It’s Tough Being A Kid At Our House At Halloween

It’s tough being a kid in our house at Halloween. My husband and I both love this holiday and we have forced our love on our kids since they were wee little ones.

You get thrust into pumpkins for the sake of cute pictures!

Iris at 5 months old began this tradition

Bency at 4 months old getting the pumpkin shot

Cesar at 1 month old being shoved into the pumpkin…have to keep tradition alive!

You get laid in piles of leaves for the sake of cute pictures!

Iris at 5 months for her first leaf photo shoot

Bency at 4 months for his leaf photo op

Poor Cesar at 1 month keeping up the tradition and hating every minute of it!

You are expected to help decorate the front yard with whatever crazy ideas your parents have.

Iris’s first time helping us make a scarecrow back in 2006

The witch the kids help me make this year

When your Dad is an expert pumpkin carver; you must follow in his footsteps and create many pumpkin masterpieces starting at a very early age.

One of my husband’s pumpkins this year!

Bency working on his pumpkin this year

Iris’s pumpkin this year

Cesar’s first year of getting to make his own pumpkin

Lastly, the hardest part of being a kid in our household is your Mom makes you wear Halloween clothes ALL month long!

Bency & Iris wearing the same pumpkin shirt in 2009

All three kids in Halloween gear in 2010

All three kids sporting their Halloween outfits in 2011…Cesar still hated Halloween!

In case you missed it, check out our fun Halloween project…Spooky Barbie… we did this year right here!

This Is What I Would Give Them

I’m sure we all grew up having our parents tell us how good we have it compared to how they grew up.

Neither of my parents had a television set until they were of preteen age and then it was only 1 or 2 channels depending on the weather.

My father grew up in a house with no indoor plumbing.

My mom, well my mom actually didn’t have a lot to complain about. Her parents owned the general store in town. I often refer to my mom as Nellie Oleson (from Little House on the Prairie). My mom brought a bottle of Coca-Cola and a candy bar to school everyday for her lunch. Her Dad drove her to school and they had indoor plumbing! Still, she was born in the 1940’s and the world wasn’t equipped with the luxuries my generation had.

Soon, I too will take the right of passage of every parent, and begin to bestow unto my children the stories of how good they truly have it compared to what I had to deal with growing up.

This is me talking on our olive green rotary phone when I was 5 years old

Take for instance, the rotary phone, stuck to wall no less! I can barely have a conversation on the phone now with a cellphone. I can’t imagine being tethered to the wall! My children will have no idea how much better their teenage years will be, compared to what mine were!

Here I am typing away and proficient with a typewriter at 6 years old!

I began typing at 6 years old and used a typewriter all the way up to my senior year in high school. The horror of it all, thinking back on it now. The amount of time it took was unbelievable. I went through many bottles of white-out. My children will have no idea how much easier writing their essays for school will be, compared to what I went through.

My backyard growing up

I however had something my children may never have. This is the backyard I grew up with. This is where my parents still live. My children are growing up on a small lot in the city. From an early age I spent most of my days playing outside with the freedom to roam and run at my leisure. I had few playmates except for many pets. My sister and brother were much older than me so I was usually alone exploring and going on adventures through the woods.

The shed on our land

There was 2 1/2 acres filled with fruit trees, pine trees, a field, vegetable gardens and an old shed. My imagination was a vital element in my everyday life. I don’t remember ever being bored.

This is me at 2 1/2 years old….King of the World!

So yes, in many respects my children will have an easier life than I, due to modern conveniences and technology. However, they may never have this piece of serenity that I knew. They may never know what it’s like to wake up with an adventure everyday, just outside your door.

This is the childhood I wish I could give them.

Just A Minute

It’s not a new discovery that small children soak up everything they see and hear. As a mom on her third time around it should not surprise me that my 2 year old, Cesar, has absorbed everything I do and has begun to mimic me incessantly.

Much to my dismay, Cesar has picked up my catchphrase.

It’s not a “cool” catchphrase; it’s merely a phrase I have to say to my family on the average of 107 times a day.

It’s “Just a minute.”

I have legitimate uses for this phrase. Much to my family’s bewilderment I am not idly sitting around waiting for a request from them. I’m more often than not, engaged in useful duties that benefit the running of our household.

Chances are if you want me to come see your newest masterpiece you have just drawn and I’m downstairs putting laundry in, you’ll hear, “Just a minute.”

It’s very likely that if you are requesting food or drink and I’m halfway down the driveway bringing the garbage to the road, you’ll hear, “Just a minute.”

It’s a good probability that if you need help finding your blue shirt and I’m upstairs singing a bedtime song to the baby, you’ll hear a whispered hiss with a edge to it of, “Just a minute.”

So, yes, “Just a minute,” is a fixture in my daily verbiage and it became more apparent to me when I asked Cesar the other day to come by me and get his clothes on and he…..

Held up one finger, looked at me and said, “Just a minute” and continued to put his stacking cup toy back in order.

I dream of the day when my catchphrase is, “Wow, I can’t believe how much sleep I got last night.” or “I can’t believe how much I got accomplished today.”

Until that day, my family will have to be suffice to wait, “Just a minute.”

I’m busy stacking my cups…I’ll be with you in a minute

You Smell Like Pig Food

I think every parent has a dream for their child. They envision successful adults doing sports, earning doctorates or following in the family business.

I myself am no different. I have a dream for my children. It’s not a lofty goal. I just merely don’t want my children to be annoying.

I became aware of a potential annoying habit my children were partaking in, early on in their development.

It is the asking of food at other people’s homes.

Granted, the requests for food and drink usually take place at their Grandma’s house, it still drives me nuts. I could have just fed my kids a seven course meal filled with protein and carbohydrates and they will still feign hunger and starvation as soon as they see Grandma.

I realize Grandma’s kitchen is usually filled with delicious, fresh baked goods but I still think it is rude to ask for said treats.

I am much more subtle with my approach. I lift the lids, sniff, ogle adoringly and drool. This tactic is much more appropriate.

I sat my children down one day before our departure to Grandma’s house and said, “Do not ask for food at Grandma’s house. If she offers something, that is fine. But DO NOT ask for ANYTHING!”

The minute we arrived at Grandma’s house, my then, 4 year old son, Bency, jumped out of the van, ran up to Grandma and said, “Will you be offering us any treats today? We are not allowed to ask for anything but if you offer it, then it is okay!” I shook my head in disgust as Grandma went to retrieve some freshly made Rice Krispie bars.

The second annoying habit I am trying to curtail is tattling.

My daily life is a constant barrage of complaints and the regaling of horrible offenses that my two older children have committed.

Most of these inappropriate behaviors have to deal with name-calling, tongues being stuck out and the hogging of a certain color marker.

My 5 year old, Bency, recently came to my side to inform me that my 7 year old, Iris had said he smelled like pig food.

I sent Iris to her room to “think about her actions and come up with 5 nice things to say about her brother.“ Iris had not been confined to her room 2 minutes before Bency was back at my side asking that I release her from her jail sentence because he actually didn’t mind being referred to as the stench of pig food and just really wanted to play with Iris and finish their game of Hungry, Hungry Hippos.

I also have a sneaky suspicion that Bency is a tattletale in Kindergarten. He has come home a couple of times saying that he has told his teacher about a certain boy who was swinging on the handrail and not standing on his number in line.

I told Bency that these actions were not worth telling the teacher about. If she deems these “credible” offenses she will surely notice and take action.

So, I have taken a new stance in our household. It’s called “No More Tattling.”  I no longer want to hear if someone has called anyone an unpleasant name, stuck out their tongue or not limited themselves on a certain color of marker.

The day after making this declaration and after already making several reminders on the “No Tattling Law” I put into effect; Bency came to me after I heard an argument brewing in the basement concerning the choice of cartoon that was put on.

He nonchalantly said, “Hey Mom, I was wondering if Iris happened to mention that I was the worst brother in the world?

I said, “No, she didn’t tell me this and you better not be tattling.”

Bency rubbed his chin, shook his head, scrunched his eyes and in a matter of fact tone replied, “Oh gosh, no way Mom. I’m definitely not tattling. I just wasn’t sure if I heard her correctly and was just wondering if you heard that I was the worst brother in the world?”

Perhaps I have set my desires too high for my children. Perhaps my dream of raising people who are not annoying is just too much to ask for. Perhaps it’s time to lower my standards and just try to achieve raising a couple of kids who grow up to obtain their PhD’s and are only slightly annoying.

These kids really love each other but really a brother or sister is the only one who you can really get away with telling them they smell like pig food so taking every advantage of it at a young age is necessary.

Pajamas and Bad Breath Are Fine With Me

Today my 7 year old daughter, Iris woke up crabby and tired. She had no interest in eating the breakfast that was waiting on the table for her. She went directly from her bed to the couch and cocooned herself in a blanket.

I ignored her and waited a few minutes before requesting that she get moving.

She did go eat but then plopped herself back on the couch. I told her she couldn’t lie on the couch and that it was time for her to get dressed and brush her teeth.

In her whiniest voice she spewed, “But Mooommm, I’m too tired to get dressed and brush my teeth.”

In the sweetest voice I could muster I replied, “That’s fine honey, I have no problem with you going to school in your light blue footy pajamas with pink elephants on them and with bad breath. It doesn’t affect me either way how you present yourself at school but in 20 minutes you are leaving.”

She huffed off into the bathroom to groom herself but began sputtering, “I never get to watch television anymore. I’m tired and just want to stay home watching TV all day.”

I walked into the bathroom and in my sweetest voice said, “I understand sweetheart, let me shoot an email to your teacher today and request she let you watch some shows today at school.”

Iris’s eyes got huge and she came back with a slightly terrified voice, “But Moooommm, the teacher would not go along with that. Please don’t email her.”

While I was busy brushing my own hair I said, “No, I think you’re wrong. You’ve said yourself that your teacher is amazing and really nice. I’m sure she won’t have a problem letting you watch My Little Pony instead of doing addition and subtraction today. She seems like a very reasonable lady and THIS is a very reasonable request.”

Iris stood stunned for a few moments trying to come up with a reason I should cease and desist any of my further actions to possibly embarrass her for life. Her next statement was “Well, she doesn’t let us whistle. My older cousin said my teacher has let kids whistle in her class in the past and this has never happened. There has NOT been any whistling in class.

I looked at Iris, nodded my head and agreed that a teacher who does not conduct whistling sessions in class will certainly not allow the viewing of My Little Pony.

I told her I would scratch my intervention idea but to hurry up and get ready for school.

Five minutes later, Iris was ready to go to school with a smile on her face and a big hug and kiss for me!

The moral of this story is: If you want to be a superior teacher, allow whistling in your classroom. Your students will think you are amazing!

Picture of Iris wearing the pajamas I almost sent her to school wearing today

Please Don’t Run Away From Home

The other day, my 7 year old daughter, Iris and I were snuggling together on our recliner.

I can’t remember the exact context of our conversation but I said something along the lines of “when you get to be an adult and move out on your own.”

She giggled and said, “Moooommm…I’ve told you before, I’m NEVER moving out. I’m going to live with you forever.”

I do remember her stating this but that was when she was 6 years old. I was sure her views had changed since then.

She continued on with her dialogue reiterating the fact that she was indeed living with me and her dad until the end of time. She explained that she would get married, have several children and they would all live in our small, cozy house happily ever after.

I was relishing in this prospect that we had a child that loves us so much that she can’t bear ever leaving us.

I know millions of kids probably say and feel this same way but I know one particular kid who during a day in his life didn’t.

My husband, Alex.

When Alex was in 4th grade he was upset with his parents. Keep in mind Alex comes from a family of 8 children so even though he doesn’t remember exactly why he was mad my guess is that it had something to do with sibling rivalry!

So, Alex decided to run away from home.

In preparation of his long journey he lied and told his mom he needed 2 dozen cupcakes for a school event. She wasn’t happy with the short notice but stayed up late making them anyway.

Alex then packed his backpack with a few clothes and a few favorite things and wrote a good-bye note to his family.

In the morning he set out the door at the normal time he would be leaving for school with his few belongings and cupcakes in tow. He left his note on the kitchen counter.

He walked 5 blocks to the seminary student’s housing (priests in training). It was part of the church Alex’s family attended and Alex knew a couple of the men there very well.

Alex told one of the men, Roberto, his plight and explained that he was running away and just wanted to stop by and say good-bye.

Roberto was very kind, welcomed him in and offered to make him a big breakfast before he set out on his big journey. After breakfast, Roberto played board games with Alex and kept him engaged in conversation. (Roberto slipped away at one point and called Alex’s mom to let her know Alex was safe and that they were just talking). He never once tried to deter Alex from running away but only asked him very thought provoking questions about what he planned to do for money and shelter.

By late afternoon, Alex decided that running away was not such a good idea after all. He bid farewell to Roberto and headed the 5 blocks back home.

On his way home, Alex began to imagine how delighted his mom would be to see him. He bet she had been worried sick and would come running the moment she laid eyes on him and give him a big hug and kiss!

When Alex arrived home, his mom was there to greet him all right. Instead of pure delight she began tearing into him about all those darn cupcakes she had to make and about the fact he skipped school! It didn’t go quite as planned but he was happy to be home, safe and sound, with 2 dozen cupcakes that I’m sure got divided up amongst his 7 brothers and sisters!

So, this is why I am happy that Iris wants to live with us forever. We have not made her mad enough that she wants to run away from home yet.

As I continued to snuggle Iris on the recliner, I asked her more questions about her adult life. She told me she wanted to be a teacher and would need me to babysit all her kids while she was working. She also said she planned on going out on a lot of dates with her husband so would need me as well during those times so it really just made sense if we all lived together.

And if my bubble had not already been burst enough; she added, “Can you please try not to end up in a wheelchair or with a walker because you won’t be of much help to me then.”

My sweet Iris! My sweet, sweet Iris!

I’m preparing myself for the request of a few dozen cupcakes anytime now!

My sweet Iris and I when she was 3 years old

The Man In the Ugly Sweater Gave Me Some Great Advice

As a child, one of my favorite television shows was The Cosby Show. I’ve caught a couple of reruns in the past years but the majority of my watching happened 25 years ago.

Miraculously, the stories and plot lines of this sitcom have planted themselves in my subconscious.

I first realized this last winter when my son was sick with the flu and running a fever. He asked what was going on with his body. Without a second thought I began to spin a tale about “germs having a party in his body.” I told him the germs were in his tummy having a grand old time dancing and carrying on. The only way to rid him of the germs was to drink lots of fluids and basically rain on their parade. I also told him that the fever was heating things up inside of his body and causing the germs to sweat and want to find another place to have their party.

As these words were coming out of my mouth I realized I had learned this from The Cosby Show. Clifford Huxtible had spun this same tale for Rudy when she was stuck in bed with the flu. I was in shock that I had remembered this and I was grateful to Bill Cosby for giving me this wisdom.

Flash forward to this past summer. I am pretty strict on bedtimes at our house. Even in summer I put the kids to bed at their normal bedtime. The kids are pretty good with this but one particular night they questioned why they had to go to bed and why the parents got to stay up late.

Out of my mouth came, “Tomorrow YOU can be the parents. You decide what you eat, what you do and when you go to bed.”

I had no idea where this came from. My husband’s eyes got HUGE and he look horrified by this statement I had just blurted out. I was stunned I had said it too.

It suddenly dawned on me. The Cosby Show! Dr. Huxtible let Rudy stay up late one night watching late night talk shows and old cowboy movies after she complained about an early bedtime. Once again, my subconscious came alive and I was reliving my favorite childhood show.

The next morning at the beginning of our “experiment” the kids told me what they wanted for breakfast. I made it and they ate it. They then asked me if they could eat some of their candy they had received at a parade. This would never be allowed on a normal day but today THEY were the parents so I told them they could. Their mouths dropped open at this exciting prospect!

The rest of the day they had fun with the lack of rules and regulations placed on them and took full advantage of their new freedom.

When night fell upon us, my husband and I said good-night to the kids and told them to have fun. The looks on their faces read of utter disbelief that we had made good on our promise and that they were allowed to stay up as late as they wanted and watch tv.

The next day was absolutely horrendous!

I have never seen my children so grumpy and irritable. I’m sure they both had tummy aches after a day of consuming too much candy. I’m sure they were both so tired they couldn’t even see straight.

I never said a word and we somehow managed to make it through the day. Both kids ate healthy and were in bed at their normal time.

Flash forward 3 months later to present day. Neither kid has asked to eat obscene amounts of candy nor has either kid asked why they have to go to bed early.

Thank you Bill Cosby for lodging yourself in my subconscious and giving me some great parenting wisdom!

Iris and Bency eating candy after breakfast

For A Change

Today I would like to introduce you all to a friend I have! Her name is Franny Bolsa.

Actually, that is not her real name. She has a real name but she goes by Franny in her blog. You’ll have to read to find out why!

This girl is down to earth, witty and smart! She writes about life and every topic under the sun that everyone can relate to!

She is not on WordPress so subscribe to her via email or her Facebook page!

Click here to meet Franny Bolsa

She will make you laugh, cry and inspire you! Enjoy!!

Have a Great weekend everyone!


The Broken Horse

I have a passion for picking up things off the side of the road that people have put out for the garbage. Maybe it’s not so much a passion but more of a sense of duty to rescue poor, unwanted furniture or objects that just need a little TLC.

This hobby started when I was a teenager, 20 years ago. My mom used to be my partner in crime but once I moved out on my own and had children this seriously cut into our scavenging outings.

When I met my husband, I didn’t tell him immediately about my love for finding outcast furniture on the side of the street. I waited until the fifth or sixth date to reveal this little tidbit about myself. By then he was enamored enough that he found this pastime endearing.

During our newlywed phase he was sweet enough to slow down so I could get a good glimpse at the piles of rubbish. If I deemed something worthy of my cause he would gladly find a way to load it into the car.

Present time…my husband no longer slows down. In fact, he speeds up when we start approaching anything that is set out to the curb.

So now I am a solo flyer on my hunting expeditions.

Most of my finds have good stories behind them. My mom and I often rehash the tales about the hilarious things that have happened to us while getting our “treasures.”

My most recent find was a Springy Horse.

I had one of these Springy Horses when I was a kid and I’m pretty sure I have the scars to prove it. I was constantly falling off that thing and getting hurt. I don’t know what happened to that horse but there’s a great likelihood that my mom set it out to the street for the garbage man after one too many injuries occurred with it.

My kids have been asking for one of these for years. I have politely declined their request after reminiscing about my own experience with the evil Springy Horse. Also, the fact that they cost $150 was a slight factor in my refusal as well.

This past June was my 5 year old son, Bency’s birthday. I had to run to the store quick to get something and wouldn’t you know…..there was a Springy Horse on the side of the road!!

I quickly stopped, got out of my van and approached the horse. I checked the springs on it and they were all stable and it looked in pretty good shape. Without a second thought, I scooped it up and jammed it into the van.

When I got back to the house, the kids came running out and I told them I had a surprise for them. I opened the van and the kids SCREAMED like they had just won the lottery. They were jumping up and down, hugging and high-fiving. They finally had the horse they always dreamed of! With it being Bency’s birthday, it made it even more special!

I unloaded it from the van and the kids began to examine it.

The first question came from Bency, “Mom, where is the horse’s hoof?”

Holy Cow!!! I did not notice that…one of the back hoofs was completely missing.

The second question came from my daughter, “Mom, why is there a big hole in the mane?”

How did I miss this HUGE hole on the back of its mane???

The third question came from my husband, “Melissa, where are the handles for the horse? How are the kids supposed to ride this thing??”

Hmmm… I clearly missed that important requirement for the Springy Horse.

Bency then asked, “Mom, when you got this at the store, did you happen to notice any of these things falling off as you pulled it off the shelf?”

Stifling my laughter and disbelief I simply replied, “No Bency, I didn’t notice any of these things falling off. Sorry about that. I don’t think the store I got this at takes returns either.”

He said it was okay and that he still liked it and it was the best birthday present ever (we gave him other birthday presents that were new, unbroken and in boxes)!

I told them they could just sit on it and pretend it was a Springy Horse. They were happy with this and I was glad…those Springy Horses are really dangerous anyway!

The Springy Horse that should have stayed on the curb where I found it!!!