Friday, September 24, 2021

Mateo is TEN Years Old

Well, it happened, I have tenured this parenting job. Mateo Turned TEN the other day (September 20th).  The day started out as all other birthdays...too early (notice it is dark) because someone was excited for presents. 

Los hermanos were right there too. 
They are always there for present moral support.

Since Mateo's birthday fell on a week day, we decided to invite his friends to one of his favorite places to hang out, Brook Run Skatepark .  That Friday after school. I loaded up the van after school and let them loose! 
It's a great place to have a party!  No entertainment planning or games needed.  They rode scooters, ran around and got worn out.  I did get cupcakes and order pizza/drinks, so they were in and out of the "garage".  Everyone had a blast and Mateo thanked me afterward saying it was perfect party.

He was so glad his friends made it. Ashton, Warren, Santiago, Bohdi, Diego, Zoey, Paloma and Marcelo.
It was a great group!

For his birthday dinner we brought Ashton and Zoey with us to Krog Street where we met Virginia and Rodney's clan for Mateo's favorite pizza (mine too!) at Veruni Napoli.  
I picked up an ice cream cake on the way there and it was ready to cut by the time we were done with pizza. 

His number one wish list item was a Prodigy trick scooter.  They had entry level trick scooters for the last 9 months, but honestly beat the crap out of them and were ready for an upgrade.  He was smiling from ear to ear! 

Then out of nowhere papi got him a gift that was a surprise for mami as well as Mateo.  A GO PRO camera??  WHAAAAAT??  A little spendy but I do think it was a great idea.  I  can't wait to see the videos he can make with his bike/scooter! I would love for Mateo and Marcelo to really get into this and learn to edit etc.  It would be great hobby for them!
That t-shirt was a gift from Ernesto...and it IS Ernesto....after winning a jujitsu match.  One of his teammates took his outline from "the #1 podium" picture and printed these t-shirts for Buckhead Juijitsu. Pretty awesome!

Mateo is an adventure seeker.  He is most happy on his bike or scooter jumping ramps and hills. He is still ALL in for BMX racing and we love watching him so much!  He loves competing and is always trying to improve.  I am so proud of his attitude when biking in races.  He wins and loses with grace and dignity.  

We drove to Augusta a few days after his birthday for a Gold Cup race and he came home with two trophies!

His other loves are his pets (kitties Titi and el Chapo plus our new birdie Loquito) video games (currently Brawl Stars, Minecraft, Roblox and Hill Climb Racing), board games, reading (ONLY at bedtime though!), and watching BMX and scooter pros on YouTube. 

Mateo is also, crazy about candy. Aunt Jenny (aka Fred) knows this and sent him an amazon gift card, (which he promptly spent) and THREE HUGE BAGS of Skittles. 😱Come on Fred!  Why would you do that? 😑  Three bags? Jumbo size?  

He was so happy about it but all I could think was hyped up on sugar and cavities, hyped up on sugar and cavities.😩  Thanks again Fred!  

Despite all the impending cavities, my baby has a gorgeous smile!!

Happy 10th birthday mi amor, we love you so much!! 
I compiled these photos from your 10 birthdays. 


Friday, July 30, 2021

Camp Pick Up + Biking the Virgina Creeper Trail

We are home from our 2nd road trip of the Summer.  This one took us to Pennsylvania for the boys one week sleep away camp at Woodward.

On the way to the camp we hit DC for one night as a family and then Paloma Ernesto and I explored Hershey and Philadelphia without the boys (while they were at camp). 

The day before pick up we left Philly and stayed the night in Harrisburg, PA, just an hour and a half south of Woodward.   
What a cute little town!   We strolled along the Susquehanna River and oohed and awed over the cute houses and quaint downtown area.

Ernesto found a cute little corner cafe called Alvaro.  We ended up eating here twice. 

While we were sitting outside here eating lunch, my phone rang.  After no word from my babies all week, Mateo called on the 2nd to last day....because they ran out of money LOLOL
It was so sweet to hear his voice on the phone. He was talkative and excited to tell me about everything. 
But $$$$$$$!  They were out of money and still wanted to buy a sweatshirt and Mateo had a flat tire etc etc. 
All food is included for the week but we had given them each $100 (loaded on a "camp card") that they could use at any of the shops for souvenirs and treats and any extra activities.  Even though we didn't talk to them all week, Ernesto and I felt close to them by looking at their purchase history online.  We logged in to their accounts each day and LAUGHED SOOOOO MUCH as we read aloud what they were buying....

Look at this list of goodies!  These guys were living their best life! 

Sourpatch Kids, Skittles, Airheads, go carts, ice cream, milk shakes, Brownies, Soda etc...  haha I know I would've done the same thing as a kid.  And this is just a screenshot of a couple days 😳😳 

It was finally pick up day.  Driving the winding roads to Camp Woodward was peaceful.  
It was nostalgic really.  This is the landscape I grew up in rural Ohio.  Farm land, cornfields, green open spaces.  I took it all in as I knew that in an hour the peace would be gone.

We pulled in to the camp and I got excited to see my babies.  
They were excited to see us too, but not ready to leave.  "Can we stay 2 weeks next year mami?" 

They showed us around and introduced us to their new friend from camp that week.  His name is Dillon and he lives in NYC.  They are already trying to coordinate next year to make sure they go at the same time:)

They had a BLAST!  Talking about it non-stop.  Im so glad they had that week of independence! 
And boy were they independent...
They were able to make their own decisions about food and snacks, managing money and deciding to wear the same clothes over and over.  Seriously, hardly any of the clothes packed were dirty/worn, I don't even thing they showered.  Hygiene is a big responsibility that they just aren't ready for yet. Ha!

We were riding in the car for a while and Marcelo just randomly said "Guess what Mami? I didn't brush my teeth the whole week!"  πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ˜±πŸ˜­πŸ˜­πŸ˜­

We wanted to break up the trip a bit on the way home too.  We  headed south...right down to the southwest corner of Virginia where it meets Tennessee and North Carolina.  
Also, where has Virginia been all of my life? Talk about a gorgeous state!! This was the first time (that I remember) driving through it. It was a gorgeous drive- I was so impressed with the beauty!  I made a mental note that we must explore more in the future.
We stopped in Abingdon VA with one goal. Ride the Virginia Creeper Trail. Funny enough, my friend Virgina told me about the Virginia Creeper Trail.
She went on and on about what a beautiful ride it is and promised me that it was doable for kids because the trail starts atop a mountain and winds through meadows, farmland, pastures, little cute houses...all at a slight decline.  

On the website it says the trail is a "retired railroad bed and is a casual biking experience with gentle grades..."  Needless to say, we wanted to DO IT! 
On the website it says the trail is a "retired railroad bed and is a casual biking experience with gentle grades..."  Needless to say, we wanted to DO IT! 

We arrived in Abingdon around 930p tired from the 7 hour drive from the boys' camp in PA and checked in to the Abington Doubletree. Abingdon is actually where the 34 mile Virginia Creeper Trail ends. (If you are starting at the top of White Top mountain).
 At 9am we drove 15 minutes to Damascus where you can catch the shuttle to White Top.    I just called Creeper Trail Bike Rental & Shuttle to reserve our bikes/shuttle during that car ride.  Ha!  Always a planner!
There are so many places to rent bikes and I think the prices are all similar. For a nice mountain bike rental and shuttle to the top, it cost $35 per person. Luckily we had no problems getting a spot and we were on the 11am shuttle! 

Since we were doing a one day ride and we have kids, we rode just half the trail.  (17 miles from the top down to Damascus, the halfway point) Damascus is a popular town where 7 trails pass through, two of them being the Virginia Creeper and Appalachian Trail.  Needless to say it's a cool little town that attracts a lot of travelers.  

The kids were not that excited about this adventure (as you can see in the above pic) and we DID NOT DARE tell them that the ride was 17 miles.  LOL  
BUT! We all made it and with little to no complaining.  It really was a very easy ride.

About halfway through the ride we came upon Hellbenders Cafe a little restaurant right on the trail.  A lot of bikes were parked out front and we were ready for some food!!
The weather was beautiful too, so we weren't uncomfortably hot!
The trail is a smooth, hard packed surface of dirt and fine gravel....and many wood bridges.

We didn't need to stop and rest, that is how easy this ride is...but we did stop for water or helmet adjustments.  
Or when the kids wanted to explore or climb on the rocks along the river. 

...or when there was a butterfly that was big, blue and friendly. 

Really, we stopped for anything 
We waited in a short line to order and they brought it out quickly. Burgers, hot dogs, corndogs and fries.  Not the healthiest selection but it hit the spot. Also, we were riding 17 miles,  so I would say the activity vs. food choices balanced out.
Again with the rolling green hills and fresh air. 

When the kids saw a little store on the side of the trail, they wanted to stop.  They assume there are treats to be had.  It was such a cute little place equips with all kinds of hiking and biking gear. 

I can't remember but I think we may have grabbed a few drinks.  We really just needed a bandaid for this guy's elbow...our only casualty while on the trail.
No doubt he was daredeviling on the rocks.  He slid and wiped out. Luckily it was nothing that slowed him down.  I am so glad we made this adventure happen. It was a beautiful day.  If you get a chance to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail, I highly recommend it! 


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