Monday, December 10, 2007

Quick Link to Pics

Just in case you have any trouble accessing the movie below, you can click on this link to take you straight to the pictures.

Part 2 coming shortly. Really.

Part 1: Schladming, Austria

The movie below captures pretty accurately most of week 1, sans the couple of missed exits, u-turns, bad directions, a silent treatment now and again.

United International, by the way, is a big no-no. Get thee to Virgin or British Airways, but stay as far away from United as possible. It was possibly the worst flight we've ever had + terrible service + bad food + virtually no entertainment offerings. I would at this point also like to take the opportunity to offer my sincere and eternal gratitude to Apple's iPod and my little Dell laptop with DVD player, without which someone on that 11-hour flight would most certainly have suffered a very long and miserably painful death before we ever even hit the Continental Divide!

ANYway...enjoy this snippet of the first week of our vacay. More stories and part 2 of the movie coming soon.
Click on the arrow button below to play.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


God, it feels like we've been away forever. And then, of course, not long enough.

But we're back from our Germany/Austria vacation and am compiling the digital pics and video as I type.
Have lots of Chago and Saiaisms to share, but need to try to translate my notes as I was half looped on good beer and bad wine most of the time. ;)

Hope to get at the least the pics link up here by tomorrow, so check back soon!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Click on the PLAY button below to watch the pumpkin pandemonium:


The chandeliers rocked...

the wine in my glass boogied a little...

but nothing else even moved...

and both the kids and dogs were completely oblivious.

As per usual.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


So, here's my two cents...

Neither marriage nor the divorce rate is what's wrong with this country. Neither people's commitment to something that isn't really working nor their early bailing out of something that could potentially work is what's wrong with this country. Neither unions deemed blessed by God nor sworn to in an open field of flowers with or without someone or multiple someones of the same or opposite or mixed sex is what's wrong with this country. Neither the desire to have children nor the decision to abort pregnancies is what's wrong with this country. Neither the support for nor the rejection of higher taxes, or gay rights, or the war, or education is what's wrong with this country. Neither the vast disparity between the poor and the filthy rich or between the salaries of men and women is what's wrong with this country. Neither the overpopulation nor the oppressive and unambiguous xenophobia is what's wrong with this country. Neither the over abundance of information because of the internet nor the over exposure of our personal identities due to the internet is what's wrong with this country. Neither a person's nor an entire people's choice not to believe in a higher power nor their individual or collective belief in one god or many or variations on a theme is what's wrong with this country.

What's wrong with this country is that we're selfish.

We've become a progressively self-absorbed, self-centered, and egocentric society. And if we weren't so completely egotistical, and we tried -- for even one day -- to work from the outside in, to actually think first about how our words and actions might affect someone else, to really communicate concerns and ambiguities instead of assuming or judging, to listen first, and then to listen again but try to actually hear this time, to solicit and heed the advice of elders, to allow others to see and recognize and empathize and help with our own sticky situations instead of hiding from the truth and putting on fronts and pretending to be things or people or couples or ideals that we're not, then it wouldn't matter at all which, if any, of the above situations we found ourselves in, would it? We'd be able to navigate it just fine because we wouldn't ever have to feel, even for a moment, isolated, abandoned, or alone -- and we'd be able to make decisions based on the well being of everyone involved because everyone else would be making decisions based on that same logic, and, if that were true, then wouldn't we be able to push through issues, any issue, without damaging our emotional, psychological, and/or physical states in the process -- obviating the need for therapy, mental institutions, battered women's shelters, identity theft precautions, witness protections programs, home security alarms, small claims courts, attorneys in general, FEMA, government assistance, the foster care system, homeless shelters, student loans, public housing, humane societies...

I mean, really, can someone please tell why someone, ANYONE, has not stepped in to help Britney? That girl is publically drowning, and we're all just sitting around and watching it happen. She's a microcosm of Katrina, and, for that matter, of our own country. We all saw it coming. It was only a matter of time. And, what's worse, is that it was completely preventable.

What this country needs is a fucking intervention!

Okay, I think I past my two cents like $10 ago.

X-posted on my other blog: Digressions of a Mad Lesbian

Friday, October 19, 2007


So, just as the flu and cold season begins to ramp up, I just wanted to highlight some recent findings with regards to not administering cough and cold medication to children under 6.

Some excerpts from the surprisingly enlightening article include:

Pediatricians pushing for greater restrictions told the FDA advisers Thursday that the over-the-counter medicines shouldn't be given to children younger than 6, an age group they called the most vulnerable to any potential ill effects. But FDA officials and panelists agreed there's no evidence they work in older children, either.

Some of the drugs — which include Wyeth's Dimetapp and Robitussin, Johnson & Johnson's Pediacare and Novartis AG's Triaminic products — have never been tested in children, something flagged as long ago as 1972 by a previous FDA panel.

One health expert told the panel that children catch five to eight colds each year. Those colds don't necessarily require treatment beyond comfort measures that don't involve drugs, said Patricia Jackson Allen, of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners.

Click HERE to read the article in its entirety.

BOTTOM LINE: There's so much icky stuff out there these days that it's truly hard to know what the best line of defense really is -- and worse, whether that line will move based on tomorrow's research results. Obviously, as a parent, you'll want to do your due diligence and arm yourself with as much information as your sanity can tolerate, but ultimately, you've just got to trust your instincts and do what you think is best for your family.

So, here's wishing everyone a very healthy season!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


We're just so proud of her!!!

"My first real race!" she emailed this morning. It was "10 For Texas," a 10-miler she walked/ran last Saturday.

She finished in 2.5 hours (which is exactly 15-minute miles). And "only ran when I saw a camera," she was sure to add.

Great job, Mom!!
Click on the PLAY button below to see The Mema in action!

Monday, October 15, 2007


"We've had a little situation arise with Santiago," they said.

"What happened?" I said, but really meant What did he do now?

"Well," they continued, "he seems to be having some difficulty with naptime in general, but yesterday [big sigh] he...well..."

"Yes?" I prod, certain that he must've run screaming through the school at naptime, or that he put his underwear on his head, or something pretty devastating from the look on their faces.

"Well, he took apart his cot."

So, I talked to him, yet again, about the importance of his naps and how grumpy he tends to get without them, etc., but waited until Mommy got home so that we could address his deconstruction of furniture.

As he began to explain to us exactly what happened, he was most upset by the fact that he had not completed his task successfully than by the fact that he'd gotten in trouble.

"So, why were you messing with the bed, son?"

"The screws were loose," he said.

"But you knew you were going to get in trouble, didn't you? Why didn't you just tell one of your teachers?"

"Well," he said, "I was trying to put it back together."

"But," he continued, "I kept trying to put the big screw into the little hole."

And now thoroughly disappointed in himself, "And the only reason I got in trouble was that I just didn't figure out in time about the little screw in the little hole before they came back in."

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Having a melancholy day today and then in pops this gorgeous pic of my new nephew on my cellphone, and don't I feel like such a lucky girl again?

Thanks for brightening my day, Baby David!

Monday, September 03, 2007


We have a new nephew! And we had a wonderful (although way too short) visit to South Texas to welcome baby David to the world.

Here's a little slideshow of our trip back home. Wish we could've stayed longer, but now we have one more reason to return soon!

Click PLAY button below to watch slideshow:

Monday, August 27, 2007


Just wanted to give you a heads up that we might be out of touch for a couple of days. On our way to Texas to welcome my new nephew on Friday. Not sure if I can even get wireless access out in the middle of the mesquite and prickly pears, but assuming I can, I'll absolutely try to document as much of our trip as possible. It should be a doozy!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007


Click PLAY below to watch Chago try to catch the little bugger (and I totally mean that as a play on words and not in the British English sense, which would be bad, bad, bad for a children's blog).

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


I started this blog in July of 2005 to ease the guilt of not keeping up their baby books.

Here's a little look back at the past couple of years. I really can't believe how time has flown.

Two years ago today:

One year ago today:

And today:

animalif it breathes, it's inReyna (see yesterday's post)
bookif it's about animals, it's intoday...The Incredibles
moviesurprisingly...CarsNanny McPhee
songBlack Horse and a Cherry TreeWay I Live

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Friday, August 17, 2007


Very very proud of our little monsters this week. They've taken such good care of their tomato and bell pepper plants over the last couple of months that they actually got to eat fresh off-the-vine tomatoes twice this week with their salads, and that bell pepper's gonna make for one helluva yummy carne guisada this weekend, let me tell ya.

But no, this does not mean anyone is ready for a hamster!! [recall: fate of rodents in Of Mice and Men]

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I've been a little disenchanted with the kids' school of late. And I'm having a very difficult time admitting that I may have made a mistake. But they're obviously bored and truly not getting anything really beneficial from it, and so I'm stuck in the very rough spot of having to decide if it's worth trying frantically to get them into something by Fall or just find a way for us all to suck it up for a year when they move into kindergarten.

But these are really their most formative years and do I really want to waste 12 months of their precious little lives just because of the inconvenience it might cause me and will I regret forever not having found just the perfect school with just the perfect teachers to help give them that perfect step up before they fall into the pit of public schooldom for potentially the next decade-and-a-half?

And then they go and do something like this, and I think, well, maybe I can hold out for another week.

This is reptile week. On Monday they learned about frogs. On Tuesday they learned about lizards. As per usual, I grill them all the way home about everything they learned that day. Last night, as they were rattling off the names of all the lizards they learned about yesterday, Chago said that his favorite was the runforit lizard.

"The what?" I said; because Mama knows everything, of course, and I'd never heard of such a thing before.

"The runforit lizard," he said again, enunciating so clearly and loudly and with just the right hint of condescension that it's like looking in a mirror.

"Run for it?" I ask.

"Yes," he says.

"RUN. FOR. IT." I repeat. "Is that right?"

"Yes, Mom," he confirms. "Teacher says it's the fastest lizard in California!"

[And even I had to admit that was a little cute - if somewhat of a deceptive method for covering up the fact that you don't know it's called a viviparous lizard -- yes, I googled it, so what? The Google is all-knowing.]

Tuesday, August 14, 2007


All week long, Mommy teased us with a surprise for Sunday. But on Sunday morning when Mommy dressed Saia and Chago in orange and black, I very nearly had a coronary -- I mean, where's the great pumpkin, for crissakes -- when Mommy finally decides to clue us in. It was 9th row seats to the Giants game, and, of course, we were running late.
In fact, we didn't actually get there until the 5th inning! Taking everything into consideration, though (i.e., twin 4-year-olds, no traffic, crowds already seated), I think it actually worked out really well for us. And although we might recommend trying to get there during, say, the 3rd instead (especially if you've paid for the tickets yourselves), this is definitely the way to go with small children.

We were only there a couple of hours, which just suited their attention span. It was a hot afternoon, but not too hot since we weren't there all day. The 7th inning stretch was just around the corner, and the highlight of the whole afternoon was the entire stadium singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at the top of their lungs, which the kids just loved!

But best of all...there were no tantrums, there was enough activity around them to keep them interested the whole time, and, of course, let's not forget having had enough sense to at least allow ample time for Mama to scarf down a mound of those fabulous garlic fries before the concessions closed. Mmmm...

All in all, a very successful outing.

Monday, August 13, 2007


An old friend sent me this link this morning, and I don't know if it's because I'm still a little under the weather or getting sentimental in my old age or PMSing or what, but it truly made me feel sad -- on just so many levels:

Felt very similar sick feeling in pit of stomach as when I finished watching An Inconvenient Truth, which, if you haven't seen it yet, really is a must-see, despite my not-so-enticing lead-in.

And plant a tree, for crissakes.

Sunday, August 12, 2007


So, now that the majority of their friends have gone and graduated to kindergarten, the terrible duo have found themselves in a bit of a rut. Nobody wants to get dressed in the mornings, and nobody wants to go to school.

Most of the new kids coming in are two and under, and, no, the you-get-to-be-the-big-kids strategy doesn't seem to be working. They're not enjoying being there suddenly, and mostly I think now they're just bored. And really, nothing good can come of this, people. Idle hands and all that.

Case in point:

"So, Chago," I prompt over breakfast, "who are you playing with now that Milo and Olivia and Kieran are gone?"

"My sister," he says mopily.

[Yes, a bit of an awe factor, I admit, but just wait...]

"Well, don't you like Nicolas?"

"No, he's boring," he summarizes concisely, "I prefer Saia."

"Well, isn't Jakey still there?"

"Yes, but he doesn't like the things I like," he says.

"Well, what about Sammy? He seems nice," I add, knowing that I could go through all 31 kids and he'd have different answer for every one. But alas...

"No," says Saia, who's been chomping at the bit in the background. "We're not in him, Mom."

And suddenly I get a little creeped out by the twin thing and begin to realize I may need to spend a little more time project managing our playdates.

Friday, August 10, 2007



Wednesday, August 01, 2007


"But I'm NOT sick, Mom!" he retorts because I won't let him go outside to play.

"But you're too sick to go to school, aren't you?" I ask.

"Yes, but..."

"Then if you think you're gonna pull on me the whole I'm-full-Mom-but-not-too-full-for-dessert trick, let me just stop you before you get on your roll." I tell him.

"But I wasn't going to say that, Mom," he starts pulling out the charms.

"Then what is it, son?"

"The sun will just make me feel better because it has vitamins."

[Dammit! I HATE it when he does this!!!]

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Left voicemails for our Tio Donny today 'cause we couldn't get a hold of him.

"Blow out your candles good, Tio Donny, and come see me soon," says Saia.

"Make a good wish, Tio Donny, and have a lot of friends over," Chago tells him.
But whatever it is you do, have a wonderful birthday and a terrific year!!!

We love you and miss you so much!

Monday, July 30, 2007


Heading home to pick up the kids this afternoon and was just turning the corner to pass our house (which is on the way to the school from my work) when I happen to see a little white chihuahua who looks an awful lot like our little Reynita casually taking a stroll up the avenue.

So, naturally, I slam on the brakes [just skip over these next few sentences please, Amy], pull onto the curb, jump out of the truck, leaving the windows open and my laptop and BlackBerry on the passenger seat, and run around the corner in my 4" espadrilles so that I can whoop her little butt as soon as humanly possible.

But she's gone. It took me two seconds from the time I spotted her, and now she's gone. So now, you think I'd be worried, but you'd be dead wrong. I'm pissed. And I'm starting to perspire. And now I'm walking up and down the block -- did I mention the 4" platform shoes already -- up and down the block -- up and down the block -- now I'm screaming at the top of my lungs, "REYNA! WHERE ARE YOU?!?" And you know, even if she was within earshot, she's totally not stupid enough to come to me now. She can hear that tone in my voice, too. So, I finally make my way back to the house, go into the backyard still yelling for her and knowing full well that 3 of our 4 adjacent neighbors are home all day long, and wouldn't ya know that damn dog was sitting pretty as a picture on the back stoop. Just waiting. Batting her little eyelashes and waving her paw at me in that condescending way that only chihuahuas and hairless Mexican cats can.

So, I spun around, slammed the gate, jumped back into the truck (and yes, I'm VERY lucky everything was still there), and picked up the kids. Having relayed the entire fiasco to them on the way home, by the time they got to the backyard, they'd already decided her fate.

"Nena!" Saia yells, "What were you thinking!?!? You could have been taken by a stranger. I'm very disappointed in you,"and she waves her finger and stomps into the house.

"Nena!" the boy screeches, "I don't know what you could have been thinking? You could have been squashed by a car in the middle of the street! Like a pumpkin, Nena! A PUMPKIN!!" he yells, and then finishes with "You're not getting any treats tonight." And that was that.

And part of me was a little proud that they understood (at least a small part of) why I was mad, but another part of me just kept saying, "Oh, man, what have I done?"

Thursday, July 26, 2007


And, boy, did we have a wonderful time! Although we missed a whole lot of you, we had some really great friends come over (from Seattle, Cali, and the UK) for a real live downhome crawfish boil, and, for the most part, it came off without a hitch...or at least without any major propane explosion.

By far, the strangest scene, though, was watching my gentle (yes, I know that's a slight stretch, but the story won't work without it), animal loving babies literally RIP the little heads off those poor crawfish corpses, suck out their guts, and swallow the tail without ever coming up for a breath. It was almost...grotesque. But, man, they had a great time!

So, click on the PLAY button below to watch a little slideshow of the big event, and help us wish Mommy another phenomenal year!

Special thanks to Louisiana Crawfish Co, who I'd highly recommend for your next little gathering. It was just perfect!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Plucked our new little apple tree just about clean today. And the idea of being able to walk into the backyard, pull something off a tree, and stick it in their mouths just had the kids tickled pink all afternoon, let me tell ya.

And no sooner had we filled up an entire grocery bag full of freshly picked bright green apples, did they immediately turn to me and say, "How long til we can eat the apple pie, Ma?"

Yeah, I know, but how can I refuse? I want so much to know that when they're 25 and curled up on the couch with their significant others, and a sound or a song or the familiar smell of cinnamon and nutmeg wafts across the room, that they remember. That it fills them. That it even sustains them somehow.

I know it's silly, this idea of trying to manufacture memories, but there are moments of my own childhood -- little things like the feel of the cool grass between my toes, or the sound of the raindrops on the lamina, or the smell of wet concrete -- that are just so vivid for me still, and they warm me, carry me, and yes, even lift me up sometimes.

Don't kid yourself, folks. Memory is a powerful thing. It's so often a barometer for the decision-making moments, the life-turns-on-a-dime instances that can make or break someone. And I know we spend, as we should, all this time on life lessons, right and wrong, guiding and directing, empowering and enlightening, but sometimes...maybe just one of those deep dark hours when the weight of the world feels like it's on your shoulders, maybe the memory of a warm Sunday afternoon eating freshly baked apple pie on the back porch with the people you loved most in that perfectly manufactured moment might just be enough to get you through.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Had our company picnic on Friday. The kids were looking forward to it all week. By Thursday, every single teacher and child at their school knew that I was coming to pick them up early to take them to the carnival. And when we drove away at 11:30 that morning, they actually had me stop outside the playground so they could wave goodbye to everyone.


And off we went...

Click the PLAY button below to see them in action

Friday, July 20, 2007



"Hi, Mom. What's going on?" [because she never calls this early on a Friday morning]

"Um...nothing, baby. What's going on with you? Are you still at home?"

"Yeah, we're still getting ready for school. Is everything okay?"

"Um...yeah. Is everything okay with you?" [my mother, the queen of subtlety]

Finally it comes to light that, apparently, there was a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in the area at 4 o'clock this morning, which, evidently, we must've slept right through. Nothing moved. No one cried. No four-legged creatures barked. Nothing.

The star in the image below indicates the epicenter of the quake. The red circle on the left-hand side of the bay is our general location. The turquoise color indicates that there was some light shaking, and I heard on the news that some windows broke in Berkeley, but I don't believe any injuries have been reported.

Just wanted to let you know we were fine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


We're members of this totally fabulous blogging community. Take a peek at the main site, or visit any one of the other members by touring the blogroll in the sidebar to the right.

Friday, July 13, 2007


So she's MY minime after all. What's your point?!?!?

So he's got an appreciation for fabulous footwear.
[Okay, perhaps there's a slight chance that it's actually only because it's cowhide and, therefore, in the world of Chago, nearly an animal and, therefore, worthy of his time and attention.]

She's so proud. So so proud of the ginormous egg on her forehead that she got from running full force into a pole at school. "Didn't even bother to look where I was going," she tells me later.

Watering their little fledgling plants. One of our many mandatory weekly chores. And by "we" I do mean "them," of course. She picked cherry tomatoes and he chose chili peppers ("for you, Mama," he said. I know, I know, wrapped around his little finger, I am). But for as good as they are about reminding me that we need to water them, they're also just little botanical terrorists in disguise. The second I look away, they're plucking leaves and digging at the roots and kicking at the little buds. I've had nightmares, I tell you, of giant tomatoes chasing me down the street kicking at my thighs and plucking out my arm hair.

And today they decided to rifle through the hamper and dress up in Mommy's clothes.
It was a dedication parade, apparently. And ode to Mommy, who's been working just a few too many hours these days. :(

Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 09, 2007


I've got the color photos, but haven't yet hooked up the color scanner at home. I think it's packed in the same box as the comal and the tampons, for some reason. But's a little sampling of some pics they took at school recently on a horse named Patches.

Naturals, they are...

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Friday, June 29, 2007


Today the kids had to bring shoeboxes to school for a project.

Shoeboxes, people!!! Have you any idea what this means??? They're more valuable than gold in my house. [Yes, I'm being completely serious!]


So, I reluctantly rifle through my closet, gently pushing aside the Aldo boxes, which open sideways, which I happen to think is ingenious. And then I navigate past the giant Nike boxes that Mommy's Nike IDs come in, which are lined in velvet and come with they're own special satin bags, which I've hijacked for several of my very favorite pairs of heels because, for God's sake, they shouldn't be wasted on anything as remotely unsexy as tennis shoes!!! Then I pile the fabulous Nine West boxes carefully on top of one another high up on the very top shelf because, dammit, they just look so adorable all lined up and sized just right like that, and all in that oh-so-calming shade of grey...

Anyway...with both kids at the bottom of the step stool waiting (im)patiently for their box, I make my apologies, beg forgiveness from the shoe gods, and reluctantly remove two of my bejeweled Cancun ankle-wrap sandals (which you may recall my mentioning a while back)from their protective little homes, and woefully hand them over to the little monsters drooling at my feet.

"YAY!!!!!!!" they run screeching out of my closet, raising their arms to hold the sacrificial cardboard carcasses above their heads, dancing around the bed chanting in unison, "I've got a shoebox! I've got a shoebox!" in utter satisfaction of their triumph over my vice.

And I emerge from the utopia that houses my couture and accoutrements completely defeated as a shoe-whore, but glad to know that when push comes to shove, I CAN make those hard choices for my children. Yes, I can!

That is...until we got to school and Teacher Teresa, who lavishes praises on the kids for remembering to bring in their boxes, makes sure to tell me how thoroughly surprised she is not to see little lucite shoeboxes with pearl handles and shiny polaroids with index cards labeled with the make and model of my heels affixed to the front of each and every box.


Can you believe that? I mean, can you really believe she said that to me? Out loud??? The nerve of that woman! Really.

And I fumed about it all the way to the mall...where I quickly purchased every shoebox-sized lucite container I could find. [What a totally fabulous idea, no?!!!!]

By the way, you can get these for someone special (*hint hint*) at We Love Your Feet for a really reasonable price if you shop in bulk!!!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Trying to teach a four-year-old to tell a joke is like...trying to teach a four-year-old to wash the dishes. It's clean, but oh-so-messy, goes all over the place, and still requires you to finish things up when it's done.

"Why did the chicken cross the road?" she tries for the twentieth time in as many hours.

"I don't know, Saia. Why?" I monotone with a strained smile.

"Because to...she was trying get to...because she had to cross the be over cross the get..."

"To the other side, baby! To get to the other side," I practically weep.

"Yeah," she smiles satisfactorily, "That's right, Mom!"

[And the crowd goes wild!!! Okay, maybe not.]

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


"So, how was everyone's day today?" I ask as we drive home from school yesterday.

"FINE!" they both sing out in unison [a sure sign they're not quite telling the whole truth].

"Did anyone get in trouble today?" I prod.

"NO!" he says. "YES!" she counters.

"What happended, Santiago?"

"I had to sit at the yellow table by myself," he explains.

"For..." I coax.

"For not listening," he continues.

"To..." I add.

"To the teachers when they asked me to stop," he concludes.

"Stop what?" I ask dreading, always dreading, the answer.

"Stop making everyone laugh when I tell them I can burp my ABCs," he says giggling.

"Where in the world did you get that from?!?!" I demand.

"From Hami in Over the Hedge," they reply, both barely able to contain their laughter at the apparently fond and furiously funny recollection.

"But you know that's nasty, right?" I ask. "It's not even really funny," I say.
"No," he says. "I mean, yes," he stumbles, "but, Mom," he goes on, "everyone really laughed when I said diaper."
[and they erupt into uncontrollable hysterics]

Obviously, they got their sense of humor from their other Mommy!!!