Preschool Graduation

I wasn’t aware that preschool graduation was such a big deal…or that it was a thing at all.  I merely thought there was a last day of preschool and then they came home for lunch.  But no, there’s an actual ceremony.  And ours was at 7pm in the evening…bedtime. Frankly, I was annoyed.  This evening ceremony was throwing a wrench in our bedtime routine, something I hold sacred because often it contributes to the moods and attitudes of the next day, am I right, moms? So, I’ll admit it, I had a pretty bad attitude about going to the graduation. And the idea of a preschool graduation strikes me as ridiculous.  What exactly is the grand accomplishment?  They “survived” one year of play time with a few letters and numbers thrown in, and we’re throwing them a graduation?

But, I put on my excited and happy face for Diego and off we went to graduation. (I left the other two home with a sitter so they could go to bed as usual.) I dropped Diego off with his teachers and went and found a seat. We’d been warned it might be standing room only, but thankfully, this was not the case. The music started (yes, it was the standard “Pomp and Circumstance”) and in they marched.   Necks craned this way and that trying to see their pint-sized graduate as cameras clicked away taking pictures.  And yes, I joined in the craning and the clicking.  I may think this whole thing is silly, but he’s my baby, after all!


First, I’d like to point out his muscle shirt, showing off his “rocks.”  I suggested a slightly nicer shirt, at least one with sleeves, but he seemed rather offended that his favorite shirt wouldn’t be good enough for preschool graduation.  And given my feelings toward the whole thing, we went with the muscle shirt.  Secondly, look how serious he is, he’s all business. Until…


…he sees me. As soon as Diego sees me, he puts on his “cheese” face, tilts his head like a model for the camera, stops marching and starts gliding…yes, I said gliding…down the aisle.  When he got past me, back to serious marching. They made this “Pomp and Circumstance” march around the aisle twice (with a much appreciated musical interlude from Star Wars — genius!) and both times he saw me, he became a little GQ model. Cheese and glide. I couldn’t. stop. laughing. Suddenly, this graduation thing was looking up.


After some minor adjustments to his cap, they began to sing.  And I’m so proud to say that he sang every song (though I noticed some fudging of the words here and there) and did all of the motions.


Did you know that not only do the wheels on the bus go round and round, but there are numerous other things that happen?  It’s a rather long and involved song, verse after verse after verse (some of which I think they made up just to prolong the song.)  And then there were a few songs I can’t remember, ending with the crowd pleaser of “Baby Bumblebee.” After the performance, in orderly preschool fashion, they handed out diplomas.

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Here’s Diego with his teacher, Miss Jillian, getting his diploma.  I just can’t take how stinkin’ cute he is!

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And here he is with his proud mommy!  Yes, we survived the preschool year and have a piece of paper to show for it, too!

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These two boys are inseparable!  Diego and William.  I love this photo. These two boys make me smile.  They’ve been friends since we moved onto our street almost 3 years ago — more than half their little lives!

My sweet boy is heading off to kindergarten and new adventures. And I survived my first graduation as a parent.  I did enjoy myself because my baby made it a special and humorous night.  And I’m so very proud of him.  But I still think preschool graduation is ridiculous.


Busy Times Ahead

It’s going to be a busy summer.  This week has been quite full already and it’s just the beginning.  I’ve tackled two major projects on top of the usual craziness of everyday life.  But that’s how I roll, full steam ahead!  So, what did we do this week?

We colored.  Isaac worked hard on his picture.  He’s quite the artist.  I love how he sticks his tongue out in concentration.  And I love that he loves to color!


Coloring was one of my favorite things as a kid and it still is!  I’ve been working on a coloring project of sorts, a dresser makeover.  Here’s a peek of the before version and I’ll post the finished project when, you know, it’s finished!


I found this dresser super cheap locally quite a while ago and knew it would be perfect…eventually. It’s definitely useful but not particularly pretty.  I finally started its makeover, which just needs the finishing touches!  And because one furniture redo wasn’t enough, I thought I’d go for two!  But that’s a story for another time.

Along with art projects, we went to swim lessons.  Diego and Isaac have their lessons at the same time, but with different teachers.  Usually their classes don’t intersect, but today, the boys got to do end of class jumps together. They loved jumping together and I loved watching it!  Here’s a frame by frame replay of one of their jumps.






Aren’t they awesome?! I loved seeing them jump together. I hope they approach life together that way — jumping into adventures side by side, the best of friends.  And I’m sure Justus will join them in the jumping just as soon as he masters…


…the bathroom!  Yup, he’s sitting on the toilet and not for the first time either.  To say we’re potty training would be getting very ahead of ourselves.  But I do think Justus likes the idea since he’s the one that initiates it.  As for me, I LOVE the idea that he’ll train early.  I’m not going to push it, but I won’t underestimate him either.

It’s always a challenge balancing the day to day coloring and swim lessons with anything extra like furniture makeover projects and  potty training.  Some seasons of life are busier than others and I’m entering into a very busy season.  But, I’ll take each week as it comes.  I’ll try to focus on one (maybe two) projects at a time, jump into this next season of life with my hubby at my side, all the while trying not get ahead of myself.

And coffee…lots of coffee.



A High School Graduation, PB&J’s, and Manual Labor

This week, my nephew graduated from high school. I remember when he was born. They called me out of my high school chemistry class for the phone call and my brother told me he had a son (good timing, too, I hated chemistry!)  And this week, that baby boy graduated high school.

My brother, a teacher at the school, gave my nephew his diploma. I cried...it wasn't pretty.

My brother, a teacher at the school, gave my nephew his diploma. I cried…it wasn’t pretty.

How did this happen?  Where did the time go?  So of course, I start thinking about my own boys. My husband recently told me Justus is a different kid these days–he’s just grown up a lot in a month!  And it’s true. All my boys are growing up so fast.  Just look at yesterday…

Yesterday, they decided to make their own PB&J sandwiches for lunch.  This is the first time they’ve wanted to do it all by themselves. “Mommy, I’m going to make mine first, eat it, then I’ll make yours. Would you like that?” Diego asked me.  How sweet, although I never did get my sandwich…


Peanut butter is much stickier to spread than one might think! Ya gotta really put some force into spreading it!


I love that he wouldn’t use his left hand to hold the bread in case he got jelly on it.


You can already see the pride in his face as he puts the sandwich together. He did it…all by himself!


Mmmmm, PB&J has never tasted so good!


Isaac with his many hats worked as hard on his sandwich as he did on his hat placement.  And for your information, that would be a Captain America knit hat,  Mickey Mouse ears on top of that, topped off with a cowboy hat. It’s awesome being 3.


His balance is seriously incredible with the hats precariously teetering off one another.  And I’m also impressed that he see around that huge brim as he spreads the jelly.  He’s a kid of many talents!


Sweet bite of success.  My boys are growing up!  *sniff sniff*  And they amazed me even more this afternoon.  Our neighbors are putting rock in their flower beds.  Long, hard, tiring work.  So my boys chipped in to help.  I’m telling you, I couldn’t believe how hard they worked.


My oldest leading the charge! And to him, this wasn’t work, it was fun!  Oh to be 5 again!


Isaac traded in his tower of hats for…goggles. One must always accessorize apparently.  And protect one’s forehead from dust.


Even my littlest one is in on the action, pushing stray rocks back into the pile. Or at least carrying the broom around looking important. I tell you, this is one proud mama.

I’m proud of them because as they grow up they work hard, they want to do for themselves, and they help out. I mean, look at this little guy helping me empty the dishwasher…


He can barely reach high enough to put the bowl on the counter, but he’s determined to help mommy.  Does it take me twice as long to put away the dishes?  No.  It’s more like 3 or 4 times longer.  But, he’s learning to help.  He’s doing his part. And that’s important.  They each have a job:  Isaac usually puts away the silverware, Diego gets the plates and bowls, Justus gets in the way.

They’re growing up!  I see it in so many ways.  Sure there’s still whining, crying, attempts to negotiate or argue with me, after all, they are little kids.  And yes, I want to tear my hair out or bang my head against a wall sometimes…often.  But, before you know it, they’ll be graduating college and becoming independent, helpful, self-sufficient members of the adult world.  *sniff,sniff*  Pass the kleenex.

Today, my nephew is a high school graduate heading off to college. Today my boys made their own lunches and did some manual labor to help a neighbor.  Today I’m remembering to savor the little moments with my babies.



Priceless Disneyland Moments


Last week we went on vacation to Disneyland, one of my favorite places.  It was hot. It was exhausting. It was an awesome! Here are a few of my favorite moments.

First moment: My boys are obsessed with Star Wars.  We were wandering into Tomorrowland, and there he was…a Storm Trooper! My big boys were so excited!


I love that the boys were sucked into the magic of Disney.  I mean really, it is super cool seeing a Storm Trooper on the street!


And of course, they loved the Star Wars ride, too. I went with them after they’d been on the ride with my hubby and Diego kept warning me that Darth Vader will be there, but it’ll be ok…”Don’t be scared.” I loved his warning. Priceless.

Another favorite moment was getting to go on Space Mountain with Diego. He loves this ride. Adores it. Absolutely flips over it. Thinks it’s the best thing EVER.  Can’t stop talking about it. “It’s dark, it’s in space, and you go super fast!” (don’t forget the hand gestures and body movements.)


What I loved about this moment was that when the ride was slowing down and as we were walking out, he couldn’t stop giggling. He’d look at me and start laughing. He’d look around and bust out in a fit of giggles. The smile was plastered on his face and he was just so jolly — it was great! Those are the moments you hope for on vacation.  Priceless.

Next moment was when Justus met Captain America.  Pure awesomeness.  Justus is like his mommy, he’s so serious when he’s super excited and doesn’t smile or show any enthusiasm.  When he had his picture taken with Mater, he didn’t smile until after it was over and then started smiling, waving at Mater, and babbling.  But Captain America was another story.  Justus was in awe. Captain America greeted each boy, and Justus was so enthralled, he actually reached out.  And Cap reached back with his hand, letting Justus hold his hand, smiling and talking to him because Justus was so amazed he was actually standing right there.  Justus was captivated — one of his favorite heroes was standing right there! Priceless.


Last moment to get a mention. This one is an Isaac moment. Isaac was pumped about the Monsters Inc ride. Why? Not because of Mike or Sully, whom he loves, but because of the yellow monsters, with whom he’s obessed. He couldn’t wait to see the yellow monsters (C.D.A. monsters) and kept talking about them. All. Day. Long. Everyday.


And the ride was just what he wanted: lots of yellow monsters!  He sat behind me and I loved hearing him squeal with excitement every time he saw another yellow monster.  And to see Isaac’s super excited face.  Priceless.


We had an awesome time at Disney, a much needed vacation full of excitement and dreams.  To me, Disney really is one of the happiest places on earth.  And I’m glad that my kids love it as much as I do.

Now, if only we could get back in the groove and routine of being at home…


To Do or Not To Do Lists


I’m a list maker. I freely admit it. I sometimes have a notepad on the kitchen island full of to do, to get, to make lists. Sometimes the lists on scrap paper.  Other times, they’re completely and solely in my mind — those are either dangerously on the edge of being forgotten or so ingrained in my thinking that they are habit.  Sometimes my lists aren’t so much lists as they are a sort of free association collection of words. But, they make sense to me and I can usually figure them out.

With little boys and little sleep, I can be completely forgetful and flaky and scatterbrained.  A list is my personal assistant, it helps remind me what’s next or what I’m supposed to be doing.  It keeps me motivated, it keeps me going.

I love lists.

I love the satisfaction of being able to cross off each task. I’ll add things to my list that I’ve already done just so I can cross it off and feel accomplished (‘fess up, you do it too. Don’t try to deny it!)

Accomplishment is such a valuable and encouraging feeling, especially when you’re a mom going through days of never-ending promptings to use please and thank you, reminders to not jump on the couch but to please go use the bathroom, and all around chaos that seems to never improve despite my best efforts. Crossing off that task of “get out of bed” is a great way to feel successful at the beginning of the day.

But as much as I love seeing a full list full of scribbles and lines through it, I just as much despise seeing a list without one single thing marked off. I feel like a total and utter loser. A lovely reminder that I’ve accomplished nothing.

I hate lists!

I hate ending the day with all the things I haven’t done that day staring back at me. And the list never addresses what I did do on those days. Important things like breaking up World War III, snuggling and reading with the boys, feeding the bottomless monsters every other minute, remembering to drink water and hydrate myself, spending time outside with the boys, watching them at swim class, going from wiping one bum to the next…  My to do lists generally include NONE of those things so instead of feeling like a fabulous mom because my children and I survived another day, I feel like an complete flop with a messy house and no time for a hobby.

Have I mentioned I hate lists? They are of the devil!

So, after feeling like a To Do failure, a To Don’t in fact, I decided to stop making lists. But that lasted about 20 seconds. But when I started my next list, I decided I’d stop making daily To Do lists as they were constant reminders of what I couldn’t get done. Instead, I made one To Do List for the week and only put my top priorities on it. Things that I would very easily forget or things that I desperately wanted to make sure I did. Return library books.  Order valve replacements for our camelbaks. Clean the bathroom.  Shower.  I found that I no longer felt like such a loser and was able to appreciate all the non lists things I did that day. And by the end of the week the lists was pretty much completed. Basically I lowered my expectations.  It’s awesome.

I love lists.

And then there are vacation planning to do lists…but that’s another story.

To Do or not To Do Lists? Which are you?



Looking Back…sniff sniff

It’s hot already.  Which means it’s time for our little backyard pool!

Watching the boys splashing around made me think about last year and how much they’ve changed since then. Oh what a difference a year makes! Bear with me, I might get teary.


This was last summer.  Look how adorable Isaac is trying to navigate his little boat without it tipping over. There were quite a few capsizing issues last year.


And here they are this year.  Isaac’s balance has improved considerably in a year. I’m not so sure I’m happy about that but then again, he’d be trying to surf whether or not he has good balance so I guess good balance is good.  Wow, that was a ridiculous sentence. But you get my meaning.

And Diego’s so grown up now! I mean, really, no baby left in him whatsoever! Excuse me while I wallow for a moment.

One more time.  My little boys, Diego and Isaac, last year…


And this year…my little men.


Oh be still my heart, look at those handsome faces! They’re growing too fast. Much. Too. Fast.  Speaking of too fast…


Look at my baby, he’s so small! (And I never thought I’d say that, he’s always been a big boy!) But he’s such a baby in this picture.

justus swim

And this one. Look at him! He’s so stinkin’ cute, I can’t deal.  Last year he was toddling around but for the first part of the summer, he wasn’t walking on his own yet but he insisted he not be left behind in anything! Especially any fun.


Here he is this year. My baby! My little Justus! Smack in the middle of things, still insisting on being part of the fun.  Not only can he now walk, he runs, jumps, dances, climbs…and his hair is longer and crazier than ever!


I can’t help myself, he’s so awesome.  Seriously, any kid who’s working that hard to transfer water from the big pool into the little mini pool using a black ladle is completely fabulous.

So, one more time. Justus last year…gulp…

Justus pool

And this year…*sob*


Watch out world, here he comes!  They are growing up so fast!

Pushing the tantrums, bedtime hysteria, and teething misery aside, I’m having a blast with my boys.  Watching balance improve, seeing toddling become running, and listening to logical explanations for not wearing a hat in the sun (“Velociraptors don’t wear hats!”) reminds me how blessed I am that I get this time with them. And despite the sleepless nights, wet beds, and other accidents, I absolutely love being mommy to the amazing boys belonging to these three handsome faces and cherish this time.

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They’re growing up so fast.  *Sniff sniff*  It’s good to look back.  It’s a reminder to enjoy them now.


Bedtime Hysterics


Does anyone else ever feel the need to call a crisis management consultant at bedtime?  Seriously, why isn’t “bedtime crisis management consultant” a thing?

Aside from the usual night time shenanigans, there are times when a completely exhausted and overtired Diego starts to over think and fixate on some banal detail until he’s in tears and worked up over the littlest, zaniest idea.  There were the crocodiles who might escape from the zoo, pirates who might mistake us for their treasure, or even my “mean” face, which I don’t often use but just the idea of it at bedtime can set him off.

Sometimes I see it coming, and I do everything in my power to prevent the unfolding drama.  But my success rate is embarrassingly low.  For example…

“Mommy, maybe some day we can go back to the store (Barnes and Noble) and give the man enough money so we can bring home the 3-headed dragon and T. Rex puppets. I really liked them. I even have some money in my bank already.”

Ok, not bad, maybe this crisis can be averted. I could work with this.  He doesn’t seem too upset.

“I love that 3-headed dragon!”


“I just loved, really loved that 3-headed dragon. (Cue the tears) What am I going to doooooo?”

I’m in trouble.

I’ll never earn enough money!”

Big trouble.

(Cue the high pitched life-is-ending crying whisper) “What if someone else gets him before me?”

What was the number for that bedtime crisis management consultant?

“Waaaaaaahhhhhh! How will we ever find another one if someone else can get it. Oh noooo! Someone else will get it!”

The sobs begin to shake his little body.

“I’ll never be able to get enough money!  How many moneys does it cost?  30 moneys?  Never ever!  I’ll never be able to get it!”

We’ve reached full blown freak out.  Over a puppet.  The walls are closing in…there’s no way out…I’m trapped…where is his father?!  Grasping at straws, I make another rookie mistake.  I try using reason, suggesting he ask for it for his birthday (October) or maybe for Christmas.

“That takes too long! I’ll just try to save my money. But I’ll never be able to! “

Really, what was I thinking?


No, really. What. Was. I. Thinking? Why would I say anything? Why would I use logic? Don’t try and reason with an overtired 5 year old.  Just be quiet and let the thing run its course.

I start taking deep breaths and exhaling loudly. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Soon, I notice someone else breathing…or attempting to…breath with me. This is good.  The room seems to be returning to its proper size, the vertigo seems to be lifting, and the boy seems to be calming down.

Eventually, he hugs my neck, we kiss goodnight, and as I head for the door, thinking it’s finally over (because I’m a cock-eyed optimist) I hear a quiet little voice suggest:

“Just one more idea. You could buy it for me now, and I’ll always be happy.”

It’s my turn this time, “Waaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh!”