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The Morning After Pill

14 May

The laundry still needed to be folded, the dishes washed, and the kids carpooled.

It was one 24-hour day to be appreciated or at least take a moment and pause to appreciate myself. Stop and think … I’m doing the best that I can at every moment, and sometimes there’s nothing left in reserve. So I fizzle out and then fill up the tank when I can.

I was grateful to have gotten a Mother’s Day photo with everyone smiling. I was thankful to have spent it my way … watching my Boys in Blue win a game and to witness a grand slam. I didn’t let the small moments pass me by, I took a minute to enjoy them. All the little ones added up to something.

It wasn’t filled with amazing jaw-dropping glitter and glam, just good-time-and-noodle-salad moments that kept my heart full until the stars came out.

And then the sun rose and Monday showed up with all its Monday Madness. The whining of kids not wanting to wake up, the failure to listen when I ask them to do things the first time, and the rush-rush-rush of being on the go and getting where we need to get to on time.

It’s parenthood chaos that sometimes leads to migraines, which is then followed my the Mother’s Day morning-after pill … Advil.

Because migraines suck any time you get them.

But … I was O.K.

I didn’t feel beaten down. The wave of my awesome moments still sat with me and I continued to remember even 24 hours later, when the Mother’s Day spell is usually broken.

But I woke up with peace in my heart and purpose for the day. Today was Monday and I was good with that … no Advil today.

Buen Camino my friends!

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Inspired and Ready For a Comeback Win

24 Feb

It was an inspirational story that unfolded in three periods, the kind of story that pulls at the heart because you’re not really hoping for yourself to succeed, you’re hoping for someone else.

It’s the kind that every parent has when they’re cheering for their kids. I don’t think I ever had that shoot-for-the-win-as-the-clock-winds-down fantasy when I was playing sports. I wanted to win, of course, but I was never the buzzer-beater dreamer. I was more of the playmaker and defensive beast. And I had hope back then, just as I do now. But now with kids it’s different.

My hope sits with them. I hope for them, I want them to experience the win, feel what it’s like to get a victory hug from your teammates, feel what it’s like to have a redemption win, feel what that’s like.

So when my son’s team lost their hockey tournament in a shoot-out, after the score remained the same in sudden death overtime, my heart broke a little because I wanted that so much for him. But I was still proud of his effort, of his heart, and defenseman skills. I wanted to show him that regardless of the score he should be proud of himself too. And the thing is … he was.

He smiled as he got his second place medal for his weekend tournament and I was too … but I still wanted that for him. Just like parents everywhere, you want them to feel that sunshine glow. Just like fans everywhere, you place your hopes on your team and wish them to victory, not because you want something for yourself, but more so because you want that feel-good-feeling for them, the kind of feeling I got from watching the US Women’s Hockey team win the gold.

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It was an intensely stressful and dramatic moment of exuberance. I jumped off the couch, pumped my fist in the air, and said what every hockey fan that had seen Miracle had said … YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

Late Wednesday night, I witnessed the come-from-behind redemption win that had been in the sights of the women’s hockey team since the Sochi Olympics.

It was the kind of game that had this House of Sports residents fully engaged and putting all her hope on a young goalie, the kind of hope that makes players faster, stronger, and more skilled. You hope that the best version of your player is out there and that you did what you could to support them. And it is this kind of inspirational play that you hope catches the spirit of your kids.

And I’m happy to report that watching the women’s hockey team play Canada for the gold was an inspirational testament that resonated with thousands of people and found a spot in the heart of my kids.

Congrats to the women’s hockey team on a job well done. Earning some medals and inspiring future generations of athletes to give it everything they got. My son is ready for this weekend’s game and he’s ready for his Miracle making a comeback kind of win.

Buen Camino, my friends!

 

 

Pockets and Swimming In it

2 Dec

Sometimes it’s hard to even breathe with all the disastrous efforts attacking the¬† substance of our very own existence. You get so angry and enraged that you can’t even form sentences without profanity.

But sometimes there are moments of zen that give you an opening for happiness during the dark times in our country. Small moments that happen in your family, community, or city that make you breathe easier. I cling to these pockets of happiness. They give me hope that even though on a national scale my country is plummeting into the depths of disgrace and lining the pockets of big business and the rich, there are moments that can still bring positivism and light.

I’m a big fan of The Arts, most writers by nature are, but sometimes it becomes difficult to expose your kids to the world of art and all its dynamics. With budget constraints schools become a limited resource for artistic mediums. Most of the time you have to do it on your own, go to museums, or sign up for classes, or become a poor imitation of the amazing Bob Ross.

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He was awesome.

I make it a point to instill the exploration of science and the creativity of the Arts on weekends with my kids. I feel I’ve got to take a proactive approach in their learning development. And they seem to get a kick out of all the side projects. They’re confident, outgoing and bold with their ideas and opinions. So it surprised me when my youngest was a little hesitant to enter her work in the National Reflections Campaign organized by the PTA at school. I had my own reservations … you know how I feel about the PTA Mommy-and-Me Mafia. But art is art and I introduced her to this opportunity. My daughter wasn’t fond of the idea of people judging her work. I can totally relate to that.

What if I come last? She asked.

That was her biggest fear.

I said I didn’t care whether she came in last, what mattered was whether she enjoyed the process, whether she tried her best and enjoyed creating. I explained to her that a little courage goes a long way. She just needed to take a small step. That’s it. Not everyone is strong enough to take a chance on themselves, to believe in themselves, to submit something. Not everyone has the opportunity, so if you’re given one … take it!

Just a little bit courage goes a long way.

My son needed an extra push too, but nothing major. He seemed on board after I told him he could create a Lego Movie under the Film Production category. Lego and Movie. That’s all it took for him to find his bravery.¬† My daughter chose the Visual Arts category, and submitted her painting. She said she had a good time and that the use of glitter was a “awesome”.

They both used this year’s theme, “Within Reach”, differently as my son explained through his piece that Justice is Always Within Reach … whenever Batman is around. While my daughter explored Kindness is Within Reach through a dinosaur painting that sparkled with just the right amount of glitter.

Fast forward like four weeks and I get an email, two emails, informing me that both of my kids won first place in their respective categories for the entire school.¬†Now they’re both off to the District Level judging.

Pocket of happiness. Right there. Swimming in it.

I was happy for them, really happy. But even happier because my daughter found her strength. She was brave enough to take a chance on herself, and believe. She learned that trusting herself and being courageous is a good thing.

That’s a happy mom moment right there. A huge pocket of happiness … The kind that gets me through rough days in this world. I was so grateful for courage that day.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abstract

27 Apr
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To my four-year old daughter … this is pretty obvious … pretty concrete what she’s talking about and communicating here. However sometimes because of lack of sleep and parenthood in general, things tend to fall under the abstract category. But the sunlight shining behind the painting totally clues you into this masterpiece.

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

 

 

 

I Make The Pies Now

25 Nov

Tomorrow’s the day … the day I’m reminded that I live in that combined existence… between the Barone Family and The Griswalds, only it’s playing on Univision and we’re missing our chief turkey carver. We’re missing our Ray Barone, we’re missing our Clark Griswald.

This will be the fifth year that my Dad will be hanging out with The Man upstairs during this holiday season, but no matter how many holidays pass by there’s always a moment of pause when turkey day comes around. Christmas was big in our family, but Thanksgiving seemed to be larger. Probably because ever since Ferris Bueller had his day off, I found myself counting and moving hundreds of free range turkeys and freezing my ass off in the Rocky Balboa-sized refrigerator for the family business. I found myself wishing Ferris was my friend, hoping he’d invent a plan for my day off.

Thanksgiving has always kicked my ass. Always. But when it was all done, there was always a reward.

I mean coming home aching from all those turkeys, 3×5 customer order cards, and cold air hitting my joints and back for several days, and then finally being able to sleep in that morning until after the sunrise, that was a reward in and of itself, but picking up pumpkin pies from Dupar’s Bakery with my Dad, the pies I’d devour with a big glob of whipped cream … dude … that was it. Driving home in his dark gray Nissan pickup truck, listening to jazz with the white cardboard boxes on my lap, smelling the nutmeg and all spice,, and joking around all the way home. That was my reward for a week’s worth of muscle.

And those were my moments …

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But I had none of those this week.

No 3×5 cards, no inventory sheets, no late nights, no arguing over whether he said 14-16 pounds or 12-14 pounds, no white butcher coats or aprons, no sweatshirt, no thermals, no bleach-scrubbing floors, no sassy customers, no counting and recounting turkeys or boxes, no laughing because we were so tired, and no Dupar’s pie.

I make the pies now.

He still probably would have liked them.

I miss him during the non-craziness of my Thanksgiving Week. I miss him during the quiet of the night that’s not supposed to be so quiet. Sometimes I even miss the craziness of the 3×5 order cards and the insanity of inventory. But just sometimes.

The family is still in a state 0f Barone-Griswald existence, always has been, but it’s weird not having the Ray or Clark of the family around. But I am thankful that I remember these things. I am thankful that I can still feel the aches in my muscles, the paper cuts from the 3×5 cards, the Neutrogena Intensive Hand Repair cream on my chapped hands. I’m thankful I can still picture him at that dining table the nights before Thanksgiving, taking out the inventory sheets, 3×5 cards, black Bic pens, and hear his voice…

“Canela, are you ready?”

Yeah … I make the pies now.

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Sometimes It’s Good To Slow Down

22 Nov
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Tales of the 1st

18 Aug

Excitement, anxiety, and worry.

I was feeling it all night, didn’t really know what to expect from the bigger playground, different classroom, and different group of kids. I tried to stay positive for my son’s sake, and was able to give him the Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose speech before school and send him off ready to conquer the world, but I was still feeling it in the pit of my stomach. Something that would probably leave my neurotic motherhood personality once I picked him up at the end of the day.

And in truth it’s not so much that I didn’t trust my son, or think how wouldn’t do great, I knew he was gonna let his awesome out, he’s a great kid. I just don’t have faith in the kids and teachers I’ve never met. You know the kind I’m talking about, you see them and you just know, you get that Oh-my-God-I-hope-it’s-not-you feeling. You’re not judging anybody or thinking you’re better than anyone else, you just get that feeling at first sight.You know exactly what I’m talking about. You know.¬† I’m crazy that way, it’s my Guat nature. I accept it.

It’s something I go through every year, at the beginning of the school year.

I’m not sure what to expect from the first grade … other than a massive supply list and less money in my wallet.

 

1 box of 24 Crayola Crayons … sounds reasonable

3 dozen Ticonderoga #2 pencils (already SHARPENED please) … Really? Dude there’s no time to sharpen 36 pencils and the boxes of pre-sharpened were sold out.

3 reams of white paper …Dude did the school run out before the year started?

3 boxes of Kleenex tissue … One sounds more reasonable.

1-2 packages of hand wipes/disinfectant wipes … I understand this one, I’m a little germaphobic

1 dozen glue sticks … Dude I think a three pack will get you by.

2 yellow highlighters … understandable used to highlight the important notes prior to exams.

 

Yeah … I’m not sure what to expect, but I do hope for the best and seeing how my son strolled toward the entrance with confidence, as well as a good luck hug from his sister, I was feeling better about the whole thing.

 

Heading to 1st grade, while his sister and I followed.

Heading to 1st grade, while his sister and I followed.

 

So that’s where I stand on the first grade … that and frustration over bad parking jobs.

Parents c’mon now, c’mon … common sense … common sense.

Good luck to the rest of you.

 

My Three-Year Old’s Definition of Respect and Golf School

3 May

You’re talking and you¬†wonder do they get it? They hear me, but are they listening? That happens often in my family.

But then I¬†think¬†about my son and smile. Sometimes¬†he gets it, he hears me and listens …

My son continues his preschool sabbatical and is currently enjoying the teachings of Coach Jeff at golf school.¬†Last week’s¬†word of the day was sportsmanship. He seemed to learn that one¬†quickly as he gave¬†Coach Jeff a high-five and said: “Good game, Coach Jeff.”

This week’s word of the day was respect. He got the¬†ten minute speech at the beginning of class.¬†Coach Jeff¬†¬†defined the word and explained that you should¬†treat others as you would like to be treated.

Then my son whispers to me: “Mom, what’s treated?”

“It’s your behavior with other people. How you act. Your attitude.¬†Remember good attitude. Good behavior to other people and people will have good behavior to you. Be nice to other people and they will be nice to you. Listen to other people and they will listen to you. Good attitude to Coach Jeff and your teammates, and they will show you good attitude.”

“Oh. Yes. Good attitude. Good behavior. Listen. I treat people, and they will treat me. I behave good, they behave good to me too. Respect.”

“Yes. Always show respect.”¬†

He smiled and we were off to the driving range. Each kid¬†went to their stall and began swinging away.¬† They were reminded how to properly hold the club and how to follow through on their swing.¬†My son¬†improved his grip¬†¬†… well at least for a second, and then he went back to¬†a hockey-style swing, and then back¬†to his golf grip again. It’s a learning process and he enjoys class. He’s smacking them pretty good and I was pretty proud of him.

Then after¬†he finished half the bucket of balls he took a quick two-minute-Goldfish-crackers-and-Gatorade break. As he stood there checking out his classmates swing away. He noticed a couple of boys weren’t really into the driving range thing. They are off jumping like frogs, checking out the grass, or¬†rolling around¬†in their stalls.¬†

Then one of the kids who was hanging out in the grassy knoll, pretending he was a butterfly picked up a ball and threw it at one of the kids¬†attempting to put Coach Jeff’s teachings in effect. Poor Jay.¬†He had the right grip and the right posture, just as he turned his little three-year old body to¬†begin his swing,¬†in came a flying golf ball and hit him on the cheek.

Coach Jeff was on the other side helping out other kids so he didn’t witness the incident. But butterfly boy’s dad was there,¬†and so was Jay’s.¬† The dad’s had a little pow-wow about the incident and¬†Jay sat out a little bit until the pain subsided.

“That was not nice,¬†mom. He did not¬†treat Jay.¬†That was not¬†respect. I think he will be in timeout.”

I don’t have to¬†wonder whether¬†my son”gets it”. He hears me and listens. Perhaps when he’s¬†in middle school¬†I’ll begin to worry, but for now he continues to learn lessons.

Green Scooby-Doo Balloon To The Rescue

21 Apr

I thought I had it all. I’ve become accustomed to thinking ahead. That’s what you do when you’ve got kids, or cranky adults. You prepare.

Festival of Books

The Festival of Books. It’s a huge event with massive crowds of book loving people who also like freebies and samples from the corporate sponsors. I’ve gone just about every year for the past eight years. But now that I have a three-year old and a nine-month old. The trip becomes more like a mission to avoid any meltdown from any child.

Coppertone Water Babies UVA/UVB Sunscreen 50 SPF.

Three Cuties oranges.

Two Ziploc bags of Cheerios.

One container of Gerber Puffs.

Two juice boxes.

Three pacifiers.

Two sippy cups of water.

One bottle of milk.

One apple.

One banana.

One Clif Kid Bar Z Crispy Chocolate Chip.

Two Clif Kid Z Fruit Ropes

One peanut butter and banana sandwich.

One diaper bag filled with baby essentials.

I thought I had it all, but it was out of my control.

After a meltdown-free morning of construction, train, and dinosaur book exploring, arts and crafts doing, and music loving under a blistering heat for three hours, we encountered the balloon. We had it for five minutes. The red balloon from the Chinese Dragon stall. Then it popped. Thin layer I guess.

I saw it coming. I got the look and then the shoulders slumped. The eyes got watery, the lower lip did the I’m-about-to-cry pucker. Then his voice cracked, and¬†I knew it was coming.

I forgot to pack an extra balloon.

The crowd at The Festival of Books.

No worries we’ll get another one. After fifteen minutes of weaving in and out through the crowds, we found the stall. Sweet. No one was in line. However no one was in line for a reason. No more balloons.

I got the look and the shoulder slump …

I saw someone with a purple Scooby-Doo balloon. We raced back through massive pedestrian traffic past the Mystery Machine and found the chick passing out the balloons. There was no red. Just Mystery Machine colors.

Scooby-Doo Balloon

“Green. Mom. Green is my favorite. Red is no good.”

So after three Cuties oranges, one banana, one apple, half a peanut butter sandwich, two juice boxes, two bags of Cheerios, one container of puffs most of which trailed behind us courtesy of the baby, one bottle of milk, one Clif Bar Z Crispy Chocolate Chip, and two Clif Kid Z Fruit Ropes, it was the green balloon to the rescue.

We lost one sippy cup and two pacifiers in the process, but the green Scooby-Doo balloon is still in tact.

The green balloon that saved us floats among the crowd.

 

Note to self: pack an extra balloon.

 

My Three-Year Old’s Definition of Integrity and Golf School

19 Apr

Considering that I was a golf widow, I wasn’t going to do it. I thought, why lose another one. But this one would be different. This is my son. He’s awesome.

If you don’t know what a golf widow is, you should¬†check out my post The Golf Widow’s Revenge. If your dude, husband, or partner plays golf, or is even thinking of playing golf, you should definitely read it. An enlightening¬†nice perspective.

Anyhow, since¬†my son’s¬†been on hiatus from preschool, I decided to find some sort of program where he could engage in conversation¬†with other three-year olds. Hang out with his peeps. One friend suggested some Mommy & Me¬†group and I sort of hesitated.

I told her I didn’t have anything against this Mommy & Me group, or her, seeing how she’s the guru of all things Mommy & Me, but when we tried to hang with these chicks when my son was younger we didn’t quite fit in. I think I had the wrong diaper bag,¬†the wrong set of snacks ¬†and the wrong set of shoes.

Heels to a park? C’mon now.¬†

As for the diaper bag, apparently you can own¬†designer diaper bags. The three-hundred dollar kind. They exist. Id’ rather take that three-hundred and go to Legoland four times. As for the snacks, well, pretzels, cheese sticks, Cutie Oranges, and Gatorade were frowned upon. I don’t know why, seemed pretty good to me. I never understood.¬†

Whatever. I wasn’t going to go through that situation again, so I decided to stick with my kind of people … sports.

A golf ball directly before the hole

A golf ball directly before the hole (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After searching community bulletins and the parks department services, I found a golf academy that catered to kids his age.¬†I was pretty excited because he didn’t meet the age requirement for The First Tee program, but this program started with three-year olds. Sweet.¬†

As¬†I geared him up to go to golfing school, he was hesitant at first. Didn’t want to go because he thought I would just drop him off. But after explaining how it worked, he was very excited.

When we got there, he grabbed his clubs, raced out of the car, and ran up the ramp.

He was introduced to Coach Jeff and learned some golf etiquette, well at least tried to learn it.

Integrity. That was the word of the day. He was told what it meant and how he always needed to do the right thing and be honest, especially on the course.

Apparently if you lose a ball into the bushes and can’t find it, you can hit another ball, but you have to call out provisional. Sort of a second chance, but you’re penalized and given another stroke.

I didn’t think he would understand the concept, but he kept repeating the word integrity, the phrase ‘do the right thing’, and the word provisional.

In their little stalls each kid got six golf balls. Six. They were supposed to hit them onto the green, aiming for the circles drawn out near the hole. Once they finished chipping the ball over to the green, they were supposed to run and collect their six golf balls and repeat the exercise.

Scrambling for golf balls.

During one of their scrambles to get their six balls, one kid had seven and my son says:

“Mommy I tell the boy only six balls and he didn’t listen. He did not do the right thing.¬†I tell him. I tell him. He lose his yellow ball and take two white balls … he did not say provisional. He did not do integrity. He did not.”

I smiled. He was awesome and I couldn’t have been prouder.¬†