Friday, March 4, 2016

A Superbowl Challenge

There are times as a mom when you realize that you can do superhuman things.  Like lifting a car off your child trapped underneath, or grabbing them before they get hit by a truck in the street, or changing a full set of sheets under a sleeping child.  Yup.  I did that last one.  Just call me Supermom!

A few weeks ago we had that big game that some refer to as the Superbowl.  Perhaps you've seen it?  Well some years we've had parties, some years we've gone to parties.  This year we didn't really care so much about who was playing, but it's still nice to have a couple people over and eat unhealthy, but yummy food, while having an excuse to start drinking at 2pm.  Also why I love Thanksgiving.   We weren't going to have anyone over, but decided last minute that eating unhealthy food and drinking alone (mostly me) would be sad.  So we invited a couple of our friends who had been around for the Patriots playoff games with us the weeks before.  Yes, we are Patriots fans and I love Tom Brady.  Do not judge or start making cheating jokes because I'm very over it.  Anyway-our friends brought over a ton of food and I made a few things, as I always do, because I come from an Italian family.  There is never such a thing as too much food.  

We had too much food.  I mean it was ridiculous how much food we had.  We could have had half the Patriots at our house and still have enough to inflate all the balls with food. (See- I can make fun of us too).  

In regular every day life, we do a good job with balancing out what the girls eat.  I make sure they have fruits and/or a veggie with every meal, lean protein, some good carbs.  Yes, we have desserts sometimes, and maybe baked chips or pirates booty, but when I look around at what other people feed their kids on a regular basis, I am so proud of the job I do with them.  I know we are teaching them the right way to stay healthy and, hopefully, not become overweight in their future.  HOWEVER-I will let them eat whatever they want on special occasions, such as the Superbowl.

On days like that they will go all out, but for the most part they will only eat until they are full.  They will still select some carrot sticks amongst their mounds of tortilla chips and mini hot dogs, so at least something good is getting in there.  I ignore the fact that said carrots are covered in ranch.  At least there is a veggie there somewhere.  I will cut them off after two desserts.  Although Sonya will try for that third cookie or cupcake.  So, yes, it's not the best day of eating but it's one day.  They will usually complain about stomach aches afterward too, so it's kinda a good lesson as well.  Well maybe not, because after 42 years, I end up complaining of the same thing at the end of the night. I also love eating a lot of unhealthy food at once.  I guess when you eat well all the time it's fun to be bad for a minute.


Sonya and Lana do know when to stop eating.  Georgia, on the other hand, is a different story.  That girl loves her some chips.  If there is a bowl of chips somewhere, she will find it and eat the entire bowl if I let her.  In fact-funny side story-Last weekend we went to Big Bear to go skiing. The place we rented had a big game room complete with pool table, bar, poker table, etc.  I was behind the bar and said, "Oh they even have poker chips." Georgia's ears perked up upon hearing this and said, "Where at the chips?" I didn't even think about it, and pointed her in the direction when Andy knowing what she was looking for said, "Everything isn't always about eating Georgia."  When I saw the look of disappointment on her face as she saw the poker chips, I realized that she thought I had been talking about some kind of potato chip.  Oh Georgia!  

Back to my original story!  As I was cleaning up after everyone left, I saw Georgia at the counter shoveling more tortilla chips into her mouth.  I told her that was enough and shooed her away to go get ready for bed.  I knew she had had plenty to eat that night, and there was no way she could still be hungry, but she couldn't resist.  

(WAIT!  Before I go any further with this story, I'm giving fair warning to all you stomach squeamish people who might be eating.  Either don't read this now, or don't eat right now.  Trust me.)

The girls got ready and went to bed, and I was just about to go tuck them in when Sonya ran into the kitchen in a panic.  "Georgia is throwing up!!"  

Wait what?  She was perfectly fine 10 minutes ago, downing what might have been her 10th helping of chips....Oooohhh.  Yeah.  Maybe too MANY chips.  Huh.  

I calmly asked Sonya to go get me the throw up bucket from the garage and went to the little girls room where Georgia was throwing up into a puddle on her bed.  Yeah, I know.  It gets more gross, so just wait.  Sonya came running in with the bucket just in time for Georgia to spit the very last of her puke in it.  So that did no good.  Then I noticed it.  Did I mention Georgia was on the top bunk?  Sure there was a nice neat puddle of puke on her sheets in front of her, but before she decided to throw up there she decided to first go over the side of the bunk bed.  Which hit Lana's bottom bunk below her, and the trundle bed under Lana's below that, and the floor.  It was spectacular.  I also noticed Lana was completely passed out.  It was 9:30, but she had only been in bed about three minutes which I thought was odd.  However, it makes sense looking back now, because the next afternoon she came down with Influenza A.  It must have been brewing.  Never a dull moment. 

The point is there was a lot of puke in many different places to clean up, and I needed to figure out where to start.  So I called in reinforcements.  

"Andy!  Get in here!"

He came running into the room and knew what the situation was from the smell that hit him in the face.  I told you there was more gross coming.  Oh the smell.   It's not bad enough that vomit has to look gross, but the smell is just not something you can get away from right way.   

"I need you to help me clean this up, " I told him.  Needless to say, he was thrilled.  Normally, I would have just taken care of a situation like this, but this time I needed help.  So I put him in charge of taking the soiled sheets off Georgia's bed, while I went to work on the side of the bed puke.  Andy wasn't sure how to take the sheets off because there was so much of it in one pile.  So he came up with the brilliant idea of shoveling it all into a garbage bag first.  I'm impressed he got through it without adding to the pile himself.  So. Very. Gross.  After he took care of that, I had him take care of getting Georgia cleaned up, who as it turned out wasn't so bad.  She had managed not to get any on her person, so score one for her in that category.  Still, l she needed a face wash and a toothbrush.  

There wasn't a lot of throw up over the side of the bed, but enough to make it so I had to change Lana's sheets.  Oh and there was the fact that the bunk beds just have a mattress laying on top of wooden slates.  So whatever didn't make it on the mattress, fell in between those slates.  On both the top AND bottom bunk.  Have I ever mentioned how much a pain in the ass bunk beds are for SO many reasons?  Sure they save space, but that's the end of their good side.  Making them sucks.  Changing the sheets takes days and will break every nail you have, but unfortunately they are very necessary in our small house.  So after I cleaned under Georgia's mattress and the wooden slates, I had to figure out what to do about a sleeping Lana and her dirty sheets.  Do I wake her, move her, or try and just change the sheets around her?  I decided to do that last one, since it sounded the most challenging.  Because I mean changing sheets on a bunk bed is difficult enough.  But doing it with a sleeping child on top-near impossible.  Challenge accepted!

The taking off the sheets wasn't too difficult.  That was just a lot of pulling from underneath her.  No biggie.  It was getting the new ones on that proved to be more of a challenge.  Let's keep in mind that I had to replace the mattress cover as well,  So not one but TWO bottoms sheets. Oh, and I had to lift up the side of her mattress first to clean down  those wooden slates, where the puke was stuck.  After I did that I got the two bottom sheets out and  I started at the top on one corner, then managed to roll her on top of the sheet and do the other corner.  Once I got the top part of the bed done it was easier to pull the sheet down to do the bottom.  Especially because Lana is a peanut and only takes up half the bed.  The top sheet was a piece of cake since it was just covering her up and tucking under the mattress.  When I was done, Lana was still completely asleep and in a new set of sheets.  The next morning I asked her about it, and she had no recollection of the entire incident.  She wasn't even aware that Georgia had gotten sick.  

As for Georgia,  she was not ill in any way.  I thought perhaps she was at first, since the stomach bug had been circulating at school and gave her the benefit of the doubt, but she was immediately better after she threw up and fine the next day.  Andy had said so, but I didn't believe it until the next day, she had simply eaten to much.  Or maybe just too many chips.  Which you think would stop her, but not at all.  That story about the poker chips was just last week.  

So I will continue to do what I can to help reinforce the good eating habits with a fun eating day here and there for them, however, perhaps the next time I do need to monitor how much they are eating a bit more.  But hey!  At least I discovered what a badass I am at changing sheets with a sleeping kid in them.  Okay fine that hardly makes me a badass, but I'm a stay at home mom.  Let me have this one.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Being Good At Family

Hey there!  Yes it's me.  I know I totally fell into the pit of being overwhelmed and overburdened with a thousand things to do with school and the holidays, which left me no time to write.  I wrote a bunch of blogs in my head, but none of them made it to the computer.  Looking forward to the day where I can think something and Suri will write it down for me.   I even got a little bah humbuggy at one point because of how crazy everything was.  Even though I still have much going on-like helping to produce the Variety Show at the girls' school-I decided to put everything else I should be doing right now on hold (changing sheets, cleaning, getting cat litter) to do the one thing I like to do for me.  Writing.  So with that here's a little story about a New Year's Eve Day trip we took last week.  (Was it really only LAST week.)

Over the holidays we didn't have any family in town which was (sorry parents) kinda nice.  I mean don't get me wrong, I love when my parents or Andy's parents come and spend Christmas with us.  The kids love them being there and it's nice to have a big family together for the holidays.  However, every three years it's also kinda nice to not entertain parents for a week or more.  This year was that year.  So there was more hanging out and just doing nothing, which is good for us since we are always doing something every damn minute of every damn day.  The only bad part about doing nothing for a family who is very active, is that after a while we start to go a little stir crazy.  So we decided that on New Year's Eve, during the day, we would drive to the mountains to a sledding park. 

One of the advantages of living here in Southern California is that we are so close to the mountains to go sledding anytime in the winter if we want.  Even though we hadn't had any rain yet last week, the sledding parks all make their own snow.  The other great thing was that it was actually cold here this Christmas.  In fact while we were in the 50's here on Christmas day my in laws were sweating it out in the 70s in Rhode Island.  Crazy!  Since it was so cool here it was even colder in the mountains which was perfect for the snow making and sledding.  

I found a place on line that is only about an hour from our house, called Mt. Baldy.  When we got there we were to purchase tickets to take a "scenic lift" to the top of the mountain where we could do the snow tubing.  They also have skiing and snowboarding but we weren't going that crazy for one day.  After we bundled up and purchased our tickets we walked up a little hill to the lift.  That's when we realized the lift chairs were only for 2 people.  Last time I counted there were 5 of us, and three of us are kids.  Huh.  How was this going to work?  I wasn't crazy about the idea of Sonya going by herself, and sending her with one of the girls could prove disastrous.  I didn't need a fight to break out on the lift and someone pushed off onto the side of the mountain.  No worries though.  She wasn't allowed to go alone or with one of the girls unless she was 14.  That would have been nice to know BEFORE we bought our tickets. They did let us know she could ride with another adult who was alone and wanted to go up the mountain.  Oh yes-let me put my 11 year old on a ski lift with some stranger for 20 minutes who could be a Jared from Subway for all I know!  I don't think so.   Oh and by the way-it was seven degrees at the top of the mountain.  SEVEN!!  Now I know there are a lot of your out there who that freezing temperature might not bother so much and probably think we are big pussies.  However to those of us who just went through a 55 degree Christmas and were complaining of how cold we were, making fires in our fireplace every night,  seven degrees would have killed us.  

Andy and I made the decision to see what we could do about getting our money back, then figuring out what we could do to salvage the day from there.  It was of course greeted with a barrage of questions from the girls who were so looking forward to sledding.  

"We're not going?"

"Not here."

"But why?"

"Because Sonya can't ride the lift by herself and it's colder up there than it is down here even."  They were already freezing in the 32 degree temp.  

"So we aren't going to go sledding at ALL??"

"I don't know yet.  We will figure it out."

"But..."

"We will see!"


Neither one of us was optimistic about it being easy to get our money back, but turns out it was!  They were very nice about it after we explained that we had no idea about the age for the chairlift.  So we were happy we didn't lose any money on it, but now what the hell do we do?  We had decided to go to this mountain because it was closer than the one in Big Bear.  Were we even in the right direction of heading to the other one?  Unfortunately, it took us a bit to find out since there was no service on the mountain.  Once we got to the bottom I found that the other place I had looked at was less than an hour from where we were.  Since we had left the house so early it was only 11am at that point, so we decided to go for it.  

We arrived at the tubing park about an hour later.  No traffic at all thank goodness!  This place was right off the side of the road, no lift, and cheaper than the other place.  So win win!  We went and got our tickets.  Georgia and I made a trip to the disgusting outhouses.  

Side note here-Why, in the year 2016, have we not figured out a better way to keep an outhouse clean?  Those things are the most disgusting places on earth.  I am always so grossed out when I go in one.  I have been in nicer ones that are brought in for outdoor weddings or other such things, but then they are usually newer and not used at all yet.  The ones on the mountains though are just so incredibly gross. I just tell the girls the whole time we are in there, "whatever you do, don't look down."  I gag now just thinking about it.  Back to the main story...

After we paid and grabbed our tubes, we headed to one of the smaller hills because the girls were a little nervous and wanted to start there.  To be honest I was fine starting there too.  Sonya and Georgia went down almost immediately raving about how much fun it was and climbed the stairs to go again. Lana though.  Well Lana and I spent 10 minutes on that first little hill together.  She was nervous to go down, I sat there trying to convince her everyone else was still alive after sledding, and she would be too.  I think it was that fact that she had to go on her belly head first that freaked her out.  She would start to lay down  and then say  "No, no, no, I don't want to."  Andy claimed I was babying her, but I know how Lana is.  She has always been this way.  It takes her a minute to try anything new, food, swimming, jumping off the diving board, skiing, sledding, bike riding, roller blading, whatever.  She is convinced something bad is going to happen to her.  I knew as soon as she did it though she would love it.  

I'm not sure exactly what it was that made her finally go.  At one point I gave up trying to convince her  and went down without her to show her it was fine.  Not to long after that, she went with me and that was that.  There was no stopping her.  She loved it as I knew she would.  

When we first got there all three of the girls agreed they weren't going near the big hill.  Even after Lana had been going down the smaller one, she pointed to the big hill and said, 

"There is no way I'm going down that one!"

I reminded her that she didn't want to go down the little one at first and look how much fun she was having.  So she said,

"Okay maybe I will at some point but NOT today."

"That's fine," I told her.  

At the end of our hour we were all riding down that big hill.  And we were all loving it.  It is only an hour you pay for at a time.  You can go more, but then you pay more.  At first I thought-an hour that's it?  But trust me, after walking up those stairs a bunch of times you are exhausted and done after your hour.  At one point we all went down together which was comedic.  I laughed so hard when, at one point, Andy was trying to push us all down the hill together, and Sonya and Georgia accidentally broke free leaving Andy holding on to Georgia's mitten at the top of the hill. 


Andy and the girls going down the hill together.
It was one of the best family days we've had as a family and a great way to end the year.  The girls keep talking about how they want to go back.  It was fairly easy too, minus the detour we made to the other mountain an hour away.  I was proud of us that we found a way to salvage the day even though we ran into a problem and our original plan didn't work out.  It was a good lesson for all of us.  Especially for me, because when my plans get thrown off I tend to get anxious.  It was one of those days where I thought to myself, "We are good at family!" 

*(credit to that line goes to the show The Goldbergs, which if you aren't watching you should be!)
Me and Lana

Georgia, Sonya and Andy

Happy 2016 everyone!  Hope to write more for you in this year and here's to everyone finding a day where they feel they are good at family too.  I know all to well how some days that is so hard to do.  




Sonya and Georgia

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Raising 21st Century Woman

A couple weeks ago, the little girls were sitting at the counter in the kitchen doing their homework.  I was getting dinner ready and helping  them when needed. They started chatting to each other about life will be like when they get older and have families and lives of their own.

Georgia- "Remember Lana, when we get big we will take turns working and taking care of our kids."

Lana- "Yeah, some days I will go to work and you will stay home with your kids and my kids and some days you will go to work and I will stay home!"

Georgia-"Yup!"

I was surprised to learn that they had worked out such a great solution on their own to what haunts every mother around the world.  The pull between wanting to stay home and raise your kids on your own, and wanting to continue to be in the working world to keep your own identity, and because you know, money.  They had thought of a job sharing situation all on their own.  Not that either one of them know what they want to do for a job, so who knows if it would even lend itself to this scenario, but hey!  Good for them for thinking of this.  Then Georgia thought of something better.

Georgia- "Wait a minute!  Why don't we just make our HUSBANDS stay home and WE will go to work!"

Lana- "Oh yeah!  Let's do that!"

Wow.  We sure have come a long way in just a couple of generations.  From woman doing no work outside the home, to working or staying home, to working and having Dad stay home and having it be a NORMAL situation.  I will admit, I have worried from time to time that my staying home with the girls might make them think that they shouldn't work or shouldn't want to work, but I truly believe that everyone needs to do what is right for them.   I do feel sometimes I am looked down on for not working at all, but I like being a stay at home mom.   I think moms who work are doing what is best for them as well and we should all be tolerant of what others decide to do for their own families.  And Dads!  My generation has definitely been the first to do this.  It's nice to know that my girls' generation will be the first to make it not such a novelty.  After listening to their conversation about this, I realized I have done a good job conveying to them that they make whatever decision they want as far as working and family is concerned.  We are no longer expected to fit into one mold or another and I think that is a great success for both moms AND dads.  

Friday, September 25, 2015

My Morning Ray of Sunshine

Getting up in the morning has always been a chore for me.  I don't know how I was as a little kid, but I can remember being older and my mom threatening to pour buckets of water on me if I didn't get my ass out of bed.  I HATED getting up in the morning.  I still do.  So I don't know why I find it so hard to believe that my girls are right there with me.  Well, not all of them.  Lana is most definitely without a doubt the best morning person you've ever seen.  Yes, I said Lana.  

During the week, I aim to get everyone  up between 6:30-6:40 depending on when I drag my own ass out of bed.  Sonya sets an alarm, hits snooze a couple of times,  and I still have to make sure she gets up.  She is not fun to get up.  She huffs, and whines and buries herself back under the covers.  Sometimes Georgia is in her bed with her, because I don't know that I have told you all this but, Georgia does not like to sleep alone in her bed.  She always ends up in someone else's bed in the middle of the night.  Usually mine and Andy's first, but I move her after I wake up to find myself on two inches of mattress at 4AM with her feet in my face.  Since Sonya has a double bed, I usually opt to put her in there.  I try to put her back in her own bed, believe me.  Sometimes she refuses to go,  gets stubborn and at 4AM you tend to give in to what the hell they want so you can just go back to sleep, dammit!  Anyway-when she is in Sonya's bed in the morning I have to wake her up at the same time.  I usually  drag her out of Sonya's bed and carry her to her room where I plop her on the floor.  There she stays curled in a ball snoozing for at least another ten minutes.  Then I go to the kitchen where every two minutes, I yell for them to get up and get moving while making breakfast.  It's an incredibly enjoyable morning routine I assure you.  Especially since I myself hate to get up and am always exhausted.  If it weren't for the fabulous people who invented coffee, I would never survive. 

The other day Georgia wrote out her daily morning routine on the whiteboard in her room.  I think she was just trying to make it clear how she feels about getting up in the morning, so she added a little something...


For those of you who can't read my daughter's beautiful handwriting she acquired from me, after "wake up" she wrote "gron".  Which of course means "groan", but hey she's a 2nd grader, we are still working on the spelling.  Either way, she made sure she added into her morning routine a way to let everyone know how unhappy she was to be awake at that time of the morning.  Yup, those two are fun times to get going every morning.  Usually by Friday they are marginally better have it down, but then that pesky weekend comes and they sleep in throwing everything off on Monday morning.  It's a vicious cycle. Yes I know I should have them wake up at the same time on the weekend, but screw that.  Andy and I want to sleep in too!

There is one spot of sunshine every morning though...Lana.  I do not wake Lana up ever.  Last year she started getting up on her own.  Then she asked for an alarm clock so we go her one for her birthday. What 8 year old asks for an alarm clock as a birthday present?  Now she sets it for 6:15 every morning.  When it goes off she immediately turns it off.  No snooze for her! Then she proceeds to get dressed, make her bed, some mornings she will remember to unload her dishwasher or feed the cat when it's her turn.  When I come to their rooms in the morning to wake everyone up, there is Lana sitting on her made bed reading her latest book, with a smile and a cheery, "Good morning,  mommy!"  I do NOT know where this kid came from!  Because as I said, I have never been a morning person, so you would think that perhaps Andy is or was, but no.  Some days he groans louder than Georgia when he has to wake up.  

All I do know is I am so thankful that Lana is the way she is.  I suppose if I think about it I have my parents genetics to thank.  My parents have always been morning people.  My mother especially.  She was the type to wake you up with a song.  Oh how I hated that song in the morning.  She was always so damn cheery.  So perhaps the early bird gene got passed on to Lana. (Thanks mom and dad!)  I'm glad it did, because if all three of them were super grumpy in the morning, I'm not sure any amount of coffee would get me through that first hour of the day.  With Lana's smiling face and happy morning disposition, I can deal with what the other two throw at me.  

On the plus side, this past week I have been trying to put Georgia back in her bed after she comes to our bed in the middle of the night.  Sonya does not like having her in her bed, because of Georgia's starfish style of sleeping.  Can't blame the girl I guess.  So because she has been in her own bed in the mornings, Lana has decided to get Georgia up with her.  It's been like a dream.  Both of them up, dressed and in pleasant moods.  Only Sonya has been the obstacle.  I just need Lana to rub off on her too and we will be all set.  Maybe I can even sleep until 7 and have them come wake me up.  Then I can be the one to wake up and groan.  Oh wait-I do that already.  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Sonya's New Adventure

Well here we are three weeks into the school year and I finally have my shit together to sit down and write something. Anything at this point!  I always thought that when my girls were all in school I would have all this time to get everything done.  Turns out having all my girls in school means that I am in school more too.  I help out in the classrooms and chair a few PTA positions, so I end up with almost no time to do other things like writing.  However, I decided to forget about everything I'm supposed to be doing right now, to get back to my writing for a minute.  Especially because there is so much in my head that I keep thinking about wanting to write about.  Today it's about middle school.

Yes, Sonya started middle school this year.  I know some places middle school doesn't start until 7th grade and to be honest that might have been a better transition for us, but since Burbank Unified doesn't care about just my family, we had to go with what has already been in place for years.  It was a bit of a rough transition.  Well, let me clarify that.  It was a bit of a rough anticipation time this summer.  

As most of you know, Sonya is already on the young side of her peers.  Because her birthday is in November, and because when she started school the cut off date was December 1st, she started Kindergarten at four, turning five in November of that year.  It was a decision we struggled with and one which we would not have to think about today if she was going to kindergarten.  They moved the cut off date to September here in Burbank now.  We felt like we made the right decision at that time, because she was so smart, and academically she has always done well in school.  Emotionally, she is sometimes a bit behind.  She was sad to leave elementary school in May and this summer we went through some rough patches with her.  She was very emotional at times, crying for what appeared to be no reason and just being generally melancholy.  Now, I realize this is just a sign of things to come.  I remember being 14 and it was not pretty.  However I thought I had a least a couple more years of having to deal with this.  No such luck.

Some days she had so much attitude toward me I thought she was already 14 and I just missed it.  Other days she was her normal sweet little girl self.  Then there were the days of just general blahness.  I try to keep the girls busy during the summer.  They do a couple weeks of camp and we go everywhere from the beach to the museums here.  Luckily we live in a place that there is no lack of fun things to do.  That did not stop her from getting upset from time to time.  The unfortunate part is that she seemed to get more moody once a month when I did.  Not sure how our cycles are matching up already, since she's nowhere near starting hers, but I swear it seemed to.  So we got on each others nerves quite often.  It was a bit rough.  Thankfully, there is wine.  And a Bev-mo is two miles away to buy more wine.  For me, not her.  Although some days that might not have been a bad idea.  I think the Europeans are on to something giving their kids a glass of wine at dinner.  

As the end of the summer neared she started to get worse.  Every time I would try to get to the root of the problem she would insist she didn't know what it was.  Her best friend, who's birthday is in December and is almost an entire year older than she is, was ecstatic to start middle school.  She couldn't wait.  When I thought about that, and combined it with the way Sonya was sad at the end of elementary school, sprinkle on being younger than everyone else... it finally hit me.  

We were in the car going to the beach one day during one of our last weeks.  It had been another difficult morning with her where she ended up in tears and I was ready to tear my hair out.  After a few minutes in the car I said,

"Sonya, I think you are having a really hard time dealing with the fact that you are going to middle school.  I think you might be nervous and that's why you've been acting like this."

She shrugged and replied through her leftover tears, "Daddy kinda said the same thing to me yesterday."

"Well what do you think?" I asked.

"Maybe," she admitted.  "I don't know."

I then went on to explain to her that it is completely fine to be nervous and scared and even to embrace it.  She needed to realize that is what was making her so unhappy and stop trying to fight it.  I think she was having a constant battle with herself about this.   I realized that maybe she thought everyone else was excited to go to middle school and she was the only one feeling this way.

"Do you think everyone feels the same way about going to middle school as Charlotte does?"

"Kinda," she said.

"Well, I have news for you," I told her.  "More people feel the way you do about going than the way Charlotte does.  And if Charlotte is completely honest, even though I know she is excited, I am sure there is a part of her that is scared too."

"Really?" she asked.

"Of course!" I told her.  "It's completely normal to feel the way you are! It's a new school with a whole new set of circumstances.  I know for a fact that Garrett is nervous too."

"Really?"

"Yup," I said.  "I talked to his mom the other day about it."

About a week before we had been out at a concert in Burbank and I ran into another mom I knew.  Her son and Sonya had been in classes together over the years at the elementary school.  We had started talking about our summers and the kids starting middle school soon.   I had mentioned Sonya's emotional state and she said her son had been the exact same way all summer.  Informing Sonya of this fact seemed to put her mind at ease.  Over the next couple of weeks she became more pleasant and less stressed.  We went back to school shopping and she started to become excited about the new year and new things to come.  She was still nervous and would cry from time to time, but at least now she allowed herself to feel this way and not battle it.  

A couple weeks before school started we had to go register at the school  and get her books and her lock for her locker.  Seeing the school and becoming more familiar with it helped even more.  She constantly asked me questions over the next few days about her locker, or her classes, most of which I couldn't answer since I haven't been to middle school in quite a few years, and never went to this one.  One night at dinner  she said,

"I just wish I wasn't the first one to go.  Like when Lana and Georgia go, I will be able to tell them everything so it won't be as scary for them."

"I know," I told her.  "It's one of the things you have to take on being the oldest.  I totally understand that because it was the same for me.  It's hard, but it's a good job for you and you will make it easier for them in a few years."

Knowing that she had the job of learning it all first seemed to help her even more. 

The first day of school came and she was a bundle of nerves, but she was definitely ready.  She was up early and ready to go well before we had to.  We all walked her down to the school to send her off on her first day.  We were allowed  that day to come on campus and walk our 6th graders to their lockers.  As we entered the hall where her locker and first class were,  I was immediately hit with the incredible urge to  burst into tears.  It was like taking her to her first day of Kindergarten all over again.  Now I was the emotional one and it was completely unexpected. I swallowed hard and breathed deep, because it's one thing for kids to see their parents crying on the first day of kindergarten, but it's a WHOLE different embarrassing thing to see them cry on your first day of 6th grade.  I couldn't let her have that stigma.  It took some doing but I managed to get through it without tears.

She found her first class where Charlotte was already waiting.  Coincidentally, they ended up in ALL the same classes, which was also a huge help for Sonya's nerves.  We hugged and kissed her goodbye and walked out of the school to let her begin her next adventure.  THEN I cried.  I mean I wasn't going to hold back forever.  

The best part was when she came home that day.  She couldn't have been more happy or excited about being at school.  She loved every minute of it and enjoyed every class.  Sonya has always loved school, but the past couple of years that love started to wane, like it does for most kids.  So perhaps she was ready to move on to changing classes, taking P.E. every day and housing all her belongings in a locker.  I've often questioned the decision we made to send her to school so early and sometimes think we made a mistake.  Then I remember what a bright, strong,  brave, independent, social, sweet girl Sonya is.  She may be emotional, but she always finds a way to rise above.  That four year old kindergartner turned into a 10 year old middle school er more quickly than I could have imagined or liked.  I'm positive that her middle school years will be just as successful as her elementary school years were.  I  know, without a doubt, that we did make the right decision all those year ago.  I also know, that no matter what, I will always cry along with her with every transition she goes through.  Why does no parenting book warn you of those things?  

Excited and nervous


Lana, Sonya, Georgia - They are getting so damn big! The other 2 started 3rd and 2nd grade.

Sonya and her best friend Charlotte

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Making Memories

I'm sure I have mentioned somewhere in the 500 posts of this blog that our family is part of Red Sox Nation.  By that I mean we are Red Sox fans.  Well, let me qualify that.  Andy has been a long suffering Red Sox fan since the day he was born, watching them lose throughout his childhood.  When they won the World Series back in 2004, for the first time in 86 years, I was pregnant with Sonya and only a month away from giving birth.  While I wasn't born a Red Sox fan as he was,  I became one in college.  I had never watched much baseball growing up, but if you are living in Boston without a baseball team you better start cheering for the Sox or you better get out of Boston.  So I did. Cheer for the Sox that is.  I loved Boston.  It helped that my best friend, Melissa, and I could see Fenway Park from the roof of our apartment Senior year.  So when they were in the playoffs back in '04 I was just as excited as any long life fan.  Okay, perhaps I didn't get all the suffering for so long, but still.  I was pretty sure I was going to put myself into labor cheering for those games.  Luckily I did not.  Since then we have gotten to watch them win two more World Series.  One when Lana was just a baby and one a couple years ago when all three girls were old enough to watch it  on TV.  Luckily they will not spend their baseball fan years pinning away for a team that seems cursed.  They get to watch and cheer for the Red Sox knowing they have won 3 World Series (so far) in their lifetime.  

Before we had the girls, Andy and I would go to see the Sox play the Angels every summer when they came to Anaheim.  We went a couple years after having the girls, and even took Sonya one year when she was about six.  However, we haven't been in at least four years.  We've taken the girls to a couple Dodgers games, just to see some baseball.  For a long time the tickets for the Red Sox/ Angles games were way to expensive for five of us.  Just Andy and I going meant our tickets plus babysitting so we just forgot about it for a while.  Then this summer, Melissa mentioned to me about going.  She still tries to go every year.  While the Angels have been doing well this season, the Red Sox, not so much, so I thought perhaps I could find some reasonable tickets.  Fortunately, there were plenty.  They were the seats pretty high in the stadium, but they were $18 a piece.  Perfect to take the girls to.  It would give them the baseball experience, while cheering for our favorite team.

For those of you who don't live in California, you have no doubt heard about the drought horrors here.  The stories are all true.  In the 19 years I've lived here, I've never seen it so dry.  We are constantly monitoring how long the water runs in the shower, flushing toilets with water we collect in the shower, not watering our lawn, whatever we can think of.  When we went back east a couple weeks ago, I cringed at all the water waste there and had to remind myself that Florida has plenty of rain.  I don't think we've seen real rain since February?  Maybe there was a storm in March?  I can't remember.  So, when the weather reports were all predicting rain for this past weekend, Andy and I pretty much ignored it.  First of all it is July and even in our wettest years, it did not rain in July.  Second of all- no rain since this past winter.  Tickets for the game were for Sunday evening at 5pm.  They were talking rain Saturday and MAYBE Sunday.  Even if we got it on Saturday that would be it.  It would definitely not rain on Sunday.  When it did end up pouring all day on Saturday, we figured that was it.  We go rain-Yay!  But we would not see it again until November.  

I'm assuming you all can see where this is going....

Here..




That is Angels stadium at start time on Sunday evening.  Good thing I got the high up seats.  We were actually under cover.  We sat there for a while thinking it would eventually stop.  So did everyone else.  People who couldn't sit in their rain filled seats were hanging out on the concourse, consuming hot dogs and beer.  The thing is about rain in SoCal, is that even if is does actually rain, it never lasts long.  Maybe an hour, hour and a half tops.  Well this is what the powers that be thought too, because they moved the start time of the game from 5:05 to 7:15 thinking that they could wait it out, clear off the field and start the game.  We too were hopeful.  



We hung out with the rest of the fans at our seats, ate hot dogs, had a couple beers, chatted with each other, and were entertained by the videos of Angels players trying to "name that tune", and watched it rain.  My favorite part of that was when Sonya named Michael Jackson's "Beat It" well before the player in the video.  You gotta play the classics for your kids!   

At one point I realized my friend BethAnnDoddKoehn was there with her family just a few sections over from us.  So we all took a walk to say hi and chat with them.  It was a party at the stadium in the rain!  And it did continue to rain.  Huh.

Then 7 o'clock came.  The sky started to look lighter and it appeared to be slowing down, but when you looked at the tarp covering the infield you could see it was still coming down.  Still, it was slow enough for them to decide to do this...


They were out there with push brooms, doing their best to get the water off the field, but it was a futile effort.  They worked on it for 20 minutes, but the rain kept coming down.  Then a few of them huddled together and five minutes later we heard what we were dreading.  

"Ladies and Gentleman, today's game is being canceled due to rain."

A huge groan mixed with boos went up from the crowd.  What is this "game being canceled due to rain you speak of??"  That was the thought of  everyone there.  We don't see this kind of thing.  We see sunshine and blue skies and sure, brown grass, but at least our outside activities never get ruined!  Unfortunately this one did.  It was hard to be mad about it though, because damn do we need any rain we can get.  We were informed that we could have come back the next afternoon for the makeup game, but unfortunately the girls were starting an afternoon Girl Scout camp.  I would have been the only one able to go and where was the fun in that?  

The girls were definitely disappointed. I was sad for Lana and Georgia who had been so excited to see their first Red Sox game.  On the other hand, we kinda had a really fun night hanging out in the stadium, having dinner and watching it rain.  It no doubt became a core memory for me as I'm sure it did for my girls.  (For those of you who don't know what I mean by "core memory", go see Inside Out.  The best Pixar movie ever.  Loved it!)  It will go down in our family history as, "remember that one time when we were supposed to see the Red Sox and Angles play...." 

When we got home that night, I said to Georgia, 

"I'm sorry that we didn't get to see the game."

And she answered, "That's okay!  I had fun anyway!"

It's all in how you look at things.  Plus! We a got to become part of baseball, and more specifically Angles history, by being at the first rain out game in over 20 years. And who doesn't love being a part of history?



The mixed "core memory" emotions of the evening. 





Friday, July 10, 2015

Fact or FIC-SHUN?

A couple weeks ago, Georgia celebrated her seventh birthday.  This time in our nation's capitol of Washington D.C.  That child has not had a birthday at home for the past 3 years.  The pitfalls of having a summer birthday.  She doesn't seem to care though. In fact I think she likes being on vacation for her birthday.  Really- who wouldn't?

Let me just reiterate the fact that she is SEVEN.  You guys-I have been pregnant free for over seven years now!  Yay!  Although in all honesty, I am sad about that fact as well.  However, having older kids does have it's benefits, like being able to travel much easier and having three slaves capable children to do my bidding.  You know like oil changes and plumbing repair.  Okay fine!  Just unloading the dishwasher and making their beds, but still, at least it's less for me to do.  

Georgia has grown up so much in this past year.  She looks more like a little girl now than a kindergarten baby of last year.  She reads like crazy and she can do so much for herself now.  Although she still won't walk to my bedroom in the middle of the day.  You know we have monsters in our hallway that like to eat little kids.  Did I not tell you that?  Yes, if a child under 10 walks down our hall alone, the monsters will get you.   At least this is what I'm fairly certain Georgia thinks.  She is also getting better with the lying.  Well, let me rephrase that.  She is getting better with telling us when she is lying or telling us a FIC-SHUN story.  No, no.  I didn't misspell that.  That is how she says it.  "This story is FIC-SHUN!!"  That is something I started making her say to us about a year ago when we realized she was making up stories that sounded very real but in fact were not.  One of these stories led me to talking to her teacher, when she claimed she was having problems with a boy at school and told a entire story about him that was not true.  So now when she starts to tell a story that sounds like it might be a tad outlandish I give her a look and she will say-"Oh!  This is a FIC-SHUN story!"  Her sisters will even call her on it when they feel like it's being made up asking her, "Georgia is this a FIC-SHUN story?"  The good news is she always cops to it and while she still makes things up, she at least lets us know she is doing so.  

Regardless of all that, she will still start off with a lie now and then.  Especially when she feels like it will make her sound or look better than another person, usually her sister.  The last week of school was more or less nothing but fun times for them, as it always is in elementary school.  Lana was telling me about all the fun things her teacher had planned for the week and Georgia was standing there listening.  Now I don't know why this is the favorite fun thing for them to do at school but it is,  wear their pajamas one day.  Georgia and Lana love doing this.  Lana's teacher had planned a PJ day, but Georgia's teacher had not, even though they had other fun things planned that week.  The fact that Georgia was not getting to wear her pajamas, made her a bit jealous of Lana.   I wasn't surprised at her response to Lana telling me,

"We get to have pajama day on Tuesday!! I'm so excited!"

Georgia looked at Lana and said, "Yeah well my teacher said we get to wear our pajamas watch a movie, have popcorn AND pizza!"  

Now I don't know about you, but that sounds like a pretty kick ass day in first grade.  I also know that about 75% of what she said was completely untrue.  Even though she said this to Lana, I was sitting at the counter in the kitchen and heard every word.  She looked over at me, caught me starting at her and before I even had a chance to open my mouth she said, 

"I just made all that up."  

All I could do was laugh.  So far I think I have curbed the lying without squelching her imagination.  Point in the mommy column!  I only hope that when she's 16 she continues to tell me when it's a FIC-SHUN story or that she made something up.  You know -like this...

"I'm spending the night at Luna's.  Okay no.  That's FIC-SHUN, I'm really going to a party over at the abandoned where house where there will be lots of drinking."

That's totally plausible right?  

In the meantime, I will enjoy this win and wish my beautiful last baby a Happy (belated) 7th Birthday.  You are the sunshine in our mornings and the laughter throughout our days, and I promise that is not FIC-SHUN!