Monday, June 29, 2015

Marcelo Turns TWO with a Dinosaur Party!!!!

A couple years ago I bought a set of dinosaur cookie cutouts at Homegoods. As Marcelo's birthday approached I couldn't really pinpoint a favorite "thing" for him. (A day after the party Ernesto said BUGS! You should have had a bug party! NOW you tell me!?)
He IS facinated with bugs and that would've been a great idea, had you mentioned it BEFORE the party mi amor. I went with the dinosaurs...starting with this cute invitation I found on Etsy.
I asked the designer to add a little picture of the birthday boy, which she did at no extra charge.
My mom flew down on Wednesday night and on Thursday we baked theese cute cookies, the inspiration of the party!
Actually all of the baking was done ahead of time. Im such a planner! (wow, I never get to write that!) I used my moms chocolate zucchini cake recipe for the cupcakes, made this chocolate buttercream frosting and piled it high.
The plastic dinosaurs were from Target and I spray painted them white (toxic?) and warned everyone not to eat them. I bought a cute 8" cake pan and plate then tried a new recipe. A White cake with a raspberry filling/topping. Im so glad I did. It will be my go to white cake recipe from now on. What made it so special? Almond extract in the batter. Oh and a fresh raspberry sauce in the middle and spread on top. It was divine!
I finished off the sides with the chocolate buttercream frosting, and added a bigger dinosaur topper.
Im so dissapointed in my pictures by the way. When the party was starting I quickly snapped pictures with my phone. I need to pull out my big camera for occasions like this. Duh Cindy!? The iphone is amazing, but it can't do everything.
The night before, we hung up the recycled "Feliz Cumpleaños" banner and Marcelo's monthly photos from the first two years of his life.
( I am so glad I took the time to do this. It's great to see the changes. I will actually have a break from the monthly shots until baby #3 arrives. Whew!)
We blew up some balloons and I left a few presents on the table for him to wake up to. Of course big brother woke up first and thought he could open birthday boy's presents and just show him what he got. Ha! I held him off, but Mateo definitely helped with the opening.
Legos and walkie talkies. The ladder was kind of a joint present, but isn't that a win-win? Both boys are excited and happy. (I do that for Ernesto all the time. I buy him a gift that I can enjoy too. Makes sense, right? Surprise Chicago trip!? Win-win!)
My mom was such a big help (per her usual). She filled these little paper cups with treats and helped me set everything out just minutes before the first guests arrived.

It was so cute. (not that you can tell with these shitty pics! ugh!)
My dad ran electric into our shed for the party. (I hope my dad just busted up laughing.)
This project that took a little longer than he expected. (isn't that always the case?) When I finally cried and told him that I didn't need light in the shed as much as I needed shredded meat for the tacos, he promptly heeded the crazy pregnant daughters wishes and shredded all of the meat. THEN he ran to Office Depot to pick up this print of Marcelo for the table.
I love you so much dad! Thanks for your help!! Ernesto has found it very handy having light out there!
After everyone stuffed themselves with tacos de puerco y carne, beans, and several salsas we sang to the birthday boy and cut the cake.
Then it was time for this beast. I was so happy when I found this dino online at Target.
We are earning a reputation for our parties and piñatas. I don't think we will ever be able to have birthday party without one. And why would we? Nothing and I mean NOTHING gets kids excited like a piñata.
Marcelo is really getting better at hitting everything piñatas too. Practice makes perfect.
Of course he still needs a few more parties to catch up to Mateo. This boy is almost a profesional.
All the other kids gave it swing after swing....
This dinosaur was a tough one. Finally the strap broke and the dino fell to the ground. Since the candy didn't fly out, Ernesto stuck his hand in the busted head and threw the candy to the swingers below.
I think everyone had a great time at the party...I know the birthday boy did! Thanks so everyone who came out to celebrate with us!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A New Couch...Finally!

We have been long overdue for a new couch. Five years ago, I bought one on ....wait for it....Craigslist, and I loved the mid-century lines.
My intentions all along were to have it recovered. Of course the longer I sit with an idea (or plan) in my head, the more likely it is to change. Kids came, dirt piled on the fabric, a spring popped (it was great for jumping!) and I gave up.
I have been in love with the Maxwell sofa from Restoration Hardware for several years. Ernesto's brother has it and it is the BOMB!
However, I just couldn't justify spending $4k on a couch. With 2 toddler boys and another baby on the way, I know my furniture still has years of serious wear and tear to look forward to.
BUT I couldn't stop thinking leather was the way to go! Leather lasts a long time and cleans up easily. For a couch that was going to take me through the dirtiest years of my kids' lives, my budget was somewhere around $1000, and I have never seen a good looking leather couch for that price...not even at IKEA. So, of course, I constantly had one eye on Criagslist.
I found this one last week. Seller was asking $1100. She had a matching loveseat which I did not need.
There were a couple things that bothered me. 1. The color. I was really wanting a more saddle color instead of chocolate brown. 2. The cusions seemed a little too puffy in back, and I really love the 2 cushion set up vs. three. 3. It looks like the leather had a seam right across the seat?? No.
I was reaching guys...ready to get rid of my current couch and basically SETTLING for something good enough.
Ernesto finally agreed to go see this couch with me, but by that time, the seller decided they didn't want to sell their set separately. She apologized, but in the same text told me that the JCPenny Outlet had some of their "Signature Sofas" on sale for $999 and looked very similar to hers.
I immediately went online to check out the sofa and my jaw dropped. I got so excited. Yes! It was almost an exact match to the Restoration couch! Nine feet long, only two cushions AND it had feather cushions!
Yeah, online it was one sale for $3500!? But at the outlet $1000. I was sold! You know I live for a good deal! We were there when they opened Saturday morning and had probably 10-12 couches to choose from.
Each one varied in color, some leaning red-ish and that was not appealing to me. We did however, find one that was perfect!
So, can you tell which one is the Restoration couch and which is from Penny's?
Pretty tough right?
We are pretty happy with our purchase. And although it is not a lux depth (of 42") like the Resto couch, it is still long enough for two adults to stretch out and relax. I'd like to think that is worth the $3500 savings.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to Paul Arnold and all the the guys in my life who are living up to the big responsibility of being a father! My dad is a great person and is very generous to his family and friends. His time is the most precious gift he gives us (this includes his shuttle runs) and we love that so much. He is a funny man and a good friend. He is also a great father-in-law and wonderful grandpa. Thanks dad for all you do for us!
Also a big Happy Father's Day to this guy! He is one popular papi!
Although my little surprise outing at an indoor golf center called Top Golf didn't work out (they don't take reservations, and there was a 4 hour wait!) he loved the idea. Its the thought that counts?! Ernesto is going to check out this place with a couple golf buddies, as this may not have worked out with 2 small kids anyway.
What did work out is a nice lunch in west midtown, followed by a couple hours at the Children's Museum. The boys got their papi a beer making kit, and he was suprised and quite happy with this. He has wanted to try this out for years. I may have thought up this gift, but the boys definitely agreed it was a good one, because Papi. Loves. Beer!
I think the best gifts of all sometimes don't cost much, but you can tell that it is givien with love. I bought this little Father's Day fill in sheet on Etsy for $3 and thought it would be so cute to have the boys fill this out every year for thier papi. Mateo did a great job, and these answers were all his own.
How fun to have years worth of these sweet words. So cute! Marcelo will have to start next year!
Do you guys have any fun traditions for Father's Day or any special gifts that are the same every year?

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Pre-School Photos

Mateo has been going to The Language Garden pre-school for almost 2 years now and he loves it! It's a Spanish immersion program and I couldn't be more happy with the experience they create for my kid! He has learned so much and made friends along the way. (I have made friends too! I mean, what a great place to meet other mothers.) I am excited that starting in August, Marcelo is going to join his big brother at school and mami is going to have some mornings FREE!! (at least until baby #3 comes)
Mateo had his first professional photo shoot before we left for San Diego. The school brought in a photographer and I was told I could bring Marcelo and hop in a picture with them as well. They turned out just lovely!
I plan on printing some out for family and I am still wanting to put up a family collage of frames going up the stairwell, maybe these beautiful pictures will be the motivation to get started.

Friday, June 12, 2015

San Diego Wrap Up!

I left SD last week so I could be in Atlanta for my jewelry show at Virginia Highlands Summerfest (which was awesome by the way!)
I picked up my boys at the airport Wednesday morning. SIX days after me!! They took the red-eye flight home from San Diego and arrived at 530 am. I guess that will be our flight from now on with the boys. Ernesto said they slept the whole way. I had fun living the single life, but boy did I miss them!

We have enjoyed being at home sweet home again, but our time in San Diego was pure Summer. Sun and mild temperatures, family and cookouts, beach and bike rides! (welcome back to Atlanta- where it is already in the 90's and you want to stayin the air conditioning!)

I wanted to post another batch of photos from our time there, mainly because I love looking back on our trips and how all the little ones change.

On most Sunday afternoons in San Diego the whole family gathers at Ernesto's padres house for delicious food and fun. One Sunday Erin and I planned a beach outing in Del Mar instead and it was perfect. Everyone had a blast and we were there until 8pm.
We got a family pic, which we haven't captured in a while. (Jerry, why did you leave so early!?)
Let me give you a closer up of the newest Espinoza, little Zack.
He is three months old and a little chunker. Such a happy baby too. Being around him and holding him made me excited for this little baby coming our way! And here is my baby, just as independant as he can be.
He must have scooted down this hill and climbed back up at least 15 times. Im not sure what the facination was, but it kept him busy for a long time.
These four little cousins had a blast on the beach together. They would run into the water, but only get up to their thighs before screaming and running back out. San Diego, your water is just. Too. Cold.

Are these girls crazy adorable or what? Those bikinis!!
At some point the boys and girls split. Girls went to the swings, and all of the boys spent over an hour digging for treasures. They each had a rock in hand and were excited to show eachother what they had found.

Which was? More rocks!! Oh the things that entertain kid s, right? Needless to say they were dirty and tired. It took just 5 minutes in the car for them to fall asleep. (My favorite kind of bedtime!)
Although we only got to the top once on this trip, we did hike Cowles Mountain. Whew! Mateo was not into that day, and Marcelo really tried, but it is a hard hike with lots of loose rocks. Ill just say it was a great workout for Ernesto and I because we mostly looked like this.
Adding 23 pounds (Marcelo) to the 10 pounds I have gained being prego is no joke. .
A workout is our main reason of going to Cowles anyway, so...mission completed. We have seen the view from the top SOOOOOOO many times, but it is still a nice litte [windy] reward.
Tata and Marcelo took a break together.
More sweetness with these little cousins.
Ernesto bought a firepit for his parents while we were out there and we made use of it a few nights.
A whole bag of marshmallows disappeared in less than 15 minutes!
One day I met Erin and Tavo at Birch Aquarium with the kids. (Ernesto was golfing!)
They enjoys seeing all the fish, running with their cousins and the outdoor activity area was a hit too!
As usual the food in San Diego, particularly at mi suegras house, is always to die for. I know I am gaining weight because I am pregnant but I feel like there is some correlation to my belly popping out while we were out there eating delicious food for 3 weeks.
Mi suegra makes THE BEST Menudo. Do you think cows stomach lining is fattening? I have often wondered, but never looked into it. I really don't want to know.
A trip to tia Vero's house would not be the same without a piñata. It's now becoming a tadition, and these kids love it!
I'm ending with my gorgeous niece Cariza. Her papa owns Lucky Lu's, a delicious upscale chinese restaurant in downtown San Diego. She is a server there and insists that her tips are better when she is all made up. I wanted to do a before and after (this 30-minute process).
Of course she looks great either way. She is also a make-up artist, and has a way of transforming you. Last year while she was visiting us at Christmas time, she did my eyes and gave me eyebrows like hers and I looked like a transvestite. I do not have a picture, and I'm not sure if I would share it online anyway. Ha!
Ok I am done! We are working on the back yard full force over here with a goal of completion for Marcelo's birthday June 28th. My baby is going to be TWO! Check back for updates!


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