Monday, December 21, 2009

Being the Only One is Okay

I'm not sure how to frame this particular blog entry so that it makes any sense to the world outside my head. So, I'll just try my best and see where that gets me.

I have been different from the rest of my family all my life. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of things I have in common with my brothers and especially my mom. Bleys for instance is very loving and is easily offended. Michael is passionate in his opinions, and can tell a damn good story. David is artistic and has a good way of letting others know that he is superior. My mom is intelligent, articulate, and likes to be the boss. All of these traits are mine in varying degrees. Some I possess in heaps and others I could stand to gain in. Still others I could get rid of all together.

The major difference is that I am not the same ethnicity as the rest of them. Other differences are more subtle. All of my siblings seem to have more addictive personalities than I do. I was fortunate enough not to get that particular trait. My mom smoked on and off when I was younger, but she never had any major addiction problems. It puzzles me a little when I think how my brothers fell into the trap of addiction then.

So I am different, but how does that get to be an entire blog post? Well, I was thinking today about that. I am 28 years old, and I have just in last few years come to realize who and what I am to some degree. Growing up the only Mexican in a family of whites was easier than any person would expect, but my younger brothers sometimes made racial comments to upset me. They were never racist mind you, but we always did know how to pick a fight in my family. I did get to hear some truly horrible racial comments from strangers and aquaintences when I was a teenager in Florida though. Those never really had the bite they were supposed to have, because largely I remained oblivious to the whole racial thing. I didn't really know what it was to BE Mexican. It's only since I married another half Mexican who has had access to that side of his genetic makeup all his life that I really started to get it. What's more I never even realized that I look Mexican. I look a lot like my mom. So the fact that I was a tad darker was never really a big thing. One day I looked at a photo of myself and just thought, "Wow I really look Mexican!" So, here I am blogging about how different I am.

So what does that mean? What's the point? I guess the point is that at 28 almost 29 years of age I am just now getting to know myself. I've realized things about myself that I never would have understood had not the test of these past years come along. I realized that I am actually not a coward. I realized that I want to work in photography if the field will have me in some form. I know now why it is okay to be conservative and a minority. That the two are not at odds at all. Mostly I have have learned that there is always more to learn about one's self even when one is inching toward 30. There is a lot of life to live, and I am by no means limited by the fact that I am a wife and a mother of 5 children.

Maybe I over shared a bit, but I've had some of this stuff on my mind for quite some time.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Let's Have some Professional Pride Please!

As far back as I can remember school photos have been (mostly) about highlighting the awkward stages of our development. It's amazing how little has changed since I was child. School photographers possess the unique talent of making even the cutest kids look downright goofy. This is the subject of today's post.

I recently put my girls into public school for the first time. It was hard at first, but it is getting easier.I was homeschooling, but I soon realized that more than two students is too much for me.

Then came school photo time. It's the magical time when a parent has to debate weather or not to buy photos that may or may not turn out. We decided since it was their first year in public school we would spring for them. I'm not sure I will opt for them ever again. Let me explain. I love my kids, and I think they are beautiful as any parent should. BUT I'm not delusional, and I know a good photo from a bad one. This photographer took probably 3.5 seconds on each photo for each child. This person probably said, "say, cheese!", took the picture, and shuffled the kids off so that he/she could get through the day quickly. It's not that the pictures are terrible. They're just... awkward. Do you think this person could have taken the time to get just the right kind of smile? Maybe made sure there was no hair sticking up?

I remember one school photo that was taken of me in the 5th grade that turned out amazing (as good as school photos can go at any rate). The photographer took the time to make sure that I was posed and smiling nicely. It was a good photo. I just wish that the girls' school photographer had as much professional pride as the one I had for my 5th grade photo.

Don't you all think that a photographer better make damn sure that a child's parent can't take a better picture with his/her eyes closed? For examples please see previous posts.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Not Such a Stranger Anymore

I have been neglecting my blog. I have a good reason, I think. You see, I've had a lot on my mind. Maybe I should have been blogging about this all along, but, the truth is, sometimes one just needs time to digest everything. So, back to Blogging!

I blogged a little while ago about my sister. Well, we met! Yes, I know I just needed to be patient. I was, and it paid off. She had some things that she was taking care of in her personal life and wasn't available for a bit. So, I'm glad I waited.

My mom got the message she had been waiting for. In no time at all the two of them were making each other's acquaintance. All that remained was for her to meet the rest of us. She called me up that day and we had a nice chat. It was clear from the beginning that she was my sister in the deepest sense, and not just as a blood connection.

Her name is Jill. She is short and cute and looks just like my (our) mom except she has blue eyes. I have talked to her every day since we met. She grew up in Missouri, but was born in Illinois like all of us except Michael (the youngest). She smart and easy going. She loves to read, and hates cities. Unlike her little sis who adores cities. I just..... love her. I don't know how to explain how that happens between two people who have never seen each other face to face. It is what it is, and she is my sister.

I find myself feeling like more of her big sister. She is two years older than me, but she has a vulnerability about her that makes me want to just take care of her. I haven't felt this kind of protectiveness for any of my brothers. One could argue that a couple of my brothers have needed just as much care. I just want her to be happy more than I want anything for myself.

My mom is now impatient to get back to the US. She won't be back 'till July, but I find that I want her back sooner as well. I think she really likes it in Norway, but when so much is going on at home who wouldn't want to be back?

This post has gotten very sappy and it's time to end it. It's just too easy to express my feelings in writing. It's not something I find as easy otherwise.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

7 reason's why I'm glad Halloween is over

Without further ado:
1) No more pressure to carve the pumpkin

2) I don't have to worry about getting the kids' costumes together.

3) No more skeletons, zombies, vampires, or ghouls staring out at me from every store window and display

4) I don't have to say "hold my hand!" every ten seconds.

5) I don't have to count heads every ten seconds.

6) No more horror movies on every TV channel

7) The Internet is not crawling with frightening and/or disgusting images. At least not on the sites my children and I frequent.

I just want to add that I'm glad the kids didn't get a lot of candy this year. I will feel less compelled to steal from their stashes, and I will not have to hear "Can I have some of my candy?" every two minutes for the next month or two.

You all might have noticed that I am a bit of a wimp. I don't like scary things. When I was a teenager a was a little less sensitive, but not by much. Horror movies would make me jumpy for weeks after watching one. The first horror movie I swore off forever was The Exorcist. The next was Event Horizon which I was duped into believing was harmless science fiction. Soon I swore off all horror movies and I haven't gone back. Some of us are just more sensitive than others I guess.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Ocotillo: a poem with pictures

I'm naked when my flowers bloom.
My thorns are laid bare,
And embarassment shines
On my red cheeks.

When it rains I drape myself
In green velvet to my toes.
I feel beautiful
Both without and with my clothes.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Misunderstood Little Miss

I woke up this morning to loud hysterical screaming. All in a moment a million scenarios went through my head as to what could be wrong. I prodded James as I had been up nursing the baby at the time, and he jumped like there was a fire to go see what the matter was. The next thing I heard was arguing between James and Isabella. Of course I had to derail the situation. It seems Isabella was screaming for me at almost 6:30 in the morning for no other reason than to tell me that she really wanted to go to school. James was annoyed to say the least. He was in there arguing with her about screaming through the house so early in the morning and the fact that she was most certainly NOT going to school. I went in and felt her forehead which was as hot as it was last night. I told James not to argue with her and that I would take care of it. It seems I am always telling him not to argue with her. You would think he would know better. Anyway, I had to explain to this very irrational feverish child that she could not go to school and she could not scream through the house at 6:30 in the morning unless it was a dire emergency. End of crisis.

Now everyone who knows me knows also that I have 5 kids. Not so much when you really think about it. Even less when all are well behaved children. My kids are, for the most part, pretty well behaved. Gabriel is more than a little spoiled *coughdaddycough*. But for that he would be very good. As it is, I have to put up with a lot of fit throwing. *eye roll*

I have one really tough case. Isabella. Isabella has a problem with the word no. A big problem. I could say no ‘till I’m blue in the face and she would still keep on asking. If it is something she really wants then I and James are in for a raging, screaming, kicking, and sometimes biting and scratching hissy fit. On this I am not even close to exaggerating. I have learned to cut off the conversation on most cases when the argument is between her and me. I can say, “No, and this conversation is over.” It works 9 times out of 10. When it is she and James, however, I have to be brought in to derail the situation. When it is just him it almost always turns into the above extreme situation. She has no respect for his authority and he doesn’t give her the respect she deserves either. It’s so frustrating! I have told him time and again how to handle tense situations with her, but he just won’t listen. It’s like having an extra child.

Most of my family has chosen favorites amongst my children. (My mom excluded) My younger brothers are partial to Roxanne. They think she is cute, sweet, and kind hearted. They are right, but I can’t help feeling that Isabella is misunderstood and ill treated on the in-law’s side especially (my father-in-law and brother-in-law, Nick excluded). That is why I am so grateful to my older brother, David who blatantly favors Isabella. I know I shouldn’t encourage such behavior in my family, but there are so many things one can’t help. Isabella is so misunderstood by so many people that I can’t help but want her to feel special and loveable.

I recently found out that Isabella probably has a behavioral disorder called Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD). I get this really helpful newsletter that helps parents deal with difficult children called Empowering Parents. It has helped me a lot. My question to all of you is how do I get everyone on board with me? Should I just tell everyone that I will deal with her myself? Is there some advice anyone can give me on how to deal with my tough case?

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Stranger Sister

I had to obtain permission to write this blog as it requires the revealing of secrets that weren’t mine to tell. Having received permission I am going to proceed delicately. I don’t want to say or reveal anything I wasn’t given express permission to say.

I grew up with my mom and three brothers. Growing up there wasn’t anything I wanted more than a sister. I wanted so badly for my youngest brother to be a girl. That was not in the cards. I found out some years later that I already had a sister. My mother, when she was younger, had another girl. She, being young and broke, could not keep her. She did the very unselfish thing and gave her up for adoption. I commend her for what she did. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. She never really expressed regret for doing what she thought was the right thing. I always secretly thought that perhaps she wanted to have been able to keep the baby. She had been asked by various family members if she intended to one day look for the child she gave up. She always had the same reply. That this person had the right to her own life and she had no right to interfere. If my mother was contacted by her then it would be different. She would then wish to get to know her. I think that my mom wouldn’t allow herself to hope for something that might never come to pass.

I few weeks ago my mom received a message from a woman saying that she had been doing some research and she thought that they might be related. She asked if she could write back and perhaps they could exchange information. My mother looked at this person’s MySpace profile and discovered that almost everything fit. My mother wrote her back, but hasn’t heard anything since. My mom was very careful in her response. She didn’t say anything about being her mother. She simply responded that she might be right and to write her back with more info if she wanted.

There is no doubt in my mind that this person is my sister. She is the spitting image of my mother if there ever was one. She’s the right age. She was born in the right time frame. The real question is why did she go through all the trouble of contacting my mother if she didn’t plan on following through? It’s been a month since her original message. Perhaps she doesn’t have constant access to a computer. But if she could get to a computer to write the message to my mom then why hasn’t she since gotten to the computer to write back?

This is a difficult subject for me. I want so badly to know her, but there is nothing I can do if she doesn’t want the same thing. It is one thing to have another mother, but quite another to have an entire other family. I wouldn’t want to impose on her, but she contacted my mother first. One can make the argument that she was testing to see if the next steps would be taken by us. I don’t know her motivations at all, really. I just keep going through all these different scenarios in my head just as my mom has, I’m sure. My mother says that maybe she just needs more time. I’m impatient. I’m thinking of writing her and introducing myself. I’m thinking of looking her phone number up and giving her a call. I don’t actually think I’ll do that. I’m not that brave. I think I’d probably get hung up on, in any case.

I wonder if I should contact her. Take the chance. The worst case scenario is outright rejection. I think I can handle that. I haven’t known a sister all my life. I guess I can go the rest of it without. After all, I love my brothers. They have been the family I have known. The question is what would anyone else do in my place?

Friday, October 23, 2009


People who know me know that I like to take pictures. My favorite subjects by far are my children. They are pretty cooperative and I have gotten some truely stunning photos of them.






The girls tend to be more cooperative than the boys. I naturally have more pictures of them. I am hoping once the boys are older they will prove to like having their picture taken a bit more. Maybe I can even get them to pose the way I want them to instead of having to catch them looking cute.

Stay tuned for more pictures of my favorite subjects and more.


This is the third time I have named my blog. Originally, the blog was about my kids, but that didn't seem right. Then, the blog was supposed to be about other things, but that didn't seem right. This is my third and final attempt at framing a blog that somehow fits me. It is now about anything and everything happening in my life or anything I happen to think of as worthy of a blog post.

This most recent blog name is one I think I will go ahead and keep. I thought of it last night at about 1:30 am. I couldn't sleep, you see. I feel it is an appropriate name. My favorite color is emerald, and this blog will be about everything that I can think of to blog about. Wish me luck.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Friday, March 20, 2009

Bedtime at My House

Here is a little taste of bedtime at my house.

me: "Okay kids it's time to start getting ready for bed."

Kids: "I don't wanna go to bed"

This is followed by all this kids pretending I didn't say anything while screaming and chasing each other around the house. I finally am able to get them to put on their pajamas and brush their teeth.

After story time the kids are finally in bed. Sort of....

This is what ensues after the kids are "in bed."

"I'm thirsty!" x30,000,000

"I'm hungry!"

"I have to go potty!"

"Isabella is hitting me!"

"Roxanne was teasing me first!"


"Elijah is on my bed"

"Dabrel id mean!"

This is when I go put Elijah in his own bed and tell Gabriel to cover up and stay still and not to talk so Elijah doesn't think it's time to play. Then it's on to:

"Roxanne be quiet!"

"I am being quiet!"


After about two hours sometimes more if my husband is being overly indulgent with the youngest ones. They are asleep. Sweet, sweet silence! Now it's time to watch some TV. Only there is nothing on anymore since I spent prime time getting the kids in bed.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Birthday

So yesterday was Roxanne's birthday. It was mainly uneventful. She enjoyed the special attention. Although she did think she could get away with more just because it was her birthday. Every time it was made clear she could still get in trouble she would start in on the crying. She tends to do that anyway. The difference was that yesterday she tacked on a, "But it's my birthday!" to the beginning of the you-broke-my-pea-pickin'-heart type hysterics. She didn't have too bad a day though. It was a normal day, really. Roxanne does have such a sweet temperament that she thinks she can get away with more. Instead of outright defiance she just ignores me. It drives me crazy.

Anyway, we went ahead and got her a small cake and a little present. If a birthday is in the middle of the week we go ahead and do a small thing on the actual birthday. On the weekend we make it a bigger deal and have a party. Plus, we give a better present. I'm not sure what it will be yet. It's always the last minute with us. We have a good idea of what she wants, and we have to see how much that cost before deciding if we are getting her anything else. We'll see.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wind and Rocks

I guess I have to start out by saying that I live in Southern AZ. I have 5 children ages 8, 7, 4, 2, and a newborn. My two daughters are the oldest and my three sons are the youngest. That's enough to be going on with for now.

Today I made the kids go out back to play. I'm so sick of all the technologies keeping them in. All I hear is, "Can I watch TV? Can I play a video game?" It's non-stop, and on a day like today I was not going to put up with it. So, I kicked them out of the house. This is when my four year old, Gabe informs me that he is afraid of the wind. WHAT? Afraid of the wind? Come now, let's not be ridiculous. So, I ask him why he's afraid of the wind. He then tells me it's because he's afraid of the dust devils. For those who don't know, a dust devil is swirling wind that comes through and throws things around a bit. They're not usually dangerous, but I guess the other day when one went sweeping through the neighborhood it rattled his nerves. So, now he won't step foot outside on a breezy day. Try rationalizing with a timid and nervous 4 year old, and see how far you get. He wouldn't go outside for any amount of bribery or threats. He would rather take a nap. That's what he ended up doing. He NEVER takes a nap. Today , however, it was preferable to going outside with the lovely breeze.

Bell and Roxy didn't have a problem playing outside after the fight to get them out there was won. After a while, Roxy starts bringing me rocks. She's 7 and rocks never lost their appeal after the age of two. I don't tell her how uninteresting rocks are to me. I just politely tell her thank you and toss them outside later when she isn't paying attention. So, today she brought me a very unextraordinary rock. "Here, Mommy." she says. "It looks purple when you bring it into the light."

It never ceases to amaze me. She can look at the roughest most uninteresting rock in the world and find something she thinks is fascinating about it. Wouldn't it be nice if we all could see the beauty in things that seem ordinary at first glance? if instead of dismissing something as not worthy of our notice we took the time too see the beauty in it? Wouldn't the world be just a little bit better?