to accept, even when He promises that we'll learn something from that situation. It is tough to see through our troubles when we are in the middle of that storm.  It is frustrating to see other people get whatever they want, whenever they want, and we can't! We have to save for things, or just simply have to say No.

So when I was sitting on that bench during soccer training, and pondered why it is that, sometimes, people that have so much less than what we have, seem so much happier. How could it be? Is it true that when you have less, you worry less about loosing it all?  Does having less stuff mean you have less of a burden, less greed,  and more appreciation and happiness?

I know that I DO care less about money, and more about memories! Material things can be lost, what is in my heart can not be taken away. I rather have my memories than accumulating unnecessary things in my house.  I can appreciate every minute I spend with the family. I love to hang out with my friends and have a good time. My church family is awesome and I enjoy to fellowship with them any time.....

Soccer is not a very American sport, so naturally, there are alot of other nations on that soccer field, Hispanic mostly, some African countries as well..... and then that half-German son of mine. These people come together to play a fun game (no, I am still NOT a soccer mom!). They seem happy and free when they run over that field. Almost careless.

So what we can learn from the Hispanic family situation, for example?

Many times, they are a one-car-family. So when they leave the house, the entire family goes out together. Yes, together! As a family. I see it at the soccer practice, when the entire family shows up, including all the siblings and grandma.
Due to having much less money than the average American family, more than two generations live together under one roof. (Believe me, I see that in our neighborhood more than enough.)  So who needs a babysitter when grandma lives in the room next door?
And because they are spending so much time with each other, they don't need to make one day a week a family day with family dinners - it happens automatically. Yes, they eat together every single day.
Also, when it comes to monetary things, they help each other out. They stick together!

Now why would I know so much about all that? Well, my husband is Hispanic, and they don't live much different than most European citizens. I grew up this way! First, we had no car at all, then we became a one-car-family for ALL my childhood until I bought my very own car with 24. And now, my parents still only have one car. We ate together as a family every breakfast and every dinner - yes, there were exceptions, but they were not the norm. My parents helped me out many times with money or other things, when I needed it. They would still do it.

So is less truly better? Do you have an answer? Would you like to share? I would love to hear from you....

Ecclesiastes 7:14
"When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other."

04 May 2012

My new Wish list

This blog is about being blessed, and I certainly feel this way. But there is a twist: I am human.
There are many days, where it is so easy to lose focus on the things that really matter. I get wrapped up in many useless things and circumstances. Like how certain events make me feel, what my friends have and I am missing, how I am viewed by others, how much am I liked (or not so), or how well do my kids behave. We measure our day or its success by HOW things went and WHAT happened (or did not happen).

Well, I want to change that! Really, there is only ONE thing that matters.

G - O - D .

He is my creator, my savior, my provider, my healer, my miracle-maker, my wish-come-true-realizer; He is my strength, my rock, my Everything.

2 Corinthians 9:8 says that "God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work."

So what do I really need?

That's easy: G - O - D . He is the One!

This world tries to convince me of 'needing' new things constantly. But not only do those needs cost money, they also cost time, and really, they are just (unnecessary) wants. I want to be true to myself and to the person that God made (me). Would it be nice to have a new car for our new baby? Sure, but we can't afford one! Would it be nice to buy a new house? Sure, but I am not sure if God wants us to move right now! Would it be nice to fly to Europe on a three-week vacation? Sure, but being around the baby is more important right now! Well, I am sure you get the idea..... we can't always get what we want, and probably we shouldn't!

So I am changing my wish list to one simple thing: God! I want God.

My wish is for God to love me always!
.............................. to forgive me for all my wrongdoings.
.............................. to move within me and heal all my hurts; physically, mentally, and spiritually.
.............................. to provide for my family.
.............................. to teach us to be good servants.
.............................. to bless our family with all that He thinks we 'need'.
.............................. to give me strength to manage life's trials.

I want to focus on God and what He wants for me and my family. What person does he wants me to be? I want Him to be the author and director of our life. I want to walk on the path that He lay before me (even if it is not always an easy one) and spread the good news of hope that only comes from Him. I want to be His spokesperson on the miracles I have witnessed around me. I want to be the light that reflects His glory.

All I need to do that is God! He will lead and guide and direct, redirect and provide.

02 May 2012

Field trip in the rain

A few Fridays ago, we went on a field trip to a local farm where the kids would learn everything about farm produce.  This is the season of strawberries, and knowing my kids' love for those, we had to go.

It's a bit of a trip, which 'scared' me at first, but once we were on the road, I enjoyed it greatly. It's a beautiful country sight, and I enjoyed the climbing roads that made sudden turns. The kids in the back of the car went "weeeee" a few times when the car went up the hill and then dropped down quickly at the top of the hill.
On the way, it got darker and darker, and I said to the kids: "It looks like rain." I am not a person who checks the weather (at all!), so I had no clue..... and sure enough, a few miles farther, it started to rain. First a few drops, than a few more, until soon we were in the middle of one of those Texas thunderstorms. I am a very good driver, so bad weather doesn't slow me down..... actually, I enjoy it to drive, when everybody else stays home. So we kept on going.

We arrived at the farm a bit early, because we had planned to picnic our lunch there..... oh well, that had to be eaten in the car now. To the kids, it's still an adventure, so they didn't mind.
Eventually, our group was all together and we could start our tour. The kids learned all kinds of stuff, from farming to animals to produce. They learned about the ladybug and even put one onto the strawberry plants.

They planted a pumpkin seeds - let's see if that one will survive summer!?!

We got to take a group picture - more or less. The funnest part was when the kids were allowed to shoot (yes, shoot) strawberries out of a contraption (that resembled a gun very much!) to a target. They all had a blast. Then we fed some goats that were really hungry (after our unsuccessful trip to the zoo where the animals were totally overfed that day).
Finally, we came to the part that most parents liked: picking our own strawberries. By now, the rain had stopped completely, and the sun could be assumed behind the clouds. The fields were muddy and wet, but what kid cares about that, right? So I went with Peanut, figuring she'll need lots of help - which she didn't. Her little basket was full in less than a minute. So we decided to check on Coqui, who had all but three strawberries in his. When I asked him why there were so little in the cup, he told me that he is only picking perfect berries! Uh? So I said: "Buddy, I think you need some help. There is no such thing as a perfect strawberry. God made them in all kind of shapes and sizes just like humans, and they all will taste quite good." Thank goodness, this child is my compliant one, so he did not object any further but let me help him fill his basket.

After all this hard work, the kids (and adults) got to enjoy some homemade ice cream, vanilla for the dairy eaters, strawberry-sicles for the Vegans. It was delicious.

And then it was time to go home. What a great trip! We were tired by the time we got home, but it was all worth it. Daddy got to enjoy some strawberries as well that night - I love that the kids really wanted to share with him.