Monday, May 24, 2010

Gracia Has Another Birthday - Part II

The week dragged by, but finally, Saturday arrived.  We spent all morning getting ready for the's the assembly line we set up to put together the candy bags to hand out at the party. 

Then we packed everything up and went over to
our friends' house just down the street for a 
Water Party!

Miguel doing his thing...

The Birthday Girl...

Time for cake and presents!  I made
ice cream cake cones...except we used
pudding mixed with Cool Whip 
instead of frosting.  They were a big hit!

A closer look at the cones and the gift bag I
made for Gracia...she had strawberry shortcake
instead of a cone because she doesn't 
care much for pudding. 

Opening presents...

And then Sunday night, some friends dropped by
with this little house for Gracia!  We set it up 
and they started coloring right away.

It's the cutest little thing...

So glad you had a Happy Birthday, Gracia! 

Gracia Has Another Birthday - Part I

On Wednesday, May 19th, I took Jojo and Jkaile over to the school to celebrate her birthday together with her classmates.  Her teacher brought cupcakes for us all to enjoy and they had decorated her desk in a special way for Gracia that day.  :)  I'm surprised Jkaile hadn't blown out that candle by can tell he wants to!

Then they played 'find-the-happy-faces' that
her teacher had hidden...I think there were a few
they never did find...

Jojo found a few, too.

Next was an outdoor game on the playground...

And then back inside for Silly Sentences.

They were silly, all right!

Jkaile tried...don't think he quite got them put 
together right, though...

All in all, a fun birthday day...but the real fun
was to come at her party that next Saturday! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Our family celebrates Half-Birthdays!  I had never heard of Half-Birthdays until Gracia was born and had her first birthday.  You see, Gracia was born just a few days after Miguel's birthday, on May 19th. All that talk about Miguel's birthday coming up and Gracia's birthday coming up made Micah (three years old at the time) rather fussy and anxious for his own birthday to come (nearly 6 months away at that point!).  Our good friend, Tía Sue mentioned that her mother always celebrated their Half-Birthdays and I was intrigued.

Turns out that her mom had figured out the six-month date for each of her kids and then baked them a "half cake" to celebrate (basically, one cake cut in half and stacked) on that day.  I thought that sounded like a lot of work, but Sue said her mom made a lot of desserts anyway.  We worked out the dates and sure enough, Micah's Half-Birthday falls on April 30th, right before our two May birthdays.  And we've celebrated Half-Birthdays ever since (basically, once you start, you have to keep doing it because our kids won't let you forget about it. yeah.).

It may sound complicated to celebrate Half-Birthdays (and yes, the more kids you have (like me) makes it a bit more difficult), but we have strict rules regarding our Half-Birthdays.

  1. No friends or parties or big deals, just the half-cake for dessert and maybe a candle or two.  
  2. We sing "Happy Half-Birthday To You..."  It takes some practice fitting the extra syllable.   
  3. No presents. At all. Period. 
  4. The exact date of the Half-Birthday celebration is a bit flexible...if it's not convenient to celebrate said Half-Birthday on the actual date, Mom has the right to move it backwards or forwards a few days.
  5. Mom and Dad don't celebrate Half-Birthdays since we kind of wish we weren't having to celebrate Whole Birthdays any more anyway. 
Of course, these are our rules...other families might want to do it a bit differently.  It's funny how excited the kids get about their Half-Birthday, and it's a neat way to celebrate and honor them in a special way. 

This year, we kinda forgot (okay, so we completely forgot about it) Jojo's Half-Birthday on March 29th, so we celebrated Micah's and Jojo's Half-Birthdays together (more convenient for me, just made two small round cakes and cut them both in half).

Here are the boys with their half cakes and 
our first attempt at making frozen yogurt 
in our ice cream maker.  It was good, we
used strawberry yogurt and frozen, chopped
strawberries.  I would cook the strawberries first
next time and add a bit more sugar...

Micah blowing out the last candle.  I'm
rather surprised Jkaile didn't get to it first!

You see Jojo's finger?  I think he was already licking the icing off his cake...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Miguel's Birthday Week

It was Miguel's birthday yesterday and he really lucked out since we had a birthday celebration with our small group from church last Wednesday night and then again yesterday with other friends from church.  And he got plenty of yummy food...I made lasagna, marbled brownies, and home-made old-fashioned vanilla ice cream for Wednesday's celebration, arepas with cheese, scrambled eggs, and shredded beef for breakfast yesterday, and spaghetti with home-made bread for lunch!  Later, friends came by with cake and ice even though he didn't get many gifts, I think he had a pretty special birthday this year! 

Miguel getting ready to blow out his candles...we
had mercy on him and only used five.  haha

I made two pans of lasagna and it went fast!
I added layers of ham a la Venezuelan to make it
a bit more like pasticho.

I was going to leave the brownies in the pan, but
needed both of my glass pans for the lasagna, so 
I stacked them on a plate.  Didn't look as nice, but oh well.
This was a new recipe for me, but they were delicious!
The white swirl is a cream cheese/butter mixture...yummy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dream Within a Dream

I had a scary dream the other night. 

I dreamed that I was in some sort of guesthouse (apparently as an MK and now missionary, I've spent enough time in guesthouses that now I dream about it!).  I can't remember really what led up to the scary part, seems like it was a pretty normal dream about moving around in different rooms.

Then I went to a doorway and reached inside to turn on the light when wham! someone inside slammed the door hard on my arm.  It startled me so much that in my dream, I woke up startled and realized it was just a dream.

Then I woke up, heart pounding, and realized that I had been dreaming about waking up from a scary dream.

A dream within a dream.  Weird.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

No Public Hiney Inspections, Please!

A really funny thing happened to me yesterday...gave us a good laugh! Our family lives in the middle apartment of the Bible School dormitory for the single students...we aren't actually on staff with the Bible School since we have another ministry, but they needed someone to live here in a supervisory role at the same time we were available so here we are. :) We live in the middle apartment with the girls above and the guys downstairs in the basement. The building is constructed in such a way that the basement has windows at ground level. The screens on the windows allow you to see out from the inside, but you can't really see into the windows from the outside (which caused another embarrassing incident of Jojo taking a leak right outside one of said basement windows, not realizing that his own mother and several other people were in the basement laughing their heads off at the whole situation, but that's another story).

So yesterday, Jojo and Jkaile were out jumping on the trampoline, which is currently placed on the south side of the house so as to take advantage of the afternoon shade. There are at least three basement windows on that side, which is why one of the students downstairs felt compelled to come tell me that I needed to go check on the boys. Since he wouldn't tell me outright what he had seen, I figured it was most likely something bad...and when there are two little boys involved, you just never know!

Sure enough, I peeked around the corner of the porch in time to see Jkaile pull up his underwear and Jojo with a somewhat guilty look on his face. I thanked the student and called the boys to come inside, wondering how to deal with the situation and also feeling a little embarrassed that my children would be doing, well, that. And not only doing that, but doing it out in the yard in plain view of the street (maybe there is a reason why most passers-by stare at our house a lot!) and the basement (although they tend to forget that people can actually see out those windows).

It took a couple of minutes for the boys to get their shoes on (Jkaile was wearing two mismatched girl crocs that took a bit of figuring out) and come inside, which gave me a minute to settle down and then I remembered...Jkaile had been complaining all day of an "owie" bottom. Suddenly, the situation became very clear to me! Jojo, with his strong sense of empathy and caring for his baby brother, was in all likelihood, just checking things out to see if he could help! Sure enough, that's what Jojo confessed to when he came inside...

When I told Miguel about it later, we both had a good laugh at what it must have looked like to the guys downstairs! Maybe we should actually let know the inside scoop, eh? lol So then Miguel says, "I guess we need to tell Jojo not to conduct any (hiney) inspections in public!"

Wednesday, May 5, 2010


Since most of my yard
is completely hopeless and looks like this...

...I am really loving how our little flower/rock garden
in front of the house is turning into
a bit of an oasis for the eyes,
so to speak...our hard work is paying off!
Okay, okay, Miguel's hard work...

This bush is commonly used around here for hedges.
I love the color it adds!

Such a scrubby little nopal cactus, but
it sure has beautiful flowers in the spring!

Gorgeous! Sad they only last about
a day or so, though...

The ground cover we have produces the cutest
little button-size blooms that add spots
of color to the green...

The plant in the front smells like onions, but has
such pretty purple flowers!

And my little potted plant on the steps keeps on
putting out these wonderful yellow flowers!
Makes me smile every time I see them!

I took this picture back in March...I think I'd
really like to get some more of these because
not only are they pretty, but this poor plant has
survived some pretty rough treatment
and still puts out those beautiful flowers!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Sometimes It's Better Not to Know

As much as I'd like to catch glimpses of the future sometimes, I think that for the most part, maybe it's better not to know what life will bring you next...when Micah started throwing up one Saturday night about 2 1/2 weeks ago, I'm really glad I didn't know that we were looking at a solid week of vomiting and sickness! Micah got sick on Saturday night, then I started getting it on Monday night, Tuesday was Jojo's turn, Tuesday night Gracia started throwing up, and Wednesday night Jkaile started throwing up. By that time, Jojo was well enough to help Jkaile...which is when I snapped this sweet, sweet picture! Okay, well, yeah, it's a little gross, but isn't it just so sweet how Jojo is helping his little brother?! And okay, yes, what kind of a Mom takes pictures at a time like this, but hey, Jojo had it all under control...what you don't see is me throwing the camera down and joining them there on the floor...

On Friday morning, Miguel and JD both woke up sick and I began throwing up Friday night. What a miserable, miserable week that was! :( But God gives grace...we just canceled all family appointments and events (including a birthday party, a bridal shower, and a baby shower) although Miguel did go to work the representation table at a missions conference even though he wasn't feeling the greatest.

The kids missed most of the week of school, which happened to be testing week, but they were able to make that up this last week. I think the most disappointing thing, though, was not to be able to hang out with some good friends who were in town so their kids could take the testing, too. We did get a good talk in on the phone, but that's not the same as hanging out over a meal and watching our kids enjoy each other. :( Oh well, maybe next time...

It took us another week to get over that flu as we dealt with the hangers-on of fatigue, upset tummies, and diarrhea. Ugh! This week, though, we are mostly back to normal, although tired from being a bit busier than usual...I've been trying to dig out from under the enormous pile of winter/too small clothes that has taken on epic proportions in the younger kids' room (quite embarrassing for guests to catch a glimpse of on their way to the bathroom and my kids can NOT seem to keep the door shut!). Not to mention the dust bunnies, or as a friend puts it "dust llamas" accumulating everywhere at incredible rates..Miguel swept out quite a pile from under and around the bed in our room this morning! With the dry and dusty condition of this desert region, things deteriorate about 10 times faster than back home!

So okay, back to work sorting out clothes...which to put away for next year, which to get rid of (we're considering putting on a garage sale!), which to keep...decisions, decisions, decisions. Not my favorite thing to do when I would prefer to veg...