Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Staycation Part 1

My social media alter ego is getting seriously ticked off at everyone posting pictures of effing palm trees or their adorable children covered in sand and my personal favorite- refreshing Corona's in the forefront and their tanned and pedicured BARE FEET in the background.

Um, I haven't shaved my legs since Christmas (a fact I wasn't all that proud of but truth is, the more time lapses, the more of a challenge it becomes!)

But really people, do you have to show the palm trees, cuz that's just cruel.

Oh whom I kidding...I would totally be doing the same thing. Wish you were here!

No SPF or flipflops for us this year. We're having a "staycation" for our spring break and we hope to make the most of the city around us. Day 1 started out with a freezing cold trip to Brookfield Zoo. We saw about 5 different animals, played indoors and then took off for a southern style BBQ lunch with friends where we ate our emotions. Our frigid, winter emotions.

Staycation Day 2 was all about our Filipino heritage. Neighborhoods of the World is an event at Navy Pier where every week a different culture is celebrated. And the Filipinos were in full effect!

Every time I get the chance to teach my children about their history, I take it. Learning about our past and keeping these stories and experiences alive is so important for our future. We watched the traditional dances, ate some filipino food and even learned a thing or two....

We ended our day with a trip to our favorite ice cream shop, Plush Horse.

Braving the bitter cold, we stopped for a few pictures

We woke this morning to an inch or two of snow----just enough to put us in a bad mood.  We better get crackin' on some plans for the rest of the week otherwise my kids will start scaling the walls.

Oh wait....


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Happy 8th Birthday Bella!

Let the Narciso childrens' birthday season commence! First up is our totally beloved, darling little EIGHT year old Bella!

You insisted on dressing fancy for school and I didnt dare disagree.

Your famous pancake breakfast!

And to think that your birthday started with you giving me a morning surprise

Thanks for making my bed Bella!

But my most favorite picture of all of your week long birthday festivities is this one right here:

Boom. I love this picture so, so much. This is the picture you need to show me on my death bed to remind me of what an awesome life I had. Can I dissect all the things I love about this for a minute?! 1. You're wearing a glittery fancy dress to school on your birthday and it's like 15 degrees outside. 2. Mia is holding one end of a Happy Birthday sign giggling at Chance who's holding the other end, waiting to surprise you as you walk through the door from school. 3. Little Indy at the door looking out for you probably giving you the biggest, gummiest grin. He really loves you Bella. 4. Sweet Rizzo's in pounce mode ready to jump up and shower you with wet slobbery birthday licks. 5. The random light saber on the floor that was dropped seconds before we had this idea planned. This is totally our life Bella.

On to the party...

It was the debate of all debates--should she go with a Teen Beach Movie party or a Dear Dumb Diary party? Bella ultimately chose the adorable yet completely campy Teen Beach Movie--think Grease with a Beach Blanket Bingo twist. Very cute movie, by the way.

Our party, like the movie, was a (family) turf war: The Bikers vs. The Surfers

and Chance as Brady

and the rest of the family as either a surfer or a biker in The Rodents gang. It was so funny to see my dad dressed in my moms leather jacket--not quite sure which team he was representing :) but it was hilarious!

It should come as no surprise to you that our menu fit the theme as well: SURF vs. TURF.
First course was beef bbq sticks vs. bbq shrimp with a fancy french sauce that I can't pronounce let alone type. Hot damn they were good! But the winner of this round was Eugene's famous Filipino BBQ sticks (thanks Lolo!).

We then moved into the dining room for some Bingo fun!

2nd surf vs. turf course was a carne asada taco (not pictured) vs. beer battered chilean 
seabass taco.

OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY FINGER LICKIN' GOD!  This was Eugene's first attempt to deep fry anything and the result was the BEST fish taco I have ever tried. It was heavenly and it was also the landslide winner.

The third course was pasta--gotta have the birthday noodles for long life. 
Spaghetti carbonarra (not pictured) vs. linguini with clams. 

Btw, carbonara for the win.

It was another fantastic birthday Bella. You got a hand-me-down iPod that made you jump up and down with excitement. You opened it up, smiled HUGE, found my eyes and we locked for a brief moment. Hidden deep within that millisecond your nonverbal to me was really mom? I'm old enough? and my silent response was yes baby, yes you are!

And just like that your headphones were on and you were flipping through your apps looking for music.

Oy Vey!

Here's your birthday movie my dear...

And hey, spend 3 minutes more and check out this AMAZING dance sequence from Teen Beach movie. SO MUCH FUN!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Snow White

Holy cow you guys--both Eugene and I came down with an awful case of the stomach flu and I was curled up in the fetal position for about 48 hours. During that time we, allegedly, had amazing weather--58 dregrees and sunny to be exact. My poor kids had to deal with mom and dad down for the count and what could have turned into mass chaos, actually wasn't so bad. I realized that when given absolutely no parental control all my kids want to do is act like a pack of wolves. Literally, a pack of wolves. I remember getting up and stumbling to the kitchen for another bottle of Gatorade and I had to fend off three howling humans who kept pouncing over each other in attack mode. No shit, they were on all fours.

When I woke Tuesday morning and felt every ounce of me recovered, I opened the windows and enjoyed the hint of spring that was in the air. I felt so happy to have energy again. After a long day, Eugene and I watched a movie and couldn't believe the amount of snowfall that had begun to fall. Wah, wah, way.

When we woke up, it was like a winter wonderland. 

Thanks Uncle TJ and Aunt Kaye for the awesome pajamas!

We were all in awe of its beauty. Bella had a "late start", Mia has PM kdg and Chance's school was called off, so we lounged in our jammies as long as we could. The late start was only an hour delay but it felt like a vacation, I tell ya.

Two hours later the clouds broke and the most magnificent blue sky erupted around us. I've never seen such blue skies on a fresh snowfall before and it truly is spectacular!

Waiting for Mia's bus I captured some of our surroundings. The stillness in the air, the white of the snow and the blue of the sky made it a snowfall I will never forget.

And the only thing keeping me going is my weather app which tells me it will be 53 degrees and sunny in the next few days. This snow won't have a chance of turning into the gray slush we've seen for the past three months straight. Spring is happening! I cannot wait!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Mother's Promise

Eight years ago I began a journey that I had waited for since I was 5 years old. Those 1980 adventures of cradling, hugging, burping and singing to my dolls gave me a blinded confidence of motherhood that I've carried with me always.

There are certain moments in life that are so completely crystal clear that it becomes impossible to forget them. Trust me, some I'd like to forget but can't and then there's some moments that I cling so tightly to when I find myself questioning my strength. Here's one--February 27th, 2006, the eve before I became a mother. I couldn't sleep. I tossed and turned and not just because I was a swollen mess but because I knew this was it. The moment I had waited for. I laid there next to Eugene, the absolute love of my life and realized that though he and I rely on each other for pretty much everything, only I can be her mother. I had spent the last 9 months reading every book published on taking care of children-yet not one of them taught me how to be a good mother. Sure, I could recite the step by step instructions to getting rid of a nasty diaper rash but how to be a mother your children would respect was freakin' foreign to me. Still is, sometimes.

I laid awake for hours that night, my last remaining moments as a care-free, irresponsible adult wondering what type of mother I wanted to be. And as nervous as I was about my c-section scheduled only hours away, the excitement started to build. The excitement that had been suppressed for so many years. This was my time. This was what I was going to kick ass at. I had no idea how, but I knew that I would.

That following morning, my new journey began.

On my last day in the hospital I met a woman who lead a new mom's group and she encouraged me to attend once I was released. I politely thanked her and stuffed her card among all the other breastfeeding pamphlets and postpartum fact sheets into the plastic hospital bag that laid on my bedroom floor for a week after I returned home.

After feeling an overwhelming sense of cabin fever I searched for her card and attended my first class. It felt great to get out of the house and it felt reassuring to hear that other moms felt the same way I did. We laughed, we confessed and we were given a homework assignment. What the hell?! As if waking up every three hours wasn't enough HOMEWORK, I needed to add this to my to-do list. I think I even rolled my eyes when I heard it.

Write a promise to your new child, a motherhood mission.

As the days followed after that meeting I knew that I would regret it if I didn't write it down. This was my chance to put it in writing. So on March 9, 2006 I did--and I'm forever grateful for that woman who made me do it because it has kept me grounded ever since--well, for the most part. And in case our house goes up in a nasty flame and I lose the frame these words are held in, here they are...

A Mother's Promise

Right now I am your leader. I believe that leadership is more important than friendship. But rest assure Bella, we will be friends one day. The very best of friends.

I believe the biggest form of punishment is stifling a child's freedom of expression. I want to support you in all that you do and help guide you to make the best decisions for yourself.

I believe that laughter is essential to having a happy family. I hope that we laugh every day.

I believe that helping others helps yourself. Bella, be thankful for what you have and know how important it is to share your wealth with others.

Respect yourself. I believe this just may be my undying quest for you. Always, always, always respect yourself. And your mother :)

Integrity. Live everyday with integrity Bella. This is such an important quality to have. This is why I fell in love with your father.

Right now you are my only child. Therefore, my focus everyday is on you. However, there will come a time when you are not my only focus, when I have to focus on my other children. You should not feel hurt. I will love all of you equally. But I will never forget how we went through this for the first time, together.

Bella, I promise to show you the world. We will travel.


I also promise that one day you can see the world on your own. It will change your life.


Your Mother

Three children later and a file full of mothering experiences--I try everyday to live up to the ideal mom I wanted to be. Some days I do and some days I don't. And that's okay. As long as I know which direction I'm headed in!

Trust me, it's never too late to write your mission.


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