Thanksgiving Fest 2016

We truly have a lot to be thankful for this year. I know it’s been a disastrous year for many of our beloved famous figures–but personally, it felt like an easier year than last year, for some reason, and I’m thankful for our health and being together.

I’m also thankful that on November 17th, I got to finally meet Tia Tere and her daughter, my cousin, Anna. Tia Tere is the aunt everyone would say I resembled in her younger years 🙂 .

We all met at Velma’s house. We shared anecdotes and family history (Lipan Apache was confirmed in Velma’s Ancestry.com genealogy! I want to do mine!) and when I told everyone about trying to reach out to my Grandfather back-in-the-day I learned that he was actually a family friend (Velma’s mom and dad’s compadre)! So that was interesting to say the least. We had a wonderful time, laughing and eating. Velma’s always such a wonderful host 🙂 .

They opened the Performing Arts Center on the 18th and we got to take a tour and hear the acoustics. It’s pretty state-of-the-art and just impressive!

November 18th is also Jorge and my “All-Together” anniversary, and to keep tradition with previous years, we had lunch together at Kumori!

Neither Jorge nor I were thrilled with that photo, so it didn’t make it onto social media 😆 !
I had to work at the Food Park the next evening at Unplugged (and had to pick kids up in between), so I didn’t get to go to the all-day mini-reunion the family was having 🙁 . Tia Tere visited Gramma. I’m so sad I wasn’t there to see it for myself. The sisters hadn’t seen each other in years!

I made myself feel a little better about not being able to meet more family by totally pigging out on these pork belly Kimchi fries from one of my favorite food trucks, Nuri Food Truck!

I learned the next day that at the mini-reunion at Gramma’s, mom decided to tell my life story (even the embarrassing and depressing parts) to my “new” relatives. Without my consent or knowledge. I couldn’t believe her. Let’s just say Linda said everyone was shifting uncomfortably and looking off into space. I asked Linda why she nor anyone stopped her and she said, “It was her time to shine!” 😆 Oh geez!!

Anyway. I showed my face at the next evening’s reunion with Aunt Nora and Linda. And apologized to my tia and cousins for having to endure my mother’s rambling on. I got to meet another cousin and her little girl, which was pretty damn cool :).

The next morning, Sunday, I hung out with my Littles. They don’t require as much attention as they used to, but they still do love to follow Mom around, even if it’s just to sit in my company. Seeing as how I also have teenagers who spend most of their time playing video games, football or asleep, I’m going to let Emily, Alaethia and Jules follow me around as long as they want. There will come a day when I’ll miss them doing so!

Jorge and I bought some pork belly from Gabriel, our friend that owns Nuri, so that I could make Jorge some kimchi fries while Nuri was on Thanksgiving break. Even though it wasn’t exactly like Nuri’s, I’ve gotta admit: it was tasty:

So, feeling as guilty as I did after consuming what’s seemingly an entire PIG the month of November (we LOVE Nuri!), Jorge and I decided to have lunch at Gumbo’s for something light. I ordered my usual: Island Salad. It’s like the most scrumptuous dessert!

Buuuuut…I also had broccoli soup in a bread bowl. Aye.

It was…as warm, delicious and comforting as it looks! My stomach wasn’t too happy with the cream (as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized I’m INCREDIBLY lactose intolerant!! Why meee?! Why cheeese??), but man, was it worth it!!

The kiddos had been with Mario that week up until Wednesday, and this year all 7 kids would be with us till 4pm, since Maggie wanted them at that time. So I picked up my babes and we had a small PokeHunting sesh since they’d just started with the new tracking system.

This was also the day John moved out (and we haven’t really seen him since) so he was missing from the Thanksgiving festivities. Dina, Briana and the kids came down, including Nick’s friend Tony. He was such a polite young man!

As soon as they arrived, we started with the preparations for the feast.

While the turkey baked, we visited Gramma.

I didn’t get a proper photo of the spread since we were cutting it close before the kids had to go 🙁 . But Alaethia said grace, and the food was delicious!

The boys tower over me!


(Jorge didn’t get into any photos!!)

The Holidays don’t usually pass without some kind of hiccup, and there was a small bit of drama but it didn’t last long, thank God.

The kiddos left with their other families around 4-5ish so the adults kind of just relaxed watching a marathon of “Forensic Files”. Jorge and I did our Christmas shopping for the kids from the couch (OMG, got SUCH good deals!) and literally just about finished shopping for the big boys that same day!

I snuck out early the next morning, by myself, to do some minimal Black Friday shopping at HEB Plus. There were a few things I absolutely couldn’t pass up for the kids, so I *had* to go. Happy to report that everyone survived! HEB Plus was pretty straightforward with their rules (they gave you a map, a circular and the rules as you arrived) and let you know they weren’t taking shit from anyone and would escort you from the store if you caused trouble.

Jorge had to work that day, and Dina went to visit her mom so Briana and I hung out with the kids and then went to the park to meet Lisa and Joyce since the kids were becoming stir-crazy. Later on we all met at Fantasy Land Skate Center. Totally made me miss the kids, but I distracted myself by helping Mia and Maddie stay on their feet.

We got home and of course I had to make the obligatory Turkey Leftovers Salad.

That salad is truly the tastiest! (Darnit. Now I want some…)

I did some grocery shopping the next morning (with my $20 coupons I got from shopping the day before!) and then we kinda lazied around till we went to the Food Park that evening. Had to take Briana to SnoBro Raspas!

Hot Cheetos and Cheese & Watermelon Raspa with Gummy Bears and Chamoy

We had actually dressed for going to the park and doing a run, but we stayed nearby and went for a walk at Archer instead. Nick and Tony played football and Mia chased fireflies. It was the sweetest!
And then we picked up Whataburger for dinner. So much for our walk!!

But that’s what it’s all about right? Having fun with your loved ones, eating, drinking and being merry?!

The Best Mother’s Day, Ever

Fri., May 8th – I’m really not sure what I did this day. I tweeted that I “hate Home Depot already” LOL but I don’t remember what I did there. Obviously got more “last minute” things for the living room but I don’t remember what. I know for sure I got my Mother’s Day shopping done at JC Penny, where I got some great deals because I had two coupons and everything was on sale to top it off! I got myself two basic fitted T’s. I’m happy to say the size Medium one fits loose! Woo!

I spent the rest of that day lounging around the house with the kiddos and surfing the web when the littlest ones let me.

Sat., May 9th – I was waiting on two Re-ment sets I bought; one for Mom, one for Mary that I was giving them along with their blouses for Mother’s Day. I was so pissed to go to the mailbox around noon and find 3 “sorry we missed you” notes telling me to go to the Post Office to pick them up. I checked the time. They close at 12:30 and I had 15 minutes to get there. Thank goodness we live 3 minutes away.

Well, I get there and what do you know? They decided to go home early that day. Grr. I had no choice but to give the moms that part of their gift a day late.

The boys and I made Gramma some beaded bracelets for Mother’s Day because that’s what she asked for. It’s a perfect gift because she’s got tons of clothes and we can only buy her so many chocolates or decorations for her walls. The boys did a great job and Gramma loved them! We gave her 3 and she joked that we owed her two: one from Alaethia, one from Emily LOL.

Elda graciously watched Alaethia for us, since I didn’t think she’d hold her pee the half hour to Gramma’s and back. I took her potty chair and a Princess bag with coloring books and extra panties over to Elda’s. She said she did wonderfully.

After visiting Gramma we went to Walmart. It’s always tough shopping with the boys because they put in double the amount of stuff I usually buy. But we all behaved ourselves and I stayed within my budget. I got some cleaning supplies for the hardwood floors and a washable microfiber broom and other things for cleaning. I wasn’t sure exactly what to get so I prayed that the Pledge hardwood/laminate floor cleaner would be okay.

I got home and Big Mario had already put up both doors and was about to start working on removing the covers for the central air. It took about half an hour for the room to cool. I started mopping the tiled floors and then swept the laminate wood floors in the living room with the microfiber cloth broom. Alaethia found the box of Swiffer dusters and said, “I’m gonna help.”

She Wanted to Help

She had fun following me around being a little “mama” :).

Mario got home and was immediately hyped up about getting everything into the room that night. He began moving all the wiring for the surround sound from the old living room to the new one. Now we have holes all over the walls; reminds me of Swiss cheese…

As he was beginning to install everything in the new room they sent me to Walmart (again) for some more stuff like light bulbs, filters for the a/c, a power supply and other stuff like that. I took Jaylen with me and man he was moody because he was sleepy. He ended up falling asleep in the shopping cart.

It was 11:30 by the time I got home and Mario was fixing up the recessed lights. Jose, Elda, my dad-in-law, Mom, Adan and Tommy were all here with us, helping us with the furniture relocation. (Mary wasn’t here because she and Noelia were at the George Strait concert at Dodge Arena!)

Moving the Loveseat

It was 12am when we got the rest of the furniture in and my dad-in-law tells me, “Happy Mother’s Day!” and gives me a hug. He says, “I wasn’t going to rest today until we had you moved in on Mother’s Day.” I almost couldn’t say thank you due to the huge lump in my throat. What other father-in-law builds you a house to be near his kids and grandkids? What other aunts/uncles/cousins are at your house at 12am helping move furniture or helping you watch the kids while you clean up? I can’t tell you how blessed I feel to be a part of this family!

We sat with everyone once the sofas were in and just took it all in. We had a fab new living room! Mary got home and all the moms were wished a Happy Mother’s Day and everyone started leaving little by little after that since it was late. Adan hung out with us for a while and Mario and I stayed up till 4am till we got everything just right.

Sun., May 10th – We woke up and got ready to go eat at Lotus, where Jorge was treating all the moms–aww :). I had broccoli beef and for the first time ever had dumplings! They’re so good! I need to find a recipe.

Dumplings

Since Mario and I are pretty familiar with using chopsticks, we asked for some. They brought us a whole bunch and all the kids had a blast trying to eat with them :). We had a really good time.

Our next stop was the movies. We watched Wolverine. Really good movie. I liked it much better than I thought I would (isn’t that usually the case?).

I checked my e-mail that day and didn’t expect to find an e-mail from my “new” uncle. He asked if I’d gotten any info from Gramma and I e-mailed back that I did and explained what she told me. For some reason I understood that she said my grandfather never knew about my mom. It’s hard to understand her since she has a speech impediment. I wasn’t sure about that tidbit of info but I told him about it anyway. He’d asked before if his dad knew about Mom and he made it seem when I spoke to him 2 years ago that he did, but Gramma had just said he didn’t. I was confused. He’d asked if Mom was in the yearbooks since they were close in age, but since Mom didn’t get to finish high school because they gave her the duty of staying with Gramma after she got sick from Polio she wouldn’t be in any of them. I was iffy about sending a pic of her, but I did and asked him if she resembled any of them. I’d forgotten to mention earlier than mom’s got three more siblings: the uncle I’m speaking to, another brother and a sister! He also e-mailed back to wish us all a Happy Mother’s Day, aww :). I couldn’t wait to hear more from him. I really want to meet this side of my family!