Friday, June 07, 2019

School's Out for the Summer!!!

Well, that's a Wrap!!
School is officially out for the Summer.  Woo-hoo!! The last day was actually May 23rd,  so we are well into our relaxed Summertime hours. Playing outside until dark, catching lightening bugs, up late watching movies, (or Ninja Warrior Jr.) and waking up late AT THE SAME DAMN TIME AS A SCHOOL DAY.  😡😡.  UGH!  I think we are gaining five minutes or so everyday, so MAYBE we will get to "sleep in" some day.
Although Paloma will be at the Language Garden one more year, they always have a little graduation/flower ceremony to say goodbye to kids that are leaving and to welcome back kids whom are returning. 
This little OWL is staying.  (Ernesto just brought back her little green dress from Mexico, isn't it beautiful!?!). I love her teachers so much.  She has been with Ms. Kristen and Ms. Suzy for two years and next school year she will be in the "big kids class" with Ms. Loyda.  (which is essentially PRE-K)
Paloma's best friend is Gigi.  They are connected at the hip and school and play SO NICE together!

Graduating from Kindergarten this year, is my funny guy Marcelo.  His class had a little "ceremony" and sang some songs and answered questions to show off their Spanish skills.
This is both the Kinder classes combined. 
**side note on hair.  Ernesto gave the boys haircuts a few week ago.    Mateo has a short mohawk, Marcelo requested buzzed all over but longer on the top. The hair stands up and looks cool ...when a bit of wax is applied. When nothing is done to it (like most days)....well, you see lopsided hair what Im talking about. I have been saying this for years, but thank god their hair grows quickly 😂

Marcelo's Spanish teachers are MarcelA Barreneche (Colombian) and Ms. Ozorio (Costa Rican)
I LOVE them and Im so glad Paloma will be with them too (though not for a couple years)
Marcelo's English teachers- Ms. Hogan & Ms Varino were also great!  
 The patience needed for Kindergardners?!?  OMG.  Ms. Hogan told me in one parent/teacher conference that Marcelo gets out of trouble a lot be cause he is so darn cute.

Mateo's is really going to miss his teachers Ms. Comstock and Ms. Tarazona. (Venezuelan)
 These ladies  have been so awesome in helping Mateo transition into this school.  Although he was glad to be joining Marcelo at GLOBE, it was really hard for him to leave Briar Vista Elementary (remember he cleared the waitlist for GLOBE 6 weeks into the school year?) and jump into a new school format (Montessori to Constructivist) , new friends, and SPANISH too!
These ladies worked hard DAILY to keep him on track and I am forever grateful to have such patient, knowledgeable teachers at this school!!

And guess what?  They will be Marcelo's teachers now, so Im glad we'll still be seeing them all the time!
So how is the boys' Spanish???  Welllllll, they don't want to speak it. ha. And they especially don't like for us to speak it to them.  BUT!  They understand and  that is the first step to learning a language. I remember when I was learning, I could under stand a lot, but couldn't put together the words quick enough!   I am confident they will get it.  A Summer with abuela will help immensely!

School let out at noon the last day and so we took the kids out for a "BOATLOAD" of Thai food/sushi.  Thaicoon knows how to serve up some fun and delicious food! 

 The first day of Summer break was spent IN THE WATER!!  

It has been in the 90's here for several weeks [already!].  Unfortunately none of the public pools are open before Memorial Day, (why oh why?) but luckily we have a friend (hi Ricky!) with a pool who said "y'all can come over anytime!" And so we did...2x in one week. 
 Once our favorite pool at Piedmont Park opened Memorial Day weekend, so we bought a membership and were there all day!  
Because the pool is $25 every time we go ($5 per person) we figured out that if we go to the pool just 15 times this Summer, the membership would be worth it.  With extended hours for members, it makes it nice to get there early and grab a table, but also be able to stay until 8p and bring dinner! 
Nothing and I mean NOTHING wears kids out like sunny swimming! 
We signed Marcelo and Paloma up for swim lessons every morning this week to get a jump start on Summer.  We plan on spending A LOT of time in the water.  Mateo took one week of private lessons a couple of years ago and that is all he needed.  Instead of private lessons, there are three kids in the class this week, but fingers crossed they can learn the essentials.  
We stayed after the lesson one day, but the rest of the week was overcast so we headed to the playground a couple times and also stalked all of the turtles and ducks on the lake.

I. DIE.  They are already turning blondie, and Paloma had tan lines after one day at the pool!  My little Mexicanos!!! (and YES she was wearing sunscreen 😱)
 Sometimes I capture some sweetness, but let's be clear, this kissy business is not happening everyday.

...and this hand-holding lasted about 20 seconds.

Do you guys bribe your kids with sweets??
Yeah, me neither. Never.

We have to provide entertainment and the sprinkler has worked quite a few times.

A couple days when we didn't have any plans.... things were just "SO BORING!"
But boredom can spark creativity. 

Yep. This is what Im dealing with guys.
Mateo finally got to experience a LIVE futbol game. 
Ernesto's friend had a couple extra tickets and so a surprise date was planned for the two of them.  Atlantas new soccer team is SOOOOOO popular, they are packing Mercedes Benz stadium.  I was told that the energy and constant cheering during the game is like no other sporting event.  We thought Mateo's interest might dwindle during the game, but he was watching the game closely and totally into all the commotion!  

----------------VACATION TIME-------------------

Tomorrow we are leaving for our Summer vacation.  It is going to be quite the adventure.  
We are starting out by flying (Delta, of course!) to Denver to visit my oldest brother Tim and fam.

I haven't been to Colorado is soooooo long, and I know my brother will cook up some exciting activities, never mind some DELICIOUS FOOD!! 
They moved to CO from FL last year and just bought a new house, so we are looking forward to seeing his new life there.  

He will also make sure our workouts continue as he is a religious CrossFit-ter.  Can't wait to hang out!  After roughly five days with Tim, we are renting a CAR.  WHAT?! Roadtrip!! 
I made a little trail map below.  Red lines are flying and the blue line we are driving. Roadtripping!! 
So, yes, that is a LONG blue line.  20.5 hours! YIKES! But.....there are so many cool places to stop, that we won't be in the car more that 5-6 hours between each stop. 
First up Moab.  Arches National Park.  
Im SO. EXCITED.  I have been reading about hikes and I have just got to get these kids to up their milage.  I bought them Camelbacks!  Do you think these will help??  Well, I will let you know.  

After a couple nights at Arches, we are going to swing on over to Bryce Canyon.
Bryce Canyon --source
Is that crazy or what??  I had not e even heard of Bryce Canyon before my neighbor mentioned that we must stop there.  
Just and hour away is Zion National Park, which is a place you can not cover in a few days.  Unfortunately, that is all we will have.  
I have to just be ok with the fact that this is the preview trip.  It's not nearly enough time to see everything but we will see what we can, do what we are able with 3 kids and just plan to come back when they are older to reeeeeally go hiking. 
We will be taking our sweet time, but there are a couple deadlines.  

We have one week to make it from Denver to Vegas.  
Every year Ernesto meets friends to golf there and we are just incorporating it.  I can't wait to see the kids faces when walking on the strip.  
New York, New York, The Venation, the Eiffel Tower, prostitutes, they are going to get an eye full.  
But kids or no kids, Vegas is an in-and-out in a couple days kinda stop. Amiright?  We are thinking of staying at Circus Circus.  Yes, it's old and possibly run-down (??) but check out what is in the pool area...
...who doesn't want huge water slides in the outdoor pool. Not my kids.  They are going to go nuts! 
Also, a room with 2 king beds is $50 hahaha. 

Ernesto will golf in his [friendly] tournament the morning of the 20th and we will immediately head on down to Palm Springs, where we will be meeting up with all the Espinoza's for a little R&R in this house right here.  
Oh, don't mind us... just staying in Palm Springs with this as our backyard view.  

HELLO!!! Don't hate me because I'm beautiful!

A huge thank you goes out to Tavo (Ernesto's brother) for planning this!  Last year he put together a family vacation in Baja, which was a BLAST!!   Although the guys will be golfing quite a bit, Im hoping to squeeze in a Mid Century Modern home tour.  (Ernesto and I celebrated our anniversary here several years ago and I was DROOLING over the architecture!!) 

After 5 days in Palm Springs, we will be heading back to San Diego with Ernesto's padres, where we will stay for....a couple three weeks an undetermined amount of time:)  We have buddy passes going back to Atlanta (and up to Canton to visit my family in late July) so we are going to play it by ear. 
FLEXIBILITY is gold!!! 

MY padres are actually flying out to San Diego to visit too!  It has been 5 years since they've done that and we are looking for a house rental in Mexico for when they come.  So excited!!  Our parents get a long so well, and LOVE playing games/cards.  
My dad recently taught us a game called Pegs & Jokers and it is SO FUN!  I foresee some late nights in our future!

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Girls Trip Part II: Navajo Nation

On to part two of my WEEK LONG Wild West trip!!  woo-woop!

But! First, let me just start by saying that mi esposo is AWESOME!!!

Want to how many arrangements I made for Ernesto to be a "single parent" for one week?
ZERO. NADA. NOT ONE. Period. End of Story!

No phone calls, no prepared meals, no lists, no reminders, no soccer schedules. 

I kissed everyone goodbye and felt 100% sure that everything would be great.  That is a nice feeling and something for which I am grateful.   

Papi is actually the KING of entertainment and surprises!  

Ok... back to the Wild Wild West!
Maureen lives and works in Navajo Nation!  We headed back to her house after hiking the Grand Canyon!

The Navajo Nation is a Native American territory covering about 17,544,500 acres.   It occupies 3 states...portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico . This is the largest land area retained by a Native American tribe and never really hear about it.  Have you of Navajo Nation?  

I had not....but there I was.....

 Window Rock  is the capital "city."  

Named for.....wait for it.....this "window" in the rock. Pretty amazing right?
Close by stands a memorial to veteran Code Talkers. I vaguely remember learning about this back in my school days, but I was intrigued to recall that the US armed forces drafted Navajos in WW II to relate top secret messages by phone and radio in the Navajo language.  None of which were ever deciphered by the Germans or Japanese. Wow!
Maureen is an Occupational Therapist and has worked in the hospital on the reservation in Fort Defiance for the last 2 years. You are not allowed to live on the reservation if you are not Navajo (or married to one) UNLESS you work at the hospital.  (or maybe a teacher too I think?)
There is a special housing community for employees right next to the hospital.
Fun fact:  She lives in AZ but works in NM right across the street. ha!
Here is the beautiful Maureen in front of her cool workspace.  

Or spaceship I should say....Its a very modern building in the middle of the desert.
The view out of her work windows is super gorgeous! In fact all of the land I saw on the Res was beautiful.  Huge red rocks jutting out, high plateaus, and green bushy plants.  However, in the middle of all this amazing-ness is a lot of poverty.  Random homes are scattered in what seems to be the middle of nowhere.  And by homes I am also talking about A LOT of trailers and campers, many without running water or electricity.

There is not much in the way of businesses on the res, but sales on the side of the road are happening.  
A must try?  Fry bread.
And so we pulled over.
It was tasty.  Half was sprinkled with salt and the other half with honey.

I enjoyed learning about Navajo Nation.  Its fascinating, but also a little embarrassing that I didn't know more.  What a sad history lesson for the US.

You might think we were sore and tired after our big Grand Canyon hike, but we STILL hiked every day on the reservation.  We wanted to...not even sore because we are like well oiled machines. 😂

We hit Red Rock Park just outside Gallup.

We hiked an hour up the Pyramid Trail 
All the while taking in views of Church Rock, which you can continue on the same trail to reach.
We did not do that.  Maureen is very lazy, so she thought pointing to it was enough. 😜 JK

The top was peaceful minus the wind whipping around. 
 Majestic is the word that stuck in my head through this whole trip.
 And friendship of course.  This girl! 
I told her before I left......"I didn't even get sick of you at all this week."
OMG did we laugh!!

There were two other hikes Maureen wanted to take me on while on the Res, so we left right when she got home from work.  I had been lounging at her house all day in PJ's so it was nice to get outside in the afternoon. Buuuuuuuut, don't get me wrong, peace and quiet with coffee and my computer did.not.suck.
 I forget this trails name, but how about Cross Top (Maureen?)  UPDATE: it's called Blue Canyon
 Cliffs everywhere.  Do not mess around with selfies on cliffs guys.

One more to go....and maybe the coolest.  The hike closest to Maureen's house is called "Bellybutton."
And there she is.  Yes, that is the bellybutton.....from the top.  From the ground you can't tell where this belly button is...
Not sure how long this truck cab has been sitting there, but the rust matches the red rock and I was compelled to climb in for a pic.
The terrain was different from any of our other hikes.  Once we were up high on the smooth rock this the "trail" was not so really just had to stay away from the edge drop-off.  Pretty sure my kids would not be going on this one. 

Below you can see the  narrow"trail" to the top.  For some reason, the smooth rocks don't seem like they would kill you as violently, right?   Maybe you would just roll!?!?  I have always been a best-case scenario kind of person. 😆

40 minutes later at the top, we sat on the edge of the deepest bellybutton I have ever seen and just marveled at the view.
This trip, THIS SCENERY has made me want to start meditating.  Something I have been interested in for a while but have not made a priority.  Gosh do I need more peace in my life.  One hour of yoga is nice, but I want MORE!!!

Maureen is pointing at the hospital and to the right is the housing community of employees. 

On my 2 hour train ride from Gallup back to to Albuquerque (to catch my flight) I actually started crying. 

 It was so peaceful and beautiful.  I went over the last week in my head and couldn't believe the awesomeness that I had experienced, but also it hit me how much I missed my family.  Perhaps some tears were shed because peace and quiet will not be mine again for a very long time 😂😂 haha!

All my babies, including mi esposo guapo were waiting for me at the airport and OH THE EXCITEMENT!!!  "Mami Mami Mami". Sooooooooo much to hear about! I love being missed!💕💕💕💕💕

Let me just put this in writing right here, right now.  This trip was the first annual "Mami's going away for a week by herself trip!"  Boy does every woman need this!! Not being needed for ONE WHOLE week was just what the doctor ordered.  Look how peaceful..
It re-energized me and I didn't raise my voice for a full 12 hours after my arrival! 😂😂😂
just kidding...but not really. 😬

Go to the Grand Canyon.  Goodbye.


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