Is it Christmas yet?

I’M READY FOR IT TO BE CHRISTMAS ALREADY!

Let’s check www.isitchristmas.com …

Damn.

Here in South Florida, we got a little cold front this week. Meaning it went from being sweltering, African Savannah hot, to steamy bathroom shower. I’m SOOOOOOO over this heat and humidity! Mainly because I’m ready to not have a frizzy lion’s mane every day of my life… but also because it’s our first Christmas in our new house!

Call me ridiculous, but one of the main reasons I fell in love with my house is  because of where I envisioned my Christmas Tree. No lie. We pulled up to the house, and hadn’t even opened up the door yet, and I already knew I wanted it. This beautiful little Bay Window in the front was just SCREAMING, “Hey! Hey you, lady! I’m bored. I want a Christmas Tree to make me look sparkly and beautiful and I know you’re JUST the person to do it for me!”

I give you, exhibit A:

baywindow

Don’t judge me.

But come on! TELL ME this isn’t the PERFECT place to have a pretty shiny Christmas Tree! And that a pretty wreath on the front door won’t bring out the Old Florida green tint that our house has! Not to mention – the old school concrete fence around our front “patio” would look PRETTY good with some Red Ribbon and some white lights!

And if all THAT isn’t enough to get excited about the Holidays… my baby girl is 2 now. She’s old enough to understand some of the most amazing holiday traditions around – Noche Buena, Santa Claus and his awesome reindeer, the magic that is Frosty the Snowman! I’m really excited about starting some Holiday Traditions of our own this holiday season. I cannot WAIT to do Elf on the Shelf with her. Growing up in a Divorced family always LOOKS awesome from the outside because you get MULTIPLE holidays – but it sucks. It’s always rush rush rush here, rush rush rush there – that there’s not really any time for that chill relaxed bonding by the fireplace that are all over December advertising campaigns. I could never really relate to all that. I mean, who has a fireplace in South Florida anyways?!

I digress… but I’m ready for the Holidays. I’m ready to put a creepy little elf doll in odd places of my house and trick my 2 year old into believing it’s a real elf from the North Pole. I’m ready to string up a billion Christmas Lights all over the place, and then regret it a few weeks later when I have to figure out how to take it all down in an organized fashion. I’m ready to open up all my windows, let the cold (and by cold, I mean 60 degree) air whoosh through my house and make us all wish it was July.

Is it Christmas yet?

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I’m looking for some fun ideas to do with Alexandria for Elf on the Shelf this year – do you have any suggestions or cool ideas I can steal  get inspired by? What are some of your holiday traditions? Share in the comments below! 🙂

 

Why Alexandria will Speak Spanish & My Faith in Humanity is Restored.

The last 5 days have been a crazy whirlwind of excitement. Messages, Social Media Notifications, Article after Article linking back to this blog, showing off my baby girl. I’m still at awe at how many people are interested in something so simple… a birthday message for a man who makes our lives better every single day. But, there are always those people who try to spoil something sweet. For every 5 “aww”s and “she’s so cute”s, there’s a rude, obnoxious comment.  The most hysterical one so far? “This is America, she should be saying Dad” comments.

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Listen people, if you feel this way, you should just stop reading now. I’m over it. I’m done. If you want to live in a world with no culture, no diversity and a lack of tradition that’s fine by me… here, let me direct you to a nice boulder somewhere for which you can build a home and a community under. You and your closed minded buddies can all just go live there, under that rock, where you’ve probably been for the last 15 years or so. And there, you all can have meetings and rallies and make signs, and keep your bigotry and hate to yourselves.

Because after all, that’s what you’re trying to promote right? People staying to themselves, people staying with their own kind. Because I have some news that may be quite shocking to you… something that I know might shatter your whole world to have to come to terms with: The Hispanic Culture isn’t going anywhere.

Now, people who know me personally, know my parents are both American. I’m pretty sure my Dad is the only White person left in Hialeah (<— there’s a link there for you that aren’t familiar with this little Cuban Sanctuary). When I was 8, my mom married a Cuban man, and my introduction to the Latin world began.  I suddenly gained an Abuela & an Abuelo. I learned that instead of just Christmas Morning we now have Noche Buena and the holiday was suddenly extended an extra day. And, primarily due to my nosiness and need to be in everyone’s business, I began learning Spanish. I may not have been born into the Hispanic Community, but I grew up immersed in it. In college at the University of Florida, I actually worked at a restaurant called Virtually Cuban.  My friends would joke with me CONSTANTLY that it fit me perfectly because that’s exactly what I was.

If it wasn’t already obvious, Javy is Colombian. One of the original reasons the video was uploaded was because I knew his family all over the world, who can’t live here with us, would like to see how much she loves her Papi. When the time comes for Alexandria to travel to Colombia, or Spain, you better believe I want her to be able to communicate with her family. Her Colombian Culture will ALWAYS be important, it has been since birth.

TheChechCarnavalColombia

Jerseybaby

And it will be, for the rest of her life.

For ALWAYS.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a community in South Florida where I had friends who were from all over the world. I joke all the time that our group of friends is a branch meeting of the United Nations: Cuba, Colombia, Venezuela, England, China, the Philippines, Argentina, Nigeria… So, to play devils advocate, I can totally understand how someones fear of another culture could push them to hate. People are always scared of what they don’t know, it’s human nature. It’s part of our will to survive. Early Man would come across something they’ve never seen before and run from it – because that was safest. But in today’s world, where we’re not hunting and gathering to survive, this fear should be replaced with curiosity.

Instead of shying away from all that is unknown, why not try to understand? Why not try to learn? Why not try to adapt? You don’t think most of the people who come to this country try REALLY hard to assimilate into American Culture? Most learn English. I have multiple children in my class who have only been in this country for a year or so, and are working so hard to learn the language. It’s all about adapting to your environment.

Because unfortunately, if you don’t, you’re going to be all by yourself in that little town under the rock. In California, it is projected that Hispanics will be the new majority in 2014. And in the United States, Hispanic People will probably be the majority in 2043. Pretty soon, you’re going to have a Nation full of bilingual and multilingual individuals, and you’re going to be all by your lonesome.

The best part about all of this? My faith in humanity was restored yesterday. While the negative comments were flooding in, I tried my hardest to ignore them but they bothered me. Some were downright hilarious, like how Alex should be in Speech Therapy… seriously guys, she’s 27 months old. Your Speech Therapist License should be evaluated. But I digress.

As the negative comments came in, the internet fought back. Person after Person downvoted, or responded to the comments standing up for my little girl. Supporting our decision to raise her bilingual, and encourage further cultural diversity in the world. People lashed out about their ignorance. Users were forced to continuously defend themselves from their lonely hatefilled island they had put themselves on. Most erased their comments or just gave up. But knowing that so many people had our backs and we didn’t have to respond meant the world to me. And it will mean the world to Alexandria when she’s old enough to understand.

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Buzzfeed, Reddit & The Chech, Oh My!

Today, I woke up a little extra early to get ready for another crazy day… to find the Chech all over the web. lol Yesterday, A friend reposted The Chech’s Birthday Message for her Papi and someone from Buzzfeed just so happened to watch it, and now the internet has exploded.

Buzzfeed

This is so effing exciting:

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Yea theres some questionable sexy chicks right above it – but whatever! There’s my boo – in all her glory – the first article on Buzzfeed yesterday! Needless to say this all blew up way faster than I could have ever imagined. I sat this little munchkin in a chair, and talked to her for about an hour about why she loved her Papi. That’s it! She brought up the Sports, She got excited about the Arepitas, and I just edited it all together!

And now, thanks to Buzzfeed, she’s got her own GIFS. GIFS that I can’t begin to explain make me CRACK UP to no end.  Check them out:

And my absolute favorite thing about getting on Buzzfeed – THEY GIF’D HER LAUGH!!!

Thank you THANK YOU THANK YOU Adrian Carrasquillo for being so wonderful and sharing my girl with the world!

I woke up this morning to her little video having 90,000 views on YouTube… I’m coming after you Charlie Bit My Finger! 😉

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Alligators, Turtles & Panthers, Oh My!

Quality time with my little munchkin is one of the most important things in my life. She’s growing so fast. She’s learning so quick. She’s talking so much. She’s sitting in my lap right now driving me absolutely crazy as I try to write this blog post. (See photobooth photo collage below.)

CollageI’m trying to make sure that the memories we create now have more than just a “fun value”; I want them to be a learning experience, too. So that morning we were putting together this super cute Alligator Puzzle to which Alexandria kept saying, “Mommy, you see it? Dinosaur puzzle piece!”. First of all, the fact that she said Dinosaur so clear was pretty awesome, and second, what the hell is she doing saying complete sentences?! We spent a little time trying to figure out the difference between a Dino and a Gator and she just couldn’t quite get it. Then it hit me… what better way to learn, then to see one in real life? Since the planet is kind of short on Dinos, the next best option was to head on over to Sawgrass Recreational Park out west to see some real life Alligators up close. I called up her Naunie (my mom) for some Quality time and off we went.

When we got there, in true Naunie fashion, we were schooled on all the bacteria and germs reptiles carry and ordered not to touch them. Darn, there goes my plans of having my one year old daughter pet & touch dangerous Alligators and other large reptiles! 😉 But, bring some hand sanitizer just in case you do get brave.

As we walked up, the Alligator Show was starting. Alex could NOT comprehend how gigantic their big boy “Cannibal” actually was – she couldn’t take her eyes off him!

1SawgrassRecreationalParkThe show was pretty cool… they got them to move a little, and explained to us that the way “Cannibal” got his name was pretty self explanatory. This gigantic creature was farm raised, and pretty chill the whole time. The handlers explained that because it had been pretty chilly here in South Florida and because they’re cold blooded they didn’t have much energy to waste. (Yes, 60 degrees is chilly for all South Floridians – even Alligators)

Look at her eyes – she’s AMAZED.

3SawgrassRecreationalParkNext up, were the exhibits. I couldn’t get over how absolutely beautiful this animal was.

2SawgrassRecreationalParkProbably should’ve written down what he was – but he was definitely one of my faves.

Then, up front, was this friendly little guy.

4SawgrassRecreationalParkAlex wanted to give him “Besitos” and I’m pretty sure he wanted to eat our fingers, but, tomato tomahto.

Here are some other fun shots from our day at Sawgrass Recreation Park!

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6SawgrassRecreationalParkMy mom’s favorite were the parrots… she had a full on conversation with the little green ones that consisted of the words “Hello, Pretty Bird, and Goodbye”. Alex thought it was hysterical. 

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Last, but certainly not least, was the most beautiful animal I’ve ever seen up close. A rescued Florida Panther. Alex kept calling him Simba, and my mom tried to explain to her that they play Hockey… I mean, when she fails the “Florida Wildlife” part of the FCAT I’ll know why…

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We had such a good time… Sometimes as a SoFla resident we forget about all the beauty around us. People travel hundreds and thousands of miles to come see what we get to LIVE in. We spent about an hour and a half there talking to animals, and even found refuge under some cover when a typical afternoon rainstorm blew through. It was a great experience with Alexandria, who is now 19 months old, and we loved every second of it.

Can’t wait to go back and jump on an airboat ride! 🙂

 

Fun Stuff for Toddlers: Young at Art Children’s Museum, Broward County

Scenario: It’s raining, theres probably a flash of lightning off in the distance… and if you have DirecTV chances are your cable just went out. You need to escape your house.

Solution: Hop in the car, dodge the idiots that forget how to drive

in the rain and make your way over to the Young at Art Children’s Museum. It’s only $13 for adults to enter, and $12 for kids over 1! After popcorn, candy & drinks its cheaper, and waaaaaay more fun than a movie.

Sunday was my birthday & we had a fabulous day at the beach planned with the family. I was soooooo excited – only to wake up to a dreary yucky day more fit for foggy Londontown than sunny South Florida. So, Museum Day it was and for the first time ever I was happy it was raining. We had such a good time. Of course, I documented the whole thing with my iPhone, so blurry pix are in your future.

First up – outside are these GIGANTIC letters, naturally I needed a shot in front of them. I love this little Chech.

 

Once we got inside, we lost track of time and became completely consumed by the exhibits and fun interactive toys. They even have a special room just for children under 5 years old – read no obnoxious discipline deprived children knocking over my toddler without regard or remorse. Wow, when did I become THAT Mom. lol Either way –

Alexandria’s favorite? Of course, the Agua!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was honestly one of the most interesting parts of the museum. Think, waterfall designed to be an interactive toy that can be altered by installing panels to re-direct the flow of the water. Some of the older kids were mesmerized by how placing a panel made a water powered Ferris Wheel rotate, while my boo decided it was “Splashy Splashy” time. Note: Munchkins can even splash with raincoats on if you’re worried about them getting all wet. After Chech was thoroughly drenched from the waist up, we decided it was probably time to move on.

Next up – the mirror Triangle. The Chech could not stop laughing at her reflection all over the place, and the silly mommy couldn’t keep the iPhone straight enough to get a clear shot of her laughing.

After some fun in the mirror triangle, we let the Chech rest her tired little legs and we rolled on over to the bigger kids room. On the way, we stopped in the “ArtScape” some really cool Back to the Future car with Neon Lights. Chech wasn’t into it, but this little girl was all about dancing to the beat of the strobe lights. I see very long nights in her future…. I digress.

 

After we left After Hours at Space – errr the “Art Scape”, we rolled right into a room classically decorated to imitate an old Renaissance themed Art Gallery. Showcased on the walls are AMAZING pieces by kids ranging from Age 2 – 16; Collages and paintings adorned the wall while little creativity stations dot the middle space. This makes me excited for when Alex is a little older – drawing sessions like woah!

So on one wall is a giant dry erase board type deal with puzzle pieces of famous works of art. Clingy puzzle pieces stick easily and are a blast for kids to put together; well in this case for mom to show Chech how to do it. 🙂

After we got tired of Alex ripping down the Clingy puzzle pieces, we stumbled upon a fun wooden block room for bigger kids. I could venture to say teaching Alex how to roll cars down the ramps and shift gears was Javy’s favorite part. 🙂

Alex seriously had a blast playing with her Papi. Rolling the cars down the ramp, putting in the “People”, saying Vrooooooooom – she was too funny.

Here are some more fun shots from the Bigger kids room. Watching her curiously explore very twist and turn of the hallways was hilarious.

Bongo Drums fill a mini tiki hut in the back corner; When she saw these she RAN over to them with her cute little wobbly drunk person walk and looked back at us like, ‘IS IT CHRISTMAS?!’ Then, around the corner is a Stomp inspired fun room with all sorts of regular items that make noise – those white things hanging from the doorway are actually empty water jugs. Alex soon discovered what a cool noise they make.

This was honestly the most amazing birthday a 27 year old could ask for. We had Mommy & Papi fun with our friends on Saturday night to ring in midnight, slept in a bit to recharge for a fun day with the Chech. Watching her explore the twists and turns of something she’d never seen before was an amazing experience as a Mommy, and I will be returning lots and lots to this fun little (actually gigantic) Children’s Museum quite often!

Hope you enjoyed this peek into my Kairos. <3