Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This is not your home, so put away the phone and get your business over with

Things I hate about public restrooms:

When there is nowhere to hang a purse. My purse is like a Mary Poppins bag. I have enough items in my purse to help me survive for at least 7-10 days after a nuclear holocaust. I have no intention of doing my business with the purse awkwardly hanging from my shoulder. But you can bet there is no way I am putting my purse on the floor.
When people pull out too many toilet seat covers and then shove the extras back in. Fact: no one wants to use those once you have touched them. They are wasted. Trash. I am not saying it is very ecofriendly or even the right thing to do, but I am guessing that most people don’t use the already touched ones. Same goes for toilet paper-- don't try to re-roll it. I AM NOT USING IT ONCE YOU TOUCHED IT.
When the floor is wet. Public bathrooms are sketchy anyway, but wet floors make me want to yack. I don’t understand it—does the toilet leak? Did someone miss the 10x14 hole that badly? That water is nasty and I don't want my shoes in it. YUCK.
Toilet paper sitting on the floor. Even when the floor isn't covered in sketchy water, that floor is not clean. If it was on the bottom of your shoe, I do NOT want it near any openings to my body.

How long people take. What are you doing in there? I don't understand what takes so long. I have had people comment on my swiftness because I get in and out. There is no reason to linger, especially when there is a line. Get off your phone and let me pee, dammit.

Unflushed toilets. I am all about water conservation... except when it means that I have to see the business you just conducted. FLUSH. THE. TOILET. And even more, I hate when people won't use a stall because the toilet isn't flushed. I repeat: FLUSH. THE. TOILET. While I can't stand that someone left me with an unsightly reminder of their presence, there is no need for the next ten people to witness it too. Do the rest of us a favor, flush and move on.

What do you hate about public restrooms?

for a good laugh

This is a real voice mail message that my brother got last weekend. It is hilarious. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

it's never too late for a beer, so CHECK OUT MY WEEK!

Have you missed me? I've missed you. This was a busy week and a great weekend. I have lots of blog ideas for this week so hopefully I will find the minutes to sit down and type them up for you! In the meantime, grab a beer and join Kim for another installment of "Grab a beer and look at what I did last week!"

grab a beer button

If you ignore all the media about the Sacramento Kings moving to Anaheim, the big story in the Sacramento area lately has been our weather. We have had rain for nearly two weeks straight. I know you Seattle folks are sad for us, really, but for us Northern California folk this is a little much. One afternoon we had a brief clearing and the sun poked out, but the clouds stayed dark to remind us that the rain wasn't done yet. It was much prettier in person than I was able to catch in this picture.

I hate going to the dentist. HATE. However I am happy to report that I am 29 years old and STILL CAVITY FREE.

My mom bought the girls these adorable outfits from a Janie and Jack outlet. Janie and Jack is one of those stores that I wish I could buy all of my girls' clothes from. They have adorable clothes and the quality is amazing. Of course with quality comes high prices, hence why I do not buy their wardrobe there =)

The boys drinking Car Bombs during Earth Hour. Earth Hour is NOT actually a drinking event unless you are at my house. This requires a blog of it's own... so tune in later this week.

Guinness, Baileys and Jameson seemed like too much to handle for me... so I started Earth Hour off with some champagne. DE-licious.

Ana and Grace both like to look at the iPhone. I was using the camera feature where you can see yourself and Ana was getting a kick out of it. These are just a few of the pictures her and I took!

Grace deciding if she likes to wear glasses or not!

Have a great week friends! And head over to Yep, they are all mine to join in on the fun!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I'm afraid of twitter

Twitter scares me.

I went to the twitter webpage to see what it's all about. There were no instructions. I don't understand all the @s, RTs and #s. I am sure they mean something, but I wouldn't know what.

And how do I know who to follow? What if no one wants to follow me? Then I will just be sad. And lonely. And wondering what the hashtags are for.

I am afraid that my husband will mock me for joining twitter.

And someone already has the handle I want- "eringirl." WTF? How did she get the same nickname as me? Can we take to the twitter and get my name back? I DO know how to organize angry blog mobs*, so really, she should be afraid.

Annnnnnnnnnd I might just have spent the last two years mocking people with a twitter and now I am afraid that I want one.

So there.

Ok all you twitter and non-twitter people alike... chime in. What should I do?

Also, I break all the rules we learned in elementary school about never starting sentences with "and" or "but."
I do it all the time. I win.

*Kim, did you write about this on your blog?! I tried to find something to link it to haha

Monday, March 21, 2011

remembering "the blue song"

I never imagined all the ways that becoming a parent would make me reflect on my own life. Here is yet another.

As the first child my dad had a lot of time to spend with me. Even after my sister was born my mom says he spent more of his evenings with me and she spent them with my sister. I have memories of us reading books and laying on our backs while we counted to a million (obviously I hadn't mastered counting yet...) I loved all the time I spent with my dad before bed. I think he must have too, as my mom reports that he often fell asleep in my room and she would have to come find him. Of all the things that I remember, one of my favorite memories will always be of my dad singing to me.

My dad knows a lot of songs and many he could even play on the piano. I was definitely a sucker for "Puff, the Magic Dragon." But my favorite song was "the blue song" which was really his mashed up version "We love you, Conrad" from the musical "Bye, Bye Birdie." He changed "Conrad" to "Erin" and invented some other creative lyrics to make the song about me. I loved when he sang me that song and I still love thinking about it today.

Brandon created a cd for our girls and I have been listening to it for weeks. The music is about children, about parents' love for children and at the end there are several lullaby themed songs. Although Billy Joel's Lullabye is sad in many ways, there is a line that really resonates with  me: "Someday your child may cry/ And if you sing this lullabye/ Then in your heart/ There will always be a part of me."

As I was listening to that song today I thought about my dad and "the blue song." All that time that my dad invested in me is not lost. Those are memories that I cherish; those are precious moments that formed me as a daughter and a mother. That line reminds me how important it is for me to make time for my beautiful girls. I hope that when they have their own children they will remember small but important things about our family. And when they do, it will be like a small part of me is present with them, just as a part of my dad (and mom too!) is always with me as I parent.

I am not naive. I know that I cannot manufacture these memories; I do not know what it is that will touch my daughters. But I hope to become the type of parent who gives their children thousands of memories to choose from.
What childhood memories or events do you hope to pass on to your children?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

oops. LOL

for my friends in reader... i hope you enjoyed my accidental post entitled "shopping cart etiquette." i intended to save it as a draft so i would remember the topic for later... and instead i published it =)

late to the linky party

It's still Sunday, so it's not too late, is it? Linking up with Kim! Grab yourself a beverage and check out my pictures!

grab a beer button

Mama and Gracie (I make a rare appearance on my own blog!)

The girls celebrate St. Patrick's Day in my old hats.

I complained earlier this week about all the rain in our forecast... well Friday afternoon I was literally jumping for joy when it started snowing at work! Snow at our elevation is not very common. The snow just started sticking when I left work, but since I haven't been able to get to the snow this year, I was delighted to see it falling!

My friend Jeff invited us over on Saturday night to cook an Irish dinner. He made corned beef, irish stew and a red cabbage dish. It was so delicious that I voted we celebrate St. Patrick's Day twice a year. Jeff agreed.

Brandon and Grace watched Notre Dame lose in the tournament. There goes my bracket since I picked Notre Dame to win!

The highlight of my week is this girl. She is getting her first tooth AND started rolling over. This video is like a minute long but she only actually rolls over in the first 10 seconds... then it is another 50 seconds of us trying to  make her do it again!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

i believe in cliches...

they grow up so fast.


one moment my babies weigh less than five pounds and can't even eat without a feeding tube. the next moment this kid can roll over and is getting her first tooth:

apparently my children teethe early. they are only 4.5 months old (3 months adjusted age) and they are already teething. my mom wasn't surprised since i also got my teeth very early. ana doesn't seem to be affected by teething. she is acting pretty normal. on the other hand, grace is showing all the signs of teething, minus the part where i can actually see or feel any teeth coming in. but here is a picture of her flying too =)

i love them.

Friday, March 18, 2011

weather.com is a debbie downer.

i love the rain. i love how green the earth gets from the water. i love the smell of fresh rain on dirt and pavement. i love the darkness and coziness that comes from a good storm. i love that rain in the valley means snow in the mountains. i love that spring rain means the lakes will have plenty of water this summer and we won't suffer a drought. i love the reminder that we need water to survive.

but good lord:


please excuse me-- i will be spending my weekend building an ark. good thing my children come 2x2.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

I love St. Patrick's Day

I love St. Patrick's Day. For the most part it remains untainted by Hallmark. Through reading blogs this year I learned that apparently it is en vogue for the kids to make leprechaun traps (or is this an old tradition that I just somehow missed out on?) Even though we in America don't really know what we are celebrating, I love that for one holiday we embrace Ireland, wearing green and bad brogue. There is nothing like eating corned beef and cabbage, drinking Guinness and celebrating little green men search for gold. Even though we are technically celebrating a Catholic dude, on this day we forget about the religion and the politics of it all and just have a good time.

My two best St. Patrick's day celebrations ocurred in Spain in 2003 and 2008. Guinness knows how to celebrate... by sending hats to the bars. Here we are celebrating in Spain in 2008. Please pretend you don't see my second chin. From left to right: Spanish friend Cristina, brother Ryan, sister Cristina, me.

Today I dug out the ol' hats and let the girls try them on:

Happy St. Patrick's day from my little leprechauns!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Back to work update.

I dreaded going back to work, but it has been three weeks now so it's time for an update. The verdict?

I love both of my jobs.

When I am at work I wish that I was working in the dealership five days a week. My current arrangement allows me to work from home 10-15 hours per week and I am in the store three days. I absolutely love being part of a car dealership. It is exciting every day. I am challenged with different projects and with the opportunity to learn new skills. There are so many interesting people, from my coworkers to our vendors to our customers. There is never a dull day.

When I am home with my girls I wish I could be home seven days a week. I didn't know how much I would love being a mother. I didn't know that I would enjoy watching every small action of their daily lives. Today Ana rolled over for the first time. It is adorable. I could watch it 1000 times and still think it is beautiful. I don't want to miss a single moment of their lives.

So right now I am searching for balance. I have to say no to extra work responsibilities so that I am not overwhelmed at home. And when I arrive to work, I have to trust that my babies are in good care so that I can focus on my job. I miss them like crazy.

Who would want to leave these two goofballs?! ADORABLE!
I know that I can be happy doing both. I am truly blessed and grateful that my job is flexible so that I can spend time with my beautiful little girls.

Moms who work: how did you feel when you went back to work? What did you do to make it easier to balance work and being a mommy?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

In awe

Watching a baby grow is fascinating in a way that I never thought possible. Before the birth of my children I never thought much about child development. But over the last few months I have been caught up in the daily growth of my baby girls. It is amazing how they learn to do new things daily, things that no one taught them, things that must be instinctual to humans. Watching these babies grow gives me a deep appreciation for the complexity of human life. I am in awe of the human body is designed to do.

Early on my mother-in-law declared several times that the girls were smiling at her. But I knew it wasn't true. Because when I saw the first real smile I recognized it, just like I know I will recognize the first real laugh when it happens.

Last week Ana learned that if she kicked the thing-a-ma-bob attached to the play gym that it would make music. Both of the girls use their foot to block the exiting water in the bath tub. I don't know when they learned cause and effect, but it is awesome to watch them do something when they expect a result.

I find it fascinating from the parent perspective that I never realized what they couldn't do until I saw them do it. For example, when the hand first made it into the mouth or when the hands first met each other. I suddenly recognized that I hadn't seen that behavior yet. For lack of anything more profound to say: it's cool.

The only thing bothersome about this whole child development is that I have twins. It is easy to compare them and begin to worry about the one who isn't doing what the other does. I know that all kids develop at different rates, but it is hard to suppress my anxiety when I watch one kid do something that the other can't. It is difficult enough to deal with the fact that my babies are anywhere from 4-8 weeks "delayed" due to their premature birth, but the additional worry that they aren't both doing the same things is sometimes hard for me to overcome.

Now, if only they could put their own pacifiers in their mouths and roll over soon, I would be pretty darn happy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

a short rant about time

Daylight savings time is a scam. We don't actually save anything.

Additionally, we do not get an "extra hour" of daylight in the spring or "lose an hour" of daylight in the fall. The sun is up the same amount of time, we just call it something different.

I love having sunlight in late afternoon and early evening like most people, but not at the expense of my mornings. It will be months before there is any chance of sun for my early morning risings (lucky me I only have to get up early three days a week...) I hate getting up in the dark.

And while we are at it, time is completely arbitrary. It is just a name we give to a point in the day. It is never consistent. In July it is sunny and bright at 7pm. In December it is dark. And is there some master clock somewhere that is keeping time in case all of our watches and clocks and cell phones die at the same time? And how did we all get on the same clock? And who decided on 24 hours instead of any other unit that could have been used to decide the time? Don't even get me started on time zones. As my brother once said, "Who invented time zones? They must have been drunk."

Sunday, March 13, 2011

grab a beer!

Kim is hosting a party and we are all invited! All you have to do is get the button and link on her site!

grab a beer button

Now, grab a beer or your choice of beverage and check out my life this week!

A long time friend came to visit me on Monday and she brought these delightful treats. Let's just say they didn't last long...

My Ana is starting to learn cause and effect; for now she knows that if she kicks that thing, the lights go on and the music plays. It is pretty amazing when you see your kid learn something new. Now if only we could get it to play better music...

Nothing makes an office party like a goat. One of our managers found that this guy had been cast off by his mother, so Boon (named because he was wandering in the boonies) got to come to work so he could get fed every two hours. From a baby bottle.

In the afternoons they get fussy so we go on a walk. This is the view with a double stroller.

Gorgeous early spring sunset in California.

Saturday morning with Daddy. (Are you reading his blog The Daddy Dialogues? It is great!)

My aunts threw a beautiful party for the extended family to meet the girls. The cake was adorable and it tasted like heaven with lemon filling.

And when we got home from the party Brandon had prepared this amazing meal.

Nothing says lazy Sunday morning like banana nut pancakes.
And after eating all the fabulous food found in this post, I must put my new shoes to good use.

Grace says, "See you next week!"

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

work in progress: ten things about me

i wear glasses. in the third grade my mom made me go to the optometrist. i was spending hours each day with a face in a book and with terrible headaches. he diagnosed me with an astigmatism and near-sightedness. i go to the same optometrist today as when i was 8. i wore contacts for awhile in high school, but i have learned to love wearing glasses. they are a fun accessory that i get to wear everyday! (one) 

i hate using capital letters. but i try not to impose on other people by typing in lower case letters all the time. today i am making an exception. (two)

i love salt. and everyone who has shared a meal with me is nodding his/her head in agreement right now. i am the girl who actually salts individual chips at mexican food restaurants. i can't help it. i love it. what's that? you are worried about my health? don't worry. i have low blood pressure and last time i had blood work done my sodium levels were below normal. (three)

i hate uploading pictures from my camera to the computer. it takes forever, i am impatient and i hate the process of creating folders, etc. of course if i made a habit of doing it daily most of the problems would be solved, since there would be less photos to upload and probably go much faster. of course then i would also have to find the cord. (four)

i miss teaching at loretto. i miss the students and i miss my teacher friends. (five)

i love working at toyota. the car business is exciting and always changing. there are plenty of challenges to keep me interested. i enjoy the variety of people that i get to work with. (six)

by nature i am a morning person. i love to be up when it is quiet and the world is awakening. by habit i am a night owl and i accomplish my best work in the darkest hours. at night i am focused and motivated to do things. (seven)

one of my "bucket list" items is to see a space shuttle launch. nasa is planning on ending the shuttle program so i think this is one thing i may never get to check off my list. (eight)

part of me always longs to be back in spain. in ten short months the people and the country changed me. if i could pack up my family and dear friends and all live in spain, that's where i would be. you would find me in a plaza sipping cafe con leche or hanging out at the local bar with a beer and tapas. (nine)

i am confident in what i can do and honest about my shortcomings. but i am always trying to improve personally, professionally and in my relationships with others. i am a work in progress. (ten)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Under a rock, under a stone, where will a bunny find a home?

One of my most treasured memories is of my dad reading to me. When I was a child he spent hours with me before bed. He read to me, we practiced counting and he sang "the blue song." I always knew that when I had kids I wanted to share this time with them.

Thanks to our wonderful friends and family we have a huge library of children's books. Already we have favorites like Time for Bed, Goodnight Moon and My Mommy Hung the Moon. We read our girls a book every night before bed. This is a practice I hope to continue for years to come. I like to believe that all that time reading with my parents is what encouraged me to love reading as I do.

This morning my mom was reciting words from one of my favorite childhood books to the girls. So when I got home I dug out the books I had been saving for years and read Home for a Bunny to Ana and Grace--my favorite book from my childhood. Apparently I loved bunnies, because my second favorite book was Little Bunny Follows His Nose-- a scratch and sniff book that definitely has no "sniff" left in it! You can see how well loved my books are. I hope my childrens' books will be as well loved as mine are.

What are YOUR favorite children's books from when you were a child? If you have kids now, what books do you love to read to them?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

One more thing about parenting...

Disclaimer/amendment to my last post.

I don't want you to think I am saying that parenting is easy--I know that there are challenging times, difficult decisions to be made and sometimes the day-to-day goings on in a family can be exhausting and freaking impossible... I just wanted to relay how I feel about my general philosophy about parenting. And in ten years I may be telling y'all how wrong I was...!

My infantile reflection on motherhood

There was a lot going on today in my blog world about parenting. Kim asked me last week about something I had written about giving of yourself to be a mother and then she wrote a great post today about the difficulty of parenting. It got me thinking... Those two women are years ahead of me in parenting experience (let's be honest, I am still in the infancy stage!) so I know that my reflection may be considered infantile as well.

As a teenager and adult I've spent many hours serving others. I built houses and worked in a soup kitchen in Mexico. I collected diapers for local women and children's centers and helped the poor in my community. When we perform works of service we "abandon" ourselves in a spiritual sense to put others' needs ahead of our own. Performing such works of service is not always pretty and sometimes goes unnoticed. It is hard work and can go unrewarded. Some days doing community or Christian service is downright hard. It is not unlike being a parent.

I believe that to be a good parent you must give of yourself fully to your children. Even though I am a new mom, I learned quickly that I need to "abandon" myself to serve them best. I don't think it is hard to be a good parent-- I think that it is hard to put other people entirely ahead of ourselves. We live in a society that is so much about self-fulfillment; serving others is low on the list of our priorities. Most of the time putting my children first is simple. I am so overwhelmed by my love for them that I want the best for them. But occasionally I long for the selfish moments--where I had some money to spend on myself and time to freely go wherever I wanted.

Many women disagree with the idea that motherhood means giving yourself fully to your children because they don't think they need to sacrifice who they are to be a mom. I have heard women without children (and maybe even myself before having kids) say that they won't change their way of life for a baby. It's as if we have visions of carrying our children as an accessory. But the best moms that I know, including my own, put much of their own lives on hold for the sake of their children. Giving yourself fully to your kids doesn't mean you can't have your own friends and pursue your own interests. But it does mean that you will priortize based on the needs of your children. So I don't think parenting is hard. I think being selfless is hard.
I am in admiration of the mother's I know who are selfless everyday. Their job is hard. And children don't appreciate the difficulty of giving oneself to another; they likely will not understand until the moment they hold their own child in their arms.
There are days ahead of me where there will be children whining, screaming and demanding attention. I will get frustrated, angry and upset. I know there are days when I won't think I can do it anymore and want to throw in the towel. Shoot, even this afternoon I was overwhelmed to the point of tears with two crying babies. But motherhood is a form of service, where we give ourselves to our vulnerable children so that through our service to them, they will grow into selfless people who, in turn, will serve the world and their own families.

I have a lot of years of motherhood in front of me. I know they won't all be easy. In the end, I hope that I look back on those years pridefully, knowing that I tried the best I could to raise them with love.

And the days that I just can't do it anymore? Those are probably the days you will find me getting a pedicure...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Why I am not afraid of having teenage daughters

Teenagers are awesome.

I was a teenager for seven years... (approximately the same amount of time that everyone spends as a teenager). I had my awkward hair days, poorly dressed grunge days, and challenge-my-mom days. There were days when I felt unworthy, times when I felt unnoticed, moments when I was lonely. Sometimes I was moody, other times defiant. Most of the time I was happy, even amidst a crazy extracurricular schedule that was demanding on my time. I had great friends who supported me, loved me and helped me grow. I'd like to think that I was a "normal" teen.

Once people get past the initial "Oh, wow you have twins!" excitement, the focus often turns to "Oh, just wait. You will have TWO teenagers!" For some reason, this doesn't scare me. I spent nearly all of my twenties working with teenagers. I started working at a youth group in San Diego, where I first fell in love with working with teens. When I returned to Sacramento I coached my first season as a high school swim coach. Then I accepted a job at an all-girls high school where I taught and coached swimming for four years. And after the school was closed, I spent another two summers coaching a recreation swim team.

The bottom line? I love teenagers.

They are all angsty and defiant and want to rebel. They talk back, use foul language and pretend like they don't care. Teenagers think we adults are unreasonable, irrational and that we just don't understand. But I know that they talk bigger than they feel, that they act cooler than they feel, and that deep down they are trying to find who they are and be accepted as that person. Teenage friendships are difficult as these young men and women make choices about drugs, alcohol and sex. In a time of life when desire for independence and rebellion grows, our teens are asked to be the best students they can be, to focus on academics and extracurriculars with college riding on their every action. On top of it all--girls are mean and teens are hormonal. Being a teenager sucks. They are sometimes a real pain in the ass, too.

But I adore them. They are honest and they are trusting. They seek adults who believe in them. They want role models who challenge them. They are funny and smart. Teenagers are sponges for information. They want to make a difference in the world. They are creative and innovative.  Everyday I worked with teenagers has been a blessing. Each of those days was a joy. Now that I don't interact with them on a daily basis, I miss them.

I know that having teenage children will not be the same as having students or athletes. I don't believe in the friendship model of parenting (that is a post for its own day) so you will never see me being buddies with my teenage kids. I know it will be challenging to have teenagers. They will test my patience and my faith. They will have me up worrying over who they are with, what they are doing and if they are safe. We will fight over rules, boundaries, dating and clothes. There will be crying and yelling. My children will get in trouble. We will all make mistakes.

I was a rollercoaster of emotions in my teenage years; there was a lot of crying around age 16. My mom and I argued a lot. But I had good parents and I never doubted that they loved me. I hope my girls know that I love them as my parents loved me. I hope they will know that I admire and adore them even more than I did for all of my students and swimmers. I hope they know that even when they are misbehaving and challenging my every word, that they make me laugh and they make me proud.

Those seven teenage years are special, if not difficult. But I choose to look forward to them as part of the path of my children's lives, knowing that those years will be formative and influential for the people they are to become. I just hope they ditch the flannel and army boots of my early teenage years.

(My Loretto girls... I miss you!)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I went back to work and I need new pants

I survived my first day back at work. More importantly, I made it through my first workday without my girls. I definitely missed them and I thought about them all the time, but it was better than I had prepared myself for. I know now that I can do it. I have to say that I left my house this morning with my heart at ease, thanks in most part to the fact that I knew my girls were in good hands and that Brandon would be getting home at a reasonable hour. And seeing their faces when I walked in the door filled my heart and I know that I can still be a good mom while I do good work.

Speaking of work: it is strange to return to a place that has gone on without you for four months. One thing I have learned in the last few years is that none of us is irreplacable. While we may be an asset to our company, they will survive in our absence. I am grateful that there were people waiting for me with projects and ideas, which at least makes me feel valuable!

Now to important things. I need new pants.

I have had no reason to try on any of my work pants. So getting dressed this morning was slightly comical as I threw down every pair of pants I tried on. Nothing quite fits right these days. BLAH.

This blog post is really unexciting.

Have you checked out my husband's blog yet?