16 December 2014

Six Months

Well, it's snuck up on me without much thought about it, but I have been living in Mexico for six months.

Time goes faster and faster as life ticks on, so I barely realized that this day had come, but it has and I don't know how I feel about it.

This is December, and I really am missing Oregon right now. Mt. Hood is most likely covered in snow, but the days are still sunny and warm here. I long for real cold weather and rain and green trees and family and my mom's oven that always smells like cookies. I miss my mom's heat vent from her old oil furnace that warms you up toasty, quick. I miss working at my old job where the residents would be putting up their trees and I miss hanging out with my friends.

But I believe that I have grown up a lot, a lot, A LOT in the last six months. Which to me, means that I have learned to live humbly. I have learned to make due. I have gone from "I can't live without a washing machine" to knowing that Zote soap is the best for hand washing your clothes. I know how to buy only what we need because there is no room for excess. I've learned that a lot of the things I thought I knew about the world and people were mostly wrong. I've learned to have complete trust in God because somedays I just don't know how I'll ever make it another second, but then I do.

Here is a recap of my life in the last six months or so...


June 2014

July 2014

Learning to love my life August 2014

Saying goodbye a second time, August 2014

Helping Cecilia adjust

September or October 2014 (notice that I am getting skinnier).

November 2014

November 2014

December 2014
In the last six months, I've lost a lot of pride, about 25 pounds, and a million bad habits. I've gained a lot of humilty, a rebuilt relationship with my husband and family, and I've learned what it truly means to be independent. Life if not perfect, but it is life. I'm adapting and I'm learning to live on both sides of the border. I have accepted that this is my life, even if I miss Oregon. Sometimes I get sad when I think that I'll never have the luxury of waking up and seeing Mt. Hood again, or downtown Portland, but I get to wake up with a complete family unit. That is just as rewarding for me.

Here's to the next six months and to the rest of my life...

13 December 2014

Someone Turned 4!!

Hello blogging world. It's most difficult to run a blog without a steady wifi connection!

Anyways, someone special turned four years old. My son, Isaias, was five months old when Hector was deported. For his birthdays, we never had a party, because I did not want Hector to miss out on his son's birthday. Usually, we had a vacation and flew down to visit during those 3 years of separation.

Well, this year, I decided it was time for my son to have a party. Usually, parties are over-the-top here with bouncers and all kinds of stuff, but that just wasn't in my budget. Instead, I decided to make my own decorations on a limited budget!


This cake topper cost me a total $10 to make. I am a Michael's employees. Tissue paper, a $2 frame, a picture made in Picmonkey, a styrofoam disc and some ribbon . The frame comes in two pieces: a base and the frame, I stuck the base into the foam about a 1/2" and secured it with hot glue, then I did the same for the top. I made the bows, and my car-themed cake quickly became a Thomas the Train themed cake.

Here are some other pictures of the decorations:
The Water Tower was for the Drink Station.
The Water Tower and Fueling Station frames were also the $2 Michael's frames. I made them almost exactly as I made the Cake Topper, but I didn't attach them to styrofoam. Since the frames are double sided, I simply cut some scrapbook paper that I had on hand to 4x6 and stuck it behind the pictures. There were several of these frames; I also had one for the Piñata station, but I didn't take a picture of that. These all became party favors.


The Fueling Station was for the food table.
We held the celebration at the park by our house. We lucked out that no one was using the spot- Hector had to go wait at the park super early. There was no charge to use the park, like at most Mexican parks. We simply got lucky that day. The banner was NOT homemade. I bought it at Party City.
The piñata we bought at a local candy store. I usually don't buy shaped piñatas like this one, because when you add candy they balance really funny. This one was no different; I ended up having to cut extra holes in it to add candy to the back so that it would balance evenly.
Isaias wasn't too sure about the idea of hitting Thomas. He was just lightly 'tapping' him.
Our food was traditional American cheeseburgers and hot dogs. It was the cheapest route to go. I have never actually had American food at a party, I usually make carne asada. The food was a hit, and Hector didn't complain (too much) about having to cook it.
The cake I bought the morning-of the party. I couldn't find a tres leches cake that I didn't have to prepay for. That was the main reason I made the cake topper. I lucked out and found a Mexican bakery on my way home from work in San Ysidro, CA. The cake was originally car-themed, but I made it work. I just took off their decoration and added mine. The Thomas birthday candle is from Michael's and costs about $4.
Blowing out the candle.
 Isaias got a face-full of cake now with "La Mordida". Cecilia loves the tradition; Isaias, not so much.
So that was the day my son turned four and had his very first birthday party. Hector got to be a part of it, which is the big deal for me. I was so excited about the party, and Isaias talked about it for days. I'm thankful that I live in a cross-borders world where I can have my family in one piece.

21 October 2014

October

Well, the month of October has certainly flown by.

This month Hector and I embarked on yet ANOTHER new adventure...we've moved out completely on our own for the very first time in our lives!

Our new home is a tiny one bedroom apartment in the same neighborhood we have been living in- basically I don't have to walk up anymore hills to get to anything. Apartments in Tijuana never come very furnished, so we've been learning how to live without a refrigerator or stove. Basically, it can be done and it is very humbling.

I've been dreaming of October in Portland, with the trees yellow and bright and the cool, crisp fall air. I've been dreaming of pumpkin patches and hot apple cider, sweater weather, and soup bubbling on the stove. Octobers are my favorite time of year. Not only is October my birthday month, but October means that winter is on it's way. I'm a sucker for cooler weather.

Fall doesn't exist here. Sometimes, I think I may catch a glimpse of it in the cooler evening air, but the sunshine and heat of the day keep the leaves on the trees green. There are no pumpkin patches. People are getting ready for Halloween and Día de los Muertos. Yes, the marigolds are a beautiful yellow, almost reminiscent of the trees in Oregon, but they are hardly the same. The bright colors of these holidays don't fill me with the wonder of fall. There is no hint of spice in the air. The only feeling I feel these days is a great homesickness for Sauvie Island and the days I used to spend in the country.

My phone is broken, so I have not taken a single picture in almost a month. It's been a nightmare for someone who scrapbooks week to week, but it's just life. What has come over me the most, is that I realize how humble I've been made my experiences here. In Portland, if my phone or camera broke, I simply bought a new one. I didn't care about the expense. Before I came here, I couldn't live without a refrigerator, but now I do (most unwillingly, I should mention). I wouldn't have ever thought about walking up a big hill, now I leave the car at home. I used to drink Starbucks and Pepsi every day, now I drink soda maybe once a week. Money doesn't fall from the sky. I've learned that I'm no better than anyone else. I don't deserve these luxuries more than anyone else does. Yes, I am blessed and grateful to God for my minimum wage job that barely pays the bills, because I know there are so many people in the world that would love to be in my place. I understand that now.

I don't feel like the same person who left Portland on a bus just four months ago. I feel much, much older.

01 October 2014

26 at 26

I've never really been one to ponder my age. Years and time simply go on- there is no cream or magic spell to make it stop.

However, today I am turning 26. It does strike me as odd that I am 26 and just beginning my adult life. I remember turning 16 and I can't believe it was really ten years ago. My mom threw me a huge Sweet 16 party with a big fancy dress and a DJ and catering... there is not so much pomp and circumstance this year.

This is a list of things that I have done or things I would like to do, and maybe a few things I've noticed about myself.

  1. I would like to learn to sew. Not just clothes, but my real desire is to make a quilt for me to cuddle up in, even though I think it will forever been too hot here in Mexico to do so.
  2. When I was 11, I cut my hand open almost to the bone, and now, 15 years later, I still don't feel part of my hand. 
  3. The reason I scrapbook and take so many pictures is that I have a horrible memory. I can barely remember one moment to the next.
  4. I skipped the third grade and the hardest part was not learning how to write cursive.
  5. I didn't know how to cook or clean until I was over 18 years old. 
  6. My favorite childhood snack was frosting on saltine crackers.
  7. I had an imaginary friend name Rikki. Like Rikki Lake, the talk show host. 
  8. I also had a cat named Rikki.
  9. After my last childhood cat passed away, I have never loved another cat. I am a dog person now.
  10. I learned Spanish by copying dictionaries. I have that kind of natural knack for languages.
  11. My favorite Starbucks drink it a hot chai tea latte. 
  12. I always get the same haircut, and only once a year.
  13. My hair has been dark brown, ash gray, magenta pink, black, royal purple and natural strawberry blonde. My preferred color is black, however I don't think Hector would like that one too much.
  14. Speaking of hair dye, it took 9 bottles to dye my hair the last time. My hair is that thick.
  15. I was in TAG program as a child. I began reading somewhere around the age of three or four and the love of it has never left me.
  16. My favorite animal is a frog. I like tree frogs more than toads, but I like them all pretty much the same.
  17. I tried to write a novel once. Everyone said it was great, but I never sent it to a publisher. I read it now and realize that it was complete crap. I'm glad I never published it.
  18. My biggest fears are bugs and the dark. I'm most afraid of the bugs that come out in the dark.
  19. My favorite colors are dark purple, dark blue, and black. I'm also a big fan of kelly green.
  20. I want to start a business selling chapel veils or chapel caps here in Tijuana and spread my love of veiling. Right now I've been practicing sewing them by hand.
  21. Tillamook Ice Cream is the best ice cream ever made. Although, Ben & Jerry's Chunky Munky is a close second.
  22. The Simpson's live in Springfield, Oregon.
  23. Seattle has been and will always be, our team.
  24. The number one thing I miss most about Oregon (besides my parents because they don't get a number) is rain. I never thought I'd miss the rain.
  25. On my 21st birthday Hector bought me a camera. It was the best gift I've ever gotten, from anyone except the Lord.
  26. I like spice cake with cream cheese icing and apple and walnut filling. My  mom made me one once and it was the best thing I've ever eaten. 
So, there ya go. A little look at me and my life. I guess you could say I'm just your average white girl, but it has taken me a long time to realize that.

30 September 2014

Día de Independencia 2014

Our first Mexican holiday here was a bright one. On September 15 and 16th, Mexicans celebrate El Grito de Dolores and Independence Day. Cecilia had both days off from school. We've never really celebrated Mexican holidays, as Hector grew up in the US and I never really made a point of celebrating.

But this year, we did. Our Community Center threw a huge party down in the park, and the entire colonia came out to celebrate. I love our little neighborhood here in Tijuana; it feels less like we live in a huge city and more like we live in a small town where everyone knows everyone. Cecilia had to get a traditional outfit for school, so she wore that to the party (may as well wear it more than once for the cost). Her little friends from school were also there to celebrate.






 You can't see it in this picture very well, but apparently Tijuana is home to one of THE BEST Michael Jackson impersonators I've ever seen.

The fireworks rang throughout the city for most of the night of the 15th, but there was a show over the stadium. I didn't stay up for the midnight Grito; I had to go to bed to go to work early Tuesday morning.

I feel like I'm celebrating double sometimes, and other times I feel like I'm just celebrating randomness. I don't feel quite settled like this is really my life, but I think that it is because I am new.

19 September 2014

Oh, Hello There!

Hi.

You are probably wondering what happened to us.

I've just been really busy. I finally got a job. It's not a dream job by any means, and my hours are super sucky, but it is a job in the US that pays in dollars rather than pesos, so I can't complain too much. I work in the darkness hours, which means my circadian rhythm is all distorted. I am too exhausted ninety-nine percent of the time to try and do anything. I felt tired as a full-time CNA, but this is a different kind of tired, even if it is less hours. The best part of my job is the fact that I cross the border in the middle of the night; my average wait-time to cross is about 15 minutes, compared to up to 3 hours in some places.

Cecilia has been feeling her way around at school; she is struggling a lot with the language barrier and the fact that Mexican schools are more advanced than the public school she was attending in Portland. It's been a nightmare trying to play catch-up from the things she didn't learn in the US, plus keep her from falling behing. It seems as if there is no balance between the two. She has made friends with her classmates, however. Despite all of her struggles in the classroom, her bubbly personality helps her meet girls her age and make friends. She is truly trying with her Spanish, and she is succeeding. I think making friends is helpful for her academically, because they can help her understand the language of the assignment.

Emilia is growing like a weed, rolling over, trying to army crawl, and is holding her own bottle. Her newest favorite toy is her toes. I love this baby stage; she is no longer a newborn and is developing her own personality. She is quite attached to me, but she is quite attached to anyone who will hold her and talk to her. She is, as all women in the family, a social butterfly.

Isaias is just being himself, which basicaly means he spands his days being awesome, watching videogame walkthroughs on YouTube of Kirby, Mario Brothers, and Sonic. I feel rather proud of the fact that my son has taken from our nerdiness- I just hope he learns to love Harry Potter and Doctor Who as well.

Hector doesn't want me to tell people what he's been up to, but he is spending most of his time just being an awesome dad and helpiong Cecilia with her HOURS of homework.

That's pretty much all we've been up to and have been planning; there isn't anything exciting coming up soon. It's strange to back living family life. Everything seems so normal, it hardly seems newsworthy. I have a few posts brewing in my head, so maybe if I'm not dying of sleepyness, I might get around to writing them.

03 September 2014

Autumn Bucket List

Hello Autumn!

Actually, autumn doesn't really exist here. It's still in the 80's every day, the palm trees don't change colors, and the kids went back to school in the middle of August (a big change for me, as kids in Oregon always started after Labor Day). There are no apple trees that I have found here, no pumpkin patches that I know about. My favorite things about fall don't happen here.

Autumn is my favorite season. There are things I love about all of the seasons, but autumn is truly my favorite. There is something about that early morning crispy air, the crunch of leaves on the street, and of course, PSLs from Starbucks, that make me want to grab my teacup, a pile of books, and throw on a sweater. Autumn feels like spice, smells like pumpkin pie and love. Besides the fact that the season starts later than usual around here, I have plans for autumn. I have a small bucket list, my Autumn 2014 wishlist, that will help me celebrate life during my favorite part of the year.

  1. Jump in a pile of leaves. I don't care how far I have to drive, or where I have to go, I want to make this happen. In Oregon, by the time fall comes around the rain back and the leaves are wet. I want to be able to jump in them.
  2. Visit a pumpkin patch. I doubt that I will be able to do this in Tijuana, but there might be somewhere in San Diego that I will be able to do this.
  3. Make pumpkin pie from scratch. My whole childhood was pie. My mother is a baker, and my house almost always seemed to have some sort of pie in it. I want to make a pie, to bring part of home here to Tijuana, and make Tijuana home for me.
  4. Celebrate Día de los Muertos. I have a feeling that this one will be easy, but we haven't really done it before. I want to decorate with marigolds and calaveras all over the place, but keep this holiday seperate from Halloween.
  5. Go trick-or-treating. Halloween is celebrated here on the border, but not really thoughtout Mexico. I want to take my kids, costumes and all, trick-or-treating, somewhere, just like we always have.
  6. Celebrate and teach my kids about Día de la Independencia. We celebrated the 4th of July here, and they know all about that one. Now it's time that they learned about Mexico's independence from Spain and all that is the celebrations here in Tijuana.
  7. Have a Thanksgiving. I have never really liked Thanksgiving. I prefer the Black Friday mess that follows. Before, I always thought of Thanksgiving as a day to see your relatives that you don't want to see the other 364 days of the year, and celebrate Manifest Destiny and what would become the slaughter of the indigenous people of America. But now, I want a turkey and all the trimmings. I want to make sweet potatoes. I want mashed potatoes and gravy and olives. I want to make all that food and not be able to eat it and just celebrate being together.
  8. Throw Isaias a birthday party. This fall, my son will turn 4. He has never had a birthday party. Cecilia had many birthday parties growing up, but Hector was always with us. After he left, those stopped. I want to throw my son a birthday party with carne asada, balloons, piñatas, loud music, and lots of kids everywhere. Maybe even one of those jumpy houses. I want to go all out and celebrate all the birthdays that we never celebrated, and celebrate the fact that Hector will never miss another birthday.
So, that is my list. It seems longer than I think it really is. I just want to enjoy the autumn, regardless of whether or not I can actually see it. What are your fall/autumn plans? 

02 September 2014

Project Life Tuesday: Volume 2 Title Page

Hey, it's Tuesday! I know I haven't been very consistent in these Project Life Posts, but I promise I am up-to-date in my albums. Between new routines and back to school, I feel like I barely have any time to write anymore.

Let's get started, shall we:

My title page for Volume Two of 2014 is the beginning of our lives here in Mexico. And, while continuing with the Rain Core Edition of Project Life, I wanted this title page to contrast the last page of my Volume One Album.

It would have been nice to include a family photo for this title page, but we have yet to take one and we probably won't take one until Christmas. That is just the way we are. Instead, I included 2 4x6 photos that I thought really sum up this life here: The "Mexico" sign you see as you drive into Mexican customs, and a bright pink hibiscus flower. The small 3x4 photo is the title of the album that I wrote in the sand at the beach. Super simple. I almost never use any embellishments in my Project Life spreads, but for the title page, I made an exception. All of the wood veneers were bought at Michael's stores and are Recollections brand. The crown I found in their woodworking section.

I have really loved sharing my Project Life pages here on the blog with you all, but in case you haven't noticed, my pictures are a bit grainy and blurry. That is because my camera no longer wants to focus, and I am getting terrible pictures. So, because of this, I am going to still be project-lifing, but until I can afford a new camera, I won't be posting unless I can magically get a good picture. It's really frustrating to have all of your stuff fall apart and quit working, especially when you are accustomed to being able to fix things or get new things, and now you know you can't.

Project Life is NOT stopping around here, but until I can give you, my readers, better pictures, I am going to put my Project Life Tuesday posts on hiatus.

Project Life is a memory keeping system designed by Becky Higgins. All products are available on Becky's website or on Amazon.com. Feel free to share links to your own Project Life pages in the comments below.

01 September 2014

One Little Word 2014: August Edition

August has come and gone. I can't believe that I have been here almost three months. There were times that I honestly thought that I was never going to get off of my front porch. But here I am, living a new life and adjusting and feeling my way through things here.

In this month's One Little Word class, she wanted us to focus on music. Music and I have an interesting relationship. There was a time that music was very important to me, that it was my lifeline to sanity. There were so many nights that I just put on music and cried with the lyrics until I felt that I had released enough yuckiness inside that I could go on and face tomorrow. But as time progressed, I let music slip away from me. I haven't turned on a radio in about four years. I haven't listened to any type of music, Mexican or English. I just haven't wanted to. So what was I supposed to do when I first read this assignment?

Well, I found some music that I used to listen to. A lot of these songs just make me feel brave. They aren't actually about being Brave, except for of course the Sara Barielles song. When I listen to these songs, I just feel like I can be brave enough to face tomorrow.

  1. Brave- Sara Barielles. This is my obvious Brave song. This song has been my uplifter all of this year. I first heard it on a commercial and it became part of my choosing Brave as my word this year.
  2. Let It Go- Demi Lovato. I already wrote about my reflections for this song not too long ago.
  3. Somewhere I Belong- Linkin Park. Linkin Park may not be everyone's cuppa tea, but they have been long-standing my favorite artists. Somewhere I Belong makes me feel brave, not because the song is about it, but because it is one of those songs that helped me through all of those horrible awkward years. I was able to be brave enough to face the sunrise because of this (and a lot of LP's songs).
  4. You Are Mine- David Haas. This is another song that makes me feel brave, because I feel my bravest when I feel loved. This song reminds me that I am always loved by God. I wrote about it here.
  5. Going Under- Evanescense. Not exactly a "brave" song again, but the music and they lyrics make me feel stronger. They make me feel like I can save myself from my self-created messes, like the lyrics descibe.
  6. Go The Distance- Michael Bolton. This is a song that again, makes me want to perservere, which is sometimes the bravest thing you can do.
  7. The Harry Potter Theme Song- I am a HUGE Potterhead. I love Harry Potter. According to Pottermore, I have been sorted into Gryffindor house, where of course, dwell the brave at heart. Harry Potter is a story of bravery, and the theme song, after it brings me to tears, makes me feel brave, like the hero.


So there you have it. The songs that are touching my soul, at this moment and always. These songs haven't recently begun to make me feel brave, they have ever since I first heard them. I hope you have enjoyed these. What songs make you feel brave? What songs inspire you to live your Word?

22 August 2014

Third Grade

I'm a mom and an expat, which makes my kids expats, too. And because my kids are a part of this story here, I will share their experiences a long with my own.

Cecilia has officially started third grade! That itself in incomprehensible to me because I don't know how I went from having a roly-poly little baby to having a tall 3rd grader who likes Monster High and the color purple. This is Cecilia's first year not at her old school, the same one I attended as a child. It is her first year at a Mexican school, which terrifies me beyond all belief.

Even though I am fluent in Spanish, Cecilia speaks almost none. As a small child, she was bilingual, speaking in English to my parents and in Spanish to Hector's mother. But as we lived more and more years with my parents, she lost her Spanish, and it's proven difficult for me to teach her, because she doesn't want to be taught anymore (another post altogether!).

Anywho, we took her down and enrolled her in the local public elementary school.


On the first day, we still hadn't found where to buy her uniform; we drove all over Tijuana looking, and apparently it can only be purchased from the school, or one little tiny store not far away, but easily missable. They are more expensive that way. Every school in Mexico has a uniform; it helps promote equality and all of that jazz. Most school's uniforms are available at a big uniform store, but I'm not that lucky. It doesn't bother me so much except the laundry part of it. It's a constant wash and wear. I wore a uniform when I started at my private school as a child. Cecilia looks MUCH cuter in hers than I did in mine.

I was nervous to leave her at the school; unlike in the US, they don't let the parents into the school or the classrooms except for certain things. I am used to staying with Cecilia at school for a few minutes while she gets settled. Here they discourage that, and with exception of the first day, don't let you in the gates to go in with your child. The principal stands at the gate and stops you. The school supplies are ridiculous here and they make your wrap everything in clear contact paper. They make you label everything. The supplies include a hula-hoop. I was terrified they'd treat her badly for me being white (I know that it sounds ridiculous, but add on the fact that she can't speak, read, or write the language and it's not that far-fetched of an idea).

However, by the time I picked her up (at noon, because kids only go to school for 4 hours a day!), she was happy and content with her school, her classmates, and her teacher. She had proudly announced that she had already made a friend. I was relieved.

 The difference this year is that Hector was able to come along on her first day.  He has never had the chance to take Cecilia to school before. These are the things that are taken for granted. He missed so many of her "firsts". He was deported right before she started Kindergarten. But this is why we are here in Mexico, living our lives here: we are being a family. He doesn't have to miss anymore firsts, or parts of his kids' lives. He gets to participate and we get to be together. Mexico is being good to us.

19 August 2014

Project Life Tuesday: Week 24 & The End of Album One

Welcome to Project Life Tuesday! When I was in Portland, I was able to print my pictures that I had been saving up since we got here. I was so excited to have all of my pictures! I missed doing Project Life. I have a terrible memory, so documenting my life like this, a week at a time, has been a big blessing for me.

When Project Life was first released in 2009 or 2010, I was having NO part of it. I thought that it was completely taking away from "real scrapbooking". I didn't see how you could just reduce one special day, like Christmas, to one photo. I thought that it was an incomplete documentation. In 2012, Becky Higgins realeased the Cobalt Edition of Project Life, and I was in love with the kit. I was already slowly gravitating towards Project Life-style scrapbooking for Cecilia and Isaias's albums. I was alone, Hector had been gone for about a year, and I was overwhelmed with my work and my life. I needed something simpler- so I used Project Life to document events/a month at a time. The idea of documenting a week at a time still seemed overwhelming; for 2012 and 2013 I was able to get 2 years into one 12x12 album. I knew as 2013 progressed that I would need a new core kit for 2014, and that I would switch to weekly documentation. 2013 was full of multiple inserts of me, trying to tell all of the stories. I knew that if I switched to weekly, I would be able to tell all of the stories I wanted to tell.

So here I am in 2014, and in week 24, I am ending my first album. The thought of having a year spread across 2 whole albums is too much for me. However, I decided to end my album here, because after week 24, I moved to Mexico so it seemed like a good idea.

Week 24 was our very last week in Portland. I didn't take a lot of pictures because I was so busy getting ready to leave. However, this was also the week that Cecilia finished up 2nd grade and turned 8. There was a lot going on in our lives.


I have decided to use only Design A page protectors now that I am living in Mexico. It's not that I don't LOVE the other designs, or because I don't have any other ones. It is just simpler for me to make a collage that is a horizontal 4x6 than to try and do them any other way. It is simpler for me to print.



I wanted to get a big 12x12 picture as my last page in the album, but I didn't want to have to pay shipping on one photo. So, I ordered an 8x10 from Walgreens. This picture was the very last picture I took in Portland. The background paper is from the Turquoise edition Designer Paper pack, which I believe is discontinued. I thought it went well with the Rain core kit that I use. I used some purple Washi tape to bring the whole color scheme together, then I mounted the photo onto the a few of the "Last Page Cards" from the Rain Core Kit. The "Real Life" circle is from one of the filler cards in the kit. I just cut the design out and pasted it on. Then I cut the page up and slipped it into the page protector.

Volume one is for 2014 is now finished. Volume 2 is not only the beginning of a new album, but is the beginning of our lives here in Mexico.

18 August 2014

Oregon Trip Recap

My trip to Oregon was one that was completely unexpected and actually needed. I think that going home provided me with some much needed perspective about my situation here in Tijuana. It was super nice to see my parents, to enjoy the beautiful pine trees, and see some friends. The kids and I did a lot of the same stuff that we used to do. It was difficult to not slip back into my life that I had there, so I kept telling myself that I was leaving Oregon and going home to Tijuana.

Here is a photo recap of our time in Oregon:

Our last-minute tickets meant a 2-hour layover in Phoenix. I had never been to Arizona and I really wish I could have stayed and explored a bit, but I knew that I had things to do.
The pilot let us know we were flying over the Grand Canyon. Before Hector was deported, the Grand Canyon was on my Bucket List. I wanted to see all of the Utah-Arizona national parks. This is just the very beginning of the canyon; my phone died after I snapped this picture. I must say that the Grand Canyon is pretty impressive from above.
My dad was home when we arrived; and the first thing he wanted to do was take the kids to the park. I didn't have a lot of battery on my phone, but I did get this picture. This park is special because it is the park where I met Hector all those years ago. 
See's Candies is apparently the place to be. We went twice on our trip. My mom loves taking the kids here.
Isaias freaking agreed to a haircut! That itself is a miracle. Of course, it was only if his Tita could do it. He loves Hector's beautiful mom. She is a queen and it was great for the kids to see her and for me to visit with her. She has always been a very good friend to me.

My mom's garden has gone nuts! I think these are the biggest carrots she's ever grown. Once Isaias realized that he could pick his own fresh carrots, that is all he wanted to snack on. They were so sweet and juicy. I was rather impressed. I know it is because Hector's mom helped her- I love my mom but she kills grass.
Our Chudo! I miss our dog so much. He didn't make the trip south with us because I don't think that we can have a dog in our apartment. It's nice to see that he is still being taken care of. I've had him since he was weaned and I just don't think I could part with him completely.
We went to OMSI since I still have my membership. They have the Dinosaur exhibit right now with the animatronic dinosaurs. The kids loved it. This was Cecilia's second time seeing them and Isaias's first time. He didn't freak out and was a real trooper.


Isaias finds trains no matter where we go.


 I miss having a yard. In Tijuana, houses are practically stacked right on top of each other. There is no room to send your kids out to play, except in the street. The grass and trees and the space of my backyard at my Portland home is something I took for granted, but now I relish in them. Oh yes, and drinking out of the garden hose. I miss that, too.
 The train tables at the mall. It was HOT in Portland, almost 100 degrees. So I went to the mall with the kids because it is air conditioned. My favorite place to take them is Barnes and Noble bookstores because they have the train table, plus I can be among books. I miss books so much. I miss my home library. I miss having time to read.

 We went to Mass at our old parish. I miss this Church so much. This is the church and congregation that brought me back to the Catholic Church. This place is like a haven to me. It is a place of renewal. It is also the parish where Cecilia was baptized, but that is another story in the scrapbook.

 My mom took the kids out for frozen yogurt at TCBY. This was where we said good-bye to my mom since she would be at work when we left. It was nice to just be out with my parents and my kids, watching them enjoy each other. That is something else I used to take for granted. I used to not realize the importance of this family, of our time spent together.

 My parents arranged for us to come home on the bus. It was the cheapest option, but not the most ideal. This is the same bus terminal where I said good-bye to my dad on June 15. We came with only a backpack to Portland, but left with 2 suitcases, 2 backpacks and a load of other tote bags full of stuff we left behind the last time. As I had all of the stuff with me, it felt again like I was abandoning my parents and there were tears all around. It was painful and sickening to watch my dad drive away. I love him so much.
 Riding the bus with an almost-4 year old and an 8 year old is not a lot of fun, if you can't imagine. We were miraculously able to sit together the entire ride, sitting in the back of the bus next to the bathroom; however, the kids were able to sleep all right, I was not. The bus was crowded. We got off the bus at Huntington Park, California, where we were huddled into a van that took us to San Ysidro. Driving through the state of California is always interesting- I watched the sunrise over my beloved Sierra Nevada moutains. Maybe one day I will write a post about why I love them so much. We drove through the San Joaquin valley, through the Grapevine, and then finally, along the coast.
It was nice to be home; when we were coming up the 805 and then all of a sudden, Tijuana (the big Mexican flag and the Arco) is right in front of you. I breathed a sigh of relief and knew that I was going home and my life would go back to normal. It was nice to walk in my front door and see my niece and nephew and of course baby Emilia.

I would love to make a trip back to Oregon again soon, but I am ready to go on with my life here. Home truly is where your husband is.