Monday, December 10, 2012

St James Castle in Xilitla, Mexico

Okay, so here I am again. Looks like once a month is all I have time to blog for. We continue to trek along with the move, Holidays, and Ryan's work project. This last week was another step in Ryan's pilot program for work. In October, Ryan started the pilot program with the employees of a credit unions in a small mountain town, called Jalpan. They are now launching mobil banking to the customers of that Credit Union. For this new step, my Dad came down to help with the launching. So he and Ryan had it all set to visit Jalpan on Thursday, the 6th. Late Tuesday night, Easton and I decided to tag along. The next morning we were on our way. There was a tour set up for the travelers to see parts of Jalpan that same day. In the end we only had time to see one of the popular Franciscan Cathedrals. (In October, Easton and I had gone up with Ryan as well and saw rivers, waterfalls, fresh springs, etc. Jalpan is extremely gorgeous). The following night we hurried up a mountain to show dad the waterfall called Chuveje. We also decided to stay an extra day to see St James castle. Ryan and I had gone two years ago to see it, when I was pregnant with Easton. So we knew that it would be worth the extra night sleeping on those crumby hotel mattresses to see it again. 
On Friday morning, we travelled the extra hour and a half and spent a few hours hiking around the castle. Now, when I say castle, do not expect turrets and ball rooms... or at least not the ones you see in Europe. These are random staircases, walkways, walls, and "structures" just sitting randomly up against a mountain in the jungle. Ryan and I call it the Dr. Seuss castle, because it makes just about as much sense as those children's books. Though the castle makes very little sense to the eye, it is beautiful in its own way and perfectly situated against several cascading waterfalls. My Dad also noted that much of the architecture seemed to mimic the surrounding nature. 
Just some background historical knowledge: This James dude was part of a royal family in Europe, I want to say English. He decided to abandon his royal responsibilities and move to Mexico. I suppose the man was a bit eccentric considering this bazaar castle that he built, literally in the middle of nowhere. He had hippos, cats, monkeys, and who knows what else, caged around the grounds. This all took place 300 years ago. 

This first shot is at the entrance of the castle. Notice the snake-like rocks to the left. That's the beginning to the randomness that I am talking about.

This is looking back towards the entrance. Traffic is heavier at the beginning, but since the castle sprawls out in so many directions, you get to enjoy it all by yourself most of the time.

These are typical pathways you see going all throughout the different parts of the structures, winding through all the gorgeous greenery. 

Some more randomness. Its almost like pillars were put up for some room, that was never finished. But considering that they are everywhere, I think that was all he ever intended.

This is at the beginning. It might not look like these staircases go very high, but I promise you it is extremely intimidating to climb them. I still havent gotten enough nerve to go all the way up, but Fronk did it this time. What a man:) and yes, they pretty much go to... nowhere.

Not the best picture of us, but still fun and love the munchkin in the background

Starting at the bottom pools from the big waterfall. The water in this part of Mexico is THE clearest I have ever seen.

My Dad

Me and me Dad at a pool

Rocks + water = lots of throwing fun for Easton

A better view of where we were

And more rock throwing

My handsome hubby

All of us at the top of the pools by the waterfall

Friday, November 9, 2012

What a week!

I have been terrible with this blog, I know. My life has been a bit busy.
This week was no exception, but was more fun at the beginning of the week, than busy. My sweet sister, Haydee, came to town! The rainy days were not our friends, in the beginning, and put a damper on most of our outdoor fun, the first day. We resorted to baking cookies and hanging out. Oh darn. The second day we threw our heads back and laughed in its face all the way to Leon which is where the gigantic shoe malls are. Haydee + shopping= a very good day. She is THE best person to shop with, due to her impeccable style! The following day we enjoyed quiche from the french bakery, a stroll in the park, and horchata on the way home; all before we were out the door to drive her back to the airport. Though I am listing all that we did, the real fun was watching Easton and her get along. She is such an awesome Aunt and Easton was practically twitter-pated with her here. It took all of a couple of hours for him to be all over her. It was so sweet. Easton seemed so depressed the day after she left.
The second half of the week included a visit to the maxillofacial surgeon. Yup, I got those wisdom teeth yanked out last night. Wow! What a surprising procedure. I was in that Dr office for a total of forty five minutes!! Forty of those minutes were talking about recovery and numbing up the gums. It took all of five minutes to get all four of those bad boys out. A couple yanks each and the teeth came out whole. What talent, I must say! I had an evening appt., so we were home close to nine. I iced up my cheeks for a couple hours then headed to bed. So far so good. I woke up a few times last night and am taking pain medication, but no chipmunk cheeks for me and other than a feeling of sore, I can't complain! I am paranoid about dry socket, so I am a bit natzi about keeping everything sterilized  that comes near my mouth. Keep your fingers crossed that I don't get it! Other than that, I hope to be back at the gym next week, sometime!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Wedding!!!! (From my perspective)

What is wrong with me!?!?!!?
After all of the amazing wedding shots that I could have had, I ended up with nada (minus the photo booth pics and the iphone pic Ryan got).
In my defense I was running around with my head cut off, but I still can't believe I don't have a picture to share... so, sorry about that!

So I am going to back up to the week previous to the wedding. It was so much fun and so busy. I stayed with Haydee for the first few days. Every morning I woke up at 6 am, darn jet leg, and worked on her wedding cake. During the day, we ran errands for the wedding and ran more errands:) We also enjoyed some yummy curry at her Bishop's home, one evening. We also spent one of the days with my Mother's Aunt, Laverne, and her family. It was nice to have everybody together. Another day we went to the Del Mar Race Tracks. How fun!! I don't bet, but would pick a horse I thought would come in first, second, or third. Out of the eight races, I think my horse won a good five of them!

The evening of the race tracks, the Cifuentes clan headed over to Nate's Mom's house. She was kind enough to make some amazing spaghetti and caesar salad. It was also nice to get to know Haydee's new in-laws. They are some great people. I am very excited for Haydee!

That same night was when Ryan and Easton finally rolled in. It was a bit of a long day for them. Starting at 3 am, they got on a shuttle to head to the Mexico City airport. Then at 8 am were ready to check in. Ops, Ryan realized that his passport was expired... crap. So, he marched over to the US embassy and miraculously was granted a temporary passport within two hours. Thank Heavens! Then for the tickets... Ryan found a flight leaving Friday, but didn't want to wait. After a bit of searching on my Dad's part they found one departing that same day. Finally at about 10 pm, Ryan and Easton pulled up to the San Diego home. I couldn't and still can't believe that it all worked out!

The next morning we laid low and the boys took morning naps. Then we were off to Disneyland! I crave going back and spending multiple days there with Ryan and Easton! It was a bit hectic in the beginning, but fell into a very happy, enjoyable time. Easton, was of course, very entertained and content.

Finally, the wedding fun started Friday with a rehearsal and rehearsal lunch. It was so blimey hot!! We sat in 100+ heat under the sun as we figured out how everything was going down the next day. Despite the heat we got to see our other relatives, friends, and meet more of Nate's family. Basically more lovely people.

The venue was in a Californian canyon out in Malibu. The hills were incredibly beautiful. The view was just perfect. The venue was called a ranch, but was mostly rolling hills of vineyard, very beautiful.

That evening I continued to hack away at the cake. I was losing momentum as I was completely exhausted. I managed to hit the bed by 12:30, somewhat satisfied with the progress I had made. It included finishing the third chocolate cake. As well as cutting and frosting the Strawberry Vanilla and the Lemon Poppyseed. All in all, I was pooped. In the morning, it was a 6 am wake up call. I hauled over the next 5 hours and finally had the finished product, minutes before I was supposed to fly out the door to meet up with the other bridesmaids for makeup and hair. I think I was so excited that I barely realized that I was running on fumes. That morning had started out with tunnel vision and had a moment of dry heaving. Weird. I have never reacted so dramatically over stress. Usually it is just insomnia. Anyways, I think I was so stressed because I was DETERMINED to make this cake look nice for my sister's wedding. Baking in a small, I mean tiny, kitchen in the vacation rental with nine other people was not exactly ideal. I wasn't in the mood to make shift baking with limited kitchen resources, but what can you do. In the end it all worked out.

Anyways, past the cake (this was a big deal for me that week), I made it to the venue. (Thanks Jake for driving me the hour drive.) I felt like I walked into the room kinda hyper, but put on those brakes when I felt and saw nice cool air, yummy sandwhiches and fruit (the first meal in 24 hours and only the second meal within 48 hours!), cheerful sisters, comfy robes. Ahhhhh, is all I can say.
I felt like a model after the maku-up artist fixed me up. Seriously, not even a hint of bags under the eyes. She was A-mazing. Best make-up job I have ever had!! Then onto the hair and then of course watching my beautiful sister getting dolled up for her ceremony. Haydee was breathtaking. obviously. but seriously, how did so many of those genes skip me out!:) She was very much at ease as well. A bit surprising considering all that was going on prior to. When I had walked into the small bathroom where she was getting ready, there was also a make-up artist and two videographers contorting themselves to fit in the tiny space. I CAN NOT wait to see how the video turns out!

Then, after some new shenanigans with a serious car-crash-based-traffic-jam, the guests started to arrive. My poor father and hubby and baby and uncle and nephew and... okay you get the picture... sat in traffic for four hours!!!! awesome. Thankfully everybody else had to go through the same thing and in the end the ceremony started a bit late. It ended up being SUCH a blessing in disguise. With everybody coming in late, the ceremony started perfectly at sundown. The temperature must have easily dropped from the 100s down to the 80s. I gentle breeze ran through and then from the top of the hill stood my sister with the sun shining behind her. Angelic. Seriously angelic. It was such a beautiful sight. Of course, that was when I lost it. She walked down with my father and took her place to do the deed:) They exchanged darling vows and heard some sweet words from the bishop before he pronounced them man and wife.

Ryan and Martin ran the Easton and Calvin back to the hotel where the babysitter waited. Remember that traffic? well running was more like a snails pace. They didn't make it back till after the the entry, the first dance, the toasts, and the food. Nope they didn't make it back till 10 pm. The wedding ended at 11. Poor guys. My sis, Lil, and I made our men plates and then tried to get some good dancing and mingling in before the couple cut the cake. After the cake was cut and served. We enjoyed a few more dances and then were off to pick of the babies. We rolled into bed that night and then hopped out of it early the next morning to catch our flight.
and TaDa that was the wedding. (it only took me two weeks to get this written! sorry)

THE cake! :)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


So little Easton is ever growing.  I thought that it's about time to post a blog about what he has been up to.
Well, first of all his life is all about soccer balls, bouncy balls, whiffle balls, pretty much anything round. He will throw, kick and bounce them everywhere. We definitely have a soccer player in our midst. His favorite is kicking, and his aim is very impressive for a 1 1/2 year old. In fact, he usually kicks and throws balls straighter than I do. My favorite is when he shifts his weight between his feet before he gives a good kick or when he backs up and runs to the ball to try and get a little momentum. haha, no joke, he really does. This morning we were at the park for an hour kicking the soccer ball back and forth between us. It's nice to have an activity that we can both play at.
He is pretty active, just as any other child his age is. He loves to run and play, but is still very good at coming to me when he is told. I am pretty lenient with him, so he knows that when I call him it's for a good reason.
He is still a terrible eater. The only way I get fruit and veggies in him, is if its a sauce on noodles or a juice. He is a great tortilla eater and is a big snacker. He is a skinny boy still, but is ever growing upwards.
Easton's communication skills have taken another leap. Though his vocabulary is still small, maybe fifteen words or so, he is so much better at understanding me and I him. When he gets frustrated that I don't speak his language, all I have to do is put my hands up and shrug my shoulders, telling him I don't understand. He almost instantly calms down and tries to point or show me what he wants. It's quite magical to communicate so much easier. The words and gestures really help his patience, as he now understands that things happen in processes. For example, when he whines at the door and points outside, I tell him that we need to put on shoes first. I call out "shoes" while I walk around the house looking for them. He understands that he can't go outside without shoes and will call out for his shoes now, with me.
He is still a bit stubborn and when he doesn't get what he wants, it still ends in tears and angry shouting, aka, a tantrum. Though I consistently try to ignore them, they still come. I refuse to give into them and it takes a five minute meltdown before he gets himself back together. Patience is the key to these moments for me.
Easton loves other kids. If he hears them outside playing, he gets really desperate to join them. His newest and most favorite friend was his cousin last week. Wow, did he ever love Calvin. I wish I could just kidnap his cousin and have him play at our house every day. They totally absorb into their own world and play SO well. I love it! and wish Calvin was closer!
Other than that, Easton is a pretty average kid. Probably too indulged, as I hear most firsts are. But I am trying to work on that as whiny, spoiled children drive me bonkers!

Here are a few pictures of our favorite little boy... 

Taffy in the hair, awesome. 

After a really short haircut!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brace Face

Have I mentioned that I got braces last month? Not really something I want to announce. But I figure I will cut everyone to the quick with the comment "you got braces?". I don't particularly like to draw attention to myself so when I have a rack of metal across my teeth, it doesn't exactly soothe me. On the flip side, I am ecstatic to get these puppies on and over with. I have only been dragging my feet for, oh, ten years! Those awkward teen years, when I was way too self conscious of myself, are thank heavens, OVER. So now that I am 26 with a sweet husband who has been encouraging me with every dentist appt, I put them on. Just for the record, I HaTE them. They hurt so bad. I have been chewing with the back four teeth only, for the past four weeks. Oh well, beauty is pain, right?

Malabar Ln

Ryan and I became proud homeowners two weeks ago. We closed on a small colonial home in Madison, and couldn't be more excited to do some updates. In fact our fhe was deciding how we want to redo the kitchen. The home is in decent condition, but is just dated and needs a bit of a facelift. I am ecstatic for the wood floors throughout the house, and once the kitchen and family room see some improvements, I can totally see Eason and I spending most of our time in that part of the house. That and outside. It has a darling backyard, thankfully with a fence for Violet. And it sits on a cute maple lined street. I have a feeling I will love fall in this home. Anyways, we feel like we lucked out and now we are just excited to move in. .. Which isn't for another six to eight months, yes yes, we are still in Mexico till early next year. I am totally ready to move up, maybe it is house related? Hm. For now, we are renting it out for six months to a sweet family who just needs some transition housing. Everything worked out beautifully, though I will say that the week was one of the hardest in a long time, I mean the week that we closed. Easton got croup and I got a nasty cold. So nasty in fact that after twelve days I went to urgent care at 6 am after staying up all night with a clogged and painful ear(that was this morning). Madison was also in the 90s and 100s while we were there so, we didn't get to enjoy the outdoors very much. Pretty much we signed for the house and found renters within six days. It wasn't fun, but so excited to have accomplished so much. I feel like getting married, having your first kid, moving into your first home... All of it is SO exciting and fun, I just wonder what you do when all those milestones are passed, endure to the end?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Monte Blanco 3

Easton and I have a lot of fun with the kids in our neighborhood. We live in a small gated neighborhood, so all of the kids have free reign of the outdoors. Some of our favorite and closest neighbor kids are the Hernandez' two houses down. I mentioned Mariana Hernandez in my birthday post. She has two younger sisters as well, Michi and Millie. Many times we find ourselves wandering to each others homes.
Mariana is Easton very first friend. He loves her more than anybody, aside from his parents. He calls her Mayiana and gets slightly hysterical when he sees her off in the distance. Mariana is very good to him and totes him around on her hip. Wherever Mariana is, you will find Easton very nearby. It is very sweet. I don't know what we will do when the Hernandez family moves next month. It isn't just to a nearby, new house either. It's all the way in Texas. I am excited for the opportunities there family will find there, but extremely sad to see them go.
Mario and Gaby are awesome parents. The type you try to watch, in hope that your own child will turn out like theirs if you follow suit.

Anyways, there are several other neighborhood kids that meander over to our house whenever our door is open, which is pretty much left open in the afternoons. As it has been quite warm here, we have been revving up the snow cone machine whenever the kids are out. Such a simple thing to sit on the front stoop eating snow cones with the neighborhood chilluns, but oh so memorable! I am pretty sure the kids enjoy it too!