Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Art, Childrearing, Connections, Crafts, Decor, Family, Home, Life, Memories, Parenting | Posted on 08-05-2017

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When I think about our family, I think how different we are as individuals. And how our family is evolving.

We are especially different in how we choose to spend an evening. Not always as one family together. But as one family together, but separate. One wants to go out with friends, one wants to watch YouTube videos, one wants to do anything but watch a movie with Mom and Dad. Then there’s Otis, who is up for anything, including movie night.

But isn’t this supposed to happen? While I am sad to see my children slowly branch away, I am also learning to appreciate their separation as a healthy part of life: thriving as individuals. I appreciate each one. With their own personalities. Their own thoughts. Their own emotions. Their own interests.

But isn’t it also my job as mother to keep our family connected? I try. Family taco night is always a success. Movie night? Not so much anymore. Awhile back, I covered our kitchen table with butcher paper so we could create art together. It started with a white square tile. Add drops of ink. Swirl, mix, design. The blobs of ink expanded. The ink morphed.

Each tile transformed into a unique work of art. No two were alike. Hmmmm…kinda like children…

This art project lasted several weeks. That’s a lot of together-time!

We framed this “family mirror” with the tiles we created. It’s an excellent metaphor of our family: colorful, with individual pieces, unified as one.

It’s a mirror that represents togetherness and separation. It’s hung, appropriately, right above the kitchen table, where many tacos have been consumed together.

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Forced Family Time


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Connections, Family, Growing UP, Parenting | Posted on 15-03-2016

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So many mothers of little children complain how they want time alone. They eye roll and sigh. Can I just take a shower? Can I go to the bathroom without being followed?

I used to be that mother with nary a moment to myself.

I have a cute little picture book about a mama elephant who wants five minutes peace. She heads to the bathroom with some cake and a book and fills the tub with bubbles. She looks forward to a little time by herself, without her three children in tow. One at a time, her children come into the bathroom to talk to her, show her things, and then, splat! They all end up in the tub together laughing. Mama elephant sneaks out quietly amidst the rumpus, to eat her now-wet cake. She has a total of one minute of peace. And she savors every second of it.

Fast forward a handful of years. Little children become big children. Two of them are now teenagers. And whaddya know? My children don’t want to be with me every second. What??!!


It’s like total role reversal. Now my children are doing the eye rolling and sighing. These days, it takes more than a bubble bath and cake to get all five of us together. I mean, we’re all together in the same house, but we’re not usually doing the same thing. At once. Together.

Forced family time. It’s something that I thought we’d never go through. Wrong!

For our family, it took a ski weekend where the five us crammed in a hotel room.

We were all sprawled out on two double beds with tired legs, worn out from the ski day. Our bellies were filled with warm chocolate chip cookies, free for the taking from the lobby. Flipping through six channels, we landed on MythBusters. We watched and laughed and commented and ate cookies.

We learned that rockets can launch from gummy bear goo. We learned that we can all squeeze into two double beds. We learned that being together is still a ton of fun.

Hotels are the best!

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The “Sick” Day


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Childhood, Childrearing, Children, Memories, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting, Time | Posted on 17-02-2014

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The other day my eight-year-old son woke up sick. His face was gray. He gave me that pouty look and said, “I’m not up for school today.”

We went through the symptoms. Fever? Achey? Sore throat? Stomach ache? Do you feel like you’re going to throw up? Not any of those. But he just didn’t seem himself. So back to bed he went.

He woke up at 11:00 a.m. looking rested and chipper. And wanting soup. Looking through the cabinets and the pantry. No soup. Nary a can. How about some nachos instead? I piled tortilla chips on a plate, grated cheese, and 30 seconds later in the microwave, bam! Nachos. And chocolate milk. Happiness!

That afternoon, we played four rounds of Juego de Loteria (Mexican bingo). His favorite card? La Sirena (the mermaid). She is topless.

Harry Belafonte and Pitbull in the background, and whaddya know, there was dancing. Apparently, my son was magically better!

He told me days afterward that he wasn’t really sick. That he just wanted to spend the day with me. Aw! Heck, everyone needs a “sick” day once in awhile. 

La Sirena.

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The Dark and Stormy Night


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Childrearing, Christmas, Family, Holidays, Memories | Posted on 13-12-2013

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It was a dark and stormy night.

Winter. Freezing temperatures. High winds.

And then bam. No power.

No worries. We’ll turn on the heat and snuggle under blankets and light the candles and have lasagna and watch a fun Christmas movie!

Ooops. No heat.

Who’s hungry? We’ll have lasagna! Ooops. The lasagna is half-cooked in the oven. An electric oven. No lasagna for dinner.

Let’s watch a Christmas movie! Oh yeah, no electricity.

Funny how we have become so dependent on simple things like light and heat and dinner and entertainment.

So, what’s a family of five to do on a dark and stormy night with no electricity? We crammed into one bed–kinda like the grandparents in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory–where we kept warm. Eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. The candles were flickering on the night stands. The wind was howling outside.

Did we tell stories like they did in the old country? No way. We fired up The Polar Express on the laptop, until the battery ran out.

I will forever remember that cold night where we were together and warm. And making new memories.

#Christmas simplicity

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Is Your Bucket Half Full?


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Attitude, Family, Life Lessons | Posted on 10-05-2012

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You’ve heard of the glass half full. But have you heard of the bucket half full? As in the vomit bucket?

The other day, I woke up sick. Sick, sick, sickety sick. Several trips to the bathroom. Enough said. I thought to myself, “I’ll call in sick to work and have the day to myself to sleep off the sickness.”

Not so fast.

Time to wake up my oldest son. “Uhhhh, Mooooom, I feeeeeel siiiiiick.” “Take a shower,” my husband suggested to see if he feels better. Five minutes later. Nope. Still stick. He’s staying home from school.

My daughter, who vomited the night before, woke up still sick. She’s staying home.

My youngest son walks like a zombie out from the toilet. “Mooooom, I have diarrhea.” OK. He’s staying home.

My husband heads bolts out of the door, heading off to work. Unscathed from the sick wrath.

To recap. One sick Mom. Three sick children. All at home. With the stomach flu.


Actually no. Despite multiple visits to the toilet, it was actually a day when all four of us stretched out on the sofa. Lying feet to feet. Comatose. We watched Lady and The Tramp. We dozed. We watched Bee Movie. We ate chicken noodle soup. We watched The Sword and The Stone. I dozed. We drank Sprite. We lazed around all day together. We were pathetic together.

Will we look back on this sick day as being awful? No way. The togetherness was healing.

This bucket was…half full.

Snakes On a Plane…Hell No


Posted by peskypippi | Posted in Adolescence, Boys, Celebrations, Connections, Family, Humor, Life Lessons, Mothering, Mothers and Sons, Parenting | Posted on 08-05-2012

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Ophidiophobia = the fear of snakes. Yeah, I got that.

If my kids ever ask me, “Mom, can I get a pet snake?”

“Hell, no.”

Snakes at museums? I can handle that. Because there are padlocks on the lids. But snakes on the loose? Indiana Jones and I. We both hate snakes.

So, the movie selection with my newly-minted-13-year-old son? Snakes on a Plane. OMG.

  • A snake peeping out of the overhead storage bin? Hell no.
  • A snake striking out of the toilet? Hell no.
  • A snake slithering up your leg when you have nodded off? Hell no.
  • A snake sneaking into your purse and then–surprise–you find it while rummaging around for some gum. Hell no.
  • A snake attacking the co-pilot? Hell no.

But I wanted to be cool Mom. So we watched, side by side, as the snakes peeped and struck and slithered and snuck and attacked.

Here’s a teensy little clip that made us bust up laughing (don’t proceed if you don’t like swearing…me? #sailormouth):

You and me both, SLJ, you and me both.