Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The life and times of Daria, the hermaphraditic tadpole.

Bella loves frogs. There's something about them that fascinates her. So for her 3rd birthday her Nana and Papa bought her a brand new frog home. A plastic terrareum that if it were up to me, I'd gladly chuck over the roof of a 10 story building. You see, the terrareum and I are fighting right now.

We started very cordial with one another. But the more I learned about the terrareum the more I grew to dislike it. For example, included with it was a coupon for a free tadpole. Sweet. It's free. Oh wait, $8 for shipping. Sucka. And to boot it takes like 6 weeks to arrive. Are you kidding me? Bella has about a 3.5 minute atttention span---clearly 6 weeks is unacceptable. So, Bella and I took a trip to the local pet store to purchase ourselves a new tadpole. Since my tadpole knowedge, is, oh I dunno, NILCH--I trusted the shopkeeper who put a rather large tadpole in a ziplock bag and handed me some food. I mean, if I can remember to feed two children and a dog--then I can handle this rather large tadpole, right?

As we drove home Bella and I had a very in-depth conversation about what she intended to name her new friend. The conversation continued as we unloaded out of the car and it continued on our way into the house, continued as I poured the distilled water into the terrareum and continued as I mopped up the distilled water that freakin' spilled all over the floor. "Sweet Jesus Bella--Lucy, Taddy, Frogger are all great names, now ski-daddle as I try to clean up this mess!" You see, the water spilled everwhere because the terrareum is only 2 inches deep! Two inches! I quickly checked the ziplock to make sure he didn't sell me a baby alligator because there is no way this RATHER LARGE tadpole was going to fit! But Bella was so excited. And she's so cute when she's excited. I had no other choice than to put the rather large tadpole in the rather small terrareum.

When I woke up the next morning the tadpole started to look a little pale. Crap. Terrible mother. The poor tadpole had no where to go, I mean it could barely even turn around. Stupid terrareum. Something had to be done. I knew I had to make the transfer and ugh I hate touching aquarium water! Just as I was wrangling the tadpole into an old flower vase trying my best to avoid Animal Cops from barging down my door, Bella comes running in to inform me that she has a name for her tadpole.


At first, I thought it was her adorable lack of enunciation in which she actually meant to say Dora. Like the show. But, oh no, I was soon corrected that her tadpole was not Dora. It was Daria. She went on. She explained that when Daria changes into a frog she's going to name him Danny. After laughing out loud I told her that I thought it was perfect. I think Daria would like nothing more than to grow a set of balls with her set of legs. Here is Daria. In a vase. On my dining room table.

How about an aerial view?

Apparently, Daria should be morphing into Danny in the next month, if the little trooper can hang on that long. On one hand, it's kinda cool to watch Bella watch this thing grow. She's genuinely excited about it. On the other hand, it's utterly repulsive that this protogynous cesspool has become my springtime centerpiece. Ciao for now.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Friday, April 24, 2009

I love our love.

I would be remiss in calling my blog My Beautiful Life without acknowledging the most beautiful part of my husband Eugene. Man, this guy's a rock star. In that non leather pant kind of way. I have been so blessed to have spent the last decade right next to him. I get choked up even thinking about him, how junior high is that?! I could go on and on and on for days about all the things that I love about him. Like his top chef cooking. Or the way he dreams for the future. Or his stellar work ethic. Or his love for travel. Or his unbelievable amount of patience. Or the way he loves his daughters. Or the way he, on occasion, runs like a girl. Yes, I could go on and on.

More specifically though, Eugene and I made a pact before we got married that our love would always remain the most important priority, even over our children. Yes, I said it. And I'll say it again, Eugene is more important than my children. Let me explain. I love my children, holy lord do I love my children. And my only hope as a mother is that I can successfully teach my girls to be prepared for what lies in store for them. Because no matter what, my children will leave me. It's inevitable. And when they are gone, I do not want to be disillusioned about the person who's standing next to me. I think too many parents put their children first and somehow lose themselves along the way. Eugene and I feel that our time to live is now-not later. So that's what we do, live for ourselves and bring our kids along for the ride.

Not everyone agrees with us, and that's okay. It's our journey.

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be 100 minus 1 day, so that I never have to live without you." Winnie the Pooh to Christopher Robin.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Bella Point of View

In an effort to foster creative independence as well as a common bond with her daddy we have given Bella daily control of our digital camera. My camera, not Eugene's. Big difference. She has a ball with it! Whether or not she enjoys the thrill of capturing a moment in time or just-likes-pressing-the-button-a-lot, we can't say for sure. But hey, it's a start, right?! Here are a few samplings from her latest portfolio.

She titles this piece, A Fan and a Cabinet. Brilliant.

Her two BFF's, Teddy and Knuffle Bunny.

I am baffled Bella at the abstract angle in which you approach society's tolerance of female empowerment through your mockery of its deceptively simple yet obvious attempts. Genius.

So sorry Bella but I have to quote Randy Jackson, "dawg, for me, tonight, this wasn't the best song choice, for you, for me, tonight."

I do however, adore this one. Even in a "I'd actually frame this" kind of way.

I like your thought process here. And it just may have been a good picture, if only your greasy, knubby little finger wasn't taking up half the frame.

I swear Bella asked me to make a funny face! Seriously Gina, is this for real? Is this your go-to look when someone says make a funny face? This is pathetic. She said funny face as in- ha ha- make me laugh with your funny face not make we wince and cringe with your uncomfortable optical stare and sad puffer fish chin. Ugh.

Keep it up Bella!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Day at the Park

Nothing gets your child to sleep faster than a good old fashioned day at the park. We love parks. We particularly love to picnic at the park. This tradition started when I was pregnant with Mia. Every Wednesday Bella and I had our picnic day. She looked forward to it all week. We had our packing list down pat: an old sheet, her picnic bear blanket, macaroni and cheese, water bottles, grapes, cookies and a few books. Once and awhile we veered from the list but it didn't happen very often (she's quite particular that Bella). We picnic'd right up to Mia's birth. After we moved to Chicago our Wednesday routine became a little less regular, a new baby and snow will do that to ya. Which is why last Friday, when the weather was 70 degrees, we knew it was picnic at the park time!!!! Bella and Mia even had some super cool friends to hang out with too! I met up with my friend Amy and her two sons and we all had a blast!

Thankfully, the kids whipped us up some snacks, because we were totally in the mood for some meat cookies:

After the chicken cookies were placed in the oven for about 45 seconds, they shoved their faces!

Mia woke up from her nap and decided she wanted to be a pole dancer.

Since pole dancing is such a tough job, I decided to give the kids a break and have a bite to eat. After we ate the aforementioned mac & cheese, grapes, water and cookie combo,

we read some books.

Totally fed up with reading Bella stood up and informed us that she had to go to the bathroom. Trying my best to pack everything up and avoid a urinary oopsie, I asked Bella if she could please "hold it." Literally, she listened.

After a successful potty stop we went back to the park for some more fun. Mia had a blast on the swing.

Bella, on the other hand, had a blast channeling her inner Candace Olsen as she gave me a tour of her new home

What a great day at the park!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Stroke of Midnight

Unlike her sister Bella, who was sleeping through the night at three months, Mia habitually wakes up at midnight. Give or take 5 minutes, this happens EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. How did I succumb to this? Well, it's important to note that I have always been a night person. It's also important to note that the only time I can find to exercise is right after the girls have been put to bed. So by midnight I am usually wide awake. It's also important to note that Mia has me wrapped around her little finger. And when I hear her sad, pathetic little whimper, I go running. Without fail I sweep her up, bring her to our room, nurse her and suddenly we have a third person joining us for the rest of the night. This has gone on for 11 months. It's obvious that Mia's not waking up because she's hungry, she is waking up because she knows that I will come and get her. I caused this problem. And last night, I did something about it.

I let her cry it out.

Like clockwork, it was 12:07 AM when it all went down. I knew that if I left the monitor on it would only make it worse! So I turned it off and tried to be lulled to sleep by the sound of my daughter's wail. I can't say for sure how long it went on for because somehow after abut twenty minutes I nodded off. I woke this morning, surprisingly alert, to the sound of Bella screaming down the hall, "Mommy, Mia's awake." I joined the girls in their bedroom for their first morning together. I noticed that Mia was not crying anymore. I also noticed that, shockingly, Mia was not dehydrated from her lack of milk the night before. I also noticed that Mia was more focused on playing with Bella than she was to see me. All I can say is, it felt right. It was her turn. Maybe, all this time it was me wanting more one on one time with Mia or maybe it was Mia wanting to spend time with me without a big sister over her shoulders. Either way, it's not easy letting go, but it is inevitable. Sweet Dreams Mia.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Putting all your eggs in one basket.

Happy Easter! I've always had fond memories of Easter as a child. The yummy ham for lunch, the lamb cake for dessert, the Easter egg hunts. Which, can I just say that my mom always thought she was James Bond when she hid our eggs. What?! Are you kidding me?! She was freakin' terrible at it. Oh gee, like I can't tell the neon egg is right there. On the window sill. In the open. Hidden by nothing. Brilliant mom, brilliant. Needless to say, it was great to be in Chicago for Easter. I haven't spent an Easter here since I moved away 8 years ago. Here are some of the highlights:

Look, no kid is crying it's a miracle!

Mia debating whether the plastic egg is worth getting up for

Max having a blast!

Decorating our eggs!

Bonita Huevos!

Even Aunt Molly and Max got in on the headband action

Have you ever seen a cuter bunny? I think not. Rock it, E, rock it!

Trying on her Easter goodies

Easter Bella

Sharing is Caring!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

You be the judge

So about a week ago Mia started walking. Today she is running. I'm not kidding, the girl is lightening fast. It's either one of three things, performance enhancing drugs, Cherry Coke Zero infused breast milk, or really good balance. I'm hoping for the latter.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Quote of the Day

BELLA: Mommy, when I grow up I can wear your big girl panties, right?!
MOMMY: One can only dream

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Fun Fair

If you ever grew up in District 118 you'd know that once April arrived it was Fun Fair time. Cheap carnival games, unnecessary prizes, yummy hot dogs. Us youngins looked forward to the fun fair year after year. Our parents, on the other hand, dreaded it. All because of one particular carni game. The fish toss. For two measly tickets you could toss a ping pong ball into a myriad of water filled cups. If you made it in, you win a fish. How cool! A goldfish! Who wouldn't want a goldfish?! Apparently, every parent in District 118. You see these goldfish had about a 48 hour expiration date. By monday morning, half the school was devasted at their unexpected loss the night before. So you can imagine why I hesitated before I decided to take my first born to this year's fun fair. After all, Bella still thinks her goldfish Dorothy is at the "doctor." I sucked it up for nostalgia sake and took her through the halls of my junior high alma mater.

I have to admit, I got a little choked up giving her the tour. I mean I was 13 years old when I attended. That is forever ago. Forever! Here I am with my daughter. My daughter! I knew right then and there that I had to decide which tour I wanted to give.

Instead of telling Bella that this was the gymnasium in which I insignificantly sat on the bench for every girls basketball game I explained that this was the gymnasium where I gave a speech asking fellow students to vote for me for student council president.

Rather than explain to Bella that inside this particular classroom I paid more attention to the cutie in the front row than I did to the teacher, I informed her that her mommy, too, took a spanish class. Su mommy es muy despistarse.

In lieu of admitting to Bella that I was the "last chair" in the flute line-up because I refused to turn in my scales promptly I explained that this band room was where my love for music really began.

As opposed to acknowledging that I was sometimes a follower and not always a leader by pointing out that this cafeteria was where we danced like spastic fools at all of our spring fling's, I pointed out that this cafeteria was where I choreographed the school's musical production of Annie.

Here she is bobbing for ducks.

And like any good, self-respecting daughter she decided she wanted her Cinderella tattoo on her hand and not on her body.

Distracting Bella from the fish toss game, I convinced her to sit on the face of our mascot, Charlie the Cardinal

Fun Fair 2009 turned out to be a blast. Bella loved playing all the cheesy carnival games and I loved showing Bella a little part of me. Until next year.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Gossip Girls

Playdates. Over the years I've hosted and attended many playdates. It's almost inevitable. What's funny is that the structure of a playdate is always the same the only thing that changes is which house you are in. I enjoy them. I especially enjoy them when it's with a close friend. Such is the case with my friend Tiffany. Tiffany and I competed against each other in college speech and pretty much got pregnant together. That sounds weird. Strike that. We got pregnant at the same time :) 

Back in Southern California our daughters, Bella and Lili were born about 12 hours apart. Almost immediately we scheduled our first playdate. I remember it well. Our kids slept the ENTIRE time. It was great. Tiff and I gabbed, gabbed, ate, gabbed, gabbed, ate some more, nursed our child, changed a diaper and called it a day. It was great. Same time, next week? This ritual went on for awhile until Tiff, Chad and Lili decided it was time for them to move to Chicago. Sigh. Long distance playdates aren't the same. We kept in touch pretty well and when we moved to Chicago 6 months ago we were eager to start up our routine again. 

I have so much fun on our playdates because frankly I think it's more of a playdate for me than it is for the kids. I enjoy sharing stories and swapping advice with Tiffany. I find peace knowing that I'm not alone in some of my parenting struggles. We laugh all the time. In fact, we have come so far since our first playdate. Two more children were added to the festivities and it makes it quite interesting, to say the least. I look forward to watching Baby Kallan grow and eagerly await the day when Bella and Lili actually let Mia play with them! Ta Ta for now!

Because straws make it taste better, duh!

Crashing the Ball


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