Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Friday, June 06, 2014

End of the School Year

This year was full of many “firsts”…from adjusting to a new school to venturing to bigger and better interests for our children. We can’t believe how fast this year flew by! As you receive this third family newsletter with the kid’s school picture and other snapshots; we wanted to share with you their accomplishments throughout the school year and reflect on all their blessings.
As you know, this was Charlie’s last year in middle school. Yes, it’s true…we can’t believe it either!! His middle school years at Trautmann quickly flew by-he is officially a freshman! When did this happen?! Last time I remember I was holding this five pound baby in my arms and the next thing I know-he’s off to high school! But before he embarks on his new journey, here are a couple of things he achieved this year. One of the most challenging things Charlie had to be successful in was his STAAR tests. This was no easy feat! He had to pass four subjects in order to meet state standards. We are extremely happy and proud to report that he satisfactorily passed all of them! Charlie will also follow our alma mater by attending United High School where he will concentrate on his endorsement in Arts & Humanities. His goal is to graduate with a distinguished level achievement to prepare him for college. In addition and with much excitement, Charlie started a more traditional Japanese form of karate, Okinawan Goju-ryu. Although he is starting as a white belt in this style of karate, his Sensei informs us he has a very promising vocation. As a result of his blue belt status in Goshin Jitsu, he is advancing quickly. So well that his Sensei recently informed us he will be traveling to Houston this month to meet his Sensei’s Sensei from Japan! This trip will give him the opportunity to learn and prepare for his new Katas, future tournaments and belt advancements. His Sensei wants to eventually take him to Japan in two years! As a culmination to middle school, he attended his 8th Grade “Great Gatsby” themed prom. As you can see, he had a lot of fun and rode in style in the 1936 Chevy, courtesy of Grandpa. Wish our Longhorn Class of 2018 good luck in high school…four years will be here before we know it! 

Cristina had first hand at experiencing middle school for the first time this year as a 6th grader. Her 6th grade transition experience was smooth, enjoyable and successful. To start, in celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, Cristina created a Lorax themed project and received 2nd place recognition. Cristina’s participation in the Laredo International Fair and Exposition (LIFE) for the second time this year was another learning experience. As a United High School Jr. FFA member, she decided to raise two rabbits once again. That cold February morning, “Chester and Buster” were not sifted and she was delighted to show in the fair. She had an amazing time having been selected to move on to the second round this year. Although she didn’t place, she had fun participating in the showmanship event as well. She’s still debating on raising rabbits for next year. She’s thinking about raising a lamb or goat!  As part of the district’s GT program, she was required to create a project on Discoveries and Passion. Without surprise, her research was on “Canine Discoveries” and had the distinction to display her work at the GT Showcase. In December she participated for the second time in the holiday favorite, The Nutcracker. This month she anticipates her 4th year performance in this year’s “Dance Magic” recital where she will be dancing to ballet, jazz, tap, and hip-hop. Cristina also received her Bronze Award (highest honor as a Junior) and bridged to a Cadette level as part of the Girl Scouts. This year she begins working for her Silver award. Seventh grade shorthorns, here she comes!

Our determined and youngest, Carolina, also had a very flourishing year as well…she passed her STAAR testing with flying colors! She received commended performance in Reading and Writing. She too, participated in the district’s GT Showcase and presented her project at the Annual GT Showcase and was honored with a medal. She was also selected in this year’s campus Science Fair. Carolina was also selected as Student of the Month! She also received a medal at the end of the year for her Honor Roll achievement, STAR Reader, Perfect Attendance, and Knights at your Service. This year she was in the school’s volleyball team again. We were so proud when she led the team in points during her serves! She hopes to join the team again next year. Our athletic little girl decided to join gymnastics as her extra-curricular activity this year. She was recently recognized at her school as “Power Gymnast” of the month! Within a short amount of time she has accomplished to advance to the next level. Carolina also participated in the Girl Scout bridging ceremonies and advanced to a Junior. She will be working on earning her Bronze Award like her big sister. We can’t believe next year will be our little girl’s last year in elementary school as a 5th grader!! We are confident she will make her last year a memorable one.

We are beyond proud of our three children, to say the least. They each exceed our expectations every year and we are just blessed to be called their parents. We wish them nothing but the best next school year as they seek and embark in new opportunities. We hope you enjoy these school pictures and special memories on our behalf. Have a great summer!

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

New Post...Cool idea!

So I know I don't get to "blog" as often as I wish or could. In the midst of this hectic life, I try to capture every moment and milestone my kids have whether it is through my scrapbooks, journaling or just capturing that moment through pictures. I admire the way my sister keeps up with her blog and I enjoy reading about what they are up to (since my sister lives in Austin). In her blog she always posts a pic or two on "Wordless" Wednesdays...with that in mind, I thought I'd borrow her clever idea and do the same in mine. So Josie- if you read this post, THANKS for inspiring my new post!! I hope to keep up with at least that! Hahaha! Love 'ya!
 Here is my first Wordless Wednesday:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day 2012

When I'm faced with scrapbookers block, (there is such a thing- I promise!), I normally peruse my old issues of magazines for inspiration. This time however, I was looking for more ideas for an album I'm currently working on for my friend's aunt. While doing so I ran across a page layout that I liked for myself (hee, hee...) in this month's issue of Scrapbooks, Etc. Coincedently, (and to my surprise) I also bumped into an amazing blog that happened to have a similar, yet striking similarity to the one I saw in the magazine. It was the perfect idea for this year's Father's Day picture and gift to Charlie from the kids. I decided to "scraplift" the idea and this was my take on it.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, to the BEST Father my kids could ever have!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Anticipated Summer

              It's been a long while since I posted a blog in our family page. I wish I had as much time to put my thoughts into our blog as I make to do our scrapbooks and other albums. Nevertheless, now that summer is in full swing, I wanted to give everyone a little summary of what's been going on with the Martinez Clan.

              This month marks the beginning of a much anticipated summer after a hard-working school year. It was a very exciting and challenging year for our kids.

Our son, Charlie began his transition from elementary to middle school at Trautmann Middle. Even though he had a rough start adjusting to the changes that middle school entails (including me!), he managed to keep up with his new schedule (of nine teachers!), projects, assignments and of course, the opportunity to meet new friends. One of the best things that Charlie enjoyed while in 6thgrade was his teachers; his favorite subject being Math. He really enjoyed having a variety of mentors to learn from. He participated in the school’s Science Fair, the district’s GT Showcase-where he researched about the Titanic, and learned new techniques in his much enjoyable Art Class. All of this while still maintaining academic achievement in his report card all year and attending Karate school three times a week. This summer he hopes to advance from Orange to Green Belt. He wishes to join a Robotics Team next year where they will have an opportunity to show their creations and even go to tournamentsHe also hopes to join the Trautmann Soccer Team! We are very proud to announce that he has also been selected to participate in a Math & Science Camp at the University of Texas Health Science Center here in Laredo. He’s already living the dream of going to UT Austin one day!

Our Cristina got to experience a little of what will be expected of her from now on while in 4th grade. This was the beginning of switching classes/teachers for her and she had no trouble at all adjusting to this change. This year Cristina was part of the school’s Knights at your Service Club where she contributed hours in community service. She also participated in the school’s annual Science Fair where her project was selected as a finalist in her grade! During the year Cristina took every opportunity to read books and write in her journal (two of her favorite things to do) and was selected as Reader of the Month. She also received a medal for her academic achievement throughout the year and participated in the GT Showcase. She anticipates the culmination of another year commitment to her dance school as she will soon be performing in their annual recital this month. She will be dancing to ballet, jazz, tap, hip-hop and even a little modeling...that’s our little energetic dancer for you-this little girl hasn’t stopped dancing since she was two!

Our youngest (and spirited), Carolina doesn’t stay far behind her older brother and sister. Carolina had a very successful year as well. While in 2nd grade, she was very active in her reading. She managed to accumulate 125 points in the school’s Accelerated Reader Program. She too, participated in the district’s GT Showcase, school Science Fair and received 2nd Place overall! She was selected as Student of the Month and received a medal at the end of the year for her all “A” academic achievement. During the year she advanced to Orange Belt in Karate and hopes to advance soon along with Charlie. In the meantime, they will both compete again in another tournament this July. In February, we traveled to San Antonio and they competed among many other aspiring karate students from all over Texas! We were very proud of Carolina (and Charlie) when they came home having placed in their divisions. Charlie placed 3rd in Katas and Carolina placed 3rd in both Katas and Kumite (sparring). Finally, after two dedicated years of catechism, our little girl celebrated her sacrament of Communion in May. We are very blessed for this accomplishment in her life!

For now, the girls will continue to work towards their goals and earn more patches this summer while in Girl Scouts and Charlie will also be busy attending an NXT Robotics Camp in preparation for next year. As you can see, our kids still have a lot more to accomplish in 2012. We hope that next school year brings new adventures and more blessings to them as they each move on to the next level. We hope you all have a great summer! You know our kids will!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Lingering question...

With so many talented ladies out there in the "art of creating" scrapbooks, paper crafting, and other handmade elements-specifically, here in Laredo, TX-I don't know why our community hasn't yet embraced the idea of having a craft fair that will promote our local talent. I following many blogs with the same interest I share and to my surprise- most, if not all, have a craft fair in their hometown. More recently our city has initiated a farmer's market and that has brought many opportunities to individuals who love the idea of purchasing natural and pesticide-free products as well as new businesses to our community. However, I've had this lingering question running through my mind (more than often now). So why doesn't our city take the challenge and have an annual craft fair? I, for starters, would certainly be one of the first individuals to participate in this new endeavour. I more than likely wouldn't be the most artistic, but definitely and surely be inspired by so many talented crafters in the same venue. It would also give me an opportunity to display my work and that of other fellow enthusiasts in this up-and-coming marketable business. Recently, I was featured in one of Laredo's local magazines, Laredo Family Time Magazine under their new Mompreneurs section. Let me just say that I was honored for the gesture and opportunity. I commend them for their interest in showcasing full-time Moms who also enjoy crafting for a living or as a hobby. It is periodicals such as these that strive themselves to promote activities, events and local talent in our city to make it a better community for ourselves, our family, and other aspiring people who want to take their venture to a new level. For now all we can do is continue crafting, creating, and inspiring others.

Happy crafting everyone!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Honduras...un pais de cinco estrellas!

Honduras IS in fact a "five star country"!

My dream (and that of my deceased brother and sister) had ALWAYS been to go to Honduras. Never did I -in my wildest dreams- think this wish would ever come true.

During my three week stay in Honduras while visiting my father, I wanted to go sight seeing around this beautiful country that had me breathless no matter what turn I took up and down its slopes and hills at every corner I turned. Although my visit had a different purpose, I was not sure if I would have the opportunity to come close to "getting to know" my country as well as my roots. Remarkably enough, my new found relatives, my maternal cousins, and my Tia Pili were extremely hospitable and gracious to take me all over Honduras when possible. Looking back (at my 500+ pictures!), I realize just how fortunate and blessed I was to have actually gotten that once in a lifetime opportunity in such a short period of time. After all, I don't know (exactly) when I will be able to make such a trip again. Of course and without a doubt, I hope I do, someday-in the very near future. In the meantime, here are (A FEW) some breath-taking photos I took of Honduras' wonderful splendor and amazing topography.

 Aguilar Prado Family

 With my cousin, Luis Guillermo and his family

 With my loving Tia Pili

With my sisters and their children

 Arriving at the Toncontin Airport

A view of the night sky at the Plaza de Espana

 Off to Choluteca

 How the Hondurans sell their vegetables

 Me at the delicious restaurant Los Manglares

Don't you agree now why my country coined this expression?

Friday, April 15, 2011


I realize I haven't blogged since last November as you can observe from my last post. Not that I haven't wanted to do so-it's just that so much has happened since I last blogged on our family page. There have been many developments in my life since then. Coincidentally, about a year ago this month. So I thought I'd share them with you now.

Last April, I received an unanticipated message through Facebook. To my astonishment it was from my birth father whom I had never met, seen, much less remember since I was seven years old. He had found me after 29 years of not knowing anything about him. I was bewildered to say the least after many years of absenteeism. However, I couldn't help my curiosity to find out if, in fact, it was my father. After promptly replying to his request and confirming the add he and I established an amiable relationship and communication throughout the next five months (even though it was another world away in my native country of Honduras). Precisely ten days after my Thanksgiving post, I received yet another message that devastated me. This time it was to inform me of his incurable lung cancer. I was told he had a little over a month to live and that he didn't want to worry me by telling me of his condition (this explained the reason why I hadn't heard from him during those three months). Oddly enough, his last post was on August 20th (my 36th birthday). I think (now) that it was his way of saying "goodbye" to me before departing this life. At that moment the only thing that crossed my mind was that I wanted to be there for him in the "blink of an eye". But it was easier said than done. You see, since I came to the United States in 1981, I had never returned or traveled out of the country ANYWHERE. As many emotions surged throughout, my question was: "How was I going to travel to Honduras and defy TIME at the same time? It was literally, borrowed time. After sorting out the details of what was to be my trip to meet him and bid him farewell at the same time, I had another pending matter to take care of here, at home, with my family. I had NEVER been apart from my three children nor husband-ever-especially for the length of time I was going to be gone for. It was an extremely difficult time for them since it was so close to the Christmas holidays and the fact that I would miss Christmas and New Years altogether broke my heart even more. I was torn. It was just as painful for me as it was for them.  I spoke frankly to them (as much as three young children could understand) and to my amazement, my kids understood the situation and were 100% behind me, supporting every decision I made along the way. I must admit I underestimated them and tend to forget that they are no longer babies. To this day, I will NEVER forget how compassionate and positive their attitudes were towards the entire time this was going on. But I had faith that God would sort all of these things out for me if this was meant to happen for me. Granted, I had some setbacks here and there along the way, but God prevailed in the end. With the unconditional support of my wonderful, loving husband, his parents, and some close friends I was on my way to my place of birth of Tegucigalpa after an entire life away from it not knowing exactly how bittersweet my trip would actually be upon my return.

My time in Honduras with my father was QUALITY time well spent. I will never forget the time I spent with him-caring for him and just sitting by his side tending to his every need or request. I am forever grateful to God for allowing me that opportunity as I know he had already planned this for me before I even knew it. Those moments we shared together will eternally be engraved in my heart and my memory. My faith in God has grown even more after this wonderful encounter. I just pray he will continue to give me strength and fortitude for the next chapter in my life.

Rafael Castro Avila
December 20, 2010

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Fabulous Fall

Signs of fall are rarely seen here in Laredo. Laredoans are not as fortunate to experience all four seasons of the year. We don't get the see the colors change from season to season as other cities and states do. So when we recently got a cold front down here we were very grateful and lucky in finally feeling cooler weather. Now by a "cold front" I mean 70-85 degree weather for us. At this point, we'll take whatever we can get!

For the past three years, we have gone to a local church to take our family "Fall" pictures. It amazes me just how much our three little pumpkins are growing every year. As a mother, you don't want this to happen but you know that you can not stop the inevitable. It does however put a big smile on my face how they are each developing their physical and mental abilities and with a different personality respectively. Every year I continue to count my blessings for allowing me to be a mother to my three beautiful and happy children.