Friday, October 25, 2013

Spanish Pre-School for Mateo!

Mateo is growing too fast.  He just started pre-school. What?!  I know...How can it be?

We weren't going to enroll him this year, but thought better of it after seeing him play with his cousins who are better at sharing and picking up after themselves.  Ha! No seriously.  Obviously it will be great for Mateo and it will be good for us too. Especially now with the xmas lighting season.

The Language Garden was recommended to us by our friends Aileen & Jay who just moved to India. She thought maybe we could get theirs son Enzo's spot at the school when they left Atlanta.   (Remember we  visited their beautiful house in Mexico back in 2009? )

We were on a wait list for him to start in September, but never got called.  Then a couple weeks ago I got an email saying there was an opening so I signed him up without even visiting the school.  
You see, Aileen is more of a researcher than I am, and I respect her opinions.  So when she told me how wonderful the school was and that it was really benefiting Enzo (also a crazy-boy like Mateo), I was sold.

(On side note: I also did not research our neighborhood before buying our house, but I figured since Aileen bought here a few months before us, it must be ok -ha! It was a safe bet too! I love our little barrio!)

Anyway, back to the school.  The Language Garden is a Spanish immersion school. The teachers are native Spanish speakers and the kids are spoken to/taught in Spanish.   I love how they say on their website, our "teachers don't teach Spanish, they live it."  Beautiful!  Just what I want for my little Mexi-can and exactly what I did when I was 20 in Mexico.  Hands down the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself.  

The school is surrounded by a huge garden and they have sheep! The classrooms are cute and colorful.
Mateo will go Mondays & Fridays from 9a-1230p.  That is what was open, and we didn't really care what the days were, especially since we are in Christmas lighting season and working 7 days a week. Those 7 hours a week of free [from one child] time are really going to allow me to get some thing done.

Monday I dropped him off and he didn't want to let go, but once he was shown some trains and other toys he gave me a kiss adios and kept right on playing.  When I came to pick him up, the director was telling me he had a great time with no crying whatsoever.  A second later he spotted me from across the room and burst into tears as he ran over to hug me.  A cry of relief I think, but it only lasted a minute and then he cheerfully said adios to everyone.

On our way out I wanted to take a picture of his "first day of school" but he is not an "on demand" camera poser anymore.  Or is he?  This is the only one that wasn't blurry and he was actually looking at the camera,  Classic.

Indoors or out, this little boy is going to entertained, engaged and learning like a sponge.  It will be so exciting to see his progress. 
 Friday we took some pictures with the sheep.

Friday it was a bit harder to leave him because he cried for about 30 seconds when I left the room and had the same cry of relief when he saw me come back for him.

The teachers said he was dancing and having a good time.  One teacher validated that he understood everything she said to him [in Spanish] and that made me so happy.  We are doing some thing right.  She also said he was really good at cleaning up.  I am hoping this carries over to our house.  Please help mama clean up Mateo! Por favorrrrrrrrrr!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Weekend in Asheville!

Over the weekend we made a quick trip to Asheville.  My parents were up at my brother's little cabin, and we decided we would surprise them.  (Although Ernesto started working last week, he didn't schedule any lighting jobs over the weekend.)    God, I love to surprise people.

We wanted to arrive while everyone was still drinking their coffee and lounging in pj's (that is at least 11am at our house).  We wore our pjs on the drive to make sure we could just join in.  Well, we planned to be on the road at 5am, but didn't wake up until 530am (thanks marcelo!) We were out the door by 620 and we arrived at 1030.  Ok, no one was in their pjs, but they were still drinking coffee.  They were surprised for sure.

It was nice and cool up in the mountains too.  Although Brrrian's cabin is small two bedroom, all 8 of us were comfortable.  (We are a close family!) The cabin has come a long way since we last visited in the Spring.  New hardwood floors, a new tiiiiiin roof (rusted! for you B-52's fans).  My parents had just helped them paint the main room and kitchen cabinets too.  (mint green and navy blue!) 

You can see in the photo above where the rock patio begins behind the house.  The green in between is the garden.
There is a great fire pit and you can see the fire master here re-kindling the fire from the night before.

Mateo loved exploring the woods, climbing hills and throwing sticks and bucket lids to his buddy Bruno.  Here is a crazy Mateo with Kyja...and just so you can see his calm side too, here hammock hangin' with tio Brian.
Marcelo is the king of chillin'.  He is happy anywhere, anytime. Kinda like his papi.

Because the leaves are changing this time of year, Asheville is packed with tourists.  It's nice to have family that live in great vacation spots.  Thanks again to the hosts!!

I love walking around downtown Asheville.  Have you guys been?  So much is going on.  So many cute shops.  The boys had to watch Ohio State so my mom and I snuck next door to Chocolate Fetish.  We bought dark chocolate habanero sea salt caramels. 

Mateo was loving the street performers and kept giving them dollar bills.  We did a little dancing to the bluegrass music too. Im not big on Country music, but there is something about bluegrass that I love. 

These guys were awesome, and pulled a big crowd of spectators.  I mean, look at that base they made out of a aluminum wash tub! It sounded good too.
Overall a short, but sweet getaway.
We left at 7pm (ie: mimi time) and both boys were out for the 3.5 hour trip.  Que bueno!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Dreaming of an Art Wall!

I know, here I am talking about an art gallery wall and I realized I have never even really showed you my house since we bought it 2 years ago!  I am working on a whole "house tour" thing for the blog. 

And, well, today Im going to start by showing you one little corner of our home.  
Remember my mint green dresser-now entry console?  I finished painting it back in April, hung my huge gold mirror and it just needed to be styled.  Here we are 6 months later and the only style it has (if you can even call it that) is a stream of framed (and unframed) art leaning against the wall waiting to be hung.  

This look doesn't bother me too much, but the constant clutter that is in front of it does.  Oh I was so excited to have all these drawers at the door.  There will be a place for everything! I thought.  Isn't that was organized people have?  A place for everything?  What unorganized people can't grasp is that you have to designate a spot....and then put it there!  Guys, I have 13 drawers and 8 baskets in the living room alone. Well, at least I have the space to make it happen...someday.

Back to the art wall.  While working for Delta Airlines I traveled a lot and unfortunately, only the last few years did I start bringing art home with me...Duh!  So many missed opportunities.   Nonetheless, I have collected some cool art over the years from various parts of the world, art shows around Atlanta and of course etsy.
Check out this world map print from Jessica Durrant (right here in Atlanta!) Notice how it's in my favorite colors.  It's just waiting for a nice gold frame.

Also love this Michelle Armas print (or any of her others) but sadly, I don't think this one is available anymore.

I already have one of her prints and I would love to grow my collection.

This beautiful peacock by MaiAutumn will be on the art wall as well.  This print was featured in West Elm, so it may look familiar.  Again, with the colors...and you know how I feel about peacocks.

In the last year, my time of perusing Etsy has been less and less.  This is why I am happy that I found The Jealous Curator.  (thanks to Emily Henderson) Her whole blog is dedicated to introducing you to cool art.  I have several things on my wish list due to her introductions.  Check out my "art" board on Pinterest.  Although art is totally subjective and personal, who knows, you may like something I pinned.  My absolute favorites right now are by Lisa Krannichfeld from her "Glass Managerie" series.  She sells prints of the original paintings for a good price.   These will be on the wall as well. 

{Whisper and Twenty-eight}

Even with all of this, I plan to mix in some DIY art, and maybe a typography piece or a silhouette of my babies. I will need a few more pieces to create the look Im after. 

Here are a few inspiration photos:
{via Oh Joy}

{From the Right Bank via New York Times}

{via Niji Home}

I love these art walls because they mix frame sizes and color, and look organically thrown up there (I'm sure they weren't). Plus it is a great mix of artwork. Ceiling to floor art? Yes!

So let's take a look at my wall again, shall we?

Since I do already have the huge gold mirror up, my "plan" is to just work out from there. One piece on the left and then one on the right, etc. and balance it with my eyes. But that could go wrong 10 nail holes in.  So I was thinking I could use Picasa's collage maker (which I use frequently) to lay out the art before hanging.  Just for a rough idea of what looks good together.

Ok this is not really to scale, but i think it will work.  I can already tell this wall is going to make me happy.  It is a lot of wall space too, so this way I can add to it as I get more.  More is more, but budget is reality.  Promise to show you when it's underway. Im close to pulling the trigger.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Adjusting...Because 'Tis the Season!'

The work boots are out!
Monday marked the first day of our Christmas lighting season.  What?? Where did the year go? How could 9 months fly by so quickly?   I know the next 3 months are going to go even faster.

Being home alone with two kids is going to take some getting used to.  I mean Ernesto golfs a couple days a week, and I am just fine at home, but 2 months straight as a single parent?!  No es bueno.

Silence.  Not even one "Aww, that's going to be tough Cindy." ??

But...but...he won't even be home on weekends.  He won't be there to cook dinner, he won't be able to help with laundry and most nights he will not be home to help with bedtime.  (I know some of you stay at home mom's know what I'm feeling)  Every night Ernesto will fall asleep on the couch by 9pm. We are going to miss him dearly.
Come on, just a little empathy?

With this new arrangement, I may pull my hair out.  Or I may just develop a new routine.  Now there is a novel idea.  Don't get me wrong, we have a routine.  But it works better with both parents.  It will need to change a little.  Im not military about times (contrary to what my husband thinks) but we keep a good schedule.

Give or take 30 minutes, here is what stays the same daily.
Wake-up 630-7
Breakfast 8-9
Lunch 1130-1230
Nap 1p
Dinner 530-630
Bed 7p
(Times vary if we are out and about.  Mateo is a reliable car and stroller sleeper, so sometimes he snoozes on the go.  Marcelo is not on a schedule yet, but he continues to be a great sleeper anytime.)

The toughest part [for me] with being alone is nap time.  If Marcelo is awake, I have to leave him downstairs while I put Mateo down.
Here is how that goes:
 I read 3 books.  Plus "uno mas" book (roughly 3 times).  Then he has to wind the mobile music, pull the elephant tail for music, make sure all of his trucks and books are in the bed, and turn out the light.  I lay him down and then I have to cover his feet with the dog blanket and the hippo blanket. By this time the mobile needs to be cranked again and the elephant too.  "I love you" "shhhhhhhh"...and I walk out.

This sounds like a long process, but I can usually be out the door in 10-15 minutes.  Marcelo always gives a 10 minute grace period before he actually cries.  He will whine and fuss for a while to let you know it's coming, and I catch it before a full-on cry almost every time.  Almost.

If I hear Marcelo crying I leave Mateo quickly, which only makes him cry. Ugh!

He's been through a lot of changes in the last 3 months, and I must say he has adjusted pretty well.  A couple slaps here and there to his new hermano (and me too!) but mostly kisses.

And since Marcelo is all over me, Mateo has been all over his papi.   (His latest word is chi-chi's by the way) They are best buddies.  He is really going to miss his papi when he is gone everyday.  But he'll be there to wave adios every morning.
And on the porch [most] nights to welcome him home.  The highlight of both of our days.

ps. Yes, Mateo is naked.  We are potty training at Casa Espinoza.  Not hard core, but giving it a try.  One pee-pee in the potty and 2 on the floor. Not bad. Not good either. This could take some time.

**You may have already seen these pics on Facebook/Instagram but I have deemed them worthy of re-posting.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Hair Cut Gone Awry!

My sister always says she will never cut her hair short.  She thinks short hair ages you.
Well Fred, here is proof that this is not true!
Mateo looks like he is one year old again.  As a mater of fact, it's more like 11 months. See?

We made an appointment at Salon Red Kidsthe same place, he has gone before.   Unfortunately, the stylist, Vee, who had done it was not available.   We loved how she cut his hair, but assumed all of the stylists would be able to handle a simple trim. 
{haircut by Vee back in June}
 I told her specifically "I want the same style just shorter.  We did want to go a little bit shorter this time so we don't have to take him every  six weeks.  Ernesto actually thought maybe we should try a short haircut but I vetoed that. 
I thought I had vetoed that, but actually, the "new" stylist vetoed me. 
She did what she wanted to do.  I just don't understand how it happened.  It boggles my mind. In a matter of minutes we were on our way to short preppy hair. I like Mateo's hair little bit longer, it just fits his crazy personality.  

Ernesto had gone for a walk and as I sat there watching the girl trim his hair I noticed that she cut a lot off the back.  Then she started trimming layers really really short over his ears and the back which I specifically told her "I do not want a haircut that is nice and neat over the ears and perfect in the back."

 I felt like I wanted to scream!  My stomach felt a little bit weird, but it was too late. I finally spoke up and she said "I know, It's shorter than I wanted, but it was my reflexes-when he was moving around I cut quite a bit of the back." 

One bad snip and you decide to cut everything off?? Without asking me??

Ernesto walked back into the salon and started laughing.  He said "Wow look at that short hair!  Why did you change your mind??"

 "I didn't" I said in a matter of fact tone. 

Ernesto said he loved it and I'm sure a big sigh of relief came over the stylist. 

 I thought that I had a new son.  He looks so different. Mateo didn't even recognize himself. This was his reaction upon seeing himself in the mirror for the first time. 
I am getting used to it now. It's a nice cut, it was just a little shocking.  Its cute it's cute it's cute...and it will grow out again.  It will, you watch. 

There is no doubt my baby looks beautiful with any hairdo. In fact this one really shows off his beautiful eyebrows and eyelashes.  

Marcelo likes it because he looks more like his big brother now. 

ps.  Can any hair stylists out there tell me what I did wrong?  Is there another word for trim that is more clear?

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Craigslist Money Maker?!

Anyone in Indiana or possibly Ohio want to make some easy cash?

Don't ask how or why, but I found another set of the Milo Baughman chairs that I sold for way too little. Still kicking myself as I could have made thousands!! Ugh!  Get your chance right here on Craigslist  - $75 for four!! These could be a quick flip or you could recover them and really get some cash!!  Any takers?

The Dining Room Chair Saga and Craigslist-ing

If you have been reading Viva Cindy a while, you remember that I bought some dining chairs last year on Craigslist - $185 for 6 chairs. A good price for 6 upholstered chairs! There was just something about the metal base.  It was love at first sight.  (minus the fabric - obvs)

Well, if I had only known what a score it was, I wouldn't have made such a rookie mistake.

Let me explain.

After I brought them home, I was searching for upholstery ideas (because they seriously needed it) and found the exact chairs on 1stdibs selling for thousands. You could not tell the difference in pictures.  But I was positive that the originals were solid brass.  I mean, for that kind of money surely they are solid chairs.

Nonetheless, I was excited that I had such great replicas of the originals by Italian designer Milo Baughman.
My excitement dwindled though in the following nine months that I lived with the chairs at my table.

They were bulky and hard to move, I was not able to have a rug, and they called for a pedestal dining table instead of the 4 legged one I have.  Yes, they were comfortable, but they squeaked a lot.  Also, I felt they were too high and cut the flow in our space.
I was over the 80's fabric too.  Hunter green with a sheen damask? No!  The only thing good about the color is that when Mateo spilled a kale and mango shake all over the seat, and the green liquid barely stained it.
From the get go, my intentions were to recover them, but after getting the $110/per chair quote, I was even less excited about them.  $660 to reupholster knock-off chairs, and don't forget the $180 I paid for them, so $840 for fabric dining chairs and I have two small boys?  A toddler that spill things? Spills things everyday? Was I nuts?

Yes.  Yes, I decided I was.  And so I put them up on Craigslist for $400, more than double what I paid for them.  I loved the chairs, and knew someone else would too.  I had such mixed feelings about listing them.  They were great, just not great for me right now.

Not surprisingly, someone else saw the potential in the green monsters.  A lady contacted me that day about the chairs and came the next morning to pick them up.  $400 cash, no haggling.

What I am about to tell you next is with a very heavy heart.  In fact, it has taken me the last 3 months to where I can finally talk about it.
As the craigslist buyer (a dealer, no less) loaded the chairs into her SUV, she pointed out the stamp on the bottom of the chairs indicating "Design Institute of America" which just happened to be who Milo Baughman designed for...WHAT?  WTF?
THEY WERE ORIGINALS?  If that sounded like I was screaming, that's because I was.

Could I have told her they are not for sale even though she paid and had them all packed up?
Sick.  Sick I tell you.  Maybe I could've lived with these chairs.  If not, I could should have made a few thousand instead of $200.  Woe was me.

The saga continues.  Enter Overstock and the knock-off Eames chairs.  They are very cool MCM looking. They are molded plastic so no cleaning issues, and the reviews say they are sturdy and great for kids.  (after just checking O, they seem to be sold out of the wood legged version.  Here is the real deal fiberglass chair by Eames.  Overstocks was very similar, except in price.  ($325 for 4 vs $335 for one chair)
I love the look of them and think the white/wood would look great with my wood table.  And they are practical.  Do something practical Cindy.  I almost ordered them last week, but something held me back.

Maybe I just don't like buying things new.  Or maybe it's because, subconsciously, I knew I would see these on a Craigslist add a few days later. 
Because I did.  And I couldn't hit "contact seller" fast enough.
"Glass table and 4 Chairs - $70" Yes! I'll take it.
The seller left me hanging for a day then yesterday morning [after I wrote her again] she responded saying that she never received my email Saturday and that the set was sold on Sunday.  Ugh!

This was probably a similar situation as my other chairs.  Vintage designer chairs at a steal.
I had a second chance and I blew it!  That add was posted on Oct 1 and I didnt see it until the 5th?  Total slacker!  All I know is that I can't let that happen again.  I don't think I can take the disappointment.  The high of finding something so cool (and so cheap!) and the low of hearing "It's sold"  It's rough out there in Craigsland.

Anyway, moral of this story is that there is always something better around the corner.   I have hope again. Craigslist, or maybe even a thrift store or yard sale, will come through for me.  I just have to keep my eyes open.  You better believe I am going to do just that.

As a matter of fact I already found a couple options, but I need to talk to Paul's shuttle about delivery, because they are in Ohio.
These are only $125 for 5 chairs.  I LOVE the chrome base of these. Not the red so much.
I would recover these in a Navy blue outdoor fabric.  Or if possible, removable covers made of washable cotton velvet.  They do seem to sit a little low though don't they?  I will need to ask for measurements.

Also found these which are very close to the ones I missed out on this weekend.  $250 for 6 chairs and the table.  I would negotiate without the table.
I know what you may be thinking.  Those look like old people chairs. And granted, the decor (mainly the centerpiece) does imply someone old owns these (also in the add it says contact my grandson by email-ha!) but put these around a different table with more modern decor and you have a winner!

ok, are you still with me?
I have one last find to show you Ohioans out there.  Another set of chairs by Milo Baughman.
Please please please someone buy these and get them redone in a navy or emerald velvet.  Please?
Remember I said a while ago that I should be a Craigslist personal shopper?  Well, I think there is something to that.  Need to brainstorm on that.  Or maybe a shopper for Emily Henderson.  I find myself asking if she would like this or that.  I think she would.


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