Old Family Photos

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My dad came to visit for about 8 days, and its been really nice to spend quality time together. I have been hearing all about life in Autlan when he was growing up, and about Autlan these days (roadblocks, burned banks, burning buses and gas stations! Yikes!)

He brought some pictures that I scanned in as well as some documents that I still need to scan. But here are the pictures I have scanned in. Enjoy!

Norma Lemoine and Natalia Vargas Natalia Vargas Luis Vargas -Sam and Magda Lemoine - Disneyland Luis Vargas and Andrea Vargas Norma Lemoine and daughters Natalia  and Andrea Vargas Luis Vargas with daughters Maria de Jesus Chuy Vargas Natalia and Custard 2 Natalia and Custard Marcela and Luis Vargas Andrea Vargas at Taylor house

Happy 1st Birthday, PJ!

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This past Monday was PJ’s 1st birthday. I cannot believe it has already been a year since he came into the world! We celebrated over the weekend with family coming in from out of town. Even though it wa s”just us” I still decided to do a mini theme for the party. Because PJ is the little prince of the household I thought it would be very sweet and whimsical to go with the theme of “Le Petit Prince”, a book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (do you love that last name or what??)

The theme basically was a giant sign in the entry way, colored paper plates and cups, and the random floral arrangement to tie it all in. Oh, and I also made keepsake bookmarks! It ended up being way easier than I thought it would be and not too time consuming. Thanks to my BFF Laura for encouraging me to go for it! Here are some pictures from the day.

 

Este Lunes pasado fue el primer cumpleanos de PJ. No puedo creer que ya hace un anyo que llego al mundo! Lo celebramos este fin de semana pasado, con la familia que vino a Las Vegas de visita. Aunque eramos “solo nosotros”, igual decidi usar un tema para la fiesta. Como PJ es el principito de la casa pense que hiba a ser muy dulce usar el tema de “El Principito” , un libro escrito por Antoine de Saint-Exupery (me encanta ese nombre!)

El tema era basicamente un cartel enorme a la entrada de la casa, platos y vasos de color, y algunas flores para decorar. Ah, y tambien hice algunos marcapaginas como recuerdo! Termino siendo mucho mas facile de lo que pense y no me llevo mucho tiempo. Gracias a mi mejor amiga Laura por alentarmene en hacerlo! Aqui hay algunas fotos del dia.

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PJ and his dad

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Andrea with the kids

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Alice with her son Phillip and all the grandchildren

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Chocolate cake with fruit rollup decoration

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PJ and his Grandma

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Pj with el Abuelo

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PJ with Aunt Natalia

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PJ with his Great Aunt Phyllis

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Iaia and Abuelo with someone’s forehead

 

Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter, Feliz Pascua!!

Aqui estan las fotos de el fin de semana de Pascuas, cuando mi hermana Natalia fue bautizada en la fe Catolica, gracias a Dios!

We went down to LA this past weekend for Easter, to see my sister Natalia get baptized into the Catholic faith! This was a pretty amazing experience, and the perfect example of how God hears our prayers even if we do not get the answer right away. It took time, but praise God that Natalia heard the Lord knocking and answered the door. He always stands at the door and knocks but it is up to us to let him in. He will never force his way in or knock the door down. He is a gentle and loving presence who is always faithfully waiting for us to let him in.

On Saturday I went to a rehearsal at the church SS Peter and Paul where she was going to be baptized later that evening. My mom drove PJ and I over to the church and took care of the babe while we did the rehearsal. Nati was blessed with the oil of catechumins after the rehearsal and prayed over with the prayers of minor exorcism.  This in preparation for her to leave sin behind and start anew in her baptism.

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You can see Nati in this picture on the right side by the covered statue.

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Fr. Patrick gives a short homily on the Eucharist being the True Body of Christ.

 

After the rehearsal and blessing we were all set to enjoy a leisurely lunch together somewhere nice…but wait! Mom lost her keys!! We spent the next hour combing the church and the grounds for her lost key, but to no avail. So, instead, we sent Nati to buy take out and ended up have lunch in the courtyard while my Dad drove all the way from Montebello with the spare keys. It was a beautiful day out, the weather was perfect. And we got to spend time together, so it wasn’t exactly a hardship!

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Dad finally arrived and rescued us, so Mom drove us home to rest and change before the evening.

The Easter vigil Mass went very well. It is a beautiful Mass- it starts outside with a bonfire that is used to light the Easter Candle. Then everyone processes into the church following the priests and altar boys. In our case, we processed in with the Norbertine nuns and novices. They even let Ivy process in with us. Inside the church all the lights have been extinguished to symbolize the death of Jesus at the crucifixion. For 3 days the disciples were in darkness, and this is made present again in the darkness of the church.

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Natalia and Ivy with the sisters and novices before Mass

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Ivy and I in front of the pew that was  reserved for Nati and family

The priest stops 3 times as they process into the darkened church and chant “Lumen Christi!” (Light of Christ) and everyone responds “Deo Gratias!” (Thanks be to God) Then, in the center of the church they use the fire from the Easter candle to light up the candles that the people behind them are holding. Everyone holds their own candle. Slowly, one by one, the candlelight spreads throughout the church. It is beautiful to see. The light of Christ coming to each and every one of us in the form of the Resurrection.

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A brief glimpse of the people with their candles. I felt obtrusive taking a picture so I only got a quick little shot of the people nearest to us. You should have seen behind us into the back of the church, hundreds of candles glowing.

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Natalia holding her candle and following along in the Missal while the Exultet was chanted

The Easter Vigil Mass continues with 5-7 readings and several responsorial psalms. Its a 3 hour Mass when its all said and done. At the singing of the Gloria, the altar boys ring the bells continuously throughout the entire song. Its so festive and happy! Now we have the church brightly lit again, the beautiful spring flowers are covering the altar, and these beautiful bells are pealing as we sing Glory to God in the Highest!!! I love it. I had not been to an Easter Vigil Mass since my own baptism. I wished I could go but since I was pregnant with Ivy at my own baptism, that was the start of the babies and turning in early for the night. But now, of course, Ivy was old enough to come with us. She lasted quite a while but eventually laid her head down on my lap and fell asleep. I woke her up for the baptism part and for Holy Communion.

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Here is the poor girl after Mass, totally dead asleep on Iaia’s lap.

After the reading and the homily it was time for the baptism! In that moment, seeing her baptized, it was so crystal clear to me that God truly hears and answers our prayers. I have prayed for Nati’s conversion for years. I mean, YEARS. I prayed for her even when it seemed quite apparent that there was zero hope of her converting. And yet, here she was, receiving the cleansing waters of baptism! So, be forewarned. If you aren’t Catholic yet, my prayers are comin’ ta gitcha! Granted it may take a decade or so. But it’ll happen, you’ll see!

I could say so much more and go on and on about the evening and how beautiful and amazing it was. But in the interest of time, I will just give you some more pictures. One thing I will add though, is that I thought it was so wonderful that Natalia received the True Body of Christ kneeling and on the tongue, at the altar rails. It was so reverent, and she deserves (as do we all!) the opportunity to bend the knee at the Real Presence. So many churches these days look at you like a crazy person if you kneel for Holy Communion. But really, the crazy person is the one who does not acknowledge the Real Presence and simply stands there without giving due reverence by kneeling before the King of Kings!

Alright, here we go… pictures!

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Nati holding her baptismal certificate with her RCIA teacher Kathy (God bless her!)

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With Fr. Patrick

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Andrea and Natalia after Mass

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Natalia and Dad

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Selfie time!

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After the glorious Easter Vigil we had, the next day was Easter Sunday and we all got to hang out together as a family. First at Phillip’s sister Sara’s house and then later at my cousin Diane’s house. Here are the pictures from Sunday.

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Mercy Carter

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My Godson and nephew Henry Carter

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PJ was born on Easter of last year. Is he snazzy or what??

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Egg hunt at the Carter’s

 

 

 

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PJ con su abuelo

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Nati with Donaxi

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Andrea with Donaxi

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The girls with their cousins Patrick and Sarita

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The cousins

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My cousin Diane with her husband Santos

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Funny Bunny Rose

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Funny Bunny Phillip Jr.

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The Leal family, minus PJ who was napping!

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DNA Test Results

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(Traduccion abajo!)

Hi family and friends!

I’ve been wrapped up in family life so I haven’t posted as much as I wished I could. Lately I have been very wrapped up in doing genealogical research, specifically I have been doing research on Ancestry.com which has yielded some very interesting finds. The other thing that I have done is I sent away for a DNA test! This tells me my ethnic makeup, which is quite fascinating. It also connects me with any blood relatives who have also taken the test. It turned up a bunch of 4th cousins, so I sent them some messages and I am hopeful that someone will reply. This is a possible way of filling in gaps of information that are missing from the family tree. So, let me share the results of my genetic makeup with you.

What I find surprising is that I am 19% Italian/Greek and 12% Irish – because none of these ethnicities show up in my known family tree. I know I had to be partly Native American on my dad’s side, but I didn’t realize that I am almost 25% Native American. I think that means that at least one of my grandparents on my dad’s side was close to full blooded native. I really wish my sister Marcela were still around to share this with. She was always fascinated by this stuff and I think she would have found this very interesting indeed!

In other news, one of the girls’ parakeets (named Prince Charming) accidentally got out of his cage and flew away never to be seen again. The girls cried for an hour but by the next day they had already forgotten all about him. Apart from that trauma, they are all doing well. Little PJ is now 11 months old, and one of the cutest things that he does is to hum himself to sleep. You would never believe it unless you heard him, but he can also match pitch! When I sing him his bedtime lullabye he rests his head on my shoulder and hums along – on pitch! He can’t follow the full melody but he picks the dominant note and hums just that pitch. Sometimes he chooses another pitch within the chord. Now that truly amazes me.

That’s all for now, the weather here in Las Vegas is getting warm and really beautiful. Between the changes of the seasons we have very mild and lovely weather with a brilliant blue sky. I hope all of you are doing well, wherever you are!

Hola Familia y Amigos!

Estuve bien ocupada ultimamente con la familia asi que no he escrito tan seguido como quisiera. Ultimamente estuve muy interesada en hacer investigaciones de genealogia. Estuve buscando informacion en Ancestry.com, y ahi encontre unas cosas muy interesantes. La otra cosa que hice fue mandar a probar mi DNA! Esto me ayuda descubrir cual es mi ethnicidad, y es fascinante! Tambien me deja conectar con parientes que tambien tomaron la prueba de DNA. Esto ya me mostro un monton de primos en cuarto grado (asi se dice?) asi que les mande un mensaje con la esperanza de que alguno me responde. Esto puede ayudarme a descubrir informacion que todavia me falta en el arbol. Bueno, comparto la informacion a cerca de mis resultados y etnicidad.

Lo que me sorprende es que soy 19% Italiana/Griega and 12% Irlandeza – porque ningunas de esas ethnicidades estan en mi arbol, que yo sepa. Ya sabia que tenia que tener sangre indigena (Native American) por lado de mi papa, pero no me di cuenta que soy casi 25%indigena. Creo que eso quiere decir que por lo menos unos de mis abuelos por lado de mi papa era casi completamente indigeno. Realmente quiera poder haber compartido toda esta informacion con mi hermana Marcela, por que a ella siempre le fascinaba este tipo de cosa.

En otras noticias, uno de los periquitos de las chicas se salio de la jaula y se volo. Las chicas lloraron por una hora, pero ya para el proximo dia se habian olvidado por completo de el. Aparte de esta trauma, estan bien. El pequeno P.J. ( asi le decimos, por Phillip Junior – es decir, Felipe el Menor) ya tiene 11 meses y una de las cosas tan dulces que hace es que canta al dormirse.  No lo podes creer si no lo vez, pero tambien el puede cantar el tono correcto! Cuando le canto la cancion para dormirse pone la cabezita en mi hombro y canta conmigo – con el tono correcto! No puede cantar cada nota, pero selecciona la nota dominante y canta esa nota. O si no, escoge una nota dentro de esa cuerda (chord?). Ahora eso realmente me sorprenda.

Bueno, es todo por ahora. La temporada aqui en Las Vegas esta calentita y realmente hermosa.  Entre los cambios de las estaciones siempre tenemos tiempo muy lindo con un cielo azul brillante. Espero que esten todos bien, donde sea que esten!

Family Portraits

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One of the things we did in 2014 was to finally take family portraits. We had booked the photographer, Jamie Rubeis a year in advance because she is in high demand. While the preparation was stressful and complicated, what with outfits and “looks” and such, the actual session was very enjoyable and stress free. The photographer didn’t really prompt or pose us, which basically made it an enjoyable family outing. Here is what we came away with.

Una de las cosas que hicimos en 2014 fue tomar fotos de nuestra familia, que nunca habiamos hecho anteriormente. Habiamos contratado la fotografa (el fotografo?? “la fotografa” no me suena) 12 meses en avance porque mucha gente quieren contratarla y no tenia disponibilidad. Aunque la preparacion fue un poco dificil con el caso de encontrar que ropa usar y como coordinarnos, la sesion fue muy linda y no tuvimos ninguna dificultad. Basicamente, terminio siendo un lindo dia afuera con la familia. Aqui estan los resultados de la sesion.

 

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