Thursday, December 30, 2010

Socks Are Required

I'm the last person on earth to criticize someone for thinking that the rules don't apply to them.  Rules are made to be broken!  I believe this.  Common sense is another story.

At McDonald's today my mom and I sat next to the glass separating us from the play structure.  Partly because the lack of tables inside, but it was more due to the aroma of food mingled with the smell of sweat and feet.

Rio came to the table and I snapped.  "WHERE ARE YOUR SOCKS?!"  His eyes got big...he was caught.  "Go put them on right now!"  I hoped the ten second rule still applied.

Then my mom pointed out a dozen other children not wearing socks either.  Then she took the hand sanitizer from her purse and placed it on the table.

"It's so he can run up the slide,"  Amaya tattles.

"Well, you aren't supposed to go up the slide,"  my mom reminds her.

Unbelievable!  Don't those mothers care?  Do they not know why that rule is in place?  I'm horrified (and I'm okay if Rio eats dirt).  There's really no excuse when they sell socks at the counter for one dollar.

The "socks are required" sign wasn't posted by the fun police trying to ruin their day.  It's a rule that is posted for people who lack common sense.

Now I have to go Lysol my kids!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Saved by Ants

I had uninvited visitors drop by.  ANTS!  I despise the little trespassers.  However their timing this year was perfect.  They've saved me from myself. 

I've already polished of the gallon of oyster stew that was left over from Christmas Eve.  And when I say I've eaten all the stew that also includes 3 pounds of ham,  a quart of potato salad,  the left over posole, the salami, the dish of jello, the jar of cookies, and...well you get the point.

I consider myself to be indebted to the ant army that swarmed my chocolate cake and apple pie.  It was for my own good. 

Still, I had to kill them.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Where There's Smoke There's Fire

Snuggling by a roaring fire next to the fireplace is relaxing and cozy.  Not if you live in my house.  Here,  a fire is lit and sends excitement through the air.

I was in the shower and Amaya came barging in.  Slapping her hand against the glass, pressing a piece of paper against the fogged shower door.

"Do we need this?"  She asked impatiently.

"What is it?"  I yelled over the water.

"I don't know, do we need it?  I don't want to go."  She stated with urgency.

I tried to make out the writing through the glass and it appeared to be a flier advertising a play.

"No we don't need it,"  I answered.

"Good, then I'm gonna burn it,"  she said, and a little too enthusiastic for my comfort.

Naturally concerned, I went into the family room and found where all the excitement was taking place.  The kids sat in front of the fireplace, each with their own piles of papers collected throughout the house to burn.  There was old homework papers, coupons, book marks, candy wrappers, grocery store ads, Rio's old shoes...if it could catch fire it was in their piles.

"Is this a good idea?"  I asked the other grown-up in the room.  But my husbands eyes were glossed over, starring at the fire with the kids.

I snapped my fingers, "Helloooo."

"What? I've got it under control," he said shooing me away. "It's fine."

Since then, many important papers have gone missing around the house and my husband can't think of where they could of gone.

"I have no idea,"  I tell him.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Big Mistake!

Amaya's had a fever and headache for seven days.  She's been in bed most of the week and we've exhausted all of the medicine in our medicine cabinet, to make her more comfortable, twice. 

Sick isn't any way for a child to spend their winter break.

This afternoon it was Rio's turn.  It seemed to hit him like a brick wall.  One minute he was playing, and the next he was crying, lying on the couch, with a headache and a fever.  Poor kid.

I gave him a Tylenol.  Big mistake!  It worked too well.  Was it laced with crack?  He's bouncing off the walls, talking a hundred miles a minute, and terrorizing Amaya.

Evidently being sick doesn't affect him the same way it does his sister.

I can't wait for the Tylenol to wear off.  I'm switching him to Benadryl.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Santa Dilemma!

Amaya has an ambitious list for Santa.

She wants a laptop, an electric guitar (with an amp), and a flat screen TV.  She wants a new Nintendo DS system, a Wii, and Mind flex. She wants the i-pod touch, a Blue Ray Disc player, and anything else one could think of that has a price tag above $200.00.

This list could be a result of three things.

She's spoiled rotten, to the core. She has to be...if she honestly thinks a list like this will be fulfilled.

Or she's the kid who doesn't have any of these things, but all of her friends do. Afterall, she was good all year, she deserves it.

Or...she is on to us!

Rio's list this year.  Nothing.  It's like pulling teeth with that kid.  He says Santa knows.  He wouldn't even tell the Department Store Santa.

Evidently Amaya and Rio are anticipating for the wealthy, psychic Santa to visit our house Christmas Eve.

This will be interesting.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Honesty's the Best Policy"

The honesty bug has bit my mother.

We went shopping.  After my mom found a safe spot to park in the back, she noticed an SUV.  We get out and she says, "Look how dark those windows are!  Why did you get a ticket?"

"Because I got caught..."  I answered with sarcasm.

"Oh...and no front license plate.  That's illegal!"  She said as she walked to the back of the vehicle to check if the SUV was from out-of-state.  "Well the license plate says Doctor so-in-so."

I laughed, "Maybe she wrote herself a prescription for photo-sensitivity."

As we hiked toward the store a lady, who clearly heard all that was said, passed us.  "It's her, way to go mom." I teased.

Because of the look she gave us, I'm sure she walked past her car and pretended it wasn't hers until the coast was clear.  I can't blame her.

In the store she had no problem telling the cashier making minimum wage that they had no business having her personal information.  "I was here last week and you didn't need to scan my Driver's License."  She stated as she handed the girl a check, with all of her information printed in the upper left corner.

The poor girl answered, "It's so the store knows it's your check."

"It's because they can't read the license." I added.

"When did this change?"  She questioned with suspicion.  "I don't like it."

"I'm just doing my job Ma'am."  The girl sighed.

To diffuse the situation I added, "The guy behind us gave up and jumped in another line."

"It's not my fault she couldn't help me."  She snapped, pointing to the security sensor that had to be unlocked by a manager.

I teased her some more.

We left the store and she asked, "Where to next."

I told her and laughed. Then suggested she wait in the car.  She didn't.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

December Gift Shop Junk

"Everyone who didn't have money got to play outside for an extra recess."  Rio tells me in the the car.

"What are you talking about?"  I questioned.

"For the December Gift Shop at school.  We don't have money." He answered.

"We have money Rio." I corrected him as he interrupted.

"I know, when my teacher asked if I had money, I told her mom said it's all junk!  And my teacher said Oh."

I smiled as I pictured the look on her face.

"Recess is better than junk!" He announced.

Then Amaya asked, "Mom can we go to the Dollar Store."


Friday, December 10, 2010

If There's Nothing Nice to Say, Say Something Else

When I'm out in public with my children, two things always happen.

With Rio strangers stop me and say, "Wow, he's full of energy.  You must be tired." 

But their tone is saying, " Control you child.  And by the look like crap."

I respond with a smile, "Yes, he's all boy.  If I could bottle his energy I'd be rich. But he keeps me young." 

What I'm really saying, "I get it, you don't like boys because your old and bitter."

From when Amaya was a baby strangers always stop me to ask, "Where did she get that beautiful red hair.  Is that her natural hair color."

Their tone is saying, "She obviously doesn't take after you, you must dye her hair for attention."

I respond with a smile, "Yup, it's the Irish in her. You can't get that color in a bottle."

I'm really saying, "Are you an idiot.  Of course it's her natural color. And don't waste your money, her color wouldn't look right on you."

If there's nothing nice to say, say something else!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lawnmowers are Destroying the Planet

"Mom...did you know that lawnmowers are bad for the earth?"  Amaya yelled over the radio from the backseat.

"What?  Where did you hear this?"  I asked as I turned down the radio.  My first thought, indoctrination.

"Do you know why?"  She quizzed me.

"I can't wait to find out."  I added with sarcasm.

"It's all of the oil they use." She was totally serious.

My husband and I looked at each other and started laughing. 

"Amaya, I've had my lawnmower for ten years and I've only put oil in it once."  My husband said still laughing.  "Do you mean gas?"

"Who told you this?"  I asked again.

"My teacher."

"Ohhhhh...did you talk about what else is bad for the earth?"

"No just lawnmowers."

"There are bigger issues than lawnmowers.  I think lawnmowers are the least of the earths problems."  I told her.

"Well my teacher disagrees with you." She said bluntly.

"Ask her about cows."

"Cows?  Cows aren't bad.  Cows are living creatures.  How are they bad?"

"They fart!"

"Fart!!!"  Rio yells and laughs hysterically.  We were talking in a language a seven year old boy could relate to.

My husband an I tried to explain, but it was to comical for either one of them to take anything we said seriously.

"So unless you want to stop eating hamburgers and steak." My husband added.

"Well my teacher said one day we won't have lawnmowers anymore because they're so bad.  And we need to help clean the planet."  Amaya still holding her position.

"Why don't you start with cleaning your room, then well move on to the planet."  I said.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

School Pictures





Can you guess which picture I hung on my wall?

If you guess the first one, you would be correct. That is how they hooked me. They meaning professional school photographers.Take one good picture, then I'll be dumb enough to pay in advanced for years to come. 

It started in Kindergarten, when the school sent home a flier for picture day with pose and background options, and an assortment of picture packages to choose from.  The flier also stated:  "All photos must be paid for in advance.  Please send cash or check in the attached envelope with your child on picture day."

I remember thinking, "What?  Pay for pictures before I see them, how stupid is that."

Reluctantly I ordered the pictures.  And they turned out great!  The first picture really does capture who he is.  I didn't know it would be all downhill from there.

Now all I can do is try to suppress the disapproving mother in me that starts to surface when I open up his school pictures.  I force a slight smile and look up at Rio...but I can't resist.

Picture 2

"Why did you smile like that?"

"The lady told me to."  He said.  "Do you like them?"

"Very nice."  I said raising my eyebrows. I put the pictures back in the envelope and conveniently lost them in the office.  I convinced myself that the next one would be better.

Picture 3

"Here mom."  Rio handed me his school pictures.

"Rio!  What kind of smile is that?"  I asked, noticing all of his bottom teeth.

"She didn't like my mouth shut, she said to smile big and show teeth."  He explained.

"Okay."  Those also disappeared in the office.

Picture 4

What do you think I said.  Well...not what I wanted. 

"Mom, and you were worried about them combing our hair stupid."  Amaya pointed out.

So I've learned my lesson.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday

Black Friday has convinced me...people are nuts! 

Waiting in front of stores a week in advanced with their tents and chairs to be first inside stores to get the deal of a lifetime.  What is it about the word "sale" that makes people go absolutely insane.  That little word convinces people to buy things they don't need, don't want, and will never use.

People waiting in retail lines in excess of two hours to buy a door buster deal.  Others wait to buy one of everything.

"Are we gonna buy something?"  Rio asked while we were searching for the end of the line, that literally wrapped around the entire department store.

"Nope." I told him.

"Why not?" He asked.

"Because there isn't a sale in the world that justifies waiting in that line."  I explained.  "Black Friday's a sport, and we're spectators."

He seemed relieved.

This is why those other crazy people do their Christmas shopping in June.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Web MD Addict

I can't be trusted alone with the Internet, and I can't be trusted not to look up random symptoms on Web MD.  I need an intervention.  Hello.  My name is Nikki, and I am an addict.

I find myself frequently in the position of using our family doctors as the second opinion.

When Amaya was a baby, she had weekly check-ups to have her head measured because her doctor thought her head was shrinking.  No explanation.  I thought, "Is that possible, can that happen?"  So of course I had to Google it.  Turns out the nurse measured wrong.  Good thing.

When my husband went through his fainting phase.  The doctor said, "It happens."  No explanation.  So again, I Googled it.  Turns out, in some people pain triggers shock.  The bigger they are the harder they fall.  Oh, and believe me, I have stories.

When teacher's were concerned Rio had ADHD.  I wasn't having it.  Where did I turn.  First the Internet, then the doctor. Apparently high energy is a symptom of many mental illnesses.  The final diagnosis...he's a boy.

When my doctor told me I had Lupus.  Pretty much out of the blue!  It was all I could do.  Every time I passed the office, I had to look it up.  Searching for a different explanation.  Link by link.  Turns out he was wrong also. 

There's just one thing, with every problem I solve, the Internet gives me three more possible illnesses I never considered.  Brain tumors, cancer, and PTSD. 

Boy, do doctors love me.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Warning! Avoid Alcoholic Beverages

Illness came suddenly.  Attacking Rio early this morning.  First it was his stomach, then his head, then his ear, and now his throat.  He is running a slight fever and tears roll down his face when sharp pains travel through his right ear.  The doctor's office isn't open until Monday.  So I am a prisoner all weekend.

I go through the medicine cabinet looking for something to ease his pain. 

I find Children's Motrin.  Expired 5/2009
I find ear drops left from a previous infection.  Expired  6/2007
I find decongestant.  Expired 6/2010
I find Tylenol.  Expired 1/2010

As a matter of fact, half of everything in the medicine cabinet is expired.  So I have to bundle up the kids, load them in the car and take a trip to the drug store.

I fill my cart with Ibuprofen, Tylenol, and Children's Dimetapp.   As most parents do before buying medication to give to their children, I read the active ingredients, drug warnings, and drug facts on the side panels.  One was more interesting than the others.

Children's Dimetapp

-avoid alcoholic beverages
-alcohol, sedatives, and tranquilizers may increase drowsiness
-be careful when driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery

I thought,"Good thing they included that warning."  I was going to give Rio a bottle of wine and then let him drive us home. 


Friday, November 19, 2010

Three Slices Short

When I pick my kids up from school the first two minutes after they get in the car are always the most interesting. I get the details of all the injustices that happened in the school day.  Today it was child "A" . 

"I didn't even get pizza today." Stated child "A"

"Why would you have pizza, it's a half day?"  I asked.  "Schools out before lunch."

"Well I wasn't the only one... there was three of us who didn't get any."  Child "A" continued to state the injustice.

"I see you have a cupcake, was it someones birthday?"  I asked the obvious.

"Yes, our group was last and they ran out of pizza.  They only had hot wings left." Child "A" said shaking her head. "I saw more in the box, but I think those pieces were left for the adults."

"I don't understand?  There was pizza left...but the adults said there wasn't...because they were saving pizza for themselves?"  I asked. "How do you feel about that?"

"Some kids were upset..."  Child "A" said as she handed her cupcake to her younger sibling.

"Were you upset?"  I asked looking into the rear view mirror.

Child "A" tightened her mouth and shook her head yes.

Does this really happen?

It's simple.  If there are 30 kids in a class, bring 30 slices of pizza...or nothing at all!  Some people are clueless...or should I say three slices short.

Looks like we are having pizza for dinner.

Disclaimer: Child "A" asked me to refer to her this way, for this post, for anonymity.  I explained that people who read this blog can figure out who I am referring to.  So please, pretend this didn't come from her.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Translation Required

It's school conference time!  And sometimes conferences require a little translation.

Teacher:  Your child's penmanship needs improvement.
Translation:  Your child is going to make a fine doctor.

Teacher:  Your child is very talkative during class.
Translation:  Your child is the most articulate child I've met.

Teacher: Your child is progressing at grade level.
Translation: Your child is at the top of the class.

Teacher:  Your child can't sit still.
Translation: Your child's athletic ability is impressive.

Teacher:  Sometimes your child calls out of turn.
Translation:  Your child is an eager learner.

Teacher: Your child is so sweet.
Translation:  Your child is perfect!

I couldn't of asked for better conferences if I made them up myself.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Soccer Mom

I didn't think I would survive a season of team sports.  I never aspired to be the team mom.  And I never wanted a mini-van.  So two out of three are a reality...the mini-van will have to wait.

After the snack schedule, t-shirt orders, the banner, emails, phone calls, practices, and games.  Toting water jugs, benches, balls, setting up goals, taking down goals, putting up the banner, taking down the banner, and 12 weeks of eating all of our meals out of a crock pot.  You would think I'd be done with it.  But strangely I'm not.

Venom had an awesome season, the girls were talented, the parents were fabulous, and our coach, phenomenal.  So of course with this combination we can't say farewell...we're going into indoor soccer with the same girls, the same parents and the same coach.  It's very exciting.

Still I can't help but ask, "How did I become a soccer mom?"

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Pulling Teeth

"Mom I think I'm having a tooth problem."  Amaya said as she rubbed her right cheek.

"Why is that?"  I asked.

"Because I have another loose tooth... and I don't know if it should be." She continued to rub her cheek.

"I told you to brush more or your teeth are going to fall out of your head." I teased her.  "Come here.  Let me see." I said as I waved her closer.

"Don't touch it!"  She backed away.

"I won't." I grabbed her hand and pulled her closer.  I had her open up her mouth so she could show me and I reassured her that it was fine.  "It barely wiggles, it's not ready." 

"It hurts."  She complained.

"You'll be fine." I told her.

"Well... all I'm really worried about is my eating." She explained.

"Amaya you're not going to starve!" I told her.

I gave her some Motrin for the pain then had the kids brush their teeth and go to bed. 

Twenty minutes later I heard a grunting scream coming from the bathroom.  I opened the door and there was Amaya holding her tooth in her hand leaning over the sink.

"Why won't it stop bleeding?" She started to panic.

"Amaya!  It's because it wasn't ready to come out. Oh my gosh look at the hole!"

"But I can eat right?"  She asked. 


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Where Have All the Pencils Gone?

Teachers always have pencils at the top of their supply wish lists. 

"I just don't know where all the pencils go."  Said the teacher.

I shrug my shoulders, "I don't know...but they seem to like sharpening them into nubs."

Little did I know, I would  solve the pencil mystery.  My house!  Somehow my house is The Grand Central Station of pencils.  I know this because I have never bought a pencil to be kept in this house...EVER! 

I showed my husband the pencil collection I found picking up the house. 

"Where did all of those come from?"  He questioned in disbelief.

"Around the house." I said.  "And I haven't even looked under the couch cushions yet."

"So there's more..."  He was stating the obvious.

"Have you ever bought a pencil?" I asked squinting my eyes at him.

"Never." He states. Confirming my suspicion of our little pencil thieves.

"Well I guess we know where all the schools pencils are ending up." I said.

Now I have to go tell my kids that we do not need any more pencils, but mommy is running low on pens.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Quiet Game

The only way for Rio to win The Quiet Game...cheat.  

Before you worry and call CPS, just know I don't make a habit of duct taping my kids mouth shut.  He did this himself.  But who am I to stop him.  It was a brilliant idea!  I don't know why I've never thought of it. 

Rio wanted to tape his sister's mouth shut as well but unfortunately she wasn't having it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reading Overload

The school trimester is almost up.  In two days to be exact.  And I have apparently forgotten how stressful the fourth grade can be.

"Amaya you need to read if you want to have any chance of making your AR goal."  I stated, totally unsympathetic.

"I'm trying Mom!"  Amaya responds.

"Don't be surprised if you're a few points shy of making it to the pizza party."  I added.

Then she started crying.

"What's the matter? Why are you crying?"  I dared to ask knowing I've provoked this.

"All school year you've been pushing me to read and I have been.  I read all the time.  I'm trying really hard!"  She says crying.

I had to apologize.  I was being unfair.  I push because I want her to do well and I know how bad she wants to go to that pizza party. 

She doesn't know, but I am on her side.  She has read over 31 books in twelve weeks, and it still isn't enough.  That's ridiculous. Reading is important, I agree, but there are other things in life that are equally important.  Reading for points makes reading a chore.

Making children read more doesn't necessarily develop a love for reading any more than eating peanut butter and jelly every day will develop a love for peanuts.  At some point they just get burnt out.

So I've decided to back off.  The world isn't going to end if she doesn't meet some silly AR goal.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Goodbye Halloween

Goodbye Halloween. It is finally over!  I love a holiday as much as the next person, well maybe not quite that much, but in my defense enough is enough.

Why is Halloween now a four day event?  Is it so Halloween Stores can justify charging $40.00 for a paper thin nylon costume?  Or are parents dragging out the event to rationalize buying one of those over priced costumes, that in many cases will still require purchasing three more accessories to complete? 

Day four, the department stores host trick-or-treating.  Day three, the schools have Halloween parades and class parties.  Day two, churches and individuals host Halloween events around town.  Then finally Halloween Trick-or-Treating. 

All while my children nag me regarding October 31st.  Not because it will be Halloween, but because they want to make sure they make it to church on time so they can audition for the part they want in the Christmas Play.  Really kids...can't we get through one holiday before we worry about the next.

This morning on the way to school they started singing Christmas songs.  So Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  No one is really excited until the turkey is in the oven.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Inventive Calculations

As I cleaned my house today I kept referring to my children as pigs.  And I take it back...I'm convinced pigs are cleaner.  After picking up the trail they left behind getting ready for school and cleaning the wasted toothpaste out of the bathroom sinks I dared to venture into their rooms. 

Then it dawned on me; my life could be so much easier. 

I shut Rio's dresser drawers because he is so busy he can never seem to find the time.  I tried to fix Amaya's bottom drawer, that is used primarily as a ladder to get to her TV.  Then I had to pick clothes up off the floors in each of their rooms, and smell each piece to separate the clean ones from the dirty ones. 

I'm certain now that dressers are unnecessary with one primary function; take up space.  My kids do not need them.  They don't use them anyway.  And dressers are directly connected to the laundry.  Why fold their clothes?  Half of their clothes will end up on the floor and the half that makes it into their dressers will be wadded in balls and shoved to the back.

I wonder if I took their dressers away and started throwing their clothes on the floor, would they learn to appreciate what they had?  It worked with their bed frames.  Under the beds are now spotless.

As I realize this, I find the same logic can be applied throughout my house.  If my inventive calculations are correct I could end up saving three hours a day.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Participation Trophies

The worst part of the soccer season is here.  Trophies!  Obviously I'm not a fan.  Unless my kids are part of a winning team, I don't see the point.  There was a choice on Rio's team...t-shirts or trophies.  Our choice lost, by a lot.  I don't know why it surprises me, I predicted this from the day we signed up for soccer.  The story is pretty much the same but in different variation. 

"My son is expecting one."
"My son doesn't have a trophy yet and he wants one."
"It just makes me feel good when I see him get a trophy."
"They're young, what does it really matter?"
"It makes the kids happy."
"The boys worked so hard, they deserve them."

Traditionally trophies are a symbol of winning.  So this is what I'm hearing; expecting, wanting, deserving and having are winning attitudes.  What are we rewarding?  I don't think parents are doing their children any favors.

Rio's coach called to ask if they should order Rio a trophy.  Now I'm in a terrible position.  I would love to tell him NO.  Rio doesn't even want one, he wants a t-shirt.  However if I did that, then it's separating Rio from the team, and after all isn't that the point of team sports?  To be a team, not an individual. 

If I say, "Ya, go ahead he can have a trophy." 

Does that make me a hypocrite?  I should practice what I preach.  

Rio says, "I'm just gonna throw it away." 

What a waste of money.  And worst of all, I feel like it's taking away from him winning his first trophy.  If he's handed trophies year after year for participation it will be no big deal.  How sad.

On a lighter note;  Amaya is on a winning team and we're doing medals.  Rio is excited for his sister.

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Just Blood

My husband gets hurt and the whole world stops.  So the kids and I dropped everything to take him to the doctor.  We arrived in the medical office building and the kids were doing running jump kicks off the walls, twirling and rolling on the floor. I'm sure I had judgmental parents rolling their eyes behind my back pleading for me to control my children.  But I was too tired to care.

We entered the elevator, which started an immediate fight over who gets to push the button. 


"No, me."

"NO ME!"

Rio wins, a victory that had to be rubbed in his sister's face. We stepped out onto the second floor and my kids took off in opposite directions before realizing my husband and I were not behind them. 

I decided it was a good time to go take care of my overdue blood work and drag my children with me, to save my husband from the headache I foresaw of the him being stuck in a tiny white room with two rambunctious children.  I've been there, I know. 

Rio was getting nervous.  "They're going to steal your blood Mom?" He asked.

"No, I'm going to let them borrow it."  I said sarcastically as I rolled my eyes.

He looked at me puzzled trying to figure out how that would  work...I ignored him.

I sat down in the chair and gave my arm to the nurse and Rio was gone. I coaxed  him out from hiding behind a chair.  He was so nervous, it made me anxious.

"Can't I go with Dad?"  He asked, clearly not wanting anything to do with this.

I told him, "No this is fine.  It's not a big deal, it's just blood. It doesn't even hurt. Watch."

His face was pale and I couldn't resist.  As the nurse slipped the needle into my skin... I SCREAMED!  Rio jumped and the look of panic on his face, priceless.  He wasn't amused but the nurses obviously had an appreciation for a good joke.

"I'm just kidding buddy." I apologized.

"I'm not talking to you ever again." He vowed.

It was time to go and Rio broke, "Mom, can we take the elevator?"

Darn, I really could of used some peace and quiet.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Fountain of Youth

I'm convinced my children have a magic straw they use to literally suck the youth right out of my soul.  I'm exhausted!  I find myself in the mirror inspecting my pores and searching for wrinkles.  I finger through my hair looking for stray gray hairs that may have spontaneously appeared over night.  And with a birthday approaching anyone can see that I am desperate.

Good news is, I am now only ten days away from looking five years younger!  The back panel of the enchanted sparkled blue gels box says: Get skin that looks up to five years younger in just 14 days!  No more needs to be said, I'm sold.  Besides the fountain of youth promise, it just looks expensive.

Day 1- Pores look smaller and more refined.

Day 2-Unveils your most rejuvenated skin.
                    Check! Check!

Day 3- Gives your skin a seamless airbrushed look.  
                Check! Check! Check!

Day 5- Dramatically smoothes, softens and refines skin texture.
                 Day five here I come!!

Day 7- 25% reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
I'm excited...the way I see it, I only have about 25% fine lines and wrinkles, so this is good.  My husband says, "I don't think it works like that."  But what does he know.

Day 10- Virtually erases the appearance of pores.
I wonder, will it finally be safe to look into the evil magnified mirror that has been banished from the house?

Day 14-Skin looks up to 5 years younger.
This is awesome!  So in a couple of weeks I'm not turning 33, this year I will be turning 28.

This is clearly proof that beauty products don't need to embellish their claims on my account, I am completely delusional on my own.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"The Talk"

This is how it happened.

"Babe, we have a problem." My husband said.
"Amaya asked me if you can get pregnant from kissing."
"What did you tell her?"
"I told her that's where it starts."
"And nothing. I changed the subject."

Weeks later, while cooking spaghetti, I wasn't surprised when she asked me a question.

"Why aren't you pregnant Mom?"
"What do you mean?"
"You and Dad kiss a lot...and you're not pregnant."
"Daddy confused you didn't he."
"I know. What are your questions?"

So we had "THE TALK."
Thanks Daddy.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Boy and His Dog

A boy and his dog...does anything else need to be said?
It isn't something we planned  8 years ago when we bought our dog.  That one day our dog would get sick and we might have to make the heart wrenching decision to let him go.  What will we tell our children when they ask why he didn't come home from the vet?  That's the question we're asking ourselves these days.  Our dog is sick, and we are spending bundles of money on vet bills trying to slow the progression of his disease and extend his life.  People who don't understand, ask us why? 
 A boy and his dog...isn't that reason enough.

Monday, August 30, 2010

You Are Special

The definition of special,  1: distinguished by some unusual quality; esp: being in some way superior 2: held in a particular esteem 3: readily distinguishable from others in the same category.

I start with this definition because narcissism is at an all time high within our youth, and people wonder why?  Where does it start?  It starts in preschool where songs like Frere Jacques have been changed to better suit the self esteems of toddlers.

"You are special, you are special
because you're you, because you're you
you're so very special, you're so very special
yes you are, yes you are"

"I am special, I am special
because I'm me, because I'm me
I'm so very special, I'm so very special
yes I am, yes I am."

If everyone is special then no one is special.  Yes my kids are special...TO ME!  Beyond that, we will just have to wait and see.  This song demonstrates just one of the many lies we allow our children to be told.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Back to School

The first day of a new school year.  There are  mothers with their tissues, sobbing that they can't believe their babies have grown so fast.  There are children clinging to their mom's leg, pleading for mom not to desert them.  There are parents pushing their way inside classrooms to speak to teachers.  There are parents harassing the office staff regarding teacher placement.  There are parents who, for some reason unknown to me, have forgot how to parallel park.  Then there are parents like me who have been looking forward to this day all summer.

As excited as I was to welcome summer break, I am more than thrilled to have it end.  Summer break is a lot like company you haven't seen in a while.  You can't wait to see them but after you have cooked for them, cleaned up after them and entertained them for a couple weeks you are ready to send them packing.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Baby Reluctant

My brother told me that it hurts his feelings that I never hold his babies. Never is a bit of an over statement. What isn't to like about babies, the crying, the dirty diapers, the spit up, the drooling. Aside from those things babies are great. However his comment made me think. Is it just his babies?

I have 13 nieces and nephews and the majority of our friends have children and I have come to realize that I don't really hold any babies. It isn't personal. I prefer to admire them at a distance. Is that wrong?

It seems I don't have what other women have, I don't gush over babies, I don't get super excited when someone is pregnant, and I don't approach strangers in the mall to compliment their children. It doesn't even occur to me to do so. And I don't have expectations for anyone to do so with my kids. Yes I held my babies all the time and still do. I love them to pieces. But they are my kids, it's kind of my job.

In my defense some people are just the opposite of me. They love babies, but as those babies grow up they lose interest. Are they criticized for that?

So I'm a little baby standoffish and the magic age seems to be three. I don't see what's wrong with that. My husband told me that if my nieces and nephews had a vote he thinks I would be in the running for favorite. Because I see them for who they are and I genuinely care for each of them. If that is true, I must be doing something right. But who knows, maybe I'm wrong.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Blame Parents for Unhealthy Choices

I agree with making healthier food choices. I oppose someone else making those decisions for me.

Schools, Counties, States and the Federal Government are going to tax and regulate America back to health. The big argument is the child obesity rate in this country has more than tripled in the last 30 years standing just under 20%. Yes I agree, something must be done. However taxing candy, banning school bake sales, attacking restaurants and removing toys from sugared cereals is not the answer.

Recently a California County has banned toys in kid meals at fast food restaurants. Because unhealthy choices are being marketed to children, these companies are purposely targeting our children. Are you kidding me! Where is the personal responsibility people? It's the parent driving their children to fast food restaurants and it's the parent buying the kids meal. Blame needs to be there, no one is forcing parents to buy fast food for their children. Still let's ban the toys, a cheap toy at that. One that will break, be left on the floor, then stepped on and ultimately end up in the trash.

Is it really believable that because of this toy ban, children will now enter these restaurants and order a salad? I don't think so, the fries taste way to good.

Instead of parents pointing fingers, they should take responsibility for their own poor choices. If you are eating at fast food restaurants 2-7 days a week...DON'T. If your children want high sugared cereal...SAY NO. If your children are sitting in front of the TV and playing video games all day...UNPLUG IT. It isn't hard, parents just have to stop being lazy and do their job.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Rising up to the Challenge

Recently, when Rio was preparing to test for his 1st Degree Black Belt the only thing that was in his way was breaking a wood board. He had been breaking plastic boards, no problem, but in order to earn a 1st Degree Black Belt, wood was the standard.
A few weeks before testing it was announced that the rules have been changed and now children can choose between breaking wood or plastic boards. So naturally the kids that were testing were choosing plastic boards.We could have complied and pushed him through testing, I'm not going to was tempting. But it was time for my husband and I to practice what we preach.
We talked to Rio and told him that he would'nt be testing for his black belt until he could break a wood board regardless of the rule changes. If he broke a plastic board it wouldn't be any different than testing for his other belts, and we wanted this one to mean more. We didn't want to take away from the challenge. He agreed.
We were in it for the long hall, even if it took him a year to break a wood board, it would be worth it. Even if everyone passed him up and earned their belts before him, it didn't matter. This was about our child. It was about his personal achievement.
A few weeks later he was breaking wood boards consistently, two a day in our backyard. In class however, not so consistent. In class he would get so excited to show off that he would lose focus. Then he would feel defeated because he knew what he was capable of.
As the next testing opportunity approached, I was reluctant to let him test, while my husband was completely confident. But we ultimately decided that it was up to our son to succeed or fail, and he deserved the chance to try.
I have never been so nervous in my life. He had only three chances to do two board breaks. He missed his running jump side kick, succeeded with his palm heel strike, then missed his running jump side kick.
As my son fell apart, sitting on the mat staring at the board like it was his nemesis. I'm questioning, what have I done? He is only six, did we push him before he was ready, maybe we should of let him break a plastic board...etc.etc.
I understand that feeling of wanting to see your child succeed and wanting to make it easier for him. I get it! I had to check myself though. This isn't about me, it's about him. Life is not fair. Failure isn't going to kill him. He will survive this. I might not, but he will.
Then he was given one final attempt. I didn't even breathe.
He ran across the mat and flew straight through the board. He did it! He turned around, his face was lit up with pride. Running back across the mat, he jumped, punching one fist in the air. Victory!
I'm so proud that my son was willing to rise up to such a challenge. And I know that if we would of let him choose what was easy then he wouldn't of been able to show us what he is capable of.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Green Beans

I made a mistake and served green beans with dinner. My daughter gagging with every bite and my son not only boycotting the green beans, but refusing to eat anything that shares a plate with them. Sitting sideways with his head buried into the chair back crying, "I'm not eating that." My children were acting as if I were trying to poison them. It was hilarious. So I do what any desperate parent would do, and break out my most motivating bribes.

"I'll give you each a dollar if you eat them." I said.

"Okay!" My daughters face lit up. Eating them but still gagging.

"What happens if I don't?" My son inquires.

"No dollar."

"Okay, no dollar." He responds.

"If you don't eat them, then you will have to give me a dollar." I said, clearly changing the bribe.

"I think... I can find a dollar." He said after giving it 5 seconds of consideration.

I am trying not to laugh. My tactics are backfiring. So far my son is willing not only to pass up earning a dollar, but pay one to get out of eating his green beans, while my daughter is bragging how she ate them and she is now one dollar richer. So I had to think, what is more important than earning money to this kid. Ah ha, ice cream.

"Everyone who eats their green beans gets an ice cream sandwich after dinner."

"What if I don't?" He questions.

"Then no ice cream."

He sits in his chair sobbing. He pulls his self together and shakes his head okay. I'm thinking, yes it worked, I win! Then he pushes his plate away from him.

My husband says, "You want me to feed you like a baby?" As he scoops up some green beans with the fork then attempts to force feed our child. My son locks his lips tight and noodles down the chair.

"Fine! If you're not going to eat them then go to bed!" It's the last threat I have.

So he climbs off his chair and walks himself to his room, puts his PJ's on and gets into bed at 6:23pm. I followed him and he is ready to be tucked in for the night. I thought, now this is a kid who hates green beans!

I didn't give up and eventually I got one green bean in him and he was allowed to stay up until it was actually time to go to bed. Dinner wasn't supposed to be punishment, I just wanted to get some vegetables in the stomachs of my children.

This is not a mistake I will make again! Now when I want to get my children to eat their green beans I puree them and add them to the meat loaf.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rewarding Mediocrity

What has happened to expectations? It seems nothing is expected of children anymore. The trend is to reward them for everything they do. Succeed or fail, win or lose, everyone gets a reward. It is present in schools; where graduations are held for grade completions that start as early as preschool. It is present in homes; parents bribing their children to do their chores or brush their teeth. It is present in sports; where everyone who participates gets a trophy. Then we wonder how we have raised a bunch of adolescents who when asked to take out the trash say, "What is in it for me?"

There are things in life that are just expected! Children should be expected to pass a grade. No graduation, passing and moving forward with their classmates is the reward. Children should be expected to do their chores, it is called responsibility. They should brush their teeth without complaint, the reward is that they don't have rotten teeth. In sports, the teams that don't win should not get a trophy, they did not win anything! The reward is to participate on a team and enjoy it.

I don't know who should be more insulted, the parents or the children?

Do people believe that parents are so narcissistic that the only way they can be proud of their children is if children are honored and rewarded, even when there isn't any real accomplishment. When was the bar on greatness lowered to mediocre? Children are not given enough credit. When did people start believing that children are so weak that they can't overcome defeat?

Parents have been sucked into the "everybody wins" mentality for far too long. Not me! It's time I stop complaining under my breath on how ridiculous these rewards really are, and start instilling in my children to hand these type of acknowledgements back. Because at the end of the day it doesn't mean anything if it wasn't earned.

Monday, February 8, 2010

"This Hurts Me More Than It Hurts You"

It's true! This hurts me more than it hurts you. It is so much easier to say yes than say no. When my children want something, it is difficult for me not to give it to them and it is even harder to discipline them. Naturally I want to have happy children and it feels good knowing their happiness is a direct result of my superb parenting. And when I see potential unhappiness in their eyes, there is an instinctive urge to give into them, fix their problem, excuse their behavior and make it all better. But parenting isn't about making easy choices, it's about making tough ones. I know that coddling only gives them temporary happiness that is followed with them expecting to always have their way. This isn't doing them any favors in the long run. So as heart wrenching as it is and no matter how unnatural it feels I try not to take the easy way out. It is my job to make the tough decisions. As my parents said to me, I now say to my children, "This hurts me more than it hurts you." Because sometimes parenting seems impossible.