I like food.

No, I love it. My butt is a testimony to that fact. I just don't always like to shop for it, prepare it, cook it, serve it and then clean up after. Off the counters, the floor, the high chair and my baby's lap. Sometimes it is a really big chore for me. Can't we just eat sandwiches?, I always ask. Sometimes I cook just for basic survival. But I hate cooking like that. There is no joy in that and the kids always seem unappreciative of it, as if they know mama didn't put much love in it.

I really strive to make good, healthy meals for the chil'rens. We definitely aren't the typical chicken nugget, tater tot casserole, mac 'n cheese, frozen pizza type family. Ever since they were really little, we have expected them to eat whatever we are eating. The result of that is they like food that most children think is gross. They love hummus and pita bread, taco salad, fresh fish tacos, homemade salsa on everything (Maya will sit at the counter and scoop it up with the big dawgs like nothing), ceviche with crab and shrimp, homemade pizza on whole wheat pita bread, grilled chicken breast and homemade pesto and pasta (they call it green spaghetti), chicken tortilla soup (which I never make the same twice), basil and grape tomato bruschetta, potato cheese soup, and any and all kinds of stir-fries and steamed jasmine rice. Not to mention all the standard beaner food that is a staple in my family.

One of their favorite soups I like to make for them is a Thai soup called Tom Yum Goong. The minute they smell the stuff on the stove they go buckwild. Years ago my Dad used to take me to this Thai restaurant in Alhambra called Thai Dynasty. It was my first time trying this spicy shrimp soup and I loved it. Years later the place closed down, and I was determined to learn how to make it for my man. I found a relatively easy sounding recipe online and searched for an Asian market. Talk about a foreign place. Now I know how white people feel when they are driving down Van Buren Blvd. between Arlington and California. I can hear it now.

Honey, was does El Tapah-tee-yo mean? Why are there peen-yatas hanging from the ceiling? Who knew you could buy fresh tortillas, buy your groceries, cash your check, send money to your relatives in Mexico, sit down to a full-course meal, buy an airline ticket, a cell phone and a wedding cake in one place? And what is this Frio Divino? This tamarindo sundae tastes funny. I miss Baskin Robbins, dear!

This Asian market was crazy. They had big root vegetables that looked like giant feet in their produce section. Fifty varieties of rice. Groovy looking mushrooms. Way out music playing in the background. And the incense. I have never smelled inscense walking into a grocery store. My kids were fascinated with the little Buddha in the corner draped with oranges, flowers and more incense. The store owner got a big kick out of me when I asked him for help in finding the ingredients I needed. He was like wow, you make tom yum goong? At first, everything was strange and unfamiliar. Ever heard of kaffir lime leaves? Lemongrass stalks? Fish sauce (here is a tip, never smell it or you'll regret it)? Me either. I have gotten pretty good at making this soup. My dad was especially impressed when he tasted it. Hey, it tastes just like Thai Dynasty!

I am always on the lookout for some new and interesting recipes. I will probably never be that mom who creates a meal planner. Or shops with notecards. Or remembers every single thing she needs. Crap, I forgot the olive oil! But, its good to break up the monotony throughout the week. Share with me some of your old faithful recipes...something that is always a crowd pleaser...and something that doesn't require me slaving over a hot stove for hours!

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Yesterday after my daughter puked and peed on her bed, I took her a bath. As I was helping her get dressed on her stripped mattress that she had puked and peed on earlier, I saw a big spider crawling on the wall behind her wrought iron bed. I leaned really close to it to inspect it. I was worried that it was one of those brown recluse spiders. After I studied it, I smashed the crap out of it.

Then I went online to Google an image to make sure what kind of spider it was. My eyes were not prepared for what I saw before me. Not only were there pictures of the brown recluse, there were pictures of people which had been bitten by that same type of spider.

Chills. Down my spine. I felt terror down in the loins, yo. They were horrifying.

They ranged from a blackened, rotted abscess to literally, a gaping, pus-filled open flesh wound that looked like a creature. I looked at it and was immediately sorry I did. Images like that stay with me for a while. Funny thing, the minute my eyes see something my mind doesn't like, my vision automatically goes out of focus. Like my eyes are doing me the favor of not letting me see it clearly.
So horrified was I that when Michael got home, I had to tell him all about it to release it from my psyche. With my eyes squinting, I Googled it again and turned the laptop so he could see it. Even from a distance and with my eyes fuzzy, I still got the chills. I won't dare upload the photo for you to see. I contemplated putting a link here, but I got all freaked out at the thought of having to look it up again. It is that bad.

Maybe its just me. If you have a strong stomach for that type of stuff, cool. We all have our limits. Me, I can't seem to hang. I've seen Fear Factor where people are sucking milk from a goat's teat, putting their face in sewer water or munching down some horse balls but if I see one of those makeoever/plastic surgery shows where blood and flesh is being dealt with....I.just. can't.deal.

Then Michael thought it would be fun to look up snake bites. He almost got me to look at one as I was loading the washing machine and looked up. Mean, just plain mean. Ew. It took me all night to erase those images in my head. Oh, and I stomped the heck out of my sheets when I got in them last night, too. Oh, and it turns out the spider in my daughter's room wasn't a brown recluse. It was just your average ghetto spider.

So go ahead, Google a brown recluse spider image. See what comes up. Eeeeeek. Hold on to your butt!


SAHM style ain't all what its cracked up to be

I told myself that if I ever became a stay at home mom (and believe me, that thought was terrifying enough), I would dress in those cute sweatsuit outfits, have my hair combed everyday and I would wear makeup even if I wasn't going anywhere and no one was stopping by.

When I was a little girl and my mom was still married and a stay at home mom, I was used to seeing her dressed in her uniform every day. She would wear a faded t-shirt, cut-off denim shorts, chanklas and no bra. They're still firm as rocks, she would say. Um, yeh mom. Of course, I didn't understand what the heck she was talking about. She didn't wear any makeup except some chapstick. And her hair...her hair she left au-natural. Which for my mom is a sort of mini 'fro. I remember sitting in our yellow Datsun as we pulled in front of Security Pacific ('member that bank?). My brother and I would stay in the car and play with the radio as she jumped off to take care of her business. She would pull her chapstick out and put some on, then get out of the truck and I would watch her walk into the bank, click clack click clack.

I'm not gonna lie, I see getting dressed up unless I absolutely have to as a waste of my precious time. My kids don't care if I have my eyebrows drawn in (with the Sharpie). They don't require me to flat-iron my hair. I am perfectly comfortable dressed in my warm-up pants and t-shirt. Or my pj bottoms and t-shirt. If I am feeling snazzy, I will wear the bottoms without paint stains. And a bra, 'cause sorry mama, they are sooo not as firm as rocks after six chil'rens. So my habit has been to shower in the morning and then stay au-natural all day. If my kids see me curling my eyelashes or doing my hair, they ask me, where we goin', mama? If they see me wearing shoes, there is a mad dash to the closets, where they all look for some shoes to put on quickly. My daughter stands in the hallway, mocos and vavas hanging down to the floor, mmmaaaaaamaaaaaaa I need my shoooooooooes!

I once read a mother's devotional by a woman who felt we were shortchanging our husbands by not making ourselves fresh, pretty and presentable for our men when they walk in the door after a hard days work. That we are more concerned about making ourselves look nice when we go out to church or to hang out with friends than we are for the one person who matters most to us. We'll do it for others. Our husbands get sloppy seconds. And have you ever asked your husband what he prefers you to wear? All you feminists don't need to get your panties in a wad, just think about it. The person who we love most, the one relationship we are supposed to value most, the only person we are ever going to have sex with--doesn't it make sense to ask them what makes us attractive to them? For me, I know that means wearing my hair down, no black nail polish, no excessive black eyeliner and feminine clothes...that means I can't always wear my beloved hoodies, my butch t-shirts, my jeans that are all ragged on the bottom and granny shoes. Hmmm, so I pondered this whole dressing up for your man deal.

And I ain't gonna lie, I was convicted.

When Michael and I were first married, I would make sure I looked really cute and perky for him. I always made sure my legs weren't prickly like cactus, I wore lipgloss and my hair was always brushed and styled. Or I would wear long, flowing skirts I knew he liked me to wear. And my toes were always done. You know, ravishing. So he would want to ravish me.

Now....sigh, now we peck each other on the lips and he stares lovingly toward the stove, to see what beautiful meal is bubbling for him. I look at him like, finally you are home! Dang, go change the baby's diaper and Sol needs a spanking because he drank all the soy sauce today and Noah needs a talking to because he gave me lip all day and we need lightbulbs in the porch light oh the ice maker went out I am so tired I need a break all I do is cook and clean all day. All this as I stand there with my hair in a scrunchy, warm-up pants that highlight all the dimples in my butt and absolutely no lip gloss or smooth legs in sight.

What happened?

I want him to look at me like I am that beautiful meal bubbling for him! Earlier today as I made my way to the bathroom, I passed the mirror on my dresser. Holey smokes! My appearance actually startled me. Who is that bag lady and why is she looking back at me? I was speechless. I-I-I've had a busy morning....I have been nursing four sick children with pink eye...it's Monday, which is a recovery day for me...I'm working on my class outlines, I went to bed late last night etc. etc. Basically, every excuse in the book came to mind. But the bottom line is, I am lazy. There, I said it. A lazy and slothful wife. There is a reason why my man doesn't look at me lovingly like he does the stove when he comes home. Now, let me just say my husband isn't exactly a metro-sexual himself...he maintains his fair share of crust. I practically beg him to shave and not wear his Dickies shorts and black house slippers when we go out somewhere. He says, I'm just being me baby. I'm comfortable.

So I guess I'm just being me. Lazy, sloppy, slothful me.

I don't want to be that way anymore. I believe if I suit up everyday and wear my mama uniform, I will feel more willing and capable of doing all the things I need to during the day. Then when the man comes home, I can freshen up for him and greet him with a smile. I'm going to try this and see how it goes. I don't like to think of us lapsing into these stereotypical roles of husband and wife. It's pretty pathetic. I have strived to make my marriage special over these last ten years. But lately, it hasn't been. But there is good news! With God's help, it is something I can work on. And I'm going to really try. And no, there will be no before photo because I am not Whittaker Woman. I don't want to scare ya'll.


Feel the funk blast

Once again its on. Thanks to my crazy amiga Raquel, I was able to get pre-sale tickets to the Rage show. Nevermind that we are surviving on beans and tortillas but I went out on a limb and bought my tickets. I wouldn't do this for any other band but Rage. From what I hear, this is a once in a lifetime deal. I'm just hoping that all the little knuckleheads that are going to be buckwild during the show, open up their ears and listen to the message. It's not just about mosh pits and socking people up.

My sister laughed when she heard we all (bro and his wife, stepbro and his babymama) got our tickets. Okay, so we aren't spring chickens anymore. But we can hang. She said she was willing to go just to watch us all. Geez, am I that old? *coughcough*

Until then I will continue to dwell in the land of little ones with drippy boogers, squishy butts, around the clock nebulizer treatments for Deg-o's asthma, coughing in my face and all over my food, and three sets of pink, inflamed, gooey, contagious eyes. Yep, three with pink eye. Oh, its as lovely as it sounds. I caught Cyan wiping his eyes twice on the kitchen dishtowel. I almost had a heart attack. Not to mention all the bedding that needs to be washed so they can't reinfect themselves. And who do you think will no doubt get it, even though I have washed my hands with antibacterial soap so much my knuckles are as cracked and dry as an old man. Yep, me. Good times, people, good times. Now you know why I can't wait for April.

So me and Raquel were trying to think up ways we could offset the costs of the concert tickets. Those whoremongers over at Ticketmaster tacked on another $16 to an $85 ticket. Sheeeesh. We have a few good ideas brewing. Put two intelligent and crafty Latinas together and you got yourself some trouble. Here is a peek of some stuff I made a few months ago. Raquel has more ideas too.

Tell me what you think about this stuff. Hopefully we can generate some cash from this. 'Cause dare I say it, I am getting tired of those beans and tortillas.


the day has finally come

My brother's excited voice on my answering machine woke me up this morning.

Wake up. Wake up, Deeeeee! I have some GREAT news!

The day we've both been waiting for. Rage Against the Machine is reuniting for the Coachella Valley Music Festival in April. Yessss. I am so excited I can hardly stand myself.

If there is one other person who loves this band as much as me, its my bro. He knew I would be positively giddy to hear the news. And I am. I called all my diehard Rage heads and let them know.

Its been ten long years since I saw them live. Ten years too long. I am coming out of retirement for them. My bro and I always said, if they ever got back together, we would sooo be there. Even if we are the oldest homies there!

So now I am left to figure out how I am going to raise $85 from thin air to buy my ticket on Saturday. My dad used to tell me, what do you think--that I shit money? Hold on, let me go to the toilet for you. Ah, good ole Dad. Short of visiting the ladies room, there is recycling cans, donating blood, children for sale on the black market. I'll think of something. I've gotta be there.


Idiosyncrasies, we all have 'em

We all have issues. If you think you don't, then you have a big one and you just don't know it (or want to admit it).

Some strange things about me, in no particular order or peculiarity:

1. I absolutely cannot, cannot stand to pull the cotton ball from the pill bottle. I can't deal with cotton balls, period. Just the sensation of tearing one apart gives me the chills. Forget about q-tips...I have to lick them before I stick them in my ears.

2. I never stick any of my "good clothes" in the dryer. Everything is hung to dry. That is why I really mourned the loss of Michael's humongoid weight machine in the garage--that was where I hung everything.

3. Rotten fruit and veggies freak me out. Another thing that gives me the chills. I don't know how produce people at grocery stores handle it. If I reach into a pile of tomatoes and feel a squishy one, I freak. If I pull a moldy cucumber out of my fridge, I freak. Furry, green oranges result in more freaking.

4. Pet my hair and I am instantly a pile of fluff. Okay, not necessarily pet but maybe caress is a better word. Whenever Michael strokes my hair, I am his. It just brings such a huge sense of comfort to me. My mom used to do it all the time.

5. I am the biggest chicken when it comes to electricity. I don't like to be shocked. If an extension cord is involved, I won't touch it. Same with light bulb. I will make my kids do it before I will. Geez, that sounds awful to admit. Totally true though.

6. I just don't understand why people like Sizzler's. That place is just plain nasty. Maybe back in the 80's that place was good, but now? Ew.

7. I tear out all size labels from my clothes. Not because they are scratchy but because I don't like to be reminded what size I wear.

8. I can't stand the smell of maple syrup. Brings back unpleasant childhood memories of trailer park inhabitants and the free breakfast program in elementary school. Can't stand to let my kids eat it and then smell it on them all day. We use 100% pure maple syrup from TJ's instead. Nevermind that it costs like $12.99 for a flippin' bottle.

9. I hate peanut butter and jelly.

10. I am mammogramically challenged. Or you could say crooked. Seriously. Like a whole cup size difference. It kinda sucks. But now that I'm married and have used these two bad boys to nourish children, I see them in a different light.

That's it. Wow. The crazy thing is, listing all these wierd things wasn't all that difficult. And I could have kept going! Teehee.

What about you? I know I'm not the only wierdo around here!


roughnecks, thugs and bad boys...oh my!

Just what is it about bad boys that attract women so much? Maybe its their fierceness which translates to their manliness. Or their rebelliousness which makes your mind wander how that translates in the boudoir. Dang, I can't believe I just wrote boudoir. You get what I'm saying, right? Or maybe they promise a different life as opposed to your old regular joe shmoe.

No, just admit it. You are just thinking about what it translates in the ahem, boudoir.

Take Edward Norton, for example. I think he is a good actor. He is a decent looking man, not really my type but not unattractive by any means. His voice is a bit nasally but he was cool in Fight Club, 25th Hour, The Italian Job. He was aiight. I hear he is great in The Illusionist. I also give him props because he went out with Salma Hayek for a while. Anyone who can handle beautiful and gorgeous Salma Hayek deserves some propers. And I am a total straight woman saying that.

Then I borrowed American History X from my sister-in-law. Oh.my. Um, Ed...where have you been all my life? Nevermind that he was portraying a brain-washed nazi psycho. He was hot. I couldn't focus on his psychotic nazi-ness I was so enthralled with this new Edward. Michael was disgusted with me. He had to be a filthy, tattooed lunatic thug that liked to crack people's skulls in order for you to think he was sexy? He snarled at me. Of course I didn't find all the scary things his character does in the movie sexy. But watching him serve it up roughneck style kinda sorta crumbled my cookie. Thus, I no longer see Mr. Norton in the same light.

Before you think me a filthy degenerate perv, I don't seem to be the only person who thinks that way.

When I told my sister-in-law what I thought after seeing the movie, she nodded her head in full agreement. "Mmmmm-hmmmmm, girl. I know exactly what you are saying." And I've heard this again and again from women, whenever this movie--or this actor, I should say--is brought up. Okay, so I'm not redeeming myself, I'm just sayin'...there are other freaks out there who think like me. And I married my roughneck, so I'm legit.


Know Your Enemy

One of the main reasons why Michael and I decided to homeschool our kids was because we wanted the full autonomy as to what our children learned. We didn't want some superintendent deciding what facts were pertinent for their education. We didn't want a teacher with humanistic beliefs spreading her gospel to our children. A biggie for us, we didn't want our kids to be filled with stories of histories that weren't true that would cause them to have to wade through theories and untruths when they were older and could actually comprehend a few things.

Pilgrims, cavemen, big bang theory, the land of the free, evolution, christopher columbus, my a$$!

So when I signed my children up to be involved in our local homeschool co-op, I was fairly confident that they would be learning in a safe environment. But that didn't cause me to falter in my diligence. Months ago, when I met with the other teacher/mothers to go over course outlines and such, I had an surreal situation come up. Read it. Let me know if I am as crazy as I felt. I should have addressed issues right then and there, but to be honest, I think I was a bit too dazed.

Before we went on christmas vacation, Noah's teacher passed out scripts to the play they would be putting on about slavery. I was waiting for this. I looked over the script about Grandpappy, the little slaves, the Massa, etc. They would be singing songs 'bout da mean ole massa while they picked cotton.

I told Noah he was not going to be involved in this play. Then I explained why. Michael and I talked to him about slavery and we made a commitment to rent Roots with him so he could get a better understanding of what slavery was about. And we would answer any questions he had. But there was no way in hell I was going to let him participate in this play. You see, there is only one other Latino child in Noah's class, in the entire academy for that matter. And only one African-American, and they are in high school. The rest are white. When the class were presenting oral reports, the teacher assigned every student someone different. Annie Oakley, Buffalo Bill. My son got Crazy Horse. Then later when they worked on Wanted: Dead or Alive posters, my son was assigned Pancho Villa, because he was a bad guy.

All these things added up in my head. Is this right? Is this wrong? Is this just in my imagination? It came to me one day, while reading Chicano by Richard Vasquez which was reprinted in '05 for its 35th anniversary. One of the characters contemplates a chicana...and says that she was naive enough to believe she could speak english as well as the next person, get an education, buy a nice house, live a good life and expect equality alongside everyone else who didn't have brown skin. That she believed she could function on a level playing field. And for a while she would. Until the day came when someone would show her that she was still a mexican, despite all the accomplishments and good she had done in her life. And they would treat her as such. That dialogue rose up in my head with such a crystal clear clarity.

And I was mad. Mad that my child was expected to portray slavery as this light-hearted event in history. That he wasn't told in class how a race of people were torn from their homeland and raped and pillaged, children sold and kept in ignorance. Beaten to death. Sold like cattle. Instead, they were picking glued cotton balls from a long strip of butcher paper singing, Jimmy crack corn--I don't care.

I spoke with Noah's teacher and told him he would have no part in this play. She assured me they were being taught the truths of the time. They would be learning the old negro spiritual songs like Swing Low, Sweet Chariot. I don't know if that was supposed to make everything okay,but she assured me she would teach them as much as they could comprehend.

"I wouldn't necessarily call it fun." she said. But she did. I remember what she said, five months earlier and I reminded her of it. She was at a loss for words. So we staged a little walk-out. I knew the play would take place during lunch, so I purposely kept the kids home until right after that. Then we showed up for class. Another interesting point, we got to school a bit early and everyone was still out on the playground. The breezeway where the classes take place was empty save for one class. Noah's teacher was sitting there, eating an apple and reading something. She had both doors wide open. She heard us in the hallway and lifted up her head. She looked at us all and then went back to her reading. She did not say one word to us.

And what really pissed me off was after classes were over and we were driving home, I asked Noah if his teacher said anything to him about the play. He said, "Yes. She said I missed out."

I am reminded of lyrics from a song from the most kick ass band on the planet, Rage Against the Machine. I just happened to watch their Live from the Olympic Grand Auditorium dvd the other night, which never fails to inspire me. Oh, and when do I get a chance to watch that, you ask? After my kids are all asleep and I can pump up the volume and happily fold laundry.

Yes I know my enemies
They're the teachers who taught me to fight me
the Elite
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams
All of which are American dreams


fast times

While I cannot sanction the gratuitous use of cannabis sativa unless it is for medicinal use of course, I just thought I share this little clip from a movie I had absolutely no business watching at the age of ten years old. Gasp.

I really think this is what fueled my Vans obsession. My intent was to include this in my last post about my love of Vans but I digress. I forgot. This might be considered objectionable content to some. But hold onto your stones. I grew up with a long-haired hippie for a dad who liked to partake while we were in the backseat.

This just makes me laugh.

winter wonderland

I was still getting my sleep on at 7:30 am when my sister calls and leaves this on my answering machine. "Deeeeeeee, wake up! It's freaking snowing!" I get up to answer it, peek out the window and see no snow.

See, she's up the hill in Mission Grove. Where the rich folks live. That is why they got snow. I live in the hood--far, far away from Alessandro Blvd. There ain't no snow off Arlington Ave.

But as my kids continued to press their noses against the window (I know, just like in a fairytale), to what did their little eyes see? Snow! Yes, can you believe it? Actual little balls of snow floating over our dirty van, all over our dried brown grass, sweeping over the piles of leaves in the driveway. It was pretty cool!

Noah said, "There is no snow!" To which we all reminded him to put his glasses on. He did, looked outside and said, "Oh. There is snow." So yes, there was enough snow for us to have a little excitement this Friday morning but not enough that an astigmatised child without his glasses on could see. But, nonetheless, there was snow.

So it does snow in the hood. Right on. Sorry there are no pictures of the fine white powder on my parched front lawn. I mean, come on, I was still wiping the crust out of my eye. If you want pictures of my kids making dirt/weeds/dried grass/snow angels, I can hook you up later.


I'm a loyalist

Vans have been very, very good to me. For as long as I can remember I have worn them, my earliest memory being elementary school, probably '81 or '82. Yep, thats right some of you were still getting your butt cleaned routinely by your mama. I rocked a pair of black and white checkered slip-on Vans, which I wore with a pair of yellow shorts, a Stray Cats tee and hot pink shades. Kewl.

Throughout the years I have remained faithful to Vans. Oh sure, I've thrown in an odd pair of Pumas and Chucks and Adidas (no, no never any Nikes) but I always came back to my first love, Vans. I've been wearing them for over twenty-six years. Dude. And they're still as cool as the first time I saw them in that tiny little Vans store.

For one thing, they are comfortable. They are like a little hug wrapped in sunshine for people with flat feet. Bless you. They are versatile. I can be super casual and sport my Vans. Back in the day, when I was feeling saucy I would wear them to the clubs. The bouncers would look me over and say, "There is a dress code." and I would say,"Dude, I just bought these Vans today!" And they would let me in. For a stubborn tomboy who didn't own a purse until she turned 25, Vans still let me feel cute and stylish at the same time. While in college, I used to base my entire wardrobe around my Vans. And finally, they are affordable. They are the shoe of the people. I don't have to drop an outrageous amount of money for a cool pair of Vans.

One very strange fact about me....I love the smell of the Vans store.. That faint smell of the rubber sole...hmmmm...it makes me feel woozy. Ain't nothing like a brand new pair of Vans. When I open a new box, unwrap the shoe and take my first whiff of the sole, I feel positively giddy inside. Imagine my joyous surprise three or four years ago when I discovered that slip-ons were coming back in style. Yessss. Finally. In '05 I bought a pair of black and white checks (what else?) with little cherries on them. Do you hear the angels singing? I almost felt twelve years old again, riding down the street on my Beach Cruiser. It's been on and popping ever since. It does an old woman's heart good to see so many people wearing sporting Vans.

Now that I am a wifey and a mama, my love for Vans have not diminished. Mama has taught the chil'rens that Vans are cool. Forget those ugly Spiderman shoes. They all have Vans. They all love Vans. 'Nuff said. My man, now that's a little bit tricky. He grew up wearing Adidas, Nike Cortez, Chucks and black house slippers so dammit he isn't that easy to indoctrinate. I'll get him to see it my way eventually. To his credit, he didn't bat an eyelash when I bought a pair of leprechaun green slip-ons. Ahem.

I can further feed into my frenzy by buying my kids their own Vans. Pink checks, Half Cabs, camoflauge slip-ons, old skool SK8 high tops, blue slip-ons, black slip-ons, purple hearts, black kitties, black checks....it is all good in our hood.

Your Mom has a sweet pair of Vans!

Happy Birthday to the big Diego-doggie

Eight years ago today I was roaming the halls of Riverside Community Hospital, patiently waiting for a my second child to make his special appearance. Unlike my first birth where I had aunts, uncles, siblings, grandparents, friends, and parents in attendance in the waiting room (hey, we're mexican), this time around it was only Michael and I. We thought we had hours to go until the baby would be born, plenty of time to call everyone. Three and a half hours after we had checked in, I started to get really uncomfortable. Despite my best intentions to have a natural birth, I begged the nurse to get me an epidural STAT. She called in the dope man and they began to prep me. As I laid over on my side, he injected me with lidocaine to prepare you for having that glorious needle of the good stuff in your spine. Then I felt it. My baby's head. It literally felt like it was falling out. To this day (and four kids later), I have never felt anything like it. Usually you to try to push the baby out, but I was so freaked out I was trying to hold onto him. In a panic, I told the nurse, "The baby is coming!" Highly annoyed, she looked at me like yeh right and reminded me that I was just five centimeters when she last checked, and there was no way I could be fully dialated so quickly. I really wanted to slap that nurse. When she heard me start grunting, she lifted up the sheet and changed her tune. "Ok, forget the epidural--its too late! She is getting ready to push!" There was a flurry of activity and then suddenly, my second son Diego James was born and placed in my arms. He was gorgeous, with caramel skin, lots of thick, dark hair, beautifully shaped almond eyes and full lips. And that mouth. He was screaming when he was born, screaming when they were checking him out and weighing him, screaming when they swaddled him in a blanket, screaming as we were posing for pictures. One of the nurses who was completing our chart muttered under her breath, wow, he's got quite a set of pipes on him. My mom says that the minute she stepped of the elevator she heard a baby screaming, and she just knew it had to be him. The only time he wasn't screaming was when he had a boob stuffed in his mouth. Surely this was an indication of what was to come.

When he was about two and I had had enough of the whole breastfeeding scene (nevermind I was just about to give birth to baby #3 and had no desire to have two kids hanging of my boobs), I decided to wean him. It was rough. He would follow me around the house and wail maaaaamaaaaa maaaaamaaaaa maaaaamaaaaa until I thought I would go insane. If I was standing in the kitchen preparing dinner, he would come behind me and slap my bare thighs like, come on woman I need some milk right now! Then he developed this very strange habit of licking my legs. Don't ask me why he'd do it, but if he saw me sitting down he would very casually walk over to me, look over his shoulder to see if his daddy was around (because daddy didn't let him do it) and then he'd start licking me. Maybe it was the feel of my skin, who knows. If I tell this story now, Diego absolutely freaks out. "Ewww. That is disgusting, mama! I would not lick your legs!! Why would I lick your legs? Bleeeeeech."

Everywhere we went, Diego got alot of attention because of his chubby face, pouty lips and curly hair. He was also quite a little charmer. If a woman held him, he would lay his head on her chest (which the ladies would love, ohhhh, he is so precious!) and snuggle. In the process he would put his hand on the woman's breast, to cop a free feel.

Worked every time.

Diego has bucked the system since he was born. Refusing to be the usually-forgotten second child, he would routinely come up with crazy stuff to get our attention. When he was still sleeping in a crib, one night I went in to check on him and make sure he was still asleep, warm, okay, etc. I walked in to find that he had taken off his pajamas, tore off his diaper and was asleep butt naked on a bare mattress that he also must have stripped. What struck me hysterically funny was the fact that his big brother had one of those overblown nurseries, decorated to the hilt with Noah's Ark stuff--lamps, rugs, toybox, book shelves, matching crib bedding and bumper and clouds on the ceiling courtesy of daddy. And there was Diego, not caring what kind of room he had to sleep in, he could do it butt naked on a bare mattress. Still makes me giggle just thinking about it.

He is also blessed with a very compassionate and tender spirit. Whenever he is in a large group of children, he is always away from the boys and hanging out with the underdog, the social misfit, or the girls. At our homeschool coop, when the boys are playing a rowdy game of dodgeball, Diego is helping the little girls off the swing, he is coming over to make sure Xi-Xi is okay, or he's sitting around with his little throng of admirers. Girls have colored pictures for him, brought him snacks, carried his backpack around for him. I have mothers coming up to me saying, "Oh, so you're Diego's mom." Sure, I find this all amusing now that he is only eight years old, but my heart hurts when I think about what this means for him at 16. Funny thing, those very same qualities are what drew me to his father. The downside to that sweet sensitive nature is that he is a easy target for his brothers. And I really have to stop myself from defending him all the time. His long hair doesn't help.

Diego has brought much entertainment in our lives. He is so absolutely obnoxious its practically endearing. And loud. He is always loud. I get a kick out people's reactions to him. Some people enjoy his maniacal giggling and his non-stop dramatizations...other people can't wait to get away from him. I am often asked this question, "Is he always like this?"

Yep, aren't you jealous?

Once, at an In-N-Out by LAX, this total stranger came up to us. Apparently he had been sitting in nearby booth and was being entertained by Diego's antics. He suggested we get him voice lessons so he could learn to sing and/or do cartoon voiceovers (apparently he was in the industry). Something to harness all that creativity. After the man left we laughed, thinking he was the first person who wasn't annoyed with Diego's voice while eating dinner.

This is the kid who had to act out his phonics when he first started to learn to read. "A" for apple meant he pretended to take this big bite out of something and he made a big crunch sound. "D" for dog meant he had to pant and crawl around like a dog. "F" for fox made him hop around and stick his front teeth out (maybe his fox was more like a rabbit). If he was slithering all over the floor, then he had to be studying the "S" sound. Of course. I will admit, it was exasperating. Why can't he learn to read like a normal person, give me a break!

I realize I could go on and on about the silly and funny things my son does. I just assume everyone finds him as fascinating as I do. Either way, he has brought an indescribable amount of joy into my life. I just love to look at his handsome face, to hear his voice (the best way I can describe it is, a demented elf), to see what he is going to come up with next. I can only wonder what great things God has in store for my Diego.

Here is to another year, baby boy. Happy Birthday Diego!


"Bible" names

Whenever people ask me if I have children I tell them yes, seven to be exact (six birthed, one blessed). Inevitably, the next question is--after their eyes bug out and their mouths hang open--what are their ages and their names.

Last Saturday I was at a baby shower for my cousin's girlfriend. They are having a baby girl at the ripe old age of seventeen--no job, still living with mama, mohawks, striped tights, leather jackets and those tight, butt-less jeans punkers wear. Ew.

To me, a baby shower is just an opportunity to leave the kids home with daddy, munch on some yummy food and ohhh and awww over all the cute baby gifts. Oh, that and spank everyone in the baby shower games. Yup, yup, I am a self-professed baby shower game whore. I get incredibly competitive, which is very unlike me. But dang it if I'm not out for blood to win a little bottle of lotion or a .99 candle! The most fun was the Dirty Diaper game. Yes, just as the name implies, various chocolate candy bars are melted into a diaper to make it look like some nasty poo and you have to guess what type of candy it is. I've been changing diapers for ten years now, so to put my face into a little diaper and smell it and examine the consistency and wonder, is that an almond or some corn? wasn't all that new to me. I lost that one because I confused a Crunch bar with a Krackel bar. Damn. But I redeemed myself with the Celebrity Baby game. I am embarrassed to admit I could name over twenty celebrities and the names of their children. The only two I couldn't figure out were Anna Nicole and Melissa Etheridge. I guess sitting on the pot at my brother's house and pouring over all their Us magazines paid off. Yesssss.

As I was sitting there flexing my baby shower game skills, a cousin's wife began asking me about my kids. She saw my three little ones I had with me at the time, stuck to my butt the entire time like they were shy or something (very unlike them), complimented on their cuteness, and wondered where the rest of them were. Then, how old are they? What are their names?

And then she asked it.

Oh, do all your children have "bible" names?


I can't stand that question. Why, you ask? First off, it just sounds...ignorant. I'm not a grammatical scholar by any means, but shouldn't it be biblical names? 'Cuz to me, "bible" names are New King James, New International Version, The Message, The Amplified Bible, etc etc. You get my point. You would be surprised how many people ask me that question.

And for the record, I have two children with biblical names. Noah and Solomon. That's it. Diego, Cyan, Maya, and Xiomara...I don't remember reading those chapters in my Bible. All of their names mean something special to me and they are as unique as they are.

So as you can see, they are not all bible names! But people still continue to ask me that question every time they hear me rattle off the names of my lovies.

*shakes head*


Happy New Year

I can't believe the new year is upon us. That being said, I'm glad 2006 is over. It was a tough year because of financial strains, mental strains, baby-mama strains, marital strains and just plain strain. But spiritually, wow. God, Christ Jesus, seems more real to me now more than ever. I learned to think outside of my little religious box and that has made me bolder in my faith. I realized that I can be who God created me to be, warts and all, and still share His message of hope and peace and salvation.

We had no plans for the eve except stay home and relax with our kids. Then we were invited out to dinner to celebrate our 777 brother Al's birthday. Trying to wrangle a babysitter at the last minute was a bit tricky, but Grandma-mama once again pulled through for us. The only downfall was that we had to wait for her to return from her dinner plans, rush over and drop off the kids in cow town and then rush back to Joe's Sushi for some grub.

I loooooove me some sushi. I never thought I would get to this oh so california place where I am no longer intimidated to sit at a sushi bar and I can eat whatever I order (and then some). But come on, sushi is good. You know you like it. I've come to find out that you either love it or hate it. Me likes.

What sucked for us was by the time we got to Joe's, it was fifteen minutes until closing. We resigned ourselves to the fact that we missed dinner, but we could still be there to celebrate Al's birthday. When we sat down with our friends, there were tons of tempura rolls, mexican rolls, caterpillar rolls, tuna rolls and mussels left...and they encouraged us to eat it...and Michael and I not being a very shy couple and add on how we don't get out much...we helped ourselves. When they finally kicked us out of that place, everyone had paid their bill. When I looked at ours, it said $28!! For two ice teas and eating off our friend's plate? Oh heck no. I realized the waitress had charged us for one all you eat dinner when we didn't even get to order anything. Now, I know they don't want you to share at those kind of places, and I can understand that. but there was no way I was going to pay that. It was now a matter of principle. Michael hates to return clothes that don't fit, vacuums that have broken, food that doesn't taste right. Just last week we were at the California Pizza Kitchen and he didn't like the Thai pizza, so I had to reorder for him. So I knew I was going to have to be the one to say something about this or Michael would just pay the $28 and be done with it. So I very sweetly and calmly told the guy at the register how we walked in late and shared some sushi that our friends had already ordered and I wasn't going to pay the all you can eat price. "Well, how many pieces did you eat?" "Um, I don't know...a couple. I will pay for an order of something and that is it." He rang up my bill to $9.44.

Thank you.

And that is how we spent New Years Eve. Hanging out with new friends, toasting with sparkling apple cider after the ball dropped with my little brother at my mom's house with the rest of my family. I heard a couple people say their kids couldn't last until midnight. Are you kidding me? Mine were up dancing around and wearing beads until about 1 am. Good times.

Happy New Year.
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