Sunday, December 30, 2012

From Our Family to Yours

Merry Christmas! 

I thought I'd share our Christmas card before it was New Years. Things have been a little hectic around here with a sick be, Da, and Mama.
We are so ready to all be healthy!

 Jose wanted to be part of sharing our card(which I thought was super cute!)

It's a little blurry in these photos, but we loved it! Hope you do too. 

We had a beautiful Christmas spent with our families. I'll share pics soon. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Heavy Heart

I wrote this several weeks ago and just discovered it sitting in my drafts. I feel like I cannot post before acknowledging the lives lost on December 14, 2012.

Last Friday I walked into school as I normally would. I always arrive to work on Fridays super early, and ready to start the day. We had our weekly flag salute, where I have the honor of announcing students names who have earned awards for reading and math, alongside our principal, vice principal, and our other instructional specialist, Christy.

After flag, as we were walking into the teacher's lounge, another colleague ran in explaining what had just happened. Our hearts sank. We all quickly ran into Stephs office(our principal) and immediately turned on the news. What I then saw and heard was devastating. How could this have happened? How could someone walk into an elementary school and kill innocent adults and young children?

The remainder of the day was pretty rough for me. I went home a bit early, and as I walked into my house, especially Ella's room, I just wept. Wept for the many lives affected by the tragedy and what lies ahead for these families. I also prayed. I prayed for all affected to some how find peace and comfort during this difficult time.

Monday morning as I walked into my Kindergarten classroom to meet my students, I had to hold back tears. I have not been able to turn on the news, nor listen to any recounts of this horrible crime for this very reason. I just can't. It hits entirely to close to home.

So, I will go on, as you will, with our daily lives. But these sweet little and big angels who lost their lives will forever be in my heart and will never be forgotten.

Friday, December 7, 2012


Have you heard of StickyGram? I am completely obsessed! If they weren't so darn expensive, I'd have my entire fridge full of them. I ordered two sheets last month, and I am giving several as gifts to family for Christmas. Go check them out! Grab this code for $2.00 off your first order. 


Let me know what you think? We sure do love them! Here's our fridge when we first got them. Ella loves pics so they are now at the bottom so she can see and touch them. So cute!

We'd love you to follow us on Instagram too. @hollievon

Enjoy your weekend everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Thanksgiving Recap

I can't believe I am just now getting to a post about Thanksgiving! These past few weeks have been a bit hectic for the Garcia family(sick be and Da!), but we are finally on the mend and getting back up to speed. 

This year I am thankful for SO many things. A supportive and loving hubs, the most adorable little be in the world, my ever rewarding job educating children every day, and my incredibly supportive family and loving friends! Jose and I continue to feel so blessed and fortunate as we reflect on our very simple life as a family of three. I doesn't get much better than this!

As a teacher, I am incredibly lucky to have lots of time off around the holidays. For Thanksgiving, I get the entire week off, and boy did we need it. Our days were spent spending time together as a family and WITH family, going to the park, lounging around the house, shopping, and soaking up as much time with our sweet be as possible. Here are some pics to illustrate our time together. I cannot tell you how excited I am for Christmas break. Three entire weeks off with my girl. I am counting the days.

Here we are trying to get a cute pic of Ella for our Christmas card. Out of 96 pictures, not one was she looking at Momma. We tried and failed miserably. I have to say, even though she wasn't looking, I think these are super sweet. I just love her to pieces!

We love the park! Ella could spend every day there, running, swinging, sliding, feeding the ducks, you name it, she'll do it! My Mom got her this Taxi Coupe and she absolutely loves it. And when I say love, I mean she is completely obsessed with it. She would sit in it all day if we let her. It's pretty cute! Jose thought it would be a great idea if we took it with us one afternoon. She couldn't have been happier. 

And here we have some random shots. (don't mind my nephew without a shirt on. He was a HOT MESS from playing the Wii!) Ella loves her cousins to pieces. I love that they are so sweet with her and play with her so patiently. Even though sometimes they forget she is still a little be and are a bit rough! I hope they continue to have these special moments together.

Ella is also obsessed with music, especially on my iPhone, iPod, or iPad! She even tries to get a handle on my Mac, but I have to draw the line somewhere right?! She has her own playlist on all of them, and she knows exactly where to go. She even knows where camera and photos are.  How is that even possible? She could sit with me for hours looking through pictures and watching herself on video. I love this time together because she is actually still for a long period of time. It's my favorite!

It's hard to believe how different this year is compared to last year. Ella was such a tiny baby, and now she feels so grown up! Jose and are a trying to savor every moment and enjoy this precious time with our girl. This week proved to be exactly what we needed. 

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. Until next year. . . . .

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Insta Update!

Halloween fun, My favorite book, Dinner with Da, Cuteness, Tantrum Anyone?, Big Girl Chair, Sunday at the Park, TV with Da!

On our way to Ti Ti's, Football with Da(Baylor kicked butt!), Momma's Boots, Alpha/Number Fun, Eating on the Run!

As you can see, we've been busy keeping up with a very energetic little be. This week I'm off for Thanksgiving Break and I couldn't be happier. 

Happy weekend everybody!

Monday, November 12, 2012

GOD is SO Good!

Today we received GREAT news from J's oncologist. As most of you know, Justin receives an MRI every other month to check for any new growth in his brain. Well, today's MRI showed that not only had J's tumor not grown(it has shrunk to the size on an ink speck since surgery, radiation and two years of chemo) but it wasn't even visible! No visible tumor on his brain scan. Did you hear that? NO VISIBLE TUMOR!

For those of you who continue to pray for J, my Sis, and the boys, THANK YOU. Please continue to keep them in your hearts and prayers as J continues to fight and BEAT this disease. He has a long journey ahead, but I know with continued prayer and support, anything is possible!

I love you J! More than you possibly know.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Happy Halloween

Halloween was super fun this year and SO different from last year. A year ago, our sweet girl was just a little be. Well. . . . a little ladybug to be exact. She wasn't really aware of what was going on and certainly wasn't the go, go go, girl she is now!

Here she is last year.

This year, Ella was one of the cutest little flowers I have ever seen! She wasn't very excited to get her costume on, but was definitely excited to go see her bestest friend Donovan for some trick-or-treating fun.

Dono and Ella played a bit before it was time for him to get dressed in the CUTEST little Elmo costume. I wish I had my camera when Dustin brought it out. Ella was in love. She LOVES Elmo and thought it was pretty awesome to have him right there in front of her. It was so funny to see! 

I mean seriously, how cute is he?

On our way out I wanted to get a cute picture of Ella, but it's just so hard. I tried!

Meg and Dustin's neighborhood was definitely in the holiday spirit. Most houses were beautifully decorated and everyone was out and about celebrating. Ella LOVES watching kids, so you can imagine how excited she was to see all the excitement. I bought her and Donovan a sucker and boy did she hold on tight to hers (and Dono's) all night. She was in heaven!

Here she is at her first house. I told Jose to keep a close eye on her because she'd probably walk right in to the house. This was so fun to see and she had a blast.

Elmo and flower girl were pretty tuckered out once we returned home. But boy did they have fun. 

Thanks for a super fun night Megs, Dustin, and Donovan. I hope this will be a fun Halloween tradition for years to come. Until next year . . . . .

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Pumpkin Patch

A few weeks ago, Jose, Ella, and I decided it was time to go pumpkin picking! We headed over to Bates Nut Farm and met my two nephews and Mom for a few hours of fun. Ella was so excited to be there with all the pumpkins. The patch is huge, so she spent most of her time running through the pumpkins and sitting next to one every once in awhile. This year was so different compare to last year. Ella was just a little be last year. She has grown up so fast!

It is almost impossible to get a picture of Ella these days. She's just too busy. We did try to get a few shots with Gram and the boys. I think the pics speak for themselves.

Once we tried to take a few pics, it was time to pick out a pumpkin. Ella and Jose got a wheelbarrow and headed out to find the perfect one. Ella loved her ride and wanted nothing more than to climb on top of all the pumpkins.

The boys got a kick out of the cut out pumpkins and farm family. We had to try to get a picture. I think they turned out pretty cute!

Of course there were animals

and a fun Straw Maze!

Days like this remind me how lucky I am to have such a close and loving family. We are so lucky. Fall is finally here. It's my favorite time of year!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Then and Now

Today I realized how much Ella's room has changed since she was a little be. This weekend, Jose and I decided it was time to make a few additional changes. Our little Miss has been CRAZY on her changing table. She is long enough now that she almost touches both sides with her head and feet. She also always tries to stand, and she climbs all over grabbing any and everything she can get to. So, we took it down and added the shelf to complete the look!

Before ~ With changing pad

After ~ Without pad and added shelf

Jose and I also decided to take her bumper out of her crib. This was a tough decision for me, but she is just SO active in her crib, that I have to retie it every time she gets up because she has completely disassembled it. It was time. Her crib looks so boring bare now, but I think it's going to be much safer and I won't worry so much during the night. I'm also very excited about how easy it will be to change her crib sheet. Such a pain every week.  Hopefully Ella adjusts quickly. Tonight may be interesting!

Before ~ With bumper

After ~ Without bumper

I also added a few things to her room. I purchased Ella an adorable growth chart from Paper Coterie several weeks ago and finally had a chance to put it up. Ella loves it, and is always looking at it when she enters her room. I think it was a really cute touch. Now I just need to measure her!

I was able to rearrange some things because of the added shelf on her hutch. This I was very happy about. I just need to figure out what I want to place where. I don't want to add to much because then it turns into clutter. We'll see what happens. For now, I have more room for her books and hair bows. That works for me!

Before ~ You can clearly see the clutter!

After ~ Less clutter. I need to add pic to frame!

All of these changes were really hard for me. It means our little baby girl is growing up. She is turning into such a big girl. How does this happen? Where have the last 16 months gone?

I have a few other changes to make, but for now, I think that will be it until it's toddler bed time. Now that is too sad for me to think about!!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

We're Back!

Well, hello there! I can't believe it's been 2 months since I've written a blog post. Our lives have been super busy lately, mostly because I went back to teaching in late August and haven't been able to catch my breath since! Back to work for Mama means less time with my sweet girl, which makes both Jose and I extremely sad. But, we had a wonderful summer and enjoyed every minute spent with Ella. 

Many of our days this summer were spent at the beach, park, pool, or any place where Ella could run, climb, jump, or swim. We definitely have ourselves an active girl. Every day she surprised us with doing or discovering something new. She is such a happy and energetic girl! 

Jose and I celebrated our 2nd anniversary and were able to spend a night away(thanks to my Mom) in Coronado. We were both in a wedding the same weekend, so we made a night of it. Although it was so nice to spend some alone time with Jose, we both missed our girl so much. We were up at 7, ready to get home before Ella went down for her morning nap. Life sure has changed and we wouldn't have it any other way. 

Things are starting to settle down a bit at work, so I hope to try and post a bit more frequently. It's so nice to be back. Thanks for catching up with us!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Beach Day!

Last Sunday, Jose, Ella, and I headed to our favorite spot in Carlsbad for a fun family beach day. It was a bit overcast (which was perfect for Ella), but we didn't let that stop us from having a fun filled day.

Ella loves the sand, and when I say LOVE, I mean she cannot get enough of it. I bought her a few new sand toys, but all she wanted to do was play with her bucket, water, sand, and rocks. It was so cute. We are still at the stage where she puts EVERYTHING in her mouth. Does this ever end? She wanted to eat everything, including sand, seaweed, rocks, you name it. I can't wait for the "phase" to be over! Jose is awesome, and always keeps a very close eye on her. It takes both pairs for us to prevent anything from being swallowed. (One call to poison control is enough for the month.) Even though she eats everything in sight, I love that she loves the sand and dives right in. She never makes a fuss and always has the best time. Can't you tell?

Ella had a field day with my chair. Anytime I wasn't in it, which was NEVER, she was! This is Ella climbing up onto the chair, turning around, and facing forward. Such the little climber and so fast. 

If you have read any of my previous posts, you know how much Ella loves the water. Well, the ocean is no exception. This girl would run right in if Mom or Dad was willing to go in with her. It wasn't freezing, but it was pretty cold. Too cold for a baby for sure. I was the photog, so here are a few pics of Ella with her Dada. She sure does love her da!

We are SO extremely lucky to live in a beautiful city, with tons of amazing beaches. We're even luckier because it only takes about 15 minutes to get there. It was the perfect day with my two loves. I see many more trips in the coming weeks before our summer comes to an end.

Until next time. . . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Trip to Safari Park

Last week my Sis called and said she was headed to Safari Park with the boys and wanted to see if Ella and I would like to join them. Of course I jumped at the chance, and I'm SO glad I did. I was a little concerned because I'm such a stickler when it comes to Ella's napping schedule. But....I decided to let it go and we headed to the park as soon as it opened at 9:00. My Sis had some passes, so we all just walked right in. It was perfect! We had a wonderful day walking the park and visiting all of the animals. Ella loved observing all of the animals, especially the giraffes, lions, and gorillas. I think it was because she could really see them. We also ventured on the 25 minute tram ride and were able to see some animals up close. She was a bit restless, was vocalizing her loud screaming sounds (the lady in front of us was not pleased), and threw her Nuk overboard. It was a long 25 minutes, but we all really enjoyed it! Come 11:30, Ella was exhausted, so the boys visited some animals while Ella took a much needed snooze. She was such a trooper and had such an amazing time with her cousins. It was a great day. 

Here are a few pics from our exciting day. The love these two boys have for Ella is overwhelming. I love watching their strong bond develop. It really warms my heart. 
Here were some of Ella's favorite animals. We're just missing the elephants!

I'm so fornuate to have the summers off so I can have these memorable days with my family. It was a super fun day, and I can't wait to visit the park again! 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A VERY Pink Polka Dot Day

When it came time to begin thinking about Ella's first birthday party, I had all kinds of ideas in my mind, although I knew I needed(and wanted) to keep things in perspective and not go overboard. I began collecting things for her party several months in advance. I knew I wanted to have a pink polka dot theme, so all I needed to do was gather things up! Etsy became my best friend in the process, and I found many things and ideas there to incorporate into her party. We had a wonderful day, celebrating the life of a beautiful, sweet, happy little girl.
Here are a few shots from our day!

This is the entry when you walk in to my Mom's house. I decided long ago that each year at her party, I would have the guests sign a book with a message or wish for Ella. My plan is to find books with Ella's name in the title, and I'm so lucky because there are tons! I know this will be a special momentum for her when she is older. I absolutely love this story, and we call our girl Ella Bella too! Although I believe this is Bella(name) and we say Bella(in spanish meaning beautiful!) It was a perfect match.

My friend Megs gave me these adorable letters to redecorate for Ella's theme. They are from Paper Source and I LOVE them.Thanks for the idea Megs!

I also placed some different flavored pink lollipops for the kids/guests to take home, as well as envelopes for guests to address for their Thank You cards. 

 We decided to serve Mexican food for lunch and we had way too much food. We had shredded beef and chicken, all the fixings you could imagine, 4 different types of salsas, rolled tacos, nachos, beans, and rice! It was Mexican fiesta overload, but I think everyone enjoyed it!

For dessert I found this really neat Bake Pop pan, so my Mom and I tried it out. They're like cake pops, but without the icing inside. They were really good, put very labor intensive to make. Especially when it came time to ice them. We also made cupcakes, and a cute little smash cake for Ella. (You can see both in the background I hope!) We are definitely not experts when it comes to baking, but I think they all turned out really nice. Jose's sister Lourdes also brought some Bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes, so we had plenty of desserts too! As you can see, we like to eat!

 I made Ella a birthday banner of all her monthly photos! Everyone really enjoyed seeing how much she had changed month to month. I'm so glad I did this. I placed her year old pics on a table next to this with some balloons(not pictured!) You can see those pics in the below post! We also had

some pink birthday poms

and a fun pink polka dot birthday banner! 

 I wanted her chair to be special for the day, but as soon as I placed her in it, all she wanted to do was get out! She stayed in for about 5 seconds, and when it came time to sing happy birthday and do her smash cake, she about lost it. We tried to do presents too, and she wasn't having that either. I was super disappointed, but quickly got over it, and she enjoyed the rest of her day playing with her littles and swimming with Dada!

I tried to capture every detail of her party, but failed miserably! I even had my step brother Brandon take some photos for backup, and we still managed to miss things. I tried to have every possible thing pink. We had pink tubs for the drinks, I found some yummy pink adult cocktails, we had pink strawberry lemonade with pink polka dot straws, and I even placed pink polka dot guest napkins in the bathrooms for drying hands! How did I miss all that! Oh... I almost forgot. I even had pink polka dot pinwheels all over the backyard. Geesh, I really did screw up didn't I?

I think all that really matters is Ella had a wonderful party, celebrating with everyone she loves. So many family and friends came over to celebrate our special little girl. We are so lucky to have the support and love we have from our family and friends. It was the perfect day.

Happy Birthday to the cutest one year old I know! Mama and Da love you SO much.