Motherhood Update: Alessandra Turns 1 Month

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We use the terms “time flies” and “they grow so quickly” often when we refer to children and life experiences. Well, in this case, I am amazed how fast a month went by. Our baby girl, Alessandra, turned one month a few days ago. I am going to try to write about my experience as a mother and our baby’s development. I say “try”, because Continue reading

Easy & Inexpensive Family Outing

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A few weeks ago, my sister-in-law suggested we all get together for a family holiday dinner. We scheduled it for the first weekend of winter break for the kids. It was our family’s official launch of the holidays and time off from school for the kids! Instead of having a dinner at one of our homes, we Continue reading

New Imaginate Exhibit at the Fleet: Family Fun

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The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is of my favorite museums to visit with my nieces and nephews! There are always interactive exhibits where the kids can not only play, but also learn! And, the adults play too! It is fun for the entire family! I recently attended the Opening Night Continue reading

Dia De Reyes Tradition to End the Holidays

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Hard to believe it is already January 13! The Dia de Reyes (Three Wise Men Day) party on January 6 usually marks the end of the holiday celebrations in our family. This year it fell on a Tuesday and what seemed closer to the New Year’s Eve weekend, so we celebrated it on January 10, which was the Saturday that followed. It is a fun gathering, with the traditional meal, cutting of rosca, piñata, children running around playing, and our own family tradition of passing out the Christmas stockings. It is a tradition my aunt started a few years ago and has grown to be the highlight of the party! All the grandchildren and great-grandchildren have a personalized stocking with our name which is hung on the wall to form a Christmas tree. Each year the family grows and we add more stockings to the wall. We take turns taking our stocking off the wall, from the eldest grandchild to the youngest, making jokes, bowing or saying a few words, and taking pictures as we collect our stockings. The younger children use a ladder decorated for the holidays to reach their stocking on the top of the tree (wall). We all take the candy filled stocking home & store them until the party next year when we bring them back (some stockings have been replaced over the years). There is a prize for the first grandchild to bring back the stocking during the holidays in preparation for the Dia de Reyes party.

This year, I didn’t take too many pictures because I was enjoying the moment and spending time with family, being present. It is bitter sweet to end the holidays….but other festivities follow in the coming months. With the large size of our family, we always have festivities to look forward to! As I have said many times, one of the biggest blessings in my life is the family I was born into! I am grateful for their unconditional love, it is priceless! Special thanks to my grandmother, the head of our family, who keeps us all united and organizes these gatherings! These family gatherings aren’t just about having fun, they are also about forming traditions and good memories of wonderful moments of happiness with family!

How do you end the Christmas holiday celebrations? Do you celebrate Dia de Reyes and cut a rosca?

Hugs,

Paola

PS – Picture from our Dia de Reyes party and the family holiday tradition I started.

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Preparing for the piñata!

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My stocking hangs at the bottom of the wall since I am the eldest granddaughter. My older brother is the first one to get a stocking, as he is the eldest grandchild. I have stored my stocking along with our holiday decorations for many years, this way I ensure I don’t misplace it. I bring it back for the Dia de Reyes party every year!

Thoughtful Birthday Gifts

Every year, we receive gifts on our birthday. As the years have passed and I’ve entered different stages of my life, the way I celebrate my birthday has changed. This year, my hubby offered to organize a party for my birthday or take me on a trip. I chose the trip. That was his birthday gift to me – it was a very nice gift. My family and friends also celebrated my birthday with me – on separate occasions. They each gave me very nice and thoughtful gifts. They gave me gifts from my favorite stores and very personalized gifts. It amazed me how they remembered things I had mentioned throughout the year and got me those items as gifts!

Even though my birthday was a few months ago, I had my last celebration recently, with my friend Lizeth. We spent the day together by the beach, and she surprised me by taking me to dinner and giving me my gift.  It has been a summer of birthday celebrations for me. First with my hubby. When I returned from the trip, we had a cake at work with my colleagues. A week later, with my sis and family. In July,  with Lola and Martha. In August my aunts gave me some beautiful gifts. And, just recently with Lizeth. So, I got to celebrate all summer long! Yay!

People have asked me about the birthday gifts I’ve received. I share pictures of them below. I appreciate the gifts and the thoughtfulness behind each one of them touched me!  It was nice to celebrate my birthday with family and my closest friends. I truly feel blessed.

Also, in case I didn’t thank you personally, thank you for the nice birthday wishes and messages!  Hope you like the pics!

How did you celebrate your last birthday? Do you have a favorite birthday gift – of all time, including childhood?

Hugs,

Paola

DSCN1692 The trip my hubby took me on was to Northern California. We started with a few days in beautiful Mount Shasta. We stayed in a cute cabin.

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We even went hiking! It was our first hike together.

DSCN1872From Mount Shasta, drove to Napa and stayed at Calistoga Ranch, an amazing resort! Part of my gift was a spa day!

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From Napa, we crossed over to Sonoma and ended the trip with lunch and a day of wine tasting at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

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Some of the birthday cards were designed based on themes regarding my blog or the newspaper column I write for El Latino,  and others had personalized messages for “sister” and “daughter”.

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These were the gifts from my sis & nephews/brother-in-law.

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Inside the bags were these nice boxes and the card!

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A few months earlier I had complimented my sister on her Tory Burch earrings and told her I wanted to get a pair for myself. She remembered and bought them for me! What a nice touch! These have become my favorite earrings, along with the one’s Lola gave me, I wear them a few times each week!

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And, of course she knows I love shoes, so she gave me a gift card from DSW!

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Mom gave me this beautifully wrapped gift.

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Inside was this multi-patterned scarf (mom knows I like wearing scarves), two bracelets, and a silver medallion.

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It has been fun to wear the bracelet. I did not have anything similar.

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The medallion is something I will wear for many years, it is a unique piece, love it!

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Lola remembered I had mentioned I was running out of racks to organize my jewelry and gave me this beautifully crafted white lacquer jewelry box! She also tried to organize a dinner party for me, like she has done in past years, but between my trip and other friends’ vacation schedules, it was challenging to pin down a date. So, we decide go have sushi with Martha, just the girls, no men this year.

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It is completely lined, has a mirror, the middle tray is removable for additional storage underneath, and it has an adorable key with a tassle.

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Inside she included these Paloma Picasso earrings, which have become my favorite, along with the earrings my sister gave me.

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And these one of a kind, hand made earnings, she said “because I know you don’t have any earrings in this style.” She is correct.

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Birthday dinner with Lola and Martha (she took the pic).

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My aunts Cynthia and Lorena gave me gifts from Mexicali in incredibly nice wrapped boxes.

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My aunt Cynthia have me this one of a kind, hand made necklace from a boutique in Mexicali. This will look nice with a white top & jeans, or a dress! It will be fun to wear in the fall! She reads my blog and knows that I like unique necklaces.

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My aunt Lorena remembered a compliment I have her on a small barrette she was wearing. I mentioned that I had a hard time finding small barretes that would stay in my hair, since my hair is fine. She gave me these pretty & small barrettes! Such a nice and personalized gift!  I was touched that she remembered my comment.

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Lizeth and I spent a casual day in Coronado, and she surprised me by treating me to dinner by the beach at the Hotel Del Coronado as part of my birthday gift! She had planned it all along!

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Lizeth also gave me a gift card from Ann Taylor, she knows it is one of my favorite stores.