Posted in Uncategorized

JFK Moment

In elementary school, my Social Studies teacher assigned us the task of asking our parents if they remembered where they were and what they were doing when they learned of the assassination of JFK.

Of course they remembered. I think my mom even described what she was wearing. My teacher told us that one day we would have our JFK moment. For me, it happened the following year when we watched The Challenger explode on television while in school.

Turns out, I’ve had several JFK moments since then. I vividly remember watching the Branch Dividian compound burning. I remember the death of Princess Diana. I remember September 11th. And I remember Columbine. In fact, like my mother, I remember what I was wearing. It was a pale yellow sundress with baby blue flowers and a blue cardigan.

There have been so many school shootings since then. I don’t know if I became desensitized (God, I hope not) or if there have been so many that they are all just a blur (equally sad) or if I’m just getting forgetful as I age, but none of the subsequent school shootings became JFK moments for me.

Yesterday’s massacre has been the number one topic on social media today. I’m already battling mild depression and attempted to live in ignorant bliss by scrolling past the subject, but I found it near impossible. I’m not here to talk about gun violence or control, mental illness, or legislation . This is about the victims.

I watched a video featuring the lives lost yesterday. So much sadness, but when one name and face came across my screen, it felt like a punch in the gut.

Joaquin Oliver.

It wasn’t that I didn’t feel sympathy for the victims families or anger for what happened. Seeing each victim made me sadder, but this one in particular, well, tears were shed. The thought of one of my own children being gunned down made me almost vomit. I could taste the acid in the back of my throat.

I’m going to be brutally honest here. Down the road, I may not remember the name of the school, the name of the gunman, or even what year this tragedy happened in, but I will always remember Joaquin Oliver.

I hope this is my last JFK moment.

Posted in Uncategorized

Ollie the Toddler 

Ollie the toddler,

Is a lively, silly girl.
With a milk mustache, and a button nose, and a head made up of curls.

Ollie the toddler is a quiet one, they say.
She is full of life and her mother knows just how loudly she can play.

There must have been some batteries in that old, bright toy they found,
For when they placed it in her hands,
It began to make some sounds.

Oh, Ollie the toddler, is as active as she can be,
And her parents say she can play all day, as long as she naps at 3:00.

Posted in Uncategorized

Top 5 Reasons Your Eyeglasses Get Broken

1. You fall asleep wearing them while laying down with your toddler trying to get them in bed. You get up to find the toddler is still awake, holding your broken glasses.

2. Your toddler rips your glasses off your face, throws them across the room, and giggles uncontrollably.

3. Your toddler rips your glasses off your face, throws them on the floor, then repeatedly stomps on them.

4. Your toddler rips your glasses off your face, tries to twist, bend, and manipulate them like Stretch Armstrong.

5. Your glasses slide off your face while you are on hands and knees cleaning the toddlers mess. Toddler finds glasses. Glasses immediately fall apart.

TL;DR – Your toddler is an asshole loves you so much and wants glasses just like you!

Posted in Culture, Family, Food, Home, Personal, Relationships

An Instapot and a Pear Tree

The spoon touched his mouth and he began smacking wildly. Until then, my son had been exclusively breastfed and this was his first taste of food. I didn’t carefully select what food it would be, I just grabbed a container from the food bin. Turns out, I grabbed pears.

The following night, we attended a dinner party. My friend Lola began slicing a pear. I was watching her from across the kitchen island and was mesmerized. Either that was the sharpest knife in the world or that pear was made of butter (or “butta” as they say in the LuLaRoe world.) Her children gathered around, hands extended, waiting for their fair share, pear juice running down their face. My husband also had a slice, remarking that pear was probably his favorite fruit and recalling childhood memories of eating it. Lola was now holding my son and asked if she could give him a taste. I told her he had just had pear the day before so I knew he wasn’t allergic. He loved it!

Pears don’t come up in everyday life often and rarely on back to back days. When they do, I am reminded of a scene from the film ‘City of Angels’ where Maggie describes a pear to the angel Seth. Toward the end of the movie, once Seth has become human, Maggie rides her bike to the store and picks out a pear for Seth. (I won’t tell you what comes next because I’m not about that spoiler life. You’ll have to watch for yourself.)

That evening, once we were in bed – the time of day when my husband and I have the best conservations, I was able to confess under the covers and in the comfort of darkness that I had never in my life eaten a pear.

“WHAT? How is that possible?” He said in disbelief.
“I don’t know. I just haven’t. My mom never bought them while I was growing up, so I never bought them as a grown up. I am a product of my environment.”

I mean, I have had pear before. The kind that comes in heavy syrup from a Del Monte fruit cocktail cup. Sometimes at school we would have peaches and pears, also in heavy syrup. What I meant was, I had never held the fruit in my hand and taken a bite from it. I don’t know what that tastes like. I don’t know what the texture feels like on my tongue. I don’t know if they are tart. I don’t know how to tell if they are ripe. I don’t even know when pear season is.

“They taste like an apple, but sweeter. And softer. And jucier. They’re so go—you’ve really never had a pear before? Ever?”
“Nope. Never.” I said, feeling a little self-conscious.
“That’s crazy.”

Maybe it is crazy, but I’ve never had fruit cake either and I’m not about to start this holiday season. Speaking of, maybe I’ll get a pear tree for Christmas from my husband (even though I really want an Instapot… hint, hint)
Don’t get me a partridge though, I already have enough mouths to feed.

Here is my son with his first taste of food, eating pears, something I’ve never had. Ever.

Posted in Culture, Family, Food, Home, Personal

The Older I Get, The Sweeter I Get (or something like that)

I’m not overweight, I eat and prepare healthy foods, I go for frequent walks, and do not have a family history of diabetes, so imagine my surprise when my doctor called today to say I tested positive for gestational diabetes. I knew the possibility existed when I failed my one hour test, but I figured it was a fluke and that the three hour test would come back fine. I was wrong. After twelve hours of fasting, four blood draws, over four hours in the clinic, and one large sugary drink – I failed…
…and that made me feel like a failure.

My doctor called in my prescription to Walgreen’s and set me up with appointments to see his nurse and a dietician tomorrow. I need to adjust my diet to cut sugars and carbs. Honestly, I don’t even know what carbs are, but apparently white bread, croissants, tortillas, white potatoes, and pasta are out – so basically, my life is ruined now.
Not really.
Well, sorta.

Once I got off the phone with my doctor, I immediately texted the three people in my life that I knew would comfort me – my daughter, my mom, and my husband. They were all sympathetic. My next move was to Google “gestational diabetes.” I learned that it wasn’t my fault and I wasn’t a failure (even though I still feel like one.) Being a mother of “advanced maternal age” is a leading risk factor, and at 42 years old, I fall under that category. I also learned that due to the added hormones the placenta creates, my pancreas can’t make enough insulin to convert glucose into energy, so I have all this extra glucose just hanging out in my system. I still don’t even really know what my pancreas is.

My husband is going to stop by the pharmacy to pick up my machine and test strips tonight. I’ll meet with the nurse tomorrow so she can teach me how to do everything. After that, I’ll see the dietician so she can explain what I should and should not be eating. We will monitor it all daily and if there is no improvement, I’ll be put on insulin. Let’s pray it doesn’t come to that.

I must admit, I’m frightened. I’m confused. I’m overwhelmed. I’m trying not to add anxiety for the sake of the baby and my sanity, but this is really difficult to swallow. I never had any issues with my other full term pregnancies and knowing this could be age-related makes it harder because aging sucks anyway. I read that nearly 10% of pregnant women are diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and I am one of them. Apparently I am also at risk for a c-section, though I don’t know why. (DISCLAIMER: I have nothing but respect for mothers who have had c-sections. I do not think any less of them or their birthing method. My concern is that it is a major surgery and that is scary to me.) I have so many questions and concerns. The vast majority of women return to normal blood sugar levels after the birth of their baby and are no longer considered diabetics.

That is a statistic I hope to be part of.


Posted in Crafts, Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships, Work, writing

The Desk

After having 42 birthdays, the one that has always meant the most to me was when I turned 5. There wasn’t some extravagant Pinteresty party with fabulous decorations, a petting zoo, a professional photo shoot, and gift bags to rival the Academy Awards. No, it was a simple party with family only and a cake baked with love by my mother. My gift though, would change my life forever.
There was a gorgeous wooden desk fit for the President and with it were pens, pencils, highlighters, a stapler, tape dispenser, paper clips, folders, post-it notes, and several reams of blank paper. My brother and sister gifted me coloring books crayons, and map pencils. I can remember my mom helping rearrange my bedroom to make space for this regal desk. She gave my glasses from the kitchen that had Ronald McDonald and the Hamburglar on them to organize my prizes in. I was so excited to get started!
Recently on a writers forum I belong to, we were asked if we remember the day we knew we wanted to write. I immediately recalled that birthday and images of my five year old self, sitting at my desk played in my head. That was the day I decided I would pen books and illustrate them. I was going to write poems and also be a journalist. I had big dreams!
As I looked back to the day, nearly 40 years ago, I realized something I never noticed before. That large, regal wooden desk fit for the President, wasn’t even that big. It wasn’t that regal, either. In fact, it was second-hand. It had nicks, discoloration, and old pen marks on it. It was just an average desk my parents picked up at a yard sale. And all those office and art supplies? They were the same exact ones you could find at my parents’ offices. We were by no means poor, but were definitely on a budget back then.
And you know what? Now that I’ve had this revelation, it doesn’t change a thing! I will still think of that as the best birthday I’ve ever had. I will still consider those the most thoughtful and meaningful gifts I’ve received. They were better than any Barbie doll, board game, or the hottest toy on the market. They meant everything to me. They sparked my imagination and fueled my creative desires. They sculpted me.
Maybe I didn’t grow up to have a New York Times Best Selling Novel. Barnes & Noble closed before I could do a book tour. Maybe I’ll never make a living with my writing and that’s okay. It doesn’t make me any less of an author.
I’m proud of my accomplishments. Thousands of people read my stories. I have work that has been published with millions of followers. When I’m gone, my stories will still be here, and that’s more than I could’ve hoped for, even when I was 5.


Posted in Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships, Work

Like I Always Have Been…

To my husband, children, friends, and co-workers…

I wake up tired. By the time I make the coffee, get dressed, pack my lunch, and get to work, I’m ready for a nap. I sit at my desk, shifting around trying to get comfortable, but I can’t. The phones start ringing as I try to listen to voicemails and answer e-mails. They’re still ringing as I clock out at 5 pm. In between, it can be chaotic. This fast-paced, high-stress job drains me mentally; therefore, it drains me physically. I’m sorry if I get frustrated, if I get short with you, and sometimes I get angry.
To my co-workers, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll come back to work and handle that shit like I always have, just like you’re used to.

Once I get home from work, I just want to lay down. I know a nap is out of the question, no matter how exhausted I feel. The thought of having to make dinner gives me anxiety. I need to go to the grocery store and still haven’t planned our meal. It’s not easy making sure everybody’s dietary needs are met and all I really want to eat is chocolate chip cookies. I don’t even know if I can survive standing that long in front of the hot stove. The kids want us to go on a bike ride or a walk to the park. They want attention that I don’t know I’m capable of giving.
To my children, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll come home and be the Mom I always have been, just like you’re used to.

After dinner, I struggle to find the energy to clean. Just clearing off the table seems an insurmountable task, but we’ve already promised our friends we would hang out and I’ve put them off too many times in the past. When we finally meet up, I sit there smiling, but not really participating in conversation. My mind is a million miles away and my body is on the verge of revolting.
To my friends, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll arrive at our gatherings being the same upbeat, positive friend I always have been, just like you’re used to.

By the time we get home and get in bed, my husband is ready for my undivided attention and I don’t mean just making love. We usually talk, cuddle, and watch a movie on the sofa until I fall asleep with my head on his lap. This is generally the best part of my day. But we don’t do this anymore. I immediately get under the covers because I’m so wiped out. I’ve been shirking my responsibilities lately and he’s had to bear the burden of picking up my slack. That means more grocery shopping, meal making, cleaning, and diapering than he’s used to.
To my husband, I sincerely apologize. I promise one day I’ll be the efficient, multi-tasking, caring and loving wife I always have been, just like you’re used to you.

My dears, I want you all to understand…
When I wake up in the morning, the baby boy I’m carrying is already awake. He moves around, trying to get comfortable as my rib cage spreads. He anticipates my one cup of coffee as much as I do. As I get dressed, desperately searching for clothes that fit, he grows even larger. I prepare my lunch, wondering if we will suffer together from heartburn later. I get to work and feel his flutters with every ring of the phone. As my tension rises, so does his. He swirls around in my belly as I shift in my seat, letting me know he’s just as uncomfortable as I am. He pushes down on my bladder, sending me to the bathroom twice an hour. Once I’m home, he feels the work stress leaving and wants us to nap, but I can’t. He squirms around asking for food because we are both famished. My appetite has been insatiable. Following dinner he urges for rest, but I prepare to meet up with friends. The entire time we hang out as our children play at the park, he punches and kicks. When we eventually get home, I rush to bed, dying to lay on my side to finally feel the relief that never comes. I’m bloated and gassy. My baby boy continues to struggle in my belly as his space gets tighter and tighter. I sleep in short intervals throughout the night, waking up every hour after having the oddest dreams. I roll out of bed exhausted and start it all over again.

My dears, I want you all to understand…
When you need a breath of fresh air, you can just walk outside. When you need to go to the bathroom, you go alone. When you need a break from everything, you have that option. Even if you’ve been working, shopping, cooking, cleaning, diapering, and parenting all day, you still have the choice to walk away for a few moments of solitude. I don’t. No matter where I go or what I do, I always have the baby with me. There isn’t a sitter in the world I can drop him off with.

Believe me, I know I’m blessed to be able to carry this child! There are thousands of women in the world that would kill to feel what I’ve described, the good and the bad. I’m emotional. I’m irritable. I don’t even know what it means to have patience anymore. I suffer from bouts of depression. I don’t much like myself right now on the inside or the outside. I’ve become an ugly person. I look in the mirror and am unhappy with the circles and bags under my eyes, the weight I’ve gained, and my lack of make-up or hairstyle. I miss being me.
To myself, but I promise one day I’ll be the same happy, confident person I always have been, just like I used to be.


Posted in Family, Home, Personal

7 Life Lessons From a 7 Year Old

I love spending time with my seven year old niece. She is like a miniature version of my sister and playing with my niece reminds me of playing with my sister when we were little girls. She is smart, sweet, and just a little sassy. I am wildly jealous of her long blonde locks that reach her waist. Her maternal instincts are on point and when I see the way she mothers her “babies,” I think of her mom mothering me.
It’s a beautiful thing.

Let me tell you something else about her. This girl has no fear. She will get on stage for her dance recitals or speed down the hill in her Ezyroller, steered only by feet and instinct with no trepidation.

I am a competitive person by nature. Whether it is the co-ed volleyball team my husband and I are on or an innocent game of Old Maid with my grandson, I play to win. My moves are methodical and calculated, so when my niece hit me up for a game of Jenga, I cracked my knuckles and put on my game face.
“Let’s do this,” I said.

I intently minded her make her moves. She won four out of five rounds. While watching her play, I learned a few things:

  1. She neither hesitated making a choice, nor was she afraid of the consequences. She did not ask me what I thought would be her best choice. She made her own decision on what she thought would work best for her and went for it.
  2. If the piece she chose did not slide out easily, she did not give up. She stuck with it and kept wiggling until it came out.
  3. After she got the piece she wanted, she was not afraid to let it go. She was in complete control of that piece and put it back on top without a care in the world.
  4. When the tower got weak and wobbly, she did not get timid. She was more determined to get the piece she wanted.
  5. When the tower finally fell, she did not get upset. She laughed and wanted to restart immediately.
  6. It is completely possible to win Jenga while suffering from hiccups.
  7. Final thought:
    I wonder if adults spend too much time trying to decide what choice to make, considering all the consequences. She just jumped right in and her decision was right more often than not.



Posted in Uncategorized

Hey Mr. Postman

When I first started suffering from my sciatica, I did quite a bit of Googling, trying to find help. Many people suggested using a maternity pillow to get comfortable. Since I was pregnant anyway, I decided to give it a shot. After looking online, I found they were running upwards of $80 and I was skeptical enough to not spend that kind of money. 

(Lucky for me?) Amazon tracks my searches and sent an email informing about one that was $35. I checked it out and decided to give it a go. All the other ones with Chevron patterns in mint green colors were high dollar, but this one was beige. That’s cool. I didn’t care about color, I cared about comfort. 

I placed my order and anxiously awaited my package delivery. It only took one day for it to leave California and get to Arizona. Progress. The next morning, it arrived in Texas! I was over the moon. That was five days ago. Little did I know my maternity pillow would be on a road trip from West Texas to North Texas to Southeast Texas, then back to Central Texas. (I’m kinda jealous.) I watched my package travel via Fed Ex Tracking multiple times a day. They do an excellent job of updating. I was getting more and more anxious for it to arrive. My expected delivery date was Monday, April 10th, but when I got home from work there wasn’t a 7 pound box on my doorstep. I was disappointed. 

Today was my day off and as soon as I woke up, I checked my Fed Ex tracker. My pillow had arrived in New Braunfels last night and was out for delivery via USPS at 7:43 am. Today was the day!

Unfortunately, we had terrible weather. It was pouring, thundering, lightning, even hailing. We were under a tornado and flash flood warning. The skies were dark and foreboding, but I knew my box was on its way come rain, come hail, come snow or sleet, the postman always delivers. 

Here I am, laying (uncomfortably) in bed, watching for the mail truck, day-dreaming of my maternity pillow. Olive was down for her afternoon nap and I was afraid the door bell would wake her. Plus, I didn’t want the box left on my porch in such wet conditions. I must have stared out the window for 30 minutes, but it felt like 3 hours. When I finally saw him approach my mailbox I jumped up, ran to the living room, flung open my front door, and watched him stuff bills in the box before driving away. 

“Wait!” I wanted to yell. “You forgot my box! I know you have it. Fed Ex told me.” But I didn’t want to run out in that weather any more than he did. I knew that’s why he didn’t bring me my box. I closed the door, hung my head, and went back inside, defeated. I would have to wait another day.

My husband got home a short time later and I couldn’t hide the sadness on my face. He asked what was wrong and I felt petty. There was flooding in areas near us and I was pouting over a pillow. I admitted that I was upset overy my box not arriving. “Well baby, it was hailing. I’m sure he didn’t want to get out in that. Maybe he will come back.”

I knew he was right, though I doubted he would come back. In weather like that, you just want to finish your job and go home. I have two very close friends that are postal carriers and I wouldn’t want them out in these conditions. I let go of my selfishness and started cooking. I got into my groove, baking banana bread, thickening my carne guisada, and rolling out tortillas. (I had to include that, since it’s out of the norm for me.) I stepped out front to discard some cans in the recycling bin when lo and behold…

There was a mail truck pulling into my driveway!  Long after his shift was over and the weather had cleared, he returned to bring me my coveted pillow. He was kind and even apologized for not dropping it off in the hail. I was so grateful. 

Hey Mr. Postman, you’re the bees knees.

Posted in Culture, Family, Home, Personal, Relationships

Revenge of the Fifth

sound effects


Some call it karma. I guess I had it coming. I had spent nearly twenty-three years professing how amazing my pregnancies were. Hardly any nausea, minimal weight gain, no swelling, quick labors, fast delivery, angel babies that slept through the night and caught on to nursing at the first latch… Yes, I lived the dream.

Just before my 42nd birthday, I found out we were expecting. This would be my fifth birth, but I had an additional four I earned through marriage. I was no stranger to being a mother of “Advanced Maternal Age.” My fourth child was born when I was forty, but like the others, she was easy peasy. I am now in the second trimester of this pregnancy, or as some like to call it, “The Honeymoon Phase.”
Listen honey, if this is the honeymoon, I want a divorce.

I am tired. So very tired. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s because I have a toddler with more energy than a hydrogen bomb, but my guess is, it’s the new baby growing inside me sucking the life from my soul. Literally.

One morning last week, I woke up with a debilitating back ache. If I turned the wrong way, lightning would strike my spine and shoot down my leg. My right butt cheek would be left on fire. Apparently, our pending bundle of joy has caused my uterus to expand in such a way that I now have a pinched nerve. Sciatica during pregnancy is very real and very painful. I’ve been walking around hunched over like an old lady in need of a walker. I wince every time I sit. I can’t pick up my toddler out of fear of paralysis.
My best friend bought me a heating pad and I sit on a pillow at work. Also, if you’re wondering what that smell is, it’s Tiger Balm. Holy Christ on a cracker, this balm is the bomb! I slather that shit on like it holds the Fountain of Youth.


As I waddled up to the check-out at Walgreen’s yesterday, the clerk looked down at my purchases (tennis balls and an electric massager) and gave me a solemn look.
“Pinched nerve?” she asked knowingly.
“My baby is trying to kill me,” I replied as I stuck my card in the chip reader. That card doesn’t even have a chip. I sighed, swiped it, and gimped away.

I had done my research. Google, Pinterest, and my faithful Facebook Mommy Group (shoutout to MoNBU) all offered the same advice. It was jumbled mix of foreign words I didn’t understand like, “exercise, stretches, yoga, workout, asana,” and something about remaining “active.”
…Basically, there was NOTHING I could do except lay around and complain to my husband in between naps.

He’s been a good sport about it. Just last night he cleaned the entire kitchen. He hasn’t said a word about my acne outbreaks, bloating, whining, uncontrollable hunger, daily mental breakdowns, or when I complain about the painful cramping that turns out to just be gas. Ooops. Sorry, baby.