Sunday, November 30, 2014

Month of Instagram- November 2014

Miguel making me fall in love with him.

Tio and Chapito

Goofy little girl

The way she takes naps...

Miguel and Sofia at about the same ages

Sofia gets to hold her little cousin

Happy Thanksgiving from Sofia!
Tia and Chapito



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Happy Thanksgiving!

Here's an impromptu photo session with Miss Sofia. Needless to say she was thankful that it was over soon! Have a great Gobble Day, everybody!









Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Things I'm Thankful For



It's the day before Thanksgiving and I realized in all of the preparations that I haven't said what I am thankful for. There are so many things that I am blessed with and it's a good time to say what they are and why I am thankful for why they are given to me.



1. Being Alive: I wake up every morning full of breath and I am so thankful that the Lord has decided to keep me going in my life. I couldn't imagine a life where Sofia or my husband or my mother was without me there and being here with them makes me happier than I could ever think to be.



2. My Husband: My husband...the love of my life. I can honestly say that I picked a good man to spend my life with. He is so caring and always looking out for people. He does what he can for me and that's all I can ask for. We may not see eye to eye every day and that's all right. But I'm just glad that he sticks by me through all of that anyway. For that I am so thankful.



3. My Daughter: Sofia when you first look at her seems like any other toddler. But I am honestly so thrilled to be her mother because she is so special. She is even in her two years of life so compassionate, intelligent and friendly to everybody she knows and loves. I feel my heart swell with pride every time I see her or when she calls me Mommy. I'm thankful for the chance to take care of her and show her the way in life.



4. My Mother: Man, oh man...am I ever so thankful for my mother. Even after taking care of me for all of my life, being in the ICU and now living with us, she is still my mother and has never faltered in showing that. Recently while I was healing up, she has taken care of a lot of stuff in the house, taken care of Sofia and also made dinner for us. Even when I didn't have to ask. She is just so wonderful and caring.


5. My Father: I lived with my father from age 15 to 18 and even though times were rough, he kept a roof over my head and food to eat. I'm thankful for that. I'm saddened that our relationship isn't what it used to be when I was younger, but I'm happy to see him putting in an effort to try to spend time with Sofia. She needs him in her life too. I'm also thankful that the Lord is keeping him alive to still be in our lives.


6. My Sister: I'm thankful that the Lord has put a little sister into my life. I wish that I could have spent more time with her growing up together, but I will take what I can get. My sis is doing her thing in life with her own family and I'm thankful that Alisha is still given the ability to be a mom to Anastasia and loving her with everything she has.


7. My Family: Without a family, I don't know where I would be or how I would have grown up to be the woman that I am today and that makes me extremely grateful that I was born to one that is so big and so close together. I could go a block away and see my Auntie Brenda or the opposite direction and see my cousin, Rabbit. I could drive 10 minutes to see Kim and the girls or to see my cousins Courtney and Matt. It's comforting to know that they are always there.


8. Mi Familia: I didn't ask to have such an amazing family to be married into but it was given to me and I'm thankful for them all. I'm thankful that they have accepted me even though I'm not their race and not used to their culture. They teach me more about themselves and I'm happy to play a part. It's great to have new brothers and sisters in my life even by law. I'm also thankful that Juan and Alicia have raised my husband to be the man that he is.



9. Our Home: I'm so very thankful for our home! When it's raining outside or snowing or even just blistering hot outside, this abode of ours keeps us out of the elements and I'm so grateful for that. Our house is no means perfect, but it's just right for us!



10. Our Marriage: There are so many divorces out there now in life and when I see that or hear about that it makes me thankful that I am still with my husband and that we are hanging in there. We are still learning so much about each other and about how life being married works, but the fact that we are still able to see each other in the morning and kiss one another is wondrous.
edited slightly via Christ Church FW


12. My Growing Faith: I'm thankful that the Lord has shown me the way to a new church home. I have been feeling like it's been time to go back for a while and when I stepped into the sanctuary one Sunday and heard the word from the pastor, I knew I had made the right choice and it's nothing but the Lord. Thank you, Father for showing me the way...


13. My Abilities: Growing up I always thought that I was just going to be a lawyer or a singer, but I never would have thought I would want to be a writer or a photographer for that matter! It amazes me each day that I have the ability to put words on paper to make a story or have that eye for a good camera angle. I'm so thankful that I am able to do what I can do.



14. Our Neighborhood: Thankful thankful thankful that we live where we do. We don't have to feel afraid in our homes because have watchful and good neighbors looking out for us. We can go out and just relax without loud noises or rowdy teens all over the place. This place is gold...and I don't see us leaving anytime soon.



15. Our Blessed Life: This is our last one and as I'm looking over all that I'm thankful for, I realize that we really are blessed. More blessed than most people who don't have a place to sleep, eat or even bathe. I sometimes take things for granted and I shouldn't. This life is excellent and while it can get better, I'm thankful for what we have right now. So very thankful!




Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Thankful Edition of NOM NOM NOM



It's almost time to stuff our mouths all night long of delicious food on a special day of November. That's right! It's Thanksgiving time! My mother and I have planned out what we are going to be making for this years Turkey Day menu and along with the help of family coming to dinner we are going to have quite a feast!

The Key Elements




Bacon Covered Turkey- Last year we did a Cajun rub on the skin of the turkey and while it was good, it didn't have as much flavor as I would have liked it to have. While we were watching The Chew one morning, Mom and I were thrilled with the idea of a bacon covered turkey and decided to go that route. It's not nutritious, mind you, but COME ON! It's bacon! Bacon goes good with almost everything!

Bacon Wrapped Turkey Recipe




Homemade Mashed Potatoes- I love mashed potatoes in anyway, but I especially love it when it is made from scratch and buttered. It tastes so good and creamy. Can't wait to eat it off of my plate this Thursday!



Collard Greens- My cousin Audia will be making collard greens this year. MMMM...this will be the first year that we have it at Thanksgiving at the Ortiz house so I'm excited to see what she makes of it.

Collard Greens Recipe



Double Layer Pumpkin Pie- Who doesn't love dessert at Thanksgiving? I'm a sucker for pumpkin pie so instead of doing just sides this year, I'm going to be trying my hand at making dessert and I have chosen this lovely pie. It looks like it would be so creamy and sweet with the cream cheese layer and of course the pumpkin gives it that Thanksgiving touch.

Double Layer Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I can't wait to be seated around the table/TV this year. Hopefully we will have a lot more people than usual and we can have just a all around good time! What are on your menus this year? Whatever they are I bet they will be delish!






Thursday, November 20, 2014

[Royal Giveaway] GGMM Holiday iPhone 5/5s Case


Who out there has dropped a very expensive phone in their lifetime? I know I have and I cringe every time I do so without a case on the back of it. IPhones aren't exactly fragile, but they are gluttons for abuse with that glass screen and back. My current phone is looking like I survived a drive by shooting and it took the bullet for me or something! So with that being said, I love me a good phone case. This holiday season, GGMM Inc is holding a giveaway of these lovely IPhone 5/5s phone cases. GGMM is a company that sells phone cases and other accessories. Other than these babies being given away, they also have a variety more on their website!  You can enter the contest by entering yourself in the little widget down below.

It will be a perfect present or stocking stuffer for a friend or relative (possibly one that you know is prone to dropping phones!) this Christmas! Don't miss a chance to win! You have until December 02 to participate. Good luck!








Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Family Member Profile- Eric


Name: Eric Wayne
Crew of Funkadelics Name: Funky Punk
Birthdate:  January 8, 1992
Relation: My 3rd Cousin

Eric's Occupation: Customer Service Rep at Cash America

Likes: Designing websites and programming computers, sports like football, volleyball and basketball, sirloin steaks, strawberry or cherry cheesecakes, the color burgundy and jaguars.

Dislikes: people who don't follow directions and who ask for help before trying to fix things themselves, butternut squash and mismatched tacky clothing

Something Eric Accomplished: At the age of 20, Eric was the first ones of our second generation to buy a multi bedroom house of his own. He saved up and worked hard to do so as well!



Wow...What can I say about Mister Eric Phillips?



I would say that he is the most changed person that I know. I used to babysit all of my cousins as they and I grew up. Seeing Eric as he grew up was full of laughter. He was always the one kid in the bunch who was always laughing and being a goofball. His laugh was always contagious and his personality was always wild! I loved spending time with him and his brother, Ryan and his sister, Kalyn.



Then as he started growing up, Eric started developing the cool guy personality. I used to call him the thug of our family because he was always so serious in pictures. But that laughter never left him, he was still the same Eric and I loved that about him. I really didn't see him too much during his high school years and then barely all together. It saddened me and I didn't know what was happening.




But then I found out...

THIS BOY WAS DOING HIS THING!




He was working all the time at Pier 1 Imports downtown and that's why he was always absent at talent show rehearsals and some family get togethers. I couldn't have been more proud of this young man here. He was able to get his own car and get his own house before he turned 21. Good job, huh?!

Other things about Eric is that he is very charismatic. What a laugh he has now that is so distinctive, we could tell where he is from a mile away. He is quite the ladies man from what he tells me anyway and while he's happy with that right now I'm sure he's going to make a certain woman very happy in the way future. He's a one of a kind guy.




















He is talented with singing and dancing; he's always a part of the Temptations act with our family in the Talent Show and he's usually a part of my Crew of Funkadelics as Funky Punk. I never really have to tell him how to do certain steps in a routine and when he dances it's what I call a "bouncy" sort of dancing.



All in all...I love me some Eric. We have some very good conversations together when we go out for photo sessions or lunch meetings. I know that he loves me very deeply and that makes my heart so happy to know that. I really hope that everything goes great for Eric in his life. He deserves it!


More Photos of Eric


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

No Matter What They Say...





I am beautiful...no matter what they say. Words can't bring me down.


My body has been through so much in life. In no way am I frail or ridden with disease, but it certainly isn't the same that it used to be when I was young. When I grew up I was skinny...so skinny I was made fun of at school, but then my curves and other womanly body parts started to grow in place of where I was thin. I was elated, but that soon went away as I realized that my body was still growing and instead of being curvy, I realized that I was growing fat. I was so aware of my body image then but not so much that I was exercising every day. On the contrary, I really didn't exercise at all.


I wasn't a fan of PE or anything like that and to tell the truth, I'm still not. But I didn't like not being able to fit into cute clothes either like at Wet Seal or Forever 21. It truly sucked. It sucked not being able to wear cute boots because my calf muscles were naturally large. I felt so bad in my body and I really didn't like it much. But I forced myself to like myself because I knew that I was pretty somewhere. This was in high school that I felt this way.



After school, I really don't know what happened, but I started looking better than I ever had in life. I still had some flab here and there, but my legs looked good, my arms looked good and I just felt good. I guess because I really didn't worry so much about it. I had other things to worry about like what to do with my life. 


2009 was the year of the selfies. I felt really good about myself then, so much so that I guess I couldn't keep myself out of my phone! It makes me laugh to think that I was so vain then, but then again, I miss that time of my life too. I miss feeling beautiful about myself. I miss knowing that I was beautiful.



When I became a Patient Transporter at JPS hospital, I started gaining more and more weight from all of the food that was available for me to eat. There was the gift store, the cafeteria and a McDonalds there so I was never hungry. It was convenient but not at all good for my body. Juan was thin too back then. 




Everything changed drastically when I became pregnant with Sofia. I was already pretty big then but gaining 30 pounds for my little girl didn't help at all, even when I gained my pre pregnancy weight back. Turns out I had overstretched my ab muscles with her inside me and had gained a diastasis recti that never got solved. In fact, because it didn't, I actually had gotten two hernia at two different times. First one was after pregnancy and the second was a year after the first surgery for it. I blame myself for it, but I also didn't know where to go to get it fixed that didn't cost an arm and a leg. Physical trainers drain your wallet like cars do to gas. I was a mess and my stomach is covered in stretch marks and scars.



I don't like taking pictures now because whenever I look in them I just feel...not all right with myself. I don't feel as beautiful as I did years ago. I don't feel like I'm at my best. This is my most recent picture that I feel pretty.




Truly? Sometimes I wonder what Juan even sees in me. It's sad to think of myself like this, but it is what it is.

So what am I going to do about it? Whatever I can. Now that I have so much pain in my body, it's telling me that the time is now to fix it. I need to see what I can do. Even if it means changing my diet slowly and exercising more then that's what I'll need to do. Sofia and Juan are worth it.

I am worth it. I just need some time to catch up to that fact. I know that many other women feel the same I do, but their minds aren't mine. I have to start feeling beautiful about myself again. It's going to be a journey, but I'm ready to partake in it. I hope you will join me for the ride.




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