Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Can I have my grown up badge now?

I turn 30 tomorrow.

I'm ready.

A good friend of mine told me that she cried on her 30th birthday.

I'm excited.

12 years ago when I turned 18 and officially became an adult, I was 3 months pregnant with my daughter. I got maternity clothes for my birthday.
Everyone says that teens having babies have to grow up so fast, and it's true. I did, but that doesn't mean that you're recognized as such.

"you're such a baby" people said. And everyone felt sorry for me, and gave me pitying looks. The grown up responsibilities and challenges were there, but without first earning my place in a grown up world.

No one wants to rent an apartment to a 19 year old, a 20 year old, a 21 year old....
you're too young, you're not trustworthy.

And there were lessons to be learned, things I needed to find out the hard way, growing up to do, but I've shouldered the responsibilities, kept my job, found people to rent to me, bought cars, paid insurance, birthed and nursed 3 children, been to countless dr appointments, changed countless diapers, juggled work and daycare and college, thrown 23 birthday parties, been to 15 parent-teacher conferences, and dance practices and baseball practices and basketball practices and gymnastics practices, and recitals and parades and Halloween costumes and and and....

taught them to read, and to use their manners and to use the toilet, and have been responsible for their lives as well as mine....

and I'm not a baby.



Tuesday, November 9, 2010

A picture post


At school

At six flags. Cali wore Damien's old Alvin costume. She was a big hit!

Post trick or treating:

The queen with her spoils

It's been gymnastics competetive season, so that means it's been all gymnastics all the time....practices 5 days a week, privates, et al.
It all culminated this past weekend in zones (which is like regionals for gymnasts). Emily was 3 tenths of a point from making states, so the season ended on a bittersweet note. Now it's time to start training for next season! Lol.


Damien with our cat Ashes

Emily with her boyfriend Jordan

My new sewing spot! No more moving it on and off the kitchen table!!

Caliana and cousin Jasmin practicing their gymnastics

and a quick pic of me so I don't feel left out :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Beat at the meet

Emily had her 3rd meet of the season a few weeks ago. It was a great one, and she did well. Topped her best ever scores on bars, vault and floor and all around! She also qualified to zones, which was a major goal of hers this season.
She tied 2 other girls for second place on floor. The other two girls were called first and so the podium was quite crowded by the time her name was called. This was her first time placing in the top 3 and you could tell she wanted on that podium so badly. She put one foot on and eventually the other girls made room for her. She smiles so beautifully, her pride evident in that moment where all of her hard work is rewarded. We're smiling too, Patrick and I and the other team parents. We've become a close knit group and each other's children's successes are like our own children's.

Patrick went out to the car ahead of us, while Em and I hung back for a few minutes. I was making lunch plans with the other parents and Em was posing for pictures. She left that day with five medals and a huge boost in pride and confidence. We walked out to the car feeling great, and there was Patrick. Holding a tissue to his face....bleeding.

me: What happened? Are you ok?!?

Patrick: Yeah, some guy ran up and punched me in the face, said "oh sorry, I thought you were someone else" and took off running down the street"

me: are you fucking with me? (he does that.....a lot) Did you just get a bloody nose and make up some story?

Patrick: No I'm serious, I'm not much of a bleeder (this is true)

So we all exclaim over him and wow, that's crazy and he gets a lot of attention.

His summary of the event..... "I wish I could say that's the first time that's happened to me"

Monday, October 11, 2010

At least she's up front about it

Introducing herself to a little girl at the gym

"Hi, my name's Caliana, and I'm craaaaaaaaazy"

No doubt.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Feeling the love

If mushiness makes you want to vomit, click away, click away now. This is a post about my wonderful husband and it's a total mushfest.

We've known each other since we were 11, over 18 years now and I'm so thankful to be his wife. Here are just a few of the reasons why....

-He does most of the laundry

-He does most of the dishes

-Ok look, he does most of the housework period

-He does all of the yardwork

-He takes care of our baby girl every day....and he does it well, he works with her in her workbooks, makes paper bag puppets, builds forts, buries treasure in the yard for her to find, takes her for walks and bike rides, puts on her bandaids and loves her more than words can say

-He also gets up with her when she wakes up at night and lets me sleep

-He has cute freckles

-He doesn't like TV so I never have to fight him for the remote

-But he'll still watch a movie with me when I ask

-He makes me laugh

-He's a good cook

-He understands all my music lyric and old movie line references

-He calls me nicknames like "love" "life" and "my queen" and he means it

-He loves me unconditionally, more than anyone else on earth

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

He'll be the death of me

Sunday afternoon.....

I was cleaning....purging Damien and Caliana's room, which was a huge undertaking. I cleared out 3 garbage bags full of toys. Cali was alternating helping me and playing with toys recently unearthed from the clutter. Emily was watching tv and folding laundry, and Damien went for a bike ride.
Typically this means he rides around the block and goes to the house of one of four friends' that live on our block. No cause for concern.

Dinnertime rolled around and he wasn't back yet, so I sent the girls to check his friends' houses, and I drove to the two playgrounds near our house. No luck, but it was still an hour until dark and knowing it was Damien, we weren't in panic mode yet. Just as we were sitting down to dinner, Damien walks in sobbing. He had gone to the apartment complex nearby to play at their playground and had a run-in with an older boy. 14 by Damien's telling. This boy apparantly yelled "come on man, one on one, one on one" and socked Damien up a bit. Damien tried to leave and the kid blocked him for awhile before letting him go.

Of course I was livid to hear this and Patrick was ready to go over there to confront said child and parents, but Damien said no. He was sad about it, but didn't want to go back. We had dinner. We also had a talk about how important it is for him to tell us where he's going, so we know where he is at all times. There was much nodding and agreeing.

Cue yesterday.....

We get home and Damien says "mom, can I go for a bike ride?"

me: "Where are you wanting to ride?"

D: "Just to the church playground"

"Ok, but just go there and back! NO where else!"

"Ok mom" *much nodding and reassuring*

45 minutes later......

Patrick: "Love, there's a cop car just pulled up with a bike in the trunk, want to go talk to him?"

Oh sure I'd love to take that one.

Officer: "Hi maa'm, were you aware that your son was riding his bike down the freeway?"

Of course! Don't all parents let their 8 year olds play on the freeway?

"Uh no! He had very specific instructions to ride to the church half a block up and nowhere else"

"He said he was trying to ride to your old house to play with his friend. Is that far?"

"Yeah, it's um, across town. Well thank you for bringing him home" *walks back inside with much parental guilt seeping out of my pores*

I guess when we tell Damien "go there and nowhere else" he takes it as a challenge to ride on the most dangerous road to the farthest place he can think of.

We've banned bike rides, forever.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Such babies

This was me five years ago. I wasn't quite 25.

I liked my hair.

This was my husband. He wasn't quite 25 either.

His hair is pretty much the same.

We would conceive our youngest that month, but at that point we only had 2 children.

They looked like this

and this (the toothless one)

My grandma was still alive. She would have turned 93 today. Happy Birthday Grandma.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a 4 year old dressed by a 4 year old

yes, that is a balance beam in my living room

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Time to write

It seems like I never have time to write, but in reality, I don't have enough quiet to gather two coherant thoughts together. So I avoid it. Right now Caliana is sitting half on the couch, half on the desk, pointing out to me everything on her six flags map....now she's pretending to shoot me, complete with sound effects. However, I've decided enough is enough and time to just face the blank page and blab on it, coherant or not.
The question is after so long....what to write about. My day, my week, the past month or the summer?
I didn't try to do much today. Patrick and I have been trying since December to have another baby. I'm currently pregnant for the third time since then. Maybe....well, yes, but there are complications and things may not end well, for the third time. More concrete answers hopefully coming on Monday. So I'm wishing the weekend away. At the same time, I'm using it, to rest, to do nothing, to give my brain a rest. It's working somewhat.
Caliana had gymnastics this morning and the whole family went, which is unusual. And then in the middle of class, she threw up, which is also unusual. The girl is never sick. She's fine now. I spent most of the day on the couch nursing the cramp in my neck, which is not fine. It hurts like a bitch and I hope it's gone tomorrow. I watched DVR'd shows and the Sound of Music with Emily.
Em made lunch and Patrick BBQ'd dinner, and I did like...nothing.
Such a thrilling entry I know, I think my brain died a little today, but at least you all know that I'm not dead.

Other randoms:

- Emily has nailed her roundoff, back-handspring, back-handspring, back-tuck

- Her first meet of the season is next Sunday!!!!

- School is going well for the kids, Damien has a huge crush on a girl in his class and Emily is trying to start a sixth grade newspaper

- I've had my blood drawn every 2 days for weeks and I look like a pincushion

- I love my husband. He does so much for me and our kids. And I have to go now, because he's harrassing me to go try and shower the cramp out of my neck.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why 6th grade drop off was worse than Kindergarten

The first day of Kindergarten. That's the one that's talked about. It's a transitional day for sure. Taking your little five year old to start at a new school, all day, 5 days a week, without you. Except for the part where you get orientation and get to meet the teacher and hang out in the classroom and immerse yourself in their kindergarten experience. And your little 5 year old is so innocent and sweet and it's just the beginning.....the beginning of years of elementary school.

(First day of Kindergarten, 2004)

That's what makes 6th grade harder. It's the end. The end of one classroom, one teacher, field trips and recess. No more walking my baby to her class and meeting her teacher. Next year is junior high and she's on her own.

Emily and Damien are at the same school this year, for the last time until she's a senior and he's a freshman......I know that will be worse than this 6th grade thing, but I'm choosing not to think about it.

(First day of 3rd and 6th grade, 2010)

I dropped them off this morning and we all went to Damien's class first. I met his teacher while he walked away to his friends without a backwards glance. This is typical so I wasn't too heartbroken.


We went to her class and met her teacher and then I don't know. I didn't want to leave. She ran into some of her friends outside the class and started chatting. And I stood just outside their circle, like an old, lame, helicopter mom, which I am so not. Really, I'm not. I wouldn't lie.
I said "ok hun, I guess I'll go now, unless you want me to stay...."
"No, you can go, if you have to go to work and stuff"
"Oh, I already told them I'd be late"
She shrugs and goes back to her friends.....which might I add, I am so so very glad that I'm not that age anymore, because I listened to them. One of Emily's friends was talking about how Emily had so and so in her class and the other class had this person and this person......when one of the other girls cuts her off and says "I wouldn't know. I don't spend my days memorizing class lists."
Ouch. Girls are vicious.
The bell rang and Emily gave me a quick hug goodbye. I asked her if she had her phone and she said "yep, don't worry, it's on vibrate"
I know she's got this, but I can't help but want her to cling to my leg like a 5 year old. It's hard to not be needed. At least she still needs me for a ride home.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Things that have changed since last Friday

-Last Friday my dryer was working, this Friday it is not

-Last Friday I was pregnant, this Friday I'm not

-Last Friday my sister lived in Florida, this Friday she's in California

-Last Friday my daughter was 3, this Friday she is 4

There are also a lot of things that are the same. Last week I spoke of adventure, and change is adventure.....but right now it's the sameness that offers me grace.

Friday, July 9, 2010

On this day

Every morning, my phone alerts me to some trivia, something that happened on this day in years past. Today it read that on this day in 2008, the Ramsey family was cleared in the death of 6 year old Jonbenet.

I have my own for today though. On this day in 2006, I had reached my due date, and this little monkey was scheduled to appear

Being one of my children however, she procrastinated and stubbornly held out an additional 6 days.
The memories of those last days of pregnancy with my youngest and contemplation of her age and life thus far are coinciding strangely with welcoming the idea of this new baby, and all that lies ahead...in pregnancy, and beyond.
It's true that life repeats itself, but it is also always bringing new experience. New life, new adventure. New joys along with the same old joys.



Old and new, different and the same



A crew growing, expanding, the same old members, welcoming the rookies, and the show goes on

And the days to come will be ripe with adventure

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

for their own good....right?

The kids have a dentist appointment on Monday morning. All of them. I haven't decided if I'm totally brilliant or totally crazy to take them all at once, but it's the way we do it. It's always a little hectic, but then it's over and we don't have to go back for 6 months. Unless there's a problem.
There was a problem last time. Caliana had a cavity. She'd been to the dentist twice. 2 checkups and cleanings, and she loved the dentist. She asked to go back all the time. And now she was getting her wish. But I knew with all of my hard earned grown up knowledge that this time would be different. That she would no longer ask to go to the dentist. This time would be bad. I just didn't realize how bad.

Getting her there and in the chair was no problem. She had done this, she liked it. Dentist, yay! They put the nitrous mask on her, which looked like an elephant mask, with it's long hose carrying drugs to my 3 yr old's system (don't think I didn't agonize over it). It looked uncomfortable, and it must have been because she kept trying to take it off, but she was also trying really hard to be good and do what they told her.

I could tell she was scared when they put the mouth clamp in, and started to protest, and that's when the dentist made the decision to just go for it and gave her that evil shot in the gums, and my baby screamed.

I was given a seat by her legs, where I tried to hold her hand and calm her and also try to hold her still so the dentists could hurry the hell up already.

They held her in somewhat of a headlock, screaming, crying, snot running... and in holding her down, they were jamming the mouth clamp into her lip, because blood started dribbling down with her drool.

This all happened in a matter of minutes and I was helpless, torn between trying to help the dentist finish and wanting to punch her in her goddamn face.

And then my baby gagged, and peed her pants, and I told them to let her up. She was done. We sat there, my baby and I, both of us traumatized and crying. It was the worst dental experience of my life, and it wasn't even mine.

We go again on Monday, six months later, and Cali is protesting. She hasn't forgotten. We try to convince her that it's just for a cleaning...."they're just going to brush your teeth" we say, and she yells "I don't want the SCISSORS" and stomps away. And really I can't blame her. I don't want to go back either.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Forgetting how to play

While I was still at work yesterday, I got this text from Patrick:

"will you take them out of the house somewhere, it's such a beautiful day. I know they would love to go to Mario land, oh please, oh please!" (punctuation added by moi)

This can be loosely translated into "get them out of here, I need a nap, when does school start again?"

But, I didn't have anything I had to do after work anyways, so I consented. "Mario land" is a creek that was given it's name when I was about 8, because it reminded my sister and I of the landscape from our beloved video game (the original of course).

I wasn't totally keen on the idea of creek mud, water, bushes, etc... so I tried to convince them to go the park instead, but they (meaning Damien) weren't having it.

Damien's the one who really loves it there. It's isolated and wild and a little dangerous.....all of the things that Damien strives to be within the confines of society. He takes off down the path and picks his way through blackberry bushes and roots, jumping rocks.....and Cali tries to keep up with him, and I try to keep up with her, but we fail, and eventually it's just us 3 girls. Cali is taking her shoes off, Emily is just standing, trying not to touch anything gross, and playing with my phone, and I'm wondering "what now?"

I tell Emily how I used to play there when I was little, how we used to pretend we lived there and would pick out our rooms among the bushes and rock croppings and make pretend food, and go swimming. She smiles at me in a way that shows me she's made it to the place between kid and adult, where there's a certain longing to play those games, but there's also that laughter at "those funny things kids do" that we adults have perfected because we've forgotten how to play.

And yesterday she was on the adult side with me. We sat on the rocks and tree roots. I proclaimed that this one was my "throne" and she laughed, and sat beside me. And we watched the "kids".

Damien stripped down to his shorts, and Cali stripped down to nothing, and they adventured. A naked little sprite splashing through the creek, her big brother helping her across a log. I wished I had my camera, and I wished I was little, and I wished I could think of something to do besides sit and watch. And I wished Emily wasn't giving it up so soon. Don't sit and watch Em, go play.

As we were leaving, Emily hurried across a slimy, muddy rock and slipped. She went down on her butt and arms and screamed. I grabbed her hand and she came up muddy and squealing "owww, ewwww, owwww, ewwww" and I had to laugh.

No matter how careful you are, life is going to happen, so you might as well strip down and frolic.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Sweet Summer

School's out. Thank god. Last Friday was Emily and Damien's last day, and they left straight after school to go camping with my mom.

Peace out 2nd grade

I had grand plans of all the things I would get done while they were gone for the weekend. I would catch up all of the laundry, I would clean and reorganize their bedrooms, I would scrub the walls and declutter closets.
I didn't do any of it. Instead, Patrick and Cali and I, we just enjoyed the weekend.
We took naps, we played outside, we watched movies, we went to church and six flags, we recovered.
It's always so strange when part of the family is missing. The house seems so empty and quiet. Cali asks for them every so often, and when Grandma finally brought them home on Monday night, tanned and smelling of campfire, she was ecstatic and thanked grandma profusely for her brother and sister.

Since the weekend, we've been in full on summer vaca mode. Emily attempted to stay up all night one night playing video games, Damien's been barreling back and forth to his friend's house on his bike, we've had 2 friends spend the night, and bedtime has been stretched and extended and ignored and is no longer recognizable.

But for me, summertime means freedom in a different way. Freedom from the morning marathon. Dragging kids from their beds with threats of water in the face from the spray bottle, throwing together lunches, brushing hair, helping find socks, ushering everyone out the door 10 minutes late.....

In summer, I always make it to work on time.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My heart

See this sweet baby?

She turned 11 on Sunday. 11 years. That's how long I've been a mommy. And in all of those years, I've had millions of blessed moments with my children. But it was just recently that I had one of the best. One of the proudest and heart swelling moments I could possibly imagine.

It was a simple thing really. We were sitting on the floor in the living room. I was cutting out some fabric and had asked Emily's opinion on something trivial, the style of the leotard I was cutting out. She hesitated and then told me what she thought.

A few minutes later she spoke up again.

E: mom, can I tell you something?

me: Sure sweetie, what's up?

E: Sometimes I worry.

me: oh?

E: I worry.....that I'm not going to be like you

That's what my 11 year old, almost a teenager daughter worries about. That she is not enough like her mom.

And I'm nobody special. I'm not famous. I don't have a degree. I'm not even a stay at home mom, there to volunteer at school and attend every field trip.
I'm always late.
I don't keep a spiffed up, decorated house, in fact, she can't even paint her room, because we rent.
I give my kids too much junk food and let them watch too much tv.

But she wants to be like me, to think like me.

I can't even write this without getting emotional. What compliment of my life could top that?
What better reward for all of the hard work of parenting?


At Emily's colonial day dance, I watched all of the kids. Only a third of them dressed up. There were a lot of downcast glances and insecure shuffles.

Afterwards I told Emily how proud I was of her. Not only how well she learned and performed her dance, but how she held her head high, she smiled at her partner and held his hands, and danced without reservation. If she felt anything less than confidence and joy, it didn't show, and I'm so proud that she can embrace life with a smile.

She thanked me and said
"Mom, you make me feel like such a good person"

I told her
"Emily, you're one of the best people I know"

And it couldn't be truer.

As flattered as I am that she wants to be like me...I'm so very proud of who she is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

May maelstrom

We're busy this month.....like we're not busy any other month....*snort*. Busier than usual let's say. It's the fun kind of busy though, like Christmas, where you have to get your tree, and decorate, and shop, and wrap, and visit...and it's busy, but it's fun. Did I already say that?

It's the last month of school, so there's all the events there, like open houses and last minute field trips and "retro day" and "colonial day" which is depicted here:

Where my almost 11 year old, who is rather small for her age, wore a dress that I wore the month I turned 15.....*double snort*

And look what I did to her hair, curled it old fashioned like, with no new fangled electricity or nuthin (pictured with my mommy).

So, that was fun. On top of school events, it's baseball season, so we're at the fields four days a week. Add that to being at the gymnastics center 5 days a week, and these kids are getting a hell of a lot more exercise than their mother.

May also brings the Rose Parade, which we ventured to this past Saturday. It was lovely out, and pictures are below.

But the best part about May, if you ask Emily is that it is ta-da....her birthday month!
Somehow, she manipulated me into a triplicate birthday celebration.

It started with her foregoing a birthday party in lieu of getting to go to San Francisco to see Wicked, with one friend in tow. (this Saturday)

Then she pitched the whole, couldImaybepleasehavejustaslumberpartybecauseitdoesn'tcostanythingplease!

And I was all "well, why not?" so there's that (this Friday), which grew to camping in the backyard, with marshmallow roasting and pizza and cake.....

Except she realized she wouldn't get to celebrate with family and friends of the family and whatnot, so we're BBQ'ing on Sunday too, probably complete with another cake.

But it's fine, I'll need the cake. It helps with the denial that OHMYGODMYBABYISELEVEN!

I still have this little one to squeeze the life out of though

And of course, the boy (pictured here with his dad, they have the same smile)

Look, freckles! Sorry, can't help myself.

Hope you're having as much fun as we