Friday, December 17, 2010

Happy Birthday My Love

Today was a day of wow. I have a 9 year old. As in 9 years. 9 years of having the honor of being a part of something so magical. Something so much larger than I.

I saw him through different rose colored glasses today. A little more crisp rose colored. A little more in focus. I saw a glimpse of the man he will become. Confidence gallops through his veins pumped by that strong, energetic heart full of love and a new chamber I identified as defiance. That little lift of his head, shoulders squared back, cock of the head, eyes hooded. He wants so badly to be older not realizing that soon, soon enough, he will want and desire for time to stand still, go back, regress into boyhood.

This year he was lucky enough to have his grandfather here to celebrate. It is becoming tradition with each of the 5 kids to have their favorite meal cooked for them by me. Tonight it was beef tacos, spanish rice and coke with the new addition of guacamole.

Of course it wouldn't be complete without a delish cake baked by his sister with chocolate frosting.

He was willing to share his new chopper. Not really. But he did. With all of us including myself.

Lovely boy, thank you for being you. For your courage I know it takes to be the oldest brother of 3 younger brothers. For your blessing every day and every night that you never, ever forget to give me. For your unconditional love of a far from perfect mother. For your generosity. Even if said generosity is extracted by a raised eyebrow look from your mother. For your sensitivity and understanding that being older is not all that it's cracked up to be. You are amazing. You are wonderful. You are mine.

Happy Birthday. May all of your wishes and dreams continue to come true.

I love you.

P.S. Thank you for choosing me as your momma.
P.P.S. I can't decide who is more excited for your birthday. Your brother or you.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

This Will Make You Smile or Laugh. Take Your Pick.

These pictures make me so happy.

I don't know why he must fully undress to use the bathroom, but undress he must. Every single time.

He was 'reading' the new Walmart ad.

I love you Aiden. You made my day.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I don't ask for much. Really, I don't. Everything, and I mean e.ver.y.thing goes to these kiddos and that's the way it should be. However, I saw a picture in Pottery Barn that had my heart all aflutter:

I actually have a white bench. A very beaten up, lead paint peeling, weathered bench I found at a yard sale for 10 smackeroos that has been sitting outside, lonely and unused for roughly a year. It had a home for a bit with our outdoor table and chairs but when I saw this picture I knew it would work. Kind of.

I love everything about this picture. I imagined the frames filled with snapshots of these boogers, the baskets underneath lovingly filled with their toys, no firewood because I do not have a fireplace and a little motivating factor like live children with brains safely ensconced in their skulls, the live plants and the color. Oh, the color. Be still my heart.

Then reality set in. I painted. It wasn't what I reeeally wanted, but hey, close enough. I set to looking for frames, didn't matter what color, that's what spray paint is for, and found 2 in my house. Hmmm, wasn't going to work. Then I saw a tutorial somewhere (can't remember where, sorry) about this mom who had black and white pictures printed, a sheet of MDF and made her own little "canvases". Genius! So, off to Home Depot I went where I purchased a sheet of MDF for 17 bucks. Since I couldn't narrow down the pictures that I wanted printed in black and white and to print them would have been about 30 dollaaahs for approximately 50 pictures (so not paying that) I had the sweet lady at Office Depot print them out in paper. At the price of 6 awesome cheap bucks. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the spray adhesive. Another 4 bucks. (Side note: the Home Depot guy suggested I purchase the $17 spray adhesive. And I quote, "You're wasting your money if you don't buy that one." I should've listened. But who pays $17 for spray adhesive? Not I. I'm really cheap frugal. I should have though. Just saying. I had to go back and keep respraying because those 'pictures' kept falling off.)

Anyway, have I told you how much I love power tools? They are my new BFF's. Two thumps to the chest yo! I measured, and measured again. Then I remeasured my measurements. Again. Then 1 more time. And then I started cutting the wood. Or a sheet of pressed wood chips. Whatever. I spent lots of time cutting very slowly only to end up with 40 very crooked rectangles. Again, not too worried. I then sprayed 40 very crooked rectangles with spray adhesive one by one and added the 'picture'. Flipped it over and with a slightly rusted blade sheared the excess paper. Truly, it was rusted. It was all I had at the moment and I had not a moment to lose nor was I to be deterred. Turned them over and ohhhed and ahhhed. Then I nailed them strategically to the wall. Not really. I eyeballed it, nailed, hung, removed, eyeballed again, nailed again, and hung again x 40. Then I placed the bench under the 'canvasses', put out the basket with blocks, and a small plant from the Dollar Store. Loved it. Isaiah promptly walked over and tore the plant out from the pot and proceeded to dump the dirt, Michael and Aiden broke the basket by sitting on it, and Manuel sarcastically stated that the bench was 1 more thing that I was going to have to clean and then bitch complain about. Talk about my bubble crash and burning. I removed the bench and cleaned up the mess. Then I started to laugh. At least the pictures came out the way I wanted. If I close my right eye and lean my head to the left the wall of pictures looks straight. Almost. 

The important thing is that I love it. I do.
I couldn't get a straight shot. Mostly because my 6 ft tree was in the way.
These are some of my favorite pictures so far.

Don't you love Isaiah's picture? It's my all time favorite of him.

If you look closely you can see that the edges of the wood are still visible. I ran out of time was too lazy to paint them. Plus I like earthy vibe it gives them.

So it's not quite Pottery Barn. So it didn't come together the way I wanted. Well it did, but I'll won't mention the sabotage. So it makes me smile every time I walk into my house.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


There are a 3 things that make me incredibly happy: my kids, spending time with my family, and taking pictures.

When the kids are not in school, I spend many happy, fulfilling hours with them. They are so funny sometimes it takes all I am not to pee. Between the minor arguments, jokes, stories, and conversations, it really is a phenomenal way to spend my day.

It's not often that I spend time with my family though. Mostly it's because I live in the middle of nowhere and it's a massive undertaking packing up 5 kids and all of their paraphernalia and to travel for several hours and I work 6 days a week too. However, when I get there it's all worth the time and effort. I feel at peace, loved, appreciated, and most of all I know that my children are in the presence of someone who loves them.

Now when I take pictures, it really makes me happy. I know absolutely nothing about taking pictures except to point and click. But when I take 100's of shots of my babies doing everyday things and I get that 1 picture that blows my mind away, captures everything about my child, and you know i'll want to be buried with it, it make me feel happy.

My mother-in-law once told me that we are all responsible for our own happiness. How right she is. These are the incredible passions of my life...and I will get it right. I will enjoy my children even more than ever, I will visit with my family more often, and I will continue to take pictures.

I will purchase a new camera. Soon. OK maybe next year. Or the year after that. But he will be mine. He will be a digital bad boy who will be subject to my every whim. Massimo will be his name and he will serve me well. He will take beautiful pictures of my offspring and capture them for posterity.

Now without further ado, may I present Massimo:

Otherwise known as Canon Digital Rebel XSi 12.2 MP Digital SLR Camera in his world.

He will be good for me. Promise.

Monday, November 1, 2010

So Glad

She wasn't feeling well. We were having a conversation and I started clicking away.

I'm so glad I did.

Her brothers were distracting her.

I'm so glad they did.

She's looking at Isaiah. Trying to ignore me.

I'm so glad she did.

This one is my favorite.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Own It They Did

Conferences this week. Expected nothing less than their best efforts. And they surpassed all expectations. Again. These little people are simply successful and productive in everything they do, touch, think of, and imagine.

She was rockin' a new hairstyle. She owned it baby.

They all wanted to know who the powerhouse behind Alyssa was. I, of course, took all the credit. Mind you, my math skills are essentially non-existent, and my English ees not so gud. Isaiah and Manuel came with me to her conference and Manuel kept asking me, "What if she gets a B, mom?" "Are you gonna ground her?" To which her Geometry teacher responded, "You need to go sit down. These are confidential!" Manuel responded with his own snide remark, "She's so grounded!" She did get 1 B. In Geometry. She was not given points for class participation for about 2 weeks because she was nasty ill. Hospital nasty ill. She scored A's in everything else. Told ya. She is amazing. She is smart. She has a good heart. She's ballsy. She's gorgeous. She's mine. All mine.

Oh, and the real powerhouse behind Alyssa? Alyssa.

Michael. Oh my dear Michael. Kindergarten has nothing on you my love. His teacher was all like, "What can I say? You are doing a great job of making sure he does his homework. His test scores are wonderful. He plays well with others." And his dad was all like, "Cool." I think Michael summed it best when he told me the other morning as I was getting him ready for school, "Mom, you shouldn't send me to school because all the girls in my class just jaaaack me up." Imaging his head moving from shoulder to shoulder too. I just about died laughing. I might've peed too. Apparently, these little chicks like to touch his long hair and they corner him against the fence. Apparently, he loves it. A little too much. Whatever dude. As long as you want to go to school and do fantastic, the motivation is up to you. Kinder girls are pushy. Just sayin'.

Straight O's baby. O's for outstanding.

His teacher loves him. She wants a class full of Manuel's. My question: why can't he behave like that at home. Seriously. She was full of compliments and love and praise and more compliments. Again, I took full credit. Shamelessly. Even though he does all his work. Hardly asks for help. He is popular with the guys, starting basketball teams and soccer teams and football teams. All on his own. He's a leader. They follow him. And he get's straight A's. What more can I ask for? He is passive. Always wanting to please. Don't get me wrong. The boy can argue. For sure we will have a lawyer. A man of character and integrity and most of all, empathy. That is my son. Mine. And it doesn't hurt that he's good lookin'. Wow. A good looking lawyer. I can handle that.

Aiden. My Aiden had some issues with separation. Anxiety to be exact. So we made a mutual decision, the school and us, to part ways until the next school year. But while there, my Aiden rocked the hell out of pre-school. Knew all his colors (except tan - what 3 year old knows what tan is. Really. Does the state actually read their exams?) and his numbers 1 - 10, identified his letters and sounds, and wrote his name and owned it baby. Next year is going to be his year to shine even brighter. Just you wait and see.

I thought I was supposed to school you lady, not the other way around.

Now Isaiah is only 15 months old and does not attend school. However, this kid schools everyone else. Truly. He only has to gibber jabber and it's like the Pavlovian experiment is being conducted in this joint. Z, as he's affectionately referred to, is now starting to call his siblings with his own twist on their names and they all come running. Seriously. It's funny to watch my kids being bossed around by a 2 foot dictator. Not so funny to have him write on my freshly painted walls. With a red marker.

This is truly a blessed life I lead with these incredible little people.

Go. Go get costumed out. Rock your alter ego. Or your inner bad self. It's Halloween tomorrow. Own it.

Happy Halloween.

Friday, October 29, 2010

He's My Genius

Last school year, Manuel scored the highest CST scores for his 2nd grade class.  His reward came this year: a trip to John's Incredible Pizza in a limousine. The other 3 highest scoring students came as well.

Here's the limousine. It was a Cadillac stretch, shiny, chrome filled, gorgeous hunk of metal.  I seriously got a huge lump in my throat as I saw it driving up. Really. Truly.

It was all he spoke about for the week.

He came flying off the bus with the invitation in his sweaty hands dying to open it. As soon as he saw me he came to a stop and shouted, "I'm going on the limo to John's Incredible Pizza!" The invitation was torn into and read. Then re-read to make sure everyone around him had heard. I smiled and congratulated him. Tried to give him a kiss but his friends were around so he shot me a "later at home I'll let you smother me in kisses and hugs just not now cuz my friends are here" look.

I made him his favorite dinner: deep fried tacos with all the trimmings, Spanish rice, and Coke. All week he waited and talked about it and waited and talked about it some more and waited and told everyone who would listen all about the limo and pizza thing. I made sure to point out it was because of his test scores. What? I'm a proud momma.

His school really went all out to send them off in style. All the students from grades 2 through 6 came to rally them. I had no idea. As Manuel pointed out to his g-ma Bell, "Alyssa never went on the limo trip grandma," I didn't know what to expect for him. It was grand. It was beautiful. It was amazing. It was simply a moment in time that he will remember. Forever. I cried. Very quietly. Didn't embarrass him though. That's why I wear sunglasses.

Manuel, I am so proud of you. You are an amazing little boy who is becoming an amazing young man.

May God continue to bless you with these wonderful rewards for all of your hard work.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Fun

Last weekend: $20.00 worth of pumpkins that are going to rot as soon as these monkeys carve them because it's still 90 degrees here.

They'd been bugging me for days to take them. I wonder if she'll ever want to be seen with us again. Alyssa came only because I gave her an orange blouse to wear and told her to get in the car.

It actually started to drizzle as we backed out of our driveway. So much for our beautiful blue skies and magnificent weather. I have to admit, the "drizzle", I secretly adore it. It reminds me of where I grew up, by the coast, overcast, nip in the air and plenty of wind. It was hardly appreciated when I was a child. But now, if only I would be so blessed to be back in the same cool climate. I'm rambling. Or over sharing. Take your pick.

 Aiden was so excited he kept running from massive pumpkin piles to even more massive pumpkin piles.

 My curly headed boy is excited. It is a wonder to see this little corner "faux" pumpkin patch through his eyes. He was completely enchanted with everything, from the hay bales, to the inflatable slide, and back to the pumpkins.

Isaiah didn't know where to turn. Or walk. He didn't walk up to the pumpkin patch. He practically ran as fast as those little size 2 feet would take him. More like speed walked. He seemed to be looking over the entire patch of orange to see what he would lay claim on. And when he picked his pumpkin, he sat with it and refused to let go. Completely oblivious to the fact that his orange treasure was roughly his size.

Ironically, she was the first to pick out her pumpkin. Quick and methodical is her way. Confident, smart and beautiful is what makes her amazing.

At this point, seeing that his baby brother had picked out a huge pumpkin, Michael decides to do the right thing and pick a pumpkin more Isaiah's size. And then take over Isaiah's behemoth pumpkin. I have genius kids. Do you see Aiden still running from pile to pile? 

Manuel chose perfect roundness. He is a connoisseur of pumpkin picking. Last year he pick out the most difficult pattern and carved his pumpkin (with a little help from us). His carving came out so awesome. They all looked spectacular lit.

Still looking over the sea of orange.

Their chosen treasures. See the pumpkin Isaiah ended up with? His was the one next to Michael which is now Michael's.

They're dressed in their coordinating pumpkin shirts and they will continue to wear them until they physically outgrow me. Just sayin'.

Priceless: They were informed that since it is a week before the 2nd biggest day of their lives, the 1st being Christmas, they could not carve their pumpkins because they would rot and I didn't just spend $20 smackeroos to have them rot the next day in 90 degree weather. Guess you had to be there to see their "What the hell" expressions. I did give them markers to ease the pain. I'm not that cruel.

Once they're carved, I'll show you a picture of their masterpieces. I wish I had a picture of last years pumpkins because they were awesome all lit.

Happy Halloween!

And just because my Aiden is simply so handsome and a ham, here are some pictures of him with my next project. I'll share soon.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

P90X Update

So...I hurt my ribs. Bad. My auntie diagnosed me with corto something or other. Basically, you know where the cartilage and your ribs meet? Well, that separated. And it hurt. A lot. I couldn't take a breath without feeling like I was inhaling shards of glass. That happened the Sunday before I was supposed to start my workout.

It's now October and I feel fine. I can breath. In fact, I can also inhale a whole pizza fine. So now I will try to defy the gods that prevented the 30+ days that I lost due to injury. Monday will be the day. Monday. For reals. I have to lose this weight by the time the holidays roll around. Don't know about you, but I tend to gain quite a bit of weight during this time. And I refuse to shop for clothes until these pounds are off. So if you see me recycle the same 4-5 outfits don't say anything. I know I wear the same thing every 4-5 days. I know. I'm saving up for a new wardrobe when the 30 + pounds fall off.

And because I discovered that my camera will take 12 pictures at a time and I can save them on the internal memory, here is Isaiah. I call these: "What the hell mom. I'm 13 months old and not old enough to potty on the big people toilet. Didn't you have like 3 boys before me?"

And these from the park.