Friday, December 31, 2010

Be You.

Sometimes we try to change ourselves to fit in. We conform to what everyone else expects of us. We don't think outside of the box, but try to modify ourselves to fit into it, even if its cramped and we don't have enough leg room.

I can't say I've never done something just because everyone else was doing it. Hello, seventh grade, where I carried a hairpick and CoverGirl compact around in my back pocket for the whole year. I also liked New Kids on the Block just because everyone else did, and all that ever got me was sleeping on NKOTB bed sheets with a Jordan Knight poster above my bed.

Once we grow and discover more about who we are it gets easier to be ourselves. Peer pressure is a distant memory. Wondering about what you will wear to school tomorrow becomes less of a priority. No one tries to convince you to smoke a cigarette, against your better judgment. You can be yourself. Worry free.

On occasion, people have tried to convince Alana to do things their way. Color inside the lines. Copy the picture on the front of the box. Match your clothes to each other. Comb your hair. But that's not what's in the cards for my little freespirit. If she wants to wear pink shorts and a pink shirt, why should anyone stop her? If she wants to color all of the fairies in her coloring book purple, why can't she? Who made the rule that fairies can't be purple? And most importantly, why should she copy the picture on the front of the box? If she is going to be a free and independent thinker, then she should be allowed to make her own choices. Within reason of course.

We should all be encouraged to be ourselves. If Alana wants to wear silver dress shoes and green Saturday socks, then that's her choice. I'm her mommy, not her stylist. If making Lotso and Baby Jesus play together is what makes her happy, then more power to her. Who says they're not friends?

I want my kids to be happy, and I want them to make their own decisions when they grow up, without questioning who they are. Character, creativity and independent thinking are important, so don't try to squash them. So when Alana says she wants to go into the TV to meet Ye-Ye, Ni-Hao Kailan's grandpa, I say Go for it. Let me know how that works out for you.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

More Comprehensive Christmas Coverage. In Case You Were Wondering.

Someone set my Christmas to fast forward, because before I knew what was happening it was 2 pm on Christmas Day. Presents were opened, french toast was eaten, Ava was asleep and it was time to go to my dad's house.

My 2010 Christmas highlights were definitely:
Playing Jenga at my dad's house. That is the quietest you will ever find my family
Opening presents Christmas morning with ladies and David
Eating. French toast, bacon, roast beef, apple pie, tamales with no olives, gingerbread rice krispy treats, chicken and dumplings. I could go on. But I'm getting hungry.
Getting cash for Christmas. But then we spent it on clearance wrapping paper the next day.
The look of excitement on Alana's face each time she opened one of the things she's been asking Santa for. She got: Flynn Ryder (the guy from Tangled), Lotso, a Tag Jr. reading set, coloring books, a real camera, tons of babies and baby accessories, jewelry, where would any of us be without the right accessories?, an awesome Tangled wig, which will spend its life tangled up in knots, and tons more.
Ava liked her presents too, but her interest was not captured on camera. She got: a Rapunzel doll, I should own stock in Disney merchandise, Little People nativity set, Did you know Lotso and baby Jesus enjoy playing together?,  some fun books, dress up shoes, a toy piano, a princess rocking horse, and stuff I can't even remember.
Did I mention there were no olives in the tamales? Yay!
All my presents were awesome, but partly cause I picked them all out myself. Who knows me better than me?
David signing random presents with lines from Anchorman. Turd Ferguson and Tits McGee were very generous to us this year.
Alana's Debbie Downer face in our family pic. She's a weirdo.
My ladies falling asleep early. That's a great gift.

Christmas always makes me extra grateful for what I have, especially when I see those trees at the mall covered in tags for little kids who's parents can't afford to buy them presents. I'm grateful for my family and the roof over my head and the food on the table. And for the huge pile of presents under my tree. When you add up all of the stuff that my kids get from Santa and all of our family, they are more than spoiled.

Here's to an even better 2011, but its gonna have to be pretty good to top 2010.

Monday, December 27, 2010

A Summary of Christmas

This about sums up my Christmas. One part happy, one part sad, one part allergic reaction to amoxicillin, one part wondering if Ava had chickenpox.

After everything was settled the day turned out pretty good, but much too short and rushed.

I have many more pictures, lots of stories, and way too little time. I did accomplish some tree taking down today, but I still need to devote some time to mastering my dance moves on the Kinect. If you don't hear from me for awhile, that's where I'll be.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gift Receiving Etiquette

Today is the Eve of Christmas Eve. I feel as though I need to reevaluate my Grinchiness. Give Christmas another shot. After all, its hard to be a Grinch when you have three days of gift opening in front of you.

When it comes to presents, it really is better to give than to receive. Especially for me. I'm picky to a fault. Chances are, I won't totally love whatever I get. I know what I want, and I recognize that I'm hard to buy for. David and I actually pick out our own presents these days. It takes some of the surprise out of it, but at least I know I'll like what I get. Although, for the record, David has always been good at buying me presents. I have about seven Fossil watches to show for it.

My kids aren't picky, because hey, they're kids. If it lights up or plays some annoying music they're bound to love it. Even if it doesn't, that's fine too. Last night Ava spent 30 minutes playing with a pitcher and part of my immersion blender. We should've saved ourselves the trouble and just got her a cardboard box for Christmas.

When it comes time to open presents, I always hate the part where its my turn and everyone is watching me. Whether I like it or not, I don't always feel like it comes across as very genuine. How many times can you say something is cute before it loses its meaning? I'm grateful for everything I have, and in reality I don't even need Christmas presents, I'd rather people just got stuff for my kids. If I need something, I can always just go buy it. Except the camera that I'd have to sell a kidney to afford. Anyone can feel free to get me that!

Not everyone in my family is always gracious about receiving gifts. Number one guilty party: my brother Josh. Josh is never unclear about his feelings toward something. If he doesn't like something, like pie, milk in his cereal, fruit of any type, trying new things, he'll let you know. He is also the loudest out of all of my siblings, which is saying something, because we're a loud family.

During one birthday celebration, a long, long time ago, Josh was all set to open presents. He got to the one from my Aunt Beth, who gives the best presents, and removed the wrapping paper. Staring right at him was a giant granola bar box. GRANOLA BARS! I HATE GRANOLA BARS! What my young and loud brother failed to realize is that things aren't always what they seem. His actual present was inside of the large granola bar box, and when he jumped to a conclusion and discarded the box he was probably throwing aside some sort of Ninja Turtle toy that he really wanted.

In this now famous story in my family, no one can actually remember what the actual present contained. Maybe Aunt Beth knows, but no one else does. I'm sure when he actually opened the box he liked the present, but he was too busy being mad at first to open the box.

He could've taken a lesson from my youngest nephew Jayden on being gracious. Last year at Christmas, Jayden, who was three at the time, opened a gift that was mislabelled. When he opened the pink princess horse with her sparkly hair, that was actually meant for Alana, he did not complain. He looked at it with a confused look, and said Um, thanks in the most sarcastic yet confused voice he could muster. Even when he got a pink horse instead of the preferred monster truck, he was still polite. The look on his face was priceless. Once I realized he got the wrong gift and switched them out for him, he was infinitely relieved. That monster truck was a sight for sore eyes.

Imagine what playing with a pink princess horse would do to his reputation! How could he show his face around the playground? Even though he was confused and didn't know how to respond, he still said thanks.

Christmas gifts are meant as a way to show people we care about them, and even if you don't like that present, you should remember that the present was bought with love and meant for your enjoyment. And if you don't like it, you can always return it! This year when you are unwrapping your gifts, just remember Its the thought that counts. Even if that thought is that boys like pink princess horses.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


I know its only three days till Christmas and this is about the time I should feel like caroling and drinking hot chocolate and such, but I'm just not feelin' it.

Maybe its because the temperature never gets below 65, on a cold day. Or maybe its because my kids are still eating Otter Pops like its July. Some of the blame could be directed at the fact that all of our shopping was done in November, and the gifts have been wrapped almost as long. Then I could probably say that since all I did in December, so far, is homework and taking care of sick kids. Dora could take on some of the blame too, because if I have to watch Dora's Christmas Carol again I swear I'm gonna go crazy. Why is Dora and everyone exempt from the rules of time travel? I've seen Back to the Future too many times to ignore them!

I don't know where exactly to direct the blame. I've never been a Deck the Halls, Jingle Bell Rock kind of girl. While David listens to Christmas music on his iPod all year long, I refuse to listen to it even right now because of the fact that it is annoying. I haven't even gotten to watch my favorite Christmas movie, Elf, so far this year. I've tried, but requests to watch Wow Wow Wubbzy inevitably interrupt. Only Dora's Christmas Carol and various Christmas themed Nick Jr shows for me. Noche Buena to you too Dora. And Feliz Navidad.

I'm grateful that David is gung-ho Christmas, because it forces me to be a little less Scrooge-like. Even if that means putting up the stupid Christmas tree before Thanksgiving. And I'm always grateful for my two ladies, because Christmas is 100 times funner when you have kids. Santa makes sure of that.

I guess I'll make an effort to be jolly. I'll bake some stuff, try to keep from eating it, turn on the Christmas tree lights, maybe burn David's stinky pine-scented candle, try to ignore the warm non-wintery weather, pretend that people don't annoy me, open the 100 toy packages with their twisty ties and wires and tape, and just try to appreciate the Christmas season. But I'm not doing it cause I want to, I'm doing it so my kids don't think I'm a grinch. And I want to eat the cookies we leave out for Santa.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

Sometimes I have to bite my tongue to avoid giving unsolicited parenting advice. I don't claim to know everything, and I only have two kids so I'm hardly an expert, but sometimes its hard just to mind my own business.

When I'm talking to someone who just had her first baby and is much younger than me and didn't grow up around babies and lots of younger siblings or even have a couple of nephews before they had their own kids, I sometimes feel like I know way more than them. When they feed their baby everytime it cries, because they don't know what else to do, I have to make myself stop talking. Its better they learn from experience than have me acting like I'm the world's leading authority on breastfeeding.

I have occasional questions about my kids, but I usually direct them towards WebMD. Better that than get unsolicited advice from people who I don't agree with, which is the reason I don't offer my advice unless its requested. Besides, jello water doesn't reduce fevers and going out into the cold doesn't give you a cold.

There are things I know for sure though. Things I'm fairly confident I won't ever do as a parent.

Do not, under any circumstances forget your youngest child at home when you go on vacation to Paris for Christmas, leaving them to fend off imcompetent burglars by themself. That's a no-no.

Don't leave your Babe Ruth baseball laying out for your kid to get to, leaving them to use it to play with because their friend busted the guts out of your only baseball, then they hit their first homerun with it into someone's yard with a beastly dog and they have to find some crazy way to get it back. Try to avoid this one.

Don't ostracize your youngest daughter, leaving her with only a crab and a fish for friends, just because she falls in love with a human and you hate them. She will end up making a deal with a sea witch, sacrificing her fantastic singing voice, when all along you had the power to transform her yourself, eliminating the need for evil sea witches. This one's a long shot, but it could happen. I still dream of a place where fathers don't reprimand their daughters, who are just bright young women, sick of swimmin', ready to stand.

If you move somewhere new, make sure your son isn't getting bullied by kids who take karate from a merciless teacher, leaving him no choice but to learn kung fu from an old man who kills flies with chopsticks and makes you wax his car all the time. There's just too much violence and leg-sweeping involved in this scenario for me. I can't take it.

Be careful of how overprotective you are of your children. You could push them away to a point where they feel like they have to swim out and touch a boat just to prove you wrong, then end up getting captured by an Australian dentist, who will put them in a tank at his office. After that you will have no choice but to battle sharks, hitchhike with sea turtles and catch a ride in a whale, all with someone who suffers from short-term memory loss, at least I think they'll have short-term memory loss, I can't remember. Eventually you will be reunited, having learned a valuable lesson. This one is too action packed and fishy for me, so I'm going to try and avoid it if possible.

After all is said and done, just be the kind of parent you think your kids need. But don't ask me for advice.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I'm Cured

The minute that Ava was born, when they handed me that cute little seven pound baby, I made the decision that no matter what I wanted to have a third baby. I couldn't even recall Alana being that small and she wasn't even three yet. I needed at least one more newborn to snuggle and love.

The entire first year of Ava's life flew by so fast, now she is a trouble-making 16 month old. She is a pantry raiding, toy throwing, hair pulling little stinker. She is cute though, so I forgive her.

For a long time after I had Ava I couldn't wait till we had a third baby. Every milestone she hit, I always thought, I don't want her to be my last baby to do this. This can't be the last first steps, the last little baby rolling and crawling and learning to do things. Up until Ava was one I was constantly thinking of having a third baby.

But right now, while Ava is perfecting the terrible ones, I can wait. The terrible twos ain't got nothing on Ava. She is capable of climbing small couches, tearing things off the Christmas tree in a single swipe, splashing all of the water out of the bathtub, making a room look like a hurricane went through it, and getting everything out of the kitchen cupboards. She is a small but mighty monster, and until she is not so bratty, I've developed quite a bit of patience in waiting for my next baby.

I don't care how small and cute they start out, in one short year they transform into small terrorists, so for now I need all the energy I have to deal with all of the energy that Ava has. She can't be reasoned with, and must be considered hostile.

She is lucky she's cute though, because when I look at her chubby little cheeks and big eyes with freakishly long eyelashes, I just can't stay mad. Even when she's streaking through the house with a colander on her head, or keeping me awake half the night because she has an ear infection.

I can vaguely remember Alana being a terrible and headstrong one year old, but she's so big now its hard to recall what it was like when she couldn't just ask me for what she wanted, or hold my hand and calmly walk around the store, instead of bolting the minute I set her down in a public place. When Alana turned two, it was like someone flipped a switch, and she was instantly easier to parent. She could go without a nap and not be cranky, and she could watch entire episodes of Spongebob without blinking.

Ava's brattiness even has us rethinking our annual trip to Disneyland. Our preferred month of choice for Disneyland is February, because its not crowded and the weather is perfect, and that happens to be when we get our tax returns. But memories of Alana's impatience with sit-down restaurants and waiting in line during her first Disneyland trip have us considering waiting till Ava is a few months older instead of the 18 months that she will be in February.

Ava has cured my baby fever, or at least postponed it. I'm sure it will make a spontaneous return, and I will longingly look at newborn babies and pregnant women at the store. Until then, I'm busy chasing around a bratty girl and picking up the messes she leaves in her path.

The guilty party. She started out nice.

Now she's more bratty than nice.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Identity Crisis

This spring I discovered something about myself that was previously untrue. I like pepperoni. I thought No way, this cannot be! I've always hated pepperoni. Loathed it. Its so greasy and disgusting. How can I now find it appealing?

I've hated pepperoni as long as I can remember. During school pizza parties, when everyone else raised their hand to vote for pepperoni as their pizza topping of choice, I instead boycotted the whole thing. What's wrong with these people? Not everyone likes greasy deli meat of unknown animal origin on their pizza! What am I supposed to eat? I did the required activity just like everyone else, now I'm left with boring old cheese pizza!

At school lunches, when we finally took a break from dry and bland baked chicken or corndogs, when it was time to kick up our heals and have some pizza, with ranch for dipping cause there's no more refined palate than that of a 13 year old, what does the school put on the pizza? The school that's supposed to promote healthy eating and not put greasy salty meat on our pizza? Pepperoni. That always left me with bland and boring cheese pizza. Yawn.

Then last spring, at Subway, I ate an italian BMT. On flatbread. Greatest. Sandwich. Ever. But guess what? It has the dreaded pepperoni. If I like that sandwich, then I like pepperoni. I cannot make claims to hate something, then eat it. Should I reconsider my previous opinions that I've stubbornly held onto for 27 years? Or turn my back on the best sandwich thats ever happened to me? If I don't hate pepperoni, then who am I? What's next? Am I gonna start eating olives like they're M&Ms? Do I now like all the things I've claimed to hate my entire life?

If I allow myself to evolve into someone who likes pepperoni, am I compromising what I believe in? Or did my taste just change because I grew up? There are things I used to like that I now don't. Tuna. Scrambled eggs. Bellpeppers. What if I just substitute pepperoni into my life in the place that used to be occupied by these now discarded foods? Or should I just accept that people grow up and change throughout their lives? Or I could blame pregnancy. I'm not pregnant right now, but my tastes changed a lot when I was pregnant, and stayed that way. That's what caused the ban on scrambled eggs. Just thinking about eating them makes me want to barf.

I grew up some, and being a grown up means sometimes you eat gross stuff, like broccoli. I guess I could live with that. And life is easier when you're not picking everything off your pizza.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa Anxiety

There is no man more frightening than Santa Claus. He sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

Alana is an old pro. She loves Santa. Ava, on the other hand, finds him to be the scariest thing she's ever seen.
Santa and I are the only ones who found it necessary to look at the camera. Ava was too terrified, and Alana was looking at David.

This picture was so not worth the $14, but I'm still glad I got it, because my kids are growing at breakneck speed.

My favorite kind of Santa photo is the free kind. I haven't seen Santa at Walmart this year, that's why we went to the mall.

Ava was too small to care who was holding her last year, and Santa gave Alana candy, so she posed for a picture. They've grown way too much since last year!

Alana was scared of Santa when she was one, just like Ava.

But once I got in the picture she was fine. Still apprehensive about the scary guy in the red suit, but not crying.

Alana's first Christmas, and she got her picture taken with possibly the grouchiest Santa ever. At least this pic was free too!

Nothing scary about this chubby Santa! Alana was so cute when she was a baby, now she's all grown and thinks she needs her own ipod and to wear makeup. She's only four!

Next year Ava will probably still be afraid of Santa, but maybe she'll come around. After all, who could hate someone who brings them so many presents? Alana certainly loves him, but she has lots of toys to prove his existence already.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I'm in Need of Some Motivational Posters

Its December. Almost the end of the semester. I haven't been this happy for Christmas break since I was in high school. Christmas break is kind of a let-down if you don't get out of any of your responsibilities. I only have a handful of homework left. One algebra test. One biology test. Three psychology discussion posts. A little of this. A little of that.

Just a little bit of work, then I have nothing to do for a month but bake some Christmas junk food and watch TV. So little to do, so little motivation. I can't concentrate on any assignment for more than ten minutes. I can't take my biology test until Monday when she makes it available. I don't want to do my algebra homework too soon before the test or I will forget how to do it before next Saturday. I have to wait on other students to post their discussions in psychology so I can reply to them. I'm just sitting around, going on Facebook, blogging and wasting time that could be spent on something productive.

I need a good kick in the right direction to get me started. Maybe a motivational poster or two. The cheesy kind that our student council classroom in high school was plastered with. If only I could remember some of them...

Sadly, I remember far too many of those stupid posters. You know how you can never remember the things you want to remember, like how you always forget one stupid thing at the grocery store and end up going back for it, even though it was on your list? That's the story of my life. I can remember the lyrics to a song I haven't heard in ten years, but I will forget to buy sour cream even though its on my list.

For some strange reason, some of those annoying posters are forever burned in my brain.

If you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. - I don't know who said that, but it was on the wall of my student council classroom, so I saw it everyday for like four years.

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in the dark with a mosquito. - Betty Reese

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. - Bill Copeland

These are all great and all, but they don't come close to my favorites. Old family classics. The classics never go out of style.

Don't go out into the rain without an umbrella. -Every single person in my family that thinks they're funny.

Don't pee into the wind. -Also everyone in my family, especially my dad, who thinks they're funny.

Don't eat yellow snow. -Doesn't apply so much where I live, because its like 75 outside right now, but still words to live by.

If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you. -My personal favorite.

I'm not sure any of these things will actually help me finish my homework, but at least I managed to sit at the computer for ten consecutive minutes. Now I just need to do something constructive.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

You Can Tell a Lot About a Person by the Contents of Their Fridge

I just opened my fridge to find these guys waiting for me. They must have been freezing. Some little lady must've been playing in the fridge again, then gotten distracted by the big jar of pickles in the door and left her friends behind. Its every Disney princess and villain for themself!
Sadly, there are no chocolate chips in my fridge. Not since this last batch of cookies I made last week. That's why I don't keep chocolate chips around, I have zero willpower. Like three batches of cookies in a week and a half.
I must've been slacking off on the housework in my cookie making frenzy, because my little baby cinderella here felt like she had to mop the kitchen. She is a cleaning machine.

Alana decided she was gonna make a cake whether we have chocolate or not. So she made due with the ingredients on hand. The usual stuff. Socks, magnets, jewelry. Can't wait to try some.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Who You Callin' Photogenic?

Sunday I made an attempt at taking a couple of semi-decent pictures of my ladies to either attach to a Christmas card or to fill the countless frames that we're giving to grandparents as a gift.

I'm slightly limited by my little point-and-shoot camera. I dream and fantasize about the day when I can buy a beautiful dslr. I will get a better camera. I promised myself and I can't break that promise again!

I'm also limited by the amount of cooperation my kids are willing to give me. Alana is fine. She likes having her picture taken. She holds still. Smiles. Perfect. Ava though, she's a monster. She runs away, tries to eat rocks, won't smile, cries when my parents dog comes near her. I only got one where she's looking at the camera and smiling. But the pictures aren't for me, so I guess I'll settle with what I got.

For your viewing pleasure:

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Have a Way with Words.

I just finished a discussion post for my online psychology class. There's a light at the end of the tunnel for this semester and I couldn't be happier! As I was reading through other student's posts, I had a sudden realization. Ok I realized it a long time ago, but today it was even clearer. Some people cannot write to save their life. Literally. If the fate of the free world depended on them writing one legible and thoughtful and God forbid original discussion post, we'd all be doomed.

It made me think how grateful I am to at least have decent writing skills. So I thought I'd share something I just threw together with all of you. Prepare to be amazed.

Pardon me for being rude.
It was not me, it was my food.
It just came up to say hello,
and now its gone, back down below.

Ok, so maybe I didn't write that. It might be from one of the most awesome movies ever. Can anyone guess? Fine I'll tell you. The cinematic masterpiece is: Austin Powers. Mike Myers really has a way with the ladies.

I know I'm not on the brink of writing the Next Great American Novel, but I do okay. I payed attention in high school English people. Maybe instead of napping and passing notes, a few other people should've been taking notes and actually reading the required books. And I slacked off in high school. I ditched my fair share of classes, maybe even passed a note or two. But I still managed to learn something.

Maybe I'm being too critical. After all, its a community college class. But come on people! How are any of them getting a decent grade? I guess we can't all be talented and awesome writers. And modest.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fashion Tips Guest Post: Ava Has Fashion Sense Too!

As stylish as Alana is, Ava is quickly catching up to her. They are neck and neck, and I'm giving Ava the advantage right now cause of her chubby cheeks. How could I say no to this face?
So Ava is stepping up to give you some of her baby fashion tips, just in time for Christmas. Enjoy.

 The right shoes will dress up any outfit, even jammies! And they add that little lift to make you look taller.
Animal prints are in! And pants are always optional.

Does a pattern of animals count as animal print? I say yes! And when your thighs are this sexy you never need pants, even in winter.  And baby mullets are the hairstyle for Winter 2010.
 Sometimes all you need is a bib and a diaper. Caution: You have to have just the right body to pull this one off!
On a cold day, knee high socks and a Minnie Mouse onesie can be substituted for pants, but only if your thighs are meaty enough to withstand the cold.


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