Oh, Monday, Monday

Mondays are the best day of the week around here. Three Mondays in a row and the kids are absolute angels. You would think that they would be missing Noel more or just be completely out of whack because he's gone for the week. However, they are little troopers...they just forge forward and keep on going after I give them the standard answer to...

"Where's Daddy?"

"On the submarine," I say.

Lucy is taking it a bit harder these past few weeks. As she was scuffling around the family room this morning, I heard this under her breath.

"Papi?...Oh no, I'll never see him again."

She was honestly panic stricken. It broke my heart. I shared this with Noel later in the day and he added, that as he was trying to transfer her into her bed last night she held him tight and pleaded with him to stay home.

"Daddy, please don't go on submarine."

So, you're wondering what's so wonderful about Mondays. Despite, these little heartbreaks they continue their day with strength, courage and hope. I've taken this for granted. Our day has to go on and yet, I've never given them any credit for being so strong. Now, fast forward to the end of the day. NPR is playing in the background as homework is completed and tempura painted masterpieces are being created.

I'm starting to look forward to Mondays.


I've Become One of Those People

You know what I mean, those people who walk around with their cameras and every lens they own to take pictures of the most crazy, and yet normal, things. But you know what, I don't care. I'm loving it! The practice is making me better and we saw some crazy critters and reptiles on our hike. Cory and Lucy had to be reminded that we weren't at the zoo.

"Stay away from the river. The gator looks hungry," mama said.

The day was great...hot...yet, great! A must see for my Tampanians friends who haven't made it there. Go!

These are some of my favorite pix and check out the rest of them in my web albums. As you can see, we had fun exploring.


I'll Never Win the Perfect Mom Title

I did it again...forgot another commitment. If it's not in my PDA and checked with an alarm...FORGET IT MY FRIENDS, you won't see me there. A couple of times, I've written things on the wrong dates. That's just as embarrassing. Today, I did show up for an event...just seven hours after it happened. Damn keypad...8:15 not 3:15. It's a good thing I'm not running a business outside the home. Oh, but wait. I am running the household, making sure the kids have eaten, gotten dressed, bathed, get to school on time, groceries in the fridge, homework done, laundry washed, folded and but away, house in order, pool filter checked, lawn done, run the kids to their activities, doctors appointments for the seven month old....oh, and did I mention I'm doing this alone. Military man is in Georgia running a submarine. Shouldn't be too hard on myself. I forgive me.

Well, it's good to get that off my chest. Now, for a proud Mommy moment. After the daily after school Cory meltdown, the day ended on a high note. You know, I wish those parents that witnessed the mommy don't at the school parking lot today could have seen me tonight. My multi-tasking was a masterpiece. As NPR played in the background, I was preparing a home-cooked meal, helped Cory study for a spelling test, Lucy painted and Nina played in the baby excer-saucer. Pure bliss. The kids were cooperative as I moved them from activity to activity. And at the end of the night we toped it off with reading, rocking (the seven month old) and rest.

Now, ladies don't hate me because I'm beautiful. These moments don't happen all the time. I do live here on earth. But you do have to toot your own horn from time to time...toot! toot!

Cory's list of words for his first spelling test...ever! Good luck, baby!


Practice Makes Things Better & A Scene from the Kitchen

My photo safari did not produce the results that I wanted. The new 10-20mm Sigma is a bit harder to use than I imagined. I need some feedback. Whatcha think people?

I played with some effects with this one.

I played with the effects on this one, too.

Well, at least I know that Hillsborough State Park is a place I want to go back and visit with Noel and the kids very soon. It had a lot to offer. I saw a cafe, a huge pool, canoes, picnic and camping areas, and lots of trails. Everything was very well shaded. Nina loved it, too. She perked up when she heard the cicadas chirping. Actually, they sound like they're taking over like a plague.

On another note, Lucy was a trip today. I'm not sure what's going on with her lately...she's been very moody. However, she made the funniest comment to my mom today in the kitchen. A scene from the kitchen...It goes something like this...My mom is cutting up veggies for a salad...

"Abuelita, I want some trees."


"I want some trees."

"Trees, Lucy?"

"Some trees, Abuelita. I like trees."

"Mom, she wants broccoli."

Thought that was funny. Just wanted to add it for a little flavor. Good night!


Happy Anniversary, Honey

On Friday, September 5th, Noel and I celebrated the 11th anniversary of our wedding elopement. Now, that's a mouthful. Noel is not one for many surprises but eleven years ago he gave the surprise of a lifetime. He planned our wedding elopement. Now, mind you our engagement was uneventful. There was no bending on one knee, dropping the ring in a glass of champagne, wrapping the ring up in twenty boxes in descending sizes. Oh noooo, none of that. Just a simple gesture and the handing over of the ring. Yawn!!

He surely, made it up for the wedding. He told me on a Monday to be ready on Friday around 5pm because we were getting married. Being the skeptic that I am, he caught me completely off guard. He kept reminding me throughout the week, but I didn't believe him. What guy surprises his bride with a wedding in five days? Uh, my guy! When Friday rolled around he reminded me yet again to be ready by 5pm. I HAD NOTHING!!!! I wore a simple Ann Taylor white pant suit. A sweet little heart shape delft pendant (that Noel brought me back from a deployment) as my blue and I borrowed a pen to take to the marriage commissioners house to sign the marriage certificate.

It was simple and sweet and, for me, the best memory that we have as a married couple. It was a beautiful Labor Day in Chesapeake, VA. and we honeymooned in Williamsburg. Our first meal as man and wife was at Christiana Campbell's Tavern. I can't remember the entire meal but I do remember the Sweet Potato Muffins. They have become a Thanksgiving tradition in our household since then. This tradition will continue as long as we're together and will forever remind me of our sweet start.

Since, I know that he reads my blog religiously, I want to send him this little message... "I love you and can't wait to see you on Friday...tu cuqui"


Uniforms...An Ongoing Debate

My sweet niece Elizabeth (the one holding Lucy) has just entered high school. I inquired on how she liked it and if she missed her elementary school. Well, she is definitely an enthusiastic freshmen but her reply about missing the elementary was and emphatic, "No, I hate SJS, now." Which I thought was so sad... She had been a student there since kindergarten and her younger sisters go there, as well. Not to mention her mom, me, and her aunt to name a few. What struck me as odd was why she was so against it now? It had to do with uniforms and how strict the dress code had gotten down to the size of earrings the girls had to wear. She was absolutely against it!

If you hadn't figured it out SJS is a catholic school. They regulate everything but I don't remember it being that bad.

Elizabeth and I had a brief discussion about it and she really was concerned on how the stricter dress code would impact everybody's individuality and creativity.

"How are you supposed to stand out as an individual if you're dressed like the next person," she asked.
Her mean auntie answered, "Through your schoolwork, your writing, your personality..."

Well, we left it at that but this debate always bugs me and now I'm opening the discussion again with you my cyberspace buddies.

I wore a uniform for a brief period of my school years and never felt like my creativity was stunted. If anything, when I look back to those years, I was more focused on my schoolwork than anything else. You never had to worry about what you looked like because everybody looked the same. In this case, it was a plus. I remember clearly that during middle school, my creative writing skills flourished. My penmanship was impeccable and my personality shined on stage, whether it was singing for the choir or during my dance and piano recitals.

Another, argument and very current with the times is that uniforms are eco-friendly. The child only needs a few to last through a couple of weeks before doing laundry which would cut down both your electric bill and the clothes budget for the year. Just think, no more crazy clothes swaps meetings to go to or runs to the local consignment or donation center. You just keep it for the next child or pass them along to a friend with younger aged children. Aside from getting unique shoes from time to time, it's truly "eco" and cost effective.

As to the creativity buster, again, I don't believe that uniforms prevent children from being creative. I never felt like my creativity was stunted. Having that uniform on made me feel like part of a community, a family and pride for my school. Elizabeth, in addition to, her mom were great athletes and both awarded for those skills.

It comes down to this. The personality will always shine through no matter what you're wearing. If the skills or attributes are strong enough they will break through the barriers.

Just like a flower that finds it was through the cracks of a sidewalk. You can't hold it back from blooming.

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The Firsts of Firsts

Cory was all smiles the first week of school. I thought he would be upset for being separated from most of his good buddies. He was for a second, then I reassured him that we'll see them on play dates and such and that this year would be a practice year for making new friends. A practice run for when we transfer overseas next year. The whole thing has me choked up. I know he'll do great. Lucy had the first day of pre-school, her first open house and dance classes, which is hilarious to watch. Now, Nina is saying "ma-ma-ma." Her firsts words. We all are so excited!

This is the first time ever that I have more pictures of Lucy then of Cory. A firsts for the second child. Yeah, for Lucy.

You see what I mean...these are the only pics of Cory's first day of first grade. We were rushing in late and I couldn't get any inside the classroom. Oh, the guilt!

These are the first of a series at the dance studio while waiting for class to start. She really plays up to the camera.

This one is my absolute favorite of hers. That's the best smile...ever!

Some other great Lucy faces!

Pictures from Open House.

Lucy just found her favorite toy ever. Pegs!!!!!!!

Posing in the courtyard...giving me the look.

"Mommy, I'm afraid of the froggies." She's actually spied some lizards but to her they're froggies.

"Look at the flower," mommy said. She takes great direction.

The school with the red door. Love it! The preschool is one of the oldest buildings in Lutz. A spanish mission style presbyterian church with a fantastic school. A place where many parents have taken their children and never left. You might ask, why are they at different schools. Well, Tims is only five minutes from home which means more alone time with Nina a couple days a week. Happy times!