Thursday, November 4, 2010

If I had 15 minutes...

So, one of those random idea generators suggested I write on this topic.

If I had 15 minutes to evacuate my home before it was to be destroyed by a hurricane, what 10 things would I grab (not including people or pets)

Umm, cannot grab people (most important to me). So there goes #1-4.

1) Cell Phone so I could communicate with the rest of the family
2) Glasses/Contacts because I am blind without them.
3) Pictures- As many of those as possible, I would probably have each family member carry an arm load of them.
4) Full Water bottles
5) Undergarments for the whole family and as many items of clothing as possible.
6) External hard drive and the computer tower, because that's where most of our pictures are stored.
7) Passports
8) Wedding ring

I'm not sure 15 minute would be enough time in a hurricane situation. I'd be looking for a safe place to ride out the storm. By the time I got done gathering all these items, the storm would be at my house and I would not make it out. So scratch that. I'd be running out the door as fast as I could, and leaving everything but my family behind.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pet Peeve- Christmas Cards

In the recent weeks, I have gotten 3 different sets of Christmas cards from three different charities who want me to give them money. I have never donated to their causes, I'm assuming they got my name from someone I have donated to. I don't know.
Each set had at least 5 nice cards, the envelopes, and one set even came with its matching labels.

Thing is, I have no intention of giving them any money. Or should I? These are nice cards and I could use them this upcoming Christmas. So does using them obligate me to donate? Should I feel guilty about sending them out when I know I didn't give them any money?

My pet peeve is they are wasting money printing cards and mailing them to folks like me, who probably will use them and don't give them a dime. How many of these have they sent? I wonder how much money this charity spends sending unwanted gifts to people in an effort to raise money.

Maybe they should use the money in their charity, rather than wasting it on me. The simple fact they are wasting the money on cards gives me the idea their overhead is too high and I probably don't want to give them money to waste on stuff like this.

So do I use the cards? Do I put them in the garbage? What is the appropriate etiquette?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day 1- NanoWrimo

Day 1. First day of the 50k novel challenge. I'm excited and frightened all at once.

You see, I'm my own worst critic. I will nitpick every flaw and eventually convince myself that what I've done is simply not good enough. This whole novel writing in one month thing is going to challenge me to the core.

I suppose to write without editing. Not going back and changing things, or analyzing what you wrote. Just write, that's the command. Just write.

An outline would be helpful, except I have no clue what I want to write about. Do I base it on my life and then turn it into fiction? Do I just go off the deep end and write about something all its own?

I really don't know. So tonight, after everyone is tucked in bed, I will sit down and start. I will pick my main character and start from there. I'm not expecting to write the next bestseller, or even a novel worthy of publishing.

But everyone, each one of my favorite writers, started out somewhere. Who knows, this may be my start.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Trick or Treat

Every year I make a promise (to myself) that I will buy the costumes for next year as soon as they go on sale, and I will prepared for Halloween the following year.
Every year I forget all about it the minute it is over.

Last night found me at Wally World looking for a Batman costume. Of course they only had ONE and it was 100 times bigger than the boy who was going to wear it. Lots of Bat girl costumes though.

Wait, Bat Girl? Spider girl? Seriously?

I'm all for women equality. As a matter in fact, I have a career in a male dominated field. But come on! There is no Spider Girl, there is Spider MAN. There is nothing wrong with a girl wearing a Spider man costume if that's what she wants to be. No need to create super heroes that don't exist, so we can accommodate people's feelings.

Where was I? Oh yeah. Did not find Batman but found a Ninja costume, for the most adorable Asian-looking boy (and no, he is not Asian).

I was never fond of Halloween until I had kids. I guess since this wasn't something we did growing up, it was hard to get into the whole trick or treating thing. Until I had kids.

It's fun, the kids love dressing up and spooking each other, and the candy. Let's not forget the candy. So why are we starting to call it everything BUT Halloween? To make everyone happy. Are we going to start calling Thanksgiving something else too so we can be politically correct?

I like Halloween, I like the history behind it, but most of all, I like the excitement in my kids' face when they put their costumes on and become Spiderman, Ninjas and Vampires.
There is nothing evil about Halloween unless you make it evil. In my house, it's a fun day, when we get to be superheroes or scary people. I like that.

I think this year I'm going to be a tar ball, ha! Or a very tired engineer mom... Or a vampire...

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What the heck is that?

They have been staring at me for weeks. I can hear them laughing and mocking me. All this time I've been in denial. Of course, it doesn't help when people try to convince me I'm "seeing things".

If you know me, you know I'm not one to freak out about age. I have adopted the philosophy that age is just a number, and you are only as old as you feel. Of course, that means there are days when I feel twice my age, and others when I pretend I'm still a college coed.

This philosophy has served me well until this morning, when I saw the multitude of gray hairs that have sprouted out in my head!

Why me? I come from a long line of women who barely have any gray hairs. My 90 year old grandmother probably has less gray hairs than I do at this point. So why me? Why should I get this gene when no one else did?

My hairdresser, my husband, my sister; they've all tried to convince me I'm seeing things. That I'm the only person who can see them. Yeah, right. It is hard to hide gray hairs on black background, ask me how I know.

I know, I know. What happened to my philosophy on age? It's still there. I still think I'm only as old as I feel. My issue is, how can I feel 10 years younger when my hair keeps reminding me how close I am to my next milestone birthday? Mother Nature is simply not cooperating with me.

If I were a guy, I guess this wouldn't really face me. It's not unusual for 30-something men to have a few grays here and there. It adds character, right? But I'm not a guy, and I like my hair the color it is, thankyouverymuch!

I've tried to evict these offending grays, but they refuse to leave. As a matter in fact, they've brought their whole families, and friends to inhabit my head. Did they not get the memo? I am NOT old enough to have gray hairs!

So, these holidays I plan on getting acquainted with Miss Clairol and all her peeps. If you see me wearing a hat, you'll know our get together may have not gone as planned.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010


I used to have an irrational fear of the ocean. When people find out, they usually ask "how is that possible, you grew up in Panama!".

Well, I'm not sure how it was possible but it was. For the majority of my life, I stayed away from the ocean. It didn't matter if the waves were 1or 12 feet high, I simply could not be near the water. It made me anxious, uneasy, just could not bear to be near.

As you can imagine, my vacations were not centered around the beach. I guess that is a good thing, as I've traveled quite a bit and seen many different places. It wasn't until a couple of years ago I finally faced my fear.

The time came to take my husband and kids to my home, to see the place where I was born, where I grew up. While there, I promised my daughter I would take her to see the Pacific Ocean.

I made good on that promise. It was there, standing in front of 12-15 ft waves, on the beach of my beloved Panama, where I faced my demons. I let the ocean speak to me, and calm my fears. It wasn't easy, I would be lying if I said the fear just went away in one instant. But the anxiety went away and I was able to actually enjoy the beauty of the ocean.

The following year, our family vacationed in Navarre Beach. Our first official beach vacation and one I'm glad we took. The water was gorgeous, white sandy beaches, and I was actually able to enjoy the sound of the waves.

Little did I know all of that would come in handy this year. I'm now rotating on a regular basis to the coast, to work on the oil spill response. Needless to say, if I hadn't gotten over my fear, I probably would have had to ask to be removed from this assignment. I definitely wouldn't have been able to drive along the coast, or get on a boat.

So I'm now back in my office and feeling landlocked. Wow. Who would have thought I'd miss the sound of the waves!!! But I do. I have come to enjoy driving along I-90, or just staring at the bay out of the office window.

Yeah, I miss the waves. If it wasn't for those pesky hurricanes, I would even consider moving closer to the water.

Monday, July 12, 2010


Not that kind of resurrection. I'm trying to bring this blog back to life. Don't you just hate it when life gets in the way of blogging? I do.

April 30th was the last time I updated this blog. Almost 3 months ago. Ten days after the oil spill in the Gulf began, isn't that something?

The past 3 months have been quite hectic and crazy, to say the least. We had piano, and dance recitals in May, birthday celebrations, and 2 trips to the Gulf coast to work on the oil spill response. Pretty much the same in June and July.

Because of my job, I've been traveling back and forth to the coast to "work" on the oil spill response. I say "work" because my job duties do not include removing tarballs/oil or operating skimmers, or anything of the sort. But still, however small my part is, it does require me to be away from my family for two weeks every month.

I bet you thought the spill only affected those who live at the coast, didn't you? Nope, it affects many of us who work for state agencies, specially those of us in the environmental field. I have learned quite a bit since I started working in these new duties, and I've met so many people. It has been a good experience overall, if one overlooks the obvious impact this has had on the environment and the economy of a region that has just begun to recover from Katrina.

Aside from work, I spent a wonderful week with my family in the Smoky Mountains. Wonderful doesn't even begin to describe it. We rented a cabin in the village of Cobbly Nob with the most amazing view of the Smokies. We were all in awe every morning when we looked out of the window. It was just what the doctor ordered.

Then there was the 2010 World Cup. I'm a huge soccer fan, and have been for as long as I can remember. Watching the games this year reminded me of my childhood for some reason. It was a memorable tournament to say the least. I'm looking forward to 2014. Not only it's a milestone year for me (I'll be turning 40!), but it's also the next World Cup in Brazil. I am hoping I will make it to Brazil, watching a World cup game live is one of those things on my " bucket list".

I am hoping to keep this blog updated. It gives me a much needed stress release, so here it's to hoping this blog is alive again!

Friday, April 30, 2010


I had one of those moments today, when I thought "wow, I'm actually doing just fine when it comes to this parenting thing".

My oldest child is finishing 2nd grade in a few weeks. As most schools, hers also participates in the Accelerated Reader program. They have to meet monthly goals in order to get their grades in Reading, but the kids who achieve 100 points during the school year have the opportunity to go on a field trip.

Last year, we didn't meet the goal of 100 points. We came close, somewhere around the 70s. It was our first year, she was still new to reading, and I was pretty proud of her because getting those points was not easy. You see, most books at her reading level are worth only 1/2 a point. Getting to 70 meant she had to read over 100 books, all while attending dance lessons, music lessons, and playing soccer.

When this school year began, she said she wanted to go on the field trip. I told her she could go as long as she did the work. I cannot read the books for her, nor can I take the tests for her. I explained she had to set her goal and stay committed to achieving it. And I told her I knew she could do it.

Today was award day at school. They were handed out certificates, and the Headmaster read outloud their total points for the Accelerated Reader program. I was so proud when she said my daughter's name and her total points: 178.4

I can tell you getting all those points was all her doing. I did not nag her to read, I didn't have to remind her, or yell and scream at her to do her work. She knew she wanted to go on that field trip and shortly after the Christmas holiday, she arrived at the 100 points mark.

But she didn't stop there. She decided to see if she could get to 200 points before awards day. I once again reminded her she has a busy schedule, other activities to tend to, and that I would be proud of her regardless.

She didn't get to 200 points but that really doesn't matter to either of us. She was beaming, very proud of her accomplishment. I was very proud of her because I know she earned it on her own. Yes, I bought some of the books she read, and took her to the library to get books too. But this was all her doing.

I'm elated that my child got to the experience the pride one feels when accomplishing a goal.

Friday, April 23, 2010


My twin boys are about to celebrate another birthday. Number 4. It's hard to believe they are already 4 but at the same time, I'm glad to watch them become more and more independent.

Growing up, birthdays were a big deal in my family. It was a big reason to celebrate, the fact you had been born. I grew up loving birthdays and loving celebrating them.

I have a vague memory of my 3rd birthday party. I remember the 20+ kids from all over the neighborhood, and their parents all in the front yard of our tiny duplex. It was a celebration of my birth! We had music, food, cake, and even a giant pinata shaped like a rabbit.
I don't remember the details, but I have seen the pictures of me crying, holding on to my pinata as if it was a lifesaving device. My older sisters like to tell the story. Apparently I did not want to share my rabbit with any other kid. Well, pinatas are meant to be hit with a stick until they burst and the candy come out. Imagine being 3 years old and being told the kids in the neighborhood are about to murder your giant bunny.

The fact is we always celebrate birthdays in a big way. As I got older and money became scarce, mom always made sure we had at least a cake. I learned to appreciate the gesture of a birthday rather than the decorations, pinatas and gifts.

I'm now a mother trying to figure out the correct way to celebrate my kids' birthdays. Have you hosted a kid's party recently? You will spend a small fortune in a simple birthday party. I've read articles about parents spending up to $10 grand for a kid's party. Seriously? Are we teaching our kids that putting on a show is more important than having a good time, celebrating with friends and family?

It's a hard balance between being reasonable and wanting your child to be happy. Kids want to have a bigger and better party than the one "Joe" had, a more exciting party. Having a party at home, in your own backyard has become the exception, not the norm.

I'll admit I'm one of those parents who has parties away from home, mainly because I work outside the home, and hosting a party means cleaning the house before and after the party, and trying to keep kids out of the laundry room, my room, or the bathrooms.

I just wish there was a more affordable way to celebrate birthdays. Parties have become exclusive, most places will quote you a price for X number of kids, and you have to pay extra for each child over than number. Depending on the child's age, most kids have more than 8 friends, they want everyone in their class to be there and celebrate.

Affordable celebrations should be fun without a huge price tag, and should bring happiness to the child and to the parents without breaking the bank.

I'm getting ready to plan my twin's party at home. They are too young to go skating, and such; so for now I'll enjoy the savings of hosting the party. And the "joy" of cleaning the house.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Change and Possibility

I'll be the first to admit I don't like change. Mostly because I like to research, and research, and research some more before I make a decision about anything. So when change happens, and I haven't done my research, it rattles me and leaves me without a map.
But change brings possibility right along with it. It is always there, if I just remain calm, I will find it.

In the last month, our family has been going through many changes. Some of them were planned (by yours truly) mostly, others were a long time coming, and I just had to step back and allow them to happen. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been nervous about it. I have, I'm human, and it's in my nature.

But I've been trying to stop and smell the roses, find the possibilities, the new world that these changes have been opening up for us.

My family has found a new place to worship, together as a family. It may seem trivial to you, it isn't so for me. Being able to worship as a family is one of those "big ticket items" on my list of things families do together. Perhaps it is because I never had that as a child, but I want my kids to grow up believing in something bigger than themselves. I guess I want to lay the foundation, they'll finish building once they get old enough to make their decisions.

This new change hasn't been easy for me. Kids adapt easier, and even my husband has. This change has meant stepping in faith into a new beginning. Cutting ties with what I've known my entire life, and opening up to a world of possibilities in this new life.

We've also found ourselves busier than ever, both my husband and I. Work has been multiplying for him, which is a blessing in these hard economic times. It's easy for me to sit and complain because I don't get to spend a lot of time with him because he is busy. But this too brings lots of possibilities along with it. Maybe we'll get to move into a new house sooner than we anticipated, maybe we'll get to do other things we thought we'd have to put off a few more years.

Changes isn't always easy. But I've found it doesn't always has to be nerve-wracking, bite-your-nails change. It can also be full of possibilities, of new beginnings, of beauty and blessings.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Count your blessings

I'm sitting here, wondering if I should get a new dishwasher and take
advantage of the rebate program that starts tomorrow. Sounds like a
great deal, right?

We haven't had a dishwasher for over a year, and the truth is we've
survived just fine without one. It is a want, not a need.

I guess I need to stop and count my blessings more often.
As the song of my childhood said
Bendiciones, cuenta y veras,
Bendiciones que recibiras
Bendiciones, cuenta y veras cuantas bendiciones de Jesus tendras

When I grow up, I want to be...

I was thinking the other day about so many different jobs I'd like to try. I have a list of things I'd like to do, but what about jobs I'd like to have? Never really thought about it until I walked to get coffee the next morning.

So here is a list of jobs I would like to try, at least once. If money was no object and I could do them all just for the experience, I would. Wealthy benefactor, are you reading this?

1) Chef. I love to cook and I think I'm pretty good at it. I would love to run a kitchen, and spend a whole day around food.

2) Lawyer. Because this has been a dream of mine since childhood, and if money was no object, I wouldn't have to borrow a small fortune to get a law degree.

3) Teacher. I'm not sure why I'd like to be a teacher, they are underpaid, and don't receive the respect they deserve. Still, I'd like the opportunity to open up little minds to an endless world of possibility.

4) Travel Channel host, you know those people who have all those travel shows? Who wouldn't want to get paid to travel and see the world? I would.

5) Operator of the Panama Canal. Just because. It's an engineering marble, it's in my country, what else can I say?

6) Owner of a Coffee Shop/Bakery. I love coffee, and I love bread. I'd love to own a quaint little coffee shop where people could come in, have coffee, pastries, relax.

7) Pilot. Once upon a time, I considered joining the Navy. It wasn't meant to be, but I'd love to learn how to fly a plane.

8) Party Planner/Caterer. I think it'd be fun to plan parties for people, don't you?

9) Artist. I'm somewhat "challenged" in the creative arts department. I don't sing, play instruments, and my paintings won't be on the walls of any museums any time soon. But I'd love to be an artist.

10) Writer. I want people to pay so they can read my ramblings. ha!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


According to Merriam Webster, to respect someone is to "consider worthy of high regard".
As a kid, I was taught to respect, not only my parents, but elders, teachers, coaches, etc.

Is that still the norm? I'm beginning to wonder what has happened to teach our kids respect for other people.

I was chatting with a coworker a few days ago and our conversation navigated into the topic of sports. My daughter plays soccer and his kids do too, so we usually end up comparing notes since our kids play in different leagues. I was telling him about my experience as a coach this past soccer season, and he shared with me the behavior he has seen from some of the kids. For starters, kids openly defying the coaches when given an order, telling them "you are not my parent, I don't have to do what you say", or even sitting out during a tournament because they don't want to play the position the coach has assigned to them.

Whatever happened to teaching your kids to respect other adults besides their parents? Is that teaching outdated?

I certainly hope not. I don't know everything when it comes to parenting. Truth be told, I probably know little to nothing, but there are a few things I want my kids to remember always, and one of those is to respect all people, specially those who have something to offer/teach them: teachers, coaches, pastors.

How are these children suppose to learn how to be a part of a team, when their parents allow them to act this way? How are they to learn camarederie and good sportsmanship when they disrespect the person guiding them through the games, and even their teammates?

Coaching is not an easy job, as I learned last season. We don't get paid, most of us volunteer our time because we want our kids to have the opportunity to learn a sport, remain healthy, and learn how to be a part of a team. I know many of us don't do it because we have "free" time or because we just have endless hours in our days. The last thing we need is a child who is disrespectful towards us.

Coaching is hard. It is not easy to remain calm when your team is not listening to your directions. It is not easy to discipline someone else's child while their parents are watching. It is not an easy job.

So if you are a parent of a child who plays sport, please remind your child to show respect for the coach. Yes, there are coaches out there who makes parents like myself lose their calm, who disrespect the kids in the name of sports. I don't tolerate that. But that's a battle for the parent, not the kid.

I don't agree with children disrespecting adults in any situation, warranted or not. My children know it, and they are constantly reminded when I see another child disrespect an adult in their presence.

So if you ever see one my kids be disrespectful to an adult in your presence, please correct them, I beg you!
And then tell me, so I can make sure they get a lesson in respect directly from me. I don't want my kids to join those children who are growing up thinking disrespecting others is acceptable.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Random Friday

Quitting time is so close, I can almost taste it. So, since it's Friday, and a too-short weekend is about to begin, I'm just going to write about random stuff that's been buzzing around my head today.

*I was driving back to work earlier today, after a quick trip to the store in search of a pair of white shorts for my daughter's softball uniform (which my husband had to pay for when he received it).

I've been trying to figure out why the cost of the uniform (including said shorts) is not included in the $50+ I paid when I signed her up. I mean, I know uniforms cost money. She has played soccer for several years, and the fee we pay includes her uniform and a nice trophy. How come this fee doesn't include a pair of white shorts, or the whole uniform? But I digress. That's just my thrifty self talking.

Anyway, back to my point. This state (Mississippi) ranks #1 when it comes to childhood obesity. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact we rank #1 in adult obesity too, and the link between obese parents, and obese children, and unhealthy foods in school, etc.

But you know what? I think it also has to do with the fact we, the parents, have to pay in order for our kids to play organized sports. Not everyone can afford to pay $50+ for ONE child to play in the league. I'm not naive enough to think that everything is free. I just wish local government (as in the City/County government where I live) would be more willing to fund programs for kids to stay active than to continue funding a crappy school system.

That's just a theory. Prove me wrong, I'm quite ok with that. By next year, I will have 3 kids playing sports. When it comes time to sign them up for soccer, softball, t-ball, whatever, I'll have to write a check for over $100 just so they can participate. Let's not even factor in the shoes, or whatever other equipment they may need. I'm glad we can afford it, and we are willing to pay it because we want our kids to be physically active.

But what if we could not afford it? Why should the children with limited means be kept from participating in activities that would help them develop self esteem, healthy habits, etc? They shouldn't be.

I don't have any solutions, I only have complaints. Hey, it's Friday. What else do you want?

* A couple of years ago, I blogged about needing a parenting manual . That manual still hasn't shown up at my house.
Having kids can be fun, exhausting, and nerve wracking all in one. I'm there, right now. I have a daughter who is turning 9 this year, she will officially become a tween. If you don't know what that is, you are not alone. I had to google it.

So she is getting older and along with that, come a whole lot of changes. She wants more privacy, which her brothers refuse to give her. What's wrong with them barging in the bathroom while she is taking a shower, right? Or (their favorite), let's take our clothes off and run around the house while our sister is screaming to the top of her lungs "they are naked, mom, do something".

Yeah, it's fun. She is starting to discover changes in her body, which means she is growing up. In the meantime, I'm finding more gray hairs which can only mean one thing, this is way more stressful than I anticipated.

* Birthday parties are looming in the horizon. The boys will be turning 4. Of course, they want X and Y for their birthdays. I have told them several times they have the same birthday, so they get one party. I'm pretty sure they know what I'm saying, they are just not listening.
Boys apparently develop that selective hearing early in life.

*Anniversary is also looming in the horizon. TEN years, folks. TEN. We have survived being first time parents, moving to another state, moving back, a hurricane, TWINS and still love each other. It is nice to know there is someone right next to you who knows what is like to hear 2 babies screaming at the same time in the middle of the night.

* Piano recital is coming. I cried like an idiot last year at her first one. I'm pretty certain I will again this year because that's what mothers do right? We embarrass our kids by crying at all their events. Dance recital is also coming, and I'm sure I will need another box of tissue for that one.

I'm pretty certain a few more grays hairs just popped up. Off to find some tweezers so I banish those pesky hairs to oblivion.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


I will be the first to admit I don't like change, and I'm not talking about the loose coins in my purse.

Perhaps it is because I've had to change and adapt so many times, moving from one country to another. I'm not really sure. I'm a creature of habit.

For as long as I can remember, my religion has been a part of my identity, just as the color of my eyes, or the fact Spanish is my first language. Being a part of another religion was something I never entertained. How can one change who they are, right?

I grew up in a home where no religion was practiced. By the time I was old enough to understand what religion and faith were, my father no longer considered himself part of the same religion as the one he was baptized into. My mom considered herself to be, but only attended church on special occasions. I find it ironic that even in that situation, my religious identity because so important to me.

I attended a religious school, where we prayed before every class, attended services once a week and religion was a subject we were required to take. Even though my parents were not actively practicing their beliefs, I was brought in the faith.

I remember being 11 and walking to church alone on Sunday. Service would start at 11 am and I vividly remember leaving my house, dressed in my Sunday best and walking 20 minutes to church. I never felt lonely or out of place, sitting in a pew all by myself. I think about that little girl sitting inside that huge cathedral often. Mainly because I cannot imagine how I would feel if that was my child, attending church by herself.

The truth is I never felt lonely on those days. I enjoyed going to church, even if I was going alone. I never gave it much thought because that was just the way things were. And so my religion, and my way of worship became part of who I was.

It never occurred to me that I could worship in a different way. Could I be born again with blue eyes, or blond hair? Changing that part of me was simply not possible.

Then I grew up. I learned the world is full of people who are so different and yet so fascinating. I met people whose faith was an important part of them and yet, they worshipped in a different way.

So here I am, in the crossroads. I sit here wondering in which direction to go. Do I retrace my steps back to where I began, do I take the new unknown path?

I think I will sit here, quietly. I will close my eyes, and retrace the steps that brought me to this point in life. I will listen to the voice inside my head that usually leads me in the right path, and then I will take a step. In faith.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

10 People who I would love to meet

My list of ten people who are alive today, and I would love to meet.

1) Dalai Lama. His messages are usually about love and harmony and peace. I think a lot can be learned from him. Plus my father is a Buddhist.

2) Queen Elizabeth. She is a fascinating person to me. For decades, she has been in a position of power usually occupied by men. I'd like to know how she really felt about the late princess Diana.

3) Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He is my favorite author. I love his work and would love to sit down with him and just listen to his life experience.

4) John McCain. Not because I want to discuss politics with him, but because I've always found him to be a fascinating person of integrity.

5) George Bush Sr. Again, no political discussion here. I want to ask him about the whole issue with Noriega. Was he really trained by the CIA? What happened that made him turn against the USA.

6) Jenna Bush. I like her. I think she has a good heart. Ever since I heard about her doing work in Panama with children who are suffering of AIDS, I wanted to meet her. Plus, I want to know what it's like to have a dad who sits in the Oval Office. How do you stay "real"?

7) George Clooney, because he looks like he would be tons of fun. and of course, he is easy on the eyes too. ha!

8) Drew Brees. Do I really need to say why? Not only is he cute, he won the Superbowl, and he has a good heart.

9) The Pope. I want to know why he continues to ignore the pain of the victims and the pain of the millions of Catholics around the world who are struggling with the sexual abuse scandal. Why hasn't he come out and defend himself against the accusations? And why has he allowed other clergy to call the accusations "petty gossip"?
I'm certain this meeting would consist of a lot of yelling by me, and a lot of silence by him.

10) Hon. Sonia Sotomayor. What can I say? She is an immigrant (like me), a latina woman, who has lived the American dream. I'd want to hear about her journey.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

50 Things about me

I'm not sure if I've posted this list here before or not. What can I say? My memory isn't what it used to be.
So I give you 50 random facts about me.

1) I was born on January 22. My parents' anniversary was on January 21 so my mom wanted me to be born on that day. I'm sure she is glad I wasn't, being they are no longer together.

2) I want to be a lawyer one day when I grow up. That's been my dream since 5th grade. Probably environmental law, so I could use all my degrees.

3) Until 2008, I had an irrational fear of the ocean. To the point I couldn't even drive along the ocean without having an anxiety attack. I got over it standing in front of the Pacific Ocean back in Panama.

4) I've lived in 3 countries in my life: Panama, Costa Rica, and now USA

5) I hate peanut butter and mushrooms.

6) I graduated 3rd in my senior class.

7) I chose my career path my senior year in high school. I thought I wanted to change majors when I was a junior in college. After going to career counseling, it turned out I could chose chemistry or chemical engineering. I stuck with engineering.

8) I've worn glasses since 6th grade. I broke my first pair because I hated wearing them. Thank God for contacts!

9)I had my first job when I was 13, wrapping presents during Christmas at a store back home. December in Panama = HOT. The area where I worked was outside so I spent the entire month wrapping presents for $5.60 per day. Yes, per day, it was minimum wage. I thought I was rich.

10) My father is a Buddhist.

11) I have 3 siblings from my father's first marriage, one brother, and two sisters.

12) I absolutely loved school. looked forward to going to school and learning new things. Yes, I know, I’m a geek. I never get tired of learning.

13) I arrived in New Orleans on December 20, 1990. Everything I owned fit inside a mid-size suitcase.

14) I love to cook and try to do so every day. I learned to cook watching my grandmother as a kid. I express my love for others through my cooking. I would love to be a chef.

15) I trained for the Chicago marathon back in 2007. I didn't get to finish it because they shut down the race due to the heat. But I know I could have finished. Longest run I've completed: 22 miles.

16) I want to run the entire Chicago marathon one day.

17) I've been to Niagara Falls in the winter. Amazing!

18) I collect elephant figurines.

19) I'm terrified of snakes. Can't even watch them on TV.

20) I've been camping once in my life.

21) I don't know how to swim. at all. can't even do the "doggie paddle".

22) I don't play any instruments, or sing.

23) I do watercolor painting to relax.

24) My favorite book is One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I've read it more times than I can remember, in both Spanish and English.

25) I've never broken a bone.

26) I love soccer.

27) I love dogs and don't care for cats.

28) Went to Ole Miss for both my undergrad and graduate degrees. I'm an Ole Miss Rebel. Enough said.

29) I like taking showers, not baths. Don't care to sit in a tub full of water.

30) I love walking around the house barefoot.

31) I read all the books in the Twilight Saga and loved them. Yes, not exactly a literary gem but I enjoyed them all the same.

32) I was married "twice" to the same man. sort of. We got married in the Baptist church, and a year later, in the Catholic church. Long story, for another time.

33) There are no plants inside my house. All of my plants die, even cactus.

34) I love flowers, specially carnations.

35) I love coffee. Gotta have a cup every morning to start my day the right way.

36) Wheat beer, chardonnay, and merlot. I like them all, but not at the same time.

37) I dream of moving back to Panama one day.

38) I have no regrets in life. Every choice I've made helped me become who I am.

39) I'm shy when I first meet people.

40) Aside from Panamanian food, I love Italian food.

41) I never dreamed of being a mom. It just wasn't part of my "life plan". Until I met my husband. Then I realized I wanted to bring life into this world. I'm glad I did.

42) If I could invite one person to dinner, dead or alive, I'd like to meet Mother Theresa. Her life was so inspiring, not just to Christians, but to all people.

43) I'm allergic to narrow minded people. They make me want to hit them so I avoid them at all costs.

44) I have a list of things I'd like to do before I leave this earth. It is a work in progress.

45) I know how to drive a manual transmission car. I traded mine for an automatic when I had kids so I could "reach in the backseat".

46) I hate, hate, hate to spend money on myself. I have no issues spending it on my kids, or on other people who need it. But myself? It can always wait.

47) I hope to write a book one day about my family. So many great people, and lots and lots of dysfunctional drama. ;-)

48) My first car was a 1979 (baby) Yellow Montecarlo. I loved that car.

49) Making this list was a lot harder than I thought. I realized how boring I am.

50) I hope to revise this list next year and hopefully have more interesting stuff to say.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Remembering Abuelo on Good Friday

Lately, I've been having a "spiritual crisis" of sort. I have been questioning my beliefs, and those of my ancestors. You see, my family has always been Catholic. I was born into a Catholic family, in country where the vast majority (90% or more at that time) were also Catholic. To worship differently was to be an outsider.
So, 36 years later, I'm questioning where I am spiritually and where I'd like to be when the day comes to depart this earth.

Wow, that was deep, wasn't it? But this blog isn't about my journey, or my crisis.

For as long as I can remember, Good Friday has been a day of mourning. Even before I really understood what Christians were celebrating during these holy days, I just knew it was a special day.
The whole world would shut down once the Tridiuum began. Holy Thursday marked the beginning as we prepared for the days to come.

As a kid, I was taught on this day, we were to reflect and pray on the sacrifice Jesus made for mankind. There was no secular music on the radio stations, no fighting or shouting at my house. It was a day of prayer.

Abuelo (my maternal grandfather) was a spiritual man but not a religious man. That's not to say he wasn't a believer. He was a man of faith, and he prayed. His temple wasn't a building, it was simply nature. He loved being in nature, and cherish all the things God had given him.

On Good Friday, Abuelo didn't work. He always said it was a day of prayer and reflection. He would rise early, as always, and without saying a word, he would go outside for his Good Friday ritual. I'm not sure what the ritual was about or what exactly he did. All I know is this was his quiet time with God and he took it very seriously.

Abuelo grew up in the mountains, where the nearest church was at least a day away, and you had to ride a horse to the main road before you could find a bus to ride to town. So attending church wasn't something he did regularly, even when transportation became more available.

But he lived his 93 years of life by the Golden Rule: Love your neighbor as yourself, and God above all things. He helped strangers and family alike. He was kind to people, and thankful of the blessings God gave him. He didn't need to be in church every Sunday to know that God was just a prayer away.

So today, on Good Friday, I'm thinking of Abuelo. He knew that his salvation was not coming from a building where a man presided over the service. He never doubted his salvation would come from the one who died on the Cross. I miss Abuelo. But I'm certain he is finally home and rejoicing in the presence of his Savior.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Unforgettable Moments: Part 2

Took a while to get back and finish my list of unforgettable moments. Sometimes life gets in the way of writing.

6) October 19, 1998. First date my husband and I had. I had seen him at the local gym a few weeks before. I remember him walking in, as I looked up. Our eyes met and a voice inside my head said "this man is going to change your life". Love at first sight? Maybe. The truth is he did change my life for the better. We went out on our first date and have been together ever since.

7) May 20, 2000 Our wedding day. As I was getting my hair ready, it started to rain. I started to get a bit nervous then. Here I was in this puffy white dress, about to walk out in the middle of a storm. The girl doing my hair said her grandmother always told her rain on your wedding day was good luck. In our case, it is true. On that day I married my other half, my best friend.

8) September 12, 2001. Our first born, a daughter was born. She was so beautiful and innocent and I was taken immediately by her. Even though the world was in turmoil over the events of 9/11, my memories of those times are happy and sad. Happy to have my little girl finally here, sad for all those who lost a loved one the day before her birth.

9) May 2003. Master degree. Environmental Engineering. A long way coming. I took classes at night, and finished this milestone while tending to my child and my husband. I was able to share that day with my family and have my daughter in attendance. She may not remember the day, but she will see the pictures and will know she, too, can do anything she sets her mind to.

10) May 1, 2006 The arrival of our twin boys. As soon as we found out I was expecting, we told our daughter. She was happy and said "mami, you are going to have two babies". We tried to explain to her she would get one brother or one sister, but she was adamant there were two babies in there. A few weeks later, we found out we were having twins. They arrived early and stayed in the hospital until they proved to the world they were ready for it.
They are a team, each other's ying yang and their own individual persons. It's amazing to watch them interact, and see the love between each other and with their sister. Our family is now complete.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Unforgettable Moments: Part 1

Blogging helps me release stress. Strange, I know. I've been trying to blog every day and sometimes, I just have nothing interesting to say. So I found this idea generator that helps me on those days when my "rock star life" is not inspiring me to write.

So I give you the 10 most unforgettable moments of my life. Some are happy moments, some a little scary, but all very defining in my life.

1) My first day of school. I remember the anticipation and excitement of finally being able to attend school with my two oldest siblings. I remember my mom taking me out to buy the uniform, my new shoes, my lunchbox. The day finally came, and I was the most excited child in the classroom, at least I'd like to think so. While some kids were crying, I was ecstatic to be there, to finally have a chance to learn.
It was March in Panama, and a beautiful summer day. Once we had met our teacher, they took us out to the assembly area. They lined us up, the principal went up on the stage, and then we sang our National Anthem. I'll never forget that moment, I was finally growing up!

2) The year was 1989. Panama's government was under the command of General Noriega. Things were scary to say the least. I was 15 then and understood most of what was happening. I knew our school had been shut down by the government because it was run by a religious group. Electricity was being rationed so we spent many hours every night without power, sitting outside, listening to a radio station from Costa Rica in a small battery powered radio.
I also knew we weren't allow to congregate on the streets. If more than 3 people met on the street to talk, they could be put in jail under the pretense they were conspiring against the government.

I remember this day because my sister and I were sitting outside, just watching cars pass by and people walking towards town. I remember the men stopping to chit chat, two of them on their way to town, one of them on his way home. They stopped in the corner, right across from our yard. I remember the military jeep stopping right next to them, heavily armed and looking like something out of a movie. They dropped something on the ground, the jeep left, and the men started running, and coughing.

My sister and I weren't sure what was happening but it was scary. We got up and started to run towards the house, that's when we felt a funny taste in our throats. It was tear gas.

It was scary to see how we had lost our right to be free; simply because of the ambitions of one man.

3) Moving to Costa Rica. The situation in Panama had gone from bad to worse after the military threw out the results of the elections and put a puppet government in its place. The decision was made we would move to Costa Rica. We were to cross the border, undetected, and ask for political asylum. We rode to the border, as many people do, in a bus. People went there all the time to buy things, trade things, so it wasn't suspicious.
We crossed the border in an area that wasn't patrolled. I was terrified. What if we got caught?
Once on the other side, we headed to the immigration headquarters, located right on the "safe" side of the border. I remember my parents doing all the talking, signing papers, our passports were stamped, and we bought our bus tickets. We were allowed in.
That first night in our adopted home was scary. I was terrified "they" were following us. What if they found us? What would happen to us? I hardly slept. I remember being cold. San Jose was at a much higher elevation than my hometown and the nights were pretty cool. I remember walking out of the little hostel the next morning, and admiring the beautiful mountains that surround the city. I knew a new life awaited us.

4) December 1, 1990. Our plane had reached its final destination. New Orleans. So much had happened in the past year and half. Here we were, another country, a new home, and the promise that our dreams could finally come true.

5) May 1997. Bachelor's degree. Chemical Engineering. I had graduated 6 months before, but since there was no graduation ceremony in December, I was invited to participate in the ceremony in May. By now, I had a job so I thought I would go and "walk" to give my mom the satisfaction of watching me graduate.
As we started to walk into the coliseum where graduation was held, the magnitude of the moment hit me. I had to fight the tears, I had come such a long way since I had left my home 8 years before. The world awaited.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Science Fair

This morning I had the opportunity to be a judge at the regional science fair. It was a very rewarding experience for me.

This is the second time I participate as a judge but the first time I've done it at a regional level, with children from the surrounding counties, that attend both public and private schools.

I judged in two different categories so I was able to see many different kinds of projects. More importantly, I was able to see how different kids, from different schools, may present the same idea in two very different ways.

It was easy to see which students had an adult supervising, helping out; and which ones had done it on their own without much parental supervision.

I hope it doesn't sound judgemental. That's not my intention. As the child of a working mother, I know many times I did my projects on my own while mom was at work, with only the help of sisters.

But seeing those kids who needed an adult to help them out made me want to reach out and volunteer some of my time mentoring these kids. I'm glad they have teachers encouraging them to participate and to contribute their talent to the science fair.

Some kids were nervous, others were so happy to talk to me and tell me all about their projects, their ideas, and even their grandmothers! I even had a chance to judge a team from the School for the Deaf. I really wish I knew sign language so I could have interacted with the girls, they looked like a fun bunch.

Some of the kids are in the same age range as my daughter. I cannot wait until it's her turn to participate. I made sure to tell all these kids they are winners already. They won in their schools, and are participating against other schools, they are winners in my book.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Reality of Life

The topic of this blog isn't pleasant for me, and probably won't be for those who read it. It isn't something we like to talk about in civilized society, it's one of the taboo subjects we shy away from at cocktail parties, and social gatherings.

A few months back, there was a case of physical abuse in the news. Two very popular people were involved in a domestic dispute. Her picture was in the news, he was all over the news, sharing his "side" of the events, and telling everyone who cared to hear that he, too, was a victim.
Many took her side, others felt he was treated unfairly because he, too, had been injured.

I, as many people, took the side of the battered woman. What most people probably wouldn't know it's because I have seen abuse up close and personal.

I have not been a victim of abuse, but my sister has. Not once, or twice, but several times, at the hands of two different men.

Abuse isn't pretty, it isn't something people want to talk about, it's something people whisper around and pretend isn't happening. I refuse to do so anymore.

I have seen the results of physical abuse. I have seen my sister battered and bruised, and worst of all, ashamed because she felt maybe it was something she did. I have cried with her and stood up for her.

But there are other types of abusive relationship. When most people hear about abuse, they picture a battered woman, bruises and blood. Most never think about emotional abuse, and how prevalent it is in today's society. Most of us go on about our lives without ever thinking about it.
Most people think the abusers are usually uneducated men, unemployed, minority men, or simply trashy people. I'm sure many fit that pattern but many don't.
Many aren't minority males, many are not poor , or uneducated. They may be the doctor in your town, or the lawyer down the street.

For my sister this time around, the abuse is more than just physical. It's emotional. Funny thing is we all saw it coming but it wasn't until we were staring in the face of it that we realized what we were looking at.

It's not easy to see how someone can abuse another emotionally.
I have seen a confident beautiful woman lose her self esteem. I have watched her give up a successful career simply because he wanted her to. I have watched her lose herself, and her ability to stand up for herself.

The signs the abuse was happening were subtle. At first it was about her job, then it was about her not spending enough time at home with him and the kids. Before long, her family wasn't allowed in the home unless he wasn't there, or unless we had prior approval. And we were ever there and he came home, we knew better than to hang around.
She became isolated, always saying that's just how he was. He is eccentric and wants her undivided attention when he is around her.

I'm sure she isn't the only woman in this situation right now. The statistics are clear. 5.3 million women are abused every single year. 5.3 million.
Those women are someone's daughter, sister, mother. Most of the abuse is at the hands of a domestic partner. And most of the abuse goes unreported because the victim feels ashamed of what happened.

If you are lucky to have never been around someone in an abusive situation, count your blessings and offer a prayer for those who are in an abusive relationship.

If you have seen the ugly truth of abuse, then you know how helpless one can feel when a loved one is in that situation. There is nothing you can do to remove them from that path unless they are willing to get out. And most abused women are afraid to move on.

So say a prayer for all the women, for all the men, for the children who have witnessed abuse, for the families who have to sit helplessly while trying to find a way to help the victims.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Life with Children

Never a dull moment when it comes to my life. My kids have a bag full of "surprises" hidden somewhere, I'm certain of it.

Last night I had a battle of wills with one of my boys. He decided that instead of dinner, he wanted hot cocoa. With marshmallows. I nicely told him he could have some IF he ate his dinner. You would have thought I had sentenced him to torture and death. He started screaming at the dinner table. His twin brother started singing "cry baby, cry baby, suck your thumb" which only prompted louder screams. His sister told him to stop crying, they wanted to eat in peace.

I kept trying to reason with him but have you ever tried to reason with a 3 yr old? Achieving world peace is a lot easier. Finally I told him he could go and cry in his room because the rest of us were trying to have a nice dinner. Off he went, screaming as loudly as he could. 20 minutes later, he came out of his room and told me he was going to eat his dinner. No more crying, no mention of the hot cocoa. He ate half of it (which was more than I expected him to eat), and a few minutes later "reminded me" I had promised he could have hot cocoa if he ate. I made good on that promise and all 3 of them got a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows.

Back in my day, my parents would have made me sit at the dinner table until I ate everything on my plate and I probably wouldn't have gotten any hot cocoa. I vividly remember the battles I had with my parents over eating my vegetables. I sat many times for over an hour at the table, alone, because I refused to eat what was on my plate.

Considering how stubborn I was (or am, depending who you ask), I know better than to use that tactic with my own kids. I'm afraid they would end up sleeping at the dinner table and the plate of food would look exactly the same as when I put it on the table.

I know they are asserting their independence and trying to see how far it really goes. I guess you could say having newborn twins desensitize me to their cries. I can tune them out and they are figuring out tears do not work with me. But I'm only human, and from time to time, it gets to me and I lose my patience.

I'm not a model of parenthood, I'm just doing what I can to keep my sanity. Having three kids definitely makes things a little more challenging. Had I had only one kid, I may have given in and hot cocoa and crackers would have been dinner. But with 3, what's good for one is good for all of them, at least most of the time. The other two are watching and they will remember how you let that one get away with whatever it was. It could be something as insignificant as sitting at a different chair at dinner time, they will remember it and use it later on to get their way.

Since the owner manuals that suppose to come with these kids was lost in the mail, I'll just continue to use the "trial and error" method and hope my kids won't have to spend too much money in therapy because I refuse to let them have hot cocoa for dinner.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

College taught me...

There are many lessons I received while in college. Not the academic lessons I was there to receive, but lessons about life, about people, about friends.

College taught me sometimes people will surprise you. Unexpected kindness from strangers, a smile when you are feeling down, a shoulder to rely on. Sometimes the nice things people do for you are what helps you face the obstacles along your path.

College taught me some people cannot be trusted, not everyone you meet has your best interest at hand. It taught me not all elderly people are good people, sometimes they are just old bodies with mean hearts.

College taught me I matter, the person I am, not the money I have, or the car I drive. I matter because of what I can contribute to this world. I am valuable.

College taught me family is the most important thing, and they will be there when everyone else leaves.

College taught me the friends you make in college will stay with you through the years, for as long as you want them there.

College taught me I will make mistakes, and that's ok. There is no virtue in never making mistakes, it's learning from them that helps you grow.

College taught me to give people a chance. Sometimes you will find a friend in someone you'd never dreamed of meeting.

College was the best time of my life, before marriage and kids. I look back at those years and see the happiest times, with the best of friends. I laughed, I cried, I learned how to be a friend, and I learned how to cherish my friends. I embraced my past there, I embraced the person I was becoming, and I looked ahead to the future with hope.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Losing my religion

I never quite understood the lyrics of that song by R.E.M. But its title seemed fitting to the turmoil going on inside my brain.

If you know me well, you probably know my brain is always in turmoil. There are usually a thousand thoughts racing across my poor brain cells, and making my brain overly tired and overworked.

This time the reason for my unrest is my spiritual life. I seem to be losing my religion.

My faith is intact. I pray daily, I read the Bible daily, and meditate on it. I just cannot bring myself to attend service at my home church.

Until recently, I was one of those people who hardly ever missed church on Sunday. I volunteered, and actually enjoyed being there. I simply need to be surrounded by others who believe and worship as I do. At least I was that person until recently.

I'm not sure when it all began to disconnect, or the reason behind it. At first, I started missing church because I was sick, or one of the kids was sick. Slowly, it began to feel as a chore, not as something I wanted to do.
But only on Sundays. I just couldn't bring myself to attend services on Sunday.

I have been making time to attend daily services near work. I have no issues going to a different church, with a complete group of strangers, and worship during the week. But when it comes to Sunday, my will power depletes and I just cannot find it in me to go.

I have been knowing something was off for a while. I started to notice the "change" going on in my brain. I thought maybe it was a midlife crisis, although my midlife crisis come and go rather frequently and I'm not old enough to have one.

Then I noticed how happy I was to attend daily mass with a bunch of strangers but I simply dreaded the thought of going to church on Sunday with my church family. I have been attending church there almost 20 years, yet I no longer want to be there.
I'm not sure what's happening. No one has been rude or demeaning towards me or my family there.

Am I having a religious crisis? Perhaps. Identity crisis? Quite possible.

Funny how a long drive is the best source of therapy for me. I was driving yesterday for work and started thinking about this particular issue. I often use my driving time to think about whatever is bothering me at the time. Most of the time I simply have a conversation with myself and it helps clear the confusion that's my brain.

A few things popped into my mind as I was wondering what was happening to me.

I'm not questioning my faith or my beliefs. I still feel very strongly about those, so it is not my faith I'm losing.

But I do feel like I'm missing out on something at my current church. I miss not having other people like me there, people I can relate to. Who are these people? Mothers, wives, other people who are going through the same period in their lives. Other women with young children, women who may have the same interests as me. But more importantly women I can worship with.

I am missing the chance to worship with other women like me. I miss not having a group of women who I can attend bible studies with. Not just women, but women who are going through the same stages of their lives as I am, who may be juggling work, kids, husbands, just as I am.

Going to a different church of the same denomination is a possible solution. But the nearest one is 30 minutes away and I've already "tried on" before and it didn't fit. Does that mean I'm the misfit?

And I can always try another denomination. I'm a believer God is the same in every church, we just chose to worship Him differently, so attending another denomination is not an issue for me.

What if I'm the one who simply doesn't fit here, there, or anywhere?

What about my kids? Is my "crisis" going to affect their faith? Strengthen it? Should I start saving for their therapy bill?

One thing is for sure, my spiritual journey has always been filled with roadblocks that turn into road trips. I wonder where this road trip will take me...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Tutorial on Twins

Parenthood is an adventure, no one with kids will disagree. That adventure often turns into an episode worthy of the Amazing Race when you have twins. In my case, twins plus one make life quite unpredictable.

People often makes comments to me about how wonderful it is to have twins and how they wish they had twins. I'm sure they are trying to be nice, but in all honesty, no one knows what is like to parent twins unless you have them. I don't care if your kids are close in age, or if you have 19 of them, twins will throw a wrench into your parenting skills.

We weren't first time parents when we learned twins were on the way. We have a daughter who is wonderful in every possible way. She is funny, sweet, beautiful, outgoing, a dream come true. We wanted to give her a sibling, and ended up giving her two. We figured our experience as parents would pay off. How hard could it be? We had been through the midnight feedings, diaper changing, reflux, etc.

I wish someone had given me a tutorial before the twins arrive. Better yet, I wish they had given it to me the minute I walked out of the doctor's office, eight weeks into the pregnancy and with the news of double trouble on the way.

So this is my attempt at preparing future mothers (and fathers) of twins. My tutorial on how to parent twins.

1) The minute you find out you are expecting twins, run out of the doctor's office screaming. People will stare but that's ok. Their stares will be nothing compared to those you'll get every time you step out of your home with your twins.

2) Invest in a recliner if you don't already own one. Not only will you need it when you get too big to lay in bed comfortably, it will come in handy during those all night feedings.

3) Speaking of feedings, get used to eating cold food. Once the twins are here, you will seldom get a chance to eat a hot meal. When they are babies, they will start crying the minute you sit down to have a meal. Once they start talking, they will call your name the second you sit down. Most of the time the voice will be coming from the bathroom.
When you decide to eat out with the kids, ask for a box to pack your dinner before you start eating. By the time you are done cutting their dinner, telling them to sit down, making sure they don't pour water in their sibling's food, your food will be cold and they will be ready to go home.

4) Invest in earplugs. I know, sounds harsh unless you've heard the cries of two babies at 2 AM.

5) Throw out all the preconceived notions you had about how you'll deal with twins. You may think think you'll put them on a schedule and they will be sleeping through the night by the time they are 3 months old. It may work, it may not. Not only did my twins decide they didn't like the same schedule, they didn't start sleeping through the night until they turned one. And yes, we tried everything. Better to go in without any expectations.

6) Every time someone says "oh, how I wished I had had twins", ask them for a donation and their phone number. By the time your kids are of school age, you will have a very nice trust fund set for the kids, and you'll have tons of babysitters.

7) Speaking of babysitters, once you find one that actually enjoys babysitting twins, pay her well so she'll keep coming back. You'll be surprised how many will hesitate at the thought of watching more than one child of the same age.

8) Twins are individuals and they rejoice in reminding you of that fact. They will like different foods, different toys, even different sides of the car. And once they are old enough to undress, they will take off the clothes you picked out for them, and find something else to wear. This usually happens as you are trying to walk out the door.

9) When it comes to twins, silence is NOT golden. It just means they are probably in the bathroom, flushing everything they can down the toilet.

10) Enjoy every second with your twins. You will be amazed at how strong their bond is, how connected they are, and how much they love one another. It doesn't matter if they are identical or fraternal, your twins will have that special bond forever.

There will be times you'll be so exhausted, all you can do is cry. There will be times when you'll go outside, sit in the car, and enjoy a few seconds of silence. Many times you'll wonder how you will ever make it until they are old enough to go to college.

But there will also be lots of laughter. Kisses and hugs, and I love you's that will melt your heart. Enjoy the moments when you are all snuggled up in bed watching cartoons on Saturday mornings. Rejoice in knowing they chose you to be their parent. I know it won't be easy at first but the best things in life often aren't easy.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Slave to technology

I'm not sure how this came to my mind. I was driving home from dropping the kids off at school and realized I'm probably addicted to my cell phone, to some degree. I don't sit around and text message people all day long. I don't go to lunch with friends, only to pull out the phone and check my Facebook every so often. I can still enjoy normal human contact without having my cell phone interfere with my life.

Still, I remember the simpler times when I could avoid phone calls simply because I was not home. Now, I can't even go to church without being contacted by people!

We have given people access to our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, simply by getting a cell phone. And it gets worse if you happen to have a smart phone, because not only can they text you, they can also send you emails and Facebook messages, and expect you to answer them.

Don't get me wrong. I love my iPhone and it has made my life easier. I can keep my grocery list, my calendar, and my checkbook balance, all in one handy place.

But sometimes, I wish I could use the "sorry, I wasn't home when you called" excuse.

Are you addicted to your phone? Tivo? Computer?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Welcome 2010!

Yes I know. 2010 started a while back but this is my very first blog of 2010. So there.

Kudos to Carrie for getting me to update this thing. I've been lazy and needed a kick in the you-know-what to get back to blogging. Now if she can just get me to exercise...

The first two months of this year have passed me by. I wrote a list of resolutions, and so far, I've been keeping most of them. keyword: most. The exercise thing is just not happening. I have zero motivation. I am hoping as the weather gets warmer, I will be more motivated to walk during my lunch hour.

Reading more books is another one of the resolutions. So far I've read 5 books this year. Finally read The Notebook (had already seen the movie). It is a sweet story but I wasn't that impressed with the writing. Maybe it's just me? Or it could be that I read it after I finished To Kill a Mocking Bird. Now that's an awesome book, and if you haven't read it, shame on you!

Also read Wuthering Heights. I wasn't so sure about it but once I started reading it, I was hooked. I liked the characters, even if Heathcliff isn't the most likely "leading man". He was real, and he felt "human" to me.

The other two I read: "Marianela" which is a classic in Spanish literature; and The Age of Innocence (good but not my favorite).

Speaking of books, I have joined a "virtual" book club. Real Simple magazine has a "book club". Readers get to vote on the book and they can opt to read the chosen book, or wait for the next selection. That's my kind of club since I never know what craziness may be going on in my life.

And while we are on the subject of craziness, what the heck happened to my babies? I have a daughter who is growing up way faster than I'm prepared to accept. My sons are little men now, not toddlers anymore. My house is a circus any given night, but I wouldn't trade this circus for anything. Specially since I am the rink master. ha!

As if having my own circus wasn't time consuming, I also volunteered to coach Candace's soccer team. I love it! I have the best players and parents, if I can say so myself.

So that's basically what I've been up to since I last updated this blog. Work, parenting (still looking for the manual that should have come with my kids), coaching, and trying to stay on top of the madness.