Blogging will commence in 4, 3, 2….

I haven’t been blogging during the past two months, and there are some really, really good reasons. One of which is the Top Secret news I alluded to on June 4th: we are new homeowners!! The process was arduous, and frustrating, but the end result is amazing! We’ve been in our new home for a month, and things are slowly but surely moving along. All rooms are functional, some more than others. There is still lots to do, including some minor renovations, but I’m in love with our new home more and more everyday!

new home/>

I taught throughout the entire summer, and completed three classes towards my teaching degree. Fueled by lots and lots of cafecito. I got A’s in all three classes, making some of my sleepless nights well worth it.

Hubby and I both went out of town for work, he the week before our closing, and me the week after. Then we traveled together to Houston for a long weekend to see Queen + Adam Lambert in celebration of our 15th wedding anniversary. Because when you’re in the middle of the move, you need to have three back to back trips, just to make it more interesting. In spite of it being in the middle of moving chaos, four days away were a much needed break. We spent some time with friends in Houston, visited the Houston Museum of Natural ScienceHermann Park (which is lovely!!), and  the NASA Johnson Space Center, enjoyed the concert tremendously, and were happy to spend some quality time together.

Queen Adam Lambert HoustonHouston Museum of Natural Science

The boys started school this past Monday: B is now in high school (Yeah, I know…) and Matty is in his last year of elementary school. (Yeah, this one too…how did we get here so fast?!). It’s only been five days, but so far both boys are doing well. Matty’s teachers are the same ones Brandon had in 5th grade, which is awesome because they are great, and we are familiar with each other, which makes life so much easier. I’m looking forward to a busy but successful school year for both of them.

So besides teaching during the summer, and attending school to finish my teaching degree, and traveling, and moving into and out of homes, and the usual chaos life in general brings, blogging was put on hold.  I just started my second to last class on Friday. It will be a difficult one, but I will make it a point to blog more often, if for no other reason than to vent about school work…though I’ll do my best to make it more entertaining than that!

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There’s a first time for everything

And today was the first time, the very first time, I taught a class. (well, actually, four.) My amazing director, knowing that I’m about halfway done with my teaching certification, has given me the opportunity to get my feet wet and teach during our summer program. We have an enrichment program for school age students, and I’m teaching the Spanish component during the next seven weeks. I taught our four different groups for 30 minutes each this morning, and I think it went well. The hardest part was making sure I had sufficient material to avoid any idle time, and while 30 minutes doesn’t sound like a lot, it certainly goes by very fast. I was afraid I’d end up presenting my materials and have like 10 extra minutes with nothing to do, which is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. Fortunately that was not the case: I was able to pace myself, I asked the students open-ended questions to get them to engage more with the topic, and I was flexible with the flow of the lesson, adding or taking away things as needed. I’m also happy that I remembered all the best practices I’ve learned so far in my first few courses regarding classroom management and maintaining control of the class. I do know most of the kids, but not in the teacher/student role, so I was nervous about that too.

I haven’t yet written the lesson plans for the next few weeks, but I’ve flipped through the textbook and have some ideas that I’ll work on this weekend. Ah, yes…and the harshest critic I know, my own Matty, said I did a great job, that he liked my lesson and that he wasn’t bored.  I know I won’t be an effective teacher overnight, but I’m sure of why I’m doing this, and I’m definitely passionate about making a difference in my students’ lives. I can’t say I’m ready to tackle my own class of 20+ students for a full work day, but this is a pretty good start.

Image of Scrabble Tiles showing the word TEACH

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I’m so excited, that I just can’t hide it!

top-secretWhy am I excited? Well, we got some really big news late Friday afternoon. It was news we were kind of expecting…I thought this news was coming, and I believed it was coming, but actually hearing the words confirming it had me close to tears. It was so exciting that I didn’t really sleep much that night. I went to bed at 10:30pm but couldn’t get to sleep until close to midnight. Then I was up from around 3am until more or less 5:30am, tossing and turning. I think I had the most restful sleep between 530am and 9am when I woke up Saturday morning to start our day. We are all excited, but it seems I’m the most excited since everyone else slept like a log that night!

A few of you who know us in person know what the great news is. And while I was warned not to say anything until the process is complete, I can’t help but plant this little tease here on the blog before it all comes to fruition. It will involve lots of preparation in a very short time, and a new beginning of sorts. It also means that with school still in session, I have to be very organized and prioritize what needs to be done in order to stay on track with everything I have to do. Thankfully, since the kids will be done with school over the next few days, they will be able to provide some much-needed help in the coming weeks. A few things we had planned will have to be put on hold for the time being, but it’s going to be so worth it. I’m a big ball of nerves: excitement, anxiety and eagerness, all rolled into one. This is going to be quite the eventful summer!

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Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 in Theaters Now!

Disclosure: I was invited to a pre-screening of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 by Disney Pictures. All opinions are my own.

It’s finally here, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hit theaters this weekend!

Best movie poster ever!

Guardians of the Galaxy is Brandon’s favorite Marvel movie, and I was so excited to take him to the screening last week, before Vol. 2 hit theaters (Yay, cool mom points for me!).

I will admit, when the first Guardians of the Galaxy came out, I was not really interested in seeing it (I know, I know, what was wrong with me?). I ended up watching it on DVD at a friend’s house one night, and oh my goodness: The music! Chris Pratt! The unconventional heroes! The music! Groot! The humor! And did I mention the music?! I loved it (how could I have doubted Marvel?), and off we went to buy our own copy of the DVD. The boys and I watch it often, and we we were all looking forward to the day we could see our friends Star Lord, Gamora, Drax, Rocket, and of course Groot again.

From the start of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, I knew it would be just as entertaining as the first. Three words: Baby Groot Dancing. But there is so much more to this movie than a cute sapling busting some moves. There is more of what we love from the first GotG installment: lots of humor, continuing romantic tension between Star Lord and Gamora, and a few surprises that you don’t see coming. And of course, a killer soundtrack!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is rated PG-13 and is written and directed by James Gunn. It stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Elizabeth Debicki, Chris Sullivan, Sean Gunn, Tommy Flanagan, Laura Haddock, Sylvester Stallone, and Kurt Russell. Kevin Feige is producing, and Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso, Jonathan Schwartz, Nikolas Korda and Stan Lee are the executive producers.

Go see it and come back and tell us what you think. Look out for the cameos, and make sure you stay until the very end, as this movie features FIVE mid and post credit scenes!

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Coast to Coast: Done!

I am beyond thrilled to report that not only did I complete half marathon number 13 last weekend, the Star Wars Dark Side Half Marathon, that race earned me a Run Disney Coast To Coast medal! I set this ambitious goal a little less than a year ago in celebration of turning 40….and convinced my friends C and K to do it with me (I still have no idea who’s crazier, me for suggesting it or them for agreeing to it).

Although part one of this bi-coastal adventure, the Star Wars Light Side Half, went fine in January, I was quite anxious since my following race, the Miami Half, was horrible. It was so bad I didn’t even want to blog about it, which in hindsight was wrong since I should document the good and the bad. Let’s just say my finish time would have deinitely gotten me swept if it had been a Disney race, and I had huge blisters on the bottom of both my feet that took at least three weeks to heal. But I digress….I was so nervous during the start of the Dark Side half.

My stomach starting turning as we were waiting for our wave to start. We were in Corral G, which was the last corral, but Run Disney did something a little different this year: Corrals C through G had mini-corrals, so there are different start waves within each corral. We weren’t sure if we were standing near the front or back of the corral, which is part of what made me so nervous. We figured out where we were, and thankfully we were in the first group out of Corral G. Once that was all sorted out, I decided that I would just put one foot in front of the other and get to that finish line. And I did. Even with potty stops and character photo opps, C and I finished in 3 hours and 30 minutes, way ahead of the infamous balloon ladies.

We lost K around mile 4, she had some major pain in both her feet from just standing during the corraling, and she separated from us to not hold us back. During the entire race we weren’t sure if she stopped at a med tent, or kept going, or gotten swept. We finally found her at the med tent after the race when C went to get ice, and she ended up finishing before us by 18 minutes! She pushed through and did it, and I’m so proud of her.

I’ll be honest, my eyes filled with tears when that finish line was in sight. I was so proud of myself for setting this goal that once seemed impossible. It’s been six years since I started my running journey. The road has been bumpy, with a lot of highs, and definitely a few lows, but I wouldn’t change a thing.

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CARS 3 Road to the Races tour is coming to Miami!

Calling all fans of Disney*Pixar Cars movies: To celebrate the upcoming release of Cars 3 on June 16th, life-size, character look-alikes of five-time Piston-Cup champion Lightning McQueen, tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez and the sleek next-gen racer Jackson Storm will be rolling into 27 cities coast to coast. The tour rolls into Miami this weekend!

A variety of activities will be available for children of all ages:

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I survived my first class!

It is no coincidence that I have not blogged in a month. My first day of class was one month ago, and it’s been a jam-packed five weeks with deadlines at work, research and assignments to do, and pre-service teacher clinical observation hours to be completed (and of course, parental and household duties!). But I did it. As of right now, I’ve earned A’s in four out of the five assignments I submitted. The fifth is still pending a grade. Final grades for the course will be published on Tuesday. I’m about 99% sure I got an A, which means all those late nights were worth it!

The next class starts next week, with class every Friday evening and all day Saturday over the next four weeks. That means I have five days to get this house in shape so that we all survive the next month. I tried my hardest to delegate household duties to the hubby and kids. The boys were on their own for homework, Matty even completed an awesome book report on Walt Disney that I’m super proud of, all by himself!. We were mostly on autopilot, with just the essentials like laundry, dirty dishes, and checking the mail for any pending bills getting our full attention.

I’m going to try a little harder this time around to make bigger meals so that we have more leftovers for those crazy nights when I’m working on assignments. We definitely resorted to ordering take-out for dinner due to my homework commitments more often than we planned to.

I’ve got eight classes left to finish the program, but if they go as fast as the first one, I’ll have my certification in the blink of an eye!

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Brain Dump

Here are a few things floating around my mind, in no particular order:

  • After two days of orientation, I’m a little nervous, and excited, that I start classes next Friday. I have my schedule, I’ve ordered my textbook, now I just need to get through the next ten months.
  • My worst half ever this past Sunday is haunting me. I want to run and burn off some of the anxiety from my upcoming school/work/in-service schedule, but I can’t. My feet are still healing from the enormous blisters I got, thanks to soaked socks and shoes. I had to walk almost the entire Half, taking me 4 hours and 30 minutes. Just when I think I’m walking normally and can possibly try to run this weekend, I move my foot the wrong way and see stars. May have to give this another week or so…
  • Even though we can’t even consider buying a new home until early May, I can’t help checking listings online, even though we can do nothing about any of the ones I fall in love with until three months from now.
  • Speaking of new homes, I’m hoping we can avoid further hits to our credit with some creative juggling which would allow me to pay for school with money we have on-hand versus charging my classes on credit cards.
  • Note to self: Less eating out. And Starbucks. And visits to Target.
  • Those last two are going to be hard.
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The Force Was With Us!

I am so excited to say that I successfully completed the Star Wars Light Side Half Marathon, and am halfway to my goal of earning my Coast to Coast medal while I’m 40! And I didn’t do it alone: my friends C and K joined me for a girls’ weekend. We spent an amazing three days in California. Besides the race, we took a bus tour in L.A., drove to Santa Monica to visit Cookie Good for specialty cookies, had dinner with a few Darbys, and went to Disneyland for the first time. Continue reading

Posted in Family & Friends, Fun Stuff, Health & Wellness, Run Manders Run, Travel | 1 Comment

Staying Organized and Sane

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SigueConAdvil #CollectiveBias

As a modern Latina, I aspire to do it all: be a great mom, excel at work, (try to be) a good housekeeper, and keep everybody happy, including myself! January is going to be a busy one for us: we’re celebrating Brandon’s 14th birthday with a party at home. A few days later I’ll be traveling to California to complete my 11th Half Marathon in Disneyland. The week after I return, I’m starting an accelerated program to complete my education degree. And in the meantime, we’ve been house shopping and may be purchasing a new home within the first few months of the year. Sometimes this wonderful yet busy life is overwhelming…just looking at that list gave me a headache! That’s why I like to have Advil® Tablets on hand. Not only do they help ease the inevitable headaches of trying to juggle life’s crazy turns, but it also helps with minor muscle aches from my half marathon training.

The best way to manage all our activities and appointments is to write everything down! Whether it be an agenda, or To-Do lists, it helps to have everything in writing so that I can keep track of things and scratch things off as they get done, or even delegate some things to my husband or the kids and avoid going loca!

Here are a few tips to show you how I’m getting organized to survive the next few months:

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Posted in Health & Wellness, Life Happens, Parenting | 2 Comments