Tag Archives: parenthood

Cake Wars Reminds Me That I Need A Multi-Vitamin

20 Feb

The age of parenthood caught up with me as I fell asleep at nine o’clock on Friday AND Saturday night.

My nights of partying it up after the work week are a 20-something memory. I’m all about the Netflix now. But I couldn’t even stay up to watch Peaky Blinders. Peaky Blinders!!! My new obsession next to The Walking Dead. I couldn’t even manage to open up the computer and type out an idea. I wrote part of it on a piece of paper, but couldn’t remember what I had written the next morning. The times of writing into the wee hours of the moonlight, during the week ceased to exist, unless I had a shot of 5-Hour energy. Or a nap. Something I haven’t seen since pregnancy.

I think I need to start taking a multi-vitamin.

All my energies got swept up this week and then I was hit with the yearly Scouting Luau Extravaganza that required my kid’s troop to be in charge of games. We were also encouraged to participate in the cake baking and decorating contest.

So, we took out the flour and sugar, and since we wanted it to taste better than the rest we also took out Trisha Yearwood cake recipe. It was on. Cake Wars. Nick Jr. Edition.

 

All of them were actually pretty great, but these were some of the ones that caught my eye. Including my kid’s Lego version of an island with a shark swimming in shredded coconut waves. His sense of humor cracks me up.

But I can’t lie to you the whole baking process was a little stressful as we decided to do the baking and decorating on the same day, instead of being smart and splitting it up into two days. Baking usually calms me down, but there was nothing relaxing about this process, especially when we were on deadline and cups of flour were spilled, you barely had enough milk, eggs were poured in at the wrong time … you know when the mixer was on high and half of the yolky batter ends up on the wall and the clock is still ticking.

But I took a breath.

I didn’t want to be one of those moms, you know … the one that takes over their kid’s project and forgets what matters most is the process. So, I took our uneven cakes out of the oven and just made peace with the fact that we were going to be late and get the stink eye from some of the moms.  But it was all good. The shredded coconut covered the frosting disaster and the Moana and surfer dude Legos were rocking that beach cake. We had a good time at the event. We brought a cake. We didn’t win any cake decorating prizes, but we were happy with it, my kids were proud of it and I was glad to have put the brakes on my irritability.

But all that activity and buttercream frosting contributed to my lack of writing and parent exhaustion. Daily vitamins are definitely in my future.

 

 

Starting This Year on a Good Note … The Justin Timberlake Kind

24 Aug

And so it begins …

 

Another year of firsts …

The older kids playground and then entering kindergarten. Two kids, two sets of Ticonderoga No.2 adventures and I felt both excited and little anxious about this new season. As you all know last year’s academic year with Miss Viola Swamp was a challenging one filled with bite-your-tongue-and-pick-your-battle moments so we’ll see how this year pans out. New teachers, new experiences but I’m not so much worried about teachers this time around as something different came up.

Not a bad concern, just a parenthood observation.

As a parent you know they’re getting older because their pants and shirts and socks don’t fit them quite right anymore, getting a little snug. So you make a trip to Target. You notice their little faces and the expressions are still the same, but they’re not so little anymore.

And you realize the season is about to change. Granted it’s not a giant step into middle school, high school, or college and you’re not balling your eyes out, but it’s still a step ahead and you pause because you’re actually feeling it. You’re feeling the step and the growth right in front out you. Not in a slow motion, but just right in front you and you caught it. The kind of moment you want to save in those mason jars.

Pride and smiles because they seem to be on the good path. You’ve done a good job … so far. They know when to act crazy silly and when it’s serious Crayola Crayon time. So as always, first day of school love-you-you-can-conquer-the-world-notes in their Star Wars and Minions lunchboxes and a great feel good song to start the day, the kind that rocks you into a good mood and good grove. Ready for anything that third grade and kindergarten can throw your way. Starting this year on a good note …

 

The Justin Timberlake kind. It was a unanimous decision, we’ve been listening to it all week. Buen Camino my friends.

 

 

 

The Sandlot Moment, Fireworks, and Gas In The Tank

5 Jul

Sometimes it’s about the fireworks, about checking them out, about being able to see great ones, about being wowed, about barbecues and pie.

Most of the time it’s about getting together.

We forget about George Washington and those other cats and all the drama they went through, unless we’ve been watching TURN on AMC. Then you think about the significance of the 4th weekly. But for the most part you catch glimpses of it in between the hot dogs, carne asada, and the Yankee Doodle Dandy song while the fireworks explode into the night.

That’s what I caught — a couple of good Sandlot moments throughout the day. Sandlot. I love that movie.

We caught a baseball game last night and managed to eat overpriced hot dogs and popcorn with our lemonades and enjoy our home team beat The Orioles 7-5.  And we’d been to baseball games before but it was the first night both kids had seen fireworks on the baseball field. We’d seen fireworks before but nothing with Ray Charles singing O’ Beautiful in the background.

And while I was sitting there next to my kids I felt grateful. A sense of gratitude just covered me up like a blanket, being there at peace. Even with all the everyday drama and weekly failures that life brings me, breaking me down at times, wallowing in pints of Ben & Jerry’s or raging in frustration at my punching bag, right there and then, I was grateful for that moment. Grateful that I was able to have the freedom to hang out with my kids, at a ballpark, watch a baseball game, and enjoy fireworks. Simple stuff, I guess. I felt like I was having a small-town moment.  It was a Sandlot moment, actually.

And I tried to breathe it in. If I had a mason jar I would have tried to capture it and hold onto to it for a while, you know for the days where you can’t find anything to be grateful for. I would have held onto that one for sure.

 

 

And I was sitting there in parking lot traffic after the game, just trying to get out onto the freeway, the craziness of the scene didn’t bother me. Most drivers were honking, frustrated, and angry – building up road rage. 38 minutes will do that to you.  I was just sitting there listening to John Cougar Mellencamp, The Go-Go’s and the rest of the 80s lineup, thinking about my Sandlot moment. I had no worries … the kids were asleep, no one had to go to the bathroom, and I had gas in the tank.

Catching Moments

7 Aug

I catch them more often now.

The moments.

I catch them and they stay with me. Sometimes they’re amazing, spectacular, fireworks type of experiences. Other times they’re quiet. This one was simple. It was a pretty simple moment, something that might not be significant to others, something that might not even be Facebook or Instagram-worthy to others, but it mattered to me.

And the fact that I knew it mattered made me smile.

I didn’t miss it and that made me think of my Dad. He would have been happy that I didn’t miss it. I sat there and held onto it …

Do you see the jaguars? :)

Do you see the jaguars? 🙂

We hiked up hills and walked through sunlit pathways checking out zebras, orangutangs, hippos, silverback gorillas, meerkats, and elephants. We explored all kinds of animal behavior but it wasn’t until we reached a quiet spot in the rainforest area near the jaguar exhibit when it happened. That’s when I caught it.

We decided to sit on the bench, a place we all looked forward to, seems that with all that walking we developed a deep appreciation for the shade. I opened up the Batman lunchbox and passed out the mortadella sandwiches, Goldfishes, and CapriSuns. We talked about the favorite parts of the day and sat still in this man made environment that felt pretty real.

Then in mid conversation my daughter stood up and walked over to the glass for a closer look at a rainforest ambiance and then the Jaguars that everybody had been wanting to see, but couldn’t because they were hiding in their own awesome shade walked on over and stood in front of my daughter. She didn’t take a step back, she took a step forward. She didn’t turn away, she looked closer.

Jaguars are pretty amazing animals, they provide you with the stop-and-stare kind of moments. And just then things went in slow motion and I was grateful for it. Happy that my kids were discovering something that mesmerized them, happy that they had front-row seats (something that rarely happens for us), happy that I was part of that and grateful that I had noticed, I had caught the moment.

Here’s hoping that you keep catching yours.

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The Madness of Summer Signups

1 Jun

Just as I was feeling proud of my son for completing first grade, happy about his accomplishments this year, and surprisingly emotional about this first grade mini-life milestone, I realized summer was here.

The Summer of George! And I happen to be Costanza with two kids.

But that only momentarily stopped me in my tracks. What gave me serious pause was the race for signups.

Have you been a participant in this mad dash to be one of the select few to receive that amazing email that says, “…you have successfully registered your child for our summer program”? Have you gotten a few of these in your lifetime? They save your sanity when trying to entertain your kids during the summer. If I had a big house with a nice back yard, I assume summer would be easier. I’d have space to let my kids roam, and build projects, explore, and go outdoor camping inside our own home. But I don’t. I’m of the apartment people clan, where getting out everyday is a necessity.

Register_Now

So for me things began at 9:30 a.m.

I mean don’t get me wrong, 9:30 was nice. I was grateful that I didn’t have to rush the kids through their wake-up routine just so we could get to school on time. I was thankful I didn’t have to yell at them to get out of bed, to hurry up and brush their teeth, and to get dressed quickly just so they could scarf down their pancakes, Honey Bunches of Oats, or Eggo Waffles before we raced out the door before eight in the morning.

So 9:30 a.m. wasn’t a big deal. What happened to suck this particular morning was the stress I was feeling, the anxiety that was building, the teeny tiny headache that was forming in my brain that would eventually turn into Excedrin-worthy migraine if I wasn’t able to get my kids into any activities during the summer.

SoCal parents are crazy and have their kids in sports, music, acting, cooking and My Gym camps every day all day. I’m a part timer, don’t need to keep my kid busy from 9 to 5. I’m not like those moms you want to tackle because they go off bragging about how they got their kid in every single workshop and class available, because they knew someone, who  knew someone, who knew someone. Bitches.

Me? I’m all for down time, and hanging out with Legos, playing in the park, having our own Foosball tournaments, baking cookies, and tending to our makeshift garden in the small patio. But I can’t do that all day, every day in the summer. They’d get bored. So I was looking for some help from our local library, museums, community centers, aquatic center, zoo, nature center, bowling alley, and local firefighting station.

Summer signups started today, well in truth some of them started three weeks ago, but a lot of activities didn’t have signups until today. I was hoping my Internet connection was fast enough to get something. I just needed to get into two programs during the week. Three would be awesome, but two was good.

Last year I had plenty of parent failures during the summer. Nobody ever told me that summer signups were like buying U2 concert tickets. Things selling out within minutes of opening online. I sure didn’t want a repeat occurrence of my disaster with the AYSO.

So I was ready this time. I researched online, organized my flyers, and prepared my summer timetable of possibilities. I had classes and times highlighted, login and password information readily available, and a credit card ready for those that required payment. You would have thought I was preparing for tax season with all the papers on the table.

The clock struck 9:30 a.m., my timer went off and bam!

Needless to say I wasn’t the only parent in pajamas staring at their computer screen that morning.

No dinosaur outdoor explorer classes, no basketball classes, no guitar classes, no local swimming classes. But I did manage to score swimming classes twice a week at a pool 10-15 minutes away, depending on traffic, and I was able score spots in the Every Hero Has a Story Workshops which featured music and magic once a week for my kids.

Success!

I got something. Something! And that’s success here in the Guat household.

Nobody ever told me about the madness of summer signups. It’s not in any of those what to expect when you’re expecting books, although I never read them. But I’m sure it’s not in there anyway. I would have heard. This is something you learn. So I’m giving you the lesson free of charge.

Hope it helps.

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The Killing Spree Comes To An End … I Hope

1 May

I had no idea that I’d grow up to be a killer. I’m a pacifist … sort of.

I do my very best every time to keep the peace, but things don’t turn out the way I planned and I end up feeling bad about the whole situation. I mean I’m a parent, dude. I should know about surviving, and thriving. I can’t be on the most-wanted serial killer list.

But with my track record, I think I am.

Every year around spring time, I see them, young and high-energy, ready to rock the world until they cross paths with me. And then it’s over and I transform from The Guat, mom extraordinaire to … The Guat Goldfish Killer.

It’s been three years in a row that I had to explain to my kids why their goldfish had to be rushed to the fish emergency room at Petco and stay for at least 24 hours before returning home, looking a little bit different. More orange. Longer or shorter tails. Only then to be sent back to the ocean to be reunited with their family a week later.

I think I need an EKG machine. I never knew you could give fish heart attacks, but I’ve become an expert at that, no matter how long I leave the water out when cleaning the tank they always suffer the same fate.

But I thought this time would be different.

Our first fish this year.

Our first fish this year.

I was wrong.

This year when we brought our goldfish home from the church fair, my kids’ fish died on the third day, when we cleaned his tank. I hid the evidence, took my kids to school, and then replaced it with a similar looking one right before I picked them up. Not only was I killer, but a liar now.

But in hopes of ending the lies and deceit, I thought I’d take a different approach.

We got a 10-gallon tank, with pebbles, plastic green plants, and a SpongeBob Squarepants Bikini Bottom Pineapple House. With a turbo filter. But I almost killed it … again.

I thought it might have been lonely, maybe it was death by broken heart or loneliness syndrome. He might want a friend, it’s lonely out there in this world. And both my daughter and son agreed. So I asked the fish guy at the pet store if the small goldfish that my son liked, the one in the tank with plastic ferns, got along with the tiny goldfish in the tank next to him, the one that looked like the one we had.

And he said yeah … sure … of course. They’re both goldfish.

Parent failure.

Never trust the fish guy at the Petco. He knows nothing of the delicate relationships and aquatic balance needed for two goldfish to survive. He’s no Aquaman. The tiny fish stayed in the top-right hand corner of the tank for nearly four hours, while the bigger fish roamed the tank and feasted of flakes.

Apparently there are all kinds of goldfish and it’s probably not a good idea to mix and match the varieties as they get stressed out, which can eventually lead to death.

In order to end my goldfish killing spree, I separated them, and the tiny guppy seems a lot happier. He’s swimming, checking out the whole SpongeBob Squarepants Pineapple House. We’ve decided he doesn’t need friends for the time being, he can be a loner for now.

And my son and daughter are both happy that this fish didn’t have to be reunited with its family in the ocean, we’ve had enough of that here. With this new plan, I think the killing spree has come to an end … the aquatic parenthood failure ceases to exist … I hope.

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Bedtime Routines …

13 Mar

 

How Things Work

From Becky Mansfield @ ModernFamily.com

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reward

4 Mar

After battling for an hour to put one measly eye drop in the left eye … the one with pink eye …

After struggling to survive a tantrum before bed time when your tank was running on fumes …

After waiting until 1 a.m. for the Children’s 12-Hour Delsym to finally kick in …

After a not-so-good-night’s rest leading to a cranky morning …

After the last Eggo Waffle burned, which then led to a bowl of Chocolate Cheerios …

It finally happened …

Out of the blue …

Sunshine came out …

And so did the reward.

A happy kid gave me the thumbs up.

Dude.

I love rewards.

 

Reward

Reward

 

 

 

Weekly Photo Challenge courtesy of The Daily Post

 

Lowering Standards For Love … And Laughter

15 Jan

During this NightQuil-DayQuil-Theraflu-Homeopathic battle warring over by body, I’ve had random five minute breaks from the clutches of parenthood. And during these hazy, and yet lucid moments, I’ve come to the realization that there’s been an ongoing breach of my standards.

Standards that were ironclad pre-family, but now for some reason after two kids, these standards have loosened a bit and fallen into the “suggestions” category of life.

Whether I’m suffering flu-like symptoms or not certain things have come to pass in the Guat household, things that I would have never allowed in any other relationships. And being the die-hard Seinfeld fan that I am, I get all my life and relationship advice from Jerry and his gang. And during this cloudy period I realized that I’ve let these standards crumble simply because I love my kids.

I just do.

There’s no other rational response as to why I’ve accepted these socially blacklisted behaviors.

None.

Just love.

And humor.

So if you find that you’ve tolerated more than one of the following behaviors, I’m afraid to tell you that there’s no coming back.

It’s part of parenthood.

The Close Talker. This is someone that has forgotten the definition of personal space and breaks all kinds of boundaries during a regular conversation. My son constantly has conversations with me about Legos, trains, books, Star Wars, or sandwiches … centimeters away from my face.

index

Close Talker

 

The Anti-Dentite. Normally I discourage the hatred or fear of any profession, but it appears both of my kids fall under the Anti-Dentite category. They don’t like dentists. They don’t want to see dentists. They don’t want to hear what dentists have to say. And a lollipop is not a big enough bribe.

Re-Gifter. My son is constantly re-gifting toys and books to give to his sister. Once he’s done playing with something he feels the need to turn around and give her the stuff as a gift. A poorly wrapped one, but nevertheless a gift. I’m amused by this one.

 

Tim Watlet re-gifts Elaine's present

Tim Watlet re-gifts Elaine’s present

 

The Pop-In. This is the person that visits someone unannounced and without warning. I find that my kids are always popping-in on me in the bathroom. This is not cool, but no matter how many times I tell them the rules, some sort of Nickelodeon Junior emergency transpires at this time.

The Double-Dipper. This is the person that re-dips their chip into the communal bowl multiple times … the whole re-dipping then feels like they’ve put their entire mouth in the dip. My kids tend to do this, their kids. They enjoy dip. But even when I serve them a plate with their own dip, they find the larger bowl more appealing than the dollop on their plate.

 

George double-dips and gets caught

George double-dips and gets caught

The Jimmy Legs. I like having my own bed. Space where I can sink into a deep sleep. However kids find their way to the Serta mattress and their legs begin to kick and smack me, like they’re having some sort of spasm, but in reality they’re probably dreaming of playing soccer or being ninjas.

Some of these infractions combined with a bad day usually elicit a Serenity Now moment and massive amounts of chocolate, but for the most part it’s laughter. That’s what love does.

 

 

Success … It Snuck Up on Me … And Then I Paused

20 Oct
It sneaks up on you

Growth … It sneaks up on you

 

I don’t know when it happened exactly … it just hit me a couple of months ago and I am just now coming to the realization that it’s a permanent thing.

I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to jinx it.

Parents are superstitious that way. If we got a good thing going we don’t want to high-five ourselves until it feels concrete.

And now three months later, I’m finding that I can exhale.

I’m done.

Completely done.

And it’s awesome I can’t even tell you how amazing it feels that diapers are no longer in my short-term future.

Huggies. Luvs. Kirkland. Pampers.

On average I used to see about 50 of you in one week.

50 of you every week, for a combined total of six years.

Yup Two kids. Six years of diapers.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the Velcro straps and the disposable nature of you. I’m thankful that I wasn’t crazy enough to go all Little House on the Prairie and get cloth diapers, the butt rash alone would have killed us both.

But I’m glad to be done with you.

Diaper Genie. You’re gone too.

I’ve completed the diaper phase of parenthood and I can’t tell you how awesome it feel to reach this milestone.

Sure it was my daughter who technically made this achievement happened for the last time in our household, but wasn’t really me wiping and washing and changing … day after day? Wasn’t it me having to wake up in the middle of the night as this Time Bandit woke up because the diaper was overflowing?

Yeah. It was me. And now I’m happy to see that phase has been completed.

Successfully.

No night-time accidents.

No I’m at Bed-Bath-Beyond-and-we-just-peed-all-over-the-Beyond-section episodes.

No. I got this.

Growth happened and it totally snuck up on me. I mean I was training for this to happen, giving stickers, and hugs, and M&Ms all kinds of parenthood bribes just so she would use the “potty.” I knew it would happen eventually, I could see it on the horizon.

I was hoping for it to happen, and then just like that it happened … and here I am … witnessing growth. It’s a trip. An awesome one. I totally high-fived myself and then I paused.

Crap.

Now I have to wait for all the other growth coming my way … the kind that will probably make me wish she was still in diapers.

Dude.

Thank God for chocolate.