Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Xmas Memories Old & New & Made up

The other day I was watching the Sound of Music movie & overall it's a feel good musical movie. But something that struck me were some lessons of climbing mountains in search for your dreams and getting through tough times by thinking of your favorite things.

This Christmas I hope that I've given my peanuts the gift of resiliency. A gift that will stay with them throughout their lives. I hope that I've set an example for them by showing them that when things change we re-adjust and move on. My wish for them is that when life things don't turn out how you want them to be we have to find the good in these moments and especially so during the Christmas season. I want them to focus on what they have and not what's missing or who's missing, even if it's me.

This time of year always brings back a flurry of child hood memories of the holidays. Some great, some not so great but either way it brings a nostalgia and longing for a time when things weren't so complicated. Mainly it brings memories of my dad and his love for the holidays. Each year Xmas was a time when I knew for sure I'd visit with my dad, not something that I could count on year round. I fondly remember my mom & grandma making hot chocolate with panettone on Christmas morning.  The holidays meant no school, many adventures with daddy and family traditions!

But rather than focus on people I miss or things that haven't turned out as I had hoped, I have made it a point to create fun traditions with my peanuts and exciting adventures. Maybe one day when things aren't going quite right for them they can look back on these memories & it will help them to smile.  I'm sure our many attempts to bake and decorate the house like it's Santa's place and this year, the added anecdote of a gingerbread sure to make someone burst with laughter!!

I'm pretty sure Camila will not soon forget this parenting boo boo....I'm not sure why this slipped by us but Camila did not have a pic with Santa for her 1st Christmas last year. I hope she doesn't hold this over our head one day when she wants to stay out late. But this year I made sure we visited with Old St. Nick and I've come up with a good story for what happened to him in 2011. And it goes something like this...

Scary Santa...
It was the blizzard of the century kind of like the one when Rudolph the red-nosed-reindeer was discovered. We didn't know if & when the snow would ever let up. And even when if it did would we able to leave our home?!  We were cooped up for days and the news kept broadcasting that it was much too dangerous for Santa to make appearances for fear he might get stuck somewhere and not be able to get back to the North Pole to prepare for his Xmas deliveries. So he was nowhere in sight that year.  But Santa tried to make up for it the following year! And that's when we were able to bring you to visit with Santa for the first time.  However, it didn't go so well :(  turns out you were terrified of anyone in a white beard. But we tried.

So if one day you overhear me recalling this story with her please feel free to join in with some dramatic element of your own for the story. Perhaps you could add how you TOO remember missing Santa that year or how you didn't leave your house for weeks! My daughter's future therapist would thank you and so would mine.

This Christmas we didn't visit Grandma's house on Christmas morning as we normally would do. So as CEO of this household I hereby instated the "Martinez Christmas Breakfast!!" Special thanks to the Pillsbury dough boy who helped make this super easy :)

BEHOLD!!..Cinnamon roll Christmas Tree

And our biscuits & egg omelette casserole

The peanuts and I have been fortunate enough to have presents to open but I never take this for granted. I know that hard times can be around the corner & we may not always be able to inundate them with gifts. When Cati's excitement over a $3 puzzle was over the moon, I exhaled with gratitude because I know she will always be grateful for all things no matter how small. It helps to know that they can be content with just a nicely decorated breakfast or drinking out of a special Christmas cup.

So when the dog bites or the bee stings we can think of some of our favorite things like...

Singing Carols...

School  Christmas shows....

Christmas Parties...


Fancy cups...

Funny Balloons...

Visits to the city...

And things will never seem soooo bad.


Where did that scary Santa go???

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pardon the interruption....

It's pretty incredible that this will be the first post for 2012!! YIKES..if I could insert a shocked smiley face I would. But seriously every time I sit down in front of a computer I hear "MOMMY" sometimes in stereo and sometimes in surround sound (especially since Camila started saying mami). So I've decided not to sit at a computer to blog anymore. Apparently if the peanuts can see me trying to do something they immediately need SOMETHING-like juice because they're literally dying of thirst- or need to TELL me something imporant- like Teeka and Pooka (they are the imaginary people who play with the twins) are not listening- or just feel the need to say "MOMMY!!" because it sounds nice. NOT. I decided to become a mobile-blogger! And finally Blogger decided to get-an-app-for-that. Thanks guys better late than never ;O) So here you go now I can blog from my phone or tablet or iPad. I have no excuses now right?! Well that's probably not true but bare (or is it bear?) with me while I just blog on the run. There's lots of things brewing for me lately so free time is such a rare commodity these days!! Ok so what have my peanuts been up to since the start of 2012???...Well I did say BIG things would be happening this year and I haven't been wrong so far.
  Happy New Year!!!!!

We had a great start to 2012 and rung in the year with some fun friends and the kiddos celebrated their very first New Year's Eve actually AWAKE. I should also add I was awake too. J & I usually pass out around 11ish. I'm hoping ringing in 2013 will be much of the same.

And then of course we're always busy with school projects or events or something I've committed to doing because I'm a class parent and feel the need to overdo all of their school events. But SECRETLY I jump at every opportuntiy that I can to do some kind of crafting since I really have no time to seriously pursue "hobbies." So here was our Valentine's Day crafts with the girls :)

  Happy Valentine's Day!!

Winter finally ended and spring arrived. Which means...

-Nice days
-Itchy Sneezing and Watery Eyes

But aside from all of the above, to me it always means New Life....Precious Precious Life! All of my girls were born in the Spring. Therefore for me it will forever remind me of bringing little lives into the world. It will remind me to be thankful for my little peanuts because each one of them is a blessing and nothing short of a miracle. They were the answer to many many months of praying to be a mom and to have the privilege of holding a baby of my very own in my arms.

Camila turned I still can't believe it and we did it up pretty BIG (again another opportunity for some crafting). Why? Because first birthdays are just that a FIRST so it's huge! I also like to celebrate the fact that I survived the very first year of my little one's life. That first year is such a doozy & a blurr that you're lucky to get out alive with all of your senses in tact. Well maybe not ALL of your sense..your memory definitely starts tanking & your hearing definitely takes a nose dive. Between not hearting things I should and hearing things I shouldn't, there are days when I totally feel like I am certifiably nuts. I walk around paranoid looking to see if men in white suits will come and take me away in some unmarked vehicle.

It's been interesting how the twins have adjusted to a new baby in the house. I worried, of course. Would they welcome their little sister into their twin-circle-of trust? Would they acknowledge her or ignore her?  The twins have always had each other and there's no denying the special bond they have with each other sometimes to a fault. So I wondered if they would know how to bond with someone else like they do each other?

When Camila was born I could tell the twins were in a bit of shock. Cati, being the curious and adventurous greeted the baby head on. She stared and tried to touch her and asked her expected questions and she was good. Valentina being a little more reserved and observant from afar decided she wasn't ready for an up close and personal meeting yet. By the time we got home the twins understood that THIS was the baby inside my belly that resembled a beach ball for what seemed like months & months on end. They also realized that the baby was moving in...there was some protest over how much space she takes up.

A year later, they have fully adjusted to their role as big sisters. From the beginning they try to help in many ways and they are very protective of her and are quick to alert me each time that "CAMILA IS CRYING AGAIN!!!" or "CAMILA IS STUCK IN THE CHAIR!!" or "CAMILA IS CLIMBING THE TABLE AGAIN!!!" That now translates to hearing "MOMMMMMMY!' a few thousand times more a day because they need to report everything that Camila is doing or they're trying to talk to me while Camila is having a breakdown. And now that Camila is fully mobile we have entered a new phase, one that is nothing short of massive chaos.  Mornings have been especially interesting with 2 adults trying to manage 2 kids getting ready for school, a baby that needs to be fed, and 2 dogs that need to get walked and fed too! I'm not gonna lie the dogs usually get the short end of the stick...walks turn into 10 minute sprints. I know, the guilt is suffocating. The evenings are not much different.

I worried about Camila's big birthday party...the whole jealousy thing about her having her own party and the twins having to share a birthday. I was incredibly surprise how excited they were about Camila's party. They helped out with all the preparing and the goody bags was ALL them! They wanted to be in charge of that because that's pretty much the highlight of any party in case you didn't know. They did great & the party was fantastic! Camila held up the whole time without interruption like a rock star!!

Next on the list was another twinkies turned 4!!! :insert shock smiley face: I feel like the wind gets knocked out of me when I see how much they've grown. They're 4 now and for all us it's been a big deal.

They know that 4 means they're not babies anymore and it also means they've advanced to PreK 4. My time with them has certainly changed. We actually do things together rather me just doing things for them. We "talk" to each other and have conversations (or insane irrational conversations but whatever) rather than just talking at them. We talk talk talk about everything and anything and it doesn't end until they close their eyes for bed.  I'm not kidding. Shopping with them has changed too. Gone are the days where I stick 'em in the shopping cart and throw snacks at them as I whiz through a store before a major meltdown happens with somebody. They actually have opinions about what shoes they want and what types of gifts we should get for other people and picking out fruits and veggies at the supermarket. EVERYTHING is now a collaborative process & detailed discussion of opininons on all choices. I have to admit all this jabber can be EXHAUSTING and can very well drive you crazy but then I remind myself to enjoy this right now because there will come a time when they won't want to talk to me anymore or go shopping with me because it's not cool or ask me a gazillion different questions on everything and anything because they will believe they know it all. I know one day mommy will always be wrong about EVERYTHING but right now mommy has all the answers & that makes me happy :)

So YES being the peanuts mom can make me well NUTTY...and yet still I can't imagine my life without the 3 of them....the extra child in the pic is not mine :) LOL.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mommy's Mis-Adventures in the Kitchen-#2 - Baking 101

Last winter I took a baking class, really my first ever cooking class! I was very pregnant at the time so I think my domestic hormones were kicking in & I must have been channeling June Cleaver or something. I have to say I enjoyed it very much and learned quite a bit. The biggest take-away was that I have a lot to learn so this will probably not be my last class. But it's okay because it's something I want to do as opposed to something I have to do. I absolutely loved our chef teacher. She was kind and patient and funny! Or maybe she just thought my skills or lack there of, were pretty hilarious. Hmm.

Anyhow the girls have reaped some benefits of my baking experience and we made some Xmas cookies last year. Not to embarrass myself I only shared with my immediate family, the peanuts and J. Once I could please their taste buds I'd be ready to offer my goodies to the rest of the world.

How did I stumble upon this class?? I pass by Chef Central often on my way to the baby store. I have never ventured inside well because it does say "CHEF" and I'm not a chef by any definition. So I have no business in there. Except one day I was in search for a platter for Thanksgiving for my other adventure (my latte cheesecake) so I thought I might check it out. When I walked in I was amazed by all of the amazing chef STUFF they had! I must have looked like one of the Willy Wonka kids in the Chocolate Factory. I might as well have walked on to one of the sets of the Food Network! They had everything from exotic spices and ingredients to the latest tools and gadgets and lovely displays to show off delectable creations of skilled chefs. None of this really relates to me but nevertheless I walked around aisle after aisle wishing I knew how to use all of these magnificent little contraptions. By the time I reached the back of the store I found a cooking classroom and a wonderful person in one of those cool chef jackets, the object of my envy. They had a calendar display of all the great classes they offered and the level of each one. Level 1 would be novice. That would be me! I was excited that they offered some hope for poor hapless wanna-be-bakers like myself! It was a chance to learn how to make something not from a box or refrigerated tube.

These people really knew what they were doing with this class. They managed to teach someone like me how to create something like this!


J was totally impressed when I came home with these goodies!! I think he was under the delusion that I could pull this off on a regular basis on my own, neither of which was true.


These were the girls favorite, glass sugar cookies made with candy centers. Not too difficult and quite yummy!



These were my favorite, white chocolate cranberry cookies & chocolate macaroons. These were easy and required no artistic ability!


Rugelach cookies, these were a royal pain! I don't think I could repeat this at home, as it had way too many steps but they were tasty.


THESE were my pride and joy! They were what you would call my pièce de ré·sis·tance!!

These were great and I put in a lot of time in the decor and was so happy with the result that I didn't want anyone to eat them :) Eventually J convinced me that I should let the girls eat them, so I did.

This year I pulled out the recipes and decided the peanuts and I should practice our cookies for Santa's big arrival. They're older and I thought it would be fun to decorate some sugar cookies. Not sure what we'll try next but this is how this adventure turned out.

First lesson of Xmas cookies is that delicious cookies require work! Cati took it well...Val umm not so sure.

They suggested that we just bake them & eat them. But I persisted, and next it was some more work to make them look pretty. And just so you know that's home-made royal icing. I'm pretty impressed with myself.

VOILA!! Done!

I will not tell you which ones I did and which ones the girls did, for fear that I might receive some ego-bruising commentary lol! And finally it was time for us to enjoy the fruits (or cookies) of our labor!

I have no idea if the girls were looking to make something that they could be proud of but by the looks of it I think they were just looking for a reason to convince me to give them yet another sugary treat. I had a totally different agenda, to prove to myself that I could bake something edible and easy on the eyes! HA!

I also want to start some holiday traditions with the girls that they could look back on fondly. And I'm hoping that maybe just maybe they won't remember that mom was not the best baker but they could look back and remember that we had fun doing it.