Every woman must choose the hill she will die on.

This is a completely fictious post. All names and scenarios have been changed to protect the innocent who do not want their idiosyncrasies to be put on blast. This was written for entertainment purposes only.

Are all men and women as different as Humberto and Socorro? Their concept of what is "clean" is on opposite ends of the spectrum. Its humorous because Socorro spends the better part of her day teaching, cooking, picking up and organizing after a crowd of six muchachitos and Humberto can go through the entire day without so much as picking up his crumpled up, crusty socks after a long day of mowing lawns and trimming shrubs.

So this is the struggle they have.

He is the Kitchen Sponge Nazi, bleaching those little yellow and green things until they are half dead. He sprays Lysol on all the door knobs. The sheets, too. If there is leftover crud on the blender, he looks at poor little Socorro like she's a cretin. Or worse, a huevóna. Just last week, he lugged the pressure washer into the bathroom to blast their white-tiled shower because he couldn't take the grime one second longer. Its obvious he is more concerned with disinfecting and germs than she. Now, I'm confident that Socorro enjoys disinfecting as much as the next person, but come on, she's not gonna miss the forest for the trees.

Meanwhile, everything else that needs to be cleaned is apparently Socorro's domain. If, after all that she has to do, she still has it in her--then she'll get to the doorknobs...or the kitchen sponges...or the microwave...and the bleaching of everything that doesn't breathe.

Fact of the matter is, poor old Socorro would love to have all that stuff clean, but she just can't seem to get to it.

Remember the six little muchachitos?

They kinda fill up a person's day. So when Humberto does bring it up, ugh--have you smelled the sponges? Disgusting! Me da asco, Socorro! He unwittingly makes her feel like a second class housewife. And no self-respecting Mexican wife would ever be a second-class housewife.

But listen, a mujer can only do so much in a day.

And so, Socorro must choose the hill that she will die on. And that hill doesn't include a spotless blender. Or the funk that collects in the bottom of the toothbrush holder. So she lets him get all loco en el coco over that stuff. But Socorro can't help but laugh. She routinely trips over his funky towels, dirty chonies, work boots, receipts from 1993, bottles of shaving cream and mouthwash (not the tasty green one, but the brown one that makes you feel like a wino chillin' in an alley after you use it)...but as long as the sponges are cool, Humberto's world can continue rotating peacefully.

We all have our priorities. And at the end of the day, Socorro and Humberto still love each other. And that's all Socorro cares about.


The Drive-In

If wasn't for the drive-in theater, the chil'rens would never get to see a movie when it first comes out. Seriously. Who can afford to take their kids out to see all the new movies? Kick in the popcorn and candy...then after you know they will want something to eat (at least mine will), maybe an ice cream and some St.Arbucks for mama and daddy. I mean, we're looking at spending well over a $100 everytime we go to the theater. Its ridiculous.

We are blessed to have the choice of two drive-in theaters in my hood. Two! So we're talking $14 for two adults, and kids are free. Woooot. Although the drive-in's are getting hip to the game, they are now starting to charge for kids ages 5-10, $1. Still, that is manageable. Bring your own snacks and maybe some burgers for the chil'rens, and we are good to go.

Personally, watching a movie in a drive-in is not my first choice. You lose so much in the quality of the movie and if you are like me--highly distractable--then you spend alot of your time watching the cars drive around, observing everyone's drive-in set up, wondering how much time you have to sit down and relax before you have to do a potty run, etc. This is why we usually see kids' movies. That way they get to see what they want, it's cheap and we are all happy.

Growing up, my parents always took us to the drive-in. The first movie was something for the kids, then second feature was for the adults. So that meant we were relegated to the back of our yellow Datsun, where we had a mattress with blankets to lay on and my mom had sewed cheery Hawaiian patterned curtains for the windows on the fiberglass shell.

But we didn't always go to sleep.

I'll admit, I got most of my sex education at the drive-in. The movies I vividly recall watching while my parents thought me and my brother were asleep....Animal House, Saturday Night Fever, Apocalypse Now.

Good times.

So last Sunday, we thought we would take the chil'rens to see Night at the Museum 2. I would endure that so I could see X-Men Origins after. They were all sufficiently fed, dressed, we piled up our camp chairs and blankets and were off. We got there about 40minutes before the movie started, but I was shocked to see a huge line of cars waiting to get in, from both directions.

Seriously, people? You all want to go to the drive-in?

Memorial weekend and all. No one had to worry about getting up to go to work the next day. So we finally got in with minutes to spare before the movie started. I couldn't believe how packed it was. Thankfully, my sister saved us a spot. Cars were still circling around until well after nine o'clock. Halfway into the movie, someone parks right next to us (in a no parking zone, no less) and unloads all their chairs and stuff and can I tell you, they were sitting so close, they totally could have smelled me if I farted.

If I farted. I said if.

It was awkward. But I didn't trip. I just kept shoving Red Vines and Hot Tamales in my mouth like they were going out style, to numb me from the fact that I was watching a part two when I had never even seen part one. But it was good, funny. I can't complain.

Halfway into X-Men Origins, I drifted off to sleep. And the scary part was, I woke up really disoriented, like, where the heck am I? In the middle of the drive-in surrounded by strangers, my children sitting there watching a movie, completely unattended! I looked over to find Michael sleeping in the van with Xixi, snoring amidst the speakers blasting by his head.


I heard they were knocking down the drive-in to build a Costco. I hope they don't. Let's keep movie watching affordable for the poor...and the multi-childrened (is that even a word?)...which are usually go hand in hand.


Hello obsession.

I told myself that if I ever gave birth to female children I wouldn't be all fuu-fuu about their clothes. And I do believe I haven't been that way. They haven't been gussied up in crinoline skirts or white tights or patent leather shoes, like, ever. But I will say that those girls have more clothes than all of us combined. Shoes too.

I get kinda fanatical about their stuff. Their barrettes. Their skinny jeans. Cute sundresses. I guess you could say I "live skinny" vicariously through them. Aside from that fact, it's sort of like this game. I see something that is really cute for them and I'll start creating schemes to go and get them. I'll sit there and contemplate blood and semen donation...car wash...surrogate motherhood...putting donation buttons on this blog. I mean, seriously.

For instance, their chankla collection. For those of you who have no idea what a chankla is, ya better ask somebody. And that is pronounced ax...not ask.

Chanklas=a pair of flip flops.

I've rationalized that since they only cost $2.50 a pair at Old Navy, then why not buy them every color out there? This way they'll have a pair that will go with everything. Last time I counted, they each have about 13 pairs each. Then I went out and bought an over-the-door shoe organizer, because I was tired of having to run outside and search through the grass whenever we needed to leave and we couldn't find that one turquoise chankla. Curse that turquoise chankla! You could also say I wanted that shoe organizer so I could set up all those colorful flip flops like a freakin' shrine.


Our next obsession...Hello Kitty t-shirts. Basically, Hello Kitty everything. Who doesn't love Hello Kitty? Can a billion Asians be wrong? I think not. I've loved Hello Kitty since forever, so naturally, my daughters love it, too. Hello Kitty backpacks, Hello Kitty chonies, Hello Kitty purses, Hello Kitty sweatshirts, Hello Kitty lunch pails, Hello Kitty nightgowns, Hello Kitty toothbrushes, Hello Kitty lip gloss, Hello Kitty toys, Hello Kitty blankets. You get the idea. It's all about the kitty...or as Xixi says, hello titty.

It all started with cousin Selah, the resident fashion diva of the family.

Selah may only be 3 years old but she is always dressed fabulously. Down to her matching hair bows, this little girl is stylin', largely due to the fact that her mother (my sister) is just as crazy and fanatical style-conscious about her daughter's clothing as well.

See, this makes me feel almost normal.

So back to Selah. The Hello Kitty obsession originates with her. She has this thing for Hello Kitty. So my girls saw her wearing it all the time, and they love their cousin and often say she is so beautiful...so they naturally started asking me for shirts like Selah had.

So I've been on the hunt. Hello Kitty ain't cheap. I've hit all the stores that carry Hello Kitty--Target, Sears, Kids 'R Us. Basically everywhere but the Sanrio store. My sis found the mother lode at Ross, for $5.99 each. Wooohooo! That does not mean you can go out and clean out all the Rosses of Hello Kitty. That would just be mean.

And I'll find you and then sit on you.

We've got quite a collection, so I'm feeling the obsession start to dissipate slightly. It's almost a relief. I can stop making plans to find more when I should be laying in bed sleeping.

Until the next obsession....


I haven't forgotten about my blog...I've just been too busy to sit here and write something. But I shall be back soon.



Dancing machine

My man. He's a dancing machine. Ever since I've known him, he's loved to dance. Anywhere we go....if there is music playing...and a space to dance...he will dance.

And he usually drags me onto the dance floor with him. Sometimes I get embarrassed to be the only ones out there dancing...sometimes I just want to sit there and bag on the way people dance...other times I just want to munch on appetizers...sometimes I just don't want all the eyes on my big behind, sashaying to the beat.

But I go out there with him anyway. I know there are lots of other women who would be willing to dance with him anytime.

One time we were at a wedding. And I had to sit at the table and nurse the baby. A convenient excuse. But that didn't slow him down, because he was off to dance by himself. My family laughed, saying you should let him out a little more, Denise! As he salsa-ed and cumbia-ed around the rented floor, I had to agree.

We are usually the last people on the dance floor. He won't stop until the DJ calls for the last song, the lights get turned on, the fog machine is turned off and people are stacking up chairs. At that point, I am way over the dancing. My fat lady knees ache and I feel sweaty.

And yet, there he is, still trying to his get his groove on.

This last Saturday was no different. As the band played some rockin' blues music, my husband just had to get out there and dance. I swayed with him, and with a smile on my face I told him, "You just have to dance, don't you?"

And he smiled back at me, "I have to, baby. It's an expression of what's in my soul."

And what a beautiful soul it is.

Michael and Cyan getting their groove on.

Cyan really gets into his moves, too.

Work it, work it.

Breaking it down.

Now that Michael has a wealth of chil'rens who love to dance as much as he does, he will never be without a partner.  


Mary, mary.

I bought this statue of the Virgin Mary two years, while vacationing in Mexico. My plan was to give it a little patina with some craft paint and display it in my front porch. You know, total O.G. beaner style. Well, it's been sitting in my art cabinet, awaiting it's patina. I finally decided to just display her the way she is.

But truth be told, I was a little leery about putting up a statue, what with it being an "idol" and a "graven image".

That old Pentecostal guilt doesn't die.

I realize I'm not worshipping the statue. I'm not praying to it. I'm not burning incense as an offering. Still, there was that little thought in the back of my mind. But I'm gonna call it what it is to me. It's just a beautiful piece of art. And I'm cool with it.

Knowing full well what her response would be, I asked my mom, "So, do you like my Virgin Mary?"

Her scrunched up nose said it all.

And that was the end of that. My Mom spent many years as a Catholic, being dropped off to Mass by her parents--she said she would take home a leaflet from the church to prove to my grandparents that she went--so she's had many years of perfecting that religious guilt. In my experience, reformed Catholics who have turned Christian are tough on their former house of worship. Thats just the way it is.

I've come to realize that there are Christians who eschew any sort of ties to the Catholic Church, the Virgin Mary being one of them. I've said it before, the Virgin Mary is beautiful to me. I don't really carry any of that baggage with me and it's easy to look at these statues for what they are: sculptures.

I knew she would find a good home amongst all the succulent cactus. I just love to walk up to my porch and see her sitting there. She was blessed among women, you know. I like to think I'm blessed among women, too.


Mama's day musings.

"I just don't know how you do it with all those kids!"

"My two just drive me crazy! How do you do it?"

"Wow, you must have a ton of patience!"

If I had a dollar for every time someone said that to me...I wouldn't get disconnect notices from the utility company on a regular basis.

The fact of the matter is...I don't have alot of patience. And every night, as I am on the threshold of blissful sleep, I wonder just how I survived the day with six chil'rens under the age of eleven.

How will I be able to meet their needs?
How will I be able to feed them all on my nonexistent budget?
Am I teaching them everything they need to know?
Am I making the best decisions for them?
How can I get them to do the laundry without me?

It's a wonder that I even get any sleep at all.

And then when I wake up to the sound of birds chirping and my neighbor paying to get his lawn trimmed down 1/4 of an inch every Thursday, I am confronted with the thought once again. How am I going to survive the day with six chil'rens under the age of eleven today?

Cuz yesterday I just made it by the skin of my teeth.

The thing is...I was once just like that mama with two children. I had two boys, fifteen months apart. Then every other weekend and on summer vacation, I had my stepson with me. I was like every other mama in the world, tearing my hair out because they would get into everything (like the chili powder--which they proceeded to dump all over the sofa...on the coffee table and down the hallway to the bathroom). They would strip themselves naked every night while "sleeping" in their crib. I never got to shower in peace--I always imagined them burning down the house or swallowing something poisonous in the 3.5 minutes it took me wash my hair and scrub my butt. I endured making dinner amidst screaming toddlers slapping my thighs behind me. I planned any and all excursions around nap time/lunch time/dirty diaper time. I went to bed every night like someone beat me over the head with a sledgehammer.

It was rough.

To go from the carefree, single person life to that was mind-boggling, to say the least. No one is fully prepared for what motherhood brings. I just knew I wasn't cut out for this motherhood thing. I started to think about contributing to our struggling household, about how I should utilize that as-of-yet-unpaid-for college education and get a career...that I should stick their butts in daycare like all the other normal kids.

Then I got pregnant with my third son, and all those plans went out the window. That's when I started to embrace this life as my life. And whether or not I believed I was cut out for this motherhood gig...I was gonna fake it til I make it.

I knew a woman from our church that had eight children. Every Sunday I saw her glide into church with this beautific smile on her face. She's gotta be on something, I thought. Look at her! It's like she doesn't even realize her three boys in cowboy boots are body-slamming each other on the pews. Or that her older kids are inhaling all of the donuts! How in the world does she do it? Nothing ever phases her! I could never be like her. I can barely make it to church with two fully clothed children, much less eight!

And to be totally honest, I didn't want to be like her. Why would someone have all those kids on purpose? Ironic, I know. But then, I realized one day that someone thought the same thing about me that I had thought about her, all those years ago.

One day, in the middle of teaching sixteen kids art in a stuffy classroom without a sink, a mom at our homeschool co-op said to me, "Oh! You are always so calm and cool. All this noise and craziness doesn't seem to bother you! How do you do it?"

And I thought, she must think I am crazy. Or on something! Then I swallowed and thought, I must be crazy. And I should be on something!

I got a good laugh at that one.

But the fact of the matter is, with each child you learn to have more patience. I didn't just wake up one morning with six children and unlimited patience. No, as the years went by and each child was added to our family, I was growing as much as they were. In patience, humility, grace, kindness, love, mercy and a sense of humor.

Not to mention hip width and butt size.

So, this whole *motherhood thing* isn't something I was miraculously born with. I struggle just like the next mother. If you spent a few days with me, you'd know. Most people who knew me from before I had children are astounded that I have as many as I do because I was one of those people who just didn't want kids. And yet, here they are....all six of them. I like to think I am a better person now because of my children then I was when I was that single, carefree gal who slept until noon and let her grandmother wash her laundry. I've learned valuable life skills I don't think I would have picked up anywhere else.

I love my life.

It may not seem like it sometimes. Really, I do. I realize some people shape their character going through far easier channels than I have chosen. Me, I'm one of those knuckle-headed people. I needed to push out six giant-sized heads through my quivering loins to really learn something. To be a better person.

To value life.

Happy Mother's Day.

This is what my life was like living with two little boys...such a long time ago. How I wish Noah and Diego were this age once again.


Lust, eyeball sex and lookin' for Jesus up in them clouds.

So we were walking into the Den of Thieves...a.k.a Costco...when what did my astigmatized eyes behold?

A woman with a slammin' body...dressed in a practically sheer orange-colored maxi dress...and a thong.

We were navigating through the madness of trying to find a cart, making sure none of the chil'rens were abducted, and debating whether to buy them pizza before or after we shopped. Like right in front of the entrance. Then that's when this this woman walked by. And I swear, it was like Moses parting the Red Sea. You could see every man with a set of eyeballs just zero in on her and this dress.

Or should I say, lack of a dress.

Oh, sure. It was a long, summer dress. But you could see right through that bad boy. And come on, sister had to know how sheer it was.

I don't think you could have gotten away with wearing that around the house unless you were a Woman of the Leisurely Arts, i.e. a Ho.

I could clearly see her thong...the tag on the thong...a couple of dimples in her butt. Shoot, I could tell you if she had a Brazilian wax or not. That is how little was left to the imagination with this dress.

So I stopped to observe this woman. Literally, I stopped in my tracks. There is no shame in my game. I turned my head over to my dear husband with a laser-cut precision of the eyes, boring deep holes into this skull and I was like....

Stare at this woman's behind and I will karate chop you in the throat first and then ask questions later. I dare you. Stare at it. I dare you.

And I continued to stare at him until the woman walked safely in the store amidst the howls of all the wolves that were oogling her. He was staring very intently at something in the sky. He also had a tiny, innocent smile on his face, like he knew.

I know a woman's butt in a thong just passed me by. I know it.

Oh, he knew.

But he kept staring up at the sky....like if he was searching for Jesus up in them clouds.

Damn straight.

But I know it took alot of self-control to do that. I mean, if someone is going to put themselves on display, what is the harm in taking a peek, right? Wrong. Lust is wrong, God doesn't like it. In fact, He says...if you look at a woman with lust in your eyes, it's just like you had sex with her! Imagine that. I bet its safe to assume we've all had lots of eyeball sex with random people over the years. Gross. So it's just a habit that we're trying to work through. It isn't the easiest thing when people are walking around half nekkid all the time.

We're just trying to respect one another and our marriage. This is one of the ways we've been holding it down for almost twelve years.


Gum is bad for your hair.

Noah said he was "wrestling" with Sol, and by some act of metaphysics, his gum flew out of his mouth and got stuck in Sol's hair. And I don't mean a little piece of gum that one could easily pluck out.

Oh, no. That would make my life much too easy.

This must have been the stickiest gum ever created. We tried to pull it out but it hurt Sol too much because it was smooshed down right near his forehead, down at the root. I wanted to salvage his hair, since I was letting it grow back out, so I iced it. It didn't help. So he spent two days with gum in his hair, hiding under a hat.

Then I had to do the inevitable.



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