Category Archives: My family

Go and Do and Be and See

I met Mr. P when he was 1/2 way across the world in the Middle East.  Here’s a link to that story because we’re going to talk other stuff  The letter that started it all Filipino born and raised he entered America at 18yrs, lived in Chicago for a short time (frost bite on Filipino bodies is particularly traumatizing) before quickly signing onto the 82nd Airborne where he got his cute, little, recently American, frozen toosh shipped over seas into a rough area.  This boy can truly live and function anywhere.  He can bloom wherever he’s planted and has an adaptability comparable to a dandelion (total compliment, honestly)

I was a home-grown girl who lived with an adventurous and daring mother.  She was/is a free spirit who longed to see the world and was always pushing us to go further than we planned (both with travel and life goals).  Thanks to her, we traveled more than your average family back in the 70-80’s.  My dad was a nervous wreck and if up to him we would’ve stayed in our back yard all year long.  But he loved big.  He gave big. So needless to say, he traveled…often.  I gained an education in new vocabulary words and hand gestures as he frantically navigated our HUGE 1970 BUICK SKYLARK through Chicago traffic while we traveled cross country to Montana.  Here’s a peak at one of our trips….Montana, like I KNOW you’ve never experienced.

Thanks to these life events, Mr. P and I knew the importance of experiencing our world.   A long time ago we decided to invest in life experiences rather than “stuff.” And we have held onto this motto since our early newlywed days living in Washington D.C.  For a young, newly married couple, we had a lot of money and could’ve spent it on anything. We made choices.

A few of the choices we made…..While other people had luxury apartments, we opted to be bargain cellar dwellers right in the heart of NW D.C. We were living, breathing vampires each time we exited our apartment and the sunlight touched our bodies.  We actually cringed and threw our hands over our faces.  I do believe our bodies singed and smoked slightly. We had to access our basement apartment off of a dark alley way. Talk about shadows in the night?  We often worked opposite shifts which left me coming home alone.  At night. But I was a vampire, remember?  I got this. I perfected my “I’ll-jack-you-up-if-you-lay-a hand-on-me”  confident walk (I actually believe I’m good enough to teach some techniques).   We had an old tube TV with rabbit ear antenna and drove a banger Toyota death trap (because who really NEEDS a car in the city?) And when our banger Toyota got scraped, hit, keyed or egged we didn’t bleed out and die.  Vamps suck blood, we don’t lose it.

BUT what did we GAIN from these choices?  EATING out EVERY dang time we WANTED, WHENEVER we wanted!  Do you know there is Ethiopian food and it’s really GOOD?!? We ate our way through all of DC those 3 years without even losing a fang and it was divine.  Of course we toured and traveled and spent our money on experiences rather than being strapped to a luxury apartment, expensive furnishings or a fancy car.

We invested in life experiences.

Fast forward to three kids and our current suburban lives.  Ahh suburbia.  Keeping up with the Joneses was coined for a reason.  Yes, we live in an affluent area where the average house price is close $500K and beyond. However, keeping true to our motto, we purchased an older split entry level 3 bedroom home (4 if you count the bedroom we added on – yes ADD ON construction!) We drive average cars.  We try our best to live on one income even though we both work.  Sticking to one income living and saving most of the second income has allowed us the freedom to travel when and where we want, resign from work when an arrogant, narcissist obtains employment and take time to find another job without the stress, pressure and panic.  I much prefer this option over being financially trapped in an abusive situation.

But we now have kids.  And kids like “stuff.”

Each and every one of our kids has experienced the jaw dropping moment when they go over to a friend’s 5 bedroom house and their bedroom with attached bath (I’m told all kids need their own bathroom) is larger than our entire home, with a theater room (according to many families this is a need not a want), an exercise room, a pantry larger than my kitchen (and my kitchen is pretty large – again, add on!)  and an outside oasis.

It’s inevitable.  They come home looking as if they’ve been cheated. Lied to. Deprived. They wine.  They compare. They ask why we can’t have this or that.  I listen. I nod in apparent understanding while I recall multiple encounters I’ve had over the years with my Aesthetic Medicine clients.  One of my jobs involves injecting Botox and Facial fillers to maintain youth (until we find the fountain). I cannot tell you how many of these individuals live in these homes, drive super high end vehicles, wear ward robes that cost a years salary but claim they can’t afford my $140 lash growth serum or ask to do less Botox because they can’t afford the total treatment.  Whaaaa?   Seriously?  Ok, either they are strapped in debt from living above their means in order to keep up appearances or are super cheap.

I snap out of my mental wanderings and remind my ungrateful lovelies that we can afford all of those things and more but that would be our lives.  We would stay in our expensive homes, poop in our own personal bathrooms, eat choking hazard popcorn while watching a movie in our theater room, drive our cushy cars, dress like runway models, claim that we can’t afford a $140 product and destroy our skin in our outdoor oasis. But that would be it.  And I add

remember kids…(please remember) we choose to invest in life experiences rather than stuff.

If that’s the life experience they want then…ok.   But as they think, REALLY think about it (you can see all of the travel memories flash in front of them) they ultimately decide it isn’t worth it. Then they laugh and begin the “remember the time we went….”

For some people going into debt, living large while complaining they can’t afford things or solely living large is what they want and that’s ok. But this Mama wants to travel the world with her kids and give them more than a fancy home and all the “stuff” in it ever could.

I’m going to leave you with a just a few of the experiences we’ve invested in. I’m feeling a bit nostalgic so these are of my “babies” and their earlier adventures.

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Reading about is different than actually climbing on a gigantic termite hill

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And you think our house is small?

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Don’t mind not having your own bathroom now huh? Because your toilet actually has a flushing system.

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Gigantic white woman in tiny diesel bus.  I was a total giant in the Philippines. 

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testing the senses at the fish market, Philippines

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When in Japan, Pop a squat

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Dangling food is her thing, Sea of Galilee 

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Making bread in the Middle East

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Better than a fancy vehicle

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In the Middle Eastern sands

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Taking it all in

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A “man” among men

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Rock Mushroom, Negev

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Testing the boundaries

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“You are a man so you must walk in front of the woman” Josh got an education while in Jordan and escaped to walk with me many times. Each time he was returned to the front. Again, it’s one thing to hear about it but to actually EXPERIENCE it? Priceless.

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Not letting Josh walk with the women, Jordan.

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Your room doesn’t seem so bad now Josh?

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Our quarters in the sand

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Ahhh, comfort at it’s finest

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Lock and Load baby! IDF 

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Testing more boundaries. It’s his thing.

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Donnie getting his teeth bleached in the Philippines…experiences!!

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A medical clinic? Yes.

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Dangling some food again

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Stateside with the grumpy Little

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Seeing the famous bakery NJ

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Typical NYC fun

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After a week of subway, I like my average car just fine.

 

 

We are women. We are beautiful.

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Women are vicious creatures.  We are skilled, ruthless warriors.  We compare.  We compete. We devour. We destroy.

Whoa, what’s this have to do with the title? A little too pessimistic? Overly dramatic maybe? Well then take this scenario:

Another woman walks into the area you call “your zone.” She’s not only beautiful but her 6’0″ frame is that of total perfection. She’s intelligent, articulate (of course fluent in at least 5 languages), hysterical – a natural born comedian, interesting, always knows what to say, bold yet good natured, compassionate, nice smelling, her voice is hypnotizing and everyone around her stops, looks and listens (she’s a freaking human stop sign)

What do you (ahem, fellow women) do? We already know the men’s response (insert visual of a humping dog.) If you’re honest you’ve likely had a few responses.  I’m about to out us.  Ready?

  1. You look at her standing there in her perceived perfectly created state and hate her disgusting existence.  Just because. Nothing should be so perfect.  You don’t even want to get to know her. She needs to be despised.  And besides, she’s likely rotten to the core…you know these things and will slay her before she can contaminate the rest of mankind.  Sword drawn. She will not get past you.
  2. You look at her immaculately kept physique and know that you are a frumpy bug that she can easily spear with her 4″ Jimmy Choos.  You are suddenly inadequate in her presence.  A troll that needs to slink back under the bridge you crawled out of earlier that day. Your true nature is revealed in her presence and it is painful. You know you can’t destroy her but maybe if you gathered enough other bug-like trolls you could make her life miserable enough that she uses her Jimmy Choos to propel herself back up on the cloud that she descended from.  She is not welcome in your underworld.
  3.  You look at her and realize you just laid eyes on the most beautiful, coolest, celestial  creature to suck air.  Your heart does little flip flops with each tap of her manicured nails and toss of her mane. You MUST become her BFF because you will become JUST like her (pure osmosis people.)  You then observe and copy her every move.  The you that was you exists only to become like her. She will either make you her faux friend (i.e. ego boosting slave) or get a little creeped out because you’re acting like a total psycho.  If the latter happens you call her a stuck up bitch and often resort to #1.
  4.   Warning, this is only reserved for the wise and mature women who are comfortable in their own skin:  You look at this fellow woman who has all of the same beautiful parts as you do and appreciate the things that make her uniquely her.  You realize that you are on the same team sharing the same struggles and opportunities. You are not threatened or made uncomfortable by her because you’ve accepted the fact that you’re pretty damn awesome yourself.  You offer sincere friendship and connect with her human to human (unless she is having reaction #1, 2, 0r 3 to you. Then you punch the crazy bitch out.)

Imagine if every. single. woman. approached each other every. single. time. implementing #4.  Our woman world would be strong. United. Familial simply because we had vaginas.

Now, I’m not talking about the toxic, nuclear waste material woman. Of course we need to set boundaries (fortified military grade perimeters) refusing to allow her manipulations to infect us. I’m referring only to the above scenario where a perfect lamb enters the scene and we are instantly hell bent on search and destroy missions.

We sleep with another woman’s husband and justify it (sorry, not sorry I have zero tolerance for this one.) We take the side of men over our female sisters. We judge.  We blame.  We attack. We accuse…each other.  Girls it needs to stop.  We need to start acting like women. We need to support one another.  Accept each other. Love each other.

Contrary to popular belief, I’m not perfect. Not only am I sporting a big, black, bulky, awkward, surgical boot but I’m currently testing out natural deodorant (because cancer sucks.) I’m sweating up the pits of all of my shirts. This girl sweats. A lot. And I’m staining the pits of my previously nice white shirts (yes, gross.)

 

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These pits are a white shirt grave yard

I’m intimately aware of each and all of my (many) flaws and imperfections.  And right now the people in my daily world are aware that I have a sweating problem and unfortunate choice in foot ware.

If Miss Perfect were to come into “my zone” right now I may be a tad uncomfortable.  But only for a minute.  Because the one thing life has taught me is to embrace each other. So I’d reach out and give Miss Perfect a sincere, warm, moist hug.  If she tried to spear me with her spiked heel in a desperate attempt to escape, I’d employ my bulky, impenetrable, black boot.  I’d wrap my arm pits around her and hold her tight for several minutes (just until it got a little creepy awkward.)  

She’d literally feel the love and know that we are on the same team. We share the same sword and I do not need to draw mine on her.  We have our own battle wounds that life  inflicted and through understanding we help to shield each other. I’m not threatened of being speared with her Jimmy Choos because I have my own and they’re pretty fine.  I don’t need to be her because I like who I am.  It fits me well.  And I appreciate who she is.

We are women and we are beautiful. Together.

 

Sleepless and too old for slumber parties

I didn’t sleep last night. Not one single second.  Not because I feared waking up naked or finding myself the unfortunate owner of poorly drawn permanent marker body art because I was the sap who tapped out first.  You had to attend at least one slumber party (usually all female) to understand the previous statement. If you didn’t and don’t then slit your wrists now. There’s no hope for you. 

No I was awake, wide awake. All.Night.Long because pain is a bully and doesn’t let sleep or anything else (I vaguely remember loving food) play on the playground. 

Pain is all consuming. A violent force demanding attention. I usually like to throw something at it and tell it to shut up. But there comes a point when you’ve reached (inhaled, snorted, chewed) the maximum allotted pain meds before all breathing is fatally suppressed, slathered yourself in every imaginable essential oil blend, prayed, praised, and ugly cried before you realize, “Damn, this is here to hang out for awhile.” 

But thankfully this isn’t my first rodeo and I’ve learned a few things along the way.

First, feel it (whatever it may be. For me, now it’s pain.) Acknowledge it. Admit it’s there because all the denying is simply that…denial.  Take a look at my toes below. See those pins? Denying the pain would be like denying the fact that those pins are in my toes.  Stupid, yet people insist on stupidity. A simple “shit this hurts” should suffice.
 
Second, walk through realizing that the victory has already been won in Christ. That’s the truth!  The truth always trumphs the fact (so suck it pain.) Among all of the goodies we freely receive with a simple name drop, I believe anything we personally endure we now have super-powered-authority-victory over. So guess what? I may have had to experience countless hours of extreme pain but know this…when I lay my hands on someone pain will get its ass kicked!

Third, there’s something about praise that causes pain and other uglies to flee…eventually. Recently I could only croak out, “I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord, I can just praise you Lord.” Even though I took redundancy to a new level and barely whispered, it was enough because He saw my heart. He knew I chose to praise through the intensity of the pain. 

So as the sun rises with my MS Contin, Oxycodone, bath of essential oils and praise in my heart all on board, I feel as if sleep might finally say hello. And I plan to close my eyes and tap out without any concern because I’m in good hands!

He who watches over Israel and 40-some year old women still traumatized from pre-teen sleep overs never slumberes or sleeps ps 121:4

Boys and their balls consume my life

Ya’know…Baseball, Basketball, Football….

….Balls.  Boys love them and we parents get to experience the joy of ushering the man children around to all of their ball activities.

Which is where I’ve been these last two plus months.  On ball duty.  I think I have breathed and bathed in enough dirt and line chalk to make an asthmatic kill themselves.  More nights than not, going home seemed pointless and if I didn’t have to wash a stupid WHITE Baseball uniform Every. Single. Day.  I would’ve camped right on the grounds thus beginning the first occupy Ball field.

But we (ball sports involve the entire family and my youngest began to manifest demons at the mere mention of ball, field or game) survived and the team made history in their undefeated win of 4 straight championships and runner-up in the Pony East Zone tournament.

My teenage baller is an animal and managed to break 7 (I stopped counting after the 7th hit to my bank account) bats this season.  He had a great year and almost made it worth the monetary and kronos investment.

Take a look at the consuming, cheesy posed ball life taken by my convenient cell phone.  I’m not one of those “good mothers” who not only washes but iron starches her son’s uniform with pure joy, brings home-baked snacks for all of the exhausted boys and parents, has her Nikon ready (complete with telescopic lens to capture each bead of sweat), bounces across the field like Tigger amped on the now regulated cough meds, offers to car pool endlessly, dresses her entire family in coordinated team spirit wear, and screams non-stop without suffering any damage to her vocal cords.  Okay, so maybe this exact woman doesn’t exist but I’ve met some that come pretty sickening close.

I hatefully throw the uniform in the machine and pray it comes out partially clean (secretly envisioning the day when it will blaze on my bon fire).  Iron?  My youngest didn’t even recognize one in the store.  I barely bake for my own children and certainly do not plan to torture myself for offspring that are not my own.  My cell phone captures the moment with enough grainy haze that if you felt the need to see a drop of sweat then one could certainly be imagined.  I have to down coffee laced with regulated cough syrup just to function so field bouncing isn’t in my routine.  I can barely get my own DNA to where they need to be and adding others into the mix would be a suicide mission on wheels.  Coordinated team spirit wear?! My family considers themselves fortunate to have daily clean wear and matching socks is a huge bonus (the only coordination they know).  The last time I tried to scream for my son, I choked on my spit and bronchospasmed.

Enjoy!

One of many this season

Yes, I’m a dirtball and we are bringing some of the field home with us but I am too exhausted to care.

Proud Papa poses for yet another championship win.

Score, another one!  They could be twins.

It takes two to hold this so I better help him – Proud Papa  Hey Proud Papa, wanna help me wash that uniform?!?

Aww, she does love him even if we had to bribe and drag her to the game

Proud of their bro even if Tres’ motivation is trophy lust

Oh look, his dedication paid off and he scored one of his own. It pays to be a loyal bat boy a.k.a. little brother

My baller throws a fast 65 and beat the 17yr olds even though he was holding back for the upcoming game.

New bat #7…I think. Sadly I don’t predict a long life span for this guy.

As if we have not experienced enough ball! Seeing how the pros do business.

It was a sadistically fun ride.  Now we are getting ready for the start of school and more ball activities ahead.

Boys and their balls.  The infatuation never ends.

You know you’re a redneck when…

Alas, the evil pink eye bug has left our abode.  I think the chickens and all their filth scared it away.  You know, germs like it at the top of the filth hierarchy and these chickens have that market cornered.  There was no room for promotion for Mr. Pink Eye so he left to find another clean home to infest.

How are the chickens you ask?  Ok, because YOU asked I will fill you in on all of the latest happenings but don’t palpitate, I promise not to make this a chicken blog.

I think pictures (even crappy ones taken on my cell phone) speak volumes so here ya go:

These dirty (notice the film of dusting on the light? That's mild people) suckers are escaping!

Oh yes they are!  They fly now and the big 50 gallon rubber maid container is an easy escape!

Now, do you notice that there are more chickens than the originally planned eight?  Why?  Well, you see I have become quite the chicken whisper during this experience.  And I just knew (who cares that it is near impossible for the experts to determine) that some of these babies were roosters.  I just knew in my knower that they were.  One look in their beady eyes and I was screaming “I have at least 4 roosters!!”  So I did what any insane reasonable person would do.  I went out and bought 6 sex links (guaranteed hens) for a grand total of 13 chickens (I know 8 + 6 = 14 not 13 but I could only get 7 chickens to start with not 8 so I’m doing the right math but thanks for your concern regarding my IQ).

Here’s another voluminous photo:

Now how did that little sex link escape? If she can do it so can I. I'll just use this water dish as a stepping stone to success!

After waking up to free ranging chickens in my HOME I decided it was time for Mr. Pavlov to get his cute little rear in gear and build me the run.  We have the coop but just needed the outdoor run to complete their palace.  He obliged (and called a friend to help…Thanks JIMMY!) In the meantime, I placed a crib rail over the container halting all future free ranging.

The palace. Sorry to the neighbors down wind of the palace 🙂

Even Diva constructionista is at work! When she works you know she must want 'em chickens OUT!

I’d rather allow the chickens to free range but I’m quite sure that a neighborhood lynching would occur so we decided to build a nice sized outdoor run.  Plus the girls (roosters free to good home) would most likely get into these…

My precious garden beds getting ready for planting!

The weather has not been cooperating and the run is not finished.  Yes, that means the stinky chickens are still in my home although I am contemplating other facilities.  On the positive side, one these things leave, my home will seem imaculate!  I cannot even begin to describe the layer of pentrating dust they create.  It gets everywhere and on everything…think dry wall and you have an idea!

How do I cope?

Drowning out dust, filth and smell one sip at a time!

And Mr. Belvedere helps me cope with the realization that I am becoming a redneck.  You know you’re a redneck (maybe even Queen redneck) when you have chickens free ranging in your home.

I need another sip.

The verb that protects and preserves.

February 14th signals the return of Valentine’s Day and this year I am celebrating the holiday and the love it represents with all of my beating heart.

Love was.  Love is.  Love always will be.  I cannot think of a greater force than love.

Love was the driving force for our creation and Jesus taking on the cross, spilling his blood, and sacrificing His life in order that we may live.  If you can’t comprehend this love act then just ask yourself “What would I do to save my child or family member? Would there be a limit or would I risk it all?”

Mr. Pavlov and I got to answer this question Friday night when our gas stove was not turned all the way off and caused gas to slowly flow into our home over a three-hour period while our 15-year-old daughter was home alone.  When we returned home and opened the door attached to the garage downstairs, the strong gas fumes overwhelmed us and we suddenly became aware that proceeding further could result in our death.  Although none of us spoke it, we knew that at any minute the home could explode. Yet the three of us charged into danger without any regard for ourselves because love was compelling us.

Without being instructed to do so our 12-year-old son lead the way into the dangerous fumes. And as I watched him disappear bounding up the steps two at a time in order to get to the stove to quickly shut it off, it was then that my heart skipped a few beats and I prayed “Dear God please do not let this house explode.”  Love does not look out for its own interests.  Love. was. present.

Love is each day and in each God-given breath.  And I knew that the Lord’s merciful love would conquer as I watched Mr. Pavlov and our son drag the unresponsive and unconscious body of our daughter out of the house.  Father and son working together to preserve life while possibly having to lie down their own.

Love is a powerful verb.  It always protects.  It always trusts.  It alway hopes.  It never gives up.  Love never fails. (I Cor 13:7)  God’s love did not fail us that horrid night.  Our daughter survived.  We survived.  The house did not explode but the emergency workers did close down the street in front of our home for a few hours to contain any blast should one occur (it is a good thing that I didn’t fully comprehend the reason they were blockading the street at the time)…sorry neighbors.

Love always will be.  Suppose I have enough faith to move mountains.  If I don’t have love I am nothing at all.  I had faith that Jesus would preserve our daughter but it took love to bring her out of the house.  I am thankful for God’s unfailing, unconditional, unwavering love and our daughter is thankful for ours.

Now we see only a dim likeness of things.  It is as if we were seeing them in a mirror.  But someday we will see clearly.  We will see face to face.  What I know now is not complete.  Someday I will know completely, just as God knows us completely.  The three most important things to have are faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of them is love (I Cor 13:12-13)

Love, a little verb that protects and preserves.  I believe it deserves its own holiday.  How about it?  Let’s celebrate some LOVE!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!

When near drowning is perfectly safe and acceptable.

I’m still going through pictures and at some point they will…hopefully…most likely…maybe appear on this blog.  During the photo procrastination process I discovered these photos and realized how easy it is to manipulate a story with a simple photo (ahem media scum).

For example, take this….

What the....?

I have no idea.  What is that?  Wait, that’s my son.  What is my son doing?

Then after a few  moments I was able to make out that he was butt up, face down in a kiddie pool filled with water.  But why?!?  Thrills?  Kiddie pool suicide?  Thanks to my Mom and her trusty cellular device I was able to view the next photo and the WHY suddenly became clear.

Ahhh, gotta be a 'hold your breath' game!

I laughed.  And laughed.  A lot.  You see, my Mom was babysitting my niece and nephews and my kids and I traveled along to help.  I quickly realized that my older son was “helping” to entertain the kids with this kiddie pool submersion, breath holding game.  While this activity might be considered dangerous by most child care providers (hence all of the danger, warnings, and no head submersion signs on these things), my Mom is a born and bred country girl.

She experienced these breath holding activities in rivers with life sucking under currents, lived in her bare feet (tetanus be damned) and rode crazy horses bare back at break neck speeds for miles and miles in the untouched fields.  I bet she even caught rattle snakes with her bare hands and cooked them over an open fire.  So to her this form of adult-supervised entertainment was perfectly safe and acceptable.

Perfectly safe and acceptable? Sure, I guess…until the little 2-year-old (the one on the pool sidelines sucking it all in with a twinkle in his eye) decides to do an unexpected face plant into the water filled kiddie pool giving his parents an out-of-body experience when they least expect it.  Or when the overly competitive child passes out while submerged from pushing the oxygen deprivation limit a little too far.  Parental FUN indeed!

But to the river swimming, stallion riding, bare foot living, rattle snake wrangling woman my kids call grandma, a little kiddie pool head dunking is perfectly acceptable.

Perfectly safe and acceptable.