She’s Practically a Tweenager.

It was pouring rain at school pick up time this afternoon, so I walked to the classroom to meet my daughter with an umbrella in hand. She ran over to me with her much too full backpack and big, puffy jacket zipped up to her chin.

She handed me her backpack and I said “Give mama a kiss. I’ve missed you all day!”

I bent down a bit and kissed her little chapped lips.

She put her head down quickly and then asked me to come closer to her. The rain fell down around us as she begin to whisper.

“Mom. Next time you kiss me at school, it’s important that you kiss me on the cheek, NOT on the lips.”

She may as well have kicked me in the chin, super hard because ouch.

“Why?” I asked. “Why can’t I kiss you on the lips when we’re at school?”

“Because, it’s super embarrassing. It’s okay at home, just not at school.”

It was just a few weeks ago that she informed me that she no longer wanted to be called Gabby because Gabby is for babies. Oh, and also? Could she please start calling me mom instead of Mommy? Because she’s not a baby anymore! Oh and could I please stop calling her princess because, again, for babies.

She’s growing. She’s changing. She’s maturing. She’s blossoming. She’s becoming a little lady.

And I love it because it’s wonderful.

And I hate it because it’s heart crushing.

High School Sports Are Filled With Excitement, Life Lessons and Sometimes? Concussions!

My son Ethan started playing basketball when he was three years old. It was the sweetest thing to watch that little guy running up and down the court, trying to dribble the ball, trying to make baskets. He fell in love with the sport and became passionate about it.

Even at that young age, he would spend hours practicing putting the ball into the basket. All day, every day. As he got older, his love for the game never faded but only grew stronger. He started to develop his skills and became what coaches considered a good player. His specialty? The 3 point shot.

It was a thrill for me to watch my son improve every season, to become really good at something he loved so dearly. Basketball was his passion and it showed in the way he played on the court.

When he entered middle school, the thing he was the most excited about was trying out for the basketball team. He made the team both years. The 8th grade team went undefeated and he was so proud. All he could talk about was how good their team was going to be in high school.

He tried out for high school ball in the summer and made the summer team. He was thrilled to learn he’d be a starter. He did well offensively, but struggled a bit defensively. But, he kept pushing himself to get better. He never missed a single practice or a single game. He made the team for fall and secured himself as one of the starting five players. He shined during his first freshman tournament, scoring seven 3 pointers in one game, only missing one shot. It was EXCITING to watch him out there, nailing shot after shot, watching the crowd cheering and getting more excited with each made shot. When the game was over, he had scored 29 and was awarded the award for Player of the Tournament.

He had a fantastic freshman season. I can’t tell you how cool it was to hear the other coaches yell “he’s the shooter!” I’d be like “DAMN RIGHT HE’S THE SHOOTER.” He was a team player all the way around and just so much fun to watch. I couldn’t have been more proud of that boy.


(Taken last year at his Freshman basketball banquet)

This year, he made the JV squad. He was excited to start a new season with his teammates. The day of their first pre-season game I asked him if he was going to be a starter. “Probably not, Mom.” He replied. He said there were kids on the team that were better than him, so he didn’t expect to start. He was fine with that and I was fine with that. I mean, I know what my son is capable of, but if there were better players that would help them win games, I totally get it. Ultimately, it’s more important that the team win than my son start, right?

My family came to the game, and there were a lot of friends there. We were all totally pumped up! First quarter passed, Ethan got no playing time. Second quarter, still no playing time. Third quarter? Nothing. Nada. Game was over, my son never left the bench. I was upset, because I knew he was going to be upset. Not in a “I deserve to play” way, but in a “basketball is my passion and zero playing time crushes my soul” way.

I was upset, but swore to myself that I wouldn’t say a word to Ethan about it on the ride home. This was between him and his coach. Personally, I thought his coach was crazy to not use Ethan, but, again, not my battle to fight. The very next practice, Ethan made me proud yet again by pulling his coach aside. “What can I do to earn my spot?” was what he asked. Not “Why didn’t you play me?” but “tell me how I can earn playing time.” (Love. That. Boy.) His coach told him to keep working on his defense.

So, that’s exactly what my son did. The next game, he got a few minutes playing time in the third quarter, in those few minutes he had a rebound and scored 14 points (Boom!) The next game? Zero playing time. The next? A few minutes of playing time. The next game? Zero.

My son was devastated. And as his mother, I began to worry about him. His confidence was shattered. I spoke with him about it and told him to keep working hard, to not give up, to play hard anytime he was given playing time. I told him to keep a positive attitude towards his coach and his team. “There is a lesson to be learned here, Son.” I said. Even though I had no idea what the lesson was. Seeing him so utterly wrecked was hard to handle. When other parents would approach me after games and ask why the coach wasn’t playing Ethan (because they knew what he was capable of) I’d get choked up, fight back tears and just shrug my shoulders. “I don’t know.” I’d say. I wanted to talk to the coach, but I knew that would be the wrong thing to do. (But don’t think I didn’t cuss the coach out IN MY MIND.)

Two weeks ago, Ethan’s team played one of the better teams in our league. We were getting beaten quite badly, so, coach put Ethan in the game during the second quarter when we were already down by 20. Ethan took their shooter defensively and shut him down completely. He didn’t score a single point while Ethan was in the game. It was super obvious how great his defense has gotten. The varsity coach happened to be at that game. Later that night, Ethan got a call. He was smiling from ear to ear. “Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” I overheard him say. When he hung up, I asked him who it was. “It was the Coach F.” (The varsity coach.) “He said I played great defense, that he noticed how much I’ve improved. He told me to keep up the hard work.” I was relieved that he had noticed but more importantly, that he had taken the time to call my son. He had absolutely no idea ho much my son needed those encouraging words.

The next game, I was sitting in the stands like I am at every game, ready to cheer on the team. I noticed my son take his shooting shirt off. The only time he takes his shooting shirt off is if he’s going to play. I looked over to my other son. “Do you think Ethan’s going to start? Could that really be happening right now?”

Yes. It happened. My son was one of the starting five players.

(#3, my boy!)

I took a deep breath and fought back tears because my son freaking earned his spot. He worked hard, he never gave up and oh my God, he earned a starting spot on the JV team.


(Taken right after his first starting game last week.)

On Tuesday, he started for the third time. He was pumped up, like he always is at game time. When coach pulled him out, they were winning. He didn’t come back into the game until they were down by 10 points. I know my son and he wanted desperately to win that game, so he came in aggressive. During one play, he jumped up to grab a ball that was heading out of bounds. I watched my son jump into the air, get a little push from another player and come down with such force, that his head slammed into the ground. The sound of his head hitting echoed in the gym and a sound came out of me that I can’t explain as I watched my son hit the ground and black out. He wasn’t moving, the crowd was completely silent. I screamed from the depths of my soul and then covered my mouth with my hand in shock. I wanted to run down there to be with him, but my husband beat me to it. I just stood there, saying “oh my God oh my God oh my God” while trying to breathe. He laid there, not moving and then, suddenly, he moved just a bit. I couldn’t believe what I had just witness or that this was actually happening. I had no idea if my son was going to be okay. I’m not exaggerating here, it was bad, a nightmare before my eyes. I was frozen with fear. Another mother who was sitting next to me kept telling me “he’s okay, he’s going to be okay, he’s okay” over and over again while her hands trembled in fear for him, for me. There was nothing I could do except wait to see if my son was going to be able to get up. He eventually got up and everyone cheered as he walked back to his seat. I could see he was dazed. I walked over to him and told him as soon as the game was over, he was going to the hospital.

After the game, parents were coming up to me saying how scared they were. One of his teammates said “I was so scared, I thought he was dead.” Everyone agreed I needed to take him in for observation.

My husband took him to urgent care while I stayed home to do homework with Gabby. I texted non-stop. “Have you seen a doctor yet? Is Ethan okay? Don’t let him go to sleep! How does Ethan feel?”

He finally called to tell me that they said “he seems fine. Give him something for his headache.” And I was all “did they check his pupils?” And he was all “No?” And I was all “ARE YOU F*CKING KIDDING ME? TAKE HIM BACK RIGHT THESE SECOND TO SEE ANOTHER DOCTOR.” And he did and came home and said THE SECOND DOCTOR DID NOT CHECK HIS PUPILS OR DO ANY KIND OF TESTS WHATSOEVER. He literally said “well, he’s not throwing up or slurring his words, so he’s fine, but if he starts throwing up or slurring his words, be sure to bring him back right away.”

I was LIVID.

That night, I did not sleep. I woke my son up every two hours. And then, first thing in the morning, I called my doctor and told him what had happened and how he did NOT get a proper examination by the doctors at urgent care. After listening to the facts, he asked me to bring Ethan in right away so he could check him.

Oh, guess what?

Turns out, my son had a concussion. Because of COURSE HE DID, asshole Urgent Care Doctors!!

And then, the doctor said it.

“No sports or any type of physical activities for at least one week.”

There are only five more games left in the season and he will miss at least two of them.

He’s worked so hard to earn his spot and this happened. He’ll no longer be able to practice or do the one thing that he loves, possibly for the rest of the season. I keep asking myself “what is the lesson now?” The only thing I can think of at the moment is “Sometimes life sucks. Deal with it.”

Hard work sometimes goes unnoticed, but that doesn’t mean you should quit or give up on your dreams/goals. It means you should work harder at bettering yourself, no matter what. Even if he doesn’t play another game this season, my son can hold his head up high knowing he earned a spot by working hard and ever giving up on himself or on his team. As tough as it was to watch my son struggle, I’m grateful for the valuable life lesson he learned from the experience.

Most importantly though? I’m grateful that my son was able to walk away from that horrible fall and that he’s going to be okay. My God, that was terrifying.

Valentine’s Day Craft: Hugs and Kisses Gumball Machine

Last week I stumbled across the most adorable Valentine’s Day craft and I knew I had to make one with my daughter. So, today we hit up Michael’s and the Dollar tree to get all of the things we needed. Just under $13.00 for everything we needed. Which– awesome!

Adorable, yes?

What you need:

4″ terracotta pot
4″ terracotta saucer
wooden doll head
paint (we used outdoor patio paint, white for the base, pink for the top coat)
a small round bowl (we found one at the Dollar Tree.)
Alphabet stickers (Although we almost used a Sharpie and glitter.)
Ribbon
Candy (we used Hershey’s Kisses.)
Glue

paint the pot, saucer and doll head. (we did a coat of white, followed by pink after the white had dried.)
Once it’s dry, glue the doll head to the top of the saucer. Next, turn the pot upside down and glue the jar on top. Fill the jar with candy and once everything is dry, add the lid (the saucer with the doll head on top.)

Super easy, super quick, super ADORABLE.

(Originally found at Love Sweet Love.)

Working Out, Feeling Good. Before and Now Photos.

I didn’t take any “before” photos when I returned to boot camp in September. I wanted my focus to be on getting healthy, not on the size of my body. I didn’t want to waste energy stressing about weight, instead, I wanted to use all of my energy to get stronger and faster and perhaps hate running a little bit less.

People have started making comments that they can see changes in my body, but I’ve not been able to tell much. What I have noticed is that I have more endurance, that I’m stronger, that I no longer feel like I’m going to die when I run. I can do more sit-ups, I no longer have to do the “modified” version of exercises. Those are the changes I notice. So, this morning, when my husband made yet another comment about how much fitter my body is looking, I asked him to take a few photos with my phone.

He took this one as I was about to leave for my workout.

I didn’t have anything to compare it to, but I thought “not loving the belly roll, but my face looks a bit thinner.”

When I returned home from the workout, I asked him to take a few more. This time without the long t-shirt.

Then, I searched my cell phone, looking for a photo taken before I started boot camp. I found one that was taken at the end of August. It wasn’t until I saw that photo that I thought “My hard work *is* starting to show.”

I’m still overweight, my body is far from perfect, but you guys, I feel so good. I don’t feel ashamed about anything I see there. I feel proud that I have worked so hard. I feel motivated to keep working hard to get stronger, faster, healthier. What is that thing that they say? Strong is the new sexy? Yeah, that.

Twenty year old me could have never imagined feeling this way about my body was ever possible. I love 41 year old me.

How I Plan to Save For Next Christmas.

This Christmas was the first Christmas in a long time that I didn’t make a single charge to a credit card for gifts or our Holiday party. Everything was paid for with cash and damn, it felt good waking up the day after Christmas knowing I wouldn’t be paying for it months down the road.

Yesterday I saw a photo being circulated on Facebook titled “52 week savings plan.”

I knew the minute I saw it that I was going to do this and title it “Christmas 2013 Fund.”

And I knew I had to share it here with you.


(photo credit: Rosa Chykur)

So simple, right?

You’re welcome.

I Love You All The Most

My Gabriella can be a stinker. Her attitude needs adjusting many times each day. But at her core, she is kind girl with a heart as big as her personality.

There’s one thing she makes very clear on a daily basis.

She loves her family with her entire being. Her family is everything to her.

While her brother was away at boot camp, she struggled with his absence. Each and every day, she’d talk about him, or cry about missing him. It was the sweetest, most heartbreaking thing to watch.

Yesterday, I saw a pink piece of paper with a note sitting on top of the next near the kitchen. I hadn’t seen the note before, so I asked Gabby about it. She said she wrote it a while ago, but forgot to give it to us.

“You can have it now. I’m sorry I forgot to give it to you when I wrote it.”

I couldn’t help but cry just a little bit.

She loves us all the most. How lucky are we?

12.14.2012

Normally for after school pick up, I sit in my parked car in the rear entrance of the school and wait for my daughter.

On Friday, I couldn’t wait. I got out of my car when I heard the bell ring and ran up the stairs to wait for her. As I stood there in the middle of the field waiting for her, the cold wind blew my hair into my eyes. I pushed my hair back and I wiped the tears from my eyes.

I don’t want her to see my cry.

I spotted her walking with a friend. She was wearing her big, puffy jacket. She was laughing– pure joy, sweet, innocent childhood joy.

She doesn’t know. I thought to myself. Thank God, she doesn’t know.

As she got closer, I felt the urge to run to her, scoop her up in my arms, and squeeze her tightly. But I stood there just a bit longer, waiting for her to see me standing there.

She saw me. Her eyes lit up. The smile on her face grew ten times bigger and she ran towards me.

“Moooooommmmmyyyyyyyyyyyy!” She shouted as she ran.

I began running towards her.

When we met, I knelt down, she wrapped her arms around my neck. We hugged tightly.

“Why did you come here to meet me? I’m so happy to see you!”

“I was thinking about how much I love you and couldn’t wait to see your face.” I replied.

“Well, this is the best day ever!” She said as we began walking towards towards the car.

Tears.

No, it’s not. It’s the worst day ever. The absolute worst day. But she didn’t need to know that. In that moment, she needed only to believe that it absolutely was the best day ever. She was safe, I could hold my baby’s hand, she could hold mine. Oh, I felt so very lucky, so very blessed. Because on the other side of the country, so many parents no longer had their babies with them. They couldn’t hold their hands. They would never again get out of their cars to meet their babies, or see their smiles again, or feel their babies arms around their necks.

Oh my God.

Oh my God.

Here’s information on you can help one of the precious victim’s family.

Because Embarrassing Bathroom Stories are Fun to Read!

From the archives, Originally posted September, 2003.

I was reading Joelles post about pooping in public restrooms and it reminded me of one of my most embarrassing moments in life.

When Tony and I first got married, he wanted to go to Tijuana to visit his grandparents. I wasn’t too thrilled with the idea. When I was a young girl, I had to go there with my parents are part of their church ministry and I know what the “bathroom situation” is like in most places. The idea of staying somewhere for more than a day where I might possibly have to take a dump in a box with a hole cut out didn’t appeal to me at all. (I have bathroom issues.) He swore to me that his grandparents lived in a modern house, with running water and an actual toilet. I fought the idea of going, but I realized I was acting like a spoiled rotten brat and agreed to go. However, I wasn’t thrilled about it.

We arrived and I was thrilled to see that yes, they had a toilet! However, the toilet was in the middle of the living room. There were four pieces of wood surrounding the toilet that went about halfway up to the ceiling. So, while you technically had “privacy”, there was really no barriers to keep the sounds/smells confined to the bathroom area. I was slightly mortified, but hey! it was a real toilet that I could flush! And besides, it was just us and his grandparents at the house. I could totally deal with that.

A few hours after we arrived, Tony’s grandmother began making chocolate milkshakes for us to drink. I didn’t want to hurt her feelings by saying “no thank you.” So, I had a milkshake. But then, she made another one and then, another one and you guys! I kept drinking them so as not to offend her. Later that night, my stomach started to hurt really bad. Uh, oh. I thought to myself. I know what’s about to happen and it’s not going to be pretty.

I was laying in bed with severe stomach cramps when I heard people start coming through the front door. The started to file in, one, two, three at a time. Before you know it, the entire living room was filled with people. And these people were ALL MEN.

“What the hell is happening here?” I asked my husband. He went to talk to his grandma to find out.

Apparently, his grandfather was very active in Mexican politics and that night he was hosting A TOWN MEETING! In his living room! The same living room that had the only toilet in the house right in the middle of it! With only four boards around it so no one could see you, but everyone could hear and smell you!

Oh hell no. This was not happening. Except, it was happening! OH MY GOD IT WAS HAPPENING.

I tried to fight it, but I couldn’t. I ran to the living room. After making my way past two thousand Mexican men, I made it to the “bathroom.”

OH LORD JESUS, HELP THESE PEOPLE FOR WHAT THEY ARE ABOUT TO HEAR… and smell

And then. It happened.

Sitting on a toilet, shitting out dozens of milkshakes in the middle of a mofo TOWN MEETING. It was loud in the room, so that helped to calm my anxiety about what was happening just a little bit. Until THE ROOM GOT QUIET. I sat there, crying, asking Jesus to JUST KILL ME NOW PLEASE because I had no idea how I was going to find the strength to exit that bathroom after what I had just done.

I sat there until I figured out an exit strategy. I was going to walk out of there with my head held high, like, YEAH, I JUST DID THAT… WHAT??! But that’s not what happened. I walked out of there, saw the line of people waiting to use the same toilet I had just tore the hell up, and ran out of there– tears streaming down my face– as fast as I could.

So there you have it. My Most Embarrassing Bathroom Story.

Care to share yours?

On second thought, DON’T! I don’t want to hear it!