Dream big...


"All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them." —Walt Disney

Spring of 2017, a colleague approached me about a master’s program that was being made available online, the MMIS program provided by the Huntsman School of Business. As an on-campus employee, I could be a hybrid and take both online and on-campus classes. Intrigued, I figured “sure, why not, let’s try it!”. 
Let me take you back a few years, about 27 years to be exact. I arrived in the US on May 10th, I was 14 years old. At the time, I spoke one word of English, just one! “Hamburger”. I learned it on the plane from California to NY. Ha! Yes, it proves one thing, my life revolves around food!
When I arrived, I had two jobs, as a sewing worker, and delivering newspapers that contained the ads for the local stores. I worked delivering papers from 3:30am-7:30am, then I went to the factory to sew blankets from 8-6pm. It was grand! I was living the American dream, working, earning money and not suffering as I was suffering back at home. We had food, so much food. If we wanted to eat steak every day, we could eat steak. Back at home, we had steak maybe once a month! I was having the time of my life and in a sense, I was progressing. However, my heart yearned to be like all the other teens around me. I would see them at the mall on Sundays, wearing cute clothes and chatting with one another. Me, I was there to eat out at the food court with my mom and aunt. Life was not rough, do not get me wrong, it was a good life. We had a great apartment, we had great food--all the time, and we had each other. But, I wanted more. I wanted more for my future than working 4am-7pm. I wanted to learn the language and get a nice job that didn’t require me to work on a sewing machine (I am terrified of those monsters!). Maybe a job at one of the stores at the mall (silly me!), where the girls looked always happy and well dressed. 
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The following year, I begged my mom to let me go to school. I didn’t know what I was asking her at the time.  I was being selfish and only thinking of me and not the sacrifice that it meant for her and my aunt. After a little coercing, she registered me in school. Why did I have to ask? Simple, you come to the US to make a better living. If you work, you are earning money. No work, no money. One less person working at home meant less money. It was a sacrifice for my mom, she now had the responsibility to support me and my foolish dreams of going to school. A roof over my head is expensive, food on the table is expensive, clothes are expensive, books…all of that meant someone had to pay for it. 
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The first two years of high school were rough. My knowledge of the English language was subpar, to say the least. I was placed in ESL classes for all my courses. (And if you are reading this and shaking your head at my writing, remember kindly that English is my second language). It was humbling on many levels. Not only did I not know the language, but the only thing that I could do without having to translate was math. All the other subjects took me forever to get through. 
Over the next few years, I became the number one consumer of Folger’s coffee in Queens, NY. I slept probably an average of 3hrs per night. I would read my assignments, translate them with a dictionary, read them again, write the stuff in Spanish, then translate it to English. A lot of the time, my mom would fix me breakfast and she would find the pot of coffee in my room, my books all over my bed, and mountains of paper, so much paper! I watched tv solely in English and listened to the radio only in English—this was a hardship at home as we didn’t understand what we were watching, but my family knew that I had to immerse myself in the language. 

Senior year arrived and I realized that I had nothing to put on a college application. I had dedicated every spare moment of my life to learning the language. I hadn’t had the time to do anything else beyond studying the classes on my curriculum. School was my full-time job. But, I knew that if I wanted a chance at college, I had to show more than my ability to “study”. I made it a point to join as many clubs as I could so that I wouldn’t look like a total loser on those college applications. I enrolled in a couple of concurrent classes and even took AP Biology. Yes, I was going places, ha! 
Then, I met with my counselor. I came out of that visit with a heavy heart. It turned out that you needed money, a lot of money to go to college. Money that we didn’t have. And the government couldn’t help with a grant or even loans, because of my “status”. It turns out that in order to live an American dream, you have to be “American” to enjoy the privilege of that dream. I went home and I cried; I cried out of anger and frustration. How come merit and hard work didn’t count? How come my grade point average and my dedication amounted to nothing in the eyes of an institution? It was a sobering moment. Those with barely a grade point average to “pass” classes were getting accepted and I wasn’t. 
Then something wonderful happened. I met some wonderful individuals who knew the system, and they helped me out. One lady in particular, she saw my potential and decided to give me a shot. A shot in the amount of my first-year tuition! She believed in me and in what I could achieve. Not only did she teach me English and the awesome game of Scrabble, but she taught me that there are people out there willing to help you without wanting anything in return. Judith C. Protas, you made my entire academic career possible!!! 
I put out my college applications, one to the most well-known community college, Baruch College, a business school. I took my SATs and I hoped for the best. I figured that if I couldn’t get into Baruch that I was already a shoo-in for Queensborough College due to my concurrent enrollment. Anticipation was high and I waited for my rejection/acceptance letters. I did it!!! I got into Baruch. My declared major: computer science. Yeah, you can laugh it up. I didn’t even have a computer at home! 
My college years were great. I loved academia! I loved learning new subjects and discovering new worlds. I became involved in clubs and even became an officer in the Golden Key National Honor Society (GK). The team of officers became my family; my advisor became my mentor. Together they made me realize that I had something to offer this world, beyond sewing blankets and delivering newspapers. I grew into a person who loved and thrived in “people settings”. Customer relations became my thing! Talking to students and mentoring students made my heart sing. Recruiting them into the society and celebrating with them their achievements gave me joy. In my junior year, I took an earth science class and I became enamored with the subject. The confidence that belonging to GK gave me, propelled me to find a school that offered a Geology major. It landed me at Utah State University (USU). 


I transferred as a senior and I became a super senior at USU. After I transferred, my advisor told me that although all of my credits transferred, in respect to the Geology major I was only a freshman. There was no way in hell I was going to start from scratch. I didn’t have the money, nor the time to start from scratch. Consequently, I switched to Business Information Systems (BIS). 
Our lives have branches that give us opportunities for different adventures. My adventure landed me a husband from Cache Valley, Utah, and soon after, our first child. A baby meant that I wanted to be home and not actively working. A BIS degree "could" be obsolete when and if I did go back into the workforce. So, I switched to a “safe” degree, Business Administration. 
Bryant, my firstborn came along in January of 2002, I still had a few courses that I had to finish online to complete my degree. The idea of quitting my degree was never an option. The degree meant that all my hard work, and most importantly my mom’s sacrifice was worth it. I had to finish it. I graduated the following year with an overall GPA of 3.51. It was a year of celebration! I did it! I had graduated with a bachelor’s degree. The first one in my entire family ever to achieve this much of schooling. My momma came to my graduation and she was beyond herself. I had never seen her so proud of me. She gave me all the praise, yet she didn’t realize that I couldn’t have done it without her sacrifice in those early years of high school. She worked twice as hard so I didn’t have to. 
When one is a first generation, the child of immigrants, and the first in the family to go to college, the sacrifices are many. Everyone in the family has to work so hard on many levels: language, culture, financial. It takes a community to help you. It is a win for not only the individual, but to the family, and community of supporters. 
So when my colleague came to me in the spring of 2017 with this great opportunity, I knew that I had to take a chance. This was it! My chance to finally go after that degree that I had sought from the beginning, something to do with computers and technology. I took the chance and ran with it! I applied and got accepted!!!
For two years, I worked full-time, held a part-time job, and took 6 graduate-level credits per semester. In my spare time, meaning in the very early hours of the day, I ran my heart out so that I could have the stamina to meet all of my demands during the day. During those two years, I ran a total of 6 marathons and ran over 3000 miles. 
My master’s degree is a culmination of a life-long dream. Formal education to people with my socio-economic background is not a given. It is a privilege that not many of us get. I am blessed to have been given the opportunity to follow my dreams.  Making my dreams a reality would not have been possible without the many sacrifices from my family. My mom who believed in me back when I was 15 and gave me the chance to enroll in high school. My grandparents, who took me in as their "pilon" and raised me when my mom left to make a better future in the United States. Without my abuelitos, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. Hard work was part of our daily life. "Tears do not fix it, wipe the tears and keep on shoveling" (yes, there is a story behind that line). My hubby, who took care of our children when I was studying, or out running to save my mind from insanity. Knowing that my children were taken care of and provided while I followed this crazy dream gave me peace of mind. My children who babysat our little rainbow baby so that I could study. My 14-year old daughter who became my helper at home. She cooked, she cleaned and did the dishes without being asked. She simply saw that it needed to be done, and she did it. My son, who has shown me almost every day of his life what hard work and dedication looks like. My little toddler, who was barely a few months old when I enrolled. She brought me joy and peace whenever I needed it. Her hugs and love made every hard day at work and school disappear. And last, but not least in any way, my community of supporters, ranging from friends to mentors. 
Family grad
I don’t really know what the future holds for me. All I know is that if you really want something in life, you can achieve it if you put forth the work. There are many people you will encounter along your journey that will doubt you, or make you feel less because of where you came from. But for every one of those people, there are 5 out there cheering for you. Focus on the 5 who cheer for you. Most importantly, do not doubt that you can accomplish something. It may take you years to accomplish it, but as long as you make progress towards that goal, you are winning in my book. Here I am, proof that you can do anything!!! Because if I can do it, I know you can too! 
Judith, as you look down from heaven, know that your investment paid off. I didn't fail you. You took a chance and I ran with it! 
Now patiently awaiting the posting of my degree to my transcript...and hit refresh on that page one more time. 
A special shout out to my friend Nicole from SteppingStones for taking and gifting me some bombastic grad pictures!!! 

World, meet our darling Eowyn Ann

Mom and Eowyn

Our sweet Eowyn Ann arrived two weeks earlier than anticipated! Mom and Dad were definitely ready to meet her, even if it took them by complete surprise. Unlike her siblings, who were born on their due date, exactly, little Eowyn started showing signs of coming earlier than planned about a month before she was supposed to arrived. 

2016-10-22 04.23.11

I started having contractions about a month prior, small and not painful ones at all. Definitely manageable. On my first "check up" appointment, which start about 4 weeks before the baby is due, I was already dilated to a 2 and 70% effaced. It was a surprised to me as with my first two, I was dilated to a 2 up to the date I delivered. The following week check up was a bit different, I didn't make it to the appointment as I lost the mucous plug early on Monday morning so I headed to the hospital to make sure my little one was okay. That Sunday night, I was having contractions all night long that kept me awake. I would doze off for an hour or so only to be woken up with some major contractions. Monday morning, I was getting ready to go to work, I went to the bathroom and I had a painful sharp pain and there went the mucous plug. At first, I got scared when I saw the blood, and then I remembered what it was. With my second, I lost the plug and she was born about 5 hours later. I took a shower, got dressed for the day, texted my husband to let him know what was going on and that I was on my way to the doctors to check on my progress. We were two weeks and 3 days earlier than anticipated, so we knew that it was probably a false alarm, so I told him to stay at work. At the doctor's, I was checked and I was dilated to a 3 and effaced to 80%, they strapped me to monitor to check on the baby and to monitor my contractions. The contractions were far apart and not very painful, manageable for sure. The doctor told me to go home and walk a bit and that she was sure the baby would come within a day or two. I didn't go home, instead, I went to work. I can easily walk at work as well as at home. 

7 days old

The day at work went really well, I was able to see all of my students and got some stuff done there. Contractions were far apart and bearable. That night at home, things went well. Still contractions at night, closer together, about 30 minutes apart, so it was another night without much sleep. Next morning, I got ready and went to work. I felt good, just overly tired from not sleeping. Contractions coming at about 20 minutes, still bearable. I made it til 5pm and then went home. Had dinner with the family and rested a bit. We said prayers and got ready for bed around 9pm. My contractions were getting gnarly at this point. I didn't think I was going into labor, I was after all 2 weeks and 1 day away from my due date. My hubby started timing my contractions as I was in way too much pain to keep track of them. At one point, he asked me how far apart they were and I turned to him and said in not very nice words "if I could keep track of them, I wouldn't need you, now would I?". Poor guy, he is so patient with me. He started timing them and they were coming about 8-10 minutes apart. I couldn't stay in bed, I had to walk the pain away. He asked me at one point if we should go and I remember saying, "not, now, I don't think I am ready." Then around 10pm, they got so unbearable that I started crying with every single one of my contractions. I would lean against the wall and simply cry my heart out for that minute that they lasted. At some point, my hubby was there to support me and for me to hold on to. Around 10:20, I told him, it was time. I had to go to the hospital. I got dressed (why in the world, I got dressed, I don't know, I should have just gone in my pajamas!). 


As we headed to the hospital, I remember him taking the main road and I was so upset because the main road is full of lights and because half the accidents in Cache Valley happen on this road. I told him so, my body shaking with pain and here I was arguing with my poor hubby about the red lights that we were hitting, which happened to be every single one until we got to the hospital. I remember him parking the car and usually I jump right out of the car, but I couldn't, at that very moment, I could feel my lower body splitting apart in pain. I held on to the door handle and simply let my tears roll down my cheeks. It finally passed and I opened the door and got out of the car. As we were walking in, two ladies were walking out, I could discern their smiles and heard their hellos. They were happy for me and I was happy too for what was coming, but yet, I could feel my entire body shivering with cold from the shock that it was going through. 


At the hospital, they got us in quickly and efficiently. The nurses were very kind and checked my progress and sure enough, the little girl that was supposed to arrive two weeks later, was on her way. I was dilated to a 5 and she was coming! I was cold, so cold, shivering from head to foot. The anesthesiologist was called in right away, I was prepped within an hour for everything. IVs in for meds and liquids, then the glorious anesthesiologist came in with his magic drugs. Despite the pain, we were all still joking around (I think it is my avoidance mechanism), I joked around that for each minute the anesthesiologist was late, it was going to be one less taco for him. The anesthesiologist asked if my nickname for Sam was "taco", I was laughing and trying to stay super still all while curled up to get my epidural.  It took a bit of work to get the epidural in the right place, but once it was in, it was like magic, my pain went away. I was still super cold, but at least I was not crying from the pain, all I could feel was pressure. I knew when each contraction was coming and could feel them but it was just pressure. 


They decided to wait until I dilated to a 10 and then maybe my own doctor could deliver the baby (she is out on Tuesdays). It was around 4:30am when nurse Cazlyn came to check on me and saw that I was at about a 9, so she called the doctor on call. The entire room got busy and all these machines started coming out from all these doors. It was a circus in there! The nurse had a student nurse with her, and then the Nursery Nurse had a student with her too. At one point, I think there were about 6 people, plus Sam and I in that room. I would have cared, but frankly, I was ready to push. I could feel the pressure getting stronger and stronger and an urge to push. 


The doctor got there and she got all dressed in her gown and gloves. She checked again and felt still a small lip on the cervix but she said we could start. I was coached by Cazlyn and the doctor on when to push, although I could feel each contraction, they helped me out to make sure I didn't miss them. My previous babies arrived with 3-4 pushes, not my little Eowyn. It took 5 contractions, 3 big pushes on each one, each push being held for 10 seconds. On that last contraction, she was coming! The doctor and nurses first words when they saw her "look at those cheeks!", I laughed, then two more pushes and she was out. My sweet baby Eowyn was welcomed into this world! She screamed and cried! She was placed on my chest and she calmed down until they came to clean her up, then she screamed again. I held her to my bosom as I cried from happiness and then I saw my sweet Sam crying too. We had waited almost 12 years for this moment. Our sweet little angel was finally with us!

5:52am on Wednesday, October 12, Eowyn Ann Phelps, 6.2 oz, 18 inches long, made my world a much better place. We are now a family of 5! 

Eowyn Ann 2

Family and friends: we will be accepting visitors at home in the evening hours after two weeks of her arrival. Mom and baby need some sleep-thank you for your understanding. 

Baby Eowyn has an Amazon baby registry.

Baby Knits for Golden Nugget

The time is coming for my little bundle to come say hello. Three weeks according to the calendar. Most of the time, I feel really good, last night not so much. My doc check up yesterday may have stirred the "pot" and I had some awful contractions that kept me up from 2:30am-4am. Needless to say, I am exhausted this morning. But that is not the reason why I am blogging. I want to blog these cute little hats that I have been making since this weekend. I picked up some Elysian yarn by Cascade Yarns, it is a blend of superwash merino wool and acrylic--it knits beautifully! 

There are no patterns for the hats, except the cable hat, this is a baby adaptation of the Quendi hat. I am in love with all of them and I can't wait to see my little Golden nugget wear them.


This is the Quendi Hat that I adapted to a baby size.


Little Bow Hat with a seed stitch bow (bows can be interchanged).


A little bell shaped bow hat--so girly that it makes me want to squee! 


And the littlest hat of them all. I made this one newborn size, will most likely bring baby home wearing this one. The bow is garter stitch that is folded on the edges to make it more crisp so it doesn't fall over. 

Count down has begun! My little one could be here any day! 

Anxiety and Fear


In the past few years, I have noticed that I suffer a bit from anxiety. I didn't really know I had this until one day I caught myself repeating a certain sentence over and over in my head. Then a few days later I noticed the same exact habit, I started to notice more and more when I would end up in this cycle. They don't last long and lately, now that I am aware of them, I try to snap myself out of them. I don't know what causes it, probably stress, probably feelings of inadequacy, whatever it is, it is terrifying and I don't like the feeling at all. I hate meds, so I probably will try to never get on any of them, especially if I can snap myself out of it myself. 

However, yesterday, I was overly stressed. I knew what was stressing me out and I tried all weekend to not let myself be stressed out over it. What was stressing me out? Something extremely simple--I was having another doctor's appointment for my pregnancy. I have had many of them with my first two and I don't remember ever being stressed out. However, after my miscarriage in November, anything at all with this pregnancy sets me on edge. Although I have had already one ultrasound and it showed everything normal (at least to the little peanut size baby that I had at that point), I was terrified. All weekend and all day yesterday, I was preparing myself for the worst. I was preparing myself mentally to hear the doctor say, "Isela, I am sorry, it doesn't seem like a viable pregnancy." Is that crazy? I think I am trying to shield myself in case anything happens. I know my odds of having a healthy pregnancy are low due to age...blah, blah, apparently 38 is too old. 

My appointment was at 4:30 and I was on edge...so on edge! I wanted to know that my baby was okay, that my body was handling it okay. That my body can still carry a wee one. The doctor, thankfully, was in and they took us right away. She came in and after some small talk, she said that we will listen to the heartbeat. My heart was racing. I was sweating. I was hopeful. She put the little ultrasound gadget on my abdomen and right away, the most beautiful sound came on "woosh, woosh, woosh" beating at 160 bpm! My little wee one is thriving. My body is doing it! I am doing this!!! I am officially out of the first trimester, the odds for me and my baby have gone up considerably. Am I still out of the danger zone, no, I am not, but I am hopeful that the Lord will allow me to have one more little one. I am hopeful that we will both make it through the next 6 months. 

I think the miscarriage taught a lot that I had never imagined before. The fear that enters our hearts is indescribable. It is hard not to hope and not to have dreams about this little bundle, especially when you want it so badly. Yet, having had the miscarriage taught me that even the one thing I have "some control over", my body, that I cannot really control it. It taught me to fear, to fear simple routine checkups. It taught to fear everything I do. As such, when people tell me with an accusing tone "you are still lifting and running?" it bothers me,  not because it is a thoughtless comment (although it may be) but because if they only knew how much I love and want this baby, I wouldn't do anything in this world to jeopardize my pregnancy. The truth is that if I am going to miscarry, there is nothing on this earth that I can do about it. I learned that lesson in November. I cried. I begged. I prayed. I stopped doing everything and anything physical to save my pregnancy, and I couldn't do anything. Even the doctor said, if the pregnancy is not viable, your body will end it, there is nothing we can do about it, or you can do about it. It is hard to lose this control. It is hard to accept that we do not have control over these things--believe me, I am a control freak and this one episode in my life has taught me what 37 years of life hasn't been able to in that time period. 

Coming October 2016....my next greatest accomplishment since almost 12 years ago.

Announcement sitting down

We are so excited to announce that we are being blessed with a third little one. The baby is due October 2016. We all cannot wait to hold the baby and cherish it as much as we are cherishing the idea of him/her right now. We are all full of hope and feel so blessed. 


Our little peanut is still very little, but we love him/her so much already. I wonder if he/she knows how excited we are. 



This post was written on March 14, 2016, made public,  April 13 2016.

Totally unexpected. I got super sick on Thursday March 3rd, so sick that I wanted to crawl under a rock and die! That evening my son had a hockey tournament and I dragged myself to the game, all the way down in Provo, a good 2-hr drive from home. I lasted about 30 minutes in the front seat and then I had to switch my son as I couldn't take the nausea. Truly, I felt like I was dying. The game was a whirlwind and I felt nauseated the entire time. At the end of the game, I climbed back in the car and curled into a ball and slept the entire 2-hour ride back home. I was miserable. The next morning, the same plus some flu side effects. Truly--why does the body react so violently to a virus inside the body, why can't it just peacefully let one simply die! The hockey tournament weekend was a no-go for me. I stayed home with Nyah--who took charge of me and became my little nurse. Friends came to my aid bringing me meds and soda. I drank my first coke in 16 years! Oh, it was like mana from heaven. My guts felt better the instant I started sipping on it. It may not be good for the body, but it is good for killing viruses. 

Monday came and I felt almost human enough to go back to work. I was still feeling the flu in my body but was at least running at 70%. Then, that evening came and with it cooking or being around food (hubby cooks a lot of the meals as he gets home earlier than I do from work). The moment he started cooking, I felt again completely nauseated and sick. Something was not right. I was supposed to be getting better not worse. Then my kids came and gave me hugs and their stench about killed me. They were so smelly! A pre-teen girl and a teenage boy do not smell their best at the end of the day. Gosh! They were stinky! 

Then it dawned on me....it couldn't be...it just couldn't happen. I counted and recounted and knew that it wasn't possible. But, I picked up a cheap test at the supermarket and I took it, waiting the required time to see the results. In my head, I knew it had to say "-". Well, I was wrong, the second the fluid hit the lines, it turned into a "+". No freaking way! It had to be wrong. I had to send hubby back to the store to get a "good and reliable" test. Maybe the $4.99 was wrong. Took the second test, waited the 2-minutes for it to say  "yes" or "no". Unbelievably, it was a "yes"!!! What in the world!?! Both hubby and I were confused and really have no clue how it happened, according to dates other than my body did something weird in between months, so we are calling it our miracle. 

Pregnancy test 3.14.16

To tell you an approximate date is a little complicated so I will wait until the doctor gives us a more accurate date, but it should be beginning of November. 

Am I apprehensive? Yes. After my miscarriage in November and the emotions that I went through (and still going through) this is difficult to accept, not because I do not want to be pregnant, but because I am afraid of losing my little one, again. I don't want to go through the loss one more time--I try to be strong in my everyday life and not be that little broken-winged bird, but that experience truly broke me.

I have been very sick this time around and I have an aversion to everything I smell. The hardest part has been my water intake. I used to drink 80-100 oz a day but I can't stomach the taste of water, so I have felt dehydrated all the time. I am queasy and feel nauseous all day long. Where before I didn't cook due to lack of time, now I can't cook for fear of barfing every minute. I want to think of these side effects as good omens....I want my body to be able to keep my little one. 

This was written on March 14, 2016. 

Goodbye 2015!

2015-12-25 06.18.19

It has been fun, it has been real, but it hasn't been real fun this year. I am glad that it is coming to a close and to see what 2016 has in store for us. As a family, we have overcome some major hurdles this year but we are happy to say that we have survived and have conquered. 

We have had some major highlights, some of them small but very meaningful to us. 

  1. We moved to a new house. In a sense, this was one of the major changes in our lives. We like the little house we are renting, it is in a good neighborhood, and most importantly, the kids have their friends near. 
  2. A full-time job for mom, meaning me. This was probably the biggest adjustment. The kids are in school til 3:30pm, so I went back to work, not part-time, but full-time. Unlike some family members want to believe, it was not because "I don't like to be home" or because "I give my kids all they want" but rather because financially, we needed it. My income helps support us. It is very hurtful when family members tell you to your face that "really, you shouldn't work because you should be able to live within your husband's income". Thankfully, I don't need to be near "these" family members. The best part is that I do love my job. I love being an Academic Advisor. I love being around the students. Most importantly, I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful team--each one of them is appreciative, kind, and smart. 12080145_10207987908761927_8558490266793821133_o
  3. Bryant competed at Nationals in Olympic Weightlifting. What?! Yep, my 13-year old boy, not only competed but he placed 2nd in the nation in his age and weight bracket. He got to this point not because it was given to him, but because of all the hard work he has put in at the gym. It is a result of his dedication and work ethic. 43855 (5)
  4. Our good friends moved back to town from Colorado. We have missed them and we are so glad that they are back in town so that we can see them more often. 
  5. I found a morning group to run with! This is very important as I had to find a group that went early enough so I could get to work on time. I love these gals! They have become a great support to me over the past few months.  We laugh, we chat, we solve the world problems, all while hitting the pavement. 11921799_10207670879956405_8956818659491229020_n
  6. I got my passport! Yes! I am super poor and probably won't be able to travel outside of the country in a very long time, but I have a passport! How cool is that! 11232080_10208213614964441_8238877051932084405_o
  7. We took an improptu trip to San Francisco! It was only a 1 day trip but it was so much fun to be near the ocean. My first 5 years of life were by the ocean, it is in my blood. I love it. I love the smell, the breeze, and of course, the food!
  8. Taking three mini trips across the country with these awesome sidekicks! California, Reno, and Minnesota! 12291856_10208337274415850_5105633241318985721_o
  9. We tried for a baby (blog-story of hopes and dreams)and we were able to get pregnant, but unfortunately it didn't work out in our favor. It is a sad part of the list, but I know in my heart that my little family is not four anymore but five. One day, not on this earth, I will get to hold my child.  Ultrasound
  10. Spent Thanksgiving with my uncle Pablito, celebrating the holiday and also bonding with them and allowing the children to spent time with them and learn about our Mexican culture. 

    We are together. We laugh. We cry. We have each other's backs. I know I can depend on my hubby for anything that I can dream up, and that the two little ones will follow us. Thank you 2015 for all the wonderful memories, for the lessons that we learned, and for allowing us to relay on each other.  Family PictureWishing all of you a wonderful New Year's Eve and a Prosperous New Year, 2016!

A Club No One Wants to Belong To

The following post is a bit raw. I needed an outlet for my thoughts and what was going on inside me at the time. It is probably one of the most personal posts this blog has had in a very long while. I wrote it a couple of weeks ago and it has sat, unfinished, because I couldn't bear the thought of reading through it or going through the emotions again. I still cannot read through it without having tears roll down my face. Perhaps the loss will always be there...


For a little while, we were a family of 5. We have been wanting to make our little family bigger for a long time. On November 7th, we found out that our dream was finally becoming a reality. I was so excited to become a mommy for the third time. Full of joy, I stepped outside of the bathroom to show my hubby my test results. He was so busy with some car issues that we were having that his first words were "all-wheel-drive" as he was finishing his previous thought out loud. I laughed and I jokingly punched him on his arm. He got up and hugged and held me for a little while. We were both so very excited. I was full of dreams already, full of happy thoughts in my head of what the following years will bring. 

Pregnancy Test

Everything was going great, I was feeling cranky, just like with my two previous pregnancies and I was having some of the other common pregnancy signs-nausea and some cravings, however, along with this, I was also feeling dizzy, a lot. Each time I exerted myself, even minimally, like on a regular slow run, I would feel dizzy. If I picked up anything heavy, I felt dizzy. Driving to work, I would feel dizzy. I figured that it was because I was older and my body was not my 20-year-old body as with my fist two pregnancies. 

On November 28th, I started spotting. It was a drop or two so I wasn't very concerned. I went to bed thinking that maybe it was normal. Having never had spotting during my first two pregnancies, I didn't know what was happening. Next morning, I woke up and there was more spotting, heavy, deep red spotting. Right away I was panicking. I knew something was wrong. In my heart, I knew that I was losing my baby. My world came crashing down around me. The question in my mind was, why? I consider myself to be quite healthy, exercise regularly, eat clean foods, never drink or smoke, yet, here I was faced with losing my baby for some unknown reason. As we traveled from visiting my uncle, I was contemplating the issue at hand. What was ahead of me? Could it really be possible to bleed as much as I was bleeding and still be able to keep my baby?

Monday morning, I called the hospital to get with my doctor. The only available appointment was at 4 pm. I spent the next 3 hours at their offices. First, the doctor gave me a routine check-up, asked me questions about my previous pregnancies (how many, how many children). He reassured me that some pregnancies do experience some bleeding during the first trimester, not to worry. I was taken to the ultrasound room next. The regular ultrasound didn't work as it was still too early to detect on an external ultrasound. He was finally able to locate the baby with an internal ultrasound. My little peanut was there, I could see it, however, although I was at 8 weeks, he didn't have a heartbeat. The doctor measured it and said he measured at 6.5 weeks, and that sometimes at that "age" the heartbeat was undetectable. I was told to go home and come back in 2 weeks and he would check for a heartbeat. Doctor said that there was still a chance that my little one was okay. Sometimes conception dates are off and maybe my baby was too small. I requested to have blood samples taken to measure my HCG levels. The doctor agreed, he said that if that would make me feel more at ease that I could do that. Samples needed to be taken within 48 hours of each other to be accurate and the HCG levels should go up. 

As I sat in the parking lot, I cried. I knew what was happening. I knew it with all my being and there was nothing I could do about it to stop it. I knew that if I was having a miscarriage that it was going to happen no matter if I stood on my head for the next 7 months. I drove home and I tried to compose myself before walking in and spreading my "joy" around the entire household. I think the hardest part of my experience has been holding my shit together in front of the world. As you go through this, life doesn't stop. There is still work, kids must go to school, the world keeps going around and around and with it, you must keep going. 

I had my second HCG sample taken on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I didn't find out the results from both samples until Friday. My numbers had gone down, it went from the 1300s to 800s. As I heard the assistant tell me this over the phone, a feeling of numbness took over me. I was talking to her, but I was not "there". I couldn't believe it. I was preparing myself for this for the past week and I knew it was coming, however facing the reality was a completely different. She told me something about some medicine and that I should come in next week, Wednesday. I hung up the phone, and, with it, all hopes of my baby. The agony and emotional pain that I was feeling were like nothing I have ever felt before. I felt dead inside. My body was not "good enough" to hold on to my baby.  That entire day, I cried on and off continuously. I cried for the loss of my baby. I cried for the missed dreams. I cried for something that I had imagined in my future. I mourned what I lost, what it seemed that it was only real to me. I felt so alone (although I was not), I felt that I was alone in this world.  I remember feeling that I was inside the deepest, darkest hole on earth. No light was coming in and no sound, only my crying and deep sorrow was around me. 

As one of my close friends shared with me yesterday, I had become part of a club that no one else wants to join. 1 in ever 5 women go through a miscarriage, yet, it is a story that not many of us want to share. How can we? How can we share a story that brings so much sorrow, a story of hopes that never came to pass. 

I love you baby Eowyn. You will always be in my heart. 


I know that as time passes, I will heal, and as an LDS person, I know all about the after-life, however, none of that makes sense nor makes me feel better right now. 

Hello world!


This is us! We are small in stature, not the strongest of the bunch, nor the fastest but put us all four together and we can achieve great things! I love these three...they are my life and there is nothing in this world that I wouldn't do for them. Each one of them has qualities that I admire. I am glad that they are all MINE. 

Knee Surgery

The knee surgery went fairly well. It seemed that I was awake one second then out!!! I don't even remember going back to my "room" after the surgery. I was so groggy and just not feeling well due to the anesthesia. 

They did screw up on my IV though. The nurse put the IV on my left arm and she had a hard time getting my vein, thin veins here :/. After a couple of tries, she got it.  However, the area where the needle was hurt really bad. I told the other nurse and she said that it was just due to the cold from the IV so they gave me a heat pad and put my arm up to ease the pain. The pain didn't go away but I just endured it. I figure it was probably just me, being a wimp. The anesthisiologist came to get and me and I walked to the surgery room. Once he told me to lay down, I looked down at my arm and the area where the needle was located was all puffy, about the size of a golf ball. I showed the anesthesiologist and he right away stopped the fluids and took the needle out. He asked me if the nurses had seen that, I told him they had checked but they said everything looked ok. He was not very happy. He then proceeded to poke me on my right arm for another spot, he couldn't find it. I could see he was getting frustrated as his job was to just to put me out, but instead now had to find a new spot for my IV. It took him two tries, on two different spots, thin veins are not very cooperative. 

Once he put the IV in the correct place, I couldn't even feel iKnee surgeryt. He then said I was going to start feeling relaxed, then he said "I am going to put this mask...." and then I saw the mask coming down and I was out like a light! It was amazing! Next thing I knew, I was in the recovery room with my hubby.

It seemed that I was in surgery and next thing I was getting dressed and getting ready to go home. I don't even remember getting out of the hospital. I remember being in the car and thinking that I wasn't feeling very good. I felt hot, I felt cold, my head was spinning. As soon as the car got in the garage, I opened the door and emptied everything that was in my tummy. 

Our bedroom is in the second floor of our house, somehow, I made it upstairs and in bed. I don't recall how I did it but I was I got in bed. I am thinking hubby hauled my butt up the stairs. I spent the entire afternoon in bed. I would like to say that it was all rest and glory, but it wasn't. I spent the afternoon emptying my tummy. I felt horrible. The meds they gave me made me feel as if I was outside of my body, I couldn't keep my thoughts straight and I couldn't remember anything. 

Things got better the second day, I was still feeling icky from the meds but the anesthesia was wearing off and I was in better spirits. I couldn't walk but I could at least watch tv for more than 2 minutes without falling asleep. Yes, I slept a lot. I slept about 14 hours a day and took a nap every hour when I was awake. 

I took my meds for 4 days and then I couldn't do it anymore. They were making me feel depressed and wonky happy at the same time. It was weird! It has been 4 days and I feel much better...can't move my knee much but I don't expect to for another 5 weeks. 


MRI and Xrays


It appears that my knee is not getting better on its own. Doctor can't see much from the Xrays, other than I have good looking bones, hahaha. I was scheduled for an MRI, so into the noise box I went.


MRI results: I need to have knee surgery. My meniscus is torn and flipped on itself :(. Bummer! There goes my running season and here comes the poundage around my mid-section! 

Surgery is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 26th...wish I could see the positive in this situation. I guess, I can always just think that it is just my knee, it could be something worse, like my heart. 

Happy 12th Birthday!!!


I cannot believe that my little boy is 12 years old. Time went by so very fast. I see him and my eyes deceive me. In my heart, I still have this little boy in my arms as a wee 6 lbs baby. I love him so dearly. He is truly a wonderful child. He is not a kid that stays sitting down, in fact, if he is sitting down, we have to make sure he is not sick. He is always active and looking for something to do. He is kind and loving, although outsiders may not see this as he likes to appear tough and uncaring, but if you show him love, he will love you back and will do almost anything for you. 

He wanted to go to HuHot for his birthday dinner and we were happy to go, we all love that place. His best friend, Dylan, came along. They have been best buds since we moved into the neighborhood. They love each other like brothers :). What a blessing it is to have a best friend to share your childhood with :). 



He got some sweet presents: a special cake made by our friend Martin--a chocolate, nutella cake with little piglets swimming in the mud :). Grandma sent him new violin too. He is so lucky!


We just had a very special day, hanging out and playing :). Happy 12th Birthday my awesome Boyito! 


Best decisions of 2013, part 2

Zumba with Isela

This next decision took me awhile to come to terms with, I am still trying to do better at it but it is hard. If you know me personally or you have followed my blog for the past 5 years, you probably know that I love being active. I love the feeling I get when I have sweat dripping and blood pumping through my veins and I can barely form a sentence from the exertion--in my head, there is NO BETTER FEELING. 

Due to my love for being active, I decided to start teaching fitness classes. I wanted to share my love of staying fit to others. I wanted to show them that it could be fun. So, I did the most natural thing to do. I became a fitness instructor! I love it, I adore being a fitness instructor. Helping others achieve their fitness goals, working out with them, and sharing in their triumphs has been one of the most rewarding parts of my adult life. 

However, I realized one day that I was putting too much time into this part of my life and not enough into my family. If I wasn't loom knitting, I was outside of the home teaching. At one point, I was teaching 14 fitness classes a week plus subbing other classes. It was 14 hours just teaching, not including travel time. I was gone a LOT!

Mid 2012, I started quitting a few classes. Then in the Fall of 2013, I made the huge jump and canceled all my evening and night classes. It was a hard decision.  I miss my students. I miss seeing their smiling faces and their friendships. I miss seeing their progress and being a part of their lives. 

I currently teach 5 classes, 3 in the morning when my kiddos are in school and two in the afternoon. I am slowly weaning myself off of them and hope to decrease that number down to 2 a week. My goal is to teach only when my children are at school so that I can have more time to be with them at home. 

Little steps...

Best decisions of 2013, part 1

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I am a dork of major proportions! I have a series of things to catch up on for 2013 so I am naming
them part I, part 2, part 3, etc. There were so many wonderful things that happend last year to our little family-many miracles and tender mercies. 

First, I would like to start my small series by sharing the best move that I did in 2013. I decided to decrease my involvement  in the loom knitting community. It was heart-wrenching at first as it was what "I did" for over a decade of my life, non-stop. 

However, pulling myself away from loom knitting freed so much time for me to spend time with my family. There were days when I would spend 5-6 hours answering questions on patterns and techniques that it was getting to be a full time job (without the income that comes with a full time job).

I took a step back mid 2013 and it was definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. I have more time to spend with my children. I have time to be with my husband and bond again with him. For 11 years of our married life, our life revolved around the loom knitting business. Whe he sold the company, it left me in it and I couldn't get out of it. At times, I felt trapped while my family looked down at me in my hole and they tried to reach down to get me out but I couldn't reach them. I just need to take the jump and reach for their hand. 

I am not completely gone from the industry but from what used to consume my 100% of the time, went down to about 10%.  I am a lot happier now than I have been in the past. My children and hubby are happier too...I think they enjoy having me around and talking to them rather than me being a part of the computer chair. 

What are some the decisions you took in 2013 that made your life better? 

Stolen moments


Stolen moments. One of my favorite times in the day is when I get to do my little girl's hair. I don't know how long more she will have me do her hair. Each day, I see her, I see her growing up and becoming more independent. I see me being less and less needed in her life....hope she doesn't realize this for many more years. I love this child of mine.

Opening Up

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It has been awhile since I opened up on my blog about my life. Yeah, you would think that because it was my blog that I would open up more. Honestly, it is for me that I am writing it, however, it is difficult to write and then be open/accepting of the comments that come.

I made a difficult choice last month, actually, it has been a transition for me now for a few months. I have been working my butt off each evening teaching fitness classes. I *LOVE* teaching fitness classes. I find profound joy in helping others get their sweat on. It is even better when they come a few months later and tell me that I have helped them in shedding a few pounds. I am very passionate about teaching and I share that passion in each of my classes. I go hard and I leave everything at the class.

However, my love for teaching was having an effect in my home. One that I didn't realize for awhile. I have one of the most supportive, loving, caring husbands in this world. He has been the backbone of our home since I started teaching. Each new class I took, he would nod and say "go ahead, you can do it, I will be here with the kiddos." He has been the best. I have been teaching now for 3 years. 3 years this man has been taking care of the kiddos, feeding them, taking care of their after school activities, playing, ironing, and all that other stuff that comes with taking care of a home, all while I "played" away.

Last year, I saw that my little daughter wanted to spend time with me, but my answer was always "I can't right now. I gotta get ready to teach" or "I can't right now, I gotta memorize this new choreography" or "I can't right now, I gotta go to a meeting" or the very worst answer "I can't, Mommy is too tired". My kiddos were suffering without telling me a thing. One morning, I woke up and I realized that I had completely missed my son's 5th grade and my daughter's 2nd grade. It sucked and I felt like the worst mother on the planet. My awesome hubby, til this very day, has never complained about my teaching or my over scheduling myself.  How crazy was I? Let's see, at one point, I was teaching 12 Zumba classes and 4 spin classes.  Most of these classes were in the evening :/.

Now, it wasn't because of the gazillions dollars I was making. Every fitness instructor knows that our "career" is more of a "hobby" than anything else. So it wasn't financial gain that was keeping me at work. It was just my love for teaching fitness.

So the bottom line was: do I love teaching fitness classes or do I love my children. I love both. But I can tell you without a doubt that I definitely love my children more. So, something had to give, and I decided to stop teaching evening classes completely. 

Not teaching evening class will be very difficult since most gyms, fitness institutions want/need evening instructors. Last month, I closed my evening classes and opened two morning ones that I can teach while my kids are at school. I don't know if my morning classes would be successful but I am going to give it a try.

One thing is for sure--I am not willing to miss out on any more days, weeks, months, years of being with my kiddos.

Now, I will crawl back into my shell...


Mommy Afternoon

As many of you know, I am a PE teacher and have been now for 2 years, going on my 3rd year. I love being with the little ones at school. It is truly wonderful to share my love of fitness with little ones.

When I come home, I have already spent my day with about 120 little ones. I come home so exhausted and frankly, I need a 15 break just to myself. It is hard though because I come home and my kiddos come home full of news from their school and their day. I am trying to be a better momma and "be here" for them, not only physically but mentally too. I want to have conversations with them so that one day, when they are teens, they can feel comfortable talking to me about their problems.

Today, it was such a wonderful day *can you read sarcasm between the lines*. Anyways, I came home so tired and all I wanted to do was sit and just vegetate in front of the computer and look through pintrest. About 5 minutes after I came through the door, my little ones arrived. My daughter was upset because her teacher took a "$1" off her account because she got up to throw some garbage out when it was clean up time. Obviously, it was miscommunication. Teacher said "clean up" so NyNy got her garbage from her desk and went to the back to throw it out. Teacher simply wanted to have the desk cleaned and not to have anyone getting up and walkign around. NyNy was upset and very sad because she had lost her play money. I completely understand and my first thought was to say, "really, mija, it doesn't matter, it is not real money." But that wasn't what she wanted to hear, it wasn't about the money, it was about her getting her feelings hurt :(. I was grateful that I was here to give her a little hug and tell her that everything was going to be alright.

Another mommy moment--I have one of the smartest boys, I truly do. He is a little genious in sport's fanatic disguise. Typically, he doesn't need any help with homework or school work. Today, I asked him to show me his math homework, which he had finished at school. I just wanted to look through it and see what he was doing in class. I checked through the page and saw that he had indeed finished it. Then, I started reading through it. Decimals and adding and subtracting have never been my strongest point, so I decided to sharpen my skills with his homework. As we were going through it, he was explaining to me how to subtract decimals and how to find the greatest common factors (I still have no idea what he said to me, ha! I am not the brightest crayon in the box!). As we were reviewing the homework, we found 3 problems that were not correct. He was so grateful for my help and in reality all I did was do my "job".

I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be their Momma :). I even get extra points today--we ate dinner before 7pm!!! Yay for me!

Tomorrow will be a different story....may I have the patience that I need to be a good Momma.

Trip to Moab

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Our darling exchange student/son from Japan saw our Arches and Canyonlands magnets on our fridge and he was so excited about them. We told him we could take him there if he wanted, even after we told him of the 6 hour drive in the car, he was all for it! So we packed our bags and took the kiddos on a little family getaway.

I love spending time with my kiddos. Each time that I want to complain, I only have to remember that they are growing way too fast and the day is approaching when they would much rather spend time with their friends than their old mother.

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First stop was the sand dune hill. They have loved that hill ever since Bryant was a wee toddler. He climbed it then and he climbs it now, faster and faster each year. My heart stops each time he gallops down the hill and sometimes I am guilty of closing my eyes when I see him take a tumble. This time around, it was just even more fun with Kodai. They all climbed the hill 4 times, me, only once and that was more than enough. I climbed all the way up just to take pictures of all my little ones. My biggest fear is that I'll go senile when I am old and that I won't remember anything, so I try to capture everythign with pictures, thus my facination with Instagram.

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After the sand dune, we checked in at our hotel, which we totally loved! Check out that awesome pool! Ya, it was totally rad and the kiddos loved it. Hubby and I just "cooked" ourselves in one of the mini-hot tubs while the kiddos played.

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Dinner was alright, I have yet to find a place that I really like in Moab. We took the kiddos to Pizza Hut--something that our son Kodai would be okay eating and that wouldn't break the bank too much.

Second day, we went out to Arches to take pictures and see all the wonderful sights. But, before we got to enjoy the day, we realized that we had a very, very bad flat tire....this happened about 100 meters away from the entrance to the park! Talk about lame! Hubby got it changed and we went to the tire repair place to get it fixed. Finally, 2 hours after we wanted to, we made it to Arches.

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We have yet to visit Arches on a day that is not super windy. We got hit badly this time, I think we each came home with about 1 lb of sand in our hair and body.

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We got a chance to visit some awesome sites this time around. We have never gone all the way around and we were sure pleased with all the new arches and rock formations we saw. Totally in love with Moab!!!

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We are already planning our next trips: Anasazi ruins and Zions....yes!

Moab Adventurers!

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We don't get out much, we pretty much stay around our house most of the time. Our trips consist of going to the park or going for a little hike around our area. We are blessed to be surrounded by great trails where we live so we do not really see the necessity of going far to have fun. However, since we were already in Moab for the Canyonlands Half Marathon, we decided to stay an extra day and take our kiddos around to see the beautiful arches. Our friend, Adrian Toledo, was with us and that just made the entire adventure even more fun for the kids--we adopted him as "uncle Adrian".

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The kids had a blast going to all the different sites. Even today, they still talk about the "Delicate Arch" that is going to fall down and they hope they are around when it does. Silly monkeys!

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Here they are being "birds on flight!"

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Oh, wait, that is "uncle Adrian" demonstrating how to do it. Here is Bryant, showing him how it is actually done, "Crossfit Style!"

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And Nyah giving us some of her sassy! Yes, I do allow my child to dress herself, hahaha. To replicate her awesomeness, you will need: a pair of shorts that used to belong to your older brother, a pair of long crossfit socks, and a hoodie, and of course, lots and lots of sass!

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Although lots of fun was had at the sights, I even have to admit that the most fun was had at a pile of sand! Talk about exfoliation for your tootsies! Especially heavenly the day after a 13 mile run. It was all Uncle Adrian's idea!!!

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Here are my little rascals going up and down and up and down and up and down...well, you get the idea.

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Ah, so much fun! It was a wonderful adventure and the kids loved it! They are already asking us to take them to another national park so they can see more "cool stuff".