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catholic church, abortion, roe v. wade, open mind, parenting

Today is the 43rd anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade abortion ruling. I have always been torn between my pro-life Catholic upbringing and my pro-choice heart. I hoped I’d never find myself in the position to have to decide whether or not to have an abortion but I also learned at a very early age that sometimes women( and girls) do and it’s one of the hardest decisions they ever have to make and it’s one she has to make for herself.

When I was 15-years-old, I had a friend who confided in me that she was pregnant and was going to have an abortion all on her own. I had no idea what to do but listen and hold her when she cried at her predicament. I was young and naïve and had no experience or reference to what she was going through. I felt useless because I couldn’t help her. The decision was one of the most agonizing things I’ve ever seen someone go through. In that moment, I knew I would always fight for a woman’s right to have dominion over her own body and reproductive system. I’ve been prochoice ever since.

So this morning when I went to mass, the one my daughter has been asking me to attend for 3 months because she was leading the choir, imagine my shock when the first words out of the priest’s mouth in the homily was, “Since today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade…..” followed by the phrase, “Women commit abortion” which is code for sin and then he went into how every life from the tiniest in the womb to the most elderly person on the footsteps of death are loved by God. That was powerful but it rubbed me the wrong way because I knew his undertone. He continued on saying, “ No matter what the mother feels, God loves that child.”

My mind was filled with all the noise and chaos of that moment when you know you have to say something, “OH.SHIT. This is the worst possible mass for me to attend because I instinctively go into defensive mode.I have a crazy need to right all the wrongs, especially when my children are part of the captive audience. 
People, it took everything in my body not to raise my hand in front of a packed church of children and elderly, stand up and ask, “ But is God going to feed them, cuddle them, provide shelter and clothing for them? Is God going to make sure that every child born has all that he needs?” I was flabbergasted. Then something crazy happened, this priest, who is almost fanatically pro life, began to speak and his words were filled with compassion, caring and love.

His next few phrases are what blew my mind out of my head, right there in the back pew as my baby girl sang.

He said, “Abortion is man’s fault, not women. Because men should treat women like the crown jewels they are and love, respect, honor and support them and if they did, there would be no need for abortion because there would be no unwanted children.”

Let that sit with you for a minute.

Then he said, what I’ve said forever, “ Women are God’s most precious gift to Men and they are not to serve us, they are here for us to marvel with love, respect and adoration because without women, there is no life. Only women have been blessed with the ability to bring forth life.” Everything I thought I knew up until this point about this man changed.

Then he said, “ By men making women objects of lust instead of objects of love, they are to blame for putting women in these compromising positions.” I know that pregnancy take two and I don’t blame men alone for women being put in the position to choose life or not, but it was nice to finally here a man (a Catholic priest no less) say that men should take responsibility for their actions and keep it in their pants. I never expected to hear those words echoing through my church, ever.

Women have always been treated like second-class citizens throughout history in society and especially in the church. I’ve always felt differently and that’s made my views as a Latina and a woman unpopular with many men I’ve known.

I’ve never been particularly fond of this priest because I’ve always felt that he’s too judgmental on situations like these but this morning his words and his heart were filled with kind words of love and compassion for our children and that is so important when you are molding young children’s minds. His words moved me.

Don’t get me wrong I haven’t changed my mind. The feminist in me will always believe it is the woman’s right to choose and the 15-year-old me will always fight for the right for women to make their own choice without condemnation from others but he made me appreciate the choice from another perspective, more importantly he explained to my children in a way that fosters compassion and self-respect. I was impressed and in the end, I didn’t have to raise my hand or storm out of mass.


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Play Dates, mom friends, older mom, role model, role model mom

I think role model moms should be standard issue to all new moms. Being a mom is hard. It is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Not because of all the work it entails but the sheer force of the all-consuming energy that unconditional love tolls on your mind, body and spirit. Having done it twice, I really think that most of us spend the first four years of of our children’s lives in a fog induced by sheer love meeting complete desperation and exhaustion. I mean, I know I didn’t have a full night’s sleep until year 8 and it was only once.


The thing is when we come up for air from the insanity of new motherhood, we need to look for a mom role model.

I don’t mean someone to emulate or keep up with. Believe you me, I’ve had more than my fair share of those in my parenting lifetime. I’m not even referring to those amazing mom friends who hold your hand and lift your soul when you are neck deep in diaper blowouts, colic and regression. Though those broads are worth their weight in gold, for the listening and nodding agreement alone. If they can offer helpful advice and be a gentle sounding board, bonus.


When I say a role model, I mean a mom you meet who has older kids who are turning out pretty damn good. She might know a thing or two. Sure, she might not have cloth diapered but her oldest just started college and that kid’s got all of his shit together. This mama knows how to get things done the right way. I was fortunate to meet one such amazing woman on my oldest daughter’s first day of kindergarten.


You see, it was my first child and I didn’t want her to go to school all day. I wanted to cherish these final moments together. Plus the kid was still taking naps and who was I to take that away from us. Her sleeping peacefully while I gently stroked her head and silently sobbed because she was leaving me. Looking back now, on the precipice of puberty, I wasn’t wrong.


Anyways, I digress. This other mom, let’s call her Maureen ( because that is her name and she is too awesome for me not to refer to her by her real name), had a little boy who also happened to be only going ½ day. We.were.the.only.2. ( It’s Catholic school, people. Most of these mamas have plenty more and full day it was.) But not us, we wanted our kids home with us.


I walk into the corridor to wait for my daughter and I see this lovely woman, blonde and beautiful. Obviously, she has her shit together. She was not wearing the yoga pants and t-shirt with spit up on it that I was and her hair was so not in a ponytail like mine. We started talking and she was a little teary eyed and all I thought was dear Lord, what are they doing to our children that this obviously seasoned mom was brought to tears by. That’s when she told me that not only was this her youngest child’s first day of kindergarten but her oldest child’s first day of college. You see the irony, first and last and last and first all in the same day. I got a little choked up myself. I just wanted to hug her but I didn’t because that would have made me seem deranged, right ? Well, maybe I did, who can remember, the brain fog was strong with me in those days. Either way, I knew I loved this woman instantly.


Her heart was as big as anything I had ever seen and she was is (she’s not dead or anything) just a really lovely person. She had kind eyes and an unspoken kinship that put me at ease. For once, I felt like I could shut up and listen and not tell the other mother what month of life my child achieved a basic life skill (good thing too because I was getting tired of pulling out those motherhood aces up the sleeve: Bella walked at 10 months and Gabs totally potty trained herself by 18 months. Ok, see that was the last time.)


From that first day, I knew we would be friends and when I met her other children ( she has four) I realized that I wanted to be just like her when I grew up. Her kids are kind, well-mannered, smart, well-rounded citizens of the world. Her kids blow my mind, ergo, her mom skills are the bomb.

Six years later and she is still my mom role model. I hope one day I can be the same for some other new mom because God knows, I am not the youngest mom in the class, ever.

Who is your mom role model?

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teaching your child about loss, losing a family pet, pets

The hardest thing we have to do as parents is teaching your child about loss. I have two daughters and my youngest is 8-years-old. In the last three years, she has felt the weight of the loss of a sibling, her beloved dog, a cousin and a goldfish. She has a great grandmother and a great-great aunt who are both in their late 80’s and we know more loss is on it’s way but I want to protect them for as long as possible.


Yesterday morning before school, we had the girls say goodbye to Teddy just in case the vet could not save him. I was a nervous wreck. My daughter collapsed into my arms and whispered through tear stained cheeks, “Mommy, please don’t let him die.” I knew in that moment, I was going to fight as hard as I’d ever fought to keep this little guy alive.


I found the best exotic pet vet in town, begged to be squeezed in as soon as possible and drove across the city with the weak little guy strapped into the front seat in a box, I gingerly seat belted him in as to not disturb him in his weakened state. I felt sick to my stomach. A million what ifs ran through my mind and they all ended with me breaking my daughter’s heart.


At the veterinarian’s office, Teddy was thoroughly checked. I was told that it was pneumonia. The remedy? Antibiotics and IV fluids. I was given more liquid antibiotics to give him twice a day until he was well. I left there feeling like I had dodged a major bullet. I had saved him and spared my daughter, yet another loss.


We spent the day holding him and talking to him. He quietly chirped and nuzzled into my chin. At first his breathing was labored but soon it quieted and he lay, softly against me where he stayed for hours before doing the same with my daughter.


This morning, she held him while she ate breakfast. The Big Guy and I took him briefly to administer his meds. He chirped loudly, which at first I thought was an improvement from his listlessness yesterday but then I began to consider that maybe it was pain that elicited his reaction.


My daughter kissed him goodbye and told him that she loved him before she went to school this morning. Then she said, “See you after school, Teddy Bear.” Only she won’t.


I came home and cleaned up the house a little bit and then I checked on our little Teddy. I picked him up and he was completely limp but warm. A first, I thought maybe he was fine just still because of the pneumonia and then; I realized he wasn’t breathing and he was not responsive.


I can’t even explain the reaction I had. I sobbed and lost my breath because I don’t want to be the one to break my daughter’s heart. I can still hear her whispering for me to save him. It lingers in the air like the faint smell of perfume after someone leaves the room.


Today, when she comes home, I am tasked with the unfortunate duty of telling her that her beloved longhaired Guinea Pig, Ted Koppel, has died in my arms from pneumonia while my daughter was at school. I hate teaching my children about loss because it is one that they will learn over and over in this life.


Now, it’s pick up time. Time to be there for my girl, after I have to break their tiny hearts and tear their world apart. I hate this part of parenting.

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Momojis, emojis, Luvs, parenting, parenting in the 21st century, diapers

Disclaimer: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMe Media and Luvs but all opinions about Momojis are 100% mine.

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words and, as parents, we know that we never have enough free time on our hands and little ears hear everything we say, especially those things that we don’t want them to hear and repeat.

Sometimes, as a mom, you need to vent to your partner or a friend about the craziness that is motherhood but words are not an option. A diaper blowout (code brown as we affectionately refer to it in our home) or a toddler’s public meltdown (as we’ve referred to in a Seinfeldian way, “these pretzels are making me thirsty.” Translation: These babies are making me crazy) are not exactly things you want to say out loud in public. There has to be a way to maintain a smidgen of dignity in parenthood, right?

Enter Momojis, emojis just for Parents.

Momojis, emojis, Luvs, parenting, parenting in the 21st century, diapers

Luckily, when it comes to parenting, LUVS gets it. They’ve created the first ever custom emoji keyboard created specifically for moms and dads, the Luvs Momoji Keyboard. Inspired by experienced parents and their affinity for emoji use, Momojis give parents more ways to easily express all the emotions that come with real-life parenting with no danger of little ears overhearing. It’s like parental shorthand for the parent on the go.

We parents keep our mobile devices within arm’s reach and text with people more than we actually talk to them. Who has time to talk when you’re raising toddlers? I never knew that was even an option. But my iPhone has practically become an appendage over the years. I use it to Google symptoms, call the pediatrician, play music to entertain the kids in random dance parties and find recipes to smuggle broccoli disguised as brownies into my girls’ lunch boxes so texting emojis is just easier.

Sometimes the tales of parenthood are so outlandish, it leaves the person on the other end thinking maybe you’ve been hitting the mommy juice a little early in the day but, truly, parenthood is the stuff urban legends are made up of. I mean if you would have told me 15 years ago one day I’d be texting the Big Guy to tell him our 18-month-old made an entire box of feminine hygiene products disappear into thin air or that my 3-year-old almost drove me insane by asking me the same question over and over for 3 hours straight after keeping me up the entire night before, I wouldn’t have believed it either.

Momojis, emojis, Luvs, parenting, parenting in the 21st century, diapers

The Luvs Momoji Keyboard app is also the first to offer access to the latest in emoji technology – the Promoji – which helps busy moms hunt for diaper deals on the go. Hey, who can’t use a deal on diapers?

I learned the hard way that Luvs nighttime were the only diapers we could use on our girls at bedtime that kept them dry. With new larger stretch tabs for easy fastening, and the same ultra-leakage protection and money-back guarantee, Luvs with NightLock™ provides the high-quality features babies and parents need for less cost then the premium brands.

Through the first-ever use of Promojis (promotional emojis), busy moms will be able to hunt for diaper deals and coupons from Luvs on the go. Promojis are the latest in emoji technology and allow users to quickly and easily find great deals and promotions. Luvs is the first brand to share coupons, deals and special offers with consumers in a whole new way.

For more information and to download the Luvs Momoji Keyboard, please visit the app store. For more information on Luvs Diapers, visit www.luvsdiapers.com or the brand’s social media channels on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/luvsdiapers),

Twitter (https://www.twitter. com/luvs) and

YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/luvsdiapers).

In celebration of Luvs new Momojis, I will be giving away Luvs diapers and $100 Amex Gift Card to one lucky reader.

The giveaway is open to readers over the age of 18 that live in the contiguous U.S. No Puerto Rico. The giveaway will end December 24, 2015 t 11:59 p.m. EST.

Mandatory entry into the giveaway:

Leave a comment on this post telling me the craziest thing you’ve ever had to text your partner about your child and wished you’d had momojis.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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gun control, san bernadino, mental illness, parenting, parenting in the time of chaos, throat punch thursday

My mind has been swirling with all the mass shootings and talk of gun control or should I say, lack thereof? Between Trump, shootings and racists using a burned out van to vilify all the Mexicans, I felt I was due for a Throat Punch Thursday post.

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately feeling nostalgic for my “good old days of blogging.” You remember, the days when I used to stay up to all hours of the night documenting my trials and tribulations of early motherhood after the babies went to sleep? I miss the whole exhausted, cut your wrists, open up a vein and bleed all over your keyboard days.

I miss the days before monetization, SEO and giving a damn who was reading and who I might be offending. I really miss my regular Throat Punch Thursdays so here I am, opening up my veins.

I know sometimes I’m controversial. I know that I’m political and opinionated but I think you come here to read the real truth through my mom goggles not rose-colored bullshit that’s strictly politically correct. Nothing I say should come as a surprise. I’ve never changed my opinion on gun control, ever.

Anyone who has ever met me knows that I am a lot of things but politically correct is not one of them. I have a giant heart with all the feels and not a lick of filter on my words. I’m passionate and I need to write things out to navigate the mucky waters of my mind.

Which brings me to todays rant, first Throat Punch Thursday in awhile, gun control. If you have ever read me before, you know that I believe that there should be stricter gun control. My belief is that people with guns kill people. Guns are not necessary. They were once, when we needed people to readily mobilize into a militia but we are way passed those days.

We live in a world where we’ve had more mass shootings this year than we have days in the year. We are no longer shocked when we hear that there has been another mass shooting, we expect it. We simply hold our breaths until we find out that our loved ones are not within range and then we exhale and pray to make it through another day. It sickens me that this is what it has come to.

Every single morning that I drop my daughters off at school, I kiss them and tell them that I love them. I watch them as they walk into the building. I watch them until they are through all three sets of glass doors and then, as I pull away, I pray that no one shoots them while they are trying to get an education, trying to grow up. I hold my breath every day until they walk back through the door. Every siren makes my heart jump into my mouth. This is what the world has come to.

My daughters have “drills” they do on the regular to learn appropriate protocol for what to do in case a gun wielding “madman” gains access into the building. I pray a lot. The Democrats say we need stricter gone control and the Republicans say we need better mental health. I agree with both.

Honestly, I wish we lived in a world where there were no guns. I hate violence and I think most people who have guns don’t need them. We live in a country where a person dies every 16 minutes from a gun. The scariest part is that people are being shot in places where they should be safe, where people are most vulnerable. No one is expecting to go to church, the movies or school and get shot or die.

Current gun control is not acceptable.

The staggering reality is this, anyone can buy a shotgun and almost anyone can get a handgun by applying for a license and waiting a few days. There are no required classes, training or enforced restrictions on keeping and owning a gun. Simply apply, wait, take your gun home and hope you don’t shoot yourself of your kids don’t find it.

This is what REALLY scares me. I had an actual conversation with someone I know, who appears by all accounts intelligent and worldly. We were having a deep conversation about mental health and a suspected diagnosis. My suggestion was get help; make an appointment, see a psychiatrist to get an accurate diagnosis and a psychologist to talk it all out.

On mental health, I am a firm believer in get help. Screw “what people think”. I’ve been on both sides of it and it’s always better to seek treatment than to try to deal with it on your own. The response I got shocked me, “I’m afraid to see a psychiatrist because if I have an official diagnosis in my record, it may restrict me from being able to purchase a gun in the future. “ It was everything I could do to not let my jaw hit the ground. This is a person who already owns guns and is not a hunter. These guns are for protection but with an undiagnosed, untreated diagnosis his biggest danger to him is himself.

So basically, our gun laws are just making those who might be mentally ill avoid getting treatment because it might interfere with their right to bear arms. Is this really what we want? Mentally ill people ignoring their mental illness so they can have guns in a full on state of crazy? Wouldn’t it just be safer for all of us if there were no guns?

What kind of world do we live in where the mentally ill are so afraid of the stigma of illness that they’d rather be suicidal and a danger to themselves and others than go to a doctor and have to disclose that they got help for a diagnosis? Wouldn’t we rather people be treated and healthy than undiagnosed and on the loose buying guns at will? How did our values get so screwed up? When did we start vilifying sick people? Why do we need so many fucking guns anyway?

I feel like I’m ranting but it’s because I’m mad that this keeps happening. Isn’t this the exact definition of insanity? What is it going to take for people to realize that its time to change our policies? I don’t want to be afraid to send my girls to school. I’m tired of being afraid that every trip to a public place could be our last.

gun control, san bernadino, mental illness, parenting, parenting in the time of chaos, throat punch thursday

We need more than just thoughts and prayers, we need deeds and actions if we want to make this world a safer, better place for our children to live in. I’m sick and tired of living in a world where every time I see my girls walk away, it could be the last time.

What are your thoughts on gun control, San Bernadino and all of this?

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three tiny rings, grief, loss, commemoration, parenting, miscarriage

Today, I woke up and remembered that I should be snuggling a 3-year-old in my lap this morning. Celebrating with giggles, random hugs and sweet, baby voiced, “I love you”s. Instead, my lap is empty. The only things I have to commemorate what should have been are three thin stackable rings, the birthstones of the three babies that grew inside me once.

Two I kiss and adore and hug and cuddle into my lap every single day, one I never got to hold, not even once. I looked down at that ring a thousand times today, a secret for only me. Suddenly, these three little stackable rings are my most prized possession. They are not worth much money but to me they mean everything. They are tangible, right there on my finger to look upon at will.

Sometimes I feel like that baby was a figment of my imagination. My third baby is like a whisper that lingers for always in my heart; like the sweet smell that lingers after a breeze carries in the smell of fresh flowers on a warm sunny day. It’s a glimpse of happiness quickly followed by sorrow and only for a moment; never enough time to make it tangible.

For three years, I’ve spent this day alone in my head. There are always people around. Sometimes I wish there weren’t so I could wallow a bit in my sadness rather than pretending that the day is like any other day.

Every year on May 1st, the day I miscarried, I allow myself to feel my loss to my very core. Sometimes it hurts terribly. Sometimes not as much. But to do it again on what should have been the day my baby was born, feels overindulgent. I feel like making the leap from one day to two takes me from normal grieving to “weird” as if you can quantify grief.

I don’t know how this is supposed to work or when/if November 24th will feel like just another day. In actuality, nothing of distinction happened on that day. It’s just a due date that was printed on a scan of a baby that I never got to hold. But to me, that day is imprinted on my heart and I’m afraid it always will be.

Does it ever get easier?

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how to become the woman you were before you became mom, rediscovering who you were before motherhooddaylight savings time, kids and daylight savings time, surviving daylight savings time, DST, parenting and daylight savings time

*Disclosure: I received product and compensation for this post from Colgate Total Repair but all opinions are my own.

Life Hacks to help you feel and look beautiful even when you’re exhausted. One thing that I’ve learned from being a mom for 10 years is that, we cannot have it all. We can have a lot but not everything. What we need to learn to do is figure out what makes us happy and have that. For me, happiness is time spent with my daughters, not missing the moments, time with my husband just lingering and laughing through life’s minutia and working in a career that I love. I don’t ask for much.

Like you, the pursuit of my happiness keeps me crazy busy. I don’t have a lot of “me” time these days. It’s okay, I’ve figured out ways to still pamper and take care of myself even when time and deadlines have me in a crunch. I don’t believe that just because I’m busy means that I have to let myself go.

I’ll be the first to admit that there was a time when the girls were younger that I was living in yoga pant purgatory. It taught me a very valuable lesson, letting myself go never did me any favors. It made me feel less self confident and more vulnerable. I realized that when I go out in the world, I want to always put my best foot forward. You truly only do have one chance to make a first impression and once it’s made it’s a lot of work changing it.

I’m an educated, intelligent woman who believes that she can do anything but when I go out into the world with my yoga pants and ponytail, exhausted and defeated, that is all the general population sees. They don’t know or care that I was up all night with a pukey kid or that I haven’t truly slept through the night in 10 years. They just know that I look like I don’t care about myself and that makes them not care about me. It makes them underestimate me and, as harsh as it is, first impressions mean everything.

No time? That’s no excuse. You have to decide to make time for yourself, even if it’s just a few minutes a day. I know, easier said than done but done it must be. Ever wonder how some women have flawless skin, hair and faces and you and I look like we’ve been under slept, overfed, spent too much time in the sun or not enough and our pores are big enough to house small villages of children?

Here are a few tips on how to repair your self-confidence and make that best first impression:

Achy Back: As we get older, especially if our core is not what it once was, sometimes the back likes to go on the fritz when you do things like tying your shoes. Nothing will usurp your youth like being hunched over in pain. You can certainly go to the doctor and get prescribed all the muscle relaxers and painkillers or you can start working on strengthening your core in a preemptive strike. Also, stretching out before you get out of bed can save your back from fully seizing up. I am not a doctor, just a fellow sufferer of the affliction.

Dull Smile: They say the eyes are the windows to the soul. If that’s true, I feel like your smile is the front door to the kingdom. Smile is the first thing everyone who ever meets you will ever see. That’s why it’s important to take care of your dental health and visit your dentist regularly. If you don’t want to smile because you have misaligned teeth, consider getting it fixed at Infinity Smiles orthodontist glasgow. It may also be time for another teeth cleaning at the dental clinic.

My daily routine to take care of my teeth are using Colgate Total Daily Repair twice daily, floss my teeth, and brush them with Colgate 360 degrees Total Advanced Toothbrush with Floss-Tip Bristles. My mouth has never felt fresher, whiter or cleaner. My teeth look great and this makes me feel like I can greet the world with my best self. Hello world, hear me roar.

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Damaged hair: The key to this is being preventative. Get regular trims to get rid of the damaged hair. Keep heat off your hair. If you must use heat, be sure to use a protectant. Keep chemicals away from your hair, especially chlorine and be sure to take care of your body.

Fine lines: Drink lots of water, wear sunscreen, moisturize religiously and wear big sunglasses. Of course, the earlier you start the more effectively this works. You may also try to squeeze in a trip to the med spa once in a while for a well-deserved day of relaxation and rejuvenation.

Cracked Heel skin: I found a trick that has worked for me. In fact, it’s the only thing that works for me. There is nothing over the counter that I’ve ever found to work as well on dry, cracked heels. It’s simple, first, take a warm shower. Then slather your feet with petroleum jelly, then cover with white cotton socks and wear overnight. You will be amazed at the difference it makes. My doctor told me this trick and now, I swear by it.

Dark circles: My favorite cure for dark circles under your eyes, aside from more sleep which is probably impossible (sorry, I was momentarily possessed by Captain Obvious) I love cold cucumber slices or cooled tea bags. They work.

What’s your top tip for looking and feeling better about yourself?

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the burden of never disappointing your child, parenting, advocating, motherhood

How do you deal with the burden of never disappointing your child? A couple weeks ago, I almost bought sparklers for my girls and then I remembered that they could be dangerous. Sure, I played with sparklers every 4th of July but why take the chance that my girls might get burned? Isn’t it my job to make sure they are always safe? Besides, the Big Guy put his foot down on sparklers, a long time ago. No sparklers for the girls so I put them back down and walked away. But it felt wrong. Why can’t they have sparklers? I loved sparklers. I survived.

There are things I did as a child that we’d never allow our daughters to do today. For instance, I stayed out until the street lights came on playing with my friends, completely unsupervised and survived. I walked to school alone with my little brother, when I was 7 (of course, later I found out that my mom was ninja stalking us all the way). I played with sparklers and lit firecrackers. We jumped in pools and beaches without floaties and ate food before checking labels.

There were no cellphones to keep constant contact, like the tether of a virtual umbilical cord. There were no seatbelt laws or car seat laws. My dad used to give me rides on the crossbar of his ten-speed. I learned to ride a bike, roller skate and ride a skateboard the hard way, without a helmet or pads. But I did learn more about skateboarding because of Free Skateshop.

My parents didn’t worry that I was watching too much television, playing too many video games or eating too much because I ate when I was hungry and I played outside as much as I could because what could be better than playing outside? Nothing!

My parents didn’t need to spy on my texts, emails and search history because they trusted me and I lived in the real world not the cyber world. All of my friends lived within walking distance and those I met on vacations, we stayed in contact by writing letters. Life involved meeting, talking to and interacting with actual people. My parents knew that.

There were no tantrums or eye rolling because I was raised with respect. I had daily chores. My parents weren’t afraid that I would break or they might offend me if I was asked to do my part an in return, I earned privileges like walking to the park with my friend. I played sports that were competitive and I knew grades were earned by hard work.

Sure, sometimes it sucked not getting what I wanted but I learned at a very early age that to get what you want in this world, you have to work hard. You have to make sacrifices and no, it didn’t kill me.

I’ve spent my entire parenting life trying to make sure that my kids had the best of everything; everything I never had. I wanted their memories to be filled with happy times and recollections of all the things I did right. I wanted to eliminate any pain or disappointment but that’s impossible and impractical. I wanted them to survive childhood but I don’t want that anymore. I want them to enjoy childhood. I want them to thrive at it.

The other day, I was thinking what a magical childhood I am providing for my girls. It’s not perfect but they have never wanted for anything. I’ve raised them to believe that they can have everything if they are willing to work for it but I’m not sure they even can comprehend what that means because I have encapsulated them in a happy bubble where life is easy and everything is given to them. They are living in utopia but is this really the best thing I can do for my children? I don’t think so.

You’ve heard the Longfellow quote, into each life a little rain must fall? I’m starting to believe that maybe we do need to experience a little hardship in life to truly appreciate the gifts. Life has come so easy for my girls because they have always had me as their advocate, and that will never change, but I don’t think they get what it really feels like to accomplish something on their own; to really want something, to go after it and to enjoy the moment of victory…of earning it on their own, of true success. That makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent.

What do you think? How do we give our children the childhood we think they deserve without taking away their appreciation for the simple things in life, like sparklers?

How do you deal with the burden of never disappointing your child?

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a life that's good, marriage, spouse, love, family

What do you think constitutes a life that’s good? It’s been a really weird couple of weeks. I’m not sure that mentally, I’ve completely returned from vacation. It’s difficult to get back into a routine when you’ve just spent 2 weeks living on vacation time. But when something unexpected like illness is thrown your way, well, your world goes from hazy to upside down in zero seconds flat. You find yourself discombobulated and confused. You find yourself weary and worn. You find yourself changing perspective and reprioritizing. Then, you find your way.

Sunday morning started like every other Father’s day, I told the Big Guy to sleep in. Then I went downstairs and began making espresso and cooking breakfast, as our girls busied themselves making him the sweetest Father’s Day banner to date. Everything was right in my world. I was feeling blessed.

The day before was spend doing yard work and teaching the girls how to play basketball. Things were starting to fall back into a groove. Normalcy was settling in and the overwhelming exhaustion of reentry was dissipating. Then it happened. The other foot. I always get cocky when things are good and then life throws me a curveball to instill a little humility.

After breakfast, the Big Guy said he wasn’t feeling “well” and went to lie down. I went up after him to check in on him because this is very out of character for him. I found him laying in silence, fist clenched as he stoically winced. I knew something was wrong. In the 18 years that I have shared a life with this man, I’ve never seen him do this. He has a high tolerance for pain (unless you count the man cold) but this was something different. I knew he was in pain. It’s humbling to see a 6’5”, 250-pound man incapacitated. It scared me because what if it was something serious. What would I do without him?

a life that's good, marriage, spouse, love, family

I asked him if he wanted to go to the hospital, he brushed it off. I knew better. I called my in laws to come stay with our girls and,in silence, we headed for the hospital. Happy Father’s Day to the Big Guy. I hate the ride to the hospital. It’s always the time my head thinks all of the worst thoughts.

We spent all day there. It was a three Xanax kind of day because seeing him in real pain made me feel helpless and that turned the volume up on my anxiety to high but I couldn’t show it. I had to stay strong for him, like he’s done for me so many times. All I wanted to do was breakdown. Think trapped wild animal but instead of a wild animal it was my emotions being forced silent inside of my head.

Deep breath. Keep your shit together lady. Pray. Check in on kids. See if he needs anything. Can I do something? Question the nurses and doctors like it’s your job (because it is.) Mind keeps going to the worst place. Get the hell out of my mind. Shift in my seat. Hold back the tears. Deep breath. Keep shit together. Pray….Repeat!

Eventually, after a CT and several other tests in which he was poked and prodded, they released him home to me with 3 bottles of medication and a strict clear diet and orders to see a surgeon the next day. I was happy to be taking him home but still my mind would not quiet. All I kept thinking was he needed to follow up with a surgeon. My thoughts were spastic and my heart was cracking. Stay strong bitch. This is NOT about YOU!

We went to the surgeon and for now, it’s nothing a couple weeks of high-powered antibiotics and some pain meds won’t fix. We’re scheduled for a follow up but today the prognosis is good. My mind is still worried, even with the 99.9% reassurance from the funny little doctor with the sunny disposition and wonderful sense of humor. To him, my husband is just another patient but to me, the Big Guy is everything.

The bottom line is that life happens and sometimes it’s some really shitty stuff like losing a baby or a parent or watching helplessly as your child or your husband is hospitalized. All you can do is pray and advocate, advocate and pray like their life depends on it because sometimes it does. The rest of the time all that we can hope for is a life that is good.

Speaking of which, about half way through writing this post, A Life That’s Good by Lennon and Maisy came on and the words spoke to my heart. This song sums up exactly what I’ve been feeling these past couple of days. Here are the Lyrics:


Sitting here tonight, by the fire light
It reminds me I already have more than I should.
I don’t need fame, no one to know my name.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray

I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me
Heaven to ground me
and a family that always calls me home.
Four wheels to get there.
Enough love to share and a
sweet, sweet, sweet song.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

Sometimes I’m hard on me,
when dreams don’t come easy
I wanna look back and say I did all that I could.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

Two arms around me
Heaven to ground me
and a family that always calls me home.
Four wheels to get there.
Enough love to share and a
sweet, sweet, sweet song.
At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

At the end of the day, Lord I pray
I have a life that’s good.

In the end, who cares about money, status or what other people think about us? All that matters is that we lived on our own terms, a life of few regrets and filled with lots of love. Care about the people who matter and don’t waste your time on those who you don’t matter to. These past few days have reminded me that I really do have a life that’s good and that is more than enough. That is everything.

Tonight, I am thankful. I am thoughtful. The people that I love are safe and healthy and that’s more than enough.

What do you think qualifies a life that’s good?

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Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner, transgender, teaching kids about transgender, parenting

The photo above is my favorite of Caitlyn Jenner because I can see a smile. As a mom, I am not perfect. Far from it. I’ve done a lot of things wrong. I’ve yelled.Hell, I’ve roared so loudly that I scared my kids. My kids have been known to blurt out the occasional profanity.Patience is not one of my virtues, not even a little bit. I get grouchy when I get overwhelmed and sometimes I say things that I wish I hadn’t but I love my kids and I’m trying my best to raise good solid, caring, citizens of the world.

I let my kids see me make mistakes and apologize. I let them see me fall and get back up. I let them see that to succeed at anything, it takes a lot of hard work but at the same time, anything is possible if you are willing to do the work. I teach my kids that actions have consequences, lying is a terrible flaw that breaks trust and somethings can’t be undone. I teach them to forgive but remind them that it is impossible to forget so think carefully before you say or do something terrible to someone.

I teach my girls that parental love is unconditional but that life is not fair. Life is cruel and hard at times. People can be mean and small minded. They know this is not how we choose to live. I try to open their minds and hearts to everything because there is so much wonderful to see in the world and by narrowing their capacity for caring, I am minimizing their chance for happiness.

When I saw Caitlyn Jenner on the Cover of Vanity Fair on Monday, my first thought was, “She did it. She can finally be herself.” That is huge for anyone but especially for someone who has been living life in the wrong body for 65 years.

It takes balls (no pun intended) to transform. But to do it when your life is lived so publicly takes a special kind of bravery and courage because you know, for a fact, that the entire world is judging you. The entire world is watching and, in most cases, waiting for you to fail.

Most people would have just given up on the dream of living the way they wanted because 65-years-old is pretty late in life to start over. It’s retirement age. I guess in that way it is the perfect time to start living for yourself. She earned it.

I found it sickening how this momentous occasion was reduced to, “Wow! She looks amazing!” Caitlyn Jenner does look amazing but even if she was the ugliest woman alive, she was finally a woman. She was finally living in the skin that she felt comfortable in. This whole thing was not about vanity. It was about living the life you are meant to live because without doing so; you are not living at all. Why society feels that it is okay to reduce everything about women down to what lies between our legs, the size of our asses and what we look like rather than our earned accomplishments is beyond me.

I am very open with my girls about everything because I don’t think hiding reality from them is doing them any favors. They are Latina and female and one day they will be Latina women, which means no matter how you slice it, they will always be a minority.

They are 8 and 10-years-old and they already understand what many adults are unwilling to accept; that people are male and female and sometimes the outsides don’t match the insides, all people love differently, people look differently, people worship differently, people come from different countries, speak different languages but they know that we all share one very important trait…we are all humans and deserve to be treated with respect and human kindness.

I am trying my best to raise good people. Children who are tolerant, understanding and accepting of differences. I want my children to recognize differences and embrace them. I don’t believe in a blind world but I do believe in a world where we can love one another for who we are as human beings and what race we are, who we worship, who we love or where we come from should not factor into that equation. I want my children to see deeper than just what people “appear” to be because I want them to see each person they meet as an individual. This is how I am raising my daughters.

They’ve been following the Caitlyn Jenner story with me and I explained that Bruce was born in a man’s body but has always felt like a woman on the inside. I explained it by asking them if they were born into a boy’s body how would they feel and what would they do. They said they would be unhappy and feel uncomfortable. I explained that was exactly how Caitlyn has felt for 65 years and they said, “Then he should change his outsides to match his insides.” Children see everything so simply because they have not formed all of the prejudices of the world. They hear that someone is unhappy and they immediately think, “Go find your bliss!” I love that about them.

Caitlyn Jenner, Bruce Jenner,  transgender, teaching kids about transgender, parenting

When I showed them the photos of Caitlyn’s transformation, because they had already seen the photos of him pre-transformation, they both said she looked pretty and they smiled. My oldest said, “ I bet she’s happy now because she looks like what she feels like.” There was no scoffing or snickering or confusion. My girls got it. Caitlyn is who Bruce always was on the inside. They were not baffled or amazed or surprised. They thought it was great and then they went on about their business. As a mom, I feel like I’m doing something right.

I love that they don’t think that Caitlyn Jenner is something to break the Internet or even blow their minds but instead a beautiful metamorphosis of a person into whom she was always meant to be. I love that they think this was no big deal because everyone should be able to go get their happy. I know what a big deal it was but wouldn’t it be beautiful if we could all live in a world where we could be ourselves, get our happy, and no one scoffed or judged?

How would you explain the Caitlyn Jenner transformation to your children?


Photos of Caitlyn Jenner via Vanity Fair
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