As I Rock You

As I rock you, I can hear your brother and sister screaming in the living room. I can hear daddy making breakfast and trying to wrangle them at the same time.

As I rock you, I can see how much you have grown. You take up more of my body now.

As I rock you, I look at your sweet, small face and wonder how did I get so lucky.

As I rock you, I can’t help but look at all the laundry that needs to be folded and toys that need to be picked up.

As I rock you, you start to squirm and wiggle and then get nestled right back next to my chest. This is where I want to be.

As I rock you, I know you will stay asleep when I lay you down, but I don’t want to just yet.

As I rock you, I’m reminded by my mom that babies don’t keep.

As I rock you, all seems right in the world.

Bubba is Two!

Bubba! Bubbasaurus! Bubba Duke Man! Ezra Duke!

Holy moly! Where do I begin? First of all. I can’t believe you are 2. Life is flying way too fast. You are growing into the most amazing, sweet and handsome little boy. From your deep brown eyes and expressive eyebrows, to your small butt (like daddy) and skinny legs, you are perfect. God has truly blessed us. There are so many things I want to capture and make sure I remember about you being this little, it’s so hard to remember it all and write it in just one post.

A little recap of your second year old self:

You don’t say a lot of words, but you do say some like: ball, again, ma-ma, da, duck, bubbles and of course the famous and trademarked, deep-voiced “yea”. You are our YES man! There are very few times you shake your head no. We will forever remember your deep “Yea’s”.

You have been obsessed with your papa, but I think we are finally weaning you off. Now you only get it at nap and bed time.

You go to bed every single night with a car. You have to have a Hot Wheels or some type of car or tractor with you. Sometimes it’s a moo cow, but there’s usually a car somewhere in your crib. You love your sleep. Except lately you have been wanting to stay up late and watch TV with daddy. Typical man.

We had your first trip to the ER. That was so scary for us, but you handled it like a champ. We admire your strength, little boy.

Then you almost had your second trip to the ER in less than a month! You and sister were playing tag, when BAM! You hit the corner of the coffee table with your head and split your eyebrow open. Cried for a few minutes and went back to playing. We are thankful for your incredible pain tolerance. While mama is over there freaking out about to have a heart attack!

What is your favorite food? You have your days where you eat everything and then have your days when you are super picky. You love your fresh eggs, and dipping your foods in ketchup or ranch.

Favorite person? Oh, most definitely your mama. You are a mama’s boy for life! Well you better be! (And you better live close to me when you are grown and come over so I can make you dinner, and call me every day, and want us to go on family trips with you and your family.) As soon as I get home from work, it’s all over. You are attached at my hip.

You and sister. The love you have for each other makes my heart melt every day. You adore your sister, and you also love to piss her off. She adores you, but also loves to piss you off. Oh the joys of sibling-hood.

Favorite toys. Well of course, cars. You also love your tractors and dump trucks…anything with wheels! You love your farm animals, especially the cows and you are showing more interest in dinosaurs.

Happy Birthday, bubba! We are obsessed with your life!

Boy Tantrums

Hi everyone! Sorry for my hiatus! Life is life, am I right? I thought what better way than to get back in the swing of things is to talk about tantrums. Nothing like your irrational and melodramatic offspring throwing some shade, especially in public.

Through my experience thus far, boy tantrums are completely different than girl tantrums. A girl tantrum usually consists of a high-pitch, deafening squeal or scream with the body convulsing like an exorcism. And they usually last a good 30 minutes to an hour, on a good day.

Our boy tantrum has been a lot different, at least for the first-born Mexican Vanilla boy. Is it wrong that I actually look forward to his tantrums because he looks so darn adorable? When Ezra doesn’t get what he wants, or is upset about something, he likes to throw himself on the floor and then lay there completely still. No crying. No talking. Just still, on his stomach. Of course if we try to pick him up he just goes limp noodle.

All those parents out there know exactly what I’m talking about – the whole limp noodle, no bones in body, brick ton of a kid that dislocates their shoulder bones because they don’t want to get picked up kind of thing.

I have come to the conclusion that he has 2 different types of tantrums. The majority of the time it’s the ‘laying down on his stomach in protest’ that lasts a minute or so, or he gets whatever toy or object he has, looks at you like he doesn’t give a rats, you know what, and chunks it.  Sometimes he will grab his sister’s toys just to be spiteful and look at me with a frown. And I know what that means. That look from that face says it all. Proceeds to throw said toy after we make eye contact – no noise from him, just a frown on his face. Thus creating a cause and effect – which is his whole purpose. He messes with her toys, she gets upset which then leads to the girl tantrum that is much worse.  Smart play on his part making us have to deal with her tantrum now. What does he do he do while we are dealing with Kapri’s tantrum? Nothing. Straight chills with content. Cheers to you Ezra Duke! You little intelligent and adorable boy.

These first pictures are him in a public, at Target on the dirty floor. Why was he throwing a tantrum? No clue. Clearly didn’t feel like being in Target Or listening to us.

Here’s a good one of his frown and shoulder shrug.

Don’t mind the dirty floor, my kids have no respect for a clean carpet.

 Here’s him because my mom told him to go down the slide the right way and he didn’t wanna.

Sunday Six 4.14

Another Sunday is here. I blinked and the weekend is coming to a close. It’s been a fun and exciting week for our family! Let’s recap.

1. Climber. Ezra can climb onto all furniture now. My stress and anxiety level has now reached new heights. I’m actually cool with the climbing, it’s the fact that he just throws himself off instead of getting down the correct way. He took a hard fall this week off the couch. Maybe he learned his lesson? Nope. Went right back up. Is that a boy thing? Now I’m working on harnessing his “no fear” mentality.

2. Garden. We planted a garden! I’m so excited! Daniel made the raised bed out of reclaimed wood. I only have one right now. I’m happy with one, ok. Would I like two? Yes. I can’t ask too much out of the man! He tells me patience. I might have two next spring. Check back then. Ha. I’ll stop my rambling. Anyways, I am really excited. This is our veggie garden. Tomatoes, bell peppers, serrano peppers and zucchini. I really hope I can do this whole gardening thing so I can really complete my Joanna Gaines checklist.

3. Axe throwing date night. We tried out the whole axe throwing craze. And we didn’t die! Yay! It was a lot of fun, but also extremely frustrating. I did well in the beginning, but then the axe wasn’t sticking in the wood. Of course Daniel did pretty great. {eye roll}. The best way to describe my success would be as if I was bowling and got a gutter ball every. single.time. Except once. In the zombie apocalypse, an axe wouldn’t be my weapon of choice, apparently. Even though I wasn’t very successaxeful, {wink}, I’ve wanted to practice axe throwing at home. It’s pretty addicting. Until naxe {wink} time!

4. Disney on Ice. We took big sis to Disney on Ice, and I don’t know about her, but I had the Truly magical. I even teared up! Kapri tried to sit with me and I was like um, no interruptions right now, child! Mommy is enjoying the show, sweetheart. No, but in all seriousness I think she really enjoyed it too, Daniel as well. Highly recommend!

5. Flowers. I finally got around to planting a few spring flowers in my old rusty wheel barrel. A new fun, little update around the house. Te gusta?

6. Game of Thrones. We are so ready! These kids are going to bed early tonight!

Have a great week everyone! Thanks for keeping up with this Mexican Vanilla family!

Sunday Six

Happy Sunday, y’all! I’m going to start a new blog series called Sunday Six. Let’s be real, it probably won’t be every single Sunday, but I will try to feed your hunger and do it as many times as I’m able. This way, you can keep up with this Mexican Vanilla family!

1. Bubba had his 15 month check up on Monday. Still only weighs 21 lbs but grew 2 inches like a skinny weed that he is. Updates for him? Still super obsessed with his mama. He’s a stalker. I use the restroom with him sitting on my lap, if you cared for a visual. Favorite toy: sticks.

2. Bluebonnet picture -check! I finally got the kids in the same picture with our little patch of bluebonnets. Kapri took it very seriously.

3. Favorite new book is this one right here. Super cute for young and old alike!

4. We got new chicks. Yep… we are going to be chick parents again this Spring. Don’t forget, we have 6 full grown, egg-laying chickens already. But that’s not good enough for my husband, so he bought 8 new chicks. Now we have to grow these chicks and when they get bigger, introduce them to our original 6 hens in the coop. And apparently when you introduce new chicks to existing chickens, it’s an all out butt- pecking war. That should be exciting. Survival of the fittest.

5. Daniel and I made our annual trip to Warrenton, Round Top, Texas yesterday. We’ve been going for 5 years and it’s changed a lot, but still fun! Tents and tents of antiques and people asking too much money for junk, but if you stick it out, you may find your diamond in the rough. The cold front blew in with rain, but since we are such committed antiquers, we stuck it out (with no jacket). True fans.

6. I told my oldest child to take a nap in her room. Check out this picture and let me know if she’s sleeping.

That concludes this blog post on Sunday Six. I’m going to spend the rest of the day with this family of mine and these kids that won’t nap.

Second Baby Changes

I decided to jot down a few differences of my parenting style between my first and second baby, and how I have changed. Maybe ‘evolved’ would be an appropriate word.



First baby: I checked every single food I put in my body on my app to see if it was safe. I didn’t even eat any pepperoni pizza. Who was I? No caffeine either. Paranoid.

Second baby: I ate anything I wanted. I drank my sweet tea.  I don’t even remember if I checked to see what small fruit my tiny baby was amounting to. Much more relaxed the second time around. Don’t lift heavy objects? Heck, I was carrying in groceries with a toddler on my hip.



First baby: Room was done and decorated. Name was picked. Clothes were washed and ready. College and career paths were planned.

Second baby: No name. Still used the “baby’s room” as the “clean laundry you throw in a large pile that need to be folded” room.



First baby: Stressed. Anxious. Nervous. Excited. Totally shocked when my baby came out covered in hair. (The nurse literally saw my and Daniel’s face and said, “Don’t worry, the hair falls off.” Ok cool. I knew that Mexican side was hairy, but I didn’t know I was going to give birth to a baby wolf.”)

Second baby: Still nervous, anxious and excited but much more relaxed because I knew what to expect. Not so shocked when my baby came out as a little hairy wolf.


Newborn Stage:

First baby: Freaked out over everything. Wrote down each time she peed, pooped, blinked. What side did she nurse off last? Is she getting enough milk? Why is there so much spit up? Does this poop look bigger than quarter sized?  Must lay on back. Must swaddle.

Second baby: He pooped. He’s good. Let’s just let him sleep on his belly.



First baby: Documented how long she nursed, what times she nursed.  She must have exactly 4 ounces at each feeding. Monitored what I ate. I can’t drink this, I can’t take that.

Second baby: And what’s the name of this wine again?


Washing of Things:

First baby: Deep cleaned all bottles. Sanitized everything! There’s a small amount of spit up on her onesie, change her. Gave her a nice, loving and relaxing bath with lavender scents at set time in the evenings. If the papa (pacifier) fell on the floor, wash it! All family members knew to wash the papa with soap and water immediately. (Sorry for being so extra, fam.) Food fell on the floor? GET THAT OUT OF YOUR HAND!!! Don’t eat that, it’s dirty!! She’s gonna be sick!

Second baby: Ehh, it’s just a little bit of spit up, he’s fine. I’m not going to change him. Papa fell on the floor? It’s fine, give it back to him. Build his immunity. Papa falls on dirty restaurant floor? No worries. Daddy will put it in his mouth to lick the germs off. Food falls on the floor at the house? Ezra, come here baby, clean this up. Oh shoot, it’s past bedtime and you haven’t had a bath. I’ll just wet a paper towel and wipe your face. Clean enough.


First baby: Must take a picture of every.single.thing. I’m going to make a memory book documenting every single second of her life. First time sitting on this square inch of the couch, snap it. At least 243 pictures a day. A video of her just staring at me. Look, did you see how this smile is different from yesterday’s smile?

Second baby: How many months is he this month?



First baby: Only organic. No processed foods. Homemade baby food.  Must have a balanced nutrition.  (A lot of that has changed now that she’s a toddler and loves pasta and cheese.)

Second baby: You are going to eat what we have, bubba. Old cheerio you found under the couch? I’m not going to freak out. Enjoy it. The kid can bite meat off a rib. I ain’t worried.


Baby Items:

First baby: She needs this Rock-n-Play. She needs this Mamaroo. She needs this bouncer. She needs this specific brand of swaddle. The sheets need to match her room. She needs the plethora of toys that she is only going to twice.

Second baby: He’s got a crib, and sister’s toys. He’s good. Oh and an old TV remote, and miscellaneous house items he shouldn’t have. His favorite is taking out all of the plastic containers out of the cabinet. Cost me zero dollars. Why keeps things organized? My house is a maintained mess anyways.

I could keep adding to the list!

Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of times that overprotective, obsessive, helicopter mom comes out, but I am definitely more relaxed. I’m just as obsessed with this second kid as I am my first. I still stand by his crib and watch him sleep and make sure he’s breathing, all while admiring his pure perfection. Even when there are avocado remnants in his hair, and he ate the food his sister spit out or spilled on the floor for dinner.

Mom Style CrossFit

Hey! It’s been a while. I’ve been doing ten million things and what not – mom life and adult life. But I finally carved some time for you all! This blog post is about my workout journey… or attempts? I’m not sure what to call it to be honest. Let’s call it, “I do what my really fit and strong husband tells me to do and try to not cry”. That seems FITting. Get it?

A month or two ago my husband brought home some weights and he said they were for me.  Not flowers, not some Oreo blizzards, not a stack of clean and folded clothes, but some weights! Oh, be still my heart!  The weights sat there for a few weeks, not touched by anyone. Then football season ended and one night at 9 p.m. he asked me if I wanted to work out. Well, DUH! Of course I want to work out! I just made dinner, cleaned the house that is now dirty again, folded laundry, got both kids ready for and asleep in bed, and I just sat on the couch. Yes, sir! Let me put a pep in my step, get my tennis shoes on and go do a workout in the cold! Can’t wait.

Don’t get me wrong, I like my yoga with babies crawling under me and if I had the opportunity I would cycle all day, but I’ve never really lifted weights. Yes, yes, lifting weights is the way if you want to get toned and blah blah. But it’s kinda scary.  I’ve also never been that person that is obsessed with working out. I mean, I average almost 2 miles everyday teaching and then I keep up with two kids… shouldn’t that be enough? And of course, where do I find the time?!

We get outside and he’s even bought a rubber mat for me to drop the weights on.  That was smart. I’m sure I’ll be dropping something. Either the weights or my body when it collapses.

Let me give you a little info, 411 about my husband. He’s pretty fit. I can’t say too much because his head will get too huge and explode, but he can lift A LOT. He has a lot of stamina too. Somehow we need to harness this “athlete stamina” to the “not falling asleep while watching the kids stamina”. When he competes with his little “crossfit workout buddies”, he usually beats them. (I guess they compete, you know men.)  I mean that’s what he tells me… he’s my Hercules! How did I get so lucky?! (Make sure to say that in an obsessed fan girl voice).  He’s a professional coach too! It’s about time I get some of the amazing Coach Soto, high school Hall of Famer, training in my life.

There I am, outside in the cold at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday school night.  I can hold Ezra, the brick of a baby, all while cooking dinner and then some, but putting that bar over my head was a challenge. But I did it! Yay! Then he wanted to add some more weight. Whoa! Slow down. I know I’m a beast for lifting the bar above my head and all, but I don’t want to get too shredded in one night! Jeez!

In conclusion, I now do what I call mom crossfit at 9 o’clock at night, outside. My goal has been to workout at least 3 days a week. So far I’ve been able to achieve my goal each week, but I’m trying to not be too hard on myself when I don’t. I have kids and a full time job so that’s a good enough reason if I can’t. I’m trying and that’s a win!

So if you drive by my house at night, you will see my husband watching and motivating me while I pick things up and put them down.  Yep! It’s so motivating when he yells at me in his coaching voice to squat lower and fix my form.  It’s just such amazing quality time. Who would rather be inside eating ice cream, watching Netflix and relaxing after a crazy day? Not me. Not me….

Here’s a picture of our amazing home gym. I know, it’s state-of-the-art.

To My First, I See You

To my first, I see you.

It’s a lot different now. You aren’t my only one anymore.  You now have to share the attention that was once only yours. But I promise, I see you.

I see you dancing in the living room while I’m nursing the baby.

I see you playing with your baby brother and keeping him entertained while I’m making dinner.

I see you get so excited when I come home from work to see what surprise is left in my lunchbox.

I see you being so sweet to bubba. Sometimes sour, but mostly sweet.

I see you being patient while I put baby brother to sleep.

I see you waiting for me so we can play before you have to go to bed.

I see you sharing your books and toys with bubba.

I see you yearning for me when baby brother is crying and getting all my attention.

I see you wanting to be carried just so you can be next to me.

I see you pulling at me to play when I’m cleaning the house.

I see you wanting me to go to sleep with you just so you can have all my attention.

I see you learning and growing so much faster now. Much faster and I feel like I can’t keep up.

I see you becoming a little girl now. Not just a toddler.

I see you wanting to be just like me.

I know the baby takes up a lot of my time right now, and the days are so short that we don’t have much time together, but I promise, I see you.

Sometimes it may feel like you come second, but baby girl, you will always be my first.

Fall Decorating : Inside My Casa

Hi! Remember me? It’s been nonstop with work, football season, and looking after my offspring, but I’m back! Both kids are asleep and I’m finally dedicating some time for this blog post. Let’s see how far I get before one of them wakes up.

I had a request to do a fall decor post, and here it is. This is my very first blog post about decorating. I am a Joanna Gaines wanna-be, but I’m no pro-decorator. I have all these ideas in my head, but when I lay it out, it never turns out how I thought it would in my head. Does that make sense?

I’ve never been a big Halloween decorator. But since having kids, it’s a lot more exciting. I feel an addiction coming on.  I told my husband that I want to be that person that has every single room in the house decorated for each holiday. Yep. I’m going to be that person, and he’s going to love it. He rolls his eyes, but I know he loves coming home and seeing the Halloween Christmas lights on.

This year is actually my first year really decorating for Halloween. I’ve always had my typical Fall/pumpkin things displayed, but not much Halloween. The questions I had were… Do you display Fall first? When should you put Halloween stuff up? Do you mix the two? I have no idea what the “unwritten rules” are, but I went ahead and did both.

I started with Fall decor as my base. I brought out the leaves garland and the pumpkins (the basics), then I dropped in my Halloween. My reasoning is that once Halloween is over, I pick up all the Halloween junk and I still have my Fall base, were then I can add the Thanksgiving things.

For now (since I’m still building my Halloween stockpile), I have 4 main pieces in my home that I decorated.  Almost all of the Halloween decor you will see I bought this year. Your girl is on a budget so pretty much everything is from Dollar Tree or the Dollar Spot at Target. (Side note: I could easily spend $100 bucks at the Target Dollar Spot. It’s a magical, marketing mind trick. I’m like a little kid in a candy store.)

Tiered Stand. 

I have this tiered stand in my kitchen. I jumped on the tiered stand decorating band wagon, and I LOVE IT! Even more of a reason to clutter up my kitchen! Yay! No really, I love looking at it. I don’t love looking at all the dishes in the sink (I’ll save those for my mother-in-law, haha jk), but I adore my little stand.

ACS_0097ACS_0098October 31st sign – Hobby Lobby.

Gravestone, car and hocus pocus sign – Target Dollar Spot.

As you can see on the bottom, I used Fall leaves as my base and then just added in my Halloween. It’s hard to notice in the picture, but there is a little picket fence in there. I got that little baby for 10 cents at a yard sale!

Welp. I hear a baby… I got pretty far, right? Ok. I’ll be back.

{5 hours later I’m back, and the smallest babe is asleep in his crib and the other one is “swimming like a mermaid” in the kitchen sink.}



Home Sweet Haunted Home window sign – Target

Light up pumpkin – Hobby Lobby

Skeleton, bird skeleton, black hats sign, pumpkins, leaves garland, black rag thing, spiders, spider webbing – Dollar Tree

Wall Shelf Mantle 


Check out those cute little ghost feet! I LOVE having homemade decorations up, and these little ghost feet make my heart happy. Wood canvas, black and white paint, and some feet… and this mama has an adorable keepsake.

Fall leaves garland, skeleton garland – Dollar Tree


Floating Shelf


This shelf is above my sink in the kitchen. I’m calling this one my “mostly fall, with a sprinkle of skeleton.


TV Stand 



Pumpkins, tombstones – Target

White cloth, skull  –  Dollar Tree

I got the lights on sale last year after Halloween.


Don’t know where to start? Just cover everything in spider webbing! A little goes a LONG way… and will even last until next Halloween because it’s so hard to get off of everything. Ha.

I hope you enjoyed a little look into my Fall/Halloween decorating. Be sure to check back again next year! Hopefully I will have added another Tubbermaid bucket full of decor that my husband will have to find space in the attic for. He just LOVES going into the attic.





Ezra Duke | 8 Months

You are 8 months old, little dude. You are the sweetest boy. You’re very quiet and don’t say a whole lot. I call you my sneaky, little, mischievous tubbers.  You fall over and don’t even cry (sister ALWAYS cried) it could be because you are built like a brick.  You are 100% boy, and we are all so smitten by you.

Firsts & Milestones

You are crawling! You have been on the move for a few weeks, and now you started pulling yourself up and standing. You don’t let those chubby thighs deceive anyone –  that’s pure muscle in there.  Your first trip to Port Royal and Rockport happened – it’s been a busy first summer for you! Your first little toof has broken through, and the second one is on the way!


You just started sleeping in your crib… in your own room. Not going to lie, it hasn’t been easy for me to let you be so grown up.  The first night I didn’t sleep at all and just watched the monitor and waited for you to wake up. You still wake up 2 to 3 times to nurse, but you seem to prefer sleeping in your crib over the pack-n-play in mommy and daddy’s room. Why do you want to be so independent already? Can I just keep you little forever and ever? You have a strict schedule and like to be asleep by 8 p.m. If not… well it’s no fun for anyone.


You love people food. You make anxious little grunts because we aren’t feeding you fast enough. I’m going to invent a little machine, like a ferris wheel with spoons, that I put in front of your face that just keeps feeding you. Mama’s milk is still your main food, and you like it straight from the source. Milk from a bottle? Ha. I just started back at work and you have been on a bottle strike. You will go the ENTIRE day without drinking any milk and wait for me to get home to nurse. You enjoy stressing Grandma out, huh?

Is this a sign you’re going to be a boob guy?



You love to crawl. Especially where you aren’t suppose to go. Cords and outlets? Yes, please! Sister never showed interest in the “bad things” like cords, small objects, and outlets. But you? You move your little chubby legs as fast as they go so you can try and  electrocute yourself. Thanks for giving me more stress.

Standing. It was just recently you started pulling yourself up on furniture, and that sure excites you.

Kapri. Y’all share some special kind of love, and it makes my mommy heart burst. She will tell you to jump, and you ask, “how high?” Seriously. You LISTEN to her! Whenever you are in your bouncer, and Kapri tells you to start jumping, you do! Then when she tells you to stop, you do! I wonder how long you listening to her will last?

Sister’s toys. Sister’s toys are WAYYYY better than any of your “dumb” baby toys. I mean, high-heel princess shoes? PUT IN MY MOUTH! Play kitchen food? Gosh, a plastic asparagus has never tasted so good! PUT IN MY MOUTH! Barbies? PUT IN MY MOUTH! A little crinkly and bright baby toy? Get that crap out of here.

Daddy and I always say that you are just happy to be here. Happy to be here with us. Happy to have all the family you do. Happy to sleep. Happy to eat. Happy, happy, happy, happy! Let’s keep doing happy things, Baby Duke Man!