Tuesday, September 18, 2007

i've moved!!!

because i don't like to sit still.....i have moved my blog HERE! it has a lovely new home in my new website. i even have a fabulous new template. i am very very excited about it all :O) i hope you will come and visit me.....

Monday, September 17, 2007

the big FIVE-O

well here i am at my 50th post and it seems like i crawled my way to this point. i know lots of people post "100 things about me" for the hundredth but i have not seen anything for a fiftieth....so i thought that i would write a bit about why i am blogging in the first place.....it'll be good for me since on most days i am not quite sure myself!!

i have always kept a journal. it has always been a good way to acknowledge and sort out my feelings. i have a very special talent for banishing my emotions to oblivion only to find that they come back and ambush me at full force whenever i don't expect it. not the best way to go through life especially when your own children are the casualties. ask them, they will tell you point blank how i used to yell at them all the time. i am in no way proud of that behavior but proud that i have found a way to apologize for it and make a change. i still get frustrated with them but i no longer dump on them because of bottled up emotions that have nothing to do with them.

so if i have a journal than why this? well, before i started a blog i lurked around cyber space reading what other sisters, moms, daughters, friends, and women had to say and what i found was a source of comfort and support. i call it my cheap therapy. it helps to know you aren't alone. i thought if i was lurking around taking such wonderfulness from others, perhaps i should try to give back. i, in no way, feel like i have talent such that i have seen from others nor do i try to fit into one genre or another. good or bad, perhaps there is another someone out there who might benefit from daily-ness of being me.

as i started posting, i realized that writing in this form was such a good reminder to pay attention to the things that i usually forget to remember. in a way, i get to be my own therapist when i take a peak at what i have written. i still keep a journal. there are some things in my life that i still deem to personal for public knowledge but the rest of it is here.

my biggest challenge has not been to censor myself beyond the "do i really want any joe smoe to know this?" my sweetie and a few others in my life stop by here now and then. every so often i catch myself wondering what they might think about what i have to say and it makes me a bit shy. that's when i realize that blogging also helps remind me to share more of myself with those i love. maybe this blog is a little window into my world and that just might help build better relationships with those i love.

hopefully that will continue as i formally announce and share my blog with some who, i think, have no idea that i have been doing this. i am in the process of importing this blog into my website. it was a gift from my love and i think it is so cool. it is still in it's infancy and so am i in terms of learning how to manage it, but if you want to check it out, please do.

thanks for stopping by

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Menu Plan 9/17/07

It has been too long since I have posted a menu plan. I have been planning but just lacking the time to sit and create a post. This week, my budget is very very slim and so we are back to the good old basics in this house which allow me to get more bang for my buck.

Monday: Beans and Eggs w/ tortillas and salsa
Tuesday: Mac n Cheese with hot dogs
Wednesday: Shake n Bake Pork Chops w/ scalloped potatoes
Thursday: Refrigerator Medley (our name for left over night)
Friday: my night off

Menu planning still helps to save me time and money. For more information on Menu Plan Monday or if you want to play along, visit Laura the Organizing Junkie and join in on the fun!


Thursday, September 13, 2007

i wanna hold your hand....

oh the power of holding hands! i have to admit that i love to hold hands but do not often think about why.....until last night.

last night i was feeling sad, scared, worried, stupid......all out of sorts. that is until my sweetie came over, sat next to me and held my hand. in that moment, the fortress i had built around myself began to crumble brick by brick. i should mention that i am a very talented brick layer and when it comes to building walls around myself to protect my feelings, i am very skilled indeed. but all it took was just that simple gesture to start bringing me out from behind my wall.

thinking about it now, i love holding hands because it is a connection to another that is simple and yet intimate all at once. it is comforting to know that someone is there to laugh with you, dance with you, walk with you, cry with you, or just sit with you. the point is, when someone hold my hand, i am not alone - there is someone there reaching out for me.

my sweetie and i hold hands all of the time - sitting, watching tv, walking down the street, in the grocery store, while out to dinner, and even at night as we fall asleep. i am so fortunate to have a man in my life who is so loving, patient and understanding and i am so fortunate to have a man in my life that will hold my hand at all times even when things aren't all that rosy. he is my someone and i love him dearly.

Monday, September 10, 2007

you know you're loved when

your 7 yr old has to take 4 items to school to represent who he is, one of the items he chooses is a picture of just the 2 of you, and he says "this represents me 'cuz you're my mom, you're the best, you're important to me..... and i love you!"

if only i could bottle the way that made me feel....

a note from the doctor

I went to my doctor a couple of weeks back to get an all around check-up. I figured it was time since I cannot remember my last physical and I also had some things I wanted to discuss with him. Among these, I wanted to know what is causing the most incredible headaches I have ever experienced in my life!!

A few looks in my eyes and ears followed by questions w/ some yes's and no's from me and the doctor gives a what he called a preliminary diagnosis of migraines. I would've much rather he just waved his magic stethoscope and pronounced my headaches Gone Forever - what else are they learning in all those years of medical school if not how to magically make me feel better on demand?!

He also ordered at CT scan, "just to check", since I have never experienced headaches like this before. Even though the whole idea of getting my head x-rayed completely freaked me out, I obediently went that appointment the following week.

I arrived home today and find a note in the mail from my doctor. It reads "Dear patient, Your CT scan is normal. The headaches are most likely just migraines as we previously discussed. Sincerely, Doctor Man." Um, yeah. I have a couple of problems with that: 1) where is the sympathy for my pain and my lollipop for being such a good patient? 2) 'most likely' does not sound like a very sound diagnosis to me, and most importantly, 3) 'just migraines' ....WHAT?! Obviously said by someone who has never experienced a migraine before because if you have ever had one you would never ever put the word 'just' in front.

These headaches are 'just' the most excruciating pain I have felt in my life - outside of labor- but at least I got something really cool at the end of that! These most likely migraines give me nothing but pain, force me to bed, and make me very lonely because in the middle of it all I really do need to be left completely alone to suffer through it - light and sound only make it worse. It is as if the monkeys in my head are using ice picks, sledge hammers, jack hammers, regular hammers, clubs, tooth picks, shovels, hatchets, drills and dynamite to hack their way out of my skull. It looks like my mom was right all these years when she told me I was being thick headed about things because the monkeys have yet to escape!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

you only think your house is clean

that is until you have to move everything for the carpet cleaner.

oh my! i could have let him do it but then i would have turned a whole new shade of red watching him run in fear of the dust bunnies; not to mention the trash that found its way into the depths behind the boys' dressers and the abyss under their bed. i suspected that was how they were choosing to clean their rooms but i was happy living in denial and besides, what i didn't know (for sure) wasn't hurting!

needless to say, when those monkeys come home from their dad's they will have many bags to sort through! i may have had to round everything up but there was no way i was going to be the sucker that did all of the cleaning.

as a reward for my hard work, i have lovely clean carpets that are missing stains that have been there for years. is it strange that i am missing them a little bit too?

Thursday, September 6, 2007

temper tantrums

oh how glad i am that my monkeys have out grown those!!! i was over at Rocks In My Dryer and i read this post which brought back a whole lot of memories....

ONCE upon a time, there was a beautiful little girl who was the queen of the land of tantrums. she had traveled long and wide gracing many stores, restaurants, family and friends with her all tantrum glory.

one day, the queen and her royal subjects (meaning myself and a good friend of mine) were at the park near our castle. when it came time to leave so the queen could get some much needed beauty sleep, the queen did not want to go, she was much too busy being entertained by the rulers of the neighboring king and queendoms. but as all queens know (and as some learn the hard way), being the queen does not always mean that you get what you want. and so, the queen began a lovely (horrendous) display of her royal temper tantrum glory.

at this point, i wish i could have thought of something like hosing her down to cool her off but sadly i did not. the tantrum went on long enough to attract the attention of the other kings and queens that day at the park and their loyal subjects. have i mentioned my daughter does not look like me?... at all?!

me: blond hair, blue eyes, and fair skin
the queen: black hair, brown eyes and brown skin

i spent many years convincing people i was not the sitter or the auntie but the mommie and this day, i didn't have much luck. as my little queen yelled and screamed about not wanting to leave, someone in the park called the calvary thinking that perhaps, i was trying to remove her majesty from her kingdom without permission.

the knights arrive, sirens blazing and it just gets worse. i should also mention, the queen is about 2 yrs old and is completely capable of speaking short sentences, understanding the subjects around her and, most important to this story, knows that i am and know how to call me mommie! but for whatever reason (i still think it was completely out of spite and to punish me for ruining her tour of her kingdom) when the nice knight in uniform asked the queen if i was her mommie she said "NO!"

well hilarity ensued which included calls to relatives and her dad having to come to the park with a copy of her birth certificate to prove that i really was the queen's royal subject and allowed, by royal decree, to transport her around her kingdom.

there must be a fairy godmother out there that puts spells on us moms to allow us to love our little kings and queens no matter what and to laugh off the ways they stretch us to our limits instead of yelling "off with her head!!!" because without my fairy god mother, i would not be able to say

and they lived happily ever after...

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

pop pop! quiz quiz!

do you know what time it is?
school is back believe it!
success you can achieve it! ...

that little diddy is from my favorite commercial on the tele these days. i laugh every single time i see it! it's the staples "back to school" commercial and if you need a little fix like i do every now and then, you can watch it here. i especially like the dress shoes and socks that the dad has chosen to wear with his cheer leading outfit.

all this of course brings me to my post for today. it is finally back to school time for our household! this year the kids are all going to a new school and so they are each excited and nervous all at the same time. wonder how much sleep they will actually get? :O)

for my monkeys, waiting for the first day of school is like waiting for christmas - they just can't wait! and i'm not being sarcastic about it! i get excited too but it is still a little sad at times. they will now be spending most of their time away from home and i'm going to miss them! i'll have my pouting face on after i've dropped them off in the morning and as i head to my own school for the day.

this year, i must admit, i am looking forward to it as well. it means that we will all be back on a routine and this household always dose better when we get into a grove. things seem to get done more often when we are busy and the procrastination seems to drop off for all of us (me included). i think it is because, we lose the "i can just do that later" excuse.

either way, tomorrow will be a mixed emotion, for all of us i am sure, and i doubt i'll get much more sleep then the monkeys will tonight.

Monday, September 3, 2007

i forgive

forgiveness. this is something i have been working on recently. in particular, forgiving myself for the past. i have what i think to be a really wonderful life. a wonderful man who loves and supports me, 3 amazing kids who are all healthy and safe, parents who are incredibly supportive and, good friends, a home to live in and food to put on the table....the list could go on and on!

and yet there are days (many recently) when the budget is extremely tight and it is hard to get just the daily necessities let alone the little extra things, or when i find that i don't have the time to get all the things around the house done that need to be done or that i would like to do, or when i have to look at my sweet little ones' faces and tell them "not now" because i have school work to finish......on these days my soul is sad. i wonder "what if?..."

i'm a young mom. by that i mean i was just a kid myself when my daughter was born, 19 yrs old to be exact. i put off my education to work and help make ends meet and to be what i hoped was a good mom to my lovely little daughter. add a few years and two sons in the mix and i still haven't gone back to school and i am still struggling to make ends meet in a marriage that was anything near stable or happy.

i look back on so many decisions i made out of fear and ironically out of trying to make up for past mistakes - those decisions just led to more mistakes. and so i sit here wondering what if i hadn't become a mother so young? what if i found the guts and the day to pursue my education 15 years ago instead of 3 years ago? would i financially independent? would i be able to say yes to my kids more often? would i be less scared of messing up a marriage to a man i truly love and who in everyway is good to me and for me? would i have more faith and confidence as a parent and in myself? who knows?!

on the hard days i look back and wish i had done so many things differently. i've been doing that quite a bit lately and then i found this post and found something to hold on to. heather of desperately seeking sanity reminded me that i've gotten where i am because of the past - good and bad. and that in the end, it (the past) is irrelevant! what matters is who i am today and where i am going. i have learned a great deal from my mistakes as well as my accomplishments and have overcome many challenges. i am incredibly fortunate enough to have my children and to have found a man who i am so proud to call my love and if having them means having to have accept the bumps that have come along with the journey then so be it!

hopefully, i'll continue to learn how to hold on to that thought and learn to let myself off the hook - after all, i know how to do that for others, why don't i derserve the benefit of the doubt as well

Sunday, September 2, 2007

a little anecdote

while on vacation my 7 year old announces that he needs to "water a bush". we are no where near a town and pretty much in the middle of nowhere. my dad finds a road that runs by a creek bed.

Nana: look at all the bushes you have to choose from!

Me: (in a very teasing tone) which one will you choose?!

The little monkey: (very matter of factly) a non see-thru one, please.

works for me :O)

Saturday, September 1, 2007

road less traveled

i took a trip recently to utah with my parents and my children. very early one morning, i found myself on this road at sunrise. as the sun made it's way over the distant mountains, the following came to mind:

by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

Then took the other as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet, knowing how way leads onto way
I doubted if I should ever come back

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence
Two roads diverged in a wood
And I took the one less traveled by
And that has made all the difference

this poem has always spoken to my soul since the day i first read it over 20 yrs ago. as i stood in the middle of the road, listening to the silence that surrounded me and taken in the beauty of a world that i don't take the opportunity to admire often enough, i contemplated the road before me and the many roads i have traveled in my life.

to a great extent, i haven purposefully chosen the road less traveled. sometimes it was for the adventure. at others, it was just to be different. and at times, i choose it out of fear of the what lay waiting for me around the corner of the road most others were going down. these have been the most profound journeys in my life and that morning and every day since, i have contemplated the roads i have taken and realize that the choices i have made, truly have made all of the difference.

however, while i am grateful for where i am in my life today, and i understand that i got here by the choices i have made in the past, i am having a hard time dealing with certain roads i chose to travel and find myself having a hard time forgiving myself for some of those choices...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

saying goodbye

i have never dealt with death well in my life. today is no different - i still cannot really handle the reality of a life coming to an end. i am hoping writing will allow me to get through what i cannot say in words.

my neighbor, Mr. Stone, passed away because he suffered on stroke during heart surgery. he was 82 years old. and he was an amazing man. i am so sad to know that he will no longer be part of our lives. i cannot even express how i feel.

married with 2 children and 4 grandchildren, Mr. Stone always had a smile, kind words and a hug for me. he proudly served in WWII and always had a story to tell. he collected aluminum cans and plastic recyclable bottles from the neighbors to earn money for a scholarship fund. until very recently, he would come over often to kick the ball around in the front yard with my kids and tell them how big they were getting, ask how they were doing in school, say how proud he was when they said they were doing well and tell them how lucky they were to have me for a mom. he constantly told me how proud he was of me for going back to school and the way i was raising the kids.

he leaves behind his wife, children, grandchildren, many friends and neighbors like myself who will greatly greatly miss him. goodbye Mr. Stone. i hope you knew how much you were loved

Saturday, June 2, 2007

it's been a long long week

it started out fabulous: my sweetie and i packed up our monkeys and headed out to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona for the Memorial Day weekend. the drive is long about 12 hours but the kids are great travelers and even without a DVD player to keep them entertained we made it there without whining, crying, or arguing! i love those kids and are so proud of them when they figure out ways to get along. the best part of the trip besides it being our first family vacation together was that we were able to make the trip with my sweethearts parents and brother.

the weekend was amazing! it is just incredible beautiful out there in the desert, away from the noise, traffic, and congestion of the city. the weather was perfect and the chance to just get away from the business of my everyday life was truly a blessing. i appreciated the extra time with my love and with the monkeys and the chance to get to meet my new family! everyone was so welcoming and incredibly generous, i felt truly welcomed and honored to be part of such a loving family.

so where does the long part of the week come in? monday, early afternoon. we were on our way home. still in arizona and headed to laughlin for the night when my cell phone rang. it was my mom and she began the call with the words "i'm afraid i'm not calling with very good news." my heart just dropped. my grandmother had taken a terrible fall during the night, was in the hospital, non responsive and the prognosis from the doctors was that she very well may not make it thru the night. and i am about 10 hours away from home!

instead of driving to laughlin for the night and getting home on tuesday we just drove straight home. i didn't really even have to ask jerry or explain to him that i wanted to come home early. he just asked me once what i wanted, i asked 'can we go home?' he said yes, spoke to his parents briefly and we were on our way! i am so thankful for his understanding and willingness to support me and the kids and so thankful for his love. i am thankful for the understanding, love and support of his family as well. although we were all sad to have our play time together cut short, they all just wanted me to let me come home to my family. i won't ever be able to put into words properly what that meant to me.

we arrived home late monday night and i was able to get to my parents tueday morning. i had tried to call but was unable to get a hold of anyone and so i was terrified of what the news would be. i arrive at the hospital at 11 to find my mother with my grandma. she was doing better than the previous day and while although still detached from reality, she was having moments of clarity. she was extremely weak and coming in and out of consciousness. since she had no broken bones or serious injuries from her fall, the doctor's were looking to send her to a rehab facility to hopefully get her back in her wheelchair and back to her own apartment. i spent the rest of that day with my mom, gathering things for my grandmother and looking at local rehab nursing facilities. we found one in town, just a few blocks from my home in fact.

i returned to school on wednesday but have spent most of my free day time with my grandmother and helping my mom with arrangements and continuing to take care of arrangements for my grandmother. we have cleaned the floors in her apartment and cleaned out the fridge and gathered clothing items for her to wear in the rehab facility. in between i have tried to read and study for my summer classes, hug my kids and spend time with jerr. it's been hard and overwhelming.

mostly, my heart hurts to see my grandmother compromised, in pain, scared, and mentally unstable. i do not know how well she will recover from her fall and if she will be able to return home nor if she will even be with us much longer. while she is making some progress, she is not at the same time. she is currently not eating and has only gotten out of bed and into her chair once this week no matter how much coaxing and in some cases, pleading, has been done. i will be forever grateful to have the moments of her mental clarity to let her know how much she means to me and how many valuable life lessons she has taught me.

for now, i will end with the most significant advice she gave me during a particularly rough time in my life. i will never forget her words and i think of them each day:

faith, hope, strength and love
have faith in yourself and in god
keep hope that things will be as they should be
be strong and believe in your strength
always love with all your heart and know you are loved that way in return.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

a plate too full

it has been way too long since i have been able to sit down and just write. the main reason being i started summer classes. i was really excited to take a summer English course. i was all signed up only to learn, last minute, it was going to be canceled due to low enrollment. i chose a different course and had to figure out after school and summer childcare. then i learned the class, which i thought was 12 weeks long, is only 6 weeks long! not that big of a deal - it means a lot more work because it condenses 15 weeks of instruction into just 6, but it also means i still get a summer vacation. i figure it is a decent payoff. except for just one little thing.......and this is where i always begin to seriously doubt my logic.......i thought it would be a great idea to sign up for a 2nd summer class and chose to take my last required semester of spanish. so now i am cramming another class into an already ridiculous 6 week schedule.

so for the last week all i have done is school work. i have been able to cook dinner and help with kids homework but that is about it. i have new curtains that need to be hemmed still pinned hanging in my bedroom, piles of clutter that need to cleared, floors that need to be swept and vacuumed, a shelving unit that needs to be completed for my boys room, dogs that need to be walked, kids that need to be played with and a sweetie that needs some serious cuddle time, not to mention the pile of books waiting to be read 'just for fun' and this blog that needs some serious love as well.

i get a bit overwhelmed when i think about the next 5 weeks and the 9 short novels and the language i should be close to mastering by the end of it all, but i still believe the hard work will be worth it! it is only 6 weeks and then i will have a whole 5 weeks off until the fall semester starts. i figure i am getting the best of both, knocking off 2 more required courses and still getting the majority of the summer to do nothing but relax and play with my family (ok ok, i know the dishes and the cleaning and the clutter and the pups will still be there but let a girl live in the bliss of denial just for a bit...) until next time which hopefully won't be another week from today - take care of yourselves and get an extra hug from someone...it'll make you both feel better :O)

Sunday, May 13, 2007

menu plan 5/14/07

Happy Monday Everyone! I hope all you fabulous mom's had a wonderful Mother's Day! Menu planning has not only saved me a bunch of time and whining about going to the store AGAIN?! but it has also saved me a bunch of cash! I didn't quite believe it and thought maybe it was just a fluke the first week but then I took the time to go over my bank statement and realized I am saving money by only going to the store once a week! BONUS! I am sure it is because when I am dashing to the store while frazzled, I have been buying things that I don't need or that I already have on hand. Besides that, I am usually going to the store when I am hungry and that is just a seriously bad idea :O)

We had a winner last week with Tamale Casserole - not much of a surprise, it is always a favorite in this house. The kids actually cheered when they heard it was on the menu. The Split Pea Soup w/ chorizo was a new dish in this house and it was OK but it was a bit thin. I would suggest cutting the liquid down to help thicken it up a bit. Here is what is on the menu this week.

Monday - leftovers from the fabulously yummy Mother's Day Dinner w/ my folks
Tuesday - Navajo Tacos
Wednesday -BBQ Spare Ribs w/ potato salad
Thursday - Refrigerator Medley
Friday - Boboli Pizza (movie night)
Saturday - Chicken Enchiladas
Sunday - Baked Pasta (well sort of)

Happy Monday to you all and for more menu ideas or to join in, visit Laura the Organizing Junkie

Saturday, May 12, 2007

SMART Habits - week 3

Another Saturday......another habit! I'm beginning to think that I should add SMART Habits Saturday to my new habits list!

Last week, I set out to drink more water. I definitely need to keep working on that one! I did better in that I drank A LOT less Diet Coke this week than I usually do but half of the days, I fell short of my 64 oz of water goal. On those days, I drank only 32 oz of water. I'm not getting down on myself because I have made progress and I know I will keep working on it. I did learn a couple of interesting things this week: 1) the more water I drink, the more I crave water, and 2) I drink DC every time I crave something sweet, which unfortunately for me is ALL OF THE TIME! So this week, I will work on finding a healthier substitute for satisfying my sweet tooth. I am thinking along the lines of Crystal Light of a piece of fruit or maybe a diet flavored iced tea. Hopefully those will work. Any other suggestions?

I am also going to add the habit of walking at least 3 days each week. The pups could use the exercise too and it would be a fun way to spend time with my monkeys and my sweetie too! We live in a great neighborhood and so close to a nature preserve which is a wonderful place to explore. Along with the weather being so fabulous at the moment, I really don't have any excuses for not doing so.

Happy trails for me and for you too! :o)

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Book Reiew "Black Like Me"

I just finished reading "Black Like Me" by John Howard Griffin. It was recommended to me by my English Lit professor during the fall semester. I wish I had gotten to it sooner!

This book was amazing. It was also very very sad. John Griffin a white reporter who sets out to discover what it would be like to live in the south as a black man. He finds a doctor who gives him medication and cream that allows him to change the color of his skin. Once that happened, he began his journey and immersed himself in the deep South.

This book is a record of his experience. What amazes me the most about his story is the fact that it occurred just 40 years ago. His journey began just before the Civil rights movement began. It is a sad story because while it is obvious that some progress has been made in terms of discrimination, there is so much that is still the same. Perhaps it has not been long enough for things to be different but that sounds like a really lame excuse to me.

It makes me sad because there are still so many negative thoughts and actions that I need to protect my children from. I appreciate this book because it is a reminder of the lessons I still need to teach my children and a reminder of why those lessons need to be taught. My hope is that my children will be the beginning of the generation that will teach society about tolerance, acceptance, and understanding.

I do highly recommend this book. It is a great insight into the history of mistaken ideas about race and the ways in which those ideas have (and continue) to manifest themselves in today's society. In fact I will be giving it to my daughter to read. She is thirteen and while this book does mention a few 'adult' ideas, they are not something that we have not discussed before.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

summer to do list

Let me tell you one thing I need to do all of the time is make a to do list! I make one almost everyday so that I won't forget all of the things that I need/should/want to do. I swear I would get nothing done without them! However, I never make a list for the fun stuff - I just never thought of it....until today.......ok, ok, I didn't think of it, the lovely Angelena over at Country Life did!!! She linked it up on WFMW and I was lucky enough to stumble upon it.

Since I am just a fan of lists and a fan of fun, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to make a summer to do list and put the two together. I won't be able to sign the kids up for a summer program this year because of cost and because drop off/pick up times don't work with my school schedule. Sooooooo, they will be home with me as their source of entertainment and that just won't work! for many many reasons!!!!!

Here is the Summer Fun list so far

beach on fridays
swimming @ sierra madre pool
picnic @ the arboretum
walk the dogs
go to the park
movies - at the theater and on the couch
water fight
eaton canyon
bake cookies/cupcakes/cakes
homemade popsicles
cook/eat in the back yard

Sp exciting to know that we won't have to sit home and wonder over and over again what we should do today.....the kids are gonna love it and so am I! Need ideas or have a list of your own - head on over and join in!

Works for Me! Cereal Containers

I just don't know where the time is going - It cannot possibly be Wednesday again already!!!

What works for me today are these nifty cereal containers. I got them a few months ago and they have been a huge help. I got tired of constantly heading to the kitchen for breakfast, grabbing a bowl, reaching for a box of cereal, pouring and realizing there is only about 2 bites left!!!!

Well, no more! not sense we got the containers. They live on top of the fridge and all can see how much is left. This way there are not disappointments in the morning and, miraculously, there are no more 2 bite left overs either! They hold a large box or 2 smaller boxes of cereal which saves space and it makes knowing if cereal needs to be added to the shopping list easier too!

Head on over to Rocks in my Dryer for other Works for me tips and ideas. There is some really good stuff over there!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Tackle It Tuesday #2

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

This week was short but sweet! I tackled dining room shelves. I wasn't going to participate this week since I took my last 2 finals of the semester today but I really really really need to tackle quite a few projects (and lovely 'little' clutter piles) in the next week. That is all the time off I get before summer session starts. NO FAIR! On top of that, I am the worlds best procrastinator and excuse maker upper and I would desperately like to change those things. Therefore, I hit the shelves with a vengeance and I am very happy I did. Not a lot of work brought a big sense of calm to a the very chaotic world I am currently living in.

I turned this:

Into this:

I took the dictionaries/encyclopedias and extra folders to the empty shelves in the boys room that came into existence last week, put the cook books and recipe collection in the kitchen (makes much better sense for them to live there), removed the once blooming tulip bulbs now turned 'science experiment', and gave the shelves a good washing and voila.....a have a new clutter free area. In the process I found home for my lovely serving bowls -not bad for 15 minutes. Now for my next trick, I'll keep it that way!

Randomness (i think i just made up that word)

I've been tagged!!!! Didn't you hear me call times?!? :O)

Heather over at Desperately Seeking Sanity has tagged me w/ the 7 random things meme. The rules are easy: Each player writes seven random facts about themselves. People who are tagged write on their own blog about the seven things and the rules and then choose seven others to tag and list their names. Leave a comment for the ones you tag to let them know and send them to your own blog.

Now that the official stuff is out of the way - here is the fun stuff

#1 - My hair is naturally blond but for some strange reason a few years back I decided to that it wasn't blond enough and so I decided to go with the bleach blond look. Bad enough but I made it worse! Shortly after bleaching my hair I decided to go with a brown/red color. The only part of that dye job that stuck was the red and I ended up with bright red streaks in my bleach blond hair. Oh yeah - I looked cool!

#2- I am currently an English major studying to become a teacher but I secretly want to be a social worker but just not sure that I can handle the emotions.

#3 - I am the most disorganized perfectionist you will ever meet. My clutter lives in neat little piles all over the place!

#4 - I'm scared of the dark. Always have been and probably always will be - one reason I had an alarm system installed in my home

#5 - I am currently obsessed with books (that obsession will never go away), shoes (specifically flip flops and sandals), handbags (doesn't matter as long as it's cute!).......and sun dresses (refer back to handbags!)

#6 - When I was pregnant with my fist child, I really really really wanted a boy because I was terrified to have a daughter - I just knew I wouldn't be a good mother to a little girl. I fell in love with my daughter the minute I laid my eyes on her and fall in love with her for new reasons every day. I still have moments when I'm terrified that I'm not a good mother to her

#7 - While writing this post, I am enjoying a root beer float and watching soap operas because it is something that I rarely do, I finished my finals and therefore my first full year at USC today, I have an incredible sweet tooth, I just happened to have the supplies on hand, and gosh darn it - I deserve it and I can!

Now that I am it.... I tag

1) Megan over at Jumping Monkeys
2) An Ordinary Mom -
3) Lara, The Lazy Organizer -
4) Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer
5) Life as a Mama
6&7) others that i would have put here have already been tagged! is that cheating?

Have a fabulous day!

Monday, May 7, 2007

menu plan - 5/7/2007

Well. I didn't get to my menu planning by Sunday as I set out to. However, I did get to it today and since I have the day off from school (finals week) and the kids will be with their dad this afternoon, I will have plenty of time to get my shopping done!

I must admit that menu planning has really helped out and given me a lot of extra time around the house and with the kids. It is lovely not to have to scramble last minute everyday and figure out what to cook with what's on hand or running to the store to grab ingredients. Besides, it gives me more time to play with my monkeys and finally make progress on projects that have been piling up around the house. Here is what we have on deck for this week!

Monday: left over spaghetti from last night
Tuesday: Split Pea Soup w/ Chorizo
Wednesday: Tamale Casserole
Thursday: Refrigerator Medley
Friday: kids w/ dad for weekend and date night w/ my sweetie
Saturday: Pad Thai
Sunday: Mother's Day = I get the night off - yippie :O)

I feel like I'm cheating a bit by having leftovers 2 nights this week but I need to save on the grocery budget and I just can't stand throwing out food at the end of the week. So, leftovers it is!

Have a fabulous week fellow planners and if you want to join in, visit Laura the Organizing Junkie!

*I'll post these recipes by the end of day - check back for the added links!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

SMART Habits - week 2

Are you drinking enough water?

My answer is a resounding NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

I took the little quiz on the link above and learned that today - based on my weight, physical activity, local climate, etc. - I am to drink approximately 2.3 liters of water each day. How much water do I usually have you ask? Well let me see.........ok and then add that.........and add that.....carry over and the grand total is a big fat ZERO! Oh, but let me tell you how much Diet Coke I had yesterday

Let's see that's 5 12oz cans, plus 2 20oz bottles, plus a 32oz drink while I was helping my friend move and that adds up to...... 132! I am completely addicted to Diet Coke and I do not use that word lightly. I know its bad for me, I really do, and I know that I need to be drinking more water (a whole lot more) but there is a HUGE disconnect between knowing and doing in my world. However, recent health concerns (and a good talking to my best friend yesterday) have me thinking that I really need to take my health and what I put into my body more seriously and so I believe I have some good motivation.

Needless to say, my SMART Habit for this week is to drink water. I'm gonna jump right in and go with the ever popular 8 glasses of water a day. I bought myself a handy dandy 32oz travel water bottle. Its a cute pinky purple color so I will want to take it with me and I only have to fill and drink it twice to get my 64oz in! Sounds simple enough to me and yet, I am not so sure. What about my Diet Coke!?!

Well, I know that I cannot cut it out completely, I just don't have the will power. Therefore, I am going to allow myself to have it but within a few guidelines. I will not have a DC until after I have had 32oz of water. I figure, after having all that water, I won't really be thirsty and so maybe, just maybe, I won't want the DC so badly. I know I need to take caffine withdrawl into consideration but perhaps a nice cup of tea or even coffee to start my day will get me through? If not, I know that the suffering will only last a couple of days, I will get through it, and I will be much better for having made the change.

Last week my chosen habit was to plan my dinner menu for the week and have the shopping done by the end of day Sunday. I did great last week but ACK! just realized that my weekend is really booked!!! Now, I am not so sure I'll get the planning and the shopping done by Sunday night. Perhaps planning the menu should happen midweek......before the busy weekend.........yeah that might just be a good idea.

Thanks for reading! Wish me luck and get in on the fun!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

we've made the switch!

Paper or not to paper? that was my question

I finally made the decision. After too many middle of the night washing sessions and too many days of extremely dry hands and too many weeks spent obsessing over this issue and who knows how many countless hours lost in front of the sink, I finally switched to paper plates and bowls! I was able to these paper plates made from recycled materials AND they are biodegradable AND they can be recycled again!!! YAY!!! Better yet, I found them at my friendly neighborhood grocery store! Now I am sitting here thinking "Why didn't I do this earlier?"

All of that takes away my guilt of using more trees just so I wouldn't have to wash the dishes. But wait there's more....while I was in line, I noticed that the store was selling reusable grocery bags and they only cost $1.oo each. Most reusable bags are like the regular plastic grocery bags (no support on the bottom) but these are more like the paper ones. They have sturdy plastic inserts that can be laid in the bottom for support and be taken out in case I wish to wash my lovely new bags. Oh and the handles are super convenient too - sturdy enough to stand up to the job and long enough to be thrown over a shoulder! How very thoughtful of them! Let's hear it for Albertsons!!!

Just because I am currently so in love with my new grocery bags, here is a pic so you can love them too!

Of course, I will now be saying goodbye to my lovely plates. They won't be gone forever and will still live in my cupboards and come out for special occasions, guests, or on a day when I need some cheering up - I love my dishes, they make me smile

see, aren't they fabulous?!? I will miss them but I will not miss the water bill or the dry hands or going to bed later because I have to finish up the dishes first or........I'll still have to wash the pots and the silverware but aaaahhhhhhh - i'm already relaxing. (and already have a growing list of things that can be done in my newly found free time!)

things to remember when i'm feeling blue

blue is my favorite color
i'm alive and so have the privilege of being down in the dumps
somebody somewhere has is worse off than i
my monkeys
and my sweetie
and everything about all of them
the wildflowers i planted last month are beginning to bloom
hot chocolate - who cares if it's 75 degrees today?
this too shall pass......?.......not quite there yet
and gerbera daisies
the moment each of my children were born
the moment my love asked me to marry him
the first time i heard danielle say"ma" and she knew who she meant
the way enrique laughs and laughs when he gets a 'raspberry' on his tummy
the way luis always comes running to give me a hug when i pick him up from school
and sunsets
the way it feels to laugh out of pure joy
breakfast - a really big breakfast w/ eggs french toast and bacon
chocolate - candy, cookie or frosting form it doesn't matter
the kids might be getting bigger but i'm still taller (for now)

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

happy birthday!!! (works for me)

The Birthday Edition

I love birthdays!! I do not know how to express that enough - it possibly border lines as an obsession when someone I love has a birthday. For me it is always about making sure the other person knows they are special. After all, if you didn't have a birthday, you wouldn't be here and that would be very sad!

We have a few simple traditions in our home that make birthdays special. When my daughter was born. I was given a Dr Seuss book, Happy Birthday to You! (don't get me started on how much I adore children's books, we could be here for hours) I read it to her the next day in the hospital and from then on, it has been read to all of my children each year on their birthday. A couple of years, I have even had it read to me for my birthday :O) In addition, we have a great little, family owned, Mexican restaurant in town and that is where we all go for our bday dinners. Finally, I write my children a letter each year for their birthday letting them know how much I love them and all the things that I appreciate about them. I chronicle some of the changes I have seen in them over the year and some of my favorite memories and moments that we have shared together as well. I was never sure that those letters mattered to them as much as they did to me until I found my sons 'stash' in his sock drawer and my daughter actually asked me for hers when it was a couple of days late this year.

Nothing flashy or extravagant, I know. For us, it is about the simple little things and spending time with each other. The traditions give us all something to look forward on the special day and (I hope) are helping us create some fabulous memories along the way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Baked Pasta (well sort of)

Serves 4-6
Prep time 20 min
Cook time 20-25 min


12 oz of rigatoni or penne pasta
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef or Italian sausage cut into small cubes
shredded parmesean cheese
2 palm fulls of bread crumbs (make your own or use store bought)


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
Cook pasta according to package directions and drain

While pasta is cooking heat oil in large skillet
Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes
Add beef or sausage and brown

Once pasta and meat is cooked add to casserole dish
Pour sauce over pasta and meat and stir well
Cover pasta mixture with cheese and bread crumbs
Bake for 20-25 minutes until topping is crisp

Chicken Enchiladas

Serves 4
I honestly have never clocked the prep or cook time for this recipe but it usually takes about 1 hour start to finish. I will pay attention this week an update this post after the fact.


1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts for breast tenders
1 large can Enchilada sauce (red or green depending on your preference, we like green)
1 12 count package corn totillas
1 small red onion, diced
1 pkg shredded Mexican cheese blend
2 green onions, sliced
vegetable oil


preheat oven to 350 degrees
cook chicken (either boil or in a cook in skillet)
shred chicken and set aside
heat oil is small skillet
fry each tortilla for a few seconds on each side
place enchilada sauce in shallow dish
dip one tortilla in the sauce on both sides and place in baking dish
add small amount of shredded chicken, cheese and onion to middle of tortilla
roll tortilla into enchilada shape
repeat until each tortilla has been filled
cover enchiladas with rest of shredded cheese and green onion
bake for 20-30 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly

BBQ ribs w/ potato salad

Potato Salad

Well not much to say about it. I skin and boil red potatoes until fork tender, cube and cool, dice whole pickles and red onion, add all ingredients to bowl and toss with enough mayo to coat and to taste. That is it in a nut shell. This is my mom's recipe and I love to make it the night before to allow the flavors to blend.

BBQ Ribs

Serves 4
Prep time 25 minutes (includes 20 min marination time)
Cook time 30 minutes


12 pork spare ribs
1 clove garlic
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 tbsp light soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp yellow mustard
black pepper


In small bowl, place sugar, soy sauce, tomato paste, syrup or honey, mustard and pepper to taste.
Crush garlic and add to bowl
Whisk together*

Place ribs in shallow dish and poor sauce over ribs
Let ribs marinate for at least 20 min **
Heat broiler or grill until hot
Cook ribs for 15 min on each side

*You can easily just use your favorite bottled bbq sauce to save time if you wish. I like to use this recipe because my monkeys take turns helping me cook dinner each night and it is an easy way for them to learn new recipes and skills. Also I usually double the sauce recipe and save half to simmer while the ribs cook to have extra to serve at the table.

**To save on prep time, you can marinate the ribs overnight or the day of - then it only takes about 1/2 hour to get dinner on the table - nice!

Navajo Tacos

These are the most amazing things in the world. It's all the regular taco fixings (ground beef, beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese...) but instead of a tortilla or taco shell you put the ingredients on frybread. What is frybread you ask? Well, besides being one of the most yummy things I have ever had, it's flat fried dough that came into existense in the 1800s when the Native Americans were forced onto reservations and given rations of flour and lard. The Native Americans did what they could with what they had and so now the world is blessed with frybread.

Unfortunately, this is one of those things that really does not have a recipe to go along with it! It gets passed down through generations and is usually learned hands on. My sweetie is Navajo and I have been lucky enough to watch my soon to be mom (in law) make this on a few occasions and even attend a workshop with my him on how to make it. I did, however, find this recipe online and it sounds as if it would work. I use self-rising flour and so therefore do not use baking powder. After making golf ball size balls of dough, be sure to let them sit (I leave it on the counter covered by a damp cloth) for about 10-15 minutes so the dough can rise. It is important to put a hole in the dough not just for spiritual reasons but it has a practical purpose too - it keeps the dough from bubbling up in the middle. Cook the bread until golden brown and flip to cook other side.

Add your toppings or serve with your favorite soup, stew, chili or just eat by itself. Some add powder sugar, honey and/ or strawberries for a sweet treat - reminds me of funnel cake. Needless to say, this isn't one of those really healthy recipes but I use heart healthy oil to fry the dough instead of regular vegetable oil.

Pad Thai

I love this dish! It is one of my favorites! The best part is that you can make this dish with chicken shrimp, beef, tofu or just veggies.


1 package flat rice noodles (about 6oz)
3 tbps oil (vegetable or peanut)
1 egg, well beaten
4 oz your desired meat or 1/2 package extra firm tofu cubed
1/2 cup crushed peanuts
1/2 cup bean sprouts
1 package frozen stir fry veggies
1 bottle thai peanut sauce (check the asian foods section)*
lime wedges and fresh chiles (optional)


cook noodles according to package directions
strain and place in bowl and cover with foil or plastic wrap to keep warm
heat 1 tbsp oil in large skillet or wok
add egg and cook until scrambled
remove from pan and set aside
heat remaining 2tbsp oil in same pan
add meat/tofu and cook until done
set aside
add veggies to pan and cook until just done
add egg, meat/tofu, noodles, sprouts, peanuts and sauce to taste (3-4 oz)
mix well to combine
serve immediately with optional lime wedges and fresh chiles (you can add a few red pepper flakes while cooking veggies to add some spic if you wish)

*I cheat and use bottled peanut sauce but if you can't find it here is a recipe for peanut sauce I use when I have extra time

1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
3 tablespoons creamy (or crunchy) peanut butter
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon hot chili oil, or more to taste (leave this out for mild sauce)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves

In a small saucepan, whisk together the broth, peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, and chili oil. Set the pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cilantro. Let cool to room temperature, then store in a plastic container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or in the freezer up to 3 months.

recipe from Robin Miller on food network

Tamale Casserole

This recipe was handed down to me from my mom. It was the first meal I learned to cook "all by myself" and so it brings back memories for me as well as being a family favorite around here.

Serves 6 - 8
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes


1 package XLNT brand tamales (find in the dairy/lunch meat section)
3 15 oz (or 1 40 oz) can of chili (use your favorite - we like turkey chili)
2 15 oz cans of whole kernel corn, drained
2 cans black pitted olives, drained
2 eggs
1 package grated/shredded cheddar cheese
1 casserole dish (approx 4 qt size)


preheat oven to 350 degrees
unwrap and cut each tamal into six peices (lengthwise and then into thirds)
add to dish
add chili, corn and olives
add eggs to dish and stir all ingredients

cover and cook for 45 minutes (foil works great)
remove from oven and added cheese on top
let stand 5 minutes to allow chese to melt
serve and enjoy

Tackle it Tuesday #1

Tackle It Tuesday Meme

Here is my first attempt at a Tackle it Tuesday! I am still new to blogging(this is my first month) and while I originally envisioned having a space to share my thoughts and feelings I have begun to discover so much more!!! I now have a part time job researching and reading a ton of lovely posts from some really amazing people. :O)

I have a ton of unfinished and not yet started projects at my home and since I don't have any valid reasons for not getting to them like Janice does over at 5 miutes for mom - I figured I could get off my toosh - enlist the help of my monkeys and start crossing things off my every growing list.

This week I took on the abyss that is my boy's room! Now I am really not exaggerating and while they live in it and make the mess, I totally take ownership for not making them keep it up. Besides the fact that they seem completely uncapable of putting things away, part of the problem is that that they have too much stuff and another part is that they don't have any real storage.

Here is the result of those things - my before pictures - I cringe even now thinking of all who will see this!

This is just one side of the room and there is a WHOLE bunch more to be done; but, not in one day. So with the help of both my boys, we took down the old mirror, finally put together the second white bookshelf (to replace that old ugly brown one that doesn't allow their door to open all the way) and we got to some serious sorting and purging of the desk space. Here is the picture that I am proud to show!

And here are my sweet boys who promise promise to keep their space clean - I even heard a "Thanks Mom for making us clean our room"!!! Still in a bit of shock from that one. We all feel better with less clutter I think.

Tackle it Tuesday will be a BIG help to this household!

Monday, April 30, 2007

no makeup - no problem!

I'm really not sure when makeup became such an important part of my day or why I somehow began to think that I just wasn't pretty enough when not wearing any.... but I sure do know when all of that stopped!!! I met a man and fell in love and he fell in love with me!!!! Wanna know the best part? He loves me just the way I am no frills - no bells - no whistles and he adores, what he likes to call, my "morning face". Talk about your confidence booster!! It would be nice if the rest of the world could be so kind.

Now don't get me wrong, most days I do dab on a bit on concealer, eyeliner and mascara but on the days I don't, or on the days it is all off by the time my sweetie comes home, I still feel beautiful.

With that said, and in honor of my sweetie, and in honor of a newly found love of self, I submit my no make up picture (i even skipped my SPF because it's slightly tinted and helps even out skin tone) for the Bloggers Without Makeup contest over at Adventures in Babywearing. If you want to get in on the fun, click the link above and submit your own natural self before May 4!!!

We come in all shapes, sizes, and colors - Make up or not we all are and deserve to feel beautiful - this has been a great reminder of that!

I feel pretty oh so pretty......and you should too! :O)

Paper or not to paper? That is the question...

I need some of your thoughts and advice....

I live in a 5 person household and we do NOT have a dishwasher. Add to that the fact that we have a very small sink and that adds up to me doing the dishes at least three times a day. Now I have enlisted my 13 and 11 year old to help with the task - they each have the dishes 2 nights a week. However, the sink can only hold so much so I still end up doing what is left over later that night. One thing I can't stand is dirty dishes in the sink overnight - it drives me crazy!!!! I'll try sometimes to 'just let it go' but there are times when I wake up at 2am thinking about the dishes just sitting there and I have to get up to wash them.

I have recently considered using paper plates and this my friends is where i need your help! The thing is, I'm big on recycling and doing what I can to help out the environment and somehow using paper plates seems to go against that plan. I have not been able to find paper plates made from recycled materials - if I could that just might make my decision for me.

My dilemma is this: not having a dishwasher and using the sink means I am using much more water to get the dishes done than if I had a dishwasher but using paper plates means I am using up more trees.

I am thinking that at least using paper plates means that I am using a renewable resource (trees can be replanted) while water is a bit more precious than that - especially considering the fact that I live in Southern California and we are almost always in some sort of drought.

Any thoughts? I would greatly appreciate hearing what you think. I need to do something because I am currently obsessed with this thought.

Menu Plan 4/30/2007

Wow! I actually did it! I have accomplished my first step to creating a new SMART Habit! By Sunday afternoon, I had my meals chosen and had even gone to the grocery store. It felt/feels so good to know that I won't be having to make another trip to the market until next weekend!!! What will I do with all the free time?!? Thank you to Laura, the organizing junkie, for the invite to join in on the fun and for the link to Wednesday's dinner.

Sunday: Coconut Lime Chicken
Monday: Five Bean Chili
Tuesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches
Wednesday: Zucchini Sausage Pasta
Thursday: Refrigerator Medley (our little name for left over night!)
Friday: take out or make at home pizza (it's movie night in our house)
Saturday: we'll be at the UCLA Pow Wow - and we'll have dinner (or more likely a really late lunch) there...did somebody say fry bread - YUMMO!

Happy cooking everyone!

(as a side note all meals in this house are served w/ salad - the prewashed and bagged kind -or whatever veggies catch my eye in the produce department)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

new (good for me) habits

I have learned a great deal since entering the blog world. One of the best things I have learned is that I am not alone - there are many women, moms, sisters, friends, daughters, fiances (wives) out there that think about and face many of the same things I do on a daily basis. Another of my favorite new discoveries is that I have learned that there are some really amazingly fabulous women who have not only implemented really helpful strategies in their own lives but are willing to share and help the rest of us do the same. Thank you ladies, I am very grateful!

With that said, I came across this little beauty that I just can't wait to get started on. It's SMART Habits Saturday! Sounds great and certainly like something that will be very very good for me. I have tried to start new healthy, good for me habits but never seem to make them a reality. I think my problem (besides being lazy) is that I've never had accountability.....I am hoping that sharing my habit goals with the rest of you will help me stay on target. My only problem at the moment is deciding which habit to start this week...........hmmmmmm

Thinking back to last week, I think I will choose what I struggled with the most. Since returning to school, I have realized that getting my life organized is a must. I have made some progress but one area that I just cannot seem to get together is weekly dinners. I find myself making multiple trips to the store to get ingredients needed and , sadly I am not exaggerating when I say, I went to the market every single day last week because I had not decided what to cook each night until I picked up my boys from school - or worse until about an hour before dinner should be on the table! We were all cranky with the extra trips out of the house in the middle of our busy after school routines. It was miserable! and diner time certainly was not as pleasant as it should be for me or my monkeys.

With that said, my new SMART Habit that I will begin this week is planning my weekly dinners ahead of time. My goal is to have a weekly menu in place by Sunday afternoon which will give me the opportunity to figure out exactly what I will need for the week and give me time to go to the market to get everything in only one trip. I already feel more relaxed just thinking about it.

Wish me luck! (and lots and lots of motivation and follow thru)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Fun (and easy) Contest

I was reading around in the blog world and came across a contest sponsored by Madison's Room You can enter for your chance to win these adorable hair clips for your little princess! Just visit this post and follow instructions. Basically all you have to do is sign Mr. Linky, leave a comment, add a link and your done! So easy and so worth it if you win! these little clips are just so cute!

It's been one of those days

It's been a rough couple of days for me. Extremely busy and not so pleasant in other ways. The busy part comes from it being the end of the semester. Finals are next week and I never feel prepared! I will get through it and do fine - I have in the past, I can't really imagine it being that different this time around. In some ways it is wonderful to know that I am one semester closer to graduating (With a graduation date estimated at 2010, it can seem never ending at times) but at the same time it kind of freaks me out too!

Weird, I know but yet, that is the truth. I think I get freaked out because getting one stop closer to graduating means I am one step closer to graduating! Which means, I am one step closer to being in the real world without the protection of being in school. I'll have to show my stuff and then it's sink or swim baby! That is scary to me. I suppose it stems from my continuing questioning of self and my abilities. I can be so confident in some ways and so not confident in others. I still feel not good enough, and not smart enough and like I won't succeed. It's not so fun when my insecurities pop up. It would be nice if they would make me work harder but what really happens is that it makes me want to quit. I want to give up when I don't think that I will 'make the grade' and it has been a very long and hard journey to learn to fight through that feeling.

Things have been not so pleasant because today, my ex husband and I had our first major argument since our separation 5 years ago. We have tried so hard to keep our relationship civil and work together for the kids and it has worked-for the most part..... I won't go into the details because it would take way too long to explain but I will say that it centered around my feeling like he was skimping on his responsibilities and leaving me to clean up the mess. I lost my temper today - BIG TIME. The kids weren't around - thank goodness! I feel so ashamed for losing my cool like that (even if I still think he deserved it). Perhaps it is the fact that we - well, I'll speak for myself - I have just let things go more often than I should have and therefore, I great deal of frustration and even resentment has been building and it all finally came to a boil. I have let things go because I felt like it just wasn't worth the argument because 1) there are more important things in life and 2) it really wouldn't change his behavior anyway. Today though, I just couldn't let it go any longer and so I didn't, I held on tight and rode it all the way to the end.

I wish I could say I feel better but I don't. I feel exhausted and on top of that, I got a call from my doctor right after the 'discussion' with some unpleasant news - karma? Could be. Sigh.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

a hundred years from now

"A hundred years from now, no one will remember the size of my bank account, the kind of car I drove or what type of house I lived in. What will matter is that I was important in the life of a child." (anonymous)

This is a quote on hold on to and sadly one that I have not thought of in a while. I was reminded when reading a post by another mom sharing her daughter's 100th day of school activity. My own mother shared this quote with me a few years back and it helped me gain a new perspective in life. In a world that is so concerned with and wrapped around image and material items, it is imperative to remember that, in the end, there really are more important things in life.

There are moments when that thought really hits home for me. Like, for example, when my sons run across the playground to give me a hug when I pick them up for school or when my daughter and I giggle as we make cookies (and a mess) together. However, I never remember it more than the times I sneak at peak at my sleeping children and see how peaceful they are; without any cares in the world. It is in that moment that I say a prayer of thanks for their health and their safety, a prayer of thanks for the privilege of the opportunity to be a mother, and a prayer for all the help i need to continue to keep them safe, well, loved and happy.

I hope that in the end of my days here on earth that I have been important in the lives of my children. I hope they will remember that even though I couldn't afford or chose not to give them the latest gizmo or the name brand items and that even though we may not have always agreed with one another, that what I did do for them was accept them for who they are, love them for all their quirks and helped them understand that sometimes it is the simple things in life that matter most.

i will endure

i am chasing the sun

some say



(she’ll never make it)

i continue

i am chasing the sun

i will run





i am chasing the sun

i will endure

one day

the sun

will be chasing me

Sunday, April 15, 2007

stay at home? i don't think so!

i was lucky enough to be able to visit with my cousin and his family the other night. chris and kim live up in the sacramento area and have 3 lovely children. we have not seen them in YEARS! and so it was nice to have a little reunion even if it was too short :o(

in the course of the evening my mother asked kim if she was working or if she “just stayed at home.” what?! did she really just use those words?

the thing is, i don’t know any moms who do not work ‘outside’ their homes that would consider themselves a “stay at home” mom. when most people think of the word stay i believe that the following definition comes to mind : “to stop, halt, or pause; a standstill”. that in no way describes what a mom who society says “stays at home” does. mom’s who do not work outside their homes work at them. being the primary caregiver of a child is a lot of hard work! there are the feedings, diapers, tears, owees to mend, games to be played, errands to be run, lessons to be taught, discipline to give, cleaning to be done, play dates to attend and host, meals to be cooked, pta meetings, trips to the park, doctor appointments, grocery shopping……..the list goes on and on. for those who say it isn’t work, they should consider the incredible amount of money families pay child care professionals to do the (ummmm?) “staying” for them. in fact, they should consider the fact that there is a whole slew of professions related to the tasks that moms have to accomplish on a daily basis.

now i don’t think that my mom meant the question in a derogatory manner but i think that it doesn’t make it less insulting. perhaps my mom used the ’stay at home’ term because she has been a mom who worked outside of the home while my brother and i were young or more likely, perhaps she used it because that (for some reason) is the term that society uses to describe a mother does not work at a place of business outside the home. who knows?…but it did remind me how much of a problem i have with the label “stay at home mom”. i used to be a “stay at home mom” and i never stayed put no matter how many times or how many days i wished i could just sit, stay, good mom! but that is a luxury that i never seemed to have.

i’m not making any judgements here about whether a mom who works in the home or out of the home is better. i have been both and realize that both kinds work hard every day to care for and love their children to the best of their ability. each day moms complete task after task after task and very very little of it ever involves staying put. unless of course, you count the times we finally get to crash after our little ones are tucked in bed….at least until we are called back to duty because of hunger, or a bad dream or a sore throat or…….

Thursday, April 12, 2007

i forgot to remember

that is the response i got from enrique (age 7) when i asked him if the pups had been fed. “oh! i forgot to remember” i love it!

the things these kids say sometimes make my heart smile. i took a little trip down memory lane after hearing that from my little guy. one of my favorite things he also used to say was “my hands hurt”. it would come out any time he did not want to do something like help with the groceries or pick up the living room. the best part of the hurting hands routine was the presentation. enrique would literally present his hands to me palms up and give me the best puppy dog eyes he could muster along with a few tears and insist “but mommy, i can’t! my hands hurt” where/how do they come up with these things? i’ll admit it may not have always gotten him the freedom from the task but ocassionally i would fall for it…..it was just way too cute!

there are so many moments that come up in my life as a mom that i just don’t ever want to forget to remember. perhaps i’ve been more sentimental than usual about the kids growing up. my daughter will be 13 tomorrow and i tear up everytime i think about it. i also tear up when i remember (and at times struggle to remember) all the little things my little ones used to say and do. it has always been the little and simple moments of life that have meant the most to me. they grow up and change so fast and there are so many moments that i just want to freeze time so i can enjoy and take in the moment just a little bit longer.

i love this monkey hurting hands, forgetting to remember, and all!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

say it aint so!

this friday, april 13th (yes that’s friday the 13th) my oldest child and only daughter turns 13! Eeek a teenager…..nooooooo say it aint so! i cannot believe that my precious little baby girl is already 13 years old. fellow moms out there - you know what i mean: these monkeys grow up way too fast!

so, a teenager huh? i have received condolences from many about the following years and many well wishes and good lucks in dealing with a teenage daughter. but you know what? having a teenager does not worry me at all! i am not scared of the years to come no matter how dark some might think they will be. danielle is a beautiful soul (intelligent, kind, loving, generous, helpful, determined, strong, compassionate….to name a few of her attributes) and even though she does have an attitude on certain occasions, it is nothing to be worried about. i mean, in terms of the other things that i see going on in the lives of her peers, if all i have to deal with is a few rolled eyes and a couple ‘whatevers’ than i will count my blessing and will not complain.

i actually do not anticipate much of a struggle with danielle. she is growing up and will want to do more and more on her own as she explores her independance and i am sure that she will test the limits along the way. but all children do that at all stages in their lives. that is what growing up is all about.

as dani turns 13 i am trying to figure out where the time flew and exactly how quickly the next few years will pass. i realize that she will live more and more of her life outside of the home and away from me. i worry that i haven’t taught her all she needs to know or that i won’t have the time to teach her before she moves on and eventually lives away from home. perhaps it is selfish, but what bothers me the most about he pending teenage years is i the fact that i will miss her dearly. i continually ask ‘how much longer/often will i get to spend mornings or evenings with her watching our favorite TV show (gilmore girls)? how often will i get to make cupcakes or cookies with her w/ our ’special love’? how many more days will we get to go shopping and laugh as we try on the hats in Macy’s? how many more nights will i get to have her sit on my bed and go on and on and on and on and on about what happened at school that day? how many more opportunities will i get to wrap my arms around her and tell her how much she is loved (especially when she has had a bad day)? i have a sneaky suspicion that i won’t get as nearly as much of any of those things that i will want.

i truly treasure the moments i get with her. she was so small and fragile when she was born (a premie weighing 3lbs 1oz) and has grown into a beautiful girl who is strong and determined and sure of herself. i am immensely proud of who she is and the choices she makes on a daily basis. i know that she must grow up and i can accept that. it is, however, a very hard thing for me to learn to let go. my heart is sad to think about the day when she will leave home and as i send her off with all the love and support i have to give her, i will be sad to lose a part of my life that is so important to me.

so having a teenager for me is not so scary except for the fact that i may not be as ready to let her grow up as i should be…