Friday, December 5, 2008

survival






after leaving the kids at mitchell park with my mom, i headed over to san luis drive for a little run. i love san luis drive for so many reasons. its a great place to run in slo because its flat, there are no streetlights, and the houses are beautiful! i like to run by and choose which one i would live in, or let my mind wander to what the people who live in them are like. i had a quite a few friends in high school who were rich enough to live there, now i know no one... except of course phyllis madonna. i've been enjoying watching the progress on her brand new palace located directly across the street from her current mansion. of course i can only praise this new construction cause it was designed by the one and only bob richmond.

so anyway the other thing i love about this infamous neighborhood is that its just a heartbeat away from my ol stomping grounds. and since i'm in contact with so few people from high school (or so i think), i thought i'd take you back to some memories from my glory days.

high school for me was so many things. all in all, it was a successful 4 years--aside from a few common blunders..
as a 95 lb sophomore taking 9 shots of southern comfort before the homecoming dance to 'take the edge off' i somehow found myself in the principle's office shouting obscenities. needless to say i was extremely humbled and actually didn't drink for a whole year after the fiasco (can someone please get me a medal). somehow even after i took up the ol bottle again (strictly in a casual sense) i was able to secure my first real boyfriend. i quickly plunged into the existential emotional chaos of first love... as painful and wonderful as it was somehow i was able to overcome my reputation as a complete lush and rock the title of slo high class of 97 homecoming queen. i know what a turn-around!!! they don't call me the come back kid for nuthin!


in all seriousness, i truly believe high school is hard for all of us. despite my friends, and hangin with the "in" crowd, i totally struggled with the day to day. the drama of my friends, the clothes i wore, worrying bout my boyf cheating, playing good basketball... the list goes on and is different for all of us.
so when i was running by the high school and saw all the kids walking back from 7-11 and franks, i wasn't surprised when i saw an overweight girl walking by herself eating a sandwich. when i ran by her i saw headed in the other direction a group of guys. i desperately wanted to slow down and walk by with her to ensure the boys didn't say anything mean to her, but i just kept on. i couldn't get her out of my head as i ran on. i tried to reassure myself that she did have friends and she was happy and she loved high school.. and as i ran and tried to will friends to her, all of the sudden pumping out of my ipod came.. "SHOT THROUGH THE HEART AND YOUR TO LATE, DARLIN YOU GIVE LOVE A BAD NAME!" and suddenly i felt this surge- like i could conquer the world and so could she!! she's probably wicked smart and gonna go to yale or somethin and be the most popular girl in the world!! not really, but what i realized is that even if you don't have the friends or the clothes, you probably have something- and maybe, just maybe its bon jovi that gets you through the day.
so i'm super curious to know---what got you through high school???

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

morning yearning













'morning yearning' is the title to one of my favorite ben harper songs.

i've been dreading this post for awhile, but also hoping to glean some sort of therapy from it.
i know this may sound dramatic, especially when most days i fume about how mad my chillin' are making me, but the reality is i'm such a softy at heart. the older they get, the harder it is for me to leave them.
perhaps its the speech- the fact that they too now have their words (words are undoubtedly the way to my heart), or maybe its just the time spent, a solid 3.5 years for lils and almost 2 for oz. whatever the reason, i am just sick about having to go on vacation without them.
one of b's best friends from college is getting married in oaxaca, mexico this january. although there was no mention that it was a kid free event, we somehow made the decision back in april to go solo. the tickets purchased (award mileage!), the deal done. after much thought we decided the kids will stay at our house with b's parents, and my mom will be available at a moments notice to help. i'm aware i couldn't ask for a better way to leave them (at home with not one, but two sets of grandparents!!), but the crazy thing is, is most days i have at least one solid hour of anxiety about it. things like, what if they don't know that morning smoothie goes in a straw sippy, and juice goes in an ozzy sippy, or how many naps will oz have to wake without me to ease him out of dreamworld, or what if my in laws can't find a park to take them to.
when i think about it in depth, i realize that perhaps it isn't even that their needs won't be met in the perfect fashion they are day to day with mom and dad. maybe its more that i will miss them so terribly i will ache. my mom tells me of the time she left my brother for the first time. he was 3, and i was 4 years away from even being born. she went to hawaii, and described her time as, "restful at first, but then a yearning came over me that was so intense, that my body and soul literally ached for him..."
i know. we're a dramatic lot. most of you are thinking- "i'd leave my kids with anyone to be able to go on a trip alone with my spouse.." yet i can't quite get there. i know i'll miss them terribly, but the thing that seems to irk me the most is knowing that they will be missing me. that just kills me. as a mom i never knew that my desire to see my kids happy would outweigh everything- from the mundane to the major, i really just want to see them smile.
often times when i'm laying with lily after i read her books, i began to write out the 15 page manual in my mind i will undoubtedly compose before we leave. yet i can't ever sit down to write it because i'm concerned things will be different in two months. nothing major, but even two months ago we'd rock oz to sleep for his nap, now we just lay him in his crib. or that lily only wears shiny pink shoes to preschool then immediately puts on her flip flops. kids love routine, and they love when you know what they love. will they really survive 5 days without me???

whatever the result, the time will ultimately present itself and b will likely have to pry me away. our drive to the airport will undoubtedly be me trying to stifle my cries, while b wonders if this was really such a good idea. and once i get over being convinced we will die on the airplane, i might muster up the strength to have a margarita to take the edge off... at that point b will likely have to hide the phone so i don't start drunk dialing my own kids. oh mexico, will you really be worth it?
so my dear friends, think of me the second week of january and if you get a chance, throw one up for my kids... and well, me.

i guess ben nailed it, cause the last refrain sums up my sediments....
like a summer rose I’m a victim of the fall
But am soon returning
Soon returning
You’re love’s the warmest place the sun ever shines
my morning yearning

Sunday, November 9, 2008

craving culture

when i was seven my dad moved out. what proceeded over the next year was your basic divorce. in my little mind it seemed amicable and surprisingly pleasant. i never felt torn or scared, almost as if my child likeness was a blessing. my brother, 15 at the time left to go live with my dad in a small apartment on the other side of town, while my mom and i stayed in the "big house" until it sold. because the big house demanded a bigger mortgage my mom began to entertain the idea of having a roommate to help cover the expense. it seemed logical, we lived close to cal poly and the house was plenty big enough for us and another person. she put an ad up, and we quickly began to get responses. because i was young, i obviously didn't have any say in the matter, and before i knew it my mom introduced me to john carter. looking back i wonder if i was in her shoes would i have allowed a college age man to live with me and lily? would i have felt safe and confident that he would act responsible and upstanding around myself, but more importantly my daughter? its hard to say, but looking back it is so clear that john carter was undoubtedly sent by god. the impact he had on our lives is so vivid and relevant in my life today.

when john began moving his things in, our neighbors began to talk in hushed whispers. ironically, to the left and across the street from us were devout mormons. growing up with them, it mattered little that i wasn't mormon, or even remotely religious (that came way later). i spent countless hours playing across the street with leslee keep- with our birthdays 1 week apart- we were destined to be friends. i loved her family, and they were such a source of stability for me as my parent's marriage began to unravel. when barb, leslee's mom confronted my mom about john, my mom simply said that she felt totally confident in her decision.

why the fuss? john carter was african american.

sometimes i wonder how my mom managed to not only secure a man to live with us, but a black man- demographically speaking the odds were entirely unlikely (less than 1% at cal poly). john lived with us while we lived in the big house, and after it sold, he packed up alongside us and moved into a little 3 bdrm house on pismo st. the front room johns, the middle moms, and the last mine. in tow came oscar- the dachshund- my consolation prize for losing my dad. the funny thing about oscar is he never got used to john, though he was also brown- he was more racist than any of us- barking incessantly at john any time he came through the door.
john lived with us his entire college career- 5 years. At the end he graduated the first black man magna cum laude in math. those were formative years for me. i have so many memories of life with him and my mom...

i remember he used to spend a lot of time in his room. i only went in there a handful of times, he was protective of his privacy. the times i did i wanted so bad to look through his books, and inspect his prized watch, instead i just stared and imagined sneaking in when he left (i never did). john studied a lot. i never once saw him drink alcohol and his beautiful girlfriend, erica never spent the night. he went to church every sunday... and a few times managed to drag us along.
john cooked a lot. our house was really old, so when he'd get going in the kitchen, the smell could be so intense. i used to feel embarrassed about all those smells- from the "exotic" foods, to the creams and lotions he used for his skin and hair- i knew my house didn't smell like my neighbors and friends. sometimes i'd wish so much that we could be normal- that my mom would cook and it would smell of fresh baked bread or chocolate chip cookies- not leftover hushpuppies and black eyed peas...

i'll never forget the time i was playing in the creek (it was literally our backyard)
and i somehow managed to fall in a bush and get probably 50 little briar balls all ratted up in my hair. when i came up to the house, my mom was so overwhelmed, she got a brush and was using it and her hands to try to get them out. john came home, and seeing my mom's frustration, immediately got a bottle of conditioner and got to work. he spent an hour and half getting all the briars out and getting my hair combed. talk about a labor of love... and patience!
sometimes my mom would ask john to tutor me in math. i remember being so frustrated that he made me figure out the answer- he'd never just show me the formula, or give me the answer, he'd always make me work for it!
i can also remember walking into the kitchen and seeing my mom near tears talking to john. i always steered clear, but she's since told me that he was such a huge support to her as she went through the divorce and navigated her way through life with a pre-teen daughter. my mom told me that john told her when he moved out that she was the most beautiful woman inside and out that he had ever met... my mom savors that.. i would too.

having a black man live with us quickly became something we didn't even think about. rarely even behind closed doors did we talk about what it might look like. in fact john never brought up race. in retrospect, i know that he felt strongly tied to his african american roots. i remember talking about martin luther king, and he kept correcting me to say, Dr. King. i would ask him crazy questions, like, "what if dr. king was white, wouldn't that have been better- then people might not have killed him right?" and john would just look at me and say, "why does it matter what color he was?"
the one time i remember john being really upset was when he came home from gottschalks. obviously not a place he frequented, he went there one evening to find a birthday gift for his mom. he said the moment he walked in the door, till the time he left, a security guard followed him. he never went to gottschalks again.


this morning while i was running with oz in the stroller my thoughts kept meandering to the election. i passed many yard signs, about half for obama and half for mccain (i was in the burbs of LO). my mind wandered to john, i wondered what he thought of all this, and if he was voted for obama. i began to think about where he is now. i found myself wishing he still lived here. wishing that i could have his kids babysit mine, that we could have him over for dinner and chat vigorously about raising kids, the economy, price of homes, and of course politics and religion. i crave culture, i long for more diversity. but then i realize that for him, living here would likely make him 1 of 5 black families in los osos, and all that culture i long for could be oppressed if felt he had to subdue it. i imagine he's happier in mississippi- i picture him married to erica with five or six little kids running around. i like to think of him with lots of aunts and uncles and cousins around, going to church on sunday, teaching math at the local uni, making egg pie and grits... as i lost myself in john's current life i couldn't believe my eyes, i looked up and right there walking down pecho avenue was a black man. at first glance i thought maybe it was just a guy wearing a black beanie, but as i quickened my pace i caught up and sure enough walking by was an attractive black man probably in his late twenties, walking down the street with the cutest little five month old in a baby bjorn. seeing as how i'd never seen him before in los osos, let alone my little neighborhood, it took everything in me not to stop and try to talk to him. with restraint, i instead ran on by imagining what smells were being conjured up in his kitchen tonight, and wonder if he ever got the opportunity to live with a divorcee white woman and her pre-teen daughter?

so this is for you john... wherever you are. i wish you could know how much you shaped and defined who i am. i am eternally indebted.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

gobama or mycain?



disclaimer: don't proceed if you feel intensely passionate about one candidate or another- this is strictly my opinion and it is not my intent to alienate anyone, including myself...

now that it's cool to think sarah palin is un-intelligent and backwoods, i gotta jump aboard another train...
not really, but sort of. its funny how the media can swing so hard on some one so fast. yeah she says stupid things, but really, i can't imagine how up a creek i'd be if i was up for any sort of election. my mouth is constantly a runnin, and makin shiz up.
so anyway. drum roll please......
since the beginning i've been pretty confident i was going to swing to the left. but after seeing mccain on ellen, and getting to know mrs. palin, i wanted to look at as many angles as i could. and to be honest, though i've made my choice, i still struggle with some foundational issues..

age: it seems silly, but its actually really relevant. when i look at mccain, its obvious he's wicked old. and with age comes wisdom right... but being president when the US is practically crumbling away requires not just wisdom, but some serious energy. obama is young- he's determined, humble beginnings can't just be whashed away. in all honesty when i watched the debates, mccain just seemed tired. i really wonder if he has the drive and energy to help make us great again. oh, and just cause everyone else says it, "can you even imagine if he dies??? there is no way i would be okay if palin was our president, she has no experience!" shoot, she makes obama seem like the dali lama.

environment: k, those dems have always had us beat on this one. try as we might to get on the green train... we really are always two steps behind. i credit my brother 100% for any greenness our house has. he's been green since before it was cool- back when we use to laugh (like what could really happen to our world, god's in control right?) no, holly and b- that's ignorance. we have a responsibility, and lets be honest, the republicans (mccain included) def don't have the edge on this.

gay marriage: i know as a christian i'm supposed to be fired up about this one... but try as i might- i'm just not. i even watched that video about the dad getting arrested for protesting his kindergartner having the homosexual agenda forced on him. i understand what they're saying, but really is it going to make them more likely to be gay if they know it exists??? i don't know, i guess we go back to big question.. are you born gay? i don't know.. i guess i really like ellen.

abortion: this is the biggie for me. god's pretty clear about how he feels about unborn babies.. (see psalm 139:13-16) and i entirely agree. there isn't a bone in me that wavers. and it does bum me out that not everyone feels the same. however i often feel confused as to whether this issue is a deal breaker. with the last two presidents (bushy and clints) nothing really seemed to happen or change with abortion (spec roe v wade). and in all honesty i'm not sure what i want to change. i often feel really conflicted about illegalizing abortion- back alley's and home remedies can be fatal physically- not to mention the emotional implications. my hope for my own daughter would be to educate, and pray for abstinence- but also to create an environment that would allow her to come to me if that was not the avenue she chose. i know this election could bring changes to abortion laws with the appointment of new supreme court justices- however, i'm not totally convinced mccain would do anything anyway- though he preaches pro-life now- he hasn't always held that conviction. and based on his response during the oct 15th debates, its evident he wouldn't elect a judge to overturn roe v wade. in the words of the shredder, "the republicans were in charge for years and never took on roe v. wade. nut up or shut up."

so drum roll please... (if it isn't already obvious)..





i'm writing in hillary...
just kidding. (but you gotta admit, next to those chumps, she sure is looking pretty good these days)

i'm gonna vote for barack obama.


i know, i'm likely blacklisted once again. but i gotta be honest. i'm not totally sold. it's def been hard to jump outside of party lines, and since most everyone i know is voting for mccain, i feel conflicted. am i less of a christian for not siding with the evangelical right? i guess i'm just thankful only god decides.
when it comes to the core issues (not the periphereals i discussed above) i feel like obama's got a good handle on them.. economy (i mean is there really a solution), taxes (taxing peeps who make more than $250K- i really don't feel sorry for you), his health care plan blows doors on mccain's, and foreign policy- two words- joe biden.

although it hasn't been easy, and though i often feel like i'm wrestling with the lesser of two evils- other times i feel a real sense of hope. i can get excited and invigorated that our nation will likely be run by someone entirely unlikely. someone who really speaks for the people- a man who has known hardship and discrimination- a man who truly epitomizes the american dream. sometimes i'm actually excited and proud to be part of that history (even if i jumped on board way late)...
so think of me on nov 4, as we load up the kids and walk to the church on the corner to cast our vote for change. we'll be amongst our neighbors and friends, all trying to do our part to renovate, and also preserve this place we call home. so here's to democracy and unity... peace out my brothas and sistas... may the polls be with ya.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

dreaming of sunny lake tahoe



i'm pretty sure we'll never be able to camp again. we've returned from 5 amazing days in this pimp cabin in tahoe. from the hot tub, to radiant floors, to whirpool bath tubs, to flat screens in every room - we've officially crossed over. who knew hot running water could change you forever. its funny cause on the looooong drive up b and i were saying that as cool as tahoe is, it's just so far. we really couldn't see ourselves really ever wanting to have a second home up there (cause that's really an option right??). anyhow, that was a big fat lie. the second i swiped my key card and walked into this beauty i knew that i had arrived. i was pretty sure they would have to physically force me to leave.

highlights:

1) oz started saying yeah! instead of no to everything.
2) oz seen eating meat- its been at least 9 months since we've seen it
3) beebs trying to get nekid in the hut tub
4) the crisp tahoe mountain air
5) spending all day tues at the bomb ass pool (75 degree weather!)
6) getting to see my cousin whom i haven't seen in like 5 years
7) the drive up saw very little melt downs.
8) kings beach... sunny skies, glassy warm lake tahoe water
9) the almost free gondola ride at heavenly
10) waking up to snow- that's right snow- friday morning, and getting in the hot tub with lils to enjoy
11) stopping at non and pops on the way home for a break and some dinner


Not so good
1) upon arrival realizing that oz had been sitting in his own pee for lord knows how long (way overfull diaper)
2) the ice maker on the fridge- no joke even my super big gulp cup couldn't prevent ice from falling all over the floor.
3) our heavenly gondola passes not making it in time- but saved by a young lift operator who hooked us up on the DL.
4) having to leave the cabin

there you have it folks. i can't tell you how refreshing it was to get away. not that life is hard here- but just being spoiled in that cabin was really a treat. the kids were really great the whole time, and B and i got to enjoy some good food and wine. rarely do i go on vacation and not feel like i'm ready to go home by the end. but seriously, i could've stayed there maybe forever... in any event, we're back and life is still good- been diggin this super warm october weather- been getting some good beach time in till the time change (boo hoo)...
anyway, in sum- tahoe- you have my dearest affections. thanks for the memories.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

sum updates sans pictures

so here we are back from a solid week of holiday. last friday (the 3rd) we loaded up and headed down to santa barbara for some good ol fashioned camping at refugio- not pronounced (re-fu-fi-o). anyhow, we had a nice time despite it trying, and succeeding in raining on us. i must say, its quite a different experience camping down south then camping in big sur. i could digress into a lengthy rant about having all of bako camping in trailers across from you, or generators running all night, or a train literally above your head pounding its way through the campground. but i won't, cause it was out weighed by the fabulous company (atkinsons, browns, and wetzels), and the beautiful santa barbara beaches, and thankfully plenty of warm sunshine.
after arriving home sunday, we promptly cleaned ourselves up, did loads of laundry, and rested for our big drive to tahoe monday morning. all i can say about tahoe was it was the bi-zomb. i have reserved a whole separate entry for that, but i am awaiting pictures. they were in hand and ready to upload until b took our card and put them in some crazy card reader his parents had- thus somehow eliminating our pictures. however, the good news is that they are on b's parents computer and hopefully will make there way to this blog for your viewing pleasure.
in other news, we cut ozzy's mullet off. it was quite a task. after rocking him to sleep b came up and cut it off while he laid on me. i can't say how it turned out cause we had to lay him in bed after the job was done. i was quite torn about the cut, but decided that his hair wasn't growing out of the awkward in between time fast enough. update- k, when we got him out of bed this morning- lets just say it wasn't a good thing. he looked like a little girl! he had a severe- but very cute a-line. after some serious gummy bears and barney- we got it looking somewhat manageable (butchered). not quite what we had planned- but too late now! oz's hair isn't the only thing changing. his vocab seems to have quadrupled in the last week or so. he's putting 3 or 4 words together (mostly fighting words for lily), and he finally started saying yes! its not no to every single question any more.
lils is up to the same ol shenanigans. she's in a major bathing suit phase and pretty much insists on wearing a suit everyday. either by itself or under her other clothes. her #1 is of course, a bikini. everyday in tahoe i had to convince her it might snow to get her to wear, or at least bring some other clothes.
in house news...we finally got the backsplash settled on in our kitchen. b got a smokin deal on some handmade tiles at artisan's semi-annual sale, and we arranged to have it tiled while we were out of town. it was a fun little surprise to come home to. again, i will try to get some pics soon.
election update. in my undecidedness, i have made final decision on whom will be worthy of my vote. look forward to that revelation in the very near future.
so that's that for now. i'll try to get some pics up soon!

Monday, September 22, 2008

ol ferny round two









so we loaded up once again this weekend and headed up to big sur for some good ol fashioned family camping. i was a bit apprehensive about this trip, seeing as how it was the first time we had camped just us since this fiasco. i'm realizing that camping with friends is not only good for obvious reasons, but mostly for making up all the things i forget. i did pretty good this time, but the trip def wasn't without your basic highlights and lowlights...

highs:

1) the weather was insane! not a drop of fog- all sunny skies and little wind.
2) B got some great waves at sandollar on the way up
3) me actually bringing the dvd player for the 2 hour drive
4) a true to form big sur drum circle
5) some berkely coeds 2 sites down playing guitar and singing beetles, monkees, and john denver- all so nostalgic
6) ozzy asking me to sing "jebus lubs me" over and over and over!
7) B telling lil stories about jesus around the campfire
8) B catching a lizard!
9) lily actually trying, then eating at least 3 bites of bacon (as evidenced in the pictures)
10) the big sur river feet from our campsite, and beautiful redwoods overhead!
11) the kids sleeping through the night!!
12) getting home and cleaning the bejesus out of the van, then heading to maya for our traditional end of camping dinner!

Lows:

1) me putting arbonne's herbal diaper rash cream on the kids faces instead of the arbonne sunscreen (they look remarkably similar)
2) ozzy having a five alarm melt upon arrival
3) the dvd player breaking = more crying than usual
4) a true to form big sur drum circle for a good hour as kids falling asleep
5) almost having to camp next to a family with 5 boys!!! j/k- they were really sweet-but really, 5??!!
6) kids not napping the whole way home... without a dvd player. not a good thing.
7) B realizing, then stressing that our kids only eat crackers for all meals.

so there you have it... def more highs than lows. now we gearing up for refugio in two weeks! we can't wait.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the other one





i know you don't hear much about him- and no, i'm not talking about the dog (yes we have a dog and yes she makes us crazy). i'm talking about oz. its come to my attention that i really don't talk much about him. so much of my time and energy and consequently writing is devoted to our firstborn- when the reality is we have on our hands a beautiful and complicated little boy.
oliver cain was born about 19 months after his sister lily pearl. although i was pretty sure i was going to die giving birth to him, he came out unusually mellow. this behaviour continued most of his first year of life. perhaps he was forced to- with a big sister demanding most of our energy, oz resigned to just existing. oz took a paci, which i think largely contributed to way less crying than his sister, and he started sleeping through the night on his own at 6 months old. once he started crawling i surely thought some of that "boy" energy would start to rear its head- but to no avail. he was still super mellow, and generally very sweet. by the time his first birthday rolled around, i was convinced he'd be walking in no time.. 3 months later- at a whopping 16 months he finally took the plunge. it was around 14 months that i really started feeling the effects of having my kids so close together. oz was super obsessed with me- screaming every time i left the room- constantly clinging to me. i seriously thought i was going crazy. it took awhile, but his overall disposition did improve when he finally started walking. it was around this time that i started to notice the paci wasn't working any more. by 17 months- he was paci free! so here i was with a walking, pacifier less toddler, who was gradually becoming a little man.


a few things about oz. he's really cute- that's not a back brag- its your basic brag. he's one good looking kid. however, like lily, he doesn't exactly have the personality to match. i would even venture to say he's worse. when anyone says hi to him, he snarls hard at them. in fact the only people exempt are myself, brandon and my mom. he even does it to b's parents. if anyone would dare to touch or hold him, he'll snarl and possible bang his head on the nearest wall. it's rather unnerving, and often really embarrassing trying to explain it.. "sorry, its not you, its him- well its you affecting him- but whatever right- he does it to everyone, i promise its not your face."
like most parents though, we do get the side of oz that we wish all of you could experience- like smiles, funny talk, laughing, wrestling, growling- you know all the normal things kids do. oz calls all cars trucks, and whenever he sees a eurovan, he says "mama truck." he says a lot of words. like lily he was, and is very vocal. he'll pretty much repeat any word lily or i say if we ask, and it always gets us all a lot of laughs. he likes trucks and balls, but he's not obsessed with either- he loves a good wiggles, and eats next to nothing. no joke, oz eats trader joes mac and cheese every night. for lunch its tj's cottage cheese, and he'll sample the odd cheerio every so often. he won't even taste a bite of a cookie, and hasn't had meat in over 6 months.

but oz's favorite thing ever (besides me) is "back on." back on is what he calls ceiling fans. i really wish i could convey this obsession. he is totally crazy for ceiling fans, and the switches that control them. at his worst tantrum if we pick him up and take him over to the light switches, all is ok. he will lurch out of his stroller or bolt if we are walking downtown and he sees one. worse yet, if we are somewhere and the fan is not on, he will unceasingly say "back on, back on, back on" until the fan is in fact on.
i was telling b i can't remember lil at this age- but perhaps its cause we had a 3 month old- but whatever the case, i'm enjoying him more and more.
with his platinum hair and deep brown eyes, he's got my number. so cheers to you oz... you truly have my heart.

Friday, August 29, 2008

melikey veep palin



i couldn't resist- i've held off for awhile though. as the tear ran down my face at the democratic convention watching my homegirl rock it, it quickly dried when my second least favorite old white guy announced his new hot number. can you even believe it? i guess they signed her up to draw women voters and guess who just got sucked right in.. this is one wild election. what's not to like about this palin? she's a mom of 3? 4? no 5 kids! one of which with special needs. her eldest son enlisted in the army, her husband is part eskimo and some crazy ass snowmobiler- and she poses for vogue in north face clothes. did i mention she's a woman- and she looks like tina fey? come on! the feminist in me's gettin all fired up. my only criticsm thus far is her seemingly weak stance on the environment- but hey mccain's as green as they come right?
i'm just dying to know what's next... i guess all i know for now is that to run for office you need at leas one old white guy in the mix... how does an obama/palin ticket sound. too good to be true.
whadda yo thoughts?

Saturday, August 23, 2008

lily shawn liukin






i met this mom a couple years back who told me she was only the second craziest mom at her daughters gym (central coast gymnastics). i laughed to myself, afterall my daughter was only 9 months old at the time, and i really couldn't conceive of such mom fervor. however, it took me back to my own glory days of high school basketball and how my mom never missed one game.. ever. tournaments, C.I.F., all of it, she didn't miss a beat. i didn't think much of it at the time, but now as my children get older and i see them next to other kids, whether it be at the park, the pool, or even gymnastics, i can't help but wonder??
i'm sure it doesn't help that i've been totally consumed by the olympics the last couple weeks. staying up late, TiVo-ing at my in-laws, going online- i'm obsessed. there's just something about world class athletes that gets me all warm and tingly. whether its imagining myself becoming an olympic marathon runner (afterall they prime in their 30's), my daughter following after nadia, or maybe even an ozzie phelps- i want it all! i devour the bio's, i listen intently -searching for any clues from their childhood that might rival my own kids. i imagine myself debbie phelps style- cameras flashing to her every other minute, or maybe i'll be like nastia's mom, wandering the streets of beijing during the all-around, because the pressure's just to consuming. in any event, i'm there and i'm proud as can be cause my kid is someone.
which leads me to my own kids. now i'll be the first to admit that rose-colored glasses don't keep me from seeing my kids faults- shoot i've got a magnifying glass up in here- observing every little flaw and feat. my kids didn't walk at 10 months, i practically have to push them down the slide, and there will be no diving and no dunking. when it comes to sports, lily just wants to discuss what she will wear. let me share a recent conversation with you..
lily- "hey mom, remember when those cheerleaders washed our car?" (it was a fundraiser for mb cheer)
me- "yeah babe, that was cool." (it was like a year ago)
lily- "yeah, i liked what they were wearing. mom, were you a cheerleader?"
me- laughing, "no, i definitely was not a cheerleader, i played sports- like basketball and soccer"
lily- quiet for awhile, then with all the authority in the world "mom, cheerleading is a sport!"

and oz, he's a whole nother trip- the kid would rather tweak on little matchbox cars then push them. he has an unhealthy obsession with ceiling fans and light switches, and when he recently discovered b's remote control helicopter, he sat for 25 solid minutes tweaking on all the propellers and such.
in all honesty (sniff, sniff) i don't see any olympians coming from this house- yet once again i'm reminded that these little people really are who they are. much as i try, and boy will i try to influence them, they will be their own people.

and that's all okay, cause it often floors me at how desperately i want them to be happy- even if it means oz's greatest aspiration will be being an engineer like his ol man, and lil making the final cut for project runway. whatever the case, we'll be proud, cause afterall they're ours and our love for them conquers all. but it doesn't mean i can't dream- just last week as lily mounted the bar, i swear i saw even for just a glimpse a little mary lou in the making, and i knew without a doubt i would and will be that mom.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

if you don't learn how to swim, you will drown and DIE!!

i know it sounds harsh, but desperate times call for desperate measures. we are currently in our own private hell called swim lessons. summer after summer, i put myself through this torture. i'm not sure what motivates me to try this every year. perhaps it has something to do with the title, or maybe its just what you do with kids in the summertime. in any event, my kid is that kid. you know the one that screeches and whines just getting in the pool... never mind that once she's in you have to hold her with a death grip just to quell the panic. day after day (they go for 10 long days, and we've only finished day 3) it seems to get progressively worse. the first day she seemed a lot more confident than last year, perhaps that's because last years swim lessons consisted of me, and the teacher in the water each time, and her barely leaving the steps. she wouldn't even let the teacher hold her... why you ask... he was a boy. this year i signed her up with her little friend and specifically requested a female teacher, with the hopes of some lasting change in her swim career. i was dead wrong, let me just set the stage for the first day.
we get there and and there are like 12 kids all with goggles, swim caps and speedos (maybe not the caps). the instructor says ok, jump in and lets get our ears wet!" as if that's perfectly normal. i'm like, are you f-in kidding me? i didn't get my ears wet till i was six! perhaps that's where she gets it. in any event this class was def out of our league, so we transferred to the mommy and me, where we were once again resigned to squirt toys and sing wheels on the bus. i'm thinking, i paid $150 for what exactly? so now i've got a crying lily being carried by the teacher over to me and oz in the other class. so how am i supposed to do this? i turn to the steps and see my mom wading into the water in capris and a collared shirt. at first i'm mortified, then i realize that i'm not 16 and really, she's basically saving the day. again. so we end the first day with the two most timid kids in the world. i leave feeling discouraged. but resolve tomorrow will be better.
not so much.
wed?
maybe worse.
so i run into a mom i know at traders on tues- you know just enough removed that they don't really know how crazy my kids are. i'm still in my suit from the earlier fiasco so they ask what i'm up to. i start to go into the whole shebang about how horrible swim has been and blah blah blah whats wrong with my kids. she just looks at me with that phony empathy face, you know that smile like, "i don't have any idea what you're talking about!" after i realize i'm not in a therapy session, i snap out of it and say, "so how are you guys anyway?" she says, "oh we're good, yeah we did swim lessons early this summer." me, "oh cool, how'd it go?" "great, gosh little sara is just a fish, you're lucky they're cautious, that's just being safe. sara is going under and jumping in, she's fearless out there!" me, "that's awesome! great, good to see you..."
back bragger i mumble as i walk away. which leads me to my next annoying mom issue.
it really could use its own separate post, but i'll touch on it here. the back brag. let me give you a perfect example from my own life (i have millions).

back bragging mom (bbm)- so how are things going? gosh oz sure is getting big! is he walking yet?
me- uh, no, not yet.
bbm- gosh, how old is he now?
me- (reluctantly) he's what, 15 months (really 15.5)
bbm- wow, you're lucky though. little petey's been not just walking, but running since 10 months! we are just chasing him everywhere.
me- yeah i guess.
there's your basic back brag. that one's a pretty natural one, but its really good when you get someone doing everything in their power to steer the conversation to brag about their kid. it's like me saying to a mom having trouble potty training her toddler... "gosh you're lucky little tommy's 4 and still not potty trained, lily was done with diapers before she was 2.5! what a pain it was always having to take her potty and not buy diapers.
come on.
the things us moms do and think!
so anyway, i apologize if i come off to cynical, i guess i'm just a little wounded about my non-amphibious kids. just another time i'm reminded that i have no control over these guys... they are who they are, one of them being a prima donna. in any event i'll keep you posted on the outcome, tomorrow is "dunking day." that should go over well uh?

Friday, July 25, 2008

fluly




its flu-ly around here. not to be mistaken with july. us rodgeees have been hit hard this last month. our first battle with the stomach flu in early july has been followed by your basic influenza A or B or some shiz. it basically looks like high fever, comatose, cranky, whiny, coughy, needy kids. NOT FUN. for the last week i've been on the brink of, and have actually succeeded in losing it.
which leads me to my next rant.
healthy kids.
we are blessed. there are no other words. when i say we, i don't just mean my family, i mean 99% of families i know. within my social circle, very few children have any sort of chronic illness or disability. with my kids having this temporal, but seemingly eternal flu, my mind has been bombarded with some crazy ass thoughts. most very dramatic, and many tragic- ending in death. i've almost become convinced some sort of severe hardship is looming. call it the enemy, i'd really like to, but whatever the case its got me thinking...
this last week of 1921 flu house has got me wondering if my kids will ever be back to normal. will the endless cycle of wiggles, george, and cinderella ever end? will i be destined to sit on the couch with my daughter cranking on my belly button (its sort of her safe place) for months on end? will i possibly survive the needyness these kids seem to have buckets of? things can seem so dark so fast. when life feels so overwhelming with a high fever, it makes me nervous to think how i could handle leukemia or worse.
so then i find myself blog stalking this afternoon. i really dig this chicks blog. and from her blog i found myself here. and then for some cosmic reason i clicked on this one. while i really enjoyed her july 22nd entry on boobs, i had to take it one step further and read her bio or whatever. you know, for some semblance that i could possibly write as well as her or any of the aforementioned someday. anyway, while checkin her stats, i find that she has two beautiful kids (fric and frac- how funny is that) and had lost one other a couple years back. as i read through the pages, tears streaming down my face, i was astounded once again by mankind's strength. this redneck woman doesn't appear to be a woman of faith- at least the faith we proclaim, but the resolve, strength, and raw emotion in her words jolt me. i know i've shared my very minor struggles (but seemed liked mountains at the time) with ozzy. nothing in me desires to go through that again. in fact i often wonder if i do get pregnant again, if the shear anxiety won't completely overtake me. yet i see this woman, and others, that have gone through the loss of a child and still can come up for air. the fact that they are even breathing is astounding, but to think they'd sign up for a potentially similar outcome staggers me. this woman is in the process of a adopting a special needs child. this, after she lost her 5 year old- that's five years of life and love, all to love another kid who might not have the chance to be loved.

i'm not totally sure what my angle is here. maybe i'm just coming off a hard week, but whatever the case, i really just hope and pray that when, or if God presents me with such hardship, the resolve and grace to walk through it would come in abundance.
so thank God today, would ya. we got it good people.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

you know you live in los osos when...





so i decide to go on a hike this morning with ozzy. with lily off at preschool on tuesday mornings i'm offered luxuries like watching the today show, exercising, and having only one kid. so like the compassionate pet owner i am, i decide to take our dog on this new hike in the park brandon told me about. part of my motivation in bringing the dog is that last time i tried the hike, i encountered two coyotes in the middle of the trail. after a frantic call to brandon where he assured me coyotes are not to be feared, i promptly turned around and headed back down the trail. anyhow, i digress. so with oz in the backpack, my hillary is my homegirl shirt, and lou leading the way, we make our way up the steep incline. no coyotes this time, just lots of scat. at the top, i'm amazed as i get a full view of los osos, the spit, the bay and all the way to the rock. its truly breathtaking and i'm reminded how blessed we are to call this place home. after my moment, i charge down avoiding any scrap of sand in my rockin new hiking shoes (not boots). as i turn the corner to reach my van, i lean down to take lou of her leash and as i look up i see a huge sign that says something like, "absolutely no dogs ever on trails." as i contemplate my sin, i hear a truck slowing as it pulls into the parking area. just my luck, its a ranger. so here i am red-handed. i am standing under an unmistakable sign with my dog. as i'm considering what words to throw out.. mountain lion, rabid coyote, skunk etc, i see him checking out none other than my EV.
thats right, you know you are in los osos when a ranger stops you with your dog, in a no dog area, to talk to you about your eurovan.

perfect.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

five finger spray



i have been dying to call in sick for the last 3 years.

my ideal situation would be a real bad cold. maybe a little fever to make it legit. i would wake up feverish, roll over and groan. brandon would look over and say, "are you okay?" i would sigh, and say, "i feel really terrible." i would want him to say, "babe, i'm so sorry you feel horrible. i'll get the kids and take them downstairs, and call in sick today- you just keep sleeping. let me know if you need anything." however, it would probably sound more like, "so are you going to get up, or do i have to call in sick today?" in either event, the day would progress with me making my way downstairs to an empty house (b probably took the kids to the park methinks). i would post up on the couch, and begin the marathon. i would doze and sip hot tea, with a fire in the fireplace (cause it would be winter of course), read and watch movies. i'd probably start with "along came polly," or "devil wears prada." b would somehow manage to be gone all day with the kids, lest they catch my infirmity. the day would commence with me on the couch, asleep as my family comes bounding in with hot, homemade chicken and wild rice soup with fresh bread, and we would all live happily ever after.
in all honesty the above scenario has often sounded better than a vacation. perhaps b/c i can relish in my own selfishness sans kids, or maybe just the solitude, and option to be lazy as a motha... whatever the case.. it's undoubtedly dreamy...
i'll tell you whats not dreamy. waking up at 3 am with a churning, burning stomach. "oh, lord, please don't let this be happening." tossing and turning relentlessly for the next three hours.."come on, when is it going to be day time?" cause for some reason that's comforting? light finally breaks with a screeching son just as i drift off pain free. i turn to my husband, "honey, i've got it." the "it" i'm referring to is the stomach flu, that oz came down with saturday. poor buddy yarfed like 6 times in a 12 hour period. he came through like a champ, just as b woke up monday morning with "it." b was a trooper, he was home all day yet still managed to help loads with the kids. (i'm kind of lacking in the whole nurturing your husband area). i was pretty convinced lily and i would remain unscathed. come on, its the middle of the summer, we're leaving tonight to go houseboating for the 4th... really? really? this is my sick day? this sucks... it almost sucks as much as an esophageal eruption of trader joes brown rice all morning long. however its here, and my kids are gone, and despite my ongoing, rage filled, vurping stomach.. i'll take what i can get.
it's still kind of nice to have a sick day.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008




so i'm sitting in my office trying to get some work done (yeah, real work). if anyone's in the market for a 2.4 million dollar home... i'm your girl. yet, i digress. anyhow, my mom is over helping with the kids. suddenly lily comes bursting in in her disney princess nightgown pleading, "momma, can i play with cornstarch and water?" i look at her and say, "no babe, not right now. it's almost naptime." wounded, she walks back into her room and i hear her say to my mom, "my mom said no." mimi says, "how bout we do it after your nap?" lily says, "no, i want to do it now." my mom, "not right now lil, after your nap." lily looks up at her with all the authority in the world and says, "mimi, sometimes we have to do things we don't want to do.."
translation: get up off your arse and get me some cornstarch.
gotta love three.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

longing for lupe

oh how i miss my house cleaner... now before your jaw drops any further, "she has a house cleaner, come on- and she likes hillary- who does she think she is?" you should know, i only had her for a season. she came in a dream. i was at a friends house and i overheard some talk of a lupe. i politely inquired who lupe was and found out she cleans for a living. now, i've been on the hunt for a good a house cleaner ever since i was born. my husband, and i guess myself, like a clean house- and with two bubs running around and our disgusting dog, i kind of felt i actually deserved one. we'd obviously come along way from our missionary days, but were we really house cleaner material?
once b got a real job, i decided my first splurge would be a bi-weekly eyebrow wax. this felt like such a big deal- basically throwing away $40 bucks a month so i didn't have to experience watery eyes and a stinging nose. as time went on, my indulgences broadened. b's movin up the ol corporate ladder, and me bringin home some serious bacon as broker mama allowed us to live, buy, and even vacation. things were good. so when i broached the ol maid idea to brandon six months back, he reluctantly agreed. cause really, if mama ain't happy- ain't nobody happy.
so with one quick phone call, lupe arrived in a flash of glory with her sister, maria. they whipped through this house in 2 hours- lifting up couch cushions and vacuuming in straight lines. a mere $90 bucks later, i was one happy lady- after a couple hours of extreme cleanliness, i even let the kids play again.
so here we were, happy as pigs in the mud. with lupe coming every month, i felt so much less pressure to keep the house "up"
yet, all good things must come to an end. that damn economy- whatever that means right?! well, let me translate. bad economy = no lupe. did i mention i'm a realtor, and very available for all your real estate needs? just think if you hire me, i will not only be able to assist you in making all your dreams come true, you will also be helping lupe get food on the table. its a chain people- the chain of love.
so that's my sob story, i know its real sad- poor holly she doesn't have a house cleaner any more, its probably more like, "who does that b#&ch think she is?"
in any event, i wanna know, whats bad economy mean to you?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

planning for the future

yesterday, lily went to the dentist for the first time... and she rocked it!
later that night i was laying with her on the couch doing fancy nancy sticker book, and i asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. she looked at me and immediately said, "i want to be a dentist!" i was so proud... where would she ever get an idea like that? she then went back to her sticker book. 2 minutes later she looked up at me and said, "mom, i actually want to be a candy-giver when i grow up." cuz in case you didn't know, in a 3 yr olds mind, its actually halloween all year long.
it's a tough one, but any idea what career path we should encourage... dentist or candy giver.

Friday, May 30, 2008

age old dilemma..


well, come to think of it... two decade old dilemma might be a more fitting title. it wasn't long ago there wasn't a choice- once you got married, you were destined to be a housewife. the cool thing now is that we actually have a choice. but i guess i'm realizing its a blessing and a curse. before, you just naturally assumed the maternal role, now there is the possibility of "having it all." and of course when i think of having it all, i reference my idol... tina fey. she's got the kid, the job... i know, maybe a little un-realistic, but really, she's sort of living the dream. i look around, and lots of my friends have gone back to work part time. that seems to be a very good balance for them. i think of emily, or susan, or even my sister in law and how they are able to work and have their husbands stay with their kids. i must say that sounds pretty good. however, as much as i think i would like to go back to work, i also realize that having to have to be somewhere sounds very stressful. i love that if my kids are sick i can be with them, or any given weekend i'm available.
in any event, i was recently reminded the depths of motherhood i've fallen into. i was reading sarah forzetting's blog and listening to her challenges of life with an infant when i realized that i've almost forgotten those feelings. i suppose i've become so accustomed to "just" being a mom that i forgot how much i used to enjoy other stuff.
now, i'm not a girl of many hobbies... but i do like a good work out- either a run or a hike or a swim- even maybe a spin class or yoga or power class. i love a good book, a great bible study, anything that involves hanging out with my friends, shopping, eating, wine, heck i even miss work (i think)... i still have all these things yet it looks more like-
8 am- brandon gone, get on the phone with em (there's my social outlet)
9 am- gotta get out of the house- go on a walk (there's my exercise)
10 am- call jess to see if i can come over- she's got the bomb kids house (another social outlet)
11 am- make brandon watch the kids during his lunch so i can run errands (i guess that's my job part of the day)
1 pm- try to find a way to get my kids to eat lunch
2 pm- kids nap- i read my two year old ny times bestseller from the library (there's my reading)
3 pm- now that ellen's all re-runs, i'll probably blog (there's my intellectual outlet)
4 pm - kids awake, put a movie on for them.. talk to lealah, brooke, erin, drea or whoever answers.
5 pm- 25 minutes till b gets home- start dinner, and get my glass of wine (there's my wine and food time)

that's just a brief synopsis- there's also some time-outs, laundry, cleaning, and of course my mom often in the mix. but as you can see i still get to do all things i love, yet in very small doses. i guess in a lot of ways motherhood is just a whole bunch of compromises. it's a sucky feeling to realize how far back your needs are on the ol totem pole when you got two biscuits gaping at you all the live long, but in the same breath i suppose i wouldn't have it any other way- the joy they bring me is unparalleled to anything this side of heaven. so i don't know, i guess i'm either numb to it, or just okay with my new role. i will say, one benefit is how much you learn to take pleasure in the smallest of things- 2 hours alone, or a date with your husband, maybe even just some candy you have stashed around your house.
so ladies, can we have it all, and if so what does it look like to you?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

big sur or bust



so i'm happy to report we had another rockin time camping this last weekend. sat morn we packed up the van with the dvd player in tow- but much to our surprise, it never got any play. the drive to limekiln was significantly closer than our last trip to fernwood. with the browns in tow- yes they had a two week old with them- we made the journey unscathed. we couldn't have asked for nicer weather- 75 degrees in big sur... c'mon! that's unreal. with 4 adults and 5 kids, we made some memories- so here are some highlights.
-lily still wearing her 1st bday "pakini"
-zaiah hiking 2 miles (round trip) to the waterfall
-playing barbies and babies for hours (k maybe a half hour) in the tents
-oz loosening up and eating copious amounts of dirt
-running from tent to tent jumping on air mattresses and screaming
-our own private beach
-the kids pirate faces (in the slide show- zeke's is award winning- mostly cause he looks drunk with all the drool on his shirt)
-b getting his photography skills on with numerous time lapsed photos that all pretty much sucked..
-never enough beer- ben's quick (1 hr) trip to gorda for a $15 six pack
-the bob proving its worth on the limekiln falls trail
-ben eating 2 hot dogs at 7 am.

we had a great time, so thanks to the browns and of course God for our badical big sur weekend.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

REWARD



we're sort of in crisis mode over here at the rodgers. last night we loaded up for a family hike- kids in backpacks- lily with baby josie in tow.
for those of you that have been around lily in the last 3 years, you know that rarely is she without her #1 girl. baby josie may not always be in her arms, but she's always within an arms reach. not only does lily sleep with josie every night, but josie hangs out in the van when we go places, and even waits in her cubby at preschool. josie without lily is like a dixie without a whistle.
so as we take off i look at lily holding josie... when we get home - no josie. now, here's the mystery. lily is really not the type to drop her without noticing- and not to mention, how could we not notice her fall. yet somehow, short of being raptured- she's gone. when lily realized she was gone last night, we were able to coax her to bed with a backup- but it was definite struggle. while we were laying in bed trying to figure out where she was, lily was quiet... after a few minutes she finally said, "well, this is just a mystery isn't it." well put. i kept my composure as long as she was awake- but as soon as she fell asleep- i practically made brandon go re-hike the trail to find her. he conceded to drive the streets we walked on to get there.. to no avail. i woke up several times last night in a cold sweat- at first couldn't remember why- but then the weight fell on me- our baby is gone!!
so here we are the next day, i'm pretty much freaking out. i'm getting ready to take oz on the hike with one single goal... bring our baby home.
i'll def keep you posted.. but in the meantime- throw one up for us. if i come home empty handed, i'll probably make a flyer...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

party planning still sucks

well the title kind of sums it up... but really- planning lily's third birthday was kind of a nightmare for me. don't be deceived by my previous endearing post to my daughter on her 3rd birthday- the whole week was hecka-stressful. for starters my mom unexpectedly has to leave town 2 days earlier than planned- that's 2 days of getting tons of shiz done without my kids for the rapidly approaching d-day (may 10).
the real day of her birthday (tuesday, the 6th) was fine and easy- it was your basic preschool cupcake scene and then off to the castle (the maddonna inn) for pink cake with the the fam.
let me tell you why this is not and never will be my strength. first of all, how am i supposed to know how many hot dogs 35 adults and 22 kids will eat. yes that many people came. second, who knew it would be so hard to find a pinata- food 4 less and the mexican market really let me down with these numbers- scratch that link- they are actually so ghetto they cannot be photographed- you know the ones that are like a 6 pronged star with a home printer quality picture of some disney princess knock off. anyhow they were everywhere i turned- and i guess for a reason, cause the "cute" boot and caterpillar i ended up with need low grade explosives to open. thirdly, why can't oriental trading get a box of super cute cowboy hats here any earlier then the day before the party- i'm still trying to find time to return my back up party favors.
so, those are just a few of my issues- after 7-9 trips to costco to buy, then return, buy then return- fri night finally came- i began the funfetti cupcake factory and just held my breath...
saturday morning came and it was like the gates of heaven opened... as in the sun actually surfaced in los osos. after scurrying around for some finishing touches- i came home, got my daughter dressed (in a dress i wore when i was 2 sigh) and drove over to the schoolhouse- honestly i felt like i was driving her to her wedding. needless to say by 2:00 as the hay was being hauled off and we were locking up- i felt a huge sigh of relief.
i'm just gonna lay it out- the party was a hit! lily loved it! people actually, really had fun- and they keep telling me! there was enough food- the kids were amping- no tears- lots of laughs (especially at pinata time). i'm actually pretty in at preschool these days- all the country club moms at UMCC now know osos can throw a party- a freakin fun one! the city should thank me, people might actually come out here again after that 3rd bday turned chamber of commerce event.
sat night as i sat on the couch with my glass(es) of wine- i actually thought- that was really kind of worth it.
so thanks to all who came and partook- it wouldn't have been a party without you... not to mention- lily made out in the gift realm! we really do have the bestest friends. can wait for next year!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008



"it feels pretty good to be three"
-lily rodgers on her 3rd bday in line at starbucks with her daddo.


well... how do we sum up 3 years in just 250 characters? i guess you could always just go back and read my entire blog history- its there where you could find my anguish, frustration, delight and sheer joy in raising my daughter. however if you are reading this, chances are you already know.
lily can best be summed up as my everything. she is my pride, much as ozzy is brandon's. yet much as i try to make her my protege- my mini me, she continues to defy it.. or maybe just defy me. whatever the case, most days i wonder if anything i do or say even impacts her, as she really is her own person. but then i hear her say, "i'm all about ice cream," and i think- well at least she talks like me.
lily is truly a product of nature, not nurture. her undying love for everything and anything princess, dress-up, shoes, fashion, make-up, and babies continues to astonish me.
my once always naked and seemingly fearless toddler has ripened into a shy, quiet and reserved three year old. don't get me wrong she is still unnecessarily opinionated, but mostly only to me. she's very logical like dad, loves to problem solve... anytime i have an excuse or reason for not doing something, she comes up with a solution. i often feel like she's too smart for her own good.
i love that she'll play with her dollhouse and babies- imaginative play for hours- she's often very self-contained.
most days she's a great sister, loves to teach and boss ozzy. for how private both of the kids are, both sure are up in each others bid-ness all day.
for all her attributes, she reminds me how "girl" she is. from her basic bad attitude to whining, she definitely makes me frantic most days. it makes me crazy how i can go from so frustrated with her (as in breaking a wood spoon on her bunk bed) to being elated at just the thought of spending time with her. most days, i can't wait for her to grow up, but then i look at ozzy and delight thinking about lily at that age.
all i know is i love her- its intense, passionate, and strangely carefree- she's a gamut of emotions, tirelessly frustrating, to amazingly lovely- she's lily and she's all mine, and today (at least) i wouldn't have it any other way.
love ya girl. happy 3.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

i'm a pink ant!!!




it feels good to be an aunt. i'm so proud to say, my little niece, penelope ann richmond was born May 11, 2008 at 2:00 pm. she was 7lbs 4 oz, 19in long. my sister in law rocked the delivery- no epi freedom there! she was au natural! go cort! i can't wait to get my hands on her.. until then welcome little p! mo, betta pics to come.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

ode to epi... i mean eli



so i wanted to shout out a big welcome to Elias Ceasar Brown- he was born April 28, 2008 comin it at 8lbs 15 oz and 22" long. you may be wondering why he was so big- maybe its in the genes (guatemalan and asian- probably not) or maybe its just because he was 2.5 weeks late. whatever the case, the kid didn't want to come out. i was so privileged to be present at the birth- it was actually really fun, which is quite a change from my own deliveries and the other births i've been to (which only consists of 2- both of lealah's sons). don't get me wrong they were beautiful and passionate and liberating- amazing- its just that they hurt like hell.
in any event- as a trio (jess, lealah and myself) we've sort of prided ourselves on being able to have natural childbirths- mostly b/c lealah is basically a doula. she encouraged both jess and myself to go for it, and really rooted us both along in our battle to bring forth life. but, since ol eli didn't want to come out, jess had to be induced- after wrestling with the decision to get an epidural or not- she finally conceded. we kind of figured she's done it twice naturally so why go through the torture of inducement without some help. it was crazy for us naturals- we were all just hanging out, talking, watching oprah (it was like any other day really). then all of the sudden it was time to push and out he came- no big deal. i must say compared to the trauma of my own births- almost being torn in half (sorry man readers)- the epidural really kind of made me want to have another baby. all that to say, i'm in. if i actually ever decide to get pregnant again (a whole other issue) i will get an epidural.. probably in the eighth month- just to be safe.
what about y'all? epi free, or epi freedom???

Saturday, April 19, 2008

fernwizzzzzzy




as you all are aware, we had some good ol fashioned fun camping a few weeks back. we packed up the van (sans dvd player) and headed up to fernwood in big sur. with the atkinsons in tow and some active walky talky chat, we made the trek with few complaints from the kids. all in all we had a great time. yet no trip is without its challenges-- mostly in the form of a certain 3 yr old. lily insisted on wearing these crazy (slightly playboy bunny) barbie slippers the entire time- which was difficult for obvious reasons like -we are camping outside. she had never shown any interest in them up to this point, but couldn't seem to wear anything else. and i'm not sure if its just b/c there were so few clothes we packed for her that she felt compelled to change every 45 minutes, or if its just cause she thought we were still at home (where she changes at least 9 times a day). in any event - the clothes and shoes proved difficult, but we did our best to facilitate. oz did great- he seemed to thrive on the great outdoors, spending most of his time throwing rocks in the creek (just a mere 10ft from our site), or trying to get someone to hold his hand to go over rocks or small cliffs. poppy decided she loved dora and didn't have much else to say except for about an hour at bedtime (apparently she hates tent trailers). suz and her bud trevor graced us with their presence at the ungodly hour of 10 pm (1 am when you're in front of a campfire). fortunately we had enough food and gear to feed and shelter the town of harmony- which might've been overkill due to our last camping fiasco. between gobs of food and some good hiking- the trip was a success... i thought i'd leave you with my own little mastercard ditty to tie it all up.


new barbie slippers- $9
outfit changes -57 in 24 hrs
lily discovering oreos - $3
brandon and carter in freezing creek - 3 hour campfire recovery
the waterfall trespassing- $200 ticket
picnicking on side of highway 1 around a blind corner on carters tent trailer- $500,000 in hospital bills
kids napping the whole way home- no monetary value
having enough stuff to survive for 2 months- $600
unpacking and cleaning for 4 hours- $25/hr
lifelong memories with the kids- priceless

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

really, will you always?




i'm not gonna lie. my son is obsessed with me. the kid wants to be on me like every minute of every hour of every long... weekday day. if i'm in sight- he's on me like pantyhose on a mermaid. i know this is sounding pretty characteristic to most of you out there... like really, what kid doesn't love his mama? well, i can tell you one kid who didn't love their mama like oz- lily. i mean she really liked me and wanted me, but really, with him, its sort of ridiculous. if i'm sitting on the ground playing with them (cause really when am i not) he'll go play with some toys for a minute and then just pull himself up on my knees and nuzzle his snotty nose (lately) all over my shirt... over and over and yes, over.
don't get me wrong. i'm not trying to sound ungrateful for this lavish affection, its just that a girl (mama) needs her space. and really, i sort of feel a bit apprehensive. cause sooner or later (at this rate, likely later) the kid will get over me like water off a ducks back. pooof. one day he'll be married and gone- enslaved to the wants and desires of his bride. which, might i add is a good thing. i really am so thankful my husband isn't a mama's boy. or am i? selfishly, i'd like to think ozzie's undying affections for me would last well into high school, college... marriage? what's healthy with boys? i don't know... i've obviously always been a girl, and able to have a long standing, brilliant and real relationship with my mom... but as for my brother and my mom??? it's great, but def different. so anyway, all you boy mama's (which is like everyone i know) what do you think... do we raise em up to be mama's boys, or give em that tough love... and really how do we find the balance?

Thursday, April 3, 2008

ahh the great indoors?

so we are gearing up. literally. (an un-supervised brandon somehow managed to spend a $300 gift card to sears on camping stuff, when they point blank told us they only carry camping stuff online now.. hmm) is a hatchet really necessary, or what about an ipod docking station. anyhow, i digress. the real reason i'm getting this out there is cause i need your help.
picture it; the eurovan (how 'camp' is that) loaded down with sleeping bags (one princess of course), the costco 2 room tent, lots of unnecessary food, a camp stove, those cool camping dishes , ice, beer... you know, the basics. the vans ready, everyone ready to head to the great outdoors... majestic redwoods, refreshing ocean breezes, creeks, rocks, lizards, the smell of campfire.. your with me right? now here we are, kids in carseats, out the door, in the van. here's wherein lies the dilemma. its a 2 hour drive to big sur, do we, or do we not bring the dvd player. it sort of feels like a cardinal sin... what would you do?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

hey god, look at my kitchen

okay. so, the long awaited for pictures of our new kitchen. i'll admit i've been reluctant to get them up, because we are not finished... we're at about 90% - so you'll definitely get the gist of whats happening in there- but not the full blown WOW factor that i typically strive for in life.
so here's the deal... we had a whole kitchen in our garage for quite some time- (countertops, cabinets, appliances, sink etc...) we were in (nicely put) "negotiations" with home depot about the installation of the cabinets. without hatin' on them to much, the short of it is we couldn't resolve - thus leaving the whole thing up to ol beebs (which was also pretty stressful for me- cause though he is very handy, i doubted his 'remodel the whole kitchen' handiness). so we nailed down the weekend- presidents day. i left our faithful old kitchenette style kitchen with the kids on friday morning and headed up to b's parents house. while i made the trek up north with a screaming son, brandon's dad was on his way down to osos for some hard core father son bonding. my weekend was fun with shell bell, lots of outside time, good food and wine, and of course- the highlight- i got to take lily to the santa cruz beach boardwalk but enough about my time away, this is about the kitchen. so b and his pops got to work friday afternoon. they demolished the kitchen down to the studs, all to find that they had to re-wire the whole kitchen and add more circuits for additional lighting, garbage disposal etc... so by saturday night it was still a totally empty kitchen. hmmm, only 2 more days till mama comes home. sunday, they scurried to get the drywall up and finish the electrical. sunday night they cut the countertop (which b routered the edge himself on) and got the base cabinets ready. monday was a mad dash, cause by monday night when i got home, we had a semi-functional kitchen. tues afternoon when b's parents were finally released, the base cabinets, the sink, the appliances and the countertop were all in action. it was amazing! even though the house was quite dusty and all our kitchen utensils, dishes and pots were in the hall closet- we were in action!
so despite my perpetual reluctance to let b undertake home projects, i am continually amazed by his aptitude and speed! but the big thanks goes out to rents- his mom for putting up with me and the kids for 72 hours straight, and to b's dad for three 15 hour days. we literally could not have done it without them!!!
so yeah, here we are a month later. much progress has been made. as you can see the upper cabinets are in, the reverse osmosis in effect (shout out to fridge water), under counter lighting, and the cabinets around the fridge in.
so whats left... the molding and base boards around the cabinets, the backsplash, paint, and the lighting. new floor tile, and a new kitchen table would be nice, but not looking to promising any time soon...
which leads me to my next point and the reason for my title...
i will never forget one of the first piper sermons i ever heard (a burned copy from a friend of a friend). i can't remember what it was called, but i do remember three pivotal lines. i was in college, so its relevance for me probably wasn't fully matured, but he was making a case for what would now be in his book, don't waste your life. he was reading an excerpt from a readers digest article that was describing the "good life" of some fifty something retirees. they had bought a 50 ft trawler, and were enjoying their golden years sailing around on their yacht, relaxing and collecting seashells. doesn't sound too bad uh? well, i will never forget the passion in his voice as he depicted what it would be like when these seniors stood before the almighty. "look at my boat god... look at my seashell collection! isn't it awesome!" can you imagine? standing before god and all you have to glory in is your boat and your shells? its pretty convicting.
although i've gone through the last 9 years since hearing this with some thought; i hadn't really experienced the weight of it until just recently. since the old well has run dry, and it looks as though we won't be able to do all we planned in the kitchen, i've found myself unhealthily frustrated. frustrated with my circumstances and my husband. i want, i want, i want. i want the glorious kitchen, and yet i have to ask myself at what cost? i'm realizing (slowly) that being dissatisfied in my kitchen is incredibly menial in the big picture.
so, in sum i'm realizing once again, that god will find every which way to bring me back to him, even if its through paperstone countertops and bosch dishwashers.
so, throw one up for us as my husband labors each evening hanging pot racks and messing with the lighting while i lay on the couch eating ice cream and watching movies. it's obvious one of us needs to get our priorities right.
in the meantime, enjoy the slide show!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

baby sister please

even though almost everyone i know has heard this story, i couldn't resist putting it up for you select few (mostly out-of-towners). this is, in fact, all time lily.

overheard in the shower.

lily- "daddo, what are those?"
brandon- "those are my balls." (wow. leave it to b to just be out with it.)
lily- "oh. well, what are they for?"
brandon- "well, when mama and daddo want to make a baby, that's where daddo keeps his babies." (no skirting around the ol birds and bees in this house)
lily- pause, contemplative look. "daddo, could you make me a baby sister with your eyeballs?"

now that we've aired it, i'll let you know there will be no babies comin round here anytime soon. so in the meantime, this is what we can give her.





we know- he'll be in therapy later. until then, he sure does make a cute baby girl!

Monday, March 10, 2008

enough you freak!

are you happy with yourself holly? you've basically offended everyone you know with your secret support of ol hil. i must say, i knew when i posted that business, i'd get some flack, but really people i gotta say- i really appreciated the comments but not one of you sacked up and told me who your in bed with, i mean on board with. after many scorning, sideways looks from the men and women at calvary slo, "get control of your wife why don't ya" penetrating their way towards brandon- i've decided to air it all. yeah, i concur with most of tina fey's sentiments. i think as women we have a responsibility and slight allegiance to "another woman." now many of you are thinking, come on- i'm a white man, i don't just vote for other white men... and well actually, you have, up until now at least. i ask you, how is being a woman and voting for a woman any different then obama securing the majority of black votes, or evangelicals standing behind huckabee or (sigh) bush (you know we were all so on board)? in essence i guess what i'm trying to communicate is that it really frustrates me that woman are so critical of one another, and really so lacking sisterhood due to often times petty differences. i just think its an opportunity to make history to some degree- be it a woman or a black man... i know we're all ready for a change...

and that's why i'm writing in Ross Perot in 08.

oh and i promise, i'll steer clear/spare you of my political rants for a little while.
but really, hey, please keep the love alive, and don't ex-communicate me, or kick me off your links just yet- i promise i'm bound to offend again... maybe worse.
love you guys. thanks for standing beside this freak!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

bring it

i admit i feel some pressure for some type of disclaimer- something like, "i don't typically use my blog for political reasons," or "i'm not trying to make a political endorsement by posting this video," but in reality i'm doing all of the above and really, i'm pretty okay with it. yet i will say in my defense, i'm not crazy about some of the language, and if you are sensitive to politics or cussing this may not be the video for you. otherwise, listen and laugh.

tina fey weekend update


and now my rant will commence. first things first. tina fey is amazing. i've been a fan since the early days at SNL- not like, "i liked that band before they got big" kind of fan- but really truly she's sort of my idol and has been for awhile. things i admire- 1- she's a funny lady, and she's not slightly manly, or a lesbian. 2- she crossed over from writing to acting with such ease and finesse. i've always said it truly would be my dream job to be a writer for SNL. growing up i remember staying up late saturday nights to watch the likes of will ferrell, molly shannon, cheri oteri, jimmy fallon and then later tina fey. i always loved molly shannon as a funny lady, but when tina fey came along i knew that she truly was the one. after SNL she ventured into 30 rock- which really, there are no words for its comedic genius. the lady has it all. not to mention we might be related (by marriage) -her husbands last name is richmond.
so when she guest hosted a couple weeks back i knew it would be good, but then to hear this skit- really i couldn't have expressed my sentiments better. i know a lot of you won't like this- but i'd been feeling that way about the obama buzz for some time- i mean really, come on ladies are we all such oprah drones? ---all the while a little glimmer of interest was blossoming for ol hillary. its crazy cause seriously up until a month ago- i really thought she was the devil- call it my anti-social behavior rising up, or perhaps my latina roots (they love the clintons) whatever it is she's growing on me and i just can't join the obama camp. so there it is... i'm out with it much to the chagrin of my husband and the rest of the christian community - yet i feel liberated to say it... cause i believe it. bitches get stuff done!
so as to whether she'll make it long enough to get my vote in novemeber remains unknown- in all honesty its looking a lot like nader for this cowgirl..
so bring it on people. i want to hear what you got.