Our first trip to Paris! Summer 2016

I wanted to share a beautiful trip my family and I took to Paris, France this past summer 2016. It was such a wonderful experience to get to share the magic of the City of Light with my tribe. For years, I have been watching french cinema, studied some french in school and just plain liked croissants so much. Oh, their sense of fashion of course!  There is a reason why so many people love it. It's  a gorgeous place with a culture of beauty and quality living. As a family, we were so glad we took the plunge, and decided to visit this amazing city.

We were happy campers just strolling around town, discovering the intricate buildings, restaurants and gardens. I still have flashes of our travels deep ingrained in the bank of my memory. We did a certain amount of research before going but the places and spaces we ended up going to, were all more of a gut instinct for us and I'm happy to report that it worked!! 

I remember our tickle fights at the hotel room, the carbonara pastas dishes (too good to pass on!), the sparkling water that became our new drink of preference, the kids meeting Eiffel the Tower for the first time, all those crepes everywhere!!, the astonishing paintings at the Louvre, the jaw dropping architecture, the good taste and fashion of the majority of people and so the list goes on and on. Below some pictures of our trip:

There were so many moments that I will forever treasure. One of my favorite memories happened at The Louvre when the kids told me they wanted to make art just like that. "Can we make that at home?'" Of course! I replied. The fact that they are curious and that they want to make their own art is very encouraging to me. We lasted in the museum a couple of hours so Mark Walter and I really appreciated their stamina. 

The weather was quite hot but it didn't feel overbearing at all, probably because of your charm Paris!

Details, details, details and flowers everywhere!

This room at the hotel we stayed at, so pretty.

photo credit: Mark Jacinto Kropf

a kid pondering.

guapísimo!!!

 At the Arc De Triomphe.

At the Arc De Triomphe.

Paris had the most beautiful little restaurants, mom and pop shops and boutiques. I cannot imagine how much they have had to fight to keep it that way. Their social life of friends and families just hanging our during the workweek reminded me to my country of birth, Ecuador. People place a high value on relationships. 

The most delicious carbonara pasta I have ever tried in my life.

a shopping mall in Paris.

a memorable smoked salmon crepe:-)

Hi, Eiffel!

The kiddos and I.

Our family.

Ok, so the last bit of our Eiffel tower family photoshoot took quite a bit of effort because it got extremely hot and we didn't have plenty of time left in Paris. Thankfully the kids were helpful after mentioning the word ice cream.

Mi Mark Walter y yo.

Mi niño.

Mi niña. Thanks to grandma Kropf for a beautiful dress and red shoes that Dominika loved instantly. She wanted to wear it the entire time!!

One of the most rewarding things to experience as a family is growing together. Because of living together and spending a big chunk of our time in each other's company one gets to see the flaws, the gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses. But recognizing our humanity and condition and still choosing to love, nurture and encourage each other is very much worth the journey. So grateful for what God has done in me through the adventure of raising my family and for what He will do.

Thanks for reading!

Our first trip to London! Summer 2016

This Summer 2016 was a blast. A real dream come true for our little family of four to travel abroad together. We set our sights towards Europe, and had the opportunity to visit London as our first destination. 

London was more of a comfort thing for us because my hubby has lived there before and so he knew his way around. I could tell it was a very special thing for him to show his family a dear place where he has build many memories before. The kids were enchanted, and so was I. I knew from our domestic travel in the United States that they were pretty good travelers but they really did impress me. These kids love airplanes and hotels and the whole shebang. They get a kick out of the airplane food, getting to interact with the flight attendants and seeing what new hotel they get to stay at. 

Sometimes I do get a little shy to share this kind of observations because I know that that is not always the case with kids, and I definitely do not take it for granted. Still, I want to be able to share this blessings because it was an important part of our travel and my memory of it. 

The first evening there, it was all about going around Piccadilly Circus(London's equivalent of Time Square) and just walking around exploring the city. Visual flashes of seeing Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and the M & M store swirl in my mind. Also, the wonderful carbonara pasta we tried at an Italian restaurant. By the time we went back to the hotel, we were exhausted. I put everyone to bed, husband included, and lights off.

Next day, we started our journey surprisingly early but by mid afternoon we realized it wasn't a good idea to push the boundaries of what our strong little girl could handle. She was just not feeling well and we needed to get back to the hotel for her to rest and take a nap. I think after that incident,  we understood that a mid afternoon break was what was going to work best for us. A mid afternoon break bought us extra hours at night as well, I don't know but it settled well with her rhythms. 

At this point, all I have is emotional impressions of what my travel was. That's why I love to document and blog as much as I can of my family's memories. The longer I wait, the more the details fade. Anyways, all of my pictures here were taken with my dslr camera. I have a significant amount of iphone pictures as well, but for now this:

We met up with Bonnie or Bonifacio how some call him. One of my hubby's best friends. Bonnie was a darling, showing us around London specially some non touristic things like a Brazilian mom and pop corner restaurant with delicious feijoada. He showed us around his home and even let us do laundry. We stayed in London a little over a week and since we traveled light ( a carry on for each person for almost two weeks!), we needed it.

He was also responsible for taking the kids to the movie theater so Mark and I could have a special anniversary dinner together. Bonnie, if you read this thank you, thank you!!!

Family pictures are one of my favorite things ever!

Throughout our stay in London, we visited Borough Market and Camden Market which was amazing. It was not only the food that impressed me but also the goods they sold. The jewelry, clothing and crafts was pretty unique. It's hard to find truly unique things nowadays, thanks globalization! 

Oh, my sweatheart, you are truly growing fast!

I don't know if the photo does it justice but the falafel was amazing.

Dishoom was my very favorite in London. What a unique experience and it was huge too! Indian cafe style cuisine with a twist. This restaurant was a fantastic marriage of delicious food mixed with evocative decor. The walls were full of vintage India magazine pictures and it just took you to a different place. I love that ambiance can do that for you. All I can say it was an intriguing and different experience and I like different.

On this particular day, we went out for brunch and right afterwards we waited a bit to see a theatrical performance of the Railway Children with a real train inside and all. Kid's were super excited. 

They did enjoy dressing up:)

Thanks for the photo Marky!

Mark Jacinto has this strange and endearing thing were he giggles a lot when he snaps pictures. He feels flattered when we trust him with the big camera. I don't know what else is going on in his head but he just giggles a lot. At home, he likes to borrow my iphone and make videos and take pictures of food and body parts like elbows and hands. It's pretty cute and pretty artistic the way they come out!

Papá e hijo.

I was taken by the history of the place were my feet got to walk in. I was smitten by the detail in the architectural works of the city. But most of all, I was happy to be experiencing all of that with my family.

Next, we decided to take the train to Paris. Thanks for reading!

Our trip to Ecuador

We packed our bags and woke up super early to catch a morning flight. I can still recall the kid's excitement when we told them we were going to Ecuador to visit abuelo Jacinto and the entire family there. It has been too long since our last trip to my native country of Ecuador.

It was a very emotional moment when the kids first saw their great grandparents and family members. We were welcomed with balloons, big smiles, hugs and kisses (very much latino style). The kids were enjoying all the extra attention, "aw, that's so nice I like my balloon! Is that for me?!" Mark Jacinto exclaimed. Dominika was taking a few minutes to warm up to the new crowd.

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It was a very special encounter when Mark Jacinto met his grandfather Jacinto. I named my son after my superhero grandfather, who was really a father to me. I cannot thank him enough for all of his love and support growing up.

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We arrived at night, hugged a million times, chatted a lot,  shared some gifts and went to bed from a long day of travel. Our hearts  were full!

 My grandmother Carmen and I. She is my princess, we share so many things in common!! Including birthday!!

My grandmother Carmen and I. She is my princess, we share so many things in common!! Including birthday!!

So pretty much the best guayaco breakfast ever El Café de Tere in Guayaquil, Ecuador. My favorite thing to eat and drink there are the bolones and freshly squeezed juice. Everything there is absolutely delicious with a home sort of taste. A very popular dish there is the plantain based dish called Tigrillo. 

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It felt so special eating as a family and reminiscing over funny stories. My grandma and mother laugh a lot; they always find something to laugh about. It was great seeing my uncle and my beloved brother.

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Satisfied tummies ready for adventure. This kind of breakfast really sets you up for a great day, no matter what comes your way (or so it feels).

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We had many beautiful moments together as a family. My husband Mark Walter, the coffee lover, found this awesome coffee shop called Ludica in Guayaquil; the only place at the moment where you can get superb quality drip coffee. Needless to say, we were there a couple times. 

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I thought this photo above was so especial, we get to live in such a wonderful place: Brooklyn, New York. 

 Reading to Michael Junior, we miss him so much. He's such a beautiful and bright child. God bless him.

Reading to Michael Junior, we miss him so much. He's such a beautiful and bright child. God bless him.

 Best pumpkin spice latte ever. Ever. 

Best pumpkin spice latte ever. Ever. 

One of the places we explored was a vegan place with all natural and whole organic ingredients. The name of the place is Camellias.

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So when Mark Walter and I met for the first time, he was with his good buddy Cesar Andres. I remember those days of immaturity and and just plain naiveté; it was 10 years ago!!! He has a girlfriend now, she's such a nice woman we had some pretty rad conversations about business and domestic manufacturing of products. I didn't know all the amazing details that go into grocery store chains nationwide.

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My brother with Mark Jacinto; they melt my heart. The desserts there tasted great while at the same time being good for you. It was a win win.

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A little someone enjoyed a little much ;-)

He wanted to take them all home so grandma and grandpa can taste it, haha.

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I got to have a little sewing lesson. Over the years I have made Dominika some garments and have sown some clothing for myself. I'm very interested in learning about the art and thought why not learn a little technique here. Lolita, the lady that made my wedding dress is an absolute master. The woman is seriously gifted, so gifted in fact, that didn't need any special tools to make a pattern. With a tiny ruler she worked her magic.

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Endearing to me indeed was when Mark Jacinto helped grandmother Carmen make freshly squeezed juice. He was so excited to help! I felt so proud of him for wanting to help anytime he could. Needless to say, he made it through the entire batch of oranges. Great job son!

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The objective of our trip was to bond and be close to each other. We ate parrillada together.

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Took Dominika and Mark to Riocentro to a little children's museum, so fun!

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The boys went to mini golf and Dominika gave us a private concert at the museum.

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We shared many wonderful moments together. I think grandfather really liked the coffee because he asked for a business card. I suggested it would be a good place to meet with clients( he's an amazing entrepreneur and many more things)

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Ludica had pies, cookies and specialty quiches that were oh so good. I still remember;-)

 Abuela carmen and Dominika.

Abuela carmen and Dominika.

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But my favorite memories hands down were right at the home. When the kids danced with their little cousin, when they played and ate together; the little things you know.

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Also, in my opinion nothing beats grandma's homemade cooking. Her rendition of Ecuadorean food is brilliant.

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El Español has a soft spot in my heart because when papi and I were dating, we used to go there a lot. There was one close by the music school I attended  and their imported cheeses are so delicious.

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Ok, so do you spot the elder gentleman on the right? He randomly came up to me and sang Opera, told me about his wonderful adventures in Italy with Pavarotti and his long career as a tenor. This world can be so random sometimes, he was a character for sure.

 A sweet spot we found for the kids to paint in a local mall.

A sweet spot we found for the kids to paint in a local mall.

Bolones and bistec de hígado. A staple growing up along with fresh juice. 

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My mom got the kids craft supplies and started making little play dough sculptures with them, that meant so much! The kids really enjoyed it.

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Sorbetto has a great tiramisu gelato that my hubby is such a fan of, we took the entire family after dinner.

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Ludica again ;-)

 guapo!

guapo!

 My mommy and I, such sweet times. 

My mommy and I, such sweet times. 

When I'm around family and very close friends I get giddy and spontaneity takes over me. I asked the barista for a chance to make the coffee myself and he said yes.

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We took the kids to a kidz zone kind of like a chuck a cheese, I dont know if I enjoyed my family's facial expressions or the kids.

 Ceviche de camarón, fried plaintain chips and fresh orange juice, oh yes!

Ceviche de camarón, fried plaintain chips and fresh orange juice, oh yes!

Grandfather had fallen totally in love with Dominika, his face says it all I think. I treasure this.

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 We had so many amazing meals there, above Llapingacho one of my childhood favorites. Mark Jacinto loved the veggie soup.

We had so many amazing meals there, above Llapingacho one of my childhood favorites. Mark Jacinto loved the veggie soup.

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We went bowling, needless to say Mark jacinto was very much into it. I think he got that from the Kropf side;-)

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When she is with her daddy, she transforms. She cannot help herself but be goofy and spontaneous. I get you Dominika, the guy is pretty charming.

 Grandpa brought us fresh coconuts. I think Dominika was astounded to see were coconut water comes from.

Grandpa brought us fresh coconuts. I think Dominika was astounded to see were coconut water comes from.

I have so many pictures that I might share in the future but for now I just wanted to post these special memories in Ecuador together. Dominika dazzled everyone with her fluent Spanish while Mark Jacinto impressed with his awesome manners. They adapted so well and so fast to the culture that my family was astounded. We had so much fun getting to enjoy this precious time with my family there. 

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Grateful.

New York City: Some Brooklyn, some Manhattan

I found this pictures that warmed my heart as I scrolled through them. Adventures with my family wherever that is, is always endearing to me. On that particular day of December, we wanted to check out a part of New York city that I have never been to,  but that I have heard lots of good things about: Brooklyn! 

I mean I know Madewell makes cool t-shirts and sweaters with the name Brooklyn on it, lots of really creative businesses come out of there, as well as having a home run record for artists and musicians that live there. Mark Walter mentioned that I would love the food there and he knows me so well, he was spot on.

We woke up relatively early for a vacation, grabbed some good coffee and pastries for breakfast and headed to Park Slope, Brooklyn. Such a beautiful neighborhood indeed. The vibe of Brooklyn was a beautiful marriage of urban living and nature. Was it the gorgeous brownstone houses? Was it the parks? Who knows. All I know is that, I left with a sense that Brooklyn is a great place to live; as many other places in New York city really. 

 the market at union square

the market at union square

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 Oh, hello Prospect Park!

Oh, hello Prospect Park!

I find it very thrilling to experience new places with my family. Back in my single lady years, exploring the new was always fun but now I can say is way more fun!

Kids have a way to bring freshness to everything, and yes yes there are the occasional tantrums too; but oh well tell me something new!

My kids are getting to a fun age were they are pretty independent; I specially love watching them take initiative. It makes a mama happy.

Morning faces^.^

They love to figure out maps, that they didn't get from me;-)

We walked around Prospect Park, which was designed by the same guys that built Central Park, pretty cool! There were lots of people outside, it had the same city feeling but much more calm. 

I read some nice reviews about the Barnes and Noble on 7th avenue. I gotta say that, in general, book stores in New York City are pretty awesome. We were there a good hour, it was a bit chilly outside. 

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Brownstones are so cool! My brain kept spinning with all the possible stories that must have come from the people that have lived in them; so much history for sure!

We headed to a nice tapas restaurant on 5th avenue called Juventino. You know with Mark Walter we visit a tapas restaurant pretty often.

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I had to take a picture of the most amazing meatballs my mouth has ever had the privilege of tatsing. Wow! it had like 5 different types of meat, I can't remember what all they were but so so good. The decor of the restaurant was very artistic, which I appretiated.

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So as in any good restaurant, they always offer crayons and paper or something to keep the kids occupied while waiting for their food. Well, Mark Jacinto drew this awesome cartoon-like story of what Dominika did to him that morning. Oh, men! Is so hard not to laugh with these kids!! They are so funny and silly to me. I find it quite a challenge to juggle enjoying them(which i do very much) and disciplining them. There is definitely a fine line there. I'm the parent first!

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After our knockout meal, we went to a very creative store called the Superhero store. They had a kid's cape section a book section and more. 

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I bought and awesome book there about writing and composition with some very out of the box ideas! Afterwards, we decided to head to the hotel since it was getting quite dark.

Next day, we had brunch at Boquería in Midtown Manhattan. Ok, I didn't think i would like it but was so wrong. Top 5 best brunch of the year; I keep record of these stuff you know;-)

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We went to Rockefeller Square; everything feels so grand in Manhattan. I loved going back to a place that had a romantic connotation for me, since Mark Walter surprised me with a romantic getaway weekend trip almost a decade ago. It has been over a decade of marriage already, can't believe how fast time goes!! I love my baby!

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Finally, we made it! December in Manhattan was quite crowded but we managed to have fun and earn our little spot for a quick family selfie.

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Such a beautiful place, so much history behind it! I have a surprise for you on my next post...

Keep reading

Chelsea: Highline + Market

Hi!

Meanwhile some family members played a new card game, I decided to write this post. Going to Chelsea for the first time and walking along the Highline was pretty special. Last time I visited New York City ,I was five months pregnant with Mark Jacinto. It's amazing how fast time goes!

Dominika fell asleep as soon as we got to the Highline, so Mark Jacinto and I got to have a little bit of a date. We had fun snapping pictures of anything and everything such as wall murals, buildings, leaves, flowers and people.

It was an amazing feeling to visit the Highline for the first time with my two children and just getting to explore and enjoy it. Pictures below.

My giggly guy

He was specially charming that day^.^ 

Is never a dull day with my kids.

Ok, so Mark Jacinto plays director sometimes and he had fun telling me what poses to make( like the one above). He literally says: " Mom, do like this( while showing me the pose)".

He, for some reason, enjoyed taking pictures of me and giggled like crazy throughout the process. 

Right before this, he got a haircut by a guy that was warm and generous enough to give him a puppet ring. How cute is that! 

A chopped head picture proof my son's amateur but delightful efforts. 

She was out. ZZzz..

The place was so beautiful. A landscape, a beautiful cross between the urban and natural. The new buildings that surround the Chelsea Highline add to the overall beauty and uniqueness of this place.

Where are you heading my darling?

The afternoon sun had started to say good bye and it was time for a snack anyway, so with a heart full we headed to the Chelsea Market.

The Venezuelan woman that attended L'Arte del gelato was a true sweetheart. Marky ended up picking a strawberry ice cream which I think is so cute that that's his favorite ice cream flavor^.^

Dominika picked the raspberry one and I a ice cream flavor that started with S and that tasted like a cross between tiramisu, butter pecan and chocolate; a delight for the senses!

Dominika is a girl after my own heart. She loves flowers, pearls, accesories, lipstick and all things girly. Naturally she headed to the flower shop.

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I have heard so much about Sarabeth's from other New Yorkers that i had to try it. Let's just say that the experience wasn't extraordinary.

My favorite part probably was their bookstore. An wonderful selection of books, in particular children's books. We were there about an hour plus, the kids couldn't get enough! 

We ended up buying some really cute and unique toys for our cousins, until my husband came to see us.

Ay mi niña! She cracks me up sometimes with her personality. Full of zest, full 0f cheekiness, full of zeal.

We four headed out to Artichoke's Basille Pizza, seriously good and highly recommended for Chelsea visitors. 

My boys<3

The place was lovely and with a wonderful view of the Highline. I think Chelsea is now among my top 5 favorite neighborhoods in Manhattan.

See you soon!

On our way to Central Park Zoo

Hi there! 

I can't sleep due to a cold and runny nose so I'm stopping by to write this post and share some pics from our way to the Central Park zoo last week. 

 Their favorite Disney characters as of now^.^

Their favorite Disney characters as of now^.^

 love these huge Christmas lights!

love these huge Christmas lights!

The day started with us getting lost! My morning brain must have been foggy because I intended to go uptown and ended up downtown in Soho, lol!  

Honestly, I'm thankful for my patient children. Once in a while I know I'll end up lost somewhere and find my way back.  

Anyways, one thing I did learn and I'm very grateful for it: New Yorkers are very nice!!! 

One grace after another, people pointing me in the right direction, offering to help carry my stroller, buying the kids treats. I couldn't have been more grateful! 

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 Mis chicos &lt;3&nbsp;

Mis chicos <3 

Finally we made it uptown closer to Central Park but as Paul the New Yorker said: "you guys should stop here, then the kids will get to see the lights and tons of Christmas stuff" 

This is how Paul, the stranger and I met at the subway.   I approached him and asked: "sir, are you a New Yorker?" Paul: "no one has ever asked me that but I like it, yes I am!" (proud with a smile)

Paul made sure we got off at the right stop, carry our stroller upstairs and waved good bye with a smile while blessing my children. I felt so welcomed in this city!! Thank you, Lord!!! 

 Got a dry leaf and played with it for a few blocks

Got a dry leaf and played with it for a few blocks

I stopped by a Starbucks for a hot drink and some snacks for the kids. The picture below shows them at their best behavior, quite and eating their snacks.  

Motherhood is full of these sort of juxtaposed moments. At this time they were completely well behaved and a few blocks later I was having a hard time convincing Dominika that when the white man in the light shows up, you should keep walking! We were crossing the street!

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The kids were anxious to get to the Zoo, they were waiting for that grand moment. We all enjoyed getting to Central Park surrounded by the skyscrapers, beautiful horses, lovely weather and colorful people. 

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I say beautiful weather because though it was a bit gloomy, the air was so crisp and perfect.  

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Papi was taking care of business so we met later that day but in the meantime I had my photographer in tow, my five year old Mark Jacinto:-)

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Once we got to the zoo, we all did a sigh of relief that we have made it to our intended destination.

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Mark Jacinto and Dominika were seriously captivated by the animals. Dominika's face lighted up while feeding the llama and sheep; I can't forget the beautiful expression on her face! 

 Bro &amp; sis

Bro & sis

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My little girl really enjoyed the petting zoo. It as so endearing watching her so full of joy<3 it was giggles😍

 She could have stayed there the entire day!

She could have stayed there the entire day!

 Look at that beauty, thanks for posing sweety! 

Look at that beauty, thanks for posing sweety! 

 Mark Jacinto was delighted.

Mark Jacinto was delighted.

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The entire zoo can be toured in about an hour or so. By the end of our zoo visit it was time for the sea lion show! So cute you guys. It's  definitely a must! 

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Afterwards, my friend Joy from west side to west side blog, hosted us at her beautiful apartment in the upper west side. She so kindly had food waiting for us, cookies and all! So grateful for awesome friends. Mark Jacinto and bebé Cash hit it off right away. Dominika woke up a bit later while napping in her stroller. It was so nice to see Joy and baby and to have had that cozy brake in our day.  

I hope you are keeping warm and surrounded by loved ones this holiday! 

Grateful

Museum of Natural History plus some more!

One of the days of our family vacation in New York was very rainy. We all got wet head to toe. It was the perfect day to visit the museum of natural history located at the Upper West Side. We were so excited to explore it! 

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We started our day with awesome donuts and milk at Dough in Flatiron. Seriously good, I wanted to have breakfast there everyday!

 "Cinto let's goooo!" &nbsp;

"Cinto let's goooo!"  

The kids were very stimulated and excited about the museum. We started our exploration on the 4th floor, which proved to be their favorite of all. 

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Dinosaurs, bones and showing how things have evolved over the past hundreds of years really fascinated Mark Jacinto and Dominika.  

 A quick little selfie of the kiddos and I

A quick little selfie of the kiddos and I

 Dominika's favorite animal currently  

Dominika's favorite animal currently  

We missed Papi since he was getting some things done at the office before the big holiday brake! 

 They warm my heart😍

They warm my heart😍

We spent hours at this place! 

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It was lunch time and headed out to the nearby shake shake that was right behind the museum! 

 Rainy day

Rainy day

The museum lets you come back if you want to head out and return. Shake shack was packed but the kids were great and had the patience to endure the long line. It was worth it.

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A kind stranger, Daniel from Portugal, shared his table with us. How nice!!!

Mark Jacinto pretended that the museum was "his office" he said that he will be the teacher and show us around his offices, haha. This kid cracks me up!

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I loved the pictured above! Eucharisteo, I aspire to a lifestyle of continual thanksgiving no matter the circumstances. 

 

 

 My Minnie and I&lt;3

My Minnie and I<3

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The kids and their curiosity, I'm constantly inspired by them. 

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Lots of great exhibitions .going on at every floor

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My personal favorite was the Central America and South America exhibitions showcasing their folkloric instruments and overall history. I love South American folklore music!

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 Wooooah mom!

Wooooah mom!

Check this tree out! It's all origami handmade decorations. It's giving me lots of ideas for the coming year since my family loves origami:-)

 Look at the details, enamoured^.^

Look at the details, enamoured^.^

 Lincoln Center, I'm coming back! 

Lincoln Center, I'm coming back! 

We walked from the upper west side to almost midtown and checked out this cultural jewels on our way! 

 Times Square

Times Square

Mark Jacinto asked: " mom, why are there so many tv's here?" I asked him what he thought of Times Square and he said: "it's just something else" hehe. 

 The best spaghetti I have ever tried

The best spaghetti I have ever tried

 

A day in New York is an intense day and even if you use uber and the train you end up walking a ton like we did. We were spent and ended up ordering room service at the W hotel,  Union Square. After a delicious dinner we were ready for bed because our bodies needed it.

Grateful for a beautiful time in New York full of kind people that made us feel welcomed in the big apple. So fun! 

Santa Monica Beach at the Pier

We are home now and after a crazy hot San Francisco summer day, I'm done with the heat...for a couple of days;-) I wanted to share some photos from our day at Santa Monica Beach. 

We started our day with a power breakfast of course. I took a picture of my goat cheese, roasted tomatoes and avocado omelette since it made me so happy, so good you guys. I don't want to sound all about external things, but when it comes to food, a nice healthy nutrient rich breakfast makes me feel like a champion. Mothering is my race. Wink.

The kids were allowed to have blueberry pancakes pretty much everyday, they were in heaven! Chris, Taty's husband, had just joined us the night before, so it was pretty special to have him over. The kids love him and it's always heart warming for me to see family members pouring on them. 

It was such a beautiful day, sunny and bright but not overwhelmingly hot. The smell of the ocean always relaxes the heart and makes your lungs expand a little extra inch. The people at the pier with their easy going demeanor added to that relaxation. Dominika stayed in the stroller nice and quite for a bit, allowing me to take it all in. 

Mark Jacinto and papi went inside a place full of games, I couldn't tell who was happier father or son. After a while, I got a little exasperated thinking there's this great beach in front of us, let's get to it! But then Chris pointed out how much of a blast they were having and that they were running out of tokens anyhow, haha. This just reminded me about the concept of love, of family and friendship. I mean, we want everyone in our tribe to have a good time, right? A big part of that is yielding to what others like, what makes them happy. I see it as a happy dance in which all the parties know they can trust they will eventually get their turn.  

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Since my sister was there, we went crazy taking pictures( we latinos like taking lots of  pictures!). I can't tell you how life giving was to see my sister and get to spend almost a week with her. Papi worked most days and spent his evenings with us. A certain little girl was getting a bit cranky and wanted to brake free and run to wherever she wanted to go. This two year old face is a time were discipline and clear rules are a must around here. It's specially hard when she looks at me with those darling brown eyes, but you gotta do what you gotta do. 

 

I love this picture of our family<3 Mark Jacinto and the boys were all about doing the rides so we headed there. A love for rides comes from Mark Jacinto's genes, his dad and his dad's dad love them too. 

After we were done there, we headed to the beach. Ah the beach!! 

I loved seeing my boy so happy making up stories and playing with the waves. Sometime, I would like to share his stories with you; they are pretty great.

My sweety Dominika was hesitant to get in the water but eventually warmed up to it. Her favorite thing was building "castles" on top of my legs. 

My sister took the picture above, I think it pretty much captures how I felt that day. We thought it was a good time to take a shot wearing my Bodee Dekor jewelry.

After the beach, we went to the Santa Monica promenade for a bite, light shopping, frozen yogurt and coffee. It was a pretty great day and I'm thankful for it.

Thanks for reading!

LA Zoo with auntie

Hola!  

We are in LA right now, visiting aunt Taty and having a great time. Sometimes you don't realize how much you miss someone until you see them again. It's been weeks since I last saw my sister and even though we talk often, nothing like spending time with her. 

 At the entrance of the LA Zoo

At the entrance of the LA Zoo

We went to the LA Zoo, the kids were so excited! Mark Jacinto has a guide complex were he likes to "show people" the places we visit. It's very very cute.

"Welcome to the Zoo, mom" and "what would you like to see? We have hippos and tigers and jelly fish!" This kid always makes the atmosphere so much fun!

We went to the Zoo right after lunch and it was crazy hot there!

 Tuna steak salad with caper berries. Yum!  

Tuna steak salad with caper berries. Yum!  

 With my sweety&lt;3

With my sweety<3

 My cutie putting her Barbie to nap

My cutie putting her Barbie to nap

Mark Jacinto and his map. "Hold on, I gotta check the map". That map became his anchor and suddenly he was another character; a guy that wanted to lead and be in charge. I let him lead in dosis, he's a kid still.  

 My soul sister and I^.^ 

My soul sister and I^.^ 

 The elephants mom! 

The elephants mom! 

 Auntie love  

Auntie love  

 Wearing Bodee Dekor jewelry  

Wearing Bodee Dekor jewelry  

 Dominika loved the giraffes  

Dominika loved the giraffes  

 Aunt Taty, Mark Jacinto and Dominika.  

Aunt Taty, Mark Jacinto and Dominika.  

They love their Taty and felt ignored for a bit, which is actually a good thing because it's healthy for the kids to have other people in their lives they feel comfortable with and trust. So grateful for our Tatiana and a lovely afternoon outing. 

 

Thanks for reading! 

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Our Disney World family vacation part 2

Mark 'Wally' and I

Hello friends! 

On the second day of our family vacation, it rained like crazy in the afternoon. You will think that will stop us, but what did we do instead? In good Kropf spirit we braved the rain and cold. Yes, it was cold in Florida( mostly early in the morning and at night) But he who dares gets rewarded because it was awesome! Wait, not the rain, but what we got in spite of it. Since there were few people there, we got into our target rides very quickly. We had dinner at Belle's Castle with no reservation and got to see the fireworks without the crowd. 

The next day, we headed to Animal Kingdom. The highlights were the Lion King show, African music, the safari and my private culinary awakening to Curry chicken ( I had an awesome dish there!)

The kids had the opportunity to meet more Disney characters and get autographs. Dominika was over the moon and back to meet Mickey and Minnie Mouse, they are actually the littles favorite characters. Every time she saw Minnie she pointed at them and would say something that sounded like: Mean, mean. She was so proud of herself for knowing who they were. 

 These&nbsp;two together melt my sappy heart.

These two together melt my sappy heart.

At the Lion King show, Mark Jacinto was chosen to meet the characters. He gave a high five to the guy.

African tambores^.^

Belle's Castle, amazing!

Disney parade/light show.

Fireworks! This was fun seeing the kid's faces light up.

10 years ago and still there; got it on our honeymoon.

Sorry grandpa, Dominika ate your turkey leg. Look at that face^.^

GRandma and Dominika

Papi's dream to take Mark Jacinto to this ride=)

Papi's girl.

Finally met Mickey Mouse!

It took a labyrinth to get to Mickey! 

A dream come true for all of us<3

Dominika & Auntie Michelle.

This photo makes me giggle. The love that he gives.

Buenas noches Magic Kingdom!

The Crystal palace was one of my favorite places to go because it reminded me of that time, almost 10 years or so ago, when we went there for our honeymoon. It reminded me of a silly couple, who were unsure if they could keep a plant alive or let alone a dog. Cheers to a decade of love, of growth, growing pains, joy, silliness and His love. I'm thankful for His love.

Our Disney World Family Vacation Part 1

Where do I start? Last week we had an amazing family vacation, it was truly a gift from above. It was a time to fill our cups back with family love and enjoy the happiest place on earth, as they call it. 

 This was Mark Jacinto's first autograph job:&nbsp;Chip &amp; Dale

This was Mark Jacinto's first autograph job: Chip & Dale

We left on a Saturday morning and came back on a Saturday afternoon, the following week. To be honest is still hard, as I'm typing this post, to shake off vacation mode! There are so many things that happened that I do not want to forget and that I would like to share with you guys. Things that my kids said, did and precious moments that will forever be engraved in the tablet of my heart(I'm feeling poetic this morning!)

I took well over 2,000 pics, and I was being conservative, hehe. It's not possible for me to share this experience in just one post so I have brake it in parts. 

Upon our arrival, we were picked up by the grandparents as Mark Walter and I usually call them( I don't particularly like calling them the in-laws because the word law makes me cringe ;-) Anyways, we headed to dinner in downtown disney at a new restaurant called T-Rex. The decor of the restaurant was impressive. We met with aunt Michelle and uncle Jason and some good friends of the family. 

Next morning, we woke up early(for a vacation, anyhow) because our itinerary and fast passes were waiting for us to soak in all the adventure. 

 Papi and Mark Jacinto heading to China

Papi and Mark Jacinto heading to China

 He is rocking this traditional Chinese hat.

He is rocking this traditional Chinese hat.

 Chinese acrobatics, these guys are talented!

Chinese acrobatics, these guys are talented!

 Dominika loved the cute marionettes.&nbsp;

Dominika loved the cute marionettes. 

 These girls were amazingly nimble!

These girls were amazingly nimble!

We spent our entire first day at Epcot and enjoyed every minute of it. Epcot is our ( Papi and my) favorite park. The kids enjoyed going to the aquarium, watching the Circle of Life, playing the piggy game, checking out the gorgeous architecture of each country and of course yummy food. Dessert in France and Hibachi in Japan were amongst the culinary highlights of our first day of vacation.

 Good night, Epcot!

Good night, Epcot!