Category: The Saga

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 πŸ™‚ .

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 πŸ™‚ .

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 πŸ˜† !
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 πŸ™ . 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!” πŸ˜† 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 πŸ™ . 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!

Potty Training, Finishing Up & Relatives

Fri., May 1st – I spent most of the day in my room sorting through bills and statements. I need to get a shredder for the bags upon bags of old documents that I can’t just toss in the trash bin. I took the time to “Go Green” with paperless statements online for most of my bills. I picked up the boys and then got to uploading pictures to Flickr. Although I’m really behind on blogging, I’m at least somewhat keeping up with Flickr!

I was uploading the 10MP pics from Mario’s camera and it was taking forever. I’d been looking for the perfect upgrade to my Kodak Z650, because that’s what Mario’s been trying to get me to buy for myself for a while already. He wanted to get me a new camera for Mother’s Day, and I’d fallen in love with a 12MP Kodak, 15x zoom like Andy and Noelia’s. I was sort of second-guessing getting it now, since I could only imagine how long it would take to upload those pictures!

Mario’s dad stayed home from work because his stomach wasn’t feeling too good and he started working on the ceramic tile in the nook. It looks so awesome!

Close-Up of Tile

Of course we still need the doors and trim. I can’t wait to see everything come together! We decided that when we’re done paying off our Home Depot card (again, for the 3rd time) we’re going to re-tile the whole house in ceramic tile. I loathe the commercial tile we brilliantly decided to use on the house back in the day. First, I’m not too keen on the greenish color in the old living room (now dining room) and we didn’t want to spend too much so we got that tile. Well now we’re going to spend money again to re-do it all in ceramic. I hate that no matter how much I sweep and mop, these floors never look clean because of the tile!

I’m not sure if I want the chocolate brown we used in the nook in the kitchen and dining room, because I want to keep the bright yellow in the kitchen, but we’ll see. Maybe I’ll go for a more taupe-y color.

It felt like we hadn’t seen Jorge and Maggie in forever (I felt like I’d broken up with a boyfriend LOL) and I was so glad that they’d come over. We had a mini-cookout and Maggie brought over her amazing Pico De Gallo (without the Pico…she doesn’t put Serrano peppers in it, which I’m grateful for LOL). We chit-chatted outside for a while, exchanging opinions about the whole Jon & Kate Plus 8 controversy, where Jon was spotted with that school teacher. I love that family and I couldn’t–or didn’t want to–believe that he was cheating on Kate and the kids. I know Kate’s a control freak, but I don’t think she deserves to be cheated on if that’s the case. She sort of reminds me of me, but I’m a little more tame and I’m not as organized as she is but I wish I was, heh! Anyway, I could go on and on about this whole thing, so I’ll stop now.

Alaethia had come inside to see what the boys were doing and when Mary’d come in to get a glass I hear her yell, “Oh my God!”

My heart sank, fearing the worst, and I ran inside to find Alaethia all sparkly in my makeup. My mouth hung open and she looked at me with her big eyes, waiting for me to get mad. I tell her, “Wait right here!” and grab my camera LOL. She looked so darn cute. She even recapped the mascara and lipsticks and only broke one LOL.

Look At the Camera!

Maggie and I came inside after that, I don’t remember why, but I told her about how I’d tried tracking down my grandfather two years ago and how I had the e-mail of a man with the same name, who just so happened to work in the same school district I used to work for. I just had a feeling that this man was my uncle–my Mom’s half-brother who had no idea we existed–but I didn’t know how to go about e-mailing him and telling him so. She encouraged me to just go ahead and do it, so at 1am that morning, we cut and pasted what sounded like quite an amazing e-mail to write to a stranger and I clicked on ‘Send’. I don’t think I could have ever done it without her here. It had already been 6 months that that e-mail had been sitting in my inbox. Now I just had to wait and see if something came out of it. I sure wished it did.

Sat., May 2nd – I received my Merry Strawberry Dresser Mirror that morning! Great way to start the day :).

#4 Strawberry Dresser

I’d originally ordered it a few days before, but the seller accidentally sent me the TV Set:

#9 Strawberry Television

Since she’d made a mistake she told me I could just send her the same amount I already had (the TV one she’d accidentally sent was $2 more than the other one) and she sent me a pack of cute stickers and candies for free!

I got all the kiddos in the car (well, except for Eenan, he went to McAllen with Mary) and Mom and we went to meet Mario at Jesse’s–Mom’s treat. The food was so good. I had cheese enchiladas. I love going there. We’ve been going for so long that the owners already know us and are always so nice to us.

When Mario had to get back to work we went to the thrift shop. I didn’t mean to stop there, but I saw the cutest vintage chair outside and stopped to ask how much it was. $5 I want to eventually decorate Alaethia and Emily’s room in vintage/shabby chic and that chair would be perfect, once it was painted and reupholstered of course. I rushed to the ATM since they don’t take debit and got the chair. I felt a silly surge of victory when I put the chair in the truck LOL.

I had my Garmin in the truck so we put in the directions for the other thrift shop since Mom wanted to go. I was all for it. On the way there Mom pointed out a whole new Thrift Shop, so we stopped there instead. It would have been a much better experience had Alaethia not been in a bad mood and the boys not been fighting and running throughout the store. Yes, Mary went and dropped Eenan off to me at the store LOL.

Alaethia got a perfect 80’s Puppy Brite for $2 and I bought an American Eagle bag for $4. It’s my new favorite bag LOL.

Our last stop was Home Depot, where I had to buy the track that goes between the tile and laminate wood. I prayed that I got the right one and also got a wet saw for my dad-in-law; a gift for his very generous hard work on the room and because he was using a small saw to cut the tiles. He won’t be using it too often, but he does love his home projects so it’s something else to add to his collection.

When we got home I unloaded the truck and then I get a call from Jorge, Mario’s Nino. He’d accidentally run over one of Kilala’s puppies. Eenan, of course, was inconsolable. Jorge buried the puppy while I tried to console Eenan, who was freaking out even more because the puppies were running down the driveway. I texted Mario to let him know what had happened and he came home immediately and began making a makeshift kennel for the remaining puppies. There was no way they’d be getting out of there now!

My dad-in-law worked on the rest of the ceramic tile (he loved the saw) and on the window trim and baseboards. Everything was coming along nicely!

It's All Coming Together

I got an e-mail from my “potential” uncle that night. He didn’t flat out reject me (like my grandfather did) nor was he even remotely rude. He was asking for more info and was really nice. I got started on a new e-mail and sent it out. I was keeping my fingers crossed that something great would come out of it all!

Sun., May 3rd – I got up and did all the housework that I didn’t do all weekend. Mario and his dad were working in the new living room and I changed and got started on helping them with the 2nd coat of paint and the touch-ups. It was seriously like 105° that day, probably hotter with the heat index. I was sweating buckets, so I came in to get some fresh air and cold water. As I’m sitting down on the sofa, with Emily in my lap in front of the computer I’d just perched on the ottoman, the lights go out. I heard a loud pop, then a sizzling sound and the boys were yelling outside. Of course I panicked. I ran outside and Mario shoos me and the kids back in. A power line had snapped in the alley and was laying on the ground. It was live and was sparking a fire on the very dry grass. I hand the baby over to my Mom and run to help Mario and his dad. I’m calling the PD to tell them to dispatch a fire truck and to call the light company and he said yes, they were already doing so. As I’m on the phone I grab the two small fire extinguishers we have in the trucks and take them to Mario. He was careful crossing over the hurricane fence and started putting out the fire. A few neighbors were already in the alley, watching in horror as the fire quickly slithered it’s way to the 2 story house. The owners didn’t seem to be there. Little did they know that if it weren’t for my husband, their house could have caught fire. It took the fire trucks and cops to get there 10-15 minutes after I called, and it took the light company about 25. I hate to think what would have happened if Mario hadn’t acted so quickly. One of the ladies who’d been spectating told one of the firemen, “Why’d you bother coming? The neighbor put out the fire 20 minutes ago!” It’s so true. I wanted to report how long they took but I didn’t even know where to call. I pray that we never have a fire with their lack of “action”.

Thanks to Mario

I had the kiddos stay inside in the last bits of cool air conditioning till the power came back on. Emily was completely oblivious to the heat and slept a good while. Elda came over a bit later (with some Smirnoffs, woo!) and she carried Emily around while I continued with the painting. I couldn’t wait for everything to be finished. The doors were the last thing that needed to go up, and it couldn’t happen fast enough; there were little bugs flying everywhere and sticking themselves to my walls, *hiss*.

I received another e-mail from my uncle, this time asking about my mom and Gramma and the relationship between my grandpa and Gramma. He mentioned how curious he was about all this new info and to send him whatever other info I could remember. I was so excited; I was getting somewhere!

Mon., May 4th – For the first time since she was born, I believe, Emily let me sleep 5 hours straight and then 4 more after that! She’s such an amazing baby, so easy to keep content! It’s awesome to have a baby who’s got a pattern at night and is happy after a simple diaper change, feeding and nap! The other three were a little more…challenging LOL. Either that, or it’s become unbelievably easier after 4 kids!

I was in such a great mood from getting a good night’s sleep that I decided that that would be the day I’d potty train Alaethia. This would be the 3rd time that I’d start potty training her again. I figured enough time had passed since Emily was born and since we moved her to her toddler bed (two things that I read were “big changes” and could be considered “traumatizing” so it’s advised not to potty train during those times).

Well, she peed 5 minutes after changing her into her training pants. And then again about 20 minutes later. When she asked me for a cup of milk I sat her on her potty 10 minutes later and had her sit there for a bit, so she could “feel” what it was like to pee in the potty. Then I heard the distinct audience “clapping” from her potty that meant she’d finally peed in there!

She had about 2 more accidents after that, and when we were on our 5th panty change I almost gave in to the diapers. I was starting to feel a bit sick (sore throat and ear infection) and was becoming even less willing to continue potty training but I kept telling myself I had to; I couldn’t give up!

At almost 7:30pm that night she did her first poopie in the potty chair! #2 went much better than I thought it would and I’m so glad. I had these horrible visions of finding a little dollop of poo on the rug, or something awful like that LOL. I was rewarding her with Skittles (2 for peeing in the potty, 4 for pooping) so I’m sure that had to do with her eagerness after that. I thank Kate (from Jon & Kate Plus 8 ) for the idea, though she used M&Ms.

Mario and his dad installed the baseboards that night. They left the east wall without the baseboard for the time being since Mario still had to finish up with the corner shelves.

I received another e-mail from my uncle, who by now was almost convinced that we were indeed blood. He told me the date he was born and it all added up: mom’s date of birth, my grandparents splitting up, his mom and dad meeting and getting married and then his birth. It was like something out of a movie! I told him I’d be visiting Gramma that weekend and would get more info from her. I actually had a list of things to ask her. I couldn’t help but wonder if I had any other cousins or aunts and uncles!