Farm Yoga and Wine

I love yoga. I love the farm.  Farm Yoga? Count me in!

This past Saturday my good friend, Courtney, and I had our first experience with Farm Yoga.  Goats + Yoga + Wine. Yes, please!

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The event was at  Medina River Winery which is just a few minutes away from my house. We laid our yoga mats on a big black tarp in the middle of a field. The weather was beautiful except is was REALLLYYY HOT. It was 6 in the evening so it wasn’t the hottest of the day, but again, we were in a field with no shade. The crop that was growing next to us was some maize, I believe. I knew you were wondering. They call it Farm Yoga for a reason.

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There were several goats running around, and we were able to take a picture with one right before the class started. Then yoga commenced. The goats really didn’t want anything to do with us, and mostly ran around the outskirts of the mat. We were patiently waiting for them to come and kiss us and climb on us as we did our yoga. You know, fulfilling all our expectations of goats trampling us. Nope. They probably thought we were insane doing yoga on a field in the heat. Like these people are crazy, why am I going to go jump on their back?

You could hear them baa’ing as you did your yoga breathing. Most likely talking smack about our poses. One of the mommy goats actually did come on the tarp, just to pee and poop. That made me actually kind of glad they didn’t really come bother us during the class. A happy baby pose in goat poop? No thank you. Towards the end of the class they released a goose and some chickens. The goose was not shy. He had no problem walking on everyone’s mat.

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Once the class was finished (it was about a 30 minute class) we had the opportunity to take as many pictures as we wanted and hang out with the animals. That’s when they put the goats on your back if you wanted a picture.  It looks all cute seeing one of the goats kissing my face, right? Well that was actually her baby that was on my back and she was baa’ing telling him to get down, I’m sure.  Makes for a cute picture though! Ha.

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After the hot, almost bikram yoga was done and we got all the pictures we wanted, we headed inside to the tasting room. We tasted 6 different wines.  It was the perfect end to our little farm yoga and wine experience.

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Although the goats weren’t climbing all over us while we did yoga like I originally thought, we still had a really fun evening.  I’m sure it’s different every time depending on the animals temperaments. I would recommend going when the weather cools down since it is outside. Bring your girlfriends, and it makes for a fun girls night out!

Side Note: the hubby stayed home and watched the kids. They all survived! Yay! Granted, both kids were sleeping the whole time, but still. Kudos to him. Looks like I’ll need to plan some more girls nights!

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Beach Trippin’ with the Duke Man

The littlest of the Mexican Vanilla babes took his first trip to the beach this past Memorial Day weekend to Padre Island. It was a gorgeous day for the beach – breezy and sunny.  Kapri jumped the waves and played in the sand, being her crazy toddler self. Daniel jumped the waves and played in the sand, being his crazy toddler-man self. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to be buried and covered in sand, but Daniel loves it. Our kids will always have a daddy that’s up (or down?) for being buried in the sand. That works for me.

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Ezra chilled, like the tubster he is, under the umbrella for the majority of the time until he was ready to venture out. When he did, it was nothing short of an adorable baby digging his little chubby feet in the sand and looking precious – having no idea what’s happening or going on while his mom acted like a crazy paparazzi person trying to get pictures of him and his sister.  He’s a mama pleaser so he went along with it. Everyone had a great time. First beach trip for the Duke Man – in the books.

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Later that evening we went to our favorite restaurant in Rockport, The Boiling Pot.  It was delicious, as always. Have you been there? If you haven’t, I highly recommend the next time you are down at the Texas coast!

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Kapri’s Birth Story

Kapri was not planned by us, but she was definitely always planned by God.

Where do I start? Let’s go back to the beginning.

The month is February 2015. Daniel and I had just booked a trip to  Antigua in June with all of our friends. It was going to be our first couples trip before everyone started having babies. (oops.) It was nearing the end of the month and I was a day or so late. I didn’t think anything of it to be honest. The next day passed and I still hadn’t “started”. That’s weird. I go and ask my boss at the time how soon she took a pregnancy test and she said the first day she missed. Fast forward a few hours and we are both in a bathroom at work and I’m peeing on a stick. My heart was racing and my palms were sweaty. It felt like forever waiting for the results. I looked at the stick, and it said negative (or so I thought). It had a very, very faint line. At the time I thought it had to be an extremely dark line to be positive.

To be honest, I was disappointed. I mean, we weren’t trying to have a baby or anything, but deep down I wanted the test to say positive. I get home after work and I decided to read the directions for the pregnancy test. Why now would I read the directions? Any-who, I was looking at the pictures of a positive pregnancy test and it said, “Even if the line is very faint, it is positive.” Uh, that looks EXACTLY how mine looked. Am I pregnant? I grabbed the second pregnancy test from my bag and took it. The results came back the same, a very faint line. Holy Moly. I think I’m pregnant.

I couldn’t stop trembling as I waited for Daniel to get home. It was baseball season so of course he had practice and the night was dragggiiinnngg. He got home and while he was eating dinner, I told him, “I think I’m pregnant.”

He looked at me and said, “Well what about the trip?” Seriously? The first thing that came to your mind was the trip? It wasn’t an, OMG I’m going to be a dad, or ahh let’s dance in the kitchen and celebrate type of reaction I was secretly hoping for. It was kinda like he looked at me wondering how it happened. Well we know how it happened – February 8th to be exact. To this day, he will tell you I tricked him. Oh ok, we all know how that works.

A few days later at 2:30 a.m. I decided to take a digital test and it read ‘Pregnant’. Yep. I was pregnant.

 

I was always extremely tired in my first trimester and suffered from this intense pain in my left side, but other than that my pregnancy was fairly easy. We decided to not go on the trip after all, it was bitter sweet.

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At 20 weeks we found out it was a girl. I always thought I would have a boy first – so he could protect his younger siblings and what not.  I felt bad because I kept calling the baby a “he” and she was a “she”. I had no idea at the time that this little girl was perfectly made to be our first.

Daniel kept telling me he felt so stressed already and I’ll always remember him saying, “I wanted to worry about just one penis, and now I have to worry about all these other penises.” He told me it’s different, it’s different having a girl over a boy. My poor husband. The teenage years might cause him some gray hair.

My pregnancy progressed and around 34 weeks I went in for a routine ultrasound. Everything was normal except the baby was breech. The doctor said she still had time to turn and there’s enough fluid for her to do it. Ok. I’m sure she will.

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36 weeks came around. The baby was still breech. We talked about the procedure to flip the baby, but my doctor didn’t recommend it because the risks were high. I decided to opt out. We went ahead and scheduled a c-section for October 21, 2015, a week before my original due date. If she was still breech, then he would have to do a c-section. I still felt like she would flip. It didn’t hit me that I might have to have a c- section.

I always envisioned how my delivery would go – I would deliver my baby “naturally”. Everything would go smooth – I mean, I’ve got the hips for it. I also felt like there was a stigma around c-sections. I didn’t want one. I shouldn’t have to get one.

The night before my scheduled c-section, I couldn’t sleep. I just laid awake holding my belly and praying she would turn. She was moving A LOT – she had to flip, she had to. 6 a.m. rolled around and we were reporting to the hospital. They hooked me up to the monitors and went over all the documents and what not. None of it felt real. It was kinda like an out-of-body experience for me. I felt like she turned, and they were going to tell me to go home.

The nurse came to do one last ultrasound just in case she flipped. My fingers were crossed. Nope. She didn’t. She was still breech. A few minutes later I was walking to the OR.

It was all surreal. Am I really going to have a c-section right now? I’m sitting on the table while the epidural is being injected into my spine thinking, why didn’t she flip? Was something wrong with me and she couldn’t?  I was so scared. The numbness soon took over and I was laying down waiting for them to begin. A few minutes go by and the doctors were pushing and pulling – I felt like I was being jerked around the table. The doctor made a comment that the baby was pretty far ‘up there’ and was struggling to pull her out – stubborn much? (Totally not a depiction of how she is now, ha). They warned us she might have some bruising on her legs from all the pulling.

Finally. She was out. The room was silent. Why isn’t she crying? What’s wrong.  My heart sank. The few seconds turned into a lifetime as I was waiting to hear her cry. Then she did. It was the sweetest music to my ears. The tears rolled down my cheeks. I was a mommy. She was here. She was beautiful. She was perfect. Kapri Maribelle Soto was born on October 21, 2015 at 8:57 a.m., weighing 7 lbs 3.5 oz and 20.5 inches long. At that point, I wasn’t thinking about how I gave birth to her, but that I did give birth to her. I did it. 

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The recovery in the hospital was rough. I wasn’t able to do much. I felt like all she did was nurse and I never slept because I had to watch her and make sure she was still breathing, like all new moms do right? Daniel had to change all of her diapers – I remember him telling me he wouldn’t ever change diapers. Ha. If you’ve had a c-section you know you don’t want to laugh – it’s like your incision will open right back up if you do. {Side note, I’m going to invent a stick that moms can use in the hospital when their husbands fall asleep in a deep sleep, called “You Better Wake Your Ass Up and Take This Baby – Slapping Stick”. Throwing ice chips and shoes did not work.}

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We were in the hospital for two nights and then we were released to go home. I remember Daniel and I thinking, so the nurses are just going to let us go home… alone with this baby? They’ve been helping us this whole time. They trust us with her? Please, please, come home with us.

I’d say we’ve done a pretty great job so far. Adventurous, spirited, loving, gracious, independent, confident, sassy, girly and frilly, tomboy-ish, rambunctious, silly, cute, funny, and big sister are just a few words that describe our little first-born, Tarzan baby.

To the girl that made me a mommy, thank you for giving me my purpose in this world.  I will continue to try to be the very best I can for you, and now your brother too. Your daddy and I are so proud and blessed you are ours. 

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Why the name Kapri? Way back in high school my very best friend, who is now Kapri’s godmother, did a dance solo to the song by Colbie Caillet called ‘Capri’. That’s when I fell in love with the name. When I told Daniel what I wanted to name her, he agreed it was perfect, and it truly is. She’s our angel. I changed the first letter to a K to match mine. 

 

 

 

Oreo Balls

I have decided to share one of my most well-loved recipes. Oreo Balls.  I will warn you now, you can not eat just one.

I have been making Oreo Balls for years now. It has to be the easiest, crowd-pleasing dessert recipe I have. Wherever you take it, or if you keep it for yourself, it will be gone within minutes. This is the first recipe I’m posting on my blog so I’m hoping it translates and makes sense to you!

 

OREO BALLS

Makes approximately 2 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of Oreos
  • 1 pack of cream cheese (8 oz)
  • Vanilla Coating (16 oz)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

Directions:

  1. Smash Oreos into crumbs.
  2. Mix cream cheese and Oreo crumbs together.
  3. Roll into 1 inch balls (or however big or small you prefer).
  4. Place into refrigerator for 1 hour to cool (this helps when you dip them into the vanilla coating so they don’t fall apart).
  5. Cover with vanilla coating and sprinkles.
  6. Refrigerate (optional).
  7. Enjoy!

 

Here is the recipe in pictures!

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Only three ingredients! Yay!

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I like to put the Oreos in a plastic bag and then use a rolling pin to crush them.

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Mix crumbs and cream cheese together.

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Roll into balls and then refrigerate.

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Make sure to follow the warm-up directions on the vanilla coating package. I use a fork to dip them. It’s not professional looking by any means, but it works for me.

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Let the excess coating drip off.

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Sprinkles are optional, but I like the crunch it gives! Kapri LOVES doing the sprinkles.

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There you go! Oreo balls! Enjoy!

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Try not to drool!

 

 

Chicken Littles

My husband has a new obsession: chickens.

We recently got four baby chicks as a Easter gift from my brother, and boy have these little chicks made their way into my husband’s heart. Every day he gets home he goes straight to those chickens – if he were to change diapers like the way he cleans out the chicken box, our kids would have pristine cheeks.

Meet his little girls:

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Duckey – It only makes sense to name a chicken, Duckey, am I right? She’s the diva of the group. I mean, just look at that head turn!

Smokey – This one is his favorite. She can do no wrong. #daddysgirl

Rango – She’s the crazy one, always trying to fly out and what  not. The rebel. She will be the teenager that causes her daddy a lot of stress. Hmm… kinda like Kapri. Uh-oh.

Arlo – The shy and quiet one, pretending shes inconspicuous so Kaprizilla doesn’t try to pick her up. (Her name comes from the Good Dinosaur, one of our fave movies.)

Yes, I totally gave them all personifications.

He spends countless hours researching about his little pride and joys, and the type of chicken coop he wants to build. When the kids are both asleep you would think he would help clean up or cuddle up on the couch, no.  As you can see him pictured below, he is watching YouTube videos about chicken coops while eating ice cream, of course. He has no idea I took this photo. Ha! 

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They are currently housed in a plastic tub, but he has big plans for them! I’m not sure if you’ve heard of Chip and Joanna Gaines, our bff’s, but they recently aired an episode where they built a garden with a chicken run around it. Well people, that’s what we are going to do. Except this is all about the chickens, I’m just lucky enough for a few square feet for my garden.

He cleared out the spot where it’s all going to go. Working hard. Looking all rugged. Making his little chicks proud.

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His plan is to build the entire coop and garden boxes out of salvaged wood. We love us some reclaimed wood!

We don’t have much time before the little chickens aren’t so little anymore so wish us luck, and stay tuned for the finished product in a few weeks!

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Ezra Duke’s Birth Story

How does the saying go? “When you make plans, God laughs,”.. yea that seems about right. God definitely showed us who was in charge, Him.

I had a normal pregnancy I would say. I was pretty nauseous in the beginning and always exhausted trying to keep up with a toddler, but other than that I felt fine. My due date was January 11, and I had a scheduled c-section for January 4, 2018. My first delivery was by c-section (stay tuned for Kapri’s birth story) so I knew that was how I was going to deliver this Mexican Vanilla too. I was totally going to be all cute and wear makeup this time though, and do my hair in braids so I looked good in the pictures. It was all planned out. I had time.

All was going well. I only had two more weeks of school and then I was off for Christmas Break. We didn’t have much ready for the baby, but I still had time. I had all of Christmas Break to get things ready. <Cue God chuckling.> Then we started to notice something was off with Kapri. She was pooping WHITE. Ummm.. what the heck is going on? She started to scream bloody murder anytime she tried to use the restroom, it was heartbreaking. We talked to the doctor and she said give it a few days and see if it continues. A few days passed, she was still miserable, and I came down with what I think was the flu. And then the contractions came. Just Braxton Hicks, right?

Then Monday came. We were told that if Kapri was still pooping white and screaming all the time, to take her to the ER to check her liver. Ok. Daniel and I worked it out and we would take her in the afternoon. I went to work. A few minutes at morning duty and I noticed something was definitely off. It wasn’t my flu symptoms, it was something else. Uhhhh. I’m pretty sure my water just broke. I hustle to my classroom and grab my phone to call Daniel. He didn’t answer. Ohhh helllll nooo. You better pick up your phone, NOWWWW!!! He did.  (Want to guess what he was doing? Working out. <Insert eye rolling emoji here.> )

We drove to the hospital.

We came to the conclusion in the truck that they would probably just send me home or put me on bed rest.  We decided to have our moms bring Kapri so we could just take her to the ER at the same hospital and get all of her stuff situated once I was done getting checked out.

I walk into labor and delivery ready for them to tell me to take it easy the next few weeks. They hook me up to the monitors and then I got swabbed. The nurse said, “yep, it’s amniotic fluid.” And Daniel looked at her (bless his heart) and asked, “So what does that mean?” The nurse replied in a super peppy voice, “You’re having your baby today!!!” <Did you hear that? Yep. That is God belly laughing at my original plans.> 

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Daniel and I turned to each other in disbelief.  We had NOTHING ready. No hospital bags. No washed baby clothes. No NAME for this baby.  Nothing. So as my baby girl was in the ER getting blood drawn and x-rays done, I was being wheeled into the operating room. Is my baby girl going to be OK? Is this baby still inside me going to be OK?  This was NOT how it was ‘supposed’ to go… according to MY plans.

As I was laying there on the operating table, losing all the feeling I had in my legs, I felt this strength come over me. Ok. This is HIS plan. I need to trust HIS plan.

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On December 18, 2017 at 12:43 p.m. (4 weeks early), Ezra Duke cried for the first time. The tears rolled down my face. He was here. This beautiful and perfect, 20 inch, 6 lbs and 13 ounces of Mexican Vanilla was here. A healthy boy.

There was no stay in the NICU for being a late pre-term baby, Kapri’s tests and x-rays came back normal, all was good! It was just a bad case of constipation. Thank you Jesus! She went home with my mom that night while we stayed at the hospital.

Then a fever hit Kapri.  It’s probably just a side-effect of the constipation. Nope. It was the FLU. The doctor didn’t want her anywhere near the baby. We just became a family of four, we are supposed to all be together! Oh and Ezra was losing too much weight (late pre-term babies sleep all the time and never want to wake up to eat, I thought I just had an easy baby!). I broke down. Why is this happening all at once? And it’s Christmas time!

It was hard. I cried A LOT. This was a trying time for our little Mexican Vanilla family.  I felt guilty, sad, stressed…how did she get the flu? Was it from me?  Why does she still have a fever, it’s been 4 days already? She’s been at my parents for a week, when can she come home?  Why did my body go into labor early? Did I fail my baby boy?  What if he catches the flu? He’s still too little! I remember Daniel holding me while I cried. Never showing his stress or how worried he was. He was truly my rock, our rock.

This too shall pass… and it did. We got through it. As God intended.

In Hebrew the meaning of the name Ezra is: Help, helper. Thank you, Ezra, for helping to make our family stronger and reminding us how powerful God is, his love for us, and our love for each other.

Kapri held her baby brother for the first time, almost 2 weeks after he was born.

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The Beginning of Mexican Vanilla

Mex VanillaHey ya’ll, this is my first official blog post. Eeek, I’m nervous. I’m trying really hard to be grammatically correct, but also trying to add in my sense of humor and my everyday slang. Bear with me.

Why Mexican Vanilla you ask? Well, well, well, let’s take it back to the year two thousand and ten. You see, my then boyfriend and now husband – Daniel – and I decided we wanted some ice cream. We stumbled into the little ice cream shop called Amy’s Ice Cream. As we were salivating at the mouth trying to figure out what we wanted, we noticed a flavor called ‘Mexican Vanilla’. We had to try it and as fate prevailed, it became our FAVORITE flavor. We mixed it with crushed Oreos and strawberries. Go TRY IT, you will not be disappointed.

And then I realized,  “OMG, this is totally us. You are the Mexican and I am the Vanilla! Get it?” <Cue the light bulb in my head and Daniel rolling his eyes because he got it way before me.>

A few years down the line and many scoops of Mexican Vanilla ice cream later, we had our first Mexican Vanilla baby, a girl, Kapri. We couldn’t stop at just one and last December we welcomed our second Mexican Vanilla baby, a boy, Ezra.  Both the perfect mix of us.

So now here we are. Our little family. A little bit of Mexican, a little bit of Vanilla – a true (and literal) reflection of us. I’m excited to document our lives and adventures as a Mexican Vanilla family. Welcome to our sweet life. Grab some Oreos and strawberries and enjoy yourself.