Sunday, December 9, 2012

Holy Smokes, I Am The Mother Of A 12 Year Old!

Today my baby turned 12.  I have been walking around shell-shocked all day and I'm having a hard time connecting the strong, intelligent, beautiful young woman sitting before me today with the tiny, sweet little baby with those big blue eyes and squishy cheeks. 
She was my first baby, the one who made me a Mama, transformed us from individuals into a family and changed our lives forever and somewhere in the last 12 months my girl grew up.  Maybe it was the starting middle school, getting a stylish new haircut or her first cell phone.  Whatever it was, she is ending her 12th year of life as an independent, confident, responsible and caring young woman who is setting this world on fire.  Now that all the parties and celebrations have ended and everyone has gone home, I can reflect on how completely humbled I am to have given birth to such a special being and how immensely proud I am of who she is and what she means to this world.  We love you Justice, thank you for all you are, you make 12 years old look damn good!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Baby Rio Turns 2

At first mention I can't even wrap my mind around the fact that is has been exactly 2 years since my Baby Rio was born at 4:15pm (a true SF baby!) on November 21, 2010.  But then when I start to think about all the memories and milestones she already has under her belt, it is really hard to remember our lives without her.
Her second year has been joyful and inspiring.  She began the year with the most traumatizing experience of her life, having to go to daycare (read all about it here), and was able to overcome the horror and create strong and loving relationships with her caregivers and fellow "students" (not to mention that I now get kisses instead of shrieking, hyperventilating sobs during morning drop off).
The worries and fears I had last year about our family's ability to provide our third baby girl with all the attention and love she deserved while also trying to keep up with the demand of her two older sisters, have faded away as I have watched her develop into a strong, independent being who is overflowing with confidence and will never allow herself to be ignored.  She goes toe-to-toe with her big-bad sisters and they have quickly learned who the real boss of the playroom is.  She has independently discovered things about the world that bring her immense joy and there is nothing better than watching her "read" her favorite books, hug a favorite stuffy and dance with every inch of her body and soul when her favorite jam comes on.  As I look back and reflect on how much she has grown in the last year, it makes me realize that all of the fears and worries I am holding on to today about her will be utterly ridiculous when it comes time to celebrate her 3rd birthday.  By then she will be talking up a storm and have a vocabulary too large for us to handle, she will be able to do every single activity in her gymnastics class and there will be little ones following her around, she will learn patience and forgiveness when things don't go her way and she will be a generous, sharing friend.  One thing's for sure, she will keep all of us laughing as she continues on her way through the world!
She has brought a completion to our family that we didn't realize we even needed, and each and everyday she reminds all of us that this world is good and that we always have many reasons to smile. 
We started calling her our "World Champion Baby" because her birth in 2010 was within weeks of our SF Giants winning their first world series and her 2nd birthday is within weeks of our team securing their 2nd championship in 2 years (we have as many trophies and rings and she has years), but it has now become clear that her "World Championess" goes far beyond baseball.  This girl is destined to spread love and happiness to our world and there won't be a blog big enough to contain all the accomplishments and experiences we know she has ahead of her.
We love you Rio Bella and can't wait for year number 3!
it has become a tradition in our family to make a photo/video for the girls on each of their birthdays, here is Rio's 2nd Birthday video:

Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Ode To The San Francisco Giants: Because It's So Much More Than Baseball

Dear 2012 National League (Soon-To-Be-World) Champion San Francisco Giants:
These are very exciting times to be a San Francisco Giants Fan.  As of this minute, we lead the Detroit Tigers 3-0 in the 2012 World Series and we are showing no signs of slowing down our winningness anytime soon.  It is hard for anyone in the Bay not to get caught up in "Giants-Fever", and for a family like ours who are consumed with all things Giants even when they are losing regular season games, this kind of performance from our boys basically makes the world stop turning.  It has been a long season. All members of my family were present to witness the very first pitch of  your very first 2012 Spring Training Game in Scottsdale, the memory of which seems so far removed from where you are today that it is hard to believe it happened in this same season.  We have celebrated with you during all the good times:  being responsible for the NL win of the All Star game, winning our division, knocking the Dodgers out of the running for the wild card, Cain's perfect game, the Grand Slams and most recently becoming the National League Champs (again!).  We have stuck by you and commiserated during the yucky times: B-Weezy's season ending injury, Melky's steroid scandal, getting swept by the Dodgers, and Lincecum's fall from grace.  We have loved it all, the good and the bad, the wins and the losses and through it all you have made sure to keep it fun and joyous for us.

A good friend of ours recently questioned the amount of time, money and heart we put into the SF Giants and asked what is it exactly that the SF Giants do in return for us.  His "what-have-they-done-for-you-lately" approach got my wheels turning and upon realizing just what it really is the SF Giants have done for my family during the 2012 season, I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to express our gratitude before you go out there tonight and win (or possibly don't win) that last game, because you know what?  It doesn't even matter!  Of course I would love and cherish another World Series trophy finding a home in San Francisco and I have the utmost confidence and belief in your ability to become Champs again but the realizations I have come to about what exactly you have done for us this season have absolutely no dependence on whether or not you win this.

It has never really been about the game of baseball for me.  It is true that I live in house with a husband and 3 daughters who are ball players and I have learned to know and appreciate the game, but my love for the Giants doesn't come from that.  For me it is about the initials embroidered on their hats and the words sewn across their chests.  The SF, the San Francisco; my city.  Whether we like it or not, these guys go out there and represent our city every time they take the field.  Even though the vast majority of them are not Bay Area natives and despite the fact that they have allegiances to other cities, countries or even teams, when they put on that hat and that jersey they are playing for San Francisco.  And that's where my love of this 2012 team comes from, because this team has played the shit out of this season and they have done it all for San Francisco.  Besides the fact that Major League Baseball still operates in the dark ages when it comes to women and gender equality (just had to make sure I put that out there!), I couldn't ask for a better group of players to rep my city. Every time Zito strikes out a heavy hitter or Panda smashes a home run off an all-star pitcher, or they show a close up of B-Weezy's nail polish, stereotypes are defied.  They have broken all the rules about the size, age, appearance, background or record that a ball player has to have to be a World Champion.  And isn't that why we all love SF so much?  Because we break rules all the rules?  There is a undeniable swag that we have in The Bay and this team has embraced it, perfected it and then put it on a national screen for the whole world to see and appreciate.  Although having my city finally being recognized as the best of something is definitely has its perks, that is an external situation, and doesn't provide an answer to my friend's original question of what the SF Giants have ever done for me personally.
The short of it is that the SF Giant's 2012 season has allowed me to defy my own stereotypes and break my own rules.  In recent years, with all of the gentrification, hipsterization and loss of diversity in my city, it has become harder to maintain my normal levels of pride for my hometown.  While I will still rep my city until my last breath, I am not blind to the not-so-nice changes that have plagued my city in the last decade.  I have lost huge parts of my community due to ridiculously increasing cost of living and have had a hard time watching new people come in and commodify experiences, traditions and identities.  It has been a struggle for me to feel connected to and not suspicious of my fellow San Francisco residents.  This week though, has been filled with random high fives, fist pumps and smiles from strangers on the street.  I have felt a shared purpose and joy with everyone wearing their orange and black. It hasn't even mattered to me if they ride a fixie, just moved here, live in the Marina, evicted someone out of the over-priced house they just bought or even (gasp!) just became a Giants fan in 2010!  Right now all that matters is showing our love for those initials on that hat, those words on that jersey and that city we all call home.
So you see Giants, it doesn't matter if you win tonight because this season you have already given us all the memories and experiences we will need to carry on the tradition of repping our city and showing love for everything and everyone in it.  My kids will live their entire lives knowing that they are a part of something bigger than themselves and that all they have to do is throw on their orange and black hat and they will be shown love by other Giants fans anywhere they are in this world.

Gracias Gigantes, now go out there tonight and do this thing for our city!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I have the most amazing children ever

Check out this little doozie Justice dropped on us this morning.  An unsolicited, self-motivated letter of encouragement to her little sister who has been struggling with her reading:
"Dearest Chuli La Freaking Awesome, You are the greatest middle sister in the world.  Nobody can wrestle, foam-sword fight and mess around like you do.  I have been listening to you practice reading at night time.  YOU ARE GETTING BETTER AND BETTER!!! You can sound out and pronounce words like a reading wiz.  Although to be the queen of reading (like you are already the queen of pitches and catches) you must practice like this every night.  Keep on plowing through those English AND Spanish books like a true La Awesome.  Don't forget...
1st is the worst goodest (Justice), 2nd is the all time best (you), and 3rd is the one with the treasure chest (Rio).  Have a great day, Justice La Awesome"

Ummmm, why is this child the most amazing human being on the planet??? Oh and then just when I think life can't get any better, Rio goes and poses for this picture:

I must have really done some stupendous things in a past life to deserve children like this....

From Vegas To The Velveteen Rabbit

The hubby and I took the plunge and made our first trip to Las Vegas last week.  It was 3 nights and 4 days full of alcohol, gambling, money-spending, late nights, sleeping in and most importantly: NO KIDS! This marked the first time the hubby and I have left the 3 girls and had a vacation of our own. Work and school has been, at best, ridiculous and we have all been running on fumes trying to keep our lives together, so needless today this getaway was just what the doctor ordered.  Highlights of our Viva Las Vegas experience included: our first crack at gambling and getting the chance to put-your-money-where-your-mouth-is and bet on our SF Giants who won us $86 by beating the Reds (the random amount of $ is due to my very superstitious Hubby who bet $22 in honor of his childhood favorite Will "The Thrill" Clark), staying out at the club until 4am and not caring since we could sleep until noon the next day, filling our bodies with all sorts of toxins and not having to apologize, excuse or defend any of it, and finally having the chance to wear all of the non-kid friendly, hoochie clothes that have been just sitting in my closet after late night, impulse online shopping sprees (including my Alice & Olivia navy blue-glitter jumpsuit, woot-woot!)
Okay, so while this story of a Mama & Papa letting loose in Vegas is far from original, the events that occurred within an hour of our return to SF are utterly unique to our crazy life. The week before our Vegas trip, Chuli auditioned to be a part of the children's chorus for ODC/Dance's Velveteen Rabbit show. Each year ODC/Dance presents this holiday dance production starting the amazingly talented ODC dance company who are accompanied by twenty adorable 6-12 year old budding performers and students of the ODC School. Big sister Justice had the opportunity to be part of the show for 3 years and Chuli is taking up the tradition for the first time this year. The first rehearsal of the children's chorus was Saturday at 3:30pm and our flight back from Vegas landed at 3:00pm. Grandma was all set to take Chuli to rehearsal and attend the parent orientation meeting to gather all the important details but we pulled up to the house just as they were leaving so I made the decision to take Chuli over to rehearsal myself. I hadn't had to be a Mama for 3 days and figured it made more sense for me to be there personally to collect the important info. This last minute decision landed me in the middle of a room full of stage parents being bombarded with questions after I was nominated to be the "lead parent" for Chuli's cast a mere 30 minutes after touching down in SF. Lucky for me, it was a sunny day and a bright room so I could keep my Ray-bans on without looking suspicious. Little did they know that underneath my aviators was a pair of bloodshot, sleepy eyes, connected to a very cloudy brain. I wonder if they all would have been so quick to seek out my wisdom and insights had they known that just a few hours prior I was dancing the night away with a drink in hand in my high heels and skin-tight dress?

Such is the contradiction of being a young Mama trying to maintain some remnants of a life and identity not connected to my kids. At the end of the day the girls are safe and sound, Mama & Papa had a blast and get to return to all our responsibilities decompressed and rejuvenated, and Chuli will blow us away as she struts her stuff on stage.
It looks like as long as I have generous Grandmas, adventurous friends, my Ray-bans and a little bit of Advil on hand; I might really be able to have it all

Monday, August 20, 2012

1 Year Later - Back To School Again

It has been exactly 1 year since I started this blog and began the process of trying to document the immense amount of awesomeness and craziness that goes down in our house.  It has been a year filled with first steps, Justin Bieber, baseball, ballet fresh sneakers, travel, the Occupy Movement, Big Girl Thangs, and horrible first days of daycare.  I wanted to share and process my experiences as a Mama of 3 very tough-cookie girls, and due to my role as that Mama, haven't been able to write about everything I would have liked to, but I am proud of my 17 posts and am officially celebrating my 1 year Blogger-versary by looking back on this past year according to Mama.

My first post was about the first day of school last year and here we are on another back-to-school-eve.  So much has happened in the last 12 months and when I think of who the girls were this time last year, any even more so, how I viewed them and mothered them, I get flooded with emotions of nostalgia, confusion and pride.
This time last year Chuli was just a little pip-squeak getting ready for her first day of kindergarten and I was completely worried that learning in a school environment was not going to come as easy to her as it did for her big sister and that she was going to go berserker and beat up all the kids on the playground.  Tonight she is a veteran 1st grader, who already has a relationship with her new teacher, has friends she is excited about returning to, is totally comfortable speaking in Spanish and loves to learn!  After the success of her kindergarten year and the relief of her finally learning to tie her own shoes, I am going into her first grade year with nothing but excitement for her.  I know that she will leave this year knowing how to independently read and that is going change her world completely. This girl already devours books with only her pre-reading skills and once she masters those site words and decoding methods, we will never be able to pull her face out of her books!  It will be a great leap in her independence when she no longer has to wait for her parents or reluctant big sister to read to her. 
Last year Justice was preparing for 5th grade and dealing with the excitement and anxiety of her school moving to a new campus, having her little sister at school with her and having to choose between all of her after school activities.  She was a joyful learner who was always excited to go to school.  Now she is a full-fledged tweener with an awesome new haircut and a chip on her shoulder.  School is not the fun place it used to be for her anymore.  The hormone driven drama amongst her classmates due to changing dynamics, relationships and behaviors has left her discouraged and skeptical.  Much of her learning last year was interrupted because of behavior issues and she has lost her trust in her teachers and fellow classmates to be able to provide her with a stimulating and safe place for her to learn in.  Even though her school is a K-8, which means she will not have to switch schools and attend a traditional big, scary middle school (a fact which I thank my lucky stars for every day since none of us are mentally prepared for that!) there are big changes ahead of her this school year.  There will much higher levels of pressure and expectations coming at her from all angles.  The peer stuff is just going to get more and more intense, her teachers are going demand more from her an she is already going to have to make some tough and final decisions about her life and future. Not to mention the fact that she will now have to walk to school by herself every morning since she has a different schedule than her sister.  This year I am truly sending my baby girl out into the big-bad world.  The truth is the amount of excitement I have for all the things that lie ahead of Chuli and Rio this year is miniscule compared to the amount of pure terror I feel for Justice.  This year might just be the scariest year I have yet to experience as a mama.  Everything up until now has been cake compared to all the fear, doubt and what-ifs, that come with being a parent of a middle schooler.

This year is going to be a bitch.  Besides middle school we are going to be juggling grad school, 2 full-time working parents and the terrible twos.  Our family is taking on several major challenges simultaneously and it will be a true test of our endurance and love to make it out mentally and physically intact.  But amongst the insanity there is sure to be hilarity, major milestones, celebrations, fabulous outfits and lots of love.  I am committed to continuing to obsessively document and compulsively analyze it all and I hope that you all will stick around with me for the next year.  Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more...

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Summer Rocks My Socks: Part 2 - Big Girl Thangs

This summer is not even to its halfway mark and is already full of all kinds of important milestones and accomplishments from all three of our girls.  It has been a bit of a whirlwind trying to keep up and adequately celebrate all the new skills the girls have acquired in the last month.  My babies are growing up and surpassing any and all expectations and dreams I have for them.  Here's some of the highlights of all the excitement that has been going on in our house this summer vacation:

Chuli Can Tie Her Own Shoes: I know that as a mother I am supposed to have undying faith in my children but Chuli's intense defiance and resistance to the mere suggestion that she even try tying her shoes had almost convinced me that she was going to have to wear slip-on Vans for the rest of her life. One morning last week she decided that she was going to try and lace up her Chucks by herself because I was busy putting on Rio's shoes and for whatever reason, the thing she convinced herself she could not do suddenly became possible!  It made me so happy to see her finally try and tie those shoes and prove to herself that she could do it, that it didn't even matter that her laces came untied 3 times from our house to her summer camp.   She is so proud to tell anyone that will listen that she can now tie up her own shoes and has been sure to pick out "shoes with ties" everyday since.  Those Vans are starting to look a little dusty... 

Justice Hits The Other Side Of River With Every Rock She Throws: Last summer on our yearly trip to the Russian River, Justice tried for an entire week to hit the other side of the river with a rock.  She was motivated by the $50 reward I offered should she be successful in her attempts, as well as her desire to have a better arm than her Papa.  On our last day at the river she managed to make enough contact with the other river bank to collect her reward but wasn't able to replicate the throw with any kind of consistency.  This year the first rock she launched hit the other side of the river feet behind the water line and 8 out 10 rocks thrown with even the slightest bit of effort have made it to the other side.  Good thing I'm not paying this year! 

Rio Uses The Potty: I don't know if it's her intense hatred of having her diaper changed, her fear of over-flowing landfills, or maybe because the rest of her family spends so much time sitting on the toilet that she has come to believe there is something magical that happens there, but at only 19 months Rio has started using the potty.  Not only does she ask to sit on the potty but she actually makes deposits, of the #1 and #2 kind.  And while we are still probably a long ways away from being able to call our 3rd born officially "Potty Trained" it is still pretty impressive.  And the decrease in our weekly diaper budget is a sweet added bonus.

Justice has started walking places alone: Next year Justice will be in middle school which means she has a new schedule that requires her to be at school a full hour earlier than her little sister.  Since I am not inclined to getting our entire family up and out the door and hour earlier than normal just to sit around the school yard for an hour until Chuli's classes start, Justice will have to get her butt to school on her own.  We only live 10 minutes and a straight shot away from the school and I walked the exact same route when I was her age but none-the-less Justice has been dreading this day since she first heard about it.  In order to combat the resistance to and fear that Justice has about getting places by herself, I have engaged Operation Solo Walk in full effect to turn this 11 year old into an independent, confident and fully-navigational machine by the time school starts.  She started in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica making the 5 kilometer bike ride into town by herself  (a perfect starting point as there is exactly 1 street in the whole town and almost zero possibility of getting lost) and today Justice can walk herself to and from Band Practice (which is a mere 2 blocks from our house), to Trumpet Lessons (4 blocks away) and her grand finale, a full 5 blocks to Starbucks to get me my Chai Latte!  I have to say, this is definitely my favorite development yet!

It seems like all of the sunshine & water-play this Summer has made my kids into fully blooming Big Girls.  While it is easy to miss the snuggly baby stage, I have to say that I am really enjoying the increase in independence.  Even these small milestones give me a sneak-peek into the fierce, strong, confident women my girls are destined to become, and so far the future looks amazing.  I can't wait to see what these girls will accomplish in the next few months and I will be there at every moment with my camera phone in hand to make sure it all gets adequately publicized to the world!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Summer Rocks My Socks: Part 1 - The Family That Carnavals Together, Stays Together

Every year on the last Sunday of May at exactly 8am our block is filled with loud bass booms and fast paced beats streaming from the giant speakers mounted on the back of pick up trucks and flat beds parked at the corner.  This invasion of sound officially announces the start of San Francisco's Carnaval parade, an annual event which brings together over 60 contingents who fill the streets of The Mission with music, dancing & costumes celebrating traditional & contemporary artistic traditions & styles of The Americas & The Caribbean.  Considering that all of the contingents line up on the corner of our block we all quickly learned that our options were to either join in the festivities or spend every last Sunday of May whining & complaining about being woken up to some one's sound check.  So my family chose to dive into the Carnaval pool head first and now this event has become one of our families most important traditions.
The decision to become a Carnavalero and dedicate yourself to this annual event should not be taken lightly.  Carnaval can consume your body & soul (and not to mention bank account) so quickly it will leave your head spinning.  There are definitely moments when the amount of time, money and energy we put into this event seems a bit ridiculous.  When our family hasn't had a weekend off in 3 months because of rehearsals, when my hands are covered in burns from a glue gun, when there is a thick layer of glitter covering everything we own (including my kids!), when we are awake at 2:00am sewing feathers, tying rafia, or painting a float, "What the hell am I doing???" is a thought that runs across my mind with quite some frequency.  The reality is that participating in Carnaval is hard work, it is expensive, and from March until May our entire family gives up and sacrifices all other "non-carnaval" parts of our lives but here's why I wouldn't give it up for the world...
Being able to dance down the streets of my neighborhood to a soundtrack of high-energy drumming provided by my husband and daughters is such a powerful occurrence that could only be possible during SF Carnaval.  The energy that is generated by such a large group of people of all ages & backgrounds who are united in the single purpose of celebration, is so intense you can feel it vibrating in your bones.  For 4 hours you are surrounded by nothing but love and smiles and the the joy is so intense that it almost becomes a physical being.  It is such a privilege to be able to come together with our family, our friends & our community to create something that brings so much happiness to the world.  The images of Chuli shaking her booty down 24th Street, of Justice and her father standing side-by-side as they bang out a Samba rhythm and of my Mama and Rio dancing together are what make it all worth it.  It connects us to our streets, it opens the door to summer and it is probably the only activity that keep every single member of our family happy! 
I will continue to pour myself into SF Carnaval every year so that my family can have the opportunity to make music together, to dance together and to spread love into our community.  And that is definitely worth all the blood sweat and glitter!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

La Familia Goes To Spring Training & Makes Papa's Dreams Come True

Our family has the most loving, giving, selfless, hardworking Papa ever.  He gives all of himself to making sure his family is happy and well taken care of.  Every year he works hard to take his girls to Disneyland where they can consume as much "magic" & "happiness" their little bodies & minds can contain, or to a tropical beach full of lazy days in the sun & sea that are essential to Mama's mental health, and on countless trips to the river where everyone can play, float and relax.  Of course he enjoys and is grateful for all of these family vacations but let's keep it real, when it comes to actually choosing our destination his role is pull out the credit card when needed and show up in the right place at the agreed-upon time.

This year it occurred to me that we should choose a Papa-themed vacation and let his heart's desires lead the way for once.  And of course, his heart pointed us in the direction of the SF Giants.  We touched down at the Phoenix airport at 10:30am on a Saturday morning and 2 hours later we were sitting 3 rows behind 1st base at Scottsdale Stadium watching Tim Lincecum throw out the first pitch of the Giants' Spring Training 2012.
our amazing seats for only $20!!!
The next 4 days of our lives were dedicated to nothing but San Francisco Giants baseball. We slept, ate, got dressed in our orange and black and spent all other minutes of our days at Scottsdale Stadium.  Justice had a blast collecting autographs and coming face-to-face with the players and coaches she has been cheering for from afar for the past 2 years.  She forgot to bring her baseballs to have signed to the first game so she improvised and had them sign her neon orange shoe which by the end of trip had signatures from Bruce Bochy, Jeremy Affeldt, Pat Burrell, Tommy Joseph, Brandon Belt and many others (once she started with the shoe there was no turning back)
Getting Bruce "Mr Big Stuff" Bochy's autograph
The 1st of many: Jeremy Affeldt
Even though  Chuli & Rio are still a little young to appreciate the mechanics of the game they found joy in the ball park snacks and lots of games of catch.
Chuli's Pre-Game Warm Ups
Enjoying their snow cones
As for Papa, it would be hard to pick what one thing was the best about this vacation.  He got to shake hands with John Miller aka "The Voice of The Giants" (who he has been listening to since he was a youngin'), catch a ball thrown to him by Melky Cabrera, personally say "thank you" to Brain Sabean for bringing his city a world championship, but most importantly he got to experience his most favorite pastime with his most favorite girls.  There is no brighter smile than the one Papa gets when he sees his girls getting pumped up about Giants baseball.  To have them find joy for something that has brought so much happiness into his own life makes him one extra proud Pop.  

Despite all of the exotic, international locations I have guided him to, I have a feeling that Scottsdale, AZ is going to make it to the top of his list of most amazing vacations.  As long as my family is smiling and the sun is shinning I guess even Mama can be convinced to return to this much desired destination.  
One thing's for sure, with the souvenir Papa took home from this trip we will be reminded of our Spring Training trip every day of our lives:
World Champion Ink By Clifton Carter, Living Ghost Tattoo

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Play Ball Like A Girl

My girls play Baseball.  Not Softball.  Hardball-smallball-underhand pitching-baseball.  They didn't much have a choice about it since they were born to a Papa who is a player, coach and super-fan of the game.  The first articles of clothing they all had placed on their bodies were emblazoned with the SF Giants logos and they all spent their first years falling asleep to the tune of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" coming from their Giant's baby-mobile.  There were always baseballs of all different sizes and materials in our house for them to throw and what kid doesn't love whacking things with a bat?  So yes, maybe they weren't given much of choice about what sport they would play, but they definitely haven't gone into it kicking and screaming.

The immense amount of games the girls have been dragged to or forced to watch (which all have  included in-depth running commentary from their Papa about what the players were doing right or wrong) along with Papa's willingness to drop anything and everything to play ball with his girls, have left them with some pretty impressive baseball skills.  Chuli's got a throw that will leave your hand stinging and is not afraid to get as down and dirty as her fav player Buster Posey, and Justice can field like a champ and make some serious contact with the ball.
As they have gotten older and have been able to take their game outside our backyard and beyond their Papa's lessons, we have asked ourselves more than a few times if they should switch over to play softball. **Let me stop here to make something clear: in no way do I feel like softball is any less of a sport than baseball.  Softball players are dope, amazing and just as athletic, if not more, as any baseball player** We are aware that for a girl, the opportunities to play baseball on a pro, college or even a high school level are minimal at best and that if our girls do indeed have some talent with the bat and ball then putting it to use on a softball field would present an easier and more abundant road for them.
As softball players they would have access to more teams, possible scholarships and even a potential career.  Women's Softball is a Olympic sport while Women's Pro-Baseball is limited to a few years of playing in skirts and one famous Hollywood movie that taught us all that "there's no crying in baseball!"  As female baseball players their paths would be filled with dead ends, closed doors and a whole lot of ignorance.  At only 10 years old Justice came face-to-face with the misogyny of the sports world when she was introduced to the middle school baseball coach of her future school who when told that she was a ball player offered her the position of "scorekeeper" on his team.  If this type of narrow-mindedness exists in elementary aged sports when there is little-to-no physical differences between the boys & girls, I shudder to think about what type of discrimination my girls would face if they got into to playing more serious ball.

I can get myself worked up into a nice sized furry when I reflect on the fact that as parents of girls we have to spend so much time considering re-directing our daughters away from something that brings them so much joy because of our desire to keep our babies protected from hardships and hurt that may lie ahead of them. It is utterly ridiculous to think that anyone would place restrictions or limitations on the potential of my 6 year old child based solely on her lack of a Y chromosome.  Although it comes from a place of wanting to protect my girls from discrimination, ignorance and negativity, each time I consider making the switch over to softball simply because somehow society decided that girls can't play professional baseball, I feel horrible.  I want to instill the belief in my girls that they can do or be anything they can possibly imagine.
It was not so long ago that the thought that a girl could grow up to go to college, have a job, or even vote was considered crazy.  There were families and communities of some little girls in that time that told them yes when everyone else around them was saying no and helped clear the way for all future generations of little girls.  Someone always has to be the first.
After all, if we all pull our little girls out of baseball, how can we ever expect them to grow up with the skills to strike out all these boys and knock their balls out of the park?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I Just Spent $70 on a Justin Bieber Birthday Cake

Oh, yes I did.  My credit card has been charged for $70 worth of chocolate fudge, whipped cream Bieber Fever goodness.  I will admit that right after placing my order, I was hit by a huge sense of buyers remorse as I realized that I, a 32 year old woman just spent that much money on a damn birthday cake!  The feeling only got worse as it started to sink in that addition to my hard earned money and besides the fact that I have both a household and an organization to run, I had just spent 20 minutes of my very busy life searching the Internet for the perfect picture of little Mr. Bieber and working with the bakery to design the most Bieber-est cake possible.

But you know what?  It might seem that there are far more important and world-changing things I could have spend my 20 minutes and $70 on but the reality is that when March 5 rolls around each year, there is without-a-doubt, absolutely nothing more important than celebrating my Chuli girl!  This year, if it's a Justin Bieber Roller Disco that makes my girl happy, then she will have the most amazing Justin Bieber Roller Disco the world has ever seen.  In Mama's eyes, for all of the love, joy and laughter this girl has brought this world during her 6th year of life she deserves the world's biggest birthday cake with the real life Biebs jumping out of it.  And even though I cringe a little as I fill up my shopping basket with every item they can fit his dreamy little teenage face on to, I know that the honest truth is I will continue to be the Bierber-Empire's #1 supporter as long as it continues to put a smile on Chuli's face...let's just all say a silent prayer that this phase passes a little sooner than later because the new life-sized JB cardboard cut-out that now lives in my living room is not exactly my favorite piece of household decor...