Tag Archives: Summer

Please Vote: Summer Nature Photo Contest

12 Aug

Hey guys!  I know I haven’t posted anything in a while…summer has kept me busy…vacation, summer photo contest, and an awesome promotion at work.  Nonetheless, I am back and asking for your support.  I previously posted something in regards to a summer nature photo contest my son entered.  This is the photo that was chosen as a contender.  I am hoping most, if not all of you, have facebook so you can go to the following link https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=558934994168769&set=a.558933164168952.1073741828.454120927983510&type=1&theater and hit LIKE to vote for his photo to win.  Thank you so much and I appreciate all your support! 😀

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A Day at the Beach 07/14/13

15 Jul

Cars Do Not Like Me

27 Jun

car

So this past week has been like hell, seriously.  Not only is it about 110 degrees every single day here in the beautiful deep south, but I have had the worst luck with cars.  Yes, I did lose my van a few weeks ago in an unforgettable car wreck, however, I was fortunate enough to have a really good friend let me borrow her car, a Mustang, until I got myself situated.  Mind you, a Mustang is NOT comfortable at all for someone my size and for a mother of 3 kids, one in which is almost resembling a linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (I’m biased here 😀 ).  But I am grateful and not complaining, that is, until her car decided to kick in the Anti-theft system and refused to start.  Yep, I stepped out to turn the car on and nothing except a clicking noise was coming from under the dashboard.  So I called my friend, heart pounding wildly thinking that I may have screwed something up, and I asked her if there was any reason her car would not start.  She said no of course and proceeded to come to my house to see what the issue was, well I knew the issue, IT WOULDN’T START! Ok, ok, calm down.  She brought jumper cables and after pushing her car (and scalding our hands) to get it aligned with her truck we tried them and nothing.  So what did we do?  We called our mechanics at our work and asked for help.  They came to our aid and unfortunately the car had to be towed to the shop.  It ended up being nothing but a fried battery terminal wire.

By that time I had already been in contact with a sales guy at a different shop and informed him of the situation.  He generously brought me a beautiful blue Ford Expedition, I’m not a fan of gas guzzlers but I am a fan of big SUVs with Dallas Cowboy colors.  This is the vehicle I decided to buy and I went home happy that night.  My kids and I even made an unnecessary trip clear across town just to test drive our new car.  It drove smoothly the entire way with an awesome A/C to cool us off in this horrid Texas heat and a nice sound system to drown out all the excess noises of the outside world.

Well it couldn’t be that easy could it?  The very next day I was leaving for lunch and when I went to turn the key it made a horrible grinding noise and the vehicle did NOT start! Are you freaking kidding me??? This is precisely what I walked in damn near screaming to my co-workers.  Am I doomed to not drive for the rest of my life?  Do I have some sort of disease that is causing these vehicles to NOT be operable for me?  So my friend and I went to check it out and of course it started for her right away! No screeching, no grinding noise whatsoever, it was almost mocking me, making me look like a fool, as if I had made the entire thing up.   Whatever, I told her I would keep an eye on it for now and if anything I would bring it to the shop.

So for now I am driving something beautiful and roomy that my kids and I both love but I’m biding my time until the next malfunction occurs.  The good thing is that now I have full coverage so if any idiot wants to “fall asleep” at the wheel while driving behind me, I dare you!

Nostalgia

22 Jun

la bamba

I am sitting in my cozy living room on a beautiful Saturday morning, my front door is open allowing the gorgeous sun-kissed rays shine through my screen door, my front lawn is getting watered by a spinning sprinkler, all the while I am watching the movie La Bamba, the story of aspiring star Ritchie Valens and his untimely death in a horrific plane crash.  This movie signifies so many things for me, some sad, some happy, but they all have one thing in common, nostalgia.  Watching this movie does something to me in a sense that it triggers feelings I have deep in my beating heart, memories that I have kept hidden within my soul, away from outsiders.

When I was about 10 years old my grandmother owned a big, beautiful home in Reynosa, a city located on the border of Mexico and Texas along the Rio Grande River.  I remember sitting in her living room watching this movie on her huge box tv set.  There was no flat screen, no HD tv, no DVR.  This movie was watched using a VCR, our version of a DVD player back then.  My grandmother would be standing behind me ironing some clothes while I watched the movie uttering every single word because I knew it by heart.  The relevance between the characters in this movie and a couple of my family members was significantly synonymous, and we all knew this. Ritchie Valens resembled my uncle H and Bob, Ritchie’s brother, resembled my uncle L, not only by looks but by attitude and persona.  My uncle L was for the most part considered to be the tough one, while my uncle H was more of the mellow type.  Circumstances that I wish to keep confidential for their safety separated these brothers at very young ages.  Due to a mistake made by my uncle H he was not with us at the time and it would be over 20 years before he would be back with us, and my uncle L was in and out of our lives, getting himself into trouble here and there.  Watching this movie until the very end was always heartbreaking for us because we all knew what was going to happen, Ritchie’s death, which affected us deeply since my uncle H wasn’t around.    We would literally sob out loud, especially at the very end when Bob yells out his brother’s name, epic part of the movie.  Why we kept torturing ourselves is unknown, at least to each other, for I’m sure individually we all knew deep down why we watched the movie.

Watching this movie also brings up a time in my childhood in which Mexico was peaceful, beautiful and so serene that we enjoyed spending every moment possible over there.  Thanksgivings, Christmas gatherings, Easter egg hunts and trips to the mountains and beautiful Mexican resorts are memories in the past, memories I wish I could relive for not only myself but for my children.  Border violence right now is making that virtually impossible and it upsets me that I am not able to introduce my children to the beauty that I once knew.  For the moment describing my memories and demonstrating pictures of the pretty, unscathed portions of Mexico is all I can offer them.  But this isn’t enough.  Words and pictures cannot express the beauty that is Mexico, at least parts not affected by all the violence.   The mountains with their picturesque cloud tops, volcanoes, national parks, and beaches are just some of nature’s beauty that I got to experience.  parque nacional

paricutinThe above pictures are of a national park in Michoacán called El Parque Nacional and the other is of a volcano called El Paricutin in the same state in Mexico.  These are only a couple of the locations I visited when I went to Mexico as a child.  The picture below consists of El Cici, a waterpark located on the beaches of Acapulco in Mexico.  This is another beautiful and majestic place that I had the privilege of visiting as a child.  cici-water-park

A ranch high up in the mountains of Mexico, away from civilization, no electricity and no running water also has a place in my heart from my childhood.  I know what you are thinking, no electricity and no running water, how is that a good thing?  It was, to me and other members of my family.  It was simply peaceful out there, lying out in a hammock in the middle of the night, gazing up at the clear sky dotted with diamond-like bright stars.   In the mornings we would walk up the mountain to a small location which had the cows and proceed to milk them.  I kind of struggled with this for a bit but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  We even had a donkey, it actually belonged to my aunt and she loved it so much.  When it came time to shower we would travel down the mountain along a narrow path to a small watering hole with fresh water.  This was our shower and it was by far the most wonderful feeling ever.  It was natural.  It came from the mountains. patas del diablo

This picture is of a mountain side we would drive through every single time we would visit Mexico.  This location is called “las patas del Diablo” translation, “the feet of the devil”.  This was one sure sign that we were nearing our destination and we would always look forward to this mountainside to try and capture some pictures.  These are the days I yearn for and hope to one day be able to expose my children to this beauty.

It is amazing how one movie with an awesome soundtrack can dig up hidden, nostalgic feelings.  Joyful or melancholy, superb or dreadful, I truly appreciate watching a successful movie such as this over and over again so that I may, even if it is for the smallest of moments, relive in my heart the moments I had as an innocent child.

Estero Llano Grande State Park 06/08/2013

8 Jun
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These are our photos from our nature walk today. Hope you enjoy them. 🙂

Gallery

Storm Rolled In-6/7/2013

8 Jun

Summer Break is Here! Oh no!

3 Jun

closedforsummer_color

Mondays are always hectic for me, and today was no exception.  In fact, if I had to rate my Monday it would rate a 15 on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the highest!  Not only did I have to deal with accounting nightmares at work but it just happened to be the first full weekday in which my kids were out for summer break.  Walking in the door I was greeted with a houseful of clutter, as if tripping over toys in the morning when I’m half asleep isn’t enough, now I walk in and my laptop along with the charger are on the floor.  Shoes are all over the living room, my remotes are scattered across the living room, my kitchen looks like a category 5 hurricane overpowered it and the cat is whining at the top of it’s lungs.  Oh yes, summer is here in full effect and with brutal force.

 

So I immediately walk in and meticulously tip-toe through my living room as if there are hidden land mines and proceed to the kitchen to begin washing dishes.  As I’m washing the mount Everest of dishes that are in my sink I ask my kids what they would like to eat for dinner.  I had already taken out some pork chops earlier in the morning with the intent of making that with some mashed potatoes but my kids obviously had something else in mind.  They settled on hot dogs with fried potatoes.  I know I know, not very healthy is what you are thinking, but honestly I let them choose about once a week and the rest of the time they are subjected to my horrible cooking.   I chose to  make them happy today.  Anyways, so as I was done washing the dishes I went ahead and prepared “dinner” and made what I thought were going to be fried potatoes but they came out rather mushy (too much oil I guess).   I served dinner and proceeded to give each of my kids their glass of juice.  If any of you have read in my “About Illiana” section you would know that my 8 year is somewhat of a hardcore tomboy.  So I went ahead and served her in a princess cup and she gave me the “are you serious” look.  My response to that look was “What? It’s not like they are going to jump out and grab you”, in which she proceeded to laugh hysterically.  Now my 8 year old being the outspoken thing that she is poked her potatoes around and said “what the heck kind of potatoes are these”?  Ahhh!!!! Can I catch a break??? She hates the cup, hates the potatoes…geez!  Well whatever, let’s just say she only ate the hotdog and the potatoes became a 2nd helping for me.

After dinner I settled down in time to start watching the Pacers/Heat game (which is actually still going on right now) and in the middle of it I decided to make some chocolate chip cookies.  So there I am along with my handsome and helpful son, preparing the cookie dough batter when we realize we have no baking soda or powder.  That question I asked earlier “can I catch a break”, seems not.  Ah, what the heck.  We decided to go ahead and make them anyway.  I mean shoot, dinner was already horrible might as well end dessert the same way right?  So cookies have baked and they aren’t the best cookies in the world.  They ended up looking like cookie balls instead.  Ooops.  They were sweet so we ate them anyway, you know, something to cleanse the palate.

I would like to mention that during this entire time our 4 week old kitten has been whining at the top of it’s lungs with somewhat of a pathetic look on it’s face.  Charlie, our kitten, is hungry but for reasons personal to himself he would rather starve.  Apparently he doesn’t like the fact that I have switched him from mushy (he would have loved the potatoes) to solid food.  So for the last two days he has been starving himself with only taking sips of milk and turning his nose up at the solid food in his bowl.  As much as my kids are pleading with me to give him something mushy I will not give in.  At last, this is something I can have some control over.  Sorry Charlie, literally.

So as my 5 year old walks away swinging Charlie around as if he was a baton I leave you with a thought, what kind of summer will  you have?  Will it be swinging, starving cats?  Children that hate your cooking?  Chocolate chip balls?  A daily cluttered house?  Whatever it is make the best of it for they are the best memories you will ever have of and with your children.

Bentsen Rio Grande Valley State Park-6/1/2013

1 Jun

These pictures were taken by my 10 year old son.  Our second nature walk this summer.

Gallery

A Few Pics from Summer Vacation 2012

25 May

NASA Science Camp

22 May

Galaxy

 

I am excited to learn that my son’s school is offering a free two week NASA Science Camp this summer.  I have already signed him up and am excited to learn what they will be doing.  All I know is that they have several subjects ranging from building rockets to learning about the solar system.  This is an awesome opportunity for him and other children as well plus it keeps them a little busy in the summer.  My son has chosen learning about the solar system because he thinks he will get the chance to go to a planetarium (fingers crossed). This would be wonderful as it could be the beginning of a well decorated college resume/application.  I will keep you guys posted as to what projects he works on within those first two weeks in June.

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