Thursday, September 30, 2010

It's The Little Things Thursday...Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

It's true what they say...Absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder.  Or at least it would seem so in regards to my two boys.  For at least 22 hours a day, I feel like I'm yelling at them to stop fighting.  Stop hitting each other.  Stop being mean to one another.  Start sharing.  Stop taking his toy.  Don't stand on your brother's head.  You get the idea.  That's why it's so heart warming when I get photo messages from my husband that show my two boys embracing in brotherly love every day when Nate gets off the bus from school.  Now mind you, he's only gone for 3 hours and during that time you know full well that Alex is reveling in the opportunity to play with all of Nate's toys uninterrupted and without repercussion.  However, when Nate gets off that bus, Alex yells "Brah!" and they run to each other and hug like long lost friends, it's priceless.  Someday I hope to be able to see this in person rather than just in cell phone photos (since I'm always at work when he gets home), but I'll take what I can get for now!

In the meantime, these are the little things that make this journey of Motherhood SO worthwhile!  Please join my friend, Heidi, and I in remembering these little things.  Stop over to Starts at Eight and check out other stories!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook...September 28, 2010

FOR TODAY...September 28, 2010

Outside my window...rain.  Icky, yucky, miserable rain and the dark clouds that go with it.

I am thinking...about what the boys should be/want to be for Halloween.  Our festivities start up in a couple of weeks so I want to be prepared.  I think Alex should be a spider, hands down.  He's such a little climber and he did monkey last year!  Nate wants to be a "pirate firefighter Army guy" so I'm not sure about that vote is Army guy since he's been a pirate the last two years and he's a firefighter every other day of the year!  We'll see if I can talk him into that!

I am thankful many friends and supportive family!  I am truly blessed to have such great people in my life!  With a group like these people holding me up, I know I can never fall!

From the kitchen...healthier eating.  Or at least I'm trying to.  I was doing so well, having lost more than 4 lbs since the beginning of September.  Only to creep back up after this birthday weekend of eating crap, I'm sure.  Ugh. 

I am wearing...a warm fuzzy sweater.  I do love sweater weather.  I just wish it wasn't so wet and chilly today...the cold factor is no fun.
I am drag the kids to Target after work so I can pick up some diapers for Alex.  Just diapers.  That's all I need.  Not $60 of other stuff that isn't diapers.  I need only diapers.  Wish me luck.

I am the Apple Fest later this week.  I love the Fall season and all the apple picking, pumpkin patching fun that comes with it!
 I am win an auction on Ebay for an adorable spider costume for Alex. 

I am hearing...silence.  It's a very quiet day around here today...I will take advantage of it while I can.  Lord knows it's not quiet around my house!
Around the's actually somewhat clean for the moment.  I have a bazillion more boxes to unload but that will create more chaos so I'll just enjoy the wide open, clean spaces for now!
On my mind...Fall plans, to-do lists, get rich quick schemes that will allow me to be the stay-at-home Mom I so wish I could many things!
Noticing that...weight loss is very difficult when everything I plan and enjoy involves food.  I find a lot of relaxation and happiness in food.  It's a challenge when everything I love revolves around food that is generally bad for me.  I have to come up with some better tactics. 

One of my favorite things...hugs and kisses from my boys!

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Photoshop class #3 with Heidi,  school photos for Nate, three grants due by Friday, my oldest stepson, Adam's 26th (!) birthday, Apple Fest with Tiff, whatever else the days bring!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...I'm amazed at how quickly my baby...

...became this handsome, busy, happy toddler!!

Happy birthday, Alex!

Happiness is...

sharing an old classic with a new generation!

And finding said classic at a barn sale for $1 makes me downright giddy!!!  I loved this game as a kid so when I saw this last weekend, I was thrilled to scoop it up and bring it home.  Who knew my kids would spend hours dropping the marbles in the holes, sinking them, and dumping them out again to start all over.  I got the added joy of playing some kick butt games of Stay Alive with my sister this weekend!  Who doesn't love a little flash from the past?!?!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Let's Go Fly a Kite!

Let's go fly a kite 

Up to the highest height

Let's go fly a kite

And send it soaring 

Up through the atmosphere 

Up where the air is clear 

Oh, let's go fly a kite! 

I'm so proud of Nathaniel for accomplishing this challenge.  He tends to get pretty easily frustrated and gives up with little effort on a lot of things.  So when he insisted on wanting to fly the kite Alex got for his birthday, it sounded like a lot of work (for me!).  Daddy took him out and got frustrated with the whole concept in a matter of minutes.  But that didn't deter Nate.  He ran, and ran, and ran, and ran, and ran (often times falling down while looking behind him or running into the trees without looking!)!  But wouldn't you know, he got that blasted kite up in the air.  Considering the wind was inconsistent at best that day, I'm very proud of him for working so hard to accomplish something he wanted to accomplish.  Good job, Bug!

Happy Birthday, Digger Fuzz Bucket!

You've heard of the Dirty Thirty when someone celebrates their thirtieth birthday, but around here it's a little different.  I can't believe it's already been another year since I wrote this, but my little one is turning the "Dirty 2.0" today!!!  And believe me when I say, Alex gives dirty a whole new meaning.  This boy loves dirt.  He loves digging in it.  He loves dumping it.  He loves eating it, swimming in it, even "bathing" in it.  He moves dirt from the sandbox to the garage, from outside to the bathroom floor, even his bed is gritty at the end of a long day.  The bathtub ring that's left over when his bath water drains is evidence enough that this boy loves to be filthy.

For his 2nd birthday, I decided on a "dirt" theme.  Because, really, what categorizes my Alex at this age better than his love of wallowing in grime?  So, I enlisted the aid of a fantastic friend who put together the best chocolaty dirt/mud cake ever imagined!  It was delicious!  And Alex got to make a mess with it which made him ecstatic!  (a separate post and photos to follow!)

Things about Alex at this age that I don't want to forget include:

I love his devil-ish guttural laugh that sounds evil and usually means he's pure trouble and up to no good.

He holds his hand out and says "Sake, Sake" (Shake, Shake) in an effort to be polite and shake hands.

He always says "Bye" and blows kisses when he's off to play, or pretending to leave somewhere.

He has this scary look when he's pretending to be shy or hoping you're not looking where he stares up with his head tucked down.  It's creepy!  If you've seen it, you know the look I mean!

He loves singing songs and dancing.

He's relatively cooperative and listens fairly well.  (See below for why I say "relatively" and "fairly well") .

Right now, his favorite book is Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb

His favorite song is Itsy Bitsy Spider, especially when the rain comes down and tickles him on the face.

He loves dirt and water (see text above and photo below!).

Alex loves eating...anything, all the time.  You can't tell because he's such a peanut, but this kid is an endless pit.

He's in 12M clothes but now that it's getting to be pant and long sleeve weather, it's necessitating a move to 18M for the length in the legs and arms.  His pants are looking a little short.  It looks a little ridiculous.  I recently bought him some Clippos to make his 18M pants stay up, though...very exciting stuff!

He has at least a 100 words and can repeat anything you ask him to say which is a fun game!

Alex could happily swing for hours at a time.  Yelling, "Fast!" and "Up, up, up!"

And he can even swing like a champ, "big boy style" (see what I mean about the short pants/sleeves, though?)

He loves throwing balls (or anything round and ball-like for that matter).  He'll spend hours putting balls in boxes, dropping marbles in holes, or just playing catch.  He's got a wicked arm and mastered the eye/foot coordination to kick a ball at a VERY early age!

Alex is one heck of a climber...he loves to climb and does so swiftly (he recently even climbed up a ladder onto the roof of the house after Daddy, before either of us knew it)

I love the way he says "yes"...very pronounced and with the slightest lisp at the end!

When he writes/draws (which he loves to do) he'll name letters 
and pretend he's writing them...."A", "B"....

He's a snuggler.  More so than Nate ever was at this age, anyway.  He says "Hi, Mommy" when he gets up, points to the couch and says "Sit!"  "You Sit, too!".  I get hugs and kisses every morning and he loves to snuggle in the morning (so much so that I often get a late start heading to work!)

He already has his brother's imagination.  Recently when Nate wouldn't let him play with his puppy, Alex wadded his blanket up, stuffed it under his arm and started petting it, calling it "his puppy".  He'll pretend to hand me a monster and expects me to scream and throw it away, then he laughs, says "More, Mons?" and will hand me another monster to discard of similarly.  
It's one of those things that never gets old. 

When I take his picture, he'll squinch up his face, squint his eyes, and grin, "CHEESE!".  It's adorable, but makes it difficult to get many good pictures of him these days!

Alex loves tic tacs and asks for them all the time.  We have this "game" we play where he'll ask for a tic tac when he knows he can't have one (breakfast, just before bed, etc.) and I'll say "No, tic tac!" so he laughs and says, "Coo-kee?", and when he gets a "No, cookie!", he'll smile and say "Gom!" which he gets a "No, gum!", lather, rinse, repeat.  It's cute!

He loves his brother, so much so that he instigates the crap out of Nate and is always in his face.  Nate gets "annoyed" by his baby brother but I can tell they will be the best of friends some day.

He has definitely started those terrible twos a little early.  His frequent use of the word, "No!" is strong evidence of this!  He likes to do things yourself and don't particularly like to share.

Alexander, it seems like just yesterday that you were brand new in the hospital.  

Meeting you this day, two years ago, was one of the best days of my life.

I treasure those first few days together in the hospital.  It was just the two of us, and the bonding opportunity we were given was the best!  I loved that time to get to memorize you, soak you in, and have it be just the two of us before we threw you headlong into our family and the world.  

You are my sunshine, Alex.  You bring me joy in ways I can't explain.  I can't imagine my life without you in it and I thank God for you every day!  I love you, Digger Fuzz Bucket!  Happy birthday!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The View From Here

Every morning I drive into work facing the rising sun.  At times it aggravates me because I'm too short for the sun shield thing to block the sun and sunglasses don't hold a chance against the UV rays pumping out of an 865,000 mile wide hydrogen star.  But this morning, driving into the sun was peaceful.  The sporadic clouds and blue sky was breathtaking.  So today, I share the view from here...and invite you all to breathe with me.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday...Family Traditions


Simple Woman's Daybook...September 21, 2010

FOR TODAY...September 21, 2010

Outside my's dark and the wind has picked up considerably.  It's still very warm out even with the breeze and the fact that it's 11:49 PM.

I am thinking...about work tomorrow.  I hate to bring work home, but I have two grants due in the next week that kind of got "restarted" for me today.  Now I feel a little bit like I have to start over on both of them, but if I get to work tomorrow and hunker down, I think I can hammer them both out again before the week is out (if not tomorrow!)  

I am thankful for...a healthy new nephew!  My brother and sister-in-law had their baby this morning and he is BEAUTIFUL!  Welcome, Ian Joseph (6lbs, 4oz. 19 1/4 inches, born @ 6:02AM on 9/21/10)!!!  I'm so glad to have you in our family and super excited for my boys to grow up with their cousin so close by!

From the kitchen...I am trying desperately to stick to my Weight Watchers.  I seem to do smashingly all day long, keeping my points to a minimum, only to blow it when I'm home and faced with a kitchen full of food.  I've kept better options on hand this week though so that helps.  But I'm still weak.  

I am "pjs", which consist of comfy capris and a t-shirt.  

I am Grandpa Earl.  His birthday was today (so fitting for Ian to be born today, seeing as he is the next line of Yousey men!).  He would have been 103.  He was a great man, with great stories to tell, and wisdom to share.  I only wish I had sat more, listened more intently, and soaked him up more before he died.  I was (not quite) 16 when he died so I was right in the middle of that "me, me, me" stage and missed out on a great gift.  My father still quotes him to this day.  Some day I'll have to do a post of my grandfather's "Earl-isms" - he was a a great man!  

I am creating...a list of things to buy/do before Alex's birthday party this weekend.  We usually have just a few select people over for cake/ice cream due to space constraints, but with a large yard, bigger house, and a forecasted nice weekend, we've extended an invite to both sides of the family and stand to have a lot of people here.  I have A LOT to do before Saturday!  This house is so far from settled!

I am my second Photoshop class with Heidi tomorrow.  I'm excited to get into the nitty gritty tomorrow.  We're bringing our cameras and will be setting some manual settings and taking some basic images to start working with in Photoshop.  I still haven't figured out what/how I'm going to use Photoshop at home.  I'll have to see what I learn and decide if I want to invest the big bucks or stick to a free-share version for now.  

I am get the boys bedtime routine back on schedule.  We got rid of Alex's pacifier (cold turkey) three weeks ago and it went relatively first.  Now and for the past week or so, he's been unbearable at nap/bedtime.  He simply won't go to bed/stay in bed unless you lay with him or he wants to sit with me in the dark living room until he or I (or both) fall asleep.  It's been a ridiculous battle.  And the madder I get about the situation, the cuter he is and the more heartbroken he seems.  It's killing me!  It wipes me out and has eaten up many an otherwise useful evening.

I am hearing...the clock on my wall just struck midnight.  I really wanted to get this up before Tuesday was officially over, but the wee hours of Wednesday will have to do.

Around the house...ugh.  So much to do, so many things to clean and settle before Alex's birthday party on Saturday.  Yet here I am, at midnight, trying to get this post up.  Settling the boys down for bed each night has proven to kill my productivity.  I usually am so relaxed, comfy, etc, that I'm useless and fall asleep SO early lately!  It's awful!

On my much more than I can share here.  I hope to be able to spew some of my random thoughts into blog posts this week.  Specifically, I can't believe my oldest started pre-k (like he's been doing this his whole life!) and my "baby" turns two in a few days.  *sniff*  Where does the time go?!?!  He's such an adorable little man with a personality twice as big as his tiny frame.

Noticing house is so quiet I can hear my cable box humming.  I love silence.  It's golden.  My brain functions better in silence.  I can think, I'm less distracted, life just feels less chaotic.  *sigh*

One of my favorite things...babies.  There's something so new and promising about babies.  They're fresh and untouched.  They come into this world knowing only what we teach them and there's so much possibility there.  Their innocence, unconditional view on the world, and endless capacity to love, learn, and grow is amazing.

A few plans for the rest of the week:  Photoshop class with Heidi, dinner with her amazing family, birthday for my youngest stepson who's turning 20 on Friday (!), birthday shindig for Alex (who turns 2!  next week!), sleepover with my sister (so excited!!!), snuggling my newborn nephew some more!

Here is picture for thought I am sharing...
My big brother's a daddy!  And the role seems to fit him like a glove!  
Welcome, Ian Joseph!  We love you so much already!!  
(Sorry for the quality of these photos, I didn't have my camera with me when I got "the call" so I had to resort to my cell phone!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Remembering

Flipping through an Ltd. Commodities magazine the other day, I came across a "retro" Monchhichi doll that was a flash back to the golden age of my youth.  Ok, so I'm not that old, but, it took be back.  I'll be honest when I say that I haven't even THOUGHT about Monchhichis since probably the 2nd grade.  Believe it.

I posted a status update on Facebook asking if any of my friends also remembered them as I thought it was a bit of an obscure reference and I was bowled over by the mass quantities of people who not only remembered them, but could recite their slogan, sing their theme song, even knew the date of their arrival on US soil.  (Ok, so I may have exaggerated that last part, I think it was actually Wikipedia that told me that!).

Anyway, that conversation sparked a whole other reference from my dear friend, Tiffany, who introduced me to this. - only the best website, ever.  Seriously, I'm loving this thing!  All things retro from back when.  Stuff you don't see anymore.  Things that aren't even made anymore.  And if they are, they're just not the same.  Flipping through these photos has waves of memories, emotion, even people and places flooding back.  It's fantastic.  It's also giving me some credence to throw away some of my sentimental kids stuff from back in the 80s since I can just reminisce right here with less storage issues.  (But not before I take a photo of this stuff to share on the website and run a quick check on ebay to make sure these classics aren't worth a fortune!!!)  They even have a Facebook page

I'll make you go look if you want to relive your youth first hand, but here are a few of my personal favorites (taken from the website):

 Friendship bracelets.  Who doesn't love these?!?!  It makes me want to break out with my embroidery floss and whip one up right now!  Does anyone have a saftey pin so I can attach it to what's left of the knee of my
 acid washed jeans?
New York Seltzer - my BFF always had these at her house growing up.  In every flavor imagineable.  It was the coolest drink ever.  Even made me feel a little grown up to drink them! 

C'Mon!  Tell me you didn't LOVE the Crystal Pepsi!!

I'd be embarrased to admit I might still have one or two of these kicking around.  

I LOVED these!  I had this Glamour Gals case (with the revolving door in the center) and the one in the middle with the red stripes was one of my favorites.  I think her name was Lana or something.  They were fabulous!

I was never cool enough to OWN one of these, but they were so cool.  I'd touch people just to leave my handprint on their shirts!

These stickers ROCKED!

Something about these ribbon  barrettes just made me feel like more of a princess.  Perhaps the ribbon hanging down allowed me to pretend I had long glorious locks.

So, go visit the website and reminisce a little.  You'll be glad you did!  (And thanks, Tiffany, for the suggestion!)  I think I'm off to photograph my Major Morgan and Pogo Ball for inclusion on this webpage! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Le Echo de Menos, Abuelita

  My Mom and Grandma (Abuelita)
September 2004

In the Spring of my freshman year of college, I was given an assignment to choose a subject of importance to me that related somehow to the areas of Humanities we had learned about in my English class.  I chose to write about my Grandmother (on my mother's side) and was granted a rare opportunity to spend the weekend with her, listening to her tell stories, share memories, and reference books, articles, and other personal momentos she had placed on shelves or in drawers years ago.  It was a fantastic weekend.  One that I will never forget.  From that weekend, I wrote the following report for my college class.  In memory of my wonderful Abuelita, on this, what would have been her 93rd birthday, I share this story and the history I learned that memorable weekend...

Everyone has something that is dear to them. Whether a movie, a person, a song, an event, they each have their own individual significance to our lives. And each of these things relates to other aspects of a person's life in one way or another. It just so happens that my grandmother relates to my English class in college. The entire semester we have learned about several different areas of the Humanities. These areas consist of art, music, literature, poetry, and theater. My grandmother is of strong Spanish and Mexican backgrounds. These two heritages hold a respected reputation for their abilities in the humanities. My grandmother had an extremely rich upbringing and was constantly surrounded by several areas of Spanish and Mexican art forms.

To me, my grandmother is very important. I love her very much, and she has taught me quite a bit over the years. Her life has been one well-lived thus far. Throughout the years, she has fully experienced and thoroughly loved life. She has stories to tell and I love to listen to her tell them.

Flavia Amanda Naranjo was born in a small ranch in Escobares, a small town on the border of Texas and the Rio Grand River, in Starr County on September 16, 1917.
(a little tidbit I learned looking up Escobares, according to the 2000 census, Hispanic & Latino people made up 98.72% of the population - talk about a rich culture!) She was the seventh child of ten born to Flavia Garza and Emilio Naranjo.

Flavia is what is referred to as a "mestisso", a person with part Indian and part Spanish heritage. Emilio Naranjo was of Indian decent and was a "jack of all trades." He served as the post master, a teacher (who taught Flavia's first four brothers and sisters in school), and an immigration officer in the small town of Escobares. Flavia Garza was from Mexico and her ancestors traveled from Laredo, Spain on a grant from the King to serve as representatives of Spain in the New World. It was these ancestors that founded Laredo, Texas.

Growing up in the Naranjo household was a very exciting time. The entire family, minus the father, Emilio (who stayed home to work), commuted back and forth to San Antonio so the children could attend school at Brackenridge High School. They would stay in San Antonio while school was in session and return to Escobares when school recessed. They were a bilingual family, as well, speaking only Spanish at home and speaking English while at school. Flavia returned home to attend high school at Rio Grande High School for her senior year, and went on to San Antonio Junior College for her teaching certificate.

My grandmother has spent her entire life surrounded by all the humanities of the Spanish and Mexican traditions and cultures. She spent quite a bit of time while she was growing up learning the traditional songs and dances of the Mexican culture and many more years teaching them to others. Texas has very prominent influences of these cultures, as well. The art, music, dances, and literature of Spanish and Mexican cultures are all a part of Texas and a part of my grandmother's history. I couldn't wait to find out as much as I could about this culture and heritage.

Right up the street from where my grandmother went to school, there is a historical national park renowned for its beautiful architecture and art. As my grandmother told me, she spent a great deal of time in this part playing with her brothers and sisters, nearly every day. This park is the San Antonio Mission National Park in San Antonio, Texas. This series of magnificent buildings depicts days of the 18th century Spanish Missions. In those days, Franciscan "padres" rode-up from Mexico to Christianize the Indians and place claims on North American land. This park displays four missions along a seven-mile stretch of the San Antonio river. There are more than 40 original and reconstructed structures in the park itself. Having so many makes this one of the richest sources of Spanish colonial architecture and culture in the entire United States.

The first mission in San Antonio Mission Park is Mission San Jose, which was established in 1724. This is the largest and most restored of all the missions, with a striking and absolutely beautiful church complete with an ornate sculpted facade and a "rose" window. This particular site also has several restored Indian quarters with typical furniture of the time and displayed pottery, house wares, and farming equipment. The other three missions, Mission Concepcion, Mission San Juan, and Mission Espada were built in 1731 and each develops their own concepts of the missions. Mission Concepcion projects the concept of the mission being a religious center through the churches and priest quarters. Mission San Juan shows farming, trading, and ranching to give the aura of an economic center. Finally, Mission Espada contains the original irrigation dam and aqueduct, the only remaining Spanish colonial stone aqueduct in the United States. All are beautiful displays of architecture and art. These missions also serve as the hosting grounds for frequent music festivals.

It would be at these festivals, for example, that many forms of Spanish and Mexican music would be heard. A popular type of music in Mexico is the mariachi. The early use of this music at weddings explains the derivation of the name. Mariachi is basically Mexico's equivalent to our country music. The difference would be the instruments used. Mariachis are a lot like a string orchestra of sorts. The music is composed by violins, guitars, harps, mandolins, and double bass. Often times mariachi accompanies street performances of folk music. Mariachi is still performed and appreciated widely in
Texas. Annually, there are mariachi conventions held nationwide. People can attend, listen to the music of the culture and enjoy themselves.

Much of the typically well known folk songs that are so historic among the culture of the Spanish and Mexican people, are quite popular in the United States, as well. 

Many know the song "La Cucaracha". Translated, this simply means "The Cockroach". In English, this song is about a bug that runs across a carpet. However, in Mexico, this song was a battle march. The poor, oppressed people of Mexico sang this song while marching on the powerful aristocrats.

In Spanish the words go as follow:

"La Cucaracha, La Cucaracha,
Va no puede caminar.
Porque no tiene, porque Ie falda,
Marijuana que fumar. "

In English, these words translate to read:

'The cockroach, the cockroach,
We can't go on.
Because we don't have any, because we need some,
Marijuana to smoke."

The peasants sang this song because of a desperate need for strength and resistance against their stronger enemies. They felt marijuana was their answer, so they used it to obtain the power they lacked to march against the rich in protest.

Many of the Spanish and Mexican dances, too, are universal. The Mexican jarabes are quite popular among the American knowledge. This particular dance merges adaptations of mazurka, waltz, and European dance steps into its secular couple dance. Practiced primarily in central and Southern Mexico, the jarabes are a folk dance for couples that are derived from the Spanish pop music and such dances as the sequidillas and the fandangas. A jarabe is considered the dance of flirtation where the man is meant to be vigorous and attentive and the woman plays a shy role. The jarabe is more commonly known as the Mexican Hat Dance.

Another aspect of the Mexican and Spanish humanities that is quite prevalent in the United States, is the area of art. The majority of Mexican art has a very strong influence from the Mayan Indians. The artistry of these Indians is very noticeable in the works of many Spanish and Mexican artists. A large amount of this art is a cross between the artistry of the Mayans and the European materials. Artists such as Diego, Picasso, Dali, and many more have brought a great deal of wonderful art and culture to the United States through their work. They are known throughout the world and have been an influence of their own to others.

Doing this research project has taught me so much about so many things. First and foremost, it provided a wonderful opportunity for me to visit my grandparents, which is quite a rare opportunity in itself. In doing a research paper that I chose the topic for, it held my interest, while at the same time, it provided me with information I never knew but always wanted to have. I learned so much about my grandmother that I never knew. Before interviewing my grandmother for this paper, I never knew about her childhood. For example, her family, what she did, where she went to school, her jobs, and how she met my grandfather. These are all questions I never asked before. I learned so much about my grandmother as a person, instead of as a grandmother. I came to find out, that my grandma and her life are not that much different than my life and myself. I really enjoyed being able to sit with her and talk about her life and her experiences. It opened up a whole new world for me. On top of that, it made me feel so much more close to my grandmother than I ever have, because I knew so much more about who she is and how she became that person. It was new to me to learn that the Mexican culture still plays such a huge role in the culture of Texas even to this day. Also, the many influences that go into making the humanities what they are, are remarkable. Choosing this topic brought a ray of light and knowledge to a previously darkened corner of my wisdom. I am glad I chose the topic I did, and I am glad I learned all that I did from researching my wonderful grandmother and her culture. 

Every culture has its own influence on other cultures. As the Mexican and Spanish cultures have had an impacting influence on our culture, so, too, has our culture made an impact on others. This is the whole concept behind having open door policies with cultures other than our own. We can thus open our doors to alternate worlds and learn from them while simultaneously, they learn from us, too.

 December 2006
Mom, Grandma, Nate, Me

I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend with Grandma a couple years later in San Antonio learning first hand about her roots.  I was able to see the very missions she had talked about just a few years prior.  Beautiful place and history!  I will save that story and those photos for another post.  Te Amo, Abuelita!