baby blue.

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Courtney is having her first baby boy. She has a cute, little girl named Sally, who is the same age as Eliza. My friend, Sara, and I threw a baby shower/sprinkle in honor of the little one. Seeing as it was her second child, we decided that this party should definitely benefit mama. So we opted for a "girls' night in," complete with mocktails, food, and manicures.

Sara and I had this conversation about how we were going to keep it simple and didn't need decorations or anything. But, my creative bug got the best of me and I found myself with a bottle of RIT royal blue fabric dye in my hand. I started pulling together this board, and I kind of ran with it. I have always wanted to experiment with dip-dye and watercolor techniques, so it was really fun for me. And, considering we are hoarders of paper and fabric, I only had to spend $3.99 on the bottle of dye- and don't forget the Joann's coupon!

I ripped up an old cotton curtain to create the runners, wall hanging, and tassels. Dying fabric is truly an adventure, and I made a few extra pieces that I wasn't happy with. But, in the end, I had my technique down. I also had such a good time creating the postcard packs that we gave us favors, with several shades of blue watercolor. We had the postcard stamp made for our wedding "Thank You" cards back in the day, and I don't know why I have never made more! I am really interested in playing around more with watercolor, it's so therapeutic. I also created the drink menu and manicure list the same way.

Many of Courtney's friends volunteered to bring food for the shower. And, in Berkeley, you can always count on it being amazing. And, Sara came up with some delicious drinks to serve, including piña coladas, a ginger lime, and shirley temples.

For the manicures, I laid out as many shades of blue and gold polish that I could find in my cabinets. I was worried people might not be into it, but it actually ended up being a great way for everyone to gather around and chat, while painting their nails. We had some good laughs, too!

Congrats, Courtney! We are so happy for you and your little family. That boy is going to be the cutest little surfer stud. We are going to miss you guys in Berkeley, but we better see you often!


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For Sam's birthday, all he wanted was a drive to Tomales Bay for oysters with his girls. So, Eliza and I happily obliged. It's always a good time. Then, we went to the beach to hang out. The fog had rolled in, and so it was a bit chilly. But, they were having such a good time. Sam taught Eliza how to roll down the sand dunes, which was hilarious. She would roll down and then stand up and stagger around until she fell down again.

I love these two together. Eliza is sort of a mama's girl. She is still very clingy and gets upset when I leave, which can be difficult but also makes me feel good. Is that bad? I love her too much. But, beyond that, Eliza has a really special bond with her Papa. She loves him so much. They have things they do together that I'm not a part of, and it makes me smile. They go on a walk, and split a corn cheery scone almost every Saturday morning together. He gets up with her every morning, while I lay in bed listening to them chat and giggle. He knows how to make her laugh- he always has. Even when she was a baby, he could make her do that deep, throaty laugh that she would do when she was really having a good time.

Sam is a good husband and father. I don't know what I would do without him. This guys is 35 now, and I tell him every day he better take care of himself because I'm not ok with him dying before me. We also just celebrated our five year anniversary. Whoa! We have changed so much in the six or seven years that we have known each other. Sometimes it's hard keeping up. But, I know I can always trust this man to love me and to love our family the best way he knows how. He gives everything to us, and I am grateful for that.

Happy (late) Birthday, Sam Gray! Here's to many more adventures with you and our family! 
I love you.

texas with family.

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I'm so glad I was able to go to Texas for my Grandma's funeral so that I could be with family, even if it was just a short time. But, it was a crazy road to get there, especially after a total of four mechanical delays, two canceled flights, and 25+ extra hours sitting in airports- all for one round trip, with American Airlines. I'm throwing them under the bus right now because they still haven't responded to my complaints, and it's making me mad.

But, we had such a good time. Eliza has really become so attached to her family. Mt dad took us to the park, and to all our favorite places to eat. And, Eliza loved his backyard. It's been raining so much in San Antonio lately, so his yard was like a jungle for a toddler.

We played at my sister's a lot, so Eliza got plenty of girl time with Lucy! I was dying when they started playing dress-up. They were so cute, and they were non-stop giggles. Now, every once in awhile now, Eliza will be playing with a blanket and she will wrap it around her waist and yell "Belle!" and then she will wrap it around her shoulders and yell "Elsa!" And, then proceed to reminisce about how Lucy and Eziza played dress-up.

Even Baby Samantha dressed up! I got lots of cuddle time with this little newborn, she is so precious. She's starting to look different than Lucy did, but she sleeps all the time like Lucy did. Which, of course, is completely awesome. Mmmmm, babies...

My mom and Chad took us to the "Kiddie Park" which is this cute, old park with rides that have been around forever. The girls LOVED it. I especially loved watching Eliza ride that tiny horse-drawn carriage, with the tiny reigns. Or, the old army planes painted in bright colors. Eliza and Lucy were on separate ends, so they were the only plane each other couldn't see. So, the whole time, the planes would circle around and they would yell, "Lucy go?" or "Eliza go?"

It was short, but sweet. I'm glad we could make it. My flight on the way home got canceled (again), and so I missed my classes that afternoon- which was the reason the trip had to be cut short to begin with. But after sitting in the airport for seven hours with a toddler, and after the famous fiasco of the first flight, I really just wanted to get on the first plane they gave me and get home. But, I will forever regret not just staying an extra weekend. Ugh. I hate flying.

Miss you all!


Delores portrait Dolores Contreras 1946 Dolores 16 years Delores posing by fence IMG Delores posing in dress in living room - Copy (2) mom and dad tv IMG_0059 IMG_0005 mom and sandy 80s IMG B_0091 20141225_140517 - Copy

My Grandma Dolores passed away a few weeks ago. I am so grateful that I was able to go to Texas with Eliza, and be with my family to celebrate her life.

She has always been Grandma to me, so I really enjoyed hearing everyone's stories about "Dolores" and my favorite, a young "Lola." Growing up, my Grandma and Grandpa Salas lived just on the other side of town, and so we would see them often. Especially when I was taking ballet folklorico dance classes near Woodlawn Lake. I can remember exactly how I would feel, pulling into her driveway on West Summit.

When I think of her, I think of her house. It was always welcoming and warm, and full of pretty things to look at. She had a little nook of shelves, jam-packed tight with framed photos of family members. Their was a stained glass window, that would cast a colorful beam of light in that nook. We would sit and talk on those printed sofas, with the wooden parrots hanging from the ceiling. I can remember the dining room table with all of her greeting cards from the year, laying flat on the table cloth with a clear vinyl cover on top. And, I can also remember every single painting hanging on her walls- some painted by her mother and sisters, and many small ones painted by herself. Paintings of Spanish ladies, bullfighters, Southwest landscapes, the fruit and floral still-life, and doves in mid-flight. Every single room had paintings hanging on the wall, and it always seemed so comforting to me.

She would greet you at the door, and her hugs were so soft. She would shuffle us in the house, and tell my sisters and I to grab a Big Red from the fridge, and butter cookies or pan dulce from the tin in the kitchen. Then we would disappear into the rooms to play. We knew every single inch of that house, and especially the yard. They had a massive pecan tree, an old swing set, and my Grandpa had a garden with roses, irises, and honeysuckle. Sometimes he would pick one for me, and let me take it home in a little jar of water.

Grandma always wore these silky blouses, and I remember thinking that when I grew up I wanted to own a dozen of those big, chunky rings she had, so I could wear one on every finger, too. She and Grandpa were always happy to see us, and wanted to hear about our lives. When we had to leave, Grandma would shove a king size 3 Musketeers bar into our pockets and whisper, "Don't tell your mother!"

Christmastime at Grandma and Grandpa's was magical. They always had an artificial tree with multi-colored lights that flashed so fast, and a stocking on their mantle for every single family member so that you couldn't actually read the names anymore. We always had tamales, played lotería, and gave gifts. I remember they would she would exclcaim, "Oh! Oh my!" every time she opened a present. Grandpa would take out his guitar and sing songs in spanish, while we played with our new things. They had those big, fat bulb lights hung on the outside of the house, and kept them up year-long.

When Grandpa passed, and Grandma got older, she seemed so different to me. I don't know if it was because she had a new independent look on life, or if it was because I was older. She seemed so much more chatty, and quirky. I loved it. She liked companionship, so she started getting really attached to these mechanical parrots and dogs. They are robot toys, that react to touch and sound. One of Sam's first memories of Grandma, was when he came over and she showed off her dogs. They were so funny! For Christmas and birthdays, we would all give her a pack of batteries because they burned through them so fast!

For the past couple of years, Grandma was living at Patriot Heights. I know my mom was hesitant about this move, but Grandma was having such a hard time at home alone and her health was declining. At Patriot Heights, she totally blossomed. She even started asking people to call her "Lola" again. She was the healthiest she had been in years, and basically the most popular woman on campus. She was even voted the "Queen!" You know, sort of like prom queen. When you came over to visit, you had better make sure it's not during bingo time, because you would get hurried out real fast. She was so happy there, and I am grateful for the nice people who helped make her so comfortable there.

I had only really ever attended a couple of funerals before, when I was younger. So, I wasn't sure what to expect. But, I am so glad I was able to be there. It was beautiful. I especially loved the time that they gave family and friends, after the rosary, to stand up and speak about her. I heard so many sides of her that I had never seen before. She had life-long friends show up, including one friend that she has been close with since she was a child, who lives in California. They would record themselves talking on cassette tapes, and mail them to each other for years. A man even showed up, who was Grandma's boyfriend in middle school. He told us about how my Grandpa told him, "I'm going to steal Lola from you someday....And, he did!" It was so cute.

After the burial on Monday, we all went to her favorite taco place and ate and laughed. It's hard living so far from home. It's also hard that I moved away when I was eighteen. I mean, that was almost ten years ago. Not only that, but I was really doing a lot of growing up around then. Being with my family, made me remember so many things from my childhood that I haven't thought of in a long time, especially my culture. And, it makes me want to remember them and make sure they are still a part of me.

I'm so happy that my Grandma can be with her husband and son now. And, I'm so happy to know that we can all be together again. I love you, Grandma.

utah with family.

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This was our first trip to Utah since last summer, when Eliza wasn't even talking yet. So, this trip was fun because she grew really attached to everyone. She would ask where people were when they left the room, and she hasn't stopped asking about them for the past month. She asks about them, she draws pictures of them, and begs to call them on FaceTime. She loves her family, and it makes me happy to see how much that love develops when they are actually together.

We had a lot of fun with them. We went to the Bean Museum and the Living Planet Aquarium. Eliza was obsessed with her uncles, and rolled around with them in the living room. She really loves her cousins, and even let Nola carry her around in her arms. 

We got to celebrate Sam's birthday, in the Gray tradition with a favorite meal and a big chocolate cake. Eliza loved helping Grandma cook in the kitchen, and even got to wear a tiny apron. 

We even happened to be in town when Anthony got his mission call! He has been called to serve in the Lubbock, TX Mission- and leaves any day now! We are so proud and excited for him. It's weird to think that Eliza will be four years old when he returns.

I feel pretty blessed to have amazing in-laws. I fell in love with them the first time I came to Sunday dinner, when they couldn't stop smiling because Sam brought home a girl! They have always taken me in and made me feel at home, and I love how much they care for Eliza. I feel lucky to be a part of this family!