Friday, January 31, 2014

Community hero day.

Today was Community Hero day at SS' school, and she chose to be a firefighter.  It was also Flag Day Friday and the kids wore their assigned college shirts. Every classroom has adopted a university as part of this year's college bound program. We had never heard of the Georgia Bulldogs, but it's rather fitting, since SS resembles a bulldog at times.  It was fun watching the outdoor assembly, and even more fun watching SS totally run with the hero description. Apparently firefighters go around saving lives while hamming it up like SS's favorite super heroes.  As usual there were not many kids dressed up today, and I gave SS the option to change into regular clothing as to not stand out. I got an immediate heck to the no Mama in response. Dear lord, what the heck was I thinking offering her to blend in? As if it will ever happen.

Ax in hand ready to break a door in and rescue those inside. What? There's no fire? OK, get that, but why should that prevent me from breaking in one of the many house doors around here? Oh,  trespassing is illegal.

Oh come on, there has to be one kid in one of these classrooms waiting to be rescued. What? I can't break school doors down either? What the heck kind of hero are these people if there is no wanton abject destruction?

I did not take her ax away because of the silly no weapon ban, but because I was afraid SS would lose it then we would have to hear her whine all weekend.Our daughter reminded us about the no weapon rule, and I calmly explained that the adults would have to explain to ME why is a plastic ax, part of a firefighter costume considered a weapon. Just like her father poo pooed on the no masks ban on Halloween, because hello the mask makes the costume. Hmmm, what are the odds our blatant disregard for rules is going to bite us in the rear end in the future?

Oh, you are still here silly Mama.

SS and her teacher, and darn it the college's color complimented SS's attire so well.

Only seven kids dressed up out of  how many hundred? How sad. We do wonder what were the girls on the right supposed to be. When I asked about the girl in black (who has been a royal witch to SS, even making fun of her "boy" outfit this morning) SS responded "She was dressed as a nothing." I'm sure SS meant as nothing, but it cracked me up anyway. SS further explained "she just likes to get her face in everything."  Ms. Ubiquitous at her finest, but also damn right.

After a two month hiatus SS returned to archery this afternoon. It was really cold and and windy.  I'm in shock she made it through the hour.  The poor thing remembered her assigned bow, arrows and that was about it.  It was painful to watch her struggle those first 20 minutes.  It was like she had never shot before. If she is still in archery by the end of the year we are going to get her private lessons during the hiatus. Man, doesn't she look cute, yet tough and a bit scary in this picture? Love it.

We are glad that SS ended her class on a high note. P was able to enjoy HD video courtesy of my awesome Xmas present. It was JJ's first time watching SS and he was very impressed. I think he texted pictures to almost everyone he has known in Northern California. He was very proud of his sister and she was on cloud nine.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

A thunderous treat.

SS deserved a treat for her progress with reading during her winter break. But this girl has way too many toys, costumes, and a season pass to Knott's. I told P that another toy was just plain crazy, and before his brain could malfunction forget about another Lego set. We have to do some serious weeding of toys that need to go in the trash or be donated. We decided to treat SS to dinner and a movie. Thor The Dark World was playing at the cheap theater and it was perfect. It's not a new movie, but so much better to watch on the big screen. We also allowed SS to bring her Thor helmet and oh so freaking cool electronic Thor hammer.

We had Thai for dinner at the same restaurant we celebrated P's birthday last year. We were the only customers there, except for a few coming to pick up take out. It's a good thing we knew the food was excellent, otherwise we might have gone elsewhere. It was also a school night and only fly by the seat of their pants parents do the dinner movie thing on such a night.  It was a very nice dinner, but SS was on display from the moment we walked in.  The three women running the place that night could not stop looking at her, and finding everything SS did (or didn't) so damn cute, and awwwww worthy. We are pretty accustomed to the attention and there are times when we do not even notice. That wasn't the case that night. There's something so unnerving about being constantly watched. The waitress came to our table way too many times to ask us (actually SS) if everything was OK. SS also chose that night to chow down rice and noodles like a famine victim. Believe us, it is so weird to look up from your plate to find three well meaning women looking at you like a zoo creature.

While waiting for the movie to start SS got a look at more super hero movies coming down the pike. She enjoyed posing with the posters and talking about all the fun she is going to have watching.  The movie is not something I would have wanted to see, but SS made it worth our while. She entered wearing her helmet and holding her hammer, totally in super hero mode. Then as usual ended up on my lap for most of the movie. We also failed to think about the fact that the hammer does not have an off switch. Really, for that price? SS was uncharacteristically amenable to leave the hammer on the floor to not disturb during the movie.

The best part was at the end when we allowed SS to reach for her hammer during the credits. She put on her helmet (somehow displaced during the movie), then held her hammer up, just like Thor.  The  the lighting looked mighty cool in the dark theater. Much to the amusement of the adults, and jealousy of the kids there. That little dude with the cool hammer. On the drive home we were discussing how lucky we are that we do not have to sit through D*sney Princesses movies. That would really suck and take all the fun out of parenting. 

P still insists that SS REALLY needs a blond wig. Working on it dude, be patient.

Guys, I could have brought one of my Captain America shields for this photo op.

So small, so delicate, so violent.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Pan blandito delivery.

Yesterday Abuela surprised us with a FedEx delivery of pan blandito (soft bread), or pan dulce (sweet bread) to some. The last time SS and I stuffed our faces with this delicious bread was almost a year ago in Ponce, Puerto Rico. We went to get some for P the night before we returned home but they were closed. Pan blandito is one of Auuela's few food weaknesses (cheesecake is the only other that comes up), the woman eats very little. But when it comes to this bread she can go through half a pound without realizing how much she has ingested.

P has never tried it, but was not about to fill up on bread when there was a hot pizza to eat. He could not believe when the three of us went for the bread. Who in their right mind would stop for bread in the middle of pizza? Puerto Ricans, that's who, and the three of us dismissed the silly Caucasian who does not understand the great joys in life. Before anyone gets all offended about cultural mockery, my children change their cultural identity in the blink of an eye when food is involved.

SS recognized the bread immediately and grabbed a big chunk, and there's plenty more. We have about four pounds of this piece of heaven. 

The funny thing about this picture is that SS had already finished a slice of pizza, then proceeded to chomp away on bread. The girl can carbo load when we least expect it. She then asked for another slice of pizza and polished that as well. That meant that the kid did not eat all day at again. That is something we need to work on, but really have no pull when we are away from SS.

Some morning love for her pan blandito before school today. Thank you Abuela for the yummy treat and blast to the past for JJ.  He had not had it since he was 12.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Fairmount Park

We took advantage of the wonderful weather on Sunday and headed to Fairmount Park.  We thought it'd be good for SS to see some ducks and geese, her under the bridge friends where we used to live. I was blown away by how much the park has changed. That's what happens when you have not visited a place in 20 years.  Back when JJ was a youngin there was a small pond, grass and a few benches.   
Now there are three playgrounds, a second pond/lake, an interactive fountain (tiny for such a big park), and all the weird you can get on a Sunday afternoon.

After we tired SS enough, foolishly hoping for an early bedtime, we went to pick supplies for dinner. We had planned to barbecue and while at the park I decided to add one more item to our shopping list. Why didn't I think about adding corn on the cob? Because it's freaking January, darn you Southern California and your deceiving weather! Not that we are complaining.

Don't know what's going on with SS's arms, but lately she can't keep them still. 

SS saw her first low rider, and it even bounced a few times, much to her amusement.

This play area with the carousel theme was beyond cute.

It did not take SS long to find a boy to play with her.


In case you are wondering (I was), this is a pirate ship.

This is her mean pirate face. Is there such a thing as a nice pirate?

Saturday, January 18, 2014

SS was busy during her winter break.

We knew first grade was not going to be a walk in the park for SS, especially with the major change she was about to tackle. Our goal was to have SS at grade level by the end of the year.  We vowed to stand by the slow and steady wins the race motto. The last thing we need is to have SS permanently scarred. And her first semester of first grade was not easy. No one likes hearing that their child is behind.  Add the concerns about SS's development, the upcoming neuro consult, physical therapy, speech therapy, and getting glasses... Dang it, it turned out to be more changes than we expected. P and I have never been fans of long breaks from school. A three week winter break is two weeks too long for us. SS's teacher asked if we would be willing to work with SS on sight words and reading during the break. She did not have to finish the sentence before we were on board.

SS was on break, but we were not, and JJ offered to help. Mrs. S provided us with a book, and stated that if SS could manage to read that book over the break she would be at grade level. Again, we were hoping for progress, little by little. We did not want to pressure SS. JJ followed through and that was a God sent. We did not have to come home tired and cranky, then go over homework with our homework phobic daughter.  We also wanted to give SS weekends off, just like when she is in school.

As I was leaving the church yesterday P sent me a picture stating that he knew it would cheer me up. It was the results of SS's testing the day before.  The goal was for SS to recognize 75 sight words, and to move up four reading levels. We felt that was quite ambitious, and were worried about SS being discouraged.

SS exceeded our expectations, she reached her reading goal, and exceeded her sight words goal by 17. As bad a day as I had up to that point, that picture really made me smile.  We are very proud of SS, and thankful that JJ helped his sister study during her break.  And working with SS on homework deserves combat pay. More than once JJ has noted that SS is as bad as he was in middle school. As an incentive we told SS that we would buy her super hero books. When I gave her kudos about her progress that is the first thing she asked me. Yes SS we will get you more super hero books.

We mailed SS's calendars this morning.

I have been concerned about the amount of time SS spends on her iPad. She is too young to be addicted to electronics. A few weeks ago I entered my room and found SS on my laptop. She looked guilty as hell and I looked at what she was doing.  She was at the Lego website playing virtual Legos. Are you freaking kidding me? SS told me that P got the website for her. I was upset with my husband and told him that since SS has her own iPad, why does he have to hand her my laptop as well. The man had no idea what I was talking about, because our sweet girl lied. Yep, she knows how to get to the Lego website on her own.  She is now banned from using my laptop.  JJ came to the rescue again and somehow convinced SS that cool kids do not play Legos online, they put them together in real life.

It worked, SS spent all day playing with her Legos, did not get her grubby little hands on her iPad until 7:30 p.m.

Friday, January 17, 2014

It's too early in the year to have such a rough week.

Last Thursday, barely one hour into my workday, I learned a coworker had passed away. L was not just any coworker, we met the day we interviewed for the jobs we have. I was in my own little world, texting P, when L arrived, anxious and excited about the interview. She tried to make conversation, but all I wanted to do was text P, keep to myself,  and just get the damn interview over with. L was not deterred by my one word answers, nor by my body language. Within minutes I learned that she had three children, she was employed at a local casino, had a degree in accounting, and wanted the position so bad. She explained that while there is nothing wrong working on your feet, and wearing a uniform, she wanted to set an example for her kids to aim higher. Ironically she had attended a funeral, and in typical CA fashion (ever seen that SNL skit?), told me in detail the route she took to get to the interview.  She wore me down and I am glad she did, because I've learned so much from her these past eight months. We worked in different programs, and of course trained in different classrooms, but she always made a point to look for me during breaks. She graduated a month ahead of me, and was so genuinely happy when I graduated and came to the office permanently.

L was very hard working, extremely kind and helpful, but she was struggling at work. It was difficult to hear her supervisor and assistant supervisor belittle her in public, and on a daily basis. She was afraid that every day would be her last. It was that fear that made her come to work sick, She had been unable to shake a cold, was coughing a lot. Now that is not unusual in our office. I'm perhaps the biggest annoyance, because my asthma and allergies kick into overdrive whenever I'm at work. But there was obviously more to L's cough. Early Thursday morning her eldest daughter checked on her when she no longer heard the ever present cough. The daughter was initially relieved that her mother was getting much needed sleep, only to be horrified by what she found.

Early this week we received news that another coworker went to the ER with flu symptoms, and  in a very short time was in the ICU on life support.  I arrived at work yesterday to find my supervisor in tears, C passed away Wednesday night. That one was not such a big shocker, since we knew he was on life support. Then my supervisor delivered even more exciting news, a young coworker (25), CM had been hospitalized that morning with... you guessed right, flu symptoms. I have never before seen so many people reach for their Clorox wipes and frantically scrub every item in their cubicle. L and C were only 47 years old. And while I'm sure there are many contributing factors to their early demise, what everyone at the office is focusing on is the flu. Cough and you are looked upon as though you are Typhoid Mary. Besides the paranoia there's been incredible sadness. I was surprised (and P plain worried) at how hard I took L's death. She confided so much in me and a lot of my tears were fueled by anger at how lousy she was treated.  That afternoon I found another coworker in tears in the stairs, She too had heard the vile words from the supervisor, assistant supervisor, and other coworkers. We could not comprehend how someone so hard working and kind could be treated in that manner. 

Today I attended my first funeral mass in eight years, last one was for P's grandpa.  It was also the first funeral related thing I have done alone. P offered to take time off to go with me, but it was barely half an hour from home, and I did not want him to use his hours. You know us, always thinking what if SS gets sick. L's son is an altar boy at their church and was part of his mother's mass. I can't begin to imagine how difficult it was. L's children are 20, 17 and 15. They are stunning and incredibly poised for their age. They are also kind, giving, like their mother. The 17 year old ended up comforting me. I have no idea how that happened. L was a single mother since shortly after her youngest was born, No child support, and forget emotional support from the father. L did an amazing job raising her kids, and there are many relatives surrounding them. The kids will be as OK as they can be given that they lost their only parent. L, thank you for not letting me keep my head buried in my phone last April. Thank you for coming over to that last table in the break room and making conversation. Thank you for confiding in me, and for never speaking an ill word about those who shamelessly tormented you. Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed. 

I've understandably spent more time than usual watching SS sleep this past week. I think this is my favorite SS asleep moments. She really spread those arms.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

We had our first glasses mishap yesterday.

SS is back at school, happy to be with her friends, and even happier to be back at B&G Club with her other friends. She spent her winter break at home enjoying our days off with us, and spending much needed time with her brother three days a week. She is back to her old self, you know, like a sullen teenage boy in the mornings. SS also had two speech therapy sessions and does not seem to have any hang ups about participating. P enjoyed those three weeks the most because he did not have to contend with said sullen teenager in the mornings. We are wondering when we are going to get this we both work routine down. In the meantime we are all looking forward to Maui. SS's new slogan... It's Maui again baby!

Yesterday I saw SS's glasses on the dining room table shortly after they left for B&G. Not bad, it was the first time they forgot them. Except since SS must wear them full time I wondered how sleep deprived P was that he did not notice. I drove to B&G to drop them off. P quickly texted me to ask how the staff reacted to my rare visit. He had pictured it perfectly, just like an M&M commercial... She does exist! P was enjoying himself too much at the expense of my discomfort. I know it should not bother me to be thought of as an absent mother, but it does sting a little.

When I arrived home yesterday afternoon SS was working on homework and P was outside. P returns inside and says, "Let's try this again SS, where did you leave your glasses?" Oh no, it happened, she misplaced her glasses. SS said they were in her jacket pocket, P got the jacket from the van and nothing. I called the club and was told they had not seen the glasses but if they found them when they cleaned up before closing they would hold them until the next morning.

Oh no, that was not going to work for us. SS was playing outside when P arrived, and her jacket and backpack were on the grass by the play structure. Someone could easily step on her glasses and we would be SOL. Big surprise here, we procrastinated and have yet to order SS a spare set. Guess what we are shopping for Saturday? P knew I was anxious and texted me when he found them, on the grass, just like he predicted. That wasn't enough for me, I wanted to know if they were in one piece. Thankfully no one had trampled them. SS got a stern lecture about placing her glasses in the hard case she keeps in her backpack. And we will follow with daily reminders, because we know she won't remember. The girl is only six, and her age group is not known for their meticulous care of their belongings. Even if the belonging in question helps her see.

Minor scare aside SS has done very well with her glasses. We expected the full time wear to be a thorn on our side. But SS has done very well so far, only asking to take them off when she is wearing headphones. The padding of the headphones presses the frame into her head. We can't blame SS for not liking that discomfort. Let's hope all future glasses crises are so easily solved. Ha, yeah right.

I had been looking for a toy organizer for SS for a while. The downside to SS's all in one bed is that there are no other pieces of furniture to add. The finish on the organizer obviously does not match SS's bed, but it will do. She now has more space to store her super hero paraphernalia, and has her buddies close by at night.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

RC fun on a beautiful sunny winter day.

SS is more than ready to return to school.  We never thought she would look forward to waking up early and being out of the house at 6:30 a.m. She has some serious cabin fever and is ready to be out of the house. That was not the case last Xmas break, but I was home with her.  We had a beautiful day yesterday, hard to believe it's supposed to be winter. SS took advantage of the awesome weather to play with her RC car.  When I saw the car I thought it was perfect for a novice like SS. The remote control did not look complicated. very child friendly. I need to start reading before buying, because the remote is different from what I had seen before. It doesn't just make the car move forward and backwards with one joystick, the are two buttons and each control one pair of wheels.  Plus there is a small extra wheel in the middle to help with tricks. SS is learning to control her new toy and having fun. Albeit in her unique style.

Look, the little  girl from The Ring came out of the well to play.

Monday, January 06, 2014

Feliz Dia de Reyes 2014!

SS can't catch a break, up at 5:30 a.m. again, this time because I had to work. As I have explained, we celebrate DDR to keep whatever little of my culture I can alive through JJ and SS. They are both well acquainted with the food, no concerns there. As SS grows, we will discuss age appropriate aspects of my culture (colonization, commonwealth status, etc.).  But for now DDR and food will do. SS was not too upset with me, since I did not blast music to annoy her and did not use the flash for pictures.  SS received a remote control car, a set of building toys (a helicopter, a bulldozer and a helicopter), and an Angels jacket. The jacket was intended as a Xmas present that we forgot we had. SS is on an absolute rampage against anything pink. We think all the prodding from people finally made her snap. She is downright vile about the color and what it represents. Once she outgrew her Angels dress we could not find a replacement, any girl Angels wear in red and white. You know, as in the team's freaking colors. P was so excited to find this one, because we are never getting another red Angels cheerleader dress. *Sniff* SS loved her gifts but went right back to bed. She was snoring in bed when I left this morning.

By the time I arrived home this afternoon SS had depleted the RC car's batteries, and she did not get a chance to show me her moves. She ignored me because she was assembling her race car with a lot of help from her brother. 

I was very surprised to spot a pink case that we had hidden way in the back of the top shelf of the spare room closet.  It was a lovely gift, but not age appropriate for SS. I wondered how it got downstairs, better, how did it get down from the closet. P had cleared that room in November, and somehow SS got her grubby little hands on it. I reminded SS that she was not old enough to use the contents (nothing awful, just make up and nail polish) and was about to tell her how disappointed I was.  Then SS said "But I put actual cool toys in it."

And that she did people, she happily opened the case and showed me its contents. I was wondering why the same girl who freaks over anything pink on her body would even touch that case. Revenge, she brought cool to the case. This precious girl makes me love her more each day with stunts like this one. Don't change SS, stand firm for what you like and believe.

Finally that race car came together. Thank you big brother.

We had to post this again because SS is so darn cute. This was taken January 2011, when we got rid of our tree after Dia de Reyes. I still stand by my explanation while trying to comfort SS. P says it's the best glossing over the tree concentration camp tale that ended in a wood chipper.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

P's first day off in eleven days.

Yesterday was the last day of P's self-imposed 11 consecutive days of work. He did a heck of a lot better than I expected. His gratification came from knowing that the biggest part of our very short, blink and you'll miss it trip to Maui is paid for. Last night we took it easy, had a nice dinner and watched old 48 Hours and 20/20.  This morning P asked me what I wanted to do, specifically where I wanted to go. It would have been nice to go for a drive, and I a had a few places in mind. But as selfish as I can be I knew he was really tired. My totally loco husband did this so we could enjoy a little getaway, and I'm very grateful.  SS is bursting at the seams at the thought of returning to Chicken Beach.

Our day consisted of not much, more murder mysteries, and we also watched Elysium and Don Jon. The former was meh, the latter was pleasantly good.  I had read some negative reviews, especially how it portrayed Italian Americans, but the slimy Guido redeemed himself at the end. It did not surprise me that P was in bed and dead to the world by 7:00 p.m.  He is going to spend much needed time with SS the next two days.  Just kicking back at home, relaxing and paying attention to his baby. 

SS is enjoying her recliner and about to petition the Olympic committee to add the first sport ever to be in both Summer and Winter Olympics.  SS is going to introduce freestyle reclining, and is busy perfecting ways to use her recliner for anything other than its intended use. 

Oh wow what a concept sitting on your recliner.

I walked in from work Thursday to find SS very comfy doing this.