Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 in review!!!

What a year it's been. 

We welcomed 2014 with a sweet celebration of AJ's second birthday. Days later I began a new job which I though was what I always wanted 9-5 no weekends no holidays but as it turned out the heart can be deceiving and although I met amazing girls here I would only be here for the course of the year. Let's call 2014 my transition year in the career department.  

I got baptized! It was a big commitment, and up until the night before I had my doubts on whether I was ready for that, one that I'm still working with but as it has it it has been the best decision I've ever made! I also started a no heat challenge in which I decided to discover my natural hair texture 

I celebrated my 27th birthday home with my loved ones and did some winery hopping over the weekend with new friends. 

After celebrating Easter we packed our bags and headed to the Dominican Republic for multiple reasons. Mainly to witness my mother become one with her long distance love. This trip was recorded as the worse vacation ever but with a blessing in disguise because little did we know it would be the last time I'd get to see my grandmother alive. Another great season of baseball for us, best season thus far. 

We attended one of the many weddings of the year. Towards the end of the month my only living grandmother passed away. It was very sad and still unbelievable but indeed true. I started my garden again this year with great success, those zucchinis were on point! lol

We celebrated our three years of marriage anniversary. We didn't do anything special other than pack our bags again to head to the west coast to visit my SIL. A much needed vacation for us all. I got another big chop, the biggest yet, to get rid of damaged hair. 

Steven turned 8. When did that happened? My baby is growing up way to fast. Pretty soon we'll be saying hello to the teen years. Oh dear. We returned from our Cali vacation which I've yet to blog about.  We built a deck on our backyard and I didn't blog about it either. 

Two more weddings were celebrated this month. I started school again with the hope of starting nursing clinical next fall. It's been a rough journey yet exciting. I have to admit that I'm proud of myself for keeping up with everything on my plate. :) a few cousins and I planned the first ever family reunion for my mom side of the family. It wasn't as big of a turn out as we had hoped but what's important is that those who truly matter were there. Let's  hope next year is a better one! 

We celebrated my hubby's 28th birthday. We're nearing the 30s! School started back up and my big boy has done great in the 3rd grade so far. Last chop got done this month, I'm officially natural oh yea! #curlyhairdontcare I never thought this would be my natural hair texture. I'm so glad I went ahead with my decision of going natural. 

We did our annual pumpkin patch with the kiddos and once again had an amazing time. AJ had his first dentist appointment and it was a success! Baby boy impressed us all. Second annual Penn State Tailgate. It was so much fun!

got elected to be MOH at my cousins destination wedding in 2016. This is so exciting! I cannot wait! We had our family photo shoot. Lots of bonding with family. Thanksgiving at MIL. 

Stressful yet successful month. We started the search for a good daycare for AJ. I became a foster parent. I applied for a new position within my health network and got it. I start next month. Last wedding of the year. My hair has grown so much since September! There's so much happening that will follow in 2015. I have a feeling that 2015 is going to be a great year! 

We decided to welcome it at home in our pjs watching tv. It may or may not had something to do with all of us getting hit with the stomach bug but honestly I don't think it could be spent any other way. Just my boys and I together as a family as I expect 2015 will be, all about my little family. 

(the hubby is on the opposite side dreaming in the new year)

May you all have a wonderful night and a prosperous New Year! Be Safe. 


Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas 2014

(This is our Thanksgiving picture)

What a blessed and wonderful day it was. Aside from the no sleep part the day was very nice. Us Hispanics usually start the celebration on Christmas Eve, which mainly consists of the family gathering under one roof for some bonding with lots of food, alcohol, and dancing. At least that's what my family did when I was young.

I never really believed in Santa from what I remember. Back in the Dominican Republic, before I came to the states, I remember the month of December was a celebration of the birth of Jesus. Family from all over the island gathered to spend time with each other. Then on January 6th we celebrated the Three Kings. I remember putting grass under our beds with some water "for the camels to eat and drink it". Then the Kings would leave us some gifts right under or on the side of the bed. As we joined the American tradition of Christmas the 6th of January was soon forgotten. I don't recall my mom ever making any "special traditions" for Christmas. We would just put up a Christmas tree and got to open gifts on the night of Christmas Eve. 

Now that I have my own family and having my husbands family have many traditions we're trying to figure out what we want to do for our own kids. We make it a point to have our oldest understand the true meaning of Christmas, and I'm glad he understands it well. He stopped believing in Santa a very long time ago, even before he turned five if I recall correctly, so there's been no elf hanging around our house lately. 

So what do we do? 

For the past eight years we've just gone with the flow. If my mom is in town we celebrate Christmas Eve with her and open gifts at night right before we head back home. There have been times we've waited till the next day to open them with her. On Christmas morning we go to MIL's for breakfast, exchanging gifts, movies, and dinner. We usually skip the movie part and head to my moms where my brother and his family and my sisters get together to open gifts. If my mom is not in town we just spend it at MIL's house. This year however we got invited to two houses to celebrate Christmas Eve. We went to both houses and honestly I don't think I'll ever agree to that again. For starters both celebration started after 8pm (I wanted to be home by 9pm). I get it, the point is to party and who parties at 4pm? Next year however if we get invitations for anything past 6pm we will be declining it. I would much rather be home watching movies with my boys and put them to bed at a reasonable time so that we may all be well rested for the next day. 

For Christmas this year I hosted brunch at the MIL's house. All her kids (with the exception of my SIL) and my FIL and his wife were there. As brunch was cooking in the oven the kids opened gifts. After all gifts were opened we ate some delicious food and sat around relaxing. The kids played with their new toys, the husband and I napped on the couch, MIL and her husband cleaned around and organized their foster kids toys, and FIL and his wife left home to prep for Christmas dinner which they were hosting at their house later that day. 

It was perfect. While at the same time I wish that my own family was as organized as my in-laws, wishful dreaming I know but alas I love them either way. Each family have their own traditions and we're just finally getting around to having our own. I look forward to a more organized holiday season next year.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Thinking Clearly or Am I?

For years I had the thought of being a foster parent. I saw my mother-in-law do it since I joined the family. It didn't seem hard at all and she always had extra cash. I would think and think about it but I never took the steps required to become one. 

Years, many years, later I thought of it again. Well I should say I gave it second third and fourth thought because the initial thought had always been there. Did I lose you? As the new year (2014) came about I found that thought frequenting my mind more and more. Five  months into the year I printed an application and filled it to the best of my ability. I called the office to get more information and was transfer to the person who was in charge of the application process. Being that almost everyone works the 8a-5p shift this person and I played phone tag for over a week. Eventually we started having conversations over voicemail. Then we finally set up an appointment to meet. She came over my house on a Tuesday morning and completely overwhelmed me with all the information she gave me. 

Now I was really having doubts on whether or not this was for me. I remember praying about it and saying "you know what I'm going to try it. Worse that can happen is that things don't work out and that will be the end. But if I don't try I'll never know and I will always continue to give it thought and have doubts. I said "lord if this is for me you'll make it happen". 

My reasons for doing foster care has changed a lot from when I first thought about it years ago. Today I see it as an opportunity to help a child in need, to be home with my children every day of the week at all hours of the day, to focus in school without a strict and overwhelming schedule, and I'd be lying if I don't mention that earning some cash is a bonus. I've always wanted to be home. To be the primary caretaker of my children. However I didn't want to have to depend on my husband for every single thing! 

I want to work but have a flexible schedule, hence my interest in the medical field. I also want to be home but earn cash. How can I ever do that? Well this is how. Honestly most people won't get it and many will judge and say that it is all about the money but is truly not. Just as I see the good moments in my in-law's house I also see the bad and the crazy. I'm well aware that it will not all be sunshine and rainbows and that it will be challenging. Many kids come from troubled homes and are damaged goods as my hubby says. Therefore, I shouldn't care what people think. What matters to me is making a difference in a child's life while being there for my own children. This is a full time job in itself, you'd be surprise how many people make this their "career".

When I met with this person I felt overwhelmed mostly because having another child while still working 40 hours a week was not going to make matters better. No one was going to benefit from this but my bank account and was the hassle really worth it? I don't think so

I had a decision to make. And clearly I can't understand God's language. So when I held off on going through with the application process trouble stroke once again. I lost my babysitter. Yup, and right in the middle of the week. What was I to do? It had been a horrible week at work. I couldn't just call off. I almost did though. After all my kids a worth a lot more then what I make. And after crying in my kitchen for over 10 minutes I looked up and there it was. Proverbs 3:5

"Trust in the Lord with all of your heart and lean not in your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all that you do and he will make your paths straight"

Weeks earlier I had written this verse on our kitchen chalkboard with the intention of changing it every week. Here this verses had been there for almost a month and once again it gave me just what I needed. Strength! Strength to keep calm, trust, have faith, and proceed with his plans. 

imageI don't know where this is all headed. And these decisions will certainly be life changing not only for me but for my entire family and workplace. 

Coincidentally I've repeated multiply time "when in doubt never make a decision". However for some reason I feel like this decision has already been made and I'm holding back a blessing that's headed my way. 

Well last Thursday I signed my contract. After months of procrastination, background checks, training and more training, and more procrastinating there was nothing else holding me back from signing on the dotted line. And so I took a deep breath and signed.

So once again welcome to yet another journey in my married life. Let's see where this road is meant to take me as an individual and us as a family. God bless!

 photo sig.jpg

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Family Photos 2014

Family '14

Back in November we had our family pictures for 2014. Anyone who know me knows that I am a sucker for pictures. I love to be in front and behind the camera. Although this year came short to last year’s amount of pictures taken by yours truly, I could not end the year without our family photos which I try to have done yearly. I’ve always wanted a fall outdoor photo shoot, the scenery this time of year is just breath-taking. So back in October when I contacted our local photographer to book a date and she had multiple dates to choose from I was over the moon. We had originally booked for November 2 and due to the windy weather (worse part of a fall photo shoot) we had to reschedule to the following weekend.  I was a tad bit worried because I didn’t know what to expect from the weather but thankfully it wasn’t as bad as the weekend before.

So, on this Saturday afternoon we headed down to a nearby park to capture some photos. Being that we were standing still most of the time it felt pretty cold so we literally stood there for about an hour if that. I have to admit though, the photos came out lovely.  The kiddos behaved better than expected and I got my family photos in the beautiful fall scenery. 

Family '14

Family '14

Family '14

Family '14

Family '14

Family '14

I wonder if I could try convincing the family for a winter family photo shoot for next year, snow and all of course...

 photo sig.jpg