Feliz Cumpleaños Mami!

June 20th, 50 years ago, the best, most amazing, most loving and caring and nurturing women I know, was born.  She was the first of 6 children, the families peacemaker, the one to hand the last few bites of her porkchop to her youngest brother, who’s eyes teared over from still being hungry.  She didn’t have much growing up, but she always made the best of what she had.  She taught us that. “Maybe Jew no habing a lot, pero, Jew habbie sonting!”  Thats right mami! We have everything we need!  We have you! Gorgeous, fun, loving, generous, smiley, YOU!  

Feliz Cumpleaños mami! Eres la mejor madre.  Siempre me apoyas, y no importa lo que sea, nunque me das la espalda!  Gracias por enseñarme lo que es, en verdad, ser mamá!  Te debo todo lo que soy, y todo lo que seré…. 

       

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Blessed…

THOSE FACES!

THOSE FACES!

Two Sunday’s ago, Noah and Levi were baptized at our church.  I haven’t had much time to write about it, mainly because I was hoping to get my iMac into the Apple store for a repair (it hasn’t worked since the end of March, and I just haven’t had the opportunity to take it in for service) in order upload the 1500+ pictures that are currently stored on my SD card in my Nikon.  I have some really great pictures I wanted to add, but alas, I’ll just have to post the ones that people sent me, and that Callie and had the opportunity to take on our phones.

So back to the baptism.  I have to say (and so did everyone that attended), it was a beautiful service.  Our pastor had come over a few days before to go over the service with us.  From beginning to end, it focused on our little family.  It incorporated some our favorite hymns.  The readings (they escape me now) had to do with brother/sisterhood and loving one another.  One song that we sung that was performed by our choir at a music festival on the day the boys were born.  I had a solo to perform at the festival, and ended up having to cancel because I was in the hospital, and they sang it in it’s place.  Talk about full circle! It was just beautiful.  During the children’s portion of the service, our pastor explained to the kids what a baptism really is.  How it’s an outward expression of our love for God and an embrace from the congregation to love those children in God’s way.  And embrace us they did.  It was so touching to see so many people love on our our boys, our family, our friends.

LOVING THE STAINED GLASS

LOVING THE STAINED GLASS

For the actual baptism, the whole congregation moved to the back of the church where the baptismal font is.  It is stationed right in front of the huge stained glass windows depicting Jesus’ own baptism performed by John.  Also, a huge (floor to ceiling) pride flag hung in the background.  The sun was shining in, and there were rainbows everywhere.  The whole congregation and our family and friends stood around the font, as Noah and Levi, being held by their godparents, cooed and laughed and blew raspberries. Our pastor read some affirmations and the godparents, Callie and myself responded, and then she asked questions of the church and they responded as well.  Something along the lines of, raising them in faith, denouncing evil  and oppression both in our personal lives and in the church, about teaching and guiding them, and a promise to serve or community through God’s love.  We were totally with that, so every one said “I do” and “I will”.  The church reaffirmed the same.  Then she took the boys one at time, first Levi and then Noah, prayed over them, blessed them with Holy Water, making the sign of the cross on their tiny, curious (and not crying!) heads, and asked us (the 4 godparents and the parents and their big sister Mary of course) to put our hands on them as we all prayed for them.  I have to admit, I got a little misty eyed when people in our congregation closed their eyes, and with their whole hearts prayed for our boys.  Pastor K grabbed both the boys, walked around with them and showed them off the the throngs of people who were so impressed with how well behaved they were.

BLESSING LITTLE LEVI

BLESSING LITTLE LEVI

LEVI'S GOD PARENTS NINA (CALLIE'S BEST FRIEND JENNY) AND PADRINO (UNCLE MARCO)

LEVI’S GOD PARENTS NINA (CALLIE’S BEST FRIEND JENNY) AND PADRINO (UNCLE MARCO)

NOAH'S GODPARENTS, TIA NINA (MY BEST FRIEND NIKKI) AND HIS PADRINO (UNCLE JAY - CALLIE'S BROTHER)

NOAH’S GODPARENTS, TIA NINA (MY BEST FRIEND NIKKI) AND HIS PADRINO (UNCLE JAY – CALLIE’S BROTHER)

PRAYING FOR THE BOYS

PRAYING FOR THE BOYS

After service, Callie and I had set up a really great BBQ for everyone, and we spent the day passing babies around, eating cake and hot dogs and hamburgers, and enjoying the beautiful 80+ degree weather.  It was a great day had by all.  We played some games, talked a little more about our super inclusive church (we have a couple of new members actually), and just enjoyed time with the people we love the most. All in all, it was just a great day, with great people, celebrating our cute little guys…

Also, Mary wants to get baptized when she’s adopted.  That’ll probably be one of the first things she’ll want to do after we change her last name.  She’s all about that too….

They Like Me! They Really Like Me!

About a month ago, while I was in the throes of putting together my 30 Day Challenge together, I was nominated for 2 awards!  Woo Hoo!! I always feel like Taylor Swift, with this “OMG! ME?! REALLY!?!” face on every time I receive a nomination.  It really is awesome to be recognized for how cool your blog is, considering that most of us really love doing it, and enjoy sharing our lives and stories with others, hoping that maybe, just maybe, something we say will resonate with someone, will touch someone or impact them in some way.  It’s always an incredible feeling when that happens. So…the awards! liebster-award-discover-new-blogsShout out to Emma over at Mama Librarian, for making me feel super awesome.  The coveted Liebster!  Sweet! Head over and check out her blog.

  The Rules – If you’re up for this award, please add a link to this post in yours. Answer my questions, nominate 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers, and think up 11 questions for them. These are Emma’s 11 questions for me, and I’ll answer them as directly as possible.

  1. What’s your favorite book? I read quite a bit, so having to pick one favorite book has proved a challenge, but if I have to pick JUST ONE, I would have to say “Falling to Pieces Without Falling Apart” by Mike Epstein. This book changed my life in such a profound way.  It showed me (along with therapy) that I can feel what I need to feel, embrace it and not let it control me or my situation. It’s been highlighted in so many colors, and is in my nightstand for whenever I need a quick reminder.  I recommend it to anyone that has ever struggled with mindfulness and controlling their emotions.  Oh, and “Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Suess, because have you read it?!  It’s amazing!
  2. What were you like in kindergarten? In Kindergarten, from what I remember, I was a lot (personality wise) like I am now.  Loud, rambunctious, sassy, funny, active, and occasionally ridiculously annoying.  Also, I peed in my pants a lot.  Also, also, that hasn’t really changed much.  Callie actually bought be a pin that say, “I pee a little when I laugh”.  True! True!
  3. In a movie of your life, who would play you? Wilmer Valderama.  He is the male version of me. Ever since Fez from “That 70’s Show”, his effeminate, hilarious, ridiculous persona is EXACTLY who I am…when I am drunk.  Appendages flailing everywhere, a bit of an accented slur (English is not my first language friends.  I am an ESL graduate since the 3rd grade!  REPRESENT!), and the humor. Oh the humor! That’s who I would want.  Oh and if he can’t, then Edward James Olmos, because well, scary latino guy is totally me!
  4. What’s the best thing about being a parent? (Or what do you imagine it would be?) One of my favorite thing about being a parent is seeing myself reflected in my kids.  It’s still a little early to tell with the boys, but so far a few things I’ve noticed are that Levi has THE. BEST. sense of humor!  Half the time, he doesn’t even know what the hell he’s laughing at, but it is almost always ridiculously funny, except for when it’s bed time.  He also loves books.  It’s the one of the only times that his attention is focused for a long time. Noah, he’s pensive, and observant, and loves to be independent and do his own thing.  Mary, well, she’s a daredevil, adrenaline junkie who always wants to learn tricks on her scooter/skates/bicycle, and exhibits no fear!  That kid, she’s my little twin.  I never thought that biology would really have such a small part in who these kids are.  But then again, the donor had many of the same attributes that I have.  How does that explain Mary then?!  It was just meant to be…
  5. What’s the hardest thing about being a parent? (Or what do you imagine it would be?)  The hardest thing about being a parent sometimes (and this changes constantly, but this week) is not being able to protect your kids from all of the ugly out in the world, from all of the crazy, and all of the injustice.  You do your best, like your parents did, and their parents did, but the reality is that you can’t protect them 100% of the time.  Heck, if you can protect them 50% of the time, that’s pretty damn impressive (fill me in please!).  I just hope that we do well enough that they will stand up for themselves and for others.  That they will be kind and generous and loving.  I hope they are good kids, with kinds hearts.  That would be awesome…
  6. Introvert or extrovert? Extrovert all day! BABY BABY (said like B.I.G.)!
  7. What do you wish more people understood about you? I wish that people understood that despite my tough exterior (soft butch, 225lbs, brolic me) my feelings get hurt.  Not often (because I am able to just brush stuff off pretty easily, especially if you are irrelevant in my life) but sometimes it does hurt my feelings.  Just because I have a great sense of humor doesn’t mean that I’m immune to their “jokes”. That they don’t hurt and offend me. But I guess when I retaliate with a “snap/diss” of my own, it seems like it doesn’t bother me.  It does…it really does….
  8. Cat person or dog person?  Dog person for sure, although, I won’t lie, I never liked cats until I actually had one.  But I have also had dogs, and although I love my kitty (that best kitty on the planet, obviously) I’m not a cat person in the least bit, and will probably never get another cat ever again once Gracie is gone.  I can’t stand the hair and the liter box.  They’re both absolutely disgusting!
  9. Where have you never been that you want to visit some day?  Greece.  It looks so beautiful.  The color of the water.  The culture.  The history.  It’s my dream vacation.  Callie and I decided that when we get around to having our “real” wedding, our honeymoon is totally Greece. 
  10. Who was your favorite teacher in school, and why?  This is a toss up.  There was Ms Doherty, my 9th grade English teacher – she was the bomb dot com!  She was the teacher that got you to really LOVE reading, and taught us to be analytical and not take what we were reading at face value.  That the author didn’t wanna flat out SAY what he meant, but that you had to look for the meaning in everything.  Some of the books that we read in her class are still some of my favorites 15 years later.  Then there was C.C.  Yup, he let us all call him by his first name, because he wanted us to know that he was all about “mutual respect”.  “I don’t call you Mr. Smith, or Ms. Mendez, do I?  You can call me C.C., with an understanding that we are to treat each other as equals. I treat you with respect, and you treat me with respect.”  That’s what he told us the first day of school.  Then the next day, someone had gone into his desk, used his stapler, and broken it and then put it back as if nothing happened.  “Come on man!  Y’all need to respect my shit too!  I don’t go into your bag and break YOUR shit! JESUS!”  Yup!  That cemented my love for C.C.  We’re Facebook friends.  He visited me when I was in the psych hospital.  He invited me to his wedding.  He’s family…
  11. What are children today missing out on? I say this all the time… they are missing out on Manhunt, getting yelled at for not coming in when the street lights come on,  playing jump rope with all the kids in the neighborhood, getting sunburned cheeks and skinned knees, mosquito bites, jars full of fireflies, not wanting to go inside to pee because mom will make you stay in, and being embarrassed by having your government yelled out the window when it’s time to come inside. “SAMANTHA MARIE MENDEZ, you have one minute to get your behind inside! Don’t MAKE me go out there and get you!” They are missing out on running in the sprinklers, and Bazooka Joe wrapped in miniature comics.  They are missing out on “outside”.  Everything about it.  Know what their not missing?!  Screen time…

creative-blogger So fellow nominees, here are the rules: 1. Nominate 15-20 blogs and notify the nominees. 2. Post the link of the blog that nominated you. 3. Share five random facts about yourself.

1.  I’m not going to nominate that many people, because that just seems crazy, but I will nominate a few blogs that I feel people should be reading for a multitude of reasons.

  • Impossibly Royal – because I love that family, deeply…and twins!
  • My Kid Doesn’t Poop Rainbows – because REAL LIFE with a toddler.  And it’s hella funny!
  • Solo Mama – because raising a kid, on your own, in a big city, can’t possibly be easy, but she’s killing it, and living to tell about it!
  • Mama et Maman – because friends like this are hard to find, and their journey is totally worth reading…
  • My Perfect Breakdown – because courage, resiliency, and friendship…
  • Fisticuffs and Shenanigans – because no matter what mood you’re in, you’ll laugh.  And a good ole’ laugh at that!
  • The Other Mother of Four – because raising 4 kids is no joke, but they kick some serious ass! Smart, talented and beautiful family…and more twins!
  • Shawns and Cade – because they both write entries and it’s interesting to see it from both perspectives (and their little Bean is BEYOND adorable!), and I love them…
  • Bs and Babies – because they lost so much, but kept on fighting, and came out stronger on the other side.  Oh, and even MORE twins!

2.  Life as a Gay Mom – this lady, and her beautiful family, has some really insightful stuff on her blog.  I love reading her posts and enjoy getting to know her and her family better.  I wish we were closer sometimes, so we could hang out.  We seem like we are kindred spirits.  Go on over and check her out.

3.  Five random facts about me!  This is my favorite!!! <—-excited much?! 

  1. I can sing the alphabet backwards.  Been able to do it since third grade.  Really random and bizarre talent.  Something like 3% of the population can do this because our brains have a hard time registering the order since its been ingrained in us to learn it forwards.
  2. When I was younger, my siblings, my neighbors, and I made almost $70 selling lemonade in one weekend.  We also sold a stray kitten that we found when crossing a neighbors yard and we heard the meow.  The kitten was a third of our earnings.  We named him Cinnamon.  Then, we spent it all on a pizza party.  
  3. I was never nominated for a Helen Hayes Award (the Tony’s of High School Musicals in our area), but on every college application, I sure as shit said I was! I felt slighted.  I shoulda been nominated. I was the best damn jester that “Once Upon a Mattress” has ever seen! 
  4. I have watched “The L Word” series, in its entirety, 4 times. All of the seasons.  I intend to watch it again…multiple times…
  5. I wear my black “The North Face”  Hot Shot backpack EVERYWHERE! I’ve had it for 10 years and do not intend to ever get rid of it.  It’s my equivalent of a purse.  It’s been with me on every trip I’ve ever taken, every hike, every outing, every lunch date, every sports game, every bar I’ve frequented. I often get poked fun at because of it.  My friends remember it was one of the first things they noticed about me when we met.  “You and that big ass backpack,” they say ALL THE TIME.  I think I’ll pass it on to my kids…it’s pretty awesome…family heirloom or whatever….

The Briefcase

A few weeks ago, while Callie and I were vegetating on the couch, binge watching some of the TV shows that have taken over our DVR, we came across a commercial for a new show on CBS called “The Briefcase”. The premise of the show is that a family that is financially in need, is given a briefcase containing $101,000.  They are then told that they can keep all of the money, keep some of the money, or give it all away to a family that could use it just as much, if not MORE than they could.  What they don’t know is that this other family was ALSO given a briefcase with $101,000, and presented with the same information. Over the next 72 hours, they have to decide what they are going to do with the money. 

As the commercial is flashing for this new show, I had to do a double take, because who do I see?! None other that the very person I wrote a whole post about a few weeks ago. My first love. And of course, her love, and her nephews who they took in and have been raising for over 3 years now.  I almost lost it! It stirred up a few emotions.  Mostly sadness, because I know I wasn’t the best person to her.  I know that I hurt her, deeply, and I’ve tried over the past 10 years to reach out, make amends, own up to my infractions, and to no avail.  Never a response.  Dozens of instant messages, emails, phone calls, and texts have gone unanswered.  I figured, after years ( about 5 or so) of not having tried to reach out, I would take the opportunity, and the show as a segue to potentially begin some dialog.  So, I Facebook messaged her. Last Thursday. At 10:55am.  Probably one of the nicest emails I’ve ever written.  I told her how I had seen her in the commercial for the show and that I’m not sure what the outcome is, that they have loving and kind and generous hearts, and that the boys are gorgeous, and that they deserve all the best.  I still haven’t heard back from her. And honestly, I don’t think I ever will.  

It makes me sad, mainly because I’m pretty sure they are judging me for the person I was 10 years ago, when everything went down and when I was 21 and careless, reckless, selfish, and trying to navigate a world where I was in the midst of my first real heartbreak, living on my own for the first time in my life, in a new city, where I didn’t know anyone.  With undiagnosed depression and just breaking out and doing me, paving my own path. The person I am now, compared to who I was 10 years ago, is unrecognizable.  If they took a minute to engage, they’d see that.  Maybe they think I’m being disingenuous? Maybe they have a hard time forgiving and forgetting, which I TOTALLY get.  That concept can be sorta foreign to some people, even more so when someone feels a sense of betrayal and a certain amount of hurt. I get it…intellectually.  I’m just not that person.  I can let bygones be bygones.  

Watching the show last night, I got a little insight into their lives.  5 year struggle with infertility. Not enough money to cover bills.  Can only afford an apartment in a not so great section of Boston.  Raising two kids that aren’t their own and putting them through private school.  If only they knew how similar our lives are.  I don’t even WANT to be friends with them.  I just wanna know that the hurt that I caused them has subsided, for them to know that what they did to me is something of the past, and that both of us live full and happy and exciting and rewarding lives.  I guess this is just one of those situations that I’ll just have to let go of, even though its more about clearing my name than anything else. I don’t need them to validate that I’m a good person, but I do wish they’d give me that or at the very least aknowledge me, even if it IS to tell me to fuck myself.  I can take that! The silence though, that’s always tough.

The outcome of the show?! You’ll have to watch, but I will say, it was exactly what I expected from them.  Even Callie agreed. And I won’t lie when I say that both Callie and I shed a few tears for them…Congrats L & T on letting your hearts shine through…

Hormones!!!

Me:  Why is this house always such a mess?!?! I JUST a cleaned on Saturday! Like Clean, CLEANED!!

Callie: What are you babbling about?!

Me:  That it doesn’t matter how well or how many times I clean, it’s always a freaking disaster in here! (Huffing and puffing and organizing and putting random miscellaneous things away)

Callie: See! This, is why I worry about you being pregnant one day! You’re hormones are CRAZY!

Me:  It has NOTHING to do with hormones! 

Callie: Ooooooh Babeski, psshhh! (Laughing in my face)

Me:  ( Flips a box of Ginger Snaps off of the kitchen counter and walks away)

Callie:  (through laughter) Babeski, what the hell is wrong with you!?!

Me: UGGGHHHH! Just….UGHHHH!

Friends, when you have PCOS, a new and sudden surge of hormones that your body isn’t used to, COULD have crazy effects.  Flipping cookies off of the counter is not recommended.  Laughing wives aren’t either. 😕
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A Whole Year

anniversary-2xCan you believe that it’s been a whole year since I joined WordPress!?!  A whole year of sharing my life with perfect strangers, that in that time have become dear friends, who’s lives and families and hurts and joys and fears have become such a huge part of my life.  Being a member of this blogging community has also taught me so many things.  It’s taught me that no matter how unique I think my experience is, or no matter how much I think that I am the only person that has ever had these feelings or this heartbreak, or this hurt, or this joy, someone else, out there somewhere in their corner of the world, may just have gone through something similar.  Maybe someone needs to hear about my experiences to help them not feel so alone.

What started out as a journal of the days awaiting the arrival of our twin boys has turned into a written documentary of all the wonders and woes of being two moms, in a multiracial family, with twins and a foster daughter, in Suburbia, on one income.  Makes for a pretty interesting read, I’d say!  In the year that I have been on WP, I/we have:

This year has been full of learning, of loving, of losing, and of living.  It has been a year of gaining, of guarding, of giving, and of gratitude.  We have seen who is steadfast and strong in our lives, and who is fleeting and fading.  We have cried and carried on, and we have crashed and collapsed and constructed ourselves once more.  This year has brought us closer to each other and closer to God.  It has cemented the fact that we are a family, through and through, and like any other Great American Family, we struggle and we lose and we win and we are rewarded, and usually not in that order, and mostly inconsistently, but we’re alive.  And we’re healthy, and we’re happy, and we’re hopeful.  And we get to share it with you all. So here’s to another year of an awesome life, shared with really cool people (that would be you all!), right here in this space.  Thanks WP for allowing so many the simple pleasure or writing, and sharing, and learning…Cheers!