Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tricks of the Trade

I am one of those people who hate surprises, but loves gifts. There's something about a wrapped box with a fancy bow. I see one and I have to physically fight the urge to pick it up and shake it.

Every year my husband tries to surprise me with some kind of elaborate gift. One that I would never guess. This was easier before the kids came along.

My husband has spent the last decade training Amaya and Rio to keep their mouths shut. Sad to say, he has nothing on the skills I possess to pry their secrets out of them. However, I admit, it's getting harder every year.

"Where were you guys?" I asked.

No one answers. Amaya and Rio head straight to their rooms and shut their doors. Umm...if that isn't suspicious. My husband plays dumb also.

"I don't know why you bother," my husband bragged. "They'll never tell."

"You want to bet?" I dared. "Game on!"

My first move, operation Rio. I decided to attack while he was in the shower. I barged in. My husband followed closely behind ready to jump on the grenade.

"So Rio..." I began, as I opened the shower curtain. "Do you have something you need to tell me?" I waited until his eyes were troubled. He looked over my shoulder towards his dad, who stood behind me shaking his head not to tell.

"No? I don't have anything to tell you?" he asked nervously following his dad's lead.

"Well the store called, they said you took something," Rio's eyes widened at such an accusation. "What happened? Do you want to tell me the truth or should we go back to the store and you can explain it to them?"

"It wasn't me!" he defended. "But...there was this...other girl leaving... from..."

"Okay stop!" I flapped my hands. "I'm kidding. I was just showing Dad one my tricks," I confessed.

Amaya was next. She was much harder to break. My questions couldn't crack her silence. So I upped the stakes. I went to the office and grabbed my wallet.

"What are you doing?" my husband panicked.

"Do you want to tell me now?" I asked and flashed a crisp twenty dollar bill in front of her face.

Amaya froze and gradually turned her head pleading for her dad to jump in and save her. She was too weak to resist.

"See...you just have to know what motivates them," I told my husband.

"Okay, you win!" my husband announced. "You have skills."

But eventually everything comes out, so really, patience is my best skill. The next morning while blow drying Rio's hair he couldn't help it.

"Mom, yesterday after we went to Best Buy, we went to Tilly's, and everyone, even Grandma, was spraying perfume..." Rio realized who he was speaking to and slowly looked up at me. "Oh, no..." he dropped his head then shook it. "Oh, no...."

"It's okay buddy, I didn't hear anything."

Friday, October 14, 2011

Hot Dog!

Our dog has been on his last stretch of life for a while now. Instead of buying him healthier food and treats we make sure every night he gets some kind of delicious left-over mixed in with his kibble. I'm convinced this is what keeps him going.

The other night it was Rio's turn to feed Max. He added a heaping amount of dog kibble to the bowl then opened the fridge to find a suitable left over.

"Dad!" Rio screamed hanging from inside the open fridge door. "We don't have anything for Max! Amaya ate all the left-overs!" he accused.

"I was hungry," Amaya shouted from her room.

My husband walked into the kitchen and peered into the fridge over Rio, shuffling food items around.

"Here, give him a hot dog," my husband suggested.

"A hot dog!" Rio's eyes wide with disbelief. "You can't feed a dog, DOG!" Rio uttered in disgust.

My husband laughed, "Dude..it's okay. Hot dogs aren't made from dogs."

"They're not?" Rio questioned. "What are they made from then?" he asked.

"Different processed meats," my husband told him.

"Oh, okay," Rio said. "Slice it up."

I don't know what's more disturbing. The idea of feeding a dog: DOG. or that Rio has been okay with eating DOG all this time.

Friday, September 23, 2011


There are two types of parents regarding allowances: There are the ones that pay, and there are the ones that don't. I refuse to pay my children for doing things that they are already expected to do. Rio and Amaya do not receive an allowance. They view this as a huge injustice.

"Amaya go clean your room!" I demanded.

"How much will you pay me?" she asked.

"Excuse me? No one pays me to clean my room," I reminded her.

"All of my friends get allowances for doing their chores," she complained.

"And what chores do you have that you think you should be paid for?" I asked.

"Ummm...I clean my room...I rinse my dish...I make my bed...I take my showers..."

I laughed, "I'm not going to pay you to take a shower! If you don't want to take showers, you can stink! Let me know how that works out for you."

"I didn't mean showers," she corrected, "I couldn't think of anything else."

"You can't think of anything, because you don't do anything, Amaya," I stated the facts slowly. "If anyone should get paid in this house, it's me. Where's my allowance?"

"Dad says he gives you all of his money," Rio answered.

Heavy sarcasm, "Oh...is that what he tells you..."

Kids 1/ Mom 0

Monday, August 22, 2011

Fury Soccer

Soccer has once again taken over our lives. How did this happen this time you might ask? I have only myself to blame.

"Hello," my husband answered his cell phone. Followed by a period of silence.

"No...um...no...I would love to...but um, I just don't have the time this year," he tried to come up with a believable excuse. "I could be an assistant coach though," he offered the next best thing.

"You can't talk on the cell phone!" I snapped my fingers. "You're driving! Here give me your phone, I'll talk to them for you."

"Hold on, I'm driving...here talk to my wife," he said as I pried the phone from his ear.

The Coaches Coordinator informed me that the U-9 Boys division was short 4 coaches this season. So if my husband didn't coach, who knows what kind of a team Rio would be placed on.

I couldn't help myself. "Okay he'll do it," I volunteered him.

The Coaches Coordinator was pleased. We worked out a few minor details and I hung up the phone.

"Really Babe?" my husband teased.

"Don't pretend like you don't want to," I poked him in his side. "And, hey...there's at least four other teams in our same position," I said. "It evens the playing field."

"If I'm coaching, you're managing," he told me. "Don't pretend like you don't want to."

So we agreed, and pledged our full commitment to our new team.

Here's to eating out of a Crockpot for the next 12 weeks. Go Fury!


Wednesday, August 3, 2011


My husband and I booked our two free personal training sessions back to back. When we arrived, the sports club couldn't find our appointments, but were kind enough to squeeze us in for an hour of high pressure sales.

To help us more efficiently we were handed two forms. The trainer had us fill in privileged information such as height, weight, age, gender, and fitness goals. Then he used the information to calculate our BMI's with what looked like a high tech PS3 controller. I was 1% over normal.

"So...Nikki, what is your fitness goal?" the trainer asked.

"I'm going to loose 1% body fat this month," I responded.

"Impossible, that will take 6-8 weeks," he replied.

"Want to bet?" I challenged.

"What are we betting?" he asked.

"The satisfaction of being right," I presented the extremely high stakes.

"Okay, but you're not gonna win. If you could lose 1% in a month...you'd be the poster child for fitness," he warned me.

"We'll see," I answered. My confidence unwavering.

Later that night my husband questioned the wager.

"You know, there's a possibility you might be wrong on this one," my husband warned me. "That guy is personal trainer, he probably knows what he's talking about."

"That guy doesn't know anything," I barked back.

My husband raised his eyebrows at me.

"Okay, so I might of added 15 pound to the weight I wrote down," I filled him in on my tiny white lie.

"You're nuts...who does that?" he laughed.

I also wrote that I'm 29. Who says cheaters never win.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Here Ye! Here Ye!

I've said it before, but I'll say it again. Birthdays are a BIG DEAL!  Rio's party wasn't any exception. 

Remember the party idea that stemmed from the following conversation...

"Mom the small wooden sword is only twenty dollars," Rio pleaded.
"Only...twenty dollars? I can make you that sword for one dollar," I stated the obvious.

Well...after 4 months of planning, an 18 foot long table, 25 gold plates with lids, 25 goblets, 1 dragon pinata, 6 capes, 15 halos, 1 cake, 1 castle bounce house, 1 dragon bounce house, 20 medieval props, over 150 yards of fabric, and of course 24 wooden swords later... it all came to together.

The King and a few of his Royal Subjects

It was a party fit for a King! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Birthday Cake for Breakfast

Rio is eight years old today. I know this because yesterday he reminded me at least 50 times.

"Mom, tomorrow's my BIRTHDAY, not my Birthday Party, but my actual BIRTHDAY,"  he spoke slow so I would understand.

"Yes I know," I answered. "I was there when you were born," I reminded him.

Throughout the day he also wanted to know the date, or the time, or the day of the week. He repeatedly checked the calender on the fridge for proof that I hadn't somehow passed the 26th of July and not told him. All sneaky tactics he's learned from his sister to remind me in a round about way that an important event is approaching.

All of this birthday anticipation leads to one very important birthday tradition in our house.

BIRTHDAY CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!  Is there really anything sweeter?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cowboy Landscaping, Kind of?

There was a pathetic knock at the door, so I answered it. A young man dressed in a tan cowboy hat, dark blue jeans, and scuffed cowboy boots wanted me to pay him to mow my lawn.

I looked over his left shoulder and evaluated the length of my grass. It didn't need to be mowed, it needed to be watered and fertilized. Too bad he didn't specialize in crabgrass.

"What about your backyard?" he desperately added before I could say no. Followed by his failed grass cutting aspirations. I could almost hear sad violins playing to the sound of neighbors slamming their doors in his face.

I asked him to come back, but he sniveled that the block he had to push his ratty lawn mower was too far for that. While his sales skills were lacking he had guilt down pat.

He finished mowing my front lawn, and returned to the front door. I paid him twenty dollars for the entire five minutes it took him to pretend to cut the grass.


"The slant of your yard broke my lawn mower," he accused after the money was in his hand.

"I'm sorry," was all I could muster up.

"No really! Do you want to see?" he insisted. "The wheel broke off!"

"No...I believe you..." I told him.

He stood in front of me in an awkward silence. "I guess I'll have to try and push it home," he finally spoke when it was apparent I wasn't offering up any more dough. "I can't mow any more lawns now," he complained as he clanked down the street.

I'd like to think my slanted yard did that cowboy a favor.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Free Two Week Trial Gimmick

I am now the proud owner of a twelve month family gym membership. How did I get suckered into such a thing you might wonder.  Five words: free two week trial gimmick.

The first mistake was letting my husband get the mail. The second mistake was letting him make an appointment. The third mistake was attending the sports club.

After our tour, it was time to listen to the sales pitch. We were informed that a membership includes use of a pool, racquetball courts, a sauna, all exercise classes, cardio equipment, weights, locker room, and a kids club. All for one low monthly price.

I looked over at my husband who lost all sense of negotiation. He was sold the second he received the coupon in the mail. He wanted it bad and it was all over his face.

"Each time we've had a membership somewhere, we never use it," I stated our usual good intentions.

"I promise I'll come every day," he pleaded. "It will be fun! And this is something we can do together."

"Ugh..." I sighed. "This was supposed to be a free two weeks, not a year contract," I reminded.

"This can be my birthday present then," he suggested.

"Your birthday's not 'til October," I harked back.

He sat next to me and put his most pathetic face.

"Fine, Happy Birthday!"

 I'll even the score when I take him car shopping.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to Clean a Cell Phone

When my husband comes home from work he leaves a trail throughout the house. His keys are abandoned in the front planter, his shoes are shoved in the corner of the entry way, one sock is dropped in the hall, the other sock is thrown in our room, and his dirty work clothes are left in a pile on the bathroom floor. This is all in addition to the drywall crumbs that he's left in his path so he can find his way back to wherever it was he came from.

Out of habit, picking up after two sloppy kids all day, I collected the evidence he left behind and put everything I found back where it belongs. If I didn't, I would get a question like, hey babe have you seen my keys? At 4 in the morning.

What didn't occur to me, is that his cell phone wasn't among the other items in his daily route.

"Hey Babe...have you seen my phone?" my husband asked.

"No, call it," I told him as I continued picking up after everyone.

"Maybe it's in my truck?" he scratched his head as he walked out of the front door.

No luck. It wasn't in his truck, the office, the kitchen, our room, or the planter.

"Where are my work pants?" he asked exiting the bathroom.

"Oh, no!" My eyes widened.

"What?" he questioned.

"I threw them in the wash," I admitted. "Twenty minutes ago."

Yup...it was a goner!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Got Beer?

My husband came home from work to our kids swimming with their cousins in the front yard.  That's right, you read correctly. We have a fifteen foot pop-up pool in our courtyard. My brother was waiting for him with beer.

"Do you have enough beer?" I asked my brother as he walked up the side stairs entering the courtyard.

"Well, I figured you never let Orlando buy any, so I brought him some," he teased.

"Yeah, sorry. It's a vitamin water household," I told him. "No room in the fridge for beer."

Seems the word has traveled around the neighborhood. 
Poor Orlando...his wife never buys beer.

My husband disappears to get the mail from our box up the street, then returns an hour later with a beer can, courtesy of house number four. If he has to run to the bank, he returns with a cocktail, courtesy of house number six. 

"I don't know what's taking Orlando so long?" I complained to my friend over the phone, who lives around the corner. "He only went to buy dog food."

"He's not at the store, he's with my husband," she laughs. "They're in the garage having a beer!"

Am I missing something here?  Oh yeah, BEER!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

My Memories Giveaway

I know, lately my blog posts have been sporadic. More sporadic than usual that is. I've been busy! Busy playing with my new Digital Scrapbooking software.  It's awesome!  I may never pick up scissors or use double stick tape again. 

I have over 8,000 photos organized in storage bins, shoved in the back of my closet, waiting to be put into albums. Crazy, right? Worse I have over 20,000 photos waiting to be downloaded off memory cards.  I mean really...who has the time?

This scrapbooking software is fast, simple, easy, affordable, and most important it has saved me a ton of time!

So far I've made four albums, two wall photos; complete with inspirational sayings, and invitations for Rio's Birthday party.  However, I'm most proud of the Disney Character autograph book I made for my kids for our next trip to Disneyland. The My Memories Suite 2 is by far the most user friendly software I have installed on my computer. Check out my project below.

And guess what! My Memories gave me Digital Scrapbooking Software to give away to one of my lucky followers. FOR FREE!

How 2 Enter

To enter Giveaway you MUST follow THIS blog via Google Friend Connect.  Click the "Follow" button on my side bar to get started. Then leave a comment on this post telling me how far behind you are with your photos. Because misery loves company. That's it!

Want 5 Extra Chances to Win?

Extra Entry 1: Visit http://www.mymemories.com/ then come back here and tell me which digital paper pack was your favorite.
Extra Entry 2: Follow me on Twitter, @rsnmarshmallows
Extra Entry 3: Share this post on Facebook
Extra Entry 4: Blog about this Giveaway
Extra Entry 5: Share this post on Twitter

It's all in the DETAILS!

~Leave a separate comment for each entry.

~Winner will be drawn June 30th, 2011 @ 9:00pm PST

~If I can't reach you through your GFC email, check back here on Friday, July 1st. You'll have 72 hours to claim your prize. 

Added Bonus!

My Memories is also offering my readers a $10 discount on their purchase of My Memories Suite v2 Software! Copy and paste the promo code STMMMS85042 in the promotional code field on the shopping cart page. The software also comes with another $10 coupon for downloads. That's $20 in discounts! This offer will expire in 10 days.

Megan You Won!
winner chosen through random.org

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Aside from swimming at our house every single day this summer, my kids have managed to hit up two other neighbors and use their pools.

Rio shows off his acrobatic water skills, by jumping, flipping and diving. While Amaya cheers him on swimming a stroke we have deemed The Drowning Porpoise.

"Swimming is the best part of summer!" Amaya shared while we were walking home from a neighbor's house late last night. "I love it!"

"I'm swimming again tomorrow. As soon as I wake up!" Rio declared.

That is...if he ever wakes up.

It's 10:30am and Rio is still asleep.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good Trade

Little boys are messy. I think it's in their nature to be complete slobs. Or maybe it's just Rio. Either way, cleaning his room turns into quite the scavenger hunt.

There are three things I am guaranteed to find while inspecting the room he swore he cleaned. Dried out apple cores decomposing under his bed, sunflower seeds hidden inside his pillow case, and half chewed up foam darts scattered on the floor. Sometimes I think he's really a puppy.

Rio insisted there's too much stuff, and he doesn't know where to put it. So in attempts to give him more space I made an offer he couldn't refuse.

"Rio, why don't you get rid of some of your Buzz Lightyears?" I asked.

He looked at me and shook his head, "No way, Mom!"

"They look pretty beat up," I tried to persuade him, while examining his toys. "How about this," I offered, "I'll trade you."

"Trade me for what?" His interest was triggered.

"If you throw out the old ones...I'll buy you a brand new one," I bartered.

It worked out better than I planned.

I have a feeling my tactics are not going to be received as well in Amaya's room.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Schools Out!

The last day of school was always the best day of school when I was growing up.  But there's only so much pressure Rio can take, so he had his usual end of the school year melt down.

The kids hop in the backseat and shove their report cards in my face, eager for me to review them. I take my time reading every mark and notation while they hold their breath.

"Mom...did I pass?" Rio breaks the silence.

"Yup," I told him, as I folded the report cards and placed them inside my purse.

"Ah, good. That means I'm a third grader," he sighed with relief.

"I know I passed," Amaya stated. "I already peeked at mine."

"Great year you guys, I'm proud of you both," I praised them as I pulled away from the school.

"Mom? Do I have to go to college?" Rio asked reluctantly.

"It depends on what you want to do when you get older," I told him.

One minute later, Amaya informed me Rio was in tears.

"What's wrong Rio?" I asked through the rear view mirror.

"I'm not ready to leave home..." Rio sobbed.

I promised him I wouldn't kick him out just yet.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Reptiles, Lizards, and Snakes, Oh My!

Once again we were lost on our way to The Academy of Sciences. The first time my husband drove around for three hours, holding us hostage, trying to find the Museum. When the kids and I were finally able to convince him to pull over, get directions, and admit he had no idea where it was...the one person he chose to ask didn't speak English.  It was quite an adventure. 

Seems he has the same sort of luck with google maps.

The planetarium was the top priority since the passes were gone the last visit.  But the highlight was the new snake and lizard exhibit. 

"Mom, we should get one of those for our house!" Rio referred to a lizard the size of a large dog.

Amaya was more interested in the large Boa Constrictor.

"What does that eat?" She asked contemplating the probability of it's diet including little brothers.

I had to crush both of their reptile dreams.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Protect the Goalie!

The first store was closed. The second store didn't have what I was looking for. By the time we arrived at the third store the excitement of another camera purchase almost passed.

Thanks to the knowledgeable camera rep, the third store ended up being quite successful.  Aside from a hint that the Canon 7D may find its way under the Christmas tree, the three hour visit ended with a bribe of six balloons; along with a pocket camera, memory card, bag, battery, and  video game purchase.

"Wow!" I told my husband when we got in the car. "The kids were really good in the store, I'm impressed."

"Babe, are you kidding me?" My husband laughed. "I was the blocker! They would come at you and I'd kick them back into play."

"You were protecting your goalie!" I laughed hysterically as I returned to reality. "You're right, that sounds more accurate. Great teamwork!"

Just one of many ways my husband keeps me sane.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Library Cards

Rio needed to research Chinese Alligators for his endangered species report. Which made it the perfect time to take my kids to the library to get their very own library cards.

"Hi, how can I help you?" the librarian behind the return desk asked as she motioned for me to sit down in front of her.

"My kids would like to get their own library cards," I informed her.

"Okay, I just need to see their school ID cards," she said pleasantly.

I looked over at Amaya and Rio, and back at the librarian confused. "They're ten and seven," I pointed out the obvious. "They don't have school ID cards."

"All schools issue ID cards, ma'am," she said implying I was stupid.

Of course I had to correct her. The librarian then informed me of the new criteria for library card holders. She would need to see something with their name on it. The names written inside their jackets wouldn't do.

"Do they have a state issued ID card?" she asked.

I raised my eyebrows. "Again, they're kids. They don't have a State issued ID card." I spoke slowly so she would understand. I rummaged through my purse. "How about their insurance cards?"

"No, sorry, we can't accept those," she apologized.

I received the same answer when I inquired about the legitimacy of presenting their social security cards or their Smile Safe Kids card issued by the school.

"Do you have their Birth Certificates?" she asked.

"Sure...oh...wait..." I snapped my fingers. "I must of left them in my other purse along with my marriage license and bank statements," I teased sarcastically.

I thanked the librarian for my next blog topic. She didn't return the gratitude. Instead, she defended her position, and public library policies, by filling me in on an evil sneaky ring of parents, that have dozens of library cards issued to children that don't exist! Used with the intent to defraud the library! "So," she told me, "Being a tax payer, you should be grateful, it's your tax dollars we're protecting."

Clearly we were in the fiction section of the library.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I've been making some positive life changes.  Most recently I've sworn off sugar.  The downside of cutting out sugar is that I've replaced it with butter.

"We use a lot of butter.  Have you noticed?"  My husband inquired.

I shrugged my shoulders indifferent to his observation.

"How many cubes of butter have you eaten today?"  He asked, confirming he was implying I have a problem.

"Um...I don't know...three?"  I answered.

"Maybe we shouldn't buy butter in bulk," he suggested. "What do you think?"

"Nonsense!" I dismissed his absurd suggestion.

I really don't see the problem.  It's my belief, that if you pair butter with an artichoke, it cancels out the butter. This logic can also be applied to salmon, asparagus, shrimp, crab, lobster, baked potatoes and popcorn. 

Clearly, I'm in denial.


Friday, May 20, 2011

Gold Rush

Fourth graders are learning about the California Gold Rush. The subject has enthused Amaya to the point of planning future trips to Sutter's Mill to search for gold. But it hasn't motivated her enough to answer any questions correctly on the worksheets sent home or the reading test she had taken. 

She knows one thing...there was GOLD. I suppose that's the most important detail.

The best part of learning about the California Gold rush, getting to participate in an interactive assembly panning for gold. For a small fee.

"Mom! I found a piece of gold at the assembly today!" Amaya announced with excitement while pulling a piece of binder paper from her backpack. "I got to keep it!" Then she pointed to all of her pencil sketches on how to pan for gold.

"Where's the gold you found?" I asked.

"It's right there." She pointed to a small sketch in the upper right corner of her paper with a piece of tape over it.


"Right there!" She pointed again.

I squinted my eyes to focus. "Oh," I said smiling.

"This piece of gold is worth two dollars!" she informed me. "And it only cost seven dollars!"

Yup! It was the deal of a lifetime.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Haircut

Tuesday night Rio informed me that his hair was way too long.  I agreed.  So I trimmed it for him.

"Mom...are you almost done?" he complained standing in the middle of the bathtub.

"Almost," I stalled, as I trimmed the back of his head. "Hold on," I diverted as I attempted to cut his unforgiving hair. "Okay..." Each cut lead to another cut.  After the front and back were trimmed, my confidence with the scissors grew and I went for the layers. "I got it!"

I stood back and looked proudly at my masterpiece. I put my fingers on top of his head and shagged his hair. I must say, his hair looked pretty darn good. WET!  But when it dried, it was obvious, I'm not a professional. 

"Rio, come in here," I said, guiding him by his hand into my bathroom.

"Oh, no...not more mom," Rio pleaded as he stood on top of the toilet.

"Real quick!" I promised.  "You can't go to school like that."  I took out the scissors and cut more. Someone should have stopped me.

"Are you done yet?" Rio asked.  "I know, hold on, okay, you got it," he laughed as he imitated me.

Feeling guilty for what I had done, I called my husband in for approval.  He didn't let me off the hook, instead he glared at me with eyes that asked Why? What have you done to his hair?  

"Oh come on!  It's not that bad!" I lied.

So I'm that mom! The mom who sends her child to school after butchering their hair.

"Did anyone notice your hair today at school?" I asked reluctantly.

"No, nothing, no one," he answered. "But I did get some funny looks," he confirmed my fears.

I took him for a real haircut immediately. 

When the girl at the salon looked at me funny...I blamed my husband.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coupon for Mom

The most popular gifts in my house are hand made coupons. 

I've received the following coupons from Amaya and Rio, good for: I will clean my room, I will take out the trash, I will feed the dog, and I will watch T.V with you...to list a few.  All coupons for the things they do anyway, so I find these coupons amusing.

The most recent coupon was from Amaya, good for: Any lunch or dinner out of your choice for FREE!  I immediately put it inside my purse, swearing it would come to good use the next time the opportunity presented itself.

"You went to Togo's for lunch today Mom?" Amaya inquired.

"Yeah...why?" I asked.

"Well, did you use your coupon?"  Amaya asked urgently.

"No, I was by myself," I told her.

"Oh...well you can use it when ever you want." She then disclosed the coupon's terms for me. "It's an endless coupon, I can make more."

For weeks I've been interrogated by Amaya, regarding the dinner out coupon.  Have I used it, when will I use it, why didn't I use it?

Her questions have me asking my own questions.  Why would I use the coupon if I'm alone and does she think it actually has value? 

"She can't think it's a real coupon, right?" I asked my husband. "She's ten. She has to know the difference."

"I don't know?  She's ten and look how she spelled coupon," he pointed out.
 This might be a problem.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Baby Mail

The mail arrived the other day just as it arrives everyday, minus Sunday. 

"BOX FULL! Please empty your mailbox." Were the instructions written on an orange postal service notice taped to my front door.

The mailbox was packed of the usual...bills, fliers, coupons, catalogues, ads, and junk mail.  What was unusual were the three pieces of baby mail shoved inside.

"This is random?" I thought as I quickly thumbed threw my mail, walking away from my mailbox. "A baby magazine? Hmm..."  I dismissed the magazine. It was obviously delivered to me in error.

I dumped the pile of mail on the kitchen table and began sorting it into the usual piles. Bills, coupons, ads, and trash.  That's when I came across baby magazine number two.

"What the heck!"  I said to myself.  "Whose mail is this?"  I inspected the white bar coded address boxes in the bottom left corners.  They both read: Nicole Garcia. I also received a welcome packet from Similac. No...I'm not expecting.

My husband walked in the door.

"I see you got the mail," he stated as he read the orange postal notice left by our mailman. "It says we have a large envelope or magazine to pick up," he informed me. "You want me to go get it?"

"No...if it's anything like what was delivered," I handed him the baby mail, "they can keep it!"


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Whose Dog Peed on my Lawn?

I've been watering the brown spots on my lawn for the past two weeks like a crazy person.

"Come look at this!" I demanded, dragging my husband to the front yard to inspect the grass.  "Someone's been letting their dog pee all over our lawn."

"What the..." my husband stated.

"There's one...two...three...four...five," I paced across the front yard pointing each one out. "There's like 30 brown spots!" I ranted.

"I wonder which neighbor it is?" he asked.

The kids immediately shared their suspicions. They accused the old man down the street with the two chihuahuas, the lady who jogs at night with her black lab, another neighbor with one white dog and one brown dog, and a wiener dog that was ruled out because it's too fat to waddle up the grassy slope to pee.  All other dogs and owners however, were suspects.

"When I find out who's doing this, I'm walking Max down to their house so he can pee on their lawn." I declared.

The kids helped by setting up look out posts to catch the peeing perpetrator. 

"DOG!" Rio yelled. "Don't let your dog pee on my moms grass." Rio warned people when they passed our house, as Amaya ran to the front corner to watch dog and owner until they were clear of our property.

"Nope, it's not them!" Amaya reported.

Then while watering yesterday I noticed something odd in the center of one of our many dead patches of grass. A shriveled up, dead weed. That's when it hit me. I called my husband out front to discuss the yard.

"You know the dogs that have been destroying our lawn?" I hinted.

"Yeah, what about them?" he asked.

"It's not dogs at all," I informed him. "It's you!"

"Me?" he asked as if I was accusing him of peeing on our lawn.

"A couple weeks ago, you sprayed weed killer around the sidewalks and planters..." I tried to trigger his memory. "Did you happen to use it on the weeds in the lawn also?"

"Oh, that's right I did," he admitted, laughing. "I forgot!"

"You do realize it says weed and grass killer on the bottle?" I asked.

He laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

Apparently the joke's on me.

Saturday, April 30, 2011


Zyrtec is my drug of choice. 

I'm an allergy sufferer. For years I used Benadryl, but the side affects were more than I could handle.  I would take one tiny pink pill and within twenty minutes I mimicked a cheap drunk.  Slurring my words and unable to articulate a complete thought.  The room would spin, and my neck would struggle to support my heavy head. Then BAM!  I would slip into a coma for six hours.

I'd fall quickly down the rabbit hole, into the rem state. For me, there isn't any sleep like a Benadryl sleep. I think it's the closest thing to hibernating.

It seems I'm the family drug dealer for meds.  I can't remember the last time a family member visited my house and didn't need a pill or two from my medicine cabinet.  Headaches, backaches, sore throats, earaches, bug bites, you have a problem...I have a pill for it.  But Zyrtec is like gold, so I'm stingy with it.

"Nikki, do you have any allergy pills?"  my brother inquired, as he fought the urge to rub his itching eyes, sneezing repeatedly.

"Yeah, do you want a Benadryl?"  I offered.

"No...I don't want a Benadryl.  Do you have anything else?"  He asked.

I went to find something else in my medicine cabinet.  I opened the doors and saw my precious bottles of Zyrtec.  But I offered something else instead.

"Here I have a box a Claritin," I said as I handed him the box.  "It expired last month, but if you want it, you can have it."

"Oh, thanks Nik!" My brother appreciated my generous offer.

Friday, April 29, 2011


Youth Regenerating Skincare... the newest adventure in my quest to discover the fountain of youth. 

"I don't think you're going to get anything else out of that tube," my husband commented, as I squeezed, flattened, and twisted the lotion tube over the bathroom sink. "I think you're all out."

"No, there's at least three more days in this tube," I explained.  "Get me a razor blade, I'll show you." I cut open the tube and found it was bone dry.

For once, he was right.  So I had to go buy more. 

I was disappointed to learn my current age stopping skincare line was discontinued, until my eyes stopped on the word YOUTH printed on the front of a new skincare system, displayed on the top shelf.  I was sold before I picked up the box. Even better than the word youth printed in giant bold letters on the front of the box, was the word immediately printed on the back of the box.

See Dramatic Results

Diminishes signs of stress and fatigue ...from years of children sucking the youth from my soul.
Reduces the appearance of lines and wrinkles
Smoothes and evens skin surface ...caused by years of neglect.
Boosts skin's radiance and luminosity
Delivers instant hydration
Protects with UV/UVB SPF 30 ...from skin damage compliments of the blazing sun, while supervising soccer 6 days a week.
Provides overnight recovery
Visibly transforms skin's youthful appearance
Decreases under-eye bags and dark circles ...from not ever getting enough sleep, ever again.

What doesn't it do? 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

X is for Kisses

XOXO symbolizes hugs and kisses.  Are the X's the hugs? Or are the X's the kisses? This was the debate between my husband and I last night when we were discussing my "X" post.

"The X's are the hugs," my husband stated.

"No they're kisses," I corrected.

"No they're hugs," he held his position. "When you hug, you cross your arms like an X." He tried to explain.

"No...the X's are kisses," I answered. "Everyone knows that!"

"Then why do people say hugs and kisses when they read XOXO?  If the kisses were the X's it would be kisses and hugs?" He pointed out.

"I don't know...but when a cartoon character is kissed , the kisses leave X's not O's." I shared my theory.

Today I'm putting this debate to rest.

According to 1984 edition of the Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary:
x, X (eks) -symbol 1. The Roman numeral ten. 2. A mark shaped like an X representing the signature of one who cannot write. 3. A mark used in diagrams, maps, etc., to place some event or substance, or to point out something to be emphasized. 4. A symbol used to indicate a kiss. 5. Christ: an abbreviation used in combination: Xmas.

X is for kisses.

Who, What, When, Where, & Why

"Who's in the kitchen?" I inquired when I heard a small person jump off the counter.


"What just broke?" I demanded answers as I made my way down the hall.

 When I entered the crime scene I found Amaya, standing over a broken plate shattered on the kitchen floor. 

"Where is the broom?" My husband snapped at Rio.

"Amaya! That's the third plate you broke this week!" I accused. "At this rate we're not going to have any plates left."

"It slipped mom..." she said, standing petrified over the mess with her arms held out.

"Why are you holding spaghetti?" I pointed to the handful of spaghetti noodles drooping through her clinched fingers.

"I saved what I could..." she defended.

"Next time save the plate!"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Vacations are trips with room service, spa treatments, and fruity drinks with tiny umbrellas in them.  Vacations are not to be confused with family trips.  A family trip is when the kids are invited. 

"He licked me!" Amaya yelled from the backseat.  "Get on your own side Rio!"  she whined as she pushed him away. "Mom! Tell him to stop!"

"She stuck her tongue out first!" Rio defended himself.

"I didn't actually lick you though!" Amaya uttered in disgust.

Rio and Amaya argued back and forth as I attempted to drown out their bickering with the radio.  I tried to take deep breaths to calm my nerves.  I tried to ignore them by reading a book.  But eventually I reached my breaking point.

"Enough!" I yelled facing the backseat. "Your father is driving, do you want him to stop this car?" I asked. "If he has to stop...I'm leaving you on the side of the road...and you can walk!"

They both stared at me blankly, their eyes protruding from their skulls. 

That's right, only 30 minutes on the road and mama has already snapped.

Like I was saying...vacations aren't to be confused with a family trip.

Monday, April 25, 2011



...one of many activities banned from school playgrounds.


Traffic Tickets

Traffic tickets are a regular occurrence with my husband.  The one I payed this weekend was the most expensive by far. 

It was $370 for the traffic fine, $49 for traffic school eligibility, and a $10 convenience fee for paying the ticket online. Then add the $35 to take the online traffic school course...it's a very expensive lesson my husband refuses to learn.

My husband has a lead foot and will have two or three tickets rotating on his driving record at any given time. He tries to hide them from me, but eventually the truth is found out.

"Hi, I'd like to inquire on insurance rates through your company," I told an insurance agent over the phone.

The insurance agent was polite and happy to help. I gave her my information, then I was asked to provide my husbands.

"Sorry, I can't help you," the agent cut me off before I finished spelling my husbands name.

"I don't understand?" I asked.

"We can't help you, Ma'am!" the agent replied abruptly.

"Can I ask why?" I thought I must of missed something.

"He has too many points on his record. One more and he could loose his license," the agent informed me, before she ended the call without saying good-bye.

That would explain the sudden increase on our insurance bill. I called my husband at work, since it was his idea to shop for cheaper car insurance.

"So...I figured out why our insurance rates tripled," I said instead of saying hello.  "Is there anything you want to tell me?" I challenged.

"Nothing you're gonna like," he confessed.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Shut Up vs. Be Quiet

Shut up screams urgency.  Be quiet says, tone it down or in some cases...whisper.  Shut up means stop talking right this instant, close your mouth, I don't want to hear another word.

I live in a shut up household.

Recently I've discovered that many people find the words shut up to be offensive and insulting.  Shut up is down right rude. People prefer that be quiet or shushing should be used instead.  I think it's all in the tone.

"Amaya...shuuuuut...up," Rio says, drawing the sentence out like he's not going to be gullible and fall for any of her tricks again. She can't fool him.


"SHUT UP!" Amaya yells, standing two inches from Rio's face, ears steaming, at her breaking point. Little brothers are so very irritating. 

Not nice.

So the tone is rude, I think, not the word.  I could shush my children abruptly, dismissively, or hastily in the middle of a sentence and be just as thoughtless. But why? When a soft or firm shut up does the trick effortlessly.


Thursday, April 21, 2011


Rio is the reason I'm a better parent.  I'm his number one advocate.

"As you know Mrs. Garcia," his preschool teacher said, "Rio is right handed."

"No...he's left handed," I corrected her.

"Not according to his evaluation," she continued.

I could hear in the tone of her voice, she had the degree in child development, I was just a parent. I rolled my eyes and pretended to take her serious.

She reported that he could count all twenty objects, he could point to all of his body parts, he knew all prepositions, he could draw a circle, and write his name. He knew all of the letters, numbers, colors, and what ever else had been taught in the school year. 

"But let me show you his Visual Perceptual Organization," she said as she handed me the evaluation. "He was instructed to draw himself and this is what he drew."

It was impressive.

"Rio drew a person with 4 eyes and a many fingers...when asked why he drew so many fingers, he said they were shooting fingers in case someone needs help."  She said with obvious concern.  "At this age we would prefer that he had a self image other than that of a super hero."

"He's four! Are you giving this same advice to the parents of little girls who think they're princesses and have added tiaras to their drawings?" I asked sarcastically. "Isn't it imagination that creates astronauts?"

No answer. 

I continued to the bottom of the page.  "I see it says at the bottom of this page... his preferred hand is marked left?"  I wondered, who really evaluated my child.

And as I predicted. 

"We suggest you hold him back, and wait another year for kindergarten," she advised. "It's better now than later.  He still cries easily, and he doesn't show any interest in drawing."

I strongly disagreed. But what do I know, I'm only his mother.

He's in second grade now...guess what hand he uses.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Question of the Day

Questions are always presented at the most inconvenient times.

My kids and I were invited to go to a local theme park with some friends today.  I accepted the thoughtful invitation, due to a bout of temporary insanity, on the conditions we sneak in our own food. 

We approached the security check point, also know as the food police, located outside of the front gate. I surrendered our belongings over to the bag inspector before we were waved through the metal detectors one by one.  He gave me back my keys and cell phone, then proceeded to violate my forth amendment rights and examine each zippered section of my backpack and purse. 

"Have a nice day in the park Ma'am," the security guard said as he handed my bag back to me.

I let out a sigh of relief.

But, I didn't get two steps away before Rio decided to open his mouth...

"Mom! Did he find our sandwiches you hid in the backpack?"  Rio inquired at full volume.

I quickly covered his mouth and pushed him towards the front gate.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Potty Talk

Poop is the most popular topic in my house. I don't know why my kids find it so interesting, but they do.

"Mom, my poop was normal!" Rio yelled from the bathroom.

"Okay...great to know buddy!" I yelled back. "Was it not normal before?"

"Yesterday I had exploding poop!" Rio answered back.

"Exploding poop? What's that?" Amaya peeked her head out of her room, not wanting to miss the opportunity to engage in such a fascinating discussion.

Rio went on to explain the dynamics of an exploding poop when it gets flushed. I'll spare you the details.

This led to a debate where the two of them compared all poops ever pooped in this house. They took a vote that decided the exploding poop was the winner.

I may just start awarding ribbons.

Monday, April 18, 2011


not Rolando, Armando, Hernando, Alejandro or Jose.  My husband's name is Orlando. 

I don't know why people confuse his name, but they do.  People mix up his name so often he's made a habit of using word associations during introductions.

"Hi I'm Orlando," he'll say, offering his hand to shake. "Like Orlando, Florida." And if that doesn't work he will tell them to just call him 'O'.

My husband has brought to my attention numerous times that I always refer to him as my husband. Oh, no...I just did it again.

"I've noticed you mention everyone's name but mine," my husband said shrugging his shoulders. "I'm just your husband."

"Ahhh...would you like me to mention your name babe?" I teased.

"That would be nice...but do what you want," he told me, pretending not to care.

So here it goes.  He's not just my husband, he's my rock.  And although I spend a good chunk of my time keeping him together, without him I would fall apart.  He's not just my husband, he's my best friend. And whether he really cares about the things I say or not, he pretends to hang off my every word.

"Orlando meet everyone, everyone meet my husband, Orlando."


Saturday, April 16, 2011


No news is good news...says who?

I'm constantly surfing the channels for the next breaking news alert headlines.  I consider myself an enthusiast, my husband calls me a junkie.

Whether it's studying the business channel, watching a news reporter, assessing an opinion show, reading the paper, listening to talk radio, or chasing story link after story link on the Internet, I'm well informed. 

Aside from holding my own in a room full of men, who think they know what they're talking about, the news has other powerful benefits.

"Mom, I'm bored!" Amaya complains.

"Go play outside," I tell her.

"I don't want to," she whines back.

I make suggestions like, you can clean your room, or you can read a book, or you can do a puzzle, or you can skate.  But nothing interests her. Meanwhile Rio entertains himself in the background doing flips off the couch. When I've had enough, I rely on my secret weapon and turn on the news. 

The kids scatter, my husband falls asleep, and I obtain peace and quiet.

Proof, knowledge is power.


Friday, April 15, 2011


Mayhem takes only three days to materialize in my house. Since I chose to squander my time away on things other than nagging, reminding, cleaning and threatening, I have only myself to blame.

I've learned the following:

Rio doesn't have a problem sitting on top of the kitchen table, rummaging through piles of unfolded laundry to find something decent to wear.

Amaya is content with consuming tuna straight from the can to get out of washing a dish, and avoid unloading the dishwasher.

It's easier for my family to wear shoes in the house than pick up the broom to sweep.

Why make the beds? We're going to sleep in them anyway.

I could go on, but I think there's a clear visual of where I'm at. 

"Are you coming to soccer practice?" My husband asked.

"No! Have you noticed the house?" I did my best Vanna White impression.  "I have to clean!"

He shrugged his shoulders, impervious to the chaos.


Thursday, April 14, 2011


Losing isn't an option for a certain boy in our house. There isn't any activity that can't be turned into a competition.

"Ha ha...I beat you Amaya!" Rio gloats.

"I wasn't racing Rio!" Amaya argues.

"But I still beat you..." He tells Amaya so she knows the end result is the same either way... he wins.

This is the argument after everything Rio does.  Everything is a race.  Brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating, buckling a seat belt, running to the front door, there isn't any activity that can't be turned into a competition.  And if he isn't first...forget it.  He will have a full fledged melt down.

It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's how you play the game, is the usual line used to console upset children after a loss.

But that line means nothing to a child whose sole objective in life is to win. In fact, I'm a little more like Rio than I admit. When I hear parents say this to their children, my first thought is: that's what people who lose say to feel better. I know, I'm terrible, I can't help it.

My second thought is: it is a lie, people play games to win.  My third thought is: it matters! to the kid who lost and is upset.

While good sportsmanship is crucial, the truth is there isn't a high like winning, and there isn't a low like losing.  And that's okay. I hate losing! I've just developed skills to control my emotions better.

"It's okay to want to win, it's not okay to cry if you lose," Rio is reminded frequently.

This way I don't trivialize his desire to compete. So far it's working beautifully.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kid-Glove Parenting

Kid-glove parenting seems to be the trend these days. Where parents overindulge, pamper, coddle, and fuss over their children.

"What are you a marshmallow?"  I yelled at my five year old.  Then I realized...oh no! I have just turned into my father!

But you know what, I GET IT NOW! My children aren't marshmallows, and I don't want them to grow up to become marshmallows. The fact is, a little tough skin is necessary.

"That mother's looking for you," a friend informed me. She pointed towards the playground to a mother fussing over her child.

"Why?" I asked sarcastically.

"She wanted to tell you that Amaya wouldn't play with her daughter," she relayed the message.

"Well good thing she talked to you and not me," I teased. I had a feeling that the overbearing mother wouldn't of appreciated my take on the situation.

Kids have to learn to solve their own problems, and fight their own battles. Mommy can't always be there to do it for them. What will they do in the playground of adult life.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Just for laughs...

How do you catch a polar bear?

Cut a hole in the ice,
line it with peas.
When the bear comes to take a pea,
kick him in the ice hole!

My kids love this joke!

Monday, April 11, 2011


I'm  surrounded by idiots. That's what the pin my husband gave me for our 14th anniversary reads. There's never been a truer statement or better gift.

"Why can't you two act normal?" I shouted at my children after the fifth photo attempt. Then I looked over at my mom. "I don't know why every time I try to take a picture they act like idiots." I complained.

"Ooh..." my husband came over. "That lady is not happy with you."

"What lady?" I looked over in the direction he was pointing, to a woman walking away, shooting dirty looks and shaking her head at me. "What did I do to her?" I asked my husband.

"She didn't like that you referred to our kids as idiots," he said laughing." She huffed away, lecturing you under her breath.

"Well, she obviously hasn't met our kids!" I squawked ending the photo session.

I suppose I could of chose a better synonym to describe the actions of my children. Maybe that woman would have been happier if I used the word silly, goofy, crazy, or foolish.

Too bad I'm not in the business of people pleasing.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Helping my kids with their homework isn't my best skill. I get bored staring, page after page at subject lessons that are elementary to me. My husband says it's my been there done that attitude. Maybe, but I think it's more of a I hate repeating myself thing.  I blame Amaya.

"What letter is this Amaya?"  I asked while helping her with one of her homework packets in kindergarten.

"I don't know?"  She answered shrugging her shoulders.

"It's the letter 'D'..." I stressed. "Now you tell me, what letter is this?" I pointed to the letter.

"B?"  She questioned.

"No. It's the letter D," I sighed. "Write the letter ten times," I said as I handed her the pencil.

We repeated the above steps over and over.  Each time Amaya guessed a different random letter.  Nothing worked.  She mentally blocked out the letter "D". 

Two years of preschool! What a waste of money!

My husband came home to find us both in tears, crying. He kindly took over and earned his very first gray hair.

I was so relieved!