spanish lessons face to face

our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas I’ve shared a little about how we started Spanish lessons with Ben’s mom via FaceTime. Read more about it here. When we were in Texas over the holidays, they were able to do some face to face Spanish lessons. The girls love learning from their Grandmama so much!

It’s pretty cool to see Ben’s mom set up of the classroom. You could see a little when they are doing lessons online (mainly the whiteboard), but we got to see firsthand the love and care she takes in preparing lessons for her grandchildren. She has a whiteboard, an array of Spanish books (and Spanish to English ones too), and she even has a class pet for them! And even though the kids were technically on Christmas break from school, they were more than happy to get in Spanish lessons with their Grandmama.

Ben and I are so thankful that his mom is able to be part of their homeschooling. They are all creating special memories for sure, and I think that’s the most wonderful thing about it. They aren’t bilingual just yet, but we’re hoping they get there. You have to start somewhere, right?!

p.s. they lived in those polka-dotted pajamas all throughout the holidays (a gift from their grandma).



rockin’ mommy day ’14: elvis(es) is in the house

rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 There’s this tradition Ben started when we just had True, and it’s called, “Rockin’ Mommy Day.” It’s not Mother’s Day, but a random day he picks and they end up surprising me with something just to show his appreciation (he’s a sweet guy). I never know when it’s coming and it isn’t a yearly thing either. The last time we had Rockin’ Mommy Day was in 2009, and they surprised me with a Michael Jackson performance (see the post about it here, and here is a picture from the very first one).

Well, one Saturday morning, I got a special note telling me to take the day off, and chillax doing whatever I wanted. Later, I got another note giving me instructions to go downstairs, and I yelped in excitement in seeing all the Elvises. They had me sit down while they did a special rendition of “Jailhouse Rock” for me. At the end, Soul came to me to give me another note accompanied with a little present, which was a southwestern turquoise ring I wanted a couple years ago from our trip to New Mexico, thus giving me a rock. I made them do the performance a couple times, so I could get pictures of it too.

rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 rockin' mommy day 2014 After I got my little surprise, I had Ben spill all the details of how he planned this out. Apparently, he started working on this surprise about a year and a half prior. He purchased the girls’ black shirts and leggings from Old Navy; his top is from Old Navy and his pants, from the thrift store. He hand painted each one with white fabric paint. Upon emailing my friend Karen (Misha Lulu) to get some ideas of how he could make Elvis’s jailhouse outfits come to life, she suggested doing a trompe l’oeil style for the costumes… so that’s what he did. He’s such a perfectionist, so it took him a long time to do each one (back and front are hand painted), hence the surprise did not come to fruition until a year and a half later. Also delaying the surprise, was finding the time to work on the outfits when I wasn’t around, and I’m always around. HA! Another funny thing is, him fearing the girls growing out of the costumes before he could execute his idea prevented him from delaying any further; the girls’ costumes purchased over a year prior were at risk of not fitting anymore!

I saw the jailhouse pipe things assembled in the garage the week before the surprise, and he said it was a trellis for the garden. He always has some sort of project going on for our garden, so I didn’t think much of it. He ordered Elvis wigs for each of them, and when I wasn’t around, which wasn’t often, he would practice the dance with the girls. Even the girls had been keeping this surprise from me for over a year! They did a really good job of not spilling any beans.

The girls did so well with their performance. I was dying of laughter and these teeny Elvises are the cutest ever! Seriously… the wigs! Oh man. And then the little shaking and sliding going on, these girls are so precious. I know they drive me nutso sometimes, but it’s normal, and I love being their mother.

I was so surprised and felt (and still feel) very loved. I’m thankful for these sweet things Ben does, and especially thankful that he leads a good example in showing the girls of how a husband can show love to his wife. I really love that guy of mine a whole lot! The performance was a riot and if you care to see it and get a laugh, you can watch it here.



parenting these days

at the desk Lately, this parenting gig has been real hard. Not that it was ever super easy, but it seems we’ve hit a bump in the road, especially with our oldest. She has a real strong desire to control and wants her way or the highway. Actually, now that I type this out, it sounds a lot like me. Her way isn’t always best, and usually it’s quite selfish, so we’ve been really trying to steer her heart toward choosing selflessness and obedience.

I’m a sinner who birthed sinners, so it’s funny that I get surprised (and angry) when they are not following directions. Argh! Ben and I have been seeing how much growing and grace our parenting needs. The tantrums though have left me feeling exhausted and numb. I went to Target this week to pick up a couple things, and I remember just walking and feeling so zombie-like (minus all the grunting). All joy in parenting was gone that day.

I realized all my trying to be a good parent was kind of failing and it’s cause it was just me trying (and Ben), but kind of leaving God out of it. Not that God is a magic genie who magically makes things happen when you want, but I realized I needed to pray and surrender myself. I haven’t been dealing with this whole thing with the best perspective and my heart in all the wrong places, so I need to refocus.

I’ve been waking up at 5am to pray, read, and think, and enjoy the peace and quiet before all the chaos starts. And True and I went on a date this week, and I spoke with her about heart issues. I told her about how most of the time it’s hard for me to be selfless too, and that even I struggle with being too angry about something dumb. That’s not news to her though as she witness my selfishness firsthand. It was nice to have some one on one time with her, and while I know that won’t magically solve our issues either, it’s good to take as many moments possible to let them know we love them no matter what.



making buñuelos with grandmama

our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas our texas christmas Since we turned back around and spent NYE in San Antonio, Ben’s mom taught the girls how to make buñuelos. She used to make these every New Year’s Eve for Ben and his sister while they were growing up, so she was excited to be able to make them with her granddaughters. Of course, my girls were happy to get in the kitchen and learn from their Grandmama.

I’m glad we had to turn back around because I’m sure this will be a special memory for my girls. It is really sweet to see the grandparent and grandchild relationship. Plus, we don’t ever spend New Year’s with Ben’s family, so this was an extra treat for everyone.

Buñuelos are pretty much fried tortillas, so they aren’t super healthy, but my mother-in-law did make them with whole wheat flour, so maybe a little bit healthy? Ben would probably still say no. HA! Grandmama also made a big pitcher full of Mexican hot chocolate, and oh boy did we have a feast with a buñuelo in one hand and a mug of hot chocolate in the other. I want to try my hand at making them, so maybe I’ll have a recipe to share with you soon.



hello there!

jan 2015 jan 2015 One week down (almost), 51 more to go. This week beat the crap out of me. It was a total struggle to get back into routine and everyone was (is) off their game. Last year’s word of the year was “focus,” and sometimes I did good and sometimes I did bad. I know that’s normal. This year’s word will be “Jesus” because that’s really what I need more of, so Jesus it is!

I don’t really have any resolutions. As far as diet and exercise, being married to a dietitian keeps me on the straight and narrow (most of the time), and Ben and I have been going strong exercising together every morning (most mornings) for 5 years now. You’d still never ever see me in a two piece though, I think my body just natural wants to retain some mom belly as my souvenir of birthing. Anyway, last year lots of big things happened like my book, Let’s Sew Together, came out. Ben and I traveled to Singapore, where I taught my first workshop, and we had lots of mini vacations interspersed between too. True’s first tooth came out, then second and third, and fourth, and Brave even lost a couple too! These are just a few of last year things.

I don’t know what this year will have in store. I have no plans so far! Ben and I have a mini family vacation planned in the spring, we’re talking about sending the big girls to Texas for part of the summer, my baby sister comes back in June (yippee!), other than that, I’m game for whatever. We also have our 10 year anniversary coming up, so we are thinking of maybe doing something for that. I’m also perfectly content to celebrate by chilling together at home. Since we got back from Texas early Sunday morning, and pretty much took off running back into reality on Monday, I haven’t had much time to think about this year’s plans.

As far as this space, I want Ben to join in a little bit more. I really enjoy his writing and his take on diet and feeding the family, so I hope you don’t mind if he pops in from time to time. He’s also the ones that leads all the gardening, so he’ll be sharing about those things too. Blogging has changed a lot from when I first started, for both good and bad. I’m thankful for the opportunities that have come because of it, and that this is a place where I can share my struggles as well as the frivolous parts of life, and I’m grateful that you guys are so gracious in accepting both.

Cheers to 2015!



ben turns forty

ben turns forty ben turns forty ben turns forty ben turns forty ben turns forty ben turns forty

Ben turned 40 a few weeks ago. He’s a simple guy and didn’t have many requests for his 40th birthday except to 1) not have a party, and 2) garden together as a family. Easy enough, but the girls and I still wanted to do something extra special for this extraordinary man of ours. It’s not every year that someone turns 40, and I think 40 is a pretty big deal. One day, as the girls and I were driving somewhere, and singing the song, “All About That Bass;” it dawned on me that we could easily change the lyrics to be “All About That Ben,” so that’s exactly what we did.

“All About That Ben”
Because you know I’m all about that Ben
‘Bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben

Yeah, It’s pretty clear, you’re the birthday boo
And you can shake it, shake it like you’re supposed to do
‘Cause you got that boom boom that all the girls chased
And all the right junk in all the right places

I saw you in a magazine you need no photoshop (I hold up the magazine he was once in, which happened around the time we met)
I knew you were for real
And I wasn’t gonna stop
Cause you got beauty, beauty, inside and out
Every inch of you is perfect
From the bottom to the top.

Yeah, my mama she told me you’re gonna marry that guy (my mom really told me that after the first time Ben and I hung out)
She said, “Boys like that are the ones who’ll hold you at night”
It’s been like that for 10 lovely birthdays with you so far (we’ve been married almost 10 years)
And I’m sure that they’ll be many more as our lives move along

Because you know I’m all about that Ben
‘Bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben, he’s forty
I’m all about that Ben, ’bout that Ben

You’re forty now!
No one would guess that right off the bat
I’m not playing, you look like ten years minus that
I’m here to tell you,
Every inch of you is perfect from the bottom to the top
Repeat verses above

It’s kind of hard to choreograph something with four little ones, but we all worked on memorizing the words together, and watched the video a gazillion times (we are playing it while we dance for Ben) to get some of the moves down. When it came down to performance time, it seemed they got a little shy, but I think Ben got the gist. We love him so much and we wanted to do something fun and silly for him! We did get to work in the garden a teensy bit, I made him one of his favorite meals, and he got to blow out candles on an oatmeal pecan pie. I think he would say it was good way to celebrate turning 40! He did end up surprising me with something too, but I’ll save that story for another post.




300X150_melijoe-mycakies ms. tips citykid lotta sqapothecary entrance10


FM Badge