Monday, October 31, 2005


I know, I know, and I'm sure one day I'll consider myself lucky that these two wild and crazy kids decided that they wanted to wear their SAME EXACT costumes that they wore LAST YEAR!!!

Who does that??? Have I taught them nothing of fashion faux pas???

But, okay, so we reeeaaaallllyyy did get our $20 worth out of these suits, though, that's for sure. I mean, okay, so maybe they walked around with wedgies all night long because their costumes were two sizes too small. And, alright, so they couldn't really hear anyone or anything because their hoods were so snug around their little heads. And,yeah, I guess technically they could just barely breathe once the whole thing was zipped up to their necks...

But they still looked so damn cute! (and ultimately, that's all that really matters, isn't it?)

And then the kicker of the evening was that once we brought all their goodies home from school and added to them all the goodies they collected from trick-or-treating in the village, and then poured it out onto the kitchen table for Mama to sort through what was really a "goodie" (as opposed to a "baddie"), they only ended up with a bag of goldfish, some fruit snacks, a couple of granola bars, and a sheet of stickers a piece.

And don't you "Awwww, pobrecitos" me. Just like it was with their sugarfree, yogurt covered birthday cake, as long as they don't know what they're missing, they're happy as little clueless clams, and it is the entire focus of my life right now to ensure that they remain that way until the day they snatch that control right out of my grubby little hands as they gleefully shove handfulls of pan de polvo and jelly beans and cupcakes into their sassy little mouths as they decide to start calling me by my first name and tell me to drop them off 3 blocks away from school so that I won't embarrass them in front of their too cool friends!!!

But until then, dammit, I'm the Mama, and that's all there is to it. :P

Friday, October 28, 2005


Sorry, no postings this week. We've all been really under the weather. Should have some good stuff come Monday, though, after the Halloween weekend.

Be safe!

Monday, October 24, 2005

king of the road

Sitting at the dinner table yesterday, Mommy was singing along to Roger Miller's "King of the Road" playing over our itunes. For those of you that don't know the words, please click here so that you can follow along.

No phone, no pool, no pets...

"Mommy, why no pets?" asks Chago. "Because he lives on a train, son, so he can't have any pets." "It's his train?" he proceeds. "No, son," clarifies Mommy, "the train doesn't belong to him, which is why he can't have any pets. Do you understand?" "Yes, Mommy, I understand," he says.

No phone, no pool, no pets...
"Why no pool, Mommy?" asks Saia. "Well, he can't have a pool on the train because the train doesn't belong to him, sweetheart." "Why?" she continues. "Because someone else owns it, and he's using it without permission, and if he gets caught he'll get in trouble, so he can't have a pool on there so that no one will no he's there. Do you understand?" "Yes, Mommy, I understand," she says.

Old worn out clothes and shoes...
"What's wrong with his shoes, Mommy?" asks Chago. "They're old, bubba," she explains. "He doesn't have any money to buy new clothes and shoes, so he has to wear his old ones. Does that make sense?" "Yes, Mommy," he says.

No phone, no pool, no pets...
"Why he can't have any pets again, Mommy?" asks Chago. "Oh, son, it's called a chorus."

Friday, October 21, 2005

she's such a little helper

Yes, she's actually grinding spices. Comino and black pepper and garlic for carne guisada. I look at her in this picture and I swear she looks about 4 or 5. But she's not even 3! With any luck, by the time she's in kindergarten, I won't be doing any of the laundry, cooking OR cleaning!!!

Ahhhhh...children. :)

Thursday, October 20, 2005


No, not those F words -- get your mind out of the gutter. This is a family blog! :P

While doing his business this morning, he's chatting with his Mommy and explaining that he's going to learn the letter 'F' today, which can't be true because they only do letters on Tuesdays at school. But Mommy asks him if he knows any words that start with the letter 'F', to which he replies, "Fuh-fuh-FISH!" "Great job, son, anything else?" "Fuh-fuh-FROG!" "Good. Any more?" "Fuh-fuh-FOULFELLOW! [villainous character from Pinocchio]". And then he gets distracted and begins listing other villains he knows: "Maleficent [Snow White]...the shark [Nemo]...the Siamese Cats...[Lady and the Tramp]....what else, Mommy?"

"Mmm..." ponders Mommy as she brushes her teeth. "Mommy? Name another villain," he demands as he begins to unfurl the toilet paper YET AGAIN. "Mmm...I'm thinking, son," she mumbles with a mouthful of toothpaste. "Well," he urges, "think louder please."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

PIGS IN BLANKETS to explain what a pig in a blanket is to children who don't eat biscuits, don't eat pork, don't really understand that pork comes from pigs, and won't ever really get that what's actually in hot dogs is not anything anyone's ever been able to completely identify to date.

So, instead, we used some homemade empanada dough (which is why they look brown, thank you very much -- it's the cinnamon -- really) and turkey dogs [and we just didn't bother to explain that part. There'll be time enough for that over Thanksgiving].

And they loved 'em!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I just don't know what we're gonna do. He's been getting timeouts consistently at school. Two and three of them a day. He's hitting and biting and choking, for crissakes!!! We've taken away all his favorite stuffed animals and videos. He's started losing his books now. Nothing seems to phase him. He understands that his things are gone and so when he starts to get fussy and wants something he almost asks for it and then catches himself and changes it to something he actually does have. So he's never really being denied anything because he's never allowing himself to be rejected. He's brilliant and invincible and the only one in the entire world that renders me both speechless and immobile. I'm completely stumped.

This photo is titled "Chago Puente," by the way. You should hear him go at it!

Monday, October 17, 2005


"Mama, I want a tiger!" says Chago.

"No, no, Mama, I want a bat!" says Saia.

"But Mama was just going to carve a happy face, kids. Can't we just make two smiley faces instead?"

"NOOOOOO!!!!" they both scream at the top of their lungs.

So after they spent 30 minutes spooning the pumpkin seeds out of their respective pumpkins ONE BY ONE...I then spent another hour and a half carving what I happen to think are pretty decent likenesses of a tiger (okay, maybe a cat) and a bat, if I do say so myself.

Although sitting there 2 hours later still trying to oxy pumpkin stains out of my white jeans and pull pumpkin guts out from under my nails, I'm thinking next year we'll just dress them in leather from head to toe, hand 'em a couple of knives, and see what happens.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Show & Tell

So, they did actually take their little tangerine-sized pumpkins to school yesterday for show and tell.

The night before, I kept asking them to tell me what they were going to say. I mean, come on, all great presentations require at least a little preparation. But no, not with these two. They were gonna wing it. And I was getting nervous. Come Thursday morning, we're getting everything ready to go. I make sure they've got their pumpkinitos and ask them one last time if they're going to talk about the traffic on the way to the pumpkin patch, or the christmas tree farms we passed by, or walking through the pumpkin patch and tossing pumpkins into the wheelbarrow, or jumping in the bouncy house, or watching the train, or...

"No, Mom," interrupts Chago, "I'm going to talk about the worm that lives inside my pumpkin." "WORM?!?!" "Yes, here, look," he shoves it in front of my face. "Just like The Very Hungry Caterpillar," explains Saia. And wouldn't you know it, there were at least 4 little worm holes eating away at that poor sorry excuse for a gourd.

Ewwwwww, I thought. Do I really want to send my children to school with worm-infested pumpkins. know what? At least they were excited to talk about something.

[and the worms would be out of my house]

Thursday, October 13, 2005

It Was A Rare Moment

But they did actually hug long enough for me to snap this photo. It was picture day at school, too, so I'm hoping this random act of kindness carried over into their photo session. We asked that they be photographed together. Still not sure if that was a good idea or not, and funny that no one at the school seems to be able to tell us how it went. I'm sure they're just waiting to cash our check, and then we'll get the proofs of them all scratched and bruised, on the ground wrestling every last strand of hair out of one another's head, attempting to strangle each other with the unraveled remnants of their nice new sweaters.
Should be very memorable.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Jellybean for Chago

Actually, I guess the title should be "NO Jellybean for Chago" because our little man has apparently become the bully in his class, and spends his days tormenting the smaller children, sitting in timeout, and then trying to justify his behavior later to me by saying, "Mama, I didn't hit her, I just patted her" or "Mama, I didn't push him, I just moved him over."

And this is what happens when you give the negotiator the tools to do his job well.

So, Jan, the Associate Director walked in on him throwing his food on the floor. He was reprimanded and asked to clean it up, and then she reminded him he would not be getting a jellybean at the end of the day because of this infraction.

When I picked him up yesterday, Jan was gone. Luckily, his teacher was still there to fill me in or I wouldn't have been the wiser as to why on our way out Chago was saying, "Let's see if Ms. Betty [the Director] is there today, so I can ask her for a jellybean."

And no, he didn't get one after all.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Can hardly believe another year's gone by, but here we are again trekking across fields and rows of orange- and white- and sienna-colored gourds on our endless search for the perfect pumpkin. "How 'bout this one, Mommy?" "Ooh, look at this one, Mama."

Meanwhile, the wheelbarrow quadruples in weight and becomes unwieldy beneath the rising pile of tangerine and coral noggins, but that certainly doesn't deter our crusaders -- oh no, not these two. "I want THIS one, Mama." "Just ONE more, Mommy, okay? I just want ONE more."

So, we finally settle on TWO medium-sized ones for the porch and ask the kids to pick just ONE each of their own. After a brief debate (if you can believe that), they begin determinedly searching through the stack for just the right one. Pumpkins are flying everywhere. We're both scrambling to catch them before they bash some poor unsuspecting tourist in the head. And before long you can't even see their little heads anymore -- just their dust-covered bottoms sticking up in the air and their legs dangling over the side as they dig deeper and deeper into the wheelbarrow for their prized pumpkin.

Finally, they each come up, all out of breath, filthy but smiling from ear to ear (and ear to ear) clinging to something and raising it over their heads in triumphant glorious success. "THIS ONE!!!" they shout. Just about ready to pay, we spin around to add their treasures to the batch and, literally, just stood there with our mouths hanging open -- because they each picked pumpkins that were no larger than lemons. Yes, really. Lemons!!! After all that hullabaloo!!! Luckily, the nice lady let them have them for free because there was no way in hell we were going to pay $5 each for those ridiculous little pumpkin holes!!!

Oh, well, at least now they have something to take to school on Thursday for show and tell.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Diary of a Worm - The Horror Story

Months ago I got this book for them (available in the sidebar) called "Diary of a Worm," which they absolutely LOVED. Had to read it ALL the time. They'd practically memorized it when we discovered that it came with a story-telling CD, which they loved even more, and they would listen to it for hours on end in the truck without making a sound. Honestly, it was a dream come true. Ah, those were the days.

One day, though, Saia decided that she was terrified -- TERRIFIED -- of this one part of the story where the spider tries to dig a hole like his friend the worm, but his legs get stuck. Now, he gets out of course, and all is well, but she's absolutely unconsolably horrified by this and we cannot listen to it anymore. But Chago loves the story and asks for it all the time. And so, every now and then, we'll try it again, but I don't so much as get the CD in the slot when she begins to scream bloody murder. And back into the case it goes.

Today, we tried again. But this time Chago told her, "When it gets to that part, Saia, you can just cover your ears." "Okay, Bubba," she said. And I just sat there. In awe. Again. What a great idea. So, I popped it in, it started to play, and all was going well until I realized that she wasn't eating her applesauce because she had her fingers in her ears. "Beauty, you need to finish your breakfast," I said. "Saia? Please eat." "I can't, Mama, because I have my fingers in my ears." "But Saia..." "No, Mama, it's coming!" And no amount of my promising that I would fast forward through it or that I would turn the volume down or that she wouldn't be able to hear it if she kept her fingers in there could prevent the utter meltdown that ensued. It was coming and she was squealing like a stuck pig, and she absolutely would not stop until she was certain that it was off, out of the CD player, and back in its case.

And yes, we've talked about how the spider is alright, and how he's just trying to do what the worm does, and how he doesn't actually get stuck permanently, but I think the whole idea of him not being able to move really does just freak the hell out of her. And honestly, I can't blame her. There are days when I have to scramble to get my shoes off in my office in the middle of the day just because my poor little toes begin to feel way too claustrophobic and I'm very nearly on the verge of flipping out...

Hmmm...wonder if this could be inherited.

Friday, October 07, 2005

The Shark and The Bee

On our way to school this morning, Saia rolled right into story-telling mode -- with Chago following quickly on her tail [pun intended, please].

"Onnnnnneeeee daaaaaaayyyy," she begins, "a shark and a bee were swimming in the ocean." "And," interjects Chago, "once upon a time, the bee sting...sting...stinged...the shark." "The bee stung the shark?" I ask. "Yes," he says, "the bee stung the shark." "And I put a bandaid on the shark and made him all better," says Saia, trying to reclaim the story from her brother. "And then the bee stung the shark on the fin," says Chago, never so easily redirected. [and so the tennis match begins] "But I put a bandaid on the shark's fin," she says, "and now he's all better again!" "No," he says, "because then the bee stung the shark on the tail!" "Well...well...then I put a bandaid on his tail and then he was fine, Chago!" [and so it goes...on the nose, on the gill, on the mouth, on his eye, etc.]

"Okay," I interrupt, "and then what happened after all the stinging and the first aid was done?" "Then," she says, "then the bee was swimming, and..." "Wow," I interject, "does this bee know how to swim?" "No, Mama," she self-corrects, "the shark swimmed..." "Swam?" I ask. "Yes, the shark swam and swam, and the bee flied..." "Flew," I ask. "Yes, the shark...the shark swam and swam and the bee...the bee flew and flew...and then...[she glances over at Chago who's a little preoccupied with an apple slice] and then they lived happily ever after," she speedily concludes so that he doesn't have a chance to take it back.

I can see her in the rearview mirror smiling proudly that she actually one-upped him this time. And as she begins digging through her lunch box for some cheese, he swallows his apple, calmly takes a sip of juice, crosses his leg and props his lunch box on top, starts nibbling on some corn flakes, and oh-so-casually as he's glancing out the window at the bay says, "And then the bee flew inside his mouth and stung his tummy."

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Okay, so I'm just a tad neurotic, I know. But seriously, this is nothing new to anyone who knows me. Yes, I'm Mama, and I've been spying on my children almost every day for 3 weeks now. So, SUE ME!!!

The good news is that they're definitely adjusting. They were doing a whole lot of crying on the playground those first few weeks. And it just broke my heart to watch Chago sit on a little curb sobbing his little heart out while the other kids ran around having a good ole time. Or to watch Saia just stand there in the middle of her entire class with her hands clasped over her face as she wept. But they are coming around now, and although they're not fully interacting with all the other children yet, and still much prefer talking to the teachers, at least they're not little recluses anymore.

Now, I can start worrying about broken bones. That's Chago there in the middle trying to climb the swirling ladder.

The real question here, though, is will I still be stalking my children on their first dates, to the prom, on their first sleepover, on their first night in college? And, folks, I'm afraid the answer is pretty self-evident...

All together now: HELL, YEAH!!!!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Chago Mourning the End of His Snacks

Saia Embracing Her Independence

Although they're provided lunch there, the kids just love having their breakfast on the way to school (it's a 3o-minute commute) and having snacks all the way home, so they got these little lunch boxes which they actually carry out to the truck every morning, and from which they get to pick and choose whatever they'd like to eat from whatever made it inside their lunchbox that morning. Today it was cottage cheese with fresh raspberries & blueberries, a slice of wheat toast with sugar-free blackberry jam, a half a banana, and a small baggie of grapes. Such big kids, aren't they? I still can't believe they're going to school!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Even When There's No Jury Duty... There's ALWAYS Potty Duty!

So, I didn't get to serve, was released by noon, and am back at work for the duration. Oh, well.

On our way to school this morning, though, at almost the exact same moment, both kids decided they had to go to the potty. BOTH of them. Luckily, we hadn't yet gotten to the bridge or I'm not sure what McGyver solution I would've had to produce, but instead was only required to quickly exit into the the nearest Safeway.

So, here we go at 7:30 in the morning, freezing our little tushes off, running across the parking lot into the grocery store and hoping they don't do their bathroom cleaning at this hour. We make it into the store, have to sidestep the pumpkins, the stuffed animals, the balloons, AND the strawberries, and then convince them that it's okay to use these restrooms even though I can't seem to find the protective sheets anywhere!!! So, I tear off 3-4 squares of TP and line the toilet seat before plopping them on there (yes, each in his/her own, which was a dance in and of itself), just in time to see that Chago didn't quite make it.

Once we're all done with our handwashing and back in the truck, I strip him down and pull out his spare clothes. Then it starts. We debated for 15 minutes right there in the parking lot over whether or not he was going to wear the Nemo briefs that I had in the backpack or the now soaking wet Hanes boxer briefs he loves. After explaining for the 3rd time (because we only ever go 3 rounds), HE decided to suggest in that very calm (and condescending? at two?) tone that if I would just hang his shorts out the window like I had done with Saia's shirt one time she got wet from a fountain at the park, then they would surely dry by the time we got to school, which was technically correct...I suppose.

Damn that ingenious little devil. Such a logical boy when he needs to be. So great at formulating his arguments. Never uses subjective reasoning or irrational statements. Always just sticks to the facts...


[needless to say, he wore Nemo]

Monday, October 03, 2005


No posts today because I was called for Jury Duty (or am at least taking part in the juror selection process currently). If I don't get selected, we'll be back on track tomorrow. But keep your fingers crossed for me because this'll be my first time serving, and I'd really like to experience it first-hand at least once.

Artwork by Rodrigio Duran