Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Day My Heart Stopped....

It was a beautiful day. We were nearing the end of summer and the pool we had set up in the yard for Boobies party was still filled to the brim with water. I think were hoping for another day of pool time fun before the weather turned.

Princess had taken to wandering off as she pleased and being occupied with the baby, I wasn't as quick to chase after her. I felt a (false) sense of security knowing she would at least wander over to my in laws and they would watch her for me and keep her out of danger. But most times, she didn't even go next door. Sometimes, she would walk up a few yards to my friend, D's house or wander down to the swings behind the house. She had given me a few scares before as we realized she'd gone missing and began our search, panicking when she was nowhere to be found, except she was always somewhere.

One of those days came and I swear my heart stopped beating for those few seconds she was nowhere to be found. I had left her next door with my father in law, the pair of them watching TV. I was home with the baby and after a few minutes, decided to go and get her. Much to my surprise and annoyance, she was no longer next door and father in law had no idea where she had gone.

I began my frantic search, starting in all the familiar places: D's house, my in laws bedrooms, the swings. I yelled for her, and got no response. I panicked, as precious time ticked off and I had no clue if she was hurt or otherwise. Then, thankfully, I found her... all the way down near the end of the yard, by the pool. Thank God she had not tried to climb in, or fallen in (the pool, thankfully, is bigger than her so she would have had to be determined to climb up to get in (not an impossibility when you have a toddler). I was relieved she was ok, then shocked when I saw what she was doing.

At that time, father in law had just bought a brand new puppy... just a few weeks old. Princess decided on that day that the puppy needed a bath and had taken him down to the pool and dumped him in. But she didn't just leave him there, she was holding his head down, as if to drown the poor bastard! I yelled for her to stop and when she let him go , the puppy struggled to swim away and keep his head above water unsuccessfully. I quickly yanked him out and took her and it up to where my father in law stood. The poor puppy was struggling to breathe and shivering uncontrollably. I pumped his stomach to no avail... he looked as if he were about to die, poor thing.

Father in law rushed him to the vet right away for fear the puppy wouldn't survive such an ordeal without medical care. Come to find out the puppy had water in his stomach, his ear and a very low body temperature. He almost died. Who knows just how long Princess had had him in that pool. I have no idea how long she had disappeared from father in laws sight.

I swear that day I vowed to never to lose sight of her again. And to never just trust that my in laws will keep her safe (after all, they are busy with their own lives).

I know just how fortunate that day turned out to be. I could have been on the other side writing about my daughter in the pool instead of a puppy and I thank my lucky stars and count my blessings every day that it wasn't.

The Joy Of Internet Shopping

I use to be to be terrified of internet shopping as thoughts of fraud and stolen identities danced in my head. No way would I want to give out such personal information on the world wide web where someone was waiting with their grubby little cyber hands to snatch it from me. Besides, I preferred shopping the old fashioned way... going to the store, toughing, feeling, seeing up close the items I wished to purchase.

That all changed since moving to Costa Rica (funny how moving to a different country can change your point of view on many things).

While I still love shopping in the stores (I do prefer it), Costa Rica has led me to the internet where many items, especially electronics, are about half the price. When I lived in Boston, I had so many stores that I could go to and get 'something for next to nothing'. It's harder to find great deals here. And even the stores that boast the lowest prices sometimes can't beat the prices on the net.

I've come to actually like internet shopping, and the excitement of knowing how much money I am saving is icing on the cake.

The other day, I decided to look at some digital cameras (crunch time for me since I am currently without one). I decided to budget in the price of a simple camera, setting my spending limit (including shipping) at around $80. I had no idea what I would find in my price range until I hit the net. I was pleasantly surprised that $80, while not a lot, would buy me a decent camera with a few bells and whistles. I was excited! The excitement quickly waned, though, as the confusion set in. Research is key when it comes to buying electronics, as you don't want to get stuck with a dud, but the different reviews left me perplexed and a little leery. Who do I trust? How can one person love one camera while the next person loath the same one?

I spent pretty much all day, on and off, Sunday looking and researching different cameras in my price range. The one I really wanted was out of stock on one site and about $9 above (minus shipping) on another. I was getting discouraged and ready to give up my search until another day when I came across a simple, but decent, camera a little below my set price. I was happy, but when it came to reviews, they were all over the place. I decided to buy it, because as I told hubby, "I'm not looking for a professional camera, just one I can take pictures of my kids with."

I am not into all the bells and whistles, but it's nice to have options. Plus I need one that won't up and die on me like my first Kodak Easyshare. I need one in the meantime, that can do a good enough job of taking decent pictures, until I get my dream camera or something close. So while it might have made more sense to wait and see if the camera I wanted came up for sale in my price range, I just cannot bear the thought of all the little moments I would be missing of my kids if I waited any longer. So I bit the bullet and spent the cash.

As with any internet purchase though, you have to wait and see what you get. That's the beauty of internet shopping (besides being cheap and convenient), you have to actually order the product to test it out. And while the excitement builds as you wait for it to arrive, you hope disappointment won't set in when the product looks nothing like it did on the net or deliver on its promises. You just have to cross you fingers and hope that you made the right choice. What might have worked for one customer might not work for me. And what one person might think is trash, might be my treasure. Who knows.

But like I said, I wasn't looking to spend a fortune, so I knew the camera I chose wouldn't be 100 percent without fault. And while I settled on a cheaper camera in hopes of saving a few bucks, I just hope that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass.... because cheap doesn't always mean it's a good deal.

You Know What's Funny?


When you have kids, the funny and sometimes inexplicable things they do are endless. I have met some serious kids in my day but for the most part, kids are comedic geniuses, with one too many funny bones in their bodies.

I remember how loud I laughed the first time I noticed my Princess sneaking, stealth like, out of her bedroom, on hands and knees, one night after I had put her to bed. I just couldn't help myself. I about died laughing. Where did she learn to do that... How did she come up with the idea of it?

She is by far, my funniest child, the clown of the family. She never ceases to amaze me, the things she does.

Not to be outdone is her little brother. Fatty has discovered his penis. And now, whenever he's naked down there (between diaper changes or in the tub), his hands find their way right to it. He yanks it, squeezes it, pulls it. And the look on his face, the huge smile, cracks me up every time. It's priceless. It's almost like the time he 'discovered' his hand. Looking at it in amazement as if to say "what's this? Wow, it moves. Is this mine? It comes attached. Cool!"

Like his big sister, he has become quite the dance hall king. He just about bobs his head to every kind of music, claps his hand and swings his feet. I know they truly are my kids, as their little bodies instinctively moves to the rhythm of any beat.

They just make me laugh and bring such happiness to my life. Seriously, I have yet to meet a comic as funny as my kids. They deserve their own stand-up act.

Getting Some Zzzzzzzzzzz's

I have not had a decent good nights sleep in, oh, well over a year now. This really is no surprise since I am a mom and sleepless nights are to be expected. But damn, I need to sleep. I've even started to notice small bags under my eyes, a disturbing sight to me, especially at my age.

I was thrilled when my daughter started sleeping sleeping through the night, in her own room, in her own bed. It took months of 'training' but she finally did it. But as soon as that happened, my baby boy was born and the nights got rough (again).

It's not like I'm asking for a full 8 hours (that went out the window a LONG while back). But a consecutive 6 or 7 would do me just right. Instead, I have to put up with late night to early morning 'wake up and feed me' sessions for my son (luckily I learned the art of breastfeeding while lying down, half asleep). And now Princess has taken to wandering into my room, to MY side of the bed, for ME to pick her up and put her next to me so she can fall back to sleep. It doesn't happen every night, but some nights it can happen twice. It is exhausting. I even bring her back to her room most nights, lie with her until she falls asleep and then head back to my room, only to wake up next to her the following morning. No wonder I feel like a zombie come daybreak. Most mornings I just want to hit that snooze button. Thank God for nap time and Saturdays.

I remember when I was a teenager in high school. I could sleep most of the morning away. Most Saturdays, I usually roused sometime around 12 noon. I was a teen... I didn't need to get up early (except for school, of course). I didn't need to see the sunrise or hear the birds sing. I had my whole life for that, I just wanted to sleep (one of my favorite pastimes, I might add). Besides, I liked to stay up late (a resident night owl, I was up past midnight most nights) And we all know late nights and early mornings do not mix.

It wasn't until I became a mother that 6 a.m. became a familiar hour to me. But I lucked out because as soon as Boobie was on solids, he was sleeping until 7 or 8 a.m. I felt bad for all the other mothers who complained that their kids got up at 5 am EVERY morning. Not my Boobie. And I felt blessed. I did try to make 6 'o' clock a usual time to 'rise and shine' for me, but it was hard. However peaceful and beautiful 6 a.m. was, I had to fight myself out of bed at that hour. I spent many mornings rushing Boobie off to Kindergarten because I just had to get in one more hour of sleep.

I am glad to say that moving to Cost Rica changed all that. Maybe the time difference helped too, I don't know. But I found it odd to sleep past 6. I felt like I was missing out on something. I like to start my day early now. And not just because I have a mountain of shit to do, but because I get a better handle on my day that way. Plus, if I sleep past 8, I feel I've wasted my day in bed... never a good thing when you feel life catching up to you.

But what I wouldn't give for a full nights sleep these days. I don't mind waking up early (it wouldn't be so hard if I could get my ass to bed before 10... I guess some habits are hard to break). But I actually look forward to the day when I can slip in bed and sleep, undisturbed, all night. I can only imagine what that's like these days.

I guess I just have to count down the days (months) until the baby is sleeping through the night. I can't complain too much though. While I don't understand how babies, my baby, can function on so little sleep most days, I still get enough sleep to get through the day. Although, some days, by midday, my body is BEGGING me to put it down for a nap, it's not like I am missing too much. What's the saying anyway? "I can sleep when I'm dead, right?

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Rain Rain Go Away

And come again another day. Look at that, it worked!!!

Yesterday was not a magnificent day... the presence of dark clouds looming above, threatening rain, stayed around most of the day. But the rain never came. So even though the sun barely poked its face through the clouds, the day remained nice and fairly warm, and DRY!

While I bounced around a few ideas of places to take the little ones, I really just had no desire to leave home (fear of rain and all). But we managed to stop by the park near Boobie's school for a couple of minutes. While not a great park (especially not great for kids... the parks here suck and that is another post in itself), it was nice to get on the swings and help Princess on the monkey bars (I should have some built in my yard as they are a good form of upper body exercise).

I know rain every day is to be expected... it is the rainy season after all. But I want it to be a little more predictable, like how we all pretty much know it usually rains in the afternoon. I hate when it starts to rain before 10 a.m. I would much prefer it to rain after 3 p.m... that way I have pretty much the whole morning to get what I need to get done. Some days, the rain obliges and holds out until after Boobie is out of school around 2. But other days, and these are the days that depress me, the rain decides to come just a bit too early for my liking. When the clouds roll in and push the sun behind it's dark blanket, I get sad. If it's in the morning, I actually get pissed off. But what do you do... you can't reason with the weather. It's unpredicatable and does what it wants. Nature is a bitch (we all know she's female). So her moods change from day to day.

Today, like most Saturdays, I slept in... and it felt good while I was in the bed, but as soon as I got out of bed, I started to chastise myself for not getting up earlier. First off, I skipped yet another spinning session (shame on me). Secondly, at 10 am, the day is almost over and I have too much stuff to do to stay in bed so late... but a weeks worth of sleep deprivation will do that you.

I started on laundry ASAP, but not soon enough before the sun disappeared and I could hear thunder in the background. My clothes were still washing when the first drops hit the pavement. I was not happy. But it's really my own fault. If I had gotten up just 2 hours earlier, I would not have been caught between the rain and my laundry. I would have been able to hang out my clothes and they would have been dry long before it started showering. It was a nice hot morning afterall. AND I missed it!

As far as my laundry goes, it will have to wait for another day (although this problem could be solved with the purchase of a dryer. However, that is another post for another day).

So it rained, HARD! The earth has had it's bath and now it's over, to come again tomorrow, I am sure. It looks dreary outside, but clean. I LOVE the smell of the earth after it has rained... so delicious smelling, you can almost taste it. I sometimes even love the sound of the pitter patter of rain drops on my roof (a nice sound to doze off to). Everything looks reborn after a thorough sprinkling of rain... the trees look happy and the plants sing wih their blossoms.

I have to admit, sometimes when it rains a bit earlier and then stops, it's a nice change. And alows for a nice change of pace, slowing down the mornings. Then you can have the rest of the evening to do what you please. And with the rain being over early, it almost feels like a new day afterwards.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hello Neighbor!

One of the things that struck me as odd about Costa Rica, were the placement of many of the houses. They were squished RIGHTUPNEXT to each other, similar to townhomes in the states, but stacked tight like sardines in a can. Most with floor to ceiling bars, which I know now are to safeguard against thieves.

Many houses in the city rarely have back yards and only a patch of grass out front to call their own. The back yard is usually just a small slab of patio used for doing laundry and hanging clothes, not really for relaxation or childs-play. It's rare to find a house with yard space big enough to run around in... it's like a diamond in a sea of cole. But it never seizes to surprise me when I see that rare house that sits in the middle of a plot of land, surrounded by green and trees... neighbors far enough away not to hear you whisper.

I do often wonder what it's like to have neighbors so close (even closer than even I am used to). Would one have to mind what they say, or how loud they said it? How private were conversations kept with your neighbor just inches away. Though made out of brick, there is only so much walls can keep out.

Many homes too, often lack a lot of windows. You can't exactly put a window on the side of your house that is adjacent to your neighbor... especially when you have neighbors on both sides of you. Most often, it's just a wall that separates you from your neighbor... like a wall that separates your bathroom from your bedroom. So putting a window on the side of your house would be like putting a window in their living room or their kitchen.

In Dorchester, your neighbor would be so close, you could look out your window and see right into their living rooms, like spying, which always felt so wrong, yet addicting. Here you really can't look next door to your neighbors... unless you look across the street. And even then, there isn't a whole lot to see.

Most people here leave their front doors open, especially on hot or really cool days. With the safety of bars, there really isn't much worry of a stranger walking into your home and relieving you of your belongings. Most often, when you peek inside your neighbors home, you can look right into their living rooms... some with their couches pushed up so close to the front door you wonder if it'll eventually sprout legs and walk right out. The thought amuses me.

Once you get more outside the city, you see more sparse settings, where houses actually have grass, and the neighbors are more than a few feet away... separated by green and trees and often times a fence.

We are lucky. We live in the city, a suburb of San Jose and we have what some people lack and most people crave.... outdoor space! Plus too, we're not barred up. I swear I would feel suffocated and trapped if I had to live in a house with no back exit, just a scrap of grass and then bars galore. While I understand that it is pretty much the 'norm' here, if I grew up like that I know I would mind. I need to feel safe but I also need to feel free. I admire the houses that remind me of 'home'. I stare at them long and hard. I applaud the owner for going against the norm and making it so that they would have their own personal space, and not be sitting on top and right next to their neighbor.

On the other hand, I also admire the houses that are sardine packed, because most draw you in; they are so pretty. When you are situated so close to someone else, you want your house to stand out from the rest. You want your neighbors to admire your efforts.

Some I have found to be very attractive, especially when the owners make the most of what they have. So they don't have a ton of green space, their front yard overflows with flowers and lush plantings. So the house is small with few windows, they spruce it up with color, eye catching trim and decorative ornaments. They even put detail into the tile they use for their driveway. Everything they do pleases the eye. I've seen homes with detailed iron work that makes the bars not look like prison but a welcoming retreat. Some homes are more open than others, with low lying iron or wall fences; free of the heavy bar-work and jail-like feel. Some with windows so big, you could step right through them like doors, allowing you to forget that there are only those two for the entire house. Some with doors so pretty, it draws your eyes in and invites you to come take a tour. You have to wonder about people who take such good care of the outside of their home, what the inside must be like. Marvelous, I hope.

Many of the houses, in nicer neighborhoods, stacked so close together are actually pleasing to the eye as one neighbor tries to outdo the other... the comparison is like eating one juicy strawberry after the other... it just gets better as you go along.

I've been to a few homes in the city that have back yards... small but still something more than just a patch of cement with a clothesline. It's a nice surprise to see it, as it is usually unexpected. It's something the owners must look forward to, knowing that even though they have to share a wall with a stranger, they at least have a refuge out back.

I don't share a wall with a neighbor and my house cannot be seen nor admired from the street. It's a very private setting. It's what I always wished I had back in Boston. I always wished for grass I could roll around in with my kids and trees I could take shade under on a hot day, while reading a book. I longed for a place I could escape to after a long and trying day. On a clear day, the mountains seem so close I feel as if I could reach out and touch them.

So every time I pass a house in a neighborhood in the city and I see how compact together they are, I am thankful for what I have. It isn't perfect, but compared to what's out there, it's pretty damn close.

Men Don't Get It... Most Of The Time

Let me first start off by saying, I am not THAT into material things. It saddens me, yes, when I lose something I cherish, but I don't spin out of control or into a downward spiral of depression.

I have come to terms with the loss (which were my fault) of many of my personal belongings that were near and dear to my heart, including Boobies baptism booties and his very first book. It breaks my heart to know these items, that meant so much to me, are now gone forever... and when I think of them, I do get sad. But I get over it, as life goes on and there are more important things in this world to fret over.

Now, one thing I feel regret over every time I think of them, are the many disposable cameras I left behind (over 10) that were undeveloped and filled with captured memories of Christmas in our first apartment, Boobies 5th birthday party with his first clown and just snapshots of his young life.

Most of all, pictures mean a lot to me because it captures a time long gone that you can never get back but will always remember when you look at the picture. I fear by not having those documents, they will slowly fade from my memory and Boobie will not have those images to recollect and smile as he relives his childhood. How will he remember all the wonderful things he did when he was young without the aid of photographs?

I take pictures of everything. Princess learning to swing on the swing set by herself warrants a photo op and even some video to relive that moment. Fatty eating his toes... photo op! Boobie playing with his siblings nicely... yup, picture time!

I sometimes bring out the camera at odd times, like Princess doing a somersault for the first time or Fatty eating one of his sister's Barbies. But it's these times that I will most certainly forget in my mind and will want to remember in the future; the little things that slip through the creases and folds of my brain to be forever pushed aside, trapped in a void where memories seem to get lost. And without pictures or videos, never to be reclaimed again.

One thing I NEED to do for my kids is document their lives as best I can while they are still young and carefree... I know that they will want those memories later in life. So when hubby lost the camera, I lost it.

The camera wasn't mine. It belonged to my friend. Since the day our $800 Cannon rebel digital camera got stolen (another LONG story), I have been using a borrowed camera to take pictures of my kids. Though the camera was poor quality, I was grateful to my friend for letting me use it. I was able to get most shots I needed and even a few video footages for my family archives. I have no idea how long my friend had had this camera but I had been using it and taking good care of it for her for months. Then I loaned it to hubby for ONE day and he lost it. I was so mad I could have shit acid without flinching and not even realize my asshole missing later.

I wanted to strangle him. He (mistakenly) thought it was just about the camera and kept saying how he would "talk to my friend and pay her back for her camera" (those were the wrong words and not what I wanted to hear).

Obviously, if it were so easy to just go out and buy a damn camera, I would prefer to NOT have to buy a camera that we would have to hand over to someone else. I would prefer to spend that money on a decent camera for me. But now, we have that trouble to deal with. Who even knows if the camera had sentimental value to my friend and how she would react to the news. Of course, I feel partly at fault because the camera was my responsibility and I let her down by handing it over to my dip headed hubby... what kind of person can't take care enough to borrow a camera for one day and bring said camera back safe and sound.... who???

Most of all though, as mad as I was about him losing the camera, I'm more pissed about my pictures and videos ON the camera, which I had failed to download beforehand (my fault). Over 40 pictures (I can't even remember now what some of the pictures were) and minutes of video now forever lost to me; my kids deprived of that part of their lives, precious moments I can never relive or get back that I managed to capture on film. This hurts me the most.

YES!!! It is about the pictures, as trivial as it sounds, and I wanted him to acknowledge my feelings and empathize. Why should I not be upset over such a thing.... why should I not express my disappointment in him. He did, after all, let me down. I trusted him with something important to me and he lost it. Yes, when I heard him admit to losing the camera (I knew in my gut for days, but having him say it was like a bullet piercing my chest) I reacted a bit too harshly, but I apologize not... it was an honest emotion to a very deep hurt.

It's easy to say I can just take more photos, film more video footage to make up for the lost ones... try and recapture what I had before. But it just doesn't work like that. First, I would have to get a camera. Then I would have to try and remember what it was I took pictures of that I found to be so important in the first place to capture on film.

Now I am stuck without the device to so, unless I go the disposable route again (and we all know how that ends up... undeveloped throw-aways piled up high somewhere).

All I can think of are all the little moments I am missing out on; all the cute things my kids do to make me want to take pictures of them, but can't. When I see my Princess dressed in my sunglasses, her little purse, pushing her doll stroller with her baby in it, I want to run to the office to get the camera. But then I have to remember it' s not there... the spot lays empty where it once sat on the computer desk. I have no camera... and that moment will not last forever. I will miss the opportunity to document precious little moments like these and in time, they will get sucked up into that void of space in my brain where many memories go to die and are never remembered again. The irreplaceable things are what mean the most to me... because when they are gone, you can never get them back. And sometimes, men just don't get that.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

By The book

My first born was a 'by the book' baby. Like most first time mothers, I was anxious to make sure my baby was on time for all his milestones and developments. I subscribed to numerous magazines and read countless books on the topic of baby's progress.

I was so happy to see that my baby boy was crawling when the book said he should, cruising at the right age and even walked on time (per the magazines age recommendation). He started babbling and got his first 2 teeth around the time the books said he would I was thrilled. My baby is so smart, I thought, he is going to be a genius

I can laugh about that now, as a mother of 3 children. There is no 'right time' for a baby to hit all their milestones, as all babies develop differently and at their own pace. No book can specifically pin point when a baby should be doing certain things. They can put your mind at ease or alert you when there is cause for concern, but they just 'guesstulate' basically when babies do certain things... it's not an exact science. Most babies don't even crawl, and many books will now tell you it's not even that big a milestone anymore.

Some babies don't babble until well past the time many books tell you to expect this milestone and they turn out fine. And still yet, some babies don't even try to walk until well after their first birthdays. I have heard stories of moms saying how their baby never uttered more than a few words until one day, they started speaking in full sentences, all to their doctor's dismay. And even how their babies never once cruised the furniture or tried to stand but all of a sudden, at the age of 2, stood up and started practically running. This proves that while some babies are doers and try to get things done right away, other babies are observers and take their time until they know they can master a skill.

I look at Boobie when he was a baby and compare how different he was to my other babies. Take for example, Fatty, my third baby. He is 9 months now (where DOES the time go?). Fatty isn't crawling (he does scoot backwards). He has no teeth. And he has no interest in walking (I tried putting him in the walker, to which he bursts into tears). At that age, Boobie was cruising (where babies stand up using furniture to aid them walk). And he was an expert crawler, having learned at around 6 months. Plus he already had a few teeth.

Princess was advanced when it came to cooing, practically babbling at birth. But when it came to crawling or cruising, she took her time. She did learn to walk at 11 months though, where-as Boobie learned a month after his first birthday.

Who knows what Fatty will do before his big brother and sister, but I know what he's NOT doing. However, I figure I am an 'expert' at motherhood by now to know that I have no cause for concern (yet). He has hit a few major milestones in my book... though not BY the book.

While I have read when to bring up certain concerns to the doctor, I also know when to just take it easy and let babies be babies. I was so worried and eager to see Boobie grow that I think I was more into what he would do next and not too focused on what he was doing 'now'. I want to relish in the fact that Fatty isn't crawling around yet... means I get to hold him that much longer in my arms. I like the fact that he is still toothless... means less nips at my boob from him. I like that he is being what he is, a baby. And that is fine by me.

While I understand the need to compare one baby to another (my mother in law is famous for this, letting me know just how far advanced brother in law's baby is compared to mine), I also understand no 2 babies are alike. It's no big deal, to me, that Fatty isn't even crawling yet while his younger cousin is trying to walk. And it's definitely no cause for concern either. He's just not ready.

With that said, I am so thankful Boobie was a 'by the book' baby. I think I needed that as a first time mom or I would have maybe freaked out a little if he had not hit all his milestones 'on time'. But experience and 2 more kids have taught me better, and for that, I am grateful.

Clean Up

Costa Rica is a really great place to live. It has it's faults, but all in all, a good place to raise kids and have a family. One of the many benefits for me is the abundance of ladies who are willing to come into your home and clean it.

If you make a decent living (more than the average), then a cleaning lady is not such a far fetched idea. For one thing, they are cheap- less than $2 an hour. And for another, most of them are local... simple girls just looking for some extra work. They aren't professionals, but they tend to get the job done well enough.

I've been through my fare share of housekeepers since I've been here. Some were hired by my mother in law, and one was a recommendation from hubby's cousin. I've been mildly satisfied by them, except for the last girl, recommended to me while I was pregnant with my third baby and desperately needed the help.

She was awesome! She cleaned things I never even thought of to clean and did all the things I didn't want to do. She wiped the walls and all the doors. She dusted cobwebs and swept up dust bunnies. She cleaned the floors and the bathrooms with such finesse and she cleaned my windows, inside and out. She was a God send... and I didn't want to let her go. Then due to some unfortunate circumstances, I had to let her go. A downside to having strangers come into your home... you have to trust them enough not to take your things.

Anyway, as sad as I was, I had to get over it and get back to cleaning my own house. It sucked having to clean the fridge after having someone else do such a marvelous job, but I had to do it. Besides, I wasn't raised in a life of luxury. I wasn't accustomed to having maids clean up after me... so getting back to a 'normal' life wasn't THAT hard to do.

I was content to live without a cleaning lady.. after all, I was a young, fairly strong and capable person. I can more than clean my house by myself, and since I am so picky, only I can really do a job well enough to please me. But I daydreamed about having someone to designate certain household tasks to. I like to clean... most days it's cathartic, but it gets mundane and takes away valuable time from my kids. So when a lady knocked on my door, searching for work, I considered it a sign.

I am not a trusting person, and I hope my having a stranger in my home doesn't come to bite me in the ass. But she seems nice enough and I figured I can start slow. I could tell she needed the work and though we're not rich by any means, I figured I could spare a few dollars a week to have her clean my house.

she showed up today and, per our conversation on Saturday, cleaned the floors and the bathrooms. I would have liked if she did a better job with my floors and not used so much of the cleaning solution (my house reeked of Ajax), but she did ok. And on the upside, I didn't have to do much. I did find myself spot cleaning a few places she had missed with the mop, dusting a window she had overlooked and putting things back that she had forgotten to put back herself. But I can't be picky. No one is perfect. She's here to do a job to the best of her abilities and I will let her. I figure for two days a week, 3 hours a day for less than $6, I am getting a damn good bargain. Try finding that in the states. I love Costa Rica.

Monday, June 22, 2009

My Fourth Child

We joke about our husbands and significant others being like one of our children... but it's no joke. It really is true, especially when they get sick.

The world just about stops spinning (or in my case seems to spin out of control) when my hubby gets sick. You know how moms don't get sick days? Well, that's not the case for our men. They get to take a day, or two, or three to recuperate from an illness and the icing on their cake is they have us, their women, to take care of them. It's funny because when I was sick, puking my guts out, I pretty much took care of myself.... for the most part. I mean hubby tried (bringing home food and TRYING to wrangle the kids), but I still had to play the mommy role.

So just one day after Fathers Day, hubby gets sick. And not just 'the lie in bed, whoa is me' sick. The 'crabby, coughing, hacking, feeling like he'll die,' kind of sick. He got what he always gets... an infection in his throat... a sickness only penicillin can cure. And when my hubby gets sick, he gets SICK. His inner baby comes out.

It's tough having a sick partner because not only do I have to 'tend' to him, I also have the kids running around, crying and needing my attention as well. On days like today, one of me isn't enough.

Today, he spent pretty much all day huddled under the covers in bed. I felt bad for him. When I am sick, I like peace and quiet... well, it was far from peaceful or quiet in my house. Princess would not stop crying all day. Fatty refused to nap and so occupied my time and both my hands for most of the day. It was difficult to get anything done, while trying to help hubby get better, but I did my best.

It wasn't until the afternoon that he realized that staying in bed wasn't going to cure him. He needed to see a doctor and get a script for some medication.

I always wonder: How would men fare if they had to go into labor? I get that being sick sucks... the chills, the coughing, the chest pains and body aches. It's no picnic. But do they have to act like they are literally dying?

I just hope he feels better really soon. I seriously cannot handle FOUR kids.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Fathers Day

To all the men out there who TRULY deserve to be recognized for their outstanding job as fathers, I salute you. Yeah, hats off, because I know what a hard job parenting can be. I know how hard it is for many fathers, who do a wonderful job, to balance kids, life and work.

For my hubby, who really is an amazing man, father and partner, Happy Fathers Day.

Fathers Day is not a huge celebration for us.... neither is Mother's day really. But Fathers Day just tends to slip through the cracks. You see a few commercials here and there on tv, enticing you; daring you to choose the right gift for your husband or your dad. You go out and buy a tool for them to use in the yard, a tie for them to wear or some smelly cologne to put on and you call it a day. Really, no big deal, right?

Mother's Day gets all this hoopla, and God forbid you forget Mothers Day... you'll be eating soup and crackers for a month. You'll NEVER hear the end of it. And forget about getting mom a generic gift like perfume or a kitchen gadget. You must get her something nice, like a diamond necklace or a designer dress. Just consider Fathers Day the lesser known ugly cousin to Mothers Day... it isn't as popular a holiday, you don't really have to acknowlege it and it always comes after. Men get the short end of the stick.

I think I know why... fatherhood isn't considered as a hard a job as motherhood, although both are from the parenthood family. Most everyone knows how hard it is to be a mom....even if you aren't a mom. We tend to do most of the work. We do!!! We have to not only go through pregnancy for 9 whole months (distorting our baody AND our shape), but we also have to literally push a human being out of our most private of parts, then let this strange little person suck on our breasts, with just a second introduction and no promise of flowers afterward.

We rear the child, clean up the messes, cook the meals, change the diapers (oh the amount of shit we have to change!!!!!), potty train, dress, bathe, teach the ABC's, go to school meetings, buy all the clothes and clean the house all on less than 7 hours of sleep. Ok, that's my life. But I know it's most moms lives. Where are the fathers... oh they're there and they help, sometimes. But, the fathers who work get to leave for about 8 hours during the day, then come home just in time to tired kids who are so tired of being yelled at all day by mommy, daddy seems like the super hero who swooped in just in time to rescue them. Dad is cool (he lets the kids watch tv too late). Dad is awesome (he takes the kids out on fun trips). Dad is the best (he buys the kids super cool toys that cost way too much money).

Then too, there is daddy's downtime, which he seems to get alot of. He gets a lunch break... yeah, let me try to eat a meal, for 10 whole minutes, in peace... it's like heaven.

He gets to go out with his friends... and stay out entirely too late because mommy is home, taking care of the kids. When mommy gets to go out (IF mommy gets to go out), she has to rush back home in 2 hours because heaven forbid daddy actually tried to feed, bathe, clothe and then put the kids to bed. It's just too much for 'poor' daddy. He can't handle it... or maybe mommy is worried daddy just won't do a good enough job. Either way, mommy puts in more than her fair share.

That is why Mothers Day is a big 'to do' holiday, while Fathers Day seems like an afterthought. It's like the person who said, "lets give moms a day to themselves, God knows they deserve it", then said, "oh yeah and throw in a day too for the dads, I guess...."

Anyway, it doesn't matter how Fathers Day came about, most fathers deserve this day. They deserve recognition for a job well done; a pat on the back, if you will. I know my hubby does. So, yeah, Happy Fathers day again. You earned the right to be celebrated. Good job!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Readin', Riting, Rithmetic?

I love to read. And have hoped and dreamed of passing this love on to my children.

I started reading to Boobie before he was even born... just a bump in my tummy. I would read to him and touch my growing belly every night. I remember the first book I bought too. A book of Mother Goose nursery rhymes... the most expensive book I had ever bought, ringing in at $20... but I figured the splurge was worth it for my first child.

After Boobie was born, I would read to him each day and when he begun to appreciate it, I read to him each night before bed. By the time he was in kindergarten, I was reading him 3 books a night. We would make our weekly trip to the library and I would select a number of books I knew he would enjoy. He then got to pick out the books I would read that night and I loved this time we spent together. He loved books. And he especially loved our nightly reading sessions. It was something we both looked forward to. By the time he learned to read, I was thrilled and a bit boastful that it was because of me.

Books were my refuge growing up. I had my nose in a book every chance I got. I read 2 to 3 books a week and spent a lot of time at the library carefully choosing which books I would read during the week. I was enthralled by the fictional world of Christopher Pike and R L Stine. I was entranced by Judy Blume, and in awe of the babysitters of the Babysitters Club and the twin sisters of Sweet Valley High. It was my world and I felt more at home there than in real life. No one judged me or made me feel inferior.

The funny thing is, when I was learning to read, I HATED every minute of it. My mother worked full time so we spent our summers at my grand-aunts house, just outside the city of Kingston in Harbor View. It was a wonderful place to grow up. Summers were carefree. We spent most of our time just being kids... exploring the hills and wooded areas around the neighborhood, riding our bikes, going to the store to buy candy and potato chips, climbing on the outside wall of the drive-in movie theater to catch a glimpse of the screen, and just goofing around.

The goofing around came to a halt when, one summer, my grand-aunt decided it was time for me to learn how to read. I don't remember how old I was but I remember the books were way too advanced for me. They had words like 'beautiful', which, at that time, was too difficult for me to read. So I had to write it down 5 times, learn to spell and pronounce it and report back to her. When I couldn't complete a reading task, I got a whipping. I had to, shamefully, go outside, pick a branch from the tree and present it to her so she could whip my backside with it. I always tried to pick the smallest of branches, the one that would hurt the least. I cried to my mother each morning as she headed off to work to "please don't leave me". Don't leave me here with my mean old aunt. I felt I was being punished. I hated reading.

But the more I learned, the more fascinating books became. And soon after, I began to love to read. I couldn't get enough. As soon as I finished one book, I was on to the next. English too, became my favorite subject in school... I excelled at it. I loved writing book reports and term papers. I was happy to lose myself in a book, any book. And looking back now, I am grateful to my aunt for teaching me how to read and, in turn, cultivating this love I have.

When I first moved here to Costa Rica, I stopped reading as much. Mostly because I didn't have the time I use to have. I missed it. I missed going to the library and being able to search out and find that perfect book I could dig into.

Eventually, I stopped reading the 3 books a night to Boobie too. I had to devote much of my time to the little ones and that left me wiped out at night. I would try and read an occasional book to Boobie at bedtime when I had the energy and time. I even tried reading books to both Boobie and Princess, but she became such a distraction, we gave up.

Then I found a new way to get that time back with Boobie at night. I realized he was old enough to read to me now and took advantage of that, plus I wanted him to brush up on his reading skills. So I decided to buy him the book 'Charlotte's Web'. I read it in middle school and I know if he were attending school back in Boston, he would have to read it too one day. He reads me a chapter or a few pages (if the chapter is really long) each night. Living in Costa Rica and attending a school that teaches all, except two, classes in Spanish, It's become increasingly important to me that he doesn't forget how to read (proficiently) in English. I don't want him lacking in his reading abilities because I was too busy to teach him. Plus I wanted him to expand his knowledge beyond the simple English words he was learning in school. He needed more appropriate reading material for his age and grade... so the first step was getting a book we would both enjoy. Besides wanting him to learn, I also want him to have fun.

I have yet to start reading to Princess seriously. She likes books. She likes to look at them, she likes pretending to read them. But she also likes to destroy them. The first book she ever got was a book of Disney Princess Stories my mother in law got her when she was still in utero. So far, she has ripped out about 16 of it's pages.... though she enjoys looking at the pictures. I know she likes for me to read to her sometimes. And I do, when I am prompted by her... trying to force her to sit while I read her a book almost certainly provokes a tantrum. So I wait for her direction. And I know one day soon, she will appreciate books as well.

I want my kids to grow up in a learning household where reading takes center stage. So I surround them with books that are at the ready. Hubby even went as far as buying a whole collection of National Geographic books for Boobie to peruse... Princess sometimes flips through them too. I want them to be independent thinkers and learners... so I encourage free thought and discussion. And I want them to know that reading is not just for educational purposes but can be fun as well... that an appreciation of the written word is fulfilling to ones inner self. I can't say the same for math thought..... I suck at it. LOL


I know what true bliss is. As a mother, you tend to have a grasp on what really matters and what true happiness means.

One of the times I am truly happy is playing outside with my kids. I let my guard down and forget for a minute that I am a grown-up and just have fun. When I stop being so caught up in the adult world and just let loose, miracles happen. Boobie and I connect the best, for deep down inside of him, he knows he is still my baby boy. He checks his attitude at the door and is my sweet, loving, vivacious little boy again.

Another little thing I am thankful for is my yard, which gets maximum use in the summer. We're out there all day from sun up until dusk. And if the pool is set up, we take full advantage of it. In the winter we try to get out as much as we can, though rain prevents us from spending too much time outdoors or in the grass (sometimes still wet from the night's due or an early morning sprinkle.) I find I am more free and playful when it's nice and hot, and when it's dreary and rainy outside, I feel a tinge of sadness. It's almost as if, to some extent, my moods are directly related to the weather. So getting outside and playing with my kids or even just hanging out are some of the happiest moments of my life and I am a better mother for it

Another blissful moment for me is watching my baby son, Fatty, breastfeed. It's truly a miracle how he knows that I can provide him food AND comfort at the same time with just one thing... my boob. And to watch him eat or be soothed brings joy to my heart.

Listening to my kids laugh is true happiness. If I could only hear one sound, that is the sound I would choose to hear for the rest of my life.

Hearing Princess learning new words everyday is a privilege. She is such a firecracker and the words that sometimes come out of her mouth make me howl with laughter. She's also learning to count. Yes, numbers start at 6 and end at 10 and when she does start from one, there are only about 4 numbers in total.. 1, 2 4 and 10. Love it.

It's such a blessing having children. And when my day gets dark and the hour seems endless, I have to look at them and be thankful. They are my light, my sunshine and even the smallest thing they do is a blessing in my life. They add joy, they add fun, they add love. They keep me grounded and floating on air at the same time. And they have truely shown me absolute bliss and unconditional love.

When they get old enough to read this, I just want to say thanks, for lighting up my life.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I was finally able to get out the house today. Since the birthday party on Saturday, we've been stuck at home due to rain. Every morning I would wake with my hopes up as the sunshine streamed through fluffy white clouds and heavenly blue skies... only to have my hopes dashed as soon as the menacing dark clouds rolled in. The day hasn't been staying clear long enough, so usually by the time I'm ready to head out, it's too late.

Today I almost gave up hope. By around 9 am, the sky changed from a nice blue to a dark gray. I was resigned to stay home yet again, even though the list of things to do was getting longer with each passing day. I was so looking forward to getting the kids out the house too... hanging out at the park and having an ice cream cone.

I decide to wait it out, see if it would rain or not. Thankfully it didn't. The clouds rolled away and the sun actually emerged stronger than it had been in the morning. I strapped the kids into the double stroller (my super cool double stroller) and headed off. I went to the next town over, not too far for a stroll and some errand running. First stop, the bank. Then the grocery store. I also made sure to get two small (though they were pretty big) ice cream cones. The day was nice and warm, sunny and cheerful just the way I like it. We sat on a stone bench in the park by the town church and gobbled up every last drop of 'helado'.

I wanted to enjoy the day. I wanted to soak it all in and suck up every last bit of 'happiness'. I wanted to just take my time, people watch and chill for a bit. We thoroughly enjoyed our cones, fingers licked and all.

Then it was time to head home. I was so satisfied with our day. Now that we're in 'winter' (the rainy season) I am limited to what I can do with the kids without a car. That little outing made my day. And the little exercise was good too (I was huffing and puffing up that little hill that connects the two towns, sweating buckets). And getting home never felt so good as when I had left it.

My Hubby

I swear I drool over this man at least once a day. And sometimes for the most un-sexy reasons. Like when he does the dishes or plays with the kids. Or when he lets me sleep in on a Saturday and not only bathes and dresses the kids, but makes breakfast too. The man is all kinds of YUMMY.

I love when he does all that daddy/hubby stuff. But he is a hot piece of ass as well.

I fell in love with him hard and fast. He was the mysterious light and handsome stranger leaning against the lunch room wall back in high school. He spoke to no one, yet was surrounded by friends. I wanted him so badly then, like I still want him now.

Our love affair began like most high school sweethearts love stories. We met, we dated, we fell in love, we ended up together with a bunch of kids. And 10 years together, the man still makes me sweat in my most secret of places.

I spotted him, I lusted after him and when I found out he had a girlfriend I quickly spent my summer trying to forget him. But come fall, there he was again, in all his hotness, and I was determined this time to have him.

It started with (love) letters. Our first meeting had me so nervous, forget butterflies in my stomach... I had them in my chest. I couldn't imagine someone like him liking me... forget that I was the most popular girl in school and had my fair share of admirers, I just figured he wouldn't want a girl like me. Silly me, who wouldn't want to date the class president? Turns out I was worried over nothing... he liked me and way before I had even noticed he existed. I was relieved and tickled all shades of pink (who knew I could even blush that color?)

We were inseparable. We spent every waking minute we could together. He would pick me up in the mornings so we could walk to school together. And although it made him late, he would walk me to each of my classes and pick me up afterward. I anticipated class being over so I could see his beautiful face again. We spent hours together after school, waiting for the very last moment to part.... and then we would spend hours at night on the phone. The hours we were apart were unbearable. I loved him with every being of myself. We loved hard, we fought hard. We were passionate about one another.

It brings a smile to face thinking of those early days of our relationship. We were the only ones that mattered... we were so caught up in each others world. It actually makes me laugh now.

Years have changed us but our love for each other has never waned. It's not a fairy tale, thankfully... it's real life. It does not end at happily ever after. The guy did get the girl and there are happy times, but like most relationships, we've had our ups and we've fallen down, hard, a few times. But it's made us the couple we are today. We don't sprinkle sugar over our shit and call it a cake... we know the deal and we handle our business and move on.

I would go into battle with that man. And even though sometimes I wonder what life would have been like if we hadn't ended up together, I am so glad we did. I would not want my life any other way or with anyone else. Fate brought us together and it'll take an act of God to tear us apart (*crossing fingers*).

He's not perfect and dare I say, neither am I. But how can I not love a man who looks like he does ( it should be illegal to look so damn good) and be the way he is (so humble). He is super intelligent, a man of his word, loyal, trustworthy, loving, patient and kind. The kind of person God had in mind when he created man.

Now I could go on and on about his faults... as all men seem to have them. He is not the best housekeeper (and why should he be when he has me)... but it doesn't stop him from trying now and again. And bless his heart, he can't make a bed to save his life. And boy does he have a temper. But the important thing is no matter his shortcomings, he is my prince charming. My knight in shining armor. A yummy specimen with a body built to rock my world. And he is mine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Can I Get An Amen!

I can't remember the last time I attended church (I think I went when my daughter was still a baby... she's 2 now). And it's been even longer since I've attended a church I actually liked.

I don't have anything against churches, really. I can understand why people go. If it's for the right reasons, going to church can actually be fun and a place to find camaraderie and community.

I used to beg my mother to let me go to church when I was a kid. Every Sunday morning, almost all our neighbors would go to the church on our street. Tuesday nights were set aside for the 'young people'.

I would get up early Sunday to try and get all my chores done on time. I would carefully select which pretty dress I would wear, dresses rarely worn because they were saved especially for those occasions. We weren't a big church going family so I remember how disappointed I would feel when I couldn't go. I would watch, through the fence, as the other little girls skipped alongside their parents in brightly colored frilly dress, matching shiny patent leather shoes and crisp white tights on their way to church and a good ole' time.

Back in Boston, as a teen, I attended church regularly, by force. It was important to my grandmother and as long as we lived under her roof, we had to abide by her rules. The first church we started attending was all wrong for me. It was a small church in Dorchester, situated on a corner lot. It was too long to begin with... over 5 hours of nonstop preaching. And the people there were a little strange. Women would flail about, speaking in 'tongues'... jumping up and down, throwing themselves on the floor, panties showing, because they had been touched by the holy spirit. Plus every time we turned around, they were collecting money for the construction a newer, bigger church. Collection was collected FIVE times a day. The people were nice, the music was good but I did not feel at home.

My grandmother went in search of a church closer to home and more her style. She came across a small Presbyterian church a few blocks from our house. At first, that church was not my cup of tea either... it smelled like old people and there were no young kids. My sister, brother and myself were the only signs of youth. Most everyone else was on the verge of retirement, heading for the old folks home or slightly tapping on deaths door.

However, we came to love the church, especially when the new minister took over and brought her grand-kids with her. We started a Sunday school, membership grew to include a few more kids and young families and our minister became a part of our family. When I was going through my rebellious stage, she was a shoulder to lean on and gave me a listening ear. She allowed me to express my feelings without shame or fear (or guilt) and she truly helped me find my voice. Especially when I was having trouble in my relationship with God and the bible. She didn't care what we wore to church (although it really irked my grandmother to see me turn up in a pair of jeans and a hat.) Because of my grandmothers iron will and my new found independence, I started attending church less and less. I needed to find myself and I was certain I would not be able to do that in church.

After I became a mother, I felt the need to go back. To search out that community I missed out on on and longed for. I wanted to be able to go somewhere and feel peace and unconditional love. I craved the companionship. But I had outgrown my old church, so I went looking for another.

Living in Dorchester at the time, I was surrounded by many different churches... but the one I settled on was a catholic church not too far from my home. I am not catholic by any means, far from it as a matter of fact. But the church was so 'welcoming' it felt right. I over looked the 'religious' aspect because I had found my new 'home'.

It wasn't long before I became involved in the church's community outreach project. I had made friends and I had found my footing and my voice. I felt I belonged. People knew me, by name. They respected me. They welcomed me. I was one of 'them'.

It's been a long time since I have felt that way at another church.... I have been to the local church here a handful of times.. but I find it difficult to feel at home. First, it's in Spanish. Not a big surprise, as I live in Costa Rica. But it's just such a big church, I feel I don't really belong. My mother in law is very active in the church community and has tried getting me involved, but I need to be around women my own age sometimes.

I have tried finding English speaking churches here (and there are quite a few), but I just don't have the energy, really, to search for that right fit anymore. Besides, I don't feel I need it... it would be nice and I do miss the connections I made when I belonged to a church, but I just don't feel the necessity anymore.

Maybe one day, I will find my way back to church. I think it's nice to go to church on Sundays with your family... something to do together, even just to get out the house. It also fills a void... not a spiritual void or even religious void. It satisfies a craving, I guess, for lack of a better term.

Plus, going to church was something I looked forward to at the end of the week. I anticipated Sunday mornings... and I want that my kids as well. But for now, I am content just being with my family, at home. And as long as they know the gospel and feel the love, I am fine with that. God is everywhere.... and anywhere you decide to worship. Amen!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Supper Time

A LOT of thought goes into dinner preparation at my house. I LOVE to cook and it shows.

I grew up in a tradition where food is used to bond and a sit down meal was the culmination of a hard days work... a chance to re-connect with family; to be savored and enjoyed by all. Dinner was the most important meal of the day, and it was planned, usually, a week ahead.

The women were professional athletes and dinner was their Olympic trials. There were the usual; pork chops and mashed potatoes on Fridays, stew peas on Thursdays, and of course, Sunday dinner of rice and peas and baked chicken. Yum!!!! And though sometimes you could predict what was for dinner on any given night, dinner was never routine or blah. It was always savory and good and satisfying and unexpected.

Women took pride in their meals. They enjoyed laying down a nice spread for their family. Dinner could take hours or minutes, depending on the meal and how hungry you were, but each meal was given a lot of thought and preparation.

It's only natural I saw food and dinner the same way.

Although I grew up with women who were cooks, I, myself, was slow to the craft. I never spent much time in the kitchen growing up, except to eat, watch tv and do the dishes. I was always in my room while my grandmother cooked and when I was younger, outside in the yard playing while whoever toiled away in the kitchen. I had no time to learn how to cook back then... I was too busy being too important to care.

Meals were almost like magic to me, appearing before my eyes, to the pleasure of my starving tummy. How, I sometimes wondered, did they take that hunk of beef and turn it into such a delicious dish? As I got a little bit older, I was curious to learn, but still not too eager or willing to try. I might have spent one Sunday afternoon with my grandmother, watching her while she cooked. The delicate way she moved about the kitchen... the art of her hand as she seasoned her fish, fried her meats, simmered her sauces. I might have made rice once or twice. I vaguely remember taking on Sunday dinner ONCE.... just once before retreating back to my room to do to 'more important things'. But I never learned how to make the really big meals, the complicated meals, the gold medal meals ... curry chicken, goat, oxtail, stew peas, season rice, run down and the meal of meals: rice and peas.

As the years rolled off and I became a mommy and 'wifey', I got bitten by the happy homemaker bug and figured I should really try and learn to cook... if not for joy then for survival's sakes. I started small and through trial and error (many errors), I learned. But I lacked that certain magic. I made chicken too salty, rice too sticky, beef too red (no one likes the meat to be still bleeding and practically fidgety on their plates)!!!

Eventually I got better and even good. I learned to cook salmon by following (loosely) a recipe from a magazine It quickly became a favorite meal of mine. I learned to make ackee and salt-fish (the national Jamaican dish) and a breakfast staple. I learned to make fried dumpling (which I make often and all my kids, and even hubby, enjoy). I even learned how to make curry chicken.... a dish that I thought I would never be able to make.

I also started watching the food network and learned various food techniques, perfecting my way around a kitchen and a stove. I took my knowledge of what I already knew from watching women I grew up with and combined that with everything I learned watching the chefs on tv to become, what hubby has called, a great cook.

I'm still learning, especially when it comes to authentic Jamaican cuisine, but I have become such a connoisseur about the kitchen, that cooking has become one of my favorite hobbies. I take pride in my meals and get excited planning my dinner menu.

I start by making a menu for the week... it usually consists of whatever I feel like eating for that week, any ideas I get from a tv show or an email or just using everyday staples already on hand. I try to mix it up, varying between meat and vegetarian dishes. And I like to get creative by making up my own recipes. If I do use a recipe, unless I am baking, I don't follow it exactly. I just like to put my own spin on meals.

I make a few different pasta dishes, I make several variations of chicken, meat and fish dishes. And my ideas for vegetarian meals are endless... so I try and have at least three different kinds of veggies on hand for that week's dinner.

I cannot get enough... even pretending sometimes I have my own food network cooking show while I cook, which ups the fun factor. I love the freedom food gives me. The possibilities are endless, to use my imagination to create a spectacular dish. And I love to take my time with the meal. Sometimes, dinner prep takes a few hours from start to finish, sometimes only a few minutes. And I always end with a big finale, the presentation.

Since I spend so much time in the kitchen during the week, I usually take a break on the weekends. And even though I miss the days of big Sunday dinners at 2, I use the weekdays as my time to shine. I did learn to make rice and peas (a HUGH accomplishment for me), so I have gotten my chance to tackle Sunday dinner a time or two. But without fail, unless I am sick, there is dinner on the table, served up with pride, for my family to enjoy Monday to Friday. My masterpiece and gift to them.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You Know Your Birthday Party Is A Success When...

It's past 6 o' clock, the party's been going since 10 in the morning, and people STILL don't want to leave.

Those are the kinds of parties I like.

We got invited to a birthday party yesterday... very last minute, as I got the call the night before. But since it was for Boobie's best friend, we just had to go.

I was a bit worried about trying to find a gift before the party. I like to spend my time finding the perfect gift... and it does takes time. What do you get an 8 year old boy who has almost everything? I'm still trying to figure that out.

I also was a little bummed about missing my spinning class. But seeing as I had spent most weekends either stuck at home or running errands, a party was a nice change of pace. Besides, we had nothing better to do anyway. And you will never see me turn down a chance at free food and cake.

We're in winter in Costa Rica, so a lot of winter birthday parties start early to avoid the imminent downpour. The party was set for 9:30 in the morning. And as much as I LOVE sleeping in, when I can, on weekends, I was willing to sacrifice sleep for a party.

We set off after 10 (I wonder if we can ever make it to a party on time... damn Tico time... LOL). It was about 30 to 45 minutes away in La Garita, Alajuela, just off the highway, way past the airport. We hoped we wouldn't run into any traffic on the way there.... and as luck would have it, we didn't.

The party started slow, as most kid parties do. And since it wasn't a family party, I only knew a handful of people there.

But the place was gorgeous!!!!!!!!. It was a small 'farm' with big open spaces and lots to do. There was a basketball court, volleyball net, swings and slides and a pool, which my kids quickly took advantage of.

I enjoyed the nice day and the nice scenery. I spent most of my time on the swings, watching a HUGE army of ants collect leaves, and snacking my way to about 10 pounds. But the dark clouds started rolling in around 3, and I figured we would head home soon. After food and cake, the rains moved in, but the party got even better. Hubby and all the other men decided to re-live their childhoods by playing soccer in the rain, followed by a quick dip in the pool. A nice way, it seemed, to enjoy the downpour and a nice cold beer.

More food was served up (bar-be-que style), and Karaoke entered into full swing... I even took my turn at the mike (I was good, but could have been better... I just let my nerves get the best of me).

It wasn't until the rain finally stopped that we realized what time it was and started packing up to leave. But honestly, even though we hadn't planned on staying so long, we would have stayed even longer... despite the dark.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Trouble With My In-laws

If you're married, engaged or seriously dating someone, then you know what a slippery slope it can be trying to maintain a good relationship with your in-laws (important especially if you have children).

And anyone with in-laws will tell you that sometimes that slope can get pretty damn slippery... to the point where lines are blurred and boundaries crossed, to sometimes result in a tense situation.

Take my in-laws, for instance. I love them to pieces. They are generally nice people and they are good to my kids. They dote on them, spoil them just a little too much and are at the ready to step in with a loving hand or a soothing kiss. I know all three of my children are in great hands.

They treat my kids like their own... which I appreciate. But when you have in-laws who tend to over step their 'place' as grandparents, into a more parent type role, it can sometimes cause problems. However, I have come to accept that my in-laws are a bit too involved when it comes to my children. I even welcome their input sometimes because I know they 'mean' well. Plus, my mother in-law treads very carefully when it comes to her stepping on my 'mommy toes' and knows that when it comes to the topic of my mothering abilities, she has not a foot to stand on. So no harm, no foul... that has been my motto.

Besides there are bigger issues to tackle than worrying about whether my mother-in-law had the right to give my son permission to watch tv on a weekday or give my daughter a snack right before dinnertime.

My biggest beef with my in-laws at the moment, is their inability to let us live our own lives. And by us, I mean my hubby, who is an extension of me, because his life IS my life. It really should not have come as a surprise to me when my over-involved in-laws started interfering in our personal 'adult' lives, but it still threw me for a loop.

Ok, lets start from the beginning. I am here because of three people. My hubby, my father-in-law and his wife, hubby's mother: my mother-in-law.

While hubby was excited from the get-go about moving to Costa Rica and finally getting the chance to own a house, I was at first hesitant. I was to up-root myself and move away from my ENTIRE family, my support system. So, of course, I was a bit more cautious. Seeing my hesitation, my mother-in-law was quick to remind me that, if after a year of living in paradise, I still found that I just wasn't happy, I could always move back home.

Knowing how close we would be living to my in-laws, I reminded hubby of the many reasons we had moved out of his parent's home just a few years before:

"Hubby, do you really want to live so close to your parents?" I asked.

"Why not", hubby, gleaming with joy, countered back.

"Ok", I said, "It's just that, well, you know your parents. They can be a bit much... nosy, controlling, a bit too involved. Remember?"

No matter. He figured things had changed, so he gladly accepted his fathers request to relocate and all too happily accepted the keys to our new home... really the best choice at the time.

But after three years of living RIGHT NEXT DOOR to my in-laws, we have often wondered if we made a mistake... not moving to Costa Rica, but moving so close to them.

For a while, the benefits were good. Built in babysitters, financial help, help with most, if not all, yard work and home repairs and maintenance.

When I got sick with morning sickness (this should be classified as a disease for pregnant women), my mother-in-law cleaned my house, did my laundry and cooked meals.... a big help to hubby, who had to work. She even took care of Princess for me, with nary a complaint on her end, when I was pregnant again for the third time and didn't have the strength.

My father-in-law was more willing to lend us a hand with his wallet. Money for school tuition, new appliances, new furniture, a crib for the new baby, shopping sprees, spur of the moment dinners out. And the list goes on.

But with all those 'benefits' came a price-tag, hidden beneath. As long as we pretty much lived our lives in accordance with their 'rules', all the benefits would keep coming. Mess up, and you get cut off. So to speak.

I noticed this 'jealous like' behavior not long after we settled into our new neighborhood and hubby started making new friends. One friend in particular, O, became a familiar face around our home. He was at the house most days when hubby wasn't working. He became sort of a fixture and hubby started spending most of his free time with O. It bothered me a bit... but mostly because I had no friends of my own I could hang out with. I was a TEENY TINY BIT jealous.... I wanted to spend hubby's free time with him.

On the other hand, the people hubby's new found friendship should have bothered the least were my in-laws, yet it bothered them the most. Odd. But I know people who have intrusive in-laws like mine can relate.

Anytime O came over, father-in-law made a stink. Mind you, O has never set foot in their home, but for some unforeseen reason, father-in-law would get pissed anytime the gate bell rang and O was on the other end. Mother-in-law even confided in me how she didn't like O and asked me why I didn't mind him visiting my home so frequently. Now because we live RIGHT NEXT DOOR and we share the same property, our comings and goings and our visitors are pretty public knowledge to our in-laws. That's all well and good... but it's not ok to tell us who we can have in our home.

I usually let things like the blatant invasion of privacy slide, knowing that they mean well and the fact that they really are good people. But their constant prying, outright lies at times and just plain rude behavior started to wear me down.

I have come to understand my mother-in-law, somewhat... her sometimes odd behavior and brash attitude. She tends to have less tact than a toddler But she still puzzles me, as does her husband. They can't seem to understand why certain things they do or say would offend me or hubby, their son of 27 years!!!

Every time they would intrude on our lives, I shrugged my shoulders (in response to questions like "Why does he have to go out" ) and told them to talk to hubby. Let him fight his own battles. They are HIS parents after all. He is the one that needs to talk to them and let them know that sometimes, they just need to back off... just a little.

I have nodded my head a million times at all the unsolicited (and sometimes irrelevant) advice from my mother-in-law, been a listening ear as she complained about her husband and all the terrible things he does, gossiped with her about other people, even my own hubby (shameful as charged). But then the 'incident' occurred and I just had it.

I have not uttered 2 words to my mother in law since the 'incident', while father-in-law does what he does best by trying to shuffle it under the rug. Our relationship has suffered and I doubt it ever will be the same again.

I had grown very close to them, though some days, they made me want to scream. But I like them. I miss my mother-in-law and our little 'talks'. Our driving trips. Her helpful ways. But until they realize how far over the line they crossed, and make an effort to change, the relationship will be what it is.... we're grasping at land to try and find common ground but we're just drowning.

Holidays will be tainted now... not something to look forward to, but more of something I will probably dread. And birthdays, well I doubt my mother-in-law will be eager to help out anymore.

I miss them... I miss the relationship. And I hope one day (soon) things will get better. My father-in-law mentioned putting the 'incident' behind us and moving on. And I want to believe something like that will never happen again. I guess all I can do is keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Here A Blog, There A Blog, Everywhere A Blog Blog

There are so many blogs out there, it's downright difficult to choose which one to 'follow' and stick with. It's like too many cooks in the kitchen and you have no clue (until you taste) which one will be the best.

I guess just like me, moms across the board (world), have decided to fill whatever free time they have to spare, to become 'bloggers'. Practically every mommy on the block who has aspirations of becoming a writer, thinks they can write or just plain likes to write, has put pen to paper, er, I mean, fingers to keyboard and started clacking away at their very own blogs.

So why did I decide to start a blog (to be among the gazillions that already exist)? Because I LOVE to write and now I have a world stage to showcase my 'talents'. To me, blogging is just an extension of my journal. Basically jotting down my thoughts or various goings on in my everyday life. Unlike my journal, however, a blog invites people into your world to read some (sometimes very private) things that you've poured out onto the computer screen.

I'm a writer, so this was the next natural step, right? After all, I have had a journal ever since I can remember. All throughout my preteen, teen and young adult years, it's been my sanity device. Having all those thoughts just cooped up in my head would not do... lest my head explode. So I needed an outlet...someplace to put everything. And the chance that people would read it and GET me!

As most aspiring writers will tell you, any sort of writing just helps their craft. So although this blog is fun to write, it's also a tool for practice and refining my art. Though I may fantasize about becoming a famous blogger (as I am sure a lot of bloggers do) I think it might be a hard task.

With so many blogs at the ready, how do you sift through the very good to the very bad, and even the down right 'fugly' to the ones in between? Is my life interesting enough for people to WANT to read about it? Who am I and what do I bring to the blogging world that is any different from the rest of them? Am I memorable? Do I stand out enough? And just how do you separate yourself from the 'rest of them' to stand out as an individual... distinct from the rest? Well, how the hell should I know.

You kinda just hope people like your style. I've heard of other bloggers, about how funny they are. How well they write. And how good they are, especially about putting themselves out there. I also notice that they have a large following. If they wrote a book tomorrow, their followers (not a bad thing to be when it comes to the blogging world) would probably go out and buy it.... so a good blog can be a very good thing. So what makes a blog any good ?

To answer this, there are questions one must ask themself, especially a first time blogger like myself. How much information do I share? Too much and people might get turned off, too little and people might lose interest. Do you post pictures, names, specific locations... it is after all the internet and one must be cautious. But a blog filled with pictures to relate the story can be a hit... people like to see who they are reading about. Is it the writing style or technique that makes one blog soar above the rest.... should one write as if they were talking to their best friend or turning in an English paper to their professor? Do blogs with a more personable approach stand out or will a more icy but hilarious standpoint reach out to the masses?

Since blog success is still a mystery to me (who knows why people choose to follow certain blogs and not others), I'll just keep fine-tuning my writing skills in hopes of attracting some attention. No blogger wants to be overlooked and get lost in the shuffle. I won't boo-hoo if I don't attract a following... after all it's not like I'm out there posting the link to my blog for the world to see (I'm still a little shy). But for now, I'll just save the fantasies of fame for when I write my book.

Why Me?

Being sick sucks. And when you're a mother, it sucks even worse, as mommy's don't get sick leave.

A little nasty bug decided to come to my house for a visit and stay a while. It settled over my house like the plague and left a small pool of sick people in it's wake.

It started with Princess. Then not long after, Fatty was sick. Soon after Fatty, I got the bug. Then it passed right along to Boobie.

Monday started out normal enough. I woke up and made breakfast and lunch for my two older guys. Then I dropped Boobie off at school. I was feeling pretty peppy that day too as I looked forward to the day ahead of me. I didn't really have much planned; the usual chores, laundry. But I was looking forward to going to the library and picking up my library card. I was going to finally be able to rent books, magazines, and more books. I was excited.

I got a call from my Avon lady. She was going to drop by and pick up the money I owed her. So I put off the cleaning until later. I decided to head out to the library before it started to rain.

After picking up Boobie from school, I laid Princess down for her nap and decided to try and put fatty down for his nap as well. Then it hit me. I started to feel just a little bit off. I wondered if I'd eaten too much. My tummy felt full, but not in a good way. Then I wondered if I ate something 'bad'. Soon after, I was struck with a full blown sickness I hadn't felt since I was pregnant with Fatty. I quickly brushed off the nagging question in the back of head, wondering "could I be pregnant??????" No, it had to be that damn bug, I re-assured myself. My stomach sounded and felt like it was at war. Then the puking sessions began.

My sweet little Boobie was kind enough to come in a few times and check on me (I was lying in bed, my head hanging off the side, over the trash can, too weak to make it to the bathroom). He brought me some water, which I was thankful for as my throat was so parched I felt hoarse.

He was even kind enough to keep Princess busy and active in the living room, while I thanked my many blessings, as I pucked my guts out for the bazzillionth time, that the baby was asleep.

I was trying to get some relief by taking a nap when I heard puking sounds that were not my own. "Boobie, is that you?' I inquired of my son. His weak voice came back with confirmation, in between gagging sounds. Oh no, he was sick now too. At this point the baby was awake.

I made sure to call hubby at work to warn him. I was sick, so there would be no dinner. Then, to let him know Boobie was also sick... so he needed to get his ass home asap to help take care of the little ones.

It was a really rough couple of hours. And after spending more time over the toilet and ON the toilet than I would like, I was finally able to go to sleep.

Since I figured it was a 24 hour bug, I looked forward to feeling better the next day. But Tuesday wasn't that much better for me, except for the fact that the vomiting had ceased. I kept Boobie home from school (the first day of school he's missed), just in case he was not 100 percent healed.

My energy was shot. I felt weak, hot, cold, tired, thirsty, hungry, sleepy. I survived on crackers and water most of the day and left the cleaning until I felt up to it later that afternoon. I spent most of my time sitting on the couch in the living room reading, while the tv blared in the background for the little ones to enjoy.

I put a call in to hubby to let him know I was sick and there would be no dinner. He mercifully brought home a pizza for the kids and some comfort food for me, fish and chips. YUM! After not having anything solid in me for a whole day and throwing up whatever solids I had eaten the day before, it felt good to eat again. I did wonder if I should have started with something so 'heavy', but I dug in just the same.

I HATE being sick. I don't know anyone that likes being sick, but I HATE being sick. My house goes to shit when I'm sick and my kids suffer because 'mommy is out of commission'. The only good thing about being so sick you're puking your lungs out is the hope that I would at least lose a few pounds in the process... a sordid thought, I know. But if I'm going to be sick there should at least be some kind of reward afterwards.

Thankfully it's over now. The bug has done it's damage and hopefully has packed it's bags and is on it's way out of my house. I just hope that before it leaves completely, it doesn't claim another victim. Namely, hubby.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Benefits Of Exercise? Feel The Burn

I was so excited to finally start (seriously) exercising that I woke up Saturday with a spring in my step. No matter that I barely got enough sleep the night before. I couldn't wait to get to spinning class.

I got dressed and rushed out the house. I left early too. Didn't want to be late for my first class. I had no idea what to expect. But I knew to expect a workout.

Class was full. Thankfully I got there 10 minutes early (I had chosen to attend the 9 am session). I didn't know who the teacher was, but a guy was helpful enough to help me to get situated, so I grabbed the nearest bicycle and hung up my jacket. After claiming my spot (near the door), I waited for the class to start. The teacher finally came over, a very physically fit, well clad lady, to help me out on the bike. She showed me the various speeds (low resistance, high resistance... I was to stay at medium). She showed me the different positions on the handlebar and she helped me strap my feet into the pedals. Seeing as it was my first class, I was the rookie... everyone else there seemed to know each other somewhat and seemed to already know what they were doing.

The class was better than I expected. Energy was high and the music was upbeat. I guess for the money, I wasn't expecting much... at just over a dollar (c700) for an hour session, I thought it would be more of a self led class. But no. The teacher did a few warm up exercises, blasted the music and class was off. And it was HARD, but I was definitely not disappointed. You don't just sit on the bike and pedal really really fast (like I thought). You do lots of different pedaling... fast, slow, using only your legs (that hurt). And you rotate different positions like standing up, leaning back over the seat, leaning forward. You work your arms (because of the resistance work you do pushing against the handlebars while pedaling), your stomach, your butt. I have to say I am very proud of myself for keeping up with the class. I started out slow and kept a steady pace, but I never gave up. The first half of the class was the hardest. My legs definitely felt the burn. But OMG (oh my gosh). What a rush! The second half, I got my wind and was in the groove. I was actually disappointed when the class ended.

I look forward to next week, although next time I will remember to bring a towel (man, do you sweat buckets) and WATER. I ended up buying water.

I was on a high after leaving the class, even though my legs were wobbly and I thought they would give out, leaving me sprawled out on the floor. I had to watch every step carefully for fear of falling flat on my ass. But I told myself, it's just a side effect of using those muscles. After all I haven't been active like that in years. I figured my legs would feel better in a few hours.

The next day, however, my legs feel worse. I can barely sit without grunting... I have to hold on to the sides of the toilet just to sit down to pee. It hurts to stand up from a seated position and I can't even cross my legs over my thighs. I can't have the baby or Amaya sit on certain parts of my lap. They burn even when I am sitting and hurt when I'm lying down. My muscles feel like they are on fire and my legs feel like they are about to be ripped off my body and run away. No one told me I would be in so much pain the day after spinning. I can barely walk. Even my butt and in between my legs hurt.

I'm just hoping my thighs heal and I feel well enough to attend the next class. I don't think it really matters, though. I am so excited for the next session, I think my legs would literally have to be atrophied for me not to go. I have already convinced hubby to come with me.

Is Today Over Yet?

I am so exhausted. It never fails... the day to day life of a stay at home mother with three VERY active kids.

A typical day: Kids get up. They take baths. They eat breakfast. Play time, TV time, followed soon after by nap time (hopefully). If I'm lucky, they'll nap for a total of 1 consecutive hour.... Princess tends to nap longer. If I am REALLY lucky, I get to nap with them. But that's a RARE treat as I still have 'things' to do.... so I don't get many moments to myself to just relax.

I do my household chores, feed the kids lunch, let the kids play outdoors if it's nice (in hopes they'll tire themselves out). Inevitably, they get cranky and start to cry. I do more chores, start dinner, listen to the kids cry some more, watch them fight (I guess they need to let off some steam *shrug*). I feed them dinner, we watch TV, then it's bedtime. Only to have to do it all over again the next day.

To top it off, Fatty was sick. I woke up to him throwing up while I had him tucked nicely in my fold, happily at the breast. Nice, huh? I had to change the sheets as he pretty much soaked them with puke. Had to change my night gown as he soaked that with puke too. He was cranky all day. And he would not eat much, except for a few bites of Gerber here and there and a couple spoonfuls of rice.

Then just when I thought we could settle down for the evening and watch some 'good for killing your braincells' reality tv, he threw up again... but this time enough to full a small sized bucket. It went everywhere. I had to change his clothes, my clothes and bust out the mop. I think my wicker couch still has a few remnants of puke stuck inside the weaved cracks (remind me when I re-model to not have wicker in my living room). I was tired down to my bones.

Of course not to be left out of the loop, Princess decided she was going to drink juice from my cup and spill the whole damn thing on the floor. Had to bust out the mop again. Accidents happen, especially when you have kids.... and I usually shrug them it, not making too big a deal out of it But I was so threw for the day I just about lost it.


There are no do-overs. You can't re-wind the clocks in hopes of having a perfect day this time. Thankfully, there is another day with the chance of starting fresh. And I can only hope tomorrow goes a WHOLE LOT better.

The Great Debate

For many moms that can't (or won't) breastfeed, formula is, to them, the next best thing. Although it's touted as the alternative to breast milk, I disagree. And while many will debate that it is, it isn't, plain and simple. There IS no alternative to breast milk. Breast milk is best. Period! End of discussion! I may ruffle feathers here, but it's just the way I see it. (And how a lot of other moms see it as well).

Most babies do flourish on formula (my first son did). And for a lot of moms, the benefits of formula far outweigh the risks. It's fortified with nutrients and minerals and all that good stuff to help a developing baby grow. Plus doctors and hospitals go as far as handing out free samples, almost encouraging moms who don't know better to formula feed their infants. If it's good enough for them, it's good enough for my son, or so I thought.

My son weaned himself at 4 months, which, according to many experts, should not have happened as babies don't tend to wean themselves until around 8 to 10 months of age. Well, due to some short-sightedness on my part and a lack of support for breastfeeding in my family, I introduced my son to formula. He much preferred that to my milk.

I've read that babies tend to prefer a bottle because it's easier for them to suck from and they don't have to work as hard to get the milk. I was a young mom, a first time mom and had not done my research. Plus, I was being told by my grandmother, my mother-in-law and even hubby's aunt to give my baby formula. I was told that my baby could not be getting enough milk from me because my boobs are "too small". Poor baby must be hungry, they said. "Give him some formula". So I did.

As a christening present, hubby's aunt gave me packages of formula... I was all too ready to try it out. I figured having him drink formula from a bottle would ease my discomfort of breastfeeding in public... and it was way better than having him stuck to my breast ALL THE TIME. I made a mistake and to this day I regret it. My boobs are not too small... proof 9 years later with my two younger kids. Princess breastfed solely for 6 months and weaned at 14 months. And Fatty is successfully breastfeeding at 8 and a half months. Thank you very much! I should have stood up for my beliefs and what I wanted to do with my baby (and my boobies). I should have read my breastfeeding book back then, 'So That's What They're For' by Janet Tamaro. It helped me tremendously with my daughter and really opened my eyes to formula's many dangers and the many benefits of breast milk. It's called liquid gold for a reason.

Now why would any mom (who can) choose NOT to breastfeed? It puzzles me. It just seems like we, as women, have this great gift to give our babies. To help secure their futures by starting them out on the right track with breast milk. By choosing not to breastfeed is like choosing not to give your child the very best life has to offer. Besides it's so easy (although there is a right way to breastfeed and a wrong way) and not to mention, free.

Once you get over that first hurdle of course (because for a lot of us, it starts out really hard, especially if we're breastfeeding wrong... engorged boobs, sore, cracked and bleeding nipples and risks of infection.) But after the bad, comes the 'oh so good'... once you get the hang of it. When your baby is hungry, all you have to do is pop out your boob and stick it in babies mouth. Like my book say, "insert breast A in mouth B ". And viola! Dinner (lunch and breakfast) is served. (This of course excludes the moms whose boobs are stuck to a breast pump morning, noon and night... which is difficult, time consuming and exhausting.) But these moms are willing to sacrifice their ever diminishing time and comfort to give their kids what they need and deserve.

With formula, you have to go through a process. You have to wash the bottles (if you don't have a clean one). You have to mix the formula. You have to warm the formula. You have to test the formula to make sure it's not too hot. And the process can be stressful if you have a screaming, crying, hungry baby. Breast milk comes ready to go and at the right temperature to boot.

Now, I don't want to sit on a high horse and point fingers. No one who chooses formula for their babies are bad parents. I did it with Boobie and he turned out fine. But would I take it back if I could? Yes! In a heart beat. I just feel like my other two will have a better start in life than he did since he missed out on so much by weaning so early. But to compare formula to breast milk is ludicrous. I am sorry. You cannot! It's like comparing apples to a big mac. They both taste good but one is FAR more superior health wise than the other.

I know some moms feel the guilt of society when and if they decide not to breastfeed. We're told to breastfeed. Doctors tell us to ( half assed, but they tell us). Even formula companies insert the 'breast is best' slogan in their ads. But while the message is out there to breastfeed, we're just not supposed to do it in public. It's a double edged sword... while moms who don't breastfeed feel the guilt, moms who do feel the scorn. It's disgusting to some. They don't want to see 'that'. And as natural as breastfeeding is, women are asked to either cover up or leave and take it someplace more private. 'So you can breastfeed, my dear, just not here... where people can see you".

I've never felt more at ease breastfeeding than I do now in Costa Rica. EVERYONE applauds you. You're looked at as somewhat as a hero. It's not uncommon to see a woman whip out her boob in public to feed her hungry child without hesitation or fear of public scorn. It's great!!!

So while I am not dissing a formula feeding mommy for doing her 'thang'. Just know and recognize that It's not the same as giving your baby a breast. And you can't debate or argue your way out of it. There's really no right or wrong way... but there is the best way. And formula is not it.