Saturday, November 3, 2012

I LOVE libraries and librarians!

Aaron James at story-time
Library day in school was always my favorite day. I would take my time and carefully pick out the very best book I could find to take home and read. In college, I would go to the library to "study." Actually, I would do a little research and then sit at a table with my friends and my books open and people watch and talk to friends who were passing by. But I did love the research. I always felt a little like an investigator, and I also felt very smart reading all of the information that the truly smart people had written.

It was also in my university library that I learned how to use the internet. In my last paper of graduate school I was required to use one reference from the internet. I went to one of the workers in the computer lab and  told them I didn't really know what the internet was or how to find information on it, and pleaded for assistance. They helped, I passed, and I hoped that the internet was a fleeting trend.

My next library experience was when Ramiro was in law school. I needed something to do to fill my time while he was studying, and I decided to work on my genealogy. I discovered the Clayton Library for Genealogical Research - a library filled with birth and census information and family biographies, where I, again, had the chance to feel like an investigator and search for my ancestors. I loved it!

A year or so later, when I was applying for a job transfer at M. D. Anderson, I discovered the Research Medical Library. I was researching information to help me create a project plan as part of my interview project. I had no experience searching for evidence-based health research and desperately asked the librarian at the reference desk for his help. I REALLY wanted the job and I knew I needed help getting it! He spent quite a bit of time with me teaching me how to search medical research databases, and even though I didn't know it at the time, preparing me for my next 8 years working in The Learning Center (my favorite library of all).

My favorite librarian of all!
Mentor,office-mate, friend!
The Learning Center is a health information library at MD Anderson Cancer Center.There I learned from my librarian friends who love learning and love helping others by providing information and knowledge. Knowledge is power, and that is very true for cancer patients and their families. With cancer, many times there are no clear cut answers. Decisions have to be made, sometimes very quickly. In The Learning Center I was able to help patients and families grow in knowledge so they could make more informed decisions.

Now, the library I find myself in most of the time is our local library. It is such a happy place for my children. When we go to the library, its an event. There's searching for books, reading, playing on the computer, and so much more. The librarians in the children area bring fun to our lives every week with story-time books, songs, and puppet shows. Last month, Hannah and I attended an American Girl tea party at the library that we absolutely loved; and the week of Halloween, Luke and and Hannah attended a Scooby Doo party. I so appreciate our librarians for making reading and learning fun.

I look forward to a lifetime of exploring and enjoying libraries. What is your favorite library?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Gone Fishin'

Today our family went fishing for the first time all together. Ramiro and I fished a little when we were kids, but neither of us have fished since then, so its not surprising that we didn't catch anything. It didn't matter, we still had so much fun! Hannah caught a bug for one of her science projects, Aaron threw pebbles in the great Brazos River, and Luke answered the call of nature - in nature! We had so much fun, we're going to try to hit all the area fishin' holes from now until  the weather gets too cold. Maybe we'll become experts, and actually be able to bring home dinner one night!

The Icing on the Cake

When you become a mother you take on many roles: chef, nurse, teacher, security guard, chauffeur, etc. I didn't realize that I might also become a cake baker and decorator! Since Hannah has been born, I've made a lot of cakes and have gotten a little better over the years. Hannah has caught a love of cake decorating and over the past month we took a cake decorating class. I thought I'd share some of our favorite pictures of pre-class cakes we've made throughout the years! I would love for you to share pictures of cakes you've made, too!

Aaron's Elmo Cake with Cookie Monster Cupcakes
Carrot Cake - Doris's favorite!

Luke's Mickey Mouse
Hannah's Flower
Hannah's ladybug

Luke's Teddy Bear

Hannah's Princess Cake

Luke's First Birthday

Another Princess Cake

The First Princess Cake - following Gommy's tradition

Luke's Peter Pan Cake
Hannah's Minnie Mouse
German Chocolate - Ramiro's favorite!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kindergarten: The Big Adventure!

Luke started kindergarten this year and what an adventure it is - for both him and I. When my children are in the hands of others, my heart is as well. Luke is a sweet, intelligent little boy, and he definitely has his quirks. How will his teachers see him? Will they see his quirks as God-given unique characteristics that make him perfect for what God has planned for him? Will they see his potential and be excited to teach him? Thankfully, I know that Luke is not just in the hands of his teachers, he's in the hands of God, and so is my heart. Everyday I will choose not to worry about my little man Luke, but have faith that God is in control and will protect him. I will pray that he will learn and be happy, and when he is not happy, that he will remember that he is not alone.

During the 2nd week of school, Luke was a little afraid to go back and my mom wrote him a letter that said, "You are a super boy like David...[who] faced the things he feared because he knew he had God with him all the time." I will continue to point Luke to his Lord when he is afraid and teach him that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him (Phill. 4:13). And I will rejoice in the Lord when I hear Luke say to me, as he did last Friday, "I knew I could do it!"

New Year, New School, New Life!

Hannah began 3rd grade this year at a university-model school. That means she goes to school 2 days a week and studies at home 3 days a week. This opportunity is providing such a wonderful new way of life for us. I get to be Hannah's co-teacher and see her learn while I learn with her! She loves her new school, her subjects, and her teachers and we love being together more and spending more quality time with each other. By sharing in her reading and assignments with her, we have more shared experiences together which provide a wonderful basis for viewing and discussing life together. Its a wonderful new beginning! Here's a look at all of Hannah's first days of school so far!


1st Grade

2nd Grade

3rd grade

The Terrible Twos are Here Again!

Our sweet Aaron James turned 2 on August 15 and the terrible 2s are here! Once again, I thought I had a calm, patient, child that has turned out to be a demanding noise-maker! Don't get me wrong, he's still my angel, just a loud one! I totally understand why the term "terrible" is used to describe this age. It must be so terrible to have an idea you want to get across, but not be able to use the words to say it! It must be terrible to be trying to tell your mommy you want to eat cake, when she's trying to get you to eat your vegetables. It must be terrible when you see the toy you want, you need, you have to have right now, and then you see that it is in your big brother's hands. It must be terrible when you want to be all snug in your mommy's lap, but your big sister is there instead. It must be so terrible when you want to pull your dog's tail, but he runs away so you can't. Hopefully we can help little Aaron through this "terrible" time and we can all grow in patience and love! We love you so much Aaron James!

The Best Tryers!

The end of summer is here and we had a wonderful, relaxing summer. A big part of our summer was spent swimming. Hannah had a wonderful swim season this past summer. Her favorite stroke is the backstroke and that's also the one that she swims the fastest. In one of her 6 swim meets she even won a blue ribbon in backstroke. She didn't always get the ribbon she wanted. However, one time she received the ribbon she wanted, and  it was not the one she deserved. At first she was very excited, but then she realized it was wrong and went to report it to the scorekeepers. I was so very proud of her for making that choice on her own.  The season ended with a great swim party where she received a medal for Most-Improved 7/8 year old girl!

This was Luke's first year to take swim lessons with the swim team. He was a Mini-Ray. Luke is cautious in the water, which is a good thing. By the end of the summer, he was able to swim several feet out to his coach or to me in the water. He even participated in the Mini-Ray swim meet where he won a blue ribbon and a green ribbon!

We are so proud of our swimmers! In the words of Jim Anderson in Father Knows Best, Luke and Hannah were our "best tryer[s]!"

Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Ramiro and I had fun snuggling up last night and watching the FAB FIVE compete and win gold in the Olympics last night. We were amazed at their abilities and wondered at the feelings their parents must have been experiencing watching them go for their dreams. I also wondered at how those parents have encouraged and supported their children throughout their lives. How interesting it would be to study these parents and see what traits they might share in raising champions.

Earlier this year, Hannah and Luke participated in their own "Mini-Olympics" at their gymnastics school. I think they beamed as much that day as the FAB FIVE did last night. That day, and everyday, my children are my champions. How I want to build them up and support them so that they can reach their goals, and more importantly, God's plan for their lives.

Several of the FAB FIVE girls said they were 8-years-old when they first watched the Olympics. Our 8-year-old was watching with her Nana and Aunt Doris in Elgin. We wondered if she was watching and dreaming of being in the Olympics one day. Whatever our childrens' dreams, I  pray that they will be in line with what God wants for their lives. I pray that He will give them the courage and stamina to work toward them and Ramiro and I the wisdom and strength to help them get there. 

Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. Ephesians 4:29 (New Living Translation)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

My Lifeline

Life can be so hard and scary. Sometimes when I think about all of the things happening in the world and all of the challenges I and my family face, I feel like I can't breathe. I actually feel like I need an air machine with a long tube and a mouthpiece that I could suck the air out of to help me breathe. What is happening to me? I'm listening to the enemy's lies. I buy into the lie that my problems are bigger than God. I would never say my problems are bigger than God, but I act like it. 

The other night I heard a talk from Laurie Dodds, a Christian author and speaker, who said that Satan's ultimate goal is for us to doubt God. When I am overwhelmed, I pray, but do I trust? I don't realize I'm doubting God at the time, but isn't that what I'm doing? I pray and ask God to heal, guide, work miracles, use for his glory, but then do I believe He will? I should. That would be the start to my breathing.

Jesus said "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." My lifeline is Jesus. I don't need an air machine. I can breathe when I go to my life source. My air, my breath, began with God and it will continue through him:

Genesis 2:7  - Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

John 20:22 - "And with that He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holy Spirit,'"

2 Timothy 3:16-17 - "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (NIV)

I think the song,, "This is the air I breathe," describes it best:

This is the air I breathe

This is the air I breathe
Your holy presence
Living in me

This is my daily bread
This is my daily bread
Your very word
Spoken to me

And I ... I'm desperate for you
And I ... I'm lost without you

Thank you, God, for giving me your air to breathe.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Luke, Our Little Hero

Our little man, Luke, turned 5 this month. Luke is our little hero who loves to come in and save the day. One of my favorite memories from this past year with Luke is from a day when just he and I went to the swimming pool together. For over an hour he pretended to be a superhero coming to save his princess. One time he would be Batman, the next, Superman, next Spiderman, and on and on. How I cherished the hero's heart developing in my little man. I also loved being the princess and bestowing all of those kisses on my hero's cheek!

No matter which hero Luke is pretending to be, he usually rescues us all with his loving smile and his joyful laugh. No one can resist joining in!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Today we rejoice that our Lord Jesus Christ lives!!!!! I love to sing about His life and my hope all year long. Here are some of my favorite Easter songs!

Monday, March 26, 2012

For 8 Years Now

Hannah turned 8-years old last week and we are just getting over all of the celebrating! Our sweet baby Hannah sure changed our lives 8 years ago. Since then, Ramiro and I have had less sleep and free-time. We've also not watched many pg-13 and rated-R movies and have watched a lot less prime-time TV.

In return we have have gotten so much more:

Generosity (Hannah is super-generous)

And the list keeps on growing! How we love our Hannah!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Going Texan

Everyone thinks that Halloween is in October, but in Houston, it seems to come around every February. That's when all the city folk (kids and adults alike) dress up like cowboys and cowgirls for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. To kick it off, we even have a day called "Go Texan Day" when everyone is encouraged to put on their blue jeans, boots, and cowboy hats. When we first moved to Houston and heard about "Go Texan Day," I thought it was so weird. Why did I need to "Go Texan" when I had already been Texan my entire life? It felt a little silly. But 12 years later, I think I'm starting to get it.

For many years while giving tours of M. D. Anderson to national and international guests, I would usually mention that while Houston was a nice city, it wasn't like the rest of Texas. Houston is an international and multicultural city (47% of
Houstonites were born outside of Texas). These are two of its strengths. However, in our big
melting pot where we get to observe or experience multiple cultures on a daily basis, many of us feel culture-less. So rodeo time is a chance for all of us to unite and feel like we are a part of Texas culture. We get to walk amid real cowboys and cowgirls, stroll down aisles of farm animals, learn about Texas agriculture, watch rodeo events that get our hearts pumping, and eat homemade beef jerky. While we are there, we can almost feel like we've left the big city, and we are a part of the rest of Texas. Small-town Texas. The Texas some of us were born in and the Texas that many of our grandparents knew. The Texas of our dreams.

(For information about the wonderful impact the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo has on Texas and our future, visit

Friday, March 2, 2012

Quotes from Job that make me smile

Job had such heartache in his life, but when I read his story, I find things that make me smile. I thought I'd share a few with you.

Job 1:10
Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land.

This verse reminds me of this Tim Hawkins video.

Job 9:33-35
If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Great foreshadowing! Makes me smile because I already know what happens later in God's love story.

Job 13:5
If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.

What a way to say "be quiet!" I don't think I'd try it!

Job 14:14-15
If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come. You will call and I will answer you; you will long for the creature your hands have made.

This reminds me that my creator, Elohim, loves me so much and longed for me so much that he brought me back from the dead. - Because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. - Ephesians 2:4-5

Job 19:25
I know that My Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

My Redeemer Lives - Nicole C. Mullen from haitimissionary on GodTube.

I'm sorry that Job had so much pain and heartache, but thankful for how God used his life to bring me hope and understanding.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Looking for Pizza Heaven

I love making pizza with homemade sauce and fresh mozzarella. My kids love it, too. Its a fun meal that we can all make together. I've found the sauce recipe that I think is the best. It's simple and really good, and of course, its from Cooking Light ®. However, I haven't found the perfect crust to put it on yet. I've tried so many crust recipes, but none of them seem heavenly, which is what I aiming for. So, if you have a pizza crust recipe to die for, please share it!

Here is the simple, but delicious, pizza sauce recipe from Cooking Light®.

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 (28-ounce) can San Marzano tomatoes (they DO make a difference)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  1. Cook garlic in oil for 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove tomatoes from can using slotted spoon, reserving juices.
  3. Crush tomatoes. (It doesn't state how to crush the tomatoes. I do something I learned on a cooking show once. I just hold one tomato in my hand at a time and squeeze it in the pot. It's messy, but kind of fun, and it gets the job done!)
  4. Stir tomatoes, juices, salt, and oregano into garlic mixture; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Impostor?

In my college psychology class I remember learning about the different types of intelligence. One of those was athletic intelligence and I knew for sure I did not have that type of intelligence. I had never been good at sports (except for tennis - the one sport I enjoyed). In 7th grade I signed up for "Athletics" class because everybody else did (or at least I thought everyone did). The year began with volleyball, next came basketball, and in the spring there was track. I had shown no aptitude for volleyball or basketball, and by the time track season came around, I, my coach, and my classmates had low expectations for my performance - and we were right. I couldn't run fast in the short distances and I couldn't endure the long distances. It was determined I was not a runner and I was given the job of team "manager," which was the glorified name for water and towel girl. Since then, I've tried to run some off and on, but I never liked it. It hurt my knees and it just wasn't fun.

But last year when Ramiro ran the Aramco Half-Marathon in Houston, I became inspired. I thought even if I had to walk it, I wanted to do the 5K in 2012. I wanted to share the fun Ramiro was having and support him at the same time. So this year I began to run a little. Even though its been hard, it hasn't been that bad. Maybe after having 3 babies, things don't just seem as hard as they used to. And maybe my tendons are more flexible now so my knees don't hurt anymore. Whatever it is, I can't believe I'm actually able to do it.

Last week I ran the El Paso Energy 5K while Ramiro ran the half-marathon again. I loved meeting my goal. That's what I like about running. I haven't actually reached the point where I actually enjoy running. What I do love is the challenge. I've also found that running time is also a good time for praying. It seems that God speaks to my heart clearly when I'm running.

I've now completed two 5Ks and am training to run a 10k in February. Tonight I ran 4.5 miles. I can't believe I did that! I never in my wildest dreams thought I would run that far! Am I becoming a runner? I sort of feel like an impostor! I guess what happened in junior high doesn't count. What counts is now...and I'm running!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Why We Didn't Send a Christmas Card this Year

Well, this week the last Christmas decoration was put away and the whirlwind that began a little over a month ago is passed. We had a wonderful Christmas and it was so fun to have Hannah home for 2 weeks! We crammed so much fun in those 2 weeks, the Christmas card we made was never sent out. At one point I thought I could just send it out the week after Christmas and write on the back, "Hope Your Christmas Lasts All Year," but then more time passed and it seemed even too late for that. Below is what kept us so busy!

Hannah read us "Green Eggs & Ham," by Dr. Seuss, while we ate green eggs and ham!

We delivered Christmas gifts

We visited the children's museum

We hosted our first annual Christmas Eve Open House

We made Santa's cookies

We danced with the Wii

We had fun at the zoo

We went Ice Skating

We strolled through the Dickinson Festival of Lights

We saw "The Adventures of Tin Tin." Great movie!

And of course we topped it all off with Ice cream!