Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Family Reunion in MEXICO!

My dad has not been home in over 18 years!! He grew up in Mexico and has lost touch with his 4 siblings. This past year we have been trying to locate his brothers and we found them! But without also hearing some bad news. Since we have made contact we have learned that 2 of his siblings has passed away. His brother, Domingo died 10 years ago leaving behind a 10 year old daughter, Perla. She is the one that returned a letter that my dad sent awhile back. Through her we were able to connect with other family members. His sister, Tana, died 3 years ago here in Chicago. I am not sure what prompted the family to separate but it is never too late to reunite!!

With tears of sadness and joy it really was great to find out that I had cousins! Lots of them! I started emailing Perla and learning about her, remembering her dad and just talking about meeting one day.

My dad didn't waste anytime and flew to Mexico for 2 weeks this past September. I wish I was able to go but it was too short of a notice to leave that quickly. I do plan on (with God's blessings and my husband) to go in February to meet my cousins and to kiss and hug my uncles! I know it had to be hard for my dad to reunite with his brother, Cruz after so many years.

I can tell from my dad's voice from talking to him while he was in Mexico the joy in his heart. He was uplifted by his family. Cruz's daughter, Veronica and I have been talking and she is planning a family reunion with her sisters when I come out. I am so excited! My dad was taken by Veronica's kindness and loving heart. Thanks Veronica for taking good care of my dad!

Since my dad has been back he does plan on going back to visit Mexico. I can't wait to meet my cousins face to face. I already love them and I haven't even met them! Here are a few photos from his trip.

This is my dad, Juan with his niece, Veronica and his older brother, Cruz.
What an awesome family photo!

Can you see the family resemblence!

This is Veronica's family with her dad and mom. Veronica (in the back) holding Analynn, my uncle, Cruz, far right Veronica's husband, Francisco my aunt in front and little Francisquito

This is Perla who was a huge part of bringing the family together!
Thanks Perla!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Pumpkin Carving, All Hallow's Eve & Trunk-or-Treat

We have an annual 'Pumpkin Carvin' night each year to start of the holidays. I think this is our 4th year (not really sure). We serve a great big pot of chili, invite our family and friends to come over with a dessert or appetizer and everyone brings a pumpkin to carve!

From the photos you will see how much fun we had, especially the kids digging into the guts of the pumpkins. DON'T THROW AWAY THE SEEDS!

Every year Carie and I are very careful to sift through the bowls of 'guts' and save those seeds. We hit the jackpot this year! I was so meticulous about the seeds that I am still eating pumpkin seeds! Carie, did you eat all of your seeds??

This year the kids and I looked up the true meaning of Halloween and how it has changed over the centuries. It was fun to learn why this holiday was created and how the meaning of 'All Hallow's Eve' changed to 'Halloween'.

Another thing we learned about this year is 'TRUNK-OR-TREATing' (photos to come later). We really had fun with this and we are making it a new tradition for us! We got to do this twice this year! The first one was at a friend's house (Sara) where there was about 6 families (kids all dressed up) and we parked our cars in a circle with our trunks open. We would put our bowls of treats in the trunk and the kids would go from car to car and go 'trunk-or-treating'. My kids really had fun with this! I really enjoyed it because we knew everyone and I knew the candy was safe. We did this during the day where we ate homemade pizza (the best ever) and enjoyed adult conversations!

The 2nd 'Trunk-or-Treating' was at a near by church, 'Lord of Life'. Boy, that was a big event. They had those big jumping things, bozo buckets (remember what those are?), boxcar races, indoor golfing, potato sack race, apple bobbing, pumpkin painting, and so much more!! PHEW, they really had lots for us to do! They even had a costume contest (I wish I had taken photos!). There was bible story and then everyone went outside for some CANDY! Now that I am a pro at this (just kidding....Oma came up with a great idea...). We decorated my trunk with flashing lights and garlands (Oma I think we started something); I'll bet there will be some competition next year!

All in all we had a great Halloween. I am looking forward to the next holiday, Thanksgiving. To truly be thankful not just during the holidays but all year round.

God Bless You All!