Thursday, August 26, 2010


My 15 month old baby girl loves her grandparents. We are fortunate to have my parents live nearby and they engage with our children as often as possible. They are very hands-on grandparents.

As parents we look forward to our kids first words. Mothers usually hope for "Mama", Fathers usually keep their ears perked for "Da-Da". All three of my children spoke different first words, at different ages. Unfortunately for me, none of them happened to be "Mama". That doesn't mean I tried, though. I worked with them for hours, gingerly repeating the word "Mama!, Mama!, Mama loves you!" over and over. You know how it works, with the exaggerated smile and movement of the words on my mouth. All to no avail.

My daughter, the youngest of my children, came close to having "Mama" be her first word, but I was ousted by my own father. "Ba-Ba" was the first word she articulated. There was no mistake about it, she was indeed referring to her Grandpa.

Of course she received much praise and excitement after uttering her first word. She squealed with delight and continued to repeat the word for the rest of the day. Happily for me, "Mama" appeared the next day and very quickly overtook "Ba-Ba" as her favorite word. "Mama" now means just about anything and everything, including yours truly.

She currently has a vocabulary of a whopping 7 words, but "Ba-Ba" still continues to be a popular choice. Anytime my father is mentioned her face lights up and she answers with an expectant "Ba-Ba?". She "calls" him on the phone constantly. Any phone she can get her hands on (my cell phone, old cell phones, play phones) will be held up to her ear and without fail the words "Ba-Ba" can be heard. It's adorable. Her favorite way to talk to Grandpa though is on our video phone so she can see him. Anytime the phone rings she makes a bee-line to it, chanting "Ba-Ba" all the way there. If the caller turns out not to be Grandpa, she is thoroughly disappointed.

A few weeks ago she happened to wake up quite early, about 1/2 hour before I even get out of bed. I was not in any mood to be awake yet so I went to her room, lied her back down, and said firmly, "Go back to sleep. It is too early." I then returned to my oh-so-comfy bed and made an attempt to catch a few more precious minutes of zzz. About 15 minutes later, just when I thought she might have actually obeyed me and fallen asleep, I heard he precious little voice inquire very tentatively, "Ba-Ba?".

It was too cute! I couldn't resist and started laughing right then and there. After that smooth move I had to get up and get her. When in doubt, call "Ba-Ba"!

Any cute first words to share? Or any good stories about baby's first words?

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Bridging The Gap

My parents offered to take the kids (all three of them!) up to their cabin for a few days so Rick and I could have a break, and also in order to spend some special time with the kiddos themselves. My parents are very involved in my kids lives and love spending time with them. We are so blessed in this regard.

We thought it would be fun to send one of our home video phones (we have two of them) up with them so they could see us during each daily phone call home. What a treat it was!

The cabin rests on the top of a hill and the backyard runs along the perimeter of the national forest. It is a beautiful setting with ample space for hiking and exploration. The kids always have the time of their lives up there.

The kids called us every day using the home video phone, sometimes more than once a day, and shared with us their adventures. Seeing their little faces light up with enthusiasm and pride while recounting their stories was priceless! The boys were super excited and told us all about catching fish in the lake, finding lizards on their hike with Grandpa, and sleeping out under the stars at night. They were both jumping up and down with huge eyes and wide grins as they relayed the daily happenings. Watching their expressions and movements, along with hearing their words, was precious. I felt like I was actually in the room with them up in the cabin!

My one year old daughter even got in on the fun with the home video phone. She, using language only she was familiar with, told us all about her comings and goings too. Since she can't yet speak, beyond a few simple individual words, we were able to grasp her meaning through her facial expressions and hand gestures.

Being able to see my daughter and having her see me through the home video phone was such a special event. Holding a phone up to her ear so she can hear mama's voice is nothing compared to both of us being able to see each other. The visual between us made interaction and real, true communication possible. It didn't matter that she was hours and miles away from us, we were in the same room together thanks to our home video phone!

Sharing in these opportune moments as they happened, in the moment and location of occurrence, truly is an amazing feeling. It is unique, an experience I've never lived before. Talking on a regular telephone now seems lacking and antiquated. Seeing and readily interacting with whomever I am speaking with is a vastly superior experience. I love this video phone!!!

What are some great ways you stay in touch with your loved ones? I'm sure we'd all appreciate some tips!

(To learn more of these incredible devices visit

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Taking One For The Team

I play on a coed soccer team with my husband, Rick. It's just for fun, a time to get out and socialize (several of our friends play on the team) and fit in some cardio as well. I love to play but I am horrible.
I've never played soccer before so I really have no idea what to do, I just make up my moves as I go along. The only references I have to the game are through watching my kids play on their own soccer teams. I actually coach my younger son's team, but it's very basic, he's only 4, so not a problem.
Anyway, last night we had our final game of the summer season. The second kick of the game I got taken out by some guy on the opposing team. I wasn't expecting to fall all the way to the ground so I was a little shocked to find myself flat on my face. But, oh well, no biggie. It didn't hurt.
Towards the end of the game I made an attempt to get an airborne ball. It was coming right towards me so I jumped up, stretching my right leg out as far as it would go in order to dazzle everyone with my super fancy footwork. Well, I dazzled them all right, just not as intended.
I missed the ball completely, I didn't even get close. It flew right by my extended toes. While in the air I must have shifted position because I landed not on my feet, as I fully anticipated to land, but on the side of my left leg and left butt cheek.
I came down hard with a blunt thud. Then I was stunned. I couldn't understand why I wasn't on my feet. What happened? Upon realizing my grave mishap, I became mortified. I had just jumped, kicked, missed, twisted, and landed very unceremoniously on my ass in front of everyone! It looked like the cartoons of someone slipping on the banana peel, only there was no banana peel!
I sat there for a quick second trying to decide whether to run off the field in misery or laugh it off. I chose to laugh it off, better to laugh at myself then add even more humiliation by crying.
I was in pain. I was limping. I was still confused at how I could have possibly messed up so horribly. But the game continued.
I finally came to my senses and noticed my team was lining up for a penalty kick. Somehow we were getting a free shot at the goal. I lined up to wait for the kick (which we made!) and barely finished the game upright. The pain in my butt and leg was getting steadily worse.
After the game I found out the penalty kick was because I got hit by someone during my super hero move through the air. This made me laugh out loud because I didn't get hit by anyone. Nope folks, that smooth move was all me!!! I knocked myself over without any assistance whatsoever.
Today I can barely walk, I'm hobbling around the house, much to the amusement of my kids and husband. My left leg is throbbing, there's a huge knot right under my butt. I also have bruises all up and down my right leg from the first tumble I took in the game.
But I guess I should be happy. The only goal we scored in the entire game was because of the free shot we got due to my injury. Am I a team player or what?

What is your reaction to embarrassments? Do you get shy? Do you justify your actions? Do you storm off? Or do you realize it's just a simple mistake? Any tips for handling embarrassments with grace?

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Monday, August 9, 2010

Singing In The Rain

We planned a quick trip with two other families up to Sedona, AZ for the weekend. The purpose was three-fold: One, to spend time with our friends before all the kids went back to school, two, to spend time with our friends before one of them is deployed to the Middle East for a year, and three, to visit the AZ Cardinals training camp and get autographs for the kiddos. The kids range in age from 15 months (my baby girl, the only girl in the bunch) to 11 years. A nice, relaxing weekend away with a house full of boys. Yeah, right!!
The Cardinals train in Flagstaff which is a short little jaunt up from Sedona. We found an amazing house to rent for all 14 of us at a killer price. It was spectacular! Huge, beautiful home with lots of space, a pool, a hot tub, and breathtaking views.
The plan was to get up early on Saturday and drive 45 minutes up to Flagstaff, be there by about 7:30 to stand in line for the autograph session which began at 8:30AM. We thought we'd have plenty of time and be placed decently in line with our arrival time. My husband took our sons two years ago to a similar event for the Cardinals. He said it was great, there were only a few hundred people total, the kids got to interact with the football players, he took photos, it was a gorgeous day, and overall a fantastic experience.
Well, this year things were slightly different...
Literally on our way out the door to the cars it started raining. Not a nice little drizzle that we as Phoenicians could appreciate. No, this was a full downpour, with fat drops of water, each one soaking inches of your body. The rain maintained, and at moments worsened, the entire drive.
We thought we hit the jackpot though when the rained fizzled out upon entering Flagstaff. We were thrilled! It was cold (for us) and cloudy, but the parking lot was mostly empty. At least we'd be dry and have fun seeing the football players. Everyone was in high spirits, excited at the day's prospects.
We were so naive...
We quickly realized the reason the parking lot was so empty was because all the other ones were already full. There were masses of people already in line. By the time we finally found the end of the line (it wrapped around the entire dome) the rain had made an appearance again. We stood there for about 45 minutes, in the rain, with all the kids, in our shorts and flip flops (did I mention we are from Phoenix?), no umbrellas, cold, tired and hungry with kids running around everywhere.
Actually, I was impressed with us all, with all the fans that day. I didn't hear any complaining from anyone, not kids, not adults, no one. We were all sopping wet, chilled to the bone, tired, and standing in a never ending line. But, God bless America, we all made the best of it and had fun.
Once we actually made it inside the dome where the signings were to take place, it was craziness again, swarms of people everywhere. Our group dispersed again in an attempt to gather as many signatures as possible. I, along with two others and the baby, went to save seats in order to watch the Cardinals practice afterward. All was going well, chaotic but manageable. I even snapped a few photos and shot some video. And then.... the smell.
At first I thought we had the ill fortune of picking seats next to someone with flatulence. Then it slowly dawned on me, that flatulence was my daughter's butt! Ooh doggy did it stink! And, of course, we didn't have a diaper bag. One of the only times I neglected to throw it over my shoulder. It was all the way back in the car. OMG.
There was no way to ignore it, it had to be dealt with. So.....
Off I went with my precious stink bomb back to the car. It was pouring down rain and took me about 20 minutes to make the walk back (good thing I woke up extra early to shave my legs!). We were soaked through. My poor baby was so cold her lips were a bluish tint and she was shaking uncontrollably. I almost broke down in tears at the sight. But God bless her, she didn't make a peep! She was angelic, and Lord knows this is not always the case, so I was ultra delighted and proud of her. What a trooper!
I changed her diaper in a flash, hopped in the front seat and blasted the heater. Then I fed her broken off pieces of a muffin which she gobbled up. I decided to wait in the car until the rest were done watching practice. There was no way I was daring the rain again.
Less than an hour later all 14 of us were happily sitting around a huge table at Coco's, enjoying a belated breakfast. Mugs of coffee and hot chocolate, warm skin and full bellies.... Ahh.... Life is good, full of adventure and mishaps, but oh so good!

How do you make the best of mishaps? What do you do to remain calm and collected instead of panicked and frustrated?

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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

We're Off!!!

My very first entry! It’s a strange feeling to start a blog, my very own blog. I’ve contemplated the idea for months, wondering if I should, if I could, what to write about, if I’d measure up to the pros. Well, I guess we’ll find out! But I am excited to actually be writing!
I love to write. I’ve enjoyed putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard in this case) since I was a young girl. I love to read too, mostly novels. The two kinda go hand in hand. Reading is a great escape for me. I read every night before falling asleep. And writing is therapeutic. It feels good to organize my thoughts and ideas on paper.
So here I sit, in 106 degree weather (maybe hotter?) with my laptop on my lap (imagine that!) watching my son and the neighbor swim in our pool. The baby monitor is just inside the door, which I must check every few minutes to see if the baby (she’s 15 months, but still considered “the baby”) is awake from her nap. My oldest is in school. Yes, he’s in school already. He attends a year round school so he began 1st grade 2 weeks ago. I have the alarm set on my cell phone so I don’t forget to pick him up (sad or genius?).
These are my days. I juggle working two jobs from home and caring for my three kids, plus a few neighbor kids that come and go almost daily. And when I say juggle, I mean juggle. It’s a talent I’ve developed over the years. Each year I get busier and busier with more responsibilities and activities. It’s fun, it’s great, I love it, but man do I scramble to fit it all in!
Yes, I am a bit anal about my organizational skills. I created a schedule (that we actually follow) that keeps me in line. This is how I operate. It’s all mapped out, but in a relaxed way so the kids don’t think they’re part of some crazy military boot camp experiment at home. I live a very structured life, allowing for flexibility when the need arises. But I must have a plan, or some semblance of a plan, to stay sane. I am not a last minute, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal.
I invite you to follow me through these days and share with me in my joys, laughs, silliness, sorrow, grief, mistakes, and blunders of motherhood, marriage, and business. I’ll be sharing more about myself and my family, our days, our stories, our ups and downs. I’m sure you will be able to relate. If nothing else, you can find humor from my life. It is a zoo over here!
Oops! My laptop just got splattered by the dogs who managed to slip by me, as I was otherwise occupied with this blog entry, and jump in the pool with the kiddos. I called them out of the water and they came, (after I almost went hoarse from calling their names and yelling threats they don’t even understand), stood by me and began to shake out the water droplets…..all over me and my precious computer. Ahh… the joys of owning dogs….. Poor things, does feel like a torturous inferno out here! Gotta love Phoenix in August! Well, now we’re all a little more refreshed.

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