Summer School

Film poster for Summer School - Copyright 1987...


After an ever so brief week off from school, los ninos are returning today for Summer School.  Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was a kid, summer school was for…well…the less than bright students.  It was for catching up and passing subjects that were failed during the school year, so you would be able to progress with your classmates to the next grade level.

Was that the way it was for everyone else?

Well now, Summer School is like summer camp!  The kids have classes with Legos and magic tricks and even an entire class dedicated to Dr Seuss.  There are daily prizes given out by random, and an attendance price for each child at the end of the roughly four week session.

The kids get paid.  They get a gift card with $60 a pop for perfect attendance.  It was $100 a kid a few years ago.  What the what?!

I am envious!  I would have loved this program when I was a kid!  My mom wouldn’t even let me join Girl Scouts, to say I was a bored child would be an understatement.

So, today it’s just me and the littles.  Matt and Bella are having awesome adventures at school and earning money while they’re at it.  Lucky little brats.

 

I can’t leave this post without adding that Summer School was an AWESOME 80’s movie!  Mark Harmon, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Kirstie Alley,  Chainsaw, omg, I love me some cheesy 80’s movies!

Advertisements

Brain Quest

US Postage Issue: Abraham_Lincoln_Airmail_1960...

 

Matthew got a Brain Quest question pack for his birthday yesterday.  It’s 1500 questions (and answers, thank goodness lol) that are age appropriate and help sharpen their school smarts.  We had a great time playing with them last night, even Bella was chiming in with correct answers.  Smarty pants!

But one answer, well, it was just the best.  Worthy of being shared, to be enjoyed for all of its greatness.  I present that to you now.

 

Question: Why didn’t any women vote for Abraham Lincoln in the 1860 presidential election?

Matthew’s answer: “Because he had a beard!”

 

That’s funny right there, I don’t care who you are.

I have to say, we learned a few things ourselves from the cards.  Nifty idea, I think I may have to venture out and collect some more.  What a nerdy family we are.

Tomatoes!

Our tomato plants are exploding out of their earth box this year!  We put one large plant and one cherry tomato plant in the one earth box, and already they look like they have far outgrown their home.  We did a lot of research this year, trying to maximize our fruit production, and so far so good!

I’m excited, I love cooking with ingredients we grow ourselves.  It is very satisfying knowing that we grow some of the food that we eat.  I like knowing exactly how the plants are treated and cared for.  No pesticides or picking unripened fruit.  And the taste!  The taste of real, home grown fruits and veggies can not be beat.  I never realized how bland and tasteless fruit and veggies from the grocery store were until we began growing our own.

I want to preserve as much as I can and make use of every single fruit and veggie that we grow.  I love to can and share our harvest with friends and family.

I am truly longing for a larger yard where we can expand our garden.  Won’t be long.  Hopefully by next growing season.

Double Digits

Ten years ago today, I was in the hospital, scared and excited for the birth of my first baby.

He was two weeks late when my doctor finally decided to induce my labor.  The pitocin gave me excruciating back labor.  When I requested the epidural, I had a four hour wait.  Four very long, tear filled hours.

He was born later that night, a vacuum assisted birth that gave him quite the cone head.  He let out a few small cries, but then he was quiet.  He looked around the room with his wise little eyes and just took everything in.  He was calm, quiet and laid back.  He is like that to this very day.

Matthew was our first and only baby for over three years.  As much as I wanted another baby, I felt guilty taking away any focus from Matt.  As it turned out, he was made to be a big brother.  He has always been loving and kind and very protective of his siblings.

Don’t get me wrong, he has done some rotten things to them as well.  Haircuts, broken toys, mean pranks.  But at the end of the day, he is a very loving, sweet and thoughtful kid.

I have said it before, but I will say it again.  Babies grow up too fast!  You blink your eyes and they are turning ten!  He will be able to drive in six years!  He will graduate high school in eight years!  That is not a very long time at all!  It feels like just yesterday we were bringing him home from the hospital, and now, here he is, a whole decade has passed.

(I had hoped to make it through this post without crying, but I just took a sob break.  So much for my street cred.)

Happy Birthday, Matthew.  You are an amazing kid and you are going to do amazing things in your life.  You made me a mommy, the greatest gift of all.

This picture was taken six years ago, when my little baby was only four.  Don’t you just want to munch those chubby little cheeks?  And the twinkle in his eye….Love.  Love in a tiny little four year old package.

Mama Drama Continued

"No drama" sign with the dramatic ma...

To put a bit of closure on my post from yesterday, I guess I should update the drama.

I called my mom.  At first she claimed to have no idea that my dad had done this.  As we talked more, it became clear that not only did she know he had done it, but she knew he was planning to do it, she knew when he was doing it, and they talked about it afterwards.

Okay.  I get it.  You have a bad day and you want to vent about it to somebody.  You want someone to feel sorry for you.  Fine.  But my mom over dramatized everything, which my dad, being Latino and ridiculous, dramatized the dramatization by about 100% and that’s when he decided to blow up on Abe.

He would never come to me and drop this nonsense because he knows I wouldn’t take it.  I would call him out on his exaggerations and that would set him off even more.  We are too much alike, my dad and I.  He thinks he is never wrong and I know I am never wrong.

When I was seventeen, not long after Abe and I started dating, he basically pulled the same crap.  Only, I was home at the time, and when I happened upon him taking out his frustrations on Abe, I stepped in and ended it.

Then he kicked me out.

If I couldn’t agree that his way was the only way, then I had no place to live in his house.

He actually brought up this fight when he was unloading on Abe yesterday.  He said he will never forget that fight and he is still waiting for an apology.

Don’t hold your breath, Papi.

I wasn’t wrong then, I am not wrong now.  I did nothing to feel guilty for.  I have my own life, my own husband, my own children and they are my priority.  I am sorry if my mom had her feelings hurt, but it was of her own doing.

My mom plays the role of the helpless housewife that can’t control her husband or what he says or does.  This makes me insane.  It’s not cute, it’s ridiculous to pretend you have no mind of your own.  “You can’t put a leash on Dad.  You know how he is.”  Sure, she is not responsible for what he says and does, but she has an opinion.  There is nothing stopping her from speaking up if she believes what he said or did is wrong.

She didn’t speak up fifteen years ago when he kicked me out of the house, and she didn’t speak up yesterday.  If anything, she egged him on.

That does not sit well with me.

I love my mom.  I love my dad.  I won’t allow anyone to treat my husband like a child to be scolded.  And I certainly will not be made to feel guilty for things that are out of my control.

In all honesty, the only thing yesterday’s drama accomplished, was making me wish we lived far away.  Somewhere drama free.  I don’t rely on anyone but myself to make me happy.  I consider myself to be a loving and thoughtful person.  I love my friends and my family dearly.  I go out of my way to let them know it every chance I get.  I never want to be the cause of anyone feeling badly.  I only want happiness, both for myself and for everyone around me.  Passive aggressively attacking me did not pull me closer, it pushed me further away.

So now what?

Well, I will live my life and enjoy every second I have with my babies and my husband.  I will stand my ground on not being made to feel guilty for things dreamed up in dramatic people’s minds.  I am not punishing my parents in any way, but if they feel I am so evil, then perhaps I will just stay back and happily live my life as if the crazy never dropped.  I’m not mad.  I’m not upset.  I’m above it.  I have a much clearer picture of what happened, and being able to inspect it closely with a sound and rational mind just makes it look all the more silly.

I am happy.  I know I didn’t ruin anything.  I have a clear conscious.  And I have a baby that is in the double digits age wise today!  Ack!

A palabras de barracho, oidos de jicarero.

Forever and ever, Amen.

 

El Diablo…..3

The CD insert for Diablo

My husband is a geek.  As such, he is a gamer.  Diablo was a game he played when he and I first started dating, fifteen years ago.  When I was pregnant with Matthew, his obsession was Diablo 2.  That was ten years ago.  After years and years of pushed back release dates, the unthinkable happened.

Diablo 3 was finally released.

I knew he wanted this game.  Desperately.  He was willing to bust his butt working around the house to convince me it was a good idea to buy the grossly overpriced game.  Little did he know that I had actually pre ordered it and already had it in my possession.

This weekend, between gunky pink eyed babies and multiple projects we had going on around the house, I pulled out the game.  By the look on his face, you would swear he heard angels singing as he drooled over the thought of his soon to be demon slaying.  It was equally adorable and pathetic at the same time.

When he finally sat down to play his coveted holy grail of video games, a problem arose.

His authentication code did not work.

For those who may not be familiar with PC games, once they are installed on the computer, they require an authentication code to access.  This is an anti pirating measure that is easily worked around by the true pirates.  But this game was not pirated, and there was no reason for it not to work.

Of course, all of this happened after hours for tech support.  Abe’s late night demon slaying had to be put on hold.  He was sad.  Very, very sad.  He came to bed where I was watching tv, and literally every commercial break had an ad for Diablo 3.  Each time it came on, his whimper was just a bit sadder than the last.

Today, after a total of two hours spent on hold and never getting to talk to anyone about his problem, I decided that I needed to try and enter his authentication code for him.  I just had it in my head that I had the magical power to enter it correctly and make it better.

Abe scoffed at this.  He told me he entered the code 20-30 times.  He had a support ticket out on his problem, he was ready to try and return the game and exchange it for a new one.  I convinced him to let me try entering the code.

I was right.  I am magically awesome.  Also, I know the difference between an “8” and a “B”.  You see, in all of his excitement to play his new game, he saw an “8” where actually it was a “B”.  And that is all it took to break his heart.  One tiny typo, repeated 20-30 times.

He gasped with disbelief when I told him I got the code to work.  He was not convinced that he was entering the code wrong until I made him read it out loud with me.

He begged me not to share this story.  You see, he is an IT professional and helps people troubleshoot these kinds of problems all the time.  He is regularly making fun of the idiots that call and can not access this or that, all because they are mistaking one letter or number for another letter or number.

I told him my hands were tied.  I had to share this story for the greater good.  Well, I had to share it because it was too damn funny not to.  There is greater good in that, isn’t there?

I am happy to report that I am being completely ignored right now as he is sitting blissfully at his computer, playing the hell up out of some Diablo 3.

See?  A happy ending to the story.  I love my geek.

Mama Drama

I am very annoyed right now, but don’t want to let that affect what I write.  I am also angry and hurt.

Where to begin?

Well, Abe went over to my parents house this morning to borrow the power washer.  He was gone for two hours.  We live five minutes away.  I assumed he and my dad were talking about projects they want to work on, but as it turns out, my dad decided to yell at my husband as though he were a small child about ridiculous things.  Mostly about my mom.

*le sigh*

My mom’s people are dramatic.  She is one of the most dramatic people I know.  She gets upset very easily and reads way too much into everything everyone ever says.  She has a lot of health issues, as I have mentioned.  She just had surgery recently and had not been feeling well.  We had invited her to Matthew’s birthday party, but she felt too poorly to attend.  I understood that, no problem.  Because she was feeling so poorly, and because we had a million things going on Mother’s Day weekend, we just stopped by her house for a short visit.

Apparently, this is when I ruined my mother’s life.

When we arrived, I asked how she was feeling.  She told me she was tired and felt like crap.  Wanting to not put her out, we did not stay long.  About an hour.  Everything appeared fine on the outside.

I talk to my mom all the time.  I see my mom all the time.  She comes to my house all the time.  But I ruined her Mother’s Day.

By being considerate of her feelings and healing, I am a monster.  That was one of the biggest things my dad decided to scream at Abe for.

That’s another thing that is really bothering me.  Abe is very laid back and easy going.  A perfect target for a hot head that wants to unload.  Remember that Latina temper I talked about early on in my blog?  Well, my dad is the queen of dramatic Latin tempers.  Yes, I said “queen” on purpose.  Neener, neener, take that, Dad!

It’s not fair for Abe to even be pulled into any of this, much less get yelled at for something he didn’t do.  If my mom has a problem with me, then she needs to call me up and say so!

My sister goes weeks and weeks without visiting or talking to my mom.  And my mom just excuses it as her being busy.  My sister doesn’t have any kids.  Is she getting reamed for ruining Mom’s life?  No.  And she shouldn’t.  She is an adult and she has her own life to live.  If she is too busy, then she is too busy!  That is life.  But for me to be the problem here, when I go out of the way to talk to my mom and visit my mom several times a week?   Where is the logic in that?

Today, my mom is celebrating my sister’s birthday with dinner at her house.  We are not going.  I have two kids with nasty cases of pink eye.  My dad told Abe that we need to “suck it up” and go anyway.  Insinuating that we are lying about the kids being sick.  To that, I told Abe to drop off the germy ones and let them all get their cooties.

It’s all silly, it just is.  My mom should have had the ability to voice her opinion to me, especially if I ruined everything, like my dad tells Abe that I did.  I know that my dad is worried about my mom’s health and feels helpless, but that doesn’t make it okay to take it all out on Abe.

Poor Abe.

He doesn’t want me to say anything to anyone because he doesn’t want to hurt his relationship that he busted his ass to have with my dad.  I don’t see how I can possibly let this go without saying anything.  Especially since I am the destroyer of all things good.

It’s just ridiculous.  I was very angry and sad when I heard all of this, but now, honestly I am laughing about it.  I refuse to be made to feel guilty.  I celebrated my Mother’s Day by visiting my mom and then busting my butt running around getting last minute things ready for Bella’s recital.  I did nothing wrong.  We aren’t going to my sister’s birthday party because my kids had snot pouring out of their red, swollen eyeballs.  I am doing nothing wrong.

I guess now I need to call my mom.  I swear, she needs some anti depressants or something.  And me, well, I need a stiff drink before I dive into the drama.

Wish me luck!

Happy Memorial Day!

My scouts participated in the 63rd annual Memorial Day Good Turn at Jefferson Barracks Cemetery yesterday, and I could not have been more proud!  This was Isabella’s first year going.  And it was the year they almost didn’t get to go.

At Matthew’s last pack meeting of the year, several weeks ago, there was a sign up sheet for attending the ceremony.  Our family was the only one to sign up.  Because of that, our pack was not going to participate this year.

That made me sick.  And sad.  Very sad.

After feeling helpless, I decided to stand up for what our family feels is right.  I questioned the pack leaders and shamed them for letting a year go by where our pack isn’t represented in this very important ceremony.  Sure, people like to celebrate the long weekend, but have they all forgotten why we celebrate Memorial day in the first place?

It’s not the holiday of beer, hotdogs and float trips.  It is a very important date to remember the brave men and women who have fought and who continue to fight for our freedom every single day.  Attending the ceremony, honoring our fallen soldiers, remembering what they have sacrificed, well, I think that’s a little more important than getting drunk and eating BBQ.

Loca, right?

Well, as it turns out, one voice can make a difference.  Our pack scrambled and got a handful of volunteers.  Bella was able to attend and help put out the flags, something she has been excited to do since she first saw her brother do it years ago.  That makes me so proud I could just burst!

They braved the hot weather and relentless sun and they did something that mattered.  And they still got hot dogs and BBQ.  Win, win.

BabbaBox!

So, in case you haven’t noticed my love of Citrus Lane, which you can read about here and here, I love subscription boxes.  I love to get mail, I love discovering new brands and new ideas, and I love to splurge on my babies.  When I stumbled across BabbaCo, and their BabbaBoxes aimed at ages 3-6, well, to say I was interested would be an understatement.  This mama was giddy with excitement.  Yes, giddy.

BabbaBoxes are themed boxes sent to your door each month filled with projects, activities, books,digital downloads and online content.  Absolutely everything that you need to complete the projects are included in the boxes, right down to the glue and paper.  No more emergency pit stops at craft stores to gather supplies!  I am a well stocked crafter, but even I can appreciate having everything handed to me all in one pretty package.

At $29.99 a month, shipping included, BabbaBoxes are a bit more expensive that Citrus Lane boxes, but honestly, it’s like comparing apples and oranges.  Citrus Lane focuses on sending products, while BabbaBox is more of a learning experience, a chance to really sit down and spend some quality time with the kiddos as you learn and complete the fun activities.

The very first box all members get when signing up for BabbaBox is themed Sun, Moon & Stars.

As you can see, Noah was very happy to dig into our box.  While he is not quite 3, I think Isabella and even Matthew will enjoy helping out with the projects and learning along with him.  How about that?  Three kids, one box.  Cool beans.

Our box was filled with all sorts of fun stuff!

The first thing that caught Noah’s attention was, of course, the binoculars!  These are part of the “Explore” aspect of the box, where we can use the binoculars to study the moon and the stars in the night sky.

I see you!

As we study the different phases of the moon, we have a worksheet to fill in and chart the phases ourselves.  I know Matt and Bella will love this activity!

And I’m sure Noah will enjoy directing them as they fill in the phases for him.  He likes to delegate.

Part of our “Create” portion this month, is making our own paper mache moon night light!  Okay, this activity sounds awesome.

They even included a craft stick to stir the paper mache mixture!  Yes, that is very smart, I love it!  And the “light” of the night light?  A little LED tealight.  Brilliant!  I am so looking forward to seeing this craft finished!

As you can see, Noah inspected every single element of this box!  This is another neat project that involves sun paper.

In case you don’t know what sun paper is, it is paper that has a chemical reaction to sunlight.  In this example, the kit comes with star stickers for the kids to make their own constellation.  Once the stickers are applied, you set the paper out in the sun for a minute or two and then bring it back in.  A few short steps later, you have a very spiffy piece of art work that you actually used the sun to make!

Our home is filled with bookworms, and Noah is no exception!  I love that the BabbaBoxes include a book, and you can bet Noah was excited to find one in his box!

So cute, so fitting and it is a very nice quality hardback, which I definitely appreciate!

Noah wasted no time exploring his new book, and added bonus, we have a new reader that can help read it to him and practice her reading skills at the same time.  Oh BabbaBox, you are making me fall in love!

And if all of this weren’t enough, BabbaBox did not forget about the parents!

This is a spiffy, theme fitting wine bottle stopper.  How awesome is that?  It is so pretty, and really, I appreciate the little gift, just as Citrus Lane likes to do in their boxes for the mamis and the papis.

I want to include a second, follow up review to this box that will involve the kiddos actually doing the projects and then showing the finished pieces.  So far, I like it.  I know the kids love it.  I am very curious to see what else BabbaBox has in store for the coming months.

If you are interested in checking out a BabbaBox for yourself, go HERE and give them a try.  If you enter coupon code “a20off”, you will get 20% off your first order!

We are currently working on our paper mache moon, so I will definitely update with pictures soon!

Oh, and one more thing to add!  I did not receive my BabbaBox for free, I bought it with my own money and decided to share what I think because I’m awesome.  I also think the BabbaBox is pretty awesome.  Everything I share with you here on my little chunk of the blogosphere is stuff I personally love and buy with my own money unless I happen to mention otherwise.  Now, if BabbaCo reads this and wants to send me free stuff, well then, I could not say no to that.  But seriously, I love the concept, I love the box, and most importantly, I love the structured quality time that it gives me with all four of my little monkeys.

New Bed! Part 2

In the excitement of the last day of school and our very first case of pinkeye, woo hoo!, I forgot to update on the status of our new bed and if I had to be rescued by my machismo hubby.  I know you were just sitting on the edge of your seat awaiting an update.  Well, wait no more!

This is how our bed arrived:

Three boxes that the Fedex guy snuck off the truck and then drove away as quickly as possible.  Notice the “Team Lift” printed on the box there?  Well, my team was Noah and Sara that day, and they just aren’t as strong as they look.  (Note to self: see about starting babies on weight lifting regimen for next “team lift” delivery)

So I huffed, and I puffed, and I got them all in.

Here Mama, you look like you could use a drink.

I opened up the smallest box and saw a billion nuts and bolts and I gave up right then and there.  I decided it was too much work, I didn’t want to do it, I didn’t have to do it, I wasn’t gonna do it.

Twenty minutes later:

I decided I had to try.  I took the “Smart Frame” out of the box and read the directions.  I have to say, the instructions, and the grainy, crappy, dark pictures sucked.  I read them over and over again before I decided to just start playing around to get the feel for what I was working with.

Aha!  Okay, the instructions and pictures still left oh so much to be desired, but I got the frame assembled and was feeling pretty accomplished at this point.  All that was left was the corner braces and the mattress.  Piece of cake.  Once I opened the mattress, it exploded open, not the slow unfolding that the directions described.  I managed to wrestle it on the frame though.

Viola!  I don’t need no stinkin’ man to assemble things for me!  Although, if he were home, I would have had him do the whole thing for me, cuz…….that’s what boys are for.  Doing things we don’t want to do.  Not that we can’t.  But if acting weak and helpless makes them feel macho and at the same time gets stuff done, well then, I call that a victory.

So the bed is assembled, and so far, so good.  We have slept on it two nights now, and I have most definitely been sleeping better.  I am not waking up sore and creaky, and I am definitely sleeping deeper.  Hallelou!