Routine Prayer

Most nights are pretty predictable at my house.
I get home after the gym. Eat a quick meal while the kids do some last minute running around, screaming and playing hide and seek with their baby brother.

Get the bottles of milk ready for baby David, or Toddler David, I don’t know really it sounds weird. He’s a 40lb 2 yr old wearing 4T…it’s hard to call him a baby…
Then we all head to Sofy’s room to talk about our day and start story time. 

Right now, we are reading a children’s version of the Bible which (Lord don’t strike me down for saying this) makes the stories a little less boring and a lot more understandable for the kids.
They interject occasionally and ask questions, sometimes random, so I’m not always sure if they are really paying attention. 
Today we were reading about David and Goliath, but Vicky wanted to talk about Adam and Eve and the bad fruit. The whole being “naked” in the garden really blew their minds.
“And then they had sons. And one son, Cain, he killed his brother!” Vicky was really concerned about this. They all were, but they quickly chimed in that they could never do that to each other.

Meanwhile, David is laying back on one of Sofy’s pillows drinking his milk and minding his business.

After we finally get through a story, we share thoughts about what we read and how it can apply to our lives presently.

Then, we take turns each night saying a quick prayer, before everyone heads off to their bed, bunk, crib, and so on.

Each of us prays slightly different, but for the most part we thank God for everything that we have including each other.

Gaby thanks God for family and friends, and video games.

Sofy thanks God for family and friends, our house, books, and her ipad.

And tonight, for example, Vicky thanked God “for our lovely home and socks”, among other things.

So, last Wednesday I went out to dinner with two good friends of mine. I rarely go “out” and even less smack dab in the middle of the week. But sometimes it’s really hard to find time for friends and loved ones, so I made a point of setting aside that night.

Of course by the time I got home, around 10:45pm, they were fast asleep.

Fast forward to the next night, after we read as usual, I started to ask whose turn it was to pray, but quickly remembered.

“Okay guys. I’m gonna pray, since I missed my turn last night.”

“I prayed last night, mom.” Sofy said softly.

I looked over at her surprised, “You did?”

“Yea, you weren’t here. I forgot, but when Gaby and Vicky were asleep, I prayed by myself.”

I gave her a kiss and hugged her tight for a few moments.

I was shocked. Sofia had taken the initiative to pray on her own. Neither I nor her dad had to remind her or ask her to do it.

I felt so much joy in my heart.

She only just turned 10 last month, but suddenly it felt like a real turning point.

So, yea. Most nights are pretty predictable; and I try to stick to a specific routine with the kids.
But I guess some of the best moments are the ones you don’t plan for.
————–

And I just have to add, I’m no religious nut. (Oh boy, here she goes ::reader rolls eyes::)

I believe in God, and I believe in prayer, and I believe in the Bible.
I curse; I get angry; I yell; I can be a BITCH. (Ask my sisters.)

I’m not perfect, and I’m not a fanatic.

But I don’t think I have to be.

You don’t have to be an every Sunday chruch abiding Christian in order to believe in God and the Bible, or have a relationship with Him.
Whether or not there really was a talking serpent; an ark that carried humans and creatures for 40 days and nights through the flooding of earth without them devouring each other; whether Methusala lived to be 969 or not; or whether Jesus was God’s Son or just a REALLY good person.
All of these are debateable points, but I believe. And I think it’s good to believe, and have faith. Anyting can be interpreted hundreds of ways; we are humans, it’s in our nature to doubt and question. And I don’t have a problem with my kids having doubts or questions.

I just want them to believe for themselves.
And honestly, I couldn’t be prouder of my big girl and her growing heart.

The Gift of Life

Today I was at the gym, torturing myself as usual, I thought.

Then this PRICK, because as you will quickly learn there is nothing else to call him, starts talking about how he never wanted kids.

My wife is the one who wanted them. If it was up to me, we wouldn’t have even had one.

We had an amazing life, if we wanted to we could take off on a mini vacation on a friday, just pick up the phone and book a ticket and be in the Bahamas within a couple of hours.
We used to be able to sleep in all the time, do whatever we want. We could go anywhere with anyone and didnt have to worry about the time, or drinking.
Now I’m lucky if i sleep in ’til 10.

Bla bla bla. He would not shut up. He didn’t have one nice thing to say about his family. And I listened to his rant, and the only positive was that I was so infuriated that it helped me get through the increased weight of the next set of barbell curl. 

Finally, thankfully, he left, presumably home to his wife and annoying kids. 

I felt terrible for them. Imagine how those kids would feel if they could have overheard their father?

I mean this guy made it seem like having kids was the worst thing that ever happened to him.

It really broke my heart to hear someone go off like that, especially because of a tragedy my very close friend and his family had been going through.

Just this week a relative of his has been going through a terrible ordeal. Her 10 month old baby boy is going to be an angel in heaven.  

There’s no need to go into details. What could possibly matter at this point but the painful ever present fact that there is nothing they can do to save him?

I bet she would give up sleep for the rest of her LIFE to have him back. I bet she would give up her heart, mind, body and soul for him.

There was nothing medicine nor science could do to save him.

Only a miracle could save him.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant for him to be saved, but instead for him to become a savior.

His parents decided to donate his organs. He would bless at least 5 children with the opportunity of life.

Only a perfect blameless child could become a savior, much like Jesus Christ was for us.
Of course, it is a hard ass pill to swallow that your child wasn’t meant to be saved.

Our minds were not made to conceive His will, His greater plan; to understand the afterlife, heaven, or eternity. These are all concepts our minds simply cannot grasp.

When you have a child your heart doubles, triples, quadruples in size. I don’t even know how it fits in our chest with the amount of love we have for our children. 

Sadly, only some people feel this way.

And it’s not about being the one who actually gives birth, my husband adores our kids. I know he wouldn’t trade any of them for ANYTHING in this world or the next.
So many people out there take their children for granted. They treat their children like an accessory, a commodity, like a talking point; a nuisance, pestilence, como un estorbo.

And not just men, women, life-giving mothers!

WAKEUP people!

You have been given a gift! The gift of life, of creation!
You have brought a human being into this world! It is something so amazing, an unbelievable honor; a great responsibility, but a privilege nonetheless.

And for those who can’t have kids of their own, there are plenty of ways to bring life into the world. We can bless others every day through kindness & generosity; by being sincere and showing compassion.

Just loving each other and respecting each other is enough.

We don’t know how much time we have with our children or loved ones, or they with us, but we have to cherish every day! Love them and treasure them; teach them and care for them.

Hug them, kiss them, hold them close.

Let them creep into your bed; read to them, sing to them; pray with them, joke with them, color with them.

Find the time to listen to them and talk to them.

Every moment is a precious gift.

***********

John 3:17 KJV

[17] For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

Romans 13:8 KJV

[8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

1 Peter 3:8-9 KJV

[8] Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: [9] Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

The Tooth Fairy “pays” a visit

My oldest son is 6 years old. He just recently had his first loose tooth. He would not let anyone touch it, so it hung in there until the last thread of gum gave out.

My mom sent me the picture of the gaping hole after he finally lost his tooth one day while at her house. His eyes were beaming with joy.

When I picked him up that night after work, he showed me the tooth excitedly. Abuela started to tell him how “el ratoncito” was gonna pay him a visit.

Seriously, a rat is going to visit you to take your tooth away and leave you money? I quickly interrupted her creepy Cuban fairytale, and told Gaby how the Tooth Fairy would be coming to leave him a surprise under his pillow.

“YES!” He said pumping his fist. “The Tooth Fairy is gonna bring me a lot of dollars!”

He brought his bottom front tooth home bundled up in a piece of crumpled Bounty, inside a Ziploc bag.

That night, after story time with his brothers and sisters, I reminded him that the Tooth Fairy would be visiting him.

“But Daddy says the Tooth Fairy isn’t real,” he said forlornly.

Luckily, my husband couldn’t see the little flames that flickered in my eyes.

I texted him immediately, “The Tooth Fairy is REAL.”

“Go ask your father again. He was probably just confused.”

They all ran to the living room, except their baby brother, David, of course; he’s only three months old.

When they came back, Gaby was happy again because Daddy had said the Tooth Fairy WAS real.

“See, I told you. Now lay down so we can pray, and you can go to sleep so the Tooth Fairy can come.”

“Oh, No! My tooth is in the kitchen,” he cried like the true drama king that he is.

I assured him that I’d get it when he went to sleep, and place it under his pillow for him. Sofy turned off her night light, and we prayed while I finished giving the baby his bottle. Usually, Gaby is asleep before I even say,”Dear Lord, thank you for this day.” Or as Vicky says, “Dear Lauren.” But tonight I noticed he was quite fidgety.

“Gaby, what’s wrong?”

“I’m scared the Tooth Fairy is going to come, and I’m going to see her.”

I was a little surprised at his sudden fear, but as I left the room, I assured him,”She’ll come while you’re sleeping. Don’t worry. Goodnight guys. Love you.”

No sooner did I put the baby in his crib and lay down in my bed, than he was standing right next to me.

“Hey, buddy.”

“Mommy, I’m scared to see the Tooth Fairy.”

I propped myself up on one arm and caressed his terrified face. “Okayyyy. How about I put the tooth under my pillow instead? And she’ll leave you a surprise here.”

He shook his head in agreement. I got up and walked him back to bed. He has his own room, but he sleeps in his sister’s room, on the top bunk.

“Alright, good night. Remember, you are here with Sofy, but you really have nothing to be afraid of.”

I kissed his worry creased forehead, went back to my room, put the Ziploc under my pillow and lay down again. Not 2 minutes later he was at my bedside.

“Gaby you have to go to sleep. We all have to be sleeping or the Tooth Fairy won’t come.”

“But what if she goes in Sofy’s window instead of your room, and she goes to my bed,” he asked, wringing his hands nervously.

“Uhhhhh. Quick, think fast”, I thought to myself. Ah ha!

“You know what? I checked online, and the Tooth Fairy is not working tonight. So you don’t have anything to worry about.”

That’s it, moms.

Give up.

That’s parenting, on the spot, at it’s best.

I’m. A. Genius!

WHAT?!? She’s not coming. She’s not gonna bring me lots of dollars?” He was flabbergasted, as was I!

I looked over at my husband who had been listening as the drama unfolded. Both of us mouth agape.

#ParentingFail.

So, I got up and led him back to his bed, again.

“Okay, listen Gaby. The Tooth Fairy is very nice and very smart. She’s like Santa, kind of. She won’t come unless we’re all sleeping. I promise you won’t wake up and see her. And to be sure I’m putting the tooth under my pillow. She can sense where the tooth is. Please don’t worry.”

I kissed him goodnight and went back to my bed.

I peeked in on him after a few minutes. He tossed and turned for quite a bit, and had the covers pulled up over his head, hiding. But eventually, sleep overtook him.

The next morning he found five 2 dollar bills in the Ziploc under my pillow. I think they are lucky [another unfounded Cuban belief. #Guilty] and I had hoped it was enough restitution for the emotional strain of the Tooth Fairy’s visit.

“Sofy! Vicky! Look what the Tooth Fairy brought me, a hundred dollars!”

What?

“No. No, Gaby, that’s TEN dollars!”

Oh boy.

Pity Cat

If you utilize any form of social media, then it’s very likely you have encountered the Grumpy Cat meme.
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But…I bet you’ve never seen the Pity Cat meme…
20130523-003611.jpgOk. That is a really cute, sad kitty, but we all KNOW a Pity Cat.

They thrive off your pity and NEED your attention. Yet, rather than get attention by doing something positive, they focus on all the “bad” things that “happen to them” and ONLY them.

As with Grumpy Cat, we often enjoy drama and BS, like Maury and Caso Cerrado, more than we enjoy hearing good uplifting stories.

Pity Cat is often motivated by other Pity Cats through likes and friend requests across the social media board. Some “likers” probably really DO sympathize with Pity Cat. After all, they are sad, annoying, and pathetic.

I warrant I’ve had my fair share of whiny, complaining, “I need a vacay, NOW!” type of post; however, for the most part, I refrain from bombarding timelines.

Side note: I do need a vacation, and I’m taking one this weekend!

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YES!

Typical posts from Pity Cat consist of:

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Ohhh, damn. Traffic, huh? The cars must’ve magically dropped out of the sky and surrounded yours.

We LIVE in Miami! There is always traffic, and yes, an overpopulation of hispanics—Cubans to be exact. And I LOVE IT! In fact, it’s a little off putting that one day, when there isn’t traffic, someone honking at you, or cutting you off, and you actually get somewhere on time. If you DON’T like the traffic, or us “Cubans”, please move away.

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Bills? What are those? Oh, you mean like phone, light, & water bill, rent, car payments, insurance, food expenses, and so on. You’re right, you deserve to win the lottery; nobody else has to work long hours or pay bills.

How about the infamous…

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You know what? I will go over there right now to watch your kid, so you can have that drink!

Put. Down. The bottle! It’s called, Sarcasm!

It really might be 1 drink, but how big is the glass? Or perhaps, just a couple of innocent glasses of wine. After all, leading doctors recommend wine with dinner, right? It really doesn’t matter what they are saying now-a-days; doctors change their minds every time they go to the bathroom. Stop hiding behind statistics, and the latest pill pushing medical reports. It’s like adding “LOL” at the end of a rude or sarcastic message, it doesn’t hide your disdain…unless the person is an imbecile.

#JustSaying #WinkyFace #SmileyFace ❤

Let's face it, it's never 1 drink. You either think you have more tolerance than others, or believe that you know when to stop. Seriously though? I don't know about you other moms, but my kids do NOT sleep through the night, and they are 6, 4 and 2. When it’s not a bad dream, random fever or episode of vomiting, it’s one or more of them asking “mommy, can I sleep with you.” So, what do you do then, that “one” night when you and the bottle finish each other, and your kid wakes up crying, sick, or just scared, and you don’t…

Guess what, Pity Cat? Everyone has tough days, and bills to pay, mouths to feed, and mucho trafico throughout. Stop Winening! (spelling intentional)
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If you think you NEED to drink every day to get the “edge” off, you’re an idiot!
20130523-015923.jpgLOL
::remember to insert smiley face to take the edge off::

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The Jackpot

“Mommy, can I ask you something?”

Sofia begins 5-6 conversations a day with that question.

“Sure,” I say, quickly pondering what outrageous interrogation will ensue.

“Is it hard to be a Mommy?”

This was the second time in the past week that she had asked me. The first time, I responded with a lot of Uh’s and Um’s, but this time I was more prepared.

“Well, sometimes it feels hard, because I’m tired from work, but you guys make it easy, because you are so wonderful. Why do you ask?”

“When I’m a mom, I’m gonna have 6, or 4, or 5 kids.”

I was glad to hear that response, because I didn’t want to frighten her away from her dream of having so many children.

Women aren’t easily motivated nowadays to have one kid, let alone 6, or 4, or 5.

9 months of swelling, indigestion, and 20 to 60 pounds of weight gain—yes, I gained 60 pounds throughout each of my 3 pregnancies, on a 5’1″ frame, you could say I “got around; then a long, tedious, painful labor and delivery—with or without an epidural, it bites; 30 to 45 endless nights, of crying and crankiness, and not just you, the baby is adjusting to living outside your body, as opposed to the water world they inhabited for 40 weeks; 40 torturous nights without intimacy, where you think, “I’ll never say no to sex again!”—that doesn’t last; add on the throw up, poop, pee, and other things you can’t identify that babies spew all over you; and all of a sudden, before your baby is even walking, it’s settled. You’re done. “One baby is more than enough!”

You’re right! All of that does sound awful; but there are rewards in between. Sweet smiles and giggles; gentle tugging at your hair while they nap; eyes that bat softly to sleep to your lullabies, despite your awful singing voice; and when they start talking, it’s all over.

That first time they call you Momma or Daddy, it’s like hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall. Ok, I know it probably seems like there’s NOTHING better than hitting the 600 million dollar PowerBall, but I feel that becoming a parent is like buying a ticket and winning the jackpot every day.

So, when Sofia asked me if it’s hard to be a mommy, I quickly answered no. I don’t mean to lie to her, I just don’t want her to fear motherhood and all the responsibilities, sacrifices, and spit-up it throws at you.

What is the right answer to that question?

I don’t know, but kids don’t know that you don’t know. So, just give it your best shot.

Tonight, I lay next to my curious daughter, after reading a story and praying. She said “Mommy, can I ask you something?”

Third time’s the charm, I thought. I was ready with my fairytale response about motherhood.

“What is it, Sofy?”

“Mommy, what’s a solar eclipse?”

Mouth agape, I blurted, “Go to sleep!

Quality versus Quantity

Every morning, without fail, my two year old asks, “Mommy, you going to work?” She looks up at me with those big brown droopy eyes, and frowns with genuine concern.

It breaks my heart every time I answer, “Yes, Vicky.”
I feel guilty to leave her when she pleads: “I wanna stay with you”, “I wanna work, too”, “Mommy, don’t leave”, “Mommy, I miss you.”

I feel like I’m abandoning her and her brother, failing them, by not being able to grant them this one wish.

This morning, she woke up and came to my room as usual, sniffing her giraffe blanky. “Mommy, you here?”

“I’m in the bathroom,” I said from my vanity where I was doing my makeup.

“Mommy, I sit too?”

I scooted over to the edge of the chair so Vicky could sit next to me. She adjusted the lighted mirror so she could see herself.

“Mommy, it’s my turn.” She took the blush brush from me and began to apply “Honey Lust” M.A.C. eyeshadow to her cheeks. I handed her a small eyeshadow applicator, and she selected another color which she commenced to dot madly below her brows.

“Mommy, I pretty?” She batted her long eyelashes at me and pouted her lips.

“Your beautiful!” I said squeezing and kissing her cheeks, and I meant it.

“And you know what? Your going to work with me today!”

She didn’t really say anything at first, but her eyes gleamed, and she sort of squealed. She held her face in her hands, and said excitedly, “I have to get dressed!”

I had promised my older daughter, Sofia, that I would leave work early to pick her up from school and take her to the mall to eat Johnny Rockets. So, I figured I’d make it a “take your daughter to work day”, as well.

We went to my office for about two hours, then came home to meet up with my sister so we could pick up Sofy and go to the mall together.

My husband and son were outside throwing around the football when we got there. I watched through the glass patio doors as they played catch. The goofy smiles on their faces as they chased each other across the yard; my son’s laughter when his dad grabbed him by the waist and lifted him high up in the air; the pure joy in their expressions made me want to stay and join them. I reached for the handle, but hesitated.

I was on my way out to spend the afternoon with my three girls–Sofy and Vicky, and my little sister Marta. She is seven years younger than me, so I always felt more like a momma, than a sister.

The boys needed their horseplay, and the girls needed their shopping and pampering, and eating at the food court, of course. I decided not to interrupt their bonding, and instead set off to pick up Sofy.

Sofy was really excited to see the three of us waiting for her by her locker. She got out of the line, pointing at us so her teacher could see we were there to pick her up. She grinned from ear to ear as she showed off her little sister to her friends and teacher.

“This is Vicky”, she said, smiling proudly as she introduced the mythical creature they had heard so many stories about.

“Mommy, can we go to the park,” Sofy begged in front of her classmates and teacher. I wouldn’t say no anyways, but when one of her best friends chimed in that he was going to the park, too, I quickly agreed.

Yes, one of her best friends is a boy, and he’s a cutie too. Needless to say, I’m in a heap of trouble when she gets older.

We watched the girls and Sofy’s classmates chase each other from tree to tree, just like the squirrels. I pushed Vicky on the swings, while Sofy played on the see-saw with her friends. The whole while Sofy smiled and laughed giddily, with that same emotion Vicky had expressed earlier that morning, and like Gaby while playing with his dad. If there is one commentary that is unanimous amongst people that know my daughter Sofia, it’s that she always has a beautiful smile on her face. You can’t fake that unwavering happiness.

At the end of the day, I suppose every parent fears that they don’t spend enough time with their kids. But, I firmly believe that the quality is just as important, if not more so, than the quantity.

Tentacles

My son and oldest daughter drew these pictures of me.
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You may have guessed my 4 year old boy, Gaby, drew the one on the left.

“Mommy, it’s you. You have 14 legs.”

If you count, there are actually fifteen tentacles, which is good because that means I’ve got at least one arm. I look like I belong a thousand leagues under the sea. I don’t know if he’s comparing me to Ursula or Oswald. In any case, I suspect I look fat.

Sofy gave me brown hair and nice big eyelashes—those are real, by the way. I’m also wearing what appears to be a red robe. Am I a disciple? Am I late for supper?

I’d never compare my self to Jesus or even esteem myself in the same league, but you have to admit, there appears to be a biblical reference here. Mary Magdalene? Perhaps. My middle name is Maria. Interestingly enough, my daughter didn’t give me any feet at all. AND, I also have only one hand in her drawing.

Should I be concerned about these too completely contrasting images? Despite the age difference and creative development of the artists, I can’t help but read into it. On one hand, I could be pretty speedy with all those feet. I could potentially get a lot accomplished, except I’ve only got that one hand. On the other foot, (I’ve only got the one hand) I ain’t goin’ anywhere without feet. But, I do have hair, full red lips (at least a bottom lip), and a flattering red robe that was hip circa 33 AD. AGAIN with the one hand thing. I’m probably hiding candy from them in the other.

What their drawings also have in common is a big smile. Phew, that’s a relief. More often than not, I find myself rushing the kids to get dressed, or brush their teeth; scolding them for tattle taleing, biting each other, yelling or making a mess with the toys. I begin to worry they’ll think I’m always mad, at them. It’s hard to keep a happy face at the end of a strenuous workday, but they have been anxiously waiting for me to get home. And they are happily obedient, as long as I devote every waking second to them.

It’s hard to divide your attention equally with each child, so I try to read and pray with them collectively each night.

Tonight, I read them a short book about the rainforest and some of its native inhabitants. Sofy was all ears, asking questions about the animals beyond the stated facts. For the most part, I couldn’t answer, and I wouldn’t make the answers up either.

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Parenting Tip: Kids are like elephants. (I never quite understood this phrase so I googled it) They never forget anything you say to them, so try your best to always give them true and simple facts, and peanuts if they’re not allergic.

While I was reading about Orangutans, my youngest, Vicky kept interrupting me, “Mommy….Mommy, I’m! Not! Sleepy!”

“O! Kay!,” I’d say and continue reading despite her unhappy disclaimer.

“Mommy, can I have leche? Two leches.”

“Yes, Gaby, as soon as I finish the story.” I proceed to read about the Toucans, Lemurs and Tarsiers, careful to show them each pictured animal before reading its name and factoid.

“Mommy, I’m scared,” Vicky whined, covering her face with her blanky as I started reading about the Green Tree Python. Sofy helped assuage her fears by adding wide eyed, “Those are REALLY dangerous.”

“Mommy, can I sleep here,” Gaby asked.

“Sure, climb up to bed.” Sofy has a bunk bed; although Gaby has his own room, he sleeps on the top bunk for the most part.

“No, I wanna sleep here,” he groans and points to the floor next to Sofy’s bed.

I want to argue against this, but it really can’t hurt. I try to let them enjoy the silly, harmless, though sometimes messy, things that seem to bring them such genuine joy—i.e. Play-Doh, bubbles, camping on the floor in your sister’s room.

“Mommy, I’m not sleepy,” a less energetic Vicky insists.

“Vicky, just count sheep. Count ten sheep like this, 1 sheep, 2 sheep, 3 sheep.” Sofy demonstrated, but yawned after 5 sheep. Is this actually working?

I finally wrap up the story, and prepare a makeshift sleeping bag on the floor for Gaby.

“Ok, everybody, let’s pray.” I thanked God for each of them; for daddy; “for Abuela Gladys,” my son interjected; “for ALL the family, Gaby,” Sofy corrected; I thanked Him for school, toys, crayons; “for M&Ms,” Gaby added excitedly, “and the new house!” We prayed for Mima’s health, for “Daddy ’cause he has a cough”, and “for Nicole’s hair to keep growing”.

Every night, Sofy prays for her friend who was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of the first grade year. Thankfully, Nicole is in remission. Sofy was very excited when she saw that her friend’s hair was growing back.

When everyone seemed satisfied that we had prayed for, and been thankful for EVERYTHING, they still weren’t “sleepy”.

“Okay, I’ll sing you guys a song.” Nobody made a peep, so I started in right away.

Twinkle Twinkle is an obvious favorite for them, but I have several songs I enjoyed singing to them as infants, and even now. The Beatles, ‘A Hard Day’s Night‘; ‘The Way You Look Tonight‘ as performed by Frank Sinatra; and ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow‘ from The Wizard of Oz, are my personal favorites.

By the time I’m done singing, Vicky and Sofy are fast asleep. Gaby, quickly gives up camping, and shadows me as I first carry Vicky to her bed, then head to my room to shower and go to sleep, or rather, to write this blog.

He sits quietly in the bathroom until I am done with my shower, even though he can lay down with his dad who is already in bed.

“Mommy, can I sleep with you?”

“Of course,” I say wrapping my tentacles around him.

“I’m going to drink my leche and go to sleep, so I can snore like daddy,” he says grinning from ear to ear.

I smile and quietly say a quick prayer, “Dear Lord, Please don’t make me share a bed with the Predator AND Chewbacca. AMEN.”

Move Over, Me

As I lay in bed last night by my husband, fully clothed (this is relevant later), iPad propped up on my knees while I worked on this blog, my iPhone vibrated. It was my turn to roll in Dice with Buddies.

Is this what relationships have come to…electronic conversations and gaming, side by side with your partner?

YES! Five-of-a-kind! I take great pleasure in this roll worth 50 points, because my husband beats me all the time. In the game, he beats me in the game.

Marriage Tip: A little competition is healthy, heck, maybe even necessary in a relationship. It can keep things interesting, especially if you spice up the deal; loser cooks dinner; loser gets up if the kids start crying—null if more than one child is crying; or loser grants winner some other “special favor”.

::insert winky face::

Anyhow, I have been a practicing nurse, negotiator, singer, storyteller, and professional butt-wiper for almost seven years now. I have a 6 year old girl, a 4 year old boy, and a 2 year old girl who is thankfully almost potty trained. I have a full-time job operating a retail clothing-shoes-hair accessories-luggage-toys-watches-perfumes-custome jewelry-among other things, store.

::insert self promotion here:: VALSAN

I am married with children and have 3 dogs, Kobe, Konan, and Kay (Karl was recently deceased)—”every kiss begins with ‘K’ay, our favorite jeweler’s jingle. We also care for a spunky (that means loud) cockatoo, Mango; Maria Sofia the pet turtle who shares a tank with an orange parrot and other colorful cichlids; another tank decorated with disney and spongebob figurines that houses pleccos, a brainy goldfish, which my daughter claims is very smart, and 2 angel fish, who contrary to their name, can be rather vicious and territorial. A lonesome fighting fish keeps us company in the kitchen. A recently acquired lizard—and by acquired I mean I caught it in a red solo cup in my patio as the kids cheered me on—Mrs. Stripes, peers at the fighting fish, from atop her faux cactus. Thankful, the dwarf hamster, does cardio on his wheel in the laundry room. Hamsters are nocturnal, by the way.

Parenting Tip: If you should ever make the mistake of promising a hamster to your child if they behave well, and they will, be sure to grease the hamster’s wheel, or it’ll be squeaking ALL NIGHT LONG!

For those of you that don’t have kids or pets yet, I’ll even warrant that some plants need caregivers too, here’s a little heads up: MOM is an acronym for Move Over, Me.

In other words, whatever you enjoyed doing prior to having kids, or pets, and yes, in some cases plants, such as—falling asleep naked after a romantic evening; or, enjoying a romantic evening at all; driving to Krispy Kreme after midnight for a fresh, warm snack; vomiting out your friends SUV window, AND all along the side of the car, after a night of dancing and drinking; or just simple things like taking a hot bubble bath, quietly reading the latest bestseller on your toilet, sleeping through breakfast on a lazy Sunday; all of this and more, takes a backseat to your kid’s needs.

I never particularly enjoyed sleeping in the nude. I’m too friolenta (easily prone to being cold); I need a shirt, pajama pants, socks, a bed sheet, blanket and comforter. As I warm up throughout the night, I get decidedly provocative and start stripping; although, I never quite make it to ‘R’ rated nudity, nor do I have a sexy dance number, as I am not very limber.

I never cared much for staying out late either, partying it up on a random Tuesday. Who goes out on a Tuesday you ask…

Lot’s of people! Young, carefree, childless people; maybe careless, but also free of child.

When it’s just you and your husband, or significant other, you can pick up and go anywhere, anytime, with or without a plan.

Oftentimes, I pry my eyes open in the wee morning hours. After snoozing for 9 minutes, I get up to get my daughter ready for school, myself ready for work, my gym bag ready, then wake the other kids to take them to Abuela’s house, and I think, “Again?” Is it yesterday or tomorrow? Whenday?

I brush my teeth and shower every day, and that’s okay. You gotta eat regularly, and drink: 64 oz of water, half your body weight, or whatever the doctors are recommending now a days. You have to work, a lot. Occasionally get some exercise in, like at the gym; on a treadmill; or lifting weights; NOT at the office exercising your jaw chismosiando with the girls, that’s Spanish for gossiping. Then, I come home, eat dinner, play with the kids, read to them and tuck them in, before a quick shower. Wiggle in some time with my husband, at least cuddling for a bit before he’s fast asleep snoring. Then I find myself enjoying my new endeavor, blogging; or at least trying to between nudging him every couple of minutes when his snoring begins to resemble the snarl of the Predator. Finally, I’ll get a text from my sister, scolding me to, “GO TO SLEEP!” because she caught me Pinteresting. I fall asleep about 10 minutes later, after checking Facebook, Instagram, my email and WordPress one last time. Then to do it all again the next day.

This broken record feeling is NOT because of the kids; we’re just all grown up. It’s called life, and it’s not a simple game of rolling the dice.

For a while, I thought the spontaneity would be gone from my life once I had kids, but I was wrong. What’s more spontaneous than a child—throwing up curdled milk on you, and then some remnants of the macaroni and cheese from dinner, just when you thought they had evacuated completely; your son peeing at you and your surroundings while you change his diaper; your daughter cutting her hair to imitate Tangled, thankfully, hers does grow back; how about your youngest repeating a curse word after you yell at a veering motorist.

The truth is, you don’t realize until after you have kids, not so much with pets and plants, sorry, that there was something missing in your life. Kids occupy a special, messy and sometimes smelly, place in your heart.

There’s nothing more spontaneous than a sweet hug and “I love you” from your toddler after reading her a story; a heart shaped drawing left on your nightstand addressed to Mom; a genuine prayer, “for all my family members. I don’t know how many I have, but please bless all of them”; an innocent voice asking you to lay in his bed and give him cosquilla until he falls asleep…

Today, I accompanied my sister to get an ultrasound; she is 20 weeks pregnant with her first child.

Looking at an ultrasound most people wonder, “what is that,” while all along nodding and smiling as the technician points out the right foot, kidneys, and ,”oh look at the nose!”

Nose? I thought that was the sex of the baby. I guess it’s not a boy. O_o

Regardless of what our eyes interpret, every mother sees a vision of perfection; innocence and purity embodied in this tiny human she is blessed to carry for 9 months, and care for all her life.

Only God knows the plans that he has for each parent and child, but I believe they all include, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”. Jeremiah 29:11

I’ll admit, it doesn’t say anything about getting peed or pooped on; staying up late with a sick and cranky child; or giving up JayZ when the kids are in the car.

What it does say is that a child gives much more than it takes. So, Move Over, Me; let your child teach you about living.

The Loo

April 7, 2013

The kids are asleep. I often begin this way because once you become a parent most of your time revolves around work or your kids; any free time is precious and worth talking about, hence the interesting story that follows.

“I’m gonna take a shower,” I tell my husband.

As I walk down the hallway to my bedroom, I know I’m going to enjoy every quiet, steaming hot moment; I’m referring solely to the temperature and not the “heat of the moment” of my nakedness. I’ve birthed three children, there’s nothing “hot” about this scene. Although my husband will say otherwise, it has become painfully evident that he is legally blind. I could probably get one of those handicap signs… Nope, too lazy. I never got the “Stroller Parking” permit either. Then again, I had a BABY, I didn’t lose a limb.

“I’m gonna take a shower”, I had said, which, come on ladies, we all know it’s really code for I’m going to Sh… Shave, I’m going to shave my legs.
Oh, STOP kidding yourself, you are going to use the toilet, abuse it even.

I had my Tina Fey book and my iPhone, although with only 8% battery life it offered little promise for entertainment.

Frankly, I don’t know if my process takes so long because I suffer from constipation, or I inadvertently sidetrack my intestinal functions with reading, pinning, and “look what she posted on Facebook, AGAIN” texts— a “Social Crap” one might say.

“PERFECT!” I exclaim reaching for my Sudoku book. Just enough time for a quick game without any kidmercial interruptions.

GASP! Was that the hall door?

My husband is coming. I said I was going to shower 20 minutes ago! Toss the sudoku back into the corner, wipe, flush, aaaand jump in the shower. Only to realize I’m still wearing my glasses. Well, that won’t seem believable. I awkwardly reach my arm out, smooshing my face against the glass door because surely the floor has cooties, and drop them on the counter.

Act casual when he walks past the shower door, like you’ve been in here for a while. It’s not like he knows your Ew de Toilet after all these years.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been married for almost 9 nine years. That doesn’t seem long to older couples like our parents, but I guarantee it’s long enough for the mystery to be gone. We ALL pee, and poop, and fart; sometimes, all at once. Don’t blush, gasp, or jaw drop. Ladies, you can only hide behind that air freshener for so long.

Shower done. I towel dry and get dressed. Brush my teeth—marriage tip, always shower and brush your teeth before bed, ESPECIALLY if you have kids. You need to be prepared for any “opportunities” that might open up (insert pun here).

I sort of toss my hair around a little bit. I AM exhausted, and I’m sort of hoping he’s already asleep; but if he’s not, I wanna look half decent; although for the most part your husband’s libido always thinks you look great.

Turns out, it WAS him in the hallway. He went out the garage to walk the dogs, and back to the living room to watch the game. It was a false alarm.

“Gosh, I skipped my loo for nothing,” I think as I bundle up under the covers.

That guacamole from earlier is still doing a number on me. My stomach rumbles, and I deem it an opportune moment to pass gas.

GASP! Was that the hall door?

Buried Treasure

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Yesterday morning, was the first of three days I took off from work to enjoy my daughter’s spring break with her and her younger siblings.

I had lots of fun activities planned for those three days: the Youth Fair, I couldn’t wait to eat an elephant ear, though not literally; the Miami Seaquarium; the Zoo, where we’d actually see elephant ears, and hopefully the rest of the elephant, but not eat them; maybe catch a movie, eat some junk food, and finally, goof around at Chuck E. Cheese, PLEASE!

It seemed like a lot for 3 days, but I rarely took time off, so really it was just like Make-up Work at school.

We had eaten breakfast together and decided to go out to the lake to see if there were any fish or turtles.

But you know kids, they are easily distracted and find joy in the little things: a gift bag, an empty toilet paper roll, an old box. So, of course, the many sticks and branches the wind had been snapping off the Flamboyant tree instantly became swords, bats, and golf clubs.

After many a close call swinging at an old tennis ball, I decided it looked more like they were aiming at their brother’s head, and called the game. Instead, we started digging for treasure with the fallen branches, I mean shovels.

We poked around near the fence, and I heard a rustling in the neighbor’s hedges.

I probably saw about half of it before it’s charcoal grey body slithered away beneath the brush.

Not wanting to frighten the kids, or end up with a snake up my pants, I calmly watched the bushes, leaves & shadows for signs of the snake’s destination or return; but there was no second act. It was gone. Before I could even see the whole thing, identify it, or examine it, it had slipped away.

“Mommy, help us find the treasure.” They called me back to the small dirt pile we had been digging through. We’d found nothing more than snail shells, small rocks, more dirt, of course, and some beetles.

I smiled at my son and daughters as they grew more and more joyous over these little discoveries. I couldn’t picture a better time or place to be than here in the crisp fresh air, getting dirt in my nails and on my jeans; pondering the impending danger of an anaconda from my neighbor’s bushes; and just playing treasure hunt with the kids. I wanted to hold onto them and this moment, forever.

Life is gone in an instant; before you have a chance to weed out what you are doing wrong, or dig up a way to do it right.

Don’t let it slip away.

Originally posted March 28, 2013