Monday, October 04, 2010

Always Charming...

I love this kid. She reminds me of ME in so many ways. Poor kiddo is going through some sort of cold/bug that makes her deal with boogies. I hope she gets over it soon so she can be her normal peppy self. :)

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Nuts about you...


I was recently going thru my flickr photos and realize how much Emma has grown. It's so weird to look back just a couple of years and see my chubby cheeked baby girl.



April 07, 2008 (3)


Emma being cute


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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Dreams...

The first three pregnancies, I dreamt of my grandfather. He was there, with his powerful presence, smiling at me. When my grandmother passed away (I was three months pregnant with my fourth) she joined him in my dreams. In my dreams they would play with my children, laugh their hearts out at the things my kids did and just be merry and happy. This pregnancy, I should have known something was wrong when neither of them appeared in my dreams. Just last night I found out that there is no baby. A blighted ovum they call it. Nothing to "miscarry" except an empty sac. I'm sitting here, cramping and with back pain waiting for my body to take care of itself as naturally as possible.
Gone are the dreams and hopes of having another little one running around. No more will I daydream about this baby's features. I can only hope that this baby visits me along with my grandparents in my dreams.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

South Padre Island... (March 2010)

Did I tell ya'll that we went to South Padre Island for spring break? No? Well, I did.

Mostly, we went because Emily had a dance competition that weekend. I had to get up at the crack of dawn to have her in school by 6 a.m. and help with apply the costume/dance make-up
to over 30 little girls.

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Thankfully I had my sister help, and we were able to get them all ready by the proposed time. If only the bus had shown up on time, then everything would have gone off without a hitch.

The buy delay didn't keep them from dancing though. Those girls danced their little heart out! I was so proud, I couldn't help the hooting and hollering (and cheering) that came from my
corner of the auditorium.

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After Emily was done dancing we took everyone down to the beach.
Mind you, the water is still freezing in March, but we had fun walking up and down the
shoreline looking at all the interesting things there was to see.



The skies were clear as far as the eye could see. Nothing but blue for miles...



We saw a couple of dead jellyfishes too. We all stood around and poked them to see if they'd do something. THANKFULLY they didn't and we went on our merry way.

At one point, Jesse had us convinced that the little clump of mud rolling around the beach were pieces of whale poop. You can bet the kids didn't go near one after that. LOL



Oh, and a crab too. I don't think there was much life left in it. It was still interesting to see. By this point I think my sister was getting hungry. Nah... she was just teasing.


Seagulls were there of course. Hovering over us in case we dropped anything that resembled food. Unfortunately for them, there was nothing to be had but they made for pretty pictures.



It was a good day. I'm glad I have pictures to remember it.

Emma's 4th Birthday - April 20, 2010


The most perfect third baby bear anyone has ever seen
turned FOUR.

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I tell you what, this kid is by far the spunkiest of them all.
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She is all girly, pinky, glitters, unicorns and rainbows this one.

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She loves to dress up, to tend to her chickens and to plant seeds whenever she can.

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She is the kid that makes me laugh and pull my hair out all at the same time.

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I love her to pieces. I'm so blessed to have her in my life.




Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Usborne Books $50 Gift Certificate!

The end of the school year is rapidly approaching and if you are looking for a way to keep your kids busy, LOOK NO MORE!



Leah over at Life as Lou is promoting literacy by hosting a give-away for $50 worth of Osborne Books! All you gotta do is comment for a chance to win - easy as that!

So what are you waiting for?! Go over to Leah's blog and leave a comment. Tell her I sent ya. ;)

(Photo taken by everydaylou)


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Here we go again...

As the end of the school year rapidly approaches my attention turns to what opportunities will be available for my children next year. I have already established myself in my children's school as being active in their academic and extra-curricular activities. Most of the schools staff know me by name, and those that don't know me personally have heard "stories" of me and my children. My children are the brightest of their classes and I'd feel confident saying they are probably some of the brightest in their grade level. I know for a fact they are the top readers for their grade level with a word count that many children in higher grade levels aren't able to achieve. I pride myself in being available to my children for their studies and in encouraging my child to excel in every area.

This month, Emma turns four which means she is of age to enter the Pre-K program this upcoming August. In the past, I had no success enrolling Emily in this school's Pre-K program due to the fact that she is NOT Spanish-dominant and she is NOT academically challenged. Our income in the past has not been within the bracket that they set for this program, and my husband is no longer active military. It seems all my avenues of approach are road-blocked one way or another. This year, I'm gonna take a few extra measures to make sure that Emma get the education I know she is ready for and deserves.

The guidelines that the district has placed for the Pre-K eligibility confuse me...

PRE KINDERGARTEN PROGRAM

ECISD will provide Half-day Pre-Kindergarten classes for all eligible students for the 2009-2010 school year.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to be eligible for the Pre-Kindergarten Program, the child must be:

Four (4) years old on or before September 1st

Unable to speak and comprehend the English language or

Educationally disadvantaged; or

Homeless, as defined by 42 U.S.C. Section 11302, regardless of residence of the child, of either

parent of the child, or of the child’s guardian or other person having lawful control of the child.

Children of active duty military members, including members of the armed forces that have been

injured or killed while on active duty.

Have ever been in the conservatorship (foster care) of the Department of Family and Protective

Services (DFPS) following an adversary hearing.


(Source: http://www.ecisd.us/143310107105280/lib/143310107105280/0910StudentHandbookENG.pdf)


I understand that the school system is trying to lend a hand to those kids that are academically challenged, but it makes no sense to me that those that are ready and eager to learn are cast aside and ignored in this particular district. Other neighboring districts have an open enrollment Pre-K program such as P.SJ.A.


It seems that I might have a window by exploiting the military family "option"


The groundbreaking passage of House Bill 1, which expands pre-k access to children of military personnel, would not have been possible without strong support from its sponsors: Representatives Lois Kolkhorst, Dianne Delisi, Dennis Bonnen, Toby Goodman, Gene Seaman, Joe Straus, Veronica Gonzales, Aaron Pena*, Mark Strama, Carlos Uresti, and Michael Villarreal; Senators Kip Averitt, Florence Shapiro, Steve Ogden, Judith Zaffirini, Leticia Van de Putte, and Eliot Shapleigh. This bipartisan group of legislators understands the importance of pre-k, and the passage of this bill represents significant progress towards providing voluntary pre-k for all of Texas's children.


(Source: http://www.preknow.org/resource/profiles/texas.cfm0

* http://www.aaronpena.com/contact.htm

It seems that this kind of "discrimination" happens with lots of frequency in the RGV. By what I've researched so far it looks like I've opened a huge can or worms for myself and those that might get involved by supporting me. If in fighting for my daughter to get a Pre-K education, I have to fight for others that are in my shoes, I will gladly do so. I will not allow that opportunities be denied to my children or doors closed for them because I've take the time and effort to prepare them for their academic future. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step... consider this the first one.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Around...


Well, it seems that Spring is definitely HERE. Mornings are cool and crisp, days are hot as all get out, and our evening are rather enjoyable. Today I began the process to go back to school... as in college. Again. Gotta transfer whatever credits I can, try and get that scholarship I was awarded back in 2000 and apply for as many scholarship and grants to supplement.

It's gonna be a stressful couple of months while I try and get this under control, but I would like to think that the reward will be greater. Let's hope I finish this degree(s) by my 30th birthday. I won't tell you when that is, cause I'll be turning 25 for the next TEN years. Ha!

Things are good. We are blessed... ☺

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How to PROPERLY eat a Duvalin...

First you make sure you look MIGHTY CUTE...
Whatever you do, DO NOT remove that leftover frosting from the donut you ate this morning...

Next, dive into your Duvalin with your plastic little spoon/spatula/whatever it is...

Smack your lips and make sure you get all that yummy goodness.

You need to get a proper mixing motion going on with your spatula. This makes for more robust flavors.


Bring the spoon back to your lips and repeat until it's ALL GONE.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Dr. Seuss Reading Extravanganza

Dr. Seuss' Birthday was celebrated earlier this month across America. In the children's school they had a whole week dedicated towards literature closed with a Reading Extravaganza with guests reading to the children. The whole community was invited for birthday cake and partake in the festivities.

State Representative Aaron Peña read Green Eggs and Ham to a cafeteria full of kiddos. We were in the audience too and I managed to get a couple pics of that.





Evelyn saw that I was taking pictures and proclaimed herself to be the subject of my photos with a loud "CHEESE!" - enough to make the whole cafeteria turn and look at her while I snapped the picture. Oy. notice the cake crumbs on her face...


My son's class decided on the book Giraffes Can't Dance as the one to portray and they all wore little giraffe crowns/hats. It was rather adorable.


I really enjoyed participating in this event with them. I hope next year is just as fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Happy 2nd Birthday EVELYN!

Evelyn turned TWO!

TWO!

Wow... Can you believe it?!

Let's take a photographic trip down memory lane....

Here she is as a wee newborn...

A few months old...

Silly girl!

About a year old...


Here she is NOT getting her way...


With freshly trimmed bangs. Too bad her momma isn't a hair stylist.

At her ladybug party, collecting loot from the piñata.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My kid has a heart of gold...

I'm constantly amazed at what a huge heart Emily has. This is just one of many things she does for her sibling and others. I could learn a thing or two from her...


Dear Toothfairy,

Here is some money I found under the ladder. My brother Jesus lost one his teeth and acadently swallowed it by acadent. Do you think you can still give him something? Here is something you can do with the money. Give it to the people who have lost their teeth. Give one coin to others and if there is a few coins left keep it for later.

Scincerly,

Emily Castillo

P.S. Have a good time delivering the things! Jesus will fell bad if you don't give him something. Give him something that he wanted.

TO: toothfairy
From: Emily + Jesus

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Helpful information when trying to incubate eggs...

Well, for the last couple of weeks I've immersed myself with anything that has to do with CHICKENS and incubating them. I think I have a new addiction! LOL

I've found some really useful information and am placing it here for reference and so that I don't have to scour the internet for the same things all over again...





Hatching Eggs...


I'll be chronicling our first attempt to hatch our Rhode Island Reds' chicken eggs. I'm a member over at the Back Yard Chickens Forum and will try and update this post with entries posted over there.

Well we're trying our hand at incubating a couple dozen eggs that our chickens have laid. I've read and read and READ SOME MORE everything that everyone has had to say and I'm LOST.

Our incubator is store-bought - A Little Giant STILL AIR incubator. No automatic turner cause it's a little too much of an expense for us at the moment. I am fully prepared to turn those eggs as recommended. My only concern is the whole humidity/temperature suggestions EVERYONE HAD. The incubator just came with a regular cheap-o thermometer. Where do I get a better one? How do I measure humidity? Where can I find what I need to ensure a high success rate?

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE. ANY HELP you can provide is greatly appreciated. Right now I have all the eggs inside the house coming up to room temperature as suggested and am test running the incubator. I don't plan to put them in until TOMORROW. If there is something that needs to get done BY THEN... Please help a newbie out. I'm so excited at the idea of raising new chickies, I just want to do it right. I'm so nervous about it all, you'd think it was ME that was going into labor (or something). LOL

Thanks in advance for any information you can provide.

02/05/2010 7:26 pm


Loaded up the incubator - FEB 5TH - With as many eggs as I could find (about 28). Is there a limit to how many I should put in there? I put them in at 4:00 p.m. on Friday Feb 5th. I'll be turning them at 8 a.m., 2 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. Hopefully it's enough to keep the chicks from sticking to the shell. The thermometer is set to 100-102. I guess from here on out I can only PRAY and HOPE that I get a couple of chickies from the whole experience. Cross your fingers for me and wish me the best of luck. If we have success with incubating them, we'll keep doing so until we're overrun by chickens. LOL

02/08/2010 6:14 pm


Our Little Giant incubator has been set between 100-102 degrees. MOST of the time it's closer to the 102. (We were aiming for the 101.5) I candled some of the eggs today and all I can see is this little mass that floats to the TOP of the egg. I tried moving the position of the egg, and the mass goes to the top again. I *THINK* I saw a little dot (eye) in ONE of them, but I'm not sure. Is it too soon to candle? Am I doing it wrong? Is this what I'm supposed to see. My flashlight is running low on batteries, so I'm trying to tell myself that I can't be sure of anything without getting new ones, but ANY HELP/SUGGESTIONS/COMMENTS would be greatly appreciated. I am scouring the BYC forum for other pictures of candling, but I'm lost as to what I'm supposed to look for (on day 3).

Thanks in advance.


So, I've been worried sick about the temperature in the stupid incubator for the past few days (still air). I've checked with ya'll here and searched online and was convinced that the 102* I had it set up would be OKAY for the eggs.

Today I went out and bought the thermometer many recommended from wal-mart. I put it in the incubator and waited for it to reach the right temperature. It stayed steady at 102.2 - Okay, right?

Well I was CONFUSED because my regular thermometer (those old school ones) said 101. ONE of the thermometers HAD to be wrong. I mentioned it to DH and he came and took a peek. TURNS OUT THAT EVERY LITTLE LINE COUNTS FOR TWO DEGREES -- NOT ONE! The thermometer had been set for the past couple of days at 104! 104!!!!! ONE! OH! FOUR! barnie barnie barnie barnie And he waited until TODAY to tell me this. (Day 4)

OMG. I think I killed the eggs. hit

Should I throw them out and start anew? Should I wait until day 10 and see if any of them survived? DO I WIN STUPID OF THE YEAR AWARD? idunno

All i wanted was baby chicks... looks like I might not even get that. hit

02/14/2010 6:30 pm


..::DAY 8::..

Well, what do ya know. We didn't actually kill the chicks! Hooray for that. celebrate

I candled them last night and saw little embryos moving in there. IT WAS TOTALLY WICKED! ep

I pulled out an unfertilized egg. It was nice to actually be able to distinguish between the baby eggs (as my daughter calls them) that are viable and one that isn't. One egg's air sac/cell was WAY smaller than the rest. I could see SOME veining in there, so I am gonna give it a few more days before culling it. A second egg I could see what I assumed to be a blood island and some dark little floaties in there, but it didn't seem like the embryo was moving in there. At this point I would hate to throw any out, so I'll wait a little longer before deciding to give it the boot.SUGGESTIONS? IDEAS? COMMENTS? idunno

I made sure and traced the air cells on all the eggs. If the information I've gathered is correct, I should be able to see the air cell increase as the embryo develops. Is this something I can base their development on?

EITHER WAY, I'm pretty happy that out of 38 eggs, only ONE was unfertilized, TWO are iffy and the rest were thriving. We did have some temp spikes/fluctuation so I'm crossing my fingers that it didn't affect them too much. fl At this point I'm convinced that the eggs are hardier than I assumed them to be. After FOUR days of being under TOO HOTT temperatures they've still managed to come this far. thumbsup

08/15/2010 7:11 pm


I have candled my eggs and noticed that TWO have some dark blobs that float to the top no matter how they are positioned. They are at day 10 (beginning of day 11) and the others all show little swimmers in there. I don't want the eggs exploding on me and contaminating the rest of my hatch, so should I cull them? Do I crack them to make sure that there was no development. Or just toss them in the trash can and never look back. I guess I feel a little bit sad throwing out what could have been a baby chick. I know I can't let them contaminate the rest of the healthy eggs, but I just need a talking to....

ANYONE?


I turned my eggs this morning when a horrible smell attacked my nostrils! I put my nose down to the eggs and was able to identify the culprit. There wasn't as much movement in it (I'm not even sure I saw any movement) as I've seen in others. Could it be a residual smell from egg-laying or do you think it's gone bad? I'm trying not to toss eggs until day 14 when I should see a definite difference between eggs that are still developing and those that have stopped, but would hate for this ONE rotten egg to ruin the batch. What to do?

Please advice on what to do... Thanks in advance.