That was Vanessa Villegas’ reaction after finding out what Ellen had in store for her family on “The Ellen Show.” Ellen invited the Villegas family to the show after a video featuring Vanessa’s daughter, Ellie, went viral. In the video, you see Ellie receiving a teddy bear for her birthday. Ellie is told to press a button on the teddy bear, which plays a voice recording of her father, David, a soldier who was in the middle of Army basic training in South Carolina. Ellie’s reaction is priceless.
After playing the video on the big screen, Ellen invited Vanessa and Ellie onto the stage, which was the first surprise — they had no idea they were going to appear on the show. Ellen then presented Vanessa and her daughter with a second surprise: David Villegas, Ellie’s father, appeared on the screen via satellite. In complete shock, Vanessa was brought to tears. Ellie couldn’t stop smiling. Ellen brought out a third surprise: a check for $25,000. The surprise brought both Vanessa and David to tears. They couldn’t thank Ellen enough. Just when the Villegas family thought the surprises were over, Ellen brought out a birthday gift for Ellie, a set of her favorite dolls, complete with accessories. At the end of that segment on the show, Vanessa was able to leave with the joy of seeing her husband and receiving a $25,000 check to help her family financially. Ellen comes through, again.
Unless you’re filthy rich, you probably know that being alive in the United States is going to cost you a pretty penny. You also know that getting married and having kids is expensive, which is why a lot of people are choosing to skip out on these traditional customs. How can we afford to do all these things we’re told to do if we still have college debt and live at home? It’s nearly impossible. Unless you get help. That’s what is so wonderful about raising money via crowdsourcing and having registries because it does truly take a village to help you settle into adulthood and parenthood.
Dockatot Deluxe+ Dock
One thing you can never do is leave your baby alone for a second. Not on the bed and not on the couch. This ultra-sweet sleeping area is called Dockatot Deluxe+ Dock and while it’s a little pricey (closer to $200), it’s very useful, portable, and comfortable.
Graco Pack ‘n Play Playard with Twins Bassinet
Twins are all the rage these days, but how can you manage both and your sanity? This crib takes care of them both! It comes with removable bassinets and they claim “is perfect for napping, making it easy to transition to a portable playpen” and comes with a quilted mattress pad which creates a comfortable nap space. It costs about $200 on Amazon, but it’s basically a two for one.
Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
All the presents don’t have to be for your baby, they can be for you too. If you don’t get proper sleep, you and everyone in your household will not be happy. This Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow is perfect for getting your body situated just right. Find it on Amazon for about $60.
Ergobaby Carrier, 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier
This baby carrier ($124) comes highly recommended because it’s so flexible and is made perfectly for those wiggly baby bodies. Here’s how one reviewer described it: “We bought this carrier for two big reasons. 1: I detest lugging around a car seat or maneuvering a stroller in public. 2: My husband and I are a tad paranoid about child-snatchers. When I bought it I figured I would be the one using it the most, but it ended up being my husband that primarily wears it (he thinks I’m too clumsy and is afraid I’ll trip and fall while wearing her) and he really likes it. From the times that I have used it, I can say it was definitely worth buying and I would buy it again in a heartbeat.”
There’s probably nothing you will need more than diapers. While you may want to go for the organic route, or for those super ambitious parents, the cloth route (good luck), you cannot go wrong with Pampers.
The main product that will cost you a ton of money is the stroller. You will have lots of cheaper options, but you want to go with a stroller that can be used in various ways and that can also grow along with your baby. But who will fork over almost $1000 for this ride? Your group of friends. Several of them can chip in for this much-needed gift.
Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib
One thing we love to do is travel. But a baby on hand can make that really difficult. Thanks to the Lotus Everywhere Travel Crib we can finally have some peace of mind that our baby will be comfortable and we won’t have to be lugging around a pack n’ play. It’s also fairly inexpensive, just $200.
Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag
Driving a minivan screams “I’m a parent!” so does the kind of diaper bag you stroll around with. This super cute Skip Hop Duo Signature Diaper Bag ($50 at Target) looks just like a backpack but it fits so much more. It’s also a perfect accessory to your stroller, which hangs on the handle.
Philips Avent 3pk Natural Baby Bottle 4oz
My mom always said, “when a baby is drinking from a bottle, you must be sure they’re not swallowing air.” Those kinds of retro bottles are thankfully a thing of the past. These new baby bottles are perfect at making sure your baby is only drinking fluids and also super easy for them to grasp on to.
Now that you know the presents you want, it’s time to choose a registry! Thankfully there are lots of options including Amazon, Target, Walmart and more.
Before Olga E. Custodio became the first Latina Air Force pilot, she faced a slew of rejections in life for being a Puerto Rican woman. Even though she was an enrolled college student at just 16 years old, her application to join ROTC was rejected because she was a woman. She always knew she wanted to become a pilot, and worked in aviation in any capacity she could–even in accounting for Puerto Rico’s International Airline. She applied to the U.S. Air force three times before she was accepted.
When she finally was accepted into the training program, Custodio’s father, a military vet, called the governor of Puerto Rico himself to tell him the news.
Olga E. Custodio’s family moved so often, she went to schools in Taiwan, Iran, and Paraguay.
Her father was a sergeant in the United States Army, which meant that Custodio grew up as a ‘military brat.’ The whole family would relocate as her father was assigned to different military stations around the world. “I started kindergarten and 1st grade in Taiwan,” Custodio told Fox News Latino. “From there we moved to New Jersey, followed by a move to Iran then Paraguay before my father retired. I saw the world before I was 15 years old. I liked the feeling of being in the air.”
Custodio was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and their family returned to the island when she was 15 years old. She graduated high school a year later.
She was immediately accepted into the University of Puerto Rico, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree at a young age. She applied to join the ROTC program at the University but was rejected for being a woman. Only men were admitted into the program at the time.
“Why aren’t the women leading?” Custodio asked herself at every job before entering the military.
She worked a lot of different jobs, and at every one of them, she told the Daily Mail, “I always saw men in the leadership roles. I asked myself: “Why aren’t the women leading? I could lead that!” She met her now-husband, Edward Custodio, and had two children.
Custodio applied to become an Air Force officer three times before she was accepted.
“When my daughter was three years old, I had all the DoD regulations available to me,” Custodio told Fox. “I knew the rules and applied to be an officer for the third time.” Custodio brought her husband and marched into the Headquarters for the Air Force Military Personnel Center to apply to the U.S. Air Force Officer Training School. She was accepted. There, she talked to a sergeant who asked her to name three career choices she would like to have for herself. “I told him I would be a pilot, a pilot and a pilot,” she told Fox.
It took her two years of training to become the first Latina to complete the U.S. Air Force military pilot training program.
She first had to complete the Flight Screening Pilot Officer Training program before she could enter the Officer Training School. There, she was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant. Finally, that qualified her for Undergraduate Pilot Training at Laughlin Air Force Base in Texas. A year later, she graduated, making her the first Latina to complete the U.S. Air Force military pilot training.
Her first assignment was also historic–she was the first female flight instructor at her base.
At that base, she trained others to fly the Northrop T-38 Talon, which is a two-seat supersonic jet trainer. Custodio was actually awarded an Aviation Safety Award during her time as an instructor after she safely landed a plane that had been compromised after a bird flew into the jet’s engine during bad weather.
Custodio served our country for 23 years and 10 months before retiring.
She retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in October 2003, after spending the bulk of her career teaching others how to be effective Air Force pilots. Today, she says she flies for free and for fun. When her friends who own planes ask her to take them for a ride, she happily accepts.
“My mantra is ‘Querer es poder,'” she said.
“I believe everyone has the potential to do it. They just have to believe in themselves enough to actually do it,” she tells Fox. She also said that she “was not out to prove anything.” She didn’t even know she was “the first anything.” She worked hard for herself and her family, and the accolades followed.
Today, she runs a documentary production company in San Antonio, Texas.
She is also the Vice President of the Hispanic Association of Aviation and Aerospace Professionals (HAAAP). The organization takes young Latinos in the San Antonio area into the cockpit and into control towers to offer more opportunities for growth in the field. Oh, and she also directs a Puerto Rican folk dance group, just for fun.