Tuesday, March 24, 2015

 Our Florida Road Trip

             We arrived home Saturday night after a wonderful week in Florida!  My parents rented the same little cabin [as last year] on the Weeki Wachee River.  We spent our time on kayaks and playing the beach.  

                           Pine Island has a VERY kid-friendly beach.  No waves and knee-deep water out 100+ yards.  We loaded up the garbage truck and dump truck [that we brought from Atlanta], a couple buckets and shovels, and the kids were amused for hours.  HOURS!!                 Of course we did have to watch out for the occasional stone wall jump.  If there is an adventure, Mateo is on it.  And funny enough, this little guy wants to do EVERYTHING big brother does. 

                 One word: Daredevils.  We are in so much trouble.                                                                                                             Yes, these padres have their hands full, but look how much fun we are having!                 My brother Tim drove up from The Keys with his son for the weekend.  It was so great to see them. 

Whenever Tim and Ernesto are together, delicious food is created!  How about starting offf with shrimp and fish ceviche?  The main course? Fish tacos with a freshly roasted salsa. Oh My!! I may have had one too many tacos, because this was the excitement that ensued after dinner. 

My brother and I are notoriously out by 9pm. 

Mateo wanted to do EVERYTHING with his big cousin Noah.  And Marcelo wanted to was all into the soccer ball Noah brought.             With a plethora of outdoor activities, the boys were not bored ...and with that comes better behavior.  Now, don't get me wrong, we had our moments.  Like the morning where by 10am I felt like it was already 4pm and I was going to pull my hair out.  The boys were restless and we were coloring easter eggs before 7am.  Grandma always has good ideas!             Yes, Marcelo's whole cheek is green.                    Im not sure why I never thought of turning the tv on in the mornings while here.  Without the normal routine of cartoons and fruit....we had fruit with chaos!  One morning I filled up the sink with water and bubbles and they had a ball for about an hour.  

            Even though we didn't see hardly any fish off our dock, we tried our hand at fishing. This did not hold their (or anyone elses) interest for very long.                            We did get to see a lot of fish at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, about 20 miles north  of Weeki Wachee.  It was a pretty great place for adults and kids alike.               You start off with a boat ride from the visitors center to the park where you are able to see lots of birds on the river.  With mostly shaded walkways, you are led around the park to see all kinds of native Florida wildlife.  Manatees, black bears, flamingos, snakes, alligators, deer, bobcats, and more.  Oh and one random hippo named Lou, who was made an honorary Florida citizen by the Governor. Wha?

             We have friends who moved to Winterhaven from Atlanta a few years ago, so we arranged a short visit at their house while we were down that way.  They have a 2.5 year old little girl and so it was pretty cool seeing our kids play together.  Little ones make friends so easily.        Thanks to Stuart and Livini for the hospitality and great memories!  The drive home was smooth with only a few pits stops.  When we were 40 miles outside of Atlanta we hit horrible traffic that lasted for 20 miles.  Very Frustrating!  So happy that we came home to a clean house.  That is the best welcome home!  

Also, my garden was really starting to pop up.  

So excited to garden!  Sprfing is here and one of my favorite trees is blooming all over Atlanta!  Garden updates to come...stay tuned!

  

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Project + An Aquisition + A Road Trip

            This week was pretty awesome at Casa Espinoza.  The weather was good, so we were outside a lot. Ernesto and I went running, cruised around the zoo with the kids, and made many trips to the playground.  We grilled out and I made my favorite kale soup. We also worked outside in the garden.  Spring is here!

Our back yard is getting an overhaul this year, starting by killing all of the weeds and the few blades of grass that remain after laying sod two years ago.  I hate to point fingers, but Ernesto fertilized the young grass too early and it was all downhill from there.  I don't even want to show you an "after" picture.  This is the "before" and is our goal to get back to.                                                                                                                    

We are going to lay yet another blanket of sod, but prepare the dirt better this time. And we are going to school ourselves in the proper care of bermuda grass. 

My compost bin is FINALLY up and running.  (thanks mi amor!)  After a year of talking about it, and three months with the pallets just sitting under the deck waiting to be constructed, my husband got on it!                                   It's not the prettiest compost bin in the world, but guess what?  It does exactly what it is supposed to. It holds compost.              Also, I wish it was double this size, but beggars can't be choosers.  We have a small yard and this little corner near the deck doesn't take up any of the "living" space, so it's the perfect spot.  Bonus: it's convenient!  I can empty my bucket by just throwing it over the deck into the bin.  Done and done.                            

Hopefully, I will be covering my plants with this gold come Fall!  It really just feels good to not being throwing all of that stuff in our trash can anymore.  It seems like such a waste.  I mean, I am a gardener and we accumulate A LOT of compost in our house.  How can I not?  Have you guys ever thought about composting, or do you already?  I would love to hear any tips! 

In other news...I am happy to report that I was successful in arranging a pick up for the brass chairs from Craigslist...in ASHEVILLE!  Yes, my addiction has reached into its 4th state.  

Please, for a moment, just try to look past the faux leather seats and check out the AWESOMENESS that is the square brass frames!!!  So good!  One thing I will say is that I wish they were solid brass, but maybe that is asking too much.  Still though, I know they are worth a pretty penny.  Im not going to make the same mistake I made with my last set of Milo Baughman dining chairs.  (still kicking myself!) 

In even more exciting news (to us!), we left for Florida this morning at 445AM.  We packed up the car Thursday night and loaded the sleeping kids into the car in their pajamas in the morning.   With coffee in hand, we were off on our first road trip of the year!

Last year my parents rented a little rustic cabin on the Weeki Wachee River in Florida (just north of Tampa) for a month.  We spent a week with them and had such a great time, so when they told us they were renting it again, we planned a visit.   

It was yet another easy road trip with kids.  Sleeping, snacks, and a couple movies made the time go by quickly.  We arrived by noon and were out on the kayaks later that afternoon.  A proper post with TONS of fun pictures will bee coming your way once we get back home! Until then, have a great week!  Adios!                                                



Friday, March 06, 2015

Dear Marcelo


Querido Marcelo
It has been a while since I wrote you mi amor, but that doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about it.  You y tu hermano keep mami soooooo busy, but I keep all the fun details on a notes page in my phone so I don't forget until I get it to the bloggy blog.
Important details like your first haircut:
Of course, four months later we are back to the original mexi-mullet that is obviously a signature Espinoza style. (so classy classic!)

I also recorded the first time you went pee pee in the potty. (which was just last week)  You were so proud of yourself.  I would not say you are ready for official potty training yet, but you are interested in the potty.

Marcelo, my funny Marcelo.  You are a walking, talking machine.  At 18 months you were saying over 40 words. 

Now, at 20 months you are belting out new ones daily hourly.

I can't keep up, because now you are just repeating everything. Here's a list of some I remember.
Tunnel, hustle, egg, tree, dough, candle, teeth, paste, please, Annie, India, tight, Rob, kitchen, couch, shoe,  pasas, si, hug, tickle, hug, painting, map, ham, toe, loud, green, coffee. coff coff, bingo, body, butter, hat, toast, meat, ding-dong, beer, fishy, honey, O-H-I-O, down, [te] cais, Frosty, potty, cool, gracias, hey dude, oh-maaaaaaan, to name a few.

This amazes us, because your big brother was only saying a couple words at your age.  (of course now he won't be quiet!)

You recently started saying "thanks."  Only it doesn't sound anything like thanks.  It is more like "geets."  Everything we ask you is "No geets."  Ernesto and I can't stop saying it to each other either.  I think this one is going to stick.  It's hilarious.

Yep, no geets, or si.  You do actually say "si," but it is most commonly communicated by an exaggerated nod of the head... like so...
 More word play:
*  Any meat is "ham"
*  If you are asked "where is so-and so?"  and you can't see them.  The answer is always "in potty"


You are an AMAZING dancer.  You started at a young age [as seen in this here video] and you have perfected your craft since then.  The second music is heard, you go into your signature dance.  Arms bent and raised to chest level, swinging up and down. All the while you're alternating feet are going up and down.  (you can catch him doing it in this Christmas video) Just in the last week, you have started to take on the dance style de tu hermano.  Which is to stand, feet planted wider than shoulders and swing straight arms as fast as possible.  I notice more and more that all you want to do is copy your brother. So cute!


You were a wonderful sleeper right from the beginning, and this has continued.  You are happy with a few books before you lay down, and as long as you have your Elefante and agua, it's rare to hear a peep out of you for a couple hours at nap time and 11 hours at night.   Last month you woke up a few times screaming due to the four incisor teeth that were popping through.  Ice water, or just cuddles with mami got you back to sleep.

Speaking of your elephante, it has a chuper (pacifier) connected to it. You still love that thing .  It was my "plan" to take it away at 18 months (like we did with tu hermano) pero you are waaaaaay more attached than he was.  Before you just used it to sleep, but when you were teething last month, you started to carry it around.  I do think "out of sight, out of mind" is the case with stopping the chuper, however when we are in the car and you are tired, this magical piece of rubber (bpa free of course!) is the difference between falling asleep in one minute or crying until we get home.  You suck away mi amor, I'll let you have it a little longer.

You are so friendly. In the grocery store or walking down the street, you will say "hi" to anyone who will listen.  If they don't listen, you will continue to yell "hi hi hi hi hi" until you get a response.
(You may have gotten your mami's persistance.)

You LOVE books! You can sit and flip though them on your own for quite a while, but will usually bring one to me and climb on my lap.  You love Hand Hand Fingers Thumb and Miss Spiders Tea Party and .....I won't go on because the list is too long.  Books!  You love Books!

You are proving to be a true Espinoza by loving spicy food!  Actually, there aren't too many things that you will not eat.  Avocado, pickles, salsa and more salsa!  You tell us its hot and then keep on eating.

My beautiful Marcelo, you are a ham!  You really crack me and your papi up every day.  You are so sweet with all your hugs and kisses too.   We love everything about you!! 
Te quiero mucho,
tu mami

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Surviving the Cold in Atlanta



I hope you picked up on the sarcasm in the title.  We are in the middle of a winter storm warning here in Atlanta.  What a joke.  That is the Ohioan talking. With that being said, it has been pretty cold (for Atlanta) so we have been indoors a lot.
We made a trip to IKEA and the boys were facinated with the bunk beds.
 
Of course these would be really practical in their small bedroom, but alas, they will not have them, because I scored those beautiful twin Jenny Lind spindle beds.  Maybe you saw on Instagram, but did I ever even show you guys these here on the bloggy blog?

Yeah, they are goig to be so sweet in the boys room.  I have pics to show.  One has already be transformed with some white paint.
[Still at Ikea] We checked out the GODMORGAN vanity in person for our little downstairs bath (as seen in my bath plan)  and I picked up six of the sheepskins for my dining chairs. They are so soft and cozy!

We played in the bathtub in the middle of the day.

Whole Foods has turned into an outing location for us.  We don't full-on grocery shop here, but there are several things that we like to buy, one being the prepared foods.  While I loaded up my plate, Ernesto tried to supervise these little shoppers.  
It got a little too chaotic.  The lunch crowd was there and having to dodge these little carts.  Mateo filled his cart to the brim with cheeses, Marcelo was loading glass bottles, and papi was ready to walk out before I could even put dressing on my salad.  Literally, he walked out [with Marcelo] and I had to convince Mateo that we did not need all that cheese that he had picked out.   Good times!
 We cuddled like there was no tomorrow.

We hit the Children's Museum downtown.  We should really go here more often.  Ernesto thought buying a membership would ensure that we do.  (we will see) The kids were thouroughly entertained.  They went fishing...

Played in a huge sand box...
 and  painted masterpieces...

They were so worn out, just as I like them!  Guaranteed sleepers they are!  Sleeping beauties!

The boys have been getting in a lot of garbage truck and LEGO time.

Our days don't go buy without some ipad/tv time as well.  They can't even look away.  Must have been watching Wild Kratts.

My mom and dad stopped in a couple days on their way down to Florida for a month!  What snow birds!  (We will be heading down to stay with them in a couple weeks!  Can you say 75 degrees!?)  We lunched  at  Krog Street Market (of course!) and just when we thought we couldn't come up with any new ideas for entertaining the kids....my mom said Bowling!!  YES!!  We all had so much fun!

In other news, we went out on a date last week!!  It's unheard of not too often we get a babysitter (mostly because we don't have one!) But our friends Rob & Fennella volunteered to watch the boys so we could go out with our longtime friends Floyd and Richard.  We met them 15 years ago at our gym when we first moved to Atlanta.  Crazy how time flies!

They had never been to the Krog Street Market and since that is the only place we go these days, we met there.  We chose the new The Cockentrice to sit down and eat.  As described on the website, this restaurant is a "celebration of charcuterie"  delivered by on-site butchers and cheese mongers all while working with locals farmers and daries.

We gobbled up two different boards of deliciousness and a couple bottles of Pinot Noir.

The guys had great seats to the Hawks game...so after eating we Ubered it over to Phillips Arena.  Even though I couldn't care less about basketball we had such a fun night!  Thanks for inviting us guys!!
Life has been good, dispite the "Winter storm."  How are you northerners surviving the cold!  (and I'm not being sarcastic there!)

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