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 aren't to be confused with a family trip.

Monday, April 25, 2011


Underdogs... 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'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!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Gift Cards

Gift cards....what's not to love? They're little credit cards with positive balances. I love them?

The drawback is, I hold onto them forever.  I save them for when I really want something.  The thing is, I never really want anything. So I set them aside for in case.  In case what?  The heck if I know.

"You need to spend these!" My husband ordered pointing to my rubber banded card assortment in the closet.

"Why?" I asked. "They won't expire."

"Target! You were just there, you should of used this," he said as he thumbed through my gift card collection.

"Oh..I forgot I had that one..." I played dumb.

"Put these in your purse so you have them on you." He handed the stack to me.  "You can't spend them if they're locked up."

I kind of thought that was the point.

Thursday, April 7, 2011


adj. 1. Practicing or marked by economy. 2. Costing little; inexpensive.

My husband prefers to call me cheap. But cheap has a negative connotation, I like to think I'm economical, reasonable, careful, smart, or conservative.

It's easy to spend money, it's saving money that's tricky. I like to pretend the savings account is a black hole. Once money is deposited, I pretend it's gone forever. 

My husband views our savings account differently. It's a money tree planted in the backyard that's attached conveniently to is ATM card.

The fact is...I'm the saver, he's the spender. It's proof that opposites attract. While he's content to squander away every last dime in his pocket, it's my job to minimize the number of dimes he has left to spend.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Exercise Equipment

Exercise, it's so much work, I mean really...who has the time? Which is why purchasing exercise equipment from an infomercial makes complete sense. The prospects of getting quickly into shape, in the comfort of my own home, while watching TV.  It's almost too good to be true.

I've owned the Ab-doer, the Ab-roller, the Ab-wheel, the Ab-cruncher, and three balance balls.  I've even owned the complete set of Abs of Steel on VHS.  Sadly, my abs are nothing of the sort. 

"Oh, when are you expecting?"  A strange lady asked at the supermarket while reaching for my stomach.

"I'm not!"  I shooed her hand away. She huffed away hastily. How dare I embarrass her for insulting me.

Comments like those only motivate me to obtain another machine promising a quick fix.

The side-stepper, the stair-stepper, the treadmill, and the Gazelle were supposed to tone my legs and give me a firmer backside.  But after a few weeks, they became more ornamental than functional.

The Reebok Slider, a rowing machine, and a bike were for cardio, but the trick is, you have to actually use them. The resistance bands and ankle weights barely made it out of the box. I won't even mention the gym membership.

So I'm back to the basics. A jump rope and a pair of Reebok Easy Tones.

Well...for a few weeks.


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Date Night

Date night is detrimental to my health. Without it, I become one frantic momma on the edge. I took date night for granted before my children were born, but now, it's a crucial tool my husband uses to maintain my sanity.

A typical date night is the usual, dinner and a movie. 

Dinner, because it's important I eat a meal once in awhile, free of hovering children waiting for the opportunity to put their fingers in my food.  Why do they have to touch my food?  I haven't the slightest clue.  They don't put their little fingers in my husband's food...ever.  

A movie, because it's a luxury to sit and watch anything from start to finish without explaining what's happening, travel five times to the bathroom, or listen to Rio give us his play by play narration.

"Don't you feel guilty..." people ask,  "leaving your children so you can go out?"

My answer is always the same...HELL NO!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Complimentary Shampoo Collection

Complimentary shampoos, lotions, and bath gels...what is so appealing about those little bottles displayed in a hotel bathroom? The obvious word comes to!

Even though the soap strips my skin of moisture, the shampoo dehydrates my hair, and the lotion leaves behind a waxy film that I spend all day scratching off with my finger nails. I can't help myself! I have to take them home with me.

"What is all of that?"  My husband asked, as he watched me dump out our toiletry bag into the bathroom sink.

"Shampoo," I answered frankly.

"Why do you have so much of it?" he questioned. 

"I don't know? Every night I threw them in my bag, and every day the maid brought me more."

"What's a shoe mitt?"  he teased, implying lunacy, while rummaging through the sink of goodies.

"I don't know but they gave me one," I told him.

"You know you're insane, right!"  He accused.

Later...I put my most recent complimentary items away...and there was only one little problem. 

I think I'm going to need a bigger box.

My husband may have a point.


Saturday, April 2, 2011


Birthdays are a big deal!  I've been told, I tend to go a bit overboard.
I tell myself every year, "This is it.  Next year I'm only serving cake and ice cream."  But then I get an idea and I just can't help myself.
It doesn't take much to tickle my party bone, whether it's a treasure map invitation, a lady bug cake, a carnival game, or the opportunity to rent a dunk tank. All it takes is one idea to spread like wild fire.

Themed parties are my forte.  I'm not referring to the store bought prepackaged themes.  Those themes are for amateurs.  I'm a professional do-it yourselfer. My parties involve buckets of paint, props, and tricking random family members into volunteering their services. 

"Mom, what kind of party am I having this year?"  Rio asked the day after Amaya's birthday.

"Let me think about it..."  I told him.

Later that night Rio sat in astonishment as we attended a Medieval Times dinner show.  The five dollar flags we purchased as souvenirs weren't enough.

"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.

His face dropped, he was clearly disappointed. The swords were super cool, I couldn't blame him.

"How about I make them for your party," I proposed. "Then everyone who comes can get one."

"Okay!  But I'm the King!"  Rio declared.

This will be the last party, I swear! ?

Friday, April 1, 2011


 Amaya's a girl who's thinks three meals ahead. Before breakfast, she's requesting dinner. At dinner, she's planning  lunch. At lunch, she's worried about breakfast. And snacks... snacks can cause a real migraine.

"Mom, what meat do we have in the freezer?" It's a question asked every morning while picking through her cereal.

"Why Amaya?" Is the common response, but I already know where the conversation is headed.

"I was thinking...maybe we can have spaghetti tonight?" Her most common request.

"Can we finish one meal before we plan the next?" I usually plead with frustration.

Amaya will nod her head, but the worried look on her face always says different.

"Have I ever forgot to feed you?" I try to remind her she's never gone without a meal.

For an incredibly picky child, she sure is worried that she won't get to eat. If it were up to her she would live on spaghetti, tuna, and avocados.

After breakfast, like clockwork, Rio will find me.

"Can we have spaghetti tonight?" Rio asks.

I roll my eyes and sigh. "You hate spaghetti. Remember?"

"Oh...well, Amaya told me to ask," he'll confess.

"Amaya!" I yell through the house. "Quit sending Rio to do your dirty work!"