Texas 2012

We just got back from our trip to Texas and we had a great time.  We were in San Antonio three days and then we spent the final two days in South Padre Island/Corpus Christi.
The main reason we went to San Antonio was to fulfill a promise made to the Virgin de Guadalupe.  So this was the first thing on the agenda.

Here is a picture of the church:

I thought it was pretty awesome that Pope John Paul II had visited the church back in 1987.

The stained-glass windows were amazing:

This was when we headed to downtown San Antonio:

And this is on the Riverwalk.  Have I mentioned how incredibly HOT and HUMID it was??!!  Holy Cow, I don't know how people can work there!  

Even late at night, the humidity levels were off-the-charts. It is beautiful though.

This is the Alamo.  Made me think of Pee Wee Herman and the basement (:

I saw this at one of the gift shops and thought it was funny:

The following day we made it to a couple of the missions.  They are incredible!

This one is Mission Espada and it is absolutely beautiful.  I couldn't help but look around and wonder how these people's lives were in these communities.  And also, how on earth did they build these amazing structures??

This one is Mission San Jose.  We walked the grounds, but weren't able to get a tour because it was after hours.  Bummer.

This is the marina in Corpus Christi:

And here we are on South Padre Island:

This was such a fun day:

The hubs didn't wear his trunks because "He didn't want to get into the water."  HA!

Marko refused to get close to to the water's edge when we first got there.

Not for long, though.  (:

And as Selena fans, we just had to stop at her statue on the marina.

The incredible heat in Texas meant lots of time in the hotel's pool too (:

I feel so blessed that we were able to go on this trip and make good on an important promise.  God is good.

You know, since I was born in Texas, I absolutely love the state and I love going to Texas anytime.  But you want to know what the best part of our vacation was?  Walking in the front door of our home.
There really is no place like home.


I think I've mentioned how I worked in a newsroom years ago as an editorial assistant.  Part of my job entailed receiving news releases from various sources--some were of fun, or funny events and others were regarding horrible things that happened near our city.   I'll admit, there were days in which I was shaken to the very core because of some senseless tragedy that occurred.

Well, the horrible tragedy that happened at the Aurora, Colo. theater yesterday has really weighed heavily on my heart and on my mind.

 I was in the garage with the hubs about 1 a.m. yesterday when I ran across the headline that said 14 people had died at an Aurora theater at least 50 others were injured.
I literally had to read it three times, because I honestly thought it was a typo.
My first thought was: "How?!"
I literally felt sick to my stomach and asked hubs to turn the TV on.
We both sat there in complete shock and disgust as we listened to the news reports.

I especially felt sick to my stomach because my son planned on going to see this movie with his friend in our city, but their plans fell through.  They ended up buying tickets for another movie instead.  And I was glad.  I didn't feel comfortable with two young boys going to a midnight movie alone.  When I originally told Marko he could go, the hubs was going to go with them and of course, I was ok with that.  After finding out hubs wasn't going, I got an uneasy feeling in my stomach and I couldn't explain it.  It was just there.  So, hearing the news about the Aurora theater really shook me up.

The hubs and I immediately went to give our kids a really tight hug and give thanks to God because we could give them a hug.

The news later corrected the number of victims that had died to 12 and the injured to 58.  I am so angry and disgusted this happened.
Every innocent victim is somebody's son or daughter, parent, sibling, or friend.  How is it possible that they went to see a movie and some of them are not coming home anymore?
How is it fair that the "lucky" ones in that theater are forced to live with such horrific images in their minds for the rest of their lives?

I don't think the question of "How can such evil exist?" can ever be answered.

My most sincere condolences and prayers are with all of the victims and their families and friends.

Date night Wednesdays!

I've told you how I L-O-V-E-D everything about my growing up years and having made many wonderful memories of well, everything.  This of course, includes people I love that are no longer with us.  I've also told you about loving the music from waaay back in the day, which, BTW....is THE best music ever recorded in the history of music, thankyouverymuch.   I've also spoken of a few TV shows I loved watching.  Well, I would be remiss if I failed to mention my absolute favorite nighttime soap opera, Dallas.
(via Google)

Most anyone from my generation could tell you about the Ewing family and all the cheating, back-stabbing, lying, manipulating and power struggles that was the norm at SouthFork Ranch.  Every week, I watched J.R., Sue Ellen, Bobby, Pam, Cliff Barnes, Lucy and of course, Jock and Miss Ellie while sitting at the edge of my seat and chewing a fingernail or two...

I watched Dallas religiously and I was never disappointed.  Ever.  Every episode was a cliff-hanger that literally left you counting down the days and hours for the following week's episode.

I think the cliffhanger that was most famous was the "Who Shot J.R.?" one.  I remember hearing news reports from back then that people in other countries had bumper stickers on their cars that read "I shot J.R." Hahaha
Yeah, it was THAT big.

Dallas ran from 1978-1991 and even had a spin-off called Knot's Landing, which featured Lucy's parents and their life in California.   I was just as much a junkie for the spin-off too, although, it was a close second.  Dallas was numero uno in my book.

And I was very sad and disappointed when the show was cancelled.

Not aNyMoRe!!!!
Picture me doing the Happy Dance because:

Dallas 2012 premiered about a month ago!
Gosh, I about fell out of my seat when I read that the new version was being remade.  Good thing I wasn't, you know....sitting on the porcelain throne or something, huh?  Haha (:

And I am just as intrigued and in love with it as I was before.  Maybe a smidge more than before, if that's possible.  They did an excellent job of lining up the absolute perfect cast to complement the original cast members.

This new version literally picked up right where they left off.  The original J.R., Sue Ellen and Bobby are in the new one, along with Bobby's son Christopher and J.R.'s son, John Ross, which is a chip-off-the-old-block.  He's even rottener (yes, that is now a word), more conniving and more of a back-stabber than his daddy.

This new Dallas has another huge fan in the Silva household: my daughter Tita.  She loves it!

So every Wednesday night at 7 p.m., I have a date with Tita and the TV in the family room, and every single time it's over, we're counting down the days until next Wednesday..

And today is barely Thursday!!.... Ugh.

French Fry Fingers

While running errands today, the kids and I swung by McDonald's.  I know, I know...not the healthiest meal around, but we really don't go too often.

Anyway, right after we got our order, Tita told me the order wasn't complete, so I drove around again and Marko and I waited outside while Tita went inside for the missing items.
Marko started eating his french fries, when he suddenly yelled out in pain.

I instantly knew why.

Me: "Let me guess....you bit your fingers?"
Marko: "Yeah,......how did you know?!" (complete with an embarrassed grin)
Me: "Because you do that every single time you eat fries."

I wish I were kidding.  Every time my kids have ever eaten french fries, they inadvertently bite their fingers!  I remember many times when they were small, we would go through the drive through to get some french fries on the way home from Denver, for instance. The kids would be in their car seats in the back seat and like clock work,  you would suddenly hear one or both of them start crying.  I would turn around to see what was wrong, and sure enough, they were holding their little hands out for me to kiss their owies and make it all better.  I'll never forget their big crocodile tears rolling down their beautiful little faces while they kept chewing those stupid french fries!

At the time, I thought they would surely outgrow this, but at their ages, it doesn't seem very likely that they will.

I think I'll advise them to refrain from eating french fries while out on a date! (:

Just wondering...do any of your kids do this?

Have a great Thursday!!

Saturday night (:

The hubs and I grabbed the kiddos last night and headed to the Loveland Loves BBQ festival, and it was so much fun!
We were undecided between Eaton Days or the Loveland event.  I am so glad we chose to go to Loveland instead.
As soon as we got there, That Eighties Band was playing.  And if you know me personally, or have read this little blog for a while, you know I love me some 80s music with all my heart (:
Well, this band really rocks your socks off, let me tell you.  They had quite a crowd of people our age that were transported right back to our youth.  It was as if we were all loaded up into some awesome time capsule! HA!

They played Rick Springfield's "Jessie's Girl:"

 Madonna's "Vogue:"

and even Billy Idol's "Mony Mony," just to name a few songs.
Here's Idol's video:

And they played this song:

Eighties music just isn't complete without Michael Jackson's music, right?  Well, they did a great job on Jackson's classic, "Thriller."  The kids loved it.

And the crowd L-O-V-E-D them and the energy was out-of-this-world.  They were fantastic and really got their huge audience pumped up.  And I loved that they played one song right after another all night long.  They even played an extra 45 minutes because nobody wanted to see them go!  I guess nobody wanted to get out of that time capsule just yet.

I think all of the kids there were a little surprised to see their parents being so carefree.  It was so fun. (:
Everyone danced and had an excellent time.

We had just eaten dinner, so we didn't want any BBQ, but the kids got a soda and a funnel cake.

The kids knew quite a bit of the songs the band performed because, well, I sometimes torture them and I'll play a CD of that awesome music in the car.  And other songs they knew from various movies we've seen.

I don't have pictures, well, let me rephrase that: I do have pictures, but not good pictures, because I was having too much fun, and besides, there really wasn't anywhere to put my drink down to be able to TAKE pictures.  (:

If your Saturday was half as fun as mine, it was awesome.

Oh, and have I told you that we're headed to San Antonio/Corpus Christi, Texas next week?

Can't wait.

I've never been to Corpus Christi, by the way, so if any of you can let me in on any must-sees, I'd appreciate it!

Have a great Sunday!

My grandfather, Apa

I spent my entire childhood with Ama and Apa, my maternal grandparents.  I was so blessed with having them as my grandparents and I love and miss them so very much.
I lost my beloved Ama at age 12 and when I was 21, Apa died and my life was never the same.  Nobody's was.

Ama was the sweetest, most generous and loving grandma ever.  I have not a single memory of her mad.  Not one.  She was a very hard worker and was always busy around the house.  Even with all the work she had with taking care of her very large family, she was always singing and cooking and smiling.  And she gave the best hugs ever, not to mention she made the best tortillas I have ever tasted!
I have very vivid memories of helping her with laundry.  She had one of those old wringer washers in the back porch when I was just a kid, and I'd help her wring the clothes and then hang them on the clothesline.  She made it fun.  She only spoke Spanish, so of course, this was my first language.  Even though she didn't speak English, I'm sure she understood it but never let on, because I grew up watching The Young and the Restless with her every single day before I started kindergarten. (:

Apa was also a very hard worker and a very smart, good man.  He had his temper, but it was never directed at me.  Ever.
I have a lot of compassion for him, and I'm sure you will too after hearing his story.

I decided to document it on my blog because it is important for me that future generations know Apa's story.
Apa spent the first 4 years of his life with his parents, Micaela and Pantaleon.  Apa had an older sister, Minga; and an older brother Emilio.  Apa was the youngest of the three.
I guess my great-grandpa, Pantaleon was very mean and physically abused my great-grandma Micaela.  A lot, from what I gather.  I guess Pantaleon stole Micaela, and back then, if that happened, the girl had to marry the man, no matter what.  Pantaleon was in his early 30s and Micaela was only 13 or 14 at the time.  Yeah.
So they married and had their three children.

One day, Apa's mother got her children and left her husband after one of many beatings and sought refuge with a family.
Apa's dad got very angry and found out where Micaela and the kids were hiding, so he showed up there, grabbed Apa and took off with him.  Never to be seen again.
Now, you have to remember that this was way back in the early 1910s when women didn't have any rights.  Micaela had no way of finding her son.
Apa's dad picked up women left and right, and Apa was left with whichever woman his dad had at the time while he worked.  These women abused Apa and he even confided in Ama years later, that some of these women would tie him up outside with nothing to eat or drink until Apa's dad came home from work.  Apparently, they did this so they wouldn't have to bother with a little boy that wasn't theirs.  Unbelievable.
Pantaleon told Apa from the time he kidnapped him that Apa's mother, Micaela was a whore and that she abandoned Apa to take off with her lover, and that her lover had killed her because he had caught Micaela with another man.  Apa, having heard this story for years from his father starting at the tender age of 4, he believed it.
So Apa suffered his whole childhood at the hands of his father's girlfriends and this of course meant that Apa was raised to hate women.  His father raised him to believe women were whores.

Years later, when Apa married Ama, Pantaleon would tell Apa that the only way to "keep a woman in line, was to beat her."  So I guess Apa was abusive to Ama at the beginning of their marriage.
I thank God that I wasn't alive to witness that.

Many years later, Apa was working with a man, and I'm not clear on how the conversation turned to Apa's family.  Apa mentioned his mother's name, Micaela, he mentioned his older sister Minga and his older brother Emilio to his co-worker and mentioned that Micaela had died many years before.  The man told Apa that he knew Micaela and her kids because he was from the same town in Texas, and that she was still alive!
Apa told Ama and the rest of the family that night.

My Tia Lupe, one of my mom's sisters, coincidentally, was planning a trip to that tiny town because her husband, my uncle, had family in that same town!  What are the chances of that happening??!
So my Tia Lupe, her husband and kids found my great-grandma, Micaela during their visit.  My Tia Lupe remembers how Micaela was kind of mean to her when she first found her.  Micaela was in disbelief, of course.  She had looked for her lost son (Apa) for many, many years and had suffered heartbreak after heartbreak.

When my Tia Lupe returned from her trip, she excitedly let everyone know that she had indeed found Apa's mother and that she was anxious to meet her son after all those years.

(I am actually choking up at writing this story because it is such an incredible story, by the way.)

Anyway, about a month later, we all piled into Apa's stationwagon and took off to Texas to finally meet Micaela, my great-grandmother.
Apa, Ama, my mom, me, my aunts and uncles all made the trip.  There were about 11 of us in that stationwagon!
You can imagine the emotions in my great-grandmother's house that day.  Here was Apa at age 65, meeting his mother, in her late 80s for the very first time in over 60 years.  Wow.
My great-grandmother had remarried a few years after Apa was kidnapped and she had about 10 more kids.  My great-grandmother was widowed when we made that trip.
Apa met his older brother and sister, along with all of his half-siblings, nieces, nephews and cousins.  How incredible, huh?  There were well over 100 people at this little house.  The streets were lined bumper-to-bumper with cars for many city blocks because his family was so large and of course, everyone wanted to meet Apa and his family.
I, unfortunately, don't have pictures of this incredible event, but you can bet I'm going to be asking all of my aunts and uncles!

So for a few glorious days, Apa and his mother got a little piece of their lives back that had been so selfishly stolen by Apa's father.  They did lots of catching up.  And for that, I am so grateful.

Apa kept in touch with his mother after that and she made the trip to Colorado for Ama's funeral.  As far as I know, this would be the last time Apa would ever see his mother again.

I do not know when Apa changed and became the man I knew, but again, I am very grateful that I never knew the bitter man he was as a young adult.  The Apa I knew my entire life was a good, hardworking and responsible family man.  I thank God that he had that opportunity to have met his mother and find out first-hand that she always loved him and that she looked high and low for her beloved son.  Apa didn't have to go to his grave hating his mother and thinking that she had abandoned him, like he'd thought his entire life.

I am very bitter at Apa's father's actions and hate the fact that Apa and his mother were robbed of a whole lifetime together.  I feel strongly about this because, of course, I am also a mother, and this selfish man never gave a thought to his son's feelings.

I will admit, I wanted to learn more about Apa's father, but not anymore.  I've heard enough.

So I will continue to honor Apa's memory and the great man he was.  Here is a picture of Apa and Ama when they were in their early 30s:

This is Apa and Ama with my Tio Marcos.  Tio Marcos' story deserves it's own post also.  I'll write that one soon.
This picture makes me smile because I never saw my Ama and Apa hug.  Never.  But I always knew they loved each other. (:

This is Ama and Apa with my Tia Minga.  She is their oldest daughter, and is named after Apa's oldest sister.

That is Apa's story, and it deserved to be documented somewhere, and I guess my little blog is as good a place as any.

May they rest in peace.

Good things come to those who wait!

Quite a few years ago I picked the kids up from school when Marko was in 2nd grade and Tita was in 1st.  It was Mother's Day 2006.  The kids ran to meet me in front of the school.  They could hardly contain their excitement at what they carried in their little arms and you could see the pride in their beautiful little faces.

The kids had been working on their Mother's Day gifts for a couple weeks and finally, the day they could take them home to mama was here.
Tita presented me with a painted picture and a card and they were just beautiful and perfect.
Marko presented me with a small cup with what he said was a flower he planted himself with a few seeds.  It also was beautiful and perfect.
When we got home, I put my beautiful painted picture on the front of the refrigerator with a magnet and I placed the flower in a cup and set it by the kitchen sink and watered it.
Well, throughout the years, it never really grew, but it never died either.  So I hung on to it and continued to water it.
And throughout the years, every single time we moved to another house, the thought actually crossed my mind to toss it because as I said earlier, it just never grew.  But I always nixed the idea and kept it and continued to water it even though it was basically just a stump.  A green stump at that!
There were actually many times that I'd end up forgetting to water my stump and when I'd remember, I would water it and the entire thing would rise about 5 inches above the water!  I actually had to hold the clump of dirt containing the stump down so that the water could slowly work its way into the clump and it would finally sit in the cup right.  If it wasn't such a special gift, believe me, I would have chucked it long ago.
But I didn't.  And I am so glad I never did.

Here's why:
It finally started growing!  That's right. You can imagine my surprise!  And you can probably get a visual of me doing the Happy Dance.  Because I totally did (: 

It took six whole years later for it to finally do this:

Here's a picture of the bottom of the plastic cup Marko brought it home in.  Can you see his name?
Can you believe those rich, green beautiful leaves!  It's going to keep on growing, I just know it.
And I can't tell you how excited I am!....Not that I've let on...right?

I am going to buy the perfect pot for it because this old plastic one I found in the garage just isn't good enough.  It was good enough when it was a stump, but not now!  Those beautiful leaves deserve a beautiful pot...Right?  I think Yes.

You know, I couldn't tell you what kind of flower it is to save my life, nor could I ever explain the super-duper long delay in sprouting, other than it wasn't going to sprout until it was good and ready.  And it took 6 whole years for it to decide it was time.

It's as if Marko gifted me with it all over again.
And I don't think I have to tell how it makes me smile every time I walk by it.

It kind of reminds me of how I had to wait so many long years until I finally held my beautiful, perfect newborn miracle baby in my arms after resigning to the fact that I was never going to have a child of my own.  And then shortly thereafter, God gifted me with another miracle baby.

Good things really do come to those who wait.

Thanks again Son!  I love it all over again.

Galatians 6:9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Dude, You're awesome!

Just need to brag on my brilliant 13-year-old's artistic abilities.  My son, Marko was born with such amazing talent and I am so very proud of him.
Just take a look at his latest creation:

Pretty awesome, huh?
He just saw the newest Spiderman movie and it must have inspired him to draw the Joker.
Not bad, especially since he doesn't have a formal education in art!  I can only imagine what he'll do in the future.
I foresee an amazing future for my awesome, handsome, talented Marko.

I love you Marko!  Continue to shine as you have until now.

One Proud Mama (:

Muffin Top

You know how babies are exposed to different foods when they reach the mushed-up baby food and finally solid foods age?  And you know how new mamas excitedly try the different fruits and vegetables to experiment with their baby to see which one the baby prefers?
And you know how those mamas may or may not sneak a taste of that baby food while feeding said baby?  Especially the mushed-up bananas??
What?!  You didn't?  You know you did!
Well anyway, apparently, my mom never received that memo.

Seriously.  I'm not sure why, but I never grew up tasting very many things as a kid.  My taste buds were deprived BIG TIME.
I sure as heck remember tasting different candy though, and I definitely had my favorites.  This I know because I actually remember it.  One of my earliest memories had me on the bike with my uncle Joe and he was taking me to the little store about half a block away to buy candy.    It's surprising I didn't grow up obese with my weird eating habits!
I think, well, actually I remember eating beans, rice and tortillas a lot growing up.  HA!
First of all, I wish to clarify that I was very, very blessed to have been raised with my Ama (grandma).  She was the epitome of what a grandmother should be and I absolutely know how very lucky I was to have spent so much time with her and to be able to still have vivid memories of her smile, laugh and hugs.  I have lots of cousins that don't have one memory of her because either they were babies when Ama passed, or they simply were born after she passed.  Anyway, beans, rice and tortillas were on the table in some variety at every single meal.  We ate meat, of course, but we ate it with the rice, beans and tortillas.  Plus, we'd eat lots of veggies from Ama's garden.

This is probably difficult for you to believe and you're probably thinking "Yeah, whatever!" or "That isn't possible!" when I tell you just how deprived my poor taste buds were.

I was almost 4 years old the first time I tasted marshmallows.  I wish I were kidding!  This I clearly remember because I ate almost the whole damned bag!  I was in the car with Ama and Apa, aunts, uncles and cousins and we were driving to the mountains.  One of my cousins had the bag and I just couldn't get enough of it.  I also remember getting sick on that stupid bag of marshmallows.  I'll spare you the details.
Growing up, I'm sure I ate an enchilada or two because, I mean, I'm Mexican. HA!
I remember not caring for the cheese in them.  And I remember the cheese being the half-circle, dark orange cheese.  Not very appealing if you open the fridge to get a snack, right?
So I wasn't a huge fan of cheese until I was 15 and living with one of my favorite aunts in Alliance.  Her name is also Rose and she was gracious enough to allow me to stay with her and her family for a while.
I clearly remember (and I'll bet even she remembers if you ask her!) about how I used to eat ALL of her sandwich cheese.  I did.  She just couldn't keep any in her fridge.  Just as soon as she'd buy it, it was gone.
It was entirely Aunt Rose's fault though because she always bought this one:
This stuff is flippin' delicious!  I remember I was instantly in love.  I had honestly never, ever tasted it before.  Weird?  Ummmm YEAH!
One thing I don't remember is if I was big-time constipated during this cheese-eating binge.  I probably was, just don't remember it (:

I can honestly say that up until that time, I had never had a slice of sandwich cheese.  WTH?
Another way my Aunt Rose hooked me up for the first time was, are you ready for this?
Macaroni and Cheese.
That's right.  I had never tasted Mac & Cheese.  Ever.  And by this time, I was sixteen years old!!  I mean, come on, kids grow up on this stuff!  But I didn't.
It was Thanksgiving and my Aunt Rose made dinner and everything was so good.  I remember being passed the big bowl of Mac & Cheese and saying I didn't want any because "It looked gross."
Well, I went ahead and took a little taste and my love affair with cheese started all over again.  Thanks, Aunt Rose!  I think of you each and every time I serve Mac & Cheese to my family or when I see the display of Kraft Singles in the grocery aisle. Seriously.

Years later, the hubs introduced me to his beloved poppy seed muffins.  Again, I thought those looked nasty and never wanted any when he'd offer me one.
Oh Em Gee are those suckers GOOD.  Again, I had never tasted it before.  And I never would have taken it upon myself to try them

Well, my little Betty Crocker, aka Tita made these today: 

 Poppy seed Muffins!!!

I allowed myself to eat one (or two) because my taste buds still have lots of catching up to do.  I'm just wondering, was I the only person raised with my taste buds so deprived??  Please tell me!

Never mind the horrible quality of these pictures, I took them with Marko's Ipod because I didn't have my camera on hand.

Oh, and just to clarify: These were the Muffin Tops I was referring to by the title of this post, and NOT something else...just in case you were wondering.

Have an awesome day! (:

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