Tag Archives: family

Chocolate Treats, Pumpkin Seeds, and Charlie Brown

31 Oct

Halloween parades, superhero costumes, toasting pumpkin seeds, trick-o-treating, and It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown filled the day. I was suffering from the Blues after the World Series, so I took a couple of days off and decided to come back to life on Halloween.

This holiday always reminds me of my Uncle Erick and his pumpkin carving escapades with his kid. He liked to start his own family traditions and give his kid the things he never had growing up. So when it came to Halloween I remember him going all out, pumpkin patches, hayrides, Halloween decorations and toasted pumpkin seeds. He had the spirit and his kid, who is all grown up now, remembers those days and thinks about those pumpkin carving sessions at our house. She recently asked me for a picture of her seven-year-old self atop a ginormous Jack-O-Lantern she created with her dad, and it made me think of how much joy he liked to bring to holidays and celebrations.

I often wonder what kinds of celebrations and family hangout sessions we would have had if he had survived his battle with cancer years ago, but thoughts like that make me angry and sad, so it takes me a minute to turn things around. I try to remember what we had and not so much what we’re missing, and Halloween is one of the things I’m able to hold and keep.

I talk about my Uncle Erick with the kids and remind them of his toasted pumpkin seed recipes and how I never would have known to do that if it weren’t for Uncle Erick. I try to remember to do the fun things even if they’re messy, even if they make me tired, because hopefully in the end the kids will look back on those days and smile, just like his daughter … smile at the buckets filled chocolate treats, making Jack-O-Lanterns, and Charlie Brown.

Buen Camino my friends!

 

 

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Hugs, Kisses, and Boogie Boards

15 Feb

Molly-Ringwald-Sixteen-Candles-Tina-Fey-Steve-Carell-Date-Night type of romance was out there yesterday, somewhere between the picnic lunches, steak dinners, heart-shape boxes of chocolate, smiles, and kisses it was out there. People celebrating a little thing called love.

I celebrated love as well  … the one with sandcastles, plastic shovels from Target, a Batman Frisbee, and a great laugh as the waves tickled their toes.

 

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And yes … there were boogie boards. But also hugs and kisses.

Love comes in many ways, and makes you feel good whether it’s Valentine’s Day or not. It happens everyday and I was grateful for it yesterday.

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Finding My Dad’s Waterfalls and Keep On Cluckin’

30 Jan

Apparently my silver linings playbook was misplaced. The weight of the monster migraine shadowing me all day assisted in this temporary loss.

Plans for celebrating an unfinished life were left in the blueprint stages, as the day wasn’t fully cooperating with me. The morning and early afternoon had plans of their own, plans that involved multiple trips to the store because birthday cake ingredients were missing in the middle of sifting flour, plans of having lunch at one of his favorite restaurants were cancelled on account of life’s time table being different from my own, plans for telling stories over lunch ended up being one-sided conversations at the cemetery with cold steak sandwiches and a conga line of ants that wouldn’t leave me alone, plans for a great day of memories and storytelling ended up with migraines, mucus, coughing, and very little peace.

A heavy heart is a tough thing to shake off when you miss your dad on his birthday. He would have been 68.

Thinking the easiest of things would fall into place was my mistake this morning. Dad’s birthdays are always tough when he’s not around because you realized all the good things he’s missed, like my daughter’s sense of humor, her enjoyment of baking, the way she laughs when she’s being chased in a game of hide-and-seek, how she she loves the Pacific Ocean, or sleeping in every morning. Or my son … how he’s grown up so much since he last played soccer or put-put golf with him, how he really enjoys the Foosball table he gave him, how tight his hugs are or how big his smile can be when he sees you, and how creatively adventurous he can be with Legos and daydreams. And it makes me even sadder when I know what he’s going to keep missing,  what I’m going to keep missing. My friend.

Today was a reminder that if things can go wrong they usually do and then it happened …

The new neighbor that had moved into the complex next door a couple of months ago was having problems with his Honda. Now I don’t really talk to this neighbor, just see him walking his dogs in the morning, so when I saw him pushing his car and trying to jump start it, I thought … man my dad would totally help this dude out, and so I asked.

Do you need a jump? Is it your battery?

Um … yeah … but—

Oh I got cables and this whole battery thing the car.

He seemed surprised that someone carrying buttermilk and Crisco would have such a thing, and know the difference between the red cable and the black one. I set up the system told him to turn his car and bam … no AAA service needed.

He smiled and thanked me for saving his day.

And that small act of kindness changed the rest of the afternoon and evening. Because I had searched for the cables and battery charging station I found something I thought my mother had “donated”. I had forgotten I had rescued it during the Christmas purging season, but there it was hanging out in the back of my dad’s ginormous Toyota Tacoma truck, hiding in the safety of the SnugTop.

It reminded me of my Trapper Keeper, the one I had in the seventh grade. It was 3D light painting of waterfalls among a Hawaiian-type landscape. The kind of thing that people hang up in their offices, but my Dad never got a chance to hang it up in his, although as I remember it he wanted to hang it up in my old room, sort of set up a relax-Zen-type zone. I don’t know why he would buy such random things, but it made an impression on him, something about that piece said something, so now that something is staying with me.

Trapper

TrapperKeeper

I rediscovered its existence and was happy that I had one more piece of my dad with me, something I could hold onto today.

And then in the evening I got a text message from my sister. We talked about missing him today, and I had explained what a rough day today had been and then she sent me a couple of pictures that just made my day.

DadSign2

This was funny, considering my Dad wasn’t too enthusiastic with the campaign that the “Powers That Be” required, but as always he was a good sport.

 

Keep on cluckin’  …

It was like he was listening all along.

Happy Birthday, Dad.

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In Between Now And Then

8 Sep

I actually took advantage of it.

I didn’t have anything planned really, but I still took advantage.

Another stay-cation on the books for the Guats this Labor Day Weekend. A camping vacation would have been nice, but nevertheless I still found myself being grateful for the extra 24-hour period. Even though I didn’t have the “happening” plan I still found a way to find bring “cool” to our weekend. Cool and gratefulness. You see, the scenery and the peace I felt made up for the lack of traveling this three-day weekend. I figured a lot of people would probably be traveling to a get look at a place just like this …

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Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. :)

Appreciating the beach, the surfers and gaining peace at the same time. 🙂

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And the miraculous thing?

I had plenty of personal space. Plenty. And you know how I feel about my personal space and those hijackers who always try to crowd me. This time, at this beach … it didn’t happen.

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Discovering personal space exists

Discovering personal space exists

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There were people but for some reason they didn’t wander all the way down to my little spot. They hung out by the tidal pools, which we discovered bright and early before anyone arrived. My kids enjoyed checking out this new beach and the anemones, crabby-crabs, and tiny fish that lived in its tidal pool waters.

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Exploring tide pools

Exploring tide pools

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I rediscovered that my California beaches can make up for nonexistent plans on a three-day weekend, on a free day, a free 24-hour period. You get to spend it anyway you want and instead of feeling bummed about staying in town, I just felt grateful that I had another school-free-don’t-have-to-pack-up-lunches-fight-school-traffic-and-snobby-PTA-moms-for-a-parking-spot kind of day. Labor Day was a beach day, filled with gratitude, boogie boards, sand toys, and plenty of Coppertone 45.

I felt myself being present in the moment, not worrying about the one that just passed, and not rushing to the next. I wasn’t worrying about the future of chicken dinner, or the picking up of Legos, or the fact that the purple Crayola crayon broke in half. I was just in between now and then, and that took place on the beach.

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Today … Joanna Was My Exception Joanna And Her Six

19 Aug

Normally I don’t … I just don’t.

But the title caught my eye.

Six Things I Wish I’d Known About Marriage When I Was …

Dude I was like wait … only six? I would have waaaaaaaaaaayyyyy more.

So I got curious, and it wasn’t so much the information, it was the fact that I thought, dude I could have written this article. I definitely had plenty of lessons. I definitely had plenty I-Wish-I-Would-Have-Known moments. I totally could have had a byline on the front page of a magazine. Totally. Who was this chick and what were these six?

So I went against my instinct and clicked on the link.

I had to, I had to find out if the pretend article in my head would be better than what was posted on this major site. And the thing is I never do. I don’t. I stopped reading stuff like this after my 20s. In fact I bet you did too. I bet you didn’t even click the link I posted.

I bet, and you know why?

The majority of these articles are a load of crap. All these relationship articles out there claiming to know the secrets of marriage, or the top ten things your wife really wants, or ten things to never do in front of a guy, or what your husband is really thinking, or do these four things just like so-so celebrity and your partner will thank you for life.

Dude this was crap. It wasn’t like it was Oprah or anything.

I was already reaching 30 and decided I had to stop. I had too.

None of those articles out there had my life, my dudes, my problems. They knew very little of what my ideal relationship should be, so I just quit all of them because you know what? There is no secret to marriage. It’s work. Hard work, but it’s worth it with the right partner. It’s worth it and if I needed advice I’d probably ask a friend how she made it work. That’s real to me.

So I don’t do it anymore. I had stopped doing it. I made the rule and that was that. No exception. Nope. None. I’m done wasting time with that nonsense. Now I stand there in the grocery store line, waiting to pay, and I ignore the crap out of all those magazines with some hot chick on the cover they think I want to be like and I focus more on whether I brought the right coupons and people watching.

People watching at the market rocks. Makes for good material and characters in stories.

But this time I wasn’t at the store. I opened up my computer, clicked my Firefox 30.0 and waited for my homepage to appear and then there it was staring at me.

Six Things I Wish I’d Know About Marriage When I Was …

I thought yeah I wish I knew some things. I wish.

Six huh? Just six.

And so I clicked.

I read.

I was like Amen sister! Preach! Preach! I’ll testify. I’ll testify tonight.

Yup. For once they got it right. This chic Joanna Schroeder rocked those six lessons, I would have added a few more in my case, but overall I think she covered some ground. I don’t know what else she writes but this one was right on the mark.

Today … Joanna was my exception. Joanna and her six.

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‘Twas The Night Before …

25 Jul

Only a few hours before midnight and the fourth decade of my life will have started and my head will be resting on the cool side of the pillow, I hope. Not with a wild and crazy party filled with dancing, music or a disco ball, but just with the soft, steady, breathing of my kids fast asleep and the quiet of the night that can only be the special kind of quiet when the moon is out.

Thinking of the big 3-9 that just passed me, the year that went by, the Gatorade-worthy moments that made me feel good all week and the sad moments the took pieces of my heart away where acceptance was my only option. All of this feels 40, the bigness of 40, I feel it.

It weighed on me today, nervous like cold feet before a wedding. I’ve got it. The cold feet.

I wish I had my best friend here, or just a phone call away. But I don’t. Did I tell you I lost my best friend? They didn’t die or anything the friendship just got lost with time, within the 38 and 39 year-old time frame. It got lost and not so much because of me, which is sad when a friend isn’t your friend anymore, and it’s hitting me more now that the Big 4-0 is coming up.

I still have friends though, good friends, circle of trust friends, comadres and compadres, but that best friend the first one you call when something amazing happens, or something just devastating blindsides you, crushes you and you can’t breathe, and you can’t find yourself and your best friend is there and they bring you back to you. They see the you, that you see and that very fact comforts you back into existence.

I lost them, but I’ve found ways to bring The Guat back to Guat. I’ve found moments. Through this 40-Before-40 journey the smallest moments throughout the day have given me something to be grateful for, something to smile about, something to find the pulse back to my heartbeat.

The sunset, taking a deep breath after my morning run, feeling the cool water of an early morning swim, meditating, finding Ben & Jerry’s, hitting the publish button on a new post, talking to my blogging buddies, laughing with Jon Stewart, getting an a-ha moment from a good book, or finding a life lesson where I least expected it.

But today … in today’s moment, I found that my kids’ hugs were tight enough to make me feel loved throughout the whole day. Today I found that my son’s cannonball brought a smile to my face, and that my daughter’s laughter helped me laugh too. Today I found that even though I haven’t had a best friend in a while, I had family.

I was grateful for that.

They reminded me that we drove all the way over here for a big adventure, a weekend vacation that we all deserved for my Big 4-0, and that it was going to be great.

Twas the night before … and I was feeling better.

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Just Thinking …

15 Jul

46 (2).

Sometimes it would be nice if I had just one more conversation, one more adventure, one more laugh … one more piece of cake.

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When BenGay Isn’t Gonna Be Strong Enough … But You Do It Anyway

21 Mar

I’m confessing something big tonight.

HUGE.

Duuuuuuude

There is fear living in the Guat Household.

My knees are freaking out.

Now normally I’m not afraid of much. Neither are they.

I’m fearless.

I’m a badass, not afraid to fly my freak flag. Not afraid to chase Bucket List Adventure Challenges. Scared of what? Bungy Jumping. No. Skydiving. No. Triathlons. No. Warrior Dash Mud Run Obstacles that make you jump through fire. No. The Mommy-and-Me-Mafia-PTA-Looking group of ladies that take over the park. No. Gaining weight. Hell no bring it on.

But there is one thing that makes my close-to-40-year-old-worn-out-and weary knees tremble.

Wobble.

63 floors.

Close to 1,400 steps.

Ain’t no BenGay strong enough, no ice pack cold enough …

But there is one man that’s inspirational enough …

My Dad.

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My Dad and me sporting our awesome bell-bottoms.

He lost the 12-Round-Heavyweight Championship Bout against Interstitial Lung Disease at 62 years young. It was an all out battle and he fought hard, but in the end he lost his fight against the disease, and I lost my father.

So this is it.

Time for me to cowboy up.

On April 11th, I’m taking on The Fight For Air Climb again in what seems to be the ultimate battle of strength and will for my bones and cartilage. It’s become a tradition now. Exhausting and claustrophobic, but worth it.

Honoring family is worth it, and that’s what I aim to do.

Hanging with Dad.

Hanging with Dad.

So I’m going to take my Hulk Hogan-Randy-Macho-Man-Savage-Tina-Turner-looking quads and run down knees through the ultimate test of the year.

I’m gonna do it for my Dad.

My Dad ... just being Dad

My Dad … just being Dad

He’s still with me, sometimes on my shoulders whispering in my ear while I’m chasing dreams, and sometimes in my heart when I’m raising my kids and I’m trying to be awesome at something. He’s the champion for my life. He’s the spirit behind my drive. My Dad is there in one of his many baseball caps and smile, being my friend, my TV buddy, my support group, and the TV remote control ruler of the house.

I’ll be taking this on next month and if you’re feeling generous with the need to donate to a good cause, feel free to click the link on the bottom and it will guide you to my personal fundraising page.

Buen Camino Everyone!

Fight For Air Climb Fundraising Page

… Siganme Los Buenos!

Feeling Like Rainbow Brite … But A Badass Rainbow Brite

23 Jun

Every time I check one off the list, I feel grateful for the Kodak moments that didn’t kill me.

You see no one ever tells you that when planning a Bucket List Adventure or a Sandbox List Adventure sometimes the stress of the entire mission leads to moments of anxiety, fatigue and eventually gray hair. But in the end the awesomeness of it all outweighs the little setbacks you encountered along the way.

And this is what happened … the crankiness of being woken up at the crack of dawn, the traffic along the way, the crowds at the parking lot, and the delays of the starting line all melted away when they heard the music and our New Balance shoes started moving. This weekend The Guats took on The Happiest 5K on the planet … The Color Run.

 

 

We picked up our gear early and ready to let our awesome out ... even got stickers for my Little Guats.

We picked up our gear early and were ready to let our awesome out … even got stickers for my Little Guats.

 

The only race that I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

Once we got there we began warming up  … The Color Run is the only race I know where the warm up is a Zumba Fest with prizes.

 

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

The Little Guat decided to join the warm-up festivities and was a hit with the crowd. She definitely had the music in her.

 

They decided to jam a little in order to get pumped up for the race.

The warm-up was followed up with a jam session. They wanted to get pumped up for the race.

 

The countdown begins ...

And then the countdown began …

 

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

BOOM! They saw the sign and the adrenaline pushed them up the hill. They completely forgot about the incline as soon as they saw colors.

 

Ready to get splashed ...

Ready to get splashed …

 

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn't seem to need the stroller any more.

Once we were soaked in blue, my son got the hang of it and decided to lead the way through all the colors. His sister didn’t seem to need the stroller any more.

 

Feeling pretty good after our final color splash and ready to hit the finish line.

In the end, yellow was our last stop and the kids felt proud to be covered with all the colors of the rainbow.

 

When we finally crossed the finish line my kids were ecstatic about the confetti ... and all the high-fives they were getting.

We finally crossed the finish line and my kids were ecstatic about the confetti … and all the high-fives they were getting.

 

My son showing off his colors at the end.

My son showing off his victory colors at the end.

 

Hanging out at the end of the race and getting our paint packets ready for the celebration.

My daughter couldn’t get enough color. Here she is getting her paint packets ready for the finish line celebration.

 

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.

This was one of their favorite parts of the race.  In the end I felt like Rainbow Brite … but a badass Rainbow Brite … the kind who was able to check off a Bucket List Adventure with her family and celebrate it in Guat style.

 

 

 

It Was The Principle

11 Jun

I don’t know if you’re aware but crossing certain social boundaries within a family dynamic can create a WWE Royal Rumble type of atmosphere.

It can be anything. A look. A word. A phrase. An act. Anyone of these can light the fuse.

And the funny thing is that I was recently reminded that I’m not the only crazy neurotic mom that battles with her family over boundaries.

Earlier this week I hung out with a friend of mine who was in serious need of a girls night out. Apparently Marissa had let her mom babysit over the weekend and when Marissa returned to pick up her daughter, her mom had not only thrown “the schedule” out the window, but also decided to cut the little girl’s hair. And the thing is as a mom I know how important “the schedule” is to a parent’s survival so I thought … man that does suck, but when she mentioned the tiny tot ambush makeover I almost gave her some chocolate.

:)

🙂

I knew my friend — the Aquanet Hairspray junkie — would have a serious problem with that boundary violation. She cherishes her little girls hair and accessorizes it and it’s just on with her, it’s a whole Paul Mitchell obsession with good hair. And the thing is her mom knew that too, so the fact that she decided to go all Edward Scissorhands really surprised me.

Apparently grandma felt that her hair needed a trim … it was just too long.

And that’s when sparks flew.

While hearing her story over pasta and wine, I completely understood why she was so upset. It was the principle … the principle.

This is the root of most wars.

The principle.

An ethical standard or guiding conduct in our lives. The way things work.

Apparently Marissa’s mom did not get the message regarding the principle and hair cutting. And the thing is the haircut itself wasn’t disastrous. It was short, but not terrible. However if that would have happened to me, it would have been serious breech of conduct. So I completely understood her frustration.  Cutting a girl’s hair is serious and shouldn’t be done without the verbal and written consent of the mother. But I tried to assure her that it would grow back and that everyone has battles like these.

Principle battles. I have at least three a week with my own flesh and blood. So what do I do when this happens … When I’ve explained that a boundary has been crossed and the principle has been attacked? Do I stand there and wait for the traditional “I’m sorry?”

No. It’s not coming.

I call a friend, have a girl’s night out with my buddy, tell her my woes, eat some chocolate, laugh a lot, and hope for fewer battles.

She was definitely on the right track to recovery.