Archive | May, 2013

Parenthood is Full of Surprises

31 May

I’ve been to a few of these, including five of my own. All with mixed emotions of hurray and what-the-hell-is-waiting-for-me-now? But I’d never been to one as a parent.

It freaks you out. You completely change into a dress-wearing person. Something that my Chapstick type of personality isn’t too comfortable with, but you go with it. And then aside from transforming your wardrobe, your attitude also begins changing. You notice certain feelings taking over you as you see the school program with your kids name on it.

You really don’t want to turn into that crazed photo mom whose big head comes out in everyone’s picture. You really don’t want to be the kind of annoying person you write about. So you restrain yourself. You check your crazy at the door. After all it’s preschool. Get a grip. Coloring, cutting on the dotted line, and Llama, Llama Red Pajama. Nevertheless I found myself calling this a milestone moment in his mini life, sort of like walking and getting potty trained. In parent world this is big.

So I struggled with my crazy. I never had to do that before, usually I let my freak flag fly. But this was no freak flag, this was annoying crazy parent flag and you need to check that quick. You don’t want to regret anything later that day. You know yourself. So I sat there with mixed feelings about the whole thing. I mean I don’t know what the other Children of the Corn photo crazed parents were feeling at the time, probably no shame seeing how most of their heads with bad hair and ginormous cameras showed up in many of my shots. But all I know was that in the end I was proud to have not gone over the crazy parent cliff.

I was also surprised that I had become sappy. Not balling out soap-opera crying sappy, or the beautiful teary-eyed single drop creeping out of the corner sappy. Just the internal, pensive kind, with emotions swirling about which started when I saw him walk down the aisle in his miniature cap and gown. I thought Holy Crap! He’s going to be strolling down the aisle in another cap and gown in 2025 and then I’ll probably be a real sap. Dude it was like last week when I was cursing up a storm dropping the F-Bomb every five minutes during labor down at Catholic hospital down the street. Just last week, I thought.

But then he smiled at me and it was all good. I was still a little sappy, but I put it in perspective. I’d been mindfully present in the moments that mattered … the sand castle building, the Lego constructing, the pizza making, the stay-at-home movie night going, the family game night doing, the bike riding adventuring, the museum experiencing, the zoo exploring, the superhero pretending, and the night-time story reading. I’d been present the whole time.

Exhausted? Yes. In need of wine and chocolate during the quiet of the night. Definitely.

But also present, and not just going through the motions. There, I was there and enjoying it. So I decided to start mindfully enjoying the graduation, and stop thinking about the future, stop thinking sappy, and stop thinking about the crazy parents surrounding me.

Once I stopped, it ended up being a good day.

 

Walking towards the future ... and me behind him trying to catch up.

Walking towards the future … and me behind him trying to catch up.

 

The program that got me thinking.

The program that got me thinking all sappy.

 

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else's camera never getting out of the shot. I didn't understand why they kept taking pictures constantly ... they were in the front row.

The clear shot I tried to take of my son and his graduating class, but no luck with everyone else’s camera in the way. I didn’t understand why they kept taking pictures constantly … they were in the front row. Front. All they needed to do was take one picture. I mean all I needed was one. No luck. I had better luck outside by the fountain.

 

I saw this outside while we were taking pictures and thought dude I should totally capture this. A minute later my one year old decided to explore it, and ended up breaking the fake rock. She broke it in front of a few other spectators, so all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces and walk away.

While we were enjoying the ability to take pictures without interference, I noticed this rock and thought dude I should totally capture this. What a great sign. A minute later my one year old decided to notice it too. She ended up breaking the fake rock in front of a few other spectators. So all we could do was hide our holy-crap moment, pick up the pieces of hope, and try to walk away unnoticed.

 

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

While trying to escape the scolding eyes of witnesses, my son decided he needed a cold beverage. I assured him we had plenty of juice boxes in the car and we needed to leave the cookie and punch reception before his sister got a hold of another decorative memento.

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For All The Single Ladies …

30 May

In case you are still looking for “the one”  …

 

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Background

29 May

 

Checking out the background.

Checking out the background.

 

Trying to take a picture of my kid … then she realized that the background was more interesting than me, my broken down Canon PowerShot, and saying the word cheeeeeeeeeeeeese.

Background.

 

 

The Rematch Update 2: Getting To The Starting Line And I Think Yoga Is Going to Help Me

28 May

I don’t know why it seemed easier last year, but for some reason my body seems to agree with me. It was easier. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the fact that I’m one year closer to the big 4-0. It may be, a lot can happen to your muscles and bones in a year. But I don’t think it has anything to do with the fact that I’m checking a new age-range box on applications. I think it has to do with the fact that my one year old is going on two.

Have you heard of twos? They’re terrible.

You would think the sleep deprivation would have stopped after a year. But no … no. This kid is just psyching me out, waiting until I got a little comfortable and then BAM! the middle of the night drama happened again. Just randomly. Sometimes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Sometimes just Saturday nights. Just to mess with my head.

Image via Durtbagz.com

Image via Durtbagz.com

It’s this power struggle that probably effected my ability to function properly during the day. It’s this power struggle that probably has me looking for anti-aging cream at the CVS. It’s this power struggle that probably has me using the adjective “weary” to describe myself now. It’s this power struggle that has probably effected my training. My brains and bones are just not the same. No matter how many vitamins I’ve been acquiring, it seems to take me a lot longer to jump-start my battery. This is when I start to wonder about osteoporosis, arthritis, and sciatica. Is it possible to have all three before you hit 40?

Maybe.

But I do have to say … the yoga has been helping my back. Thanks to 13-letter word yoga poses ending in  “sana” I seem to be chugging along. The whole yoga stretching appears to be helping the training process. After doing them, I seem to have enough umph left to help train my son for his Tiny Tots Tricycle Triathlon. He’s doing really well in the biking part, and I’m happy that he’ll be taking swimming classes this month to help prepare him for his big dive in the pool. In fact I think he’ll probably do better than me in the water. In truth I’m more excited about his race than I am mine. It’ll be our first race together and I’m feeling all “parenty” about it. I’ll probably be high-fiving him all day. And it’s the anticipation of these high-fives and his smiles that really keep me going.

Making sure that I’m there at the starting line to see him take off is inspiration enough to kick my own ass. My race starts at 7 a.m. his at 9 a.m. I’m gonna be there, camera in hand. So watch out Devil’s Canyon, I’m getting ready for you.

One of my goals this year is to conquer Devil’s Canyon without stopping or passing out. Now I don’t have a fast and light racing bike, which would probably help my time, but my Bianchi hybrid will have to do. Maybe I can add rocket boosters or something, you know for that final climb. But maybe I can do a few extra squats so that my quads won’t be burning up when I’m climbing all those hills. And maybe I’ll increase my bike rides through the park, so that I can go passed the stop sign and reach the heliport. And maybe I’ll increase my downward-facing-dog, cat-cow yoga involvement so that my back isn’t killing me while I’m going up the mountain. I’ve decided … I’m gonna make it to my son’s starting line on time, even if I fall off the bike and have to crawl there, which I hope doesn’t happen. But either way, I’m getting to the starting line and I think yoga is gonna help me power through … well I know it’ll help my back. And that body part seems to be very important. It connected to all the vital parts I need for the race.

The Mood Changer

27 May

It’s a three-day weekend and for most people this Memorial Day Weekend means a mini-vacation — an escape from yourself and your life. I’m sad to say that I didn’t escape anything or anyone the last three days.

I felt pretty much like a dud stuck in my overcrowded part of the hemisphere. But I couldn’t let myself or my family completely drown in the boredom of staying-in-town–for-the-weekend routine. So I did what any poor writer with financial technical difficulties would do … I had a stay-cation at the beach, appreciated the moments with my kids, and gave thanks to the fallen soldiers from the past. This stay-cation proved to be better than expected.

I have to say, the Pacific Ocean rocked. It’s a total mood changer. But in addition to the beach all activities were accompanied by barbecue.

 

 

Touching the Pacific Ocean

Touching the Pacific Ocean. This was the shy beginning … but by the end of the day everyone was jumping waves and needing to use the beach showers to get sand out of everywhere.

 

 

A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn't dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It's a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.

A beach trip is not complete without building sandcastles. And everyone was hard at work, but as you can tell I didn’t dress my kid. Pink would never have been an option for my daughter. In fact I have no idea how this swimsuit made it. It’s a good thing the Pacific Ocean had magical mood changing powers.

 

 

Snack time was pretty tasty.

Snack time was pretty tasty.

 

 

Our tasty side dishes.

Our tasty side dishes.

 

 

For the vegetarian side of the family.

Ceviche … for the vegetarian side of the family. I had two helpings with my steak.

 

 

 

 

 

Weekly Image of Life Challenge: Nature’s Bliss

23 May
Enjoying nature's bliss under water.

Enjoying nature’s bliss under water.

 

Sometimes I am so jealous of Aquaman … he can enjoy this all the time without fearing a shark attack or running out of air.

Nature rocks. It makes you forget about your city problems.

 

 

Weekly Image of Life Challenge Courtesy of This Man’s Journey

 

What Kind of Friend Are You?

22 May

I’d like to think that I’m the kind of person a friend could call if they needed to move a body. I consider loyalty to be a very important quality in a person. So if someone called me I’d like to think I would pause Mad Men and drive over there immediately. No judgment.

Now before you go freaking out calling the police, I don’t mean the kind of body you would have to move out to the desert, requiring a shovel and a deep hole. No, that’s a whole different conversation and level of friendship. I’d probably have to know you for more than ten years to do something like that. But no, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I’m talking about a body that’s passed out on your couch for some reason or another. A mom. A dad. A brother. A sister. A son. A daughter. A grandma. Your dude. Your lady. Whatever they may be to you. If they’re passed out because of too many Lemon Drop Martinis, El Patron shots, or something stronger I’d like to think that my friends could call on me for help. No judgment. No drama. No gasps of horror. No lectures.

The “please don’t tell anybody about this–” preamble would not even be necessary with me.

I read something recently about the depths of friendship and the whole moving the body situation, they got all into it with details, scenarios, and different types of friendships. And it got me thinking about the type of friend I am.

I’m not the fake Facebook friend, I’m the body-mover. I realized that I’m one of those people.

I’d probably show up with a great piece of chocolate and tell you there’s no need to move the body, just leave it there. There’s no social worker coming over. So let them sleep it off. But if you still wanted me too, I’d help you move it. I work out. I’ve got muscles. We could do it. Then we could feast on chocolate and I’d probably try to throw in some Goodfellas type of jokes just to lighten the mood. And there would be no chisme, no drama, no judgment. Just safety in knowing that The Guat’s got your back. Really I’m the last person to be judging anybody, my life isn’t all happily ever after, it’s like a Spanish soap opera, but with more clothing and less good-looking people.

But while I was contemplating what an awesome non-judgmental body mover I would be, I realized that I only had a few of these type of friends on my speed dial. I had movie-going friends, writing pals, eating lunch time friends, give me a ride to the airport friends, and go to a game with friends. Not too many move-a-body friends, or relatives for that matter.

I felt a little bad about that, but then I realized you only need a few of those friends. Bodies aren’t that heavy if you’ve got a plan. You really only need one friend like that. A strong one, or maybe one that studied physics in college, stuff that would make body moving easy. I mean it would be awesome to have like twenty body moving friends, but realistically I didn’t see that in my future. But I could be wrong. In times of crisis people come through for you. They surprise you. So you never know.

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Escape

21 May
The Office

Television

 

Escape.

For when you’re having a bad day.

For when you want to unwind.

For when your other half annoys you.

For when you get writer’s block.

For when you really need a laugh.

Television … Comedy on television … is the great escape.

Escape.

 

 

Looking At The Bright Side

20 May
Image via Despair.com

Image via Despair.com

 

Sometimes you have to look at the bright side to get through the tough times.

 

 

Sandbox List Adventure 11: One Small Step For Man, One Giant Step For The Guatkind

17 May

He’s a firefighter. A secret agent. A doctor. A baseball player. A superhero. An astronaut … and sometimes he’s my Lego-building partner.

Most of these identities are imaginary and we do our best with our makeshift costumes and equipment made out of recyclable materials. However today I thought I would step it up a notch and provide an experience where I didn’t have to use an old Gatorade bottle or paper towel roll. Today we finally made our way to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour, something he’s been wanting to do ever since it made the long trek through the streets of our city and found its home at the California Science Center.

It was something we were so jazzed up about that I got advanced tickets so that we wouldn’t have to wait in the crowded line. I never get advanced anything but when it comes to kids’ activities I totally learn. I don’t want to get caught by every parents’ worst nightmare … The Public Meltdown. So you do whatever it takes, which includes the strategic planning of a genius … of a Mission Impossible agent … of a mother of two.

You get advanced tickets that give you an entrance time well after morning traffic, but before nap time. You plan it to get an awesome three or four-hour block of engaging entertainment. You check for the closest parking lots and always bring cash because you never know when the machines could be down. In addition you pack whatever it takes … granola bars, Goldfish Crackers, grapes, cheese sticks, fruit wraps, pita chips, an arsenal of juice boxes, books, learning toys with all the Disney, PBS, Sprout Channel, and Nickelodeon characters, and the master savior … The Ritz Cracker.

You walk out the door with your two kids and five bags and you think … I got this. I got this!  You slip in the Jack Johnson CD and know you’ll be there by track five or six. The morning rush hour should no longer exist.

And then you’re zooming passed the cars until disaster hits. Traffic. You don’t understand it. There shouldn’t be any. Did you expect big rig trailers and trucks … yes a few, but not a massive traffic jam filled with SUVs and sedans. You don’t understand it. And then after an hour-long trek, which really should have lasted twenty minutes, it hits you. Caps, gowns and Hawaiian leis. Graduation. College graduation.

By the time I finally parked, I was down to my last Ritz cracker. But once we got inside, I didn’t need the emergency reserve.

It was one small step for man, one giant step for Guatkind.

 

Our astronaut experience awaits.

Our astronaut experience awaits.

 

The cool art/display that caught are eye at the entrance.

The cool art/display that caught our  eye at the entrance.

 

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display.

My son intrigued by the mysterious white smoke coming up from the display. He’s discovering the power of science.

 

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

The journey begins, everyone was so excited that the juice boxes were not completely finished.

 

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

Checking out the amazing space stuff and educating ourselves before heading over to the exhibit.

 

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

This is where we pretended to be Mission Control engineers. My son did a great job with his countdown.

 

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

One of the best parts of the day was the simulator. Where he got a chance to blast off into space, fix a satellite in outer space, hang out on the moon, and then land the shuttle. He was a good astronaut and so was my daughter, very brave during the take off and landing.

 

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

After our awesome astronaut experience we headed over for the main attraction.

 

Definitely worth the traffic. Definitely.

Definitely worth the hour-long traffic. Definitely. The Holy-Crap Moment of the day happened right here.

 

The experience had such a "wow" factor that we had to take home a souvenir.

The experience had such a “wow” factor that we had to take home a souvenir. And this one entertained them all the way home. No need for Jack Johnson or emergency reserves.  Outer space rocks.