Thursday, August 2, 2012

Coming back from madness

Fish tacos at the new apartment

Celebrating Peruvian Independence Day

At Mc Donald's cooling off from another 100 F hot day
They say that writing is a therapy for depression, loneliness and stress and... it may be truth because the last ten days I have been disconnected from the world and it simply sucks!! My family and me moved to a new apartment on June 30th in the outskirts of MadCity. The packing, moving, cleaning, unpacking, settling had take a great deal from us. Granted, moving is never fun, at least you have enough money to pay for a company to move you from point A to point B. Nerveless, we spent until the last penny we had paying movers and renting trailers to halt our stuff to the new apartment. Buying cleaning supplies so we can get our deposit back and spending more money in taxi, food and snacks waiting and waiting and waiting around for hours to get in the new place. Oh, surprise! we rented a two bedroom apartment for June 30th which supposed to be ready at noon but not, maybe 1.30pm., not at 3.30pm., not at 5.30pm., hummm! not at all until 6.30pm. At that point I was so ready to go to a hotel with Isis and Isaac. But, there is always a BUT... no more money, so we decided to stick around the new apartment in the beating sun of a 100 F... Fortunately, the new landlord let us in in the hallway and bought us water (that is the least he should do)
While Isis, Isaac and me were hanging out in the little park across the street, the previous tenants were still moving out. Boxes, bags, furniture, toys and even all kind of garage sales items were hult out of the apartment by a groups of Middle Easter dudes. In the other side of the street, our movers (the Mexicans) were waiting with three trailers each with a mountain of stuff to move in. It was a brief representation of the multicultural face of Madison. The couple moving out were absolutely stress, almost losing their minds. They are now getting divorce and I am wondering if moving maybe the most stressful activity for a  family.
We are passed those days though. Now we have cable, internet and even a house phone because when we "BUNDLE"  the cable company give it to us for "free" (you know what I mean) Some boxes and I really have to say SOME boxes are put away. There is still a great amount of laundry to do as usual and lots of toys laying around every corner. I guess if I would LOVE to have everything in some sort of containers but... like I say there is always a BUT, it will be too much. I just hoping the apartment will look like home at some point. My hopes are high and Gorman's too. He bought his FIRST HAMMER yesterday to put up some pictures and wall decor. THAT IS MAJOR! We never, almost never put pictures up because we believe we DID NOT find OUR PLACE TO LIVE FOR EVER. I wondering if we ever will find it????
Feels good though to go back to NORMALITY! walks to the park, watch Elmo in the morning, visit the Library, blogging a little, catch up with some bad TV shows and some good ones, have wine in the deck and put the kids to sleep with the Lullabalies in Pandora.  It has been a long and exhausting 12 days. I am ready for a break but (again BUT) there will be no one anytime soon.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

domingo de invierno: guerrilla de ganchillo en cal rosal

domingo de invierno: guerrilla de ganchillo en cal rosal: El sábado pasado la Guerrilla de Ganchillo salió de Barcelona y nos  fuimos a un convento abandonado en la antigua colonia textil de   ...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Oppss! is it Father's Day already?

                   Father's Day has not been my favorite holiday ever. Maybe because I did not grow up with my dad or because when I met him it was a complete disappointment. Either way, Father's Day has been always a recall of bad bad bad memories (did I stress bad enough?) The best paternal figure I have is my uncle Max. HE IS THE MAX! always there for me anytime of the day. Still today he is there when I call Peru at four in the morning to talk about my problems. He was the best medicine for the forbidden Father's Day celebration at school where I even won a prize to give to my dad. Well, I kept the prize. I gave it to my uncle and I closed for ever the chapter of that sad holiday. Al least that is what I though until I got married and have children. Now, I am stock with  Father's Day holiday for ever. Now, it has to be my favorite holiday or maybe I should try to like it some how.

                So I decided to search in my heart for great Dads and I am very happy to say that I found more than one.

My husband Gorman because he always plays with his children, not matter what time a day or how sore he is for the 70 hours work at the restaurant. Because he holds baby Isaac over night when I freak out and I cannot take it anymore (most of the time). Because he reminds me that he can be my dad too.
My father in law Sunny because he loves his grand kids so much, he will do anything for them. Because he never ever make me feel uncomfortable and I really want to call him dad a lot of the times. Because he pushes Gorman in the right direction always, always.
My uncle Max because he always listen to me. Because he never wanted to replaced my father but became my own dad. Because I can sit next to him in silence and the time is eternal.
My grandpa Cirilo because he loves to listen to me playing guitar. Because he brought me a biscotti bar every day he came from his stand on the market. Because I miss him everyday wishing he meet my kids.

My heart goes to all the fathers that work too hard every day in their lives and never got the right compensation. To the Dads that wear torn jeans and last year swimming suit or make their own from any pair of shorts so their kids can have a nice one.  To the Dads that offer working overtime without pay, sacrificing time with their children so maybe, just maybe some day they can get a promotion. To the Dads who are looking for freedom, peace and equality in this world for their children. To all of them who make a better world for their kids... Salud, cheers and...
The boy at Mashall Park Beach, WI June 2012

Daddy's girl

Visiting the Splash Park, Middleton, WI summer 2012

Trying to sleep

Hike at the Leopold Nature Center, Monona

Admiring Dad

Isis with grandpa Sunny


Music lesson from Dad to Isis, Girdwood, AK

Napping with Isaac

Easter 2012, Grandpa teaching Isis to drive a bike


Friday, June 15, 2012

Pool, playdo and playground

            So the summer started with a great note of happiness and cheer. Salud for that! However my time has been consumed by the search of a new place to live. A place to where we will adapt one more time and we will call "HOME". The search has not been as productive as my husband and I would love to believe and it is because joggling between 70 hours of work at a restaurant and two kids are never a good combination for apartment hunting. For now though, let's enjoy the summer! There is no need of desperation, at least not yet... And last week when I wrote this paragraph I was right. We found a home in the always lovely town of Middleton, WI. A landlord that seems so happy to welcome us in his little piece of paradise so-rounded by pines trees, close to a splash park, the community pool and an amazing trail for walking with the kids. And we recover the capacity to believe in people. I guess after all when "some doors closed, some windows open up."
          Now that summer is settling I am enjoying little projects I had in mind during the winter. I though in the 3 P's: pool, play do and playground. Maybe there are some ideas you already tried but maybe we can enrich each other with fresh projects.

Middleton, WI Splash Park

         I remember how freak out I was the first time Isis went to the pool. First because I cannot swim to save my life, second because she runs and moves so fast that always seems to give me a heart attack and third because it was the first time doing something with her that didn't involve crayons and pencils. Well, I have to confess going to the pool is pretty much the best idea ever for summer. We go every day and stay for hours. Yes!! hours. Splashing, eating snacks, kind of swimming, playing with balls, buckets and rubber duckies. Oh, yeah! it is a great time. Even baby Isaac loves it.

         Isis manage to jump over the edge of the pool and says: "One, two, three, blast off."
Isis at the pool, these will be the last weeks at this place

Relaxing at the pool

         It is the funniest thing ever and everybody at the pool always clap. Anyways. I know bringing your kids to the pool is such a enormous project. Stroller, towels, snacks, maybe a cooler if it 90 degrees, hats, toys, diapers, and other dozen of gadgets I cannot think of. But it pays off in the end, happy kids, relax moms. What I am trying to say is that staying at home is not so stressful and hectic all the time. When it is, of  course, it seems like the end of the word but 75% of the time is FUN, FUN, FUN...  we, I have to remember that more often!

I also discover that any source of water will be delightful and will keep little ones plenty busy. Splash park, pool, beach (even if is at the lake) or even the bathtub full of toys. But of course, you already know that. What you don't know is how to make some great tools for the beach, the pool, the bathtub or which ever will be your source of water or I should say your source of RELAXATION!. And make them from recycle materials. Here some ideas:
  •  Cut some soda bottles of any size on a half or 3/4 keeping the tip of the bottle. They make perfect funnels
  •  Plastic cups of different sizes and shapes tied to plastic spoon with a string work great as a fishing pool (watch for the rope!?)
  • Old kitchen tools can be use to play in the sand. Serving spoons are awesome to dig tunnels and all sort of water channels at the beach.
Marshall Park Beach at Lake Mendota, WI

Middleton Splash Park

           Thinking about handmade projects for summer I dived into Google to find an easy homemade playdo recipe. Well, I found many. The best comes from an online space for kids, parents and teachers. You should check it out if you are not a fan already in Facebook.
The recipe is so simple that I even had time to clean. Yes, clean!?
           Mix a cup of flour, a half a cup of cold water, a pinch of salt, one spoon of oil,  one table spoon of corn starch and you will have the softest, smoothest and cheapest play do on the block. If you have food coloring go ahead and cut the dough in pieces and apply a couple of drops of color in each piece. More drops, more color. advises to color with power color. It may be better because the dough will not get wet. If that happens that your play do gets wet after a couple of days, add a pinch of flour and do no... really DO NOT forget to storage the dough in zip lock bags, plastic containers or else. This recipe will make enough play do for two kids, four hand full balls of colorful play do.
                It is time to play!
Ingredients for homemade play do

Colorful homemade play do

            A big part of the day as a stay at home mom relays on going to the park. Google, note and mark all the playgrounds around the area on the calendar, that way the kids will not get bored of going to the same one over and over again. OK. let's be real, so YOU will not get bored of going to the same playground over and over again. Playgrounds though are not so exciting by themselves. You have to spice it out!

           We love to bring little things which make the time in the playground more active and interesting. It is truth though that free time playing enhance the little ones brain. However, some extra ideas to earn more peaceful time at the park can never be dismiss.

At Marshall Park, Middleton, WI

Little things
       Bring a small ball so the kiddos can trough it down or up the slide. Play treasure hunt or carry the ball up and down and under the tunnels. That will for sure tired up a toddler and help you relax after the park.
       Packed a picnic basket with a few treats. Bring a blanket along with you so they can sit on the grass o have a picnic snack. I love to bring healthy snacks like pieces of apples, peaches or even raisins. IT TAKES LONG TIME TO EAT and it help them with their fine motor skills.
       Finally, my favorite is a plastic tent I bought at Walgreens. We walk through the trail to get to park so it is a team work activity to carry the tent all the way down the playground. Then the tent become a hide out for the kids. They can put their shoes, snacks and bags inside, so every time they want they get in the tent to have a snack or chat with their friends. It also help to make friends because everybody want to get into the tent so they invite other kids to join them.

I hope these ideas will make your summer full of fun and will bring joyful moments to your family. Soon I will have the Recyclables page ready and running with tutorials and pictures of recycle projects.  Also, I will be offering recycle art classes in the Middleton, WI area and hopefully Little Sprouts Store grant opening will be at the end of July. Summer is bringing lots of new ideas to my mind, I just hope I can accomplish all of them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

First Summer Breeze

            Today it was definitely the first day of summer. Warm nice sunny evening with a calm cool breeze, no rain at all, no clouds, not even a funny looking ones. It is officially summer because we made our first barbecue of the year. The smell of a grill combined with the romantic perfume of lilacs in the front yard reminded me what I love about Wisconsin. It's NOT the cheese -sorry!- There are the wonderful sunny and cozy summers laying on the beach, swimming in the lake, sharing picnics at the park and inviting friends to grill by the pool. 

Lilacs, blue berry mojitos and a picnic table

           The summer graciousness rests on the infinitive possibilities of been together as a family. Just depend on "US" -the Family- to complete the task: grilled out by the front yard with Isis in the scooter, Isaac taking a nap in the snugli and Gorman preparing the grill: CHECK!. My husband grilled some chicken legs dipped in barbecue sauce and his many (really many) spices. He also got fancy preparing hand-made BLUE BERRY MOJITOS with a hint of mint, hand picked from the park next door. Desert? He was going to slice the watermelon but the kids were about to freak out so we rather arrange the bed time for the little "niños." It was a great family time, specially after months of struggling with marriage problems. It was a refreshing moment, full of happiness -because happiness is just a collections of moments that we get when life sucks, so we can crawl out of the dark spots of our existence. That is why I'LL TAKE THOSE MOMENTS, YES I WILL... and I will grab them so deeply in my soul so when I am in the darkest hole I can still say I AM SORRY, I LOVE YOU! over and over and over again.

Isis and her last Birthday present: THE SCOOTER


           Maybe this chronicle seemed superficial or naive to some followers. Non less maybe be even seemed over valued. But not for me who I thought I was going to died at the age of 30 years old as a war Journalist in some remote place in the world. On the contrary, I am almost 34 years old (there I confess my age, bua!), I am alive and I have an amazing family. It is truth that after the storm comes the peace. YES MOM, YOU WERE RIGHT!. I am sure you are really happy to hear this. Our marriage has not been a Honey Moon by any means, but Hey! everybody have marriage troubles.
         Yes, marriage troubles!?, there are not a happy moment by the pool or a sunny breeze day... THEY ARE HELL! but you know each of us as mothers, wives, sisters, sisters in law, mothers in law, cousins and girlfriends approach the issue in different ways. At last we survive and overcome the problems in the name of love or whatever you want to call it. The reality is that marriage is a compromise, yes! it is! damn it! I wish I knew it was not going to be like "Cinderella." Oh, well (like Isis will say when she spills juice in the floor) oh, well, let's keep trying.
          The evening ended in a peaceful note. Our stomachs were filled with grilled chicken and Mc&Cheese, our smiles were the biggest of the week and our energy was so run down that we did not feel our bodies. We start the summer with great positive energy! just to notice our lease is up in six weeks and we do not have a clue where we are going to move. Thanks for the little happy moments in life. 

We can just capture little happy moments in life


Monday, May 14, 2012

Guilt in Mother's Day

      I just read this article "The Clothes on the floor" from Mom 101, one of the best written mommy bloggers. Liz Gumbinner gives an unforgettable picture of missing the lives of her children because of her work. Picking up the piles of clothing wore by her kids remind her how much she misses their lives every day.


      And I cannot stop thinking how I refrain of tears when I don't have energy to bring them to the park, cook them a healthy meal, read them a bed time story, give them a bath, sing them a lullaby or give them a proper good night hug because I just want the day to be over. I had enough of crying, screaming, pouting, kicking, scratching, feet throwing day.
Every moment counts!


      If Liz is missing her children's lives. What am I missing? nights out, walks in the Mall, trips to the cities and what else? Fun? I have fun with my children! Tired, no make up  wearing the same rubber brown shoes (my mother in law gave me two pair of those, I know now why: there are easy to put in with kids jumping around you) everyday but happy.

Learning how to be happy with the smallest things in life


      Even when I feel trap in this four walls of my overprice second floor apartment. When I run to the closet for help. When I sit in the bathroom toilet to take a five minutes break. When I don't feel my body because I slept with Isis and Isaac in a twin bed all night (I am aware of the hazard of SIDS) I am somehow content. I can witness their lives. YEAH!! I AM LUCKY.

At last been with them it is what counts


      OF THOSE MOMENTS that take your breath like when both Isis and Isaac were just born and the nurse set them in my belly. OH! warmth, incredible feeling of infinitive love. Or when Isis called me MAMA for the first time. Or when Isaac smile in the mornings looking directly at my eyes. I AM FREAKING LUCKY. Not matter the countless bills in collections, my lost green card, my huge student loan debt, the arguments with my husband, the penniless weekends or the overdue electricity bill. It's sacrifice for the best love.


     Finally, I get it. I understand what Liz means in her article. I understand what my mother mean when she said "YOU WON'T GET IT UNTIL YOU'LL BE A MOM" I get it mom, I do. All these sacrifices we do for our kids are definitely because we love them. So when we feel blue and lonely, let's look at their cute and cutely faces with their huge smiles so innocent that hurts.

Isis and Isaac

                                                                                 Be late HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Monday, May 7, 2012

First day at three

Today it was a regular day in Wisconsin. Humid like Miami and windy like Kansas. However, my day was not a regular day. I was taking care of three kids, my own and another little boy. Believe me the time went by so slow, the art projects I planed for the day lasted ten minutes or less and on top of that anybody took a nap. I was highly contemplating the possibility to put a movie on, a long long long movie. But the guilt was killing me and I denied the option.
Growing up as an only child, everybody has time for you... aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, everybody want to hand out with you and bring you everywhere. When you are a second or third or four child the story change... I guess. I wanted my daughter to fell like the only child despite the bird of Isaac but it was an impossible task. The time shrinks, arrant takes longer than before and I run off energy earlier than ever.
Isis though manages to act like a growing up girl (she even say it over and over) despite the fact that she still sleeps with a "BABA" or two. She can dress by herself, brush her teeth, take a snack from the fridge and remember exactly the way back from the park to the house.
The third one though it is not mine. The third one is a job babysitting which make me wonder HOW I GOT TO THIS POINT!? I can't stop comparing him with my kids and how well I taught them some simple things like holding a fork or pulling their pants up. I am not celebrating myself, oh well! maybe a little. After sleepless nights and many many many freak outs I deserve a pad on my back even if it comes from me.

That is not a self recognition, it is self love for something well done. There I said it!
As the first day with three kids went by I realized that teaching kids is really hard, specially if they are not your kids. I can dictate a detail agenda to Isis and she will follow. Even if the dictatorship method is not quite the best but I will achieve my goal: PEACE AND NO STRESS. With someone else kid I simply can't.  Therefore I just contemplated the THIRD KID behavior thinking I should correct some things. Finally, I just watched how he run around the room when I read, saw him dropping all the Mac and cheese in the floor and playing with one toy all day. I was a BAD MOTHER even though I am not his mother. Was I?

Maybe... or maybe not because there is this huge misconception about mothers that HAVE TO TEACH SOMETHING mixed with the motherhood stereotype which make you TELL YOUR KIDS WHAT TO DO ALL THE TIME. Mothers need to teach, teach at least something. Really? mothers can also teach to laugh, giggle, have fun and be messy. I still have deep doubts about perfect motherhood. I believe WE ARE ALL PERFECT MOTHERS, we do the best we can and we do it very well. Even though this is a cliche, it is a truth cliche. We are givers, teachers, dictators, leaders and ultimately ACHIEVERS OF PERFECT MOTHERHOOD.

There are three kids of motherhood I enjoy though...

               The one that DOES IT ALL, teach frantically, clean intensively and demand the best of her kids. Buy all the cutting, pasting, tracing and coloring books in the store. Bring the kids to the story times in the library and bake every Holiday. That may be me at some times.

              The RELAX ONE, the one that likes to chill with her kids. She zips martinis in play dates and read the NYTimes in her IPad while ballet class is happening.  She tickles and dances before bed time and there is not even bed time at her house. Wish I can be her.

              The BALANCE ONE, who teach, listens and plays. She can balance chaos and organization. She takes time for herself and even her husband. She also bring the kids to all sort of classes so she can have a personal life but when they are home she help them to learn about life. We all want to be her.

At last, who ever you are or want to be will have a direct impact in your children lives. Indeed, stress parents create stress children, unorganized parents create unorganized children and so on. But that it is not even half of the truth. Just give it all you have to fell the best mother on earth. It is the best job overall and the most important one. So the third one is not just a job, it is part of my family now... kind of... then I will do my best to don't be a bad mother.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A new start at 30's

Today I decided to start A Practical Mother, for real, seriously, for good. I have been starring at the computer screen since my first daughter Isis was born but now it is different. I am 32 years old and I am a stay home mom for the sake of the family. Actually, I am not sure if I would have take that decision of stay at home by myself. However, here I am with two kids and long nights awake waiting for my husband, who is a Chef and works  the worse possible schedule, not fit to raise a family.
The last addition to our family, our baby boy Isaac (3 months) make me realized how rapidly life happens. I cannot get over the image of my daughter Isis (3 years) in my arms in the Anchorage, AK Hospital, it seems like it was yesterday. So I decided that this time it will be different and I will make every second count. Well... let me tell you, it has not been easy. Specially because I am originally from Peru living in Madison, Wisconsin. This part of the United States is so cold and remote that remind me the TV show "Little House on the Prairie". I fell like Laura Ingalls a lot of the time.
Anyways, you will get to know me in each article, picture and interview that I will post in Practical Mother. I hope my writing will improve as well my motherhood's skills. In the meantime I just want to say "Hello, hola" because this is a promise that I will  keep the blogger the most updated I can and I will never give up, not matter the circumstances. Now, my hubby is waiting for me (only day off after 20 days of working non stop) and hopefully we will catch up in the latest Madisonian events with a glass of wine. Of course, all these before one of the kids wake up... Yeah! there he is... Isaac is fuzzing a little and we even get to touch the wine glass.