Life and The 30 Day Challenge – Day #11 & Day #12

Quick Update:
It’s been pretty busy at Casa Mendez these past few weeks.  We’ve been gearing up to celebrate the boys baptism, and have gotten together with all 4 godparents to purchase their clothes and jewelry and finalize plans for the day.  They are growing so fast! Too fast! A week from today, they’ll be 4 months old!  4 FREAKIN MONTHS!!! Can you believe it?!?!  I’ll update more about them in a week after their 4 month check-up, but for right now, they love Plaza Sesamo, their feet in the grass, front facing carry with the Moby, Yankee baseball, playing “Superman”, and hanging out with Mary.  And of course, an obligatory photo dump…

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Mary has been doing sooooo well this past week and a half.  We see a definite change in her attitude and her behavior since we took the therapist and the case worker’s advice to get more honest with her.  We have been telling her that she will probably not be going back to live with mommy, and that she will probably be staying with us as her forever family.  I can’t imagine that this is an easy pill to swallow for ANYONE, let alone a 7 year old.  She’s been receptive to us being her new family, but cries every night before bed and asks if it’s okay to pray for her mom.  Her prayers sound a little like this: “Dear God, please help mommy to make good choices.  Make her be safe, and in a special place that’s not jail.  I hope she has food to eat, and that she is healthy.  Let her know I miss her, and that she will call K (the worker) so I could talk to her and I could see her soon.  And take care of my whole family. Amen”.  This is her prayer almost every night.  Sometimes when it’s Callie or my turn to initiate prayer, we pray that her mom makes good choices too.  This always seems to help her get to sleep better.  We stand together on this.  We don’t want her to forget her mom.  We’ve seen the same photo album every night for the past week with the same 20 pictures in it of Mary and her mom.  We listen to the same stories, but we have to, because we love her, and we want her to know that she is safe and loved and taken care of. That her life before us, and our house, and are family count, and that it’s important to us. She cries sometimes just because, and we tell her it’s ok becasue it must be hard to not know what’s going to happen next.  She’s been extra cuddly, so we have a special spot on the couch now.  She’s had extra deserts and snacks and a little more freedom.  Anything to make that bitter pill a little easier to swallow.  She has another big transition coming up.  Her therapist (who is an intern) has been working with her for a little over a year now.  Every Tuesday, Mary goes to therapy and does some tough work (through play and art) to get her to express her feelings a bit.  They had a party for her therapist, and on Friday she brought home this huge packet of artwork from the past 15 months.  It’s pretty loaded stuff for a 7 year old.  It gave us a little more insight into what she is feeling and how she is processing what is happening.  The most recent sheet of feelings showed that she is sad because she thinks mom doesn’t love her.  That she feels happy because she has two brothers.  That she feels angry when mom doesn’t show up.  And that she feels confused because she loves us and wants to live with us and gets sad thinking about leaving, but that she misses mom and wants to live with her too.  I can’t even begin to imagine how I would feel in this situation.  All of that said, she’s been doing so well after us telling her that mommy is having a hard time making good choices and it’s not her fault, that to encourage her positive behavior, we bought her a bike!  Callie’s newest obsession (thrift/tag sale shopping on FB groups for a ton of second hand stuff) had her scouring these pages for DAYS trying to find a bike, and we nailed one!  $20, basically brand new.  We took her out for a bit yesterday, and this kid!  She learned how to ride a two wheeler, no training wheels, in 3.65 seconds, and we couldn’t be prouder.  The best part is, SHE couldn’t be prouder!  Total parenting WIN!



And now, back to the Challenge!

Day 11-Favorite TV shows

I can usually ramble off a list of all of my supposed “favorite” TV shows, but the truth is, there really are only 3 shows that I would consider my favorite.  The cancellation or ending of these shows would cause severe devastation, I’m not kidding!  That would probably get me to just throw my TV out of the window, since there really wouldn’t be much use for it anymore.  I have been watching all 3 of these shows since Season 1, and even when I am away on vacation, I have to watch.  I am a reality TV junkie, so it’s not surprise, that my 3 favorite shows would be in this genre.
3. So You Think You Can Dance – (season premiere on June 1st for anyone who is interested – YOU’RE WELCOME!) I have always wanted to be a dancer.  Not because I love to dance but because when I see people dance, it moves me.  It moves me in a way that evokes so many different emotions.  I cry more watching this show then I do watching anything else (except maybe The Biggest Loser).  The fluidity of their bodies, the pain or pleasure punctuated by each pointed toe, the heartbreak and the hope in each leap.  It’s mesmerizing.  And when the men dance, be still my heart!  My boys, they’ll be dancers…they have no choice! OK, they do, but I hope they choose dance, becasue it’s inevitable that this show will be canceled (sigh) and then what will I have?! Hopefully, two boys that can arabesque, pas de bourree, ciseaux, pas de duex with the best of them.
2. The Amazing Race – Just watching this show gets my adrenaline going like crazy!  I know, given the opportunity to have either Callie or Marco as my partner, we would totally be awesome at this game.  I’m a geography junkie, I’m amazing at reading maps (no really, like weirdly good, that I wonder if I was a cartographer in a past life!), I speak several different languages or enough that I can get by in the majority of the countries that they travel to, I’m not scared to try anything new (unless of course it has anything to do with snakes, lizards [but totally chameleons], balloons, or clowns), and with the partners that I would choose, our communication would be so on point, that we would kick some serious ass, and probably, just maybe, make it to the top 3 to win 1 million dollars.  At least I’d like to think so.  But seriously though, I would totally win!
1. Survivor – My all time favorite show…I have not missed a single episode in 30 season.  I can tell you what Players were in what season.  I can tell you the different places that they’ve traveled.  I can recite a play by play of my favorite blind sides.  I remember almost ever winner and runner up of every cast.  I live and breathe this show! 15 years of Survivor and I have yet to make an audition tape.  Maybe this year I will.  I know, with my ability to charm people, make quick friends, be trustworthy but also manipulative, my physical abilities, and how kick-ass I am at puzzles, I would be a tough player to beat in this game. Throw in there my experience with camping, building fire, fishing, and my construction background, I would be a pretty significant asset to my tribe. When I force ask Callie to watch with me, she is always like, “How the hell did you know that was gonna happen!?!”  And my response is, “Because that’s what I would have done, if I played this game!”  And most of the times, all of the moves that I “make”, get me (or my player) right to the finale. Top 3.  I can win this game, I know it!  So maybe next year, you guys might just learn my real name, when you catch me on the world’s greatest show!

Day 12-What you believe

This question can be answered so many different ways, and there are SO many things that come to mind, so I figured I’d answer this question with my heart.

I believe:

  • That love makes a family
  • That it’s never to late to learn to read
  • That random acts of kindness can change the world
  • That we value money too much and family too little
  • In the good in the world
  • In miracles
  • That everyone lies, as sometimes it’s necesary
  • In reincarnation (cartographer remember?!)
  • In God and his divine power, even if it hasn’t been proven to me yet
  • That smiling at random strangers can change their day
  • That we are all created equal
  • That every cloud has a silver lining, no matter how stormy
  • That everything happens just as it should and in it’s time
  • That everyone has a soul mate, but they’re just too scared, or lazy, or complacent or  scarred to keep searching
  • That Love doesn’t always win…right now…but it always wins at the end
  • That letting go is sometimes the best and hardest thing to do
  • That people change and there is nothing you can do about it
  • That people deserve second chances and sometimes a select few deserve a third
  • In Love…I always have and I always will

20 thoughts on “Life and The 30 Day Challenge – Day #11 & Day #12

  1. I am so amazed with Mary, I cannot imagine how hard this stuff must be for such a little person – heck, many adults cannot handle everything she is facing right now. As always, good for you and Callie for supporting her through all of this! And I LOVE that she is enjoying her new bike – such a wonderful way to celebrate her successes and to encourage her to continue working through all her emotions!

  2. Okay the boys are so freaking handsome. There’s some cute boy rainbow babies out there right now….watch out America! Just saying.
    Congrats to Mary for her newfound bicycling skills 🙂 I don’t want to shatter your dream but survivor was my all time favorite show until I watched the documentary on the show. It’s basis was the actors discussing filming of the show. Mentioning how hard it was to fake it when your sitting in air conditioning and then thrown into 110 temperatures acting like you have been deserted for an amount of time. Did you know it was staged…?
    I don’t want to be the one to tell you this…but I must. Lol

    • Lol! Oh I saw something similar…how the directors and casting people pick people will cause conflict…how they sorta dictate a lot of the stuff we don’t see like tribal council, how much food they’re ACTUALLY Getting and things like that. It’s all good tho, I STILL wanna play!! Putting 20 completely diverse individuals onto 2 teams of ten, have them work as a team, then Shake it all up by putting the two teams together and letting them have at it! TVM GENIUS!!! All those reality TV shows have some sort of staging, but being oitdoors on an island with minimal food and water?! I bet a lot of it is unpredictable!

  3. What an incredible, resilient little girl your Mary is. I’ve no doubt the love you and Callie (and the rest of the family) gives her is helping her process all of this. I love that you include her mom in your prayers, and use the wording “make good choices”. You’re all amazing. Truly.

    As for the Amazing Race – Sarah and I have long felt it was our destiny to be on that show. We are amazing at stuff like that (we always compete in City Chase and do well, we placed 10th out of 400 teams one year!) but one little thing gets in the way: she’s not American! And I simply cannot or will not apply with anyone else. So even if I can’t be on it, I still love watching it!

    And those boys…oh, my lord. They’re melting my heart over here! I just want to take their sweet little faces in my hands and kiss them all over!

  4. I can’t believe the boys are already four months old. I’m glad Mary is getting to have space and help processing it all, it’s a very big thing.

  5. Yaaas SYTYCD and Amazing Race. I am counting down the days until the season premiers of SYTYCD and Orange is the New Black this June! When we had the girls last summer, Wednesday nights were non-negotiable bedtimes. If the baby cried, my wife was on duty because I was not going to miss a second of dancing. Did you know that Amazing Race has its own game for the Wii? Pretty much only fun for nerds like me, though. I would love to try out for the Amazing Race but my wife doesn’t want to be on TV. The worst.

    How cute would your boys be as a tap-dancing duo on SYTYCD season 40?

  6. I am so glad that Mary has a supportive team and loving family to count on during this difficult time. I love the language you guys use with her to explain what is going on…. Eg making good/bad decisions, etc.

    I am very much moved by watching skilled dancing as well. I’m not sure why, but I’ve always loved ballet, contemporary, and modern dance. I think it’s the same allure as watching Cirque du Soleil athletes… It’s mesmerizing!

    I can totally see you kicking ass on the Amazing Race or Survivor. Have you ever considered applying? OMG, we would be rooting for you so hard!!! What are your thoughts on the current season of Survivor (white collar/blue collar/no collar)? DW loves Survivor, but I find that I can’t get into the show until there are less people still in it… Something about getting to know the characters more.

    • This has been one of my top 5 favorite seasons (Cook Islands, Marquesas, All-stars, Redemption Island, and Blood Vs Water, in case you were wondering)…I think that when the teams were separate they worked well in those little clusters, but the truth is, even though they were in those designated 3 groups, most of them had the qualities of the 3 different collars, so it was interesting to see what happens when they all came together. I CANNOT stand the freaking merge name…seriously “Merica”?!?! How unoriginal! And Mike, from the blue collar tribe is the worst…I’m so annoyed that he has 2 immunity idols, and that he is manipulative but in a really nasty way. But I love that damn show!

      And I have to mention, I have seen 8 cirque du soliel shows because they are amazing!

      • Yeah, I don’t like the merge name either. We couldn’t believe what an asshole Will was being to Sherene for absolutely no reason. She wasn’t even the one who accused him of not sharing everything. I liked Joe, but he was an obvious threat early on because he was so good at challenges and was nice to people. Both DW and I believe that we’d get voted off fairly easy on. DW because she’s so opinionated and doesn’t suffer fools well, and would be too strong at physical and puzzle challenges. As for me, I tend to make close friendships really quickly, so I would probably become BFF’s with someone and then they’d vote one of us off to break us up. How do you think you’d do?

    • I think that with my type of personality, I would be the person who would call people out at tribal council, and I would be the one to play the game similar to how Natalie (one of the twins) played last season. She had her core group alliance, but she would still have other people that she became friendly with who knew that she was trust worthy. She was funny, and she was confident and she did well at challenges. That’s how I would play my game. I would find the perfect opportunity to make a power play, and I’m the person that would look the whole island over for those immunity idols without even having a clue! I’m telling you, easily to the merge, top 5 no question. I’m a trustworthy person who can get people to do what i want (i mean, within reason), but still slyly manipulative, and I think that, my sense of humor, working well with a team, would help me get pretty far in the game. And also, i’m sort of a chameleon…

      • That’s awesome! I liked Natalie from last season, and was happy that she won. I wish I were the type to call people out on shit. I’m super trustworthy and likeable, but I think I’d get played easily too.

      • I think also, from what I have read and seen on interviews and stuff, that it’s much easier to play the game at home. When your out there, in 10 consecutive days of relentless rain, sleep deprived, very hungry, and disconnected from the world with a bunch of people you don’t really know and trust, shot gets real…real fucked up! So, it’s easy to say it now, but I’m certain it’s difficult to make smart decisions that aren’t impulsive when you take all that other stuff into account. It’s the most level headed people that don’t really change mich from beginning to end that take the money home. Ozzy, Vesepia, Rob, Cochran, Natalie…they all pretty much stayed level headed throughoit

  7. Does Callie speak spanish? If not, does she get annoyed by you speaking to your sons *only* in a language she can’t understand? Just wondering

    • She doesn’t actually! When I am not home she plays them spanish music and nursery rhymes on You.Tube, plays spanish network tv as background noise and has picked up some stuff here and there. She grew up with a ton of Latinos (they are all her dad’s boating buddies and her second family) so she understands a lot of it. It was something that we both felt strongly about. A second language now a days is imperative to learn and we both recognize that, so she really puts in a lot of time and effort to make sure that they get what they can when I’m not around. And I got h er rosetta stone for xmas, so hopefully she’ll have more time for that later…

  8. I love this entry for so many reasons! I think it speaks volumes that you include Mary’s mom in your prayers. She is a smart little girl realizing that good choices in life are so important.
    4 Months…?!?! Wait what!
    I love that you want your boys to be dancers. I have high hopes for Judge to be a dancer as well. That boy has moves and he is only 3.
    Lastly but certainly not least..what you believe is truly wonderful. All of those were very touching.

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