Friday, January 11, 2013

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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Lola's First Birthday

My baby girl turns one year old on Tuesday.

Where has this last year gone?

Beats me. But we had a party today and I, for one, think first birthdays are kind of big deal. I mean I'm sure some people think what's the big deal? But it's a first for my little girl so it's a big deal to me.

What I didn't know is how stressful it is to plan a December birthday. Why is it so stressful? Because my brain is constantly flip flopping between birthday, Christmas, birthday, Christmas.

We finally had her birthday party today and it went great. I've been planning her birthday party outfit for about a month so here it is...

We served breakfast for lunch with a menu of chocolate and regular pancakes, sausages, and bacon. Of course we also had to have cake! Lola's smash cake (the smaller one you see in the picture below) was strawberry flavored. The main cake was Chocolate fudge with chocolate chips and peanut butter frosting. Daddy made these cakes, as always, and did a great job! The main cake was four layers high!

Yes, those are Funyons. At kids' parties (and adults for that matter) I think there should be Funyons and Flamin' Hot Cheetos. Why? Because they are ridiculous. And they're always gone by the end of the party so I know everyone likes 'em.

Lola also got her first jumping castle. I think she liked it!

She ate about half her smash cake and was really just wondering why everyone was singing to her.

And they meet...her first baby doll and stroller set, that is. She was in love. She couldn't see any other gift after that. She pushed and pushed that stroller until she was ready to go to bed.

We had a lot of good friends and family that made the party even better! And Lola kept her whole ensemble on the ENTIRE time. That's is amazing. But the princess was happy through the entire party so I was happy since the whole point was to celebrate this little creature that has brought so much joy and happiness into our family.

Happy Birthday, Lola!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All Souls

In Tucson we have a handful of parades. We have the annual Parade of Lights, which is the politically correct name for the Christmas Parade. We have a Veterans Day Parade, which will take place tomorrow. We have a rodeo parade, yes, a rodeo parade. The last weekend in February the rodeo comes to town and festivities ensue. And we have a St. Paddy's Day parade.

But there's one parade that is very unique to this region of our great country. It's called the All Souls Procession and it. is. AWESOME.

The All Souls Process is Tucson's take on Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead. This day is meant for honoring those who have passed on and celebrating their life.

The people of Tucson get together and wear makeup resembling skeletons. Families bring their children, their pets, their friends. People make floats, dress up, walk on stilts, sometimes hold up signs protesting for a cause, and everyone is welcome to join in and walk in the parade. It's almost like an extended Halloween. Or so it appears.

There is a deeper meaning to this holiday that I didn't even realize. Participants in this parade are actually honoring those who've passed on. People carry pictures of their loved ones in memory. And among the drums and dancing and skeleton makeup there are actually people using this parade as a healing to celebrate and remember the lives that have touched them.

We were so lucky to have witnessed this parade. It's annual but I haven't gone in years. After this year's experience, and having come so close to the other side of the meaning of this parade, I have a deeper appreciation that goes further than beating drums and dancing skeletons.

But it is a beautifully creative parade. I got some pics. They aren't that great, but you get an idea of what I'm talking about.

Throughout the crowd, whether in the parade or not, people paint their faces in white with black stripes to resemble skeletons. If you look closely at the picture below you can see one of these skeletons looking at a text. Hey, skeletons text, too, alright!

Stilt People

The globe with the Breast Cancer Awareness ribbon is actually a float, as is the taller sign to the right.

I was actually trying to take a picture of the large puppet of a man's head in the background. But the camera really focused on the women in front of me with the crazy hat. Yes, that's a big hat on her.

A lady from the parade with my Aunt Pam.
See you next year!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

You think I'm obsessed with pumpkin?

I don't know what it is about this fall. I have never in my life been as obsessed with pumpkin flavored things as I am right now. It's now kind of like a scavenger hunt of pumpkin-ness. If I hear that there is a new pumpkin pie milkshake, pumpkin latte, or pumpkin flavored Doritos (not really, but you get the point), I actually get really excited.

I don't know where this came from at all. Normally, by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, I have my yearly dozen or so pieces of pumpkin pie and then that's it. It's a brief relationship. But this year it's turned into a fully blown obsession!

So, this is my list of pumpkin flavored goodies that I keep talking about so much that my loved ones are about to actually throw a real pumpkin at me.

That which started the love affair....

The Jamba Juice Pumpkin Smash was found on a trip to Gamestop with Gabe. We agreed to split one and that was such a mistake. It was so good and I don't even have words. It tastes like a pumpkin pie in liquid form. Doesn't sound all that appetizing? It was, we both agreed.

Then I found out that McDonald's has a new pumpkin pie (just like the classic apple pie, but with a pumpkin filling) and a pumpkin pie shake. Both good, but the pumpkin pie shake is just a little bit gooder.

Dairy Queen has a pumpkin pie shake that's really good, too. And they now have mini-blizzard sizes so I don't feel so I can trick myself into thinking it's really not that bad.

Oooh, I also made my first batch of Pumpkin Bread that WASN'T from a box. (Gasp!) It's the recipe from the Better Homes and Garden cookbook (Also available here.). I added chocolate chips which made the whole loaf disappear before my very eyes. I don't know how it happened! All I can say is that the recipe makes two loafs and both were gone within a couple days.

We had pumpkin pancakes from IHOP and homemade pumpkin Belgian Waffles the next day.

So do you think it's an obsession?

Oh, there's more...

My Pumpkin Cake Donuts are back and I have waited an entire year for these things to surface! You think I'm kidding but I'm not. My last four visits to Fry's (Kroger), I've scoured the bakery for these suckers and finally they appeared this week. I resisted the first day, but the second trip to the store got me!

I also had the pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks. It's okay but I had it iced, which was a bad idea. And I was still pissed from having to pay over $4 for the damn thing. So it wasn't as enjoyable as it maybe could have been.

I'm making a pumpkin cream cheese dip on Sunday for Halloween that I found on the back of the pumpkin puree can. I'm serving it with graham crackers, apple slices, and ginger snaps.

And then I found pumpkin pie Pop Tarts.

It's pretty much elevated from an obsession to a sickness.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Gym

There is something about the hum of treadmills that I've come to appreciate recently.

I'm a gym member. Not only am I a gym member, I'm a practicing gym member.

It's one hour, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays where I don't have to think about anything else but what I am doing right at that moment.

There's sweat involved and running and, for the record, I always hated running when I was growing up. I couldn't understand why people would choose to run for fun. Bleh.

But now I get it.

And you know, I really don't want to go to the gym. Well, I didn't at first.

I just really needed to stop feeling so blah. I wanted to feel better so we joined and there is something about paying gym fees every month that makes you want to get your money's worth. At least for me.

I wanted to feel better. And word around town is that exercise makes you feel better. I didn't buy it at first. Really, chocolate cake and home made chocolate chip cookies - 9 of them if you want to get specific - make me feel better. Not exercise. That makes me tired. And I have to find a sitter. And I want to take a nap, the baby was up last night, and...I'm really good at making excuses.

But I made myself and I hate to admit it but the rumors were true! I started feeling better. I feel so much better that I'm starting to look forward to going to the gym. It's my time. And it's between me, the treadmill, the zumba class, my IPOD, and the closed caption appearing on today's episode of Dr. Phil that floats above the said treadmill.

There's also something about the more exercise I get, the more health conscious I become, and the less crap I eat. I love food. I mean I loooove food. Not for emotional reasons, not because I'm bored, just because it tastes so heavenly, most of it. And pregnancy was heaven for me because it was my ticket to eat whatever I wanted without feeling bad even though the books say not to. Who cares about those books? When in a woman's life does she get to eat like that again?

So my problem was that I had to stop eating like I was pregnant. Not in portions of food but more in portions of sugar. I'm a sugar addict and my loved ones know this about me. I could never completely give it up but as I exercise more and feel a little better in my jeans, it makes me want to maybe not eat cookies at midnight.

Going to the gym makes me feel accomplished. No matter if the house is clean or my kids have been sufficiently coddled and entertained, I went to the gym...I accomplished something.

So here's to hoping for many more trips to the gym, easier fitting jeans, fewer cookies, and accomplishments.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


I've crossed over.

I've given in.

I'm the owner of a minivan.

I fought it for a while. Until I had two kids. And then I had a kid with special needs. And then I had another kid. And then there was no room for my kids' friends or my kids' legs or my kids for that matter.

So it had to happen.

We purchased the said minivan today and I am really, strangely excited about it.

It's basic, no bells and whistles unless you count automatic sliding doors as a bell or a whistle. But no DVD players, leather seats, wood grain, none of that nonsense. (Although if it were up to me I probably would have chosen an SUV with bells and whistles and DVD players that was crap under the hood and barely made it out of the dealership parking lot just because I like shiny things.)

I really don't consider myself a minivan type of girl, but my son and his special needs stroller say otherwise.

But back to my recent purchase...I drove it home today, actually kind of giddy about the whole thing. I drove my giddy butt to McDonald's for a snack size Reece's Peanut Butter Cup McFlurry and as I was leaving the parking lot to go grocery shopping I saw her.

A mom, young, skinny, with big boobs and a tiny waste. She was with her kids, climbing into an SUV. Bitch.

I wasn't so giddy anymore with my McFlurry and my minivan and my 15 pounds I still have from Lola.

I'm pretty sure I put on an extra five years and a few extra scowl lines on my face due to that little encounter.

But it's all good. I've traded my shiny things for practicality and more leg room.

I am mom, I own a minivan, hear me roar.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The Mommy Thing

I've come to realize that I'm really not interested in leaving my all...not even for an hour.

I mean I do. I'm going to the gym now, three times a week, for an hour each time. And I have to leave Lola for about an hour and a half when I take Christian to HBOT. But then I don't like leaving again. Oh yeah, and I go grocery shopping alone, but rarely. Everyone knows it's just easier to go alone anyway.

I'm quite content with hanging around the house with my kids and baking stuff or folding stuff or playing with the kids on the floor...and stuff.

What has become of me?

I hear things about "Lady's Night Out." I've heard of "Time Away From The Kids." In theory, it sounds great. But in reality I'm just not interested. Or I think I'm interested and then when it comes time to show my cards, I almost always fold.

Is it because the prospect of finding a babysitter, getting kids ready, meds lined up and dispersed, and bedtimes in order seems too daunting a task that the end result of getting some time away from the kids is just not worth it?

Is it because I've turned into a recluse, a hermit crab of sorts who wants nothing to do with the outside world?

Is it because I have so many appointments to be at during the week that if I have time at home just doing absolutely nothing I'll take it?

Is it because I just really love being with my family that much that I'm not interested in anything that doesn't include them?

I'll go with d) a little bit of all of the above.

What is the deal? I fear I might loose the outside world but I really don't care. I don't feel guilty for not doing things away from my children, I feel guilty for not caring that I feel this way.

I just want to hug and kiss Lola and watch to see if she just might take the plunge and crawl for the first time. Ya know, she's been on all fours, she's rocked back and forth, but she always flattens like a pancake at the last second.

I want to hold Christian or feed him something new, maybe stretch him out a little, put him on the yoga ball, sing songs to him, play rough with him.

I want to go to Dairy Queen with Gabe and get Blizzards because it's just too hot not to have one.

I want to watch TV with Manny and Gabe and laugh at stupid shows like Wipe Out.

I don't have any desire to do anything else right now and at this time in my life, at this very point, that's just how it is.

For the first time in my life, I am 100% a stay at home mom, and while I've understood at times why stay at home moms become alcoholics, I absolutely LOVE it!

But don't tell anyone. For some reason I feel like I'm supposed to be going out of my mind and chomping at the bit to get the hell out of this house. And I'm not going to lie, some days I am that person. I perform my obligatory complaining to Manny about how hard it was all day but the truth is I really love doing the Mommy/Wife thing.